The Gang of Five
Hello everyone!

For the month of April we have a new character showcase.  Please come say hello to Archie!  He came out of his cave, just for this!  The character showcase topic for this month can be found here.

We also have an exciting upgrade for the forum this month!  You can read more about that here.

Topsy Showcase – March 2021

rhombus

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“Come Cera, threehorns never play with long necks!”

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In this topic please feel free to discuss Topps (Topsy) as a character, to share your own creations (fanfics or fanart) concerning this character, or to mention some of your favorite fanworks of others involving him.  For a full set of rules please see the 2021 Monthly Character Showcase topic but keep in mind that this is meant to be fun as opposed to any sort of contest.

I will go ahead and get the discussion started with the following questions:

1.  Though we certainly got one impression of him as a character in the first film, we have seen other sides to Topps’ personality and character as the series has continued.  Which events in the series have most shaped your view of Topps as a character?

2.  Based upon what we have seen of other threehorns, do you think Topps’ perspective is typical of threehorns as a whole?  Do you think this perspective is shaped by the realities of threehorn life (as seen in the series) or perhaps a more isolated development?


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Compsognathus

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I think, that Topsy fits good in LBT world, in spite of that he is not one of my favorite characters, he is not a boring character, and even though he is tough, aggressive, stubborn, judgemental and somehow prejudiced against other species, he deeply cares for his family, he is brave too, when he fought Redclaw. He can also show gratitude.
He can sometimes even show his softer side. And I do not consider him evil too, just in the grey area more closely to evil, than good.


LittleDas75

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I think he's cool. Well besides the prejudice.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2021, 03:50:59 PM by LittleDas75 »
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Gentle Sharptooth

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1.  Though we certainly got one impression of him as a character in the first film, we have seen other sides to Topps’ personality and character as the series has continued.  Which events in the series have most shaped your view of Topps as a character?

I woyld say LBTIII when Topsy goes SGT Water Conservation and him meeting Tria effected my view of him. In his ballad “Tough,” he mentions his father taught him to be tough, which then reveals to us he became the stubborn and at times xenophobic character because he was taught to be, making Cera the real reformer of the family line since she associates with other herds and even lets Littlefoot lead when she disagrees; because she learned she was wrong in LBTI and Littlefoot was right. 

2.  Based upon what we have seen of other threehorns, do you think Topps’ perspective is typical of threehorns as a whole?  Do you think this perspective is shaped by the realities of threehorn life (as seen in the series) or perhaps a more isolated development?

Isolated development. As aforementioned Topsy mentions his father use to say “Gotta be tough!” We haven’t seen other threehorns act like Topps, Tria being an example.


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LittleDas75

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Well maybe female threehorns aren't as mean. Or it's inconsistent writing.
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Gentle Sharptooth

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Well maybe female threehorns aren't as mean. Or it's inconsistent writing.

Mr. Thicknose was grumpy, but less prejudiced. He’s not a Threehorn proper but neither is Cera, Topsy’s daughter.


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PteranoStan

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I've always known Daddy Topps as one of the worst cases of the 'racist' dinosaurs in LBT (Which, looking back on it now- there were many.)

He was both infuriating and entertaining. He was always objectively wrong, which I count as a win. It'd just feel awkward if he was painted as a hero. But he makes for a decent and believable antagonist, as I suppose was always his role.


Gentle Sharptooth

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I've always known Daddy Topps as one of the worst cases of the 'racist' dinosaurs in LBT (Which, looking back on it now- there were many.)

He was both infuriating and entertaining. He was always objectively wrong, which I count as a win. It'd just feel awkward if he was painted as a hero. But he makes for a decent and believable antagonist, as I suppose was always his role.

Thankfully Trai has softened him a bit. However, he has a long road ahead to total reform.


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Hammy

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Topps is a character who I have a lot of thoughts on that I have trouble organizing coherently. I've seen him land on a lot of top most hated characters list, citing him as a jerk and a closed-minded bigot, and yes, those things definitely apply. Despite that, I can't help but find myself liking the guy, and I think I've got at least some idea of why exactly that is. Principally, that Topps is deeply flawed, and yet what makes for a flaw in the Great Valley probably helped his family survive for generations outside of the Valley.

