"Does a bear shit in the woods?"A rhetorical question used in place of "yes" when "yes" is the obvious answer to a given question. The standard form is "Is the sky blue?" with common variants including "Is the Pope Catholic?" or "Does a bear shit in the woods?". Bonus points if someone then points out a relevant exception to the obvious statement. Closely related to Ask a Stupid Question.... The inversion is also common, with a question like "Are pigs capable of flying?" (The answer to such questions is no. Both of these versions may be followed by a surprising exception or counterexample, but they don't have to be.)
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- A series of GEICO ads uses this.
Spokesman: Could switching to Geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance?
- Does Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter R?
- Did the little piggy cry "wee wee wee" all the way home?
- Can Charlie Daniels play a mean fiddle?
- Do woodchucks chuck wood?
- Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?
- Does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist?
- Is having a snowball fight with pitching great Randy Johnson a bad idea?
- Is Abe Lincoln honest?
- Does it take two to tango?
- Do dogs chase cats?
- Is the pen mightier than the sword?
- Would Foghorn Leghorn make a really bad book narrator?
- Does the buck stop here?
- Do people use smartphones to do really dumb things?
- They have done several radio commercials in this fashion as well:
- "Is sneaking out of a really boring meeting wearing tap shoes a bad idea?"
- "Does a rolling stone gather no moss?" ("No moss. You'll just have to trust us on this one.")
- "Do mimes make even less sense when you can't see them?"
- "Does helium make opera sound less stuffy?"
- "Can only dogs hear dog whistles?"
- "If a tree falls in the woods when nobody is around, does it still make a noise?"
- "Can you find anything on the Internet?"
- "Is texting getting out of hand?"
- The Annoying Orange spoof has "Are oranges annoying?"
- A Capital One commercial subverted this: the Hermit Guru, when asked if the Capital One app is free, asks "Do hawks use the stars to navigate?" It turns out he doesn't actually know the answer and was hoping someone else would.
- In one Archie Comics story, Jughead asks Reggie if he likes money. Reggie replies, "Is there snow at the North Pole?"
- In the first Spider-Man–Superman Intercontinuity Crossover, when Superman leaves the fight against Doctor Octopus to stop a tsunami, he asks Spider-Man if he can handle things there. Spidey, snarky as ever, replies "Do Warner Brothers make films?" (which in a huge in-joke, had been a sister company of DC Comics for four years)
- All-Star Squadron: In Issue #16, Wonder Woman asks the All-Star Squadron if they know Nuclear and a squadron member asks "Does Max Schmeling know Joe Louis?".
- In the comic strip Nancy and Hugo, Nancy is inquiring whether Hugo finds her pretty. He responds with, "Does a leopard have spots?" She takes it as a yes; turns out he was doing biology homework.
Arlene: Would you like to hold paws?Garfield: Is there food in your paw?Arlene: (shows clean paw) No. (beat) Well?Garfield: I'm trying to follow your logic.
- In an early strip, Jon asks Garfield, "Did you ever think you could win a cat show?" Garfield responds, "Does a baby go goo?"
- This◊ strip had Arlene ask Garfield if he thinks she's getting fat, to which Garfield responds "Do you think I'm getting stupid?" Lampshaded afterwards, when Arlene tells Garfield, "You answer me first", with Garfield telling her, "I did".
- In this strip, Garfield has a "Christmas nightmare" where Santa's "naughty list" visits him. He asks if he's on it, and it says, "Does an elf eat candy canes for breakfast?"
- Jon gets these responses from Bertha and Garfield.
Jon: Ready for dinner, Bertha?
Bertha: Is the sky blue?
Garfield: Do cats hate dogs?
- This strip.
Jon: Hungry, Garfield?
Garfield: Is Odie stupid?
- Garfield's response when Jon asks if they should get a new refrigerator is "Do you think air will catch on as a breathing medium?".
- Garfield's response to Arlene wanting to hold paws with him.
- The Far Side had a cartoon in which one bear asks another: "Is the Pope catholic? Does a bear... well I know you do, Angelo." It couldn't be run in newspapers, so no Getting Crap Past the Radar here.
- A Peanuts strip has the "no" variant: When Franklin first arrives in Charlie Brown's neighbourhood, he mistakes Lucy's psychiatric booth for the lemonade stand it's a parody of. When she explains, he asks if she's a real doctor, and she replies "Was the lemonade ever any good?"
- In Sometimes Bad is Good Harry has a vision of Tonks and Remus' future.
Tonks: Tell me something, Harry. Will Teddy and my baby girl like each other?
Harry: Is Snape a git?
- In The Angel, My Consort Tom Riddle and Lucius Malfoy discuss Tom's meeting with and attraction to Harry.
Lucius: Hmmm... Is he beautiful?
Tom: Are my eyes red?
- A Murderer's Daughter:
Draco: Are you training tonight?
Buffy: Is Quidditch the best game in the world?
Buffy: That's your answer.
- Is Your Great-Aunt an AI?:
Dumbledore: So, are you willing to come to Hogwarts, Harry?
Harry: Does Merlin have a big staff?
- In This Gonna Be Good Harriet Potter plans to visit Neville's home in time to catch the anticipated altercation between his mother and grandmother.
Fred: Which you surely won't egg on.
Harriet: Would I do that?
George: Is a Malfoy's hair blond?
- The Stark Truth:
Harry: How about I go make us some lunch? Do you like turkey sandwiches?
Tony: Is mother's favorite color green?
- Changing Times:
Tech: Oh, love, are you challenging me?
Faith: Would I do that?
Tech: Does a vampire dust in the sun?
- Soul Scars:
Amelia: About your living conditions... I don't want to pry if you don't want to talk about it. I have to conduct an investigation since it was brought to my office's attention but I can't force you to cooperate if you really don't want to. But I do have one question. Do you want to continue living there?
Harry: Is the Sahara desert actually a rain forest?
Films — Animation
- Treasure Planet:
Mr. Arrow: We're about to get under way. Would you like to observe the launch, Doctor?
Doctor Doppler: Would I? Does an active galactic nucleus have superluminal jets?
Doctor Doppler: [sheepishly] I'll follow you.
- In Cars 2, when Finn asks if Hugos and Trunkovs are considered lemons, Mater replies "Is the Popemobile Catholic?" (We later see said Popemobile).
- Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars: At the Death Star, one worker asks if the other wants donuts and the other asks if Darth Vader wears a funny hat.
Films — Live-Action
- Ghostbusters II:
Ray: You think there's a connection between this Vigo character and the... slime?
Egon: Is the atomic weight of cobalt 58.9?
- In Free Willy, the owner of the park asks Jesse if he can have Willy ready to perform? He replies, "Do dogs pee on brick walls?"
- Guest House Paradiso:
Eddie: Is the Pope a catholic?
Eddie: Is he? I never knew that.
- In The Flintstones film, Fred answers a question (affirmatively) with, "Is the world flat?" (Yet the opening musical number has the drive-in film they're about to watch opening with a version of Universal Studios' round earth.)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze:
Leo: You sure this will work?
Mike: Is, like, "Schwarzenegger" hard to spell?
- From The Usual Suspects:
Agent Kujan: You know a dealer named Ruby Deamer?
Verbal Kint: You know a religious guy named John Paul?
- In The Big Lebowski, the two most common American versions of this are combined by The Dude to make "Does the Pope shit in the woods?"
- The hardware store owner in Ernest Scared Stupid had loads of these, using them in commercials to promote his store.
- In The Smurfs...
Patrick: You guys drink coffee?
Papa Smurf: Is a smurf's butt blue?
- Little Giants: When Becky asks Kevin if his daughter likes Junior, Kevin asks if Veronica likes Archie.
- The Hold Your Hippogriffs versions are "Is the High Priest an Offlerian?" and "Does a swamp dragon explode in the woods?"
- Susan uses "Does a bear poo in the woods?" in Thief of Time, with a footnote explaining that that's what teaching primary school does to you. Unfortunately, she asks a former Auditor, who are very Literal-Minded, and the conversation gets derailed.
- The Foundation prequels used "Is the Emperor fat?"
- The Fourth Bear has "Do I shit in the woods?" (said by a bear, naturally).
- Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
- In the Doctor Who-Sherlock Holmes crossover All-Consuming Fire, Ace says, "Does the pope wear a funny hat?" Watson, who met the pope earlier in the story, replies, "Not the last time I saw him."
- In the Shakespearian Script Fic short story "The Trials of Tara" by Paul Cornell, one Taran uses "Is the Archimandrite's hat not silly?" As viewers of "The Androids of Tara" will know, yes, it is◊.
- In The Savannah Reid Mysteries:
- Savannah asks her friend Dirk if he wants some ice cream. He begins with "Do bears sh-" and Savannah cuts him off, explaining that there's a minor in the house.
- When asked if she wants to join Dirk in questioning people in the interrogation room, Savannah's response is, "Does Victoria's Secret have fancy bloomers?"
- In Martin the Warrior, Brome asks Felldoh if he'd like some cordial. Felldoh replies, "Does a fish like water?"
- In another, someone questions whether a Salamandastron hare is still hungry. His badger friend asks if night follows day.
- Marco from Animorphs has his own, whenever he's asked if he can do something: "Can King Kong climb?" He turns into a gorilla.
- In the first Artemis Fowl book, when watching a tape, Root asks Foaly whether he can zoom in on Artemis' face. Foaly responds, "Can a dwarf steal the web from under a spider?" Root replies yes, and Foaly tells him that it was a rhetorical question.
- In This Boy's Life, Tobias Wolff uses the variants "Is a bear Catholic?" and "Does the Pope shit in the woods?"
- In one episode, one of Ross' girlfriends (Cheryl) asks him whether he'd like to come in, and he replies, "Did Homo erectus hunt with wooden tools?"
- In another episode, Chandler is asked by a collegue whether he wants a cigarette. He responds: "Would Joey like two pizzas?" She doesn't get it, since she never met Joey.
- And in another episode Phoebe is asked if her two boyfriends know about each other.
Phoebe: Does a dog's lips move when he reads?
- The DVD version of "The One With the Cheap Wedding Dress" has one.
- In Scrubs, J.D. answers a question with this:
J.D.: Do chickens wish they could fly?
Kevin Casey: I don't know.
J.D.: Oh, I like to think that they do.
- Kelly in Married... with Children mixes up the two most frequent examples, saying: "Is a bear Catholic?"
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Emohawk", when Starbug is on fire and Lister spots a planet with an ocean:
Lister: Can you get us there?
Cat: Does mouse shit roll?
- In Will & Grace: "Does a gay bear have anonymous sex in the woods?"
- In Trailer Park Boys, when Randy asks whether Bubbles' model rocket will really launch, Bubbles responds, "Does the tin man have a sheet metal cock?"
- In According to Jim, Jim uses "is the Pope Catholic" when his daughters ask if he can do a headstand. He has to explain that the Pope is Catholic, so that means yes.
- In The Middleman, comic geek Wendy Watson asks "Does Usagi Yojimbo kick ass?" Yes. Yes it does.
- In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, in one episode, a teacher asks Cody if he's a bird watcher too. Cody responds with something like, "Do hummingbirds consume their own body weight in nectar every x number of hours?"
- The Vicar of Dibley has a scene where Jim reveals that he's written to the Pope and asked him to make Geraldine a saint.
Geraldine: The only problem is the Catholic issue.
Jim: Is the Pope Catholic?
Geraldine: ...Yes, that's the problem. And I'm not.
Jim: You're not?
Geraldine: No, Jim, none of us are!
Hugo: We're Church of England, Jim.
Jim: Since when?
Geraldine: Since 1534.
Jim: Well, you learn something new everyday.
- Played with in The Young Ones in a cutaway featuring two dim-witted policemen:
Policeman 1: We had a row, and I said something about the Pope.
Policeman 2: That's a bit stupid, you know she's Catholic.
Policeman 1: Yeah, I know she's Catholic; I didn't know the Pope was.
- In an episode of British cop show spoof Lazarus and Dingwall, when the titular officers (played by the same actors as in the Young Ones example above) attempt to question an unco-operative film director:
Director: Does a bear shit in the woods?
Lazarus: [clearly uncomfortable with this question] Well... If he can get to them in time he does. But if those woods are more than a fifty-yard bus ride away, forget it! He'd do it right where he was standing!
