After an experience with hypnosis, be it a stage performer or a friend trying out his "skills", a character finds himself the puppet of accidental or intentional post-hypnotic commands. The results can range from simple embarrassment to outright danger. Often the character has to be rescued from the brink of disaster before a reputable professional can rid him of his compulsions.
Almost invariably, the character originally bragged that he or she couldn't be hypnotized
, which only compounds their later embarrassment at being Weak-Willed
A variation of this trope is the unintended trance. This is where an innocent victim is hypnotized unintentionally, usually when someone else is hypnotized. The suggestions given to the intended subject are also accepted by the accidental subject, with the added complication that the suggestions are not removed from the unintended subject as they were from the intended subject.
Too bad this doesn't work in real life
, according to MythBusters
. Both hypnotherapists and stage hypnotists generally agree that in order for someone to fall for a hypnotic suggestion, they must want
to do it, and will automatically reject any suggestion that goes against their "moral fiber".
Although the person must want
to do it, they still will, during a stage show or other non-threatening situation, follow instructions, even embarrassing ones. The key is for the hypnotist to encourage everyone to "play along" and have fun. As long as someone feels secure, they will "bark like a dog" or other actions. However, one should still make sure that they only allow themselves to be hypnotized by someone they can trust, or in the presence of someone they can trust (someone to knock the victim out of trance if the hypnotist tries anything funny).
A related plot is Sleep Learning
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Anime and Manga
- Ranma ½:
- Shampoo feeds Ranma hypnotic dim sum that, thanks to an accident, leaves him with the uncontrollable urge to hug anyone who sneezes. This, of course, occurs just as there's a cold going around the Tendō household.
- Much later in the manga, Ranma uses hypnotic incense on Ryōga to make him confess his love to Akari (showing that Ranma doesn't learn from his own experiences). To this end, since Akari adores pigs, he conditions Ryōga to give a hug whenever he hears the word "pig". Of course, shortly thereafter Akari swears to never talk about pigs again, and Ryōga keeps stumbling on people saying "pig" in more and more ludicrous circumstances.
- It should be noted that the traditional method does not actually work on Ranma in the manga (Happosai's friend tried it and Ranma mentions that mind tricks like that do not work on him), only those done by magical means work.
- In One Piece, Jango the hypnotist often hypnotised himself, as well as his target(s); he eventually gets better at leaving himself out of it. Later in the same Story Arc, Jango hypnotizes the rest of his crew to be incredibly strong; unfortunately, he also hypnotizes Luffy... who goes on a rampage and beats the living shit out of ninety percent of Jango's pirate crew. If you look, you'll see that Jango doesn't actually figure out how to not hypnotize himself, but rather learns to pull his hat down at the last moment so he's no longer watching the swinging disc. Occasionally, he forgets to do this.
- In the first episode of the comedic hentai anime Nageki no Kenkô Yûryôji (distributed in North America under the title F3 (Frantic, Frustrated and Female)), main character Hiroe is given a poorly-phrased post-hypnotic command by her sister Mayaka — and as a result has an orgasm each time Mayaka touches her.
- In Kimagure Orange Road, sometimes Kyosuke would try to use his psychic powers to hypnotize eiher himself (by looking into a mirror and use his skill) or others. Hilarity Ensues.
- The main character Ren from Lost+Brain has a classmate sit in at a hypnosis demonstration and try to resist its effects. The classmate is hypnotised anyway, and Ren manages to learn how to control people even when they aren't in a trance.
- Nanapon from Seven of Seven can hypnotize people with her crystal. In one episode, she tries to teach Nana how to do this, but ends up hypnotizing herself.
- When Isidro of Berserk trips and accidentally grabs Schierke's breast, which he calls small, she responds by using magic to make him act like a monkey.
- In Code Geass, this happens to Princess Euphemia, who Lelouch offhandedly tells to 'kill all the Japanese' when explaining the nature of his Geass to her. She is forced to do so, despite her resistance because of her moral fiber, and is remembered as the Massacre Princess.
- Literary (1959), and then movie (1962), example: The Manchurian Candidate. Having fallen under hypnosis quite by chance, Raymond Shaw promptly and unquestioningly obeys the suggestion that wasn't even meant for him: "Why don't you go and take yourself a cab and go up to Central Park and go jump in the lake?"
- Richard also literally jumps in a lake—well, a canal—in response to a trigger planted by the titular Dirk in "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency". Dirk was demonstrating to Richard why exactly one must Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts, particularly when there's an Absent Minded Professor about in the bad habit of leaving his time machine unlocked...
- In Heinlein's Double Star, the hero claims he's immune to hypnosis, goes out like a light, and wakes up while STILL disbelieving that he was hypnotized until the results are convincingly demonstrated.
- Likewise, in Starship Troopers Johnny Rico is put to sleep by a post-hypnotic suggestion command phrase without even realizing it.
- And again in Time for the Stars, Tom and Pat Bartlett are hypnotized (while falsely thinking that they're under the effect of drugs) in order to bring out their telepathic abilities.
- And yet again in Citizen of the Galaxy, where Baslim hypnotizes Thorby into remembering long speeches in foreign languages so he can later identify himself to Baslim's friends.
- And yet again again in Space Cadet; the hero is subjected to an hypnotic lesson in the Venerian language. He emerges from it feeling unchanged, and is convinced that he was never hypnotized at all until he returns to his quarters and starts amiably cursing his Venus-born roommate — in fluent Venerian.
- The Wayside School books featured a hypnotist who loved to play pranks on his customers. For example, he hypnotized a woman to quit smoking, but added the suggestion that she slap her husband whenever he said "potato". Later there's a Brick Joke where one of his pranks bears fruit after the reader has stopped looking for it.
- Harry Potter: Ron is still hopping several minutes after the Imperius Curse is lifted from the practice session.
- This is the whole point of Captain Underpants: two kids hypnotize their principal into thinking he's a superhero they made up, but their method of ending the trance created a trigger that causes a relapse. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Peter Straub's story "Blue Rose", the young Harry Beever hypnotizes his younger brother to swallow his own tongue. It is implied that soon afterwards, he does the same to a simple-minded man in the neighborhood.
- Cipolla feels offended about not being the first example in this session AND the page quote.
- The Joseph Payne Brennan short story "Levitation" has this end very badly. The hypnotist dies while he commands the levitating, hypnotized man to rise... and nobody can bring him back down.
Live Action TV
- On Family Matters, Steve Urkel claims he's so smart he can't be hypnotized. The hypnotist claims that smarter people are actually easier to hypnotize. Urkel scoffs... and is entranced the instant the watch drops.
- Frasier on Cheers hypnotizes Woody to like the vegetable drink he endorsed in a commercial, so he wouldn't have been lying. Unfortunately, the product is discontinued, but Woody is now an addict.
- In that same episode, Frasier mentions the time he hypnotized Lilith as part of a prank, which Lilith denies. She then spends the rest of the episode doing increasingly ridiculous things (like taking off her shoes and breaking into song) every time someone says certain keywords. Naturally this is never mentioned again.
- Specifically: "brie cheese" = take a shoe off, "tambourine" = begin unbuttoning shirt and "tractor" = sing "Tomorrow" from Annie.
- Wings: Brian is able to make the skeptical Joe cluck like a chicken whenever he hears the word "tortilla." However, later Roy admits under hypnosis that he stole the life-savings of an old man and buried it in his back yard. The gang conducts a dig to locate the stash before realizing he was faking it and just wanted someone to dig the hole for his new hot-tub. Turns out, as he had insisted earlier, he really couldn't be hypnotized.
- Neatly subverted in an episode of Perfect Strangers in which Larry claimed to be immune to hypnosis, proceeds to go under with consummate ease — then reveals about a minute later that he's only pretending, and he actually can't be hypnotised. Meanwhile, Balki was accidentally hypnotised just by half-listening from the next room.
- The episode "My Husband Is Not a Drunk" from The Dick Van Dyke Show, where van Dyke's character acts as though he was drunk every time a telephone rings. Established earlier as an easy hypnosis mark, he was hypnotised from another room as he overheard the hypnotist try to hypnotize Buddy, who genuinely couldn't be hypnotized.
- Almost the entire cast turn into hypno fools in one episode of The Brittas Empire
- Happened on Gilligan's Island. Mary Ann thought she was Ginger, and hypnosis was tried to cure her and make her think she's Mary Ann again. The hypnosis failed, but worked on Gilligan, who was listening.
- In an episode of The Greatest American Hero, Bill is accidentally hypnotized while watching a hypnotism performance and falls asleep (or instantly wakes up) whenever he hears the word "Scenario".
- In a particularly silly episode of Murder, She Wrote, a hypnotist is killed in front of several eyewitnesses, all of whom he's just commanded to forget everything they've experienced.
- An episode of Kate And Allie had a character visiting a hypnotist to handle stage fright, as she was to appear on television later. The hypnotist is interrupted by a phone call from the hypnotist's daughter. The hypnotist takes the call in the other room, but his client can still hear him. His daughter is disappointed because she tried out for the cheerleading squad and got picked as the mascot: a chicken. The hypnotist's advice to his daughter, overheard by his client, is to "cluck like a chicken for all you're worth!" On stage later, she did exactly that.
- On NewsRadio Joe hypnotizes Jimmy to cure him of his fear of hippies. Matthew gets hypnotized too and messes things up until Joe makes him think he's a chicken. Eventually, Jimmy is cured but Matthew remains a chicken. Dave feels Matthew likes being that way — or at least Dave likes him better that way.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had an episode where Will was hypnotized into acting like a child whenever he heard a bell. The episode ended with a gag where Uncle Phil chastised Will for falling under the hypnosis...and then barking like a dog when he hears a bell.
- Friends: When Rachel wants Chandler to quit smoking, she gives him a tape to play while he sleeps. The tape tells him he is a strong, confident woman who doesn't need to smoke. Over the course of the episode, Chandler is seen exhibiting certain feminine traits such as coming out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his hair and torso.
- Joey then alters the tape so it says "Joey is your best friend. You want to buy him a sandwich every day." The first time Chandler plays the new version, he wakes up in bewilderment.
- Night Court. Bull Shannon is due to appear on a game show but is nervous, so his friends hypnotise him so he will remain calm when he hears a Trigger Phrase which is...unfortunately the lecherous DA Dan Fielding choses that moment to say "I want to be your love slave!" to an attractive prison officer. Ironically Bull handles the game show quite well but Dan, not realising this, rushes onto the stage and shouts "Bull, I want to be your love slave!" on live television. At a press conference Dan excuses his actions by saying he was kidnapped and brainwashed by Soviet agents.
- Though not quite an example, one episode of Boogie's Diner had the boss listen to a tape of "Tibetan Monk's Omming" to calm down. It worked remarkably well. Then the staff realizes they have an excellent severage package and tries to tape over the Oms so he'll fire them. Except they have to do it so it's hard to tell from the actual tape, which means matching the monks' tone of voice. What follows is basically a very serene musical number.
- In The Sarah Jane Adventures, Clyde is victim to hypnosis, and Sarah Jane to scarily accurate predictions, during a visit to a show. Later, Clyde gets hypnotised again, as is the rest of the world, except for Luke and anyone born under the sign of Taurus. Naturally, this being a Doctor Who Spin-Off, it's down to aliens.
- Another Sufficiently Advanced Technology in Doctor Who, blood control, has this effect on anyone of the chosen blood type. But the Doctor explains that it is more like real-world hypnosis, in that the victims retain enough of their instincts to avoid doing anything outright suicidal.
- Big Kids — the entire concept of the show. The Parents start frequently acting like young children after a hypnotist's show. In the end, their kids work out that the word which "switches" them is the hypnotist's name, Ming, whether on its own or as a part of longer words. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues.
- In The A-Team, Sergeant Bosco "B.A." Baracus has a fear of flying. In one episode he is tricked into being hypnotized so that he will fall asleep when someone says "eclipse", allowing him to sleep through an important flight. Later, in combat, one of his buddies says "gimme clips" and he falls asleep.
- The plot of one Kenan & Kel episode centred around a bet that Kel couldn't survive one week without drinking orange soda. In an attempt to cure his addiction, Kel goes to a hypotherapist... except Kenan (by this point on the verge of losing the bet) switches the charts and the highly trained hypnotherapist doesn't think twice about hypnotising Kel into becoming a vicious guard dog when he hears the chime of a bell. Hilarity Ensues.
- One episode of Laverne and Shirley had the duo acting like chickens every time they heard a bell ring.
- Round the Twist had a hypnosis episode which resulted in Pete acting like a chicken whenever the word 'now' was mentioned. It also featured a counting chicken which was made to regress (or ascend) to a past life of being a mathematician.
- My Hero combined this with The Fun in Funeral. One episode's A-plot has George Sunday (secretly the superhero Thermoman) being taken for dead as a result of his Bizarre Alien Biology acting up, while the B-plot has Mrs. Raven, the closest thing to a Token Evil Teammate on the show, taking up the kind of hypnosis program which features "You will quit smoking. Then you will start drinking. Then you will come to me with your drinking problem." When the minister is listing George's three traits, we get events such as Pierce clucking like a chicken and Stanley claiming to be Spider-Man. When "These are the things we will remember him for" comes around, we're treated to a rendition of the YMCA by these three; "ten", incidentally, is the chicken dance.
- The Suite Life on Deck had London being hypnotized to act more like Bailey. Naturally, it got annoying, but when the hypnotist tried to change her back, it accidentally affects the daughter of the dean from Yale University.
- In the House episode House's Head, Chase is hypnotizing House to help him remember what happened during a bus crash. House saw Wilson and Amber in the room, so Chase told him to ignore Amber and Wilson. This resulted in the rest of the episode spent trying increasingly dangerous ways of dredging through House's mind. He was finally forced to realize that Amber was the person he was searching for.
- A dramatic example occurs in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. A hypnotherapist manages to convince one of her clients, a bank teller, to give her change for a twenty; however, while she thinks she's counting it out in ones, she's actually giving the hypnotherapist hundred dollar bills. When another client figures this out, the hypnotherapist triggers a command that makes her think she's on a beach vacation... causing her to walk off her balcony.
- Which leads to a conversation when the hypnotherapist tells the officer that she can't make people do what they don't want to. The latter retorts with "I can. Go to jail".
- A rather low-key version appears in the Leverage episode, "The Scheherezade Job". In order for their heist to work, they have Hardison infiltrate an orchestra since he had been a violin prodigy when he was young. He was nervous about not having touched a violin in years, but when his solo comes he plays his part beautifully. The Reveal at the end is that Nate had hypnotized him to return to his childhood level of skill, 'shaking the cobwebs out' as he put it. It still earned Nate a big What the Hell, Hero? from the rest of the team, with callbacks to it in future episodes.
- An episode of The Flying Nun has a dentist cross this one with a bizarre "Freaky Friday" Flip: He uses hypnosis to make Sister Bertrille and the Mother Superior think they're each other. Hilarity, of course, ensues.
- In Stark Raving Mad, to research ideas for a book, Tony Shaloub's character and Neil Patrick Harris' character hypnotize two of their friends into believing they're Romeo and Juliet. Y'know, those two lovers that ended up killing themselves!
- The New WKRP in Cincinnati: Mr. Carlson is hypnotized with a post-hypnotic suggestion that he's a chicken, cued by the word "Colonel," and is snapped out when he hears "Sanders." Then he has a meeting with a Russian interested in the US radio market, who is a Colonel in the Russian army. His translator is named Buck Sanders. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Whose Line Is It Anyway?, one session of the game "Let's Make a Date" has Ryan as someone who's "still hypnotised from last night's show". Among the completely random responses he strings together are chicken noises, standing at attention with his pants around his ankles and saluting.
- There was running gag between Colin and Ryan on the show where one of the two would say something embarrassing and then say, "Sleep", causing the other's head to slump. Example: when Colin makes an awkward statement about how much he likes women, he then tells Ryan, "Sleep. You will forget everything I said. Wake." Later, when Ryan stumbles over what he's trying to say, Colin says, "Sleep. When you awake you will have perfect diction. Wake."
