1 Days Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)

Hollywood Healing

Dr. Hartman: Mrs. Griffin, I'm afraid your husband has amnesia.
Lois Griffin: Oh my God! Is it permanent?!
Dr. Hartman: Well, there's no telling for sure. His memory could return in days, weeks, years, or never. (beat) Or weeks.

No matter how badly he's injured — be it from gunshot, blade, burning, acid, you name it — an action-adventure hero never ends up with permanent scars anywhere that is normally visible to the audience. (Although he may have one or two hidden under a shirt so he can take it off and reveal just how tough he really is.) You'd expect at least one missing tooth or broken nose in a lifetime of fighting crime. Yet Bruce Wayne's corporate headshots are perfect time and time again, and James Bond never shows up at an embassy dinner with two shiners and a wad of gauze over his nose, even if he's just been hit in the face by an iron bar.

This gift for complete and utter regeneration of wounds no doubt contributes the hero's ability to get up and beat the villain to a paste after suffering a concussion, third degree burns, and a compound fracture of both legs in the previous scene. (See Made of Iron, Heroic Second Wind.)

The Big Bad may also be similarly indestructible on screen, but his badness can result in hideous scars or mechanical limbs if he was injured in previous encounters.

Either way, the damage suffered is often shrugged off as Only a Flesh Wound.

Between them, Made of Iron and Hollywood Healing cover the two extremes of the Action Hero — the Terminator-type that can walk unscathed through a bomb blast, and the hero who gets hurt badly but somehow always manages to come back and triumph in the end.

Compare Bottled Heroic Resolve.

Also known as "The Cinematographic Law Of Heroic Injury". For video game examples, compare with Heal Thyself, Walk It Off, and Trauma Inn. Contrast Healing Factor and Healing Hands, two cases where fast, easy healing is justified better. See Scars Are Forever for the most common aversion of this trope. Not to be confused with Worst Aid.


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  • Averted in the Allstate "Mayhem" commercial. As the series of commercials continues, the Mayhem guy's injuries seem to accumulate rather than heal.

  • Spike from Cowboy Bebop was constantly suffering gunshot wounds or severe beatings that would have him wrapped up head-to-toe in gauze, but he'd be perfectly fine in the next episode. This might be realistic because there is no actual definition of time between episodes. With the exception of two-parters, Spike may have had more than enough time to heal. Still doesn't explain how his gunfighting or Kung-Fu abilities don't suffer for all the damage beyond his natural status as a Bad Ass.
    • It is suggested, however, that the doctors can easily replace damaged body parts, such as when Spike suggested Jet get a normal arm instead of the metal one. We, of course, never see him doing anything to heal other than sleeping covered in bandages, so it very well may apply.
  • In Samurai Champloo, this gets taken to an extreme in the final episode: Mugen winds up suffering multiple lacerations, a broken arm, and is gut shot. Jin gets gut stabbed. Before the invention of the I.V., gut injuries like this were usually fatal. Even with IV feeding, these injuries would take weeks if not months to recover from, especially considering that they had been going all out and not really resting for months previous to this. At the end, it's mentioned that Jin and Mugen have been out for about a week, and they get up and go about their business.
  • Priss from the original Bubblegum Crisis OVAs was bad for this, especially in episode 6: "Red Eyes". She is nearly hit by an orbital strike, thrown from her bike, stabbed in the gut, has her own railgun spike driven through her shoulder, is thrown through a window to fall several stories, is beaten by three large cyberdroids, hit by a multi-spectrum laser that strips most of her armour off, and still wins the fight. She was supposed to die in that episode.
  • Very heavily used in Hellsing, mainly by Seras Victoria. This is somewhat justified by the fact that she's a lesser vampire, though, and it's only Hollywood Healing for her because the horrible injuries she receives look like paper cuts next to what Alucard and Father Anderson suffer on a regular basis (in their case, they benefit from a natural Healing Factor). Subverted when she loses her left arm to Zorin; although the shadows that she gained afterward can be shaped into a new arm, the arm itself does not actually regrow.
  • Trigun:
    • Subverted in Trigun where, underneath his Badass Longcoat, Vash the Stampede's body is absolutely riddled with scars. Badly. Some patches are actually held in place by metal implants. Plus you know, he's missing his freaking left arm! The only odd thing is that his face stays suitably Bishōnen. Until Hang Fire, that is, where he does suffer from repeated punches to the face. He gets better, though.
    • Vash's brother suffered severe injuries from being blasted by the Angel Arm cannon from Vash, injuries which he doesn't fully regenerate from until 23 years after the fact. This implies that all of those injuries could be healed if Vash tried.
  • Berserk Abridged parodies this:
    Doctor: I'm afraid you've suffered some very serious injuries. You'll need several weeks of bed rest, followed by months of intense physical therapy, and even then, there's a very real possibility that you may never make a full recovery.
    Casca: Are you sure?
    Doctor: Of course I'm sure! I'm a doctor! I've got my doctor hat on! I'm always sure!
    Casca: Well, you know, he is the main character of an action anime.
    Doctor: Oh! Well hell, that's different then. I'm sure he'll be up and about very soon.
  • It's a subtle Running Gag in Ranma : no matter how badly beat-up the characters get, all they ever need to recover after regaining consciousness is a small first-aid kit that has some cotton wads, disinfectant, band-aids, and very little else.
    • At one point, early in the series, Ranma was sent flying into a wall hard enough to leave a sizable crater; the foes claimed he had broken every bone in his body, and, indeed, his bones and joints kept popping and snapping audibly. However, he recovered from these injuries (even after being turned into a girl) only a few minutes later, and was still in perfect condition to punch through ice boulders, take Ryouga's kicks and suplexes, and have a skating rink's worth of ice collapse on top of him with no ill effects.
    • Averted when, after falling from well over a hundred feet while carrying four girls on his back, he landed perfectly on his feet and broke his legs on impact. He was laid out with casts for several weeks afterwards.
  • Black Lagoon is absolutely full of this. Revy gets a few gunshot wounds and several stab wounds that are wrapped up and never mentioned again. The most blatant example, however, is her bare fist fight with Roberta, which lasts for hours, resulting in only some bruising, black eyes and bloody noses. By the next episode, she's fine. Then again, there is no indication of how much time has passed between the episodes.
  • Shizuo from Durarara!! spent most of his childhood utterly destroying his body via habitual overexertion — everything from ripping apart muscle and ligaments to shattering his pelvis and spinal column. Most people who receive such injuries understandably never walk again. Shizuo, on the other hand, slowly developed Charles Atlas Superpowers.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure does this constantly. It's made even worse by the heavy amount of damage characters take to the face during fights. One particularly notable example is Doppio during his fight with Metallica, had SCISSORS COME OUT OF HIS FACE and COUGHED UP RAZOR BLADES, yet walked away with little more than some blood trailing from his mouth.
  • All over the place in One Piece. Only scars significant to the story are kept. With everything that the Straw Hats by themselves have suffered, they should have some permanent, horribly swollen scars everywhere on their bodies. Some notable examples include:
    • Zoro and Luffy being stabbed clear through their bodies several times over, not to mention caught in explosions quite a few times.
    • Usopp being beaten with a 4 ton bat and dragged along the ground at 30 miles an hour.
    • Nami being stabbed clear through the foot (and then walking right on it shortly afterwards).
    • Sanji having his leg fractured by Vergo, and then having it never bother him again for the rest of the arc.
    • And of course, all of the Straw Hats have been caught in explosions at various points that should have left them with burn scars. Yet, there are none.
  • Death Note has an interesting example. Mello appears to be an aversion, sporting a very conspicuous burn scar from being caught in an explosion... until you realise that the only means of protection he had on was some goggles and said explosion somehow miraculously left his hair alone and the rest of his body except for that one burnt section of his face. It also didn't hurt his eye, or melt the gas mask into his skin, or cause hearing loss.
    • Also, the time between the aforementioned explosion, and the time between his next manga appearance, wherein he travels from LA to New York City to shake Near down for the infamous "Dear Mello" picture? Less than a week. Injuries like Mello's would realistically take months to recover from.
  • A case of this occurs in Yu-Gi-Oh!. In a few days, Bakura seems to heal entirely from having his hand impaled on a miniature tower, even though based on the size and location of the injury you wouldn't expect his hand to ever work right again.
  • Subverted in the anime version of Sengoku Basara where Masamune obtains a gunshot wound that leaves him bedridden for two episodes and serves a major handicap during the final battle with Oda.
    • Played straight where Yukimura had bandages on his arm in a sling after his defeat by Masamune but it takes a punch from Takeda to provide instantaneous healing.

