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"Once upon a time, and a good time there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down the road met a nicens little boy named baby Tuckoo"
—The opening to A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce
Who knows why people love cows? They stand around and moo. And yet, people love 'em. Some people love 'em enough to put 'em into their works regardless of appropriateness, just because they think cows are awesome.
Note: This trope is not a list of your favorite works featuring cows. Nor is it a list of all cow jokes in fiction. It's about gratuitous cows.
Compare all other "Everything's Better With" tropes. Sometimes overlaps with Drop the Cow. See also Aliens Steal Cattle. If you were looking for minotaur-esque critters (Man-Cows), check out A Load of Bull. Not really related to You Fight Like a Cow (but it's a fun mental image, isn't it?)
- Dancing cows sell chocolate.
- Gateway computers played up their being founded in Iowa by delivering their product in boxes patterned after a Holstein cow. The cowbox became part of their logo in 1998.
Alternate Reality Games
- Perplex City has the Whipsmart Ice Cream factory, with the smartest cows in the multiverse (and an Ear Worm of a theme song).
Anime and Manga
- In Princess Tutu, the one-shot character Femio believes himself to be So Beautiful, It's A Sin. As punishment, he has a bull that comes to trample him when called. At one point--when he believes the Magical Girl and her dark counterpart are fighting over him--he decides he's so sinful that an entire herd is called to trample him. There's enough bulls that they fill up a square of the town, leaving the residents to stare at them in confusion.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena had one episode where Nanami started turning into a cow. The highlight was the Dream Sequence: Nanami dreams that her beloved brother Touga is taking her on a wagon to market, and there's a butterfly overhead...just in time for the chorus to start in on the old Yiddish folk song "Dona Dona," which is apparently popular in Japan.
- The first thing you see in the Chobits anime is a cow that has nothing to do with the plot.
- A random cow on the railroad tracks is what allows Ed to catch "Mushroom Samba"'s bounty of the week in Cowboy Bebop. It was not mentioned beforehand and simply appears without warning on the train tracks. And the only thing that even acknowledges it is the team pet, nobody ever mentions it again.
- Subverted by the Demon Guard Minotauros in One Piece. He looks like a Holstein cow minotaur, and looks pretty harmless and cute.... until he starts smashing people around with his trusty spiked club.
- In Hetalia, Spain's pet bull Toro helps him to knock out the carriage where Romano was being kidnapped by Turkey, and much later aids in France's defeat. Such a reliable animal.
- Hiromu Arakawa, author of Fullmetal Alchemist, uses a cow as her avatar, although it is easily explained by the fact that she grew up on a dairy farm.
- Cows (and chickens) wander the halls and classrooms of Inakano Chugakko ("Out in the Country Junior High") in Kingyo Chuihou.
- Marvel Comics:
- In Tintin in Tibet, Captain Haddock tries to step over a sacred cow. The cow gives him an unasked-for ride.
Film - Animated
- Cars featured farm equipment that acted like cattle, and one of the activities involving said farm equipment is called "tractor tipping."
- El Materdor also featured cattle, but this time, they are all portrayed as bulldozers instead of farm equipment.
- Twister shows a cow flying through a tornado, while those watching can only say, "Cow."
- As Melissa (Jami Gertz) says to a patient she's on the phone with, "I gotta go, we got cows".
- In Back to The Future, Marty encounters cows after crashing into the Peabodys' farm. On the DVD Commentary over this scene, Bob Gale cites this trope.
- Monty Python and The Holy Grail: Fetchez la vache.
- Kung Pow: Enter The Fist features a Matrix-style fight between Chosen One and a cow.
- Rat Race involves cows in several of its gags. A hardware store guy ends up in a balloon and a cow ends up attached to the balloon. Then the cow ends up on top of a hooker, driving a car.
- In Top Secret, apparently Fleurgendorf Prison has a conveniently located farm on the grounds that allows La Résistance to infiltrate it by disguising themselves as, you guessed it, cows. Until a bull happens along...
