Wait, what tr- *WHACK*
The primary hazard faced by jungle-swingers
, Giant Flyers
, and even people at a fast run are not the Mooks
in hot pursuit, the thunderstorms brewing up above, or the cars moving at Mach 1 in the street. It's... trees.
Well, trees, poles, walls and other decidedly immobile hazards, anyway. If a character is flying, swinging or even simply running through an area, and he happens to get distracted, he will
wrap himself around the nearest obstacle in fairly even time. His momentum generally sees to it that he either gets completely flattened, or ends up with his arms splayed at weird angles.
While trees and poles are common targets, windows are as well. If a character runs into a window, expect to see a shot of his smushed face from the other side. Also expect to hear
the slow squeaks as he peels off and slides to the ground.
A subtrope of Amusing Injuries
(when it's played for laughs). Compare Low Clearance
Named for George of the Jungle
, who did this so frequently, it's mentioned in his theme song.
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Anime & Manga
- An Archie Comics parody of Tarzan features Archie as Tarbland, who, like the story's apparent inspiration George, constantly managed to smack into trees or fall from vines. Betty co-starred as his smarter, long-suffering "Jane" counterpart.
Films — Animation
- In FernGully: The Last Rainforest, the decidedly absent-minded Batty Koda does this◊... several times. It's not so much that he's blind as it is that his wiring is on the fritz. Similarly, in FernGully 2, he crashes into several windows.
- Interestingly, this is Truth in Television — fruit bats fly perfectly well, but they have a lot more trouble landing than most other bats. Although they rarely face-plant into the trunk the way Batty does.
- BIONICLE 2: Legends of Metru Nui: This is a running gag for Matau, as he flies into a pillar, the interior of a Force Sphere, and a telescreen.
- In The Iron Giant, Hogarth hits his head on a branch as he runs from the giant.
- On Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Benny the Cab crashes on a lamppost after slipping on Dip.
- In the Hundred-Mile Dash scene from The Incredibles, pretty much all of the hovercrafts are destroyed by crashing into trees or rocks.
- In Spirited Away, Chihiro's rapid barreling down a flight of narrow steps reaches its inevitable conclusion when her momentum carries her into a nearby wall.
- In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack runs straight into a signpost at the end of the song "What's This?"
- Likewise, in Corpse Bride, Victor runs into a tree when running away from the eponymous bride. He then runs into the tree again.
- In a sequence in The Lion King, Zazu is flying sideways and hits a rhinoceros.
Films — Live-Action
- Star Wars
- Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has a scene where Willy Wonka walks straight into the glass elevator. And later on, guess what, he does it again.
- Peter Parker has this problem during the How Do I Shot Web? sequence of the first Spider-Man movie.
- Intacto makes use of this. One of the games that play has its players wearing blindfolds and running full speed through a forest. The winner is the one who is able to avoid the trees longest.
- An especially funny example shows up in Raising Arizona.
- In Death to Smoochy, Rainbow Randolph's victory dance after framing Smoochy as a Nazi is cut short by a wall.
- Buster Keaton built an entire career on this trope.
- Sapphire in Almost Famous, while running alongside Stillwater's tour bus to give William a message, runs straight into a wall.
- Joke time! On one particular clear night, one particular bat comes flying into a cave with his face smeared with blood. Naturally this piques the interest of the other bats, who all flock round doing whatever the bat equivalent of licking one's lips is. So they say, "Well? Spill the beans. Where'd you find all that blood?"
"Don't wanna talk about it," he says, wiping his face.
"OK," he says, raising one batty wing in a pointy fashion. "See that village over there?"
"Yes?" they say.
"See that hill?"
"YES?" they say, nodding.
"See that tree?"
"YES?" they say frantically.
- This is how Yorick died in Firewing. To his credit, it was during a storm.
- In Equal Rites, Granny Weatherwax forcibly imposes this trope on a hungry bear, causing it to walk headfirst into a tree and knock itself out.
