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Lust for Sympathy
A character fakes or purposely becomes sick/unconscious to get romantic attention
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(permanent link) added: 2012-09-14 20:01:34 sponsor: cabr321 (last reply: 2013-03-15 11:10:00)

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This happens when character has a major crush, but the crush doesn't know it. In a desperate attempt for attention, the character either fakes being sick or purposely becomes sick, all for the purpose of getting the crush's sympathy.

May take the form of a character feigning sickness to get a nurse's attention, faking drowning in order to receive mouth-to-mouth, or breaking a leg to get his/her cast signed by a crush.

Related tropes are Playing Sick, Weakness Turns Her On, Wounded Gazelle Gambit.

Examples:

Film
  • In the The Sandlot, Squints deliberately pretends to drown in order to get the kiss of life from a hot lifeguard.
  • Greg Heffley in Diary of a Wimpy Kid briefly wears a fake cast on his hand to get attention from girls. It doesn't work.
    Greg: It's a raging infection that resulted from a splinter left untreated. Would you like to be the first to sign my sympathy sheet?
  • In the Korean film Sweet Lies (titled in English as Lost and Found), TV writer Ji-ho gets hit by the car of her high school crush Min-woo. In order to avoid having to go home, Ji-ho pretends to have amnesia, and Min-woo lets her stay at his home.
  • In 50/50, Kyle suggests that Adam uses his cancer diagnosis to pick up women.

Literature
  • In the Bible, Amnon pretends to be sick to get the attention of Tamar.

Live-Action TV
  • In an episode of Testees (a sitcom about test subjects), one of the roommates is temporarily paralyzed by the drug-of-the-week, but when a Hello, Nurse! comes to the apartment to give him a bath, his roommate pretends it's him instead. This goes majorly awry when she injects him with a high-powered muscle stimulant he doesn't need.
  • In at least one sketch from The Benny Hill Show Benny plays a man who gets rescued from the ocean. He pretends to be out cold in order to get mouth-to-mouth from a pretty lifeguard, but runs away once the male lifeguard takes over.
  • In Arrested Development, Buster fakes being in a coma not only to avoid having to testify in court, but to get attention from Adelaide, the nurse.
  • Sinjin from Victorious fakes unconsciousness in an (unsuccessful) attempt to get mouth-to-mouth from Tori.
  • In an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati a tornado blows through town, and Andy gets hit by a shattering window. Jennifer brings him back to consciousness with mouth-to-mouth, which makes Herb (who lusts after Jennifer) jealous. In The Stinger we see Herb lying on Jennifer's receptionist desk, pretending to be passed out. She calmly ignores him, and after she leaves the room he gets up, straightens his tie, and goes back to work.
  • Adam De Mamp in Workaholics actually does choke on his gum and gets saved by Alice's Heimlich maneuver, but even after Adam spits the gum out he still pretends to choke to continue being held by Alice.

Western Animation
  • An episode of Beavis And Butthead has the boys sent to the nurse's office for hygiene issues where they meet a sexy Granola Girl. They beat each other up so they can be sent to the nurse's office again, only to find she's moved on.
  • An episode of the animated series The Replacements shows Riley faking drowning to get saved by the hunky lifeguard.
  • Used in American Dad!, after seeing girls sympathize with a boy whose brother lost his arm in a skiing accident (and is clearly milking it for affection, even going so far as to carry the arm around for display) Steve gets Roger to pose as his deformed sister to gain a date. This backfires when an insecure Roger starts stealing all her attention from Steve.
  • The Popeye episode Hospitaliky involves Bluto and Popeye trying to be the first to get themselves seriously injured so that they can be nursed back to health by Olive Oyl, who in this episode works at a hospital.

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