"Well, I feel that films — the film industry — has increasingly failed to reflect reality as people live it. No-one goes for a piss in Star Wars, you can watch the whole of Ghostbusters and no-one brushes their teeth, and in Lost in Translation, nothing happens. At all."You know that children's book, Everyone Poops? Well, they lied. Not everyone does. Sure, real people and animals in everyday life might, but you're not likely to see a fictional character going to the bathroom. This would detract from the plotline, and besides, nobody really wants to see that sort of thing. If something's not crucial to the story, why include it? (Sometimes, of course, it is crucial to the story, and this trope is averted. Maybe there's a Potty Emergency; maybe someone uses a bathroom break to escape custody; maybe someone suffers an Undignified Death by being killed on the toilet — or worse, killed with a toilet; or maybe there's just some good old-fashioned Toilet Humour. Or maybe it isn't crucial to the story but is included anyway.) This trope is sometimes averted without showing anything by simply having a character excusing themselves for a moment. Creatures with A Head at Each End beg the question of whether this trope literally applies. The page lists lampshades of the phenomenon; straight examples and aversions are too many to count. Even the dead aren't immune to this trope, as evidenced in the subtrope No Dead Body Poops.
open/close all folders
- This advertisment for Bowlene.
Anime and Manga
- In Naruto, it is explicitly stated that White Zetsu, being part-plant clone things, do not poop. They're actually rather curious about it, to the point of one asking somebody who until recently did have to poop what it felt like.
- In the midst of its Toilet Humour, City Hunter has a magnificent scene that causes Kaori to complain that nobody had ever heard of a hero that goes to poop before the battle, only for Ryo to reply that it's the smart thing to do (and calling her constipated).
- In Super Dreadnought Girl 4946, the titular giant girl is asked about how she goes to the toilet. She responds that she doesn't leading to a discussion on the topic since no one believes her. Later we learn that since her size is supernatural in origin, she doesn't require food to live and thus doesn't poop either.
- A Wizard special focusing on Batman had one questioning if the Batcave has any bathrooms or if Bruce has to run back up to Wayne Manor for a bathroom break.
- Justified and Invoked in Friendship Is Optimal, as when people emigrate to Equestria, Celest-A.I. eliminates the need to do so, along with removing other tedious biological functions. Ones that people enjoy such as eating are still kept however, unless a person also wants them removed.
- In the Project Dark Jade fanfic Queen Of Shadows, Shadowkhan apparently don't need to use the restroom.
- Snape lampshades this in A Little Light Reading as he notes that "the book hasn't mentioned so much as a bathroom break."
- Pleasantville makes a point of this — Jennifer enters the bathroom to discover that there are no toilets, because they aren't necessary.
- There was some Lampshade Hanging in a deleted scene from Galaxy Quest, where one of the Thermians mentions to Alan Rickman's character that Earth's "historical documents" (television programs) did not contain any information regarding waste facilities on the ship and "we extrapolated based on your anatomy" — revealing what looked to be the most horrendously painful toilet ever created.
- Lampshaded in Star Trek: First Contact where Zephram Cochrane asks Geordi if anyone pees in the 24th Century.
- Much like the Leave It to Beaver scene below, the film Psycho, was the first American movie to show a toilet, implying people have to use it. This was Serious Business at the time, no pun intended.
- RoboCop (2014) shows RoboCop undergoing dialysis at the end of each day to compensate for the loss of bodily functions, and that's thankfully as close as it gets.
- In Tremors, when the Gummers return from searching for signs of the creatures that have been killing people and livestock, Burt Lampshades the lack of any "spoor". Justified because the Graboids live and travel underground, so presumably do their business there, not at the surface.
- Actress Tamzin Merchant wrote a hilarious poem discussing this, called "Ode to a Toilet".
- Lampshaded in The Second Foundation, where a girl sneaks aboard a ship and hides there, like she read and saw a lot in popular culture. Then she realizes that the books failed to mention some things, and she cannot remain in her hiding place for long...
- Lampshaded in Donaya Haymond's Legends of Laconia series. In Waking Echoes, the prison cell Ty spends three days in has a toilet, and in Bite Me Matthew asks Dianne if her father goes to the bathroom, saying he's always wondered about those in his condition.
- One of the later 1632 books — 1635: The Eastern Front — includes a scene where a radio transmission was delayed because one of General Stearns's staff colonels was "taking care of urgent business."
Long: If it's urgent business, he may be occupied for a while yet.
Stearns: He should be finishing up any second now. It's the sort of pressing business that never makes its way into fiction.
- Lampshaded in the Kevin Brooks novel Lucas - while waiting for the antagonists to walk past, so she can stalk them, Cait realises that she really needs to pee, and she decides to go in some nearby tall grass...only for the antagonists to find her when she's still got her pants down. She muses in her narration that you never see anyone got to the toilet in films, and if you do, it's only because something dramatic is going to happen when they're in the toilet - being attacked by an enemy, for example.
- Lampshaded in The NeverEnding Story. Bastian has to deliver a fax, and wonders why the characters in the books never seem to have that need. He got detention for pointing that out in class. (Specifically, he had asked his teacher if Jesus ever had to poop.) When he eventually enters into the world of a book, bodily functions are not mentioned again.
- In the Discworld novel Snuff, it's conversed when a little boy whose favourite book so far has been The World Of Poo "was beginning, with encouragement, to read books in which nobody had a bowel movement at all. Which, when you came to think about it, was a mystery all by itself."
- The Stephen King short story "Umney's Last Case" features a distraught author trying to muscle out his most famous creation so that he can enter the world of fiction and live without pain. He succeeds, and while the character is getting used to the real world, he wets himself because he's never actually had to use the bathroom before.
- Dave Barry once mused that Batman never goes to the bathroom. "Maybe that's why he's always grimacing."
- In Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive), Shallan derails Adolin's account of bravely leaping into battle while hugely outnumbered by asking how he goes to the bathroom while wearing Shardplate. After continuing for a line or two, he comments that he's told that story a number of times and no one had ever asked anything like that before. He acknowledges that there are often breaks in battle where they have someone to help, but yes, on three occasions he's done it straight in his armor. He doesn't try to regale her with tales of daring-do again.
Live Action TV
- One scene in the pilot episode of Leave It to Beaver had to be reshot when standards and practices noticed a toilet tank in the corner of a shot.
- In Hannah Montana, when best friend Lilly Truscott is forced by Miley to go to the toilet, so that Miley can talk to a boy she likes. This is lampshaded when she gets back, after much drama has unfolded with Miley, when Lilly mentions how all the good stuff happens when people go to the toilet.
- Whedon was careful to show a toilet on Firefly. The first shot on the show inside a crewman's quarters was Mal buttoning up and kicking the toilet back into its resting place.
- Bridget Hennessey tries to invoke this trope around herself in 8 Simple Rules. She apparently sustains an illusion of never having to use the bathroom.
- One scene in episode seven of Vikings Ragnar Lothbrok is seen standing up from behind some bushes whilst talking to his comrades.
- The very first scare in Penny Dreadful is when an unseen menace snatches up a woman in the London slums and drags her out a window. She was using the indoor privy at the time.
- In Alice and Bob, this trope is lampshaded:
- Especially in earlier days and editions of Dungeons & Dragons, when the game's focus was more on world simulation and the detailed logistics of adventuring (counting arrows and torches, keeping track of food and water, deciding who should carry what loot...) were emphasized more, advice on dungeon design would almost inevitably manage to squeeze in a bit about not forgetting that any place inhabited by intelligent living creatures had better include toilets of some sort.
- Warhammer 40,000: While latrine duty is still a part of the Imperial Guard and Space Marines have 24-Hour Armor, it's only referred to in passing, with other factions not mentioning this at all (fortunately so in the case of Nurglites). Zigzagged with the Orks: Ciaphas Cain mentions Orks answer the call of nature whenever it happens, and only building designated facilities to insult and deface whatever was there before, Deff Skwadron shows that they're part of the squig feeding process.
- This is true for pretty much any video game. While toilets may be present in the game world, your character can run, shoot, and kick ass for hours or days at a time, without eating, drinking, resting or taking a piss/shit.
- Lampshaded in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials And Tribulations: Phoenix believes that his "Perfect Little Dollie" doesn't have such disgusting bodily functions.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim There are no toilets, or pretty much anything to keep clean with.
- The Trail Of Anguish informs you, "You don't need to use the bathroom right now. It's an adventure game, after all."
- EarthBound lampshades the aversion to the trope. They have bathrooms in the game, but they all are occupied or otherwise unusable. In the first bathroom you come to, walking towards the door will result in a cutscene where one guy rushes in ahead of you. Attempting to enter will make him say: "Occupied!"
- In Jimmy Neutron vs. Jimmy Negatron, you can at one point make Jimmy go into a bathroom, which triggers a cutscene of him walking out and thanking the player for thinking of it, because he hadn't gone all day.
- In No More Heroes, Travis uses the toilet to save. One assassin at the end of the game is even Genre Savvy enough to attack him as he's saving, so to speak.
- In Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun clicking on a toilet results in Poirot saying "Although I am sure the sight would amuse you Hastings, I will not indulge in that activity for the duration of this tale."
- RuneScape eventually made a Running Gag of the lack of bodily waste— Ali the Bartender mentions that there are no toilets in Runescape, Ava the scientist mentions that adventurers lack many bodily functions, one April Fool's update proposed outhouses for when the player's had enough tea, and even in the spooky haunted mansion of "Broken Home", you find bathrooms with elaborate tubs and sinks... and a conspicuous empty space anywhere a toilet would go.
- Black & White's treatment of this trope is too weird not to mention. The Creature starts out needing to poop like any animal, but if you slap it enough times when it does it, it somehow learns not to poop. The biological need just magically goes away permanently without any side effects. Now if only that worked on humans...
- Crawler's Delight states in the introduction that not very many of the adventure games the main character played mentioned the urgent need for a bathroom break after several hours of captivity, then awards you your very first point for taking a piss under similar circumstances.
- Ark Survival Evolved is a notable aversion. All living things, including player characters, will periodically generate poop, which drops to the ground behind them. It can be picked up and used as a resource.
- Averted in South Park: The Stick of Truth. Not only can the main character poop, but the act itself is something of a mini-game, and the product can be weaponized.
- Undertale explains this by stating that monster food, being made of magic, is digested completely, leaving nothing to... come out the other end. A monster in Grillby's talks about human food being "gross" for passing all the way through the body, and expresses interest in trying some.
- A running gag in the The Legend of Korra Abridged Series Project Voicebend is that there are no bathrooms in Republic City, and the citizens somehow don't need to use them.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!! the Abridged Series, Anzu comments in episode 3 while on the ship that she 'needs the bathroom, but the woman dubbing me won't say so'. This is a callback to the fact that 4Kids edited out Anzu saying she needed the bathroom on this line in the English language dub.
- Lampshade-hung in Goblins, where a guard tells a tale of how an adventurer was given roleplaying XP for... taking a crap, which also triggered a level-up.
- Pip in Sequential Art has an interesting biological theory of the My Little Pony world.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip 3402 is about a weird justification for the trope after it's been lampshaded:
Batman: "My urethra is catheterized. I am constantly emitting a fine mist of urine."
- xkcd: "Santa" has the characters wondering aloud how Santa goes to the bathroom when he's delivering presents.
- CatDog. Kind of self-explanatory.
- Except they do in fact poop. Now as for HOW...
- Never happens in the Looney Tunes universe. At least in the original cartoons. In Baby Looney Tunes, it was a little different.
- Lampshaded in The Cleveland Show by two viewers outside of the 4th wall.
- The title characters of Ren and Stimpy are occasionally seen sitting on the toilet, and from time to time the mother of the boy whose house they were staying at would inform them that "Cartoon characters don't need to use the bathroom!"
- Nobody poops in the world of Dr. Seuss. They "go to the euphemism".
- Zig-zagged in Magic Adventures of Mumfie: The characters don't need the toilet after eating or drinking, and Mumfie doesn't wear underwear (Word of God said that having him do so would result in People Sit on Chairs). However, it's averted twice-when Fluffy the cloud leaks on Scarecrow's chair, and whenever Scarecrow falls, he poops straw.
- Parodied and lampshaded in one episode of 6teen where Jonesey walks in on Nikki in the bathroom. It's explained to him that now he's aware that women are "just as gross" as men and will never be attracted to them the same way again.
- Averted and played with in The Real Ghost Busters and Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters. In the Real Ghostbusters, while chasing after a ghost, Winston falls out of a doorway and toilet paper rolls falls out as well. Peter remarks, "Should have thought of that before we left the Firehouse." In an episode of Slimer!, Slimer goes into a restroom, slamming a stall door behind him. A flush is soon heard, and he then exits the stall by going right through the door, leaving slime on the door in his wake. Even though by all rights, ghosts shouldn't need to use the restroom.
- This one is so ingrained in culture that when the crew of Steven Universe had to submit an episode description to the TV guides for a pivotal episode without revealing anything important, they settled on "We finally see inside Steven's bathroom." We do.
- In the 2015 revival of Danger Mouse, Professor Squawkencluck is seen entering the women's privy just seconds before being assaulted...by octopus tentacles.