"Beware of fainting-fits… though at the time they may be refreshing and agreeable, yet believe me: they will, in the end, if too often repeated and at improper seasons, prove destructive to your constitution."If people in Real Life actually do faint when presented with a shocking development, it is an extremely rare occurrence. So rare that you may not have actually ever seen it anywhere but on TV or in the movies. Fainting in fiction usually takes one or more of the following forms:
- The Corset Faint: One of the oldest forms of the trope hanging around from the late unlamented days of the corset, when women were a deep breath away from being cut in twain.
- While not specifically being a faint per se, the phenomenon where a delicate Southern Belle responds to a dramatic situation by declaring, "Ah do believe ah have a case a' de vapours!" serves much the same purpose as a Corset Faint. It shows the fragility and delicacy of the heroine, done purposely as a theatrical ploy by the heroine or as an excuse to remove herself from a dramatic situation.
- Girly Man Faint: Occurs when a male character—usually the most cowardly member of the cast—is confronted with a nameless horror which causes him to faint dead away, sometimes letting out a little girly scream. Almost exclusively played for comedy.
- Anemia Faint: An affliction which seems to strike a very high proportion of Japanese shoujo heroines, causing them to black out at inopportune times and thus, give their love interests a convenient excuse to hold them and act all manly and protective. This is also true for people who have recently been Kissed by a vampire.
- Truth in Television to an extent. This is why you get an iron test when you give blood and the necessary threshold is set above what counts as anemic—you can faint while giving even if your iron is only slightly down. It's also one of the reasons why the nice folks at the donation center tell you not to do any heavy exercise for the next 12 hours.
- Fake Faint: A character pretends to lose consciousness in order to create a distraction. Tends to overlap with Corset Faint above, although it can be done by anyone in just about any time period.
- Pregnancy Faint: A slightly more dramatic way than Morning Sickness to indicate that a female character is now expecting. In real life, fainting while pregnant falls under the medical realm of syncope, as the baby is taking the blood that the pregnant person's brain needs. It is also very rare. (Dizziness is more common)
- The Monster Faint: Refers to a special subset of fainting that is rarely played straight these days, but was a big staple of '50s era monster/alien movies. A young, nubile heroine sees a hideous monster (or alien or gorilla) coming towards her and she faints, usually into the approaching monster/alien/gorilla's arms. Whereas in real life, faints last only a few seconds, the Monster Faint can last several minutes, or even several hours, if the plot dictates it. The "monster carrying an unconscious girl" motif was so popular during the '50s pulp movie era that movie posters would frequently feature a monstrous creature carrying a girl, even if no such scene appeared in the movie.
- Emotional Faint: When done well, this one can be thoroughly justified—in times of extreme high emotion, people do faint. However, such extreme levels of emotion that would make it realistic are actually fairly rare. This is also the reason that Breaking Bad News Gently involves the phrase "You better sit down".
- Exhaustion Faint: This one is used when a character is extremely tired from a great deal of exhaustion. This one is also Truth in Television, as fainting in exhaustion is caused by heat stroke or stress. See Power-Strain Blackout for a common form of this in fiction.
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The Corset Faint
- This is both played straight and parodied in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Early on, Elizabeth faints from her overly-tight corset; near the end, she pretends to faint in order to distract the local guards. In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, it's parodied again as she pretends to faint in an attempt to break up a fight between her current and former fiancés, and they both ignore her.
- The fact that she's not wearing a corset in the latter instance probably has something to do with the men ignoring her. The reason cited (the heat) is less-than-convincing coming from a convicted pirate/swordswoman who's spent more than her share of time in the tropics. That, and they're so focused on surviving their three-man swordfight that they continue to not notice her when she starts shouting and throwing clumps of sand.
Girly Man Faint
- Sleepy Hollow: In The Movie, the 'cowardly' Ichabod Crane is the hero and can't very well show true cowardice, so he tends to stick out any dangerous situation (like, say, any time the Headless Horseman shows up and makes with the headchopping) and then pass out once it's over.
- The Cowardly Lion (naturally) does this (minus scream) when he faces The Wizard of Oz.
- Guy's girly-faint upon seeing the evil reptilian aliens for the first time in Galaxy Quest. (See also Emotional Faint.)
- Happened to love interest Pike (not to be confused with Spike from the TV series) several times over the course of the BtVS movie, to the point where it became a running gag.
- Stirling from the Kit Kittredge movie does this twice after discovering hobos.
- Captain Spaulding does this in Animal Crackers as Mrs. Rittenhouse is hailing him for fearlessly journeying through Darkest Africa.
- Water (1985). Baxter Thwaites threatens to blow up the Spenco well using dynamite strapped to a member of the Cascaran Liberation Front. He holds a cigarette lighter to the fuse until everyone else puts down their weapons, whereupon the bomb guy promptly faints.
- In The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs, King Leopold faints when he realizes that he's going to be executed as a traitor if he can't convince anyone that he's himself and not his fugitive Identical Stranger cousin. Less for comedy than as one of the repeated reminders that Leopold is not an admirable manly man like the novel's hero.
- In an early episode of Stargate Atlantis, Rodney learns that the city is in danger and responds by promptly keeling over. After a brief moment of panic, his teammates are only too happy to inform him that he pulled one of these. He does it again before the end of the episode, only this time he's being heroic, and it's actually an Exhaustion Faint.
- Done without the scream on multiple occasions by Mr. Humphries in Are You Being Served?, typically as a silent collapse into the arms of his coworkers.
- Frank from M*A*S*H had been known to do this. Also Radar, particularly when he was around anything related to childbirth.
- In The X-Files episode "The Unnatural", Dales faints away upon seeing Exley's true alien form, and then faints again (and again, and again) when the alien revives him.
