Follow TV Tropes


Too Hungry to Be Polite

Go To
Spoon, darling. Use the damn spoon. It's right there. Use it.
"First you must feed us, and then we'll all behave."
Threepenny Opera, "What Keeps a Man Alive?"

Not everyone has had the fortune to grow up in an environment where there was enough time and opportunity available to learn proper dining etiquette. Such folks may shock others when they sit down to eat.

Sometimes Played for Laughs if the work in question is poking fun at the character for their table manners. Comical examples might be accompanied by Buzzsaw Jaw. May be a case of Values Dissonance, as dining etiquette varies from culture to culture.

May overlap with Raised by Wolves and My Instincts Are Showing. May also overlap with Big Eater, but this trope does not necessarily require that the character eat a lot. May be a trait of one with One-Track-Minded Hunger. Compare Jabba Table Manners, which is similar to this trope, but uses bad table manners to demonstrate that a (usually rich and villainous though equally likely with poor and villainous) character is overly gluttonous. This trope involves less moral judgment. Also compare Too Desperate to Be Picky, and Bratty Food Demand.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, Sasha Blouse hails from a village where famine was rampant and has thus learned to eat things quickly. In one episode of the anime, she is seen stuffing a whole roll in her mouth.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku, who was raised in isolation from other people, doesn't have any table manners whatsoever and devours everything he gets his hands on. And he eats a lot.
    • Most Saiyan characters, including Vegeta and Gohan, eat with little regard to proper etiquette. No matter how many times their friends and allies bear witness to their ghastly table manners, they always stare on in dumbfounded awe.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Gon and Killua have a tendency to eat their meals in the most appalling manner possible, reflecting their innocent amorality.
  • Neko Zombie from Gregory Horror Show is like this almost all the time. He is locked in his cell all day and breaks out from time to time in a desperate search for something to eat. This hunger drives him to eat anything he can get his paws on, including the main character's mobile phone.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, the first time we see Markl eat, he's cutting his breakfast with his fork and shoveling large portions into his mouth, as a reflection of the fact that his master Howl has never bothered to teach him proper table manners.
  • Izutsumi of Delicious in Dungeon has abysmal table manners, getting food all over her face and stabbing at it with both chopsticks held in one hand. It's been hinted she's probably not had an easy life before joining up with Team Touden, only happened by being turned into a beastkin.
  • In Kill la Kill, the lower-class Mankanshoko family treats dinner as a free-for-all. Humorously, when Mako and Ryuko briefly get the family promoted to higher status, their table manners improve dramatically.
  • Raphtalia in The Rising of the Shield Hero at first, justified by the fact that she'd been Made a Slave and has been not only starving, but sickly until Naofumi bought her. She later improves her table manners, though.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Jounouchi is a Big Eater and former street punk, and you'd do best to keep your hands away from his mouth when there's free food around.
    • This comes up with Bakura a few times, which is kind of funny since he's usually very polite. But the evil spirit sharing his body doesn't seem to bother about keeping him fed, so when he finally gets his hands on food he ends up wolfing it down with both hands and a napkin tied around his neck, sitting on the floor in front of the fridge, etc. His Ancient Egyptian counterpart had equally bad manners, but being an orphan and an outlaw it's to be expected.
  • Black Clover: Asta is a country bumpkin who grew up poor and uneducated, so he has no knowledge of table manners. He eats a lot and he usually shovels food into his mouth as fast as he can and makes a big mess, disgusting his peers.
  • In a filler episode of Rurouni Kenshin, the heroes agree to bodyguard a visiting prince and are invited to have dinner with him. Sanosuke and Yahiko, both of whom have probably only ever used chopsticks rather than western silverware, ignorantly hold their steak with their hands and bite into it. Kaoru angrily asks what is wrong with them and orders them to use their utensils.
  • Sailor Moon: Usagi often gobbles down her food with her mouth open. During her "Princess Training", she loudly slurps her soup rather than eating it delicately like the other students.
  • In Great Teacher Onizuka, Onizuka's students blackmail him into taking them to an expensive sushi restaurant, where they order several platters of expensive fatty tuna. Eventually, Onizuka snaps and buys five more servings for himself and starts eating like there's no tomorrow. Then he orders five more servings of abalone and sea urchin. And a sashimi boat. And 10 MORE servings of salmon roe, ark shell, and sweet shrimp. Throughout all of this, he's shoving whole platters of sushi into his mouth with his hands and messily washing it down with green tea. And then, to add insult to injury, he runs away without paying.

    Comic Books 
  • Lampshaded and defied in Fables; Prince Brandish claims that he's been kept in a prison and starved by Mister Dark in order to gain the Fables' trust, but Grimble notices that he showed impeccable etiquette and patience at dinner, which seems unlikely for a man having his first proper meal in months. That, combined with his exercise regimen showing him to be in far better shape than a starving man could possibly be, makes Grimble realise he's up to something.
  • In 52, Doc Magnus takes to wolfing down can after can of cold baked beans after he's taken to Oolong Island against his will and denied his medication so he can get enough tin to make a new Metal Man and disrupt their plans.
  • In Runaways, Klara comes from a rural background, and prior to joining the Runaways, was married off to an abusive older man who almost certainly starved her. Whenever she's seen eating in the series, she's usually wolfing down her food. Given her background, her teammates are very understanding.
    Klara: Mhhff... frrgve me...
    Molly: Oh, we shoulda brought you here sooner!
  • In the Villains United special, the Secret Six go out to eat at a restaurant, where Catman, who's spent several years living among a pride of lions, tears into an order of ribs in a bestial manner, disgusting his teammates.
  • In Watchmen, Rorschach, who's not big on social graces, is seen shoveling the contents of a can of cold beans into his mouth with his fingers.
  • Batgirl (2000): Cassandra Cain regularly devours large amounts of food with a hilarious lack of thought towards etiquette. Her mentor, Oracle, is quite amused by this. It is implied that it is a result of her being homeless between the ages of eight and seventeen.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Ever since becoming a zombie in The Undead Schoolgirl: Dead Pulse, Izuku doesn't so much eat as she attacks her food like... well, like a ravenous zombie. Bakugo figured out through experimentation that she only gets like that around food that's good for brain growth, muscle growth, or blood production; anything else, she eats normally. While funny when she steals Bakugo's Greek yogurt in the time it takes him to blink, others are a bit unsettled when she rips a leg off a pig roast and tears off chunks of meat with her teeth. After finishing the leg, she devours the rest of the pig, several apples and parfaits, and most of a chicken before her hunger is satisfied and she snaps out of it.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe fic A Little Red and Blue, Sharon is inadvertently sent to the year 1944 by Wanda. Lacking time period appropriate currency, she is unable to get herself any food until she runs into the past Steve and Bucky who, after briefly interrogating her, take her to a diner where she wolfs down two cheeseburgers and a plate of cheese fries. In a later chapter, after again going through some time without food, Steve treats Sharon to a breakfast of bacon, eggs and ham which she very quickly scarfs down. He comments that she eats faster than the Howling Commandos.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast's eating habits initially disgust Belle, as he's become used to dining alone. Also, having tusks and a muzzle make eating politely a bit more of a challenge.
  • In Shrek 2, Shrek makes several mistakes when having dinner with Donkey, Fiona, and her parents, such as drinking water meant for washing hands and belching at the table. While this is a sign of his grungy upbringing, it escalates into a sign of anger when both he and King Harold start ripping apart the food in tune to their insults at one another.
  • A Deleted Scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs shows the dwarfs, who've been relatively isolated, sitting down to dinner and loudly slurping their soup in ingenious ways. Snow White teaches them how to use their spoons properly to eat like "gentlemen". They learn quickly... but then keep slurping from their spoons.
  • Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure: The Greedy is this, constantly and very loudly stuffing himself with the candy that makes his body, spilling it everywhere as he does so. Notably, he constantly apologizes for this as he interrupts his own speech and generally breaks every rule of etiquette, but he's so damnably hungry he can't afford to have manners.
  • In an earlier version of Turning Red, Mei would have turned into her giant red panda form out of sudden ravenous hunger, swiped a plate of food from her father (nearly disembowelling him in the process!) and eaten half of it messily on the ground before coming to her senses.
  • The Willoughbys: Jane eats an entire meatloaf in one bite when given the chance. Later, she and the Barnabys are wolfing downs Nanny's oats.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Inverted in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone — the young wizards and witches at the Beginning of the Year feast dig in with both hands. Hermione, in contrast, eats very neatly with a knife and fork, letting us know that she's very mature for her age.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, when Elizabeth gets captured by Barbossa, he invites her to dinner in his private chambers. At first, she plays her role as the governor's daughter and refuses to touch the mountains of food on the table, but when Barbossa encourages her on account of her being half-starved after being held on his ship for quite some time, she forgets all table manners and messily devours what she can grab. Barbossa looks on longingly as she gorges herself and then offers here even more, although she had to pause for a bit when he offers her an apple and she assumes it was poisoned, and he assures her it's not.note 
  • In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Rocky tears into his dinner with his hands, prompting Columbia to remind him to use a fork. To be fair, he's only seven hours old and only has half a brain to work with.
  • In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Jar-Jar Binks annoys Qui-Gonn by using his long tongue to just grab food and wolf it down, whereas everyone else is using cutlery. The first time he awkwardly excuses himself. The second time, Qui-Gonn loses patience, grabs his tongue, and simply tells him "don't do that again".
  • In Thor, after Thor arrives on Earth and joins his new friends in a small-town diner for breakfast, he finishes drinking a cup of coffee, throws it down to the floor like a mug of ale at a Viking feast, and loudly exclaims "Another!", to the embarrassment of his companions. In Thor: The Dark World, it's revealed that smashing mugs is a common practice in Asgard.
  • In Splash, Allen takes Madison to a seafood restaurant and orders a lobster. Madison, being a mermaid, picks the whole thing up and bites into the carapace with a loud crunch, thereafter pulling it apart and eating it with her fingers. Allen excuses her unorthodox approach by saying, "She's really hungry."
  • Both played straight and inverted in Heidi (2015). The straight example is Heidi's complete lack of dining etiquette when she first joins the Sesemann household, which horrifies Fraulein Rottenmeier but amuses Klara. The inversion comes late in the film when Klara goes to visit Heidi in the Alps; having spent her whole life eating the "proper" way, Klara has to be encouraged to abandon proper dining etiquette at Alm-Uncle's home, because he doesn't have any proper utensils.
  • In A Waltons Thanksgiving, the Waltons quickly realize that things are not alright at home for their young guest Red when he finishes his food and then literally licks the plate clean.

