Damn fifth question gets me all the time, too!
Imagine a typical scene where a kid, not necessarily but often times a Nerd
or a Geek
, meets a Jerk Jock
and maybe even his little gang of miscreants in a schoolyard/park/alleyway/etc. The bullies pick on the helpless little guy, maybe even playing Keep Away
with something that belongs to him or something, and eventually after beating the poor guy up they stuff him down a garbage can that's conveniently located in the area.
This trope would be Truth in Television
as it is done in real life by actual bullies but it is unsure if most of the time in the Hollywood counterpart versions of this trope if this is only played for laughs or if it's mostly done in a serious manner showing how much The Bully
overpowers the poor guy (often leading to a mix between Pay Evil unto Evil
and Revenge Of The Nerd
moments or whatever).
Sometimes, the person deliberately hides in a trashcan in order to avoid being caught by people wanting to exact revenge, or sometimes for more mundane reasons such as avoiding chores, or even just to spy on people.
A related trope would be Stuffed into a Locker
, although this happens much
By the way, just so things are clear, Oscar the Grouch
is not related to this trope at ALL (unless if he was actually shoved into that thing by some other evil puppet *COUGH*Elmo*COUGH*
and ended up getting stuck, making him immobile and thus forcing him to call the trashcan his new home and turning him into the grumpy green guy (no, not THAT grumpy green guy
) he is today).
- Inverted in the 1982 musical, Annie, when the title character does this to a bully instead of the other way around.
- The Turtles do this to Keno, the pizza guy in TMNT 2, but it's for his own good.
- In The Neverending Story (the film), Bastian gets his lunch money stolen and tossed into a dumpster. At the end, he gets his revenge when he terrifies the bullies by pursuing them on a flying luckdragon and they hide in the dumpster themselves.
- In The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, to prevent Dodger from interfering with the fashion show, the bullies toss him into a dumpster. Only problem with this plan? He could just as easily get out of the dumpster, which he does.
- In Shorts, this is what the main character has to endure every day: stuffed head first in a trash can. It gets better though, as the girl who does it to him becomes his girlfriend.
- In Max Keeble's Big Move the poor kid is thrown into a dumpster.
- This is one of the humiliations suffered by the protagonist of The Eighteenth Emergency by Betsy Byars.
- The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks: Happens twice to Michael (owner of the titular plant)'s younger brother Norman. In the first book, as Michael is sorting the piles of junk in his side of the room into boxes, Norman tries to jump over said boxes and falls into the one marked "Throw Out or Give Away". In the second book, the family has rented an RV and is going to Florida for their vacation. Norman, who is up and about when they're moving, loses his balance, causing him to fall backwards into a plastic trash can and get stuck, much to Michael's amusement.
- In The Neverending Story, Bastian mentions that kids once did this to him, when he tried to respond their insults.
- In the Illuminatus! prequel, The Historical Illuminatus:The widow's Son, Irish fisherman Seamus Muadhen is tortured this way by British soldiers in Dublin Castle. A large bucket is placed over his head and it is pounded with rifle butts, causing injuries, excruciating pain and burst eardrums. As Seamus said, the Brits who tortured him have converted a mere fisherman into an Irish Republican who will seek vengeance, so go and eat shit, Englishman. Seamus gets his revenge years later as commanding officer of an Irish Legion in the American War of Independence.
- Puck throws Kurt in a dumpster in the Pilot of Glee.
- It happens in the Peruvian series Esta Sociedad.
- Gibby on iCarly.
- They did this to Rick on Degrassi.
- Happened in Lois and Clark. Clark (disguised as a barkeep) ejected Lois from a mob-controlled club, carefully using his x-ray vision to toss her into the dumpster full of spoiled vegetables — and not the dumpster full of harmless paper shreddings. Superdickery, indeed.
- When Archie was told to clean the garage by his father, he disappeared with the father being angered that he'd disappear when chores are even suggested, and eventually finds Archie hiding in a trash can. Ironically, he found Archie when he himself planned on using the trash can to hide from his wife when she's suggesting he do some chores.
- In an issue of The Avengers, a guy on the street tells She-Hulk that he loves her "green body paint" and asks if she needs any help removing it. Maybe he was drunk and didn't also notice that she was almost seven feet tall; nonetheless, Jen responds by stuffing him into the nearest trashcan.
- The infamous comic cat, Garfield, has done this at least once to his gray kitten friend, Nermal.
- A recurring theme in the Australian newspaper comic, Ginger Meggs.
- In the video game, Bully, you get to stuff other people into trashcans if close enough; the beating is optional. This has acted as slight Video Game Cruelty Punishment in that sometimes you want to beat the victim, not stuff him.
- Oddly, while victims are stuffed in and helpless, Jimmy can dive in voluntarily to hide, with no problems getting out once the heat is down and the prefects finish failing their Spot checks. Lockers work the same in both situations.
- Well, it's probably because he shoves them in ass-first. If you've ever thought it would be a good idea to sit on something similar to a trashcan with an opening like that, chances are you'll need help getting out.
- Some Professional Wrestling games reverse the trope if a garbage can is nearby; they may let you stuff the can onto a wrestler, rather than vice versa.
- Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots will sometimes use a dumpster as a hiding spot.
- This happened on The Simpsons a couple of times.
- In 'Bart The General', Bart was stuffed into a trashcan by Nelson and his now missing cronies two or three times and rolled down a hill. (And when it stopped rolling, he coughed up his own hat. Apparently, Nelson made him eat it.)
- Barney Gumble was once stuffed into a trashcan by boxer Smokin' Joe Frazier.
- In the parody of 24, Bart jams a trashcan on Nelson's head and pounds on the can to get Nelson to talk.
- Hey Arnold! had a whole episode about this. It was a yearly tradition for the fifth graders to stuff the fourth graders into trash cans on "Trash Can Day," and Arnold and Gerald worked together to figure out a way to get home safely without being canned. They get through the whole day going through many perils to escape the fifth graders, only to be betrayed at the last second by a false samaritan and getting canned anyway.
- Gelman does this to Gus in an episode of Recess
- Hiding in a Trash-Can is actually one of Randall's favorite spots to spy on people and then rat them out. Unfortunately, if someone's going to take out the trash, he'll sometimes have the trash dumped on him.
- In "Parents Night" Mikey hides in the trashcan outside of Spinelli's house and gets caught because it was her turn to take out the trash.
- Betty and Veronica actually does this to Archie in Archie's Weird Mysteries after Reggie coaxes them on with the idea that Archie was stringing them along.