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Comic Strip / Ottifanten

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Ottifanten are a German comic strip by Otto Waalkes with anthropomorphic elephants. Many of them are centered on the family Bommel: The hapless father Paul, his wife, baby Bruno, his two siblings, and Paul's wacky 90-year-old father. Or Bommel's boss Kaluppke, his lazy secretary and the cigar-puffing cleaning lady Erna Hoppmann. Others parody superheroes or celebrities. Or are just funny stories in general.



  • Are We There Yet?: They start it before the car has left the garage.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Typical for a comical series. Like here: A coach is training some guys, as it seems. He commands them: "Stretch out your arms! Lift... and lower! And again! Now put your head back! Open your mouth wide!" (wait, what?) Then we see what the guys are training for: The very Oktoberfest.
  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: The Bommels, initially.
  • Bumbling Dad: Paul, oh so much.
  • The Cameo: Other Ully Arndt characters, Larry and Rolf, can be seen as hand puppets.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Brought Up to Eleven with one strip about two parachuters, one of which doesn't have his parachute on, but doesn't care at all that he'll die in a few seconds because he's insured (as we learn from the dialogue).
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The siblings of Baby Bruno
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  • Dartboard of Hate: The king notices that his jester hanged a picture of him (the king) on the wall and is pleased. Then immediately, the jester uses the picture as... guess what.
  • Delivery Stork: When a father has to give his kids The Talk, he prefers to disguise himself as this and give them a little show. Predictably, the children find he's simply embarrassing.
  • Dinosaur Doggie Bone: Subverted. When the teacher with his unruly class visits a museum, he thinks that the bones they took as a "souvenir" are this. (Truth is, they took them from the Angry Guard Dog.)
  • Ditto Aliens: Or rather, Ditto Ottifants. Once lampshaded by one of them. The other one claims he's perfectly able to tell them apart - and then calls the other one by the wrong name.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Subverted. When Erna calls the boss "Chefchen" (Lil' boss) he protests she can't call him that. Then he tells her to use the nickname his friends call him instead - which is "Pupsi" (Fart-y).
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  • The Exit Is That Way: In one story, Superphant and Batphant have to cooperate. Superphant declines, stating that he's the smartest man in the world and doesn't need anyone's help, leaving through the door.
    Batphant: "And what do we do now?"
    Police chief: "Now we wait until the smartest man in the world will come out of the cabinet!"
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Parodied. They conspire with each other when their ottifant finds a wallet, so they can take it instead. And the shoulder devil states that he has to be more careful, because the guy almost took the wallet for himself.
  • The Grim Reaper: Played for Laughs, of course. Like when he meets an old farmer who thinks he was the new farmhand, for the scythe.
  • Guardian Angel: One suicidal guy (who never pulls it through, so he can stay a Running Gag) has one. Who doesn't really look very angelic, with his five-o-clock-shadow and cheap cigar. But he has some great references - in the past, he used to protect John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, John Lennon... Oh, Crap!.
  • The Jester: A recurring character in the medieval stories, of course. Has to deal with his king, who's a Bad Boss.
  • Landslide Election: When Paul and his grandpa are competing who should be head of the family, they decide to make an election. Since you shouldn't vote for yourself, they both vote for Honk the teddy - who ends up elected with 100%.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Kind of. When Bruno gets his teddy bear, he mistakes the label "made in Hong Kong" for the teddy's name. Later shortened to "Honk".
  • The Movie: Was made in 2001 in Germany.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": A master archer shoots his arrow... which misses the target; but instead pierces a farmer's cigar (while not stopping); and the sausage one guy had just picked up; and a tennis ball from the hand of the player; and a canary which was sitting in the cage; until the arrow finally hits an imbiss booth. Where a guy had just ordered a kebab with everything, and snappy! All without changing the direction.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Caesar breaks in Cleopatra's room, suspecting that she hides her lover there. He looks everywhere, can't find anyone, forgives her and leaves. Cleo is visibly relieved. So are her four lovers who pretended to be fountain statues all the time.
  • Not So Dire: Quite elaborate:
    Bommel (offscreen, as are the others): "NO!"
    Boss: "Oh yes! Heh, heh, heh!"
    Bommel: "But boss - I thought you were standing behind me!"
    Boss: "I was, Bommel - I was!"
    Coworker: "Excuse me, boss - but I think you went too far!"
    Boss: "I know the rules of the game! I know how far I can go!"
    Coworker: "But colleague Bommel was..."
    Boss: "He was a red guy! And he was in my way! So, out with him!"
    Bommel comes out crying.
    Bommel: "The boss kicked me out! And I was so close to it!"
    Secretary: "Yeah, yeah, Herr Bommel!"
    Bommel: "That's the last time I played Ludo with him!"
    Secretary: "Yeah, yeah, Herr Bommel!"
  • Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: A pirate captain with a Treasure Map: "Two steps, turn right, and... cha-cha-cha?"
    Pirate mook: Sorry captain, that's from my dancing course!
  • Perp Sweating: One not-that-smart cop does it wrong. How so? By pointing the lamp into his own face.
  • Personal Dictionary: When a bunch of draftees tell their Drill Sergeant Nasty after the end of their service that they prefer peace, he has to look up "peace" in the dictionary. Because he doesn't know what it means.
  • Pink Is for Sissies: Once Bruno's parents put him into pink panties, because it doesn't matter with babies, right?
    Bruno: "Only warning, Hong Kong - call me a faggot, and you die!"
  • Running Gag: The Bohrschleck contracts are most vital for the firm Father Bommel works for. Consequently they get misplaced, destroyed or screwed up all the time, sometimes by Bommel, mostly by his completely inept secretary Fräulein Lusch.note 
  • Stocking Mask: One Harmless Villain is doing it wrong.
    Partner in crime: "A nylon stocking, I said! Not a tennis sock!"
  • Take That!: One guy is looking for a crossword - "hairy ape", ten letters, starts with "Schim" (Schimpanse = chimpanzee). They think for a while and come up with Schimanski.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Friday the 13th aspect of it is parodied. According to grandpa, sunday the 15th is the unlucky day for the Bommels.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Two kids try this trope, but since the lower one has his trunk sticking out, they're mistaken for a flasher.
  • What Are You in For?: Bruno asks this to his teddy. Who doesn't answer of course.
    Bruno: "You're right - don't say anything they could use against you!"
  • You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses?: Parodied with a student who has enraged his teacher and puts on his swimming glasses, to exploit this trope.


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