There are many debilitating conditions that make for interesting narratives. Amnesia, paralysis, blindness, can all be used to give a character a new perspective, humility, or a lesson, or they can be used to drive the plot in interesting new directions. However, most of these are permanent, or very long-term, which causes problems for authors who want to use them in shows where Status Quo Is God
. So how do you show one of your characters what it's like to be quadriplegic without having them in a weelchair for the entire remainder of the show? Easy: A freak repeat of the exact same injury that caused the condition will somehow cure it.
This is especially popular with Easy Amnesia
, where an accidental bonk on the head in the beginning of an episode will be reversed by an accidental (or intentional for the Genre Savvy
characters) bonk on the head later.
Hair of the Dog
(cure a hangover by drinking more) and Now Do It Again Backwards
(fix something by doing the same stuff again in reverse order) are related.
Unlikely to work in real life.
Compare Percussive Maintenance
, for inanimate objects
- The first The Addams Family movie has Uncle Fester's amnesia he got from the Bermuda Triangle cured by a lightning storm from one of the enchanted books in their library.
- A very short-term example in The Incredibles. The out-of-shape Mr. I hurts his back while laughing about his easy defeat of the first OmniDroid. When it immediately comes back for round two, he can't fight properly, and it grabs him and tries to pull him in half. Instead it fixes his back, at which point he curbstomps the thing.
- Rugrats Go Wild!. Nigel Thornberry falls on his head and regresses to believing he's three years old. Later, when chaos ensues inside a small sub, a subsequent whack to the head restores his memory.
- Subverted in the 2004 short film, Fluent Dysphasia. A guy gets hit on the head, and wakes up speaking fluent Gaelic, and can no longer understand English. His friend tries to knock him back to normal by hitting him on the head again with the proverbial frying pan, but he wakes up speaking fluent FRENCH.
- John Doe. The title character had his universal knowledge erased by lightning in the beginning of one episode, only to have it returned by getting electrocuted later in the episode.
- In one episode of The Munsters, Herman gets struck by lightning and is turned into a regular human being. After all of Grampa's magic fails to return him, he gets struck by lightning again and is back to his old self again.
- One Addams Family episode centers around this, after Gomez gets amnesia from being hit on the head with a juggling club. One person hits him and fixes him, another person thinks he's still out of it and brings the amnesia back by hitting him again, and so on.
- Inversion from Soap. Chester has amnesia due to brain surgery gone somewhat wrong. He gets a bonk on the head and remembers his life, but then very quickly gets another bonk and forgets everything again.
- In one episode of Father Ted, Mrs Doyle falls down the stairs and hurts her back, leading to trouble walking, a hunched posture, and inability to do most of her usual work. Ted tries to help (against her violent protests) but just makes it worse. At the end of the episode, she trips, falls down the stairs again, and is cured.
- Played With on Corner Gas: Local cop Davis had no sense of smell because he got hit in the back of the head with a ball when he was young. When he falls off a ladder and hits the back of his head, he regains his sense of smell, but soon finds it overwhelming and wants to go back to lacking it. Oscar asks him how he lost it, then tells him, "Okay, then what you need to do is get hit in the head with a ball again." Davis lampshades the absurdity of this with, "I don't think that will work. This isn't Gilligan's Island".
- Tireseus, the blind seer of Greek Mythology. Before being blinded, he was turned into a woman when he saw two snakes having sex. He was told by the Oracle that he would remain a woman until he saw the same two snakes having sex. He eventually did and was turned back into a man.
- In American Dad! Stan was paralyzed by being shot, and after hijinks and character development he was shot again, and his paralysis was cured.
- In an early episode of The Flintstones, Fred gets hit in the head with a bottle. When he comes to, he becomes a "formal" personality who insists on being called "Frederick", but who ends up of being a bit too sickeningly sweet. Eventually, Wilma and the others decide We Want Our Jerk Back, so he is hit in the head again.
- Played with in Spongebob Squarepants. Squidward gets hit in the face by a door, and the resulting alteration to his bone structure causes him to become ridiculously handsome, so much as to attract copious amounts of attention from both men and women. After becoming overwhelmed with his newfound status, he attempts to become normal again, getting hit in the face with the same door several times again. This just makes him even more beautiful, however, only going back to normal after getting hit in the face with a pole after running to avoid a falling shoe.
- On one Tom and Jerry cartoon, Tom gets a Tap on the Head and thinks he's a mouse. Jerry tries to get Tom hit again to return him to normal, and eventually succeeds. Unfortunately, Mammy has the same idea, and Tom is back as a mouse for the Iris Out.
- Reversed for comic effect in Family Guy. Joe Swanson, who is paraplegic, gets the use of his legs back when someone skies over his legs. He then jumps up and yells "I can walk again!" only for someone else to run into him and cripple him just as he was before.
- Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender is injured in the finale of season two, and unable to enter the avatar state. In the season three finale, he runs into a rock directly on the spot he was injured, unlocking his avatar state again.