"And if you have any idea what a guy looks like after two tons of metal land on him from eighty feet up... you keep your ideas to yourself."
Cartoon characters can survive a lot of things. And if a character ever suffers from the dreaded Anvil on Head
, one of several things can happen. They can become an Accordion Man
, or this trope can occur.
Often, characters will be Squashed Flat by some heavy object landing on their head, or by going really fast
into an immovable object such as a wall, or a big and heavy character will squash a smaller character and leave them stuck to their bodies like Butt Stickers
. (Literally so, in the case Ass Kicks You
where the victim is sat on). The resulting injury has the character flattened down to a paper-thin state
. While in this state, the character becomes incredibly light and can be lifted, manipulated, rolled up, or folded by another character.
These injuries are hardly ever fatal, and like most Amusing Injuries
, are healed in just five seconds
. Often, all it takes is another character flapping the flattened character around like a beach towel or inflating the character like a balloon
to get him or her to return to his/her normal state.
Although this trope is mostly an Animation Trope
, it sometimes creeps into live action shows with a more 'cartoonish' feel.
Can be the result of a Crush Parade
when this trope is exaggerated
Overlaps with Paper People
, which is either a natural state of the characters or the state that results from being Squashed Flat. Not to be confused with Flat Character
. Compare with Hammered into the Ground
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Anime & Manga
- From Cyborg 009, 007 gets crushed flat by a falling object (with lampshading and 007 saying "You said it"), but due to having Shapeshifting powers, he's practically unharmed.
- From Dragon Ball, in the episode entitled "Sgt Metalic" aka "Major Metallitron", Goku gets stomped flat by the title android and floats off like a piece of paper before "popping" back to normal.
- In episode 2 of Kirby of the Stars, this happens to Kirby.
- Pokémon had the episode Gluttonous Kabigon! Huge Panic! (or Snack Attack! in the English dub), in which Snorlax would roll over and lay on some of the Pokemon trying to attack him. The sight of a flattened Victreebel trying to walk around while flat, and shrieking at the top of its lungs, is hysterical.
- This happens in KoiKoi7, where four girls are trampled flat in the anime.
- Occasionally happens on Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, such as in Episode 3 after Panty and Stocking are pressed together into a ball, and in Episode 4 when fat Stocking rolls over a bunch of cars.
- In Osamu Tezukas "Cleopatra (1970)" the slave Ionius is flattened by a warrior with a giant fly swatter during a gladiator fight.
- There was a Donald Duck comic where Donald became a performance artist and one of his acts was getting squashed into a flat disc shape and being played on a gigantic gramophone.
- Léonard le Génie: When Basile operates a hydraulic press or similar tool, you can be 100% certain this will be the result.
- Happened to The Atom in a Silver Age story.
- The Vault of Horror story "Graft in Concrete!" plays this lethally straight.
- One robber / rapist crushed by a millstone in a story by Wilhelm Busch. Other than typical for this trope, he doesn't exactly revert.
- There's a Don Martin MAD cartoon where two guys discover a friend lying in the road, completely flat and stretched out. Naturally they conclude that he has been run over by a steamroller, and proceed to fold him up so they can take him to a hospital. Unfortunately due to a tragic misunderstanding involving a nearsighted strongman, he gets torn in half.
- This is an occasional outcome in Spy vs. Spy. Methods differ, including classics like the Anvil on Head, but a scenario involving quick-setting concrete and a steamroller has turned up before before.
- The Club Nintendo Halloween special had a brief scene where Mario slams a door on Kirby, flattening him. Link remarks "Oh man, this happens at least once in every comic," and then retrieves the bicycle pump. View the scene here.
- The Narrowegians in the Rufus Crustbuster comic strip of Jack and Jill magazine were living pancake creatures who turned the title character into one with a machine.
- In an early strip of U.S. Acres, Orson's brothers do this to him when they "play squash".
- This happens to Garfield in one Sunday comic after he picked a fight with a larger cat. Jim Davis said he drew a rough sketch of Odie carrying home a flattened Garfield and though it was so funny, he had to find a way to use it in an actual comic.
Films — Animation
- During the closing credits of the 2011 Winnie-the-Pooh film, the characters frolic around on the actual credits. At one point, Rabbit fails to jump off of a block of credits before it scrolls off the screen, and is comically flattened between the top line of credits and the top of the screen.