- O Brother, Where Art Thou? has Babyface Nelson causing a stampede by gunning down a cow ("Cows! I hate cows worse than coppers!"), and a flood being followed by a cow atop a house.
- Charlie and Irene encounter a cow during their road trip in Me Myself and Irene.
- Where's My Cow?, an in-universe children's book. Screaming the words to it provide the Madness Mantra of Sam Vimes while he's possessed by a demonic entity.
- Later it was defictionalized as an actual picture book, where the cow isn't gratuitous anymore.
- Wayside School Is Falling Down: The school doesn't fall down, but it does get taken over by cows.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude has a herd of cows that reproduce too quickly. Only Melquiades' words of wisdom can calm them. Later, Aureliano Segundo would yell the second quote above in the middle of his parties.
Live Action TV
- Gene the cow on Fringe. Part of Walter's lab and generally present once per episode, Gene was brought in as fresh-from-the-cow milk was required for the "fringe science" for one incident in the series premiere, and has been there ever since. She's often discussed offhand in Walter's discussions with Astrid - for example, Walter postulating if he could make milk from Gene that would never spoil using a life-extending fluid that was part of the main plot, or wondering if he could make Gene produce chocolate milk by feeding it the right ingredients.
- On The X-Files, Mulder has a close encounter with a very unfortunate cow that crashes through the ceiling of his motel room in "Rain King".
- The Brass Eye "Animals" episode features cows heavily. There's Carla Lane crying over the grave of a hypothetical cow, there's a crazy caravan man engaging in a surreal harassment campaign against a cow that's inherited his land and there's a cow being fired out of a cannon in a fictional Libyan folk custom and left for the dogs and jackals. And maybe scorpions if they eat meat, I dunno.
- Star Trek: Voyager. Tom Paris pulls a practical joke on Harry Kim while he's in the Fair Haven holodeck program, transforming a pretty Irish lass into a cow just as Harry's about to kiss her.
- The Doctor Who Expanded Universe likes this one.
- The Doctor Who Magazine comic strip "The Lunar Strangers" features two humanoid alien cows.
- One of the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels reveals that the TARDIS has a cow, which is implied to provide their supply of milk.
- Another one takes place on an alien planet where the local fauna is much like that of Earth, except the cows are disconcertingly enormous:
What I Learned in Outer Space by Anji Kapoor – impressive pause – They have bigger cows.
- Among the weird bumps MTV Brasil used to air were some starring space cow VacalÃ¡tica.
- The Julie Andrews episode of The Muppet Show involved the discovery of a (non-muppet) cow backstage. They eventually get rid of it, but just before the credits, it's revealed that the cow is allegedly Julie's.
- One of the sketches in the Bavarian TV special Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus was The Merchant of Venice acted by a herd of cows, in mooing with German subtitles.
- The Golden Girls
Rose: I remember my first love....
- The Arrogant Worms song "I Am Cow."
- They also used a cow's moo in the background of a song about hunters shooting anything that moves.
- The Foo Fighters song "For All The Cows".
- The cover for Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother album features cows--and deliberately has nothing to do the music.
- The video for "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" by Eurythmics, which also features the same cow from the Pink Floyd album mentioned above.
- "Cows With Guns" by Dana Lyons.
- "Angus Dei" (not "Agnus Dei") from the "Missa Hilarious" by PDQ Bach.
- "Little Tiny Song" by Barenaked Ladies which is actually about an angry cow.
- Independent piano-rock musician Matthew Ebel has a song called "Trees" which has this as its "punchline":
All I wanted was to milk / A metaphor about the trees / And write some crap that really wows. / But now instead of / Writing 'bout the trees, / Somehow or another, I've ended up / Writing about...cows?
- Immediately followed by the sound of a cow mooing. This has become a Running Gag among his fans; when he plays "Trees" during his live shows, and gets to this part, the ones who are familiar with the joke all go "Mooooooooo!"