- Gomez in Addams Family Values.
- Gilligan in Gilligan's Island.
- Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory. See also Emotional Faint.
- A Running Gag in the Doctor Who episode "The Crimson Horror" has a minor character coming face-to-face with things like Madame Vastra or Strax for the first time and immediately, noiselessly fainting.
- Mr. Cake from Slice of Life does this periodically.
Mrs. Cake: "You get used to it, dear."
- Simmons in Red vs. Blue, upon seeing a teammate's head blow up. He fervently denies this, but a later flashback confirms it.
Simmons: "Eek! I'm gonna faint!"
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka faints (without screaming) upon seeing the pregnant woman give birth en route to Ba Sing Se.
- Timmy's dad does this regularly on The Fairly OddParents!.
- In The Powerpuff Girls, the museum curator does one of these in "Monkey See, Doggy Do".
- Vernon from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Scooby-Doo: Shaggy and Scooby, frequently.
- In the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney case "Turnabout Sisters," Phoenix faints once he sees Mia, who is dead and is the victim in the case. It's really Maya channeling Mia for the first time. Upon waking up and seeing her once more, he faints again. Lampshaded by Mia: "'GACK?!' Is that any way to treat your boss, Nick?"
Anime and Manga
- Miki seems to suffer from this quite a bit in Marmalade Boy, giving two of her potential love interests a chance to get closer to her.
- Brutally parodied with Hyatt in Excel Saga, who has the tendency to die at random moments, only to get up a moment (or a week) later as if nothing happened.
- Nagisa in Strawberry Panic! has fainted a few times in romantic scenes, apparently because Onee-sama Shizuma's presence is just that powerful. Usually it's only for a few seconds—just long enough to be caught by another character (who, surprisingly, is not always Shizuma), or fall to her knees but recover. However, the first time kept her out long enough to be moved from the field to her room quite some distance away, and for her roommate to have watched her for long enough for it to be creepy.
- Female Ranma, in the Picolet Chardin saga of Ranma ˝. Since Madame Saint-Paul does not allow her to eat at all unless she does it "properly," she loses weight at distressingly high rate. Coupled with intense speed and dexterity training, the stress this causes on her body culminates with her fainting from starvation, just as she has finally mastered the Gourmet De Fois Gras technique. The dramatic effect is ruined when, before hitting the floor, her head smacks into a watermelon, cracking it open (the watermelon, not her head.)
- Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon gives blood up for her injured friend earlier in the episode, and then faints while fighting. She fights through the pain to rescue Sailor Moon and defeat the youma alone.
- Yuki faints in Episode 11 of Betrayal Knows My Name due to exhausting himself from healing Tsukumo.
- This happens a few times in Mahou Sensei Negima!, usually to Nodoka, although once she was let in on The Masquerade *
- In Magical × Miracle, Merleawe, as the shojo heroine, faints; Vaith, as the Love Interest, catches her; and Yue lampshades it.
- Kyon of Haruhi Suzumiya uses this as explanation to Taniguchi when caught with Nagato in a compromising position.
Kyon: That's when Nagato, an anemic all her life suffered a seizure. As I lunged to catch her from falling to the hard linoleum floor, you came walking through the door.
Taniguchi: You liar.
- In Tsukihime, Shiki is a Rare Male Example, suffering from it after his backstory Near Death Incident. Like many female examples, it often serves the purpose of allowing his love interest to protect him and keep him safe, and throughout the story he ends up semi-regularly collapsing from it, especially in the Far Side routes where he's getting too close to figuring out the secret behind where it comes from.
- Two fan stories for The Lord of the Rings use a faint as a Plot Device to bring a girl from our world into Middle-earth.
- In Time Will Tell, Jorryn gets an odd ailment. The symptoms worsen until Jorryn faints in the USA. She somehow appears in the Shire, and remains unconscious for days, until she wakes up.
- In The Awkward Adventures of Meghan Whimblesby, when Meghan sees too much blood, she faints in her high school and wakes in Middle-earth.
- Kimberly of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has done this a time or two.
- Scully in The X-Files episode "Redux" faints in a meeting with Skinner and other FBI higher-ups after her cancer progresses to a dangerous point. She was about to tell the board who the mole was working in the FBI, and as Skinner catches her before she hits the floor, she whispers "You", implying that she believes he is the mole.
- Star Trek: The Original Series. When the effects of a Negative Space Wedgie causes members of the crew to start passing out, Kirk orders them given booster shots. McCoy is later shown injecting a line of Starfleet personnel— who are all female. Presumably tough spacemen are not in the habit of swooning. Or maybe they're just in a separate line being injected by Nurse Chapel?
- In Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, Jasmine's briefly fainting and being caught by Umeko (not a love interest... theoretically) replaces the usual Psychic Nosebleed.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Smith and Jones", Martha uses CPR to revive the Tenth Doctor, who has fainted dead away after having a life-threatening amount of blood drained by a plasmavore.
- One of many reasons (overlapping with emotional and exhaustion) why Yoshiki is known for fainting onstage during shows (and offstage as well...)
- Miho from MegaTokyo has this shortly after being introduced.
- Mio Kisaragi from Tokimeki Memorial 1 has this as one of her main traits. Suffering from anemia, she can faint at any moment. When she utters the memetic words "Memai ga..." ("I'm feeling dizzy..."), it's the signal of an impending black-out.
- In Violine, Violine fakes fainting to allow her to warn her father about Muller waiting outside.
- In Dave, the eponymous character performs one after confessing to the President's illegal actions and exonerating the Vice President, during the joint session of Congress. It works because the President (whom he had been impersonating) had suffered a stroke earlier in the movie, and this was used as a means of swapping Dave with the real coma-bound President after he chose to come clean about the President's illegal activities.
