A comic follow-up to a Groin Attack
, this is when a male character whose gonads have suffered injury cries out or speaks in a much higher frequency than his voice usually displays. Most often it's just a brief squeak of anguish, surprisingly high-pitched; in more extreme cases, he may talk, whine or even sing in falsetto for a time, or have his voice dubbed temporarily by an actress.
Less slapstick-oriented works sometimes reference this phenomenon, as when a Deadpan Snarker
taunts a male with a high-pitched voice about his Vocal Dissonance
, or The Snark Knight
a Groin Attack
and muses how close he came to playing this trope straight.
While shrill yelps at the initial injury may be justified
, prolonged high-pitched speech is a misconception, based on the false notion that eunuchs' voices are always high-pitched. In actuality, while boys whose testes are lost before puberty will retain a high vocal range into adulthood, a grown man whose voice already changed in adolescence can't lose his masculine tone of speech due to testicular injury: his larynx (voicebox) has already grown to a larger size that produces deep sounds, and lack of testosterone won't make it shrink. Castration is not retroactive.
Subtrope of Vocal Dissonance
. Works that overplay it follow it up with Share the Male Pain
. Helium Speech
is a non-painful variant.
Not related to The Sopranos
, unless the mob is fighting really
Anime & Manga
Films — Animation
- An animated commercial for Duluth Trading Company's Ballroom jeans shows a large man squatting in a competitor's brand, and singing soprano while doing so.
- A Lee jeans commercial from the early 90s had a singing man who recently emerged from the shower go from a deep bass to a high soprano the minute he zipped up his tight-fitting jeans.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, four guards let out a high-pitched squeal (but not helium sounding) after receiving a simultaneous crotch kick from a guy in stilts.
- There is a dutch joke that, translated, goes like this: "Two men are swimming in the ocean, when one of them glimpses something he recognizes beneath the surface. Quickly swimming to his mate, he shouts, "We have to leave the water immediately! I just saw a SHARK!" If it's not clear, the speaker raises their own voice to soprano level the moment they say "SHARK!". This provides context of what the shark has just taken a great big chomp out of without stating it directly.
- In Cold Copper Tears, Garrett refers to members of a nihilistic cult as "sopranos" after finding out that they're all ritually castrated.
- Happens several times in The Dresden Files:
- In Dead Beat, Will returns Harry's pistol to him, having carried it tucked into his pants. Harry remarks that this is a good way to invoke this trope on oneself.
- In the short story "Heorot", Harry hits the grendelkin in the fire extinguisher while they're fighting. Although his opponent's post-injury voice doesn't sound particularly high-pitched by human standards, the huge creature's bottomless-well-deep speech does rise by a couple of octaves, to something more typical of humans than of giants.
- Harry himself gets subjected to a Groin Attack, and subsequent involuntary Mickey Mouse impression, in Cold Days.
- The Discworld Fools' Guild Diary mentions an incident in which King Harold the Rampant neglected to comply with his jester's suggestion that he adjust his chain mail. This negligence, together with the very good aim of a Pseudopolitan archer, is why the Battle of the Field of Cloth and Ants ended on such a remarkably-high note.
- In Sourcery, the slaver captain asks Rincewind if he can sing before revealing his intent to sell him as a eunuch.
- In The California Voodoo Game, one character glares at another with such hatred that, if looks could cut, the other would've been eligible for First Soprano in the Vienna Boys Choir.
- The Gorillaz autobiography Rise of the Ogre discusses the filming of Clint Eastwood, which had a zombie grabbing Murdoc in the balls. According to Murdoc, it really hurt and he was "singing falsetto for weeks".
- Mary Roach, in her non-fiction treatise on science and sex Bonk, cites the case of an obsessively-devout man who, taking the Bible's Matthew 19:12 all too literally, removed and destroyed his own testes. She speculates that he went on to achieve great success in the church choir.
- In an episode of Red Dwarf, Rimmer says he believes that in a past life he was Alexander the Great's... chief eunuch. Lister responds, "No wonder you're such a good singer."
- In All in the Family, Mike spoke in falsetto after having a vasectomy. (He was only kidding.)
- Referenced in Band of Brothers when one of the troops sings a line from Oklahoma! in tenor, and another soldier teases him, asking if he was sitting on his bayonet.
- Referenced in a holiday episode of Fear Factor — the host described a plate of ten reindeer testicles as "five reindeer singing soprano".
- Done on Cheers when Rebecca accidentally hits Sam in the crotch with a coatrack, excited about the prospect of making a baby with him. Later, as he sings to her seductively while they dance, she comments that she didn't know he could reach a note that high. "I couldn't before the coatrack," he admits.
- A rare female version occured on The Big Bang Theory. Amy spoke in a higher register for a while after receiving her first bikini wax.
- Hawkeye from M*A*S*H complained that he'd become a soprano when he was suffering from stress-related impotency.
