Created By: Earnest on June 2, 2011 Last Edited By: DAN004 on April 27, 2015

Our Monsters Are Unstereotypical

Fantastic character has a very unstereotypic attribute

Name Space:
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Page Type:
Trope
DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft


The stereotype is that elves, unicorns, robots, aliens, vampires and other fantasy and science fiction creatures to be otherworldly, dignified, or even terrifying. Well, this fantasy or scifi creature subverts the expectation by having a characterization very much at odds with their stereotyped racial "Hat". To put simply, a violation of Genre Consistency regarding fantasy creatures.

For example, instead of a snobbish elf you get a slob, the werewolf isn't a woodsy Beast Man but instead a scholar of refinement, and rather than a whimsical and lyrical she-unicorn this one acts as if he were from the common parts of Boston. If someone asks why they're not living up to their respective trope, they'll get a response like "You expected me to be like in the comic books/fairy tales? Just when you think a meat-bag can't get any dumber..." If there's an actual explanation, it's that living under The Masquerade and among humans for long enough has rubbed off, and that Lots of Planets Have a North.

...or it's all just an affectation for the fun of it, which is why this is usually Played for Laughs. However, if characters take this to mean that the creature isn't a threat or powerful, they're likely to discover it's Obfuscating Stupidity and the creature is every bit as dangerous or powerful as the stories make out. Or maybe they played that straight - either the dragon turns out to be a wimp, or the Cutesy Dwarf is a Killer Rabbit.

Compare Stereotype Flip for cases of this with normal humans, My Species Doth Protest Too Much when one member of a species defies the common stereotypes of his species in universe and Our Monsters Are Different, general cases for how different media depict their monsters differently.


Examples:

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  • The Coca Cola ad for "El Hada Futbolera", or "The Soccer Fairy," a guy fairy who is more stereotypically a soccer hooligan than delicate sprite.

Anime and Manga
  • Kero-chan in Card Captor Sakura has an Osaka accent, which is a Japanese equivalent. In-story the book spent some time in Osaka. ZCE, what race is he?

Comic Books

Film
  • Shrek's Scottish accent for an ogre. Played with by Fiona, who's a normal human before she turns into an ogre, thus at least justifying this.
  • Mushu from Mulan, a Chinese dragon who sounds like... well, Eddie Murphy. His street-smart lingo is hilariously out of place, especially in his intro scene where he's surrounded by grim elderly spirits.
  • In It's a Wonderful Life, Clarence the 2nd class Angel has a very unangelic demeanor, since he's a 17th century New England shopkeeper trying to earn his wings.
  • In Elf, Buddy the elf has a very elf-like demeanor, but doesn't look like an elf - because he isn't, he's Obliviously Adopted.
  • In The Tooth Fairy the Tooth Fairy is a big burly hockey player.

Literature
  • In the children's book Cold Cereal, Mick the leprechaun wears a red tracksuit instead of green. And Harvey, his rabbit friend, wears a button down shirt, a tie, and a pair of slacks. Additionally, Biggs the nanny is Bigfoot, and he wears regular clothes and calls the children he takes care of "his babies." He zig-zags this trope by still living in a forest-reserve park in a tree, but the tree house in question is well decorated inside with 60s decor and clean.
  • Discworld has lots of examples:
    • Hwel is a dwarf playwright who is the Disc's equivalent of Shakespeare.
    • Casanunda is a sophisticated, womanising dwarf who claims to be the world's greatest lover.
    • "John Smith" is a vampire, president of the blood-abstinence group the Black Ribboners, who changed his name from Count Vargo St Gruet von Vilinus, affects a perfectly normal accent, and dresses as blandly and un-vampirically as possible.
    • The goblins are an entire species of this, in-universe - humans tend to assume they're dirty, stupid creatures, but they're highly intelligent and technologically and artistically capable.
  • The Spellsinger series of humorous fantasy has several examples; the population of Funny Animals and mythical creatures all are generally subversions of the expected fantasy types. This ranges from style (Mudge the Otter is a womanizing rogue with a cockney accent) to type (the mighty Clothahump the wizard is an unassuming turtle, Drom the unicorn is immune to virgins because he's homosexual, a dragon has discovered Marxist philosophy, the worst pirate on the seas is actually a parrot)...
  • In Dragon Bones, half-dwarf Axiel works as valet of the Battle Butler variety for the Hurog family. The other dwarves of the setting, likewise, are a lot less grumpy and more refined than the stereotype would have it.

Video Games
  • The Zeekeeper in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is built up to be an ancient majestic avian protector of Pi'illo Island. When the brothers awaken him, he speaks in the Classical Tongue, with lines like "Those who hinder me will become one with the light." However, after Luigi defeat him, it's revealed his real manner of speaking is one of a Totally Radical Jive Turkey. Obviously done for the Rule of Funny, along with his overall attitude.

Web Animation
  • The Grape Fairie in Homestar Runner has a gruff New York accent which completely clashes with his ballerina-esque appearance.

Web Comics

Web Original
  • Steve D'Monster. Despite being Santa's Head-Elf-In-Charge-Of-Stuff, Ella the Elf has a very sarcastic and snarky demeanor, very little patience for just about anyone she encounters, and her skills lie in mechanical engineering rather than toy making (then again, all of her brothers went into toy making early on, and they needed somebody handy around the house).

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 88
  • June 2, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
  • June 2, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Super Mutants aren't really known for stupidity. Just skullsmashing.
  • June 3, 2011
    c0ry
    I think we already have this one - Lots Of Planets Have A North. Describes variation in accent among fantastic entities, which I would say encompasses this pseudo-trope.
  • June 3, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^ If that really is the same thing, it could use a better title.
  • June 3, 2011
    c0ry
    Blasphemy! The Trope Namer was Doctor Who; there can be no better title!
  • June 4, 2011
    Octagon8
    @c0ry: This is not quite the same, though I'd call this a subtrope of it. If I correctly understood it, this is about alien creatures speaking in a broad human dialect. (as in NoirGrimoir's name suggestion)
  • June 4, 2011
    ginsengaddict
  • June 4, 2011
    ArtisticPlatypus
    I interpret this trope as 'Fantastic creature expected to be wise and graceful behaves schlubbily. If I understood it right, it may be tropable. I think the 'accent' thing is confusing though. May I suggest renaming it to something like 'Sweatpant Elves'.
  • June 4, 2011
    Aielyn
  • June 4, 2011
    Earnest
    ^^ Yeah, the accent thing is more of a byproduct than the core of this. The idea is that the fantasy/scifi creature isn't conforming to a normal stereotype by doing something of a 180. They don't need the accent, just to also have a character trait from a community/group that's normally not them. Biker elves and nerdy vampires, for example.

    Kinda leaning towards Sweatpant Elves.

  • June 4, 2011
    arromdee
    Kero-chan in Card Captor Sakura has an Osaka accent, which is a Japanese equivalent. In-story the book spent some time in Osaka.

    Shrek's Scottish accent.

  • June 4, 2011
    TwinBird
    Charlie definitely sounds New York to me.
  • June 4, 2011
    SmashingMelons42
    Would She Ra's unicorn's decidedly inappropriate voice count?
  • June 4, 2011
    Kayube
    The Grape Fairie in Homestar Runner has a gruff New York accent which completely clashes with his ballerina-esque appearance.
  • June 7, 2011
    peccantis
    Should I know what Boston accent is?
  • June 7, 2011
    jaytee
  • June 7, 2011
    halfmillennium
    I'm not keen on The Unicorn With A Boston Accent, but Unicahn means little if you don't know where it's from.
  • June 7, 2011
    originalhobbit
  • June 7, 2011
    TonyG
    The unicorns on Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends have tough guy accents and don't take kindly to being called "goily".
  • June 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
  • June 7, 2011
    TwinBird
    • In the Flashback sequences of Kung Fu Caine ages from a 10 year old boy into a young man but his masters don't appear to have aged.
      • Ditto the flashbacks in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues except now it's Caine himself who doesn't age, while his son ages 15 years.
  • June 7, 2011
    TwinBird
    I'll get behind nothing that relates specifically to unicorns with accents, although I should point out that both "Unicahn" and "Unicoyne" are very distinctively New York/New Jersey/Chicago/Philadelphia/anywhere but Boston.

    And I don't think anything in "el hada futbolera" suggests "guy"; "hada," because it begins with H-A, usually takes "el" in the singular, and I think it's usually treated as feminine regardless of actual sex. Even if it were meant to be masculine, I think "futbolera" is gender-inflected, at least according to the DRAE.
  • June 7, 2011
    TwinBird
    Something's up with the comments here. Only the second is me. The first is someone else's that disappeared, but showed up in the box when I edited mine.
  • June 7, 2011
    Earnest
    ^ Forum hiccup, happens every so often where a reply goes to the wrong ykttw. It looks like a reply from a ykttw about not aging.

    ^^ It's the "El" part that denotes guy, if it were "La hada futbolera" it would be very clear it's a woman fairy. You're right that "hada" is fairly gender neutral, though it has usually been associated with woman much like fairy is in English. "Futbolera" is problematic since it could be written as "Futbolero" and denote guy, but was kept feminine.
  • June 7, 2011
    kyeo
    Elrod from Cerebus has a Foghorn Leghorn accent.
  • June 8, 2011
    Speedball
    The talking cat in the film adaptation of The Last Unicorn spoke with a pirate accent, of all things.
  • June 8, 2011
    TwinBird
    @Earnest: Nope. "El hada" is standard, like I said, because it begins with H-A - c.f. "La leyenda del hada y el mago," or "el agua."
  • June 8, 2011
    Earnest
    ^ I'm aware of the rule, I've just heard "la hada" used pretty frequently in casual conversation. Chalk it up to poor grammar. In either case, the "o" ending in "futbolero" does denote guy. ...and we've gone really off topic by this point over a picture no one apparently likes. ^_^
  • June 8, 2011
    thewriter
  • June 8, 2011
    peccantis
  • June 12, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Bump
  • December 10, 2013
    Djanchorhead
    Rarity from /My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is a literal unicorn and speaks with a Mid-Atlantic accent. Although neither her parents or sister speak with such a accent.
  • December 10, 2013
    DaibhidC
    ^I don't know much about FIM, but am I right in thinking most ponies (including unicorns) have American accents, and Rarity's is supposed to sound "classier"? I think that would be an inversion.

    Phil the Satyr in Disney's Hercules, voiced by Danny DeVito.

  • December 10, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Why don't we just expand Aliens Of London to include fantasy settings? Because this is effectively the exact same thing.
  • December 10, 2013
    MetaFour
    "I don't know much about FIM, but am I right in thinking most ponies (including unicorns) have American accents, and Rarity's is supposed to sound "classier"? I think that would be an inversion."

    Pretty much. Also, it's implied that Rarity's accent is an affectation—that she's deliberately copying the accent of the high society that she wants to be part of.
  • December 10, 2013
    KarjamP
  • December 11, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • Mushu from Mulan, a Chinese dragon who sounds like... well, Eddie Murphy. His street-smart lingo is hilariously out of place, especially in his intro scene where he's surrounded by grim elderly spirits.
  • December 11, 2013
    Koveras
  • December 11, 2013
    Arivne
  • December 11, 2013
    DAN004
    Title implies accent while description implies much more (notably how humans stereotyped many creatures of fiction and said creatures find them wrong).

    So...?
  • December 11, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    Freakazoid: Cave Guy looks like a giant blue caveman but has a Boston Brahmin accent and is Wicked Cultured.
  • December 11, 2013
    Earnest
    ^^ The name's a palceholder based off of the only actual example I had at the time, this really does need a better suited name assuming it isn't merged into Aliens Of London or Lots Of Planets Have A North. ;)
  • December 11, 2013
    CaveCat
    Not sure if this one will count or not, but...

    Western Animation
    • The eponymous character of Mr Bogus is a gremlin, yet unlike a regular gremlin, he is good-hearted and he speaks with a Speech Impediment, pronouncing the R's as W's, making the O's sound a little more broader and narrower, and pronouncing the I's with an 'ee' sound.
  • December 11, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    I don't think the Fallout 3 example would be an inversion. Its worded more like an aversion.
  • December 11, 2013
    StarSword
    Description needs to better clarify the distinction between this and My Species Doth Protest Too Much (the supertrope for "individual subverts Planet Of Hats").

    Also, please clarify if this is one individual out of many or "portrayal of the whole species differs from other works' portrayals".
  • December 11, 2013
    GoldenDarkness
    The Zeekeeper in Mario And Luigi Dream Team is built up to be an ancient majestic avian protector of Pi'illo Island. When the brothers awaken him, he speaks in the Classical Tongue, with lines like "Those who hinder me will become one with the light." However, after Luigi defeat him, it's revealed his real manner of speaking is one of a Totally Radical Jive Turkey. Obviously done for the Rule Of Funny, along with his overall attitude.
  • December 11, 2013
    DAN004
    I think this is like a lampshaded Our Monsters Are Different.
  • December 20, 2013
    bwburke94
    Lots of planets have- *is shot*
  • April 17, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Maybe I'm missing something here, but when have elves ever been depicted as snobbish? Because I actually had an example of an elf who was rather snarky and sarcastic, as opposed to being all cheerful and plucky, but according to the description, elves generally depicted in fiction as snobbish? Maybe I'm having a Pop Culture Isolation moment or something.
  • April 17, 2014
    DAN004
    Again, related to Our Monsters Are Different and Hidden Depths.

    Elves are more proud than snobbish, btw.

    Maybe before we list any "unstereotypical" portayal of any races, we should know what's the "stereotypical" first. Which, I believe, is full of Alternate Character Interpretation and Values Dissonance.
  • April 17, 2014
    zarpaulus
    This motivational poster, portraying a dwarf stating that he's not a Scottish alcoholic Viking who lives in a cave.
  • April 17, 2014
    Lakija
    • In the children's book Cold Cereal Mick the leprechaun wears a red tracksuit instead of green. And Harvey, his rabbit friend, wears a button down shirt, a tie, and a pair of slacks. Additionally, Biggs the nanny is Bigfoot, and he wears regular clothes and calls the children he takes care of "his babies." He zig-zags this trope by still living in a forest-reserve park in a tree, but the tree house in question is well decorated inside with 60s decor and clean.
  • April 18, 2014
    TonyG
    Not too sure about Phil from Hercules. Aside from having deVito's Jersey accent, he pretty much plays the satyr sterotypes straight.

    • Some Private Snafu shorts feature a Technical Fairy, First Class, depicted as a tough-looking guy with Perma Stubble and a rough New York accent.
    • In The Life And Times Of Juniper Lee, Lee meets a leprechaun who is tall and speaks like a hippie, who points out that this is how real leprechauns look like.
  • April 18, 2014
    DAN004
  • April 18, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In Its A Wonderful Life Clarence the 2nd class Angel has a very unangelic demeanor, since he's a 17th century New England shopkeeper trying to earn his wings.
  • April 21, 2014
    robinjohnson
    • Discworld has lots of examples:
      • Hwel is a dwarf playwright who is the Disc's equivalent of Shakespeare.
      • Casanunda is a sophisticated, womanising dwarf who claims to be the world's greatest lover.
      • "John Smith" is a vampire, president of the blood-abstinence group the Black Ribboners, who changed his name from Count Vargo St Gruet von Vilinus, affects a perfectly normal accent, and dresses as blandly and un-vampirically as possible.
      • The goblins are an entire species of this, in-universe - humans tend to assume they're dirty, stupid creatures, but they're highly intelligent and technologically and artistically capable.
  • April 23, 2014
    Duncan
    • The Spellsinger series of humorous fantasy has several examples; the population of Funny Animals and mythical creatures all are generally subversions of the expected fantasy types. This ranges from style (Mudge the Otter is a womanizing rogue with a cockney accent) to type (the mighty Clothahump the wizard is an unassuming turtle, Drom the unicorn is immune to virgins because he's homosexual, a dragon has discovered Marxist philosophy, the worst pirate on the seas is actually a parrot)...
  • April 23, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
  • April 23, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    I'm going to suggest this example anyway, though it may not count as per the description.

