Created By: ilniaj on November 27, 2013 Last Edited By: ilniaj on January 29, 2014
Troped

Height Angst

A character is angsty about their height.

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Trope
Height has a lot to do with how someone interacts with the world. Since people base a lot of first impressions on appearance a height that contrasts with what someone wants to look can cause them to be angsty, which can be expressed in different ways. This can come in two forms:

Compare Tiny Tyrannical Girl, Mister Big and The Napoleon.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist is so insecure about his short height that it is by far his most well-known Berserk Button, often to the point that he'll assume any "insults" regarding it aimed in his direction are far worse than they really are.
  • Sachi Hayashi from the College arc of K-On! frequently shows a sensitivity to her own height, almost to the point of Single-Issue Wonk whenever words like "height," "tall," and "big" are brought up. One of her Character Tics is crouching lower when she starts to get shy.
  • Azumanga Daioh: Chiyo and Sakaki cover both ends: the first is a Grade Skipper so she's a lot shorter than the rest of the cast, the second is a Huge Schoolgirl with the usual too-tall complex.
  • Nitori from Wandering Son becomes dysphoric over her height once she begins hitting growth spurts.
  • In Dragon Ball, Commander Red of the Red Ribbon Army was so angsty about his height that intended to use the eponymous objects, not to complete his world takeover, but to wish himself taller.
  • This is the reason Aisaka Taiga (who is one of THE biggest examples of the Tiny Tyrannical Girl) of Toradora! does NOT like being called the "Palmtop Tiger."
  • In the opening sequence of Jewelpet Twinkle, Akari scrambles to cover her height (153 cm), but this is never addressed in the series proper.
  • Kud from Little Busters! is a fair bit shorter than the rest of the cast, a full head shorter than the already short protagonist, and it's one of the things she often comments on in her occasional mumbled insecure rambles.
  • A large part of Lovely Complex, with the male and female protagonists being very short and very tall respectively. It doesn't help that several characters are a Shipper on Deck for them.

Comic Books
  • The Golden Age DC superhero, The Atom, was in reality Al Pratt. He was only five feet and one inch tall, constantly being taunted for his size. Even after a boxing coach helps him become stronger, Pratt continues to get teased at his college over his size.

Fan Works
  • Downplayed in Bait and Switch. Eleya mentions in chapter three that she usually feels awkward on a dance floor since she tends to tower over her partner. In this case, though, her dance partner Gaarra is actually a few centimeters taller.

Film
  • In A Hard Day's Night
    • Norm, the Beatles' manager, complains constantly about his assistant's height.
      Norm: Stop being taller than me!
      Shake: I can't help it.
    • Ringo is seen to be concerned about his height as well.
      George: What's the matter with you, then?
      Ringo: It's [Paul's] grandfather. I can tell he doesn't like me. It's cause I'm little.
      George: Ah, you've got an inferiority complex, you have.
      Ringo: Yeah, I know, that's why I play the drums - it's me active compensatory factor.

Literature
  • Leo Valdez of The Heroes of Olympus is short and skinny, which does a number on his self-esteem, especially with his male compatriots all being tall and muscular save Nico.
  • In the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Busman's Honeymoon, while Lord Peter is getting nearer the solution to the murder, there's this: "If I'd had more inches," said Peter, regretfully (for his height was a sensitive point with him) ..." The immediate context is that the murdered man was taller than Lord Peter, and Lord Peter thinks if he had been the same height or taller he could have figured it out earlier. His being shorter than others may have been mentioned a couple of times previously, but I'm pretty sure his height is given as 5' 10" (average) somewhere.
  • Aliera from the Dragaera novels is short for her race, and you should never comment on this because she has an incredibly deadly weapon and will end you.

Live-Action TV
  • George Jefferson from The Jeffersons is visibly shorter than his wife Louise, and their maid enjoys needling George about his size. Calling him "runt" is George's Berserk Button.
  • Barney Miller: Office Carl Levitt is only 5'6" and believes that this is the main reason he's never made Detective. Played with in one episode where the perp is a little person note  who complains to Levitt that "you tall guys get all the breaks."
  • In an episode of Home Improvement later in the show's run Randy complains to his father that his "little" brother is taller than he is.
  • M*A*S*H: Radar is periodically embarrassed by or ashamed of his shortness, combined with others teasing him this makes him very angry.
  • Jennifer Mosely from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has a whole subplot dedicated to her being much taller than the other girls at school. This becomes meaningless later on in the series when the other characters get older.
  • The Brady Bunch : Bobby had this in one episode, hating that he was little. But in the end, he and one of his brothers got locked in Sam's meat locker while picking up meat for one of the boys' delivery job and only Bobby fit through the window to get out and get help.
  • CJ Cregg throughout The West Wing. Lots of jokes through the 7 seasons, but a few that come to mind are the episode when Sesame Street comes to the White House resulting in Big Bird jokes toward CJ and when CJ takes over as Chief of Staff and and chides the interior designer who tries to give her a small desk.
  • Leonard from The Big Bang Theory is always complaining about how short he is, and is often mocked for it. Howard and Raj are also shorter than average and are made fun of for that, but Leonard is the only one who openly angsts about it.
  • Degrassi Junior High episode five, "The Great Race." The B-plot was Arthur and Yick being jealous of how tall Snake was, while he found his height made him unable to play soccer. It's currently listed on the show's page as a G-rated version of A-Cup Angst. However, the A plot that episode involved Melanie's actual A-Cup Angst...and some scheming kids trying to get Snake on the soccer team so he can qualify for an event against Melanie.

