It's the cowering conga!
"Bob! Prepare for the ass-kicking of your life!" (moves behind George)
"And George is the one that's gonna do it!"
It's only natural to cower in the face of dangernote
. As such, many a classic Distressed Damsel
and fearful child will cower behind the nearest Love Interest
, parent, or Big Damn Heroes
when presented with peril. Of course, most conscientious heroes and even Innocent Bystanders
will naturally interpose themselves anyway to protect other innocents (and perhaps pointlessly
, but they do get props for chivalry). This kind of cowering stems from the classic pose of hero and heroine facing a monster on Film Posters
for Touch of the Monster
: the hero has a gun in one hand pointed at the beast, his other hand holding the Love Interest
back, while she clutches his shoulder
with one hand and covers her mouth from shock with the other.
There's another kind of character who cowers this way too, the Dirty Coward
. He'll grab a nearby Innocent Bystander
and use him as a Human Shield
, hide behind the Littlest Cancer Patient
when the Serial Killer with a soft spot for kids
shows up, and might even shove his Love Interest
towards the Martian Woman Stealer
. Villains also tend to do this when faced with an implacable hero
the cower by using the Love Interest
to hide from him!
Sometimes this is used for comedic effect, with a hero who is Afraid of Needles
reacting with complete terror to mundane things, sometimes even jumping into his Sidekick
's arms or ducking behind his Love Interest
like a Distressed Damsel
. The Fish out of Water
might hide from otherwise harmless things too (and notice who/what they're hiding behind looks far more threatening). See also Pose of Supplication
Not to be confused with the former Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Anime & Manga
- In the second arc of Gantz, Kurono is treated like a Dirty Coward for momentarily hiding behind Kishimoto when they first encounter a hostile alien. He objects that it is justified because she is wearing a super-suit that provides some protection from injury, while he is in street clothes and thus defenseless.
- Kyon Big Damn Hero: After Haruhi's reaction to Tsuruya's report on what she and Kyon did to disband a illegal photographic ring (which included sleeping with him and bathing together — It Makes Sense in Context), Mikuru automatically hides behind Tsuruya. Kanae, noting that hiding behind Tsuruya isn't the best idea in this circumstances, decided not to follow this trope and only hide behind the table.
- Crane does this in Sleepy Hollow when he approaches a particularly creepy hovel, using Young Masbeth as a shield and aiming his pistol over the boy's shoulder.
- The book and movie of The Dead Zone use this to let the world know its villain is a bad man. Or at least this is what ruins him. We, the readers/audience, know from early on that the bad guy is really bad. But this is what destroys his image to the [in-story] public. I mean, NO ONE would vote for someone for president of the USA who used a baby to shield himself from an assassin.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Pool of the Black One" Sancha grovels after being thrown to the ground.
- In the second book of the Gone series, Hunter cowers behind Astrid, who is protecting him from Zil's lynch mob.
- Galaxy of Fear: Army of Terror. Faced without warning with a being that psychically forces people into very convincing illusions of their worst fears, the Rebels are utterly unprepared and do anything from dropping their weapons to falling to their knees to assuming the Pose of Supplication.
- A favorite tactic of the heels, who are not above grabbing a female at ringside (either the face's girlfriend or their own) to stop from getting attacked, and then shoving said female into the opponent! Edge used to do this all the time. Eddie Guerrero made it particularly reprehensible when he grabbed Rey Mysterio Jr's young son Dominick; this made Mysterio very angry.
- Final Fantasy IV has Edward who has an ability that lets him do this. He also does it when he's low on Hit Points.
- In Earthbound, Porky/Pokey Minch does this as one of the many useless actions he's capable of performing in battle while accompanying Ness at the start of the game.
- Mother3: When traveling with Salsa, Fassad will occasionally do this in battle, despite the fact that (as an NPC) monsters don't target him anyway, and he's easily several times stronger than Salsa.
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent has this trope as the player's only means of defense. You are given no weapons of any kind and any time you're attacked, the only thing you can do is run and hide in the dark, usually behind crates, until the monster gets bored and leaves.
- From one standpoint, any Stealth-based game or game with a Stealth-Based Mission could be seen as utilizing this. You need to hide from enemies, often by crouching in dark corners, because you can't take them on. Certain Horror-genre games will have the character give indications that they're afraid, like Amnesia listed above, or Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth.
- In the online game Sissyfight, cowering protects you from the first Scratch or Grab move or from any damage from a Tattle, but cannot protect you from a successful Tease. While the game's rules are such that the goal is to survive rather than do as much damage as possible to your enemies, "cowerbotting" is frowned on.
- In World of Warcraft, during the Spirit Kings encounter, Meng the Demented, during his Cowardice phase, runs away from players while reflecting damage onto them. He still periodically uses his Maddening Shout ability, though. Lei Shi, a water spirit corrupted by the Sha of Fear, will hide at certain points, and must be forced out into the open through area of effect damage.
- Played for Laughs and played straight in Teen Titans; both examples feature teams of males hiding behind their female leader. In the humorous version, The Titans East hides behind Bumblebee when Control Freak drops in unexpectedly; the serious one features the H.I.V.E. five hiding behind Jinx in nervous anticipation for Madam Rouge's verbal abuse.
- Used in every Scooby-Doo episode EVER
- Fluttershy's default reaction to anything unexpected in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Rich Hall's Otis Lee Crenshaw character has a song called "Do Anything You Want To The Girl (Just Don't Hurt Me)".