Water Wake-up

A character gets a Tap on the Head, or receives something else that knocks them out.

The next thing they (or we) know is that they're in a cell, either tied to a chair or lying on bed. Either way, they're rudely awoken by a bucket of cold water in the face.

This generally means the imminent interrogation will not be nice.

Alternatively, this can be done for laughs when a character who was simply asleep is woken up this way. In this case, the character doing the waking isn't necessarily hostile, but just not too worried about the sleeping character's comfort.

Almost always overlaps with Waking Up Elsewhere.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This has been done at least once in Ranma when Akane found Shampoo sleeping with an oblivious Ranma (she'd crawled into his futon sometime during the night), Akane woke him up with a bucket of cold water which, thanks to his curse, also turned him into a girl. Added hilarity came from the fact that Shampoo didn't know about the curse and was trying to kill "Girl-Type Ranma".
  • Samurai Champloo: In the first episode, Mugen passes out while fighting Jin in a burning building. He wakes up to a bucket of water, and learns he's going to be tortured and executed for killing the Governor's son.
  • Kenichi Shirahama is often woken up in this manner if he passes out during training.

     Fan Fiction 
  • In Fantasy Of Utter Ridiculousness, a curious fairy maid at the SDM decides that some water would be the right thing to help wake up a sleeping Yukari. A pitcher of water. A minute later, the fairy flees screaming from the room after being subjected to the "scary eyeball gap lady's" wrath.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • The comedic version shows up in the first movie, as Captain Jack Sparrow and Will wake Gibbs this way. Then Will dumps a second bucket of water on Gibbs, and says "That was for the smell." To clarify, Gibbs was sleeping in a pigpen. After hearing Will's reason, he just looks surprised and nods.
    • Again in the sequel, when Jack finds Gibbs asleep on the end of the pier-a pier notably short a ship. Gibbs is also found clutching a stuffed animal, and takes a second to comprehend the followup question regarding the absence of the Pearl.
  • In Blazing Saddles, Bart and Jim do this to wake up the now-securely bound-with-chains Mongo. Mongo casually breaks loose while yawning. (Fortunately, Mongo's in a good mood, considering.)
  • In The Princess Bride, Fezzick revives Inigo from a drunken stupor by shoving his head into buckets of cold and hot water.
  • In Talladega Nights, Ricky Bobby's father throws a bucket on him to wake him up... then throws another on him because he filled up two.
  • In Camp Rock, Shane Grey gets the comedic version from his uncle after refusing to wake up twice.
  • Inception: This is how characters wake up from a layered dream into the previous one.
  • In My Man Godfrey, the female lead fakes a Fainting attack to draw the hero close. He finds out, carries her under a shower and turns the water on.

  • Happens to Nathaniel in book 2 of The Bartimaeus Trilogy. Bartimaeus got bored.
  • And again in the book version of Neverwhere. Hunter, Door's bodyguard, wakes Richard up with a bucket of water, and then wakes Door much more gently, after both have passed out drunk.
  • In Stephen King's The Stand, Randall Flagg uses this method to get the attention of a contact who has needed information, but is dying of the super-flu.
  • In Iain Banks's Whit, after offers of coffee and threats of excommunication fail, Isis successfully wakes up her hungover half brother Zebediah by the graduated series of containers method. First the sleeper is drenched with a thimbleful of water, which is followed by the contents of an egg cup, a tea cup, a pint glass and finally a bucket.
  • Young Army Boys in Septimus Heap who slept past wake-up time are usually awakened this way and forced to sleep in the wet bed afterwards.
  • Kiron has to do this to Aket-ten in Alta. She is affected by the Magi's sleep spell, he isn't, and they both need to get into the air as soon as possible.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Band of Brothers: Captain Winters uses this to wake up his alcoholic friend Captain Nixon. Unfortunately it turns out that Nixon had used the "water" jug for toilet purposes during the night (yes, that did happen in Real Life as well).
  • This happened to Fraser on Due South in the Season 2 episode "Red, White or Blue".
  • In El Chavo del ocho, each time the title character gets scared he immediately paralyzes — after adopting an awkward pose nicknamed "la garrotera". The only way to snap off from this is by splashing water on him. Normally a small splash in his face works, but meaner-spirited characters often empty whole buckets on the poor kid.
  • Heroes
    • In the final episode, chapter 3, Ando gives himself the ability to amplify other abilities after injecting himself with the serum. This causes him to black out, and he is subsequently awoken by Matt, who pours a glass of water on his face.
    • Early on in Season 2, The half-naked, bloodied, tied-to-a-chair Peter is awoken with a bucket of the wet stuff to the face by the Irish gangsters who are holding him captive.
  • A flashback in the Torchwood episode "Fragments". With Captain Jack and a "couple" of Victorian-era Torchwood members.
  • The Twilight Zone TOS episode "Two". After the man knocks out the woman, he wakes her up by dumping water on her.
  • NCIS
    • Tony is sleeping at his desk when Kate pours water on his head to wake him up.
    • Ziva dumps a bottle of water on Tony's head in the episode "Under Covers". He reacts by jumping up on the bed and standing in a karate stance.
  • In season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Scoobies capture Andrew — who barely qualifies as a villain and is regarded as more of a pest, and so the capture-and-interrogation routine is entirely Played for Laughs. While he's unconscious and tied to a chair, Dawn tries to wake him up, first by slapping him and later by throwing cold water in his face. Neither method works, but he comes to on his own before she can try throwing hot water on him. Since Buffy doesn't approve of this, Dawn and Anya try to pretend the water came from Andrew drooling all over himself.

  • A real-life example took place on the Opie And Anthony in 2005. Tippy Tom, a homeless man and one of the show's frequent guests at the time, dozed off and stopped breathing, which led to the hosts fearing that he died in the studio. Fortunately, staff member Master Po had a solution: pour water in his ear. It successfully revived and woke him.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Beeman is awakened this way in his background story in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.
  • In GastroPhobia, Gastro wakes up his mother Phobia this way... because he can't sleep and want her to tell him a story. She's understandably ticked off, and gives him first a good spanking.
  • The Order of the Stick has O-Chul being woken up by a bucket of water for his daily torture.

    Western Animation 
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Samy tries this on Heloise, but it only succeeds in causing her to dream about being a mermaid.
  • Done in Beavis And Butthead: Do America when Muddy threw water at the two boys who passed out in the desert after the Disney Acid Sequence.
  • Subverted at the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame where Esmeralda's Disney Death was brought forth by Quasimodo attempting to make her drink water with a spoon after she has passed out, but she does not drink it.
  • In The Perils OF Penelope Pitstop episode "The Boardwalk Booby Trap", Pockets throws water on Snoozy when the latter is driving Chugga-Boom erratically.
  • Patrick does this for Medieval Sandy in SpongeBob SquarePants. But instead of using a bucket of water...he uses his own spit instead, gargling it like water! Gross!
  • Timon and Pumbaa wake Simba up this way in The Lion King.

    Real Life 
  • It should go without saying this works in real life. As non-aquatic animals, humans have a sensation when suddenly submerged or doused that makes them prepare to swim for their life to avoid drowning. This is why a cold shower (or a shower in general) works so well at waking people up.
  • This Prank. (WARNING: The video is NSFW due to language.)