A character has just encountered something so surprising, shocking, or hilarious that he falls off the chair on which he was sitting. Occasionally, the entire chair may tip over with him. The character may have just been told not to lean back in his chair.
May be a consequence of Swivel-Chair Antics
. Compare Face Fault
, Breaking Bad News Gently
(when it involves saying "You better sit down"), and Dramatic Drop
, though in this case the thing being dropped is yourself. Sister Trope of Spit Take
and Dramatic Sit-Down
. Has nothing to do with People Sit on Chairs
Anime and Manga
- When L finds out that shinigami might exist in Death Note, he falls out of his chair.
- Hanayamata: Thinking about Genki Girl Hana's incessant invitations to do such impossibly bold thing as dance together, the shy schoolgirl Naru is sitting at the library table. Next moment she realises that Hana is squatting down under the same table, patiently watching her. The chair doesn't take kindly to frantic try to pull back. Rule of comedy, nobody gets seriously hurt after the flip.
- In the prologue of Killer Condom, the student's mother falls off her chair from shock after hearing what her darling daughter did to her professor (supposedly bite of his bits). Then goes the father. Played with in the general direction of Justified Trope, as both fainted, which in itself is quite an exaggeration of reaction, even if you were from Philadelphia.
- Happens at the end of the early Stephen Chow movie All for the Winner, where Stephen is blessed with psychic powers that he abuses on the gambling table. It's the big final fight, his Heroic BSOD is gone and he takes the one card that he needs to change to get four of a kind, forces all his powers into it... and it remains the same. Cue the Face Fault off his chair. Turns out that what really changed was one of his opponent's cards, breaking his straight flush.
- In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Captain Kirk's most famous line is delivered from the floor in front of his captain's chair. Kirk stumbling off the chair was entirely accidental. But director Leonard Nimoy thought it suited the scene and left it in.
- Inverted in Inception- pushing someone off a chair is used to trigger a huge shock (causing a sleeping person to wake up), rather than a huge shock causing someone to fall off a chair.
- In Wayne's World, each time Garth sees his dream woman in Stan Mikita's.
- In the official Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney film, both Phoenix and Edgeworth each manage to cause the entire courtroom, including the witnesses, the gallery, the Judge, and Von Karma, to Face Fault off their chairs due to how incredibly, blithely dense their statements sound.
- Ted makes Stella laugh so hard she does this in an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
- In Arrested Development, Michael is leaning back in his desk chair, proud to be running the Bluth Company finally. He tips back too far and the chair falls apart under him, being cheaply made specifically for model homes. Later in the episode, he is describing the situation to his family and tips back in the kitchen bar-height chair... but it, too, collapses under him (which Michael lampshades on his way down).
- In The Conditions of Great Detectives Tenkaichi sneaks his way into the back of a meeting within a police station while they discuss a murder. He sets up a dramatic moment, as he has something say and grabs everybody's attention, but only asks where the toilet is and all of the policemen fall off their chairs in response.
- In the ER episode "Motherhood", as Dr. Lewis rushes in with her laboring sister, screaming for assistance, perpetual Butt Monkey Carter does this.
- In a Peanuts Sunday Strip from 1986, Charlie Brown tells Lucy at her psychiatric booth that he's afraid of falling off chairs. While she tries to convince him that it's an irrational fear, he falls off her stool twice.
- It is a theatrical tradition that Hamlet is so shocked at the appearance of his father's ghost in his mother's bedchamber that he leaps from his chair, knocking it over.
- In El Goonish Shive, Grace does this upon meeting the Alternate Universe versions of Tedd and Elliot, who are dating.
Greg: Are you okay?
Child Left Behind: I'm fine! I tripped!
Shade Tail: But you were sitting.
- Noah later does it on hearing that Grace is visiting Raven.
Your classmate Grace is going to be here, and it's best she doesn't—- *THWUMP
Raven: What happened?
Noah: Nothing! I tripped!
- In the episode "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace" from The Simpsons, when Homer is trying to think of an invention and Bart makes fun of Homer's lack of progress, Homer tips his chair far too back and he falls down. Later, as Homer laments that his inventing career was not working out after all, he once again leans back too far on his chair... but this time, he doesn't fall. He explains that he added hinged extra legs so he'll stop tipping over while trying to invent stuff. The family commends him for his idea, and Homer is satisfied... until he looks closely at his poster of Thomas Edison and sees hinged legs on Edison's own chair. Realising that his own inspiration had a secret invention, Homer decides to go to the Edison Museum and smash the chair, taking all credit for himself. In the end, Homer couldn't do it because Edison was inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci, just as Homer was inspired by Edison.