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Furry Denial

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Best not to ponder on it for too long.
"That's human nature for you. Even if you're a penguin."
The Narrator, The Three Caballeros

Ever hear a Funny Animal say, "I'm only human"?

Weird, ain't it? This may indicate that a Funny Animal is unaware that he isn't human (yes, web pages aren't any more human than Funny Animals, but you know what I mean). This may also apply to actions, such as a dog eating ice cream or chocolate without getting sick, or a weasel having a romantic relationship with a human with no comment whatsoever. Most likely, it implies that the creator views the character's appearance as simply cosmetic; as far as the setting is concerned, they're just as human as you, no matter what they might look like. Ever wonder why Mickey Mouse was never shown with cheese in the theatrical cartoons? Walt Disney himself forbade it!

"Cheese makes Mickey seem like a mouse. He's really not a mouse, you know, he's really more a human."

Sometimes, of course, this simply happens because Most Writers Are Human. Can be combined with Furry Reminder for comedic effect. Related to Furry Confusion and Anthropomorphic Shift. Not to be confused with denying you are part of the Furry Fandom. If a non-human is knowingly and ironically referring to himself as human, it's In the Original Klingon. Usually subverted if the character is a Beast Man; they'll insist that they are not a weasel since they, well, aren't a weasel. Can be justified if the character is a Baleful Polymorph who Was Once a Man- referring to themselves as "human" and doing other human activities may be just force of habit.

Sub-Trope of I Would Say If I Could Say and Orphaned Etymology. Contrast Furry Reminder. Compare and Contrast Furry Lens, when the character actually is human but just looks like an animal to the audience.



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  • One ad for Charmin toilet paper features some of their signature bear characters talking about how strong their toilet paper is, so strong in fact, that "it keeps your underwear cleaner!" and "you could wear them a second day". It seems odd that these statements would be gathered from a conversation being had by a bunch of Funny Animal bears that aren't even wearing anything except hats and glasses, if that.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In One Piece, Tony Tony Chopper is a reindeer that ate a Devil Fruit called the "Human Human Fruit" ("Hito Hito no Mi" in Japan), which gave him human awareness and intelligence, as well as the ability to transform into a human (although he looks like a Beast Man in that form) and a hybrid form that's a cross between the human form and his original reindeer form. This trope is mostly averted, as Chopper is fully aware that he's still a reindeer, but on at least one occasion during the Fishman Island arc, Jinbe exclaimed that Luffy and the Straw Hats shouldn't fight the New Fishman Pirates. Chopper (along with Franky, a Cyborg) wonder why and ask "Is it because... we're humans?", to which Sanji replies:
    Sanji: Don't you two say it!! That just makes things more confusing!!
    • There's also Pappug the starfish. When he was young, he thought he was a human, because he confused the word "hitode" (which is Japanese for "starfish") for the word "hito" (Japanese for "human"). Averted as he grew older and realized he was a starfish all this time. Now, he's a full-fledged Funny Animal.
  • This often happens to Meowth in Pokémon. A particularly funny example was in the episode where Meowth, Team Rocket, Ash and Misty have a Pokémon tournament to decide who gets to keep Togepi. When it's Meowth's turn to duel, he realizes he has no Pokémon. After failing to get Team Rocket to lend him one of theirs, it suddenly dawns on him that he's a Pokémon... and thus can bark commands at himself. Hilarity Ensues.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • In the Carl Barks comic "The Trail of the Unicorn," Scrooge McDuck sends for Donald to help capture the one animal he is missing from his zoo, but the nephews take this the wrong way and interrupt his exposition with the following protest:
      Huey: You can't lock Unca' Donald in your old zoo!
      Dewey and Louie: And, besides, he isn't an animal!
    • Both Don Rosa and Carl Barks famously claimed that Donald is rather a man that happens to look like a duck.
  • Maus, a comic book about Holocaust by Art Spiegelman. The Jews are mice, Germans are cats, Poles are pigs, but generally, this is only their appearance.
  • Volume II of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had this demonstrated by H-9, a hybrid creation of Dr. Moreau who happens to be a more ferocious version of the title character of Rupert Bear. He scolds H-14 (Tiger Tim) for crawling on all fours and lapping up water and angrily insists that he and the other hybrids are "not beasts" when Mina insists on referring to them as such.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, while hiking, Calvin scares Hobbes by shouting, "LOOK! A TIGER!"
  • Given that Bill Watterson cites Pogo as a major influence, perhaps it was based on a similar joke in a Pogo strip, between Howland Owl and Albert Alligator:
    Howland: Do you know what el legarto means?
    Albert [indifferently] A cigar?
    Howland: "An alligator"!
    Albert: WHERE?!
  • The Dog from Footrot Flats has also once said this. As his name implies - he is a dog.
  • Garfield once forgot he was a cat and shaved off his facial hair. Plus he is quoted in another comic strip as saying "I'm only human," while walking into the sunset...
  • In a Peanuts comic strip from 1991, Snoopy was about to drink from a water fountain at Charlie Brown's school when a girl saw him and said, "Hey! There's a dog in the hall!" Snoopy looked around and replied, "Where?"
    • In an earlier story, Sally is doing a report on animals. Snoopy is initially reluctant to help her because he claims that "I don't know any animals" (this evidently means that he doesn't consider birds to be animals, either).
  • The given name of the titular shark from Sherman's Lagoon means "Shear man" (i.e., a male human who shears sheep for a living). To be fair, Sherman is an anthropomorphic shark.

    Fan Works 
  • Inverted in A Twilight Landing, after being turned into a human herself, Twilight Sparkle tends to use ponyisms when talking about other humans, such as calling men and women "stallions" and "mares" respectively and using words like "everypony" when talking about people.
  • In chapter 2 of Arthur Goes Fourth, a character tells Jane Read "If you can understand American tax laws, then you must be more than human." Jane is an aardvark. It's especially odd because they're noted as animals in the fanfic.
  • Inverted with Iris in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines. Having grown up in the wild raised by Dragon-type Pokémon and being a Dragon Heart Bloodliner (meaning that she can use Dragon-type moves and understand Dragon-types), she considers herself a Dragon-type born in the wrong body rather than a human.

    Films — Animated 
  • Ralph Bakshi's reasoning for why the anthropomorphic characters in Fritz the Cat and Coonskin never act like animals is that it would ruin what he was trying to create, which was a more realistic and mature form of animation. This is specifically the reason why a scene in Fritz the Cat where Duke the Crow saves Fritz was changed from R. Crumb's comic; Crumb had Duke flying Fritz away from a car crash, whereas he grabs a railing in the film. Bakshi admits that he wasn't entirely satisfied with the solution, but it kept him from using any "animal" behavior to further the plot.
  • In Mickey's Christmas Carol, Scrooge McDuck, who's playing Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol is referred to as an "Englishman", despite being a duck, not to mention a Scottish one.
    Willie the Giant: [as The Ghost of Christmas Present] Fe! Fi! Fo! Fum!
    I smell. I mean, I smell.
    A stingy little Englishman!
    I think I do.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played with in the Special Edition of Star Wars: "Jabba, you're a wonderful human being." When the scene was originally shot, Jabba was a human being. Lucas decided not to use the scene until the Special Edition where he could replace the human actor with a CGI Jabba. It wound up being somewhat serendipitous since the line comes off as slightly sarcastic and quite fitting for Han Solo's character.
  • Played for Drama and deconstructed in Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequels. Rocket Raccoon is an uplifted raccoon, but hates being reminded of that fact and reacts with extreme fury when people press the topic. This is because he believes that everyone sees him as just a dumb animal pumped full of mutagens and cybernetics, rather than as a real person. Not to mention his uplifting was a horrific and traumatic experience that he'd really prefer not to be reminded of.
  • Stuart Little: Lampshaded in the second film, in a conversation between Stuart (a mouse living in a human family) and the family cat:
    Stuart: I mean, what am I, a man or a... mouse...
    Snowbell: Is that a trick question?
    • Which brings to mind the song "Man or Muppet?" from The Muppets (2011), in which a human character and his Muppet brother debate that question for themselves.

  • A sort of third-person variant. In the Discworld series, the other wizards, and most of Ankh-Morpork, have gotten so used to the Librarian's form (he was turned into an Orangutan early in the series), that it's mentioned if an outsider had told the Wizards they saw an orangutan in the library, they'd probably go and ask the Librarian if he'd seen it.
  • The Sesame Street tie-in Picture Book The Monster at the End of This Book is probably this for Grover. Grover spends the entire book trying to stop readers from encountering a monster at the end of the book, only to find that he is that monster.
  • In-universe example in the X-Wing Series. Apparently "We're only human" is a phrase there, too, and a non human character pointedly states that while the speaker is human, he is not.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Barney & Friends, BJ (one of the dinosaur characters) refers to himself as a "human cannonball".

    Video Games 
  • In Dust: An Elysian Tail at the end of the "Out To Dry" quest, Fidget states she would like to "maul [Gianni's] face off" to which Dust replies "Manners Fidget, it's what separates us from the animals." This is perhaps intended to be doubly funny as Dust and Fidget occupy different positions in the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism.
  • In the "Black Velvetopia" level of Psychonauts, one of the artist dogs mentioned that he's forced to hide in the alley "Like a lowdown dog". One of the lines you have the option of replying with is "Okay, promise you won't take this the wrong way, but you ARE a dog".
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police:

    Web Comics 
  • Humans and animals live side-by-side in society in Funny Farm, where they all have the same rights as each other and freely mingle, even on an, ahem, sexual level — nobody seems to comment on a black sheep having a human girlfriend, nor do they seem any more likely to comment on if it were gender-reversed (which does serve as the basis for many a Bestiality Is Depraved joke, after all).
  • Very prevalent in Nature of Nature's Art, as seen above. In fact, it's explicitly stated that animals took the name "man" for themselves.
  • The furry enthusiasts in Untitled were told by a Furry to get a life.
  • Pointedly averted in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, "Why a Gorilla?", when the young (to-be-)Doctor is visiting a city of civilised gorillas as a Vampire Hunter and interviewing one of the gorillas about how his wife was turned into a vampire. His gorilla interpreter points out to McNinja that it was highly inappropriate for him to say that she may still have had some of her "humanity" left.
  • Discussed in Freefall. Doctor Bowman programmed his artificial intelligences (and Uplifted Animals) to defer to humans, but when he programmed the definition of "human" into them, he didn't restrict it to "one narrow subset of primate DNA". Instead, there's a list of qualifying traits, and the definition of "human" is meeting a certain number of them. Bowman himself is a chimpanzee, but Florence agrees that he's human without hesitation.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball frequently hangs a lampshade on instances of this, like Gumball pointing out that it's pointless for Tina (a T. rex) to get piano lessons because she only has 4 fingers, or Gumball trying to throttle Darwin but failing because Darwin doesn't have a neck. One instance that is never commented on is Teri's obsession with washing hands despite being made of paper.
    • "The Mustache" features Miss Simian talking about the human body...even though none of her students are human.
    • In "The Loophole", Bobert concludes that humanity is the biggest threat to life on earth based on what he examines other people doing, even though none of his references are human.
  • The cast of Arthur (and the book series it's based on) are basically a bunch of average kids, their families and teachers....who just happen to be different anthropomorphic critters. This is rarely mentioned, and they've referred to themselves as "people" at least once. A common fan theory is that they are human, but are seen through a Furry Lens.
    • Which would contradict lines in early episodes, such as when Buster says "I'm not made of money, I'm made of fur", a bully saying (in reference to Buster) "The rabbit stays", and George (a deer) referring to himself as having "horns" (antlers) while a clip plays of him getting them wedged in a small space.
  • BoJack Horseman features both humans and anthropomorphic animals living as equals. Occasionally, animals are included in real-world racial allegories (the Latin Kings and Skinheads gangs in "Our A-Story is a D-Story" include animals), even though there are also instances of Fantastic Racism among animals.
  • Count Duckula has the Count run afoul of a couple of Egyptian cultists, who believe that as soon as the god Ra has had his fill of Human Sacrifice, he will raise their pharaoh from the dead. Duckula lives in a world of anthropomorphic birds.
    Count Duckula: Ah, human sacrifice.
    Yubi: Well, more or less human, give or take a feather.
  • Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds zigzags this trope. The characters are often described (both in dialogue and in the linking narration) as though they were human, but there are also references to them being anthropomorphic animals, mostly dogs, though a few are members of other species. In particular, children and teenagers are referred to as "pups" and "puppies", while the words "cur" and "mongrel" are used as slurs.
  • In the Donald Duck short "Early to Bed", he quips "Maybe I'm just a duck, but I'm human. A man can stand just so much."
  • The Cartoon Network series I Am Weasel uses this trope frequently. A rather hilarious example may be when Weasel said something along the lines of, "They may only be baboons, but they're still human beings!"
  • Brian the dog from Family Guy Zig-Zags with this.
    Peter: Oh, my God! You can talk!
    • In one episode, Brian campaigned for equal rights for dogs, only for all the humans around to treat him like an idiot. This was presumably because, other than Brian and rare, one-off characters like his gay cousin Jasper, every other dog in the show's universe is an ordinary animal. Most of the time, though, the characters treat Brian as human (including the women he sleeps with), but then will occasionally jar the viewer with some reminder that he has at least some canine qualities.
  • Futurama had a rather funny example of this:
    Bender: C'mon, Fry, I really wanna see [Past-O-Rama]. You know how I yearn for a simpler time. A time of barn dances and buggy rides, before life was cheapened by heartless hi-tech machines.
    Leela: But, Bender, you are—
    (Bender holds his hands to his ear units and shakes his head.)
    • Also, we have this:
    Bender: You're my best friend, Fry, I'm sorry I treated you so badly.
    Fry: Apology accepted. After all, you're only human.
    (They pat each other on the backs)
    Leela: Wait a minute! You did it all backwards.
    (Fry and Bender stop and look towards Leela)
    Leela: Fry's the one who should be— Oh, never mind!
  • This happens quite often on Goof Troop. In one episode, a bystander said that PJ "can't be human". They also make frequent references to things being "humanly possible". Everyone in-universe seems to be some sort of cat (Pete and P.J.) or dog (every other "anthro" character) except for occasional cameos (which aren't human either).
  • Mickey Mouse, besides the ears and tail, is barely a mouse himself. Walt Disney wouldn't let him be shown eating cheese. However, cartoons such as House of Mouse, created long after Walt's death, actually do show him having an affinity to cheese.
    • A "talking" Mickey Mouse toy apparently dating to 1976 (10 years after Disney's death) had a pull string that allowed it to "say" eight phrases, one of which was "How 'bout some cheese, please?"
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In one cartoon, Sylvester (a Talking Animal) is trying to catch and eat a bluebird, much to the dismay of his son (a Funny Animal). The following exchange occurs:
      Sylvester Jr.: Oh, father. You're just not human.
      Sylvester Sr.: Of course I'm not human - I'm a cat!
    • One of Elmer Fudd's few solo cartoons had him watching his boss's dog, Rover, for a few days. His boss informed him that Rover believed himself to be human and expected Elmer to treat him that way. Throughout the cartoon, Elmer would slip up (feeding Rover dog food, or have him watch a Lassie expy, etc), causing Rover to be offended.
    • In the 1941 cartoon, "The Cat's Tale", a mouse gets chased by a cat, and tired of it, tries to give himself the courage stand up to him. He looks at himself in the mirror and says, "What am I? A man or a mouse? I'm a man!" and proceeds to go out and talk to the cat. By the end of the cartoon, after all of his plans backfired and the cat is chasing him again. He gives himself another peptalk to try and go back out there, once again asking himself "What am I? A man or a mouse." He then shrugs and says, "I'm a mouse," and leaves it at that.
    • In "Daffy - The Commando," Daffy Duck wears a shirt labeled "Human Cannon Ball" when he flies into Berlin, Germany. Though knowing Daffy it isn't too off to think he'd wear one even if he is a duck.
    • In "Often an Orphan", Porky Pig is a farmer and he is harassed by Charlie Dog, who wants Porky to adopt him. At one point, he shows up at Porky's door with a pig under one arm and a chicken under the other, and says, "Hey! Whatdya say we have some ham and eggs?" Fridge Horror: Hey wait a minute! Porky Pig raises pigs on his farm?? Does that make him a cannibal?
  • The Looney Tunes Show:
    • The episode "That's My Baby" Tina Russo's sister's baby, Zachary, is never referred to as a duckling even though he is one. He is instead always referred to as a baby as if he were a human baby. Also, he's drinking milk, which human and other mammal babies drink, not ducklings, or any other baby bird for that matter.
  • Mutant League: When primary hero Bones Justice (a living skeleton-like mutant) suffers a loss of confidence in his abilities and becomes a dick about it, his scaly friend Razor Kid works to bring him out of it. After recovering by the episode's end, a now confident Bones quotes Razor's own words back at him. "Hey, I'm only human. Sort of."
  • In Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, Scooby was chasing cats when their owner told Shaggy to stop his dog. Scooby's response? "Rog, Rhere?"
  • In South Park, Cartman's attempt to prank Butters by disgusing himself as a robot goes out of hand, and he ends up captured by government officials who believe he's a robot with memories and consciousness and has this trope in effect, a belief which lasts up until his Unrobotic Reveal.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Brainiac attributes (the Kryptonian) Jor-El's doomsday predictions to "human error".
  • Top Cat:
    • In one episode, TC leaves one of his gang as collateral for a loan. The lender is perplexed: "A human collateral?" Then again, the only time in the entire series when the gang actually behave like cats is when they spend the winter at Dibble's, and they all jump into the only bed, crowding Dibble out and pushing him onto the floor: anyone with a cat knows what THAT's like.
    • The episode "The Million Dollar Derby" has this line.
      Benny: I like animals. Some of my best friends are animals.
  • One episode of ThunderCats (2011) has Lion-O speak of someone losing their humanity, even though there are no humans ever featured in the series.