Created By: ElSquibbonator on November 15, 2017 Last Edited By: Theriocephalus on March 4, 2018
Troped

Devious Dolphins

Dolphins portrayed as sinister or downright villainous creatures

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"Sweet and cuddly, am I?"

The trope of the Friendly, Playful Dolphin has become so well-known in recent years that it has become popular for writers of various works to subvert it by instead depicting them as cunning, sinister, and even evil animals—in essence, an Alternate Character Interpretation of them as species. This is mostly found in comedy works, much like the similar Hair-Raising Hare trope, which also relies on subverting the audiences expectations of a typically "cute" animal. Ironically, this trope is actually closer to reality than the one it began as a subversion of, since recent research has show that bottlenose dolphins often display behavior that would be considered sociopathic by human standards. Chances are, though, that most of the writers using this trope were not aware of that fact.


Examples

Literature
  • The Scar: Dolphins are an intelligent race in the setting. The main dolphin character in the book, and also the head of the underwater police of the floating city of Armada, is a vicious sadist named Bastard John.

Live-Action Television

Mythology and Folklore
  • In the mythologies of many of the native peoples of the Amazon Rainforest, the Amazon River dolphins, also called the encantados, are given many characteristics reminiscent of The Fair Folk, in that while they're not generally understood as being malicious creatures, they're still treated as potentially very dangerous. They are particularly associated with kidnapping humans, stealing away people they meet on the river shore (or on dry land, as they're also said to be able to take human form), who will be taken to the dolphin's magical realm below the waters and never seen again. In some places, this has resulted in people refusing to go near the river at night or alone. Encantados are also attributed with other harmful powers, such as causing insanity and spreading disease.

Tabletop Games
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Cthulhu Now, adventure "The City in the Sea". While searching for an underwater temple, the Player Characters are attacked by a group of killer dolphins under the control of a Cthulhu Mythos deity named Gloon.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Frostburn sourcebook includes the Malasnyep, a species of typically Chaotic Evil dolphin-like monsters native to the far north. They are viciously aggressive and will attack anything that cross their path, seemingly doing so entirely out of a compulsion to kill anything that enters their territory.

Videogames
  • Ecco the Dolphin: The Cult is a group of wicked dolphins that torture and mutilate animals and believe in dolphin superiority.
  • Hungry Shark Evolution: In Hungry Shark World, the dolphins are sinister creatures who look flat out evil, with sharp teeth, and they will try to eat your shark.

Webcomics
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Agent Bearclaw used to pretend to be drowning, just so he could kill the dolphins who came to rescue him. So when he falls into the ocean after a real plane crash, and more dolphins show up, he assumes they're here for revenge and panics. But in spite of his fears, the dolphins actually carry him to a nearby island. Relieved, Bearclaw thanks the dolphins for their mercy... and then the dolphins pull out guns and shoot him.
  • In Awful Hospital, dolphins are literally the stuff of nightmares in the Perception Range. When one shows up, it's a nigh-unstoppable Juggernaut that creatively mutilates its victims and can punch through a steel bulkhead.

Web Original
  • Cracked had an article on how dolphins have been observed committing rape on each other.
  • Mortasheen: The setting has a species of mutant dolphins named Dolfury, the Slaughtering Cackler, which are some of the very few Always Chaotic Evil monsters. They were originally created as human-dolphin chimeras to be guard monsters for the vampires, which resulted in "combining the intelligence and cruelty of both hominid and delfinid". The result were creatures that were unspeakably sadistic, monstrously cruel, borderline sociopathic and easily bored. Their vampiric creatures tried to destroy them all out of disgust, but one female escaped with her offspring and they've been plaguing the world ever since.
  • The YouTube series "Scientifically Accurate" portrays dolphins as tragic, but sometimes evil, in "Scienticfically Accurate Flipper".
  • The Loan Dolphin from SuperMarioLogan is a dolphin whose job is a debt collector. He wears a leather jacket and speaks in a gruff voice, but he's only an antagonist to those who don't pay their debts. In the episode, "Bowser Junior's Lemonade Stand!", when Junior hires the Loan Dolphin to destroy Cody's lemonade stand, he refuses, since he thinks it looks nice.

Western Animation
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar, Dr. Blowhole is a recurring antagonist. He is a dolphin with a mechanical right eye who used to work as a performing dolphin in a marine park. He wants revenge on the humans for the humiliation that lead to his path of villainy, and he refers to the Penguins as the "Pen-gyu-ins".
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood", Bart, Homer, Flanders and Flanders' kids remain stranded at sea after getting lost while rafting. They're eventually approached by a trio of dolphins. Flanders is relieved, stating that dolphins always help people lost at sea. Instead, the dolphins merely chitter to each other that the castaways are all going to die, laugh a bit, and then leave them to their fate.
    • In the "Treehouse of Horror XI" segment "Day of the Dolphin", an aquarium dolphin named Snorky leads the rest of dolphinkind to rebel against the humans, take back the land for themselves, and force humanity into the sea to die.

Real Life
  • It's been theorized that the stories of drowning men pushed ashore by dolphins might be biased: sure there are people who were pushed towards land, but how many were pushed away?

Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • November 15, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    Literature
    • The Scar: Dolphins are an intelligent race in the setting. The main dolphin character in the book, and also the head of the underwater police of the floating city of Armada, is a vicious sadist named Bastard John.

    Western Animation
    • The Simpsons:
      • In "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood", Bart, Homer, Flanders and Flanders' kids remain stranded at sea after getting lost while rafting. They're eventually approached by a trio of dolphins. Flanders is relieved, stating that dolphins always help people lost at sea. Instead, the dolphins merely chitter to each other that the castaways are all going to die, laugh a bit, and then leave them to their fate.
      • In the "Treehouse of Horror XI" segment "Day of the Dolphin", an aquarium dolphin named Snorky leads the rest of dolphinkind to rebel against the humans, take back the land for themselves, and force humanity into the sea to die.
  • November 15, 2017
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Web Original

    Western Animation
    • In The Penguins Of Madagascar, Dr. Blowhole is a recurring antagonist. He is a dolphin with a mechanical right eye who used to work as a performing dolphin in a marine park. He wants revenge on the humans for the humiliation that lead to his path of villainy, and he refers to the Penguins as the "Pen-gyu-ins".
  • November 15, 2017
    Mhazard
  • November 15, 2017
    Chabal2
    • Cracked had an article on how dolphins have been observed committing rape on each other.
    • It's been theorized that the stories of drowning men pushed ashore by dolphins might be biased: sure there are people who were pushed towards land, but how many were pushed away?
  • December 6, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    A thought: do orcas count? I would think the fact that they're normally treated as powerful and/or dangerous predators anyway might disqualify them or qualify them for a separate trope.
  • December 6, 2017
    intastiel
  • December 6, 2017
    MetaFour
    • Mystery Science Theater 3000: In Devil Fish, Mike and the bots decide they dislike dolphins. They call Sea World in order to mock Blowie the Dolphin over the phone. And then a dolphin warship appears outside and fires at the Satellite of Love, and doesn't leave until Mike apologizes to Blowie.

    • The Adventures Of Dr Mc Ninja: Agent Bearclaw used to pretend to be drowning, just so he could kill the dolphins who came to rescue him. So when he falls into the ocean after a real plane crash, and more dolphins show up, he assumes they're here for revenge and panics. But in spite of his fears, the dolphins actually carry him to a nearby island. Relieved, Bearclaw thanks the dolphins for their mercy... and then the dolphins pull out guns and shoot him.
  • December 11, 2017
    Lymantria
    If this is actually a trend in dolphin depictions, it's probably tropable.
  • February 28, 2018
    Theriocephalus
    It doesn't seem that this draft has been updated in two months. What should be done?
  • February 28, 2018
    SumDumNerd
    The You Tube series "Scientifically Accurate" portrays dolphins as tragic, but sometimes evil in "Scienticfically Accurate Flipper".

    The Cult from Echo The Dolphin is a group of wicked dolphins that torture and mutilate animals and believe in dolphin superiority.
  • February 28, 2018
    NateTheGreat
    A subplot in the movie One Crazy Summer is the filming of a monster movie featuring a giant dolphin with rabies that terrorizes a small New England town in an obvious pastiche of Jaws. The dolphin prop that functions like a submarine returns at the end to defeat the villain.
  • February 28, 2018
    TBTabby
    Mortasheen has a mutant dolphin named Dolfury, which is one of the few Always Chaotic Evil monsters.
  • February 28, 2018
    Theriocephalus
    All right, if no one else is going to take up this draft I'm willing to take it over, if nobody else has objections.
  • February 28, 2018
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    ^ Go right ahead.
  • March 4, 2018
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Call Of Cthulhu supplement Cthulhu Now, adventure "The City in the Sea". While searching for an underwater temple, the Player Characters are attacked by a group of killer dolphins under the control of a Cthulhu Mythos deity named Gloon.
  • March 4, 2018
    Theriocephalus
    If no more input is coming and no one has any objections, I'm going to launch this in an hour or two.
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