Created By: EdnaWalkerJuly 14, 2011 Last Edited By: EdnaWalkerAugust 24, 2011
Troped

Nice Mice

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Rolling Updates. Needs A Better Description.

Unlike rats, mice are often portrayed as nice and heroic even though they are common household pests.

Being very small and cute, yet traditionally wild, the mouse is an animal often used as a metaphor for someone easily underestimated. Thus, mouse character and humanoid mouse races tent to be heroic and really good people, yet easily underestimated. In many works, this last trait is something they have grown to deeply resent. It's hard to demand respect from someone when you can't even reach his knees and your voice is very squeaky - no matter how brave you are.

These mice characters designed to be likable one way or another. Some are heroic, some are nice, and some are both.

Contrast You Dirty Rat for rodents (more specifically rats) who are portrayed as disgusting and maybe carriers of literal or metaphorical disease. Also related to You Dirty Rat.


Examples:

Commercials

Film

Literature
  • In The Chronicles Of Narnia, mice is the most badass race, and the only race that gets a racial storyline of its own. All other races of talking animals are given speech as a divine gift at the dawn of time. The mice, however, are so small and insignificant that they are overlooked by Aslan himself. However...
    • Moving on to The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, the mice earn their rank among the ascended animals by making a heroic attempt at Save Your Deity.
      • In that story, mice chew off the ropes that bind The body of Aslan. As a result, mice are promoted to that rank of talking animal, and many years latter the mice are considered among the most bravest and honorable of all the animals. The chief of the mice, Reepicheep features in Prince Caspian and Voyage Of The Dawn Treader as one of the main heroes of the books.
    • In Prince Caspian the mouse militia fearlessly go up against far larger enemies, routinely taking them out by being ignored in the fray and chopping them from underneath. Culminating in the Heroic Sacrifice of their commander Reepicheep and his army's quite special way of dealing with that situation.
    • In Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, Reepicheep is one of the main charactes, and arguably the bravest of them all. Lucy works quite hard to resist her urge of cuddling him, since she understand that such behavior from her would hurt his pride. The local Jerkass human taunts him for his size, but he quickly teaches the far larger human to fear him. Also, while the other heroes just happen to be on that journey for miscellaneous reasons, Reepicheep is the one doing the journey as a holy quest. The book ends with his ascension into unity with God.
  • In The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, mice are revealed to be highly intelligent pan-dimensional beings; the little furry squeaky things we see are just their avatars in this dimension. Millions of years ago, they built the super computer Deep Thought as a means of discovering the Answer to the Great Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. They succeeded.
  • Despereaux and the other mice in The Tale Of Despereaux (rats are bad, except for Chiarascuro, who is good)
  • In The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz fieldmice rescue Dorothy, Lion, and Toto from the poppy field by dragging them away. (In the film The Wizard Of Oz Glinda makes it snow to rescue them.)

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Pinky And The Brain: Pinky is nice, if completely cracked. The Brain -- not so much, but he's a Jerk With A Heart Of Gold.
  • Tom And Jerry: a lot of Jerry's nastiness is in provoked self-defense from Tom, but some of it is just tormenting Tom for the hell of it. When it comes to other animals, though, Jerry is pretty universally nice. He's nice to canaries, baby woodpeckers, baby ducks, baby seals, escaped lions, circus Elephants (on more than one occasion even).
  • Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse: Both are nice. Hands down.
    • Subverted with Mortimer Mouse though.
  • Hanna Barbera: Dixie and Pixie were usually only acting in defense from Mr. Jinks, and only did the stealing of the cheese to survive, if memory serves.
  • Looney Tunes: Speedy Gonzales is a mouse who pretty much only steals cheese to help his compadres. Sniffles is well-meaning, if annoying.
  • The mice from Capitol Critters were nice.


Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • July 14, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    This is definatly a trope, but might I suggest merging this with your Mouse vs Rat idea, and making it "Dirty Rats, Nice Mice."

    That way you can have section Nice (good, heroic, cute) Mice, a section on Dirty (evil, dirty, mean, dangerous) Rats, a section on mouse vs. rat conflicts (are there really that many?), and a section on subversions (nice rats, for example).

  • July 14, 2011
    Hadashi
    Sliding Scale Of Rodent Evilness?

    In truth, they aren't evil, they are just hungry.
  • July 14, 2011
    WarlordofFryingPans
    In Cinderella they sure are nice.
  • July 14, 2011
    EdnaWalker
    Here is the Trope Repair Shop Discussion on You Dirty Rat.
  • July 14, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Maybe rats aren't evil, but squirrels were I live would mug you if they were big enough.

    Anyway, for examples...

