Inconvenient Itch
A character gets an unscratchable itch at an inopportune time.


(permanent link) added: 2011-05-27 12:50:36 sponsor: Meeble (last reply: 2011-06-17 23:15:38)

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No Launching Please: Needs More Examples, Needs a Better Description, Needs a Better Title

Possible Alt Titles: Incredibly Inopportune Itch, Ill-timed Itch

Current Index: Rule of Funny. Any further index ideas?
When a character suddenly becomes afflicted by an intense itch, and they either can't scratch it for fear of certain consequences, or have no means of scratching it on their own. The intensity of the itch will often scale upwards with their inability to take care of it, especially if they are tied up or busy holding a sensitive package full of Explodium.

Nearly always Played for Laughs, the victim of an Inconvenient Itch will often be left begging for their companions (or even antagonists) to help them out. If the afflicted character is alone, the humor of the situation may arise from their attempts at contorting their body in an effort to find relief. Though the Inconvenient Itch can hit any part of the body, the nose is a popular target.

A subtrope of Rule of Funny. Compare Amusing Injuries. This is a typical result of being Bound and Gagged in comedic works.

Examples:

Film
  • Undead or Alive: Luke's nose starts to itch when he and Elmer are stripped naked and forced to ride on a horse together with their hands bound. Once they are finally untied, Luke spends several moments flailing about with his now-numb hands trying to scratch it.
  • When he first starts working out Dennis in Run Fatboy Run gets a nasty itchy rash in his crotch that he absolutely has to scratch...as he is at work as a security guard in a lingerie shop. You can guess what this looks like.
  • Shrek in Shrek the Third is trussed up in some Impossibly Tacky Clothes for a royal appearance, and suddenly developes a horrible itch on his rear. He's scratching that itch when the curtains open, giving the waiting crowd a view they really didn't want.

Literature
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: This happens to Tom Sawyer when he is trying to hide silently in the dark.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit - Will Travel. While trekking across the lunar surface, Kip itches all over but can't scratch because of the space suit he's wearing.

Live-Action TV
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Marshall realizes he has head-lice halfway through a job interview, and starts "discreetly" trying to scratch it. Eventually, it's too much for him and he screams out "I HAVE LICE!". Suffice to say, he did not get the job.

Theatre
  • In Fiddler on the Roof, there is a scene where one character invokes this:
    "May he get an itch he cannot scratch!"

Western Animation
  • In one Danny Phantom episode, Danny and Valerie end up in the Ghost Zone and are forced to team up against Skulker. After a while, they end up trapping him, tying him up, and leaving him on the floor as they exit the zone. At that point Skulker exclaims: "Err...Guys, there is a problem... my nose is itching."
  • In the Wartime Cartoon "Donald Gets Drafted", Donald Duck is instructed by Sergeant Pete to stand still. Unfortunately, he's standing on an anthill.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "An Itch In Time", Elmer's dog tries very hard not to scratch a flea bite lest he get the ultimate penalty: a bath!
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