- "The Second Week of Deer Camp" by Da Yoopers starts with a hunter shooting a cow.
- The Far Side. Gary Larson wrote in The PreHistory of The Far Side, "I should have just called this thing The Cow Side and forgot about it." To those unfamiliar with the strip: for some strange reason, it often features unexplained cows. It even became the Trope Namer for Cow Tools.
- Cow And Boy by Mark Leiknes is a strip about a young farm boy and his friend, a cow. The cow is the reasonable, sensible one of the two.
- The Mukau, a combiner model of two early Bionicle sets. It was later renamed "Mata Nui cow", since the story team decided "Mukau" was just too silly.
- Little Kings Story also heavily features cows. One of your units is a Cow Knight (a knight on a cow), and one of the enemy monsters will be the dreaded vampire cow.
- Lon Lon Ranch in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, milk cows can be found in a lot of places and one is even moved into your treehouse.
- Baldur's Gate. "Cheats:Cow Kill();". Doubles as Drop the Cow.
- Baldur's Gate II: Throne Of Bhaal features a possible result of a wild magic surge as "cow drops on the spell's target".
- And of course the Cow Level in Diablo II.
- Destroy All Humans! has radioactive, exploding zombie cows. And for the full Pox quote: "Brains? ... Healthy green glow? ... THOSE HUMAN FOOLS! Clearly, they've genetically altered these pathetic gasbags and turned them into RADIOACTIVE EXPLODING ZOMBIE COWS! Show them the folly of their mad science!"
- Grunties from .hack are Cow Expies and are generally funny -- especially milky grunties.
- Wii Play has a minigame where you ride a cow down a racetrack and run down scarecrows for points.
- Ratchet and Clank Size Matters includes the Mootator, which morphs enemies into cows. It can be upgraded into the Armoogeddon, which morphs them into exploding bulls
- In The World Ends With You, one item's description says it's made of faux-leather "('cause cows are cute!)".
- Earthworm Jim has a large emphasis on Cows. From using them as catapult fodder in the first, which is actually later seen in the background of Down The Tubes, even though the level is underwater and ends up landing on the Princess you been playing hours to rescue when you're three feet away from her, to rescuing them in the second in Udderly Abducted to use their milk to fill buckets to open gates. They are also used as the end of level congratulations screen.
- Not to mention the complete Mind Screw that was the ending of the second game. Suffice to say, said ending attempts to take this trope further than perhaps any other source.
- Everything's Better With... the Turf Herders!
- Many Raiden first stages have cows on the ground below you.
- The two-headed "brahmin" cattle have appeared all over the Fallout series and are often associated with Easter eggs or mini-quests.
"Moo! Moo, I say!"
- In the Pinball genre, Bally/Williams has made a signature of having at least one cow appear in every one of their machines. The site "Cows And Easter Eggs" document this.
- This trend is continued in video game format by Fuse Games.
- Crystal Quest has six-legged Space Cows.
- Pokémon Gold and Silver has Miltank.
- For no reason at all, one early boss in Death Smiles is "Giant Cow - Mary". Well, see for yourself.
- Cows are used as a defense mechanism in Rock of Ages. They push boulders away, power fans, and can even be launched from your castle's catapult to deal heavy damage to the opposing boulder.
- The Tauren of World of Warcraft are three meter tall Badass Pacifist upright walking bovines (rather than men with bulls' heads.) They don't have udders, aren't herbivorous and certainly are never eaten by other sentient humanoid species. Regardless, they are notorious for being the butt of notoriously many bad cow related jokes among the player community, and vast majority of their players gives them names referring to beef or milk products or puns on the word 'bull'.
- Rune Factory 3 and 4 have Buffamoo monsters, which provide the player with milk if befriended and kept in a barn. Or just fought, if you have a Happy Ring (increases your chance of picking up dropped items). They're also rideable and can be somewhat useful in battle.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, the grass in the nature preserves is kept short by laser-equipped robot cows. "Just like real cows! Only with lasers."