It's a weird thing to talk about because of the major contrast in tone between the first movie and the sequels. You get the impression in the sequels that the Mysterious Beyond, eh, it's not so bad, these children are constantly running out into it and coming back entirely unscathed. Despite that, it's made pretty clear in the first film that the world is harsh and difficult and if you make a wrong move, you're liable to starve or be eaten or worse. In that context, Topps' attitude of rejecting anything strange starts to make sense. You probably don't want other herbivores hanging around and eating what you'd consider your food or your children's food when there's barely enough to go around as it is. He certainly expresses that in a bigoted way, but I'd say it comes back to a very strong survival instinct. It doesn't make it right to antagonize Littlefoot for playing with Cera, but it does make for a good character motivation. Also, just being a cranky, pushy, stubborn jerk would have been a good way to get other competing dinosaurs out of his way when he needed food or water. We all remember the longnecks who ran past the gang and ate a small grove of green trees without a thought. Maybe it wasn't right, but that seems like the kind of thing these animals did to survive and propagate their families, Topps being an extension of that.

Now we put Topps in a peaceful, plentiful environment like the Great Valley in the sequels. It's an adjustment, to say the least, and it definitely brings out Topps' threehorn bias into sharper focus. Movie 3 is definitely what sticks out most in my mind for Topps character development. We really see Topps attitude of "Do whatever it takes to survive, even if it means being harsh" and his general stubbornness come into play. He's not necessarily wrong about "standing tough" and rationing water so that no one goes thirsty, but the way he enforces it is clearly exacerbating an already bad situation where everyone is on edge. It's also interesting to me that Topps (and the other adults for that matter) goes straight to rationing without any attempt to find out why the water stopped, but I imagine that's not so much meant as a character thing so much as an excuse for the kids to go looking on their own. Anyway, through the whole drought, Topps is clearly thinking first about the welfare of Cera, but he's, not to put too fine a point on it, completely godawful at communicating that. Given the line in his song about his father teaching him to be tough, I have to infer that he's grown up with the idea that when you're hard on your kids or yell at them in anger, it's a sign of caring. Topps yells because he's concerned, but, until he sees Hyp's father doing the same to Hyp, it's lost on him that that's not the right way to be. I really do think that that, along with Grandpa Longneck saving him and Cera, is the quasi-turning point for Topps' sorta kinda character arc. Topps is still Topps and he can be a real jerk, but it's clear by movie 3 that he's at least trying to be more reasonable.

All that being said, I think I might just like Topps because he feels very real to me. He's a guy who's seriously stuck in ways of thinking that have allowed him to survive in the past that no longer necessarily work, and I know that I've known people like that, as a kid and an adult. Topps reminds me very much of some of my childhood friends' parents who did get angry and yell, even if they were otherwise very caring. Kids shouldn't have to deal with that, but the fact is that they do, and I think it's valuable to have a character who loves and cares for his daughter yet still suffers from those character flaws. Topps' talk in 3 about yelling at Cera too much and that not being the right way to raise a child really stuck with me as a kid and even now. I can imagine parents watching the movie with their kids and maybe even going, "Oh, crap, maybe this triceratops has a point." even if they might not have the exact same character flaws.  Topps is never depicted as a full-on villain (except for maybe the tooth episode of the TV show, but that was kind of a weird one), and having a terribly flawed, yet not full-on bad character can be a very powerful thing.

I ramble and I haven't even answered either of the prompt questions, but Topps is a character who fascinates me, despite him rarely having much focus at all. I'd call him surprisingly complex, given the low-budget, direct-to-video nature of the sequels. I used to really not like Time of Great Giving, but now it's among my favorites and Topps is a major factor in that. I also really like how the later sequels and TV show make his relationship with Cera more directly affectionate. Maybe it's intentional, maybe it's not, but I like to think that it's character growth. For all his threehorn boasting and bigotry towards other species, I don't think I'd ever want those qualities entirely stamped out. Certainly he's pretty mellow by the TV series, but you still see his gruff, closed-minded self when he sings about reality even as he's immediately proven wrong. So yeah, I like this jackwad threehorn dad, spiky, overgrown warts and all.


Gentle Sharptooth

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Well said @Hammy I think without flawed characters the LBT saga would be boring. If there was no Cera, they’d be no tension in the Gang, same with Topsy.


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ChocoDrake

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For some reason, I really love Topsy, even as a kid I never hated him. He does have his flaws, some of which I have to condemn, but I love him all the same.

Err, I was gonna write something about him, as he's quite interesting in my Littletooth AU, but I didn't feel up to it this month.  :opetrie

Buuuut I finished this today, yeah it has something to do with the AU as well.  :ToppsGrumpy

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Gentle Sharptooth

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I’ve always liked Topsy too, eapecially from LBTIII to XIV. Triceratops was always one of my favorite species of dionsaurs, so it was destiny that I’d like Daddy Topps.


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