    Web Original
    • Steve D'Monster. Despite being Santa's Head-Elf-In-Charge-Of-Stuff, Ella the Elf has a very sarcastic and snarky demeanor, very little patience for just about anyone she encounters, and her skills lie in mechanical engineering rather than toy making (then again, all of her brothers went into toy making early on, and they needed somebody handy around the house).
  • April 23, 2014
    LobsterMagnusNovus

    [The note is supposed to say: "maybe"]
  • April 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Blaz Blue: unlike the other Cat Girls in the universe in the game, Kokonoe is a brainy, ruthless Mad Scientist.
  • April 23, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In Elf Buddy the elf has a very elflike demeanor, but doesn't look like an elf - because he isn't, he's Oblviously Adopted.
  • March 17, 2015
    Noah1
  • March 17, 2015
    DAN004
    Okay, a species member defying their own species' hat is called My Species Doth Protest Too Much.

    So I guess this is when ALL members of the species in a certain work has a quirk that goest against what other member of a similar species in other stories have.

    So this trope violates Genre Consistency while MSDPTM violates Internal Consistency.
  • March 18, 2015
    Gowan
    • In Dragon Bones, half-dwarf Axiel works as valet of the Battle Butler variety for the Hurog family. The other dwarves of the setting, likewise, are a lot less grumpy and more refined than the stereotype would have it.
  • March 18, 2015
    randomsurfer
    In The Tooth Fairy the Tooth Fairy is a big burly hockey player.
  • March 18, 2015
    DAN004
    Gonna grab this unless somebody objects. Although current examples that ppl gave here already fit well, I really wanna make the trope's intentions clear.
  • March 18, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
  • March 18, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ perhaps.
  • March 18, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    Wait. Is this about individuals with atypical traits, or races/species with atypical traits?
  • March 18, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ The latter.
  • March 18, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Then my suggestion at least fits.
  • March 18, 2015
    n00b4liciou5
    I like the Sweatpant Elves name. Congrats on the hats!
  • March 18, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ then you might wanna pull that back cuz I'm gonna change it.
  • March 18, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ then you might wanna pull that back cuz I'm gonna change it.
  • March 21, 2015
    n00b4liciou5
    ^ Then I'm taking my hat back.
  • March 21, 2015
    Earnest
    ^^I've got no problems with you picking it up. : )
  • April 26, 2015
    DAN004
    ignore this
  • April 26, 2015
    DAN004
    Many of the examples have been %%'d because it talks about accent or who's voicing the character. I can't be sure how they count here, but just in case I still put them there. However, the Blaz Blue, Rarity (MLP) and Mr Bogus examples are deleted because it fits more in MSDPTM.
  • April 26, 2015
    Rjinswand
    Wait.

    Isn't this Our Monsters Are Different? If not, what's the difference?
  • April 26, 2015
    shimaspawn
    Our Monsters Are Different is the supertrope for all the monster tropes.

    This on the other hand is a massive mess that has been three different tropes and has examples from all of them. It seems mostly to be a list of fantasy characters with funny accents as that was the original trope. Now the example section is just a mess where none of the examples explain how they fit the new definition since they were all written for the old one.
  • April 26, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Couldn't you help at least? So you won't be just complaining around. I need help, I know.

    And tbh @ Rijnswand: I wondered about that myself long ago. Maybe - just maybe - OMAD is more about the monsters' nature while this is about their behavior. Unless you say that isn't really distinct then I may simply put these in OMAD.

  • April 26, 2015
    shimaspawn
    Sometimes the best advice you can give is to scrap something and start over. Currently you have an unclear name, examples that don't match the current definition at all. Discarding this and starting fresh is probably your best chance at a coherent new trope.
  • April 26, 2015
    Rjinswand
    I don't know. I feel like this is the same thing but maybe it's just me. Honestly, it feels like Our X Are Different without the misuse.
  • April 26, 2015
    DAN004
    ^^ Sounds like a good idea.
  • April 27, 2015
    Rjinswand
    I'd suggest putting these examples in the relevant subtropes of the Our X Are Different snowclones.
  • April 27, 2015
    MagBas
    Beyond this: some traits are unusual when a monster is released, but after some time are common. The vampire in Nosferatu was the first vampire vulnerable to sunlight and George Romero created the "Braaains!!!" trend to zombies.
  • April 27, 2015
    randomsurfer
    ^Actually, Romero didn't make "Braains!!", it was Return Of The Living Dead (which was a sequel to Night Of The Living Dead that Romero had nothing to do with) that made that.
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