"Too bad. Juuuust missed him! Hahahahahahaha!"
— Screwy Squirrel, "Screwball Squirrel"
A classic comedy trope common in cartoons, where a character moves out of the way just as another falls from above and watches as the falling character humorously crashes into the ground
. Generally, comes in two variations.
- The character on the ground is apparently trying to catch the falling character, only to move out of the way at the very last second. Often a subversion of the Fireman's Safety Net.
- The character on the ground is standing right below the falling character and sees them falling towards them, but instead of making any motion to catch them just waits until the last second and moves just a step to the side.
Anime and Manga
- Slayers had a scene where everyone looks up, Gourry pushes Amelia and Sylphiel aside, then (still looking up) steps to the other side and Lina falls head first between them.
- An amusing inversion was done with Filia in her human form under an impending cave-in. Xellos, as a proper gentleman, grabs her and teleports to safety. Filia is fine until she realizes who holds her and freaks out. Xellos, as a proper gentleman, immediately releases her — to a long screaming fall on top of an enemy too beaten up to stand.
- One of the Romance interactions in The Sims 2 is "Leap Into Arms". The object of the leaper's affection will catch him/her is the mutual relationship score is high. If it's one-sided, though... *thud*.
- Page quote comes from Screwy Squirrel's first appearance, where it's played straight and then played with - the first time Screwy pretends to be catching Meathead Dog and pulls away the net at the last second. The second time, Screwy gets so caught up in pretending to catch the dog that he actually falls off a cliff himself, and Meathead (somehow) catches him. Screwy thanks him with a dozen blows to the head.
- The first variation comes up often in Looney, particularly with Bugs Bunny, though the second variation is common in Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons, as part of Roadrunner's passively mocking repertoire of actions.
- In "Gorilla My Dreams", Gruesome Gorilla is tossing Bugs (who is pretending to be a baby gorilla) up in the air. He throws him too high, then as Bugs falls he holds out his hands, then pulls them away at the last second.
- In "Bugs Bunny Rides Again", Bugs tricks Yosemite Sam into walking off a cliff, then rushes down to the bottom and places a mattress on the ground, explaining that "sometimes me conscience kinda bothers me... but not this time!", and pulls the mattress away.
- In "Baby Buggy Bunny", Bugs discovers that the Doorstop Baby he found is really a bank robber, so he starts to rough him up. He tosses him in the air high enough for him to hit the wall, but instead of catching him, turns around saying, "Oh, dear. I seem to have forgoten my fudge." and lets him fall to the ground.
- Darkwing Duck plays the first variation straight. Negaduck has just fallen off a building, so Darkwing helpfully pulls up in a garbage truck to save him... and the reverses at the last second.
- American Football players are (a) freaking huge guys and (b) prone to tackle-hugging each other in celebration. In one game, a 300-lb lineman is about to do this to somebody... who instinctively moved aside. The lineman went 'thud,' got up, and went about celebrating elsewhere.