Animal Machine Gag
Humor that arises from treating a living animal like a machine.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-12-29 23:37:24 sponsor: octopedingenue (last reply: 2013-03-22 07:39:08)

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The comedy trope of living animals being treated like the literal version of Automaton Horses.

Take a horse, for an example. The horse is a living creature, not a Mechanical Horse, but its owner treats it like a car or other machine: filling up the horse's "tank" with water/hay as "fuel;" treating horse theft like car theft and even using the horse equivalent of Lojack, giving the horse racing stripes, taking it through a "car" wash, even "winding" its tail like a clockwork key to make the animal start moving.

There will be jokes about horsepower.

HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MECHA.

Usually seem in cartoons. Related to The Alleged Steed, the horsey version of The Alleged Car.

Examples:

  • At the 1991 Academy Awards, host Billy Crystal arrives onstage riding a horse in reference to the movie Dances with Wolves. When he dismounts, he hands the horse off to a parking valet to lead away, then points a car alarm remote at it and chirps it.
  • In a 2012 ad for Pace Picante sauce, a man who buys salsa made in New York City uses a car alarm on a horse.
  • A recurring trope in Discworld:
    • At least one Igor in Ankh-Morpork has taken up veterinary surgery in a "chop shop" fashion, meaning that a stolen horse whose markings are too distinctive for resale may reappear on the market with a different set of legs.
    • In Going Postal,a horse is "booted"- i.e., hobbled by a disabling device the way cars are.
  • In the Porky Pig cartoon "Ali Baba Bound," a camel is tanked with water or gasoline and its humps subsequently move like an engine pumping.
  • Several examples from The Far Side cartoons:
    • a clumsy cowboy knocks over a row of outlaws' horses in front of a saloon, in parody of knocking over a row of bikers' motorcycles in front of a bar.
    • a farmer out in the fields uses his "cowphone" to call his wife.
    • a horse tied up outside a saloon is sitting on a jack with its legs missing, in a parallel to tire theft.
  • The Flintstones is MADE of this trope: dinosaurs serve as living construction cranes, airplanes, elevators, etc.
  • Order Of The Stick:
    • In this strip, a camel is shown drinking from what appears to be a fuel pump at a gas station.
    • In this one, Haley complains to the owner of a parking lot that her horse has taken damage, but the owner asserts that management is not responsible for the condition of mounts.
  • In Prep and Landing, they rev up the engines on Santa's sleigh. This is done by an elf who psychs up the reindeer.
  • Sengoku Basara: My horse is a motorbike. Your argument is invalid.
  • In The Simpsons, the family is in exile on an island, and Homer tries to use a pelican as a cement mixer in parody of The Flintstones. When Homer tells it to say something witty, it falls over dead.
  • Steamboat Willie has Minnie Mouse playing a goat like a hurdy-gurdy by cranking its tail.
  • In the Classic Disney Short "Two-Gun Goofy", Pete as an Old West bank robber treats his horse as a car, parallel parking it on front of the bank (crashing into the other horses in the process) and leaving the "motor" on.
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