Nothing like a nice relaxing day at home. Sitting around, with a book, no distractions, no annoyances, just a nice, quiet-BZZZZZZZZZZZ!
Or not. There's a bug buzzing around your head, making it impossible to relax. Could be just a fly making trouble, but even worse, it could be a mosquito or a bee, just waiting to sting you when your back is turned.
The worst part is, it just won't go away, no matter how hard it gets swatted it just won't leave. So, of course, zanier and zanier schemes are required to get rid of it. After all, a baseball bat's big enough, it should be the perfect thing to whack a fly with, right?
Of course, what generally causes the most trouble isn't the bug itself, but the character's increasingly extreme attempts to get rid of it, unless the bug itself is a trickster. Generally, the character will only hurt themselves with their angry attempts to rid themselves of the pest, or, at the worst, end up destroying their perfect afternoon, while the fly gets away scott free.
This has happened to everyone.
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- There was an ad for Tabasco sauce where a man was eating pizza on his porch, putting a good dollop of Tabasco sauce on each bite. A mosquito landed on him, bit him, flew off, and blew up, engendering a satisfied nod & smile from the man. One might surmise that he did this on purpose to get back at them.
- An online advert for Schick - "ridding the world of irritation" - depicted a lab technician angrily shooing away a fly... until it lands on a mirror. The technician smugly pulls out a can of shaving foam and sprays the fly into oblivion.
- The first two trailers for Angry Birds had the evil pigs distract the birds this way in order to steal their eggs.
Anime and Manga
- In Azumanga Daioh, Tomo had a scene where she rampaged across the classroom trying to obliterate a cockroach that had flown in. Desks were overturned, students were catapulted into the sky, and much chaos ensued.
- In the first episode of Shinryaku! Ika Musume, the title character tries to swat a bug with her Combat Tentacles, but ends up punching a hole in the wall of the Lemon Beach House, thus kicking of the plot by indebting her to the Aizawa sisters.
- In Nichijou, Yuko is lying in bed trying to go to sleep with a mosquito deflector buzzing close by. The deflector obviously wasn't doing its job; Yuko ended up flying out of bed and karate-chopped the mosquitoes right out of the air.
- There was an Archie comic where a fly kept bothering Archie in school, with his attempts to swat it getting him in bigger and bigger trouble.
- In the Tintin book Tintin Land Of Black Gold, Dr Müller swats away a wasp and in the process, accidentally knocks off everything on his desk - including a box of sneezing powder, which causes Tintin (in disguise) to blow his cover.
- In the Robin Williams movie Toys, Colonel Leland Zevo shoots himself in the foot trying to end this.
- The Hell Hotel in Barton Fink has a mosquito in Barton's room. He finally swats it one morning when it lands on Audrey, sleeping next to him… and she doesn't wake up.
- Invoked in The Karate Kid by Mr. Miyagi who explains to Daniel-san the tradition of trying to catch a fly with chopsticks for good luck (if successful). Something—he notes—he himself hasn't even managed.
- In The Pink Panther Strikes Again it was a bee, which Clouseau was chasing with a mace. He destroyed a priceless Steinway piano (Not anymore) when he swatted it. He then told the beekeeper that he might be missing a bee.
- In Caddy Shack, Carl the groundskeeper is attempting to eradicate one gopher, and ends up blowing up the club's golf course.
- MouseHunt is an entire movie of this. It ends happily.
- Used as an Establishing Character Moment in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Smiley is in a car with his coworkers when a bee starts flying around. Everyone tries to swat it ineffectually while Smiley calmly waits for the right moment and opens the window allowing it to leave.
- In Animorphs all the main characters ends up morphing flies and Jake gets a fly as his cover morph in The Capture. Later in The Warning he almost dies after being swatted in fly morph.
- One of La Fontaine's fables has a man become good friends with a bear. One day, the bear notices a fly buzzing around the sleeping man's head, and will not go away no matter how many times he swats at it. So he grabs a brick and hurls it at the fly, obliterating it (along with the guy's head. The fable's moral? 'Better a wise enemy than an ignorant friend.'
- In the House episode "The Itch," House is bugged by a mosquito bite all day. That evening he chases the bug around his house with a rolled up magazine, accidentally breaking off a propane tanks valve and lighting his gas stove. The obligatory explosion is revealed to be all just a dream.
- On Top Gear's Bolivia special, Richard Hammond (who genuinely dislikes bugs and creepy-crawlies) has a series of minor freakouts when he discovers insect life in his tent and car.
- One of the early episodes of Sports Night featured Casey being plagued by this on the air, resulting in a noticeable flinch. Nobody else sees the fly (including his co-host sitting two feet away) and he is mocked relentlessly for appearing nuts. Later, after a Sorkin Relationship Moment with Dana, she sees it too.
