Created By: lexicon on July 23, 2012 Last Edited By: lu127 on December 1, 2012
Troped

Fat Comic Relief

A fat character acts as a Comic Relief in some fashion.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
[Note: This trope already exists but it was agreed that it was launched prematurely so we're going to get rid of the Zero Context Examples. If you come across a ZCE and know about the show, please add to it!]

[All that needs to be done now is namespacing, and again, filling out some more of the remaining Zero Context Examples. If nobody fills them out by the time of launching, they will be outright removed. But, the main problem is, I have no idea how to do the kind of launch this trope needs. It needs to replace The Fat Guy, with the new name of course, WITHOUT the original name being a redirect. Please, someone help.]

When it comes to children's media and the like, it seems that whenever there's a gang of lead characters there's always one person that's fatter than the rest of the cast.

This person is usually male, and he or she'll almost always be the Butt Monkey/Chew Toy/Plucky Comic Relief - often, though not always, through their Big Eater and Gasshole tendencies.

Note that just because a character is both fat and a Butt Monkey, that does not mean they apply for this trope. Butt Monkeys can be played straight or for sympathy, in which case they are not seen as Acceptable Targets, and so do not qualify.

Additionally, their fatness and their status as a Plucky Comic Relief or Butt Monkey must be related in some way. For example, a Butt Monkey who is picked on because he is fat would qualify (if Played for Laughs), but one who is picked on for some unrelated reason (like for being a Nerd) without consideration for of weight would not.

These are usually found in comedies, often children's media and sitcoms.

Closely related to Fat Girl. A Sister Trope to Fat Idiot. You'll often find these kids gobbling up the ammo of a Food Fight. Can sometimes be Obsessed with Food. If the series takes place in school, expect them to be the most frequent target of The Bully. See also Big Fun.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Choji from Naruto is the only overweight member of the Konoha 11, but hates being called fat. He comes from a traditionally overweight clan who have mastered using their size to amplify their attacks, and using their attacks to amplify their size.

Film
  • The first child to find his golden ticket in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film adaptations is Augustus Gloop, a gluttonous and fat German chocolate-eating boy. He's eliminated by drowning in a chocolate river, just like in the novel.
  • The premise of the movie Heavyweights is more or less to feature a whole camp of these guys, although the main character Gerry Gardner is the most iconic.
  • Horace from The Monster Squad, who gets bullied by E.J. in the beginning of the film.
  • Pumbaa from The Lion King also counts, being a Gasshole of sorts.
  • Tommy Boy: "Fat man in a little coat...." The movie put the title character in some hilarious situations (such as struggling to use an airliner restroom) due to his extreme corpulence.

Literature
  • Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - the narrative outright berates him over this.
  • Piggy from Lord of the Flies is an intellectual, with poor eyesight, a weight problem, and asthma. He is the most physically vulnerable of all the boys. Despite his voice of reason, he lacks leadership qualities so his advice ends up being completely ignored.
  • Rowley Jefferson from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series generally fills this role. The fact that Greg Heffley is more-or-less stuck with him as a best friend is a constant indicator of Greg's unpopularity.
  • Chet Morton from the Hardy Boys books is regularly described as fat and is a comic relief character. He's a clumsy Big Eater and his Fleeting Passionate Hobbies serve as a Running Gag.

Live-Action TV

Music

Professional Wrestling

  • WWE had Big Dick Johnson, A large, Oily, Dancing fat man..... In a thong.

Video Games
  • Super Mario: Mario is always described as being portly or chubby even though his current model has slimmed him down considerably from his earlier days. Wario, as an exaggerated bizarro Mario, takes the fatness and runs with it as a Gasshole and Comic Relief character.
  • Barry Wheeler from Alan Wake. He's the heaviest character in the game and has the greatest tendency to do wacky things, like talk to a cardboard cutout of Alan or cover himself in Christmas lights to ward off the Taken.
  • Big the Cat from Sonic the Hedgehog has been used as a Funny Background Event in some games.

