Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!

aka: Bright Slap

"When a man strays from the right path, a kind man needs the courage to raise his fist and correct him."
Jamil Neate, After War Gundam X

The hero has just gone off the deep end under stress. Proving himself to be Not So Above It All, he grows increasingly hysterical, mean, unresponsive or (w)angsty, at a time when his team needs his unaffected ability the most. How do you fix him?

With human-centered Percussive Maintenance, of course!

His Sidekick, Distaff Counterpart, right-hand man or woman, love interest (specially the ladies of the Tsundere or Broken Bird kind) or superior jolts him back to his senses with a sharp slap or a straight-up punch to the face, and occasionally a retort for him to get his head out of his ass already (see entry title for the archetypal one). The shame-faced hero says something along the lines of "Thanks. I needed that." Less appreciatively he'll say "Not even my dad hits me!", but will eventually calm down.

Alternatively in a program wanting to limit the potential for imitation violence, a glass of cold water may be used to bring the subject back to their senses.

Might overlap with the Dope Slap. May also be used on a Hysterical Womaneven by a man. Similar in spirit, but not so much in execution, to Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off. Compare with Quit Your Whining, in which it is verbal, but this trope can be used to spice it up. If you need to lay a full-on beating to snap someone out of it, see Beat the Curse Out of Him. A form of Tough Love.

The MythBusters tested a myth based on this trope and found that — at least when dealing with someone who's merely tired and frazzled — a slap to the face does help the slapped person regain his or her focus. Apparently the surprise and minor pain of a slap kicks in the 'fight or flight' response and temporarily boosts adrenaline and related hormones. Nevertheless, it should be applied with extreme caution, as smacking someone when you don't know what's wrong with them can easily do more harm than good.

For reassembling after destruction, see Pulling Themselves Together. Also not to be confused with A Date with Rosie Palms.


Other examples:

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    Fan Works 
  • Gohan had to punch Goku in the cheek in an attempt to get Goku to snap out of being frozen in terror after Vegeta went Super Saiyan 3 in Goku's Wish: The Return of Broly. Subverted in that it doesn't quite work.
  • The Child of Love: In chapter 9 Misato is trying to get Shinji moving to go with her and save Asuka, but the sudden shock has paralized him, so she resorts to slap him to get him focused:
    Misato:"Grab your stuff off the floor and put it on in the car! I told you, there's no time to waste!"
    Shinji:"Will you at least tell me what's going on!!!!?"
    Misato (losing patience):"ASUKA'S GONNA GIVE BIRTH SOON!!!!!! Now hurry up, Shinji-kun!"
    Shinji:"No...what the...?"
    He stands there trembling.
    Misato:"Hurry UP!"
    Misato slaps him. Shinji doesn't even flinch.
    Misato:"You're supposed to be a man now. ACT like a man! Come with me, NOW!"
    He then grabs his clothes off the floor, and Misato half-drags him to the car, where Kaji is waiting for them.
  • The One I Love Is: After killing the last Angel Shinji feels more depressed and lonelier than ever and he implies he wants to commit suicide. Misato slaps him and points out that if he dies all hurt his friends went through and all sacrifices they did will be meaningless.
    "Why am I the one who always stays alive? Why do people have to sacrifice themselves for me? I'm not worth it! My life is not worth so much pain. I should have been the one to die. Maybe there's still time to put an end to the pain."
    I gasped as I felt Misato's hand hitting my cheek.
    "Don't you ever say that, Shinji! Don't even dare think about it! If you die now, then all the sacrifice and suffering your friends went through would become meaningless! Don't disgrace them!"
    The words hit me even harder then her hand. I had never thought about things this way.
  • In Dragon Age The Crown Of Thorns, the Wise Prince protagonist applies a very strong backhand to Faren, the dwarven commoner, in order to snap him out of a serious case of shut-down brain that the latter ended up in after being shoved into his worst nightmare by the Sloth Demon. He follows it with a Cooldown Hug of epic proportions. Big Brother Mentor indeed.
    "There is no blood on your hands!" (and he was speaking literally)
  • Evangelion 303: In chapter 8 Shinji flips out after seeing Asuka’s war plane crashing down and he loses control of his own plane. Gendo’s reaction was quoting the line almost verbatim.
  • In Reflections, Princess Luna does this to a grief-stricken Princess Celestia.
  • In Relationships Series, Nanoha gets one from Vita as she becomes hysterical about the prospect of Yuuno dying on a mission, and Vita reminds her that Yuuno is determined to get back safely.
  • In Fail To The King, Almaz is subjected to this trope twice: Once in Chapter one to snap him out of his three-day long Heroic BSOD, and again in a later chapter to prevent another from surfacing in the middle of an invasion. Both played largely for laughs, naturally - this is a Disgaea fic after all.
  • In The Second Try, Asuka delivers this trope almost word for word to Shinji in chapter 2, thankfully without the slapping. It is possible that had this occurred before the Third Impact, she would have slapped him, but she was probably afraid to (given what happened during instrumentality, and the fact he's the only other person left on earth).
  • In Ace Combat The Equestrian War, Medley hits Rainbow Dash in the face to snap her out of her Heroic BSOD.
  • At one point during his side story of the Pony POV Series, Shining Armor has to get headbutted by Captain Baseplate when he freaks out over the existence of the SAS (Equestrian Black Ops).
  • A Future of Friendship, A History of Hate: During the climax of Episode 5, Scootaloo, who passed the Despair Event Horizon when she realized that her wish to be an adult not only blew up in her face but also enabled Miserain to empower a woebeghoul, which is now destroying Ponyville, states it would be better if she had never been born. Rainbow Dash responds by smacking her, telling her to never belittle herself like that again, and giving a Rousing Speech that pulls Scootaloo back to normal and enables her to help Dash destroy the woebeghoul.
  • In Post Nuptials, Twilight floors Shining Armor with a punch to the face when, in the midst of a Heroic BSOD, he considers canceling the wedding.
  • Subverted in Wedding Bell Blues: Shining Armor is screaming continuously after learning that he's being forced to marry Queen Chrysalis. Another pony slaps him, whereupon Shining says "Ow" - and then carries on screaming.
  • In White Devil of the Moon, Nanoha's in the middle of a Heroic BSOD after finally confirming that she is the resurrected Princess Serenity, that her past life was just one big colossal failure, that the Senshi's sacrifices were in vain because Serenity killed herself in grief, that this is could have been avoided if Queen Serenity did better in teaching Princess Serenity and that all of these memories are driving her to the point where she isn't sure where Serenity ends and she starts. Fate solves this problem by making her feelings known and kissing her.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Roll does this to Mega in episode 11, slapping him and lecturing him back to his senses—though it takes more than that to fully convince him.
  • In the Darkwing Duck / DuckTales Death Fic Two Worlds One Loved One, Scrooge clouts Darkwing with his cane, sensing that he's thinking about giving up, and scolds him for even considering dishonoring Launchpad's memory by not continuing with his good work.
  • In the Facing The Future Series, Sam was on the verge of a Despair Event Horizon due to her new fire powers continuing to grow out of control. Danny managed to get through to her by saying he'd never leave her side.
  • In Despair's Last Resort, Ryouta Hoshino begins to get overly paranoid and hostile after learning the news that someone among them is working for Monokuma. This leads him to get into a fight with Kazumi Katsuya the next morning. It looks like she's about to beat him up, but then Kumiko Akamine gives him a well-deserved punch to the face and tells him to stop acting paranoid and acting like an ass.

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    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Direct-to-Video Muppet Classic Theater, during the Rumpelstiltskin rendition, Piggy's father gets a little overboard trying to introduce himself and his daughter to the king.
    Miller: She is Piggy, Miller's Daughter. And I am her father, Miller, Piggy's Father, your Majesty. No, wait I am not the majesty, You're the majesty, and this is my daughter, Piggy, and this is—
    (Loyal Royal Advisor backhands him)
    Miller: Thanks, I needed that.
    • And it's done again at the end of the Intermission.
    Gonzo: Intermission!? Wait a minute!! Why wasn't I told about this?! This is an outrage!! OOF!! Thanks, I needed that.
    Rizzo: Don't mention it.
  • On an episode of the short lived MTV series Super Adventure Team, Chief Engineer Head literally slapped Dr. Criswell blind trying to get him to snap out of his funk.
  • In the "Give Me Your Money" number from Avenue Q, Nicky refuses to give up his money by ranting "I can't! I need it! I'm homeless! I can't! I need it! I'm homeless! I can't...." until Princeton slaps him. Nicky calmly hands over the money then.

  • Parodied in the Hamish And Dougal episode "Trapped!":
    Hamish: Help! We're trapped between floors! Help!
    Dougal: Hamish, you're getting hysterical.
    Hamish: Well, don't just stand their applauding, do something!
    Dougal: All right!
    Hamish: Ow!
    Dougal: Now, control yourself. Or next time it's the face.

    Tabletop Games 

    Real Life 
  • General George S. Patton once famously slapped a young soldier who seemed to be suffering from shell shock (it turned out later he had malaria). It almost ended his career, proving that this isn't a good idea to try for real.
    • As a side note, the soldier Patton slapped later said, "He was probably pretty well worn out himself." Combat can do strange things to people. Patton's popularity saved him.
    • It doesn't work if it is "shell shock" (PTSD) either. Anyone who's been in the Armed Forces can tell you that, combat experience or not. A person that far gone has usually spent themselves keeping a hold for as long as they have.
    • This was parodied during the extensive Patton movie pastiche in The Simpsons episode "Bart the General". Bart does it, but Grampa scolds him:
    Grampa: You can push them out of a plane, you can march them off a cliff, you can send them off to die on some God-forsaken rock, but for some reason you can't slap them.
  • MythBusters tested this trope on their December 22nd 2010 episode. Their result? Confirmed. While not up to control, all three testers did better in practical tests when frazzled and then slapped than when unslapped.
    • At least when the subject isn't suffering from PTSD, as above.
      • Depends, if the subject is already in a situation which can trigger a psychosis episode, it can actually snap them out of it. Largely due to the endorphins that get released from the sudden shock.
    • This is because being slapped activates the flight-or-fight response. PTSD is this response having caused too much stress leading to a mental breakdown, so activating it could actually make it worse.
    • Even earlier than this episode, they examined this trope in terms of a "sobering up" technique after getting drunk and deemed it plausible. Cue Adam getting slapped by Jamie (Cue to 1:47).
  • In some sects of Zen Buddhism, a monk walks the room during meditation sessions with a light, flat stick. When a meditating monk loses his focus because he starts to get tired, he will lean forward to get a light slap between the shoulder blades with the stick, which triggers the reaction to make him fully awake again.

Alternative Title(s):

Bright Slap, Get A Hold Of Yourself Woman, Pull Yourself Together