Over-the-shoulder carrying (abbreviated OTS
) is a method to transport another person. The person is laid face down over one's shoulder with their upper body to the rear. The person's legs are held at the hollow of the knees to secure them. This position allows for relatively easy transportation, even if they are the same weight as oneself. It can be a humiliating pose for the person being carried, since they're turned into a passive object, with their face down and buttocks pointing up and to the front.
When this happens in fiction, usually (but not always), it involves an antagonist carrying a Damsel in Distress
or other captive that he/she has caught or subdued. Contrast Bridal Carry
, which is more romanticized and typically involves The Hero
saving someone instead of capturing them. Compare Neck Lift
and Hoist Hero Over Head
, which are other ways a villain shows of their strength by lifting up a victim.
Sometimes called the Fireman's carry, although this is actually the name for another position where weight is supported on both
shoulders and the carried person is held by both legs and whichever arm is draped over the carrier's shoulder.
Note that this position (as well as the Fireman's Carry) is often recommended against - it tends to worsen any spinal injuries sustained, and can asphyxiate people in a burning building.
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Anime & Manga
- This happens frequently in Agent Aika, due to the revealing angle when a female character is slung over someone's shoulder.
- In Ore-sama Teacher, Takaomi is about to pick up Mafuyu and taker her to the nurse, and everyone around watches in anticipation for him to hold her in 'the legendary princess carry'...and then are appalled when he holds her like a sack of grain over his shoulder and demand he hold her the other way.
- Ichigo carries Orihime like this after battling Grimmjow. Orihime is embarrassed by this, but only because she thinks she is heavy.
- During Don Kanonji's visit to the hospital, Ichigo and Rukia try to stop him from exorcising a spirit and are held back by the police. Kisuke helps Ichigo turn into a soul reaper and distracts the police. Tessai carries Ichigo's body over his shoulder while they escape.
- When Ichigo, Orihime, Chad and Uryś enter the Soul Society through the restrictive current, Uryś's cape gets stuck. Chad frees Uryś, then carries him over his shoulder the rest of the way.
- During one of Ichigo's battles with Byakuya, Yoruichi stops the battle by knocking Ichigo out, lifting him onto her shoulder and running off with him.
- When Hiyori first appears, she makes fun of Chad and Orihime and tries to kill them. Shinji stops her and runs off with her over his shoulder◊. Hiyori protests and gooses Shinji to make him put her down, but he gooses her instead to shut her up.
- In Fruits Basket Volume 18, Haru carries Rin like this◊ after finding her passed out on the sidewalk. Rin insists she can walk, but Haru assures her he's strong enough to carry her.
- Fushigi Yuugi:
- When Tasuki first appears in the manga, he kidnaps Miaka from the bandit leader. After throwing her over his shoulder, he uses his spell cards to make wovles attack Hotohori, Nuriko and the bandit leader, then carries Miaka off.
- A slaver briefly carries Yui like this when she and Miaka first enter the book.
- In Skip Beat!, Kyoko is carried out kicking and screaming over a security guard's shoulder after she threatens revenge on Sho.
- In Heart No Kuni No Alice, Peter White carries Alice like this before they go down the rabbit hole because she refuses to get up and follow him.
- In the first episode of Ranma ½, Genma (in panda form) knocks out Ranma (in female form) with a street sign and carries her over his shoulder to the Tendo's house as seen here (at around 1:32 and 4:45).
- In Brave 10, Saizou carries Isanami this way after saving her from assassins.
- When Makoto (aka Sailor Jupiter) first appears in Sailor Moon, she saves Usagi from being hit by a car by picking her up and carrying her over her shoulder to safety.
- Happens frequently in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts when a student's avatar goes down to 0 HP. A teacher named Ironman would sometimes carry the student away to remedial classes in this manner.
- Happens in the Dragon Ball series when injured characters are carried away from the battlefield. One of the few times it happened to a female character was when Bulma tried to stop Trunks from training to fight Majin Buu and Krillin carries her away like this◊.
- Happens a few times in One Piece. An example is in the Punk Hazard arc, where Zoro carries Tashigi this way to run away from the deadly gas Shinokuni, since she's injured, and thoroughly humiliated.
- Black Butler: Sebastian (wearing a deer head disguise) carries Prince Soma like this when he's saving him from Agni's attacks.
- When Kiba is too injured to run in Wolf's Rain, Tsume slings him over his shoulder, much to Kiba's protest. How exactly this would work in their wolf forms is a mystery.
- In the Touhou manga, Wild and Horned Hermit, Marisa tests out the Super Strength she temporarily gained from drinking out of the Ibaraki Medicine Box by easily carrying Reimu around in this manner. Reimu responds by kicking her in the face.
- D.Gray-Man: In Book 2, Allen carries an injured Toma like this when he and Kanda are looking for Lala and Guzol.
- In Ten Count, Kurose carries Shirotani this way when he doesn't budge from the door.
- This comic of Miss America.
- In an old Little Lulu comic, Lulu babysits Tubby and Tubby tries various methods to get her out of the house. When they all fail, he simply throws Lulu over his shoulder and carries her out. Then he gets scared of being alone in the house and carries her back inside.
- In more "cheesecakey" comics, its not uncommon for a hero to have a woman slung over his shoulder to put her shapely rear on display. Here◊ its done by Frank Frazetta.
- Frank Cho's picture for Conan◊ and for Hellboy.◊
- In a Power Girl comic, Power Girl knocks out her brainwashed friend Terra, then carries her like this (page 2) to the villain's hideout to find her real brain.
- Hefty or some Smurf carries Smurfette in this undignified position when they first meet her in the forest in The Smurfs story "The Smurfette" when she was expecting the Bridal Carry.
Films — Animation
- Prince Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke does this to two women at once, having just knocked both of them out with a hard hit to the abdomen. In this case, used for drama, though considering that one woman is a supernatural wolf princess and the other is a gun-toting aristocrat it's still undignified.
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action:
- While in Paris, one of the villain thugs kidnaps the female costar Kate and somehow manages to bound and gag her inside a sack. He proceeds to carry her away in this fashion all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
- In a deleted scene, when the thug and Kate are at the top of the tower, the thug takes her out of the bag and tries to carry her over his shoulder into the helicopter.
- Shrek carries◊ to Princess Fiona when she starts Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like.
Fiona: You tell Lord "Far-Quad" that if he wants to rescue me PROPERLY, I'll be waiting for him right here!
Shrek: Hey! I'm nobody's messenger boy, all right? I'm a delivery boy!
Fiona: You wouldn't dare...! [Shrek carries her off]
- The Ugly Stepsister briefly carries Sleeping Beauty over her shoulder in Shrek the Third when the princesses are escaping the castle.
- In Toy Story 2, the "New Buzz" throws Woody over his shoulder when he and the other toys are rescuing Woody from Al's apartment.
- The Incredibles: Mr. Incredible and Frozone rescue people from a burning building by carrying them like this. Since Mr. Incredible has Super Strength, he's got them piled about six deep.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo rescues Esmerelda from being burned at the stake and carries her like this up the side of Notre Dame.
- Fire and Ice features Teegra (who alternates between Damsel in Distress and Damsel out of Distress) being kidnapped in this way. In slow motion. While she's wearing a micro-kini. And the kidnapper turns around a couple of times to make sure we get every angle.
Films — Live-Action
- In A Brother's Price, Jerin carries a wounded soldier this way. It is depicted as Bridal Carry on the cover, naturally. No complaining ensues, as the soldier is unconscious, having been hit over the head with a blunt weapon. When she regains consciousness for a moment, she's already on a horse, in a much more dignified position.
- In John C. Wright's Orphans of Chaos, Glum carries off Amelia like this. Giving her a few clues, because in spite of his having hit her in the solar plexus just before it, she is not nauseated by the jolts of his shoulder.
- The protagonist of Clifford Simak's The Goblin Reservation carries a girl from the gassed room in such a fashion. She comes to her senses and starts complaining about this being an absurd way to carry a woman. He puts her on the floor and sarcastically suggests he should just leave her there.
- In Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window, Count Olaf's Associate That Looks Like Neither a Man or a Woman grabs Violet by the hair and slings her over his/her shoulder, then picks up Klaus and Sunny to carry all of them away. Luckily, the children escape when the Associate slips and drops them.
- On the cover◊ of Barbara Park's Dump The Chump, Oscar's little brother Robert is carried like this.
- In Where's Waldo Now, one of the scenes Waldo visits takes place in the Viking Age. Three vikings are shown running away from houses they've robbed, each with a screaming woman slung over their shoulders. In a comic reversal, two large ugly women are shown carrying vikings they've captured over their shoulders.
- Happens frequently in the Artemis Fowl series.
- Butler has carried Holly like this three times, and he's also carried Juliet and Artemis.
- Holly was also carried like this by Julius Root.
- In "The Arctic Incident", Artemis Sr. is carried like this by one of the members of the Russian Mafiya.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Greg is carried over a security guard's shoulder after getting trapped in the ladies restroom in Leisure Towers.
- In Happy Endings, when Jane and Alex are about to get into a violent fight in "The Incident" they're separated by Max, carrying Alex, and Brad, carrying Jane with the sisters still screaming at each other as they're carried away.
Jane You were adopted!
Alex You were born a man!
- Dan Schneider seems to be a fan of this trope and uses it a lot in his shows:
- Spencer was slung over Jackson Colt's shoulder unconscious in "iLook Alike".
- Spencer has carried Carly over his shoulder twice: once to carry her to safety when their apartment was on fire, and the second time to bring her downstairs to talk to Shelby Marx.
- Sam mostly throws Freddie over her shoulder when he's reluctant to go somewhere with her.
Sam: [looks at Freddie] Then you're helping me.
Freddie: Oh no, I'm not gonna risk getting caught and then having my mother find out...
[Sam picks Freddie up and walks to the door]
Freddie: Oh, come on! Sam! How do you do this??!!
- Sam carried a bound Adam over the shoulder in "iStart a Fan War".
- Drake & Josh:
- In the episode "The Drake and Josh Inn", 'Sheet Man' puts Drake over his shoulder and spins him around a few times.
- There's a brief clip of Josh carrying Drake over the shoulder in the Season 2 opener.
- In the episode "Girl Power", Drake briefly has his girlfriend Lucy over his shoulder when they're wrestling to see who is tougher.
- In "Andre's Horrible Girl," Trina annoys a music producer and the producer's muscular bodyguard carries her out over his shoulder twice.
- Sikowitz carries his sick grandmother out of the classroom like this in "Prom Wrecker"
- In "How Trina Got In", Tori and Robbie are trapped in a sushi restaurant because they can't pay the bill. Tori tries to escape, but is quickly tossed over the shoulder of the cook Kwakoo and carried back inside.
- In "The Bad Roommate", Andre carries Tori out of the room like this after she plays his song for Kojeezy.
- Big Time Rush:
- Freight Train has slung Kendall over his shoulder twice and taken him to the studio. He had Logan slung over the other shoulder one of those times.
- In "Big Time Mansion", Carlos has Logan over his shoulder when he passes out during all of the chaos at Gustavo's mansion and James and Kendall help carry him.
- In "Green Time Rush", the school bully throws Logan over his shoulder and carries him out of the room to work on their school project.
- James briefly carries Camille like this in "Big Time Beach Party" to have a private talk with her.
- Kendall has carried Katie over his shoulder in "Big Time Reality" and "Bel Air Rush."
- In the "South of the Border Part Uno" episode of My Name Is Earl, Randy tries to get Earl to go on a bus with him to find Catalina; Earl would rather buy a taco. Afraid of missing the bus, Randy throws Earl over his shoulder and heads for the bus. Earl retaliates by giving Randy a wedgie until he puts him down.
- In an episode of Hannah Montana, while sleep walking, Hannah stumbles into her brother's room and is quickly tossed over his shoulder and carried back to her bed.
- In a Wizards of Waverly Place episode, Felix carries Justin over his shoulder to the Hall of Wizards to save Alex from Cragmont because Justin initially refused to go.
- Dancing with the Stars:
- In The Greatest American Hero, Ralph carried Bill over his shoulder many times, as seen here, here and here. He carried other people too.
- Whose Line Is It Anyway?:
- During one game of "Party Quirks", Greg Proops is the host of a party and Wayne Brady is a fireman trying to rescue everyone from a burning building. Wayne slings Greg over his shoulder and briefly carries him to safety.
- In this playing of Greatest Hits, Wayne Brady and Chip Esten sing a song about it, which inevitably leads to Wayne carrying Chip like this.
- The Closer:
- On one episode, a man fakes a heart attack in order to murder a pair of ambulance attendants. One of the attendants carries him like this while he is faking his symptoms, which proves to be his undoing. While he is being carried, he leaves his fingerprints on the attendant's belt.
- Brenda gets carried by the Det. Sanchez when her crime scene turns out to be a bombing site. She gets carried out twice, the second time remarking that she can walk.
- Sanchez has carried away a few women when they started trouble.
- In Merlin, Morgana fakes a sprained ankle and Arthur throws her over his shoulder in this position. It's played for maximum embarrassment (to Morgana) as she squeals and complains about what he's doing while Merlin smirks. Interestingly, two episodes earlier Arthur gave her the Bridal Carry when she was seriously injured after a fall.
- General Hospital:
- Jason carries a disoriented Spinelli over his shoulder to the passenger seat of his car in one episode.
- In another episode, Jason carries Sam over the shoulder after she twists her ankle.
- In one episode of Alphas, Cameron carries a brainwashed Rachel over his shoulder.
- In the Out of This World episode "Baby Talk", Evie gets a babysitting job and her mom helps her prepare. One of the things she does is carry Evie over her shoulder to demonstrate the fireman's carry, as seen here (at 3:36)
- In the Castle episode "Knockout", Castle carries a struggling Beckett over his shoulder to save her life.
- In the Frasier episode "The Proposal", Niles plans a perfect evening to propose to Daphne, but she comes over sick. Niles changes plans, leaving Frasier the job of getting everyone involved with the proposal out of the house without Daphne seeing them. At one point he quietly runs to the door with the chef bound and gagged over his shoulder.
- Passions: Luis carries Fancy like this twice in one episode.
- Doug carried Tony in this fashion in an episode of The Time Tunnel called "Attack of the Barbarians".
- Modern Family: In the Valentine's Day episode "Bixby's Back," Jay carries a protesting Gloria into their house over his shoulder to show her the elaborate dinner he planned for her, which Gloria found out about and moved to the garage to surprise Jay.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Is Data unconscious or otherwise non-functioning? And is Worf there? Yes to both? Then congratulations, you're going to see Michael Dorn gripping Brent Spiner by the knees and flinging him over his shoulder.
- In Once Upon a Time, this is how Neal rescues Henry. Too bad he set him down...
- In Cyndi Lauper's video for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", Cyndi watches TV during the "Some boys take a beautiful girl..." line. A black and white movie clip of an apeman kidnapping a woman in this fashion is shown.
- In Tom Cochrane's video for "Life is a Highway", a couple take a break from driving their car. After the first chorus, the boyfriend playfully tosses his girlfriend over his shoulder and spins her around.
- During the dance between the ex-boyfriend and his victims in Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts" video, one of the girls takes a running leap at him. He catches her, drapes her over his shoulder and spins her around.
- When Lindsey Stirling and Tyler Ward are romping around in "Thrift Shop", he briefly carries her in this fashion.
- While most spine busters simply involve grabbing the legs and slamming someone to the mat, the bionic spine buster is a no hands over the shoulder carry, for wrestlers who want to showoff.
- The Schwein starts this way but ends with only holding the leg before planting their head into the canvas. A popular variation, Mariko Yoshida's air raid crash, is instead a fireman's carry which makes the head planting easier, if less painful looking.
- One of Black Rose's signatures, since she shows off how strong she is by dumping wrestlers significantly larger than herself into turnbuckles this way.
- Super Mario Sunshine has Shadow Mario, who snatches Peach at the beginning of the game and tries to make a get away by running amok through the entire city while carrying the princess◊ the entire time. Either Shadow Mario has strength or she has no weight.
- Duke Nukem Forever has a "Capture the Babe" mode, in which the player moves said babes around in this manner while fending off opponents. The babe will periodically try to sabotage the player by waving her hand in the player's face; she has to be slapped on the butt to make her stop.
- In Professor Layton and the Last Specter, "Third Eye" Jakes does this to Arianna when he "arrests" her for supposedly masterminding the Specter's rampages throughout the town, which makes it even more obvious that this is essentially a kidnapping, not a sincere effort at upholding the law.
- In Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights, Daphne is kidnapped by the villain in this fashion◊.
- In the new app Subway Surfers, if your character is caught by the guard, he will sometimes carry them away over his shoulder.
- The opening sequence of Double Dragon has Marian being carried over by a mook after being knocked unconscious, complete with a panty shot (at least in the original arcade version).
- Pauline gets carried away in such a matter in most Donkey Kong games.
- Valkyria Chronicles III has a non-villainous version in Felix's chapter when he rescues Giulio from enemy reinforcements. Naturally, the screen gives the player a nice view of the latter's butt.
- In Resident Evil 4 poor Damsel in Distress Ashley Graham gets carried in this fasion a lot. This is how mooks take her away from you. Also in her own chapter she gets put in this position after an exclusive necksnap death. She is also shown like this for a small part in one chapter.
- The one Fred pulls off in Namesake is impressive for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that he does it at a dead sprint. Also, given that Elaine was running in the same direction several paces ahead of him, he apparently had to speed up, spin her around and then hoist her over his shoulder without breaking stride - all of which is so fast we don't even see it happening between panels. Coming from anyone else, this would be unbelievable, but...
- Happens quite frequently on Scooby-Doo, no surprise who gets this treatment.
- Betty Boop was carried like this by the villains in some of her cartoons. In "Chess-Nuts," the black king throws her over his shoulder and heads for the bedroom; fortunately Bimbo comes to her rescue. In "No! No! A Thousand Times No!," the villain ties up her other boyfriend Freddie and carries her like this into a hot air balloon to escape with her. Again, she is rescued.
- Daisy-Head Mayzie: Like in the book, Miss Sneetcher picks up Mayzie and carries her to the principal's office over her shoulder as Mayzie's classmates tease her with a song. A repetitive and annoying song, that is.
- Totally Spies!: The girls, especially Clover◊, were carried like this a few times.
- In a season finale of The Venture Bros., Sergeant Hatred carries a tied up and ball-gagged Princess Tinyfeet like this. He doesn't bother to untie her though.
- Danny Phantom: While fighting Vlad in one episode, Danny's 'cousin' Dani knocks him unconscious with a ghost ray. Vlad slings Danny over his shoulder◊ and he and Dani fly off with him.
- Phineas and Ferb: Happens a few times. One such example being in the caveman episode where the caveman does this to Candace while she attempts to bust her brothers.
- Happens at least once in My Life as a Teenage Robot.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In the episode "Arrgh!", Patrick falls asleep after playing the Flying Dutchman board game with SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs. SpongeBob carries him home over his shoulder.
- SpongeBob carries Squidward like this a few times in the episode "Squid Baby".
- Hey Arnold!:
- In the episode "Spelling Bee", a kid is caught cheating using a hearing aid as his mom spells the words in his ear. The kid is carried out over a security guard's shoulder protesting his innocence.
- In the episode "Parent's Day", Big Bob carries Helga over his shoulder during the tournament's relay race.
- The Twins of Destiny: In one episode, an Arab slave trader kidnaps Julie to sell her to a sultan. The trader does this by tossing her over his shoulder and running away.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
- Frequently happens to April O'Neil in the original cartoon during her many◊ kidnappings or when the turtles rescued her.
- She's kidnapped like this◊ in an episode of the 2012 series.
- Sometimes happens to Penelope Pitstop during her frequent kidnappings.
- In the Bugs Bunny cartoon Hot Cross Bunny, Bugs tries to run away from a scientist set on switching his brain with a chicken's. The scientist gives Bugs laughing gas to make him cooperate and carries him to the operating room over his shoulder, as seen here (at 6:22).
- Happens occasionally on The Simpsons.
- In this clip of the episode "Homer the Heretic" when Ned carries Homer over his shoulder when he rescues him from his burning house.
- In this clip of the Treehouse of Horror V segment "The Shinning," a crazed Homer falls down a flight of stairs and passes out. Marge manages to carry him like this into the pantry and locks him in there. Not that he minds.
- Barney rescues two and carries them over his both shoulders from Moe's burning tavern. It's two barrels of beer. He also returns for Moe and another barrel.
- The Legend Of Prince Valiant: Guinevere is kidnapped in this fashion in one episode.
- T.U.F.F. Puppy: In the episode "The Doom-mates," Dudley carries Kitty like this a few times because she loses her sense of balance when she loses her whiskers.
- In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Cowboy Courage," Courage dreams that he, Muriel and Eustace are in the Wild West. The outlaw Eustace throws Muriel over his shoulder and tries to carry her off, but Courage stops him.
- In the pilot episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show, Ren is carried like this◊ by a little girl who wants to adopt him from the pound, thinking he's a poodle.
- The Fairly OddParents:
- In "Abra-Catastrophe," one of the apes carries Timmy over his shoulder to their lab to do experiments on him.
- In the episode "Take and Fake," Timmy's parents accidentally insult Trixie's costume during her party and are carried out over the shoulders of her guards.
- In the episode "Hero Hound," Sparky carries Timmy in this fashion when he's rescuing him from a well.
- Often called the fireman's carry because it allows firemen to carry out fire victims while maintaining a free hand. That said, as noted above, it's fallen out of favor except in the most absolutely dire situations where the risk of death or worse injury is worse than that of further spinal injury or those where it's obvious the only injury is from things like burns or smoke inhalation, exhaustion, wounds to the lower legs and feet - if there's a risk that someone's neck or back is injured (as in a vehicle accident or building collapse) or has bullets/impaling objects/shrapnel in/near it (as in the aftermath of an attack/explosion or a building collapse), most firefighters and paramedics are strictly warned not to do this.
- Unfortunately, along with the Bridal Carry, common among people with little to no medical experience trying to "help" fainted/injured people. Combining this trope with pulling people from a wrecked vehicle or a collapsed building, for example, has led to severe injuries.
- How many kidnappers successfully capture their victims.
- There's a popular sport in Finland, Asia and some parts of the U.S. called wife carrying, where men compete in an obstacle race carrying their wives. The wives can be carried piggyback, over the shoulder or Estonian style.
- It is arguable that Yoshiki Hayashi's neck injuries were exacerbated by the tendency of roadies/staff to carry him off the stage either like this or in a modified Bridal Carry. Road crews and venue staff tend to make the mistake, in general, of carrying injured performers offstage when it is generally a far better idea (especially if the injury has been sufficiently bad to stop the show anyway) to simply remove anything that could further injure someone so badly hurt they can't walk offstage under their own power (e.g. their instruments or gear or accessories, nearby pyro, etcetera) and leave him or her in place until properly equipped paramedics arrive.
- The logo of the Wounded Warrior Project depicts one soldier carrying another in this fashion.