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File:Martian oreo 9883.jpg

Chancellor Gorkon: I offer a toast. The undiscovered country...the future.

Everyone: The undiscovered country.

Spock: Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1.

Chancellor Gorkon: You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him In the Original Klingon.

An alien character (or an entire race) who is shown to enjoy specific things relating to human culture. A direct subtrope of Alien Arts Are Appreciated, when it's the aliens who like human culture. Perhaps it's a certain food, or a certain activity. When played straight, this can be used to allow an alien character and a human to bond, showing that they are Not So Different. Or this can be Played for Laughs, when an alien who has little grasp of human culture and social conventions suddenly shows himself very aware of a certain pop culture element, or addicted to some human activity the viewer would not think him capable of grasping.

This doesn't have to be precisely limited to aliens, as the trope can also apply with any race, species, or society that have a culture which is otherwise very different from humans.

Compare Fan of the Past, which can serve a similar narrative purpose. Can sometimes lead to Going Native. Compare Alien Catnip when the subject is actually addictive.

Examples of Klingons Love Shakespeare include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Death Note, the Death God Ryuk has a strange addiction to apples. Though apples do exist in the Death God world, they're just dry and taste like sand.
  • Mephisto Pheles from Blue Exorcist is an otaku.
  • Pretty much every alien in Nyarko San. Human entertainment is considered the best in the universe, so good that its import has to be restricted (else we'd pry never keep up with demand). Plus, y'know, it's best we don't know what kind of creatures our loving fans are.

Comic Books

  • The Martian Manhunter is known for his love - sometimes bordering on addiction - of Oreo (or occasionally Choco) cookies.
  • Xavin from Runaways has said that Starbucks is Earth's greatest achievement.
    • Not just earth, but the entire galaxy's. and considering that it's marvel so each of those planets is somewhat inhabited, that's high praise.
  • An early Fantastic Four story revealed that a bunch of shapeshifting Skrulls became so enamored with 1920s gangster culture, they themed an entire planet after it. Caused some severe Mind Screw for the heroes themselves when they visited.

Film

  • In Meet Joe Black, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death develops an intense love of peanut butter during his time as a human.
  • The Prawns in District 9 love cat food, which affects them as a drug.
  • Pretty much the entire premise of Paul. Justified though as Paul is the source of most of the late 20th century pop culture.
  • The titular alien from Starman goes into a near orgasmic joy over Dutch apple pie.

Literature

  • The Hokas in stories by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson are an ancient and noble alien race that just happen to look like teddy bears. They love human literature but can't quite seem to grasp that fiction isn't real. As a result they often act out scenes from famous books, with comically chaotic results.
  • In Poul Anderson's Technic History stories, the alien Adzel (who looks like a large centauroid dragon) is a Buddhist (which naturally he learned about from humans). He spent some time on Earth studying human culture.
  • In David Brin's Uplift series, poetry composed by uplifted Dolphins is one of the most sought after artforms in the Milky Way.
  • Played for Laughs in Animorphs--Ax and other Andalites don't have a sense of taste when in their normal forms, but can become crazy trying to eat things when in human morph. In the final book it mentions that Andalites sometimes vacation on Earth just so that they can become humans for a while and try Cinnabuns. (Buns. Bunzzzz...)
  • In the Harry Potter series, Arthur Weasley's love for Muggle culture seems to be patterned after this trope. He is fascinated by Muggles and how they can survive without magic and desperately tries to understand how technology works by disassembling muggle devices and enchanting them.
  • The satyrs Newel and Doren in Fablehaven love TV--they're technically not supposed to watch it, but they have a portable TV and Seth smuggles them batteries. They also later fall in love with human junk food, to the point of using "FRITO-LAAAAY!" as a battle cry.
  • A terrestrial example: In The Destroyer, Master Chiun profoundly despises everything from the West anywhere but Korea, with one big exception: sappy American TV soap operas. He says to Remo it's "the only worthwhile thing your culture has ever produced".
  • In Way Station, Ulysses is a member of species that adapt to almost anything, can digest almost anything, but he considers well-prepared coffee to be the best food in the entire known universe.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's The Stars Are Cold Toys, one insectoid alien race loves art. They especially love landscapes drawn by human artists. Any landscapes. There is a huge team of artists on Earth that essentially draws the same trees in the forest, over and over and over. They try to actually put some artistic inspiration into it, but it's actually not necessary, since the aliens in question appreciate more the paint's structure, the brush strokes and so on. Selling those landscapes is a large part of Earth's income (But then again, humanity is like Indians in this setting)
  • Many alien species in the Young Wizards series love chocolate. In fact, getting chocolate is the primary reason behind most alien abductions.
    • One of the novels has two aliens enjoying a teen girl fashion magazine: the walking tree likes it because of the eye searing colors it contains, and the giant centipede enjoys the flavors of the inks and paper the magazine is made from.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry is able to compel minor Faeries, and eventually win over an entire cadre of the little folk to become his staunch allies, largely by trading upon their passionate love of pizza.
  • In John Ringo's Troy Rising series, the only product Earth has to offer that an alien species is willing to buy is maple syrup... and for the aliens in question the syrup is like a fine malt whiskey mixed with heroin.
  • In The Ship Who Sang there is one instance where the titular ship transported a group of Shakespeare players to perform Romeo and Juliet for an alien race who resemble methane breathing jellyfish in exchange for a new power generation technology. And did I mention that they needed to transfer their brainwaves to alien bodies to perform?

