Robert: Is this a habit of yours, falling off of stuff?
Well, usually someone catches me.
A woman literally
falls into a man's arms. It's a dramatic and romantic scene, so it's naturally a common setup for Meet Cute
It's also such an old trope that it has standard subversions and parodies. Played straight, it's almost always a man successfully catching a woman. It can be subverted by having the falling woman squash her would-be hero, or by having her miss him entirely, especially with animation's Amusing Injuries
or if the girl was deliberately trying to invoke this trope by pretending to faint or something.
Because Falling into His Arms is so romantic, it can be easily parodied by having a man
fall into a man's arms, for a bit of comedic Ho Yay
. That can also be combined with one of the standard subversions.
Another old variation is for a man to be the waiting arms beneath the windows of a burning building, when a mom decides that her baby would have a better chance of surviving if she tossed it. More intense drama, no romance (unless the mom survives, is single, and is sufficiently impressed).
The baby Falling into His Arms has two standard subversions too. One is for the man to miss the catch, and the other is for it to turn out to be something else wrapped up in swaddling clothes, such as an ugly pet. Or an ugly baby, for that matter. Maybe he wouldn't have gone to the trouble to save that face.
A standard parody of the baby toss is for the woman to toss an ever-growing number of increasingly large and heavy objects into her hero's waiting arms, until eventually — wait for it — he gets squashed
. Because it's funny!
In all such cases, it's Not the Fall That Kills You
Compare Catch a Falling Star
and Diving Save
. May overlap with Rescue Hug
Examples of falling adults:
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Anime & Manga
- Life Is Beautiful, though it was a short fall into hay and she probably would have been fine without him.
- Played straight AND subverted to good effect in the movie Enchanted — in the fairy tale world Prince Edward easily catches Princess Giselle in his arms in a straightforward fashion. Later, in "real world" New York, Princess Giselle falls on Robert and knocks him over. (Which is probably what would really happen if a woman fell on a man.)
- If you've seen the ending of the film, this trope gets inverted! After Robert wakes Giselle with True Love's Kiss, Narissa transforms into a dragon, kidnaps Robert and goes to the top of the Woolworth Building. Later, she falls down to her death, and Giselle, who chased after Narissa, catches Robert and both managed to stay on the roof, away from sure death. To add effect to the scenes, they pulled an ironic echo of the "Is this a big habit of yours, falling off stuff?" question.
- Done for laughs in the in the live-action film of Little Women with Winona Ryder. Meg, Jo, Laurie and John Brooke return from an evening at the theater, and as they exit the carriage, Jo raves about the lead actress being "a wonderful swooner."
Jo: If only I were the swooning type! [dramatically falling from the carriage]
Laurie: [sardonically, watching her fall] If only I were the catching type.
- Used in 9, when 9 rescues 7 from The Seamstress.
- This is how Ana meets Christian in Fifty Shades of Grey.
- Jane Eyre faints after learning that Mr. Rochester already has a wife, even though he was going to marry her. Mr. Rochester catches her.
Live Action TV
- Variation on Pushing Daisies: Due to Ned being Blessed with Suck, when his love interest trips right in front of him he has to step out of the way to avoid touching her, leaving room for someone else to swoop in and be the hero. He gets the girl anyway, but not before he nurses his inferiority complex for a while.
- In Once Upon a Time, Rumpelstiltskin catches Belle when she falls ripping down curtains. 'Cause they're falling in love.
- Subverted in "The Frogs and the Lobsters" of Horatio Hornblower. Horatio escapes through a window and climbs down a wall, running away from a frenzied mob of French villagers who might want to behead him as he's a British Navy officer fighting for French Royalists. He persuades his Love Interest Mariette to go with him, and tells her to jump. He fails catching her, though. She hurts her leg, which makes their escape much harder. And surprisingly, Horatio averts another logical romantic gesture — Bridal Carry. He doesn't carry her and Mariette must keep hopping, leaning on his shoulder.
- Non romantic example in Teen Wolf. When the still human and epileptic Erica falls of a climbing raft on the gym while mid seizure Scott catches her easily thanks to his werewolfy superpowers. Later she tries to seduce him, but admits that she is not particularly attracted to him and had a crush on Stiles for the longest time. And Scott of course only has eyes for Allison.
- The Superman example is discussed on The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon insisting that Lois' fall from that height into Superman's arms of steel would have divided her into three slices. "Frankly, the most humane thing he could have done for her was to let her hit the ground."
- In Final Fantasy XII, the main character catches Amalia in just this fashion.
- The dramatic version is also used in FFVIII when the team stages a commando raid on the facility about to freeze the love interest. Squall smashes the tank and Rinoa falls forward into his arms.
- Somewhat subverted in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, when Luigi's parachute gives, and the shiny bishounen Prince Peasley holds his arms out to catch him... only to have Luigi knock him aside and the two to hit the ground anyway.
- In Psychonauts one of Milla's Memory Reels shows this happening with her and Sasha (that's a guy with an arguably Gender-Blender Name, for the record).
- In Fire Emblem, Florina the Pegasus Knight with a crippling phobia of men falls out of the sky and lands on Lord Hector of Ostia after she escapes from the siege of Castle Caelin and reaches for Eliwood and Hector's group to get help. Played for laughs when it is revealed that her Pegasus landed on him also. And for heartwarming if you make them reach an A support and see Florina trying to thank Hector for catching her, succeeding only at the end... and later they get Happily Married.
- Non romantic (maybe) version in The King of Fighters XIII: Adel Berstein catches his younger sister Rose in his arms when she almost collapses after being released from Botan's Brain Washing at the end of the game.
- Scratch invokes this trope in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, when after he dresses to seduce Sonic, he deliberately trips and lands in Sonic's arms.
- Happens a lot in Teen Titans with Robin and Starfire, usually with Starfire getting knocked out of the air by something and Robin rushing to catch her.
- This is how Will and Caleb meet on W.I.T.C.H..
- Well, they're kids, but Phineas and Ferb inverts this in one episode where Phineas is falling to his near-death, gets saved by an impromptu trampoline his love interest Isabella comes up with and bounces off of it into her arms.
- Inverted twice in Avatar: The Last Airbender, where Katara catches Aang.
- An absolutely fantastic subversion is in Justice League Unlimited when Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Superman are all turned into eight year olds and while they're fighting giant toy soldiers, Batman gets dropped and Wonder Woman catches him. He then crawls out of her embrace with his patented Bat-Scowl, insisting, "Leggo, I'm fine!" while she gives him an indulgent smile. It bears mentioning that grown up Wonder Woman has a bit of a thing for grown up Batman.
- In a Gender Flip episode of Adventure Time, Fionna and Prince Gumball are both falling, then Fionna somehow manages to land first and catch Gumball.
- Young Justice: In the credits of the Show Within a Show Hello Megan, Megan falls off a wall and into the arms of her love interest.
Examples of tossed babies:
Live Action TV
- Parodied (in a skit based on an old joke) on The Benny Hill Show. Benny plays a soccer goalie who assures the woman in the burning building that he can easily catch her baby. Which he does. And then, ever the goalie, he follows up by kicking the baby into the crowd.
- Spoofed in the Ren and Stimpy cartoon "Firedogs!", where a fat, middle-aged housewife in a burning building tosses various heavy objects onto Ren, including a comically oversized baby ("Save my baby! Save my horse! Save my walrus! Save my elephant!"), then shrieks "Save me!" as Stimpy sends Ren up the fire truck ladder at high speed.