"Slink, take the pedals! Rex, you navigate! Hamm and Potato, operate the levers and knobs!"
A situation that regularly appears in works with miniature protagonists
is to have them operate a car, airplane, spaceship, or other vehicle. Since the vehicle was built for larger, "regular"-sized people and is not a Surprisingly Functional Toy
, this will require a team of the diminutive characters working together to operate the numerous controls. Jury-rigged assistive devices
made with Bamboo Technology
or Noodle Implements
might be used.
More often than not, Hilarity Ensues
as the Dysfunctional Family
or Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits
fail to coordinate their operations — they end up bickering with each other while their vehicle careens all over the place
. If the characters wouldn't normally know how to operate the vehicle, Taught by Television
or I Know Mortal Kombat
may be invoked to explain how they suddenly acquired some driving skills.
Naturally, this typically involves Lilliputians
, Living Toys
or very Little People
, though other character types
may be used as the work demands.
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Film - Animated
Film - Live-Action
- In the Disney live-action movie The Gnome-Mobile, two kids drive a car. Neither is big enough to reach pedals and see over the dashboard, so one steers while the other moves the pedals.
- The 2006 film Little Man features Calvin, a 30" tall dwarf criminal who's pretending to be a toddler as part of a diamond heist. He gets in a car and drives it by using a toy bat to move the pedals.
- In Ted, John's teddy bear drives John's car, using built-up pedals so he can reach them.
- Occurs in each book of Terry Pratchett's Nomes Trilogy:
- In Truckers, the nomes steal a department store delivery truck to escape the store before it gets demolished. They learn how to drive after Angalo sneaks aboard a truck and watches the driver for nearly a week. Even so, they still make a mess of things and blow up the store in the process.
- In Diggers, Dorcas and Grimma lead the nomes to operate a JCB backhoe in an attempt to scare away the humans intruding on their stone quarry.
- Subverted in Wings; Angalo tries to temporarily pilot a Concorde jet for fun, but is stopped when The Thing (a navigation computer from their spaceship) takes control instead. The nomes also briefly consider "borrowing" the Space Shuttle...
- In the first Leven Thumps book, Clover (officially 12 inches in height) decides to, er, commandeer a motor vehicle in order to catch up to protagonists Leven and Winter. He eventually sets up a system to keep the pedals pushed while he hurtles along the street at breakneck pace. He's the only one on the road who finds it fun, for some reason...
- Occurs in the Dragonlance Legends trilogy of all things. Tasslehoff finds himself unable to operate the full size captain's chair that psychically controls the flying citadel, and has to enlist a nearby gully dwarf in order to do it. Gully dwarves being what they are...
Tasslehoff: Northwest! It's one direc- oh, never mind. Look, Rounce, you think north and I'll think west. That might work.
- The children's novel The Great Ringtail Garbage Caper involves a crack team of raccoons stealing the local garbage truck. They actually had a decent reason for the whole caper. The garbage truck was removing all the scraps they were living off, so they did the job themselves to get first dibs on the trash.
- In Sluggy Freelance, Bun-Bun occasionally steals Torg's car, with Kiki working the pedals. In this instance, Torg (human) accompanies them — and instead of driving normally, he has to work the pedals, with Kiki on the gear stick.
- Appears in The Penguins of Madagascar whenever the penguins commandeer a vehicle for their missions.
- The South Park episode "Towelie" has the kids steal a truck during their quest to recover their video game system.
- In the Pinky and the Brain short "Opportunity Knox", Brain controls the steering wheel of a van with pulleys while Pinky operates the pedals.
- Another has an extension system for when the Brain rides a motorcycle.
- One time on The Simpsons, Bart was steering while Lisa and Milhouse were operating the gas and brake pedals, and they were doing it kinda randomly. Lisa would push the gas and then Milhouse would push the brake, Lather, rinse, repeat, all without any input from Bart. Milhouse took the opportunity to ask Lisa out.
- One episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers has the Rangers (rodent-sized rodents) trying to land a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of the space shuttle.
- Averted by the Ant Hill Mob on both Wacky Races and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. They have no problem operating vehicles scaled for humans of normal stature.