    Comic Books 
  • Particularly noticeable in The Punisher MAX arc "Barracuda", in which The Punisher (as ever) doesn't suffer any kind of permanent injury, while Barracuda loses several fingers, some teeth and an eye.
    • The Punisher regularly takes massive damage. In the very first story arc of the MAX title he gets shot in the chest with a shotgun (noting that his rib is not broken, but is actually gone) and afterwards a man jams his fist into the wound and tries to pull his lung out, an injury that is never referenced again. Possibly justified by the fact that each story arc takes place six months after the last one, giving him some time to heal. But this ends up being averted in the Jason Aaron run (set in the same continuity), where after a particular brutal fight he consults with a doctor he knew in 'Nam. While Frank's top priority is getting out of his hands out of their casts, the doctor tells him that he has to let them heal if he wants to keep his motor control. He also notes that if he doesn't already have arithritis he will now, that he has high blood pressure, cartilidge damaged in his knees and hips, noise induced hearing loss and most likely chronic pain from improperly healed wounds and herniated discs. He flat out tells Frank that the days of him recovering from a broken leg in three weeks are over and that despite him keeping himself in excellent shape hes just too old for doing what he does.
  • More of an editorial oversight than true Hollywood Healing, but still: in the first volume of The Invisibles, Dane MacGowan gets the tip of his little finger cut off and devoured. Subsequent artists forgot this and would draw it in from time to time.
    • A similar problem happened in the Comic Book Hitman, in which Hakken's hand (which he chainsawed off after it was bitten by a zombie seal) would sometimes be drawn as a stump/prosthetic and sometimes drawn in as if it were healed.
  • Scars or not, Batman's continued ability to move without agony, do incredible gymnastics, and avoid of brain damage can all be attributed to this. How many times has he been hit over the head or crudely stitched up a bloody wound and kept using the injured portion because he didn't have time to see to it properly?
    • One of his most famous storylines was about his back being broken. This seems to have had no real lasting effect.
    • Played straight with the Joker, who is still pretty agile for a guy whose had his kneecap blown off and most of his teeth knocked out. By all account he should be dead with all the ribs broken and concussions he got over the years.
  • Several speedsters have a Healing Factor as a side effect of their speed, by the reckoning that their body's metabolism works fast enough that they heal faster (questions about why they don't, say, age faster tend to get Handwaved). However, this explanation still invokes Hollywood Healing, since they recover from injuries that would /never/ heal as an extension of natural healing processes, no matter how sped up. One especially blatant instance, from Ultimate Marvel, is Magneto blasting Quicksilver point-blank in the kneecaps with a shotgun, which puts him out of action for the rest of the miniseries but doesn't leave any permanent damage at all.
    • Subverted however with DC's Bart Allen, who also got shot in the kneecap. It was explained to the doctors that he "heals fast, but not right", meaning that the tissue damage was repairing itself, but the bone remained ruined. He ended up needing an artificial kneecap, and on the operating table the doctors had to keep breaking the bones over and over so they could be removed.
      • Anesthesia was not an option, his 'super healing' means it wears off in seconds. So he was perfectly awake for each and every re-break.
      • Possible Handwaving allowed, as the Scarlet Witch is certainly capable of making sure her beloved brother heals up nicely.
      • Subverted in the She-Hulk comics when she's working at a law firm that employs super-powered people such as speedsters as mail clerks. It's mentioned during an attack on the firm that said speedsters will need immediate medical attention for even minor injuries. The reason being that their super speed means that the effects of their injuries will simply occur faster too. So a minor cut might still be minor... but the blood loss might be occurring at super speeds!
  • Parodied in French comic strip Rubrique à Brac (by Gotlib): it says that even after a horrifying car crash or similar accident, the hero will only ever need a Band-aid on his upper left arm (or right arm if he's left-handed!)
  • The protagonists in Runaways appear to be pretty healthy considering that they are virtually the only crime fighters in LA to stop various supervillains while living in various underground bunkers which probably lacks resources to deal with serious medical emergencies. On the other hand, the series subverts this when Chase is shown with his arm in a sling an unspecified amount of time after having his arm pulled out of his socket by a Doombot and Klara Prast is shown to be rather black and blue from her husband's various abuses. There's also the fact that most of the hideouts were designated and stocked by their parents who were filthy rich and geniuses, so it's not too much of a stretch that they included some stuff to deal with serious injuries.
  • In Sin City, people can be grazed by machine gunfire, fall out of buildings, and get hit by cars and get up once they caught their second wind and slapped a band-aid on the wound.