    Literature
    • In The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, mice chew off the ropes that bind The body of Aslan. As a result, mice are promoted to that rank of talking animal, and many years latter the mice are considered among the most bravest and honorable of all the animals. The chief of the mice, Reepicheep features in Prince Caspian and Voyage Of The Dawn Treader as one of the main heroes of the books.
  • July 14, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Pinky And The Brain: Pinky is nice, if completely cracked. The Brain -- not so much.
    • Tom And Jerry: a lot of Jerry's nastiness is in provoked self-defense from Tom, but some of it is just tormenting Tom for the hell of it. When it comes to other animals, though, Jerry is pretty universally nice. He's nice to canaries, baby woodpeckers, baby ducks, baby seals, escaped lions, circus Elephants (on more than one occasion even).
    • Mickey Mouse: Nice. Hands down.
    • Hanna Barbera: Dixie and Pixie were usually only acting in defense from Mr. Jinks, and only did the stealing of the cheese to survive, if memory serves.
    • Looney Tunes: Speedy Gonzales is a mouse who pretty much only steals cheese to help his compadres. Sniffles is well-meaning, if annoying.
    • The mice from Capitol Critters were nice.

    Film

  • July 15, 2011
    randomsurfer

  • July 15, 2011
    ElleWednesday
    Disney likes this trope: In addition to Mickey Mouse Cinderella, the Disney Animated Canon has nice mice in The Great Mouse Detective and The Rescuers.
  • July 15, 2011
    Unknown Troper
    • Video game: Pipsy Mouse from Diddy Kong Racing.
    • Literature: In The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, mice are revealed to be highly intelligent pan-dimensional beings; the little furry squeaky things we see are just their avatars in this dimension. Millions of years ago, they built the super computer Deep Thought as a means of discovering the Answer to the Great Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. They succeeded.
  • July 17, 2011
    SwanFeathers
    Interesting that you mention the "Dirty Rats vs. Nice Mice" title. Secret of NIMH interestingly averts both parts of that possible trope, since Nicodemus and his followers are good and want to start their own utopia, whereas Mrs. Brisby's son Martin...oh, boy, can he be a brat...
  • July 17, 2011
    TBTabby
    Two reasons for this: Rats are more infamous for spreading disease than mice, and mice are smaller and cuter.
  • July 24, 2011
    Chabal2
    Redwall: Mice are always good characters, rats are Always Chaotic Stupid Evil (except for one exception, and he fell under Dumb Is Good). The borderline-Messiah Martin and the heroes of most of the books are mice as well, though later books had non-mice wielding his sword.
  • July 26, 2011
    Xzenu
    I was just going to start the YKTTW for Our Mice Are Heroic, but I can see this YKTTW already exists.

    I reccomend adding to the description that a stock trait of mice characters is that they get underestimated a lot.

    I reccomend against the suggestions to bring rats into the equation. Of course they should be mentioned as a contrast, but that is all. This is not a "mice age good, rats are evil" dichotomy, it's two separate concepts: Mice are small and easily underestimated, rats are dirty and spread diseases.

    Oh, and some examples:

    Tabletop Games
    • GURPS Aliens has a small rodent-like race called "Cidi". Heroic, often underestimated, and also great mechanics. They have a racial pet peeve against big races treating them as pets or harmless silly little creatures. And thus they are very prone to demand RESPECT, in their squeaky little voices.
    • The ratmen of Drakar Och Demoner Ereb Altor fall into this trope, not You Dirty Rat: They are small, easily underestimated, not portrayed as disgusting in any way, and they are a playable hero race.

    Video Games
    • League Of Legends has a race called Yordle: Small mouse-like creatures that are often heroic, great mechanics and tired of being underestimated. All but one yordle characters follow this trope, and the one that doesn't has a backstory that begins with invoking it:
      To most, thoughts of yordles do not conjure images to be feared. The easygoing half-pint race, though fierce, is often regarded with some degree of joviality. Their high-pitched voices and naturally cute forms inspire something of a protective instinct in the larger races, or at least bring to mind images of children playing at being adults. every now and again, however, a yordles turns so bad that, even at its small stature, it strikes terror into the hearts of others. Veigar is such a twisted yordle. As a master of the magical black arts, as well as a corruptor of cosmic energy, he is one of the most powerful sorcerers on Valoran.
  • July 26, 2011
    Xzenu
    Suggested Description:

    Being very small and cute, yet traditionally wild, the mouse is an animal often used as a metaphor for someone easily underestimated. Thus, mouse character and humanoid mouse races tent to be heroic and really good people, yet easily underestimated. In many works, this last trait is something they have grown to deeply resent. It's hard to demand respect from someone when you can't even reach his knees and your voice is very squeaky - no matter how brave you are.

    Contrast You Dirty Rat for rodents who are portrayed as disgusting and maybe carriers of literal or metaphorical disease.
  • July 26, 2011
    Xzenu
    Suggested main Title: Our Mice Are Heroic

    Suggested revamp of the Narnia example:

    • In The Chronicles Of Narnia, mice is the most badass race, and the only race that gets a racial storyline of its own. All other races of talking animals are given speech as a divine gift at the dawn of time. The mice, however, are so small and insignificant that they are overlooked by Aslan himself. However...
      • Moving on to The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, the mice earns their rank among the ascended animals by making a heroic attempt at Save Your Deity.
      • In Prince Caspian the mouse militia fearlessly go up against far larger enemies, routinely taking them out by being ignored in the fray and chopping them from underneath. Culminating in the Heroic Sacrifice of their commander Reepicheep and his army's quite special way of dealing with that situation.
      • In Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, Reepicheep is one of the main charactes, and arguably the bravest of them all. Lucy works quite hard to resist her urge of cuddling him, since she understand that such behavior from her would hurt his pride. The local Jerkass human taunts him for his size, but he quickly teaches the far larger human to fear him. Also, while the other heroes just happen to be on that journey for miscellaneous reasons, Reepicheep is the one doing the journey as a holy quest. The book ends with his ascension into unity with God.
  • July 26, 2011
    Xzenu
  • July 26, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Mousehunt's mouse might be a more blurred example due to Alternate Character Interpretation. Obviously the audience is supposed to feel sorry for him, being hunted so ruthlessly by two humans, but he outsmarts them so often that it's clear he's not an ordinary mouse. So, if he's capable of understanding that, perhaps he's capable of understanding what a nuisance he is to two humans who consider the house their property.
  • July 28, 2011
    Xzenu
    Regarding the title.

    These are characters designed to be likable, one way or another. Some are heroic, some are nice, some are both. The mice of Narnia and The Great Mouse Detective are Good Is Not Nice: The former are a heroic version of Knight Templar, the later are Deadpan Snarker. There's also some mice that are nice but not heroic.

    Thus, we should definitely go with both titles: Our Mice Are Heroic and Mice Are Nice. I propose the former as main title, the later as redirect. But the other way around works too. We should not merge the titles, since that would be overloaded. And adding an "our" to Mice Are Nice would dilute the title without being necessary.

    Theoretically, splitting into two tropes is a very valid option: One trope fopr heroic mice, and one trope for nice mice. However:

    1. The overlap would be huge
    2. There is not much need for the distinction: Talking mice is a narrow field as it is, and the distinction rarely come into play in the narrative. If chosing between being nice and being heroic was a common Character Development plot point for mice characters, then it would probably be better to have it as separate tropes. But that is not the case.
  • July 29, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    This is already split off of Dirty Rat, and we really don't have enough examples to justify splitting this yet again. I think Nice Mice works, 'cause even if some of the good-guy mice have a bit of a rough edge I think it still gets the idea accross. Besides the mice of Narnia were very nice, polite and proper in courtly manners sort of way. Just because they also were fighters does not take away from that.
  • July 29, 2011
    madelinemary
    Fievel!
  • July 30, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz fieldmice rescue Dorothy, Lion, and Toto from the poppy field by dragging them away. (In the film The Wizard Of Oz Glinda makes it snow to rescue them.)
  • August 3, 2011
    TJack
    Seconding Nice Mice. It just rhymes better.
  • August 3, 2011
    katiek
    Despereaux in The Tale of Despereaux (rats are bad, except for Chiarascuro, who is good)

    Chuck-E-Cheese
  • August 3, 2011
    katiek
    Look on The Other Wiki for a ""list of fictional mice"
  • August 3, 2011
    Spark9
    I object to "Our Mice Are Heroic" because it just sounds like Snow Cloning for the sake of it. If we must have an "Our X Are Y" snowclone, let's use "Our Mice Are Nice" instead.

    For comparison, Our Giants Are Bigger is a good snowclone, because being big is indeed a common trait of giants. On the other hand, "heroism" is not a trait commonly associated with mice

    Indeed many examples aren't heroic. For example: the mouse listed from Coraline isn't heroic, nor the one from Watership Down, nor the one from Moving Pictures, nor in HHGTG, nor in Garfield, nor the real life example. That means we either need to split into three tropes, or admit that anything involving "heroic mice" is simply not a suitable name for this.

  • August 3, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    There is no reason to use the "Our X are Y" form because being nice is the default mode of fictional mice. It isn't like "Our Monsters are Different" were what is supposed to be noteworthy is using a monster in a non-standard way.
  • August 4, 2011
    Arivne
    Thirding Nice Mice.
  • August 4, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Fourthing.
  • August 4, 2011
    katiek
    Fifthing (that sounds weird)
  • August 12, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Bump. I'm thinking this is ready for launch.
  • August 12, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ If you're sure enough about the title, I say go for it.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable