Created By: WeAreAllKosh on November 28, 2012 Last Edited By: maxwellsilver on June 23, 2013
Troped

Crushing Handshake

A person, often a big or strong guy, returns a handshake with a grip that causes the other pain

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Two people, often two men, shake hands. One of the men grips harder than the other one, and the other guy might start wincing or showing signs of clear discomfort. The guy delivering the Crushing Handshake might grin about it, having shown off his superior strength or "manliness". This could be done to show off just that, or as a hint that the other guy doesn't like you, or wants to intimidate you--for instance, if he's a rival for a love interest. Or it could be that he Does Not Know His Own Strength. When both parties attempt to do this, the results can be embarrassing for one or both, which can be played for laughs. Can be related to Bear Hug.

Examples:

Comics

  • An Archie Comics story had this happen to Mr. Weatherbee when congratulating substitute hall monitor Maria Rodriguez for teaching the other students not to run in the halls. Maria is actually a lot stronger than she looks so she crushes the bee's hand while giving him a handshake. The last panel shows Mr. Weatherbee getting his hand bandaged by Miss Grundy.

Film

  • Superman II. General Zod thinks that Superman has lost all of his powers. He demands that Superman take his hand and swear eternal loyalty to him. Superman takes Zod's hand and crushes it, breaking bones. It turns out he hadn't actually lost his powers.
  • Happens in Disney's Hercules, when Hercules shakes Phil's hand. Herc is so excited to meet his mentor that he forgets to be careful with his Super Strength.
  • The Master of Disguise: Pistachio receives one when Jennifer first introduces him to her boyfriend, Trent (who already suspects and accusers Pistachio of trying to put the moves on her).
  • In Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, Dr. Charles Montague does this to the main character when they're formally introduced, and during the handshake he says "I was the one in charge before you came".
  • From Predator: When Dutch and Dillon meet after many years apart they shake hands. Dutch applies increasing pressure until Dillon surrenders.

Literature

  • Ciaphas Cain's augmetic fingers have given him the upper hand (ha ha) at least once in regards to this trope.
  • In the Harry Potter books, the Slytherin quidditch team captain tends to do this when he shakes hands with the Gryffindor captain at the begining of a match.
  • Skip Tyler, Jack Ryan's good friend, was described as giving overly powerful handshakes of the Does Not Know His Own Strength variety.
  • Alluded to in Take A Thief -- when Skif and Deek agree to work together, Skif is impressed that Deek doesn't try this.

Live-Action TV

  • In a memorable episode of I Love Lucy, Fred's grip was actually enough to bring John Wayne to his knees, but when he tries it on Ethel, Ethel's grip actually brings Fred to his knees.
  • M*A*S*H: During the M*A*S*H Olympics, Hawkeye and B.J. make a wager with each other, but when they shake on it, B.J. jokingly tries to crush Hawkeye's hand.
  • In an episode of Bones, Booth meets Cam's step-daughter's new boyfriend. After greeting him enthusiastically, Booth throws in some not-very-veiled threats about treating the girl right, including mentioning that he used to be a sniper, and finishes off with a handshake that leaves the kid wincing and rubbing his hand.
  • In The West Wing, this happens so often to presidential candidate Arnold Vinick that he ends up with a fractured hand, making handshakes of any firmness agonizing.
  • In an episode of Go On Bob Costas is revealed to do this all the time, and almost always wins.

Radio

  • In The Stan Freberg Show, in the interview between Stan Freberg and the Abominable Snowman, the latter gives the former a very painful-sounding handshake:
    Stan: Would you mind squeezing my hand the other way to get it back in shape?

Stand-up Comedy

Western Animation

  • Bluto/Brutus does this to Popeye in several Popeye cartoons, followed by a shot of Popeye's red, crushed hand and a "wrumph-wrumph" sound effect.
  • In the revival He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon, there is an episode where Man at Arms shakes hands with his brother. When they shake, the brother's mechanical hand can be heard clanking, implying he's applying more pressure than he needs to. Man at Arms doesn't scream, however.
  • In the Goof Troop episode "Leader of the Pack", Max rides into a drive-in restaurant in a "car" (actually a grocery cart with a cardboard car in front of it) and with a "babe" (actually PJ holding a cardboard girl over his face). Gang leader Duke comes over to meet Max's babe, and PJ introduces himself a Clarice. They shake hands, with Duke squeezing PJ's hand.
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • November 28, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    On this one, I know I've seen it done in media before, but am at a loss for examples. I'll try to think of some, hopefully others have better memories.