Web Animation

Western Animation
  • George Pie from Battletoads, who is completely inept at sports. Interestingly enough, he becomes the Mighty Glacier when he transforms.
  • South Park's Eric Cartman is the butt of many jokes about his weight,
  • The Simpsons has Homer, a combination Fat Idiot Fat Slob Big Eater Bumbling Dad, who serves as the comic relief within his family and his workplace.
  • Owen from Total Drama Island is both a Big Eater and a Gasshole, which are his main sources of humor, as well as being a very prominent Plucky Comic Relief character in the series.
  • Harold from Hey Arnold! outweighs the other kids and was initially shown as a bully, but is consistently portrayed as stupid, bratty, and unable to control himself from eating.
  • Shirley in Shaun the Sheep. She is so large she gets wedged in sheepruns and between gateposts - being a Big Eater, it's not surprising. She also makes for a useful trampoline.
  • Mikey from Recess is the fattest kid in the bunch, and he is definitely a comic relief character, many jokes revolving around him overeating--including one in the show's opening where he belches.
  • Harold from All Grown Up! as the only overweight character and Angelica's Butt Monkey. He's also the only regular cast member thats not from the original Rugrats.
  • Family Guy:
    • Stewie at one point had a "job" which consisted of following fat guys around while playing a tuba. The fat guys would pay him to go away.
    • The trope itself is inverted within the Griffin family - Lois is the only thin member, and thus the Only Sane Man (at first, anyway). Out of all of them, Meg gets her Butt Monkey status the most.
Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • July 23, 2012
    acrobox
    Video Game examples:

    • Tommy from Snowboard Kids.
    • David Mariner from Wave Race
    • Mario is always described as being portly or chubby even though his current model has slimmed him down considerably from his earlier days. Wario, as an exaggerated Bizzaro Mario, takes the fatness and runs with it as a Gasshole and Comic Relief character.
  • July 23, 2012
    acrobox
    Harold from All Grown Up as the only overweight character and Angelica's Butt Monkey. He's also the only regular cast member thats not a carry over from the original Rugrats
  • July 23, 2012
    acrobox
    Choji from Naruto is the only overweight member of the Konoha 11, but hates being called fat. Comes from a traditionally overweight clan who have mastered using their size to amplify their attacks, and using their attacks to amplify their size.
  • July 23, 2012
    lexicon
    Zero Context Examples will not be added and will be deleted. Each example needs to say how the fat character is being looked down on. Suggestions for a better name would be appreciated.
  • July 23, 2012
    randomsurfer
    On Family Guy Stewie at one point had a "job" which consisted of following fat guys around while playing a tuba. The fat guys would pay him to go away.
  • July 24, 2012
    acrobox
    the being looked down upon/being called out for being fat seems supplemenetary to me.

    isnt this more about the Tokeness of having only one Fat guy per team as if its a gender or ethnic group. Like the Smurfette Principle or the Token Minority.

    Especially considering in the US statistically obesity and fatness are on the rise and its not uncommon for more two or more unrelated fat people to hang out together.
  • July 24, 2012
    Rognik
    ^It's a little more than this. There is a definite trend for The Fat Guy to be a joke or Butt Monkey. It's more than just token-ness.
  • July 27, 2012
    BlueGuy
    Alright, I'm the guy who made and launched the original, so I've gone and improved this quite a bit.

    Should we re-launch it or wait a bit more?
  • July 27, 2012
    lexicon
    It's not nearly time to re-launch it. Everything that says, title of show: name of character needs to be added to so it says how he applies or be deleted. Also if it just says, outweighs the rest of the school, fits the mold perfectly, is rather chunky himself, is always described as being portly or chubby, it's a Zero Context Example and needs to say how the other characters or story look down on him.
  • September 15, 2012
    KTera
    • Barry Wheeler from Alan Wake. He's the heaviest character in the game and has the greatest tendency to do wacky things, like talk to a cardboard cutout of Alan or cover himself in Christmas lights to ward off the Taken.

  • September 15, 2012
    SneakySquirrel
  • October 25, 2012
    PPPSSC
    I don't think PJ from A Goofy Movie actually fits. He is a Butt Monkey, but it's played almost entirely seriously, and has almost nothing to do with his weight: the person who torments him the most, his dad, is just as fat as he is and picks on him for being sensitive and because he has power over him.

