Created By: EdnaWalker on September 9, 2011 Last Edited By: EdnaWalker on January 17, 2012

Comically Sized

A person whose dwarfism who is not noted specifically and is played for laughs.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Rolling Updates. Needs a Better Description.

A dwarf (a person with dwarfism) is a person with an adult height of 147 cm (58 in) or shorter. There are two kinds of dwarfism, disproportionate dwarfism (like achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism) and proportionate dwarfism (like growth-hormone deficiency).

In many cartoons, videogames, and other animated works, and comics, there are people who are dwarfs (that is, 58 in or shorter) without being noted as such at all and are Played for Laughs. Sometimes there are a few or some Comically Sized persons in the work, other times, many or most of the people in the work are Comically Sized.

This trope is about the tendency for most cartoons and many comics to feature a disproportionate large number of dwarfs in a general population. That is, more dwarfs in a general population than in Real Life.

Also, cartoons exagerate. If a charater is quite short - say 5 foot, they will appear 4 in a cartoon.

This trope is also about people whose dwarf status isn't noted, but is Played for Laughs.

Related to Fun Size, Pint-Sized Kid, Teens Are Short, Cartoonish Companions, and Miniature Senior Citizens.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • The Astérix series has the title character himself, as well as his fellow-villager Geriatrix.

Film
  • Carl Fredrickson and many of the other adult characters save for Charles Muntz from Up are this.
  • Skinner from Ratatouille
  • Edna Mode in The Incredibles.
  • Le Fou from Beauty and the Beast
  • Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films is an odd example. There's some discussion of it here. Basically, Rowling just described him as a short guy and in the film, there was a character played by (actual dwarf actor Warwick Davis) who was at some point identified as Flitwick. initially, Davis' character looked very goblin-like, but this was toned down over time. Shrug of God eventually decided that Flitwick was part goblin, part human.
  • Dark Helmet in Spaceballs. The reason for his small stature is making his Darth Vader parody more hilarious (the real Darth Vader was very tall). He's even tinier, halfling-sized, in the animated adaptation.
  • Lord Farquat from Shrek is a perfect example; they pointed out he was short several times, made jokes about it, but never called him a dwarf.

Literature
  • In The Woman in White, Walter describes Professor Pesca in this way:
    Without being actually a dwarf--for he was perfectly well proportioned from head to foot--Pesca was, I think, the smallest human being I ever saw out of a show-room.
  • The Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its adaptations, a race of jolly chocolate-enamoured singers which were blatantly based on Pygmies. In the book they were changed from dark-skinned Africans to light-skinned and blond people from a mystical land, in order to curb any obvious tones of racism, and the 1971 film made them orange for the same reason, but all versions kept the small size. The 2005 film used Deep Roy as a template, and so reverted to a more realistic Pygmy-like appearance, but kept the comical and musical nature.

Video Games
  • Played straight with Mario, Wario, and (even) Luigi from the Super Mario Bros. game series, but averted with Waluigi.

Web Comics

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • September 9, 2011
    peccantis
    Ummm.... this sounds more like a personal soapbox than a trope.
  • September 9, 2011
    EdnaWalker
    Do you think that Inexplicable Dwarfism would be a better title for this trope?
  • September 9, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Nope. I like Comically Sized though.
  • September 9, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Fun Size? Nope, that one's taken.
  • September 9, 2011
    thegrenekni3t
    • In The Woman In White, Walter describes Professor Pesca in this way:
      Without being actually a dwarf--for he was perfectly well proportioned from head to foot--Pesca was, I think, the smallest human being I ever saw out of a show-room.
  • September 9, 2011
    Jordan
    Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films is an odd example. There's some discussion of it here. Basically, Rowling just described him as a short guy and in the film, there was a character played by (actual dwarf actor Warwick Davis) who was at some point identified as Flitwick. initially, Davis' character looked very goblin-like, but this was toned down over time. Shrug Of God eventually decided that Flitwick was part goblin, part human.
  • September 11, 2011
    PaulA
  • September 13, 2011
    aurora369
    Dark Helmet in Spaceballs. The reason for his small stature is making his Darth Vader parody more hilarious (the real Darth Vader was very tall). He's even tinier, halfling-sized, in the animated adaptation.
  • September 16, 2011
    PaulA
  • September 17, 2011
    MorganWick
    I feel like the title contradicts the laconic and description. If they're comically sized, that says to me that their size is Played For Laughs, hardly not being noted for it at all. Of course that's not getting into the fact that the title could just as easily be applied to being comically tall...

