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Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!

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"You there! Give me your chair, I'm a hundred and seven!"

Many senior citizens in fiction believe that the rules of manners and society no longer apply to them once they reach a certain age. Essentially, "I can get away with anything, because I'm old!" When racist or sexist statements are involved, this may be a case of a person experiencing temporal Values Dissonance in his own lifetime. Or he's just a Jerkass who no longer feels obligated to play by society's standard rules.

Sadly, this too often is a case of Truth in Television, but it can also be a case of a young person interpreting the reaction to their own rudeness as a "rude old person being a jerk to me". Also, senility is less common than one has come to expect, so anyone with wrinkles and gray hair can use this as Obfuscating Insanity. Often they enjoy it so much they do it all the time. When Elders Attack, you can never tell if it's a crazy one or a Retired Badass telling you to get the hell off his lawn.


See also Grumpy Old Man, When I Was Your Age..., Evil Old Folks (when this goes too far, and moves from impoliteness to villainy) and Curse of The Ancients (when a senior tries to be impolite but fails comically because they lag behind in the curseword fashion industry for half a century or so). May result in Racist Grandma. On the flip side, it can also be a trait of the Cool Old Guy, or its female counterpart.



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  • Wendy's memetic ad campaign from the 1980s, Where's the Beef?, gained fame from an old lady yelling "Where's the beef!?" when the competition's hamburgers are more bun than burger.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Oryou Sonozaki from Higurashi: When They Cry. Being a Yakuza matron doesn't hurt much, either.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Winry's grandmother Pinako is one of the few characters to intentionally press Ed's Berserk Button about his height and then double down on it. This is despite Pinako being shorter than Ed, as he points out.
  • Happosai of Ranma ½. Then again, he's been screwing politeness his whole life (except around girls he's hitting on), so his seniority is really a secondary factor. And sadly as one of the most powerful martial artists in the world, nobody can really restrain him in any way (unless they bring panties).
    • It should be noted though that while the females as well as his students act respectful around him when he is able to hear them, Ranma is rude, brutal, and blunt towards Happosai (as long as he isn't female which will end with him/her being molested), making him pretty much the only one able to actually keep him from causing chaos.
    Ranma: You dirty old freak!
  • Occasionally, Genkai from YuYu Hakusho
  • The Third Tsuchikage of Naruto often acts this way, especially in the way he shows contempt for the much younger Gaara. It's implied through his own statements that he became stubborn with age.
  • Torogai from Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit has no time for your ignorance of the Spirit World, your Undying Loyalty to the emperor, or any of that crap! Young people these days...
  • The title character of Machiko Hasegawa's Ijiwaru Baa-san (AKA "Granny Mischief") is a grumpy old woman who's always screwing around with her friends, family, and neighbors.
  • In Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold, Dohko tells Aldebaran he has to fight to clean his name from "an embarrassing defeat" during the first Asgard arc of the original anime.
  • Sverker from Vinland Saga, who seems to be incapable of anything but Brutal Honesty. This trope ends up swinging both ways, in that in a slave-holding society where thralldom is a fact of life Sverker doesn't care if you're noble, freedman, outlaw or thrall: He'll be equally sour towards you either way.


  • The little old lady from The Running Man, who unashamedly drops a Precision F-Strike on live national television.
  • Bubba Ho Tep: Elvis is allowed to be as rude as he likes because nobody takes him seriously anymore anyway.
    Elvis: Shit! Get old, you can't even cuss someone and have it bother 'em. Everything you do is either worthless or sadly amusing.
  • In The Golden Child there's the unnamed elderly High Priest, who tends to cuss and pick his nose a lot. He does help the protagonist, though.

