Created By: MyTimingIsOffApril 18, 2013 Last Edited By: MyTimingIsOffMay 22, 2013

Fishbowl Helmet

Putting a fishbowl on your head allows you to breathe in space or underwater.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Rolling Updates


Want to be able to breathe in outer space or underwater? Easy - just place a fishbowl or a similar object on your head, and you're good to go.

Obviously, this doesn't work in Real Life.

For characters who don't even need a fishbowl, see Batman Can Breathe In Space and Super Not Drowning Skills. Compare Artificial Gill.

Examples:

Comic Books

Literature
  • In A Pail of Air by Fritz Leiber, a lot of survival equipment had to be made out of whatever was available. The EVA suits' headpieces used to be "big double-duty transparent food cans".

Video Games
  • In Kingdom Of Loathing, a fishbowl is one of three components needed to craft makeshift scuba gear.
  • In MDK 2, Professor Hawkins, a scientist who works through Mac Gyvering all kinds of available items, uses a fishbowl (a real fishbowl - the fish was sent a few minutes earlier to override some underwater controls) and two horseshoe magnets as boots, in order to cross the space between two sections of his ship.
  • Runescape has a quest (Recipe For Disaster) that has the player turn a glass fishbowl into a diving helmet for an extended dive.
  • Super Mario Bros:
    • In Super Mario Sunshine, Mario wears one during the missions, "Red Coins in a Bottle," "Eely-Mouth's Dentist," and "The Red Coin Fish." The helmet doesn't allow him to breathe underwater forever, though, it just slows down the Oxygen Meter.
    • In Super Paper Mario, Mario and his party need one to be able to breathe in space. Yes, one. Even though there's three characters in Mario's party (at the time), they apparently only need to breathe when they're the active character. It even changes size depending on who's wearing it.

Western Animation
  • Inverted in The Adventures Of Super Mario Bros 3 episode "The Ugly Mermaid". A city of mer-people wears fishbowls filled with water to survive in air-filled environments -- such as inside their own city! The episode also specifically points out the decrease in visual acuity for anyone wearing this setup (due to light refraction, presumably). Finally, the mer-people are terrified by King Koopa blasting a hole in the city's dome and flooding it with ocean water.
  • In the Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Out To Launch", Ditzy Genius mouse Gadget Hackwrench constructs a spacesuit from a rubber glove and a glass jar. Plausible, in that Gadget spent less than a minute outside a pressurized spacecraft.
  • There's an episode of Family Guy where a black hole is supposedly about to destroy the world, and Mayor West decides to retaliate by attacking space; he dons a jetpack, then dumps a fishbowl and puts it on his head.
  • Sebastian the cat plunks an actual fishbowl over his head in order to rescue Josie And The Pussy Cats from prison capsules on the ocean floor. Thanks to Cartoon Physics, this works.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • Sandy wears one so that she can survive underwater. Although she does wear a suit, it looks more like a space suit than scuba gear, and as shown in the episode "Pressure," it doesn't really seem to do anything; it's the helmet that matters. When she takes it off to prove a point (and fails), she saves herself by putting a pickle jar on her head.
    • When Spongebob and Patrick visit Sandy's treedome, they have to wear fishbowl helmets filled with water.
  • Tuff Puppy: The Caped Cod must wear a water-filled helmet like Spongebob's if he's out of water.


Note: I'm not sure yet whether the trope should include instances of otherwise legitimate spacesuits that include fishbowl helmets or be specifically about when fishbowl helmets are the reason why the character can breathe. I would like feedback on this. For now, examples that don't fit the current description have been %% commented out.
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • April 18, 2013
    CaveCat
    Newspaper Comics
    • Garfield wears one of these while pretending to be an astronaut, much to Jon's frustration about his missing goldfish that the fishbowl used to house.
  • April 18, 2013
    JoeG
    In the infamously bad film Robot Monster, the title "robot" looks like a gorilla wearing a fishbowl helmet.
  • April 18, 2013
    KZN02
    Compare Artificial Gill?
  • April 18, 2013
    Chabal2
    Another Spongebob one: in one episode, she removes her helmet while underwater and soon figures out that she still needs it, and quickly replaces it with an almost-empty pickle jar.
  • April 18, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In a sketch on The Benny Hill Show Hill as Fred Scuttle being interviewed, brings on little Jackie Wright wearing a giant fishbowl as part of his space uniform.
  • April 19, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Comic Books
  • April 19, 2013
    Prfnoff
    How does the description need help?
  • April 19, 2013
    MyTimingIsOff
    @Prfnoff: It's too short. It needs more material.

    @JoeG: I'm not so sure if that's an example... I looked at the page image; it doesn't look like a fishbowl helmet to me.
  • April 19, 2013
    Omeganian
    Professor Hawkins does it in MDK 2
  • April 19, 2013
    MyTimingIsOff
  • April 19, 2013
    Omeganian
  • April 19, 2013
    MisterKerr
  • April 20, 2013
    MyTimingIsOff
    ^^I meant WRITTEN context. Not a video link. Weblinks Are Not Examples.
  • April 21, 2013
    Rhania506
    Runescape has a quest (Recipe For Disaster) that has the player turn a glass fishbowl into a diving helmet for an extended dive.
  • April 22, 2013
    JonnyB
    Captain Video would probably be the Trope Maker; the spaceman's helmets looked like inverted fishbowls, if I recall correctly.
  • April 22, 2013
    Arivne
    In old science fiction stories, there are plenty of examples of people wearing spacesuits with glass bowl helmets.

    However, the Laconic and description seem to be about someone being able to breathe just because they're wearing a fish bowl helmet, without any apparent air supply (which you would expect to have with a space suit).
  • April 22, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Yeah, I'm a bit confused. Some of the examples seem to be about spacesuits/watersuits that have fishbowl-style helmets, but the laconic and description seems to be about examples where someone puts a fishbowl on their head and it works.

    Anyway, this is a very common element of Raygun Gothic.

  • April 22, 2013
    StarSword
    Compare In Space Everyone Can See Your Face.

    Real Life:
    • Diving bells are a scaled-up version of this that work by using pressure from the air trapped underneath them to keep the water out and allow the diver to breathe.
  • April 22, 2013
    MyTimingIsOff
    ^^^ and ^^: I wasn't really sure whether the trope should include instances of otherwise legitimate spacesuits that include fishbowl helmets or just be restricted to instances where the fishbowl itself is why they can breathe.

    For now, examples of fishbowl helmets that don't fit the current description are on the YKTTW but are %% commented out.

    Either way, this still needs a better description.
  • April 24, 2013
    Omeganian
    • ^^^^^^^ In MDK 2, Professor Hawkins (a scientist who works through Mac Gyvering all kinds of available items) uses a fishbowl (a real fishbowl - the fish was sent a few minutes earlier to override some underwater controls) and two horseshoe magnets as boots, in order to cross the space between two sections of his ship.
    • In A Pail of Air by Fritz Leiber, a lot of survival equipment had to be made out of whatever was available. The EVA suits' headpieces used to be "big double-duty transparent food cans".

    Perhaps it should be Improvised Helmet?
  • April 24, 2013
    MyTimingIsOff
    ^The name isn't the issue. It's the description that needs help.
  • April 24, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation

    Note to sponsor: I'm adding a Hat to a trope that embodies one of animation's best devices for dealing with the otherwise unsurvivable. Wish I'd thought of it.
  • April 25, 2013
    Astaroth
    In Kingdom Of Loathing a fishbowl is one of three components needed to craft makeshift scuba gear.
  • April 25, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Ditzy Genius mouse Gadget Hackwrench constructs a spacesuit from a rubber glove and a glass jar in the Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers episode Out To Launch. Plausible, in that Gadget spent less than a minute outside a pressurized spacecraft.
  • April 25, 2013
    Hodor
  • May 2, 2013
    JonnyB
    There's an episode of Family Guy where a black hole is supposedly about to destroy the world, and Mayor West decides to retaliate by attacking space; he dons a jetpack, then dumps a fishbowl and puts it on his head.
  • May 2, 2013
    spacemarine50
    TUFF Puppy: The Caped Cod must wear a water-filled helmet, like Spongebob's if he's out of water.

  • May 9, 2013
    Raconteur
    Subtrope of Zeerust? Or just Zeerust? Or trope associated with Zeerust?
  • May 11, 2013
    MyTimingIsOff
    ^Somewhat related I guess. Not a Sub Trope, though.
  • May 19, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Western Animation
    • Inverted in The Adventures Of Super Mario Bros 3 episode "The Ugly Mermaid". A city of mer-people wears fishbowls filled with water to survive in air-filled environments -- such as inside their own city! The episode also specifically points out the decrease in visual acuity for anyone wearing this setup (due to light refraction, presumably). Finally, the mer-people are terrified by King Koopa blasting a hole in the city's dome and flooding it with ocean water.
  • May 22, 2013
    InkWeaverabc
    Not sure if it qualifies, but could be an example: Literature In Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, Cedric Diggory performs a 'Bubble-Headed Charm' on himself to breathe underwater during the second task. In Order Of The Phoenix, students perform these to escape the smell of all the dung-bombs which are being dropped. They are specifically described as looking like they have fishbowls on their heads.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable