May 10, 2021

the rotten egg trope

eggs as insult

In Mandarin, there are a whole host of insults based around the word egg. This was very funny to my brothers and me growing up as we had only the most basic awareness of Chinese:
  • húndàn (混蛋, mixed egg), wándàn (完蛋, finished egg), wángbādàn (王八蛋, this one is a very complicated reference to turtles that also somehow gets you to unvirtuous women and this insult is actually the progenitor of all of the other egg insults), bèndàn (笨蛋, stupid egg), gǔndàn (滾蛋, rolling egg), huàidàn (壞蛋, evil egg) 
  • only enumerating here the egg insults I've personally heard or am aware of, there are actually many more

which led to many jokes during our pillow-fort summer vacation days calling each other rolling eggs, stupid eggs, even evil English, much to the exasperation of my exhausted mother, happy mother's day mama btw 🍳(★‿★)

anyhow this might be why I have a soft spot and a sensitivity to what I believe is a *previously undescribed trope* that I am naming THE ROTTEN EGG TROPE . A quick Google search of all the times I've seen this line suggests that no one else has had the galaxy brain to point this one out yet. (Which I find hard to believe, so pleeeeeeeeease tell me this exists and you know it by some other name)

so what is the rotten egg trope ??

You know that thing kids say to goad another kid into a race: "last one there is a rotten egg!" 
(not that important but: do kids actually say this, has any child actually ever said this to another IRL, is this just in movies/tv, or if they are saying it is it just in imitation of a line from the telly hm 🤔) 

According to, this phrase has something to do with the good egg/bad egg idea and entered the lexicon in the '50s.

01 I Love Lucy.png
an early use of the phrase?

which brings me to the tropey part of all this. In a fair number of tv/movies, particularly ones that involve fantasy or sci-fi, we meet a new character in a new world, a world that looks very different from ours, but one that the screenwriters would like us to know is actually not so different from the one we live in.
Our new friend, an alien youngster, might meet up with another alien youngster when they suddenly have to rush off somewhere. One of them lets out a gleeful dare: "last one to the gleeblegork is a bllrrglshim!!". BAM! We, the viewers, can now suddenly see ourselves in this world: we get the rules, we play how they play, we are them, etc. And, in some cases, we are also now exposed to some of their unfamiliar and oh-so-quirky language!

From Netflix's 2019 Dark Crystal revival, here's a usage of this trope that I can recall most vividly/recently:
02 The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance.png
finders' cred to mrcoles who was able to track down this moment in under 2 minutes

And when I looked for variations of the line on IMDb, here are other funny ones:

So, , , what do u think, , ,should I try to have this one acknowledged on ?? And also will you tell me if/when you come across this line 🎀 ?? don't be a rolling egg now 😋