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Playing With / Caligula's Horse

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Basic Trope: The chairman of an organization appoints his pet to a senior position, indicating his insanity.

  • Straight: President Bob appoint his pet parrot Alice as Minister of Defense.
  • Exaggerated:
    • President Bob resigns and appoints Alice the parrot as his replacement.
    • President Bob appoints an entire cabinet of animals.
  • Downplayed:
    • President Bob appoints his pet parrot Alice as the mascot of the country, replacing a freakin' eagle.
    • Bob gives his parrot a knighthood.
    • Alice the parrot is given an honorary, useless position normally filled by a human — it's obviously a joke, and perhaps an insult to the previous holder.
    • President Bob gives pet parrot Alice an "advisory" position, given that he uses her as a sounding board when musing over politics.
    • Bob knows the Senate will never approve his request, he's just having a laugh at their expense for denying his previous appointees.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
    • There's a longstanding tradition that Bob's office appoint a Ratcatcher-in-Chief — i.e., a cat. Whether as an insult or misunderstanding, he gives a high-ranking politician the job.
    • The parrot appoint Bob as the minister of defense.
  • Subverted: President Bob appoints his pet parrot Alice as Minister of Defense. Turns out Alice is an intelligent animal.
  • Double Subverted: Turns out that everything Alice can say is taught by Bob.
  • Parodied:
    • After Alice the parrot is appointed Minister of Defense, the country's military is set on the right track, something unimaginable during the term of previous minister.
    • "President Bob is assembling a new cabinet. As soon as he's got the doors fitted, he's going to appoint it Vice-President! Ahthankyaw!"
    • President Bob replaces his cabinet with a group of puppets. When his insanity grows worse, he develops multiple personalities that manifest through the puppets, who now disagree with every decision he makes.
    • The parrot turns to be a rather competent and surprisingly fair minister, in stark contrast to the human members of Bob's cabinet.
  • Zig Zagged: ... Or rather, Bob teaches Alice HOW to say it, but doesn't actually dictate her policies. Alice has a direction and intends to follow it, and Bob helps her to give speeches because her Tropese is lacking, while her own Paraspeech is much better.
  • Averted:
    • President Bob doesn't appoint any animal, even if he's certifiably insane.
    • President Bob appoints an intelligent animal to a post within the cabinet, in a setting where this is not unusual and the animal was elected on their own merits.
  • Enforced: It's a comedy about Caligula himself, and the horse is just about the only thing most people know about him (and it's certainly the funniest).
  • Lampshaded: ???
  • Invoked: Obfuscating Insanity.
  • Exploited:
    • President Bob appoints Alice the parrot, who obviously can't say things Bob didn't teach her to say. There's probably An Aesop here.
    • President Bob's rivals decide that if Bob can make Alice the parrot say what he wants her to say, so can they. In the next meeting, Alice to parrot conveniently agrees with them that President Bob should be stripped of his title, and dragged to the nearest alley and shot.
  • Defied: Bob starts becoming more and more of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer, and people worry that he's becoming The Caligula. When he comes into the office with a new pet parrot on his shoulder, he sees the worried glances and laughs that he's not going to give it a seat on the council.
  • Discussed: Bob's country has a stipulation in its written constitution that attempting to raise any non-human to a powerful government position will be grounds for instant dismissal from office.
  • Conversed: "What kind of constitution does this country have, that this guy has the power to make a parrot his Defense Chief?"
  • Implied: "He's filled his cabinet with lapdogs!" "Well, not literally at least. Remember his grandfather?"
  • Deconstructed: Realizing that their dear president has gone off the deep end, the senate knife him in the back and appoints a new president. And they cook Alice too, just to show that a parrot isn't meant to hold office.
  • Reconstructed: Bob's rivals and colleagues humour his eccentricity, thinking it makes him more harmless and gives them more opportunity to seize power themselves.

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