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Instant Soprano
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 narrowly avoids 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 dirty.


Examples:

Advertising
  • 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.

Comics
  • Referenced by Dona Hermine in De cape et de crocs.
    "Come any closer and you'll be able to sing for the pope!"
  • In Animal Man, the Bakers' neighbour, Morris Weidemeir, fires a warning shot at Ellen's would-be rapist and tells him, "One more step, sonny, you're singing soprano."
  • In a MAD Magazine gag, a man tried a helium vending machine for a dollar. His friend wanted to try it but only had a quarter, which was just enough for the "helium substitute" machine next to it, which sent a mechanical foot straight into his crotch.

Fanfiction

Film
  • In The Ice Pirates, the eunuchs speak in falsetto after being castrated during their conveyor-belt ride.
  • Happens to Topper's unfortunate opponent in the opening scene of Hot Shots! Part Deux.
  • This happens to Jernigan in Home Alone 3 after Alice hits him with a crowbar when attempting to hit Doris the rat, who had crawled into his pants.
  • The Inspector Gadget movie has Gadget crush a guru's testicles when told to "reach out and grab the balls" (meaning the marbles on a pedestal). The guru's reduced to squealing "TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!" in a voice like a little girl's.
  • Happens in The Three Stooges 2012 movie when Larry gets a lobster down his pants.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, four guards let out a high-pitched squeal after receiving a simultaneous crotch kick from a guy in stilts.
  • In The Pirate Movie, a comedy 1980s version of The Pirates of Penzance, the enemy Chinese pirate says/sings "Spare me!" and the Pirate King says, "Ooh, an Irish Tenor, no less! We could use an Irish Tenor, lads!" He accidentally stabs the man in the crotch and the guy goes "yeeOOOWWW" in a very high-pitched voice. "Soprano! Even better."
  • In A Christmas Story, the Old Man gets a bowling ball dropped in his lap for Christmas, and his voice goes at least a little bit higher.
    Well, it's a blue ball!
  • In History of the World Part I, to a Roman soldier after Comicus (Mel Brooks) kicked him there.
  • In the lost ending of Freaks, Hercules the strongman would have been punished by the "freaks" by castration. He would have then become a castrato singer, and now a freak himself.
  • In the movie Summer Rental, John Candy's character gets socked in the groin and he starts singing the first line of "The Star-Spangled Banner", which has a rising high pitch.
  • In the movie Howard the Duck, Howard barely survives a butcher knife landing near his groin and he responds in a soprano.
  • In The Running Man, Ben Richards shoves the blade of Buzzsaw's titular weapon into his groin area, causing him to emit a scream that went higher in pitch.
  • Francis lets out a high-pitched scream in The Goonies after he slips a on log over a stream of water and lands on it groin-first.

Literature
  • 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".

Live-Action TV
  • 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.

Music
  • 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.

Stand-up Comedy
  • 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 Ponds, you've ever heard. I hit an M over high C..."

Tabletop Games
  • In one of the Gromtooth 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.

Theater
  • 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.

Web Original

Western Animation


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