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Cartoon characters, even human ones, aren't always drawn to the exact specifications of real life. This is done to give the characters a unique look, or for the sake of simplicity. A common form of Lampshade Hanging in animated cartoons is characters pointing out such oddities in their own designs, or the designs of other characters.
Fourth Wall Portrait is a subtrope.
- In one episode of Pokémon, Team Rocket gets sprayed by the foul-smelling spores produced by a Gloom, and Meowth realizes he shouldn't be affected because "The cartoonists never gave me a nose!" His Team Rocket teammates aren't so lucky.
- A similar gag occurs during the first Tournament Arc in Dragon Ball. Krillin battles an unwashed bruiser named Bacterian, and is nearly overcome by the brute's body odor. Then Goku points out that Krillin doesn't have a nose, and Krillin somehow becomes immune to the smell.
- Toriyama immediately forgets about this turn of events and later shows Krillin first flinging boogers then sniffing a diamond that came out of Bulma's panties (don't ask).
- In an early chapter of Doctor Slump, someone points out that Arale has no nostrils, and Senbei protests "Neither do I! This is a manga, for crying out loud!"
- In Pani Poni Dash!, there are several gags about how Mesousa has trouble doing things because he has no fingers.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn's I-Pin suffers from terrible nearsightedness. When asked why she doesn't wear glasses, she points out that she doesn't have any ears.
- She does have ears ten years later.
- In one Speed Bump strip (by Dave Coverly), a man in a doctor's office learns why he has vision issues- it's because his eyes are just little spots!
- "Short pants touch my feet, okay?!"
- And an in-universe example, where Calvin "turns into" one of his own drawings and wonders out loud whether he has feet or wheels.
- In one Peanuts strip Lucy asks Charlie Brown if she has beautiful eyes, and he replies "I think you have very nice eyes. They sort of look like two round dots of India ink."
- This FoxTrot strip.
- In the Live Action Adaptation of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Dumb Donald tells another character that he can't take off his hat, which he wears as if it were a ski mask, because the animators never drew his whole face.
Live Action TV
- Video game (actually, a video game Strategy Guide) example: The official Nintendo strategy guide for Super Paper Mario, upon finishing its explanation of Peach's (who, in the game, has no visible nose) abilities, says the following;
"All in all, Peach is quite a handy girl to have around - despite the fact that she has no nose."
- A character in Metal Gear Solid 4 has a Mohawk that looks like an exclamation point from behind. When he is first seen from behind, the series trademark ! sound plays.
- Snake's "MGS1" FaceCamo is a mask that looks like Snake from Metal Gear Solid. By which we mean pixels, low poly count, and all.
- While it's not art related, characters often comment on the limitations of the game, like Snake mentioning in Metal Gear Solid that he can't walk slowly and Big Boss telling The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3 that he has no sense of smell.
- Fantasy World Dizzy has the "KNOCK AND ENTER!" "That's easier said than done when you're wearing boxing gloves" gag. Which, of course means you have to find a door knocker somewhere...
- Order of the Stick occasionally makes reference to the characters not having noses, including one police sketch artist being fired for including noses in a more realistic picture of two characters.
- Also, in this comic Elan mentioned the art upgrade, while Haley tells him "We're supposed to pretend we were always drawn this way."
- Also, drawing X eyes with eyeliner to feign death.
- Another strip has a Shadow Dancer need to have it explained to him that stick figure comics have no shadows.
- Roy once mentioned that he always forgets whether the "big boot" (i.e. the one closest to the audience's P.O.V.) goes on the left or the right.
- Similarly, Celia once mentioned that she can't draw people well because she always draws their eyes the same size (the one closest to the audience appears bigger).
- It has been mentioned that Haley always has a stray hair on the side of her face facing the audience.
- Haley also once mentioned that after paying her father's ransom she planned to give herself a "three-finger discount".
- Used in this Its Walky strip.
- In Schlock Mercenary, one character asked the doctor if her breasts were real, to which she replied that they were just the product of the cartoonist's puerile imagination.
Narrator: She's not really a 38-Triple-D. She's just drawn that way.
- An Xkcd strip featuring one of the stick figures talking to A. Square from Flatland has the Alt Text refer to "the time I entered your world and everyone freaked about the lesbian orgy overseen by a priest" (in Flatland, women are lines and priests are circles).
- Characters' standing pose in MS Paint Adventures have no visible arms. Commanding them to 'retrieve arms' from the environment is a Running Gag.
- Done too many times to count in Homestar Runner. Strong Bad has received countless e-mails asking "How do you type with boxing gloves on?", and there have been a few jokes about how some characters (like Homestar, Marzipan, and the King of Town) have no visible arms, yet are still able to manipulate objects.
- It doesn't hurt that this is done so perplexingly and Lampshaded so often that The Homestar Runner Wiki has a running list of evidence for/against said characters having arms/legs or not that rivals your average JFK conspiracy list.
