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The Finicky One

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You know the character, the wound up, by-the-book character who has no flexibility or sense of humor. Tends to be a Straight Man or a Butt-Monkey at times.

See also: Neat Freak, Nervous Wreck.

Compare: The Perfectionist, Obstructive Bureaucrat.


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  • A long-running series of commercials for 9 Lives brand cat food featured Morris, an extremely finicky cat who would only eat 9 Lives.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Chiri Kitsu from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei must have everything done properly, even if it it's just for cutting a cake in equal slices.
  • Memetchi from Tamagotchi slips into this a lot, especially in The Power of Gossip.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Peggy Sue Naruto fic For Love, Hinata realises that her bodyguard Hyuuga Ko is actually excessively uptight and stuffy, strongly disapproving of her friendship with Naruto and insistent that even people she's close to address her as "Hinata-sama", despite her openly telling them not to (something she never really noticed her first time around).

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 
  • Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory has a thing for making people sign written agreements, is something of a germaphobe and is very picky about where he sits.
  • In Alien Nation the TV series, George is offended by the fact that he's called Obsessive-Compulsive. "Another word for that is anal retentiveness. I don't have an anus!"
  • CSI: NY: Mac Taylor, who once tells a scheming reporter, "I *am* a big fan of the rules," has been accused of this. Danny says to Lindsay, when she's the victim of an office prank, that the word "joke" isn't in Mac's vocabulary. It isn't as pronounced later on as in the first few seasons, though. He loosens slightly after a couple of near-death experiences and beginning a romance with an old friend.
  • Rupert Giles in the early seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and then Wesley when he came in as the Suspiciously Similar Substitute in season 3. Both left it behind by the later seasons of Buffy and Angel. One of the Buffy characters actually lampshaded it, but I forget if it was directed at Giles or was a variant of the old 'stick up your butt' joke.
  • Phil Hartman had a character on Saturday Night Live that never got a project done because he was so fussy about neatness that he completely forgot what he was doing to stop and tidy up his workstation.
  • Monk: The lovable neurotic Adrian Monk, who has turned his obsessive penchant for detail into a helpmate rather than a liability.
  • Monica from Friends. Obsessed with cleanliness, controlling over even the most simple of past times and known to fits of neurotics when the slightest thing is out of place. Her brother Ross has shades of this too.
  • Annie from Community.
  • Wes Mitchell from Common Law, as stated by Travis Marks: "You're anal retentive".
  • Death in Paradise has Detective Inspector Richard Poole, who is considered stuffy and uptight even by his fellow Englishmen.
  • Detective Frank Pembleton from Homicide: Life on the Street is a rigid, uptight snob who does not react well to being pushed out of his comfort zone. When the detectives are forced to work out of an abandoned bank for a few episodes, Pembleton spends the entire time having a meltdown (albeit partially because of his stress over his wife's pregnancy).
    Bayliss: Frank, go home. You're, I dunno, discombobulated.
    Pembleton: OF COURSE I'M DISCOMBOBULATED! I WORK OUT IN A GODDAMN SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX, FOR GOD'S SAKE! [Pembleton walks over to a phlegmatic tube canister] LOOK AT THIS! [Pulls it down] WHAT IS IT?!


  • Joanne from RENT admits to making to-do lists in her sleep.
  • Felix Unger from The Odd Couple (and the 70s series) is the anal retentive poster child due to his obsessiveness with neatness.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Dice Funk: Roland from Ilium is extremely serious and straight-laced which is Played for Laughs when he acts as the Straight Man to his much more rowdy teammates. Downplayed somewhat as he does loosen up a bit at times and is an expert Pungeon Master.
  • Douchey McNitpick from The Nostalgia Critic, who lives up to his name by picking apart even the smaller mistakes that the Critic makes. This is enough for him to be one with the Plot Hole in the Critic's place.

    Western Animation 
  • Simon gradually evolved into this in Alvin and the Chipmunks.
  • Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory.
  • Edd from Ed, Edd n Eddy. In the early days he was more relaxed and willing to go along with the boys' plans, but over time he became more stressed and acted as the group's Only Sane Man.
  • Brian Griffin increasingly becomes this in Family Guy, albeit to an often hypocritical level (it is frequently lampshaded for all his uptight rants, he is as much of a self serving sleaze as the rest of the family).
  • Mr Herriman in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
  • Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls can border on this often. He's pretty sensitive to criticism, stresses easily and has very little patience for his sister's Cloud Cuckoolander antics, as well as very easily worked-up. Naturally the other characters derive a fair bit of humour from playing off this tendency of his.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • Marge Simpson takes this to extremes Depending on the Writer in The Simpsons. Naturally this contrasts hard with her slovenly family. Lisa Simpson also has this in regards to education, otherwise though she actually often joins Homer and Bart in their laziness.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): Princess Sally Acorn, to foil the reckless, fun-loving Sonic. Though she is played more primarily as The Straight Man than other examples, her neuroses are a large source of comedy for her character. She starts off this way in the comic adaptation as well, though by later comics she is more laid back.
  • Kyle Broflovski of South Park has shades of this at times, though his foil, and more or less the entire world he lives in is so immoral he doesn't really need that high standards to get wound up over it.
  • Squidward Tentacles in SpongeBob SquarePants. Funnily enough, his German voice also does Zazu.
  • Steven Universe gives us Pearl, the constantly stressed Team Mom, an extreme Neat Freak with an aversion to chaos and a tendency to nitpick her less precise and proper team members, particularly the more messy and fun-loving Amethyst, whose jokes are almost never funny to Pearl.
  • Rebecca Cunningham of TaleSpin occasionally acts as this Depending on the Writer, usually when butting heads with Baloo.
  • Thomas & Friends's two passenger coaches, Annie and Clarabel are this. They nitpick Thomas' behavior constantly and fuss over the speed he travels (he has a lot of fun with this one in "Not So Slow Coaches"). Gordon found them unbearable to work with after a mishap left them his substitute Express coaches.
  • Archibald Asparagus from VeggieTales is often portrayed this way. One time, he cancelled "Silly Songs With Larry", due to Larry's silly song "Song Of The Cebu" not making any sense, and another time, he took over the show from Bob and Larry in an attempt to add culture and class to the show.
  • Rabbit in the Disney versions of Winnie the Pooh.