  • Mrs. Dubose from To Kill a Mockingbird casts aspersions on the entire neighborhood, but Atticus tells his children to leave the poor, sick, old woman alone. Then again, that probably has more to do with his general decency than anything else. Well that and the fact that he had some admiration for her since she was addicted to morphine and trying to quit before she died of the disease she had. Dying slowly and very painfully instead of easily without pain if she had just stayed on it. That takes guts.
  • The poem Warning - When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple by Jenny Joseph is about a middle-aged-or-so woman fantasizing about being eccentric when she is older and doing such things as learning to spit, swearing in the street, and picking flowers in other people's gardens. One line of the poem ("...I shall wear purple with a red hat...") inspired the whole the "Red Hat Society" thing. Many products for older women proudly display a funny red hat as a symbol of sisterly unity.
  • The following verse by Lemuel F. Parton sounds a similar note:
    I have led a good life, full of peace and quiet
    I shall have an old age full of rum and riot
    I have been a good boy, wed to peace and study
    I shall have an old age, ribald, coarse and bloody
    I have never cut throats, even when I yearned to
    Never sang the dirty songs that my fancy turned to
    I have been a nice boy, and done what was expected
    I shall die an old bum, loved but unrespected.
  • Similarly, Dave Barry has written about his wish to "age dis-gracefully", hitting things with his cane, yelling at people, and generally being a bastard.
    • Dave also writes about seeing a senior citizen holding up traffic in New York city by standing in front of a taxicab and whapping the hood with his umbrella, over and over again. The cheering crowd around him was clearly expressing the sentiment that the old guy was doing what they'd like to do but never could.
    • A scene he saw at a party where an old lady innocently crept up next to some guy and speared his foot with her cane. When he tried to quietly pull free, she shifted her weight so that he was still stuck. "It made for fine entertainment and a younger person could never have pulled it off".
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman told the tale of an African-American woman who joined the Civil Rights Movement in 1962 at the age of 110. She used her extreme age ruthlessly (after all, what cop, no matter how redneck, wants to be known as the one who rousted or roughed up a 110-year-old woman?).
  • "Gramps" (really great-great-grandpa) from Kurt Vonnegut's short story Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. He tortured his descendants by constantly changing his mind about who would receive his fortune. The root of the problem in the story is a medicine called anti-gerasone, which stops aging as long as it is used. This creates relative immortality; the user will live forever unless he or she stops taking it. People put off breaking their addiction to life further and further; the grandfather, for example, was 172, and was described as still in his prime.
  • Muriel in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows gets away with insulting just about everybody, all while repeatedly informing them that she is one hundred and seven. Although it's implied that she's one of the wealthier members of the family, so that might also have something to do with it. As for the Harry Potter series, this trope is averted with Albus Dumbledore, who's over one hundred years old himself but always infallibly polite, even to Voldemort.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Mace Tyrell's mother Olenna, the "Queen of Thorns", is the only noble of a great house allowed to get away with complete and utter tactlessness - and as for the minor houses, rudeness doesn't begin to cover the ninety-year-old Lord Walder Frey. Murder does, for both of them.
    Edmure Tully: [regarding Walder Frey] A few barbed words and some unseemly gloating. From him, that's courtesy. I half-expected the old weasel to piss in our wine and make us praise the vintage.
  • In the Deptford Mice trilogy, the Starwife (the ancient queen of the squirrels) is short-tempered with everyone she meets. Anyone's first impression of her would be that she is a rude old battleaxe, but she does have good intentions.
    "I do have manners but it's so rare that I find anyone worth practising them on."
  • Discworld:
    • Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are fully conscious of this trope and they exploit it everywhere. (At one point the narrator explains that they don't think of themselves as old, but they take every possible advantage of other people's perception of them as such.) Note that they have the advantage of being witches. Nanny Ogg is also the maternal ancestor to a sizable portion of Lancre.
    • The locals might not be fooled by the witches. They certainly don't regard them as being any kind of infirm.
    "You wouldn't let a poor old lady go off to confront monsters on a night like this, would you?"
    "Why should we care what happens to monsters?"
    you go out on a night like this?"
    "Depends if I knew where Granny Weatherwax was."
    • The wizard Windle Poons from Moving Pictures. "I'm an old man, and I'm hungry!" Hells, Wizards in general are like this. Most of the Faculty is past retirement age.
    • Cohen the Barbarian, who has the advantage of being good enough at being a barbarian hero that he survived to old age, and he has a huge sword if people don't catch the hint.
    • Topsy Lavish, "a Mark One Feisty Old Lady" in Making Money, has "a forthright way of speaking which flirts with rudeness, and more importantly flirts with flirting".
    • Played with when it comes to the unconventional Mrs Cake. She is a minor and short-going-on-medium recurring character who is definitely pushing into "the Other One's" traditional territory of judgement and foresight... who terrifies priests, wizards and postmen alike. By being both stubbornly, aggressively and technically Very Useful at them, while taking none of them too seriously. Being a seer helps. She's utterly destroyed those she goes against.
  • Grandma Mazur in the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. It's hard to say how straight an example this is, as she certainly doesn't think of herself as old, often attempting to dress and act like a woman half a century younger than her. However, she's not afraid to use her age to her advantage, either.
  • Elinor from Inkheart, the old woman who is exceptionally rude and standoffish to most of the other characters. Her actions are generally accepted by the protagonists and either amuse or annoy the antagonists.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Warhammer 40,000 novel Scourge the Heretic, a teenaged Inquisition operative posing as a noblewoman over a century, intentionally invokes this, explaining her bluntness by saying that at her age, you realize it saves time.
  • Philip Marlowe's client, General Sternwood, in The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. The wheelchair-bound general is very frank about his daughters' outlandish behaviours and reputations, "because my hold on life is too slight to include any Victorian hypocrisy."
  • In the book version of Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (not as much in the anime), shy, dutiful protagonist Sophie is cursed by being transformed into an old lady and immediately uses this as an excuse to be rude, obnoxious, and generally do whatever she wants. After all, the curse has ruined her life so she figures she might as well enjoy one of the few perks of old age.