- Kitty Foyle accidentally triggers the burglar alarm at the department store where she works. Realizing she's about to get fired, Kitty pretends to faint. This not only works, it also introduces her to her handsome doctor boyfriend when he tends to her.
- Elizabeth pulls one of these in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest to try and keep the others from fighting over the chest with Davy Jones's heart inside. It doesn't work.
- In Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim, Bill Atkinson faints loudly and dramatically during a public lecture in order to aid the lecturer's escape. It doesn't quite work, as the lecturer (and title character) faints for real seconds after.
- Christine in Maskerade pulls this one whenever a play would call for the heroine to faint, usually Monster or Emotional Faint situations. Agnes notes with considerable scorn that she even falls in such a way as to avoid hurting herself when she lands.
- In the Dragonlance novel Dragons of Spring Dawning, when the elven princess Laurana is threatened with rape by the Dragonarmy officer Bakaris, she pretends to faint, and then when he moves in to catch her, punches him hard in the stomach.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart pulls a fake faint to try to steal a wand. It works too well, though.
- Casino Royale. A mook threatens to shoot James Bond with a silenced gun hidden in his cane unless he withdraws from the game, saying he'll be gone from the casino before anyone realises Bond hasn't just passed out. Instead Bond pretends to faint from the tension of the high stakes game, falling backward in his chair and knocking the weapon from the man's hands.
- In The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the heroine pretends to faint at her wedding to force a halt to proceedings and buy time after realizing that the man walking up the aisle is not her beloved but his Identical Stranger cousin.
- Game of Thrones: Ygritte, Jon's Action Girlfriend parodies swooning when he explains what it is to her.
- Mr. Scott pulled off a brief Fake Faint to distract and help disarm an intellectually-empowered, yet still-not-all-that-bright female alien in the "Spock's Brain" episode of Star Trek.
- Doctor Cox does this an episode of Scrubs to "demonstrate" how boring J.D.'s story is.
"Hope that hurt.""Totally worth it!"
- Used as a distraction in iCarly.
- In Frasier, Niles pretends to faint into a man's arms in the last of a long string of attempts to stop said man from throwing Frasier out of a party before he can seal an important deal vital to Niles and Frasier's latest "Fawlty Towers" Plot.
- In the Fawlty Towers episode "Gourmet Night", Basil is forced to introduce a man named "Twitchen" to another man who had a facial tic. He frantically tries to get out of it, and eventually pretends to faint for a moment.
- Angel. As Cordelia is both pregnant and a Fainting Seer, she uses one of these to stop Connor leaving at a crucial moment.
- In the Doctor Who story "The Monster of Peladon", Sarah Jane has Queen Thalira pretend to faint in order to distract the Ice Warrior guarding the door to the throne room.
- William Shakespeare play Macbeth. Done by Lady Macbeth in an attempt to draw suspicion away from her husband. Macbeth is being asked some very awkward questions about why he killed King Duncan's supposed assassins (instead of keeping them alive so they can tell who put them up to it). Her fainting diverts the attention of the questioner, and by the time everything is sorted out the king's sons have fled and Macbeth can put the blame on them.
- In Act I of The Marriage of Figaro, Susanna tries one of these, apparently to get her employer to leave her alone. Depending on the production, this may actually backfire if the Count decides to give her some air by loosening her clothes...
- In Act II of The Girl Of The Golden West, the heroine throws a poker game by pretending to faint so she can stash her cards in her blouse and pull out a winning hand from her stocking.
- Rachel from Tower of God pretended to faint after she heard that Baam had died. We know she's faking it because she killed him.
- Zira fainting in the movie Escape from the Planet of the Apes.
- This type is used a lot in the Carry On movies, mostly with the wives married to the womanising Sid James characters that he doesn't find attractive anymore.
- Happens several times in The X-Files episode "Requiem", which ends with Scully's pregnancy being revealed.
- Chloe from 24 discovered her pregnancy this way.
- Sissi must be the mother of this trope.
- Phoebe in Charmed fainted twice because of demonic pregnancy.
- Hatice Sultan of Magnificent Century faints early in her pregnancy. She didn't know she was pregnant until a physician was called after she fainted, to examine her.
- Roxie Hart from Chicago faked this to attract media attention and help influence the jury in her murder trial.
- Parodied in Of Thee I Sing, where President Wintergreen's impeachment proceedings are interrupted by his wife bringing the news that he's going to have a baby. He faints, and the Senators have no choice but to exonerate him, since they would never impeach an expectant father. (If you wonder how on earth a show from 1931 could parody a musical from 1975, see Adaptation Displacement.)
- In The Most Happy Fella, Rosabella finds out she's pregnant after she faints during a wild dance. The doctor tells her the truth, but tells Tony that she's "just a little dizzy from all the excitement."
- A Raisin in the Sun has Ruth fainting at the very end of the first act for this exact reason.
- In Dragon Quest V, your wife faints on the trip to Gotha. Eventually, it's revealed to be this trope when she faints again while meeting King Albert.
- Happened to Shannon in Queen of Wands due to gestational diabetes.
The Monster Faint
- Played painfully straight in Uncanny X-Men issue 148, when Kitty Pryde (thirteen years old if even that at the time) faints when kidnapped by Caliban (whom we were meeting for the first time, and who was much creepier than his later appearances would make him, but still...)
- Even more painful in Uncanny X-Men issue 11, where after The Stranger walks on air and through a wall, someone utters these gentlemanish words:
"Someone get a doctor! Women are faintin' like flies over here!!"
