Disney Creatures of the Farce
is famous for characters who are a Friend to All Living Things
, which always lead to a signature moment. This is the moment where for some reason, sweet woodland critters help the heroine with tasks that birds and deer wouldn't normally do
. Maybe the animals hang around just to chirp a sweet song to make the heroine smile while she's working. Or maybe they show up to celebrate a particularly happy moment with their Friend. Usually accompanied by some whimsical musical arrangement or singing (expect the animals to sing back). This moment is common in the early Disney Animated Canon
(and some live action too
It's actually so well known, that it's become a Stock Parody
. A popular moment to include in Western Animation
, for the fairly obvious reason
that most animators grew up idolizing Disney movies, and either are completely disillusioned now, or want to poke a little fun at their first inspiration
. But it can show up in live-action film and television as well, since Disney's influence is quite far-reaching.
The moment will happen the same way as described above. Except that, very likely, something horrible will happen to the creatures. Or the creatures will turn the tables and do something horrible to the human character. Or maybe nothing unusual happens at all, but it's obvious that the show is referencing this classic Disney moment (although very likely, such a moment is Older Than They Think
, Disney is the most iconic example). In shows with particularly high trope savvy, these may not appear at all
, leaving the heroine puzzled or annoyed by their absence.
Note that to fit this trope, it has to be a clear reference to the classic Disney moment. If it's just a character who does horrible things to animals after seeming to befriend them, that's either a Subversion of Friend to All Living Things
, or a straight play on Enemy to All Living Things
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Anime and Manga
- There is an obscure Thor fanfic on Archive Of Our Own where Doctor Strange, fed up with Loki, gives him the "Disney Princess Curse." Cue animals following Loki around (and, not being a virgin, he really wants to know why there are unicorns there). Loki seems to take it in stride, and puts milk out for the cats that keep popping up in his lair.
Films — Animated
- In Shrek, Fiona ends up singing with a bird... then she causes it to explode with a high note, so she cooks its eggs for breakfast.
- Done again in Shrek the Third. During the attack on the castle, Snow White first gathers a mob of woodland animals by singing happily, then switches to Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" to sends them to attack the guards.
- Disney even parodies themselves:
- Hercules. Whenever Artemis appeared, she would be surrounded by animals like this... until they started getting in her way and tripping her, at which point she would start yelling at them to leave her alone. And Meg is perfectly aware that the friendly animals approaching her are really the demons Pain and Panic in disguise.
- Oliver & Company. While Georgette sings, she is dressed by birds who clearly have the hots for her! And Georgette herself is no sweet lovable lass but rather a vain... dog.
- The Emperor's New Groove: Kronk and his squirrel.
- Arguably also parodied in Tangled. Rapunzel is able to charm Maximus, the fierce horse belonging to the captain of the guard. Flynn, playing the straight man, can't believe that a guard's horse is thumping its leg like a dog.
- Also used in Sofia the First, where the Woodland Creatures reveal (in song, no less!) that the only reason they help princesses out with their chores is to get some food.
- In The Road to El Dorado, Miguel views the war horse that tags along as a special friend, talking to it and getting it to help him out on their quest. When Miguel isn't watching, the horse is much less kind to Tulio, including literally biting him in the ass at one point.
Films — Live-Action
- A classic example is in 9 to 5, when Lily Tomlin's character is fantasizing about poisoning her boss, with a group of Disney-esque animals watching and encouraging as she prepares to do so. She's even wearing a Snow White costume!
- Giselle in Disney's Enchanted starts off as a straight example of Friend to All Living Things, but when she ends up in the Real World and summons cockroaches, pigeons, flies and rats to clean the apartment...yes, you read that right. Cockroaches and rats are a lot cleaner than most people give them credit for (both stay clean in much the same way as your average house cat does) but it's still pretty squicky. Watch the scene for yourself here.
- In the animated opening credits to Grease, ingenue Sandy is attended by deer and little birds as she rises and prepares for the day.
- In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Maid Marian's singing causes a "happy little bluebird" to perch on her finger. Her sidekick Broomhilde points out that it left a "happy little doo-doo" when it departed.
- Mentioned in Soul Music when a skeletal, hooded, scythe wielding Death of Rats steps onto Susan's palm and it's compared to the scene where the princess sings to the woodland creatures, but "more of a PG rating".
- Mentioned again in Carpe Jugulum when Agnes sings in tune with herself while getting ready for the christening of Queen Magrat's baby. The narration contrasts this with singing in tune with her reflection, noting that such behavior leads to singing along with bluebirds, and once that's happened "there's nothing for it but a flamethrower."
