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A character may create or wear a perfume or cologne or other kind of scent which they think is great, but draws reactions of revulsion from others. Because storytelling media generally do not convey scent, the rankness of the odor is generally illustrated with physical reactions and amusing comparisons of the smell to other presumably vile smelling things. Rule of Funny and/or Drama may require that the person goes around unaware of this for a while.


Compare Uncanny Valley Makeup.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In one Pokémon episode "The Pokemon Scent-Sation", Ash and friends go to a perfume shop run by Celadon Gym Leader Erika and whilst everyone else likes what's on sale, Ash is disgusted by the perfume, saying it's for wussies and that makes people like Brock act like idiots/zombies.

  • In an Eddie Murphy stand-up bit, he talks about the first time he put on cologne and slathered it all over himself, including his genitalia. It burned. His mother walks in on him while he's trying to wash it off in the bathroom sink and tells all his relatives. His grandmother asks him about it:
    "Baby, why you put yo' dick in tha' sink? Something wrong witcha? What's wrong witcha? That the new thing now? Running around, sniffing cocaine, waiting to be sure drip, put yo' dick in tha' sink? Baby ... that's nasty"

    Comic Strips 
  • A very old Dilbert comic arc has a woman who would wear a horrible scent until someone complimented her on it. When others started avoiding her, she decided it wasn't strong enough and put more on. Dogbert eventually shouted at her in no uncertain terms that she smelled bad, only to protest that he'd rather die when she offered to revive him after fainting.
  • Jeremy's overuse of cologne is a Running Gag in Zits. In one strip, Jeremy uses some of Walt's old musk oil, and the resulting stench is shown by depicting Jeremy as a musk ox.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfette's Genie", the titular genie Ghinelle lives inside a perfume bottle, who lets off a pink perfume mist that is so strong that it makes Hefty think that Smurfette has taken a bath in perfume.
  • Downplayed in Brainbent. Nepeta's autism causes her to have bad reactions to certain textures and smells, including Kanaya's perfume.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana makes an ill-fated attempt to woo Veronica Corningstone by wearing "Sex Panther" cologne (with 'bits of real panther'), the office erupts in comments asking where that horrible smell is coming from. ("It smells like a used diaper filled with Indian food!"; "It smells like a turd covered in burnt hair!"; and one especially plaintive "It smells like bigfoot's dick!")
  • Light Sleeper: Marianne, Marianne's sister, and Ann all make comments about John's pungent cologne.
    Ann: You have cologne on? It smells like that stuff they give you on an airplane.
  • In The Women, Mary's mother is so overwhelmed by the clashing perfumes worn by Mary's Reno friends that she literally perfumigates the room, spraying Mary's scent into the air to overpower the others.

  • The Concrete Blonde: Detective Harry Bosch is driving a hooker to a crime scene. The hooker's perfume is so pungent that Bosch has to roll down the window of his car.
  • In the Discworld novel Jingo, the perfume Nobby Nobbs buys as a souvenir becomes a running gag.
  • Flood by Andrew Vachss. Private eye Burke has Action Girl Flood dress like a scantily-clad bimbo while making some inquiries so no-one will remember her face. However Flood later overdoes it by wearing a perfume he describes as Eau de Whorehouse. Worse, it's just before they go to see an Assistant District Attorney, so Burke would prefer she dress inconspicuously but forgot to actually tell her this.
  • Crossed with Smelly Skunk in the Hank the Cowdog book Faded Love. On the advice of coyote brothers Rip and Snort, Hank rolls on a dead skunk before going to woo Beulah the collie. Female coyotes may love the scent, but Beulah doesn't. She keeps moving to stay upwind, and finally tells Hank outright that he smells awful.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Whatever substance Hagrid calls "eau de cologne" is strong enough, when he puts it on to impress Madame Maxine, that Hermione is left choking for breath. When he sees her reaction, Hagrid washes it off.
  • Murder in the Mews: In "The Incredible Theft" Sir George complains about the cloud that Mrs. Vanderlyn (the Honey Pot) leaves behind when she leaves a room, saying "Phew, that woman uses a lot of scent."
  • The Other Side of Silence: Robin Maugham, an unsympathetic character, wears a "cloying cologne" which irritates Bernie.
  • InCryptid: Artie, an incubus, has to wear extremely strong cologne whenever he leaves the house to cover up his Living Aphrodisiac pheromones.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parks and Recreation. Tom Haverford tries to make a cologne called "Tommy Fresh"; the result "smells like Chinese food spilled in a birdcage."
  • New Girl. Schmidt makes a perfume for CeCe as a Christmas present, which, over the course of the evening begins to smell worse and worse.
  • In the 30 Rock episode "Nothing to Left to Lose" Tracy Jordan makes a cologne that smells like his favorite things — "the New York Knicks, a strip club mop, a carefree hobo, a crate with a new giraffe in it, and broccoli." Kenneth walks by and remarks that the smell reminds him of Grandma's house. When they found her dead in it, that is. In another episode, Jack, insulting Liz Lemon's breath, asks, "when did you find time to eat a diaper you found on the beach?"
  • On Seinfeld Kramer has an idea for a cologne that smells like the beach. He takes it to a Calvin Klein executive who thinks it's a terrible idea: "Do you think people are going to pay $80 a bottle to smell like dead fish and sea weed? That's why people take showers when the come home from the beach. It's an objectionable offensive odor." But that doesn't stop him from stealing Kramer's idea.
  • In Cheers, Sam Malone's offensively strong cologne was a Running Gag. In "Someone Single, Someone Blue" Diane's mom describes Sam's cologne as "an affront to society". In "A Ditch in Time", Sam asks Carla what she thinks of his cologne, and Carla says she likes it—and then says she's gone blind.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Random Thoughts," Neelix puts on some talchok musk before going to see a lady friend and runs into Tom Paris, who advises him to lay off the musk.
  • Ms. Watson actually invokes this in an episode of Teachers (2016). When a student has crawled into the ceiling and refuses to come down, she sprays horrible smelling perfume into the ducts in an effort to smoke him out. Unfortunately, rather than come down, he simply crawls further into the ducts.

