Created By: ANTIcarrot on September 25, 2012

But Not Too Feral

People who like ponies don't like being reminded what a pony actually looks like.

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Equivolent of 'But Not Too Black' when applied to cartoon animals. Everyone likes a quite little woodland critter - until they have the nerve to start acting like an actual woodland critter. Or fan art depicts them as doing so. Flavour of the month would be the kind of reaction you get from MLP fans when their favorite character is given 'undesired' feral (animal) traits. Like appearance or behaviour or social outlook.

Compare with 'But Not Too Black' and 'But Not Too Foreign'. Contrast with 'Funny Animal Anatomy', which is imposed externally artistic decision - not a negative reaction of the audience to the unfamiliar.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • September 25, 2012
    Do you have any actual examples of this? Sounds like an audience reaction but I've have no exposure to any fanbase reacting in this regard. As it reads, it sounds like you're trying to pick a fight with Bronies over something. If it's an actual trope you really need to provide some proof that it is.
  • September 26, 2012
    Well, trying to apply cartoon coloration to an actual horse results in some serious Uncanny Valley but that is about it.
  • September 26, 2012
    To me, this looks like someone discovering All Animals Are Domesticated is decidedly not Truth In Television, but in art.
  • September 26, 2012
    This sounds like an excuse to whine about (perceived) MLP Fan Dumb.

    In any case, if it's an Audience Reaction, it's a Bad Snowclone.
  • September 26, 2012
    Possibly invoked in the film Fantastic Mr Fox. The Fox family act like typical civilized, talking, clothes-wearing Funny Animals that are human in all but appearance... until they sit down to dinner, snarling, snapping and tearing it to shreds.

    See also Anthropomorphic Zig Zag.
  • September 26, 2012
    I think this is tropable, but the description and title need a bit of a rework. Essentially, it's the idea that animal characters need to behave like humans in order to be relatable to a human audience- making them too bestial produces a negative reaction in the audience similar to that of the Uncanny Valley.

    Other tropes that come into play here include Blue And Orange Morality and Carnivore Confusion. Not sure of this is an example, but it might make for interesting discussion:
    • In one of the Redwall books, a Chaotic Good, slightly insane otter proceeds to eat one of the evil rats he's just killed. The other animals are horrified by this (as the audience is expected to be), despite the fact that real otters will often eat small animals such as mice and rats.
  • September 26, 2012
    Not sure if non-cartoon examples are welcome, but if so...

    • Used in Discworld at least twice.
      • In Hogfather, the department-store holiday display shows shiny, cuddly pigs that pull the Hogfather's sleigh. When Death shows up in the real Hogfather's vehicle, the very real pigs harnessed to it are coarse, smelly, snuffling brutes that piss all over the floor, to the horror of adults. Subverted in the case of the children, who find them far cooler than the Tastes Like Diabetes versions.
      • In Feet Of Clay, Fred Colon plans to retire and take up farming. After a prolonged and humiliating encounter with aggressive, unsanitary livestock that'd been turned loose in the streets, he immediately changes his plans and remains a city-dweller.
  • September 26, 2012
    Perhaps this is also getting at the tendency for a Funny Animal to never relieve himself of doodie.
  • September 26, 2012
    Well, this is the key difference between Funny Animal fiction and Xenofiction. The latter usually treats animals rather more realistically, and will often give lots of attention to the stuff that makes them non-human. It is therefore often labeled Darker And Edgier. With good reason; in a universe where animals are sentient, eating another is murder.

    And yeah, Needs A Better Description
  • September 26, 2012
    "With good reason; in a universe where animals are sentient, eating another is murder."

    And that part already is covered by Carnivore Confusion.
  • September 26, 2012
    Definitely change the laconic. I think this is tropeable but the laconic seems to just be a dig @ MLP.
  • September 26, 2012
    ^Agreed. And I'm not sure what the trope is. Is this when a work with non-feral animals (usually a cartoon) suddenly puts more animalistic traits back into it? Like if Bugs Bunny suddenly stopped talking, started hopping on all fours, and sniffed everything? And then the audience didn't like it, presumably. Does that really happen much?

    Or is this just the fact that cartoon animals are anthropomorphic, in which case it's already covered by that sliding scale thingy.
  • September 26, 2012
    I should probably point out that "feral" doesn't mean "animal-like", it means "something domesticated which has turned wild" (for example, a dog which started living in the wild would be feral, an undomesticated wolf in the same environment would not).
  • September 26, 2012
    ^In the technical use yes. In colloquial use it can mean simply "wild" or "beastly". But maybe a less ambiguous synonym should be used.
  • September 27, 2012
    I agree this trope exist. People like cartoon animals but are neutral or dislike real or realistically draw animals.

    As Brony I dont think this page is insulting toward my fandom. I think MLPFIM could used in picture. Picture of pony from show combined with Gaijin 4Koma Reaction Guys and real life ponies.
  • September 27, 2012
    So this is basically the animal version of The Coconut Effect, then?
  • September 27, 2012
    How about using the cartoon "Booboo Runs Wild", featuing Booboo and Cindy from Yogi Bear acting feral?
  • February 12, 2013
    It is mentioned a few times in the Narnia series that Aslan is not a tame lion, despite his normally nice demeanor.
  • September 19, 2017
    A recent SpongeBob episode inspired me to bump this.

    • The Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "Feral Friends" revolves around a once-in-a-century occurrence of Neptune's Moon, which turns all the sea creatures of Bikini Bottom into realistic creatures that behave just like their real life counterparts. Sandy, who is of course not affected as she's a land squirrel, has to keep the now-feral main characters from killing each other until they return back to normal after two hours.