  • In Citizen of the Galaxy, after being bought by Baslim, the slave Thorby wolfs down his meal as if he's afraid that it will be taken from him. This shows the harsh treatment he's received growing up as a slave.
  • In Billy Bathgate, Dutch Schultz and his gang are out for dinner along with his socialite moll Drew. Drew makes a point of eating in a more dignified manner, most specifically cutting the meat with her knife in her right hand and fork in left and then laying the knife down while transferring the fork to her right hand, then slowly and deliberately chewing and swallowing the mouthful of meal before cutting another slice. Schultz gets the gist of her demonstration and encourages his fellow gangsters to follow suit.
  • In A Little Princess, Sarah gives her buns to a starving beggar girl who tears ravenously into them, exclaiming only, "Oh my! Oh my!" She is starving, as Sarah notes. Fortunately, she winds up Happily Adopted later.
  • The Perilous Gard: Defied by Kate, who's been abducted by the Fairy Folk to be a maidservant. When she's served her first meal in the Hill, she eats it slowly and with attention to her manners, despite how ravenous she is after having been kidnapped. The other maids, by contrast, toss away the spoons and tear the meat with their fingers, stuffing big chunks of it into their mouths.
  • A thirst version is invoked via Batman Gambit in Red Seas Under Red Skies. The ruler of a city state knows that Locke and Jean are con artists pretending to be nobles and wants to rope them into working for him. So, he has them seized and locked for several hours in a dark room kept extremely hot. Then, he has then released and appears to scold his guards for making a terrible mistake. He then "apologetically" offers them a delicious cordial which contains a slow-acting but deadly poison, knowing they'd be too parched to give a thought before drinking it.
  • In Space Cadet (Heinlein), Cadet Tex Jarman picks up a piece of pie with his hands and starts eating it, and the older cadet superior orders him to use a fork instead. Jarman is from a rural background and wasn't taught proper table manners.
  • In Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell has a servant named Christophe who grew up poor and starving and as a result, is an always hungry Big Eater when he finally has access to regular meals as part of Cromwell's household (especially when it comes to sweets, which he previously had no access to). In particular, there's a scene where Cromwell is serving pastries to a noblewoman who mostly just picks nuts and fruits off the top. The moment she leaves, Christophe starts snarfing down her leftover food.
  • In the Maximum Ride series, the Flock all tend to eat like pigs, because they've been so isolated from the rest of the world that they've never had a reason to learn proper etiquette.
  • In the first book of The Hunger Games, when Katniss and Peeta are having dinner with Effie, she mentions that the previous year's tributes ate everything with their hands "like a couple of savages". Knowing that the last year's tributes were starving kids from the Seam, Katniss makes a point of eating the rest of her meal with her fingers and wiping her hands on the tablecloth afterwards.
  • In The History of Bees when Tao offers the waiter at the restaurant her left-overs he’s confused and unsure about taking it. After she insists he shovels the simple rice dish into his mouth, forgetting to chew. He regains composure by the end of the meal, aware he’s being watched by Tao.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In a seemingly minor example, in The Ben Stiller Show sketch, "The Legend of TJ O'Pootertoot", a diner snaps at the sketch's protagonist, a waitress, then grumbles, "God, I'm hungry..." It's later implied this is related to the ravenous hunger that drove the Donner Party, of which the restaurant's namesake was a survivor, to resort to cannibalism.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Faith is shown gorging herself at Joyce Summer's table. That along with the No-Tell Motel she's living in hints at the deprived background she had before becoming the Slayer.
  • In Copper, the first time we see Annie, she's been living on the streets for a while. When Corcoran comes across her and offers her an egg, she wolfs it down.
  • In Incorporated, after Theo, a climate refugee, is offered a real steak, he picks it up with both hands and tears it apart with his teeth.
  • Legion (2017): The nature of Kerry and Cary Loudermilk's relationship (Kerry basically inhabits Cary's body until he lets her out to fight people) is such that Kerry does not usually have to eat. After an incident leaves Kerry stuck outside of Cary's body for a while, Cary decides to teach her about food. Her table manners turn out to be appalling, as she impatiently stuffs food into her mouth and gulps down her drink.
  • The Bundy family in Married... with Children. They're usually shown as literally fighting each other over everything on the table, though Justified in that they're almost always on the brink of starvation due to their Perpetual Poverty and Peggy's refusal to cook.
  • In the first episode of Stranger Things, Eleven escapes from a lab. After finding her way into a restaurant, she steals some fries and stuffs them into her mouth. When Benny takes pity on her and offers her some food on the house, she continues to gobble it down.
  • In Turn, Abe is imprisoned for spying. One of the signs of his mental deterioration is that he starts just shoving his scraps of food into his mouth as quickly as possible.
  • In the Wishbone episode "Twisted Tail," Joe and his friends befriend a kid from a foster home. When they bring him home for lunch, he rapidly gobbles down his sandwich, which serves as their first hint that things might not be alright for him at home.
  • Game of Thrones: When Arya and Sandor are taken in and fed by a peasant, the pair start gorging their food at the table with no regard for manners.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Cookie Monster from Sesame Street is a classic example of this trope. Whenever he gets his hands on any kind of food, and not just cookies, his table manners reflect very poorly on him. One sketch even has him share a cookie with a starving little girl, and she eats it exactly like he does!

