An instance when a character (call him Bob) gets stuck in a tight spot and cannot get loose without help. This can be played for humor, if Bob's predicament is more annoying or humiliating than dangerous; or it can be played for drama, if Bob is immobilized in the path of imminent danger or in an isolated area where he is unlikely to be rescued. If there are other characters nearby, expect them to either laugh at Bob's misfortune or try to help him get free, depending on the nature of the characters and the seriousness of the situation.
This trope does not apply to instances where a character briefly slips or gets a foot caught but is able to pull free after a second or two. Those are just little beats to show that this trope could happen and thus increase the tension.
Compare Cat Up a Tree
, which may or may not involve this depending on the cat. Broken Heel
is a situation where a fleeing character is crippled or slowed, with a similar need for rescue.
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- The commercial for Action 52 has the Cheetah Men coming out of a TV with Hercules getting stuck.
Anime & Manga
- In the Pokémon episode, "The Case of the K-9 Caper", while Ash and Pikachu are running the obstacle course, Pikachu gets his tail stuck on barb wire. He responds by letting out his Thunder Shock, which electrocutes the whole wire.
- In another episode, Jigglypuff somehow gets stuck in a Blastoise’s cannon, and she sings while she’s in there causing the Blastoise to be asleep.
- In yet another episode, Lyra's Marill gets wedged between two buildings; it is freed with the help of Pikachu, Piplup, and a Water Gun attack.
- In Pikachu's Vacation, Charizard getting his head stuck in a metal pipe is what eventually leads to Pikachu's group and the gang of bullies becoming friends.
- On an episode of Monster Rancher , Golem gets stuck in a hole in the ground.
- In Hamtaro, the character, Stucky, is this trope alone. He gets his name from the fact that he's always stuck in a piece of a hamster tunnel that he always rolls around in(but likes being in).
- In one volume of Yotsuba&!, Fuuka ends up locked in a bathroom, and gets stuck trying to escape through the window.
- A similar incident happens to Mitsuba in Mitsudomoe
- In Sankarea, Ranko ends up stuck in some form of tunnel while trying to follow a cat.
- In Episode 14 of the Little Lulu anime, Tubby winds up stuck in a rabbit's burrow after getting dared by Lulu into climbing into said burrow in an attempt to flush out a rabbit.
Films — Animation
- In The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, (or to be more precise, “Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree”) Pooh winds up getting stuck in Rabbit’s front door due to him overeating. He was stuck in that hole for months!
Rabbit: Well, it all comes from eating too much.
Pooh: It all comes from not having front doors big enough!
- In The Little Mermaid, Flounder gets stuck in a hole in a sunken ship.
- In The Lion King, Pumbaa winds up getting stuck under a tree root while he’s being chased by Nala.
- In 101 Dalmatians, when Tibs is trying to secretly help the puppies escape Horace and Jasper, he squeezes them each through a little hole in the wall. The last one in line is Rolly, but since Rolly was so fat, he couldn’t fit through the hole as easily as the other puppies. Jasper caught this right at the instant when Tibs finally got him through.
- In Bolt, there’s an instance where Bolt gets his head stuck in between two metal poles.
- In The Brave Little Toaster, Blanky gets stuck twice.
- This occurred in Fun and Fancy Free when Mickey, Donald and Goofy were first entering the giant’s castle. Mickey and Donald manage to squeeze under the door, but Goofy got stuck. Mickey and Donald pulled him inside, but Goofy lost his pants in the process.
- In A Bug's Life, Heimlich gets stuck while luring away the bird. The ants, looking at a safe distance, comment on how brave he is offering himself as live bait.
- Nemo got stuck three times in Finding Nemo.
- In Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ellie gets stuck under a log because, having been raised by possums, she doesn't realize she's a mammoth and can simply lift the log out of the way.
- Throughout the Ice Age series, Scrat gets stuck in numerous places while trying to get that acorn.
- Happened to Gus in A Troll in Central Park while he was looking for Rosy
- In Chicken Run, Bunty gets stuck under the fence near the beginning of the movie when they're trying to escape.
