In... and out...
Often in TV, a character who is panicking will be shown inhaling and exhaling into a paper bag to calm down. In milder examples, it can be used to cure hiccups. Actually Truth in Television
, as breathing into a paper bag is a good way to reduce the symptoms of hyperventilationnote
, according to The Other Wiki
. However, one should never use a plastic bag
for this, because suffocation will
While there are other ways to cure hyperventilation, the paper bag is the most iconic, providing an easy visual shorthand (and comical prop) for viewers.
Anime & Manga
- In the manga adaptation of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji has a panic attack and Kaworu, not being able to find a paper bag, kisses him.
- In Young Justice, the Justice League is considering disbanding their group unless they can prove themselves on a mission. Arrowette calls them out on wanting their apprentinces to fail instead of hoping for them to succeed, before she storms off. Wonder Girl follows her, and when she finds her she's breathing heavily into a bag. Hey, give the girl a break. She just talked back to the Justice League.
- Happens in one episode of Perfect Strangers.
- Josie Gibson, a contestant on Big Brother, did this once.
- Rachel is show breathing into a paper bag during the Friends pilot.
- And later Janice does this when Chandler reveals he saw her kissing her (supposedly soon-to-be) ex-husband. She also gags on the receipt from the large box of condoms Chandler had just purchased that was in the bag, just to be more ironic.
- In one of the many flashbacks on LOST, Hurley is seen breathing into a Mr. Clucks bag in a parking lot.
- On one episode of Diff'rent Strokes, Adelaide the housekeeper uses a paper bag to ward off an epileptic seizure.
- Main character Nina, who suffers from anxiety, does this a lot in the Australian series Offspring
- Happy Tree Friends: Petunia in "Wishy Washy". She eventually pops the paper bag and goes for a glove instead (which of course gets stuck in her throat).
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Spike does this on "A Dog And Pony Show" after Rarity has been kidnapped.
- On The Simpsons, in the episode "Lisa's Rival", when Lisa does this after meeting a girl who appears to be smarter than she is.
- Seen in Rocket Power.
- Carver does this once in The Weekenders.
- Done one time in The Mighty B!.
- Adventure Time: Finn starts hyperventilating when Princess Bubblegum asks him to give a science talk. Jake turns into a paper bag and tells him to just breathe into him.
- Chaz on Rugrats does this when he hears that one of his blind dates is a contortionist.