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In recent years a fair number of lab jobs have opened for Goths, Punks, and other assorted non-comformists. Science isn't just for Hollywood Nerds, any more. Maybe related to One of Us.

In Real Life this may be partly due to the aforementioned modernistic sensibilities of certain subcultures, or possibly childhood fondness of pyrotechnics and the "chemistry lessons" of The Anarchist's Cookbook. Also, Punks in general tend not to be particularly religious and have far fewer scruples over things like evolutionary theory, stem cell research, and cloning, and a lot of them are used to needles (piercing needles, not neglecting the straight-edge crowd here).

While Goth subculture is not known for being modernistic, for the most dedicated of Goths, the benefits of having a job in forensic analysis (especially at crime scenes) would be considerable.

May also be related to the prevalence of punk-related imagery in many science fiction settings: Cyberpunk, Desert Punk, etc...

See also Bunny Ears Lawyer.

Examples of Misfit Lab Rat include:


  • SLC Punk!: Heroin Bob studied chemistry, which according to his best friend Steve-o was "the wrong ****ing major for a guy like him," who notoriously avoided any chemicals that didn't already come in beer or cigarettes.

Live Action TV

  • Abby Sciutto, the cute Perky Goth girl and Forensic Scientist in NCIS, probably embodies the essence of this trope (despite being Perky Goth and not Punk). Her love for her job appears to be less out of morbid fixation on the crime scene/murder element and more on the delightful puzzles it provides, as well as a grizzled, Marine sniper boss who protects her like the gothyboots-wearing daughter he never had.
    • Or like the daughter he did have, who was murdered while he was on deployment.
  • Nigel in Crossing Jordan shows definite signs of this trope.
  • Not really brought up these days, but back when he was The Lab Rat, Greg on CSI was a bit hardcore. There was actually a funny bit in one episode where he asked Grissom, who raises roaches as a hobby, if he could play some Black Flag. "Are you kidding?"
    • And in one episode he mentioned being fake-goth in high school, as a way to meet girls.

 Nick: How'd that work out for you?

Greg: If you act depressed to pick up get depressed chicks.

  • Vyvyan, the punk in The Young Ones, who is studying medicine. And when the boys throw a party, all his "medical student friends" that attend are punks too.
    • He even invented a miracle cure! (For people who suffer from not being crazy axemurderers, but still...)

Real Life

  • Seems like an Evolving Trope, since the first punks in mainstream media were pretty much straw punks (similarly with Goths at first and "Emo" kids today, though the "Emo" culture is not as strongly associated with science and medicine as Punk, it seems).
  • Similarly, in late 19th century Russia, a number of "nihilists" and other young "radicals" associated with them -- generally philosophical materialists -- were very much interested in the scientific world view and many of them became doctors or other medical professionals, seeing that as a constructive end that fit their philosophical predilections. This phenomenon made it into the political literature of the area (Russian novels and literary critiques under Tsarist censorship were often thinly disguised political and philosophical Author Tracts). A good example is Fathers And Sons by Turgenev. Also, Chernyshevsky's "What is to be Done?" These Russian nihilists had quite a bit in common with 20th century punk culture in other ways too.

Western Animation

  • In an episode of Daria, the titular character once imagined herself working at a gene-splicing lab in a possible future in which she was married (by common law) to Trent, who was still a failed musician.
    • Daria is of course neither a goth nor a punk, but "alternative" definitely fits her.
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