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"Tell you what, if you think it's wrong for you to think of them as ugly, just think of how you look to them. Short, squat, unlined skin, a nose that puffs up like a rodent, tiny little mouth with jagged white things in it, a horrible shrub-like growth on your head.""This, from the man who's worn a bowl-cut hairstyle almost all his adult life."
Ever notice how, when aliens look at humans, they can't help but be repulsed? Even though the only visible difference between humans and the aliens is usually a bunch of forehead ridges? Who knew forehead ridges were the sexiest thing in the universe? Or is the lack of them enough to put humans in the Uncanny Valley?
Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so what is considered attractive to us might not be attractive to others. Those same forehead ridges would often make the aliens seem like freakish mutants.
On the other side of the coin, truly inhuman aliens with huge pus-filled boils and spikes growing out of their skin have completely different ideals of beauty. So it's no surprise when the above alien is disgusted by humans with their disgusting mouths that constantly flap open and that greasy mat of hair growing out of their round heads!
Contrast Mars Needs Women, where humans (especially the women) are the hottest thing in the universe.
- In Miracleman, Miraclewoman gets this from the most advanced being in the universe, a brain the size of a continent. "In spite of your ugliness, you are wise."
- In Zits, a fly declares Jeremy ugly just as he declares the fly ugly.
- Blind Green Lantern Rot Lop Fan, who himself looks a bit like a cave salamander, was kind enough to sympathize to fellow Green Lantern Katma Tui on how hideous she felt to him, despite her lovely voice. This is a bit of a subversion however, in that Katma isn't human, she just looks human (albeit with pink skin).
- A story of Brazilian comic Bubbly (Astronauta) had the title character being called to investigate a fraud on an alien beauty pageant. Bubbly teams up with a Starfish Alien who thinks that Bubbly himself is hideous. They arrive at the planet, where another ugly alien dislikes Bubbly's appearance. Then comes the pageant, and every contestant is only pretty for the aliens (the winner gets Bubbly into bouts of nausea, before they discover she was the fraud).
- Bast, the Egyptian Goddess of Cats doesn't exactly say Morpheus is ugly, but in The Sandman issue "Season of Mists", she says she finds him much more attractive in cat form. Bast is an anthropomorphic cat.
Films -- Animation
- In Spirited Away, the spirits seem to have this opinion of humans, or at least of
ChihiroSen. Likely because, despite many taking humanoid forms, they're not actually human spirits, but creatures like weasels, etc..
Films -- Live Action
- In the original Planet of the Apes, Dr. Zira has to get over her human revulsion when Taylor asks for a goodbye kiss. She also remarks how ugly he looks after shaving off his beard.
- Star Trek Generations: The first thing the Duras sisters see through LaForge's VISOR is Dr. Crusher. Their response? "Human females are so repulsive!"
- Halloweentown III: Halloweentown High has the main character's brother falling for a troll. At the end, they are about to share a kiss, but they both say that it is too weird/gross, and decide to stay as friends.
- From the film Enemy Mine:
Davidge: (after Jerry saves Davidge from sand monster) You saved my life. Why?
Jerry: Maybe I need to look at another face... even one as ugly as yours.
Davidge: So you still think humans are ugly?
Jerry: Compared to a Drac? VERY ugly. But that thing out there... is even more ugly than you.
Davidge: (sarcastic) Thank you.
Jerry: (grinning) You... are... welcome.
- Discussed in Ender's Game, when Ender muses that the aliens (nicknamed "Buggers" by humans, presumably because they resemble giant bugs) probably refer to humans as "Slimies" owing to their soft oily exteriors rather than hard exoskeletons.
- In Robert Silverberg's Ishmael in Love, the dolphin narrator, despite being in love with a human woman, often describes the human body as being ugly and ungainly.
