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Five-Finger Fillet

Bronn: There's a Braavosi knife game I can teach you.
Tyrion: Does it involve loss of fingers?
Bronn: Only if you lose.

The Five Finger Fillet is when a character places his hand palm-down on a table, spreads his fingers, and begins stabbing between them with a knife, trying to go as fast as possible without hurting himself. Screwing this up, which gets easier as the 'game' goes on, can certainly result in fingore.

This can be a way to establish a character as a hardened criminal or a Knife Nut, or just generally Badass. However, if the work is farther to the silly side on the Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness, it's more likely to be done by a character who doesn't fit the usual stereotypes, playing the contrast for humor.

The game is also called "mumblety-peg", "the knife game", "nerve" and "bishop.".

Examples:

Anime
  • Baccano!: Claire Stanfield does this for fun with Chic's scissors in "Drugs & Dominoes".

Film
  • The young hitchhiker in Knife in the Water does this, intimidating the middle-aged man that picked him up.
  • Aliens: Bishop (pictured above) does this with his hand over Hudson's to demonstrate his superhuman reflexes. Leads to his Robotic Reveal. note  [1]
  • Surviving Picasso: As in Real Life, Picasso becomes attracted to Dora Maar when she cuts her fingers doing this
  • In The Hangover: Part 2 Teddy lost his right ring finger attempting this; it was then claimed by a drug-dealing monkey. Fuckin' Bangkok.
  • In Populaire, Louis Echard does this to himself in order to convince his ex-girlfriend to give piano Lessons to Rose Pamphyle. He is later seen bandaging his hand with the help of Rose.
  • In Ted, Ted does this with a guy and eventually stabs the man's finger.
    Ted: Well, you never shoulda trusted me, I'm on drugs!
  • Discussed in The World's End. Andy has a scar on his middle finger from a failed attempt to re-enact the scene from Aliens, which he reveals to prove that unlike Aliens, he is not a robot.

Literature
  • A variation occurs in Neverwhere. Mr Croup places his hand against a wall and throws several razor blades at it, landing in the spaces in between. Mr Vandemar is unimpressed with the fact that he missed all his fingers.

Live-Action Television
  • In the BBC documentary series Simon Schama's Power of Art, Pablo Picasso meets his future mistress Dora Maar when she cuts her fingers doing this
  • In Boardwalk Empire, Jimmy expertly plays the game with his old trenchknife in "Family Limitation," establishing him as a Knife Nut who's still not over the war. Capone's unfamiliarity with the game tips Jimmy off that he wasn't really in the war.
  • In an episode of Eerie Indiana involving supposed subliminal messages in punk rock bands' songs, a character du jour was seen doing this.
  • The IT Crowd has Moss do this with a steak knife in one episode with surprising skill.
  • The unaired pilot of Fearless has a bad guy do this to Gaia, in order to get some reaction out of her. Presumably fear, but this is Gaia we're on about.
  • In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the opening episode of Red Dwarf, Chen can be seen doing this (badly) with a pen.

Video Games

Web Animation

Web Comics
  • Marilith: When Dim and Vics are introduced, Vics stabs himself while doing this.
  • In Cwen's Quest, one of the new villains shows off by performing this on a fairy.
  • In Gnoph, Abbey injures her fingers doing this and laments that she used to be able to do it perfectly.
  • Spoofed in this Camp Weedonwantcha strip.

Web Original
  • Rusty Cage's Knife Game Song (first version, full version) has gone viral and was followed by many copycats singing the song while playing the game.

Western Animation
  • Homer attempted this in an episode of The Simpsons, and managed to stab his fingers every single time.
    Marge: Homer! No knife games on the kitchen table!
    Homer: It didn't hit your precious table.
  • Samurai Jack: Occurs in the episode "Jack versus Mad Jack"
  • In Stressed Eric, a man in the hospital queue does this with his hand resting on his thigh. He seems quite happy to repeatedly stab his thigh, but screams in pain when he misses and hits his finger.
  • One episode of King of the Hill brings up the game, with a prison inmate saying that he doesn't know what it's called. Peggy suggests the name "Stab Scotch".
  • An episode of Spongebob Squarepants has one fish doing this to another fish. The first fish ends up going faster and faster while the fish holding his hand out starts sweating bullets. Eventually he lands on a finger, although he acts like he won whatever they were doing.
  • Beavis can be seen briefly doing this in an episode of Beavis And Butthead. Naturally, he ends up poking himself.
  • Rico can be seen doing this in the Madagascar short The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper, with the visual gag that, as a penguin, its really more of a one flipper fillet. Skipper tells him to stop as this is inappropriate behavior for the dinner table, so he grudgingly does, but takes a moment to rub his flipper over the serrated edge of the knife when he makes sure no one is looking.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Last Mabelcorn", a gnome is seen playing it with an acorn instead of a knife.

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