Live Action TV

  • Happens a few times in Star Trek, which gave us the Trope Namer:
    • Klingons in general enjoy Shakespeare. His plays, translated into Klingon, enjoy great popularity. The Klingon Big Bad of Star Trek VI even spends most of the movie quoting Shakespeare, much to McCoy's annoyance. The single exception to this is Romeo and Juliet, which is actively despised by Klingons. Whereas humans see it as the tale of two tragic, star-crossed lovers doomed to die, Klingons see it as two children act like honorless ptaq who put "love" ahead of family loyalty and duty and thereby dishonor their parents.
    • Worf in particular is an avid drinker of prune juice, which he calls a warrior's drink.
    • Klingons also seem to like coffee to the point of having adapted their own version of it (which is also drunk by some humans, coming full circle).
    • Odo enjoys Kayaking as well as Mickey Spillane novels.
    • Nog enjoys Root Beer. Quark disapproves of it, calling it a cloying, bubbly, sickly sweet force bent on corrupting the core of Ferengi culture.
      • Quark admits one episode if you drink enough root beer you get to like it, suggesting he drinks it too. Also his brother Rom loves sausage and pancakes.
  • Saturday Night Live's Coneheads are fond of American culture, and humanity in general, to the point of pretending that Earth has an incredibly powerful defence laser network and faking their own death so as to stay here instead of invading. Their daughter, on the other hand, was born and raised here, and she absolutely hates her parent's homeworld.
    • They especially like beer, which they drink a six-pack at a time.
    • In the film, the immigration officer's assistant is stranded on their homeworld as a slave and is extremely enthusiastic about helping the evil alien overlord manage his schedule, once he knows that Earth is no longer at risk.
  • Teal'c of Stargate SG-1 is stoic, and easily confused by human proverbs and metaphors and the most basic of human customs. He is also an avid fan of Star Wars, which he has watched 9 times in his first 5 years on earth. In fact, when someone mentions an immaculate conception, he immediately thinks of Darth Vader. He is also a fan of Die Hard - knowing the films well enough to recognize John McClane by name. Humourously pointing it out when Daniel Jackson (earthling, born and bred) completely misses the reference.
  • Ronnon Dex of Stargate Atlantis is shown to be intially puzzled by but later entertained by golf after being introduced to it by Sheppard.
  • Babylon 5 has some interesting examples amongst the alien ambassadors.
    • Ambassador Delenn reads Earther news publications because she finds it's a better source of relevant information than her own government sources, even when dealing with matters from her own homeworld.
    • G'Kar is shown to enjoy a smattering of human culture (especially human women), along with a smattering of pretty much everybody else's culture, too. At one point, he Stock Quotes the W.B. Yeats poem "The Second Coming" to N'Toth, commenting that "Humans are wiser than we suspected."
      • Also, Swedish meatballs. Which are identical to a Narn delicacy called "breen". Apparently, most humanoid species develop a dish identical to them. I guess the Vorlons just really like Swedish meatballs.
    • Vir becomes very fond of Shirley Temples when he is driven to drink.
  • In Angel, Lorne is a demon who was accidentally sucked through an interdimensional portal to Earth, where he immediately fell in love with show tunes, flash, and showbiz culture. On his world, music is actually considered a kind of terrifying abherration. When he first got to our world, having never heard music before, he was so fascinated that he opened a karaoke bar. Of course, it turned out that his species could read a person's future from their singing, but he was the first to realise.
    • His species does have dancing, though. It's...not very good.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor enjoys quite a lot about Earth culture.
    • He enjoys a Spot of Tea as much as an actual Britishman.
    • He craves various Earth sweets, ranging from jelly babies to jammy dodgers. He hates pears, though.
    • He loves a number of authors, including Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and JK Rowling.
    • The Master, on the other hand, absolutely adores the Teletubbies. "Have you seen these things? This planet is amazing! Televisions in their stomachs, now that's evolution!"


