ShrunkenOrgan YKTTW Discussion

(permanent link) added: 2010-09-09 05:41:56 sponsor: BelieveItOrNot (last reply: 2010-09-09 05:41:56)

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Do We Have This, Needs More Examples, No Launching Please

In Western Animation, Anime, and Comics it is common to sum up behavioral problems or character flaws as being the direct result of some greatly underdeveloped organ in a character's body. Maybe said character has a heart that is too small and thus cannot properly love or maybe their brain resembles the size of a golf ball and thus lacks normal intelligence. In all cases, the organ is depicted as being far smaller than one would expect. Of course, having an organ this small in Real Life would cause serious complications for most of these characters, so this trope is very often Played for Laughs.

That being said, there are numerous examples of this trope being played seriously as well, typically in the Medical Drama or Soap Opera realm. While cases of super-small organs in those works are still factually inaccurate, they are at least portrayed as realistic, life-threatening conditions. For example, this trope could be invoked with characters that are far larger than average but still have an average size organ of some kind. If being Played for Drama, this "normal" organ could end up being the downfall of the character, such as having systematic heart failure from having a "normal" heart but a giant body.

As this trope greatly exagerrates real body parts, it is a natural subtrope of Artistic License - Biology.

Compare Compensating for Something, which covers instances of one particular organ being smaller than average.


Anime and Manga
  • Dragon Half: Has a character undamaged by a sword through the head because his brain is "compact".

Comic Books
  • Planetary: In one issue, a giant man is seen in one panel, dying from his sudden artificial growth. His autopsy revealed "a normal-sized brain hanging in a web of nerve tissues like cables in a skull several feet across."


Live-Action TV
  • Just Say Julie: In one episode, a supermodel's brain exploded out of her head (not fatally) when she tried to think too hard. It was the size of a wadded up piece of chewing gum.

Newspaper Comics
  • Dilbert tends to use this. See this book cover.

Western Animation
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The titular Grinch is portrayed as having a heart that is far too small to feel love properly.
    The Grinch hated Christmas -- the whole Christmas season.
    Oh, please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason.
    It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
    Or maybe his head wasn't screwed on just right.
    But I think that the best reason of all
    May have been that his heart was two sizes too small."
  • Ren and Stimpy: Stimpy's bean-sized brain accidentally falls off when he leans down. Ren's cousin Sven marvels at how big it is, and then shows Stimpy his own, pinhead-sized brain.
  • Pinky and the Brain: In the Title Sequence of the two titular characters walk behind an X-ray machine. Brain's skull has meshing gears, while Pinky's has a peanut.
  • The Simpsons: Mr. Burns' heart has been shown as a shriveled black lump that beats every now and again.
    • Additionally, after crawling out from beneath a landslide Mr. Burns tilted his head and banged his ear to try and clear out the gravel from his other ear. The gravel came flying out that ear, along with his walnut-sized brain.
  • South Park: The boys go to Afganistan and Cartman ends up in a tussle with Osama Bin Laden, during which Cartman pulls Bin Laden's pants down to show...nothing. Cartman pulls out several magnifying glasses until he finally gets enough magnification to show Bin Laden's very tiny penis, which is implied as the reason why he blew up the World Trade Center.

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