- Touhou comic Life of Maid has a Crazy Awesome Moecow, which can defeat Yuyuko in battle of Moe.
- In Will Save World for Gold, these cows infiltrate the signature line for a famous actress, seemingly to attempt an assassination, black robes and everything. Arlon and the group thwarts this attempt, despite its complete randomness.
- Cow and Chicken combines this trope with Everything's Better with Chickens.
- Earthworm Jim would drop a cow on people's heads at the end of an episode. The evil cow was awesome. "You fools, I shall destroy you all, starting with lactose intolerant! Moo Moo... moo"
- Wild West Cowboys of Moo Mesa was created because of this trope.
- At the climax of The Emperors New Groove, a squad of palace guards get accidentally dosed with shape-shifting potions, leading to:
Yzma: Get them!
- Robin Hoof, a Robin Hood knock-off from the Animated Anthology series Raw Toonage.
- One Drawn Together episode featured a Live Action Cow, which Wooldoor quickly got attached to after visiting the forbidden Live Action Forest. He eventually had to put her down after it contracted rabies.
- Jane Turnkey's big green fire-breathing pal is quite taken with cows. Jane doesn't quite get why.
- The Tick once met a man-eating cow. She even got her own spin-off comic, and a cameo in the cartoon (although she didn't actually eat anyone there).
- Arthur has the Mary Moo-Cow show that D.W. watches, as well as a Bionic Bunny videogame where the player fights "moomies".
- Back at the Barnyard featured male cows. Udders and all.
- Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures had The Cow, an archvillain whose voice and physique suggests another "male cow".
- In an episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Heloise throws a cow that's on fire during one of her tantrums. Later, the cow (still on fire) shows up to apply for Heloise's job during a Terrible Interviewees Montage.
- A stampede of cattle appear out of nowhere in an early episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, bearing very little impact on the plot, though they did provide an awesome scene. Turns out they are actually sapient (and speak with thick midwestern American Accents), and simply easily panic and stampede (one of them had seen a snake).
- On Family Guy McBurgertown suffered a publicity setback due to the testimony of a very brave cow voiced by Ricardo Montalban.
- Voltron: Legendary Defender has an Earthian cow named Kaltenecker, who's found in the Space Mall for Goda-know-what reasons.
- The help screen for apt-get (Debian Linux's package manager) mentions that it has "Super cow powers". Typing "apt-get moo" at the command line gives you an ASCII Art rendering of a cow.
- University of California, Davis is well known for cows, rumored to smell like cows, and used to trot out a fistulated cow (don't ask) at a school event every year. Oddly enough, the school mascot is not a cow.
- Cow Parade is an art exhibit where artists in a city all get a cow to decorate. This has branched out into all kinds of merchandise tie-ins.
- In the 90's there was a TV-add for a German travel agency, that consisted of several pictures with voiceovers of family members telling what they want to do and see during their holidays. It got quite some infamy for the line by a little girl "I want cows!". Most germans of age 20 and older will instantly recognize that line.
- Chik Fil A restaurants have sacrificed the chicken to save the much more awesome cow.
- An animation by Cyriak.
- The College of Wooster has adopted the cow as a second (or third, depending on how you count) mascot, to the point where there are MO Overs to help students on move-in day and shirts featuring the "Wooster Cow-Tipping Team." Three guesses as to why the cow has become so popular.
- Hinduism teaches that cows are symbols of innocence and should not be eaten, and once-domestic cows can be seen freely roaming around India. On the holiday Gopastami they honor cows although this may be more a celebration of cowherding than of the cows themselves.
- gah! Now that's what I call a mooo-perhero! A divine bovine! Better watch out for the legendary hammer, "Mooo-lnir", which can udder-ly destroy its enemies until they cow-er in fear. It's faster than a speeding bull, stronger than a loco-mooo-tive, and able to jump over the moon in a single bound.
- Playing Epona's song near one will net you a free refill of milk.