- Papa Smurf collapses in a faint in The Smurfs comic book story "The Smurfs And The Book That Tells Everything" when he gets so frustrated with his little Smurfs being so dependent on the titular book that he stamps his feet in anger.
- In Home with the Fairies, Maddie faints when she first sees an elf, one of an Inhumanly Beautiful Race. Before she faints, she feels "a strange preternatural sense of both awe and fear"; the elf "looks so perfect it was painful". Someone picks up Maddie and moves her to a bed, where she stays asleep until the next day.
- Done by Janet Weiss (SLUT!) when she sees Frank N. Furter for the first time in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- In 1995's Casper, both sassy teenager Kat and her father, James Harvey, faint (the former from meeting the ghostly hero for the first time, and the latter when Casper's trouble making uncles pull a surprise Nightmare Face on the Dr.
- In Shrek, a lady in the audience faints when Fiona reveals to Shrek that she turns into an ogre at sunset.
- In Young Frankenstein, while we don't actually see Elizabeth faint when the Monster kidnaps her, he later appears carrying her unconscious body in classic movie-poster style, which leads into their Black Comedy Rape scene.
- Having the narrator faint was a standard way for H.P. Lovecraft to finish his stories since it saved him having to explain how his very non-BadassNormals could live to tell the tale.
- In Dracula, we get a nice Gender Flip with Jonathan Harker pulling one of these fairly early on. Just as equally an emotional faint, however, as he had just been overtly harassed by three beautiful vampire-ladies and apparently his own host.
- In The Phantom of the Opera, when Raoul first comes face to face with Erik in the Perros graveyard, he faints. Crosses over with an emotional faint, since Erik had already been trying to freak him out by playing the ghost and throwing skulls at him.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:
- When the Dementors board the train in , Harry faints when they search his compartment, due to him reliving the death of his mother (he even hears her screaming). When Neville mistakenly reveals this to the Slytherns, Malfoy and his bunch try to pass it as a Frightened Faint.
- Later, when the Dementors attack him during the Quidditch match, he falls from his broom.
- He also faints when trying to defend his godfather, Sirius Black, from them, and casts his first Patronum spell to ward them off.
- This phenomenon popped up in several Mystery Science Theater 3000 movies, like Eegah!, The Phantom Planet and The Blood Waters of Dr. Z, which contains probably the most egregious example of this trope, with the kidnapped heroine managing to remain unconscious while being roughly carried through a hot, noisy, fetid swamp for several miles.
Crow: "Apparently women are devoid of the "fight-or-flight" reflex."
- The X-Files. Although Agent Scully is hardly the frail heroine, even she keels over when a ghost removes his hat to reveal a large shotgun hole through his head. Also played for laughs in "The Unnatural" when the cop protagonist in 1947 Roswell sees a Grey alien (who's been posing as a Negro baseball player) for the first time. The alien keeps trying to wake him up to explain things, but as soon as the cop does so he passes out again.
- In nearly every version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, April O'Neil does this on her first sight of the turtles, whereupon they pick her up and take her home. In a possible Running Gag, Michelangelo asks "Can we keep her?" in both the first movie and the second series just after she faints.
- In the first movie, April did not faint upon seeing the Turtles for the first time—her unconsciousness was due to being attacked by the Foot Clan before they got their ever-loving asses kicked by Raph. When she woke up in the sewer den, she freaked out instead, which ended up freaking the Turtles out as well.
- Splinter elicited a fainting reaction from Keno and Kenshin in the second and third movies, the latter being lampshaded.
Donatello: "You sure have a strange effect on people, don't you, Master?"Splinter: "Hmmmm...out cold."
- In The Magic Flute, Tamino faints when chased by a giant snake in the opening scene.
- A combination of this and Emotional Faint happens in Xenosaga, when Albedo intimidates the young Momo.
- Parodied on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic when a Flower Sister does this faced with a bunny stampede (normal sized bunnies, mind you, who were rather harmless).
Anime and Manga
- From Eroica with Love: Caesar Gabriel does this twice a chapter. (Yes, he was only around for two chapters, but still.)
- In Please Twins!, Karen fainting at any surprise or stress is a running gag, though like many such things, it tapers off as the series goes on. Becomes a bit less amusing when you consider the parent series, Please Teacher!, which had a condition called Standstill, in which a person can spend years in a coma-like condition (without aging) after too much extreme emotion. One of these days, Karen might not wake up for a long time...
- Emma of Victorian Romance Emma faints at a ball, partly because her corset is laced too tightly and from seeing William with Eleanor.
- Albert of Gankutsuou faints from when he accidentally drank water that was laced with poison.
- Hinata of Naruto is often depicted fainting whenever Naruto "surprises" her by randomly popping up inches away from her. In canon, she only did so once after seeing him for the first time in two years, and after that it's made patently clear that she dropped all of her Shrinking Violet tendencies during the Time Skip, but filler episodes, spin-offs, and fanfic have her do it more.
- In Tsukigasa, Azuma faints when Kuroe kills the robbers and it brings up trauma from when he hurt Kuroe.
- Barnaby in Tiger & Bunny faints in Episode 19. With good reason, as because he's been plagued by recurring nightmares about his parents' death (which he thought he'd begun to put behind him after seemingly finding their killer), and as a result has barely eaten or slept recently. When trying to discuss his fears with Kotetsu, Barnaby breaks down in tears and then passes out.
- A Running Gag in One Piece Film: Strong World is Xiao's tendency to faint whenever she's surprised. Because of how easy she is to surprise, she faints all the time.
- Chapter 742 of the series proper has an example which is both serious (due to being a plot point) and hilarious: Usopp is fed the fake grape that was intended to knock Sugar out. He screams so loudly and makes such a horrifying expression that it causes Sugar to scream her lungs out in return, and she faints as a result.
- Tubby does this as the end of Episode 20 of the Little Lulu anime, in response to his mother telling him that he'll be spending extra time on his violin lessons.
- King Dedede has fainted in the episode "Cartoon Buffoon" not once, but twice.
- Irresponsible Captain Tylor. When the ship is haunted by a ghost, Yuriko Star forces her cowardly captain to search for his first officer, whom Tylor ordered to confront the ghost because he was too scared to do so himself. Yuriko ends up fainting when she's confronted by a skeleton, much to Tylor's surprise. The ship's nurse explains that Yuriko was suppressing her fear, and the sudden shock caused all her emotions to come out at once.
- Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu,
- In the "What Do They Fear?" Episode, Kaname is scared out of her wits by all the spooky stuff in the Abandoned Hospital she takes Souske through to try and scare him. It's revealed that all the scary things they encountered were actually tricks performed by a group of kids, who were helping out a man nicknamed Gen-san, who wanted to stay undisturbed in the hospital; he kept getting harshly picked on, so they came up with those tricks to make everyone stay away from the hospital. The kids mention, however, that the old lady Sousuke and Kaname spotted wasn't one of their tricks; Gen-san notes that she was probably the ghost of a woman who died in a fire years ago. Kaname turns blue and faints before he can even finish his sentence.
- And when Sousuke tells the teacher that a lethal bacteriological weapon has been released in class, she keels over and spends the rest of the episode unconscious. Which is just as well, given all the lunacy that happens.
- Tintin: In The Castafiore Emerald. Bianca Castafiore and her assistant Irma faint when they hear that her jewels have been stolen. In The Seven Crystal Balls Madame Yamilah is a Fainting Seer.
- In Violine, Violine faints when hearing that Muller is Marushka's brother, and her "mother" is actually Marushka, her father's former governess
- In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon's mother, who was until this point mentioned several times how she doesn't want Kyon to become a delinquent, faints when she is told about her son's relationship with a Yakuza family. A relationship which, ironically, she was a strong supporter.
- John faints in With Strings Attached when he sees himself in the mirror for the first time and realizes that he's grown wings. He'd kind of worked himself up to it, given that he'd awakened in a strange bed, starving to death, with a growing panicky awareness that something was terribly, terribly wrong with him...
- Calvin faints in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series when his dad suggests getting a pug (after he'd spent the entire episode watching over one). In addition, Hobbes (a stuffed tiger to Dad) slumps over, and the MTM shuts itself off.
- This is a common reaction to abnormal things in the Calvinverse, really.
- Combined with Exhaustion in the (now discontinued) Star Trek fanfic And The Stars Were Shining Bright where Maddie (exhausted from no sleep, hasn't eaten in a couple of days, not to mention worried sick for her captive father) faints when she sees that the man she's contacted to kill is the same man who helped her flee a dangerous situation some fifteen months previously.
- Thumbelina. Mocked mercilessly by The Nostalgia Chick: "And like all animated heroines she has a tendency towards fainting. Boom! Unconscious!"
- In The Stinger of WesternAnimation.My Little Pony Equestria Girls Legend Of Everfree, upon seeing Pinkie Pie blow up the just-finished, brand-new dock, the girls are frozen in shock, except for Rarity who's so shaken she faints.
- In the cinematic series finale of Our Miss Brooks, Mr. Conklin faints when he learns the position he's been campaigning for pays only a nominal amount.
- In Jumanji, Sarah faints when she realizes Alan is standing on her doorstep. (And like the Sherlock example below, it's because she had thought he was gone forever).
- The Incredible Mr. Limpet. When George Stickel hears the supposedly drowned Henry Limpet's voice coming from the sea, he faints dead away—probably because he thinks he's hearing Henry's ghost.
- Back to the Future:
[Doc screams upon seeing Marty]
- Doc Brown faints at the end of Back to the Future Part II after Marty (whom he had just sent away in the time machine) reappears behind him.
Marty: Doc, calm down, okay, it's me! It's Marty!
Doc: It can't be! I just sent you back to the future!
Marty: I know, Doc, you did send me back to the future, but I'm back. I'm back from the future.
Doc: Great... Scott! [faints dead away]
Jennifer (seventeen): [gasps] I'M OLD!!
- Earlier on in the same movie, Marty's girlfriend Jennifer is accidentally brought into her future home. As she's about to leave, she comes across the 2015 version of herself:
Jennifer (forty-seven): [gasps] I'M YOUNG!!
[both faint simultaneously]
- In Jurassic Park, Alan Grant starts to faint upon Hammond's big reveal of living dinosaurs.
- In The Notebook, Allie faints during her wedding dress fitting when she sees Noah's picture in the newspaper.
- Superman. A helicopter crash almost causes Lois Lane to fall to her death. Superman makes his first public appearance by catching and saving both her and the falling helicopter. After he deposits her on the top of a building and flies away, she collapses to the ground in a dead faint.
- Happens twice in Batman:
- When Jack Napier's girlfriend Alicia Hunt comes home and discovers not only that he's not dead but that he's turned into the Joker, she faints dead away.
Joker: Honey? You'll never believe what happened to me today!
- The Joker goes to Vicki Vale's apartment and scares her out of her wits, including apparently killing Bruce Wayne. After the Joker leaves, Vicki Vale opens the box he left her. A hand holding a bunch of weeds pops out, and she collapses to the ground.
- When Jack Napier's girlfriend Alicia Hunt comes home and discovers not only that he's not dead but that he's turned into the Joker, she faints dead away.
- Men in Black. After the Bug gets into his new Edgar suit, Edgar's wife Beatrice tells him that "Your skin is hanging off your bones." The Bug pulls Edgar's face back into a horrible distorted mask and Beatrice faints dead away.
- Marianne nearly faints in Sense and Sensibility when she sees that her disappeared beau, Willoughby, is with another woman at a ball. Her sister Elinor and Mrs. Jennings catch her and keep her walking.
- Galaxy Quest: A fangirl does this upon seeing Jason and Gwen kiss.
- Joe, from The Devil and Miss Jones, has an Emotional variation of this when he finds out that Thomas Higgins is actually John P. Merrick.
- Subverted in The Silver Chair: Jill collapses to the ground when Eustace falls off a cliff and hopes she'll faint, but the author comments it's not that easy.
- Doctor Watson falls down in a dead faint when Sherlock Holmes suddenly appears in his study after having been thought dead for three years.
- In The Quiller Memorandum, Quiller is faced with torture. He attempts to delay it by putting himself into syncope, through breathing heavily then holding his breath to drop his blood pressure. It's an Emotional Faint because he is under massive stress and he uses that to make his enemies believe he is weak.
- In The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, during the island getaway episode, the shy time-travelling Mikuru faints promptly upon seeing the stabbed body of the mansion owner, and stays out of the action for a while under Yuki's supervision, providing Haruhi and Kyon an excuse to go exploring alone together.
- Occurs to such an extent in The Pickwick Papers, that Charles Dickens may well be parodying it.
- In the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon faints when his mentor, Brom, is fatally stabbed. But then, he faints at the end of almost every chapter, as well.
- This happens to Twilight's Bella a lot.
- Dante does this in Inferno to the point where many modern readers think of it as Girly Man Fainting. His spells are usually a symptom of extreme empathy with someone he meets in Hell, as in, "Oh my God, I identify with your suffering so much I just can't stand it. * thud* "
- Actually he only fainted twice in the Inferno. Once when he first enters Hell, due to a sensory overload, and another time in the circle of Lust, where he meets a couple that is the Romeo and Juliet of his time. That one was from empathy, due to his being in love with a woman from afar his whole life. (And a possible fangirl episode... they were pretty famous)
- Tamaris in Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born". Nearly being feed to a monster and finding yourself in the middle of a battle after months of Cold-Blooded Torture and isolation do make a good excuse.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's short And He Built a Crooked House, Mrs. Bailey repeatedly faints throughout the adventure in the tesseract house.
- In the book Double Star the heroine faints quietly and without fuss after an intense scene which probably means the ruin of all they've been working for. Later another character reveals precautions have been taken and they're safe - whereupon she faints again. Still, given what's at stake and the extended strain she's been under it's hard to blame her.
- In the Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Winter Night, the elven princess Laurana faints at a public banquet after her father calls her a whore, and her older brother gives her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Parodied mercilessly by Jane Austen in Love and Freindship [sic], from which the opening quote is taken.
- Cathy of Team Human faints upon being reunited with the boyfriend she thought had abandoned her, but it's pointed out that she also hadn't eaten much in the past week, what with her lovestricken distress and all.
- Bobbie Waterbury in The Railway Children manages to prevent a train from careening straight into a landslide via clever use of red petticoats, but has to stand on the tracks to do so. When the train finally manages to stop — just inches in front of her, as she's still standing on the tracks — she very understandably collapses in a dead faint. Jenny Agutter's rendition of the scene in the 1970 Film of the Book is iconic.
- Jane Eyre: Jane faints after she finds out that Mr Rochester, who was going to marry her, already has a wife.
- Christine's faint on stage during chapter 2 of The Phantom of the Opera is either this or an exhaustion type faint, since it is her first big performance.
- In the stories of The Arabian Nights, this happens over and over and over and over and over again, almost always in moments of high emotion, swooning faints of love.
- Ishmael from Don't Call Me Ishmael! faints during his first debate because he is so nervous. Everybody else sees it as a Girly Man Faint and thinks it's hilarious as Ishmael also accidentally gropes his Love Interest Kelly right as he faints.
- Red Dwarf has featured this version in a couple of episodes: Rimmer does it in "Psirens" after viewing a graphic demonstration of how and what the eponymous monsters eat, while in "Epideme" The Cat freezes up and keels over after seeing Kochanski apparently chop off her own arm. (Amusingly, in the latter case, he's just left lying on the floor, incredulous index finger still extended.)
- Olive does this in the fifth episode of Pushing Daisies when it seems a dead horse jockey's ghost is out to kill all the other jockey's from that race, which includes her. Justified-ish in that Pushing Daisies never pretended to be realistic medically or otherwise - later the "dead," jockey shows up really tall, because he was paralyzed so the doctors cut off his dead horse's legs and put them on him.
- Fawlty Towers.
- In "Communication Problems", Basil is robbed of his gambling winnings by Mrs Richards, then she's complaining it was "ten pounds short". When a man enters the hotel carrying a vase she bought the previous day and asks Basil if he knows her. He is so immensely frustrated that even the mention of her name makes him faint. (He does get straight back up though).
- At the end of "Basil the Rat", he also faints from the pressure.
- On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon tends to faint when he can't process the stimulus his brain is receiving; for example, when his hero Steven Hawking points out an arithmetic error in a paper Sheldon wrote.
- Spoofed in Game of Thrones when Jon Snow (born of a noble family) tries to explain the concept of swooning to his wildling girlfriend Ygritte — needless to say she mocks the idea mercilessly, having come from a society where people have to be tough to survive.
- A couple of seasons earlier, this is his sister, Sansa Stark's reaction to seeing their father, Lord Eddard, beheaded.