  • In The Miracle Worker, Helen Keller, who was left blind and deaf after contracting a severe illness as an infant, is portrayed as having had no table manners to speak of prior to the arrival of her teacher, Annie Sullivan.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy X: Tidus has been captured by the Al Bhed and is starving. When Rikku finally gives him food, he shovels it into his mouth as fast as he can and ends up choking until he washes it down with water. Rikku scolds him for eating too fast.
  • Hungry Lamu: Inverted. Hungry Lamu always asks for "permission" before eating anyone, those that refuse he deems "rude" and they get eaten anyway.

    Web Novel 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: When Graham brings Jamie into the food court, Jamie immediately takes the food and only after a few moments thanks Graham for paying for the food. Later played with as when Graham brings Jamie into a restaurant the boy is briefly conflicted between the desire to immediately grab the food and decorum.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In “The Romantic”, Gumball sets Penny up on a romantic scavenger hunt, most of which injures or endangers her because of his incompetence. By the time Penny reaches the dessert place, she's so dehydrated and worn out that she wordlessly snatches the ice cream that was waiting for her straight out of Larry's hands and wolfs if down. She also hisses at Larry when he tries to speak to her.
  • Arcane: Vi eats with her hands, slurps food down noisily, and talks with her mouth full; it's hard to find a table manner she doesn't violate while eating next to Caitlyn. She's got the excuse of being fresh out of prison but the incredibly brief shot of her eating in "Enemy" MV implies this is just the norm down in the Undercity.
  • On Archer, Pam regularly stuffs her face with food, to the disgust of her co-workers. This is likely due her profound lack of social competence.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Toph usually eats with a complete disregard for etiquette, as a form of rebellion against her stiflingly proper upper-class upbringing. When dealing with refined characters she genuinely respects, her manners become perfect.
    • Played with in an episode where Iroh is imprisoned. When his guards are watching him eat, he makes a point of shoveling his food into his mouth with his hands like a madman, so that they think that he's losing his mind and thus don't suspect that he's planning to escape. When not being observed, on the other hand, he eats like a civilized human.
  • The episode "A Wolf in Cheap Clothing" from Disney Television's Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers has Harry wolfing down drumsticks in a restaurant to the horror of other patrons. Justified, because up until Mad Scientist Nimnul's device changed him into a human, Harry had been a grey wolf in a zoo. Harry is ecstatic about the quantity and variety of food humans can access.
  • In Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Kilowog's usual method of eating is to shove his face directly into his plate and snuffle the food into his mouth. Whether this is common dining etiquette for his species, he's just a slob, or he's being deliberately disgusting to annoy Razer is unknown.
  • Kaeloo: Stumpy usually isn't very polite, but he'll be even less polite if you set a plate of food in front of him, especially when he's hungry.
  • Grateful to the Loonatics Unleashed for saving Chinatown from Mad Scientist Thaddeus Dare, the folks lay out a splendid buffet for 12. Big Eater Slam Tasmanian gets one eyeful and devours the entire setting in one pass. Fighting rock monsters works up an appetite, y'know?
  • The Loud House: The episode "Health Kicked" has Lincoln and his sisters eating large quantities of spaghetti very messily after having had to put up with their health-crazed parents making them eat grubs and drink onion water.
  • In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Ghost in the Machine", Lex Luthor is held hostage inside his own lab by Brainiac, who forces him to build him a new robot body. When Brainiac finally allows Lex to take a dinner break, Lex gorges himself on a handful of candy bars from a nearby snack machine. In the middle of this, he sees his reflection in one of the wrappers and shudders at how low he's fallen.
  • The students of Sifu Chiu's dojo in Seis Manos invite the young orphan Domingo to have dinner with them in Episode 1, and his table manners leave much to be desired. When he realizes he's bugging Silencio (a mute young man who doesn't need a voice to express how annoyed he is with Domingo's slurping), he sheepishly admits he was hungrier than he thought.


Video Example(s):


Penny Eats Ice Cream

When Penny finally crawls from the desert to the dessert place, she's so dehydrated that she shoves her face into the bowl of ice cream in Larry's hands and hisses at him when he asks if she noticed the message on the plate. She eats is so fast that she doesn't realize part of it is blueberry, which she's terribly allergic to something Gumball had realized too late though fortunately he included one of her allergy tablets in the cherry as it would ''balance it out'' and it works, at least mostly that is.

How well does it match the trope?

4.81 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / TooHungryToBePolite

Media sources: