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Fluffy the Terrible

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Gyarados is unamused.
"I have created wounded art. An uncompromising weapon that, in a fit of graceful agony, will rend and tear until there is nothing left. This creature is death."
[beat]
"I call him Fluffles."
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A big, scary, dangerous monster with a bizarre, cutesy name befitting a housepet. Custom dictates for the creature to be introduced by their owner calling for them, the enemies laughing at the creature's ridiculous name, only to be interrupted by earth-shaking footsteps as the pet enters the scene. The customary response is to run away really quickly. Screaming is also highly recommended.

Sometimes writers will play with the trope by making the monster look big, scary, and vicious, and yet be as sweet and lovable as its name suggests. Other times, justified because the monster was named when it was not yet big, scary, or vicious.

A.K.A. Big Monster Cute Name. A specified variant of Ironic Nickname. If the monster feels a sense of shame regarding their name, it's also an Embarrassing First Name. Compare Killer Rabbit. Polar opposite of Deathbringer the Adorable. See also Fluffy Tamer, the person most likely to name the critter "Fluffy" in the first place. See Sealed Evil In A Teddybear for this combined with Sealed Evil in a Can. See also Special Person, Normal Name, Tom the Dark Lord, Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom, People's Republic of Tyranny, and Cute as a Bouncing Betty, a weapon-specific subtrope of this.

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Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comedy 

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield:
    • One strip features Fluffy the Fierce. Sure, he is not much taller than any cat that'd fit the name Fluffy, but he is described as a legendary ratter. Until he meets Matt-the-Rat, that is.
    • And there is also Muffin the dog, whom a little girl brings Garfield home to.
  • Starting in 2013 in The Wizard of Id, the Wizard keeps a dragon named Henry as a pet. (Henry is usually friendly, but being a dragon often causes accidents to happen).

    Jokes 
  • Parrot Joke: A burglar has broken into a house and starts looking for valuables. Suddenly, he hears a voice: "I can see you and so does Jesus!" He waves his flashlight around, but can't see anyone. Again, the voice says: "I can see you and so does Jesus!" Then he sees a birdcage with a parrot in it.
    Burglar: Damn, you scared me! Who the hell are you?
    Parrot: Gilbert.
    Burglar: What idiot names a parrot Gilbert?
    Parrot: The same idiot who named the rottweiler "Jesus".
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    Live-Action TV 
  • Kittycat the lion from The Addams Family. It seemed harmless (at least it never hurt anyone).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy Summers, the Vampire Slayer. She's a tiny blonde who routinely breaks necks, chops off heads, slices priest's goods off, and does other things most men named Jed or Dirk would shudder at. This is lampshaded when Wishverse Vampire Xander says "Someone has to talk to her people. That name is striking fear in nobody's hearts." Even her allies can't quite believe it:
      Ancient Guardian: What's Your name?
      Buffy: Buffy.
      Ancient Guardian: No, really?
    • Darla. It's such a sweet-sounding name.
    • Glory.
    • "Angel" too, for that matter (it's a shortened version of Angelus, specifically chosen to be an ironic name). However poet-turned-vampire William Pratt specifically takes the name "Spike" to avert this trope, after Angelus tells him that "Willie" doesn't strike the right note of terror.
  • "Jayne" is the title character from The Comic Strip Presents: Mr Jolly Lives Next Door - he's a hitman.
  • In the Community episode "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps", Shirley's story includes the Dean as the devil telling the study group that they will meet Pilates, a demon that eats genitals.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The First Doctor's companion Vicki names a couple of her "pets" — "Sandy" (a "sand beast" that looks like a horrible googly-eyed crocodile) and "Zombo" (a Zarbi, an eight-foot-long ant monster). The former is a subversion, since despite his appearance he's actually a harmless herbivore.
    • "The Happiness Patrol" gave us Helen A's vicious and downright ugly pet Stigorax called Fifi.
    • "The Long Game" has the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. The Editor of Satellite 5 prefers to call him Max, as it's less of a mouthful.
    • Neither "River Song" nor "Melody Pond" are names that would strike terror into the hearts of sentient beings... unless they had heard of the woman who they belong to.
    • "The Zygon Invasion" introduces us to the cold-blooded leader of group of insurgent aliens willing to start a war on earth. She orders people killed. She organizes murders. And her name is ... Bonnie? (Even the Doctor rejects that, choosing to call her "Zygella" instead.). There is actually some logic to this since she is a first generation of Zygon living in hiding on Earth, and she have grown bitter over her minority status and her being forced to "act human" in order to be accepted by society.
  • In one Dollhouse episode, Bennett names a sleeper assassin program "Puppies".
  • In Drake & Josh:
    • When Drake is sent to remedial English, one of the other students there has a big, intimidating Rottweiler named Cuddles.
    • In the episode with the bratty child actor; she has a big and brutish bodyguard named Citrus.
  • Inverted in an episode of Empty Nest where a small lost dog charms the Weston family while destroying the household and the larger family dog Dreyfuss getting the blame. When the real owner appears, he explains to Harry Weston what the little bastard really is and calls him the appropriately named "Satan".
  • An episode of Eureka had a scientist genetically engineer a microscopic organism that ate radiation. It ended up growing into a creature that was a direct nod to The Blob (1958). It was referred to as his "pet", as in "pet project". Its name? Spot, as in "spot remover".
  • Firefly:
    • Jayne, The Big Guy of the Firefly crew, is a human example, and he's named his BFG Vera.
    • Also, the single most dangerous, violent, and destructive member of the crew has the gentle, pastoral name of River.
    • And naming the ship Serenity? Not remotely as comforting as it sounds.
      • This has even more layers. The ship was named after Serenity Valley, which was the site of the last and bloodiest battle of the Browncoat Uprising, where Serenity's captain lost his cause, his friends, his idealism and his faith in God.
  • Game of Thrones: Each Stark child receives a pup that quickly becomes a full-grown direwolf capable of tearing out throats and more than willing to savage anyone who threatens their masters. Robb, Arya, and Jon Snow go for fittingly impressive names but Sansa, Bran, and Rickon name theirs Lady, Summer, and Shaggydog respectively.
  • Twinkles the monstrous kitten in The Goodies.
  • One episode of Hustle had a scary-ass Implacable Man named Pinky Byrne.
  • Tibbles from iCarly, the pooch of Fred/Lucas, described by Freddie as being either a large dog or a small bear.
  • In Lexx Cluster Lizards are 10 foot long vicious carnivorous worms. The pilot movies had a baby one affectionately named "Squish".
  • An episode of Life had a suspect talking about his cat "Fluffy". When Crews returns later, he encounters Fluffy, who happens to be a tiger.
  • Spot the dragon from The Munsters (never seen in full).
  • On The Muppet Show there are quite a few more grotesque looking monsters. The biggest one, 9 feet tall, shaggy, with fangs and beastly strong is named.... Sweetums. Sweetums usually plays characters that really are pretty friendly, once you get past their appearance. In the original Muppet Movie, Sweetums was referred to as "Jack", though he explains "Jack not name, jack job!": He lifts cars for a living.
  • In the episode of MythBusters that dealt with the Hindenburg, the B Story involved the build team annoying some crocodiles, and at one point they were introduced to the three most ornery crocs at the farm where they filmed: Fluffy, Skipper and Bob.
  • Halfway through season 3 of Person of Interest, an artificial intelligence called Samaritan is introduced into the storyline. It comes fully online at the end of the season, completely immoral, with no compunctions about killing others for its own gain or survival, and no restrictions on who can utilize its near-omnipresent surveillance, in complete contrast to the black boxed Machine.
  • In Power Rangers in Space, misfit henchman Elgar is threatened with being made to play with Scrudley, a never-explicitly-seen monster.
  • On Robot Wars several of the fighting machines had rather innocuous names, like Wheely Big Cheese (a large yellow wedge capable of hurling a robot over ten feet through the air) or Pussycat (a robot with a whirling blade capable of slicing through armour with ease). Most notably was the robot actually called Fluffy, which had a double-bladed whirling axe on the front capable of tearing giant chunks out of opponents.
  • Loki Hayes from Santa Clarita Diet is a scary gangbanger wanted for larceny, homicide, and impersonating a forest ranger. His pet is a six-foot banana python named "Baby". Subverted somewhat in that Baby is a rescue, and looks much scarier than he really is by virtue of being a snake.
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • You knew the child princess was going to be trouble the second you found out her name was "Harmony". She didn't disappoint.
    • Also in Atlantis, Colonel Sheppard routinely names the big scary Space Vampires things like "Bob", "Steve", etc. The most prominent of said Wraith was dubbed "Todd".
  • Torchwood keeps a Weevil, one of the man-eating local aliens, in their Elaborate Underground Base. Her name is Janet (Jack was going to call her Barbara, but it just didn't suit her).
  • The unspeakably frightening main villain of Twin Peaks is a demon who likes to possess people and turn them into serial killers who murder and rape the people they love. His name is Bob. Or actually BOB. It's spelled in all caps.
  • In the final episode of the original Ultraman, we are introduced to Ultraman's superior officer, a warrior so powerful he is later revealed to have annihilated multiple alien invasions singlehandedly. His name...is Zoffy.
  • The Wire:
    • The street names for many hardened Baltimore criminals are pretty unassuming, such as "Cheese" and "Peanut".
    • Major Colvin is a tough veteran of the police force whose nickname is "Bunny". He is quick to remind you that only his friends are allowed to call him that.

    Music 
  • In Devin Townsend's concept album "Ziltoid The Omniscient", the Sixth Dimensional Planet Smasher is named... Herman. He hates musicals.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Fair Folk was one of the older names for fairies. The name is deliberately ironic; they were anything but fair, but calling them by more accurate names might draw their ire.
  • Cerberus is the three-headed hellhound who guards The Underworld in Classical Mythology. One theory for his name's origin is the root Indo-European word ḱerberos, "spotted." This would mean that Hades, Lord of the Underworld, named his dog "Spot."
  • In Basque mythology, the almighty snake-god of lightning is called... Sugar. It's more a case of In My Language, That Sounds Like... though, since this will only sounds funny to English speakers.
  • One of the most menacing figures in Aztec mythology is the War God Huitzilopochtli. He's known for having killed most of his 400 siblings shortly after being born and a lot of Aztec human sacrifices were dedicated to him. His name means "Left-Handed Hummingbird".

    Roleplay 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Plushiebunny's second form turns into a horrific monster whose appearance makes many heroes wet themselves in fear.
  • Survival of the Fittest v4 has Kenny the bear, whose one and only appearance on the island so far is attacking and killing an inactive student. It's heavily implied he used to have human owners who kept him in the cage.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Eberron the fringe religion of The Blood of Vol has many sub-organizations like the "Crimson Covenant," the "Order of the Emerald Claw," the "Hornblade Clan," or the "Keepers of Blood". And then there's the much more happy-sounding "Cult of Life." Yes, you should start running now.
  • Forgotten Realms contains a lot of fun. The Old Xoblob Shop (Waterdeep) has a bouncer named Guraim the Gentle Persuader, also useful as a rack for candles. It's an iron golem.
  • Not to be outdone, Spelljammer has, in increasing order of fearsomeness, the Giant Space Hamster, the Armor-Plated Giant Space Hamster, the Carnivorous Flying Giant Space Hamster, Fire-Breathing Phase Doppleganger Space Hamster, Tyrannohamsterus Rex, and, of course, Wooly Rupert.
  • Magic: The Gathering: "To the camp, it was a fierce and loyal protector. To the sentry's youngest daughter, it would always be her Wuv Muffin." - Flavor text for Patrol Hound
  • In Munchkin, any piece of equipment can be an "x ...OF DOOM" with the right bonus card attached. This occasionally results in a player toting around a Cute Shoulder Dragon...OF DOOM.
  • The sample characters in Toon include The Crusher, a two-foot tall little green man with a meek voice who nevertheless makes the ground shake when he walks. He's not an example of this trope, but his enforcer is, a hulking alien brute with the unassuming name of Percy.
  • Mutant Chronicles:
    • The Prophet of the Great Darkness, the Harbinger of Doom, the only human to carry an unholy Skalak sword and the only individual the followers of all five Dark Apostles respect is named... Billy.
    • The early editions have Bauhaus' Quality Control agents. They do exactly what it sounds like; track down people who are selling substandard goods under the Bauhaus brand. What is rarely mentioned is that people who abuse Bauhaus' good name and reputation in that way tend to die, in very public, painful and messy ways. "B is for 'Bauhaus', B is for 'Best'", indeed.
  • The box art of Quarriors! Light vs Dark includes a parody "lost pet" poster depicting one of the game's monsters:
    LOST - Black Cat Of Doom - Answers to "Sprinklepuffs" - Last seen around the deepest depths of Hades
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! game has Guard Dog, a vicious-looking Beast whose name - shown by its doghouse if you look closely - is "Beth".
  • Malifaux: He is a towering monstrosity of teeth and claws, a literal incarnate nightmare, the most physically imposing creature amongst the Neverborn. His name is Lord Chompy Bits.
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 has the bloodthirsty War God Khorne, while his name seems intimidating when written down it's actually pronounced corn. This has led to a meme about about a cereal called "Khorne Flakes".

    Theme Parks 

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • The Blue team finds a very dangerous alien who teams up with them.
      Caboose: OK, gargantuan alien... Now that we've decided to keep you, you need a real name. I vote for "Fluffy".
      Tucker: Fluffy?!
      Caboose: Fluffy! The alien that only loves!
    • He later settles for "Crunchbite", which still isn't all that dangerous sounding.
    • In Season 11, Caboose finds an active war robot which he promptly names Freckles.
    • And in Season 13, Caboose meets an AI made by the same species "Fluffy" belonged to. He dubs it Santa, and the name both sticks and grinds the BGM to a halt.
  • In the third episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, the murderous god that the Love Cult worships is named... Malcolm.

    Web Original 
  • The infamous SMILE.DOG picture. Its name may conjure up images of a cute retriever or something similar. If anyone is seriously curious about the picture, there are links as well as more reliable descriptions of SMILE.DOG on the Nightmare Fuel - TvTropes page.
  • AH.com: The Series has Bobo the giant flying tentacled brain and Dave Howery's Gatling-cannon-wielding Canada-Destroying Mechs, which are all named after Sesame Street characters.
  • The Salvation War has Yahweh's pet, the first beast of revelations, which is essentially a 200-foot giant leopard with seven heads and ten horns. Its name? Wuffles. The name is practically a throwaway line in Yahweh's court, the humans it was sicced on have yet to identify it other than "ruthless giant killing machine which it takes aerial bombing and tank fire to kill, after it smacks Fort Bragg, and at death it was trying to form a portal to crawl away through". Then it turns out the Scarlet Beast is named Fluffy. It, as well as its rider, taste first a truck full of explosives driven by a Hamas operative, and later discover the arguments of sixteen 2000-lb bombs. Both turn out to dislike them a lot.
  • In chapter 9 of The Intercontinental Proliferation of Disgusting Characters, Peter Perfect's new paladin mount is revealed to be an undead great wyrm gold dragon. He calls her "Fluffball."
  • In the Whateley Universe, several Ultraviolents (students with a penchant for violence and blood) keep a twenty-foot-long flesh-eating demonic worm as a beloved pet. They call it "Fluffy".
  • From the pages of DeviantArt, we get the LemonLoaf. Most of this guys weapons qualify as BFS, but he has done some BFG work as well.
  • Dragon Cave: one dragon species in particular was designed for this. Its release went like this; people picked up eggs with the sweet, unassuming description "This egg is bright. And pink." The hatchlings were sweet, adorable, stood on one leg (and yes, were pink). Alphabetical sort revealed that they began with the letter "f", and everyone was squeeing over the adorable little Flamingo Wyverns. Then they grew up into ferocious, deadly looking (but still pink) monsters that were incredibly violent and territorial.
  • You'd think that a creature called The Polka-Dotted Pansyface would be rather harmless, right? In Mortasheen, you'd be very, very wrong.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: Of the myriad Eldritch Abominations roaming Night Vale, The Good Boy is by far the most evil. It's heavily implied that he is actually Satan incarnate.

Alternative Title(s): Big Monster Cute Name

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