Consulting Mister Puppet
Tabitha: Penny, is there anyone else in this hangar?A character who never goes anywhere without his Hand Puppet pal or his Companion Cube, Imaginary Friend or pet. Not only does the puppet keep him company, but he also gives good advice, which his owner trusts, perhaps to the point that he never seems to make a decision of his own. At least, this is what he tells everybody. Nobody else has ever heard the puppet speak, and his friends will be inclined to think that it's all in his head. Especially if the puppet's opinion always seems to boil down to, "We should do what I want but I'm not confident enough to recommend on my authority." It's remarkable how often the puppet will be called Mr. Something. The puppet may have urges or ideas that the character denies having themselves. This way they can literally keep the urges at arm's length, even if they act on them. This trope can overlap with Ventriloquism — if it is blatantly obvious that anything the puppet says is actually being said by the character. If a pet speaks, it is usually an independent character: a Talking Animal. Similarly, if the puppet is alive see Perverse Puppet, Demonic Dummy, etc. See also Caligula's Horse, where pets are appointed to positions of authority.
Penny: Hold on! Let Penny ask Mr. Bear! ... ... ... ... Mr. Bear says no! Mr. Bear says we are all alone. ...He also hates you.
Penny: Hold on! Let Penny ask Mr. Bear! ... ... ... ... Mr. Bear says no! Mr. Bear says we are all alone. ...He also hates you.
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Anime & Manga
- Best Student Council: The other members of the Council think that Rino is doing this with Pucchan, a hand puppet, early on in the series.
- Ayame from Wandaba Style often asks "Mr. Fairy," magical creatures only she can see, what they think, and will occasionally attribute a comment she made to them: "I was only saying what Mr. Fairy told me," "Mr. Fairy thinks so, too," etc.
- The little girl in Maria-sama ga Miteru whose best friend is the teddy bear almost as large as she is.
- In Digimon Tamers, Juri Katou has an unnamed hand puppet which she regularly uses to talk in her stead and express her opinions, as some sort of defence mechanism. With Leomon's death, her subsequent spiral into depression, kidnapping and replacement by the D-Reaper, this gets twisted in a very messed-up manner: the puppet starts spouting much darker thoughts, and that's just the beginning... Later, while she teeters on the edge of Despair Event Horizon , she also uses her hand puppet to try and strangle herself.
- Kagari does this in the first episode of the Black★Rock Shooter TV anime.
- In The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Nanami does this in episode 6 when she wakes up after having suffered from a flu and severe exhaustion. Her stuffed animal plays the other voice, and she does it long enough for Sorata, who was coming to her room with some food, to hear some of it. Somehow justified as she is interested in being a voice actor.
- Black Panther: The villain Achebe and his hand puppet Daki.
- DC Comics has the Batman villain "team" The Ventriloquist and Scarface, and a small handful of backup puppets in case Scarface goes missing. Sadly, the secondary puppets don't really get along...
- Some stories suggest that Scarface may actually be real, but in general it's accepted that it's just part of The Ventriloquist's deranged mind. However, his hired mooks seem legitimately confused, some earnestly believing that Scarface is real, some knowing that Ventriloquist is the real brains and wondering why he keeps that stupid puppet around, etc. Though if anyone speaks directly to The Ventriloquist when addressing "Scarface" they risk getting shot.
- The second and third scarfaces carry on this tradition, leaving it ambiguous whether or not their puppets are "real". The third one in particular is a complicated example, seeing that she has telekinetic powers.
- Johnny the Homicidal Maniac talks to his neighbor Squee's stuffed bear:
What's that, Shmee? Mm-hmm. Yeeess. Hmm? Yeah. Really. Well, okay. What? What?! Well fuck you, Mr. Bear!!! You speak Lies!!! LIIIEEEEEESSSS!!!!! Stuffed with pure venom, you vile, lint-infested bastard! How many more like you are there, huh?! How many more!!!! You can't imagine the things I've endured at the hands of shit like you! You don't know the truth!!!! Stabs Shmee repeatedly.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series
- Mako Tsunami is obsessed with the ocean and eventually asks it to marry him. "The ocean says yes."
- The ocean spoke back.
- Mai always states her opinions by stating "My breasts..."
- Arguably, Kemo. He never states his opinion or intentions; he states the opinions or intentions of his Anime Hair.
- Rebecca Hawkins also calls on the opinion of her evil teddy bear. May be a borderline example, since even though it only tends to spit phrases like "Hail Satan!" she seems to think it offers worthwhile conversational input.
- Pokémon The 'Bridged Series has Brock take out a sock puppet on occasion. This gets rather creepy at times...
- In the Darkwing Duck fanfiction Negaverse Chronicles, Quackerjack has Mr. Banana Brain. It initially creeps out his teammates (and random criminals who witness the interactions).
Film — Live-Action
- In the Austin Powers films, Dr. Evil has moments of this with his Right-Hand Cat, Mr. Bigglesworth:
Dr. Evil: That makes me angry. And when Dr. Evil gets angry, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset. And when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset... people die!
- Danny from The Shining has Tony, "the little boy who lives in [his] mouth."
- Squire Trelawney (played by Fozzie Bear) in Muppet Treasure Island relies implicitly on the judgment of Mr. Bimbo, a tiny man who lives in his finger.
- In Star Trek: Generations, Data, of all people, having just developed a sense of humor, quickly begins to malfunction and does this quite literally with "Mr. Tricorder," using it as a puppet and asking it about some serious work he's supposed to be doing.
- In the Discworld novel Making Money, Moist von Lipwig is given responsibility for a small dog named Mr. Fusspot, who has just inherited the Bank of Ankh-Morpork. This makes Moist the de facto man in charge of the Bank, as long as he's careful to specify that he's only acting on Mr. Fusspot's behalf. (Unlike most examples, Moist is entirely grounded and knows perfectly well that the ideas he's attributing to Mr. Fusspot are his own — but for the system to work, he has to keep the people around him guessing.)
- Moist is also introduced to the wizards who have opted to take a temporary sabbatical by dying for a few years. The Posthumous Professor Of Post-Mortem Communication (formerly Necromancy) quite happily assists with a pressing problem through his earthly avatar, a small knitted figure of a wizard in its own jar in the pantry.
- In the Kate Shugak novel A Deeper Sleep by Dana Stabenow, one of the suspects (a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome) keeps talking the Darth Vader action figure he carries in his top pocket.
- In More Information Than You Require, the author talks about adopting a gambling persona, and gives an example of a guy who plays poker in character as a Crazy Homeless Person who lives in a hollow tree in Burt Reynolds' yard. He consults his German Shepherd, Wolfie, on all of his wagers, often having full conversations and shouting matches with the dog, at which point he says, "I'm sorry, my dog is a jerk hole!" makes a bet, and vomits on himself. This strategy manages to baffle experienced poker players.
- In the children's book The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, a bright, benevolent, but socially maladjusted student discovers that while neither students nor teachers will listen to or respect him, the students at least will respect the wisdom of his finger puppet "Origami Yoda". Origami Yoda gives a great deal of cryptic but valuable advice which help individual children (and sometimes the school as a whole), and eventually a few students halfway become friends with his "channeler". (The faculty are less happy about all of this, and in the sequel the whole thing eventually gets the student expelled as an undesirable influence.)
- Red Dwarf, in the episode "Quarantine". Rimmer becomes deranged after contracting a holovirus, and starts associating with a penguin Hand Puppet called Mr. Flibble, who was the former trope namer.
Rimmer (Shaking with rage): Mr. Flibble's very cross. You shouldn't have run away from him. What are we going to do with them, Mr. Flibble?
(Mr. Flibble appears to whisper in Rimmer's ear.)
Rimmer: We can't possibly do that!
(Mr Flibble tilts to look at the crew.)
Rimmer: Who would clean up the mess?
- In an episode of MacGyver, an crazy old woman witnessed a murder, but acted like her pet parakeet was the only one who saw it. They brought her into court and asked her what the bird knew.
- Margaret Lanterman, the "Log Lady", in Twin Peaks. She carried around a log and claimed it communicated with her.
- Stephen Colbert. "What's that? What's that, Sweetness?" Sweetness is his Companion Cube gun. "Oh, no, we need him to run the camera." Notably, the ear that Sweetness always "speaks" into is deaf. Colbert seems not to notice.
- In at least one episode of Jack-of-All-Trades, the Governor was treating a cow hand puppet named "Mr. Nipples" in this manner.
- Jane in Coupling after taking a couple of random tablets that she thought might have been headache pills before auditioning to be a children's show presenter with a sock puppet called "Jake the Snake".
- Robbie and his hand puppet, Rex, on Victorious.
