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What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?

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When a character (usually female) is captured by the Big Bad or seen in a suspicious place by other characters. Also used as a (bad) pickup line.

The traditional wording is "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?"


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    Comic Strips 
  • In a cartoon by Swedish artist Beverloo:
    Girl at party: What a nice girl like me is doing at a place like this? I'm a hooker, of course!
  • A Garfield comic had this exchange:
    Garfield: What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?
    Arlene: But this is a nice place.
    Garfield: Like I said... What's a girl like YOU doing in a place like THIS?

    Fan Works 
  • In Snake Whisper, Harry spots a short thirteen-year-old trying to reach one of the higher bookshelves in a mildly-dodgy section of Flourish and Blotts.
    Harry: So... how is it that a girl like you finds herself in this part of the shop?
  • In The Truth Shall Set You Free Fred and George bring McGonagall to their joke shop.
    Harry: What is a nice professor like you doing in a place like this?

    Films — Animation 
  • Hanna-Barbera's animated musical version of Alice in Wonderland, produced in 1966, was subtitled What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (Which was also the title of one of the songs.)
  • In Finding Nemo, Bruce the shark asks Dory and Marlin, "What's a couple of bites like you doing in a zone like this?"
  • In Disney's Home on the Range:
    Bull #1: What are a couple of ladies like you...
    Bull #2: Doing on a drive like this?
  • In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the Joker asks a variation of this:
    The Joker So, what's an old-timer like you want with a two-timer like me?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • George of the Jungle has Ape's book on "human courtship rituals" (Coffee, Tea or Me, a real-life book about two lusty young fictional stewardesses) offer this pickup line: "What's a nice girl like you doing in a plane like this?"
  • A short by Martin Scorsese is titled "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?"
  • Evie from The Mummy (1999) gets the line mixed up while drunk. "I know what you're thinking. What is a place like me doing in a girl like this?" Rick responds, "Something like that."
  • Subverted in Following:
    The young man: So what's a nice girl like you—
    The blonde: Doing in a place like this?
    The young man: —doing with a bald old cunt like that?
  • In the dressing-room scene of A Hard Day's Night, the Fab Four are quipping up a storm. Not to be outdone, their assistant Shake says this to a blank-faced mannequin, which being inanimate doesn't respond. Tumbleweed ensues.
  • Happens in Rocketship X-M (1950), the place being a rocketship in outer space. The woman in question chides the line-giver for thinking she should Stay in the Kitchen.
  • Casablanca puts a negative spin on this trope:
    Rick: Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world - she drops into mine!
  • Deadpool (2016) just HAS to put a spin on it: "What's a nice place like you doing in a girl like this?"
  • Likewise Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965). "What's a rotten girl like you doing in a nice place like this?"

  • Two fish meet in a stomach:
    What's a plaice like you doing in a girl like this?
  • The orthopedic surgeon, looking down at the cheerleader's trick knee:
    What's a joint like you doing in a nice girl like this?

  • Inverted in the Robert A. Heinlein novel The Number of the Beast, when a dissection of a dead female alien who had been posing as a male human leads to the discovery that her legs each had two knees, one bending forward and one bending backwards. Cue the quip, "What's a nice joint like you doing in a girl like this?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In a flashback scene showing how Angel was sired by Darla. Posing as an aristocratic lady out for illicit adventure, she lures drunken hedonist Liam into an alley to give him a Kiss of the Vampire.
    Liam: So, I'd ask myself... What's a lady of your station doing alone in an alley with the reputation that this one has?
  • Fi from Burn Notice tends to get this whenever she visits a seedy bar or hangout. It never ends well for the guy asking.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Web of Fear": Someone asks a female scientist "What's a girl like you doing in a job like this?" She's not impressed.
      "Well, when I was a little girl I thought I'd like to be a scientist, so I became a scientist."
    • "The End of the World": While heading through a maintenance duct investigating what's wrong with Platform One, the Doctor asks Plant Alien Jabe why exactly she's attending the event being held:
      "What's a tree like you doing on a platform like this?"
  • Inverted on One Life to Live:
    "What's a girl like you doing in a nice place like this?"
  • In The Pretender episode A Stand-Up Guy, Jarod strikes up a conversation with a woman whose restaurant has become a gang hangout, and asks her in a joking tone what a nice girl like her is doing in a place like this.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation first-season episode "11001001", said by Riker to a hologram: "What's a knockout brunette like you doing in a computer-generated gin joint like this?"

    Print Media 
  • Parodied in "Movie Dialogue We'd Like To Hear" from MAD:
    "Ever since I came in here tonight, somethin's been puzzlin' me... what's a crummy girl like you doin' in a nice place like this?"
  • According to a piece in New Scientist's "Feedback" page, a lecturer talking about prosthetics once showed a picture of two ice dancers, one of whom had a fully articulated artificial limb. And speculated that the other was saying "What's a joint like this doing in a nice girl like you?"

  • Bob Dylan: "What's a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?"
  • The Spanish band Burning references the line in the song "¿Qué Hace Una Chica Como Tú En Un Lugar Como Éste?"
  • Frank Zappa loved this line and used it in at least five different songs.
  • John Schneider's "What's A Memory Like You (Doing In A Love Like This)"
  • Barry Manilow inverted it to ask "What's a nice boy like me/Doing in a place that never closes?" Later performed (as "Nice Girl Like Me") by Sandy Duncan on The Muppet Show.
  • Marilyn Manson inverted it proper: "So what's a nice place like this doing 'round people like us?" in "We Know Where You Fucking Live".

  • There was a musical revue in the 1970s called "What's a Nice Country Like You Doing in a State Like This?"
  • City of Angels:
    Stone (to Bobbi): "Let me take you away from all this," is that the routine? "What's a nice kid like you, et cetera?" What is a nice kid like you, et cetera?

    Video Games 
  • Upon linking up with the mole in Fallout's Final Dungeon:
    "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?"
    "Uh heh... Waiting desperately for someone to use that pathetic line on me."
  • Guybrush says this to De Singe in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal: "So, how'd a dazzling urbanite like yourself wind up in a sleepy pirate island like Flotsam?"
  • In Another Case Solved a certain stage of the "Perky Promotion" case is called "What's a Pretty Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?"
  • In Charm King's Halloween tale Mrs. Curmudgel brings an alderman to confront local inventor Philbert about his latest noisy invention.
    Mrs. Curmudgel: Maribelle? What's a nice girl like you doing around here?

    Western Animation 


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