- In one episode of Night Court Dan keels over in relief after learning that he's just been the victim of Mac's elaborate prank, and hasn't literally sold his soul to the devil.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When her werewolf boyfriend Oz is suspected of having killed someone, Willow goes to the mortuary at night to get samples from the victim. As Xander and Cordelia retch and express their disgust at what's been done to the body, Willow is completely focused on the task, but on finishing, faints in their arms.
- Magnificent Century: After learning that she can marry the man she loves, Hatice passes out.
- In the Enemy at the Door episode "The Polish Affaire", Lady Diana Prideux faints dead away on finding an escaped prisoner hiding in her garden shed. When she recovers, it turns out that he's not just any escaped prisoner, but a man she loved and lost before the war.
- A recurring gag on Raising Hope as much of the show's comedy is based on secret revelations. In particular Jimmy does this several times in the 2-part season 2 finale upon hearing ludicrously illogical news about his baby's mother.
- Thoroughly justified in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard. In the course of the first act, Elsie Maynard is A. Forced to marry a condemned criminal to buy medicine to save her mother. In one of the other plots, Fairfax was framed in order that his cousin can inherit his fortune, but, by the terms of the will, he can shift the inheritance to another branch of the family if he's married, so he arranges with his guards to sort out a marriage with anyone whatsoever, for cash. B. She witnesses the highly-charged leadup to his execution by beheading, and, C. She then finds out he's escaped, meaning she, as a poor woman in Tudor times, is now permanently a criminal's wife. And being a moral woman, love is now forbidden her, because loving anyone else would be adultery. It is at this point she faints.
- At the end of Act II, the jester Jack Point, who is in love with Elsie Maynard, faints because Fairfax is pardoned and is married to Elsie.
- In Zone, Ciboulette faints during her interrogation when told that an American border patrol officer was killed, as she is afraid it was Tarzan who killed him.
- A mainstay of opera. To name just a handful of examples:
- Violetta in La Traviata, when Alfredo publically insults her (possibly justified, since she’s sick with tuberculosis).
- Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier, when he realizes Baron Och’s true character (again, possibly justified, since he’s mentioned early on to be in frail health).
- The title character in Rigoletto, when he realizes his daughter has been kidnapped, and again in the end, after she dies in his arms.
- Leonora in Il Trovatore, when Manrico rushes off to risk his life trying to save his mother.
- Santuzza and Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana, when Turridu’s death is announced.
- Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, when she finds her father’s corpse.
- Pamina in The Magic Flute, as Monostatos is harassing her, paralleling her love interest Tamino’s earlier Monster Faint.
- Sieglinde in Die Wälkure, first in guilt and fear over her Twincest with her brother Siegmund, and again after Siegmund is killed.
- Isolde in Tristan & Isolde, Charlotte in Werther, and Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, after their lovers die in their arms.
- Ace Attorney:
- Miles Edgeworth loses consciousness a few times due to his extreme seismophobia. He developed a fear of earthquakes after a traumatic experience in his past that resulted in the murder of his father.
- Happens twice to Ema Skye, once as she witnessed what she thought was a Serial Killer stabbing another man, and then two years later, when she realizes that she may have accidentally killed the aforementioned man.
- In the sixth game's final case, Rayfa faints while trying to perform the Divination Séance to show her father Inga's final moments.
- Jennifer, the protagonist of Rule of Rose keeps fainting at slightest provocation during the early cutscenes; they actually tend to mark the borders between chapters. But when she finds her inner courage in the last chapter, she can watch far more traumatizing sight than all the previous ones put together and keep her consciousness.
- Fiona in Haunting Ground upon learning that her pursuer, Riccardo, and her father, Ugo, are clones of the game's main antagonist and that Riccardo killed her father.
- Happens quite frequently in Ménage ŕ 3—characters often faint due to sheer embarrassment, sheer pleasure, or for other reasons.
- In a side story in Tales of the Questor, Arlen the biomancer suffers this when he discovers one field of his bauxite-purging plants is growing rubies and sapphires.
- The highly girly Nostalgia Critic does this in his review of Judge Dredd. He even does the hand to the forehead thing.
- Supermarioglitchy4s Super Mario 64 Bloopers has had Luigi faint from the shock of a Chain Chomp.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Rarity faints twice during the episode "Bridle Gossip." First, when she hears that mysterious zebra Zecora's stripes are not a fashion choice, but something she was born with, and then again when the other ponies list the "horrors" of The Everfree Forest.
- Rarity also faints in "A Dog and Pony Show" when Sapphire Shores asks her to make five more dresses in addition to the one she just made.
- Applejack also ends up fainting in "Applebuck Season" after believing she's finished her apple-picking all by herself, only to be shown an acre that still needed to be picked. In the latter case, it's likely justified, as Applejack was suffering from severe sleep deprivation in addition to the shock, thus crossing over with the Exhaustion Faint.
- Played for laughs in American Dad! when Stan outs Terry as a homosexual to his homophobic father. Terry faints into his lover's arms in the most girly way possible (practically emulating Rarity, above), and Stan, drunk off his ass, calls him out on it.
Stan: That's not how a straight guy faints. This is how a straight guy faints! [faceplants]
- A Kind of Magic does this multiple times.
- Used big time in the Oggy and the Cockroaches episode "Docu-Mentally", made by the same creators. After discovering Dee Dee removing the tape from his, well, video tape, he falls to the ground and passes out this way in shock. The cockroaches then proceed to film themselves playing around with Oggy's body and then send it to television. The result? Well, yeah...
- Played straight in Adventure Time by Marceline of all people. She got a little...overwhelmed by the discovery that her old friend and father figure Simon had been freed from the ice-crown's curse.
- Los Trotamúsicos: In this adaptation of The Bremen Town Musicians the mayor's wife usually fainted whenever a situation became too much for her, complete with her falling into the arms of her husband.