- When this happens to Londo Mollari, he does not screw around.
- Happened in one Mr. Bean episode. And in a couple others too.
- In Married... with Children, Al enters full combat with a rabbit, with predictable results.
- Breaking Bad has a rather famously ludicrous episode based entirely around catching a fly that got into their meth lab.
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has a variant, where one Monster of the Week is a Sizeshifter who manages to get into the Humongous Mecha. When he gets into the cockpit, the more Hot-Blooded Gokaiger pull out their guns and start shooting at him, damaging the equipment. Shortly thereafter he manages to get inside Gokai Yellow's costume, and Gokai Pink's use of bug spray to get him out causes him to punch a giant hole in the fuselage during his escape.
- The Worst Year of My Life, Again: After getting ice cream in his hair, Alex is plagued by a bee following him around. When it gets trapped inside a zorb with him, his attempts to escape it set off a string of Disaster Dominoes.
- Phil Collins' "Don't Lose My Number" has a scene in which Phil's face is superimposed on a computer-animated cartoon fly's body. As the music fades out, we see the real Phil, whose eyes are following the "fly." Eventually, it lands on the back of his neck; he swats it with his hand and asks, "So, how does it end?"
- A few Garfield strips had Garfield either getting bothered by flies or trying to swat flies that enter the house.
- The Popeye short Flies Ain't Human (1941, remade in 1949 as The Fly's Last Flight) uses this as the plot. The fly eventually gets into Popeye's spinach and, well, Hilarity Ensues.
- The Pink Panther had a lot of trouble with both a hungry fly (who eats up all his food) and a flea (who itches him like crazy, then eats up all his food). In the first case, he sends the fly away by mail, only for it to return with a Stamp Gag.
- There was also a fly that he tried to kill with karate, wrecking some of his own furniture ... before it turned out the fly also knew martial arts, flipped him a time or three, and then twisted his arm and threw him out of the house.
- The What A Cartoon! Show's "Raw Deal In Rome", which notably had an extremely unsettling ending.
- Beavis and Butt-Head have their "Die, fly, die!" episode. In their efforts to kill the fly, they hit each other with shovels, chainsaw the furniture, break a window, and use enough bug spray to knock themselves out. And then a whole swarm of flies comes in through the broken window.
- There was a Bugs Bunny cartoon similar to the "Raw Deal In Rome" above, with Bugs trying to conduct an orchestra.
- In the Darkwing Duck episode "Stressed To Kill," a fly interrupts DW's attempt to relax, and he goes after it in a manner that destroys the room and renders him even more stressed.
- The Justice Friends episode "Bee Where?" is based around this. The three desperately try to get a bee out of their apartment. In the end they leave the bee alone in the apartment and move their things outside, saying they showed the bee who's boss.
- Codename: Kids Next Door had an episode where a fly got into the tower, with Numbuh 1 and 4 trying to get rid of it (Numbuh 4 in the textbook overly violent self-destructive way), Numbuh 2 wanting to make a machine based off it, and Numbuh #3 trying to have a tea party with it. Things get increasingly weird as they each try to get to it, until it lands on Numbuh #5, who catches it effortlessly and then gently releases it out the window. Too bad the fly was a spy-machine all along.
- The was once an adaptation of the story The Bear and the Fly. It involved a Papa Bear taking a flyswatter and inadvertently knocking out his wife, his daughter, and even the dog before finally knocking himself out when the fly landed on his nose. Overall, the fact that it wasn't presented in an over-the-top fashion made it somewhat unsettling.
- The presence of a bee causes a lot of havoc in the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon The Band Concert.
- In the intro to the old animated series COPS note , while silently robbing a museum, villian Mc Boom Boom gets irritated by a fly and blows up several valuable pieces of art, summoning the police.
- Happens in Heavy Metal Mater, where the real reason why Mater started a heavy metal band is because while in the recording studio, the Drummer Pitty was forced to play the drums faster in order to shoo away a VW Beetle, therefore prompting Mater and his two guitarists Rocky and Eddie to play faster.
- In Country Buzzin, a Laurel and Hardy cartoon, the boys go to the country to relax, but a mosquito torments them.
- One gag on Family Guy had the family getting annoyed at a fly repeatedly failing to fly out of an open window.
- "Get outta here, you fucking fly!"
- A possibly apocryphal blunder from an accident claims report, as told by Richard Lederer in Anguished English, says "In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole."
- In an effort to get rid of some bugs, a homeowner used twenty bug bombs. The directions say to use 1. The result is the homeowner's home was destroyed, but the bugs were no worse for the wear.