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TVTropes: Alien Scrappy - April 4, 2011

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  1. [[quoteright:175:[[StarWars http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jarjar.jpg]]]]
  2. [[caption-width-right:175:"Wesa gonna DIE!"]]
  3.  
  4. ->"Dropo, you're the laziest man on Mars!"
  5. -->-- ''{{Santa Claus Conquers the Martians}}''
  6.  
  7. A PluckyComicRelief character in a sci-fi, fantasy or SuperHero story, with a supposedly "cute" appearance and actions, who comes from another planet or dimension, or is a member of some kind of magical race. Such characters are often the NonHumanSidekick, SmallAnnoyingCreature and/or TheScrappy of the story. Occasionally one of them is a villain, but it's hard to take such a stupid-looking villain seriously. In fact, it's hard to take any story seriously once one of these little buggers is introduced. Really, the trope is sort of a HandWave to allow for bloody ridiculous characters. The viewer asks, "Why the hell is that character so stupid and unrealistic, don't they realize he spoils the show?" and the unsatisfactory answer comes back, "Ah, but he's an ''alien'', you see. Everyone's like him where he comes from."
  8.  
  9. How can you tell if it's an Alien Scrappy? Well, if you're not one of those people that despises all things cute and chirpy, in fact, you'll even squeal at a baby animal once in a while... and you ''still'' think the annoying little character should die? That's a pretty good hint.
  10.  
  11. CuteKidsAndRobots suffer the same fate a lot of the time. Also see AmusingAlien, the source of many Alien Scrappys.
  12. ----
  13. !!Examples:
  14.  
  15. [[foldercontrol]]
  16.  
  17. [[folder:Comics]]
  18. * TheDCU has a bunch of these, mostly spawned from Mr. Mxyzptlk from ''Comicbook/{{Superman}}''. They're very often The GreatGazoo as well.
  19. ** ''Comicbook/{{Batman}}'' has Bat-Mite. PostCrisis, a RetCon suggested that he existed only in Bob Overdog's LSD hallucinations, but he was recently re-introduced as a character that may or may not be a figment of a drugged and crazed Batman's imagination.
  20. ** Even Aquaman got into the act, with Quisp, the sea sprite. (A later RetCon made him a villainous being from Mxy's dimension called Qwsp.)
  21. ** Possibly the worst of these was Zook, the Martian Manhuter's tiny friend. Unlike most of the above, who only appeared every so often, Zook was in ''all'' of the original SilverAge Martian Manhunter stories -- until they were {{Retool}}ed into a SpyDrama.
  22. *** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mopee Mopee]] was so disliked they [[RetCon retconned]] him away after his first and only appearance in ''The Flash''.
  23. ** Weirdly enough, all the sprites -- even Mopee! -- appeared in an issue of the new ''Super Friends'' comic book. And it was actually pretty amusing.
  24. ** Proty, Chameleon Boy's shape-shifting pet from the ''{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}''.
  25. *** The post-Zero Hour reboot of the ''Legion'' has not only Proty but also Lori Morning, who, [[FishOutOfTemporalWater as a modern-day Earth]] [[TagalongKid pre-teen amidst the 30th-century and mostly non-Terran Legion]], is a rare example of a human AlienScrappy.
  26. * ''{{Supreme}}'', AlanMoore's homage to SilverAge Superman has Szazs, the Sprite Supreme. Who comes from the same dimension as Nite-Mite (Professor Night's Bat-Mite analogue) and Qyrk (Roy Roman's Qwisp analogue).
  27. * In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' comic strip that ran in ''Doctor Who Magazine'', the Doctor was, for a time, accompanied by Frobisher, an alien shapeshifter who chose to spend most of him time looking like a penguin. Frobisher later appeared in some of the original audio adventures.
  28. ** There's a chunk of 80s ''Who'' fandom who grew up on DWM who think Frobisher is awesome.
  29. ** Frobisher was most definitely awesome in [[http://www.drwhoguide.com/who_bf14.htm The Holy Terror]]. This may be a case of RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap, though.
  30. * The Green Lantern G'nort, who is perceived (and rightly so) as TheScrappy within DC's continuity as well.
  31. ** G'nort was retooled significantly after the pre-Emerald Twilight re-building of the Green Lantern Corps in the early '90s; in JLI he was a DeadpanSnarker and a hideous brown humanoid with Cyrano de Bergerac's nose; after Guy Gardner (occasionally a Scrappy in his own right) was re-named Green Lantern of Earth, he was saddled with G'nort as his sidekick, only now he was cute and naive and ended the story with a CrowningMomentofAwesome. He gradually lapsed back into being the Scrappy.
  32. [[/folder]]
  33.  
  34. [[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
  35. * The Ewoks from ''StarWars'', in all their forms.
  36. * Even more so, Jar-Jar Binks from the ''Star Wars'' prequel trilogy (pictured). Some further complain that Jar-Jar resembles a Stepin Fetchitt-type "coon" caricature of a black man. He could therefore be said to overlap with the {{Ethnic Scrappy}} trope. It should be noted that even his own people consider him annoying: he was exiled from his homeland due to his clumsiness.
