Follow TV Tropes

Following

Black Comedy Animal Cruelty

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mickey_torturando_a_un_gato.jpg
It's telling that Furry Confusion is the least wrong thing with this scene.
Advertisement:

Normally, animal cruelty is a serious topic and is presented as such in most works. However, this is not the case with these instances in some works, which play animal cruelty for laughs.

This may lead to a Dude, Not Funny! moment if other characters in the work are disgusted by another character joking about animal cruelty. However, it's slightly less disturbing if the abused animal is sapient and a Jerkass who gets a karmic punishment at the hand of the abuser.

Compare Bad People Abuse Animals and Amusing Injuries. Also related to That Poor Cat, which is a comedic Stock Sound Effect of an animal in distress (most often a cat yowling in fear or pain). The oblivious version is And Call Him "George"!. A subtrope of Black Comedy and a form of Comedic Sociopathy.

For instances where one animal abuses other animal, it only counts as this trope when the abuser is higher on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism than the victim, but not when the two animals are equally anthropomorphic.

Advertisement:

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece: At first, Boa Hancock kicking a cat out of her way is played as horrific, but then later, after it's revealed that she's a Broken Bird beneath all her harsh attitude, she's then shown kicking a puppy and a baby seal and it's Played for Laughs.

    Fan Works 
  • In Total Drama Genesis, for one challenge, the teams have to fish the seven deadly fish to make "kung-fu soup". The Molting Eagles send in Cynthia to deal with it. It is Played for Laughs, particularly because the fish were established as jerks.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Iago the parrot endures a lot of violence from Jafar - most apparent in the scene where he is violently smashed between a door closed by Jafar in a way that would kill a normal bird and clearly hurts Iago. However, Jafar never seems to have the intent to hurt Iago per se, it's more that he, out of his narcissism, doesn't care about Iago at all and treats him recklessly.
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: When George and Harold introduce their bullying principal Mr. Krupp, their brief show of just how nasty he can be is a handmade comic of him torching a kitten (with a censor bar over it.)
  • In both Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, a little elderly lady named Nana brutally beats up Alex, a fully-grown male lion, calling him a "bad kitty".
  • In Shrek, during their Falling-in-Love Montage, Shrek and Fiona catch a frog and a snake, and inflate them with their breath to turn them into floating balloons.
Advertisement:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Boondock Saints has a scene where Rocco accidentally murders his girlfriend's cat when his pistol goes off, causing him and the brothers to panic. Once they regain their composure, Rocco asks "Is it dead?"
  • A Fish Called Wanda: Ken repeatedly tries to kill the old woman who is going to testify against George but accidentally kills her dogs instead. This is made funnier by the fact that Ken loves animals and is horrified whenever he accidentally kills one of the dogs.
  • In Nine Lives (2016), two security guards decide to taze a cat, and this is portrayed as being funny.
  • A Shot in the Dark: Inspector Clouseau, while going undercover as a hunter, angrily shoots the crow that's splattered on him... and is immediately arrested for hunting without a license.
  • In National Lampoon's Vacation, in a rush to get the Griswold family going as soon as possible, Clark accidentally drives off with aunt Edna's dog still tied to the bumper. When they get pulled over, the cop takes him out of the car, and angrily confronts him about how he dragged the dog to death, with the dog's corpse coming loose from the leash several miles back. Clark apologizes, saying it was an accident, the cop tearfully accepts the apology and lets him go. Back in the car, Ellen asks what happened, but Clark tries to play it off as simply having been speeding, only for the cop to give Clark the leash, and saying he's going to try and pick up the dog's remains. Aunt Edna was not happy.
  • Deuce Bigalow has Deuce and friends successfully save all of Antoine's fish from the tank he broke, placing them all in water-filled kitchenware...only for a blind woman to turn on the blender with Antoine's prized lionfish inside.
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, there is a room where the oompa-loompas are whipping a cow. Willy Wonka explains they're making whipped cream.

