Consulting Mister Puppet
aka: Consulting Mr Flibble
The H here stands for "Headcase"
Penny, is there anyone else in this hangar? Penny:
Hold on! Let Penny ask Mr. Bear! ... ... ... ... Mr. Bear says no! Mr. Bear says we are all alone. ...He also hates you.
A character who never goes anywhere without his Hand Puppet
pal or his Companion Cube
, Imaginary Friend
. 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.
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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 Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, 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.
Comics — Books
- 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.
- Pokemon: 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 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 marrote (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.
- 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. 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
puppeteer human friend.
- 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.
- 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 was 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.
- Rubber duck debugging is a practice of finding errors in a computer program that one is developing by attempting to explain the program to a Companion Cube. The idea is that the programmer will end up discovering the error at some point in the explanation.