- Sledge Hammer!: Sledge likes to talk to his gun, especially when excited.
- Murdock of The A-Team sometimes converses with a sock puppet. Another great way of annoying B.A.
- An episode of Murder, She Wrote featured a ventriloquist who was so shy off stage he let the dummy do all his talking. Which was a problem when he faked the dummy's theft to avoid going to Vegas, and was promptly framed for murder.
- Similarly, in the Jim Henson sitcom pilot Puppetman, the snarky puppet on a kids' TV show got more insulting towards the human host when the cameras weren't rolling, although the puppeteer (played by Richard Hunt) wouldn't dream of expressing such opinions himself. In fact, when the puppeteer tries to make peace with the host, the puppet calls him out for his hypocrisy.
- On Mock the Week — "The Worst Person to be Married To" — Russell Howard may love you, but his hand wants you to "DIE, BITCH!!"
- In Arrested Development, GOB has Franklin, a black puppet with some pretty serious issues. Disturbingly, Franklin's slurs get even more off-color when Buster gets a hold of him.
- Two episodes of The Fall Guy featured Ozzie (played by Buddy Hackett), a Too Dumb to Live Cloud Cuckoolander homeless man who had an invisible friend named Harold.
- Horrible Histories's version of Caligula makes this a trademark, speaking to either his own hand with a face drawn on, a worm attached to the dead man's armour he was wearing, or a wooden mallet-cum-murder-weapon that he named Whackus Bonkus.
- Death's relationship with his two (literal) skeleton sidekicks — joined by a mummy in the fourth series — has definite overtones of this; they're supposed to be an X-Factor-esque judging panel, but Death's apparently the only one that can hear the others' opinions (and berates them loudly when he disagrees). He also occasionally holds staring contests with them.
- In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Belly Speaker", a ventriloquist who confesses to a murder seems to have this relationship with his dummy, to the point where even the stolid Murdoch briefly wonders if the puppet commited the murder. It turns out he was faking it, as part of convincing Murdoch he was a disturbed individual confessing to a murder he hadn't committed.
- Bea Chadwick from Family Tree began using a monkey puppet to voice her inner thoughts as a kid, and is still doing it in her 30s. She's played by ventriloquist Nina Conti, with the monkey taken straight from her own act. It's also portrayed rather more seriously than usual when she loses the puppet and reacts exactly like a mother who's lost her child.
- In Rentaghost, medieval jester Timothy Claypole often consulted his marotte (the stick with a jester's head carved into it) "Tiny Timothy". Given that this is a show with a living pantomime horse, it is extremely unclear how independent Tiny Timothy really is.
- Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger: The Conductor and his sock-monkey puppet Ticket. We see other conductors have puppets too.
- Dylan Moran had a piece in his stand-up show "Monster" that likened this to religion, saying it is basically people talking to their imaginary friends, and proceeded to mime someone speaking to a sock puppet as a demonstration.
"And I don't mind that, you know; believe in whatever makes you happy. The problem is that some of these people are world leaders."
- The Prisoner lampshades this when Number Two uses mannequins as a jury in "Free For All".
Number Two: Unanimous decision!
- Al Snow's most famous gimmick was with a mannequin's head called, simply, Head. The gimmick started when Mick Foley told him that to get ahead in the wrestling business, he had to get a little head (a metaphor for sleeping your way to the top). Snow, being a little touched (story-wise), took it literally...that is to say, one promo showed him going into a local department store, taking a mannequin head right off the mannequin, and leaving (the backwards "HELP ME!!" wouldn't come until later). The Double Entendre was not lost on the crowd...or the theme song writers.
- Perry Saturn later adopted a similar gimmick, but with a mop named "Moppy".
- Also, Foley himself had Mr. Socko, though the degree to which he gave the sock an independent personality varied somewhat.
- Similar to the examples above, Chavo Guerrero, Jr. in WCW snapped under pressure from his uncle Eddie and began talking to a hobby horse he named "Pepe".
- Zoe from Sesame Street has a pet rock, creatively named Rocco, and she has been known to announce Rocco's opinion on whatever's happening.
- The Sooty Show: A saner version is Sooty. As The Voiceless, he could only communicate by whispering into the ear of his
- Ventriloquist Nina Conti is often accused of this by her cynical monkey puppet, Monk. When he isn't accusing her of wasting her life learning ventriloquism.
- Minsc from the Baldur's Gate series, and his miniature giant space hamster Boo.
Minsc: Minsc will lead with blade and boot! Boo will take care of the details.
- "What? Boo is outraged! See his fury! It's small, so look close. Trust me, it's there."
- "Go for the eyes, Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!"
- Penny/Lili from the U.S. version of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, and "Mr. Bear".
- Team Fortress 2: The Heavy apparently think Sandvich is sentient ("What was that, Sandvich? 'Kill them all'? Good idea! Hahaha!"); furthermore, Fanon posits that the Soldier takes advice from his Shovel.
- The Soldier takes advice from a lot of things. He needs multiple viewpoints for a balanced assessment. (In other words, this was made canon)
- There are several cosmetic items that can be used for this trope, such as a teddy bear for the engineer. In Halloween 2013 the Scout and (surprise surprise) the Soldier got in on it as well, making friends with a ghost hat and a latex maggot prop respectively.
- Doug Rattmann from Portal hallucinates his Companion Cube talking to him, and follows its advice. Oddly enough, it works, with him failing to navigate a turret-chamber only when he takes his medication and the Cube stops talking.
- A minor example: Moose from Tales of Monkey Island will vote whichever way Santino votes when making decisions as part of the Democratically United Brotherhood of the Manatee Interior. (Just... don't ask.) Santino is a skeleton and has apparently been dead for some time.
- Davison, one of the Nightkin in Fallout: New Vegas will regularly ask Antler, a brahmin skull, for advice. Humorously Davison states that since finding it "everything's been going pretty well", which is actually true: Davison just wants to kill the Courier immediately while it's Antler's idea to ask them for help, which is the only way the quest can be completed without his entire nightkin troop dying.
- For the release of Fallout 3, the trope appears in the Penny Arcade story "One Man and a Crate of Puppets": the story of an unfortunate individual who is assigned to a vault...alone. Except for a crate of puppets. Trope ensures, culminating in the legendary figure feared by raiders everywhere known only as "the Puppet Man". (Actually is canon thanks to an explicit reference to the character in Fallout3)
- Wentos the Traveling Salesman from Sonic Unleashed has a Chao puppet that encourages him to talk to people and overcome his shyness, as well as giving him advice on how to interact with others.
- Carl Clover in BlazBlue does this with Nirava/Ada, his puppet. Justified in that she is actually his sister, and he can actually hear her voice.
- His glasses allow him to talk to other things, too. Like mailboxes.
- Subverted in Psychonauts with Sheegor, who follows the trope to the letter with her pet turtle Mr. Pokeylope until Mr. Pokeylope breaks out into deep, flowing dialogue. Even Raz is surprised.
- The Sims 2: Some Aspirations will do this when their Aspiration meter is red, Family sims will cradle a floursack baby, Knowledge sims will talk to a volleyball wearing a motorboard (Professor Von Ball), Romance sims will dance with a mop, etc.
- League of Legends: Jinx and her Rocket Launcher, Fishbones.
- The Order of the Stick
- Cloudcuckoolander Elan worships Banjo, his own hand puppet, as his god. Despite it just being an ordinary puppet that Elan made, the nature of the D&D-based world means his worship turned it into a real god (though a very weak one, since it only has one worshiper).
- Lord Shojo defers to his cat, Mr. Scruffy. Which is all really just Obfuscating Insanity on his part. Belkar treats Mr. Scruffy somewhat the same way, though to a much lesser extent, considering the cat his partner in crime.
- Dragon Tails has Bluey and his companion the bunny-dragon.
Bunny-Dragon: This robot's an idiot. I think you should tell him he means delusion, not hallucination.
Bluey: You're an idiot, Barry! You mean delusion, not hallucination!
- C'est la Vie: The relationship between Mona and her childhood stuffed rabbit doll, Monsieur Smokey. Mona also used to talk to a potted plant called Carl.
- Schlock Mercenary had a palace gardener who tried to "commune with the soil". Schlock who was sent to help him didn't like his attitude, so he "talked" with the soil in question... and then with his shovel.
- Dr. Quackbrain, a mad psychiatrist from the final episode of CountDuckula consults his 'Pinky' for advice.
- Maxwell Madison Jr. in Phantom 2040 never goes anywhere without his cat, Baudelaire, and never expresses an opinion without prefixing it with "Baudelaire says..." After Max manages to do an Epic Fail trapping all his family in Cyberville, they ask him What Were You Thinking?? His response is to look at Baudelaire and say:
Max: Well? Baudelaire?... say something!
