Shameful Shrinking
A character shrinks in shameful embarrassment after getting humiliated.


(permanent link) added: 2012-10-26 12:46:39 sponsor: CaveCat (last reply: 2012-11-16 12:53:17)

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This is a revision of the YKTTW discussion Shameful Shrinking, formerly called Shrink of Shame. I decided to take over in doing this one, since the original creator of the trope apparently either forgot about it or just decided not to do it, so here's my version of it. This also includes examples that were originally suggested for the original version of the trope.


Proposed Indices: Emotion Tropes, Comedy Tropes, Index Of Shame, Stock Visual Metaphors

A character who is often a Large Ham or a Small Name, Big Ego will often brag about how no one or nothing is better than he is. Unfortunately, just as soon as he says this, another character tells him that the boss wants to have a word with him about his lack of progress. As a result, the braggart literally shrinks in shame because of this.

Put more simply, this is when a character literally shrinks down to size when either embarrassed, ashamed, or humiliated about something. Expect this to show up very often in Comedy or Western Animation.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, in the Detective Noir world, anyone who gets shot with a gun doesn't die, but turns in a Chibi version of themselves, thereby cementing themselves as the shameful comic relief character who will never be taken seriously again. Others shun those who become this.
  • Clefairy does this in the Magical Pokémon Journey manga when someone criticizes it for running as fast as they can to deliver a message, which still took them all morning long.

Comic Books
  • In an Archie Comics story, Veronica invites Archie to a "high society" party. She berates him like crazy while briefing him for the event, e.g. "You have nothing in common with these blue-bloods, but there's no point in advertising it". At the end, Archie is barely up to Ronnie's socks. Then Archie runs into Betty, who tells Archie what a great guy he is. Arch walks away literally 10 feet tall.

Newspaper Comics
  • Happens to Jon in this Garfield strip.
  • Played with in a Mafalda strip. When Felipe is called to talk in front of the class, he gets smaller as he walks down the aisle. After the teacher congratulates him on a good job, he walks back to his desk as a giant.
  • An arc of Pearls Before Swine comics had Rat and Pig discussing the differences between their egos. Pig's ego was as tiny as a mouse, while Rat's ego was even bigger than any of the characters, to justify that Rat is a Small Name, Big Ego. However, at the end of the arc, Pig's germophobic sister Fantina shows up and tells Rat that she's leaving him for Dilbert because he's a much better man than Rat. This causes Rat's ego to shrink down to the same size as Pig's ego, as Pig steps on it.

Live-Action TV
  • Happens to Benny Hill (via bluescreen) in an 80s sketch where a girl chews him out for being sexist - obviously intended as a Take That to RL critics who claimed he was.
  • On The Muppet Show, guest star Madeline Khan is in a park talking about how beautiful everything is, when a monster comes and starts destroying whatever she mentions as being beautiful. She turns to the monster and tells him how horrible he is... and how that makes him beautiful, and as she goes on how beautiful his horribleness is, the monster shrinks down to the size of a crochet ball. She tells the audience how "sometimes you have to talk your problems down to size" before hitting the monster away with her umbrella.

Puppet Shows
  • In an episode of the PBS series The Puzzle Place, Ben chews out at least two characters while he's trying to work out a puzzle. They visibly shrink as he yells at each one.

Video Games
  • In Breath of Fire IV, some of the cast attempt to hijack a vehicle (long story). The merchant who owned it gave them a dressing down (before deciding to loan them the money to buy their own), causing the members of the party who did it to shrink.

Western Animation
  • Cassie from Dragon Tales had a tendency to shrink when she felt upset or ashamed about something.
  • Believe it or not, this actually happened to the already-tiny Mr. Bogus once.
  • Once on Xiaolin Showdown, when Raimundo's most recent joke fell flat, his entire head literally deflated and sank into his neck.
  • A Donald Duck cartoon has him cast as a truancy officer, out to catch Huey, Dewie, and Louie skipping school. When he finally captures them, it turns out school was out for summer. Donald shrinks in shame as a result.
    • In another cartoon, Donald catches his nephews with cigars and makes them smoke the whole box as punishment. When he realizes the cigars were his birthday present, he shrinks down until he falls through a knothole on the floor.
  • Goofy shrinks after being caught outside in his nightgown in the cartoon "Father's Week End".
  • Happened quite often on The Flintstones:
    • In one episode, Fred goes to Mr. Slate's office after attending a masquerade party where he thinks he was schmoozing up to Slate, expecting a pay raise. Instead he discovers that Slate was the guy at the party to whom he was bad-mouthing the boss, and as Slate hurls back the insults he gave him, Fred gets smaller and smaller. This after he had told Barney to "Think big and be big."
    • In another episode (titled "My Fair Freddy"), Fred, under the tutelage of the Great Gazoo (who for once isn't using magic to help him), does ballet in a tutu. He unknowingly attracts attention from various people throughout Bedrock, even those from the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes. Fred finishes and discovers he had been watched the whole time, and promptly shrinks.
  • In Adventure Time, Jake used his shapeshifting powers to do this literally when attention was called to him for the fact that it'd been his words that caused Finn to make a party uncomfortable.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Ponyville Confidential", when Twilight reads the "Fluttershy Has Tail Extensions" headline, Fluttershy sinks down behind an inner window sill. She's crying Ocular Gushers when we next hear from her.

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