Follow TV Tropes


Uncool Undies

Go To
"Oh my God, Donna's wearing granny panties!"

"Of all the days to wear the underpants with the little rocket ships..."
— Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes

It's bad enough for someone to be ridiculed for what they're wearing on the outside, it's somehow more insulting to be teased for what you're wearing underneath.

This trope is when a character is teased for the kind of underwear that they are wearing, causing much embarrassment. There's any number of ways how what they're wearing under there can be known publicly, but it's usually revealed in a Pants-Pulling Prank. This is always Played for Laughs as the character teased just walks away with a bruised ego most of the time.

Types of underwear that end up being the target of this include:

  1. Goofy Print Underwear, usually of any style especially if they have a childish print, such as cute cartoon characters.
  2. White briefs/y-fronts, known colloquially as "tighty-whiteys," are often designated the "nerd" or "dad" type of underpants, and sometimes are meant to imply immaturity.
  3. "Granny panties" are the female version of tighty-whiteys.
  4. Underwear in bad condition, and/or ill-fitting.
  5. Skimpy underwear for men, unless they're confident about it.
  6. Men wearing what's considered to be women's underwear.

Like all fashion styles, this is also subject to the Popularity Polynomial, depending on what was in style when the work was released; briefs made a comeback in the Turn of the Millennium as the skinny fit jeans/pants rendered boxer shorts almost useless (and possibly helped by one Walter White) and character-printed underwear has come back with the rise of nerd culture in The New '10s. They even make underoos for adults now, we kid you not.

See also Comedic Underwear Exposure for general tropes about underwear being exposed, uncool or cool. Contrast Briefs Boasting for characters wear the brief-cut proudly.



Anime and Manga

  • In Inazuma Eleven, before going to training camp in episode 24, Endou's mom gave him a pair of underpants that she wrote his name on (so Endou wouldn't mix it up with someone else's, including Kabeyama) which he finds embarrassing.
  • Fujiwara mocks Ishigami when she discovers that he wears briefs in chapter 70 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. The volume release has an extra page where he's then shown buying boxers.

Comic Strips

When the teacher calls him up to the board, he tries to delay as long as possible, but eventually goes up and moons the whole class.
Hobbes: That's why you're home early?
Calvin: Three teachers and the principal couldn't restore order.


  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley is given a pair of Wonder Woman-themed underpants that he is too ashamed to ever wear. However, after running out of clean clothes to wear, he is forced to wear them to a birthday party where his pants end up slipping down and revealing the underpants to everyone.
  • In Ellen Tebbits, Ellen and Austine are both embarrassed that they wear woollen underwear because they think it's old-fashioned.
  • In a flashback scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, James Potter bullies Snape by doing the magical equivalent of a Pants-Pulling Prank, levitating him by his ankle so that his robe flips over, revealing what's described as a pair of "grey and sagging y-fronts."
  • The Order Of The Poison Oak: Russel gets pantsed in front of his crush, revealing his white briefs. Russel alludes in this book and in Geography Club that briefs are his preferred choice in underwear, but feels somewhat self-conscious about it since the popular jocks wore boxers. Expanded upon in the Soul Sucking Brain Zombies Duology where during Min's section of the book trashes men who wear briefs and thinks boxers are manly, but that was part of a fake rant to appease her girlfriend in front of her straight friends. Long story.
  • In The Queens Knickers, the narrator is a schoolboy who somehow knows about the fact that the Queen is wearing her everyday knickers to school and he says to her, "Your Majesty, don't worry about your knickers. Nobody can see them anyway."
  • In The Terrible Underpants, Wanda-Linda has to wear a pair of underpants that she hates because they're too big and there's a cordial stain on them.
  • In the short story "Wunderpants" by Paul Jennings, the schoolyard bully makes fun of the main character for wearing underpants with fairies on them and calls him "Fairy Pants" (it's unknown whether this is a Double Standard and he'd be fine with a girl wearing fairy underwear or if he just thinks fairy underwear in general is silly).

Live-Action Film

  • French Fried Vacation: When The Casanova, Popeye, removes his pants in front of a new conquest, she can't stop herself from laughing because he wears large briefs.
  • In Bridget Jones Bridget has to decide whether to wear skimpy panties which will look good when she undresses or control-type undies which are more likely to get her undressed. She chooses the latter, and her date makes fun of her for wearing 'mum's underpants'.
Live-Action TV
  • That '70s Show sees Donna getting panted by Eric in a basketball game, exposing her granny panties, which Hyde delightfully makes fun of. The episode is even titled "Donna's Panties."
  • Red Dwarf: In "Krytie TV", Kochanski goes on a date with an old boyfriend, to Lister's dismay. Kryten suggests that they sabotage the evening by planting in the former boyfriend's quarters (among other things) "tragically unfashionable underpants", showing off a pair for reference. Rimmer irritably points out that said underpants are his.
  • In the Zoey 101 episode "Webcam," the boys sneak a webcam in the girls' common area in order to spy and learn their embarrassing secrets; one of which is that Nicole wears panties with a "Hello Bunny" print on them. She angrily says that they were on sale.

Professional Wrestling

  • Lance Storm found himself on the end of a Pants-Pulling Prank from Edge, revealing a pair of Power Rangers underoos, which got huge laughs from the crowd, as well as a zoom-in from the camera.
  • Kurt Angle has been pantsed in the ring several times, revealing his skimpy thong, much to the crowd's delight. One pantsing incident added insult to injury as after he was pantsed, the ridiculous hair piece he was wearing was snatched off his head, revealing his baldness (long story). It's one of his character's Running Gags as he would be flustered and struggle to pull his pants up while wrestling.
  • Then WWE Tag Team champions MNM (John Morrison, Joey Mercury, and manager Melina) were busy berating Jillian Hall from the ring, but it turned out to be a trap - Challengers London and Kendrick then attacked them from behind and pantsed Morrison and Mercury, revealing tiny blue bikini briefs, causing the crowd to laugh and the commentators to actually corpse during the segments. Melina gets pantsed for good measure, those it was mainly for fanservice purposes.
  • Molly Holly, who then had a Sour Prude gimmick, had her granny panties exposed by her then rival Trish Stratus in a Pants-Pulling Prank. For weeks afterwards, Molly would be teased by the commentary as well as the fans in the arena would bring in signs mocking her underwear.

Western Animation

  • American Dad! season 6 episode Brains, Brains and Automobiles had Steve, Barry, Snot, and Toshi immediately picked on by the other guys at summer camp, because they were wearing "whiteys of tight" which designated them as geeks. They go off to purchase boxer shorts, but then get tricked by a shady salesman selling bikini-type underwear called "culos." They then wear the culos and think they'll be the coolest kids at camp. It goes as well as you would expect.
  • The Cramp Twins: In "Tattoo Boy", Lucien gets pantsed by Wayne, revealing his weird underpant choice (organic undies made out of hemp that he received through the mailbox without his mother knowing), which repulses Wayne. He also threatens Lucien to tell their mom about his choice of underwear if he tells the parents about Wayne's tattoos. At the end of the episode, she finds out by herself and has the expected reaction.
  • Darkwing Duck: In "Star-Crossed Circuits", at one point, the spurned D-2000 strips most of Darkwing's clothes off for a painful "massage." When he escapes, he's down to heart boxers, which Gosalyn says are super dorky. Darkwing tries to recover by claiming they're very popular in Europe.
  • In Shrek 2, Pinocchio needs to come up with a lie to make his nose grow. Donkey suggests that he should say he's wearing ladies' underwear, but when Pinocchio says it, nothing happens. When they ask him whether he's actually wearing ladies' underwear, he vehemently denies it, which does make his nose grow.
  • In "If You Can't Take The Heat..." from Total Drama Island, Duncan, Geoff, and DJ steal all of Harold's pairs of pants and underpants to teach him a lesson about leaving his dirty underwear everywhere. After DJ pours a bucket of water over his pants, he goes to the cabin to change himself and comes back to the challenge set in a skimpy thong and no pants, as it was the only thing he had left (other than his pajamas). When the others see him, Courtney and Chris are disgusted, while the other Killer Basses laugh at him.

Real Life

  • A soldier in Afghanistan had to rush out to the defense of his outpost, firing his rifle while wearing "Hello Kitty" underpants. Showing the video, President Obama called him "the bravest man in Afghanistan".


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: