Created By: CaveCat on October 30, 2013 Last Edited By: mfn on June 22, 2016
Nuked

Heavy Hippo

The depiction of hippos in media.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Hippos (or, by their full name, Hippopotamuses, which is Greek for horse of the river) are usually considered as heavy, lazy, dim-witted, yet charming creatures, while in Real Life, they are actually very dangerous. Many people think that when hippos open their mouths really wide, they're yawning, when they're actually showing off their fangs to warn off other animals. They kill more people in Africa than crocodiles or lions.

In fiction, however, they are hardly ever depicted as dangerous. They are usually Ugly Cute Gentle Giants, who may be Big Eaters and/or Fat Idiots. And since they are very graceful underwater, they are often portrayed as Fat Girl or Big Beautiful Woman, making them almost Always Female.

Fictional hippos can also be Big Fun.


Examples

Manga
  • Yugioh Arc V has Entermate Discover Hippo/Performapal Hip Hippo, the most adorable duel monster ever.

Film - Animated

Film - Live-Action
  • Congo is one of the rare examples where hippos are portrayed as dangerous, attacking the protagonists on the river.

Literature
  • Hilda Hippo from Richard Scarry's Busy World is a typical Fat Girl.
  • In the Discworld, hippos are the heraldic animal representing Ankh-Morpork. (Big, slow, ungainly, generate a lot of shit, and wallow in filthy water). The city keeps two elderly arthritic hippos, and mythology says disaster will befall if they die or leave. Roderick and Keith are said to have an amicable arrangement of their own. Hippos appear in heraldic art - the Brass Bridge is lined with carved wooden hippos - they appear on the city's coat of arms, and now feature on currency notes and stamps.
  • The title character of the classic children's book Veronica is a hippo who longs to be both conspicuous and famous, so she travels to the city where her wish comes true.

Eastern Animation
  • In Nu, Pogodi!, the hippo is a Gentle Giant recurring extra. Though he often causes the wolf pain, it is usually through obliviousness (such as mistaking him for a member of his building crew and loading some bricks onto his back.)
  • One episode of Kerem A Kovetkezot revolves around a Big Eater hippo.

Toys
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos
  • Hannah Hippopotamus from the Fabuland toyline from LEGO is a female hippo.

Religion and Mythology

Puppet Shows

Music
  • "I Want a Hippopatamus for Christmas."
    Don't want a doll, no dinky Tinker Toy
    I want a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy
  • The hippos are referenced in the Flanders and Swann song Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Video Games
  • Hippopotas of Pokémon fits the bill, but its evolution, Hippowdon, does not.

Western Animation
  • The title character of Hanna-Barbera's The Peter Potamus Show is a hippo who travels around the world in a hot air balloon with his monkey sidekick, So-So.
  • The Hip Hippos from Animaniacs are a hippo couple who like to enjoy the finer things in life.
  • When The Simpsons go to Africa they're attacked by a hippo. Homer says that hippos are afraid of water so they get into a convinent canoe. Lisa points out that hippos are actually very good with water (they're "river horses"); but then the hippo they're running from turns out to be afraid of water after all.

Needs More Examples, Needs a Better Description
Community Feedback Replies: 43
  • October 30, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    You might wanna list the Hip Hippos from Animaniacs. (Maybe as the trope namers, unless you want to change the name to avoid Trope Namer Syndrome)
  • October 30, 2013
    Snicka
    The word hippopotamus is Greek for horse of the river.

    Hippos are bulky but very graceful underwater, so they are often portrayed as Fat Girl or Big Beautiful Woman.

    Examples:

  • October 30, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Music: "I Want a Hippopatamus for Christmas."
    Don't want a doll, no dinky Tinker Toy
    I want a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy
  • October 30, 2013
    TonyG
  • October 30, 2013
    Snicka
    • Congo is one of the rare examples where hippos are portrayed as dangerous, attacking the protagonists on the river.
  • October 31, 2013
    aurora369
    The danger of hippoes is quite accurately represented in a blackly humoristic Russian children's poem which goes: "I've been bitten by a hippopotamus. So my hand is here, my foot is there".
  • October 31, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    You need to make it more clear what this trope is about. Hippos depicted in media is just hippos depicted in media.

    We're interested in how the hippos are depicted in media. At the moment neither the laconic, nor the title says anything on this, and the examples seem to just list works that have hippos in them.
  • October 31, 2013
    AgProv
    In the Discworld, hippos are the heraldic animal representing Ankh-Morpork. (Big, slow, ungainly, generate a lot of shit, and wallow in filthy water). The city keeps two elderly arthritic hippos, and mythology says disaster will befall if they die or leave. Roderick and Keith are said to have an amicable arrangement of their own. Hippos appear in heraldic art - the Brass Bridge is lined with carved wooden hippos - they appear on the city's coat of arms, and now feature on currency notes and stamps.

    In real life, hippos feature on the banknotes of several African states, including Botswana and Lesotho.
  • October 31, 2013
    AgProv
    Music:
    • the hippos are referenced in the Flanders and Swann song Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud
  • October 31, 2013
    randomsurfer
    When The Simpsons go to Africa they're attacked by a hippo. Homer says that hippos are afraid of water so they get into a convinent canoe. Lisa points out that hippos are actually very good with water (they're "river horses"); but then the hippo they're running from turns out to be afraid of water after all.
  • November 1, 2013
    StarSword
    This is another Everythings Better With X snowclone, in spirit if not in name. Per Trope Repair Shop precedent "work contains hippopotamuses" is not a trope. Motion to discard.
  • November 1, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^Well, why do you think tropes like Rascally Raccoon, Nutty Squirrel, Smelly Skunk, and Messy Pig have been changed from Everythings Better With X tropes? You should at least be happy that the title isn't "Everything's Hipper With Hippos".
  • November 1, 2013
    StarSword
    ^The TRS narrowed all of them to "use of animal for narrative purpose" instead of just "use of animal". One I was personally involved with was Everythings Better With Chickens, which was renamed to Clucking Funny and defined as "add chicken for funny".

