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[[quoteright:300:[[WesternAnimation/WileECoyoteAndTheRoadrunner http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wile_coyote_1005.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300: [[Film/GroundhogDay Watch that last step. It's a doozy]].]]

->''I know this defies the law of gravity, but I never studied law.''
-->-- '''WesternAnimation/BugsBunny''', ''High-Diving Hare''

Sometimes gravity doesn't work. Or doesn't work immediately. Or evenly. Or ''fairly''. This takes the following forms:

* '''Gravitational Cognizance:''' A character will not fall [[PuffOfLogic until they realize they should be falling]]. For example, running unknowingly off the edge of a cliff -- or walking on the underside of a diving board. Especially dense or focused characters may need to have another character point out their vulnerability.
** An occasional variant has a character, upon realizing their situation, desperately start scrambling ''back'' where they came from, often managing to reach the original ledge before gravity can notice.
** In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'', the characters [[InvokedTrope invoked]] this trope to pass over a gorge by stepping on thin air without looking down. Makes you wonder after a while why anyone looks down at all.
** In ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' flying is the art of deliberately (ab)using this trope. Specifically, throwing yourself at the ground and missing, and then making sure not to think about the fact that flying is impossible, or else gravity will notice you.
* '''Creeping Gravity:''' Also known as Gravity Waves. Gravity will affect a character's body in sections i.e. legs, then torso and finally head. The character will demonstrate neither tissue damage nor pain as a result of this distortion, only on hitting the ground.[[note]][[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaghettification This happens in real life and is pronounced near small, dense bodies of high mass, such as black holes. In such cases it's a force more worrisome than that of eventual impact.]][[/note]]
* '''Varying Gravity:'''
** Characters will fall faster than a heavy object -- ensuring that the object lands on them. ''Everything falls faster than an anvil''. In fact, on more than one occasion in WB shorts, a character who was falling to earth gently via parachute was handed an anvil... by another character who was falling at the exact same rate... and immediately went into a terminal velocity plunge.
** Sometimes gravity will even shift around the relative positions of objects. For example, a character and an anvil are falling side-by-side, when suddenly the anvil starts falling a bit slower and moves laterally so it is now directly above the character's head. Wile E. Coyote is intimately familiar with this variant.
* '''Dramatic Gravity:'''
** Gravity can be suspended for just enough time to give one last comment to your opponent. For example, in the Looney Tunes short "High Diving Hare", Yosemite Sam, after being tricked into falling off a diving board by Bugs (for the fourth time), rose back up for a moment to say, "[[FunetikAksent Ah ]] ''[[FunetikAksent hate]]'' [[FunetikAksent yew]]," before plunging again.
** Gravity can also be suspended while a badly spooked character bobs up and down in mid-air while screaming, for example Tom of ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry''.
* '''Out On A Limb:''' Gravity is less powerful than other physical forces, including friction, tension, torsion and all the rest. Static electricity appears to be the most powerful physical force. This allows objects to be stacked on top of each other across an unlimited space or height, maintaining stability even if the branch or beam they are standing on is sawed in half, so long as the pieces are touching. This also allows characters to balance an unlimited number of objects in their hands.
* '''Counterintuitive Gravity:''' Items which should fall don't, when items that shouldn't, ''do''.
** The traditional case is a character chased up a tree and out onto a limb, as above. It is reasonable for them to trust their weight to a branch while the chaser is cutting through it, because sawing the branch off will make the ''tree'' fall. The section being removed (and the character on it) remains suspended in mid-air while the rest of the item (plus whatever object or structure had been supporting it) falls, [[BottomlessPit presumably forever]].[[note]]This could be because [[RecursiveReality It's Turtles All The Way Down.]][[/note]] Diving boards and bridges are also prone to this effect.
** This is explained by [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Bugs Bunny]] in the aforementioned "High Diving Hare" short. At the end of the episode, Yosemite Sam tries to saw off the end of a diving board, with Bugs on it. However, the diving board ladder, and part where Sam is, fall down, leaving Bugs and the end floating. Bugs remarks "I know this defies the law of gravity but eh, you see, I never studied law", suggesting ignorance of the law of gravity, equals it not noticing you, [[AchievementsInIgnorance thereby allowing the situation.]]
** The Road Runner and Coyote lampshade it in a cartoon where they use signs to communicate the same thing.

The trope is named for a line in ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'' (who complains about gravity working all too well, at the time. Luckily he is {{Nigh Invulnerab|ility}}le). The author may or may not have stolen it from an earlier ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' strip, which itself is a riff on the title of the novel ''Literature/TheMoonIsAHarshMistress'' by Creator/RobertAHeinlein, and where varying gravity is an important plot point. Which is in turn a play on the sailors' saying [[SpaceIsAnOcean "The sea]] [[WoodenShipsAndIronMen is a harsh mistress"]]. Which [[OlderThanFeudalism probably goes back]] to Literature/TheBible "The Law is a harsh master" (Romans 7, 1-6). And then Cassandra Claire plagiarized it (amongst a bunch of other things) in ''FanFic/TheDracoTrilogy''.

See also GravityIsOnlyATheory, VariableTerminalVelocity, NotTheFallThatKillsYou, GravitySucks. Gravity as a "power" that is easy to create is covered by ArtificialGravity and GravityMaster.

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