- Ace Attorney:
- Dahlia Hawthorne is shown with butterflies around her at various points. Upon The Reveal, they burst into flames.
- Likewise, Acro from Justice For All is shown with birds at random, even landing on his hands. Nothing happens to the birds, but he's the case's killer. Although, his "getting angry" animation consists of the birds quietly fluttering away, and once, when he thinks Phoenix doesn't have a leg to stand on (and Phoenix is beginning to entertain the same notion), one of his birds flies over to peck at Phoenix's forehead.
- In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, one killer's breakdown is the local (previously doting) fauna each taking a turn to beat them up.
- Olivia, the ultra-girly super-princess from Battle Fantasia, is accompanied into battle by doves. The character is a complete parody of Princess Classic tropes, so this naturally adds to it.
- In South Park: The Stick of Truth Princess Kenny can summon up a swarm of rats to attack his enemies by singing. However, if you fail the button prompts the rats will turn on Kenny and devour him.
- College Roomies from Hell!!!
- In the earlier strips, Marsha has this in spades... and hates it, as she can't enter a park without getting swarmed. Later strips use it much more sparingly due to Cerebus Syndrome.
- This gets used to a particularly creepy effect following her Freak Out, when she starts attracting swarms of bats.
- Cyanide and Happiness also did a strip about this trope.
- In this Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic the princess is doing the traditional "sing and attract woodland creatures" bit but the nearby goblins are essentially using her as bait.
- This strip of Live Ain't No Pony Farm features Sarah having an epiphany amongst a rather retarded looking bunch of woodland creatures. And then she intends to pet a fox with rabies...
- Of course, The Simpsons had to do it at least once. In The Movie, the woodland critters help Marge and Homer undress before they retire to the bedroom. The creatures stick around a little too long and are quite horrified with what happens next.
- Not once, but twice. In the episode "Homer the Heretic", after Homer finds religion (albeit a religion he made up), he strolls his garden serenely and animals flock to him. Cut to later, when they're still flocking around him while he's taking a shower, and he asks "Guys, can you give me five minutes?"
- But wait, there's more! In a recent three-story episode Lisa (as Snow White) gets help making dinner from all the woodland animals; the birds chop the carrots, the squirrels bring food and even the tortoise gets to take a nice bath in some boiling water.
- American Dad!: Roger asks Francine to make a dish using an adorable bird. We see her in the kitchen, with the bird flying around her head while it mimics everything she sings. Then in a flash, she grabs the bird and drowns it in the pot of water on the stove, with a creepily apathetic look on her face.
- What really makes it disturbing is that the viewer knows all along that she was going to do this. You can't help but feel a glimmer of hope in this song... and then she viciously murders the innocent bird. Which Roger proceeds to devour.
- Francine is the adopted daughter of Chinese chefs, so she's been around a lot of dead birds.
- In Drawn Together, Princess Clara (an Expy of Disney Princesses) has the ability to summon woodland creatures to join her when she sings a song. In the episode "Requiem for a Reality Show", after half the cast is denied food privileges after losing a contest, Spanky and Wooldoor resort to tricking Clara into singing her song again so they can hunt the gathering animals for food.
- The Woodland Critters from South Park are a subtler, but clear parody of this... Stan realizes this when they tell him they want to bring about the birth of the Anti-Christ (a much less-subtle Take That at Disney).
- The Fairly OddParents:
- In one episode Vicky becomes nice for an episode and summons a hundred or so animals to help her clean. Then she turns back into her normal shrieking self and scares them all out of the house. There is much shattering of glass involved in their leaving.
- And again in another episode where the Buttercup and Squirrel Scouts are racing to get up a mountain. The woodland animal help the girls along singing a cutsy tune in the process not to mention doing their hair and bringing gift baskets. However their helping and singing quickly gets out of hand and drives the girls nuts. When they finally snap, the animals turn on them.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy starts reading Jimmy a sickingly sweet pop-up book. By the time he finishes, several animals have gathered around, even though they're indoors.
- When Darkwing Duck is split into a good and evil version of himself, eventually Darkwing's super-powered good side is surrounded by woodland creatures that come out of nowhere.
- In Kick Buttowski, Brad eats a whole tin of breath mints that gives him breath so fresh it attracts birds. The Stinger for the episode is an ad for the mints, with the disclaimer "Birds not guaranteed to appear."