    Fan Works 
  • In Origin Story, Louise gets knocked through a glass table by Typhoid Mary, and is hurt to the point that they need to put towels down to keep her from bleeding into the upholstery of the BMW. Alex spends about an hour pulling glass out of Louise's back, closing the cuts with various steri-strips and band-aids and gauze. The entire thing takes about five paragraphs in one chapter. Despite the fact that the events of the next chapter come immediately after the one in which she is injured, Louise's back and how badly cut up it was is never mentioned again. Band-aids really do heal anything.
  • Averted in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle fanfic Shatterheart, Real!Syaoran is kidnapped and tortured by serial killers and it takes weeks for him to physically recover. It takes several chapters for his shattered kneecap and broken toes to heal and he has to be a wheelchair or a leg brace during his recovery. In one of his sex scenes, Real!Syaoran worries about aggrivating his knee. He manages to complete physical therapy in time for the Tournament Arc, he still has problems with his knee.
    • Also averted when Kurogane cuts off his own arm in Celes. The half of the Nihon Arc has him bedridden for days from blood loss even with magic speeding up the process.

  • Rocky Balboa. Made even worse by the fact that in nearly every Rocky film there is some sort of worry about his health (in Rocky II he already has trouble following his trainer's moving finger, in Rocky III it's commented that the beatings he took in the first two movies should have killed him, Rocky V is all about how he has sustained brain damage and might well die if he ever gets in the ring again), and each time these health concerns and the physical toll taken on him mysteriously vanishes by the next movie.
  • Parodied in Last Action Hero when the titular hero gets shot in the Real World... and rapidly goes into shock from massive blood loss. The Genre Savvy sidekick manages to save him by bringing him back into the world of movies, where he gets right up and shrugs it off, since it's only a slight flesh wound according to action movie tropes.
  • Miller's Crossing: Tom is beaten repeatedly by almost every other character in the film, even taking a hard kick to the face at one point, but doesn't have so much as a black eye to show for it.
  • Lampshaded in the DVD commentary on Serenity by Joss Whedon when asked by Baldwin about how long after the big battle the final scene happened.
    Lets see, the ship is all fixed up and you are completely healed... about 3 days.
  • In Eraser, Arnold uses a fridge door as a shield to protect against a grenade that apparently fires straight shards of metal. One pierces his right hand between the knuckles of the index and middle finger, which forces him to drag his hand off the spike. This in no way affects his accuracy for the rest of the film.
  • In the Home Alone films, Harry and Marv survive all manner of injuries that should be crippling or fatal, especially in the second film, with only minor lumps and bruises.
    • Screen Junkies did an Honest Action video about the injuries Harry and Marv sustain in the two films. Turns out it would take nine Harrys and fourteen Marvs to complete the two films.
    • The third film is almost worse about this — one of the foreign spies suffers a lawnmower falling on his face, blades spinning, and another survives a stick of dynamite going off barely an arm's length away from him.
  • In Taxi Driver, Travis gets shot in the neck and lives. The epilogue may not have really happened. Word of God says the epilogue really happened, but next time Travis won't be a hero.
  • In the original Shaft, the title character gets shot once in the shoulder at rather close range by a machine gun and hits the floor, apparently unconscious. After minimal medical attention, it doesn't seem to take long for him to get back in action.
  • The major plot point in Unbreakable, where Bruce Willis' character is found by Samuel L. Jackson's Genre Savvy character, precisely because he walks away from a major accident that should have killed him.
  • Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle has at least a couple examples of this, with Seamus O'Grady walking through a wall of fire, and with Natalie looking all prettied-up for the red carpet even after we saw her pull a hand-sized chunk of glass out of her abdomen mere minutes before.
  • The Darkman movies have a particularly blatant example of this. The character Durant appears to have been killed in a helicopter explosion during the first movie. He returns in the second movie with a limp, but no scarring or disfigurement whatsoever. Durant's survival may have been a retcon, but it's still very jarring when you consider that the title character got the way he is also because of an explosion.
  • In Cloverfield, the protagonists locate Beth who is impaled by a length of rebar. The protagonists simply heave her off this spike, a process which would almost certainly kill her IRL. She is able to limp out of the wrecked building with minimal assistance. Once they reach the street and the monster threatens, she is able to run along with the others.
  • Given a handwave in Wanted. As part of his Training from Hell, Wesley is regularly stabbed and beaten to a bloody pulp, but the Fraternity has these special baths that allow for rapid healing, and so after a good soak, he's barely worse for wear.
  • A Knight's Tale: William is stabbed in the shoulder with a lance, and the tip breaks off inside, causing sufficient injury that he can no longer grip his own lance unaided. As soon as he wins the competition, he is able to dismount without difficulty and fiercely hug his love interest. No further mention of the wound is made.
  • In Black Caesar, Tommy dies from a gunshot wound. He magically returns for the sequel, Hell Up In Harlem, which offers a Retcon that he's able to get patched up via Hollywood Healing and seek revenge.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce has no cartilage left in his knee and requires a motorized brace to walk around. Later, he gets his vertebrae dislocated. His spine is popped back into place and his knee heals while in the pit prison. He also gets over a severe stab wound in pretty short order.
  • In GI Joe The Rise Of Cobra Scarlett's face, badly battered by a brutal beating from the Baroness, is magically all better in time for the next big action set-piece.
  • Averted in Skyfall. Bond's shoulder wound from the opening sequence dramatically affects his performance, physical and mental, months later. Mallory took a bullet to the arm and for the rest of the film is seen wearing a sling.
  • The newest Nicholas Sparks movie, The Choice, takes this Up to Eleven. The heroine is left in a coma following a car accident (in the book, it's for a year, in the movie, it's uncertain for how long). When she finally wakes up. . .she's perfectly fine. No extensive speech therapy for her to rebuild her throat muscles (which would be severely atrophied after months of disuse and the presence of a breathing tube). No extensive physical therapy for her to rebuild and regain the use of her muscles. No sickly pallor despite months without any sun exposure. No indication of any brain damage—memory loss, slurred speech, etc. It's as if she just took a long nap.

  • Contrary to the intro text, the James Bond of Ian Fleming's books has a noticeable, comment-worthy scar on his face from the corner of eye down his cheek to his jawline. Various injuries acquired in the course of the stories are remarked on in later stories and recent injuries definitely affect the near-term capacity. For example, Bond spent the second half of Live and Let Die with his left hand bandaged and splinted after Tee-Hee broke Bond's pinkie finger.
  • Played with in The Dresden Files, particularly with Harry Dresden himself. As a wizard with a potential lifespan of centuries, he has a very slow but effective Healing Factor on his side. So, while he takes wounds and hurts that leave him with very evident damage and scarring (such as his left hand being burned to near-uselessness), he will inevitably recover from them almost completely (such as with said burned hand slowly becoming useful again). It's just going to take a few years... or decades... to reach that point.
    • Generally averted in the span of a single book, however: when Harry takes a beating (and he takes a lot of beatings), it hampers his abilities for the rest of the book. While he's generally okay by the next book, they tend to take place a full year apart. It's also shown that he sometimes needs therapy after being wounded, for example training with his burned hand to recover the strenght in it and needing weeks of theraphy in Cold Days after being shot by a shiper rifle in the end of Changes.
    • Averted for normal non-magical mortals who, when hurt so badly they need surgery, never fully recovers from their wounds. For example Michael, who in Small Favor have to retire from his duties as a Knight after being shot, and Murphy in Skin Game who, after being beaten upp by Nicodemous, will recover but only to 90 % of her former abilities.
  • Justified in the Animorphs series, because the morphing technology works with DNA, so any injuries to the body are irrelevant and the kids just need to morph to heal.
  • Handwaved in the Alex Rider series, in which being young and very physically fit counts as a Healing Factor. It's mentioned that an adult would not have survived his injuries. In the later books, there are references to all the scars he has, but they never seem to show up in visible areas or hamper his physically improbable stunts. A lot of the books do end with extended hospital says, however.
  • Justified in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, where the demigods carry around ambrosia, the food of the gods. It kills mortals, but even a small piece (and it has to be a small piece, or it will kill them too) can heal any injury a demigod has, and stop pain and exhaustion.
  • Lieutenant Kerensky in Redshirts gets nearly fatally injured every few weeks, yet is always back on his feet within days. Lampshaded by the other characters.
  • During Galaxy of Fear, Tash Arranda's brain is removed and jarred while someone else's brain is put in her body. When this is resolved, it's noted that the monks did such a good job that there aren't even scars or shaved patches, even though other characters put through the same procedures had scars. It might be because this was done by a team of monks practiced in these techniques, while the others were worked on by a lone one who was motivated by Greed.
  • Justified in The Hunger Games. The Capitol has advanced enough medicine that they have ointments that heal burn wounds, deep gashes and blood poisoning. After the Games the victor is subjected to medical treatment so advanced that any scars they obtained in the arena are removed along with every other scar they have on their body. There are however limits to what they can do, as Peeta loses his left leg. They also have no cure for hijacking.
    • This advanced healing is only offered to a selected few. Katniss and Peeta are no longer considered important enough to get this kind of treatment in Mockingjay and have to live the rest of their lives with burn scars and marks from skin grafts.

    Live Action TV 
  • Averted on Angel. Wesley gets his throat cut in the middle of season 3, and the scar remains visible through the end of season 4, gradually becoming less severe, but still noticeable. The only reason it's gone in season 5 is because the team no longer has any memories of Connor, which means Wesley doesn't remember getting his throat cut while trying to protect him. Apparently when Cyvus Vail rewrote their memories he made at least one physical change, too—removing Wesley's scar.
  • Law & Order subverted this early in its run, with Det. Logan visiting his partner Det. Cerreta in the hospital as he recovered from being shot several episodes prior. In even further subversion, Cerreta tells him he'll be retiring to a desk job instead of returning.
    • Averted consistently in the series; one episode had a witness in a case suffer a bad gash to her forehead that required medical attention, and when she next appeared in court she was shown with stitches.
  • Torchwood's particularly bad at this. In one episode half the characters were shot at and beaten up by cannibals, and in the next they were scratch-free. While Owen's death-related injuries were consistent in the second season, in a scene where he was shirtless he showed no signs of the gunshot wounds he received at the end of the first season and the start of the second.
  • Characters on Lost get shot, have appendectomies, and have blast doors crush their legs, but are traipsing around the jungle the next episode. This is sometimes addressed in the dialogue and attributed to the island's proven healing powers. At other times, it's Hand Waved with a throwaway "You can't go running off into the jungle! You just had surgery!"
  • On Bones, Booth was shot in the chest; a couple of weeks later he was completely fine with only a tiny bandage to show for it.
    • In the season five premiere Bones gets stabbed in the arm by a scalpel and bleeds heavily - two scenes later she wears a dress and doesn't even have a bandage.
  • Firefly's Malcolm Reynolds, to the point where it's a major character trait of his that he will. Not. Stay. Down. Getting shot in the arm annoys him. Getting shot in the stomach might drop him in about half an hour. Getting impaled through the gut with a sword is a minor inconvenience that ends the moment he rips it out. Being tortured to death....that just makes him angry. And by the next episode, which generally takes place maybe a week or two later, Mal is perfectly healthy again.
    • Possibly justified by the power of futuristic medicine. They do have a brilliant medic on board.
    • According to the movie, the episodes span 8 months. There is a little bit of time cut off at the end allowing for Inara to leave and become a teacher at a school for companions and for Book to leave for Haven.
    • Averted during Mal's Shirtless Scene in Serenity: he has various scars on his body due to injuries sustained in the series (Crow throwing a knife into his shoulder in "Train Job", Niska's torture machine in "War Stories", etc.).
    • Another aversion: it was a major plot point in Serenity that he has permanent damage to a nerve cluster in his side from a wartime shrapnel wound.
  • House had a particularly ridiculous example in Season Two when Foreman got infected with Naegleria - the brain-eating amoeba - and spent the greater part of a two-part episode progressing through the disease symptoms until he could be diagnosed and treated. They completely overlooked the fact that his symptoms were being caused by the amoebic infection actually eating his brain, which was conveniently all healed up by the next episode. Surprising this same after-effect was averted in a previous episode regarding an old lady whose brain had been getting chewed on by syphilis spirochetes and was reassured by House that her brain would stay the way it was.
    • Similar occurrence when Thirteen was back to doctoring a couple of days after surgery to remove a brain tumour.
  • In Supernatural, Dean claims that after having been brought back from Hell all of his scars have vanished. Dean never had any visible scars in any of the earlier episodes.
  • The third season of Gossip Girl ends with Chuck Bass being shot. When the fourth season begins we find out that he's recovered from his gunshot wound thanks to a hooker pouring alcohol over the wound. Impressive.
  • Towards the end of the sixth season of Gilmore Girls, Rory's boyfriend Logan gets injured base jumping off a cliff and getting a punctured lung, some broken ribs, and bruises over most of his body, but he's able to magically heal within an episode with only a limp by the season finale when he has to go to London.
  • In Misfits Nikki is able to leave the hospital almost instantly upon receiving a heart transplant, and the scar from the operation disappears after that episode. Given the short time frame the episodes take place in, it also seems very unlikely that the rest of the cast's injuries would have healed completely from episode to episode.
  • Subverted on JAG. If a main character is injured, they will remain so for a few episodes. Then there's Lieutenant Bud Roberts who never gets his leg back after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan and we see him using a prosthetic for the rest of the series.
  • Happens to a point with Danny on CSI: NY. He does walk with a cane for a few eps after ditching his wheelchair, but still seems to have learned to walk again a bit fast.
  • Usually played straight on Stargate SG-1 with characters recovering from staff blasts and the like with no scars, but it did feature a notable aversion in "Nemesis" and "Small Victories". Michael Shanks came down with appendicitis during the filming of "Nemesis", forcing them to write him out of most of the episode. The writers chose the simple solution of giving Daniel Jackson appendicitis, then remembered to have him still recovering from an appendectomy in "Small Victories" (set a week later).
  • Averted in Breaking Bad. A character is shot and wounded in season 3. He spends the rest of the season in the hospital. He spends all of season 4 in a wheelchair. In season 5, he's shown walking again but he needs a cane because he still limps a bit. His healing doesn't get a chance to improve further than that due to him being fatally shot.
  • The X-Files: Mulder, Scully and Skinner get shot and beaten up very badly many times but don't worry, neither of them has any nasty permanent scars whatsoever.
    • The most horrible and intentionally exaggerated example is from the episode "Fight Club". Their faces are badly battered, bruised, sewed; Mulder's jaw is even wired, and his arm is broken. They are a sorry sight indeed, and they'be beaten up one another! Because of some half-sister doppelgängerish encounter. Or something. Fortunately, next episode they are fine.
    • Averted in "The Pine Bluff Variant" when Mulder gets tortured. They broke his finger. In the next episode "Folie a Deux", his fingers are still bandaged.
