In which a character has their legs (or arms) restrained and has foodstuffs, preferably rotten fruit or veggies
, cream pies
, wet sponges or something else in that line of thought thrown at them by members of the public. Alternatively, stocks can also be used for Tickle Torture
Technically, "stocks" only restrain the legs; the more commonly-seen restraint that holds one's arms and head is called a "pillory". However, the latter is often referred to as "stocks" regardless of this distinction.
A point seldom touched on in fiction is that being pilloried could be seriously dangerous. People were allowed to throw things at your head, and you could neither dodge nor block them. If you were lucky they would only throw fruit and vegetables (although you
try getting hit in the face with a turnip and see how harmless that would be). If you were unlucky (or unpopular), they'd throw rocks. Or materials obtained from stable floors. And if you were really, really
unlucky, it would be as bad as if you'd dropped the soap in a prison shower
Rarely occurs with females (except when other stuff
is done to them instead), for some reason
Often used in Come to Gawk
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- A Knight's Tale has this happen to the main character while his friends try to defend him.
- Earlier in the film, there's a flashback to him as a young boy, watching the knights parade into the tournament grounds with his father. There's a man locked in the stocks right next to them, who advises young William that it would be easier for a man to change the stars themselves than for a peasant to grow up to be a knight.
- Andersonville and it's not funny in that movie.
- The female lead in Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter is introduced in the pillory, a punishment for dancing on a Sunday. She does not appear to have had a good time of it.
- In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, there is a fieldtrip to a Salem Witch Trial themed village. At the end of the episode the Alpha Bitch Libby ends up in the stock, but does not get things thrown at her.
- Black Adder The Third: Edmund invites Prince George to star in his new play, "Thick Jack Clot Sits in the Stocks and Gets Pelted with Rancid Tomatoes''. George naturally agrees enthusiastically.
- Merlin- a bit of a Running Gag for the titular character- happens in the first episode when he picks a fight with Arthur, three times in one episode. The Children in Need scene naturally features it.
- In an entirely serious example from the George III-era Very Loosely Based on a True Story Costume Drama Garrow's Law (coming soon to a US TV station near you...), William Garrow exposes Forrester, a professional "thief-taker" - basically a man who is paid to frame people up - as a perjurer. The judge sentences him to two hours in the stocks - a pillory in this case. He gets the rotten fruit treatment, then we see the grandmother of the boy he murdered as part of one such scheme pay the man who turned on him. The man then throws a rock...
- A similar thing happened to Mother Needham, the notorious bawd, in Channel Four's drama-documentary of Hogarth's A Harlot's Progress.
- Kind of Truth in Television. Unpopular people put in the stocks faced a real risk of being beaten to death by angry mobs. Some people even wore armor when in the stocks in order to avoid this.
- The Bill. At a community fair someone suggests to Chief Superintendent Brownlow that it would be amusing for a couple of his officers to be placed in the stocks. The two officers with Brownlow try to vanish into the crowd, but they're not quick enough and get volunteered. Things become dangerous when some teenaged hoodlums who've previously had a run-in with these officers show up and start threatening violence, so the showman has to quickly let them out.
- The Wizard of Id had a peasant arrested for violating curfew. The Kings orders him made an example of. Cue peasant looking unhappy in the stocks in the middle of the night, and then hauled (still in the stocks) before the King by his brainless minions for violation of curfew.
- The Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Book of Vile Darkness has the pillory listed under torture devices. Every hour a victim spends pilloried in a public place, they suffer damage from passers-by tormenting and assaulting them.
- The title heroines of Beat Blades Haruka, Ikusa Otome Valkyrie, and Himekishi Lilia all get scenes in which they are locked in pillories and raped.
- In The Sims Medieval sims can end up in the stocks from failing to complete responsibilities, stealing, or just because the player felt like it.
- It's technically a pillory, but apparently because nobody knows that word anymore, they call it the stocks. (Sims' heads and hands are restrained, not their legs.)
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean uses this to replace scenes where people were hanged in the movie.
- At least one Renaissance faire has one of these, in which fairegoers can buy a certain number of mushy tomatoes and throw them at the poor sod who gets paid to stand there. Fortunately, the poor sod in question is entitled to hurl as much verbal abuse upon the throwers as he likes.
- Some BDSM "dungeons" feature these.