Walt Disney movies are known for including a character (often the heroine) who is a Friend to All Living Things, which always leads to a signature scene where the sweet woodland critters mobilize under her command to help out with the chores. Sometimes it's just a few birds chirping a sweet song to make her smile while she's working; other times the whole group turns up en masse to celebrate a particularly happy moment. The music for the scene will be light and whimsical, and if the heroine sings, the animals will join in too.
When you see a Stock Parody of such a moment, it's this trope.
Writers, particularly in Western Animation, like to throw this kind of parody in for the fairly obvious reason that most of them grew up idolizing Disney movies and either are completely disillusioned now or want to poke a little fun at their first inspiration. But this trope, like the original, can show up in live-action film and television as well, since Disney's influence is quite far-reaching.
The parodic scene will generally start the same way as described above and then take a sharp turn into audacity or tragedy (e.g. the heroine lures the critters in to cook and eat them). Other times the usual formula plays out straight and the joke is that the writers have copied a scene without even pretending they didn't take it straight from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. (Even though gentle or pure characters attracting animals is Older Than They Think, Disney films are the most iconic examples for most viewers.) In shows with particularly high trope content, the woodland critters 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 example of Enemy to All Living Things.
- 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.
- It's the people randomly bursting into song he can't stand, anyways.
- In Shrek, Fiona ends up singing with a bird... then she accidentally 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:
Meg: I thought I smelled a rat.
- 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. Georgette attracts a flock of bluebirds to act as a combination of attendants, chorus, and starstruck fans during "Perfect Isn't Easy." And Georgette is no sweet lovable lass but rather a proud and pampered... dog.
- The Emperor's New Groove: A squirrel tries to befriend Kuzco, but the latter, Jerkass that he is, tells the former to get lost. The squirrel gets its revenge later. By the end of the movie, the squirrel's joined up with Kronk instead.
- 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.
- Trolls: When they're camped for the night, Poppy starts singing to relax and an annoyed Branch demands she stop so he can sleep, saying he like silence. In order to troll him, Poppy starts singing "The Sound of Silence", and is soon accompanied by a host of small woodland creatures and even the plants.
- In The Simpsons Movie, the woodland critters (including an entire flock of bluebirds and a very Bambi-like deer) 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.
- 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."
- In Peter S. Beagle's novel The Last Unicorn, a maiden sings near the woods to attract a unicorn, but the titular unicorn stays away. The maiden then tells her fiance that clearly her singing would attract any unicorn if they still existed, so this must prove they don't exist and she is free to marry him. The Unicorn explains to her companions that she didn't appear because the princess had made impossible promises in the song, and seeing an actual unicorn would have put her under an obligation to keep them.
- The Mr. Show sketch "Biosphere" features a lonely scientist on New Year's Eve unsuccessfully asking woman scientists to spend the night with him. In between each one, he talks with his animated animal friends for advice. His step-fairy godmother shows up with a solution in which the animals come on to him.
- Once Upon a Time's Snow White has an affinity with birds. Normally this is played straight, but in one episode, Snow's got a bit of amnesia that's made her a lot less pleasant (the Dwarfs eventually stage an intervention for her); it's first illustrated by her befriending a Bluebird of Happiness (humming "With a Smile and a Song") then trying to smash it with her broom.
- The Saturday Night Live ad for "Uncle Jemina's Pure Mash Liquor" has the title character (Aunt Jemima's husband) constantly surrounded by singing cartoon birds as he plugs his incredibly strong booze. They turn out to be a drunken hallucination.
- Referenced in The Complete History Of America Abridged, when the soldiers in a World War I sketch take a look at the enemy positions:
Reed: My God.
Austin: We're outnumbered a hundred to one.
Adam: By animals! There's Bambi and Thumper and Flower, and they're in 3-D!
- The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!!, though not at all parodying Disney or cartoons, has Jeune suffering from a mysterious condition similar to that of Johanna in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street or Cinderella in Into the Woods:
I have little birds
Flying 'round my head
Why do the birds fly
Around my golden hair?
Are they building nests up there
With twigs and springs and bits of twine?
Who cleans the messes
They leave in my tresses?
Your guess is as good as mine.
- 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!!!
- Cyanide & Happiness also did a strip about this trope.
- In 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...
- From Skin Horse: Nick is a "Whimsy Princess". It doesn't go as planned.
- Of course, The Simpsons had to do it at least once. (Not even counting The Movie.)
- In the episode "Homer the Heretic", after Homer finds religion, 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?"
- In a 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.
- 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. Then she kills the last of the critters so he won't tell the others.
- 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."
- In one episode of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, we finally visit the dreaded St. Olga's Reform School For Wayward Princesses and find it's basically designed to brainwash its inmates/students into becoming cliched Princess Classic types. This includes lessons in singing along with the creatures of the forest; one student, Princess Smooshy from "Sleep Spells", is admonished by her instructor for eating a bluebird whole.
- In Jinxy Jenkins & Lucky Lou, one of the annoyingly convenient things that happen to Lou is being hounded by a pair of overly-friendly bluebirds with a wreath of flowers. At least they lead to her literally running into Jenkins.
- In Ever After High, as Apple White pledges to follow her fairytale destiny, she holds her arms out and bluebirds swoop down to perch on them.
- In the Guardians of the Galaxy two-parter "Black Vortex", Gamora gets stuck in a fairy-tale world with a band of cheerful cartoon forest animals.
Gamora: I'm not who you think I am. I'm not a princess, and I definitely don't sing.