    • Averted in "731": At the end of the episode Mulder's face bears very visible and believable marks from a severe beating.
  • Averted when Tony gets shot in The Sopranos. He's in hosptial for at least a couple of episodes, takes it easy for a long time afterwards, still has a nasty scar on his stomach and mentions in the next season that he can't eat certain foods without upsetting his stomach now.
  • Averted by Max in the reimagined Hawaii Five-0. In the second-season finale he was shot in the leg by a criminal. Four episodes into the third season he's still being shown walking with a cane. It may not be a full aversion since his character is a forensic technician, not an action hero like the four main characters, who play the trope straight by often healing from pretty serious injuries within no more than a couple of episodes.
  • Usually averted in Grimm. When Nick gets into a fight, he does carry the results for a while, such as bruises or cuts on his face.
  • Josh on The West Wing has some impressive healing skills. He gets shot and the bullet damages his pulmonary artery, requiring extensive surgery. After surgery he spends one two-part episode in the hospital and one at home and then goes back to work 100 % even though he would have needed months to heal (the chestbone, for instance, would take at least three months). (In fairness, those three episodes span from May to November, so there is some recovery time, but probably not enough.) In one episode the surgeon general compliments him on how nice his scar looked while he was still under sedation from the surgery and in season seven the scar has completely vanished.
    • Donna's surgical scar are also mysteriously absent in season seven. She does spend several episodes in a wheelchair after an open femur fracture but once she's out of the wheelchair she walks around like normal with no need for physical therapy or any signs of pain.
  • An early episode of Neighbours had Shane Ramsay receiving spinal damage from a car crash, and the prognosis was that he might walk again but his diving career was over. Two episodes later - and remember, this is a daily, half-hour Soap Opera - he was out of bed and on a camping trip with his younger brother.
  • Criminal Minds averts this usually. Reid had to deal with the results of being shot in the leg for weeks. Penelope likewise was shown to be dealing with injuries from being shot for a couple of episodes. Likewise other characters when injured usually deal with it for quite a while.
  • The Sentinel; there is fandom speculation that Sentinels and Guides heal faster than normal humans, especially when in proximity to one another.
  • Averted on Orphan Black, when Donnie tells Alison at her intervention that the burns from when she (purposely) dripped hot glue on him some weeks earlier still hurt when he's in the shower.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Pro Wrestling sometimes averts this and sometimes plays it straight. A lot of the time it's actually inverting it. The wrestlers take longer to 'heal' from moves that don't actually hurt them much in real life.
  • An aversion was followed by a ridiculous example in the Stone Cold/Triple H feud. Stone Cold was run over by a car and was put out of action for nine months (he had an injury in real life). Triple H was revealed to be the culprit and so Stone Cold retaliated by dropping the car he was in out of a forklift. How long did it take for Trips to come back? Two weeks. It was somewhat Lampshaded by his wife who said he was "incredibly lucky" not to have been killed and was coughing up blood and suffering from internal injuries whenever he was not on TV.
  • Sometimes this can be justified when the Heel is lying about their supposed injury. They are overstating it to avoid competing in matches and the Face is out to expose them for their deceit. There's also plenty of instances of heels using their crutches etc as weapons as part of a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • In the runup to the 2001 Royal Rumble, Chyna had a neck injury angle where she discussed having spinal fusion surgery. She was able to wrestle Ivory but "reinjured" her neck following a botched handspring elbow. The whole injury angle lasted about three weeks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Surprisingly, played straight in the 4th edition. In order to avoid forcing one of the players to play the "Cleric" "with a blunt weapon", the designers decided to embrace this trope and give every player character the ability to spend "Healing Surges" at will when they have a five minute rest. This is one of the most controversial changes in the game.
    • They can also do it once in the middle of a fight, plus the Leader classes (Warlords, Clerics, Bards, etc.) have powers that allow other people to use a healing surge. This absurdity is somewhat justified by the abstract nature of D&D's hit points.
    • And to top it off, they have full Trauma Inn action going on, except that you don't even need an inn. One night's rest will restore you to full HP and full Healing Surges.
    • In First Edition, losing HP was explained as a combination of fatigue and actual damage. Removing fatigue from a night's rest makes perfect sense. Damage ... not so much, but it was implied that it took approximately the same amount of actual damage to kill a 1 HP commoner and a 90 HP high-level fighter. The fighter just had more experience avoiding that damage ... until he was too worn out to do so anymore. And in first edition, you didn't automatically heal to full from a night's rest anyway; some of the HP loss apparently represented minor sprains and bruises that took longer to heal.
  • In GURPS the Advantage Very Rapid Healing not only does exactly what it says on the tin but allows total recovery from essentially anything but death or dismemberment.
    • Some GURPS supplements for running cinematic games recommend flat-out ignoring some of the harsher injury rules. Also, Monster Hunters allows humans who officially have no special powers to buy Regeneration (Slow), which is even better than Very Rapid Healing and costs fewer points.
  • Exalted averts it for mortals, devoting a lot of time in the systems section to describing how long it takes for a wound to truly heal, how fast someone can bleed out, and how prone wounds are to infection. But then again, these are mainly meant to contrast mortals against the eponymous Exalted, who heal at a faster rate naturally and get access to Charms that allow upping the out-of-combat healing rate tenfold.
  • Averted in Cyberpunk 2020. Wounds, especially serious ones, take up to weeks to heal, unless someone has dough to pay stuff as nanotech and/or healing drugs.
  • Rocket Age's story point system gives the players and the game master the ability to invoke this trope. It's called being Grazed and allows the character to collect themselves in a quiet moment and recover half their lost attribute points before continuing on with the adventure.

