From Shark Week to microwave meals, what can’t science make better? Heart-warming family films, that’s what. Because biologically accurate Finding Nemo is a horrific tale about a gang of orange psychopaths, and here are six reasons why:
1. Clownfish form psycho power pairs
Finding Nemo would have you believe that clownfish are sweet family fish that go to school and tell bad jokes. In real life, Marlin and Coral would be the fish equivalent of Frank and Claire Underwood, ruling over their anemone with an iron fin.
In each anemone, the sole female clownfish is the biggest and the baddest of them all, followed by her mate, the only sexually active male. Below them are up to four younger, smaller, and presumably miserable juvenile males called a “queue.”
The power couple harasses the carp out of their subordinates, who in turn abuse any male smaller than them. All this violence has a purpose: it enforces a strict sized-based dominance hierarchy, because everyone is waiting in line for something important…
2. Clownfish spend their lives waiting in line to get laid
Imagine standing in line at the world’s slowest DMV, except instead of waiting for a license, you were waiting for puberty. That’s what life is like for a young male clownfish – only by climbing his way to the top spot in the male hierarchy will he become sexually mature and finally get a chance to get it on.
How does a male clownfish move his way up the queue? Funny you should ask…
3. There are no sad dads in clownfish life
In the movie version of Finding Nemo, Marlin is devastated when his wife Coral dies. In real life, Marlin wouldn’t have had much time to grieve, because he’d be busy turning into his wife.
That’s because all clownfish are born male. When the queen clownfish kicks the bucket, her lucky mate grows bigger, becomes female, and takes her place as the top (and only) lady in the anemone.
4. Nemo and his dad would have had a very “special” relationship
When Marlin becomes a female fish, Nemo gets to move up a spot in the queue as well. He’d go through a rapid adolescence, getting bigger, becoming capable of reproduction, and, we assume, writing bad poetry and slamming his door a lot.
The object of Nemo’s affections? You guessed it! His dad.
5. Clownfish sex = only slightly less gross than Game of Thrones
Sorry, Jamie Lannister: biologically accurate Finding Nemo is not Game of Thrones with brighter colors. In real life, it would be relatively unlikely that Nemo would be genetically related to either of his “parents.”
Why is this? Well, we’ve got more bad news.
6. Clownfish abandon their babies to the sea
Clownfish dads are diligent parents, fanning their eggs with their fins to keep them clean, and biting chunks out of any other fish that dares to get near. Once those eggs hatch, though, all bets are off.
Clownfish babies are not adorable mini-versions of their parents. Instead, they’re transparent, tadpole-shaped, and so small they’re actually classified as plankton.
Do mom and dad lovingly raise their gross, jelly-like babies? Of course not.
The little clownfish larvae are washed out to the open ocean, where they fend for themselves before they grow big enough to return to the reef, find a new anemone, and continue the Circle of Abuse Life.
So there you have it: Biologically Correct Finding Nemo is a charming tale about a gang of abusive, incestuous hermaphrodites who abandon their babies to the open sea. Time for popcorn and brain bleach!