  • The Warlord Chronicles provides possibly the best example: Merlin. He's arguably even worse than Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax combined about this trope.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Chessmen of Mars, I-Gos speaks openly and bluntly. Then, he is always deriding the rest of the city for having fallen from the Good Old Ways of courage.
    "What—has O-Tar seen an ulsio and fainted?" demanded I-Gos with broad sarcasm.
    "Men have died for less than that, ancient one," E-Thas reminded him.
    "I am safe," retorted I-Gos, "for I am not a brave and popular son of the jeddak of Manator."
  • From A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's stories featuring the Howard Families, Lazarus Long gets away with a lot of rudeness and lack of tact because he's The Senior — literally the oldest member of the human race, over 2400 years old by the time of To Sail Beyond the Sunset note . Of course, he's like this even at the relatively young age of 213 at the start of Methuselah's Children.
  • This is the attitude most elders take in Warrior Cats. Sandstorm even says that once she becomes an elder it will be her life's ambition to be the crankiest elder who ever lived.
  • In The Island of the Aunts, Ursala the old mermaid does not make life for her daughter-in-law and grandchildren very pleasant. She does become very awesome when she lashes out at the sailors that kidnap herself and Queenie, screaming at them to "stop ogling my granddaughter, you plug-ugly!" and insisting that she doesn't care what they do to her because "[she's] already old!"
  • In Bill Bryson's book "The Lost Continent" he mentions a woman that pushed him out of the way while looking at a display case who gave him a brief look that said "I am an old person. I can go where I want."
  • Journey to Chaos: Old Man Aaloon has no qualms being a mean cuss to anyone and everyone younger than him (i.e. everyone in the world).
  • Dr. Epstein of Jennie is one of the few people willing to talk openly and completely honestly about Jennie and her human family. He chalks a lot of his bluntness up to his age.
    "I am being facetious, of course. Don't print that. I'm eighty-five years old, and I have gotten into the habit of saying whatever I damn well please."
  • The Gods of Guilt: David "Legal" Siegel, the elderly retired lawyer that protagonist Mickey Haller goes to for advice.. "As he had aged, Legal had lost most of the social filters normally employed in polite company."
  • Lampshaded in Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People. In George and Harold's latest comic, their grandparents say that what makes them cool is that they're old and don't care what anyone thinks, followed by them shoving people out of their way.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Cold Open of 2 Broke Girls features four old ladies who try this trope but Max immediately shuts them down.
    Max: Hold up ladies, you don't get a bitch-pass just because you're old! [gasps from the ladies, a cheer from the studio audience] Yes, that's right, I said it. You come in here with your gangster granny attitude, think you can get away with dumping all over the lowly gypsy waitress. No way. At this diner, we don't discriminate due to age. If you're gonna act like an ass, I'm gonna treat you like an ass. No matter how close that ass is riding to the floor.
  • Jack Donaghy's mother Colleen in 30 Rock once provoked a Buddhist monk into throwing a battery at her. She was such an overbearing, nagging harridan that Jack delayed calling an ambulance when he discovered she'd had a stroke. Though the implication was that she had always been that way and had not mellowed with age.
  • On 60 Minutes, Andy Rooney complained all the time. That's why everyone loved him.
  • In The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Big Pete noted in the episode, "When Petes Collide", that Dad never looked forward to Grandpa's visits due to the fact that despite now being married with two boys of his own, Grandpa still treated him like a kid, regularly condescending and dismissive towards him. Things got worse in the course of the episode as he caused a rift between Pete and Pete over who would inherit the family bowling ball. It took Mom demanding that Dad finally stand up to his father and get the boys to make up or else she would stand on the roof until a lightning bolt would track down the metal plate and her head and blow her to Kingdom Come.
  • In Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, Nora's grandmother is often crass and not afraid to speak her mind.
  • An elderly patient in Becker treats Becker and Linda, whom are considered unlikeable people, very nicely, while treating Margaret like dirt. She even tells Margaret she simply dislikes her, and that due to her age she doesn't have to pretend to like anyone she doesn't anymore.
  • The hidden camera prank show Betty White's Off Their Rockers plays with this by having senior citizens often acting in rude or unpredictable ways, the question being whether people will react negatively or just let it ride because they're seniors.
  • Blackadder the Third: "I want to be young and wild, and then I want to be middle-aged and rich, and then I want to be old and annoy people by pretending that I'm deaf".
  • Nan Taylor from The Catherine Tate Show manages to embarrass the hell out of her grandson in just about every skit.
  • Leonard and his elderly clique, the "Hipsters", so called because they all have replaced hips, from the Community episode "Messianic Myths And Ancient Peoples". It turns into a reversal of roles with Pierce acting childish and Jeff and Britta having to be the Team Parents.
  • Oscar Leroy in Corner Gas is stubborn, inconsiderate, prone to demanding the local police force arrest whoever annoys him, and browbeats every public official with, "My taxes pay your salary!" Of course, in his point of view jackasses don't deserve respect.
    • One of his Catch Phrases is "I'm a senior!" At one point his son points out that, since he's 63 years old, he isn't technically a senior citizen yetnote , but Oscar completely ignores this.
  • Mrs. McClusky from Desperate Housewives doesn't bother to edit herself anymore. As such, Lynette hated her for most of the first two seasons, then grew to tolerate her.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor pulls this relatively often. Their first incarnation, which was the oldest-looking of all, was particularly fond of the trope. Since their later incarnations tend to look younger, they can't get away with it as often anymore. Ten summarizes it pretty well:
      "I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I'm nine hundred and three years old. And I'm the man that's going to save your lives and all six billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?"
      • The Twelfth Doctor once again looks like an old man and returns to form. For instance, when Danny Pink insisted that his name was not "P.E." and that he was a math teacher, the Doctor blamed a bad memory.
        "No, no, I can't retain that. It's just not going in."
    • "Demons of the Punjab" has Yaz's grandmother Umbreen, who's at least in her eighties in the present day and does things like calling Yaz her favourite granddaughter in front of her sister Sonya, and, at the end, when she sees the faded henna on Yaz's hands, bluntly remarks that the design is terrible.
  • Dowager Countess Violet of Downton Abbey snarks constantly. As she herself remarks, "I am beyond propriety."
  • In one episode of Malcolm in the Middle, an old lady wants Reese to give up a changing room, although he was there first. Another episode has Malcolm working for an elderly neighbor who fits this trope. The family's grandmother, Ida is made of this trope, along with Racist Grandma. She's a borderline case of Evil Old Folks.
