Amusing is in the eye of the beholder...or in this case, the body
"You call that breaking my spine? You RED team ladies wouldn't know how to break a spine if-
(crack) AAAAAAAAAGH MY SPIIIIIINE!"
Injuries in slapstick
comedies never have any lasting effects, are only painful for a short while, and are often a source of visual humor. Occasionally, you will see a character in traction or on crutches or sporting Instant Bandages
; however, this is strictly for punctuating a gag or putting a cap on an episode, and will never last more than 10 seconds. Gunshots and explosives in particular can lead to Amusing Injuries; what would normally destroy a large chunk of someone's face in real life often does little more than blow soot all over a cartoon character
. Guns in these shows often inexplicably emit directed explosions to the face rather than firing bullets.
This can lead to very
jarring circumstances within a show. Like say when the plot of an episode rides on a character getting injured and taken out of an event, or when there's a character who's a physician of all things, or in the rare event that a permanent death actually occurs
. It'll be treated at least somewhat
seriously in that particular instance, but next thing you know it, they're back to jumping off cliffs and juggling chainsaws. ...Or trying to see if they can do both at the same time.
Sometimes, it can also involve a huge Double Standard
. A male character will often suffer them at the hands of a female, who can punch/kick/beat/attack him as much as she wants and it'll be often taken as mere comedy. Try imagining the same situation
with a Gender Flip
... yeah, people will be up in arms. See Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male
If it does regularly happen to a woman, it is also a Slapstick Knows no Gender
Amusing Injuries are usually healed via Negative Continuity
. A common variety is The Pratfall
. Can overlap with Groin Attack
(possibly with Instant Soprano
) and Ass Shove
. Required for Hyperspace Mallet
and Megaton Punch
. Extremely common in a Plank Gag
. Cranial Eruption
is a subtrope. Compare with Inconvenient Itch
. Contrast Bloody Hilarious
, for when serious injuries are Played for Laughs
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- Subverted in this ad campaign by the NSPCC, which combines footage of a real actor physically abusing a terrified cartoon child. The child reacts with Amusing Injuries throughout, until the very end, where a real kid lies in a broken heap at the bottom of the stairs. It's downright uncomfortable to watch, but Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
- In Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, Calvin runs into a closed door head-first at one point.
- In an episode of A Day in the life of a Commissar, a Dawn of War machinima, an Imperial Guardsman is panicking because his unit is under artillery barrage. A shell goes off beside him, and he flies through the air, squealing "Wheeeeeee!" as if on a ride.
- In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Achakura has been drowned, hit across the room, among other lethal attacks, mostly by Yuki. She survives them all unscathed, because she doesn't have a physical body.
- Tiberium Wars reveals the true reason the lighting is so low in Nod bases: Kane loves the sound of people whacking their shins on tables.
- In the third book of the Knight and Rogue Series Michael subjects himself to this when he starts destroying magica plants. The various punishments he recieves involve many painful instincts and, on one occaison, a skunk.
- The entire purpose of Mr Bump of the Mr. Men.
- In Christopher Buckley's political satire The White House Mess, President Tucker bloodlessly averts a terrorist insurrection in Bermuda by spraying a Knockout Gas. The only injury is a woman whose face was burned, because she fell asleep on her waffle iron.
- In Harry Potter, because of medical magic almost any injury not instantly fatal is fixable.
- Justified in The Zombie Knight, because servants can recover from almost any injury, and can just be resurrected if they are killed.
- The Smiths' "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" describes the narrator suffering terrible injuries and getting sent to the hospital. Somehow it manages to be very funny anyway.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic often (but not always) mentions these in his songs (including both parodies and original songs), especially in his song "You Don't Love Me Anymore".note They also appear in his videos (sometimes).
- During the final months of his time as president of the United States, The Onion ran several news blurbs about George W. Bush suffering increasingly improbable injuries, such as having his eyelid nailed to a wall, being attacked by a crocodile, and being hit by a crashing plane. All ending with him recovering comfortably at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
- A standard Beetle Bailey gag has Sergeant Snorkel pound the daylights out of Beetle as a punishment for laziness or insubordination, whereupon Beetle ends up as a shapeless mass of limbs, hands and feet twisted in anatomically impossible ways. And with missing teeth. Sometimes such or other injuries in the comic are "unamusing" enough to end in a hospital trip, but only if a joke requires it.
- Similarly, in FoxTrot Jason would often be beaten up by his sister Paige, ending up with some bruises and broken glasses.
- This trope is par for the course in many classic comic strips, which (being static and somewhat trite) would arguably be less funny for lack of them. You could probably make a Drinking Game out of all the times Calvin opened the door and announced "I'M HO-OME!" only for Hobbes to tackle him and roll around with him in a Big Ball of Violence until Calvin was thoroughly bruised and his clothes were partially shredded. Didn't happen so much in Peanuts (as Charles Schulz preferred to dish out psychological pain to his characters), but occasionally someone (usually Linus) would get knocked on his ass by a punch and have cartoon "whirlies" orbiting around his head.
- In Diner, shooting the Grill when it is not lit makes a noise of someone burning himself on a hot griddle and then screaming.
- Big Bang Bar frequently depicts various amusing injuries from its alien patrons, either as they imbibe their various drinks or simply mingle with each other.
- In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's spinning house includes the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East sticking out from underneath.
- Scratchy suffers these on the playfield of Data East's The Simpsons.
- In The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle And Friends, missing the Skill Shot results in Bullwinkle getting pelted in the face with various objects.
- There was an old radio show featuring the Story Lady, whose job it was to tell short stories, generally with some very weird twists. The fillers used this trope a great deal: Story Lady is very prone to losing her temper and when she does, the only target is generally her hapless partner, who announces the segments. She has no qualms about hitting him with books, beating him out of her path with her bare fists, breaking his limbs, or actually shooting him if he doesn't do what she wants fast enough. No mention of these injuries is brought up later, and they're always, always played for laughs.
- In Yu No Takuya occasionally gets pissed at what other people tell him and punches them in the face. After doing so, he assures them that they had some kind of bug on their face and gets a thank you in response while the injured party offhandedly mentions that they have a chipped tooth or compound fracture now.