Created By: CaveCat on June 15, 2013 Last Edited By: CaveCat on July 18, 2013
Troped

Overly Nervous Flop Sweat

Sweating excessively in nervousness or fear.

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Well said, Garfield.

Commonly referred to as "Flop sweat", this is when a character will break out into an excessive sweat when either nervous or scared. Can be associated with a character who is a Nervous Wreck or a Butt Monkey. May sometimes be accompanied with a Loud Gulp, or as part of an Oh Crap! moment.

Truth in Television, especially for people with anxiety disorders.

Might be caused by Perp Sweating.

Contrast: Sweat Drop

See also: Briffits and Squeans (where sweat is referred to as "Plewds")


Examples:

Film
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country during the climax when a group of conspirators are going to kill the Federation president, one of them, Admiral Cartright, is shown with sweat soaking his face.
  • In Total Recall (1990), when Rekall's President Dr. Edgemar meets Quaid to convince him that he is caught in his memories and should take a pill as a smybol of his desire to break out of it, Quaid puts the pill in his mouth and pretends to swallow it while watching Dr. Edgemar's reaction. When he sees a drop of sweat running down the doctor's face, he knows it's a trap and kills him.
  • Airplane! plays this for laughs during the landing by having Striker's forehead gushing sweat.
  • In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) does this a lot when under pressure or when coming close to getting caught in a lie. According to Word of God, Bale was so talented an actor that when doing repeated takes of the famous business card scene, he was capable of sweating on cue.
  • Invoked by Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop 2 when he's pretending to deliver "sound seeking projectiles" to try to bluff his way into a gun club run by the Big Bad. He splashes water on his face making it look like he's sweating buckets.
  • Total Recall: This is what gives away one villain's improvised seamless lie; then the hero shoots him on the spot.

Live-Action TV
  • One episode of Lois and Clark had them talking to the accomplice of the episode's bad guy. Throughout it, he's very clearly nervous, and when Lois asks if he's sweating, he says yes, then tries to brush it off by saying he's wearing wool.
  • Parodied in the French series Flander's Company with villain wannabe "Transpire-Man" ("Sweaty-Man"). He does indeed sweat a lot when nervous... and by "a lot", we mean he can weaponize it by producing a blast of water from his armpits, strong enough to propel an opponent through a wall.
  • There was a Saturday Night Live skit, Alex Karras as guest host, where Billy Crystal plays a guy at a soda company who sweats excessively at a board meeting.

Newspaper Comics
  • Happens to Jon in this December 2011 Garfield strip (pictured above).

Visual Novels
  • Ace Attorney: A lot of characters sweat bullets when they see themselves trapped into a corner, attorneys, witnesses, or otherwise. It gets Turned Up to Eleven when the radio a certain witness is using to testify starts leaking acid instead.

Video Games
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening in the beach DLC, Chrom gives Stahl some encouragement which causes him to start sweating and hyperventilating, thinking he has to live up to Chrom's expectations.

Western Animation
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • Done by Mr. Krabs in the episode "Pickles".
    • In the episode "Squirrel Jokes", Spongebob does this when his jokes are falling flat in front of the audience.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Weekend at Burnsies", Homer and Mr. Smithers are listening to Mr. Burns rehearse for a meeting. After a joke falls flat:
    Smithers: (whispering to Homer) One of us has gotta start laughing. If Mr. Burns gets flop sweat he'll die of dehydration.
    (Burns gets a drop of sweat on his forehead and starts to feel giddy.)
    Burns: Oh, I'm drenched with sweat. (pushes the droplet back into his head)

Needs More Examples
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • June 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Might be caused by Perp Sweating.
  • June 16, 2013
    Tallens
    • Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country during the climax when a group of conspirators are going to kill the Federation president, one of them, Admiral Cartright, is shown with sweat soaking his face.
  • June 17, 2013
    Chernoskill
    • In Total Recall, when Rekall's President Dr. Edgemar meets Quaid to convince him that he is caught in his memories and should take a pill as a smybol of his desire to break out of it, Quaid puts the pill in his mouth and pretends to swallow it while watching Dr. Edgemar's reaction. When he sees a drop of sweat running down the doctor's face, he knows it's a trap and kills him.
  • June 18, 2013
    chicagomel
    Airplane plays this for laughs during the landing by having Stryker's forehead gushing sweat.
  • June 18, 2013
    Tallens
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening in the beach DLC, Chrom gives Stahl some encouragement which causes him to start sweating and hyperventilating, thinking he has to live up to Chrom's expectations.