- Happens frequently to Spike in The Land Before Time movies.
- And in the second movie, Littlefoot gets his foot stuck in a tree trunk.
- In Aladdin, Iago winds up getting stuck in a door when Jafar slams him into it.
- In Hercules, Herc assumed this was the case when he first met Phil. (all he saw was Phil's rear end coming out of a bush)
- Pegasus gets stuck trying to get into Phil's house.
- In Recess: School's Out, Miss Finster gets stuck when trying to enter the school via the basement window
- Happens to Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story as a result of the fireworks rocket Sid Phillips strapped onto his back being caught between two fence pickets when he and Woody discover that the Davis family is moving to a new house.
- In Madagascar 3, the main animals travel through vents to get into an attic of the Monte Carlo casino. Alex, Marty and Melman all come in from different vents and collide with each other tying themselves in a knot. They find themselves under another vent and hear Gloria coming down fast from it. The boys panic and try to get out of the way so she wouldn't crush them, but they couldn't because they're all tangled up. Fortunately, Gloria gets stuck as she's coming out of the vent giving the boys a chance to disassemble. While Alex and Marty prepare the next phase of Alex's plan, Melman pulls Gloria out of the vent.
- In Peter Pan, Tinker Bell's first attempt to get out of the drawer was through the keyhole, but she got stuck because her hips were too big.
- In the 1986 My Little Pony movie, the ponies get stuck on a giant spider web.
Films — Live-Action
- In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, when the three pets are escaping the pound, Sassy and Shadow manage to escape through the fence, but Chance gets his collar stuck on it. He manages to make it out eventually.
- This also happened on Homeward Bound: Lost In San Francisco when they were escaping the airport.
- In MouseHunt, Ernie gets stuck in a chimney trying to chase after the mouse.
- In Pete's Dragon, Elliot gets himself stuck in the lighthouse when trying to light it.
- A prime example of this is in A Christmas Story, when Flick is triple dog dared to stick his tongue on the flagpole. Mrs. Shields had to call the fire department to release him.
- In Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Jar Jar gets his hand stuck in Anikan's pod racer.
- During the wingsuit scene in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, when Starscream tears the helicopters apart, one of the wingsuit pilots clearly screams "I'm stuck! I'm stuck!".
- 127 Hours has the dramatic version of this trope as its primary focus.
- In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the Grinch gets stuck “only once for a minute or two” when going down a chimney.
- On Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Alice gets stuck inside the White Rabbit's home after she grows too big while inside.
- In Winnie the Pooh, Pooh gets stuck halfway through Rabbit's "front door" (burrow) and has to go some days without eating before he loses enough weight to be pulled out successfully.
- In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Augustus Gloop winds up sucked into a glass pipe after falling into the Chocolate Room's river. He proceeds to get stuck in it, owing to his girth; his mother suggests they smash it as the other members of the tour group watch helplessly...until the pressure of the flowing chocolate building up behind him sends him shooting onwards towards a fudge-preparation room. Depending on the adaptation, he can be stuck for several minutes before he's "freed". (At the end of the novel, it's revealed that he was squeezed thin as a result of all this.)
- In Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great, which is part of Judy Blume's Fudge book series, Sondra Van Arden gets stuck in the milk delivery chute when Sheila and her friends decide to sneak into Mouse Ellis' house to play hide-and-seek. Sondra's friends come to her rescue to get her unstuck and then tend to her wounds afterward.
- Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe combines this trope with Railroad Tracks of Doom, to tragic effect.
- At the beginning of the music video to Weird Al Yankovic’s “Eat It”, it shows two guys coming out of a sewer. The second guy gets stuck.
- In Pokémon Live!, Jessie and James fall into their own pit trap and Meowth has to fetch a rope to rescue them.
- In World of Illusion, there are a few instances in the game where Donald can get stuck and Mickey has to pull him through.
- In Bowser's Inside Story, after fighting Midbus, Bowser is treated to a "victory feast" that results in him being stuck in the floor due to overindulging.
