Fat Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Like Dastardly Whiplash, this is an oddly specific character. Often a villain, or at the very least extremely shady, the Fat Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit is where the Corrupt Hick intersects with the Villainous Glutton. They are always obese. They always speak with a strong Southern accent, normally an upper class drawl. They are almost always dressed in a white suit, cane optional. If it's not truly white, it'll be pale enough to have the same effect. If it's in the deep south like Mississippi or Louisiana, they will be extremely sweaty and constantly dabbing themselves with a handkerchief when not lazily fanning themselves. This is optional in places like Kentucky, but they will occasionally manage to be sweaty even in an Appalachian winter.

The root of the stereotype is in actual Southern fashions, combined with negative stereotypes of plantation owners. The white suit was an enduring fashion in the South until at least the 70s, and can still occasionally be seen to this day. In the Southern heat, a white suit made sense,[1] and looked very fine; keeping it spotless was also a sign of not having to work in the dirt (always a plus for aristocratic types). Examples of real-life people who sported the fashion include Mark Twain and Colonel Sanders (yes, he was a real person). Mark Twain's own satires of Southern aristocracy often portrayed its central figures in this way, such as Col. Grangerford from Huckleberry Finn.

He's normally a shameless glutton, eating fattening foods like gumbo, fried chicken, fried fish, etc, and occasionally takes it to the next level with Jabba Table Manners. Often presents himself in a very laid back manner. If he isn't truly wealthy, then he is at least far better off than the rural poverty that surrounds him. Occasionally you'll meet a version that's not corrupt or might be genuinely heroic. These versions tend to sell food or, oddly, be lawyers.

Villainous counterpart of the Southern Gentleman (though the Southern Gentleman may be evil too). See Man in White for non-fat, non-sweaty, non-Southerner examples. For other stereotypes of the obese, compare and contrast Fat Bastard, Fat Idiot, and Fat Slob.

Examples of Fat Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit include:

Comic Books


  • Averted with "Big Daddy" Labouff from The Princess and the Frog. He's a Fat Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit, and a bit of a glutton, but a pretty nice guy. Played by John Goodman, too (see below).
  • Rango has the mayor of Dirt, minus the sweaty part—reptiles can't sweat.
  • Constantine: The personification of Lucifer. Complete with Louisiana accent and white suit, which should be noted, was missing shoes, so you could see filth literally dripping off of his bare feet. Probably hot tar or pitch—which sorta makes sense.
  • One showed up in Angel Heart. He got his head boiled in gumbo.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Governor Pappy O'Daniel. Corrupt, but in a self-interested, neutral way. Also, John Goodman plays a more straight, evil example, as a shady bible salesman/Klansman who beats the heroes senseless with a tree branch and steals their money. The actual Pappy O'Daniel is not an example, however.
  • Loren Visser in Blood Simple is probably the ultimate villainous example of this.
  • Passion Fish: The John Sayles movie kinda-sorta averted this, or maybe deconstructed it. A Fat Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit shows up at one point, but he's the main character's gay cousin (who else wears a white suit nowadays?) and the two of them spend a delightful evening drinking heavily and trading family stories.
  • In Oliver Stone's JFK, John Candy portrays Real Life New Orleans defense attorney Dean Andrews this way.
  • The Longest Yard (2005 version). He's a friend of the prison warden and behaves as you expect from a fat southerner.
  • The Waterboy: One of Bobby's professors—so much that Bobby calls him Colonel Sanders. He isn't evil so much as a whopping great jerk, and he quickly finds out the hard way you don't make fun of Mama.
  • The movie Life features at least three examples. Two were prison wardens, the first of whom fits the trope to a T. The second warden is identical in appearance but a much more decent human being. A minor but eventually important villain in the beginning of the film also shows that fat, sweaty, white-bedecked Southern bastards aren't exclusively white.
  • Senator Seabright "Sebe" Cooley of South Carolina in Advise And Consent, although he's more wily and shrewd than villainous.
  • Signor Ferrari in Casablanca has a lot in common with this character.
  • Davido, the greedy building developer from (the live-action part of) Arthur and the Invisibles.
  • South American variant in That Man From Rio. As Adrian is shining a shoeshine kid's shoes (not having any money for the kid doing his) - a fat guy in white brushes the kid aside to get his own shoes done. Adrian polishes his white shoes black, and of course he can't see his own shoes.


Live-Action TV

  • Boss Hogg, from The Dukes of Hazzard. Possibly the Trope Codifier.
  • Matlock: Ben Matlock has the suit, is a bit on the large side, and sweats a lot, but he's the protagonist and his clients are always innocent. He can be really terrifying when he harangues the witness though.
  • The |Mission: Impossible revival series has an episode with an antagonist like this, known as Mr. Morgan.
  • Although the main villain from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Overdrawn at the Memory Bank has based himself on a character from the movie Casablanca, he still belongs to this trope, particularly when it comes to his constant eating and his attempts to be Affably Evil.

Professional Wrestling

  • Gary Hart (no relation to the Hart Family or Jimmy Hart), a prominent wrestling personality in the South during the territorial days, did the Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit routine.
  • Although Ernie Ladd wasn't fat, he did have some of the mannerisms. Southern accent, intensely classist and racist, and when doing interviews he sometimes donned white or otherwise pastel suits.

Video Games

  • Hitman
    • Skip Muldoon is a captain of a luxury riverboat, drug and smuggler, and Depraved Bisexual with emphasis on the depraved.
    • John "Pappy" Le Blanc: a paranoid, senile, and dangerously rich head of the Mississippi drug cartel that his half-brother Skip worked for.

Western Animation

  • Doug Dimmadome from The Fairly OddParents.
  • Tiny Attorney from The Venture Brothers, another heroic example. Bonus points are awarded for simultaneously being a Simple Country Lawyer.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Forgotten", homeless people are being kidnapped and forced to work in a mine run by one of these types, pictured above complete with a piece of fried chicken and a fan. (All he lacked was a Southern accent.)
  • The Simpsons
    • The recurring character of the Rich Texan fits the "fat", "southerner," and "in a white (or, at least, light tan) suit" elements of the trope, though he isn't commonly shown to be sweaty or gluttonous. He is very rich, and occasionally somewhat shady. He is - by his own admission - a member of a group of rich oil tycoons who make foolish purchases, like a stained glass bathrobe and the world's fattest racehorse.
    • Big Daddy on the Spinoff Showcase "Wiggum P.I." is a classic example.
    • The southern general that Homer fought a duel with in "E-I-E-I-[Annoyed Grunt]" is also an example.
    • Also played with in the episode "Bart the Fink" where the IRS is investigating Krusty the Klown's off-shore accounts and a Fat Sweaty Caymen Islander in a White Suit answers the phone:

Fat Sweaty Guy: I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to divulge information on that client's secret, illegal account. Oh crap, I shouldn't have said he was a client. Oh crap! I shouldn't have said it was a secret. OH CRAP!! I certainly shouldn't have said it was illegal! Eh, it's too hot today. (fans himself)

  1. There are two ways of keeping cool when it comes to clothes: wearing light colors and wearing thin, breathable fabric (or both). The South did both: besides white suits, Southerners also wore seersucker suits, a tradition that has since crept its way to the United States Senate -- Washington DC is very much a part of the South when it comes to summertime weather