    If this is something other than "work has a hippo in it", the title needs to reflect that (current has Trope Namer Syndrome), and the current list of examples are all over the place, up to and including "work has a hippo".
  • November 1, 2013
    somerandomdude
    The hippos in Disney's Tarzan only make brief appearances, but are depicted as gentile, slow and docile, quite different from their normal aggressive behavior.
  • November 1, 2013
    DAN004
    The OP named this "Hip Hippo" before he knew about Animaniacs. :/

    But yeah, maybe title needs to change. And Star Sword, I guess it's already clear in the description that hippos are depicted as graceful in water but looking lazy outside of it... as well as being Fat Idiots.
  • November 3, 2013
    GoldenDarkness
    Would the Board Game Hungry Hungry Hippos fit?
  • November 5, 2013
    Snicka
    In the Tarzan entry, the word "gentle" is misspelled as "gentile", which means "non-jewish". Well, the hippos in Tarzan are probably not jewish, but I doubt that's what somerandomdude meant...
  • November 5, 2013
    DracMonster
  • November 5, 2013
    Snicka
    Not every hippo fits the Fat Idiot type from the list; Gloria from Madagascar, for example, is the Closer To Earth female of her gang.
  • November 5, 2013
    DAN004
    Yeah, Fat Idiot is just one of the possible depiction of the hippo, not necessarily the defining aspect (just like how Big Badass Wolf can be either "Alpha Wolf" or "Lone Wolf").
  • November 6, 2013
    Snicka
    ^ Then the Laconic should reflect that.
  • November 6, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ That's what I'm trying to suggest...
  • November 7, 2013
    Snicka
    I like the new trope name, as hippos' weight is always an important trait, regardless of their personality.
  • November 7, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^Yeah, I don't know why I didn't think of that one in the first place, until Drac Monster suggested alternate names for this trope to me.
  • November 8, 2013
    Snicka
    The second Madagascar movie also has Moto Moto the male hippo, who is a Big Beautiful Man and a Chubby Chaser, and serves as a temporary Love Interest for Gloria.
  • November 10, 2013
    Mozgwsloiku
    In Nu Pogodi the hippo is a Gentle Giant recurring extra. Though he often causes the wolf pain, it is usually through obliviousness (such as mistaking him for a member of his building crew and loading some bricks onto his back.)
  • November 10, 2013
    SharleeD
    Not sure the description should describe hippos as "beautiful"; most people probably regard them as more Ugly Cute than gorgeous.
  • November 10, 2013
    Snicka
    ^ Agreed, beautiful is not the word I would use to describe a hippo. Charming, lovely, cute, maybe. But not beautiful.
  • November 11, 2013
    Snicka
    I think it was the "beautiful" part in the first paragraph that Sharlee D and I meant, rather than the last. They still often get Big Beautiful Woman treatment in media, where their bulk is part of their charm - and this is why they are more often female.
  • November 12, 2013
    TonyG
    Description needs to be more organized. As it stands, it's mostly a string of unrelated sentences.
  • November 13, 2013
    Snicka
    Another Eastern Animation example:

  • November 14, 2013
    Snicka
    I propose this cleanup for the description:

    Hippos (or, by their full name, Hippopotamuses, which is Greek for horse of the river) are usually considered as heavy, lazy, dim-witted, yet charming creatures, while in Real Life, they are actually very dangerous. Many people think that when hippos open their mouths really wide, they're yawning, when they're actually showing off their fangs to warn off other animals. They kill more people in Africa than crocodiles or lions.

    In fiction, however, they are hardly ever depicted as dangerous. They are usually Ugly Cute Gentle Giants, who may be Big Eaters and/or Fat Idiots. And since they are very graceful underwater, they are often portrayed as Fat Girl or Big Beautiful Woman, making them almost Always Female.

  • November 15, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Like.
  • November 15, 2013
    Snicka
    A Toy example (could be dumped in the same category as Hungry Hungry Hippos):

    • Hannah Hippopotamus from the Fabuland toyline from Lego is a female hippo.
  • November 15, 2013
    Cider
    Hippopotas of Pokemon fits the bill, its evolution, Hippowdon, does not.
  • November 15, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Explain?
  • November 16, 2013
    Snicka
    I'm not much into Pokemon, but looking up these two characters, Hippopotas seems to be a gentle hippo, while Hippowdon appears to be an aggressive one.
  • November 16, 2013
    Snicka

    (I haven't seen the film, so it'd be great if anyone who has seen it could expand on it.)
  • November 16, 2013
    Cider
    The Hippopotas dex entries are all about how it moves around, what it likes and dislikes, its sweat. The Hippowdon entries are all about the size of its mouth and what it can crush in it.
  • November 18, 2013
    Snicka
    The Pokemon entry should be expanded with the above, otherwise it's a Zero Context Example. ^
  • November 25, 2013
    Snicka
    Mythology:

  • November 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Live Action TV: New Zoo Revue features Henrietta Hippo, a genteel Southern Belle hippo.
  • November 29, 2013
    Snicka
    Fictional hippos can also be Big Fun.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=v96hbeu439ptinwn3ntj7qid&trope=HeavyHippo