  • One panel among those showcasing creative graffiti by artist Al Jaffee in MAD showed a bus advert for Brut cologne by Faberge that had added scrawl which read: "In a crowded place, it's Brutal." One obliviously happy bus rider reeked of the stuff; his fellow passengers reeled around him in various degrees of nausea.

  • The song "Saturday Night" by comedienne Victoria Wood:
    They're covered in perfumes, but these are misnomers.
    Nicola's scent could send dogs into comas.
    Tracey's kills insects and dustbin aromas,
    And also gets stains off the pan.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Gorgeous George would make his valet spray the ring with some perfume before the match; his opponents would find the smell distasteful.
  • "The Model" Rick Martel would similarly spray the ring, but he'd also use his spray as a Foreign Object, spraying it into his opponents' eyes.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Dinosaurs, Charlene's scent gland creates an odor that is repellent to everyone but her true love. When that turns out to be a crude slob, she goes on a quest for a flower that will change her scent. She fails, but her scent changed on her own.

    Video Games 
  • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, there is "Eau De Seduction", which a suave but unstable antagonist named Decus wears. The main party hates the smell of it.
  • Hazama from BlazBlue uses some shampoo in his gag ending that is revealed to be like cat nip. By the end, he's attacked by every cat in Kagutsuchi.
  • In the multiplayer version of Dragon Age: Inquisition, one of the characters notes that they would not trust Commander Cullen because "he smells like elderflower and oakmoss."

    Western Animation 
  • In an early The Simpsons Bart buys his mother a giant bottle of "French" perfume for her birthday (10 liters for $4). She takes one whiff and is overwhelmed.
    Bart: Hey Mom, how come you're not putting on any of my perfume?
    Marge: [diplomatically] Well I'm saving it... for a special occasion.
    Bart: What the hell are you talking about? There's gallons of it!
    Homer: [barks] Bart!
    Marge: [eyes darting] But this occasion is already so special, if we make it any more special, we might end up making it less special.
  • Looney Tunes character Pepé Le Pew is oblivious to the effect his natural aroma has on others. To be fair, it probably smells attractive to other skunks, but his paramour never turns out to be a real skunk, and he figures her fleeing is just playing hard to get.
  • In a Popeye cartoon Potent Lotion, Popeye receives a "gift" of aftershave which makes everyone who smells it hostile and aggressive towards him.
  • Futurama:
    • Used in one episode when Dr. Zoidberg finally finds a flower woman who isn't instantly repulsed by whatever horrid smell he has on. This is justified by the revelation that she actually has no sense of smell, thus making her unaware of his stench and how flowers smell. Zoidberg tries to keep her unaware of the fact that she could just ask him to give her a working nose, but he eventually caves in and decides to give her one. Shockingly enough, because she loves Zoidberg so much, she likes how he smells and finds her flowers disgusting in comparison, so she quits her flower-selling job to work in garbage disposal and they continue on together happily
    • An earlier episode had Kif present Amy some ambergris he collected and planned to turn into perfume. She gets impatient and smears the raw ambergris on herself immediately, which prompts disgusted retching from all present.
  • In Hank The Cowdog, Hank takes Rip and Snort's advice and rolls on a skunk to impress Miss Beulah. While this works among coyotes, it's different with dogs.
  • In one episode of The Oblongs, after learning that Milo started becoming popular because of a ham bucket that Pickles gave him to wear to school, Pickles decides to run with it and start her own fashion line, including ham-scented cologne. When one of Pickle's former boyfriends-turned-successful fashion designer gets a whiff, he's completely disgusted by it, but Pickles doesn't care what he thinks. He's intrigued by her indifference, and buys the whole batch of cologne from her.
  • In Detentionaire, Funny Foreigner Holger Holgaart literally bathed in cologne as preparation for a party. The fumes melted a rubber duck on a shelf and everyone complained about him the rest of the night.

    Real Life 
  • A common Real Life phenomenon for the elderly, whose sense of smell tends to decline over time, leading them to apply much more of a perfume or cologne than is necessary or desirable to others.
  • And in teenagers inexperienced in the application of scents, who are likely to use way too much the first time out, not realizing how potent perfumes are.
  • And, occasionally, cropping up in cultural divides, where people from far-removed nations have different notions of what constitutes a "pleasing" scent.
  • There's an old Fun T-Shirt with a caption reading "That's supposed to be a perfume, not a marinade."
  • There are also people with strong allergies, for whom many perfumes can cause sneezing or asthma, and thus they will react with avoidance even to perfectly innocuous or good-smelling fragrances.


Video Example(s):


Sex Panther

Brian Fantana attempts to woo Veronica Corningstone by using a special cologne: Sex Panther. 60% of the time, it works... every time. But evidently, not this time. It's so bad that not only is the whole office choking and retching, but the fire alarm is tripped, and Brian has to get the smell jet washed off of him.

How well does it match the trope?

4.83 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / Perfumigation

Media sources: