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Let's Mock the Monsters

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Did you trade your left half for that sword?!

"Tell that big dumb scary face to take a hike and leave you alone and if he thinks he can scare you then he's got another thing coming and the very idea of such a thing just makes you wanna HAHAHAHA-, heh LAAAAAAAUUUGH!"

The heroes are walking through the dark catacombs. Is that heavy breathing? No, not wanting to imagine what could be so loathsome as to live in such a place, they dismiss it as the wind. They press on, then suddenly something terrible leaps out of the shadows and... the heroes burst into laughter.

Whether it's the Caustic Critic harping on the quality of the game's monsters, or the actual characters within a story, this trope applies any time monsters are being ridiculed. Killer Whatevers, Slurpasaurs and monsters that have suffered from a Special Effect Failure are particularly prone to being mocked.

If the monster looks stupid but the characters treat it as if it were terrifying, that's not this trope.

See also: Our Monsters Are Different, Monster Mash, Everything Trying to Kill You, Do Not Taunt Cthulhu, Monster of the Week.

Has nothing whatsoever to do with He Who Fights Monsters, Talking the Monster to Death, Mugging the Monster, or Bullying a Dragon. Although the last two might well result in a Curb-Stomp Battle.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece is rife with targets for this trope, constantly introducing impossibly stupid-looking monsters, only to have Luffy, as an inversion, call them really cool. Sanji tends to play the trope straight though, talking about how to cook monsters while beating them senseless.
  • In the second season of Slayers, Lina and company encounter a monster that looks like a floating tribal mask. Then its body grows in and it resembles, well... a penguin wearing a tribal mask.
    Lina: *laughs hysterically* Oh, you're just weird, pal.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man does this to his enemies all the time, especially during their first meetings. This can sometimes works against him; for example the first time he meets The Walrus and hears about "the proportional strength, speed, and agility of a walrus" bit, Spidey is so busy laughing his guts out that the villain manages to sucker-punch him.

    Fan Works 

    Films Live-Action 
  • Peter Venkman's specialty in the Ghostbusters franchise, although the others get in on the act. Interestingly, this doesn't kick in until after the first movie: after beating Gozer the Gozerian (and Cthulhu in the animated series), everything else seems a bit pathetic in comparison.
    • Interestingly, it's actually Ray who's the first to do this: he mocks Slimer over the radio, who then slimes Peter in revenge since he heard Peter's radio.
      Ray: He's an ugly little spud, isn't he?

  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden does this as a matter of course, though it's sometimes a strategic choice the name naagloshii evokes such terror that Harry's sarcastic nickname "Shagnasty" keeps it from becoming unbeatable.
  • This is the proper way to fight boggarts in Harry Potter series use Riddikulus charm and concentrate on something funny. The boggart will become funny and powerless.
  • In Lacuna, Liao is less than polite to the Toralii fleet that jumps in after they release the Forerunner.
  • Sword of Truth has an ancient evil appear in the form of a chicken. That cackled. Even staunch fans of the series agree that was utterly Narmtastic.
  • Any customer who walks into Clauss' garage in Unique and behaves like the customers described in is unknowingly doing exactly this. Of course, even if they don't know that the big grey bearded biker is actually a literal Papa Wolf, that still doesn't change the fact that he's a big, grey-bearded biker with hands like slabs of rawhide covered meat. Not to mention that it's just plain rude AND stupid to piss off the guy you're paying to repair the vehicle you don't know how to fix yourself.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Fear Itself":
    Xander: Who's a little fear demon? Come on. Who's a little fear demon?
    Giles: Don't taunt the fear demon.
    Xander: Why? Can he hurt me?
    Giles: No, it's just tacky...
  • Doctor Who:
    • Find someone who's never heard of Doctor Who. Show them a picture of a Dalek and tell them it's the most dangerous creature in the universe. Odds are high this trope will be their instinctual reaction. Even in their own series, they get mocked. "What are you going to do? Sucker me to death?" And so it did.
    • Even fans of Doctor Who can't take the villains of "The Invasion of Time" seriously, due to some poor handling by the writer, uninspiring costumes, and a big heap of Special Effects Failure. (Which is a pity, because their basic concept, had it not been mishandled, is frankly terrifying.) When they returned in the Expanded Universe, the Doctor's companion spent several minutes riffing on the theme of "Oh, good, it's only the Vardans!" to their faces.
    • "The Ribos Operation" starts off with a scene kicking off an epic Arc about Order Versus Chaos where the Doctor encounters a Sufficiently Advanced Alien who may be God. The script called for him to be in awe, and in the novelisation (based off the script) he almost grovels. However, Tom Baker insisted on playing it mockingly while trying not to laugh at how serious it all was, both much more in-character and pretty badass into the bargain.
    • The Doctor and Sarah suggest alternate names for Morbius in his new body, such as Potpourri or Chop Suey the Galactic Emperor. Morbius is not amused. "You will be the first to die!"
  • David Mitchell mentions this trope on Mock the Week when discussing the Russian-Georgian war in 2008.
    "Shall we have a bit of fun? Poke the Russians! Poke the Russians! Oh my God they're coming!"
  • On The Monkees Micky and Mike, confronted with a mummy, berate it for being dirty and smelly. The mummy retires discomfited. (Note that despite his bravado, Micky is actually terrified.)
  • Many of the riffs on Mystery Science Theater 3000 are about the monsters, be it bad costumes, bad stop-motion animation, cheesy special effects, or transparent plot twists.
  • Power Rangers: Every single episode.
    • In Power Rangers RPM, the Darker and Edgier series couldn't always get around the goofy monster designs of the cracktastic Engine Sentai Go-onger and had to plunge in, with even the villains pointing it out. "It looks like a bottle of window cleaner. Are you going to destroy the city or give it a streak-free shine?"
  • In Stargate SG-1 O'Neill has zero respect for the Goa'uld and demonstrates it every chance he gets. Although it's usually their over-the-top hamminess that gets mocked instead of their appearance.
    Ba'al: You dare mock me?
    O'Neill: Ba'al, you know me. Of course I dare mock you.

    Tabletop Games 
  • From Headinjury dot com we have the following critiques (part 1 and part 2) of stupid Dungeons & Dragons monsters.
  • For more D&D monster mockery, visit the WTF D&D!? feature at Something Awful, as it takes the piss out of the artwork in tabletop game sourcebooks, usually focusing on ridiculous monster ideas.
  • Many, many PCs do this when their DM reveals a custom monster he's spent all week lovingly crafting. Not that published monsters are exempt, especially those published by 3rd party publishers.
    • Lampshaded in Munchkin with the Monster The DM Made Up Himself.
    • In D&D 5th Edition, the spell Vicious Mockery lets Bards literally mock the monsters— and do psychic damage!
  • Many PCs when they encounter something that would be terrifying... about five levels ago.
  • In the Pathfinder manual, before the class chapter, we are treated with Valeros saying about ogres that they "have some uglies ahead. With faces like that, no wonder they are afraid of going out during the day."
    • The "Misfit Monsters Redeemed" supplement is written to avoid this trope to some degree. Basically, it takes several silly Gygax-era monsters and attempts to reimagine them as serious and dignified encounters. For instance, the Flumph, originally a silly flying jellyfish prone to falling over by itself, is now a good-aligned extraplanar harbinger who seeks to warn other races of the approach of malevolent aberrations and other Eldritch Abominations. The Wolf-In-Sheep's-Clothing, which originally looked like a stump with an unconvincing rabbit-puppet sitting on it, is now a tentacled monster that uses the corpse of its last meal as a lure to draw in more victims.

  • Hamlet calls a ghost a "king of shreds and patches".

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom of Loathing does this constantly.
    In the Spooky Forest, you are attacked by one of the spookiest mummies you've ever seen. [...] This isn't saying much, though, since you've never found mummies to be particularly spooky. I mean, "Ooooh, no! I'll have to walk slightly faster if I want to escape!"
  • Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires has Marisa meeting Mamizou Futatsuiwa, the Superboss of the game, who she couldn't resist making fun of after finding out what she is despite it being a hazard to her health.
    Marisa: But you're still a tanuki, right? The kind that drums on their bellies on the night of the full moon?
    Mamizou: You are making light of us, are you not? What do you call yourself?
    Marisa: I'm Reimu Hakurei!
    Mamizou: Marisa Kirisame, is it? I'll be sure to remember that. I intend to take my revenge, so you'd best watch your back on the night of the full moon.
    Marisa: Hey, go after the Miko, not me...
  • In keeping with series tradition, Ghostbusters: The Video Game gives us plenty of monster mockery from Peter Venkman.
    Monster: I am... the Architect!
    Ray: Oh God... do you know what Architects do?
    Peter: They... dream?

    Web Animation 

  • Torg and Riff from Sluggy Freelance do this pretty much instinctively. It comes in handy one time when they need to cause K'Z'K pain in order to exorcise him. He's invincible but still suffers from their horrible puns about his name.
  • Sleepless Domain: After Undine tells the rest of her training club about the shadowy creature that she believes was responsible for her teammates' death, Bud suggests calling it "Goops", after it's vaguely Blob Monster-esque appearance. Her rationale is that, since the creature has evidently been trying to scare people, mocking it with a dumb nickname would make it seem less frightening. Later that night, Harley voices reservations that Bud might be taking the situation too lightly, to which Bud does admit that she's still taking it all in.

    Web Original 
  • Hadriex:
    • This trope gets its name from the review of Nezumi Man where, after naming this trope, the reviewers exercise it for half of the video.
    • Hadriex would go on to use this trope in many future videos, getting better at it as he went. His review of the The Great Giana Sisters used it to good enough effect that Blask Forest Games linked to his video back when they were making Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd has mocked many generic or poorly conceived monsters in his run. His Action52 review has the best variety ... 'shit pickles'.
  • Retsupurae does it a lot with the jump scares within the Arise series. "John McCain! Why?!"
  • Suburban Knights features the reviewers encountering and taunting Cat, the Cloaks, and Which Warrior. What follows is:
    • Cat unleashing a Curb-Stomp Battle on them, managing to take out most of Team 1 before he is stopped.
    • The Cloaks opening fire with balls of electro-magic and the fire of a thousand arrows.
    • Which Warrior channeling a demon and then unleashing a lighting storm that destroys Phelous's little friends.
    • Then, before the last battle, The Nostalgia Critic mocks Jaffers. Jaffers then responds by summoning all of the above for a battle.
  • raocow keeps finding every enemy in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, as well as the game as a whole, hilariously goofy.
  • Sadie Doyle of The Thrilling Adventure Hour is incapable of taking Nightmares the Clown seriously. When she sees him she excitedly cries "Clown!" and keeps making fun of him. This often stymies the clown, who feeds off fear and bolsters Sadie's husband Frank, who has feared Nightmare since he was a child.
  • BuzzFeed Unsolved: Shane's entire MO for the "Supernatural" seasons consists of actively threatening/mocking whatever paranormal entities he and Ryan have come to find.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama:
    • "Where No Fan Has Gone Before": Upon seeing Energy Being Melllvar, Bender's response is "What a cheesy effect!"
    • "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch": Bender again. "What's that big, ugly thing? A frog? a toad? Or your momma?"
    • "Benderama": The crew make a delivery to a giant alien and are warned not to remark on his hideous appearance. Naturally, Bender (and the two clones of himself he created) lets fly with the ugly jokes, and the giant attacks them. Later, the giant flies to Earth to apologize, but everyone is drunk because all water has been turned to alcohol (Bender's fault, of course) and ends up being insulted and going on a rampage all over again.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • There is a whole song about it in part 2 of the pilot, in which Pinkie Pie teaches her friends to literally laugh away their fears.
    • In "A Dog and Pony Show", Rarity is initially intimidated by the Diamond Dogs who are holding her captive, but when they try to force her to find and dig up gemstones, she obstinately refuses, then goes on to mock their appearance, manners, and personal hygiene. By the time her friends show up to rescue her, the dogs are begging for them to take her away, and pay them to do so.
    • Later, when Rarity gets snagged by an angry, rampaging dragon (actually a transformed Spike) she chides him for his uncivilized behavior.
  • The Simpsons, in "Treehouse of Horror X", Homer mocks a Werewolf Flanders, while he's being mauled!
  • In one Static Shock episode, the Monster of the Week introduces himself as a string of gibberish ending in "ack". Static and Gear promptly go "What kind of a name is Thumbtack?"
  • In Soviet cartoon Two Epic Warriors Russian and Central Asian warriors ended up in wrong fairy tales, which made their enemies Wrong Genre Savvy. Russian warrior faced a giant daeva (kind of a demon) who was empowered by fear. He mocked him until he became small, then lured him into a narrow cave and said: "I'm very afraid of you!" The daeva got stuck there.note 

    Real Life 
  • This supposedly happened the first time settlers found out about the Platypus, often described as God's idea of a joke. Then we found out just how dangerous these things really are...