Created By: CaveCat on May 11, 2013 Last Edited By: CaveCat on July 27, 2013
Nuked

Our Gremlins Are Different

Gremlins by any other name, or gremlins without a mechanical bent.

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Trope

Gremlins tend to appear in just about nearly every form of media. However, sometimes, it appears that while gremlins do appear, they will sometimes act a lot different than how they traditionally act, or not actually be referred to as gremlins at all.

Compare/Contrast: Griping About Gremlins


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura the escaped Clow cards go around causing gremlin-esque havoc until they are captured.
  • In Jinrui Wa Suita Itashimashita, Small, adorable little creatures that are called fairies that use their limitless magical powers perform gremlin-like hijinks, including a penchant for machinery, are the cause of the collapse of human civilization to a post-apocalyptic/pre-industrial level.

Film - Animated
  • Stitch from Lilo & Stitch. Although he's an alien genetic experiment / intergalactic criminal, he looks and acts like a gremlin. By extension, the pantheon of almost 700 individual bred-for-havoc creatures that appear in the television spin-off would also be gremlins.
  • Hexxus from FernGully is an oily cloud, so he doesn't look very gremlin-like, but he is able to possess heavy machinery and control it.
  • In Hotel Transylvania, there is a senior citizen gremlin with a walker, who spends the whole movie eating things that belong to others, and then quietly saying "I didn't do that." with an innocent sleepy eyed smile.

Film - Live-Action
  • The titular Gremlins from Gremlins are as we can expect (mischievous, mean, and prone to mechanical sabotage). However, what's different is that there is a premature state (known as a Mogwai) that's fuzzy and not malicious.

Literature
  • Pierre Dubois' La Grande Encyclopedie des lutins describes gremlins among all of the other fey, as spirits of technology. They are mostly benevolent (most of "human" inventions were actually gifts from gremlins) but can turn vicious if enraged. On the illustrations they're depicted as tiny, anthropomorphic wrenches wearing jeans and a safety helmet, but they can assume any form, including an oil slick, a patch of rust, or a computer virus. They also like popcorn and video games, which makes them true oddballs among the usually conservative and nature-loving fey.

Live-Action TV
  • Dead Like Me has creatures called Gravelings that cause fatal accidents by sabotaging machinery or setting up dangerous traps.

Tabletop Games
  • Gretchin/Grots from Warhammer 40K might be an example. They're the 40K equivalent of goblins, but they man the orks' enormous warmachines, often with nothing more than oilcans, rags and wrenches.

Western Animation
  • Mr. Bogus may be a gremlin, but while he may be rather clumsy, he is never actually shown as being intentionally troublesome, instead being depicted as a Nice Guy and a Butt Monkey.
  • In the Gargoyles episode "M.I.A", Elisa meets a cab driver who was around during the London Blitz. On seeing a war memorial incorporating images of two gargoyles (one a perfect image of her friend Goliath) she asks if there were any gargoyles around in WWII. The cabbie says "They tell stories of gremlins and the like..."

Needs More Examples
Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • May 11, 2013
    DracMonster
    This ones Newer Than They Think, the concept was an invention of aviation mechanics in the early twentieth century. "Gremlins" were jokingly blamed for mechanical problems in aircraft as well as stealing misplaced tools and equipment. Some RP Gs have adopted them as monsters but there's no ancient mythology in this case.
  • May 11, 2013
    AmyGdala
    So this *isn't* for gremlins that are different? This is just for gremlins?
  • May 11, 2013
    CaveCat
    @Drac Monster: Uh, I think that's already in Griping About Gremlins.

    @Amy Gdala: Didn't you read the description and the examples? These gremlins are different and that's what this trope is about.
  • May 11, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^GAH! Reading comprehension FTW! Didn't know we had that, thought you were introducing a "works including gremlins" trope, My bad...

    Honestly though this may be Too Rare To Trope. For the gremlins movies, they just stuck the word in the titles, I don't think they're actually called that in the movies.
  • May 11, 2013
    rcmerod52
    • Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny fights a Gremlin in one of the shorts that is the WWII version. A mischievous prankster who messes up machinery for fun.
    • Ben 10 Omniverse: One of Ben's transformations looks and sounds like a typical gremlin, and is as gifted with fixing and repairing as he is with wrecking.
  • May 11, 2013
    Marz1200
    Is this necessary? All of the examples listed are already on Griping About Gremlins.
  • May 12, 2013
    AmyGdala
    These are examples of mischievous prankster monsters... one even says "looks and sounds like a typical gremlin"... how are these DIFFERENT from gremlins?
  • May 12, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^All I am trying to say is that this trope is in a similar vein as that of Our Dragons Are Different, Our Vampires Are Different, Our Werewolves Are Different, etc.
  • May 12, 2013
    DunDun
    ^Those tropes list the various "rules" to creating a "proper" dragon, vampire, werewolf, etc. The current draft just says "this is when gremlins are different." Well, that's not the same as Our Dragons Are Different or any of the other Our Indexes Are Different / Our Monsters Are Different.
  • May 13, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^The problem is, those are massively misused as "Look! This book has elves/vampires/dragons/whatever in it!" rather than specifying how they're non-standard. Everyone (including me, yes) is assuming that's what this is without reading the description properly. Maybe temporarily titling it Nonstandard Gremlins or something might help.
  • May 14, 2013
    SharleeD
    Part of the problem with this trope is that, like trolls, there doesn't seem to be much consensus about what a gremlin is in fiction. Even the original pilots' urban legends aren't particularly consistent with one another; saying that gremlins are nonstandard/different isn't very useful when there's no "standard" gremlin archetype, in the first place.
  • May 22, 2013
    herbides
    I'm not sure if this needs to be separate from "Griping About Gremlins" or if the description of that entry could simply stand to be broadened in scope to include things that are not explicitly named gremlins.