- One of the most awesome examples has to be sbemail "the bird," which is about various characters flipping each other off. Zero of the characters involved have visible fingers.
- Many cartoon characters are drawn with only three fingers and a thumb on each hand, both as a timesaving measure and because drawing and animating a five-fingered hand is difficult for many animators. In series where human characters live side-by-side with "toons", the humans are typically drawn with five fingers and the toons with four.
- Used on several occasions on The Simpsons. In one scenario, Homer fears that if his father marries Marge's mother, they'd become brother and sister and their children would be "freaks, with pink skin, no overbites, and five fingers on each hand". This scenario is even illustrated (as a part of Homer's imagination). It's terrifying.
- Another episode has Lisa show Bart a magazine that hypothesizes that humans will eventually evolve a fifth finger. Bart reacts to this idea with disgust.
- God always has 5 fingers when appearing on the show.
- Homer once used Bart and Lisa's hair to scratch himself.
- In a fairly recent episode, Bart, Lisa and Maggie notice that they can't tell where their hair stops and head begins. They take it badly.
- Futurama also referenced Groening's Signature Style with Bender, where his (non-visible) overbite once caught on his neck hole when he was sinking down into his torso.
- In one episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Mandy complains about the stench produced by a stink-bomb Billy made, and Billy retorts "How can you tell? You don't even have a nose!" In another episode, a "Nasalmancer" steals Billy's nose; when Billy discovers vicariously that his nose is fairly grotesque in its habits, Mandy pointedly remarks that this is why she does not have one.
- Not to mention the episode with the talking Taking Tree, where he countered Mandy's insulting observations with "Well, why don't you have a nose?", with her lampshading the scenario with her retort: "Yeah, like I've never heard that one before."
- And lampshading its Art Evolution, a flashback to the pilot episode is criticized by Grim as, "That didn't even look like us!"
- The Powerpuff Girls are normally drawn without fingers. In the Freaky Friday episode "Criss Cross Crisis", Buttercup, now in Professor Utonium's body, has difficulty picking up the hotline phone's receiver, apparently thinking it would just stick to her hand as usual, and she exclaims "Professor! Your hand doesn't work!"
- Cartoon Network used to have a Cartoon Cartoon Fridays block, in which various characters from the shows would introduce the cartoons. In one of these segments, Mojo Jojo starts berating the Powerpuff Girls for not having fingers. "What are they beating me with? Flippers?" In another, Blossom ends her spiel by saying "I'll keep my fingers crossed!... if I had fingers."
- One of the stories in the comics involves the girls playing rock-paper-scissors with the Amoeba Boys. After revealing their moves, Blossom points out that Bubbles is showing rock, with the response "I am? I am!" (The Amoeba Boys played scissors, by spitting out an actual pair of scissors onto the table.)
- Peter Griffin removes his own chin and sticks it in his pants after mistaking it for his testicles in an episode of Family Guy. In another episode, the FCC, who have now begun censoring Real Life, consider censoring Peter's chin because it "kind of looks like balls."
- It looks terrifyingly like balls. They're right about that much.
- SpongeBob SquarePants has a hard time deciding whether or not Patrick has a nose.
- Or ears, for that matter.
- Or fingernails
- Also becomes a plot point in one episode were he gets one through plastic surgery and discovering everything stinks and becomes obsessed with cleaning the world.
- One episode of the Earthworm Jim cartoon series had Jim and Peter Puppy traveling to a planet of reeking beasts. As Jim comments on the creatures' powerful odor, Peter wails, "You think you've got it bad, you don't even have a nose!"
- Rocko's Modern Life episode where Bev gets a nose in a plastic surgery mishap and realizes her husband, Ed, stinks.
- South Park does this a few times. For example, when the boys joined a cult that made them shave their heads and wear the same outfit, they couldn't tell each other apart (except for Cartman because of his extra weight). Stan actually switched sides in the middle of an argument because he started to think he was Kyle.
- A stranger example happens with Terrence and Phillip. They have a weird art style, but since they're from a Show Within a Show it originally seemed to just be a case of Stylistic Suck. Later, however, the creators decided this actually was because they're Canadian, and afterward other Canadian characters are drawn the same way (and Ike, who was already drawn that way, was revealed to be Canadian-American).
- Phineas and Ferb has made more than a few joke lampshading Candace's absurdly long neck, such her being the only one that can wear a dress with a very high collar and a Fantastic Voyage taking longer to get through that particular area.
- Then there's Perry grabbing Doofensmirtz nose to pop the bubble they were trapped in to which Doofensmirtz asks, "Is my nose really that pointy?"
- The characters of Veggie Tales have no arms or hands, but are still able to function as if they did. Lampshaded at least once: Everyone bursts into applause, and then someone looks around, puzzled "How are we clapping?"