    Video Games 
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Snake gets his arm broken in the animated intro sequence and has to be airlifted to hospital, but is back in the field two weeks later. During the game, Snake can set broken bones and sew up injuries without any problems.
    • Also lampshaded with game mechanics: during the "prologue" mission, Snake's stamina reduces very slowly; it's possible to finish the whole thing with three-quarters stamina. After he gets his terrible wounds and is reinserted a week later, his stamina drains much faster. In addition, Para-Medic will remark that because he is not fully healed (or even partially healed), he really shouldn't be in the field and his performance (stamina) will suffer for it.
    • And averted with losing his eye and gaining a scar to match it. But this is a prequel, and he had the scar and eyepatch in the first Metal Gear.
  • In The Punisher (Capcom), like most arcade Beat Em Ups, you will get a game over after losing enough "lives". During the countdown (the time left to insert another quarter), you will actually see a medic performing CPR on your character. Insert a coin before the time runs out and you are back to full health. Amazing how pushing on someone's chest for ten seconds can magically make the hundred bullets lodged in their flesh disappear...
  • Particularly noticeable in both God of War games: Kratos gets stabbed, cut, and slammed into walls numerous times, and he bleeds, but he never seems to sustain an injury for very long. He fought Zeus after being stabbed in the gut with a giant sword! There is a reason for this, however: he's Zeus's son. Being a demigod helps with this sort of thing.
    • He climbs out of Hades through sheer determination and anger.
  • Stunt Island was a flight simulator by Disney Interactive Studios set on a fictional island where movie aircraft stunts are filmed. If you crashed while attempting a stunt, the island's Herr Doktor would rattle off a random list of injuries: "You haf a crushed spleen, a pierced kidney, and three broken ribs. Ve'll haf you patched up and flying again tomorrow."
  • Fallout 3 has the odd system of 'health' and 'limb health' being somewhat separate. It is quite possible to be at full health but not full limb health as some methods heal regular health but not limb health (e.g drinking water). Other things heal limb health but not overall health. Healing a limb with a stimpak restores some overall health, but mostly limb health.
    • If you help out Moira with her survival guide research and return to her with over 600 rads of builtup radiation, she accidentally gives you a mutation that heals wounded limbs.
    • Mostly averted in Hardcore mode for Fallout: New Vegas: crippled limbs require a doctor bag to repair, stimpacks heal gradually instead of all at once, and food's healing effects are sharply diminished. But you can still go from almost dead to completely healthy by eating enough gecko meat (just don't expect it to heal your crippled body).
  • Justified for the Medic in Team Fortress 2. If in-game healing took even a tenth of the length of Real Life battlefield surgery, nobody would play the class.
  • Done in Mass Effect 2. Even though Shepard was basically dead (and we do see some small clips of Cerberus patching them up), Shepard walks away from the Lazarus Project with only some fairly minor facial scars. Subverted in that it is stressed repeatedly that this was an incredible undertaking of medical science that had never been done before, cost billions upon billions of credits, and took a full two years with some of the best minds in the galaxy working on it. It was revealed in DLC for the next game that they also made use of cloned tissue, including at least one full-grown clone which escaped.
  • Subverted in the Outlast games. Any major injuries your characters suffer (being thrown out a window by an explosion or a crazed inmate, being stabbed) cause your character to writhe around screaming in pain for a bit, and will even hamper your movement. Injuries taken in the course of gameplay, however, play the trope straight as as long as you keep from getting injured too much you'll heal up again.


