Created By: BFisch on August 9, 2011 Last Edited By: GuesssWho on February 13, 2012

Slight Case of Death

News of someone's death is delivered in a callous and often lighthearted euphemism.

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"Boys, it seems our friend T-Bird won't be joining us tonight, on account of a slight case of death." - Top Dollar, The Crow

When the villain needs to reveal that a character has died, but really doesn't want the death to overshadow how bad he is, he tosses out the news like a magazine he didn't particularly enjoy. Callous, often sarcastic, playful, and even lighthearted, this delivery also increases the emotional impact on those who have hearts.

Subtrope of Understatement, owing its significance to the subject matter and the intense cognitive dissonance.

Examples:
  • The Crow - Trope Namer, See Page Quote
  • Die Hard - "Alas; your Mr. Takagi didn't see it that way, so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life."
  • In Eulalia, lesser Big Bad Gruntan Kurdly calls it "a case of the Kurdlies" when he stabs some beast.
  • In one episode of Scrubs Kelso tries to play down his thanks to Cox for being so thorough when giving him a physical this way:
    Kelso:"I spoke to my cardiologist and he said if you hadn't caught my high blood pressure and if it continued unchecked it might have resulted in a mild case of... death."

This is all we have so far; I know I've seen others. Do add what you can!
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • August 9, 2011
    ZarbiNerada
    • In Eulalia, lesser Big Bad Gruntan Kurdly calls it "a case of the Kurdlies" when he stabs somebeast.
  • August 9, 2011
    ChocolateChip
    The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy Hotblack Desiato is "spending a year dead for tax reasons."

    Call it slight case OF death, not o' death.
  • August 9, 2011
    BFisch
    OK! I had it the other way because the "f" wasn't really pronounced in the line, and it emphasized the cognitive dissonance, but I'll take your suggestion. Thank you!
  • August 9, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    In one episode of Scrubs Kelso tries to play down his thanks to Cox for being so thorough when giving him a physical this way:
    Kelso:"I spoke to my cardiologist and he said if you hadn't caught my high blood pressure and if it continued unchecked it might have resulted in a mild case of... death."
  • August 10, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In Rowan Atkinson's "Fatal Beatings" sketch he plays a headmaster who calls the father of a student to his office to compalain about the student's attitude, during which he mentions almost as an afterthought that he has beaten the boy to death.
  • August 10, 2011
    NetMonster
    I think the example from the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy doesn't fit this trope.
  • August 10, 2011
    KingZeal
    This exchange from the Street Fighter live-action film (somewhat subverted in that the other party wasn't as dead as thought):
    Cammy: Cammy here, are you all right?
    Guile: I'm okay. I'm just half dead.
    Cammy: And Bison?
    Guile: All dead.
  • August 10, 2011
    TrustBen
    This overlaps with Bond One Liner, especially if the speaker is the direct cause of death.

    • I'm pretty sure Net Monster is right about the Hitchhiker's example.
  • August 10, 2011
    BFisch
    You may be right about the Hitchhiker's Guide example. Bond One Liner is spoken to the dead person immediately postmortem and tends to be more pun-oriented. This is spoken to others later, and tends to be darker in humor, with greater cognitive dissonance. (One may note that I use Insistent Terminology for that.) When I said "playful" and "lighthearted", I meant the speaker is feigning that element, which makes the line very harsh for people in-universe, but usually funny for us in the real world. I should change my description to be more accurate.
  • August 10, 2011
    GuesssWho
    Yeah, he actually WAS spending a year dead for tax reasons. I've removed it.
  • February 12, 2012
    CrypticMirror
    bump
  • February 12, 2012
    spudwalt
    In MOTHER 3, Bronson tells Flint about his wife's death by basically saying "Hey, we found this neat-o Drago Fang! Oh, and it was kinda lodged in your wife's heart, but it'll still make a neat weapon!"
  • February 12, 2012
    Psi001
    • South Park's infamous "Oh my god, they killed Kenny" catchphrase, which more than a few times is delivered in a half hearted or bored tone. Even during some times it is delivered in a genuinely shocked tone, they immediately brush it off afterwards. During one instance, Stan merely expresses Kenny's gruesome death with a snarky "Well who would have seen that coming?".
  • February 12, 2012
    LeeM
    ^^ Since Hotblack's death was presumably temporary I wonder if this counts exactly.
  • February 13, 2012
    Chabal2
    Apparently this once appeared in a newspaper: "Man thought hurt, but slightly dead."

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