- In Moving Pictures, when the Librarian — an orangutan for those unfamiliar with the series — tries to do a Tarzan moment to stop an Eldritch Abomination that was in the form of a giant woman, he misses it and smashes into the Tower of Art. This then leads to a King Kong spoof with an ape being held hostage by a giant woman. Only Pratchett could do that many spoofs in that little time.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the title character and his best friend Ron Weasley drive a flying car headlong into a tree on the grounds of Hogwarts. Of course, "Watch out for that tree!" becomes even more urgent when they find that the tree hits back. Harry actually says the trope name in the U.S. version of the book. In the original version and the movie, it's "Mind that tree!"
- The Trope Namer is, of course, George of the Jungle. This was a key part of the series' theme song. "George, George, George of the Jungle — WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE!"
- A running gag in most Warner Bros.. cartoons. Becomes an Overly-Long Gag in Robin Hood Daffy, that alternates between hilarious and painful to watch: "YOINKS... AND AWAAAY!" *WHAM*
- Daffy eventually chops down all the trees in his path, then tries again — only to crash into a huge boulder on the ground.
- A popular variation on Tom and Jerry is for Tom to knock off the bit of tree (or pole) he hits, causing the rest to fall on top of his head, flattening him.
- The same gag appears in the Yogi Bear short The Buzzing Bear.
- In the Classic Disney Short Ben and Me, Amos Mouse tries to warn a distracted Benjamin Franklin:
Amos: Post, Ben, post.
Ben: Oh, how do you do, Mr. Post. (clunk!)
- The Simpsons: Homer Simpson, singing while driving...
- The Mighty Mightor episode "Cult of the Cavebearers". After L'il Rok is grabbed off his back by the Cavebearers, Ork continues flying right into a tree.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- The opening features Aang crashing into a statue while riding his air ball.
- Aang also crashes into Sokka's snow tower in the first episode, to Sokka's despair.
- Later, in season 3, he runs into a pole while chasing after the Painted Lady.
- Armand conjure a tree right into Sadlygrove's path in season 1 episode 19.
- In season 1 episode 21, Yugo runs straight into rock walls a few times, as he's trying to master Aura Vision with his eyes sealed shut.
- Baby Grougal chasing after Az in season 2 episode 6.
- And then, Adamaï¿½ chasing after Baby Grougal in season 2 episode 9.
- In The Legend of Ogrest special, Ogrest's first attempt at flying leads to a crash against a stone pillar, and then a boat.
- In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Bubblevision", Bubbles needs glasses. When she doesn't wear them, she hits trees, a building, and a pole.
- In an episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, Ed tries to search through a field of tall grass for his little sister Sarah, and runs into a tree. "Ow... That wasn't you!"
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Adventures from the Book of Virtues episode "Humility" (1998): At the end, Socrates the bobcat slides down the snow hill on a snowboard and accidentally crashes into Aristotle the prairie dog, resulting in both of them rolling into an Animal Snowball, and finally, they (especially Sock) crash into a tree.
- American Dad! had this happen in the episode where Stan finally learns to ride a bike, arriving at the courthouse in time for his father's probation hearing, he approaches the courthouse triumphantly, and then...
Stan: Look, I can ride a bike! But I don't know how to stop! Quick, move the building!
- Happens to Candace in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Run, Candace, Run"
- Atomic Betty: Betty to Noah in "Beach Blanket Betty" while they were surfing.
- Huckleberry Hound does this in "Spud Dud" when a giant monster potato throws him through the air.
Huck: (just swoops over a chimney) I didn't miss that by much...(runs into another chimney) I didn't miss that one at all!
- Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "The Cuckoo Patrol," the Squadron—disguised as birds—tail Yankee Doodle Pigeon as they fly into seclusion in clouds. Unfortunately for them, a mountain peak is concealed within the next cloud to which they hop.