This question has experienced several rounds of closing and reopening:

Was Dr. Octavius Brine inspired by Octodad?

The close justification is that the film is off-topic, with the reasons cited typically being that films with slightly advanced technology and espionage ("spy-fi") or cartoon talking animals are not on-topic.

While I would be in favor of expanding the scope to include some of these works, that is not the issue here.

The problem is that while the two elements mentioned above may not be sufficient for a work to be on-topic, their absence should not be necessary.

Penguins of Madagascar has plenty of sci-fi/fantasy elements above and beyond its spy-fi or cartoon animal nature.

  • There is a ray that turns people into monsters:

    Skipper: You point that death ray away from Private right now!

    Private: It's not a death ray, Skipper! He's gonna turn us into monsters!

  • The ray also causes penguins to sprout supernumerary appendages.

    Dave: Yepper-doo! And what comes next, Dave? Invasion! Ahhh! Horrible mutant penguins released on the streets of New York City!

    Skipper: Private, are you okay?

    Private: Yes!

    Skipper, Rico and Kowalski gasp in surprise and notice that Private has sprouted a hand out of his buttocks.

    Kowalski: Whoa! Butt-hand! There’s a hand attached to his butt. That was not... that was not there before.

  • The polarity of the uglification ray can be reversed through cuteness, which frankly is more fantasy than sci-fi.

    In order to reverse the ray, we would need to replace the Medusa Serum with a power source of almost immeasurable cuteness.

    Personally, this last one convinces me that it is on-topic. It's very MLP, isn't it?

  • The Wiki insists that Octavius Brine was once human and turned into an octopus, but this is not confirmed elsewhere (I'd like to ask this question if the series is deemed on-topic, though).

It seemed to me that such a contentious issue called for a Meta consensus, so: Is Penguins of Madagascar on-topic?

  • 1
    Also, Octodad may be on topic, making the question on topic. Is Octodad on topic?
    – SQB
    May 19, 2016 at 18:00
  • And if either Penguins of Madagascar or Octodad are declared off topic, what should happen to their tags? (I only care about the Scope Wars to the extent that they spill into the Tag Wars.)
    – Molag Bal
    May 19, 2016 at 18:18
  • @anaranjada - Nothing much. Questions about the sci-fi elements will still be on-topic, so they might need to be altered a bit to reflect that.
    – Adamant
    May 19, 2016 at 18:19
  • But if they have no sci-fi elements (possible for Octodad--I don't know), then the tag wiki will say something like, "for questions about how Octodad relates to speculative fiction works", which I suppose almost makes sense... This meta question doesn't have an answer that applies to works entirely devoid of sci-fi/fantasy elements.
    – Molag Bal
    May 19, 2016 at 18:21
  • 1
    Remember, vote on answers to show your opinions.
    – Adamant
    May 19, 2016 at 18:30
  • 1
    I could write an answer saying, "I'm staying out of this..."
    – Molag Bal
    May 19, 2016 at 18:33
  • @SQB: The story of Octodad is about an octopus who pretends to be a human, and his enemy, a sushi chef who wants to out him as an octopus. They live in a dark age when octopuses had no human rights at all, and the sushi chef could have killed and cooked him as long as he can prove he's an octopus. That clearly isn't a fantasy story about aliens, that's basically real historical fiction about the state of certain ethnical minorities in Europe between 1930 and 1970.
    – b_jonas
    May 20, 2016 at 12:59
  • The story doesn't even try to talk about justifications of why a certain minority should or should not have human rights. Compare this to eg. Asimov's The Bicentennial Man, which does talk a lot about which parts of Andrew the people suppose make him different from humans. That makes it a sci-fi novel.
    – b_jonas
    May 20, 2016 at 13:02
  • Also, feel free to post your own answer if mine do not cover what you think.
    – Adamant
    May 21, 2016 at 6:08

2 Answers 2


Yes, it should be on-topic. There are sufficient sci-fi or fantasy elements.

  • 4
    They use sci fi tech, they're talking animals, there's magic in at least one point, and they're in the same universe as the guys who turned a circus into a UFO and flew it over Europe. Yes.
    – user40790
    May 19, 2016 at 17:51
  • 2
    Dont forget, whether it fully meets on topic requirements, we can choose to make it ontopic ANYWAY
    – Himarm
    May 19, 2016 at 17:59
  • 5
    The fact that it has talking animals isn't enough to make it on-topic. The fact that it has death rays and UFOs is.
    – Valorum
    May 19, 2016 at 18:46

No, it should not be on-topic. There are insufficient sci-fi or fantasy elements, or spy-fi/cartoon animals disqualifies it.

  • 4
    FWIW, I was advised by Robert Cartaino that this kind of polling on Meta isn't really effective
    – user31178
    May 20, 2016 at 20:59
  • 1
    @CreationEdge - Maybe. Perhaps it's the worst system, except for all the others. I'm not a mod, so I can't superping everyone and ask their opinions.
    – Adamant
    May 20, 2016 at 21:00
  • 5
    @Jonah This definitely isn't the best way to resolve a policy-setting meta discussion. In the future, if we refer users who're interested in Penguins of Madagascar to this thread, all they'll be able to see is "some bunch of anonymous users voted this way or that". If people had answered this question instead with "it should be on-topic/off-topic BECAUSE blah blah blah", the thread would have much more lasting value and be more useful to future readers.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    May 21, 2016 at 15:22
  • 2
    I'm sorry, @Rand. I had seen this elsewhere, so it seemed an acceptable technique. Also, I thought I had talked to a mod about it.
    – Adamant
    May 21, 2016 at 15:25
  • 1
    @Randal'Thor You mean like we do with every policy set on meta?
    – user40790
    May 23, 2016 at 15:27

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