Created By: ccoaSeptember 29, 2009
Troped

Sick Episode

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This is part three of splitting Filleritis into the three tropes masquerading as one.


A character comes down with a serious illness, and may be bedridden. This may be in order to pad out the season, to provide an excuse as to why that character isn't present when their skills or powers would wrap up the plot neatly in a few minutes, or to give the love interest and excuse to nurse him or her back to health. In romances, the sickness is all about the worried, tender nursing. And in the comedies, they frequently end with the sick character now all healthy and looking forward to doing whatever... only for their friend to suddenly start sneezing.

Cures for this illness can vary wildly by genre, and obtaining the cure may take up a small plot arc of its own. These illnesses are rarely, if ever, fatal. The illness also mostly never has lasting implications for the main Story Arc, though it's not beyond the pale for a Monster Of The Week to be responsable for a character illness or find a way to exploit the opportunity.

The Sick Episode may also entail characters having to work through their illness when they'd really rather be at home in bed with bowls of chicken soup. Or it may cover the remaining healthy characters scrambling to fill the hole left behind. In both of these cases hilarity sometimes ensues.

If the sickness involved is discovered to be maybe life-threatening, you have a Wham Episode instead.

See Definitely Just A Cold and Villain Cooties when the illness is plot related, although these can often overlap. See also Soap Opera Disease for diseases which are ultimately fatal and may or may not be used as Filler.


Examples

  • Used in Inu Yasha, when Kagome comes down with a severe cold. The main plot is put on hold while Kagome goes home to rest and the titular character mixes up a disgusting "cure."
  • Sailor Moon's second season had the Sailors come down sick except Minako, who attempts to come to their aid as Nurse Venus. Be very afraid of Nurse Venus.
  • In the Cardcaptor Sakura episode "Sakura's Dizzy Fever Day", Sakura has a fever but tries to perform her school and Magical Girl duties anyway.
  • Junjo Romantica has a chapter in which Nowaki was sick so of course Hiroki freaked out taking care of him. Slight subversion, however, because even though it was invoked for the cliche nursing tropes, the next day Nowaki reveals he wasn't sick at all, just a little tired.
  • Otani gets a fever in a chapter/episode of Lovely Complex, so Risa shows up to help him out.
  • On Maison Ikkoku both Godai and Mitaka broke their legs, so there was a series of episodes set during their recovery both in and out of the hospital.
  • Pokemon has an episode where Brock was sick and needed Salveyo Weed.
  • Spider Man was always getting sick for an issue or two, but then his spider-strength would allow him to recover in record time. Unfortunately, he always happened to get this riight when the Monster Of The Week showed up.
  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 2 episode Killed By Death.
  • The 8th season CSI episode "Grissom's Divine Comedy" has Grissom come down with the flu and his rest interupted by a case on which the grand jury inditment of a gang leader hinges. Oh, and the flu is getting around to the others on the team too.
  • "Mr. Monk Stays in Bed". And still has to solve the murder of the week and has a musical Get Well card that just won't stop.
  • An episode of Daria features Daria being hospitalized due to a mysterious rash (which is caused by her love interest Trent)
  • As Told By Ginger not only has a sick episode, but in that episode, she is bedridden and hospitalized by appendicitis.
  • There was a half-length episode of Kim Possible where Shego had to call in sick. It actually started with the Tweebs, then Kim caught it, then she passed it to Shego while they were fighting, so Shego caught it...by the end of the episode, pretty much the entire cast was in bed.
  • Hey Arnold has one, where Helga ge
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • July 30, 2009
    Kilyle
    I see, I see. Yeah, it would be useful to split this, wouldn't it?
  • July 30, 2009
    Elle
    • Sailor Moon's second season had the Sailors come down sick except Minako, who attempts to come to their aid as Nurse Venus. Be very afraid of Nurse Venus.
  • August 4, 2009
    arromdee
    Name is bad. It sounds like it means "a show that's in a condition where it produces lots of Filler", rather than a filler that's literally about a disease.
  • August 4, 2009
    ccoa
    Suggestions would be nice. It's being taken from the name of the old trope to avoid accusations of this being a rename in disguise, but if you can come up with one everyone likes, then that shouldn't happen.
  • August 18, 2009
    Madrugada
    This is a standard plot device for American Soap Operas. Not that they worry about filler anyway.
  • August 18, 2009
    Prfnoff
  • September 3, 2009
    Elle
    I'm thinking this might have better sucess as a trope if it got expanted to a more general Sick Episode trope, instead of the rather narrow "sickness as filler". If it did that, I could probably slip a few more examples in.
  • September 3, 2009
    the grene kni3t
    I like the idea of a general Sick Episode article.
  • September 3, 2009
    Shellsh0cker
  • September 3, 2009
    ccoa
    How's that?
  • September 3, 2009
    Elle
    A start. I would add a few qualifiers and clarifications;

    The illness also mostly never has lasting implications for the main Story Arc, though it's not beyond the pale for a Monster Of The Week to be responsable for a character illness or find a way to exploit the opportunity.

    If the sickness involved is discovered to be maybe life-threatening, you have a Wham Episode instead.

    The Sick Episode may also entail characters having to work through their illness when they'd really rather be at home in bed with bowls of chicken soup. Or it may cover the remaining healthy characters scrambling to fill the hole left behind. In both of these cases hilarity sometimes ensues.

    Ok, examples...

    • The 8th season CSI episode "Grissom's Divine Comedy" has Grissom come down with the flu and his rest interupted by a case on which the grand jury inditment of a gang leader hinges. Oh, and the flu is getting around to the others on the team too.

    I coulda sworn I had more, like I'm sure it's happened a couple times on Star Trek.
  • September 3, 2009
    Elle
    Actualy, I'm conflicted. I'm not sure whether Villian Cooties should be included or excluded from this..
  • September 5, 2009
    starshine
    Bump
  • September 16, 2009
    the grene kni3t
    In the Cardcaptor Sakura episode "Sakura's Dizzy Fever Day", Sakura has a fever but tries to perform her school and Magical Girl duties anyway.
  • September 16, 2009
    Idler 2.0
    "Mr Monk Is Off Sick". Or something like that, anyway, I can't remember the exact title.
  • September 24, 2009
    arekuru
    In romances, the sickness is all about the worried, tender nursing. And in the comedies, don't forget they frequently end with the sick character now all healthy and looking forward to doing whatever... only for their friend to suddenly start sneezing.

    Junjo Romantica has a chapter in which Nowaki was sick so of course Hiroki freaked out taking care of him. Slight subversion, however, because even though it was invoked for the cliche nursing tropes, the next day Nowaki reveals he wasn't sick at all, just a little tired.

    Otani gets a fever in a chapter/episode of Lovely Complex, so Risa shows up to help him out.
  • September 24, 2009
    Arilou
    There was one in Kimikiss Pure Rouge...
  • September 24, 2009
    Nate the Great
    On Maison Ikkoku both Godai and Mitaka broke their legs, so there was a series of episodes set during their recovery both in and out of the hospital.
  • September 24, 2009
    CotFI2
    I'm betting this one would be pretty common in romantic anime as well. Ai Yori Aoshi did it, as did Oh My Goddess (on multiple occasions?).

    I believe the trope applies when the episode centers around the illness, and not when the illness happens as an element of a larger plot in an episode. So, in Ai Yori Aoshi, when Kaoru catches cold in the first couple episodes, it's a simple plot device, but when Aoi gets the flu, it's a Sick Episode.
  • September 24, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 2 episode Killed By Death.
  • September 24, 2009
    Digitalpotato
    • An episode of Daria features Daria being hospitalized due to a mysterious rash (which is caused by her love interest Trent)
    • As Told By Ginger not only has a sick episode, but in that episode, she is bedridden and hospitalized by appendicitis.
  • September 25, 2009
    triassicranger
    There was a half-length episode of Kim Possible where Shego had to call in sick, I think. Unfortunately I've never seen it.
  • September 25, 2009
    Goldude
    Pokemon has an episode where Brock was sick and needed Salveyo Weed.
  • September 25, 2009
    Shellsh0cker
    @triassicranger: Yep, that was a pretty good one. It actually started with the Tweebs, then Kim caught it, then she passed it to Shego while they were fighting, so Shego caught it . . . by the end of the episode, pretty much the entire cast was in bed.
  • September 25, 2009
    Dick Richardson
    Hey Arnold has one, where Helga gets hysteria after reading a quack book on diseases (she fears she's caught Monkey-Nucleosis after being kissed by a weird organ grinder's monkey ). She think she's going to die, and forgives all her friends on her "deathbed" and is about to confess to Arnold... until Pheobe corrects her.
  • September 25, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Spider Man was always getting sick for an issue or two, but then his spider-strength would allow him to recover in record time. Unfortunately, he always happened to get this riight when the Monster Of The Week showed up.
  • September 25, 2009
    Elle
    Need more than "There was one in Kimikiss Pure Rouge... ", ditto Ai Yori Aoshi and Oh My Goddess. Other updates duly rolled.

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