Characters eating cold food or drinks too fast will get a "Brain Freeze". Almost universally a Comedy Trope
. Brain Freeze will be treated as the most searing pain imaginable. Expect to see rivers of tears
, screams of anguish, and the victim frantically clutching his head in agony.
Truth in Television
; you most definitely can give yourself a headache by eating cold food too quickly. This is due to the blood capillaries in your sinuses; cold food causes them to constrict, and then experience extreme rebound dilation as they warm up again. This rebound triggers nearby pain receptors, which the brain interprets as coming from the forehead. You can recreate this effect when you put an ice cube on your forehead (and you don't have a headache, that is).
Now, if you want to prevent it, just lick your soft palate before diving into that milkshake and you should be fine. Eating warm or hot food can also help.
Anime and Manga
- A McDonald's commercial from two decades ago has a boy telling the audience that one of his lifelong ambitions is to become a scientific genius so that he could cure "that thing that happens to your head when you eat ice cream too fast." (Exactly what this had to do with McDonald's, I can't remember.)
- A 1990s 7-Eleven TV spot was perhaps the Trope Namer. It featured a young man ingesting a Slurpee, letting loose a bloodcurdling scream, and then explaining: "Ugh. Brain freeze."
- In the Cowboy Bebop episode "Mushroom Samba", a one-shot character is eating ice cream when a Chase Scene in progress passes him. He decides to join in, but rather than abandoning his ice cream, he attempts to gobble it up all at once. He does not enjoy the resulting Brain Freeze.
- Used by Team Rocket in the Pokémon anime, giving the characters loads of ice cream and then stealing their Pokemon while they were disabled by the freeze.
- In Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, the girls have a brain freeze after eating some ice cream, which repels the powers of Him that had transformed them temporarily into little girls, as he had a weakness against cold.
- In one chapter of Kochikame, Ryotsu bought a shaved ice maker and a big block of ice to make shaved ice bowls to eat which he got addicted and goes far as making sushi with ice rather than rice. His addiction got him severe brain freeze ends the chapter with him laying down with bags of ice over his forehead.
- Ururu in Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo gets one from sweeping an iced drink. She does it again once she gets a refill.
- Hot Fuzz: Double Subverted after Nick has a Eureka Moment while they're eating Cornettos;
Danny: What's the matter? You got brainfreeze?
Nicholas: No - brainwave! Get us back to the station. Now!
Danny: [tries to swallow his Cornetto whole] ARGH!
- In Encino Man, Link experiences one of these after Stoney's lesson on "wheezing the juice". His mouth is still full of Icee as he silently clutches at his head.
- In one Scrubs episode, a patient's wife is approaching Turk and Elliot in the cafeteria. Turk declares the first one to chug their Slushie is off the hook, and proceeds to give himself brain freeze.
- On Cheers, Frasier can't get Norm to understand what a stress headache is until he compares it to eating ice-cream too fast.
- In a cold open from Malcolm in the Middle, Reese tries very hard to get brain freeze, but is unable to, with Malcolm being highly amused.
- On Step by Step, Cody gets a brain freeze, so (someone... Dana, possibly) advises him not to (consume his frozen foodstuff) so fast. Cody remarks that he wouldn't get the brain freeze if he stopped. Apparently, this is a desirable condition for him.
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete: In "Field of Pete", the brain-freezing power of the Orange Lazarus slushy incapacitates anyone who drinks it. The villain of the episode enjoys the feeling like it's a drug high. The legendary drink has since spawned a Pete and Pete fanlisting, an improv group, and a band.
- In an episode of Roseanne Dan eats ice cream too fast, quickly getting a headache and he puts his mouth under the tapt drinking warm water to alleviate it.
- On Misfits, Rudy is dared by Abby to eat his Cornetto in one go. He does so and spends a bit of time holding his hands to his head.
- Garfield once had the character trying to eat his ice cream cone in one bite, despite Jon warning him not to. We see him writhing in great pain, his bloodshot eyes bugging out like the suffocating Martian colonists in Total Recall (1990).
- When Steve Geyer was young, the kids called them "Slurpee Tumors".
- Buttons Adventures: Button gets a crippling one near-instantly after challenging Sweetie Belle to a milkshake drinking contest. He continues flailing on the floor and screaming for quite some time.