    His weight is more or less treated like an afterthought, and any Big Eater jokes are brief one-liners--exactly one of which occurred in both movies listed combined. PJ's major role in the series (which revolves around fathers and sons) is as an example of someone who is badly affected by child abuse (in order to show how lucky Max is to have Goofy as a dad), and he is deliberately the least funny character in the entire cast (he has funny moments, but they're not his main draw).

    The universe itself has huge amounts of sympathy for him, and the only characters who deliberately pick on him are the series antagonists.

    Note that I am someone who has seen the majority of the source show, which may be coloring my perceptions a little differently than someone who has only seen the movies.
  • October 25, 2012
    PPPSSC
    Now onto ones I think do fit that need expanding:

    • Owen from Total Drama Island is both a Big Eater and a Gasshole, which are his main sources of humor, as well as being a very prominent Plucky Comic Relief character in the series.
    • Harold from Hey Arnold outweighs the other kids and was initially shown as a bully, but is consistently portrayed as stupid, bratty, and unable to control himself from eating.
    • Mikey from Recess is the fattest kid in the bunch, and he is definitely a comic relief character, many jokes revolving around him overeating--including one in the show's opening where he belches.

    (TJ just doesn't fit at all. He's the main character and has a standard main character personality. Not a big enough Recess fan to judge Kurst the Worst, though).
  • October 25, 2012
    McKathlin
    See also Big Fun.
  • October 25, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    Looks to me that most of the Zero Context Examples have been fixed, but there are still a few more that need fixing.

    Let's focus our attention to fixing those, I mean sure, add examples if you can think of them, but try to focus on fixing those so we can finally fix The Fat Guy page.
  • October 25, 2012
    PPPSSC
    I guess I'm unclear on two things:

    1. How important is it that the Butt Monkey version of this character is Played For Laughs?

    2. How important is it that the fatness is in some way related to their status as a Butt Monkey or Plucky Comic Relief character?
  • October 26, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    ^ 1. The trope's called Fat Comic Relief so, it's very important that it's Played For Laughs.

    2. Well, again, the trope's called Fat Comic Relief. If they're not fat, it's not an example. So it's pretty important. The thing is though, the Butt Monkey or Plucky Comic Relief character part needs to be related to the fatness in some way, moreso for Butt Monkey. Let's say the other characters pick on him because he's fat, but it's Played For Laughs. If their Butt Monkey status is not played for laughs, then it's not an example. The Plucky Comic Relief part is different though, That's where the Big Eater and Gasshole traits are common; it's related to the fatness because, well, overeating is associated with fat people, and then there's the trope Fat Slob. For the Butt Monkey side of the trope, those traits are not as common, but can be there.
  • October 26, 2012
    PPPSSC
    Okay, that's what I thought. Trope name suggests it, but the description itself is a little vague. In that case, PJ from A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie is definitely not an example and needs to be removed. (Am I allowed to delete it myself? Not really a regular of YKTTW.)
  • October 26, 2012
    PPPSSC
    More Zero Context Example expansions:

    I'm having difficulty expanding Uter seeing as how he showed up so infrequently.
  • October 26, 2012
    DracMonster
    Fat Butt Monkey!

    Damn you, snowclone ban! Damn you I say!
  • October 26, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    @PPPSSC: Yeah I think the description should mention something like I said, mentioning that this trope comes from fat people being Acceptable Targets, and their association with overeating, and the trope Fat Slob. I'm not really good at making descriptions, so I tagged the trope with "Description Needs Help", but if nobody tries I will. Also anyone can edit the YKTTW, just in most circumstances, the author of the YKTTW does it, but when it seems like the author isn't around, I just jump in and edit it myself. But that's just me. I removed PJ by the way and added your expansions. I also made Homer go before Uter, because everyone knows Homer.

    @Drac Monster: Fat Buttmonkey! Damn it! That would have been funny. But also in a way it wouldn't fit the trope 100% because this trope isn't just about fat people who are Buttmonkies Played For Laughs. It's also Plucky Comic Relief.
  • October 26, 2012
    DracMonster
    Portly Comic Relief! Gah! Curses, foiled again!

    EDIT: Wait, actually, could that one pass? This is fairly "compatible" with Plucky Comic Relief.
  • October 26, 2012
    PPPSSC
    I like Fat Comic Relief better than Fat Butt Monkey, because 1. The Butt Monkey must be comic relief. 2. The comic relief does not need to be a Butt Monkey.

    Whatever. It's still a huge improvement over The Fat Guy. The name itself is pretty clear, I think. It's mostly just the description that needs work, but I'm not really good at making descriptions.

    I'll take a crack at a couple improvement paragraphs anyway:

    Note that just because a character is both fat and a Butt Monkey, that does not mean they are this trope. Butt Monkeys can be played straight or for sympathy, in which case they are not seen as Acceptable Targets, and so do not qualify.

    Additionally, their fatness and their status as a Plucky Comic Relief or Butt Monkey must be related in some way. For example, a Butt Monkey who is picked on because he is fat would qualify (if Played For Laughs), but one who is picked on for some unrelated reason (like being a Nerd) without consideration for his weight would not.

    This is just a draft, and if other people think I missed the spirit of the trope in these additions, they can rewrite or change them.
  • October 27, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    ^ With a few minor changes, I added it there. Maybe this will stop the examples that don't even apply such as PJ.

    Also, on a related note, does Augustus Gloop even apply for this trope? I mean, the kid drowned in a chocolate river. I don't think that was supposed to be played for laughs, even if in the end he did make it out okay. I'm a lot more familiar with the 70s film than the 2000s film, but in the 70s film I don't really remember him being funny, and the only line from him I actually remember is "HURRY UP I'M STARVING" in the tiny door room.
  • October 27, 2012
    PPPSSC
    I don't know. I think Charlie And The Chocolate Factory as a whole (though I'm more familiar with the book and the second film) does play the Butt Monkey "loser" characters for laughs even though they do end up attacked in pretty major ways. They were intended to be completely unlikable and the Oompa-Loompas' canonical songs (which I don't remember if they were actually in the first film or not) were basically huge Take Thats to all of them. I seem to remember him being pretty funny re: being a Big Eater, and the Acceptable Targets aspect is definitely covered. Though, I'm not sure if that's not just another example of Fat Bastard instead...

  • October 27, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    ^Yeah I just remember him as a Fat Bastard
  • October 28, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Film

    Tommy Boy: "Fat man in a little coat...." The movie put the title character in some hilarious situations (such as struggling to use an airliner restroom) due to his extreme corpulence.
  • October 28, 2012
    PPPSSC
    I went ahead and fixed The King of Town example because Examples Are Not Arguable and it didn't make it clear enough that he was intended to be comical.

    On a related note to Augustus Gloop, what about Neville Longbottom? I really don't think he was a Butt Monkey because of his weight. Actually, I don't remember if he was even fat in the books, or just in the movies.
  • October 31, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    I'm almost thinking of just removing the Zero Context Examples and launching this, before The Fat Guy has a lot of wicks. Thing is it needs to replace The Fat Guy... I know how to launch, but The Fat Guy should not be a redirect. That trope was a total mistake and was launched extremely prematurely; Fat Comic Relief is fine as it is right now, or at least much better off than The Fat Guy ever was. Heck, looking at the history of it, even more people keep adding Zero Context Examples, and at that, only BECAUSE the character is fat. Due to the horrible name.

    And about Neville Longbottom, I'm not familiar with Harry Potter, but I have a friend who is. I'll ask him about it when I get the chance. If he is an example, I'll have my friend try to expand it, but thing is he's not a troper.

    EDIT: I talked to my friend. He said that Neville is not an example, since him being a buttmonkey is more from him being clumsy, so I removed him.
  • November 5, 2012
    PPPSSC
    I think it's almost ready to launch, but there's one non-zero-context example that I still think needs closer evaluation:

    I don't think Piggy from Lord Of The Flies is an example either. He at least is a Butt Monkey because of his weight (at least in part), and he doesn't seem to be played that sympathetically... at first. But by the end of the book, Piggy's state certainly isn't Played For Laughs anymore... This one's a little more borderline than some others but I'm pretty sure he's not one, at least not a straight example, though he could be a Subversion or Deconstruction, I guess.