    Doing both this and Limp Handshake because I've noticed we lack handshake tropes, unless they exist under names that don't have "handshake" in them.
  • November 29, 2012
    Skoinks
    How about a Real Life example? Everyone has been a victim of this in a point of their lives. Father, bully, big brother, whatever.
  • November 29, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Superman II. General Zod thinks that Superman has lost all of his powers. He demands that Superman take his hand and swear eternal loyalty to him. Superman takes Zod's hand and crushes it, breaking bones. It turns out he hadn't actually lost his powers.
  • November 29, 2012
    jatay3
    I know a guy like that. He isn't a bully, he's just big. I wasn't a victim and actually found it charming in a weird sort of way. I learned that if you grasp his wrist rather then the hand you don't get crushed.
  • November 29, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    .
  • November 29, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Related to Bear Hug.
  • November 30, 2012
    triassicranger
    In the revival He Man And The Masters Of The Universe cartoon, there is an episode where Man at Arms shakes hands with his brother. When they shake, the brother's mechanical hand can be heard clanking, implying he's applying more pressure than he needs to. Man at Arms doesn't scream, however.
  • November 30, 2012
    McKathlin
  • November 30, 2012
    Generality
    Eddie Izzard calls this the "I've got a small penis" handshake.
  • December 1, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    I'm trying to think of examples where this was done from one rival male to another--I know I've seen that. I thought Casey Kelso (Donna's new boyfriend after her breakup with Eric) did this to Eric on That 70s Show, but it turns out he did something in a similar vein, basically rubbing and roughing up his hair (in front of Donna) as if he were a little kid, likely meant to humiliate him. But I'm sure I've seen this in media in similar contexts.
  • December 22, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Bluto/Brutus does this to Popeye in several Popeye cartoons, followed by a shot of Popeye's red, crushed hand and a "wrumph-wrumph" sound effect.
  • December 22, 2012
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Film
    • The Master Of Disguise: Pistachio receives one when Jennifer first introduces him to her boyfriend, Trent (who already suspects and accusers Pistachio of trying to put the moves on her).

    Live Action TV
    • In a memorable episode of I Love Lucy, Fred's grip was actually enough to bring John Wayne to his knees, but when he tries it on Ethel, Ethel's grip actually brings Fred to his knees.
    • {{Series/M*A*S*H}} During the M*A*S*H Olympics, Hawkeye and B.J. make a wager with each other, but when they shake on it, B.J. jokingly tries to crush Hawkeye's hand.
  • December 22, 2012
    Xtifr
    • In an episode of Bones, Booth meets Cam's step-daughter's new boyfriend. After greeting him enthusiastically, Booth throws in some not-very-veiled threats about treating the girl right, including mentioning that he used to be a sniper, and finishes off with a handshake that leaves the kid wincing and rubbing his hand.
  • December 22, 2012
    Prfnoff
    • In The Stan Freberg Show, in the interview between Stan Freberg and the Abominable Snowman, the latter gives the former a very painful-sounding handshake:
      Stan: Would you mind squeezing my hand the other way to get it back in shape?
  • December 22, 2012
    Bisected8
    • Ciaphas Cain's augmetic fingers have given him the upper hand (ha ha) at least once in regards to this trope.
    • In the Harry Potter books, the Slytherin quidditch team captain tends to do this when he shakes hands with the Gryffindor captain at the begining of a match.
  • December 22, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Cool, a bunch of new examples to add!
  • December 23, 2012
    Xtifr
    When both parties attempt to do this, the results can be embarrassing for one or both, which is often played for laughs.
  • December 23, 2012
    Onitatsu
    In Mel Brook's High Anxiety, doctor Charles Montague does this to the main character when they're formally introduced, and as he crush he says something about "I was the one in charge before you came".
  • December 23, 2012
    King9999
  • December 24, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ For those of you who haven't watched Predator: When Dutch and Dillon meet after many years apart they shake hands. Dutch applies increasing pressure until Dillon surrenders.
  • December 24, 2012
    lakingsif
    I can't remember where its from but one guy says, after shaking hands with another, "Why, that's the quite the handshake you've got there" before soothing his throbbing hand and opening his briefcase.

    George also says something similar to Ed from Edward Scissorhands of all people:
    Hi, George Monroe. Woah. That's a heck of a handshake you got there, Ed.
  • June 9, 2013
    eowynjedi
    • In The West Wing, this happens so often to presidential candidate Arnold Vinick that he ends up with a fractured hand, making handshakes of any firmness agonizing.
  • June 9, 2013
    maxwellsilver
    For future reference, the correct formatting of M*A*S*H is Series/{{Mash}}. It's a customized title so it appears as Mash.
  • June 9, 2013
    maxwellsilver
  • June 10, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    In an episode of Go On Bob Costas is revealed to do this all the time, and almost always wins.
  • June 12, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^^ Fixed that, and added more examples.

    Now how about some hats? :)
  • June 12, 2013
    Tallens
  • June 16, 2013
    Antigone3
    Alluded to in Take A Thief -- when Skif and Deek agree to work together, Skif is impressed that Deek doesn't try this.
  • June 17, 2013
    CaveCat
    • An Archie Comics story had this happen to Mr. Weatherbee when congratulating substitute hall monitor Maria Rodriguez for teaching the other students not to run in the halls. Maria is actually a lot stronger than she looks so she crushes the bee's hand while giving him a handshake. The last panel shows Mr. Weatherbee getting his hand bandaged by Miss Grundy.
  • June 17, 2013
    NESBoy
    In the Goof Troop episode "Leader of the Pack", Max rides into a drive-in restaurant in a "car" (actually a grocery cart with a cardboard car in front of it) and with a "babe" (actually PJ holding a cardboard girl over his face). Gang leader Duke comes over to meet Max's babe, and PJ introduces himself a Clarice. They shake hands, with Duke squeezing PJ's hand.
  • June 22, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    So, you all reckon this is ready for launch?
  • June 23, 2013
    olafmerchant
    Added the fifth hat. Looks good to go, to me.
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