    • The first one is an interesting case, because Reese refuses to give up the changing room and actually gets into a physical fight with the old lady (and Malcolm gets involved, too). She is portrayed as being totally in the wrong, blatantly trying to use her age as a tool of manipulation. It pretty much works: when others catch them fighting, the boys find themselves in a fairly indefensible position and are seen as being total monsters assaulting a poor old woman.
  • In one episode of Married... with Children, Peg takes Marcie out to play Bingo; one old woman there is incredibly rude. (Unfortunately, after Peg wins the big prize, the old woman becomes more polite, only for Marcie to be just as rude to her.)
  • Merlin invokes this trope in his own show repeatedly, despite not actually being a senior in this incarnation. Whenever he gets the chance to use his elderly magical disguise Emrys, he cheerfully insults everyone who gets in his way, especially Arthur and others who get on his nerves in his daily life. He also goes all out with his magic which he normally has to keep hidden, sometimes attacking enemies even when it's not strictly speaking necessary.
    • One example is when he's surrounded by a bunch of Knights, all of whom are close friends, but often like winding him up. So he knocks them all out and uses them as a staircase to climb onto his horse.
  • The "Hell's Grannies" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, in which gangs of little old ladies beat up burly young men.
  • Statler and Waldorf, the two old men in the balcony in The Muppet Show, thrive on mocking the rest of the cast. They're among the most popular characters on the show. The episode with guest star Dizzy Gilespie introduces Astoria, Waldorf's elderly wife. She proves to be just as snarky as Statler (in fact, she looked just like Statler, but in a dress and nice hat).
  • Though not as impolite as most examples, Gus Witherspoon, the crotchety grandfather played by Wilford Brimley on the family drama Our House certainly qualifies. On one episode, he insisted the family prove they could survive without modern appliances for an entire weekend because he was annoyed at their dependence on newfangled gadgets. In another episode a group of teenage punks tries to intimidate him and he responds by telling them that at one point in WWII he actually "got fat" even though a Japanese machine gun nest overlooked the route from his usual post to the chow hall.
  • The cranky, sharp-tongued octogenarian Mother Dexter became the Breakout Character of The Mary Tyler Moore Show Spin-Off Phyllis.
    Jonathan: Now, mother, you can forget that crotchety old lady routine.
    Mother Dexter: What routine? I am a crotchety old lady!
  • Political Animals: Elaine's Deadpan Snarker mother rarely lets minor details like politeness curb her tongue, to the point that her favorite "endearment" for her grandsons seems to be "you little shit."
  • In the sixth episode of Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, the Monster of the Week has the power to steal people's youth, and two of his victims are Cassidy and Levin. Cassidy decides to exploit this trope for all it's worth while the effect lasts, trying to get extra privileges like discounts for the elderly, until the Rangers destroy the monster and they return to normal.
  • Averted with the Roseanne revival, as even in the original series, Roseanne was rude and willing to say what was on her mind, so the only thing that's changed is that now some of the issues she complains about are related to her age.
  • Fred Sanford of Sanford and Son. His constant threats of "the big one" (heart attack) and his "arthur-itis".
  • Doctor Kelso from Scrubs, the Dirty Old Man Dr. Jerk described by others as a product of his time, thinks nothing of being ruthlessly nepotistic towards his patients, has an apparently insatiable sexual appetite with boundaries that disturb his fellow workers (much to his amusement), and has no qualms about randomly bringing up very offensive topics during small talk, such as making extremely morbid jokes about dead patients that horrify everyone around him (much to his confusion) and casually asking others to accompany him to Donkey Shows.
    • It's implied that he does this simply because this is how everyone perceives him and because it makes his job easier. One episode is centered on what is supposedly the one day a year his wife lets him have sex with her, where his behaviour does a complete 180 and he acts extremely nice and is willing to do whatever employees ask of him (implying his usual behavior is merely a result of You Need to Get Laid). Turns out the thing about his wife was a lie and he does this so that people save all of their requests for that one day and leave him alone the rest of the year.
      • One episode shows that his behaviour is a facade that he puts on because without everyone in the hospital united against a common enemy, they just spend all their time fighting and arguing with each other and no work gets done.
    • In later episodes, after he retires, he actually admits to Dr. Cox that he likes him and they become friends. He's also a lot less mean, though he is still rather snarky and even gets away with getting free muffins every day and stealing a table and chairs from the hospital cafeteria.
    • In a direct use of this trope, at one point Dr. Kelso says to Dr. Cox, "Let me make this clear, Perry- I'm old, and I don't care what people think of me." Then he farts, turns around to the patients waiting in the room and says, "That was me, folks."
  • Seinfeld:
    • Jerry's parents and Uncle Leo use this excuse to try and get away with shoplifting. But only batteries! They're expensive, you know.
    • Not to mention one of Jerry Seinfeld's many bits on old people. In this one he comments on how it seems that, once people reach a certain age, they don't look when they back their cars out of driveways anymore. It's like "'Look out everybody! I'm old, and I'm backing out!. I've survived, let's see if you can!'"
    • It's difficult to tell whether George's parents are using this trope, or if they're just Jerkasses, but Jerry does seem surprised when his parents mention how horrible the Costanzas are because, "They're from your age group. I didn't know you could detect abnormal behavior among your own kind."
  • Shtisel: Shoshanna Erblich has no problem telling everyone exactly what she thinks of them.
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in the episode where Dax is accused of having murdered a foreign leader years before, the Bajoran judge who presides over her extradition hearing is over a century old and, while fair and not unforgivably rude, does not waste time or words and frowns more or less her entire screentime. Bear in mind that the death sentence is the foregone conclusion if she allows extradition, as Dax will not defend herself, and the elderly judge seems alternately bored and irritated at having to be away from home.
    Judge: I do not have time to squander listening to superfluous language. In short, I intend to be in here until supper, not senility!
  • In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), it is the demon possessing an elderly woman who tells Abaddon off.
  • Red Forman from That '70s Show. He may be younger than most of the seniors listed here, but he's there already.
  • The Brit Com Waiting for God is largely built on this trope, although Diana Trent — the worst offender — was like this for most of her life.
  • Lady Lavender from You Rang, M'Lord?, who throws food at the servants at least once an episode.

    Music Videos 

    New Media 
  • The Twitter account "Shit My Dad Says" that led to the books and newspaper columns of the author's father's grumbling.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Lampshaded in a Dilbert strip. An elderly woman, told that she has too many items for the express lane in a store, says, "It doesn't matter. I'm old and therefore you must do what I say." She then does everything possible to eat up time before falling into her handbag and being devoured by wolves.
  • A Calvin and Hobbes comic has Calvin questioning why old people slow down and become more complacent as they get older. In the end, he resolves that when he is old he'll be "going like a maniac." Hobbes immediately states that the world can't possibly wait for such a day, his voice (most likely) dripping with sarcasm.
  • Huey's and Riley's Granddad from The Boondocks is an embodiment of this trope. Even more so in the TV show.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • This is part of the reason why I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue is able to get away with such filthy humour, thanks to the advanced age of its regulars. The rest of the reason is careful Obfuscating Stupidity leading to Innocent Innuendo. In particular, Humphrey Littleton had a persona of a grumpy curmudgeon who would rather not be doing this rubbish, regarded the panel, the games and the audience as a nuisance and wasn't shy about saying so.

    Standup Comedy 
  • George Carlin's last special, It's Bad For Ya. He revels in being 70.
    George Carlin: The first one is, you never have to carry anything heavy ever again. Everybody wants to help an old fuck. If you've got a big suitcase, or something like that, you know, you just kind of go like this a little bit... And you say "Yeah, can you help me with this?" They say "Yeah, hey, how far are you going?" "Indianapolis." Another nice thing about getting old is you can leave any social event early just by saying you're tired. Works great with family members. Just turn to the person next to you and you say "Gee, I'm getting tired, you know." "Oh, you're tired? Come on, grandpa's tired, grandpa's going to bed." And someone else says "But it's seven thirty in the morning!" There's always one asshole in the family. But the best thing about getting old is you're not responsible for remembering things anymore. Even important things; "But it was your daughter's funeral!" "I forgot!" You can even make believe you have Alzheimer's Disease. That's a lot of fun. You look around the dining room table and you say "Who are you people and where is my horse?" Then you stare at your eldest son and say "Agnes! I haven't seen you since First Communion!" You can even shit in your pants! They expect it! I haven't tried that yet, but I don't rule it out.
  • Jeff Foxworthy set a life goal of being a burden to his children and scaring his grandchildren.
  • Nick Swardson has a bit about him wanting to be old enough to shoplift and get away with it, along with speeding.
    Nick: When I'm 90, I'm going to be going 90!
    • His first "Comedy Central Presents" act included a routine about this. He mentions how when he's an old man, he will steal things 24/7, and if caught by police, would only say "I'm old", and how he would always break the speed limit, and if the cops stopped him, would say "I'm dying". He also jokes how he would curse at his grandchildren, and listen to gangsta rap - before commenting on how odd it'll be when "Old People Music" includes the terms "bitch" and "ho".
    Nick: (Fondly) Ahhh, your grandmother was a ho!
  • Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham has old man Walter. "Dumbass." In one special, Walter even ponders getting a job at Walmart now that he has retired.
    Walter: Welcome to Wal-Mart. Get your shit and get out! (pause) Have a nice day!
  • George Burns: "I was always told to respect my elders. Now I'm at the age where, I don't have to respect anybody."
  • Used in one of Patton Oswalt's comedy bits about how old people should have one law a year no longer apply to them, but partially subverted due to caveats:
    "When you turn one can legally commit murder. You can murder anyone. You cannot shoot them, stab them, or poison them - anyone you can strangle, or pummel to death with your bare hands is fair game. ...How many of you would help if someone called, 'Help! A one-hundred-year-old woman is strangling me!'"
  • Pat Cooper is in his 80s and refuses to hold back. He spent 22 years appearing on Howard Stern and did not hesitate to ''explode'' on him when he felt slighted. On a subsequent appearance on Opie & Anthony he spent an entire hour slagging on Stern and several other targets. The hosts noted that they are likely the last professional connection he hasn't alienated and that it will only be a matter of time before he blows up on them as well.
  • Jack Dee once joked that he's looking forward to reaching that age when shouting "Don't she look like a whore in that wedding dress!" at a bride stops being a sign that you're rude, and becomes a sign that you've got "character".

    Video Games 
  • The computer game Knights of the Old Republic:
    • Jolee Bindo, a Jedi knight who is at least sixty years old and probably quite a bit older. When asked questions about his past, he will deliberately launch into long, semi-relevant monologues. One of his best lines is "I'm old, dammit! I'm entitled to be enigmatic when I want to be!"
    • Kreia is a bitter old Zen Survivor, callously ridicules everyone and everything, openly mocks the GFFA's concepts of morality, casually commits Mind Rape on your crew, and is completely open with the fact she's running The Plan with your character as the central piece. She justifies it by saying, in effect, that she's seen it all, and hates it all. She is also a Sith Lady so her lack of politeness is pretty understandable.
    • Canderous Ordo is somewhat younger than the two above, but he's around sixty in the second game. In his case, it's less a lack of manners due to his age and more a cross of his Proud Warrior Race placing a high value on Brutal Honesty mixed with how a lifetime of battles means he's Seen It All.
  • Cranky Kong from Donkey Kong Country. He's exactly as his name says in most of the games (aka always thinking of the good old days of the arcade), and actually sets off the events of Donkey Kong Land over a bet with King K Rool.
  • Wendy Oldbag from Ace Attorney is just like this. She rambles on and on about insignificant points, and gets pissed when anyone asks her to keep on track, and often calls poor Nick a "whippersnapper". In addition to her, the third game gives us the grouchy and unemployed Victor Kudo, and Investigations 2 gives us the better tempered, but still sharp-tongued Bonnie Young.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine: Sidonus is notably less formal in speech compared to his battle brothers, bordering on Deadpan Snarker. Not many space marines speak like guardsmen for fear of being judged as heretics by their crazed Fundamentalist superiors, but he's been around too long and fought too many greater terrors to fear a little thing like that.
  • The Secret World:
    • Dame Julia Beatrix Tyburn, on top of being a no-nonsense military commander with experience dating back to World War II, is also an extremely prickly presence with no interest in social niceties and will often insult you over the phone even when she's complimenting you on your abilities. For good measure, any attempts at speaking to her outside missions will usually result in her snapping at you for attempts to fraternize.
    • Old Joe might be a fairly laid-back old-timer, but he's not above prodding you with his walking stick if he feels you're moving too slowly - usually while grumpily remarking "some of us aren't getting any younger!"
    • Eleanor Franklin is very free with her opinions, old age and several decades spent alone in a Haunted House having left her with little regard for social graces: among other things, she happily calls the admittedly slow-witted Deputy Andy "gormless", remarks irritably on the "mumbo-jumbo" of the local Wabanaki tribe, snarks that it's too late for the local priest to save her soul, and quips that the parties she used to go to weren't actually orgies. For good measure, Sheriff Helen Bannerman's sole attempt to call her Ellie ended in Eleanor giving her a rant that began with "I remember when you were learning to walk..."
    • Khalid, the ancient hermit of the dunes, when he isn't being an aloof All-Powerful Bystander. To put things in perspective, most quest-givers will absently voice their mission briefings to no-one in particular without expecting you to actually do anything about it; Khalid is not one of them, and gets very irritable when you don't get his drift.
    Get to it! Now! What, are you not used to being told what to do, child? Go! Go go go go!
    • Olga Dimir has no respect for anyone or anything, and may actually be mentally ill if her letter-writing habits are any evidence. Over the course of her scenes, she loudly voices her rabidly anti-supernatural views to complete strangers, slaps her adult son around for making mistakes, and does everything possible to make you feel unwelcome short of actually spitting in your face.
    • Octavian the Eagle, having been seventy years old for the last two thousand years, has stopped giving a shit about everything except sleeping and waiting for the apocalypse to kill him. As such, any attempts to rouse him end with him very pointedly ignoring you; when you finally get his attention, he spends his first cutscene yelling at you to just leave him alone and issuing an extremely bitter Cluster F-Bomb to everyone trying to make him save the world.
    • Saïd is so old that he's seen empires rise and fall a hundred times, so it doesn't matter what faction you're from: he's not impressed, and he'll say it to your face. He eventually does become impressed with how thoroughly you manage to screw things up, though.
  • Gudrun from Dead In Vinland is a very old and eccentric Norse priestess/witch given to strange Cloudcuckoolander utterances who constantly scolds everyone, addresses The Hero Eirik (who's probably about 45) as "boy," and addresses Eirik's daughter Kari as "What's your name? Kira? Kora? Stupid name."

  • In 8-Bit Theater, Black Mage's brief career as a cobbler was haunted by an old woman who made inane demands because she was "old and quite possibly senile." Possibly one of the few murders of his the audience will see as justified, if only somewhat.
    • Another one that could fall under this trope is the old man who lived in Radio Castle. He was rude and never stopped complaining about how things used to be better in the old days because you could be openly racist and there weren't any gays. The guy seriously never stopped complaining. Black Mage ended up pushing him out of an airlock.
  • Fred MacIntire in Something*Positive. Stories about his earlier life show that he's always tended towards sarcasm and brutal honesty, but in his retirement he's embracing the opportunity to be a grumpy old man.
    • The author has admitted he can't wait to be this trope in real life when he becomes a senior.
  • This "hot-cuss granny" in Achewood.
  • Deliberately invoked by Lord Shojo in The Order of the Stick: he makes paladins clean out Mr. Scruffy's litter box, snarks back at Knight Templar Miko, and is all around a Cool Old Guy who doesn't have much regard for authority or tradition. Subverted - or maybe even played even straighter - when he reveals that his entire persona is a facade that keeps him from being assassinated: why would his noble rivals need to kill him if he's an old, senile, presumably easily manipulatable ruler? Belkar, who had already liked him before this, promptly began idolizing Shojo.
  • Rando's grandfather (of RandoWis fame) seems to be made of this trope, as seen here: [1]

    Western Animation 
  • On Adventure Time Marceline the Vampire Queen tries to invoke this (singing "I'm not mean, I'm a thousand years old, / And I just lost track of my moral code"), but since she doesn't look or act like an old person, no one really buys this excuse.
  • In Animaniacs, Slappy Squirrel is sort of a G-rated version of this.
  • Dr. Dave's mother on As Told by Ginger. She slows down traffic and is rude to everyone, and even sets up a plot to derail her son and Lois's wedding.
  • Big City Greens: "Gramma" Alice Green is a bitter, rude, and crabby old woman who shows very little politeness towards anyone. On the other hand, she is very protective of her family and usually possesses a more bittersweet character around those she cares about.
  • A reoccurring antagonist on Bob's Burgers is Edith Cranwrinkle, a bossy old lady who, along with her Henpecked Husband Harold, runs an arts and crafts store down the street from Bob's restaurant.
  • Col. Stinkmeaner from The Boondocks is explicitly stated as having been a Jerkass his entire life, but when we see him he is quite old.
    Huey Freeman: "When at age 15, he lost his sight to Cancer. Doctors' gave him three years to live, so he dedicated those three years to spreading a lifetime of misery and hatred. Nobody knows how Stinkmeaner managed to live so long: he believed it was his love of hatred that kept him going."
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh Two's grandmother Lydia is invariably shown to be ill-tempered and impolite.
  • Eustace Bagge from Courage the Cowardly Dog is an irritable old man with no respect for anyone.
  • On The Critic, Jay's father Franklin acted insane almost constantly. His wife used the "He had a stroke" excuse. Once admitting immediately that he hadn't really and they just said that to explain it. This wasn't because Franklin was elderly, though; the man was insane. A brief glimpse into his mind revealed he drove like a maniacal Jerkass because he was dodging Donkey Kong's hurled barrels with the car horn as the jump button.
  • Deconstructed in one of the Disney episodes of Doug as Doug and the rest of his class do volunteer work at a local nursing home. Doug is assigned to a woman named Mrs. Whackhammer, who initially refuses to talk, and then blows up on him. Later on, Doug realizes her hostility may be her trying to mask how lonely she really is. At the same time, Doug is supposed to do a history report on one of the town's mayors, and upon some research, finds out that Mrs. Whackhammer actually knew him. The two end up bonding when she sees him working on the report, and gives him some first-hand information that would have otherwise been left out.
  • Professor Hubert Farnsworth from Futurama even has a "crochety grandpa discount card" (which expired, despite being good for a lifetime), and once uttered the line "I don't have time for this! I have to go buy a single piece of fruit with a coupon and then return it, making everyone wait behind me while I complain!"
    • In the card's defense, Farnsworth has been declared dead at least once.
      Professor: You take one nap in a ditch in the park and they start declaring you this and that!
  • Gravity Falls: Grunkle Stan occasionally invokes this, although it's more of an excuse than anything, as he's always been something of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Hey Arnold!: Grandpa Phil & Grandma Gertie at times.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Uncle, being an ornery old Chinese man, crosses this trope with Asian Rudeness. Tohru's mother, a stern old Japanese woman, rivals him in this respect, and the two bicker whenever they encounter one another.
    Mama Tohru: Ahh, my son. A servant in a junk shop!
    Uncle: 'Junk shop'?!
    Jade: This is an antique store.
    Mama Tohru: Hah! Only antique I see is the billy goat there!
    Uncle: 'Billy goat'?!
    Tohru: Mommy!
    Mama Tohru: Hush up!
    Uncle: Dragon lady should watch her forked tongue unless she wants a piece of Uncle!
    Mama Tohru: Hah! I would sweep floor with you! And this floor needs it.
  • The Legend of Korra: Toph has not changed a bit in old age, as seen in Season 4 where most of her screentime consists of copious amounts of snark and browbeating interwoven between her kicking Korra's ass.
  • The Loud House: The titular family’s neighbor Mr. Grouse can be this, especially when something lands on his lawn.
  • On the Napoleon Dynamite cartoon, Grandma says that because she's a senior, she can say any rotten thing she wants and people will just think she's a character. To demonstrate this, she sticks her head out the window and yells at the mailman that she'll shoot him if she gets one more wet catalogue. He laughs and calls her a character.
  • Pepper Ann's grandparents are both pretty cranky and complain a lot of the time. At the end of one episode, they come to visit unannounced and criticize everything. Pepper Ann had spent the episode learning An Aesop about respecting the elderly, and repeatedly tries to remind herself of that lesson before her mother informs her that being old has nothing to do with this, and that her they've been this way their whole lives.
  • Grandpa Wolfe from Rocko's Modern Life: He definitely hates Wallabies & Kangaroos and he acts hostilely towards Rockonote . Even with Grandpa Wolfe's incredibly poor eyesight, Rocko still wasn't safe. Heffer's grandmother was apparently very nasty as well. It's revealed that she died and went to Hell, but wouldn't have it any other way.
    I like it here. It's warm!
    • This trope was surprisingly deconstructed in a later episode when Rocko and Heffer got stuck on a senior citizens' cruise with Grandpa. When Rocko complained about how Grandpa treated him, another senior reminded him that many seniors have to deal with a lot (aches and pains, losing a loved one, etc.), so they may not be as cheerful as a result. Rocko ends up going through this as well when they end up in the Bermuda Triangle and he and Heffer magically turn old as a result.
  • Aunt Miriam in the Rugrats episode of the same name. In her first visit to Tommy's house, she shows off her lumbago, doesn't remember Didi's name, chides her niece-in-law for "not feeding Stu enough" and for not being a stay-at-home-mom, criticizes her cooking, and even remarked to the woman she certainly has been eating well.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Grampa Simpson basically has no filter. The most notable instance of this was when he visited Bart's class for Grandparents' Day. His actions ranged from interrupting all of the other speaking grandparents with his rude commentary, poking fun at Martin's weight, spitting on the floor, and bopping Mrs. Krabappel on the head while calling her "knothead".
    • Agnes Skinner is outright hostile to anybody who crosses her path (her own son getting the worst of it).
    • Mr. Burns might fall into this category when he's at his most affable.
  • South Park:
    • The old people in "Grey Dawn" who want to drive, despite being mentally slow and having no regard for the safety of anyone else on the road... or on the sidewalk... or in buildings... or... Well, you get the idea. This was inspired by a nasty Real Life accident.
    • In "South ParQ Vaccination Special", the senior citizens are the first ones to get their vaccines. However, since they were vaccinated before everyone else, they engage in Jerkass behavior such as rubbing it in the faces of everyone else who have yet to get a vaccine, as first shown where an old lady flips off the people in line at Walgreens.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Old Man Jenkins takes it to absolute extremes in "Senior Discount" when he starts being blatantly disrespectful at the Krusty Krab just for the sake of being rude. Whenever Mr. Krabs tries to do anything about it, Old Man Jenkins would just remind him to "respect your elders".
  • Ratchet from Transformers: Animated. There was even a subplot of an episode dedicated to Sari and Bumblebee trying to teach him to be less abrasive. Needless to say, it failed miserably!
    Sari: What's the magic word?
    Ratchet: NOW!

  • There's a joke floating around the Internet which invokes this. An old man is attempting to park his car, but is cut off by a smart-ass teenager, who then shouts, "Sorry, but that's what happens when you're young and fast." The old man, unfazed, simply backs up, hits the gas, and smashes his car into the back of the young man's. He then turns and says, "Sorry, that's what happens when you're old and insured." This exact scene occurs in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.
    • The scene was also adapted into a Polish advertisement for an insurance company. An older couple tank their car at a gas station, when a jeep full of rowdy teenagers pulls up. After several aggressive and provocative gestures towards the elders, one of the teenagers shouts "Gotta have flair, gramps!" The old man then rams his car into the jeep, before telling the shocked kid "Gotta have flair and money, sonny boy."
  • Betty White. In her old age (which lasted until just before her 100th birthday), she made all sorts of snarky remarks in public, justifying it by saying that she's too old to care. It's the main reason her younger fans love her!
  • TRU TV's collection of video footage sent in by people in Most Daring: Senior Smackdown.
  • Invoked by a Not Always Right customer here. And here.
  • Certain forms of senile dementia, by causing the frontal and/or temporal lobes to go before the rest, result in this as the sufferer slowly loses their social skills. Then again, whether or not age is a factor, you eventually get to a point in your life where you just no longer give a fuck about anything.
  • While Wanda Sykes is not a senior, the above mindset is exactly what she finds herself adopting the older she gets. Which apparently led to some problems at the grocery store when she responded as such to a bagger who was "sixty-three years old, and she didn't give a fuck either!"
  • Old people can generally get away with racism and blatant rudeness since few people are going to say or do much. In fact, in many cultures, it's considered inappropriate to say anything back since elders are supposed to be respected unconditionally. Japan's hierarchical culture requires junior members of a group to show deference and respect to their seniors, but there is no obligation on the seniors to show any respect to the people under them. Even in relationships where the senior isn't deliberately obnoxious to his/her subordinates, this can still be quite evident in conversation, with the senior's side conducted using casual language whilst the junior is expected to remain polite and formal. If the senior really is a jerk, then the junior has very little recourse as it's considered bad form to complain about being berated or abused by a senior. About the only thing the junior can do is arrange for him to do it in the hearing of someone even MORE senior (e.g., if Grandfather is being a jerk, let Great-Uncle, his elder brother, hear what a jerk he's being; Great-Uncle can rebuke Grandfather for his bad manners—you can't.)
  • Every family has a slightly-senile great-uncle who gets away with saying outrageous things. Prince Phillip was this for the whole Commonwealth.
  • China's even worse than Japan. It's a Confucian idea that goes back to respecting your superiors above all else (coupled with the part about "always save face unless you want to shame your entire family then, now, and forever").
  • Korea is also a Confucian society. Elderly people will often push and even elbow their way through crowds with no complaints from the younger generation (at least not verbally). They are usually very shocked when they do the same thing to a Westerner, and the Westerner snaps at them or even pushes back (especially likely if said Westerner is American, due to Americans' love of personal space).
  • It's also a common occurrence in former Warsaw Pact countries, which are generally much more "macho" than the ones west of the Iron Curtain. It's common to see old people cutting lines, showing, pushing around even huge, muscular men, fully knowing that the younger man has to take it, because he would not get away with "attacking a feeble old man", and that another, younger man would not get away with this behaviour unharmed. Occasionally they do this to someone who doesn't care, and it had resulted in deaths.
  • Ask people working in grocery stores - or in most other areas of the service industry, for that matter.
  • Various shirts and hats have been made with variations of the phrase "Senior Citizen, Gimme My Damn Discount" on them.
  • There's a meme in Chile about the "Viejas Velociraptor" (Velociraptor Old Women), old and rude women who push, tackle, trample and step over everyone if that will let them grab a good seat in the Metro de Santiago (Santiago's subway network).

When I Was Your Age..., our trope pages weren't so fussy and filled with stupid grammar mistakes and red links! Now get off my trope!

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Screw Politeness I Am A Senior


Aggressive Shop Owners

Bob needs to buy stuff to decorate his float, but Edith and Harold are not making it easy for him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScrewPolitenessImASenior

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