- Happens to Sonic twice in Sonic Unleashed when he crashes face-first into the ground, once in his Werehog form, another in his usual form. There are also a couple of shorts that involve Chip getting stuck in a vase and coconut, respectively.
- Theodore got stuck a few times on Alvin and the Chipmunks.
- Clyde Crashcup gets stuck in a chimney once in an episode where he's doing a lecture on "Do It Yourself". After Leonardo frees him, he begins a lecture on help.
- In an episode of Care Bears, Cheer Bear gets stuck trying to escape through a window of a flying car that she and some other Care Bears are trapped in. Champ Bear tries to push her through.
- In "The Land Without Feelings", while on their way to Coldheart's Castle, several Care Bears fell into the water, which Coldheart froze, with one of them shouting that they're stuck but tells the rest to continue on. Later, while the remaining two try to float over sticky tar by balloons, Coldheart blows one out and he falls, struggling to get out he says this line.
- In an episode of The Wuzzles, Hoppo gets her head stuck in a billboard, and Moosle gets her out by sawing it.
- Happened to Bullwinkle a couple times on Rocky and Bullwinkle.
- There is a popular Fractured Fairy Tales about the Golden Goose. In this version, when someone touched the Golden Goose with his bare hands, he got stuck to it, and whoever touched him got his hands stuck to him. This resulted in a large chain of people with their hands stuck to each other's bodies.
- There’s an episode of Garfield and Friends where Garfield follows Arlene through a hole in a brick wall but gets stuck.
- Happened quite a few times on Rugrats, mostly with Angelica. The most notable episode is the flashback episode to when the babies first met.
- There’s an episode of Goof Troop where PJ gets stuck in a washing machine.
- In a 2 Stupid Dogs episode, the big dog gets his head stuck in a hole in a fence, but both dogs fail to realize what’s going on.
- Happened a number of times to Sonic and Tails in both Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Sat AM.
- Ariel got stuck a couple times in the Little Mermaid TV series.
- In the Cow and Chicken episode, “Black Sheep”, Cow gets stuck in a mailbox, but nobody pays attention to her. She eventually gets out herself as Super Cow.
- In the episode, "Cow and Chicken Reclining", Cow and Chicken both get stuck in an old recliner that their dad got rid of. They remain stuck in it for the entire episode since everyone fails to realize that they need help and only view them as a piece of art.
- In 101 Dalmatians The Series, Rolly gets stuck several times, but most of the time, he manages to get himself unstuck by himself. Only a few times did he require help.
- In the TV special, A Chucklewood Easter, Buttons gets stuck entering the Easter Bunny’s burrow, so Rusty had to give him a little push.
- In a semi-Christmas special of Sheep in the Big City, Sheep gets stuck under an anvil.
- In another episode, Sheep gets himself stuck in an automatic door twice.
- SpongeBob SquarePants once got stuck in a wringer.
- In an episode of Kipper, Tiger gets stuck under a tree root. He continuously cries for help but nobody comes. Eventually, Kipper arrives and pulls him free.
- Pound Puppies
- In the episode, "The Yipper Caper", Strudel tries to sabotage the new kibble machine, but after she does, she gets stuck inside it. The squirrels inside manage to push her out, though.
- In another episode, "My Fair Rebound", Lucky goes into a narrow spot to talk to Rebound. He didn't actually get stuck, but he told Cookie to pull on his tail just in case he did.
- In the episode, "The Watchdogs", the pup of the episode is first introduced with his paw stuck in a grate.
- In Super Mario World, Kootie Pie Koopa becomes stuck in a block of ice on her throne in Ice Palace. She screams at her Koopa Troopa minion to come to her aid but he refuses.
- King Koopa becomes crushed by the remnants of his Rock TV after Yoshi eats the load-bearing blocks. Yoshi then agrees to help him but begins eating the rest of the blocks slowly.
- In Budgie The Little Helicopter, Pippa gets stuck in a snow drift when delivering fuel to Budgie.
- Similar to the above example, in a Christmas special of Thomas the Tank Engine, Thomas gets stuck in a snow drift.
