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Roll Out the Red Carpet

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What's the best way to indicate that an aristocrat or other person of wealth has arrived at an engagement? By rolling out the red carpet, of course! Making an entrance by walking on red carpet is a symbol of both fame and luxury. It immediately identifies a person using it as someone important. Alternatively, it may be used in a Prince and Pauper story to show the Pauper is now being considered a man of upper-class stature after the switch has been made by showing him walking on this.

This trope tends to come in two flavors: either the palace of the King or wealthy man will be decorated with red carpet, or a literal red carpet will be rolled out to mark his/her arrival at some event. The chance of seeing an actual red carpet being rolled out (rather than already being set on the floor when the scene begins) by servants or attendants is increased if watching an animated work. That way it is easier to show a red carpet being rolled out the exact moment the VIP sets his/her foot on the ground.

This is also a luxury trope that has survived many long centuries and can be seen both in works set in older time periods and the modern day. The earliest known reference to this attention-drawing symbol is from an Ancient Greek play.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Bread Barbershop episode "Potato Chip's Chip", one of the things Choco does after Bread becomes suspiciously generous is to roll out a red carpet in front of one of the customers to make them seem more special.
  • In Season 7 episode 3 of Happy Heroes, when Keke first enters the Supermen's classroom, she rolls out a red carpet for her stylish entrance and walks in on it.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In the beginning of episode 495, Wolffy arrives at a show well-dressed. He begins walking down a red carpet and waving at everyone, only for him to fall over on a watermelon.

    Comic Books 
  • A Love Like Blood: A very gory variation appears when vampire Lord Karkossa arrives to dine with his followers. The vampires arrange a row of helpless humans and then slit all their throats to create a bloody "red carpet" for their master to walk on.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the door to the factory's all-important Chocolate Room is reached by walking down a red carpet.
  • Dune (2021): A Spheroid Dropship bearing a herald of the Emperor of the Known Universe and other assorted dignitaries lands on Caladan, where a broad carpet and an honor guard have been arranged on the wet landing pad as befits the Feudal Future of the year 10,191 AG. Even the dropship's ramp has its own carpet! The carpets are of a bluish color, rather than red.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Ayesha makes a Big Entrance with a ridiculously long entourage, including two minions deploying a carpet (albeit a blue one) from a roller so her feet won't get cold in the snow. Then the roller gets jammed.
  • Captain Hook's ship in Hook invokes the trope by having a mechanism installed in the stairs leading to the captain's quarters which, when kicked in the right spot on a nearby post, will flip open a series of hidden panels with red carpeting on it down the stairs. Hook always waits for the carpeting to appear before descending the stairs. It even gets Inverted when Peter shows up and challenges Hook — the carpeting is "un-rolled" back up the stairs in a display of rather petty snobbery by Hook as the whole pirate crew mocks Peter before the latter simply flies up to confront him.
  • Mars Attacks!: One is rolled out for the Flying Saucer, which obligingly rolls out a tongue-like ramp to connect with it. It doesn't do any good.

  • Charlie Wilson's War: Lampshaded when Wilson advises President Zia to "roll out the reddest carpet" for Congressman 'Doc' Long, chairman of the Appropriations Committee that doles out foreign aid. Zia obliges. Not only does Long get the literal red carpet, he also gets a brass band, a guard of honor, and even children handing him flowers.
  • In The Runaway Carpet, the doorman to the Bellevue rolls out a red carpet in preparation for the Duke of Sultana's visit...and it keeps rolling all the way to the dock.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: Parodied in "The Timeless Children" when the Master is inviting the Cybermen in to conquer Gallifrey.
    The Master: I promise I'll roll out the red carpet. It's red because it's drenched in the blood of our people.
  • In the Farscape episode "Into the Lion's Den: Lambs to the Slaughter", Scorpius has given Diplomatic Impunity to the crew of Moya (enforced by both Scorpius and John Crichton wearing Synchronisation bracelets). As they land on his Command Carrier, there's a red carpet and a guard of honor, but everyone's more tense than honored. When Aeryn twists Crichton's thumb to test the bracelet and Scorpius snarls in pain, half the assembled troops point their guns at them until their officer cools things down.
  • In an episode of Parks and Recreation, Tom reveals that he puts red carpet on the inside of his shoes so he can walk on red carpet everywhere he goes.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Code of Honor", Captain Picard and his senior officers wait for Lutan, king of the planet Ligon III, to teleport on board. Instead, his entourage beams up first, unrolls a red carpet, and then the king beams up.

  • Fen Quest: Lady Lily is introduced surrounded by retainers laying down stone slabs for her to step on. She later explains it's because she's not actually allowed to step on foreign land by imperial law.

  • The earliest known reference in history is from a Greek play titled Agamemnon by Aeschylus. A red carpet is rolled out for the returning hero, but he is apprehensive because only the gods deserve such honor.
  • One is rolled out in front of the gates to Wonka's Factory in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    Video Games 
  • If you put in the work to get Aerith her best dress in Final Fantasy VII Remake, Johnny brings a red carpet with him and rolls it out onto the bridge leading to Don Corneo's mansion, revealing her to Cloud in style replete with fireworks and onlookers gasping in awe.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, Edward Castle has every room decorated with regal red carpets. This becomes a bit of a Tear Jerker when you visit another location late in the game and learn that these carpets are hand-knit by women since their childhood and each one takes forty years to complete.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Legend of Korra, Varrick rolls out the red carpet for the premiere of his "The Adventures of Nuktuk" mover.
    Varrick: No expense has been spared, I brought in the finest entertainers from Ba Sing Se, and the best food from around the world. Heck! I even had this red carpet imported from the Fire Nation! They make the best red stuff over there. Fact!
  • The Smurfs (1981): In the episode "Brainy's Smarty Party", Brainy gives Papa Smurf the red carpet treatment when he invites him to be the first guest of his It's All About Me party, which Papa Smurf refuses.

    Real Life 
  • Red carpets are still used for Heads of State when traveling.
  • Events marked by the appearances of many celebrities typically feature a red carpet. The Academy Awards are a prominent example.


Video Example(s):


MLP: A New Generation

Princess Pipp Petals arrives in Sunny and Izzy's dungeon cell in this way, with the royal guards rolling out the carpet on her entrance then rolling it back in as she exits the area.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / RollOutTheRedCarpet

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