- Top Gear's Richard Hammond was once hypnotised into not recalling how to drive. He was then filmed in a car looking completely baffled as to how anything worked. Later, in the studio, while discussing the experience, an earlier hypnotic suggestion was envoked which made him think a child's pedal car was his own, beloved car and that he would get unreasonably enraged when anyone damaged it. As he pedaled around the studio, Jeremy Clarkson got into another pedal car and ran into him. Hilariously, Hammond's road rage over the 'damage' amounted to little more than blustering "You ran into me!" in disbelief.
- An episode of Taggart opens with Detective Constable Fraser at a hypnotist's show, getting hypnotised into threatening the entire audience with arrest. Subsequently Played for Drama when a woman hypnotised into believed she could swim the Channel is found drowned.
- In the second season of The Joe Schmo Show, Bryce tried to make Piper into this using the hypnotic command "mockingbird," but his hypnosis was totally washed up.
- The Night Gallery episode "Finnegan's Flight" has a prisoner who is hypnotized into thinking he is flying a plane. When he thinks he's too high up, he suffers the effects of hypoxia, and when he tries to bring the plane back down and goes into an uncontrolled dive, he "crashes" and burns.
- An episode of Xena: Warrior Princess has Joxer fall under a spell where he turns into a badass at the sound of a bell, and snaps back to his bungling self when another bell rings. The closing credits acknowledged The Court Jester (See Film above) as the source for this plot.
- In GLOW, there was a woman called The Princess Of Darkness, who would hypnotize her opponents during matches, then have them beat themselves up. The hypnotized opponent would eventually snap out of it later in the match
- The radio version of Little Britain had Kenny Craig, who could hypnotise anyone in under a second and get them to agree to whatever he wanted. "Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don't look around the eyes, look into my eyes," [click!] "You're under."
- On A Clear Day You Can See Forever begins with Dr. Bruckner accidentally hypnotizing Daisy while trying to put someone else in a trance. When she runs out on him, he commands her remotely to come back.
- Subverted in The Order of the Stick. When Belkar is hypnotised and told to murder his friends, take their magical items and bring them to the hypnotist he refuses. The hypnotist realises that people will not do anything against their nature, and commands Belkar to kill his friends, steal their magical items and keep them for himself.
- While singing the entire score to Meet me in St. Louis. Naturally, something ensues
- Also subverted again later; Haley breaks a paladin out of a hypnotic trance by fooling him into thinking he's attacking his lord. Of course, both these examples are part of the actual D&D rules.
- At least this one◊ in Jason Love's cartoons warned about consequences
- An episode of The Flintstones had Fred hypnotize Barney by accident (he was standing behind him) during an (unsuccessful) attempt to hypnotize Wilma.
- Ickis in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters accidentally gets hypnotized when attempting to scare a magician performing a trick on someone. Until the hypnosis is reversed, Ickis begins thinking that he's a backwards redneck human everytime someone snaps their fingers.
- In the animated version of The Mask, one episode had Stanley Ipkiss hypnotized so that the sound of a person's fingers snapping sent him into a hypnotic suggestion based on the last thing he heard. It was bad enough when he was himself, but then the suggestion carries over when he puts on the Mask...
- In a Recess episode, Principal Prickly was accidentally hypnotised into thinking he is six years old again, whereas the intended target (Miss Finster) is unaffected. Justified in that it's later revealed that the hypnotism simply triggered an already mounting mental breakdown and envy towards the kids' carefree existence.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a Freak Lab Accident leaves Shredder thinking he's Michaelangelo just as Michaelangelo himself goes on a 10-Minute Retirement.
- Slight twist in Ben 10 episode Midnight Madness: The tropes is played fairly close to straight, except that the combination of evil hypnotist and Voluntary Shapeshifting means it's everyone else who's in danger.
- The Simpsons:
Bart: Dad, remember those self-hypnosis courses we took to help us ignore Grampa?
Homer: Do I ever! It's five years later and I still think I'm a chicken. I'm a chicken Marge!
Marge: (tiredly) I know, I know.
- In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life Rocko is hypnotized into thinking he's a dog by Heffer and he runs away, the thing is at the time Heffer needed to buy the second volume to reverse it.