    Literature 
  • In Life, the Universe and Everything, Ford Prefect mentions that he went insane once while stranded on ancient Earth and took up animal cruelty as a hobby. He claims to be responsible for the evolution of the giraffe, though just how is left to the reader's imagination.
  • In Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts plays croquet with live hedgehogs as balls and a live flamingos as mallets. The hedgehogs clearly don't take it very well, as they take the first opportunity to scurry away. Since she's an Ax-Crazy tyrant, the animal abuse may be part of her characterization, but it's still presented as silly and comical.
  • The Golden Ass, even though it's a case of Baleful Polimorph mixed with Laser-Guided Karma for trying to insistently to meddle in the affairs of witchcraft, the sheer number of bad things that happens to the protagonist turned donkey is so astounding it's almost funny. Among various things, he's frequently beaten for different reasons, bitten by some other donkeys and mistreated by a particularly cruel boy who not only refuses to feed him but also tells passerbies that he's a lazy beast who tries to knock down and mount girls and boys, much to the protagonist' ire.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Muppet Show has Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphone, little sentient balls of fluff that Marvin "plays" like a xylophone. At least one guest star found it appalling, and more often than not Marvin got his comeuppance, like when he played "Witch Doctor" and a real witch doctor turns him into one of his Muppaphone creatures.
    • The same can’t be said for the Muppets Tonight sketch "Swift Wits". The sketch would always end with Carl eating a poor animal who didn’t do a thing wrong, and he rarely ever got punished for it.
  • The Muppaphone was probably based on The Mouse Organ from Monty Python's Flying Circus, which was also played by hitting the mice with hammers. The skit ended with him being booed off the stage by the horrified audience.
  • In an episode of El Chavo del ocho, when Don Ramón accuses Doña Florinda's cat of eating his goldfish, he pulls out his old matador sword, and cape, and goes offscreen to kill the cat. We hear the cat mewing, and Don Ramón screaming, and after a brief time, the cat meows a mariachi send off, and Don Ramón comes into frame, victorious.

    Music 
  • The covers of The Monster Mash by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Bad Manners alluded to this with one of the lyric changes by making it so the band said to play the song was called the Poodle Stabbers rather than the Coffin Bangers.
  • The "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Weasel Stompin' Day", which is about a Fictional Holiday where people are encouraged to kill weasels by stomping on them.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Garfield: The titular character takes every opportunity to abuse Odie, and this is always Played for Laughs. It's a borderline example, as Garfield and Odie are both pets to a human, but Garfield is a Partially Civilized Animal whereas Odie is a Nearly Normal Animal.
    • Jim Davis has stated that he's able to get away with all the abuse Garfield inflicts on Odie, and Jon as well, because Garfield is a cat. If Garfield were human, Davis states, the strip would have been cancelled long ago.

    Podcasts 
  • In episode six of Mystery Show, lunchbox illustrator Dan talks about the lengthy approval process involved with Micky and Minnie lunchboxes and how one year, he got so fed up that he submitted a picture where Pluto had been run over by a car.
  • Episode seventeen of Well There's Your Problem involved a prototype atmospheric tube rail. Upon learning the prototype's sealant was made of tallow and beeswax and would apparently attract rats during hot summers, the hosts began joking about the rats getting sucked through holes in the sealant and getting catapulted to the end station as Ludicrous Gibs.

    Web Animation 
  • asdfmovie 9:
    Mother: Jimmy, take out the dog.
    Jimmy: [puts on sunglasses and draws a gun] Yes, mother.
    [Jimmy shoots. The dog yelps. Jimmy and his mother are splattered in blood.]
    Mother: ...for a walk, Jimmy!

    Web Original 
  • SCP-1459, a strange arcade game that involves murdering cute little puppies in many different gruesome ways.

    Western Animation 
  • In Archer, Cheryl keeps a pet ocelot named Babou in a completely empty room in her family mansion. Archer refers to the ocelot's room as "Meowschwitz".
  • This was prominent in earlier episodes of Beavis and Butt-Head. Standout examples include them playing baseball with a frog, painting a cat, blowing up insects with fireworks and sticking Tom Anderson's poodle in a tumble dryer. When MTV censors started coming down on the show's content, this was one of the first things to go.
  • The title character in the Tex Avery cartoon "The Cat that Hated People" goes through all manner of abuse, including, but not limited to: having bags tied to his paws, getting grabbed by the tail and getting swung back and forth, almost getting cut in half with an axe, getting stepped on repeatedly, kicked, and hammered into the ground - all of it played for laughs.
  • This is common in The Crumpets, notably with the family's dog T-Bone getting kicked by accident or on purpose, or hurt through other means. More unluckily, whenever sparrows appear, they will almost always get injured or die. Other cases can be hypocritical, such as a bird lover massacring the birds taking refuge in her house with a flamethrower since failing to get married to her fellow bird carer, and one of the Crumpets caught on live TV for throwing a hugging pink penguin to a van, just after delivering a speech about protecting and loving animals. And one episode ends with a nearly entire menagerie (which was cramped in a trailer) dying after a vehicle collision throws the bundle of animals to a brick wall, followed by their remains carried in a funeral procession. In season 3, at least, the animal cruelty/pain jokes are still there, albeit they've gotten less gloomy.
  • Family Guy:
    • Probably because he has "human" qualities, almost anything that happens to Brian Griffin counts as this. For instance, Stewie beating up Brian comes to mind.
    • In "Episode 420", Peter tries to shave Quagmire's new cat with a straight razor, and he ends up killing it.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Love God", Mabel "weds" her pig Waddles and Stan's goat Gompers by duct-taping them together.
  • Kaeloo:
    • Mr. Cat, an anthropomorphic cat, abuse non-anthropomorphic sheep by kicking them, setting them on fire and attacking them with weapons. Fortunately, the sheep in question are Made of Iron and able to survive all of this.
    • Pretty has also done this on occasions; the very second episode she was featured in featured her shooting a horsenote  and threatening to euthanize a different one, for petty reasons.
    • One episode had Stumpy play a new game where people get into cars with bleating sheep, and the object of the game is to see how long you can stand the bleating before going berserk and beating the tar out of the sheep.
  • Early Mickey Mouse cartoons are full of this, with Mickey playing animals like musical instruments by making them squeal. Steamboat Willie is the most famous example; it includes a sow played like an accordion, a cat having its tail pulled and then swung around, and a goose squeezed like a bagpipe.
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Gettin' Twiggy With It" revolves around the class bully, Mitch Mitchelson, torturing Twiggy, the class hamster (who Ms. Keane let take home with him for the weekend), at his house, with the girls breaking in every time they catch him. He promises not to torture Twiggy to them...only to do it again as they leave.
  • The Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" episode "Ren Seeks Help" has an extended flashback of a young Ren torturing a frog in grotesque ways: first shoving firecrackers up its butt, then running it over with his tricycle, then hooking it up to a car battery, then mutilating it with a chainsaw. After all that, Ren refuses to kill the frog, and we see that the frog is still alive 10-20 years later, living in horrible agony.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Duffless," Nelson's scienfce fair project is called "Wasting Squirrels with a B.B. Gun," and there are a bunch of squirrel pelts decorating his booth.
    • A photo from "Dog of Death" shows Homer strangling Santa's Little Helper.
    • Near the end of "Goo Goo Gai Pan", Homer gets bitten by a baby panda, causing him to strangle it while yelling "I'll endanger you!". He is, in turn, strangled by its mother.
    • A scandalous photo from "Homerazzi" shows Homer strangling a deer.
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • Whenever Mammy Two Shoes beats up Tom (usually with a broomstick), it will be Played for Laughs.
    • The Gene Deitch shorts have Tom's master punishing him by beating the crap out of him, searing his face in a grill and deafening him with his gun.
  • Looney Tunes: Sylvester the Cat will often get beaten up by Granny or someone else after trying to catch Tweety Bird.
  • Sheep in the Big City hinted at this in the episode "Beauty and the Bleats", where Lady Richington attends an anti-sheep party and states that she's impressed with an off-screen sheep pinata being realistic. A man tells her that it isn't a pinata, implying that the guests are actually brutalizing a live sheep to the point that its guts splatter out.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: The central gag of Elmyra Duff is that she is so brain-dead stupid that she doesn't know or understand that her treatment of animals, which she believes is affectionate, is torturous at best and lethal at worst (not even when she has a humongous cemetery in her backyard to tell her otherwise). The series' Halloween episode even revolved around Elmyra showing some of her most brutal "cares" (including a horse that jumped off a cliff rather than be around her for a second longer) and them all coming back to life as zombies to try to get revenge... only for them to be scared into running away from Elmyra's glee at seeing them again and the subsequent "caring").

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report