- One episode of Dragon Tales was about Ord accidentally getting stuck in a Knucker Hole after eating too many Dragonberries. Max then tells him a story about a bear who got stuck in a hole because he ate too much honey before finally pulling him out of the Knucker Hole. Obviously, this is a Shout-Out to Winnie the Pooh.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the episode, "May the Best Pet Win", Rainbow Dash winds up getting stuck because a boulder landed on her wing.
- In the episode, "Spike at Your Service", Applejack gets her hoof stuck in a pile of rocks as she and Spike are escaping from a Timberwolf.
- In the episode, "Maud Pie", Pinkie Pie gets her hoof stuck in the rock slide she built. Of course, this happens just as it starts to collapse and the giant boulder on top starts descending down at Pinkie!
- In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode, "Knock Knock, Who's Ed?", while the Eds are sneaking through a vent, Ed had to push Edd and Eddy because they got stuck. Strangely, Ed didn't considering he's larger than the other two.
- An entire episode of Beavis and Butt-Head is centered around this. Butt-head gets stuck in a pipe while the two are exploring a construction site, and Beavis can't get him out. A night patrolman finds them, and calls the news, the police and firefighters to get him out. After everyone else has left, Beavis crawls into the same pipe. He even says "Help, I'm stuck!" exactly.
- In the Gumby short, "Stuck on Books", Gumby tries to talk his dog, Nopey, into going through books like him, but Nopey refuses fearing he might get stuck. On one book, Pokey pushes Nopey through it, but he winds up getting stuck. Gumby and Pokey try to push him through and pull him out but have no luck. Eventually, Gumby goes into the book to see what's up. It turned out Nopey had his mouth hooked onto a tree branch.
- In the Recess episode "The Terrifying Tales of Recess", Mikey gets stuck when trying to get out of a hole dug up by the diggers.
- An episode of C.O.P.S. had the crooks using a submarine, and the Big Boss got stuck every time he tried to get in or out of it.
- There's an episode of Sylvester And Tweety Mysteries where a really large man gets stuck in a door frame and remains there for the entire episode. Everyone else in the office could not use the door since it was totally blocked by the man's body.
- There's an episode of "The Goodfeathers" from Animaniacs where Pesto gets himself stuck in one of those plastic six-pack holders for sodas. Pesto winds up making the situation worse later on by getting Bobby and Squit stuck in it too after he got into one of his fights with Squit.
- Mr. Bogus:
- Happens to Mole in the first act of the episode "Et Tu, Brattus?", while trying to follow Ratty into the garage of the bully.
- Happens to one of the Meteor Goons in the third act of the episode "Computer Intruder", after getting stuck in the hard drive of Tommy's computer.
- Heck, Bogus himself got stuck a few times.
- Happened at least twice to Jabberjaw.
- In one episode of the 80's Pound Puppies, Cooler's no-named friend gets stuck during their escape. Cooler of course, helps him despite the fact that he told him not to worry about him.
- The Powerpuff Girls:
- In the episode, "Buttercrush", Grubber of the Gang Green Gang calls up Blossom and Bubbles to get them to think Buttercup is stuck (doing a poor impression of her) in order to lure them into a trap.
- In the episode, "Something's a Ms.", Bubbles gets stuck when Sedusa plasters her onto a window with her hair gel.
- The episode, "Paste Makes Waste" is prone to this trope after Elmer Sglue transforms into the Paste Monster.
- There's one episode of The Simpsons, where the family goes on a nature hike through a cave. They all fall through a hole and slide down to an undiscovered part o f the cave. Homer gets stuck. While Marge takes Bart and Maggie to see if they can find help, Lisa decides to stay with Homer and tell him some stories.
- In an episode of The Berenstain Bears, the Bear Scouts have to sneak into a museum to help Professor Actual Factual find a dinosaur bone. Papa tags along for the case and gets stuck in the window.
- In the Muppet Babies episode "Masquerading Muppets", Skeeter gets a wig stuck on her head and Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie and Scooter have to pull it off.