- In Alan Dean Foster's Nor Crystal Tears, the Thranx are deeply unnerved and revolted by humanity's endoskeletal bodies and bizarre upright posture. Of course, humans return the favor, as Thranx are essentially four-foot-tall praying mantises. Fortunately, both sides largely get over those gut reactions with a lot of work.
- Played with a bit also, as many thranx find humans' flexibility remarkably graceful, even if they're ugly otherwise. Likewise, even the most insect-phobic of humans have to admit that thranx smell lovely.
- In Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad (a short story collection) robots see humans (whom they call "palefaces") as the most disgusting creatures in the universe.
- One of Ijon Tichy's voyages in The Star Diaries has him dealing with a United Nations-like federation of aliens. He finds their appearances bewildering (initially thinking his sponsor for Earth's admission into the group is a vending machine)-- and the aliens find humans revolting on a molecular level (levorotary amino acids?! Disgusting!).
- In The Amber Spyglass, Mary Malone stays with a village of mulefa, wheeled antelope/elephant-like creatures. They're intelligent and kindly and adopt her readily -- but they admit, even after months of getting to know her, that they find her shape ugly and hideous because she's utterly unlike anything they've ever seen.
- In Stephen King's short story I Am the Doorway (appears in the collection Night Shift), aliens infect an astronaut, and eyes appear on his fingers. Those eyes see everything in the world -- but especially humans -- as monstrous and abominable.
- Grendelkin, a race of monsters from The Dresden Files, are only able to reproduce by raping humans. They have to get seriously drunk before they get busy, however. While this is later Justified Trope by non-hilarious means, Harry still can't help but Lampshade Hanging it.
- In the novel Transformers: The Vieled Threat, the Decepticons wax at length about how ugly they find humans. Even an Autobot comments to a swimming human ally that he likes her better when she wears her goggles, as they give her head a more robotic look. Of course, they are giant, mechanoid, robotic aliens, so their perspective on what is attractive is very different to say the least.
- In Le jour des fourmis (i.e. Empire of the Ants), Arthur Ramirez uses a small TV screen in order to show the human world to the ant 103th. Afther seeing some models, the soldier ant said in her head that she find the human females very ugly!
- In the Worldwar novels, the aliens refer to the humans as big uglies, which is somewhat ruder than us calling them lizards.
- Variant: While the Auditors of Discworld have no concept of beauty or ugliness, they find the human form repugnant due to its possession of (Ewwww!) orifices, with all the messiness and inefficiency such features entail.
- In Planet of the Apes the novel, the human protagonist Ulysse and female ape scientist Zira feel mutual intellectual attraction. Once they Almost Kiss... but Zira can't bring herself to it, as Ulysse is too ugly in her eyes.
- In Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski's The Killing Star, the alien who captures Hollis and Wayville is struck by how ugly they seem to him.
- In Fate of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker tells his son Ben that it's okay to think that the Kel Dor are ugly, because it's all a matter of perspective.
Luke: "Tell you what, if you think it's wrong for you to think of them as ugly, just think of how you look to them. Short, squat, unlined skin, a nose that puffs up like a rodent, tiny little mouth with jagged white things in it, a horrible shrub-like growth on your head."
Ben: "This, from the man who's worn a bowl-cut hairstyle almost all his adult life."
- In one of the Star Trek: The Lost Era novels, a Romulan reflects on how humans look horribly unfinished to Romulan eyes; as if their ears and brows were only half-formed. Another book in the series suggests that to those humanoid races with ridged foreheads or brows, humans actually look infantile, reflecting a "typical" humanoid baby (the young having less pronounced ridges). Among the human-like races, humans are thus bland and disturbingly undistinguished.
- The conquering aliens in the Pandora's Planet series of short stories (later anthologized under that title) seek to play up this trope after capturing Earth, to limit pro-human empathy by members of the alien race.
- In the novelizations of the Alien Vs Predator world, when the point of view is from a Predator, if they are looking at a "ooman," they refer to him/her as "ugly," "pale," or "sickly."
