troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Don't Look Down
Just another day at the office.

"Everybody looks down when you tell them not to look down, do you know that?!"
Bill Rago (Danny DeVito), Renaissance Man

A Stock Phrase you have certainly heard a million times. Insert in nearly any situation where the characters have to traverse some area where the penalty for a misstep or equipment failure is a one way trip courtesy of gravity. Or, they're hanging over such an area by their fingernails or a very unsteady rope, branch or other dubious support. "Just stay calm, and don't look down" or some variant is uttered.

Why? Because you really don't want to know what's down there.

However, sometimes the person won't listen and they will look down anyway. Cue Freak Out. A massive source of Schmuck Bait.

When invoked in a comedy or an animated work, may lead to the realization that Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress... two seconds before you start falling.

Plummet Perspective describes one of the things that might happen if the character does look down.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Inverted in The Castle of Cagliostro: Lupin tells Clarisse to look down in order to calm her so she realizes they're hanging several hundred feet in the air from a thin line and screaming and flailing at the strange man holding her is a really bad idea.
  • Inverted in a different manner in an episode of Slayers. The gang is clinging to a rope across a chasm, and Filia tells Gourry to not look up. This is because he's holding on to her legs and she's wearing a dress.

Film
  • Back to the Future Part III: Doc to Clara.
  • Dumbo: Timothy Mouse to the title character.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Frodo to Sam.
    • Also done humorously in the third film when Aragorn tells Gimli not to look down because they were walking on skulls.
  • The Poseidon Adventure (1972) - Reverend Scott to Linda Rogo.
  • The War of the Worlds (2005): Ray Ferrier
  • Shrek says this to Donkey as they're crossing the rope bridge to Dragon's castle. When Donkey looks down and freaks out, Shrek teases him and has a good laugh about it.
    Donkey: Shrek, I'm looking down! Aaaaah!!!!!
  • Used hilariously in The Incredibles: Helen and Jack-Jack are falling, with the huge explosion above them, and Helen reassures Jack-Jack in this way.
  • The quote from Renaissance Man above, when Bill Rago is about to rappel down the large victory tower.

Literature
  • In So You Want To Be A Wizard, precognitive macaw Macchu Picchu offers Nita and Kit three pieces of advice: don't be afraid to make corrections, don't be afraid to lend a hand, and don't look down.

Live-Action TV
  • Neverwhere: The Marquis de Carabas says this to Richard, who, predictably, doesn't listen.

Music
  • The 80s music group Go West has the trope as the title as well as the lyrics:

    Don't look down, girl! (Don't look down!)
    You know you're holding aces
    Don't look down, girl! (Don't look down!)
    Don't give the game away!

Video Games
  • During the sequence on the outside of the Shadow Broker's ship in Mass Effect 2, Liara mistakenly looks down and then tells herself not to.
  • Portal 2: It seems that the older parts of the Aperture Science facility are full of fathomless drops, and when Wheatley is carried over one of them by Chell, he says this to her. She doesn't react, naturally, but he immediately takes his own Schmuck Bait and regrets it - twice.
  • Shadow the Hedgehog: Eggman says it to Shadow when he passes through a Chao room.

Web Comics
  • The Order of the Stick #647:
    Elan: Woooooo! Wind Walk is the best cleric spell ever!!!
    Durkon: Dinnae look down, dinnae look down, dinnae look down...

Western Animation
  • Lampshaded in Aladdin: The Series episode "The Lost Ones", after Al & co. go through a magic portal into a place that seems to be in midair.
  • Done in the Animaniacs episode "The Big Candy Store":
    Dot: Don't look down! You might fall and hit your head and die and your brains would leak out all over!
    Yakko: Whoa! Just don't look down.
    Wakko: Do you get vertigo?
    Yakko: No.
    Wakko: Me neither.
    Yakko: Yeah, I've seen that movie three times and I still don't get it.
  • Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera cartoons, which combine Toon Physics with Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress. The classic case: a cartoon character can run over or stand on thin air untill he realizes something is wrong and looks down. Only then does gravity take over.
  • The Simpsons in "The Neptune Adventure"
    Lenny (on the ladder; panicking): Whatever you do, don't look down! I mean up! I can't do this anymore! It's too confusing! (falls to his death)
    Carl: It's not that confusing.
  • The Magic School Bus: in "Under Construction" (about engineering), Wanda says this to Arnold as he's slowly crawling across a suspension bridge made of Q-tips, dental floss, and bandages over a bathtub with a baby alligator in it. He looks down, alligator snaps jaws shut, and Arnold books it to the other side.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, after Pinkie Pie's antics allowed Fluttershy to temporarily get over her fear of heights in "Dragonshy", she finally attempts to jump over a mountain chasm only for Twilight Sparkle to say this phrase as words of encouragement. Sure enough, Fluttershy does just that and immediately loses her momentum in fright, causing her to drop like a rock... on top of a narrow gap that she could have just walked over.
  • In one episode of Kim Possible, Ron says this to himself as he's being chased through a towering collection of machinery in Drakken's lair, and promptly steps on and breaks through a flimsy grillwork, falling into the tube it is covering.
  • Anais uses this in an episode of The Amazing World of Gumball
    Anais (while telling Gumball and Darwin to cross a log): It's OK, just don't look down.
    (Gumball and Darwin look down)
    Gumball: AAAHHH! Why did you do that?!
    Anais: What? I said, don't look down.
    (Gumball and Darwin look down again)
    Gumball: AAAHHH! You did it again!!
  • In Transformers Prime Bulkhead gets a little nervous when going out to fight in space. "Don't look down. Or up. Or left."
  • Simon says to to Theodor in The Chipmunk Adventure when the two are crossing a bridge. The second he finishes speaking, Theodore looks down.

Don't Look at Me!Stock PhrasesDon't Make Me Destroy You

alternative title(s): ptitle9rqjbn 08
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
17135
4