- Invoked at the end of the Gravity Falls episode "Not What He Seems", when the Author of the journals comes out of the portal in Stan's secret lab, on top of him being Stan's long-lost twin brother.
Mabel: Is this the part where one of us faints?
Soos: Oh, I am so on it, dude. (faints)
- In King of the Hill episode "Revenge of the Lutefisk," Bobby accidentally starts a fire which destroys the community church. He spends an entire day consumed with shame and remorse, and the next day, upon hearing an official announcement that the police are on the trail of the "arsonist," the sheer terror on top of it all drives him into a faint.
- Ned's Newt: Ned does this when he finds out that the parents of a baby that he thinks will play at a New Year's pageant actually live in another town other than Friendly Falls.
- Stan does this in the South Park episode "The Cissy" when his father Randy tell him that he is Lorde and proves to him that he's not making it up.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Krusty Dogs", Mr. Krabs takes away Krabby Patties from the Krusty Krab menu and puts hot dogs in their place. SpongeBob's reaction is to faint from shock, just as two paramedics immediately arrive and revive him. SpongeBob however faints again upon seeing Mr. Krabs take out the kitchen oven.
- Horrid Henry, out of the fear of injections, faints from his brother Perfect Peter's explanation about the aforementioned injections.
Anime and Manga
- Played for laughs in Pokémon when, in the episode Here Comes the Squirtle Squad, Ash keeps getting very unlucky on his way to get a super potion for Pikachu. After being barely able to walk, Ash notices the shop and as he is about to enter, Gary opens the door right in his face. He mumbles "I beg your pardon," and then faints out of exhaustion.
- In Travels of the Trifecta, Paul faints from exhaustion and illness after having won his Mine Badge.
- Blondie from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly passes out after Tuco marches him through a blisteringly hot desert (and, more importantly, after he learns the location of $200,000 in gold from a dying Confederate soldier).
- X-Men: Apocalypse: Professor X loses consciousness after each time he's Mind Raped by the eponymous villain. Nightcrawler passes out after he simultaneously teleports several members of the X-Men before their jet crashes.
- In National Velvet, the title character faints from exhaustion after winning the climactic horse race. This is what leads to the on-site doctor examining her and discovering her true gender.
- Game of Thrones: Still very sick and weak from recent events, Jaime passes out in a moment of high emotion in "Kissed By Fire".
- Sesame Street absolutely loves this trope, particularly with Grover.
- The Bridgemen did this en masse at the end of their 1978 show after holding an Incredibly Long Note.
- In Girl Genius, Gil manages to just barely avoid this in public after his single-handed victory over a small army attacking Mechanicsburg;
Gil: I—I could have handled that.Jenka: Ov cozz. Now, lean on me all sobtle-like before hyu falls down.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! — Bob has suffered exhaustion faints a few times: twice after climbing partway up a mountain, and once after having suffered a head injury and losing a fair amount of blood.
- Mr. Bogus and Brattus both do this at the end of the first act of the episode "Waterboy Bogus", after a harrowing experience involving an orca.
- In Disney's Cinderella, when Gus and Jaq are carrying the key up the stairs, Gus faints when he sees that there are still many more steps to go and he's already tired.
- During the Animaniacs sequence "All The Words In the English Language," Yakko faints from exhaustion right before getting to the final word, but then he wakes up and says it, completing the song. He then does an Emotional Faint from shock at the very end when Dick Button announces that next time, Yakko will sing all the numbers above zero.
- In A Snowflake In Spring, the already emotionally frail Elsa faints upon seeing her Love Interest Anna dressed in a gorgeous ballroom gown.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Step by Step, Kirk (who is sick with the flu and has been trying to ignore it) can barely keep himself upright after Spock drags him off the bridge, and before he can get into bed, he loses consciousness. Fortunately, Spock is there to catch him.
- At a certain point, Chuck Noland from Cast Away faints... from the pain of removing his own rotten tooth. With a rock and an ice skate.
- Gesta Danorum: When Odin makes snakes appear on the eyes of the boy Sigurd Ragnarsson, Sigurd's nurse faints in terror at the sight.
- Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.: Nancy does this when she gets her period for real. Margaret isn't amused.
- Kaamelott: Happens on occasion, pretty much only to male characters.
- Bohort is afraid of every animal scarier than rabbits and pheasants (including those). So after Arthur spends half an hour trying to convince him there are no wild animals in or around the camp, Leodagan shows up saying he was just taking a leak and a bear came out of the bushes, well...
- Perceval once faints when Arthur, having guilt-tripped himself over his abusive treatment, speaks kindly to him.
- When one episode has Perceval appearing to have become intelligent, Arthur faints.
- Father Blaise faints on hearing the tritone (diabolus in musica) in person.
- M*A*S*H: Attempted by one Corporal Max "I-want-outta-this-rotten-stinking-Army" Klinger after being told by Major Winchester that he'd just recently read about a man discharged from the Army for fainting. After hearing the usual symptoms preceding a faint, Klinger promptly faints. Winchester, not at all impressed, proceeded to correct Klinger by telling him that people usually fall forward when they faint. Klinger recovers, says that he was just testing, and promptly does it again.
- In La Bohčme, Mimí faints immediately after making her entrance in Act I. This serves as early foreshadowing of her fatal illness, which isn't properly revealed until Act III.
- The Defenders of the Earth episode "A Demon in His Pocket" contains a scene where Mandrake is apparently taken ill on live TV, sending Lothar hurrying onto the studio floor. It turns out that there's nothing physically wrong with Mandrake, whose collapse was brought on by his sensing the presence of the demon Shogoth.