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Circling Birdies: Live-Action TV
  • Happens frequently on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide to characters following a head injury. At times, only the bird sound effects play, but other times animated birds and other objects circle the victims' heads. Recipients of the trope in the show include Ned, Billy Loomer, Cookie and Faymon Phorchin.
  • Fittingly, Spike TV's Knockout Sportsworld often appends circling birds and stars around the heads of the athletes in its clips.
  • Nickelodeon's Roundhouse enjoyed playing with this trope. While injured actors usually only heard the bird sound effect, in the episode Disaster, a cast member spun a mobile of stars around Ivan Dudynsky's head after a fall, and a castmate remarks that she can tell he's injured because of the tweeting birdies. In another episode, Dudysky is clonked with an anvil and says that he sees "stars," as a castmate spins a mobile with cutouts of Cher, Whoopi Goldberg and other Hollywod big names around his head.
  • Jimmy of Out of Jimmy's Head sees circling birdies a couple of times after being bonked with a mallet.
  • A wrestler felled by Slater sees flashing stars, accompanied by bird sound effects, in Saved by the Bell.
  • The boys of Big Time Rush sometimes experience this trope. James, for example, hears tweeting birds after a thrown shoe clonks him on the head in one episode. Carlos hears birds in the premiere episode when a shopping cart he's riding in slams into a car. Logan and Camille both hear birds in another epsisode, when they run towards each other in slow motion and crash hard. Logan, Carlos and James all hear birds in another episode, after dizzying themselves while spinning on a bat and falling. In the episode "Big Times Rides," James hears birds after crashing his motorcycle through a wall, and Logan and Carlos both hear birds when their wagon crashes into a car.
  • On this episode of his eponymous Nickelodeon series, Nick Cannon asks an animator to turn him into a cartoon. The animator obliges, drawing a sketch of Nick who gets hit with an Illogical Safe, resulting in the trope. Nick then rethinks the wisdom of wanting to be a cartoon character.
    • Happens to Nick in another episode, in which Nick gets knocked silly while trying to slide into home in a baseball game, leaving him on his back and hearing tweeting bird sound effects.
  • Invoked in Scrubs. After running face-first into a door, J.D. remarks that he hit his head so hard he thought saw cartoon birds but then realized that he was just seeing the wallpaper in the pediatric ward.
  • Tory from MythBusters sees a ring of birds circling head his after being knocked out during a kickboxing match, as seen here.
  • On a segment on Popular Mechanics for Kids, animated stars appear and bird sound effects play after host Jay Baruchel is beaned with a baseball.
  • You Can't Do That on Television used a bird sound effect after a head injury on rare occasions. Alasdair, for one, hears tweeting birds after a hard fall from the ceiling in the Wildlife/Animals episode. In one of the later episodes, Christian hears birds after the coach hits him on the head with a baseball bat. Strangely, the show never used the sound during the caveman sketches, which usually centered on finding a way for the caveman dad to bash his kids in the head with a club.
  • Unfabulous uses bird sounds in the episode "The Toot." In a daydream sequence, Addie imagines herself passing gas with enough force to send her boyfriend Jake flying. He crashes into a soda machine and looks dazed as bird sounds play and soda cans clonk him on the head.
  • Mexico's version of the game show "Hole in the Wall" ("Aguas con el Muro") uses this trope on contestants who get knocked into the water. In this clip, for example, singer Adrian Varela sees circling dolphins after his fall.
  • American Idol used the bird sound effect in the audition phase of its 11th season when one contestant, Tyler Beach, banged his head on a low-hanging pipe when celebrating his golden ticket to Hollywood, as seen in this clip.
  • MTV's Room Raiders used bird sounds in one episode after a contestant banged his head on the top of a canopy bed.
  • During a stop-motion segment on a holiday episode of That '70s Show, Kelso is struck by lightning, falls to the ground and hears tweeting birds, as seen in this clip.
  • Saban Entertainment's live-action shows in the 90s frequently used bird sound effects to indicate head injuries, particularly on the original Power Rangers series. The comedy relief characters — primarily Bulk and Skull — were the chief recipients, although they occasionally were used with villains or even occasionally the heroes. Saban's Beetleborgs took it a step further and often added animated stars after head injuries, usually to Flabber, although one of the hero's, Roland, also saw stars a few times.
  • The Spanish soap Rebelde occasionally used bird sound effects after an injury. Unlike many shows, it was not confined to head injuries. One character, Miguel, heard birds when another character stepped on his hand.
  • In an episode of Shake It Up, Deuce says before passing out: "Am I looking up? Because I see stars."
  • On the "Driving Lessons" episode of ''Life With Derek," Ralph (Shane Kippel) gets knocked over and hears bird sounds. He then remarks about seeing stars on the ceiling.
  • Happens to Dean twice in the Supernatural episode "Hunter Heroici." The plot centered around a comatose retirement home resident whose dreams of a cartoon world affected the reality around him. Dean first decides to test the theory by whacking himself on the head with a book, leaving him dazed and hearing tweeting birds. Later in the episode, the villain hits Dean with a frying pan several times, and he hears cuckoos. Additionally, in the episode "The Monster at the End of This Book," a meta-episode in which fanfaction is becoming reality, Dean experiences the stars variant in a somewhat lampshaded fashion. The fanfiction had a point that said "Dean saw stars." This became reality when Dean, having been hit by a car, comes to seeing stars before his eyes. He remarks on them, then it comes into focus revealing the stars actually are a pair of dangly star earrings worn by a lady helping him.
  • On the ANTFarm episode "Scavantger Hunt," Cameron sees miniature versions of Gibson circling his head after he's beaned with a bell. Disney used the episode as a sort of "Where's Waldo" game where viewers were supposed to count every appearance of Gibson, so the trope played into that.
  • In one episode of Lizzie McGuire, after Lizzie is knocked silly by her own locker door, the scene cuts to the cartoon version of Lizzie, who has stars and planets circling her head as seen here with some uh.. Cranial Eruption.
    • Lizzie's brother Matt also experiences this trope a few times via sound effects, such as in this episode, when he unsuccessfully tries to break a board with his head.
  • Fix-up television show Blind Date sometimes would animate birds or other objects around the head of an injured dater.
  • In a segment on boxing, New York TV reporter and man-about-town Ben Aaron got knocked out by his female opponent, leaving him hearing cuckoos and seeing stars and images of the opponent's head circling his head. Here's the clip.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy often would use bird sound effects after Bill or one of his kid helpers suffered a mishap. In this clip, for example, a kid hears birds after being clonked with an apple. Frequently, this trope would occur after an Offscreen Crash.
  • Sometimes used on the 90s version of Zoom. In this clip, for example, Zoom-er Kenny hears birds after a few mishaps during an exercise session.
  • In a fifth season episode of The Cosby Show, Theo's friend Mitchell (Don Reed) invokes this trope while doing an extended impression of a kung-fu movie, as seen here. After feigning taking a few hits, Mitchell makes the sound effect of birds while moving his hand around his head. The bit was actually taken from a stand-up routine Reed was doing at the time.
  • Billy (Billy Draper) of the Timmerman Brothers hears birds twice after slipping and falling on ice in The Naked Brothers Band Christmas special.
  • In the SNL spoof music video "What Does My Girl Say," pictures of butts circle around Jay Pharoah's head.
  • Spanish-language Cartoon Network sitcom "La CQ" frequently adds animated birds around the students' heads when they fall, get hit by a ball or suffer any other wide range of slapstick mishaps. Jenny and Monche are the most frequent victims, though all of the main cast and much of the supporting cast experience it at one time or another.

Live-Action FilmsCircling BirdiesTheater

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