Theatre
  • Connie of A Chorus Line suffers from this:
    Connie: Four foot ten, four foot ten
    That's the story of my life
    I remember when everybody was my size
    Boy, was that great! But then everybody started moving up, and there I was, stuck at
    Four foot ten, four foot ten
    But I kept hoping and praying...
    I used to hang from a parallel bar by the hour
    Hoping I'd stretch
    Just an inch more...

Video Games
  • Young Fransizka von Karma does not take kindly to being used as an example of someone who wouldn't reach the window in the flashback case of Ace Attorney Investigations.

Western Animation
  • Lord Farquaad from Shrek is much shorter than other characters in his realm, for which he takes ridiculous measures to compensate.
  • Cosmo G Spacely from The Jetsons is barely one-third of George Jetson's height, which adds to the triggers for Spacely to fire Jetson once per episode.
  • In "Ewww, That's Growth" episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter and his family want to go on a really big rollercoaster, but Dexter is denied due to being too short. The resulting angst drives him to become as tall as possible, eventually allowing him to finally go on the rollercoaster by the end of the episode. This backfires when he becomes so tall that he hits the ceiling at the very end.
  • The episode "Biglet" from ''The Book Of Pooh'' features Piglet getting fed up with being short, and starts wearing stilts, giant gloves, and a amplifier in his mouth.

Real Life
  • Apparently Silvio Berlusconi is sensitive about his height in real life, and is always careful about camera angles and so on. When the playwright Dario Fo played him in his work The Two-Headed Anomaly, he wore a dwarf puppet-suit to make it extra insulting.
Community Feedback Replies: 55
  • November 27, 2013
    Koveras
    In anime, this is usually the defining trait of a Huge Schoolgirl.
  • November 27, 2013
    Alucard

    Also, I fixed one of your links.
  • November 27, 2013
    DAN004
    Does the guy have to be short? There are angsts associated with being tall, too...
  • November 27, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Lord Farquaad from Shrek is much shorter than other characters in his realm, for which he takes ridiculous measures to compensate.
    • Cosmo G Spacely from The Jetsons is barely one-third of George Jetson's height, which adds to the triggers for Spacely to fire Jetson once per episode.

    Live Action TV
    • George Jefferson from The Jeffersons is visibly shorter than his wife Louise, and their maid enjoys needling George about his size. Calling him "runt" is George's Berserk Button.
  • November 27, 2013
    MaxWest
    The Golden Age DC superhero, The Atom, was in reality Al Pratt. He was only five feet and one inch tall, constantly being taunted for his size. Even after a boxing coach helps him become stronger, Pratt continues to get teased at his college over his size.
  • November 27, 2013
    MonaNaito
    Theatre
    • Connie of A Chorus Line suffers from this:
      Connie: Four foot ten, four foot ten
      That's the story of my life
      I remember when everybody was my size
      Boy, was that great! But then everybody started moving up, and there I was, stuck at
      Four foot ten, four foot ten
      But I kept hoping and praying...
      I used to hang from a parallel bar by the hour
      Hoping I'd stretch
      Just an inch more...
  • November 27, 2013
    somerandomdude
    Leo Valdez of The Heroes Of Olympus is short and skinny, which does a number on his self-esteem, especially with his male compatriots all being tall and muscular save Nico.
  • November 27, 2013
    Alvin
    I keep finding things that I'm not sure fit: Literature: In the Lord Peter Wimsey novel 'Busman's Honeymoon', while Lord Peter is getting nearer the solution to the murder, there's this: "If I'd had more inches," said Peter, regretfully (for his height was a sensitive point with him) ..." The immediate context is that the murdered man was taller than Lord Peter, and Lord Peter thinks if he had been the same height or taller he could have figured it out earlier. His being shorter than others may have been mentioned a couple of times previously, but I'm pretty sure his height is given as 5' 10" (average) somewhere.

  • November 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^^^^^Could you give some citation on Sherman Helmsley being a whole foot shorter than Isabel Sanford? AIR George and Louise were about the same height; certainly he wasn't that much shorter.

    • Barney Miller: Office Carl Levitt is only 5'6" and believes that this is the main reason he's never made Detective. Played with in one episode where the perp is a little person note  who complains to Levitt that "you tall guys get all the breaks."
    • In an episode of Home Improvement later in the show's run Randy complains to his father that his "little" brother is taller than he is.
    • MASH: Radar is periodically embarrassed by or ashamed of his shortness, combined with others teasing him this makes him very angry.
    • In A Hard Days Night
      • Norm, the Beatles' manager, complains constantly about his assistant's height.
        Norm: Stop being taller than me!
        Shake: I can't help it.
      • Ringo is seen to be concerned about his height as well.
        George: What's the matter with you, then?
        Ringo: It's [Paul's] grandfather. I can tell he doesn't like me. It's cause I'm little.
        George: Ah, you've got an inferiority complex, you have.
        Ringo: Yeah, I know, that's why I play the drums - it's me active compensatory factor.
  • November 29, 2013
    ilniaj
    Fixed the problem of it not including the possibility of being too tall.
  • November 29, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    ^^ Corrected: Sherman Helmsley (George Jefferson) was 5' 6", while Isabel Sanford (Louise Jefferson) was 5' 3". Curiously, most promotional photos from the show depict Isabel as taller somehow. Heels, maybe? Or Hollywood floors?
  • November 29, 2013
    Magyars
    Live Action TV
  • November 29, 2013
    Alucard
    Okay, so I though this was about short people, but since being tall is now included...

    • Sachi Hayashi from the College arc of K On frequently shows a sensitivity to her own height, almost to the point of Single Issue Wonk whenever words like "height," "tall," and "big" are brought up. One of her Character Tics is crouching lower when she starts to get shy.
  • November 29, 2013
    DAN004
    Often the difficulties on being tall is that many of things would not fit on their body. I.e the doors too small, the clothes too small...
  • November 30, 2013
    Chabal2
    Azumanga Daioh: Chiyo and Sakaki cover both ends: the first is a Grade Skipper so she's a lot shorter than the rest of the cast, the second is a Huge Schoolgirl with the usual too-tall complex.
  • November 30, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Getting back to The Jeffersons for a moment - there is an episode where George is given an award by the Small Businessmen's Association. He thinks it's by & for people who have small busniesses, but it's actually business people who are small.
  • November 30, 2013
    chicagomel
    The Brady Bunch : Bobby had this in one episode, hating that he was little. But in the end, he and one of his brothers got locked in Sam's meat locker while picking up meat for one of the boys' delivery job and only Bobby fit through the window to get out and get help.
  • December 1, 2013
    Floria
    Does this ever come up in the Vorkosigan Saga with Miles or Mark? It seems plausible, but I haven't read all the books and I'm not sure if they ever go through height angst as opposed to general physically-atypical angst.
  • December 2, 2013
    DAN004
    Improve description plz?
  • December 2, 2013
    kjnoren
    ^^ It's mentioned in the case of Miles. He was quite grateful his doctors managed to put another half-inch on him when they replaced his leg bones, and I think he tried to badger them to straighten out his spine more than they wanted to for another half-inch.

    And he continually falls for the tallest woman around.

    It's Mark that had the general physical angst (and general-everything angst, he came over the body issues faster than the rest).
  • December 2, 2013
    abateman
    CJ Cregg throughout "The West Wing". Lots of jokes through the 7 seasons, but a few that come to mind are the episode when Sesame Street comes to the White House resulting in Big Bird jokes toward CJ and when CJ takes over as Chief of Staff and and chides the interior designer who tries to give her a small desk.
  • December 4, 2013
    maviel
    This Manlet stuff has to stop. This is /b/-tier garbage that doesn't need to infest TV Tropes.
  • December 4, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Moved A Hard Day's Night from TV to Film (since it's a film.)
  • December 5, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    @maviel: "Manlet"?

    Also,

    • In "Ewww, That's Growth" episode of Dexters Laboratory, Dexter and his family want to go on a really big rollercoaster, but Dexter is denied due to being too short. The resulting angst drives him to become as tall as possible, eventually allowing him to finally go on the rollercoaster by the end of the episode. This backfires when he becomes so tall that he hits the ceiling at the very end.
  • December 6, 2013
    Pichu-kun
    • Nitori from Wandering Son becomes dysphoric over her height once she begins hitting growth spurts.
  • December 8, 2013
    ilniaj
    Does anyone think that this is ready for launch?
  • December 8, 2013
    DAN004
    At least tell me how the distinction with The Napoleon can be made.
  • December 9, 2013
    Synchronicity
  • December 9, 2013
    Pichu-kun
    The Napoleon is more angry, not angsty,, and they usually don't seem to care about their height unless others mention it? Also this trope relates to both sides of the spectrum.
  • December 11, 2013
    ilniaj
    ^^^ It's related to how one of the reasons The Napoleon is acting pushy is because they are trying to compensate for their height, and just because they don't mention their height unless others mention it doesn't mean it isn't there. If you still think that part should be removed then I'll remove it.
  • December 12, 2013
    JohnnyCache
    • In Dragon Ball, Commander Red of the Red Ribbon Army was so angsty about his height that intended to use the eponymous objects, not to complete his world takeover, but to wish himself taller.
  • December 12, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced a bunch of examples.
  • December 12, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    This is the reason Aisaka Taiga (who is one of THE biggest examples of the Tiny Tyrannical Girl) of Toradora does NOT like being called the "Palmtop Tiger."
  • December 13, 2013
    StarSword
    Fan Works:
    • Downplayed in Bait and Switch. Eleya mentions in chapter three that she usually feels awkward on a dance floor since she tends to tower over her partner. In this case, though, her dance partner Gaarra is actually a few centimeters taller.
  • December 13, 2013
    TonyG
    Leonard from The Big Bang Theory is always complaining about how short he is, and is often mocked for it. Howard and Raj are also shorter than average and are made fun of for that, but Leonard is the only one who openly angsts about it.
  • December 14, 2013
    NESBoy
    The episode "Biglet" from The Book Of Pooh features Piglet getting fed up with being short, and starts wearing stilts, giant gloves, and a amplifier in his mouth.
  • December 14, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    removed a freaking hat. just look at that mess of a description.

    hats are supposed to be given when the YKTTW is ready for launch as is. and this is not even formatted like a trope yet. there's not even a "see also" at the end yet.

    there's also an identity crisis.

    the laconic and name work together, while the description talks about gender double standards. there is too much disconnect for this to be ready.

    come on people, One Does Not Simply Hat a YKTTW...
  • December 14, 2013
    DAN004
    Yeah, description needs to be fleshed out.
  • December 15, 2013
    ilniaj
    What do both of you propose?
  • December 17, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^^, ^^How would you rewrite the description?
  • January 10, 2014
    Synchronicity
    I'd personally do something along the lines of "people are upset because of how their height sets them off from the world, and express this in different forms," only mentioning the gender dynamics involved (as opposed to putting them in the first sentence, making it seem like gender is an important factor). The Napoleon is a subtrope because this one includes tall people.
  • January 10, 2014
    DAN004
    Compare Mister Big.
  • January 14, 2014
    robinjohnson
    Apparently Silvio Berlusconi is sensitive about his height in real life, and is always careful about camera angles and so on. When the playwright Dario Fo played him in his work The Two-Headed Anomaly, he wore a dwarf puppet-suit to make it extra insulting.
  • January 24, 2014
    ilniaj
    I rewrote the description. Does anyone think that it's ready now?
  • January 24, 2014
    StarSword
    Yeah, looks a lot better.
  • January 24, 2014
    henke37
    • Young Fransizka von Karma does not take kindly to being used as an example of someone who wouldn't reach the window in the flashback case of Ace Attorney Investigations
  • January 24, 2014
    ClockStopping
    Also see Huge Schoolgirl.

    • Kud from Little Busters is a fair bit shorter than the rest of the cast, a full head shorter than the already short protagonist, and it's one of the things she often comments on in her occasional mumbled insecure rambles.
  • January 25, 2014
    Andygal
    Aleira from the Dragaera novels is short for her race, and you should never comment on this because she has an incredibly deadly weapon and will end you.
  • January 26, 2014
    Arivne
    ^ Her name is spelled Aliera, isn't it?
  • January 26, 2014
    DAN004
    Hats, anyone?
  • January 26, 2014
    NESBoy
    Why hasn't my example from The Book of Pooh been added yet?
  • January 26, 2014
    ilniaj
    ^ Sorry. Didn't notice it.
  • January 26, 2014
    Tzintzuntzan
    Degrassi Junior High episode five, "The Great Race." The B-plot was Arthur and Yick being jealous of how tall Snake was, while he found his height made him unable to play soccer. It's currently listed on the show's page as a G-rated version of A Cup Angst. However, the A plot that episode involved Melanie's actual A Cup Angst...and some scheming kids trying to get Snake on the soccer team so he can qualify for an event against Melanie.
  • January 28, 2014
    ilniaj
    Does everyone think it's ready? Add hats if yes.
  • January 28, 2014
    sgamer82
    • A large part of Lovely Complex, with the male and female protagonists being very short and very tall respectively. It doesn't help that several characters are a Shipper On Deck for them.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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