    • One episode of Lois And Clark had them talking to the accomplice of the episode's bad guy. Throughout it, he's very clearly nervous, and when Lois asks if he's sweating, he says yes, then tries to brush it off by saying he's wearing wool.
  • June 19, 2013
    StFan
    • Parodied in the French series Flanders Company with villain wannabe "Transpire-Man" ("Sweaty-Man"). He does indeed sweat a lot when nervous... and by "a lot", we mean he can weaponize it by producing a blast of water from his armpits, strong enough to propel an opponent through a wall.
  • June 19, 2013
    Alvin
    There was a Saturday Night Live skit, Alex Karras as guest host, where Billy Chrystal plays a guy at a soda company who sweats excessively at a board meeting and I don't want to tell you the rest.
  • June 20, 2013
    CaveCat
    If anyone can post the last panel of this Garfield strip as a page image, I would really appreciate it.
  • June 21, 2013
    Elbruno
    Visual Novel
    • Ace Attorney: A lot of characters sweat bullets when they see themselves trapped into a corner, attorneys, witnesses, or otherwise. It gets Turned Up To Eleven when the radio a certain witness is using to testify starts leaking acid instead.
  • June 21, 2013
    Folamh3
    • In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) does this a lot when under pressure or when coming close to getting caught in a lie. According to Word Of God, Bale was so talented an actor that when doing repeated takes of the famous business card scene, he was capable of sweating on cue.
  • June 23, 2013
    Arruruerie
    • Equius Zahhak of Homestuck infamy has a discomforting tendency to sweat profusely when angry, excited, or anxious. He finds himself going through towels quickly.
  • June 23, 2013
    reub2000
    • Ted, Sacred Heart's lawyer from Scrubs is known as "Sweaty Teddy" due to his tendency to produce copious amounts of flop sweat. Once during a deposition Ted slipped on his own sweat, knocking him unconscious.
  • June 24, 2013
    Tallens
    The image source should be listed in the examples as well.
  • June 24, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Since right-aligned captioning doesn't work in YKTTW, if you'd like to temporarily left-align to make it a little neater, try this markup:

    [[ComicStrip/{{Garfield}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/garfield_sweat_9295.png]]

    [[caption-width:202:Well said, Garfield.]]

    As for an actual example:
    • In The Simpsons episode "Weekend at Burnsies", Homer and Mr. Smithers are listening to Mr. Burns rehearse for a meeting. After a joke falls flat:
      Smithers: (whispering to Homer) One of us has gotta start laughing. If Mr. Burns gets flop sweat he'll die of dehydration.
      (Burns gets a drop of sweat on his forehead and starts to feel giddy.)
      Burns: Oh, I'm drenched with sweat. (pushes the droplet back into his head)
  • June 24, 2013
    Buraindo
    If it's called Plop Sweat elsewhere, why not call it Plop Sweat here too? Overly Nervous Sweat does not really have a nice ring anyway, in my humble opinion.
  • June 24, 2013
    arbiter099
    One for image links if this ever gets off the ground, [1]
  • June 25, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Invoked by Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop when he's pretending he's carrying a bomb(?). He dunks his head in a convenient fish tank, making it look like he's sweating buckets.
  • June 25, 2013
    arbiter099
    ^ Can't remember if this is a separate gag or the one you're thinking of but in the sequel it happens when he's delivering "sound seeking" bullets. He's trying to bluff his way into a gun club that's run by the Big Bad and splashes water on his face to fake this trope.
  • June 25, 2013
    TheHandle
    • Total Recall This is what gives away one villain's improvised seamless lie; then the hero shoots him on the spot.
  • June 25, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^^That's probably what I'm thinking of. Been many years since I've seen either one.
  • June 28, 2013
    arbiter099
    Fixed ^
  • June 29, 2013
    KJMackley
    You could probably just name this Flop Sweat, the implications are already there and I can't think of any examples of such extreme sweating that don't involve nervousness.
  • July 7, 2013
    Tallens
    Agreed.
  • July 18, 2013
    Mozgwsloiku
    Truth In Television, especially for people with anxiety disorders.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=0wmeka8afudrcr6lrfcghqg2&trope=OverlyNervousFlopSweat