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.


Film - Animated
  • In The Incredibles, it was implied that Dash did this to his teacher at school. The teacher claims that he caught him on camera, but when the tape plays, Dash moves too fast to actually be seen, which allows Dash to get off easy.

Film - 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.

Live-Action TV
  • Once in Hogan's Heroes, Hogan puts Klink's spiked helmet on his chair.

Newspaper Comics

Visual Novels
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, this is one of the pranks Satoko did to Keiichi on his first day at Hinamizawa's school.
    • Satako pulled a variant of this prank involving taping a bunch of tacks to the door in Watanagashi-hen. Target was the same.

Web Animation
  • 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".

Western Animation
  • 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.