- In an episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, Edd gets a book on hypnotism that comes with a hypno-wheel. Eddy decides to use it to his advantage, turning the neighborhood kids into animals for his amusement before using it to bilk them out of their money. However, when the Kankers show up, Lee's Blinding Bangs keep her from being affected, so she steals the wheel and the episode ends with the Eds outside the Kankers' mobile home, chained up and acting like dogs.
- The Penguins of Madagascar had one episode where Private tried to help a petting zoo sheep (who hated being petted because the people petting him never washed their hands which made his coat dirty and sticky) by hypnotizing him into not minding the petting. Cue the next shot of them all acting and clucking like chickens.
- Wade Duck was the target of this twice in the U.S. Acres segments of Garfield and Friends: once on purpose to remove his fears, another by accident for humor.
- One, "Wade, You're Afraid," had him hypnotized to be fearless, but this turns him into a Jerkass and ready to take on the farm's bull by making insults to it. It was adapted from one of the weekly strip arcs.
- Another one, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Wade," had Wade Duck also do the listening-in accidental-hypnosis thing: Orson, Booker and Sheldon were outside the barn having a casual discussion of hypnosis and somehow accidentally hypnotize a listening-in Wade who was on the other side of the barn wall. Whenever he heard a bell he would become a vicious monster. Later the hypnosis helps him save his friends (who never witnessed the event, mind you, because the random noise of any bell would turn him back to normal) by beating up Orson's bully brothers when they ring the dinner bell to turn him into that monster.
- Likewise, in The Garfield Show, in order to get Garfield to work at Doc's farm, Jon gets Dr. Whipple to hypnotize him into becoming an enthusiastic hard-working cat every time he hears a horn, and back to his lazy self when he hears another one. When Garfield realizes what happened, he gets furious and proceeds to hypnotize Jon, Doc, Odie, and Dr. Whipple into doing what the TV suggests.
- An episode of Time Squad had the trio travel back in time and encounter famous psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, who used hypnosis to help his patients deal with their problems but instead made them act like animals. Sigmund tries to cure Buck Tuddrussel of his big ego but only ends up hypnotizing him into acting like a chicken.
- Back at the Barnyard Otis somehow hypnotizes himself with his new hypno kit into attacking the farmer whenever he hears the sound of a bell. The rest of the episode consists of his friends trying to prevent him from killing the farmer until they resort to making a farmer-shaped model out of hay and tricking him into destroying it, which finally releases him from the hypnosis.
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series had an activated hypnosis experiment named Swirly cause trouble on the island by putting Lilo in a trance who upon hearing an accidental suggestion from Pleakly started to act like her jerkass rival, Murtle, and who hypnotized Stitch into loving a certain television show at the suggestion of the hypnotized Lilo. Much trouble ensues until Jumba puts them out of their trance by simply snapping his fingers and Swirly it put into the place he truly belongs where he hypnotizes guests to act silly at parties, including Murtle into acting like a chicken. Also, Gantu is hypnotized by experiment 625 into doing anything he's told to do, resulting in experiment 625 and Hamsterviel making him do embarrassing things by making him say he's an idiot with a stupid grin on his face, twirl like a ballerina, and juggle various objects while balancing on a rolling pin.
- Another instance occurred where Lilo finds an experiment named Checkers that grants her the power of command over all living things. She decides to make herself queen and have fun around the house by making Nami and Pleakly grovel and serve her every whim. When Mad Scientist Jumba walks in and finds out that they are using experiment 029, he gets as far as saying "Only the weak min-", when suddenly he is on one knee, asking to do Lilo's bidding.
- In an episode of Jungle Cubs, Kaa tries to hypnotize himself by looking at his reflection in the water. He ends up hypnotizing 2 vultures that are watching, also looking at his reflection.
- One episode of Mike, Lu & Og has Og using a machine to make a duck think he's a travel agent, but Margery accidentally looks into the machine and makes her think she's a duck. At the end, she's brought back to normal, but now everyone else thinks they're ducks.
- In "The Mermaid's Song" on Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Marina's sister uses mersong to turn Captain Hook, Smee and Cubby into this so that they will do work for her. At the end of the story, Bones and Sharky successfully emulate the mersong to get Hook to swab the deck of the Jolly Roger.