- One of the junkyard robots becomes Crushed Flat in the Astro Boy 2009 movie.
- Darla in Cats Don't Dance, who gets pressed into a table shape during the finale.
- The pirate jackrabbit receives this in Ice Age: Continental Drift, upon being stepped on by Ellie. Scrat also gets stepped on by several large animals in the first movie, but doesn't exactly get flattened, per se.
- One of the characters in Happily Never After.
Films — Live-Action
- Old joke:
Q: What do you get if Batman and Robin get smashed by a steam roller?
A: Flatman and Ribbon.
- Six wise blind elephants try to find out about humans.
- Another old joke:
Caller: Hullo? Officer. I have to report an incident. A man has just been crushed by a steamroller.
Police: We're on our way. The address of the incident?
Caller: Somers Avenue ten, twelve and fourteen.
- Flat Stanley, who is crushed by a falling bulletin board and carries on as a Paper Person.
- In one of the Geronimo Stilton books, a door is slammed on Geronimo, and he describes himself as peeling off the door, flat.
- In the Stephen King novella "The Library Policemen", the main character attempts to invoke this in a commissioned poster for roadside safety, intended to be displayed in a library (and thus, theoretically intended for children). However, his client rejects the cartoony "kid + steamroller = cardboard standee of kid" design in favor of a more realistic "kid + steamroller = horrible red jam smeared down the road" design.
- In James and the Giant Peach Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge are both squashed like paper dolls when the peach rolls over top of them. It's impossible to feel bad for them, though.
- On Whose Line Is It Anyway?, one session of Party Quirks involves Wayne Brady as "assorted celebrities being run over by a steamroller", sans cartoon effects of course. At one point he impersonates Gary Coleman, and gets squashed flat much quicker.
- In the 1960s Batman TV series, a villain uses a weapon that turns Batman, Robin, and Batgirl into...well, Flatman, Ribbon, and Flatgirl.
- Between the Lions does this in the animated segment "Fun With Chicken Jane".
- Happened on The Muppet Show to, you guessed it, Beaker. Bunsen's invention of the week was a luggage compressor.
- Also happens to Beautiful Day Monster, in a sketch where Paul Williams is a travel agent. After BDM asks for progressively cheaper travel accommodations, Williams drops a giant weight on him to mail his squished form.
- This happens to Finster in an episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, after a bunch of monsters stampede over him.
- In the "Lil' Bat" segment of The Aquabats! Super Show! episode Eagleclaw!, a ghost squishes Lil' Bat into a pancake shape when hitting him with a mallet.
- The Two Ronnies. In a spoof of The Professionals, a gun-waving Doyle kicks open a door, searches an apartment and is surprised to find no-one there. As he closes the door behind him, a flattened villain (represented by a squashed rubber dummy) falls out from behind it.
- The Steve Martin special Comedy is Not Pretty used this trope in the form of a public service message. Viewers were urged not to let party guests who have had too much to drink get behind the wheel of a steamroller. A kid runs out into the street after a ball with predictable results.
- Happens in Battletoads if something heavy such as a boss lands on a toad.
- Happens to Bayonetta if she is squashed by a Golem's ball form, or by the ice balls from the final boss.
- Given that the player commonly rolls eggs around, enemies in Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg will always suffer this fate.
- Happens in one death scene in Brain Dead 13 when the giant Living Statue squashes Lance with its big hand and spreads his... paint mess... on its body. This will also happen if Lance doesn't dodge Moose's shoulder charge.
- Happens to Bug if he gets crushed by Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom, gets hit by a boulder, or if he falls off the terrain. If it was non-lethal, he stretches himself using a hand.
- Happens to the enemies (Or your party) in Chrono Cross when the summon Golem is cast.
- Conkers Bad Fur Day puts a violent twist on this. If Conker is squished, he bleeds in addition to being flattened in cartoon fashion.
- Crash Bandicoot series:
- In the first game Crash gets flattened if he gets hit by a stone wheel in "Jungle Rollers" and "Rolling Stones", by a boulder in "Boulders" and "Boulder Dash", or the barrels in "Toxic Waste". In the case of the wheels and barrels, he pulls himself up for a few seconds then falls back down.
- In the third game Crash can get crushed by the stone blocks dropped by some of the Mooks in the Egyptian levels. If he doesn't have an Aku Aku on him he'll walk around with his feet under his head but if he does he'll spring back into shape. He can also get crushed by the triceratops in the prehistoric levels, and in the Egyptian levels can get crushed by the mummies while they're in their sarcophagus and flattened vertically by the moving walls.
- In Crash Tag Team Racing, one of the Die-O-Ramas has Crash spinning into one of the two chicken news reporters who document the events of the game, who then punches him flat and kicks him offscreen.
- The usual result of using the Gravity line of spells on an enemy in the Kingdom Hearts series.
- In Pac Man Party, there is a minigame that involves avoiding giant wood blocks. If you get squished, this trope occurs and the character floats off.
- When Jigglypuff is defeated in the 3D Pokémon games, it deflates and flattens out.
- Introduced in the 5th generation, the Bug-type move Steamroller flattens the opponent Pokémon's sprite while a big roller squashes it flat.
- In Pokémon X and Y, many attacks, such as Body Slam or Smack Down, will do this to the opposing Pokemon.
- Players in Power Stone can get squished if hit with a mallet, or crushed by certain other objects.
- Rayman series:
- In Rayman 2, Rayman will get squashed into a pancake shape if he falls from a large height or gets stomped by the robot gorilla enemy.
- In Rayman M/Arena, characters can be squashed into pancake shapes from various obstacles, or from, again, falling from a large height.
- In Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, Rayman can actually crawl around when he is flat, unlike in Rayman 2.
- In Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, Rayman will squish when he is slammed into a wall, or slam-jumped on by co-op players. Also, Globox can use his body fat to compress himself when he wants to duck or crawl.
- The Sega All-Stars Racing games do this in a wide variety of ways: By Billy Hatcher's special move and Amy's special move◊, rolling objects or steamrollers (in the sequel), landing on another racer, etc. It is always accompanied by a cartoonish *SPLORT* sound.
- Some of the deaths in the Sierra games have you end up squashed flat.
- Can happen in Sim Farm if the animals encounter cars. The animals are fine, they just look like pancakes (or bloated, as the game is played from a bird's eye view.)
- Sonic the Hedgehog series:
- In Sonic Riders, players can get flattened. They will lose their board as they do so, however (but it reappears when they become 3D again).
- Some characters in Sonic Fighters have attacks that will flatten the opponent's head. And it's hilarious. You can even get smushed down to a small size (and on the XBLA/PSN versions, you get an achievement/trophy for doing so).
- In Sonic Generations, if Classic Sonic gets caught between the truck and a wall in City Escape, this will happen to him.
- This is one of the standard Amusing Injuries for the Mummy in Sphinx And The Cursed Mummy. It allows him to fit through bars and tiny gaps.
- Happens to Spyro the Dragon when certain enemies (and bosses) either crush him with their weapons, or run over or—in the case of Buzz from Year of the Dragon—roll over him.
- Used in the arcade game "Sunset Riders" when you drop barrels on enemies.
- Super Mario Bros. series:
- The Wario Land and Mario & Luigi series have this as a required game mechanic, and you need to deliberately get characters smashed flat to get through narrow gaps.
- The Paper Mario series - invoked in that this is the characters' primary state.
- Goombas become flat when they are jumped on.
- In Yoshis Island, there are 3D walls that can fall down on Yoshi. When the walls rise back up, Yoshi peels off in a paper-like state (which was very impressive for SNES standards). Later on in the game, Baby Bowser defeats Kamek by stomping on him repeatedly, then Kamek falls down, flat.
- In Mario Kart there have always been ways for racers to squash their opponents flat for a limited amount of time, making them go slower. In the earlier games, you could shrink them with lightning and then squash them, and in Mario Kart Wii, there was an item that allowed your own kart to grow, which would allow you to squash any opposing karts that you would run into.
- Happens to characters who don't reach a safe spot in Mario Party 9's "Smash Compactor" minigame.
- Happens when certain enemies run over you in Toe Jam And Earl.
- A trailer for the MMO Wakfu has this happen to three of the party members, and they die from it. (until they're revived)
- In Wii Fit Plus and Wii Fit U's Obstacle Course activity, your Mii will get flattened by the rolling logs if you do not jump over them. Upon being flattened, the Mii blinks a couple times before the game starts you back over at the beginning of the level.
- The titular superhero team of The Wonderful 101 can get flattened if enemies land on or drive over them. To avoid this, they must use the "Unite Guts" ability, which will transform them into gelatin and stun the enemy instead.
- Happens to the player in the game Zombies Ate My Neighbors.
- The Angry Beavers: In the episode "A Dam Too Far", Daggett comes floating down on Norbert while flat in one scene.
- Sail Cat from Cow and Chicken, who got a whole song dedicated to his flattened destiny.
- Darkwing Duck knew how to use it to his advantage, like slipping under a door just after being squashed flat.
- Happens all the time in Earthworm Jim when Jim, his enemies and others have heavy objects fall on them.
- Happens occasionally on Ed, Edd n Eddy, as pictured above.
- Special mention goes to when Eddy is trying to get rid of Ed's loose tooth by painting a jawbreaker on a fence knowing that Ed would think it's real and run face-first into it. He does so while Double D is in the way, flattening the latter into a circle and him commenting "I've been violated."
- The Fairly Oddparents uses this trope some. One prime example is the episode "Freaks and Greeks" in which Timmy is trying to protect his mother's glass case from the gods of Mt. Olympus who use his living room as a place to party. "Don't ask." When the case is about to fall Timmy runs to it and tries to stop it from falling. It falls on him and when the case is removed Timmy is on the floor; very, very flat with a stunned expression.
- In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Adoptcalypse Now", Mac is launching several imaginary friends through the window, each of which Bloo has to catch. One of the ones that is launched through is a gigantic, gorilla-like imaginary friend, who lands on top of Bloo when he tries to catch him. Afterwards, Bloo peels himself off the floor, groaning in pain.
- Futurama sees this happen to Bender in the episode "Raging Bender".
- Some episodes of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy feature this, but the best example being in the Big Boogey Adventure, when the ship that the villains are on gets flattened vertically, and then falls over on its side.
- The Looney Tunes should get a special mention because of all the variations they would put on this trope. Sometimes characters would turn into puddles of goop with mouths, sometimes they would spring back up after being squashed into an accordion shape, or they might bend in certain ways depending on what hit them. They really had to mix it up, though, because some character getting hit with an Anvil on Head was pretty much a requirement for every other short.
- Alfred in the Mike, Lu & Og episode "Fathers and Pies".
- This happened more than once to Mr. Bogus, considering the comedic nature of the show.
- Parodied in an episode of ˇMucha Lucha! where Rikochet's rambunctious twin uncles appear to flatten him and his mother, then they come on screen and the latter complains that they stomped over their cardboard cutouts with Rikochet adding that they can only get them in Tijuana.
- Happens to Applejack in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Applebuck Season". She ends up face-planting several times while trying to jump off a tower and onto the other end of Rainbow Dash's catapult while severely exhausted, but she only flattens out the first time.
- In Oggy and the Cockroaches, this is usually the fate of the cockroaches.
- In Pluto's Judgement Day, one of the witnesses at Pluto's trial is a cat the dog chased under a steamroller, flattening him like a pancake. Even his balloon is flat!
- Buttercup becomes this in the The Powerpuff Girls episode "Down n' Dirty", and Bubbles and Buttercup are squished together in the episode "Mask Scara".
- Done sometimes on The Ren & Stimpy Show: In fact, this occurs in the opening titles.
- Rocko's Modern Life: Rocko is flattened on a regular basis.
- In Ro-Becca, one of the comedy-focused episodes of Sonic Sat AM, Sonic and Rotor knock down a door that Antoine was standing behind. As they leave, the door goes back up, and we find that Antoine got flattened.
- In the South Park episode "Fingerbang", Kenny dies by getting squashed by an elevator. His flat, bloody remains are then scraped off the bottom of it.
- This has happened a few times in Spongebob Squarepants. One of the most notable instances being in the episode "Hall Monitor", when Patrick unknowingly lands on Spongebob, flattening him.
- Teen Titans Go! has this happen to Robin after getting body slammed by Mammoth in "Gorilla". Starfire and Raven also do it by themselves while Robin is shouting at them at the end of the episode. For some reason.
- Tom and Jerry did this a lot too, also putting variations on it.
- This has happened a couple of times in Tiny Toon Adventures, a couple notable instances include in "Turtle Hurdle'' when Elmyra is run over by several cars when chasing Tyrone Turtle into the street, she turns around revealing she is paper thin, and in "A Sharp Or B Flat" when Plucky is run over by an out of control piano.
- This happens to Woodstock in the Peanuts special "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" while attempting to play basketball with Snoopy.