Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat
Well said, Garfield.
Commonly referred to as "Flop sweat", this is when a character will break out into an excessive sweat when either nervous or scared. Can be associated with a character who is a Nervous Wreck
or a Butt Monkey
. May sometimes be accompanied with a Loud Gulp
, or as part of an Oh, Crap
Truth in Television
, especially for people with anxiety disorders.
Might be caused by Perp Sweating
Contrast: Sweat Drop
See also: Briffits and Squeans
(where sweat is referred to as "Plewds")
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Anime and Manga
- In Sakura Gari, Masataka breaks out in a nervous sweat when he is forced to have lunch with his rapist and the guy's creepy sister.
Films — Animation
- On The Simpsons Movie, Krusty is seen dumping a whole cistern tank of flop sweat into Lake Springfield.
Films — Live-Action
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country during the climax when a group of conspirators are going to kill the Federation president, one of them, Admiral Cartright, is shown with sweat soaking his face.
- In Star Trek, Kirk gets what Bones refers to as a "flop sweat," but not because of nerves—it's because he's experiencing the side effects of Melvaran mud flea vaccine.
- In Total Recall (1990), when Rekall's President Dr. Edgemar meets Quaid to convince him that he is caught in his memories and should take a pill as a symbol of his desire to break out of it, Quaid puts the pill in his mouth and pretends to swallow it while watching Dr. Edgemar's reaction. When he sees a drop of sweat running down the doctor's face, he knows it's a trap and kills him.
- Airplane! plays this for laughs during the landing by having Striker's forehead gushing sweat.
- In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) does this a lot when under pressure or when coming close to getting caught in a lie. According to Word of God, Bale was so talented an actor that when doing repeated takes of the famous business card scene, he was capable of sweating on cue.
- Invoked by Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop II when he's pretending to deliver "sound seeking projectiles" to try to bluff his way into a gun club run by the Big Bad. He splashes water on his face making it look like he's sweating buckets.
- Loaded Weapon 1: When determining how long the detectives will have to solve the case via the chance wheel, repeated cuts to Da Chief show him sweating more and more profusely.
- In Broadcast News, the first time Albert Brooks' character attempts to work in front of the camera, he breaks into sweat so bad it soaks through his suit coat in minutes.
- One episode of Lois and Clark had them talking to the accomplice of the episode's bad guy. Throughout it, he's very clearly nervous, and when Lois asks if he's sweating, he says yes, then tries to brush it off by saying he's wearing wool.
- Parodied in the French series Flander's Company with villain wannabe "Transpire-Man" ("Sweaty-Man"). He does indeed sweat a lot when nervous... and by "a lot", we mean he can weaponize it by producing a blast of water from his armpits, strong enough to propel an opponent through a wall.
- There was a Saturday Night Live skit, with Alex Karras as guest host, where Billy Crystal plays a guy at a soda company who sweats excessively at a board meeting.
- Chuck: In "Chuck Versus the Cougars", an old high-school friend of Sarah's is sweating a lot while they're at dinner, because he's about to hand over government secrets to the Russian mob.
- An episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has Maddie trying to hold down a date on a hot day and keeping her hair from frizzing up. It turns out that the date has his own problem, in which he, in London's words, "sweats like a donkey in a sauna."
- In Fire Emblem Awakening in the beach DLC, Chrom gives Stahl some encouragement which causes him to start sweating and hyperventilating, thinking he has to live up to Chrom's expectations.
- Ace Attorney: A lot of characters sweat bullets when they see themselves trapped into a corner, attorneys, witnesses, or otherwise. It gets Turned Up to Eleven when the radio a certain witness is using to testify starts leaking acid instead.