  37. ** Conversely, the computer game ''LEGO Star Wars'' made Jar-Jar actually useful, with a helpful skillset and a decent gun. More importantly, he stayed quiet... one of [[BrokenBase many improvements]] the game made over the prequel trilogy.
  38. ** Probably the worst offender is [[SpaceJews Watto]], who is such a massive caricature of typical stereotypes of Jewish, Turk, Jamaican, Whosis traders it could almost be a parody... if it weren't played ''completely'' straight. Exactly what group is being caricatured is [[http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-228197.html subject to a wide, wide range of discussion]].
  39. * The pointless little chameleon-like alien from TheMovie based on ''{{Lost in Space}}''. In the original script, there was actually a plot-related reason (albeit a fairly weak one) for finding it, but in the final cut, it's just a waste of special effects budget.
  40. ** Not to mention that the scene where the protagonists decide to adopt it is a real WallBanger: they met a completely unknown lifeform, which could have been venomous or dangerous in plenty of ways for all they knew, yet they deem it perfectly harmless ''because it is cute'', not noticing its extremely [[CuteLittleFangs sharp teeth]].
  41. * Dropo from ''{{Santa Claus Conquers the Martians}}''. The Odious Comic Relief, now in extraterrestrial form!
  42. * To some extent, Scottie's companion in ''Film/StarTrek'' (2009) is getting flack. He doesn't do much besides get in the way, and we have to wonder why he's even there.
  43. ** Presumably he's just there to give Simon Pegg someone to yell at. Since the "Drunk Scot" stereotype would be inappropriate, they clearly decided to go with the "Angry Scot" stereotype instead.
  44. [[/folder]]
  45.  
  46. [[folder:Literature]]
  47. * Robert Heinlein would often subvert this in his sci-fi juveniles, where the annoying, bumbling alien "pet" would turn out to be a vastly more intelligent creature who regarded his "owner" as the annoying, bumbling alien pet! (To give one specific example: ''Red Planet''.)
  48. ** Basically the entire plot of ''The Star Beast'', where John Thomas Stuart XI's "pet alien", Lummox (who he inherited from one of the earlier John Thomas Stuarts) has made "the raising of John Thomasses" into a multi-century hobby.
  49. * This also happens in one of Robert Asprin's later ''Myth'' books, where a chapter narrated by [[spoiler:Skeeve's pet dragon, Gleep]] reveals it to be [[spoiler:highly intelligent, and often considering ''incinerating'' some of Skeeve's friends it thinks might be a bad influence.]] Eventually [[spoiler: Skeeve learns the truth, and Gleep evidently accepts Skeeve's choice of friends.]]
  50. * ''{{Sword of Truth}}'': "Gratch luuuug Raaach Arrrrg!"
  51. * ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'': [[strike: TheNapoleon]] The Helmacrons, sorry.
  52. ** As one troper put in on the Animorphs main page, "''Fuck off Drode, no one wants to hear your shit.''"
  53. ** Iskroot. The completely nonsensical background doesn't help either.
  54. [[/folder]]
  55.  
  56. [[folder:Live Action TV]]
  57. * Chewbacca's father and son, Itchy and Lumpy from ''TheStarWarsHolidaySpecial''. It doesn't help that the viewer is subjected to about 15 minutes of Wookie dialog ''without'' subtitles.
  58. * ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'''s Neelix. Though not quite as silly as other characters on this page, he is frequently aggravating. And a lot of his skills (especially as a "survival expert") fall squarely in the ground of InformedAbility.
  59. ** The sad thing being that, in [[Series/StarTrekVoyager the pilot episode]], Neelix was comic relief, but he was ''competent'' comic relief. He owned his own starship, was a combat-hardened veteran, was a successful businessman, and had the stones to manipulate the ''Voyager'' crew into being weapons against his enemies. Next episode, he suddenly becomes the Alien Scrappy.
  60. * As noted on the ''Series/{{Babylon 5}}'' page, the Drazi were annoying because they became a dumping ground for every idiotic alien custom imaginable.
  61. ** YMMV on this one; some people found the Drazi hilarious.
  62. [[/folder]]
  63.  
  64. [[folder:Video Games]]
  65. * The entire race of Moogles in ''FinalFantasyIX''. Though tolerable, and even sometimes popular, in the rest of the series, in ''IX'' their primary role is to send the player on a long, pointless series of (thankfully optional) literal [[FetchQuest Fed Ex Quests]] to deliver their cutesy letters to each other. Oh, and they also run most of the [[SavePoint save points]] in the game, so you can't just avoid them for most of the game.
  66. ** It only gets really bad after you get access to intercontinental travel since up to that point most moogles will conveniently be sending letters to the next moogle on your path. After that, you'll be pissed as shit to realize that Kuppo and Kupo are two different moogles, half a continent away from one another.
  67. *** Quina Quen seems to get a lot more flak for being extremely unfunny and annoying.
