Messy Pig

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Have you seen the little piggies
Stirring up the dirt?
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse...
Always having dirt

To play around in!
The Beatles, Piggies

There's one thing most people know about pigs: they are messy as hell. In times past, in some rural 3rd-world areas, pigs would even consume the waste from the outhouse.[1] This Animal Stereotype is so prominent, it lead to pigs being almost invariably portrayed as filthy dirt-lovers.

Actually pigs are instinctively clean animals. But their habit of rooting the ground and rolling in whatever moisture is available creates messy results in confined spaces. Also, thanks to their omnivorous instinct to probe and explore everything around them for traces of food, pigs love to make a mess by chewing things to bits and rooting around in the pieces. Rotten wood, sofa cushions, or especially straw are bound to wind up in a million tiny fragments when a pig can get at them. For a human observer, such behavior creates a strong impression of a messy, dirty, unhygienic animal.

There is also quite a common subversion of this trope: when the pig is obsessively clean, proper and hygienic, in a somewhat exaggerated way. Note that to count as a subversion, the pig shouldn't just be clean; tidyness should be one of the main defining traits of its personality.

There's also the so-called Babe Syndrome: the tendency of city folk who have never seen a live pig in the flesh to think that pigs are cute and pink and make good pets. While pigs are very intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and such, the average barnyard porker isn't particularly cuddly. They can weigh up to a few hundred pounds and occasionally be quite aggressive. However there are a few breeds bred specifically as pets, such as Pot Belled pigs, but these require specialized care that most people cannot met.

For non-porcine characters who are messy as pigs, see The Pig Pen. For another common pig-related trope, see Gluttonous Pig (and its Darker and Edgier subtrope, Fed to Pigs). For a trope related to boars, pigs' big and scary cousins, see Full Boar Action.

Examples, soo-ee!


Comic Books[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Played for Laughs in Elf Quest: Shards. The tunnel Ekuar creates in an attempt to penetrate the Djun's palace ends up emerging inside a pigsty. When Drub the troll pokes his head out to investigate, the very first thing he spies is a pig's backside at extremely close range.

Film[edit | hide]

Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got sense enough to disregard its own feces.

  • Though not really the (dead) pigs' fault, the carcass-grinding Vat-of-Guts trap in Saw III, which threatened to drown a man in macerated, decomposing hog residue, was one of the more revolting mechanisms in the series.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Gouger, Snouter, Rooter, and Tusker, who pull the Hogfather's sleigh.
    • The Hogfather himself was described as intensely smelly while in pig form, too.
  • Quadroped, the main character in the awesome children's book The Pig, The Prince and the Unicorn. Is constantly being chastised for being messy by everyone else in the book, but especially by a pretentious anal-retentive eel.
  • In On Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill defends the philosophy of utilitarianism from the attack that it is a "doctrine of swine", i.e. maybe it's okay for pigs to live according to pleasure and pain alone, but not human beings.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Aphrodite of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys transformed a pig into a woman. She still think like a pig and dove into the mud in one scene.
    • The episode before that had Hercules turned into a pig and he had rolled in a mud puddle.

Music[edit | hide]

  • Piggies by The Beatles, as seen in the page quote.
  • In C.W. McCall's "Convoy", Rubber Duck repeatedly complains about the odor of Pig Pen's truckload of hogs, insisting that the other trucker keep well ahead of him to minimize exposure.

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Pig from the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. While he may be messy, or not the sharpest tool in the shed, he's actually one of the nicest characters in the strip.

Religion[edit | hide]

  • Pigs are considered "unclean" animals [for eating] in Judaism and Islam. There are several theories for why:
    1. The prohibition relates to the propensity of pigs to harbor trichinella worms, which cause painful muscle disease, and can only be killed through thorough cooking, which (goes the theory) was not always possible in ancient times. Whether this is God protecting His people with his timeless wisdom or cultural wisdom being reinforced by (supposed) word of God is entirely a matter of faith. This theory, however, doesn't hold up to more recent archaeological evidence.
    2. The prohibition relates to the way of life of the Hebrews and Arabs. Both peoples originated in the desert and remained for the most part in arid climates, i.e. places where human vegetable food is scarce. Cattle, sheep, and goats do not eat human vegetable food, but pigs do; therefore, keeping pigs is wasteful, and ought to be avoided. Contemporary scholars favor this theory.
    3. The prohibition is to set Jews/Muslims apart from their neighbors. While this is likely for Judaism (a common theory goes that the point of all Kashrut is to keep Jews separated from the Gentiles), it's less likely for Islam (which for one thing is a proselytizing religion, and for another thing allows—even encourages—mixing with the other "Peoples of the Book"/monotheists).
    4. The prohibition is basically inscrutable, because believers must obey God no matter what. This is a common position among rabbis and some Muslim scholars.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Pey'j, Jade's lovably obnoxious pig uncle from Beyond Good and Evil. He's the designated fount of lowbrow humor (such as powering his Jet-Boots with farts).
  • The Rashberry species in Viva Pinata. Their house is covered in mud, and eat rotten food. And when you cross-romance them with their polar opposite—the perfect, dainty Swanana—you get something completely different.
  • The villains of Mother 3 are based around pigs. They wear pig suits, their symbol is a pig snout, and their capital is even called "New Pork City". They're dirty because they wreak havok on the flora and fauna.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Pumbaa, though he's only smelly and farts/burps a lot. Then again, he's a warthog, not a domestic pig.
  • Once, Rocko's Modern Life complains that his house (which has reached Trash of the Titans uncleanliness levels) is a pigsty. An angry pig eating pizza responds (in a distinct New Jersey accent) "You got a problem with that?" and is kicked out by Rocko.
  • The pig-people from the Invader Zim episode "Gaz, Taster of Pork". Dib has to be used as their toilet brush...and heaven knows when the last time their communal toilet was scrubbed!
  1. It was Fair for Its Day; it solved the problem of eliminating waste (similar to how in other places the pigs were fed not bodily waste but garbage), and the pigs got food and shelter.