    Also, I'm wondering: what, if any, is the connection between this trope and Fat Best Friend?
  • November 9, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    I never read Lord Of The Flies, but from reading that, I take it that Piggy is a Subversion. But one thing, was the Butt Monkeyness meant to be funny in the book?

    There is definitely a connection, mainly when it's a type A or C Fat Best Friend. A Type B Fat Best Friend can still be this trope if they are a Butt Monkey Played For Laughs for their weight. But usually, the Type B is sympathetic.
  • November 9, 2012
    PPPSSC
    See, that's the thing that I think is "borderline". He's considered an Acceptable Target in-universe, and I'm not sure whether the audience is intended to laugh along with the crowds until hitting the climactic parts and realizing... oh, crap. It's not played blatantly for sympathy like a certain character I joined this YKTTW specifically to get removed, but considering the level of misuse this trope received, it might be better safe than sorry.

    Would it be okay to say "Compare Fat Best Friend Type A and C. Contrast Fat Best Friend Type B, who is usually played sympathetically."? I'm not sure about how to deal with soft-split tropes like that, especially not ones that cover personality types so polarizing that potholes are useless.
  • November 10, 2012
    DrunkDeathClaw
    Professional Wrestling

    • WWE had Big Dick Johnson, A large, Oily, Dancing fat man..... In a thong.
  • November 14, 2012
    PPPSSC
    Don't want this YKTTW to get lost. I'm going to go ahead and add a hat, since it seems like most of the major problems have been ironed out.
  • November 14, 2012
    surgoshan
    • New Girl's Schmidt had this role in college. Years later, his college friends still treat him this way, even though he's lost all the weight, and explicitly make him talk about the way he used to look.
  • November 14, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Western Animation

    Bill on King of the Hill is definitely the Butt Monkey of the show (when Dale Gribble isn't, at least), but his weight is viewed more with pity or sadness than anything (due to his backstory "glory days" when he was a fit star football player in high school, and how he'd let himself go since then--and not just physically).

    (So in other words, I'm not sure if this fits or not.)

    Also, in regards to Family Guy, Peter's weight is often played for humor as well--much more so than Chris's is, or Meg's (although I'd argue with the idea that she's depicted as overweight--more "Plain Jane" and awkward than anything--except according to the standards pushed by fashion models (where just about everyone else would also be considered "overweight") or some of her bitchy teen peers).
  • November 14, 2012
    PPPSSC
    ^ I don't think Bill is an example. Like you said, he is played for sympathy a good portion of the time. Overall, I think his status is played straight.

    ^^ Not sure if that's a Zero Context Example or not.

    By the way, I edited the YKTTW to fix a redlink in Norm's description.
  • November 24, 2012
    lu127
    <Mod Hat>

    If we can't add context, then remove the Zero Context Examples. Please namespace everything and fix Example Indentation before launching.
  • November 24, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    ^ I'd launch it myself, but this is supposed to outright replace The Fat Guy. So what do I do? How does one remove a page? All 68 wicks and the page itself need to be totally removed, or at least replaced by this trope if they still apply, since, while The Fat Guy was obviously trying to be the trope this YKTTW is changing it to, the description was very unclear, implying it to essentially be like a Spear Counterpart to Fat Girl. That's it. In addition, The Fat Guy should not be a redirect. We kind of need to pretend that it was never launched; as it was launched when it was nowhere near ready.
  • November 27, 2012
    DouglasFir
  • November 28, 2012
    lu127
    <Mod Hat>

    After this is launched, the wikilinks pointing to The Fat Guy, will have to be replaced (if they fit this trope) or deleted (if they don't). That's a manual procedure, not automated. Point is, we can launch this after the namespaces are fixed. We'll deal with The Fat Guy then.
  • December 1, 2012
    lu127
    Alright, I removed the bad examples. This is good to go.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=01znah6kwkgmmjlwnys0lr8u&trope=FatComicRelief