- A blooper that was left in the final cut of All That, Kenan, during one of the Pierre Escargot sketches accidently dropped a prop on his groin. He delivered his next lines in a high-pitched voice.
- In The Red Green Show, Red mentions this happening to Buster Hatfield during a hockey game after taking a slapshot from Moose Thompson.
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Seth" Daniel had previously informed the team that past cults of Seth sometimes turned their men into eunuchs. When Seth gasses them later:
Jack: So help me, if I wake up and I'm singin' soprano... (passes out; fade to black)
- A variant occurs in the So Little Time episode "True Lies", where Jake speaks in a hilariously high-pitched voice after having frozen food shoved down his pants.
- The Goodies: "Saturday Night Grease" has Tim talking in really high pitched voice that drops to his normal register as he unzips his ridiculously tight trousers.
- Black Books, "The Blackout". A Running Gag has Manny, who's drank so much coffee and watched so much The Sweeney that he's permanently stuck in hyped-up cop mode, trying to sit on a chair backwards like a suave cop. It doesn't work because he keeps "sitting on meself". The very last time he does it, to close out the episode, he says in a helium-induced pitch:
Manny: "That was a particularly bad one."
- The Paul and Storm song "Why, Baby, Why?" is a falsetto doo-wop in which it turns out that the woman he's singing to has just done this to him.
- John Barrowman while singing Anything You Can Do, as seen here.
- Richard Harris's version of "MacArthur Park" does this on the last note, which is sung by a female backup vocalist.
- Woody Allen once claimed that he was punched by a criminal:
"He snapped his knee up, quickly, and I refused to give him the satisfaction of doubling over, but I did one of the greatest imitations of Lily Pons, you've ever heard. I hit an M over high C..."
- In one of the Grimtooth trap books, this trope is cited in the name of the so-called "Soprano Chest", which has a heavy lid and a board sticking out at the bottom front, designed such that when the chest it opened, the whole thing tips over backwards, sending the board up between a character's legs.
- In the second Bottom Live tour, Richie (Rik Mayall) and Eddie (Ade Edmonson) are fighting, when Rik accidentally punches Ade in the nads. Out of character, Rik apologises to Ade, who speaks a couple octaves higher to complete the effect.
- Subverted in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera Escape from the Seraglio, in which a eunuch (presumably castrated after puberty) has a deep bass voice.
- In TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, Jo-Beth Casey briefly mistakes Cortez for a zombie and kicks him in the crotch. His next line is a high-pitched squeak.
- Averted in Persona 4, where Yosuke still speaks in normal pitch, despite having been critically kicked in the nads by Chie for cracking her Trial of the Dragon DVD.
- Schlock Mercenary: Dr. Bunnigus threatens one of the grunts with this after word gets out that she used to be an exotic dancer.
I saw the news. . . Izzit true you used to be an exotic dancer? Bunni: (sigh)
Yes, It's true. (Beat Panel.) Nick:
How would you like to be able to count to ten as a soprano, Corporal?
- The Nostalgia Critic does this a lot, and ends up sounding like he's on helium. Notable cases include his reviews on Demolition Man and The Wicker Man (2006 film).
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged: When Cooler kicks Vegeta in the dick, Vegeta's scream of abject pain is muted while "Ave Maria" plays over. Later in Super Android 13, Goku displays this trope by asking "Why would he punch me in the dick?" sounding like Gohan.
- RWBY: In the "Yellow" trailer that introduced Yang, she interrogates Junior by grabbing his crotch and squeezing it, resulting in his voice sounding like a little girl until she lets go.
- Averted in the Death Battle episode Flash vs Quicksilver, where, at the end of Quicksilver's rundown, Boomstick accidentally trips over some cables offscreen and hurts his balls, but still sounds like himself, albeit in pain.
- Batman: The Animated Series: At the time, a Groin Attack could be included in the show with careful positioning. To indicate to the viewer that it actually had happened, note the Joker's noticeably girlish higher voice after.
- Stan from American Dad! went through this after stepping on a rake, hitting him in the groin causing his testicles to retract.
- In the intro to the Kim Possible movie So the Drama, Ron faces a Sumo Ninja, who speaks with a deep voice. After Kim beats him, Ron gives him a wedgie. At the end of the movie, the Sumo Ninja comes back, looking for vengeance... only now, he speaks with a high, squeaky, girly voice.
- Star Wars Rebels: Lando Calrissian has this after being on the receiving end of a Groin Attack (delivered via fist) from Hera Syndulla, thanks to his using her as bait in a Batman Gambit, resulting in him sounding like he's on helium.
- In the 2 Stupid Dogs episode "Las Pelotas!", when Big Dog gets hit in the crotch by tennis balls, he replies to Little Dog's statement of "Balls!" by saying "Yeah, I know", in a much higher voice than usual.