- Terry Bisson's short story They're Made Out of Meat has a race of energy beings that find us, but choose not to talk to us because our meatiness squicks them out.
- In Animorphs, resident alien Aximili eventually figures out that humans use clothing to cover those parts of their body which they find ugly or socially offensive. He's convinced they cover all the wrong parts, though, as no human ever seems to think to wear something over their hideous nose'!'
- In Chess With A Dragon, humans are one of only a dozen mammalian races in a galaxy dominated by thousands of reptilian and invertebrate civilizations. The only races that don't think we're unspeakably disgusting are the ones that think mammals like us belong on a plate.
- The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the Universe has humanity involved in a genocidal war with slimy tentacled aliens, simply because they find us so repulsive. The protagonist discovers that the Grey Men (villains from a previous novel) are using brainwashing to engineer the war, and so he uses the same technology to make the aliens see the positive aspects of humanity. Like our slimy sweat and flickering red tongues.
- Invoked in Who Goes There", the classic 1938 short story by John W. Campbell.
Blair: You are displaying the childish human weakness of hating the different. On its own world it would probably class you as a fish-belly, white monstrosity with an insufficient number of eyes and a fungoid body pale and bloated with gas. Just because its nature is different, you haven't any right to say it's necessarily evil.
- In the Courts of The Crimson Kings. A Martian biologist examines a captive human, and despite his similar bipedal form is squicked by such things as body hair and sweat.
- In CS Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet, Ransom is watching some tall, lithe, majestic Sorns walk toward him, and notices some very odd, short, chunky creatures walking alongside them with a gait that looked like piledrivers. He then realizes that the odd creatures were humans like himself, and that he'd spent so much time on Malacandra that he was now looking at humans with alien eyes.
- In the Myth Adventures short story "Myth Congeniality", the drop-dead-gorgeous Bunny is rated lowest in a cross-dimensional beauty contest, competing against females from hundreds of nonhuman and non-humanoid species. But she wins the prize anyway, being the only contestant who wasn't disqualified for cheating.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Home Soil": The ship is taken over by intelligent microscopic crystals that call humans (and every other sentient being on the Enterprise) "UGLY BAGS OF MOSTLY WATER".
- The Ferengi tend to find humans (and human-looking aliens) repulsive, and think those members who believe otherwise to be deviants.
(Lwaxana Troi and Deanna Troi have been captured and stripped naked)
Deanna: Why have you removed our clothing?
Guard: Females do not deserve the honor of clothing.
Lwaxana: They're as bad as humans. Look at that leer on his face.
Daimon Tog: Actually, his is a look of revulsion. But it is not a feeling that I share. (stares at them pervertedly)
- The first lines we hear from a Ferengi (whose ugly face is filling the viewscreen) is that the hideousness of humans has clearly not been exaggerated.
- In the same vein, the Founders of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine take this view among their more general Fantastic Racism against "solids".
- And in Star Trek: Enterprise, although humans aren't necessarily unattractive to Vulcans, they do smell terrible.
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has an alien say "Boy, humans are ugly!"
- This was the Karmic Twist Ending of a Twilight Zone episode called "The Eye of the Beholder", and to say anything else would be a spoiler.
- In Angel, the demon residents of Pylea consider humans repulsive. The Groosalugg is respected for his warrior prowess but shunned for his human-like looks (he's Estrogen Brigade Bait by our standards, Lorne describes him as the lovechild of Fabio and Keanu Reeves).
The Groosalugg: (confused that Cordelia finds him attractive) Don't you see this strange bulge in my arms? (points to his biceps) This strange curve in my mouth? (points to his mouth) My heart... beating in the wrong place? (puts Cordelia's hand over his heart)
- Naturally, Warhammer 40000 has it's own contributions to the trope. Orks, hulking fungus-beasts, view humans mostly with derison instead of outright disgust due to being less capable in combat, referring to them as pink and squishy, while the Eldar, massive specieist dicks that they are, view humans as ungainly, hairy beasts on top of being bumbling and stupid.
- The VUX from Star Control II think humans are so ugly and repulsive that they can't help but want them exterminated. Ironically, when the game starts, humanity thinks they're on bad terms with the VUX because, on first contact, the human captain involved insulted their looks, not knowing how advanced VUX Translator Microbes are. You have to pry the real reason out of them. Except for Admiral ZEX... who finds them rather attractive...
- Or remember the dialog when you first find a Spathi ship and you haven't allied with them yet.
- In Warcraft III, in the first orc mission, when encountering the quillboars in Kalimdor for the first time, one of the orcs commented on the curiosity of the new beings with, "At least they're prettier than the humans".
- In the prehistoric era of Chrono Trigger, the reptites (humanoid lizard beings) always call the humans "those hairless apes".
- HK-47, the Ensemble Darkhorse (and sociopathic droid) of Knights of the Old Republic calls humans "meatbags" and wonders how they can stand to walk around as sloshing bags of organs. He can even cause the player character to feel a moment of self-doubt.
- Mass Effect 2 has Garrus as a romance option for a female Shepard. He outright states that he finds humans ugly, but he's far more attracted to Shepard's personality than her face.
- In Tales of the Questor, Quentyn reacts to his new sidekick's, Sam, demands to respect her modesty when she is forced to bathe by him by noting that he finds nothing attractive in beings like Humans and Elves who look like naked rodents to him. However, when Sam emerges, Quentyn notes that her now clean bright blonde hair looks nice, and that if she had proper body fur someone could come after her for her pelt.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, one of Princess Voluptua's subordinates criticizes her for disguising herself as a human. "'Tis undignified for the heir apparent to dress like a monkey!"
- On the Gargoyles episode "The Mirror", Goliath mentions that he never realized Elisa was beautiful until she was turned into a gargoyle. She replies "You mean you thought I was ugly?" Goliath quickly changes the subject.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Band Geeks", Squidward's band ends up playing at a human football game.
Patrick: These are some ugly looking fish.
Spongebob: Maybe we're near one of those toxic waste dumps.
Mr. Krabs: I think I'm gonna be sick...
- The animated Earthworm Jim series revealed that Princess Whats-Her-Name was actually the sister of the Big Bad, the hideous Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-Filled, Malformed Slug-For-A-Butt. However, the Princess was born horribly deformed, with a slender body, pink skin, long red hair, and large eyes. Yeah, that's right: Everything that makes her an over-the-top cartoon hottie to humans makes her hideous to Insectikans.
- What the bugs from Thumbelina think of the title character after she's accidentally stripped of her bug disguise.
- This is Granamyr the Dragon King's opinion of humans in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. In one episode, a fellow dragon named Tor and a human girl named Lyra fall in love. Tor describes his sweetheart as "the loveliest and sweetest being I have ever known". Granamyr is baffled.
- In the Darkwing Duck episode "Twitching Channels", he and Megavolt are transported into our world and shrieks in terror at the "beakless mutants".
- Koko, the gorilla who knows sign language, dismissed the idea that humans are better than gorillas because the humans are so much uglier. In the same conversation, she said she doesn't think that humans are smarter, either, since Koko was the one who figured out how to talk to humans with sign language.
- Deconstructed by humanity's attitude to earthbound "alien" species, like cuttle fish, or trees. No one... Sorry. Almost no one would view them as sexy, but most think forest pictures are relaxing, and the exotics fascinating. And then there are the faster cars and aircraft... There is beauty in good design. Which is one of the places where our fascination with nature and science comes from. It doesn't make much sense to assume that any technologically advanced species could evolve without this trait.
- Otherkin, Therians, Na'vi-kin and other people with body identity disorders who believe themselves to belong to species other than the human race tend toward this. It's played for laughs in public, but...