    Come to think of it, if it's not noted in the work, how is that a trope?
  • September 21, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • In the pilot episode of Get Smart Mister Big is a dwarf. Not acknowledged at all in the show, it's just a visual gag.
  • September 21, 2011
    EdnaWalker
    This trope is supposed to be about people who are inexplicably little people, whether their size is Played For Laughs or not.

    So, what would be the best name for this trope if it's about inexplicably little people, regardless of whether their size is Played For Laughs or not?
  • September 21, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    Web Comics
  • September 22, 2011
    yogyog
    Cartoons exagerate. If a charator is quite short - say 5 foot, they will appear 4 in a cartoon.

    .......Asterix!
  • September 22, 2011
    PaulA
    • The Asterix series has the title character himself, as well as his fellow-villager Geriatrix.
  • October 9, 2011
    MorganWick
    ...Wait, what is this trope? What's meant by "inexplicably" little people? How can it be Played For Laughs and also fit "not being noted for it at all"? GAAH!
  • October 10, 2011
    EdnaWalker
    Can the trope be called Informed Dwarfism
  • October 10, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ Informed Dwarfism would be if we were told the character was a dwarf but they were actually a normal height.

    This is when the character is tiny but nobody seems to notice.
  • October 10, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    Informed Dwarfism could also be if a character who is a dwarf is portrayed realistically.

    Either way, though, this is not that. The name is fine; what the trope needs is clarity.
  • October 12, 2011
    yogyog
    Lord Farquat from Shrek. Perfect example - they pointed out he was short several times, made jokes about it, but never called him a dwarf.
  • October 12, 2011
    EdnaWalker
  • October 12, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    Ah, good show. Might be Too Rare To Trope (And That's Terrible), but it's good to have that.
  • October 14, 2011
    Rainbow
    Would Konata from Lucky Star count, or is she just merely short and baby-faced?
  • October 15, 2011
    rollducrunch
    I think Manta from Shaman King counts too
  • November 26, 2011
    YouKeepUsingThatWord
    It's 99% just a matter of cartoon exaggeration, I think.

    For example, Edna Mode in the Incredibles, sure, and also Mr. Incredible's boss at the insurance company. But I think it kind of just goes hand-in-hand with a visual style where someone can have ankles that are narrower than their eyeballs.

    And Barney Rubble comes up to Fred Flintstone's chin. That wouldn't be an outrageous height difference if their heads weren't so big.

  • December 25, 2011
    hevendor717
    Pardon me if I'm wrong, but isn't dwarfism the one with the plain lack of height, and being a "little person" have to do with proportions? Meaning, a midget. I would take "little person" out of the first few sentences, or maybe note that being "comically sized" could resemble being a little person or a dwarf, or both.

    Wikipedia says that being less than 4 foot 10 makes you a dwarf. I don't know where anyone gets the authority to say that. I know a 22-year-old girl who is that tall, but looks absolutely not dwarfish or alternatively developed at all. I see 4-foot 8 hispanic ladies that look merely less tall than their 5-foot counterparts, without any genetic deficiency or disorder.
  • December 25, 2011
    Generality
    • The Oompa-Loompas in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and its adaptations, a race of jolly chocolate-enamoured singers which were blatantly based on Pygmies. In the book they were changed from dark-skinned Africans to light-skinned and blond people from a mystical land, in order to curb any obvious tones of racism, and the 1971 film made them orange for the same reason, but all versions kept the small size. The 2005 film used Deep Roy as a template, and so reverted to a more realistic Pygmy-like appearance, but kept the comical and musical nature.
  • December 26, 2011
    Ryuuma
    The ironically named Private Goliath in Sturmtruppen.
  • December 26, 2011
    crazysamaritan
    What is going on here? Listing every work with short people?
  • December 26, 2011
    YouKeepUsingThatWord
    95% of the examples seem to be listing every cartoon with cartoonishly short people. My question with that is whether shortness is enough of its own thing to split it off from a broader Cartoonish Exaggeration trope of some kind.

    ^^^^ Being a dwarf does not preclude one from also being a little person. They're little, and they're people, so there's nothing to disqualify them from being a "little person." "Midget" has kind of fallen out of favour, like "mongoloid."
  • December 26, 2011
    crazysamaritan
    It's more than just cartoons getting listed. By cartoon, I mean all whimsical drawings.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=q8t6r4euxaiuei8b4br4aw1p