Think of it as TheWorfBarrage for everyday technology's NonLethalWarfare.

In real life, pepper spray is ''beyond'' the point of agonizing. Pepper spray's main agent is capsaicin, which is in a lot of peppers and spices, which give it that familiar bite. However, while spices ranking a little over 10,000 on the [[ Scoville Scale]] can send a lot of people diving for milk jugs (or water bins, [[RealityIsUnrealistic which actually don't work]]), a lot of pepper sprays rank over ''five million'' on the scale. Even worse, pepper spray is intentionally designed to be an inflammatory, which constricts the throat, prevents breathing, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and provides one hell of a runny nose]].

In real life, a taser disrupts voluntary control of the muscles by constantly constricting and releasing them in a miniature spasm, and not only results in an incredibly painful blast but also instant incapacitation. It's almost impossible to fight off a taser's effects (much less any other attackers) when your muscles aren't even in your control.

Not so in fiction-land. These, along with other self-defense products, get a massive beating with the nerf bat -- [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality it just really wouldn't make for engaging storytelling]] if the big dramatic evil guy could be easily taken down with something bought at common hardware stores, or if the hero just started flopping around at everyone's mercy. So, unfortunately, characters tend to be either "[[MadeOfIron immune to it]]" or "[[{{Determinator}} tough enough]]" to [[NoSell shrug off the effects.]]

The instances where pepper spray or tasers are shown as being effective are often PlayedForLaughs. Of course, playing it for laughs usually means that there must be no lasting injuries, basically treating pepper spray and tasers as AmusingInjuries: It hurts like hell, and the recipient of the blast is incapacitated for as long as [[TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot the plot requires]]; but the viewers aren't going to see certain realistically possible repercussions like a visit to the hospital emergency room, or a BrickJoke two episodes later where a character is still feeling the pain every time he gets up out of a chair.

Compare MyCarHatesMe and CellPhonesAreUseless, for other times when technology fails for the sake of drama.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/GunsmithCats'':
** Bean Bandit collapses onto a table when he is hit with a taser... and then got straight back up again. However, Bean is described as a "gorilla in a flak jacket" -- a taser has realistic effects on other characters. This isn't new to Bean. ''Anime/RidingBean'' had Rally attempting to ''wake him up'' with a taser. It doesn't work.
** Averted in the main series; Rally gets tased by a kid suckered by some mobsters, and only escapes because of her ImprobableAimingSkills. And the next day, she's ''still'' shuddering from the effects.
* In ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'', [[ the fight between Shion and Rika]] demonstrates both pepper spray and tasers being used to cause...momentary irritation, and not much else.
* In the "Battle for Mahora" arc of ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', Ku Fei is tased by a Chachamaru replica, only to shrug off the effects a few seconds later.

* In ''Film/BatmanBegins'', Rachael's taser is completely useless against Batman (fair enough, given that it hits him squarely on his bulletproof, insulating breastplate). It is, however, rather more realistically effective against [[ScreamsLikeALittleGirl Scarecrow]]...
* In ''Film/RockNRolla'' One Two gets maced, point-blank, in the face [[UnwantedAssistance by one of his mates]]. It's certainly shown to hurt, and he needs nursing along for a minute or so, but he seems fine shortly afterwards and it never seems to affect his breathing. Also worth noting that the guy he was grappling with at the time, quite possibly within splashing range under the circumstances, suffered no apparent ill effects.
* PlayedForLaughs in the movie ''Film/TheHangover''. In demonstrating taser use at a school, it takes two shots in order to down the second participant. After the first went right into the forehead.
* A faceful of mace is one of the ''least'' painful things done to the villains trying to break into the home in ''Film/HomeAlone''.
* Creator/StevenSeagal likes this trope. ''Film/ExitWounds'' has a bunch of corrupt cops use their tasers on each other for the sake of showing off, bets, and entertainment. In ''Film/UnderSiege2DarkTerritory'', one of the bad guys takes a can of pepper spray and squirts it into his own mouth to prove that he has become accustomed to the taste, pointing out to his attacker that she only had civilian issue pepper spray rather than full strength mace.
** It should be noted that although it's not possible to tough out a taser, it's not the case with pepper spray. Training (including repeated exposure) may render it less effective. Also, certain drugs may suppress the effect and some people can withstand the pain even without them. There are also some hypotheses stating that some people can be naturally immune or somehow can acquire immunity.
** People can be naturally immune. In the Navy, they're called two percenters, for reasons that should be obvious.
* ''Film/IntolerableCruelty'' has two lawyers break into a house armed with pepper spray, trying to find a thug they'd previously hired to kill the owner. They split up and unknowingly back into each other in the dark. When they collide, each spins around and peppers the other straight in the face, but they're both fine a few minutes later.
* Played surprisingly straight in an early scene in ''Film/KickAss''. When Kick-Ass hits Razul with a taser whose prongs ''get stuck in his forehead'', he does go down, but the second it runs out of power, he gets right back up. Lampshaded when Hit-Girl later tells him that was a pretty crappy taser.
* In ''Film/CrankHighVoltage'', protagonist Chev Chelios is tasered by police officers, which does absolutely nothing in preventing him from turning around, stealing their guns, and beating them all down. [[VoodooShark Questionably]] [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in that [[YouFailBiologyForever Chev's heart was removed and replaced with a high-powered electronic battery]], and the [[FeedItWithFire taser blast only powered him up]].
* Averted in ''Film/IronMan2''. After the [[ActionGirl Black Widow]] mopped the floor with most of Justin Hammer's goons, she effectively dispatched the last one with a spray of mace. PlayedForLaughs.
* Subverted hilariously in ''Film/{{Thor}}''. The title character, recently banished to the mortal realm and stripped of his powers, is found by the good guys and goes on a rant that makes PluckyComicRelief Darcy nervous enough to aim her taser at him.
-->'''Thor:''' You dare threaten the god of thunder with such a puny weap--" ''[*TZZZZZ* *WHUMP*]''
* Pepper spray has no effect on vampires, as Bella finds out when she tries it on James in ''Film/{{Twilight}}''.
* In ''Film/{{Bloodsport}}'', some agents try using a taser on Frank Dux, but he catches the wires in midair and throws them back, stunning them.
* Averted in ''[[Film/{{Friday}} Next Friday]]''. Day-Day gets maced by his ex-girlfriend, and needs to be sprayed off with a hose for twenty minutes before he's okay.

* In an episode of ''Series/{{CSI}}'', a man was hit with some potent mace, yet kept running. Of course, the show does a 180 when he catches on fire after being tased, and of course dies.
* Averted in the ''Series/BurnNotice'' episode "Comrades". Fiona manages to kidnap a tough member of TheMafiya after hitting him with a taser. Because he managed to grab hold of her just before she got him with the taser, she's just as incapacitated, although [[TriggerHappy because]] [[AxCrazy she's]] [[InterplayOfSexAndViolence Fiona]], when she eventually is back on her feet [[TooKinkyToTorture she cracks a few jokes about how refreshing the experience was and how an electric jolt work wonders for clearing the mind]].
* Used in ''Series/StargateSG1'', where the zat gun supposedly operates on principles similar to a taser but you can acquire some resistance to its effects if you get shot too many times.
** Wraith stunners on ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' work similarly. Humans who are taking the Wraith enzyme have increased resistance to them.
* Like [[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Quagmire]], Creator/ChristopherWalken's ''[[Series/SaturdayNightLive SNL]]'' character The Continental has been sprayed so often he [[AcquiredPoisonImmunity is no longer affected by pepper spray]].
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Highlander}}: The Series'', Duncan [=MacLeod=] is hit with a taser. He is stopped for a few seconds before managing to cut the wires with his sword (that he had already drawn). Once it's stopped, he's able to resume going after the bad guy, although slowed down a bit.
* On ''Series/JustShootMe'', Jack buys a taser to protect himself. Dennis' tough father tries it and finds it only tickles him. Jack thinks he bought a defective taser and tries it on Elliot. For some time afterwards, Elliot is a convulsing, incoherent mess, and right when he's supposed to meet Tyra Banks, who thinks he's some kind of weird pervert and hits him with her can of mace.
* On ''Series/ShamelessUS'' hears a ScaryBlackMan claim that he can stay on his feet after being tasered. Frankly does not believe him (most likely because he has been tasered a fair bit himself) and bets him $10,000 that he will go down if Frank tasers him. The man is able to withstand the taser and Frank is forced to make a run for it since he has no money.
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' averted this a couple of times, and in fact it's one of the few things Jack Bauer can't just shake off.
* The original concept (and indeed an early stunt) for {{Jackass}} had JohnnyKnoxville hit with pepper spray, a taser gun and an electric prod. He states that the pepper spray is by far the worst.

* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' has the misfortune of being on the receiving end of an aversion of this trope when Dogbert shows how he plans to use pepper spray as an "external antidepressant". It's especially noticeable in the animated version, where Dilbert can be heard screaming in pain throughout the whole clip.

* A taser is a fairly common weapon in wrestling, which usually results in the victim spazzing out for a couple minutes before pushing himself back up like nothing happened. Case in point, [[ Kevin Nash VS Goldberg]].

* Averted by ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' where pepper spray doesn't wear off until the victim goes somewhere and washes it off.
* ''TabletopGame/D20Modern'', however, has pepper spray that incapacitates for ''less than a minute'', and stun guns that a healthy, average adult has a 25% chance of resisting. Probably CompetitiveBalance, as the game's AlmostLethalWeapons are pretty cheap.

* In ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'', Stryker's taser does minor damage and really only makes the opponent stumble back a bit. Though, frankly, when dealing with a cast who routinely shrug off missiles to the face, even that is pretty impressive.
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'', the Taser in the Devices powerset just has a short five-second stun. The Taser Darts temporary power gotten at level one are worse, doing possibly the worst damage in the game--but, hey, free power.
* ''VideoGame/{{SWAT 4}}'' is a mixed bag. Tasers will result in 100% compliance, but all of your other potent less-than-lethal weapons (beanbag shotguns, pepper spray/paintballs, flashbangs, tear gas, sting grenades, and a mean left hook in the expansion) sometimes take multiple shots in order to get suspects to comply. How inappropriate/necessary/realistic this is is variant on your personal cynicism/optimism level.
%% PLEASE NO "TRUTH IN TELEVISION" SNARK. That above comment is up there for a reason.
* Toyed with in ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'', as the "Tazer Boy" acts as a close range rifle, capable of doing major damage and killing minor [=NPCs=] in a single (ranged) shot. This is not at all how a taser works, but it prevents it from being useless in a run-and-gun FPS.
* Pepper spray and tazers provide brief incapacitation in ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'', although the latter weapon is still lethal when applied directly to the face in a human shield execution.
* Averted in ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory'' with Chisato's weapons: All of her equippable weapons are stun guns, but her application of said weapons comes in the form of KamehameHadoken.
* Within ''VideoGame/DeusEx'', one shot with the stun gun will only temporarily stun an opponent. A second (sometimes a third) is required to actually knock them unconscious. The pepper spray is even worse with the effect fading seconds later. The tranquilizer darts, on the other hand, can deliver InstantSedation if aimed at the head.
** Averted in ''[[VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution Human Revolution]]'': one stun gun dart instantly renders unconscious any human enemy but one of the bosses, including augmented and heavily armored enemies that can survives dozens of gunshots. Even the bosses are temporarily disabled by it, as are security cameras, turrets, and ''[[HumongousMecha robots the size of cars.]]'' With enough darts for the thing you can even defeat the bosses by just [[{{Whoring}} using the thing over and over again.]] It's quite a useful weapon even for someone not explicitly going for a PacifistRun, though it may randomly kill some people (probably a bug, though maybe not considering how ridiculously powerful it would have to be).
* Inverted in the early ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter'' games. The taser is hilariously overpowered, causing people to ''[[VideoGameCrueltyPotential catch]] [[KillItWithFire fire]]'' if applied long enough.

* Glenn Quagmire in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' gets sprayed in the face, but comments that it has happened so many times that he's [[AcquiredPoisonImmunity developed an immunity]].
* In an old episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'', Spongebob accidentally sprays himself with mace, rendering him useless for only the next 10 seconds.
* A similar joke occurs in ''WesternAnimation/{{Chowder}}'': "Pepper spray? That sounds delicious! [gets sprayed in the eyes] AAAAH, I WAS WRONG, I WAS HORRIBLY WRONG!!" Then he's fine a few minutes later, despite getting ''several cans' worth'' of pepper spray emptied into his faces.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': Homer likes pepper spray on his eggs, for that "South-of-the-Border" flavor.
-->''Mmm, incapacitating... *Eyes water*''
* ''WesternAnimation/DanVs'': Dan is immune to not only mace, but also tear gas (he doesn't even notice it when he's covered with so much that it's causes other people to have trouble seeing and breathing).
* When [[ActionMom Nicole]] of ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' goes on an UnstoppableRage in a supermarket, a security guard hits her with his taser and it barely slows her down.

* [[RealityIsUnrealistic This trope]] has unfortunately given rise to numerous {{flame war}}s and debates as to whether tasers/pepper spray/etc are even effective for self defense. The fact that some companies willingly cut corners in the products order to save a little cash doesn't help.
** There seems to be a lot of confusion over this issue in regards to public use for self defense. One police constable or officer might have a problem with it but her colleagues see it as legal. Security personal might see it as legal, but not for use on their premises. Another officer might think it okay but be overruled by their sergeant.
* Cue all the clips from 'Real TV' or 'Cops' where someone gets maced and continues to go on a rampage. If you're sufficiently high on crystal meth or PCP, pain is something that happens ''after'' you come down from it.
* There's been at least one documented instance of someone getting up after being tased... twice.
* There's a Website/YouTube video of a [[ drunk guy getting zapped]] a whopping ''five'' times before staying down and letting the officer arrest him.
** Admittedly this can be because the persons nervous system is so thoroughly toasted by alcohol that his brain just doesn't realize how bad it is.
* A self defense instructor/former Marine on Discovery channel's Fight Science demonstrated how it is possible for an extremely well-trained individual to ''unplug a taser's pins from oneself while falling to the ground from the shock'' and get back up afterwards.
* Tasers also have to penetrate the skin to be effective, and any sort of body armour will render them useless; some cheaper models will even have trouble with a leather jacket.
* There are also individuals who can apparently shrug off tasers due to the simple fact that not every body acts exactly the same to electricity. It would still be a considerable discomfort, however.