- From the premiere of Moonlighting, Addison once says "Do fish swim? Do birds fly? Do ducks duck?"
- In the Atlantis episode "Song of the Sirens".
Pythagoras: Are you sure this is a good idea?
Jason: Are the gods Greek?
Pythagoras: Well, they have a variety of complex roots...
- Supernatural: Played with. Frank has some interesting notions on what is or isn't obviously true.
Dean: Think you can crack it?
Frank: Can a dog play poker?
Dean: ...I don't—
Frank: [exasperated] The answer is "yes."
- The Daily Show played on the familiarity of two such questions with, "Does the Pope shit in the woods?"
- On Frank Zappa's ThingFish during the track "The Massive Improve'lence" Thing-Fish mixes two well known questions like this into this funny line:
Whoa, do the Pope shit in the woods?
- Carter USM, "Is Wrestling Fixed?"
Am I un-H-A-P-P-Y? Does a newborn baby cry?
Did Elvis really die? Did Little Red Riding wear a hood? Did the Three Bears shit in the wood?
Is Humpty Dumpty fat? Does the Pope wear funny hats?
Is wrestling fixed?
- A classic subversion: Thomas Dolby's song "Airhead" from the album Aliens Ate My Buick has this lyric:
"You ask me if I love you/Does the pope live in the woods?"
- The Cole Porter song "Do I Love You?"
- Insane Clown Posse has this verse from "Boogie Woogie Wu":
"Does the boogeyman really exist?"
Weeeeell, is your mother a bald-headed freak bitch?
Yes! You fall asleep and wake up dead
With a broken broom stickin' out ya forehead!
- The Rowan Atkinson - Kate Bush song "Do Bears...?" has a chorus that is made up entirely of these, although as the song progresses it starts to include questions like "Is the Bible fiction? Is 'true love' a contradiction?"
- From one of Rick Mayall and Adrian Edmonson's Bottom stage shows:
Richie: Oh, Eddie. Does my breath smell? [breathes in Eddie's face]
Eddie: ...Does the Pope shit in the woods?
Richie: I don't know, why?
Eddie: Because it smells like he's shat in your mouth.
- From Nunsense 2. Sisters Regina and Hubert accidentally drink some sake and start getting tipsy.
Hubert: I'm starting to feel a little dizzy. How about you?
Regina: I feel divine. [takes a swig]
Hubert: Are you sure?
Regina: Am I sure? Is the bear Catholic? Does the pope poop in the woods?
- In BattleTech, Clan colloquialisms include "quiaff" and "quineg", put at the end of rhetorical questions with obvious answers that are yes or no, respectively.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, CJ has a tendancy to reply to Cesar Vialpando with, "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" whenever Cesar asks him if he was interested in making money by car racing. Confusion ensues.
Cesar: Why you keep asking me that, homes? I told you, I dunno. Where his Holiness does his business, is his business.
- The answer to "Is the Pope Catholic?" occasionally gets subverted in Europa Universalis' After Action Reports. Hilarity Ensues.
- From Tales of Monkey Island, when Guybrush Threepwood asks Moose about his ichor drinking habit.
Guybrush: You actually like this stuff?
Moose: Do walrus whiskers tickle you when they kiss ya?
Guybrush: Boy, do they.
- In The Elder Scrolls Online, when you ask Faraniel if her clan will kill anyone who "trespasses":
Faraniel: Does a fuzzy newt-goat have seven toes? Don't look at me like that! It's a perfectly appropriate analogy.
- In Mass Effect: Andromeda, when you ask if Nakmor Drack has any combat advice or stories to tell:
Drack: Does a pyjak scratch its butt?
- Homestar Runner: In a rare example of "Is the answer to this question no?" comes this exchange from the Strong Bad Email "part-time job":
Strong Bad: Uhh... say, Bubs. I'm gonna need now off. Is that cool?
Bubs: Is Strong Sad cool?
- Yahtzee has a little fun with this sometimes.
E.T. review: Well, you tell me: Do modern game companies ever overspend on overhyped games that disappoint the buying public? And how's the bear-shitting-in-the-woods index these days?noteBioShock Infinite review: Comparisons to BioShock are as inevitable as a bear shitting on a Catholic, or however that phrase goes...
- The Simpsons:
- A newly smart Homer uses "Is the capital of North Dakota, Bismarck?" in the "HOMR" episode and the entire family turned blankly to Lisa, who told them yes, it was.
- In the episode "Husbands and Knives", in which Bart is so impressed that Springfield's new comic book store owner (voiced by Jack Black) actually cared about his opinion that he asked if the guy was serious; he answers, "Does Galactus eat planets?"
- In Futurama, the favored variant is, "Is the Space-Pope reptilian?"note
- Class of 3000 had an episode that used this as a running gag. One memorable instance involves Madison asking Sunny a question, only to have Sunny respond with "Is my shoe closet visible from space?" (Which it is.)
- On Angela Anaconda, Angela asks Nicky if he's serious about them being cast in the Abatti's Pizza commercial. He replies, "Hey, is the Pope Italian?" Gina, of course, corrects him (then Pope John Paul II was Polish).
- In South Park:
- Stan's grandpa uses the "Does the pope crap in the woods?" variant.
- And Cartman's version: "Is the Pope Catholic? And making the world safe for child molesters?"
- In Phineas and Ferb:
Candace: Rubber ducks? Are you serious?
Captain Kidd: Does a penguin fly?
Captain Kidd: I'm tired of this conversation.
- In "Happy New Year" Linda answers Lawrence's question with, "Do one legged ducks swim in circles?"
- Sonic in Sonic SatAM makes use of this: "Is grass green? Is water wet? Do bears hibernate?". In one instance, Sonic was cut off just before the word "hibernate", which makes one wonder if that time they meant to evoke a different question involving bears.
- In Sealab 2021, two executives from Grizzlebees combine the two most common variants in a very uncommon way
Dan: Can you drive this thing?
Don: Does a bear shit in the Pope's hat?
Dan: Umm, yes?
- From the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode "The Synthoid Conspiracy (Part 1)"
Scarlet: Shipwreck, those Cobra Morays are too close to our ships. Can you sink one for me?
Shipwreck: Does Popeye like spinach?
- In The Looney Tunes Show, after Lola skims a driving test guidebook, Bugs asks if she's really ready for the test. She answers, "Does a red light mean 'go'?"
- In Batman Beyond:
- In Chowder:
Chowder: You know a lot about women, right?
Mung Daal: Is a frozen forbinplam purple?
Mung Daal: Yes. Yes, I do.
- Jimmy Two-Shoes attempts to use "Do penguins love meatballs?" as this in "Power Squid and Spaghetti Beezy", but the person he's talking to has no idea. They do, by the way.
- In the '90s X-Men cartoon, when asked if she's ready to fight alongside the X-Men, Jubilee answered, "Does a mall gal love chili fries?"
- In an episode of The Loud House when Lincoln tries to act like an adult, Clyde teaches him the dinner table joke "Does Napoleon have a Napoleon complex?". Neither of them get it.
- Shimmer and Shine: In one episode, Shimmer responds to a question by asking if a dragon can dance the hula. By her own admission, even she doesn't know.
- In Phantom 2040, when they have to fly a scramjet to Antarctica, Professor Archer asks Sparks if he's ever flown one before; Sparks answers "Does a neutrino have mass?" (At the time the episode was made, it was believed that neutrinos were massless).
- This exchange happens in Rick and Morty. As it turns out, the president can fly a Blackhawk, but poorly.
Morty: Can you fly a Blackhawk?
President: Can the pope's dick fit through a doughnut?
Morty: I'm, uh... not sure?
- Popeye and Son: When Junior asks if Poopdeck Pappy would like to tell his classmates about past Popeyes, Pappy asks if an octopus has eight legs.
- The Legend of Korra gives us "Does a platypus-bear poop in the-" from Prince Wu, before he gets cut off.
- Sofia the First: In "The Great Pretender", Sofia asks Clover to be her animal helper and learns, to her surprise, that her other animal friends also want the position.
Robin: Does a bee make honey?
Mia: Does a duck quack?
- Zig-zag: Quick Draw McGraw is asked if he can take on an assignment, to which he replies (in typical Quick Draw syntax) "Does a swim fish?"