  68. * Lamarr, Dr. Kleiner's debeaked pet headcrab in ''[[HalfLife Half-Life 2]]''. While she is clearly harmless and affectionate towards Kleiner, most of the time her purpose seems to be to annoy Barney and break things.
  69. ** In ''Half-Life 2: Episode Two'', [[spoiler:she ends up getting unintentionally launched into space]]...with a Garden Gnome if you choose to...
  70. *** To be fair, though, if it hadn't messed up the teleporter the game would've been about ten minutes long (although if that happened in real life it'd just be annoying).
  71. * Chu-Chu and all her race in ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}''. She's so grotesquely cute that Bart, a hardened desert pirate and captain of a massively powerful battleship, was too disgusted to pick her up and put her aside when she was blocking the way to his own bridge. To add insult to injury, she's the only Gear-sized character who doesn't consume fuel and whose character stats actually matter in Gear battles.
  72. ** [[Narm/VideoGame At least she got crucified, eh?]]
  73. ** Chu-Chu's race is native to the Xenogears planet, so technically, she's not an ''alien'' scrappy.
  74. * Blasted [[TheGreys Elvis]]/Elphais from ''Perfect Dark''.
  75. [[/folder]]
  76.  
  77. [[folder:Western Animation]]
  78. * Orko from ''{{He-Man and the Masters of the Universe}}'', who went from a great (if eccentric) wizard on his homeworld of Trolla to a bumbling, annoying comic relief because his powers didn't work properly on Eternia.
  79. ** In the 2002 series, Orko became comic relief because he lost his wand while rescuing a young Prince Adam and his pet tiger from sinking into a swamp. Without his wand none of his magic works correctly.
  80. *** It was the same in the '80s series, save for it being a medallion rather than a wand.
  81. * Parodied in an episode of ''CountDuckula'', when the Count took a trip to "Planet Cute".
  82. * Subverted in ''{{Futurama}}''; Nibbler seems like just a cute little animal with a prodigious appetite, and usually acts that way, but turns out to be [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien something very different]].
  83. * Orbity from ''TheJetsons''. Even worse are the Ewok-like Grungees from ''The Jetsons Movie''. Spacely lost quite a few points with some members of the audience for not cackling insanely and turning the mine back on to collapse the asteroid. The one adopted by Elroy is named Squeak.
  84. * Glomer, the "leprechaun gopher" on the animated ''PunkyBrewster''. Yes, that's what they called it.
  85. * That Gleek... thing... on ''[[RecycledInSPACE Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space]]''. It looked like a prehensile bundle of cotton balls and seemed to exist solely to annoy the cat (and make [[TheDitz Melody]] even more obnoxious than she already was).
  86. ** His name was "Bleep," which was also the only word he could say. Melody was able to translate for him.
  87. * Let's not forget the ''other'' Gleek, from ''{{Superfriends}}''.
  88. * The unforgivably awful Snarf from ''{{Thundercats}}''. Has there ever been a more aggravating "cute" character in a cartoon?
  89. ** Snarf's young nephew Snarfer, who is, if anything, even ''more'' annoying.
  90. ** Lion-O in the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AJWRPaKHxQ blooper reel]] ({{NSFW}}) says what most of us are thinking:
  91. --->'''Snarf:''' You--you've got to snap out of it, Lion-O! Call the Thundercats before--\\
  92. '''Lion-O:''' Shut up, you fuck.
  93. * While not especially "cute", Gazoo from ''The Flintstones'' falls into this category as being the excessively annoying, and often un-necessary, alien.
  94. * Lampshaded in ''South Park'' with the Jackovasaurs, who are extremely annoying, but everyone is well aware of this fact and does their best to get rid of them.
  95. * Parodied once on ''{{Sealab 2021}}'', when Dr. Quinn's character is changed from an EthnicScrappy into an AlienScrappy.
  96. -->'''Quinn:''' Why am I a friggin' Martian?\\
  97. '''Director:''' Hey, sweet! Wardrobe got you set up, and listen, you are not a Martian. [[StargateSG1 You're from a super-race of symbiotes. Little snake lives in your belly]].\\
  98. '''Quinn:''' Since when?\\
  99. '''Director:''' Well, the writers were, you know, having trouble writing for, uh, ''urban'' characters.\\
  100. '''Quinn:''' "Urban" meaning black.\\
  101. '''Director:''' So now he's like Mr. Spock. But urban. Like, "Get at me, dawg!"\\
  102. '''Quinn:''' This show sucks.
  103. * Gloop and Gleep from ''The Herculoids'' sometimes got a bit annoying, thanks to that headache-inducing gibbidygook "talking" of theirs. And their schmoo-like simplicity was rather jarring, when compared to the visual styling of the other Herculoid critters.
  104. * Roger from ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' is one of these to Stan and his family in-universe.
  105. * Parodied relentlessly on ''InvaderZim'' -- not by GIR, but by Shloonktapooxis, that weird cone-looking guy on the Resisty Flagship. Just sort of stands around screaming "adorable" things. Weird.
  106. [[/folder]]
  107.  
  108. ----
  109. <<|SubjectiveTropes|>>