- Puff the Magic Dragon: In the 1982 special Puff and the Incredible Mr. Nobody, a gifted child is persecuted by peers and authority figures alike for his excessive creativity, so he starts attributing his output to his imaginary friend. He eventually comes to believe that all his talent is due to his friend's presence.
- South Park
- Mr. Garrison has his hand puppet Mr. Hat in early seasons. And, after Mr. Hat went missing, Mr. Twig. Particularly interesting since Garrison actually talked through the puppet, yet was still apparently oblivious to the fact that he was arguing with himself, though Mr. Hat seems quite capable of independent mobility. He even kicked Mr. Mackey's butt.
- One episode had Cartman's hand seemingly develop an independent personality called "Jennifer Lopez" (but not the Jennifer Lopez), which Cartman would provide the voice for by speaking in a high pitched manner. For most of the story it was left ambiguous whether he was just faking it, had gone completely insane, or was undergoing some sort of genuinely supernatural event. Kyle insists it's all a joke, but at the end acknowledges that enough weird occurances have happened to them that it's possible Jennifer is real. At which point Cartman reveals the whole thing to have been a hoax, specifically to get this reaction from Kyle. Later it is revealed, that Jennifer Lopez is actually Mitch Connor and it is far from a hoax.
- Johnny from Ed, Edd n Eddy, whose friend Plank may or may not be sentient.
- In The Venture Bros., Phantom Limb's Revenge Society consists of a single high heel, a toaster, and a coffee mug.
- Darkwing Duck: Quackerjack carries around a little banana-headed doll he calls Mr. Banana Brain. He routinely asks it for advice or holds conversations with it when he's bored. Normally he provides Mr. Banana Brain's part of the conversation as well, but when the doll gets possessed and starts talking on its own, all he notices is that Mr. Banana Brain has a deeper voice all of a sudden. And he's learned to fly.
- The Tick:
- The Human Ton has Handy, a crude hand puppet. Handy is an interesting case, because while he's clearly autonomous, he can't use a wishing machine because he's not a real person, and goes inert when he's not on someone's hand. Ton also screams and collapses without his puppet.
- The Tick himself created a temporary sidekick he called "Little Wooden Boy" in one episode.
- The It's a Wonderful Plot episode has Chuckie's dad turn into a shut-in who talks to a sock puppet as a result of being lonely without his son. This is what makes Chuckie realize he really is needed.
- Angelica sometimes uses her doll Cynthia this way. The show doesn't stay consistent on whether she realises it's just a non-sentient toy or not.
- In Wakfu season 1 episode 7, a crazy old Sadida is seen talking to a pet rock ("Monsieur Caillou" in the original French).
- Played for Laughs in an episode of The Oblongs. Beth gets taken to a therapist because of her recent unusual behavior. She picks up a doll and uses it to say exactly what's bothering her and why she's acting clingy, but the therapist angrily says nobody cares about the stupid doll, they want to know what's wrong with Beth.
- In chapter 27 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Fred consults his tattered old teddy bear, which has apparently been his only company following his separation from de facto dad, the mayor of Crystal Cove and the dissolution of the team.
- The Powerpuff Girls episode "Tough Love" has Him get the idea to turn Townsville against the girls from his rubber duck, Mr. Quackers.
- Kubla Krauss, the villain in Rankin Bass Jack Frost, frequently talks to Dummy, his ventriloquist dummy. Also he has a clockwork horse, butler and army of metal knights.
- In the Justice League episode "A Better World," the Ventriloquist and Scarface are seen as residents of Arkham Asylum, all of whom have been lobotomized by the Justice Lord Superman's heat vision. The Ventriloquist was neutralized by zapping Scarface, fueling further speculation on just who is calling the shots.
- The 2013 reboot of Max Steel has Toxzon and his plastic goldfish Fishy. When we see things from Toxzon's POV Fishy moves around, talks, wears a tiny hat and is arguably a even nastier piece of work than Toxzon. From everyone else's POV however, Fishy is just a silent, immobile plastic goldfish.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Party of One, Pinkie Pie's Sanity Slippage leads to her coming up with 'new friends' - a bucket of turnips, a flour sack, and a pile of rocks. She then acts like they're talking to her (via terrible ventriloquism), and turning her against her old friends. Rainbow Dash is understandably creeped out by this.