Tabletop Games

  • In Traveller the Vilani (who are Transplanted Humans rather then aliens proper but Tropes Are Flexible) learn to love Terran computer design. Vilani computers are overspecialized (their computers are designed to handle one specific task) whereas Terran computers can be used to play games, talk on the net, watch videos or play music, and do accounting, all with the same operating system.

Video Games

  • A couple times in Mass Effect 2.
    • Doctor Mordin Solus is a weird case, in that he admits to having a negligible personal interest in cultural studies, but he did some Gilbert and Sullivan as part of a cross-species cultural exploration. Watch him perform his version of "Modern Major General".
    • Asari love Egyptian artifacts.
    • Inverted with Grunt, a krogan whose race is known to eat practically anything (something he himself admits to be willing to do) and be almost immune to food poisoning, is grossed out by the mere sight of ramen noodles and refuses to eat them.

  "It looks like... worms. Dead ones. Do humans actually eat that?"

    • An actual Shakespeare example occurs in an advertisement for a performance of Hamlet with an all Elcor cast. Note that Elcor speak in a flat monotone at all times, thus making this a terrifying prospect. However, it is a runaway hit.
  • In The Space Bar, it's noted on a number of occasions that aliens have some odd obsession with Jerry Lewis and think all of his films are hilarious and wonderful.
  • Briefly mentioned in Sword of the Stars with the Tarka regarding Archilochus and to some extent Roman Catholicism. The Hivers also enjoy human fermented foodstuffs, though they get drunk off cheese rather than wine.
  • The unggoy in Halo have a black market built around human soap operas, sitcoms, and the like. This probably has more to do with them being tasked to monitor UNSC communications and their superiority at learning (and therefore familiarity with human language) compared to the rest of the covenant than any fondness of humanity.

Web Comics

  • In Spacetrawler, Dmitri licenses a recipe for Russian tea cookies to an alien bakery. In the Framing Story, it's mentioned in passing that Russian tea cookies went on to become wildly popular on a number of planets.
  • Buck Godot: Humans were the only race in the universe to invent frozen popsicles. The idea was wildly popular, and now when humans throw a party, even their enemies will come by for dessert.
  • Homestuck: Thanks to John's influence, Vriska develops a love for B-movies. Well, those featuring Nicholas Cage anyway.

Western Animation

  • In Futurama, the aliens of Omicron Perseid 8 love 20th century human sitcoms, going to war with humanity over missing the finale of Single Female Lawyer. (Then again, they go to war over lots of things...)
    • Zoidberg's species love of anchovies was so great it caused the anchovies' extinction.
  • Ariel from The Little Mermaid and her entire cave filled with human artifacts salvaged from shipwrecks.
  • Kid vs. Kat: the cat is an alien masquerading as a pet. He still manages to acquire an addiction for the Fishy Frisky Bits cat food, and most of his plans center around transporting as much of it back to his homeworld.
  • On Young Justice, M'Gann/Miss Martian has apparently been watching a human sitcom called Hello, Megan! since it aired in the 70's. This helps to explain her Girl Next Door mannerisms and Catch Phrase.
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