    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy loves this one. Anything from cuts and bruises to broken bones or Evil Stewie cutting off Brian's tail will be gone by the next scene, unless it's a plot point.
  • Likewise to Family Guy, American Dad!, and to a far more absurd degree. Gunshot wounds, arrows stuck in the shoulder, and stabbings are all just part of the territory. The only exception is the episode where Jesus returns and Stan has to battle demons to survive—he's decked with battle scars and lost a hand, replaced with a robotic clamp.
  • The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series consistently loses teeth when he's punched. They all grow back. Then again, those are very white teeth. They could be fakes. Earlier portrayals show diseased yellow teeth, which could also be fake, this is The Joker after all.
  • Every Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Popeye, Classic Disney Short and Tex Avery cartoon ever. It's what puts the "amusing" in Amusing Injuries.
    • One of the earlier Tom and Jerry shorts averted this to a degree. Half way through the short, Tom blows the top of his scalp away with a shotgun and wears a toupee to cover for the rest of the short. He also sports more bandages as the short goes on. That being said, he's still able to go after being sawed in half (his midsection is taped together in the next scene).
  • In Beavis And Butthead the duo have suffered many injuries throughout the series including knocked out teeth, severed fingers, eye trauma, broken limbs, gaping wounds, etc, but they heal quickly, completely, and sometimes within the same episode.
  • Homer's many injuries from The Simpsons including breaking nearly every bone in his body, horrific gaping wounds, knocked out teeth, eye trauma, multiple shots to the groin, etc. But what the audience didn't see was the unfunny aftermath. Somehow, Homer became addicted to painkillers. It was the only way he could perform the bonecracking physical comedy that had made him a star.
    Homer: Attention was like a drug to me. But was even more like drugs was the drugs.
  • Most of the characters in South Park (unless it's Kenny or a minor character) will shrug off major injuries pretty quickly unless it becomes a plot point, one of the most notable examples is in "Poor and Stupid" in which after being in a race car accident Cartman is diagnosed with two fractured ribs, a broken femur, torn ligaments in both knees, and a level 2 concussion, he just gets up and recovers quickly.
  • In 'the Texas Skilsaw Massacre on King of the Hill, Dale Gribble accidentally got his finger sliced off by Hank's circular saw. His finger is re-attached and bandaged, but by the next episode, the bandages are off and the stitches are removed. It would take weeks or months on end for that finger to completely heal in reality- though given the episodic nature of the show, it's understandable.
    • This is averted in Death Of A Propane Salesman when Luanne has her hair singed off by an explosion that results in her boyfriend's demise, though it gradually grows back over time.
  • Spongebob Squarepants has a truckload of injuries that heal up in a jiffy—usually Amusing Injuries- that heal up anywhere from the next scene (Kevin the Sea Cucumber getting stung beyond recognition, only to be unharmed following scene transitions) to the duration of the episode (Mr. Krabs's arms fall off and he spends an episode getting them surgically re-attached, only to have them fall off again right as he leaves the hospital). In Spongebob's case, he can regenerate limbs and reproduce by budding, exempting him from this. Patrick might also count, given real life starfish can regenerate severed parts.
  • Averted in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Even in a world where doctors have water-based Healing Hands, anything above a cut or a bruise takes a long time to heal. Case in point: Aang, who was shot by lightning and revived via magical spirit water, still needed multiple sessions before he completely healed, and after that he retained scars on his back and foot for the rest of his life.
    • Also averted in it's sequel series The Legend of Korra. It takes about 2 years of physical therapy for Korra to able to walk after being poisoned by the Red Lotus in the end of season 3. This was exacerbated by some of the poison still being in her system, but even after it was removed she took a long time to fully recover.
  • Archer typically averts this with side characters and Ray, but plays it entirely straight with the rest of the main cast.
    Archer: Since I started working at ISIS, I've been shot, stabbed, set on fire, poisoned, shot, sexually assaulted, partially chewed, shot, and declared legally dead.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball, to ridiculous levels. Gumball has been set on fire, hit by a truck, thrown off a cliff, eaten, decapitated, blown up, disintegrated, and nuked. The only time he got a semi-permanent visible injury was when he hit his head on a tree branch.
  • Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic seems to be constantly injuring herself, yet never shows any long term effects of all this damage. In "Read It and Weep" she explicitly suffers a compound fracture to her wing, which leaves her incapacitated for a few days. She can't fly on it afterwards, but it's still mentioned to be a problem that should clear up in another week.

    Real Life 
  • Against all probability (and fairness), there are professional boxers who are known for their looks. For example, Floyd Mayweather's nickname is "Pretty-boy".
  • John Cena. Full stop. He's made a career of not just being a Determinator, but when he DOES get legitimately injured, he almost always ends up coming back surprisingly fast through sheer grit and pushing his rehab. In one case he had surgery on the vertebrae in his neck. Granted, it was a much improved procedure that left him with just a small scar on the side of his throat (described by other wrestlers "looking like a bad mosquito bite or he cut himself shaving or something"), but he was still told he'd be out for at least a year to 18 months. Less than six months later he makes a return to win the Royal Rumble.
  • Due to (modern-day) quick intervention of emergency services, people can fully recover from a lot of types of fractures, organ damages and concussions (there are surviving car crash victims who survived 30-40 simultaneous fractures). The prevalence of the trope had the unfortunate effect of people taking more risks and suffering spinal or internal-organ damage which led to a crippled life worse than death.