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Animal Motifs / Live-Action TV

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  • American Horror Story: Hotel has the Countess/Elizabeth Johnson with a snake motif. The Countess has a snake ring and a snake brooch. Iris refers to Elizabeth as a snake in "Mommy".
  • In Breaking Bad, Jesse is associated with dogs due to his loyalty and desire for approval and affection.
  • El Chapulín Colorado means Red Grasshopper in Spanish, and his uniform and some of his superpowers are related to the insect.
  • El Chavo del ocho several of the nicknames given to the characters are based in animals and related to the person’s physical appearance, of course this nicknames are intended to be derogatory for the characters:
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    • Don Ramon: Cara de chimpancé rabioso (rabid chimp's face) for his ape-like traits and Lombriz de agua puerca (dirty water earthworm) for his thinness.
    • Doña Florinda: Patas de canario (canary's feet) for the shape of her legs.
    • Kiko: Cachetes de marrana flaca (skinny pig's cheeks) because of his big cheeks.
    • Chilindrina: Pulga (flea) for her small size and Tarantula for her personality.
      • Exceptions are Ñoño (a reference to the pig’s squeal in Spanish, equivalent to Oink) and Profesor Jirafales (Giraffe) both have the animal motif in their official name and are not offended by it, they do have some other offensive nicknames.note 
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  • In Criminal Minds, Gideon loves birds and is associated with them. When his successor Rossi debuts, the first thing he does is shoot a bird, to indicate that he's nothing like Gideon.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Masque of Mandragora" associates the Fourth Doctor with the lion, with a nice scene of him making the 'rampant' pose from heraldry while wearing a lion mask. He has a mane of hair, a powerful deep 'roaring' voice, big teeth and plenty of regal charisma. There may also be an allusion to his Britishness — a lion appears on the British Royal Family's crest, and the Doctor's line while playing the lion is Remember the French at Agincourt! (a battle they lost to the British).
    • Lampshaded in "Blink", in which Muggle Sally Sparrow's best friend, Kathy Nightingale, advises they start a detective company based on their surnames. Sally says that that sounds too ITV.
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    • "It Takes You Away": Frogs. It turns out that Grace loved frogs, treasuring a frog necklace Graham gave her. And in the ending, the Solitract takes the form of a talking frog with Grace's voice.
  • Elementary deliberately uses bees to represent Sherlock's relationships with people and tortoises as a metaphor to his friendship with Watson.
  • GARO: The helmets of Makai Knights are modeled after wolves baring their teeth.
  • In Gotham, Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penquin. He has a beak-like nose and a distinctive waddle-limp while often wearing a formal suit. His mother is creepily overprotective of him (which is quite common among birds) and he has an antagonistic relationship with "Fish" Mooney.
  • Every Wesen in Grimm so far has had one:
    • Bauerschwein are Pig or Boarlike
    • Daemonfeuer are similar to Dragons
    • Blutbaden are Wolflike.
    • Fuchsbau are foxlike.
    • The exception so far have been Hexenbiests (eyeless hag-like creatures) and Siegbarstes (ogres).
  • In The League of Gentlemen, Tubbs & Edward have porcine features, live in filth, and Tubbs even breast-feeds a piglet in one scene. Also, Harvey Denton is obsessed with & raises toads, and his appearance and household reflect this.
  • In the pilot of Once Upon a Time, there is a swan on Henry's night light and on the room key that Granny gives to Emma. Particularly poignant since Snow White has an affinity with birds and she is Emma's mother and Henry's grandmother.
  • In Korean variety show Running Man, the main cast are given animal motifs fitting of their distinct personality or physical appearance.
    • The tall and Adorkable Gwang Soo is the giraffe.
    • Large and in Charge Jong Kook is the tiger.
    • The active Jae-suk is the grasshopper.
    • Friendly yet sneaky Ji-Hyo is the cat.
    • The smallest of the group is Ha-Ha as the penguin.
  • Each Sentinel has a spirit animal that appears to guide them; Jim's is a black jaguar, and Blair's is a grey wolf.
  • The Shoebox Zoo were transformed into animal-shaped Living Toys. Fittingly, the proud, excitable Hunter became a horse.
  • In Smallville, during Lana Lang's return and last appearance, she gains a phoenix motif. She gets a phoenix medallion from her Training from Hell. Then when she gained superpowers, she also emits a speed aura when she uses Super Speed. However, while all other speedsters usually leave behind a trail of translucent "shells" of themselves when they super speed, Lana has a solid, burning, orange aura, even though she had a faint purple aura when she used Super Speed before. She bursts out of the containment chamber and waves her arms once to form the wings of a phoenix from the flames.
  • Taboo: Birds, including the tattoos on James and Winter, Lorna Bow's canary, the woman in James' visions, the marks left by James' mother in the fireplace, the raven feathers on Salish and Zilpha's dresses, and the bird that Zilpha sees before jumping off the bridge.
  • Cobra Kai: Johnny and Kreese both use plenty of snake imagery in their teachings, with Johnny teaching his students to break chokeholds by "slithering" and Kreese comparing Cobra Kai to a bruminating rattlesnake, hiding and dormant but ready to awaken and strike at a moments notice.
    • Hawk's motif is... well, guess. While he originally got the name from the mohawk he got to draw attention from his facial scars, he soon embraced it, getting a full back tattoo of a hawk. Even the sound designers for the series got in on the fun, accompanying his Finishing Move (a superman punch) with the cry of a red-tailed hawk.


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