Created By: NightShade96 on May 19, 2017 Last Edited By: NightShade96 on June 15, 2017
Troped

Black Comedy Animal Cruelty

Animal cruelty Played For Laughs.

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trope
Normally, animal cruelty is a serious topic and is presented as such in most works. However, this is not the case with these instances in some works, which play animal cruelty for laughs.

This may lead to a Dude, Not Funny! moment if other characters in the work are disgusted by it. However, it's slightly less disturbing if the abused animal is a Jerkass who gets a karmic punishment at the hand of the abuser.

Compare Bad People Abuse Animals and Amusing Injuries. Also related to That Poor Cat, which is a comedic Stock Sound Effect of an animal in distress (most often a cat yowling in fear or pain). The oblivious version is And Call Him "George"!. A subtrope of Black Comedy.

For instances where one animal abuses other animal, it only counts as this trope when the abuser is higher on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism than the victim, but not when the two animals are equally anthropomorphic.

Examples

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     Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece: At first, Boa Hancock kicking a cat out of her way is played as horrific, but then later, after it's revealed that she's a Broken Bird beneath all her harsh attitude, she's then shown kicking a puppy and a baby seal and it's Played for Laughs.

     Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Iago the parrot endures a lot of violence from Jafar - most apparent in the scene where he is violently smashed between a door closed by Jafar in a way that would kill a normal bird and clearly hurts Iago. However, Jafar never seems to have the intent to hurt Iago per se, it's more that he, out of his narcissism, doesn't care about Iago at all and treats him recklessly.
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: When George and Harold introduce their bullying principal Mr. Krupp, their brief show of just how nasty he can be is a handmade comic of him torching a kitten (with a censor bar over it.)
  • In both Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, a little elderly lady named Nana brutally beats up Alex, a fully-grown male lion, calling him a "bad kitty".
  • In Shrek, during their Falling in Love Montage, Shrek and Fiona catch a frog and a snake, and inflate them with their breath to turn them into floating balloons.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • The Boondock Saints has a scene where Rocko accidentally murders his girlfriend's cat when his pistol goes off, causing him and the brothers to panic. Once they regain their composure, Rocko asks "Is it dead?"
  • A Fish Called Wanda: Ken repeatedly tries to kill the old woman who is going to testify against George but accidentally kills her dogs instead. This is made funnier by the fact that Ken loves animals and is horrified whenever he accidentally kills one of the dogs.
  • In Nine Lives (2016), two security guards decide to tase a cat, and this is portrayed as being funny.
  • A Shot in the Dark: Inspector Clouseau, while going undercover as a hunter, angrily shoots the crow that's splattered on him... and is immediately arrested for hunting without a license.

     Literature 
  • In Life, the Universe and Everything, Ford Prefect mentions that he went insane once while stranded on ancient Earth and took up animal cruelty as a hobby. He claims to be responsible for the evolution of the giraffe, though just how is left to the reader's imagination.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The Muppet Show has Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphone, little sentient balls of fluff that Marvin "plays" like a xylophone. At least one guest star found it appaling, and more often than not Marvin got his comeuppance, like when he played "Witch Doctor" and a real witch doctor turns him into one of his Muppaphone creatures.

     Newspaper Comics 

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • In Archer, Cheryl keeps a pet ocelot named Babou in very poor, miserable conditions, in an empty room in her family mansion. Archer refers to the ocelot's room as "Meowschwitz".
  • The title character in the Tex Avery cartoon "The Cat that Hated People" goes through all manner of abuse, including, but not limited to: having bags tied to his paws, getting grabbed by the tail and getting swung back and forth, almost getting cut in half with an axe, getting stepped on repatedly, kicked, and hammered into the ground - all of it played for laughs.
  • Family Guy:
    • Probably because he has "human" qualities, almost anything that happens to Brian Griffin counts as this. For instance, Stewie beating up Brian comes to mind.
    • In "Episode 420", Peter tries to shave Quagmire's new cat with a hand razor, but he ends up killing it.
  • Early Mickey Mouse cartoons are full of this, with Mickey playing animals like musical instruments by making them squeal. Steamboat Willie is the most famous example; it includes a sow played like an accordion, a cat having its tail pulled and then swung around, and a goose squeezed like a bagpipe.
  • The Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon episode "Ren Seeks Help" has an extended flashback of a young Ren torturing a frog in grotesque ways: first shoving firecrackers up its butt, then running it over with his tricycle, then hooking it up to a car battery, then mutilating it with a chainsaw. After all that, Ren refuses to kill the frog, and we see that the frog is still alive 10-20 years later, living in horrible agony.
  • The Simpsons: A photo from "Dog of Death" shows Homer strangling Santa's Little Helper.
  • Tom and Jerry:

Community Feedback Replies: 43
  • May 19, 2017
    Getta
  • May 20, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump
  • May 21, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump
  • May 21, 2017
    Getta
    • One Piece: At first, Boa Hancock kicking a cat out of her way is played as horrific. But then later, after it's revealed that she's a Broken Bird beneath all her harsh attitude, she's then shown kicking a puppy and a baby seal and it's Played For Laughs.
  • May 23, 2017
    Snicka
  • May 23, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • The Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry shorts has Tom's master beating him up, grilling his face and deafening him with his gun.
    • The Simpsons: A photo from "Dog of Death" shows Homer strangling Santa's Little Helper.
  • May 23, 2017
    MazeMaker
    • In Life, the Universe, and Everything, Ford Prefect mentions that he went insane once while stranded on ancient Earth and took up animal cruelty as a hobby. He claims to be responsible for the evolution of the giraffe, though just how is left to the reader's imagination.
  • May 24, 2017
    Snicka
    Related to That Poor Cat, which is a comedic Stock Sound Effect of an animal in distress (most often a cat yowling in fear or pain).
  • May 24, 2017
    Snicka
    The description should be edited with not all sentences being in separate paragraphs.
  • May 24, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Thanks for the tip.
  • May 24, 2017
    TonyG
    • The title character in the Tex Avery cartoon "The Cat that Hated People" goes through all manner of abuse, including, but not limited to: having bags tied to his paws, getting grabbed by the tail and getting swung back and forth, almost getting cut in half with an axe, getting stepped on repatedly, kicked, and hammered into the ground - all of it played for laughs.
    • Early Mickey Mouse cartoons are full of this, with Mickey playing animals like musical instruments by making them squeal. Steamboat Willie is the most famous example; it includes a sow played like an accordion, a cat having its tail pulled and then swung around, and a goose squeezed like a bagpipe.
    • The Muppet Show has Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphone, little sentient balls of fluff that Marvin "plays" like a xylophone. At least one guest star found it appaling, and more often than not Marvin got his comeuppance, like when he played "Witch Doctor" and a real witch doctor turns him into one of his Muppaphone creatures.
  • May 26, 2017
    eroock
  • May 26, 2017
    Snicka
    ^ Well, it's Black Comedy, it's an animal getting hurt Played For Laughs, but there's no person who intentionally abuses the animal.
  • May 26, 2017
    TyeDyeWildebeest
    • The Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon episode "Ren Seeks Help" has an extended flashback of a young Ren torturing a frog in grotesque ways: first shoving firecrackers up its butt, then running it over with his tricycle, then hooking it up to a car battery, then mutilating it with a chainsaw. After all that, Ren refuses to kill the frog, and we see that the frog is still alive 10-20 years later, living in horrible agony.
  • May 26, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • Probably because he has "human" qualities, almost anything that happens to Brian Griffin counts as this.
  • May 28, 2017
    eroock
    The oblivious version would be Artistic License Animal Care.
  • May 28, 2017
    Snicka
    Another oblivious version is And Call Him George, which is most often also Played For Laughs.

    It's slightly less disturbing if the abused animal is a Jerkass who gets a Karmic Punishment at the hand of the abuser.

    A Film-Animated example:
    • In both the first and the second Madagascar movie, a little elderly lady brutally beats up Alex, a fully grown male lion, calling him a "bad kitty".

    Also, the Family Guy example requires a little more context. Stewie beating up Brian comes to mind.

  • May 28, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Thanks.
  • May 28, 2017
    Snicka
    Actually, looking at Artistic License Animal Care, it is not related to this. It's when the creators of the work are oblivious and present something that is harmful to animals in Real Life as something harmless or even pleasant. So only And Call Him George is the oblivious version of this (where the abuser genuinely loves the animal, but ends up harming it anyway due to cluelessness).
  • May 28, 2017
    LB7979
    Does the person doing the animal cruelty have to do it for cruelty's sake, or can the abuse be any even non-intentional animal abuse that is still played for laughs?

    E.g. would the way Iago in Aladdin (the parrot) is treated by Jafar count? There's at least that scene where Iago is violently smashed between a door closed by Jafar in a way that would kill a normal bird and clearly hurts Iago, and lots of other ways he's violently hurt and played for laughs. But Jafar never seems to have the intent to hurt Iago per se, it's more that he, out of his narcissim, doesn't care about Iago at all and treats him reckless.
  • May 28, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^^ Thanks for the clarification.

    ^ I think it'll be better to include both intentional and unintentional instances of animal cruelty.
  • May 28, 2017
    Getta
    ^ In that case
    • One Piece when she was very young, Charlotte Linlin tried to discipline a bear who ate the wolf that she expect it to be friendly with by spanking it. The bear died in just one hit.
  • May 28, 2017
    JoeG
    • A Fish Called Wanda: Ken repeatedly tries to kill the old woman who is going to testify against George but accidentally kills her dogs instead. This is made funnier by the fact that Ken loves animals and is horrified whenever he accidentally kills one of the dogs.
  • May 28, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • Another Family Guy example
      • In "Episode 420", Peter tries to shave Quagmire's new cat with a hand razor, but he ends up killing it.
  • May 29, 2017
    Snicka
    If accidental instances count too, then the giraffe scene from The Hangover 2 can also be added. Can somebody provide context?
  • May 29, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ No one decapitated the giraffe, though, so that would probably be just Black Comedy.
  • May 29, 2017
    Getta
    I'm sorry, the second One Piece example is actually treated as dramatic and wrong. Please omit it.
  • May 29, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Okay.
  • June 2, 2017
    Snicka
    • In Archer, Cheryl keeps a pet ocelot named Babou in very poor, miserable conditions, in an empty room in her family mansion. Archer refers to the ocelot's room as "Meowschwitz".
  • June 8, 2017
    Snicka
    Does it count if an animal does it to another animal that is lower on the Sliding Scale Of Anthropomorphism? I'm thinking of how Garfield takes every opportunity to abuse Odie, always Played For Laughs.
  • June 8, 2017
    Lawman592
    • A Shot In The Dark: Inspector Clouseau, while going undercover as a hunter, angrily shoots the crow that's splattered on him ... and is immediately arrested for hunting without a license.
  • June 8, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^^ I didn't think about that. Yeah, I think it counts (unless anyone disagrees).
  • June 9, 2017
    Snicka
    ^ Mickey Mouse is already on the list, but he's a Funny Animal, so practically a stand-in for a human, abusing Nearly Normal Animals in those old cartoons, whereas Garfield is a Partially Civilized Animal, a pet cat with a few human-like qualities.

    I think one anthropomorphic animal abusing another, equally anthropomorphic animal definitely shouldn't count as this trope - Tom tormenting Jerry or the hyenas in The Lion King tormenting Zazu is just predatory behavior exaggerated for comedy. Animal cruelty is when a "human" (or a stand-in for humans like a Funny Animal or a Petting Zoo Person) torments an "animal". Garfield is a complicated case because he's clearly an "animal" but is still more anthropomorphic than Odie.
  • June 9, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ I agree.
  • June 11, 2017
    TheFarmboy
    The Boondock Saints: There was a scene where Rocko accidentally murdered his girlfriends cat when his pistol went off causing him and the brothers to panic. Once they regained their composure, Rocko asked "is it dead?"
  • June 12, 2017
    Tuckerscreator
    • Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie: When George and Harold introduce their bullying principal Mr. Krupp, their brief show of just how nasty he can be is a handmade comic of him torching a kitten (with a censor bar over it.)
  • June 13, 2017
    Snicka
  • June 15, 2017
    Snicka
    The paragraph about anthropomorphic animals is a bit choppy now. I think this would flow more smoothly: "For instances where one animal abuses other animal, it only counts as this trope when the abuser is higher on the Sliding Scale Of Anthropomorphism than the victim, but not when the two animals are equally anthropomorphic."
  • June 15, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Yeah, that sounds better. Adding.
  • June 15, 2017
    NightShade96
    Does anyone have any further suggestions, like a page image? If not, I'll launch in a few hours.
  • June 15, 2017
    JoeG
    You should add the Garfield example.
  • June 15, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Okay, thanks.
  • June 15, 2017
    NightShade96
    Launching.
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