"This is not happening. The cruel slow-motion laughter is just your imagination."The inversion of Laughing Mad - a character's humiliation is depicted with a pan around a group of people laughing at them, often in slow motion. May be more or less fancifully depicted, ranging from a simple shot of a bunch of people pointing and laughing, to a Fish Eye Lens low-angle "swallowed up by the floor" shot Whip Panning from Grotesque sneering face to sneering face. Can occur in Bad Dreams, or can just be an Imagine Spot. If it happens for real, it's probably courtesy of The Freelance Shame Squad. Can be used in Flashback to set up They Called Me Mad! and/or Who's Laughing Now?.
—Sue Sylvester, Glee
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Anime And Manga
- Chazz Princeton from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has this at the thought of being demoted from Obelisk Blue to Ra Yellow.
- Captain Boomerang experiences a hallucinatory one when Mindboggler unleashes his greatest fear in an early issue of Suicide Squad. He hallucinates that he surrounded by the superheroes who have defeated him the past; all laughing at him.
- Another hallucinatory example happens with Toa Kopaka in BIONICLE comic 14, after he is hit by Kuurahk's Staff of Fear.
Films — Animated
- In Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, this happens to the titular heroine when she attempts to stop a bear-baiting at King James' party.
- Happens with Melody in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea during her birthday ball.
- The Great Mouse Detective. Basil suffers this after he falls into the trap of the Big Bad, who along with his henchman jeer and laugh at him. This sends Basil into a fit of depression, not even trying to escape from their Death Trap until a Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! from Dawson snaps him out of it.
Films — Live-Action
- Used in Thunderbird 6 - The Movie. When Brains outlines his idea of building an airship, a roomful of air industry executives laugh at him. The film's DVD Commentary points out that, since all the characters are marionettes, lots of laughing puppet heads had to be constructed even though each of them would only appear in one shot.
"Sure, they laughed - and then they built it!"
- Used in combination with the Scream Discretion Shot with the rape of Lucy Barker in the climax of the "Poor Thing" scene from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
She wasn't no match for such craft, you see,
And everyone thought it so droll.
They figured she had to be daft, you see,
So all of them stood there and laughed, you see.
- Pee-wee's Big Adventure - "There's no basement in the Alamo!" - eveyone laughs at him, and a kid takes his picture.
- Austin Powers in Goldmember - happens twice to Austin as the crowd reacts to his father not being there at a royal award and, in flashback, winning an award at spy academy - and there's a toothless old gardener laughing at him both times.
- To add even more injury, it's the SAME toothless gardener!
- Buttercup's Bad Dreams in The Princess Bride feature an old hag working a crowd against her;
The Ancient Booer: Boo! Boo! Boo!
Buttercup: Why do you do this?
The Ancient Booer: Because you had love in your hands, and you gave it up!
Buttercup: But they would have killed Westley if I hadn't done it.
The Ancient Booer: Your true love lives! And you marry another. True Love saved her in the Fire Swamp, and she treated it like garbage. And that's what she is, the Queen of Refuse. So bow down to her if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo! Boo! Rubbish! Filth! Slime! Muck! Boo! Boo! Booo!
- Parodied in Fubee.
Mrs. Crumpets: Do you know what we must do now, Miss Late? We must all point at you and laugh.
- In the Russian fantasy Morozko (seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000), a crowd always appears to mock and laugh at the evil ugly sister when she gets in a humiliating situation.
- In Warrior Cats, Graystripe has a nightmare that StarClan cats are surrounding him and screaming that it's all his fault that bad things happened to ThunderClan.
- Tiffany Aching gets one of these in A Hat Full of Sky, when the Alpha Bitch of the trainee witches completely misses the point concerning the invisible hat bestowed by Granny Weatherwax. worst of all, tiffany suspects some of her fellow novices aren't laughing at her - they're being sympathetic....
Live Action TV
- Lampshaded on Glee - "This is not happening. The cruel slow-motion laughter is just your imagination"
- The Vicar in Rev has a Bad Dream featuring one of these, as all his friends and family point and jeer at him that he'd make a terrible father.
- In Boardwalk Empire, Nelson Van Alden hitting his Rage Breaking Point at his Butt Monkey treatment at the Faraday company is immediately preceded by several grotesque closeups of the laughing colleagues surrounding him on all sides. They aren't laughing for long.
- In Lady in the Dark, the Circus Dream ends with Charley's voice rising in accusation and the chorus laughing at Liza. As they leave her and the dream fades, they chant, "Make up your mind! Make up your mind!"
- The Simpsons has used it more than once, for example when Bart fantasizes about his family's reaction to him "ruining Thanksgiving." "It's all your fault! It's all your fault!"
- Braceface: In the episode "The Worst First Date Ever. Period.", Sharon walks into the school gym and everyone laughs at her due to having a fat red P on her head. It turns out to be an imagination.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Discord's Break Them by Talking to Pinkie Pie in the Season 2 premiere convinces her that the laughs she causes to her friends are always from mocking at her instead having genuine fun with her. The scene features one of these to drive the point home, complete with mocking laughter as Pinkie trips and lands in the mud.
- In "Lesson Zero", Twilight Sparkle freaks out when she worries about being late sending in a friendship report. She has an Imagine Spot where she's sent back all the way to Magic Kindergarten, and all the little ponies are laughing at her. Later, Twilight hears some giggling little ponies at play in the park, and imagines that they're laughing at her.
- Same thing happened in "Hurricane Fluttershy" but with adult ponies, on account of it happening to her for real when she was a filly.
- Taken Up to Eleven when Fluttershy starts hallucinating about many, many disembodied eyes staring at her, laughing demonically.
- The Oggy and the Cockroaches episode "Docu-Mentally" ends this way.
- In Doug, Doug has a fantasy about this happening about Once an Episode.
- Hey Arnold! has this happen dozens of times. Often, several of the characters forming the circle were laughed at in an earlier episode, because Kids Are Cruel.
- At the start of the Phineas and Ferb episode "Out to Launch", Candace asks Jeremy out to a dance, and he and literally everyone in Danville start laughing at her. Then the Earth blows up, and we find this was just Candace relaying her "worst-case scenario" to Stacy.
- Used in an episode of The Weekenders when Carver gets his revenge on an Alpha Bitch by tricking her into showing up to the mall wearing a snorkel mask, a bathing suit, and flippers under the false impression she'll get to meet her favourite celebrity. Because of her ridiculous appearance, this results.
- Blossom's classmates laugh at her in The Powerpuff Girls episode "Power-Noia" after she blows three questions, but all is not as it seems. When she sees that is part of the nightmare scenario staged by Him, Blossom wises up and out-thinks the villain.
- "I'M STOCK!!!"