Thumbtack on the Chair
A prank that has been done lots of times throughout the years, this is when a character places a thumbtack in a chair, and when another character sits down, what results after that is a pained jump due to the sharpness of the tack. In cartoons, this may sometimes result in a Pain-Powered Leap. Also the rare prank that women (usually schoolteachers) tend to be the victims of more than men. Related to the Whoopee Cushion, but much more painful. May be just as embarrassing. Compare Butt Biter, Pinching Pain, and Rump Roast. Subtrope of Literal Ass Kicking, as it results in a literal pain in the butt.
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Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- A variant in the live-action Dennis the Menace film. Instead of placing a tack in a chair, the babysitter's boyfriend places a tack on the doorbell, not knowing that it was Dennis who was ringing the doorbell. Before Dennis can ring the doorbell again, Mr. Wilson shows up, prompting Dennis to come back in through the pet door so Mr. Wilson ends up the victim of the thumbtack prank instead.
- In The Little Rascals short "Readin' and Writin'", one of Brisbane's pranks is to put tacks on all of the other students' chairs. Miss Crabtree has everyone sit down on her count, leading to a chorus of yells.
- This was a common gag on The Three Stooges, though normally it'd be something even more sharp and painful than thumbtacks. One instance where thumbtacks were used came when the Stooges infiltrated the office of a high-ranking Nazi officer, and placed a map with thumbtacks in it on his chair.
- A variant occurs in The Sound of Music. The Von Trapp children place a pinecone in a chair that Maria was going to sit in.
- In the second-to-last Wheel of Time book, Elayne is about to sit on the throne of Cairhien for the first time, but Birgitte insists on checking it, to her annoyance and embarrassment. This disappears when Birgitte finds a poisoned needle on the seat.
- In Little Town on the Prairie, a schoolboy in Laura's class is the victim of this prank (with a bent pin), causing the Sadist Teacher to have him stand in the corner for making a scene in class. (She was going to hit his palm with her ruler, but couldn't find it in her desk.) Later, when the boy recounts the incident to the school board, he glibly remarks, "I was not punished for sitting on it, but for getting up off it." The board has a hard time stifling their laughter, and has to admit it's Actually Pretty Funny.
- Once in Hogan's Heroes, Hogan puts Klink's spiked helmet on his chair.
- In the Homestar Runner short The Interview, Strong Bad tells Homestar that he wants to "get down to brass tacks". When Homestar seems to think he's talking about actual tacks, he mumbles under his breath that the interview will be painful. Homestar responds with "The tacks? I'll bet. Try not to sit on 'em".
- Defied in Allen The Alien; Bonnie thinks about doing this to RR-TWTTW, but decides "it'd be too messy".
- In The Simpsons when Marge becomes Bart's substitute teacher, he didn't know his mother would be teaching him beforehand and quickly rushes to remove the tack he placed on her chair.
- A memorable Tom and Jerry short involves Tom trying to keep quiet to avoid waking up a sleeping king. One of the methods that Jerry and Nibbles makes this difficult for Tom is by placing a pin under Tom just as he's about to take a seat.
- One episode of Invader Zim had Zim pull the seat tack prank on Dib. Dib believes that Zim's prank is pathetic, even for Zim, until he realizes that the tack contained mutagenic contamination that was slowly turning him into bologna.