    Okay, for creatures that are like gremlins but different...

    Wouldn't Stitch from Disney's Movie "Lilo and Stitch" count? Although he's an alien genetic experiment / intergalactic criminal, he looks and acts like a gremlin. By extension, the pantheon of almost 700 individual bred-for-havoc creatures that appear in the television spin-off would also be gremlins.

    Disney actually made a different version of "Lilo and Stitch" called "Stitchi" in Japan which kept several of the main alien characters but replaced all this human characters and changed the setting of the story from Hawaii to Okinawa. In the spin-off show for "Stitchi" the minor aliens are all based off of Okinawan and Japanese folklore characters, but are still basically gremlins.

    Also in anime:
    • In "Cardcaptor Sakura" the escaped Clow cards go around causing gremlin-esque havoc until they are captured.
    • In "Jinrui wa suita itashimashita" Small, adorable little creatures that are called fairies that use their limitless magical powers perform gremlin-like hijinks, including a penchant for machinery, are the cause of the collapse of human civilization to a post-apocalyptic/pre-industrial level.

    In Live action: "Dead like me" has creatures called gravelins that cause fatal accidents by sabotaging machinery or setting up dangerous traps.

    In western animation:

    Hexxus from "Fern Gully" is an oily cloud, so he doesn't look very gremlin-like, but he is able to possess heavy machinery and control it.
  • May 22, 2013
    AP
    I am also having trouble figuring out what a standard Gremlin is. Keep in mind, I have similar hangups with Our Monsters Are Different and Our Dragons Are Different.

    I think a little revision could make this tropable, though.
  • May 22, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^If anyone can think of a better description, that's fine with me.
  • May 24, 2013
    thewriter
    it's Gravelings from Dead Like Me

  • June 5, 2013
    maxwellsilver
    Perhaps as a visual pun, a photo of an AMC Gremlin?

    Something like AMC's promotional Anatomy of a Gremlin?
  • June 7, 2013
    Skylite
    • In Hotel Transylvania, there is a senior citizen gremlin with a walker, who spends the whole movie eating things that belong to others, and then quietly saying "I didn't do that." with an innocent sleepy eyed smile.
  • June 12, 2013
    AmyGdala
    So, this page covers all cases where the word "gremlin" appears without referring to a traditional gremlin, all cases where traditional gremlins appear without the word gremlin and all cases were traditional gremlins appear with the name "gremlin"?
  • June 13, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^Yeah, something along those lines.
  • June 16, 2013
    Korodzik
    ^ I still don't understand how it's different from Griping About Gremlins, then.
  • June 17, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^Well, the point being that while Griping About Gremlins deals with gremlins being depicted as troublemakers, this trope deals with them sometimes acting differently than how they traditionally act.
  • June 17, 2013
    Korodzik
    ^ In that case it needs a new description, to make clear this is a trope about "non-traditional gremlins". ("Sometimes acting differently than how they traditionally act" is not strong enough to be singled out for an entire article IMHO. Gremlins which act non-traditionally all the time, are.) I'm still not 100% convinced, but just in case, here's a fitting non-traditional example (currently at Griping About Gremlins)

    Literature
    • Pierre Dubois' La Grande Encyclopedie des lutins describes gremlins among all of the other fey, as spirits of technology. They are mostly benevolent (most of "human" inventions were actually gifts from gremlins) but can turn vicious if enraged. On the illustrations they're depicted as tiny, anthropomorphic wrenches wearing jeans and a safety helmet, but they can assume any form, including an oil slick, a patch of rust, or a computer virus. They also like popcorn and video games, which makes them true oddballs among the usually conservative and nature-loving fey.
  • June 24, 2013
    Deltadiamond
    ^ Agrees. Maybe the trope should be changed to refer to gremlins (or extremely similar creatures) whose main difference is in their behavior, as that seems to be the main characteristic of gremlins to begin with.
  • June 28, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Here's a suggested laconic description based on my understanding of the distinction between this and Griping About Gremlins:

    "Gremlins by any other name, or gremlins without a mechanical bent."

    The Looney Tunes and Ben 10 examples under "Western Animation" should probably be struck from the draft and kept in Griping About Gremlins. The other examples look valid.
  • June 30, 2013
    Diask
  • July 14, 2013
    Chabal2
    Gretchin/Grots from Warhammer 40 K might be an example. They're the 40K equivalent of goblins, but they man the orks' enormous warmachines, often with nothing more than oilcans, rags and wrenches.
  • July 18, 2013
    littlemissmuffet
    • In the Gargoyles episode "M.I.A", Elisa meets a cab driver who was around during the London Blitz. On seeing a war memorial incorporating images of two gargoyles (one a perfect image of her friend Goliath) she asks if there were any gargoyles around in WWII. The cabbie says "They tell stories of gremlins and the like..."
  • July 18, 2013
    Larkmarn
    The Gremlins example is wrong... Gizmo's a mogwai, not a Gremlin. However, the film could still count, since Gremlins having a relatively docile immature state is definitely different.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=gixvvpyjvtqu2lp616144mxr&trope=OurGremlinsAreDifferent