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Why Did It Have To Be Snakes: Live-Action TV
Snakes (ophidiophobia), Reptiles (herpetophobia)

  • Flabber showed it once in Beetleborgs.
  • An episode of Cops showed two policemen afraid to respond to a call from a resident who found a snake in his closet. The guy from animal control, on the other hand, had snake tattoos and couldn't believe the resident didn't want to keep such a pretty snake.
  • Terrorist Kelly Peyton on Alias is terrified of snakes and only gives important information to the CIA under interrogation when they threaten her with one.
  • On Home Improvement Tim becomes agitated when he learns that a harmless garden snake is somewhere in his house.
  • Murdoc from MacGyver.
  • Eiji of Kamen Rider OOO mistaken the Eel Can-droids as snakes on first glance.
  • Wayne of Swamp Loggers expresses great unease about snakes. One could wonder about his choice of job.
  • An early episode of Adam-12 saw Malloy and Reed approach every white 1958 Ford convertible with trepidation ... since a stolen boa constrictor might be hidden in the trunk of one of them.
  • Subverted with Agent Scully on The X-Files. In "One Breath", her mother tells a story how she felt guilty for shooting a snake with her new BB gun. Although deathly afraid of snakes, she held the snake and it died in her hands, which is very weird as people with this phobia are grossed out with only pictures of snakes. When Mulder and Scully investigate cases involving snakes, she isn't exactly on edge ("Die Hand die Verletzt") and she even gets a tattoo of a snake eating its own tail in "Never Again". On the other hand, there are lots of snakes in "Signs and Wonders", but even Mulder who doesn't suffer from this phobia is very nervous around them.
  • On an episode of The Cosby Show, Rudy freaked out after seeing a small garter snake in the basement. Clair told her to calm down, saying she and Cliff would take care of it... Then, once she and Cliff were alone, she freaked out even more than Rudy had, and was on edge the entire episode. (At the end, when they caught it, Rudy actually thought it was "cute".)
  • Tory Belleci from MythBusters has admitted to a fear of snakes. Naturally, this has been taken advantage of on the show.
  • Amen had an episode where Deacon Frye went to a therapist specifically to overcome this.

Spiders (arachnophobia)
  • Dr. Camille Saroyan on Bones freaks out briefly when a swarm of baby spiders start emerging from a crack in a block of clay that the skeleton-of-the-week is embedded in.
  • In Charmed, Piper is afraid of tarantulas. This tends to come up whenever recurring villain Barbas (the demon of fear) puts his hand in...
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother ran out of the room in a panic when Robin spotted a spider on the floor in one episode.
  • Hal from Malcolm in the Middle in one episode an animal trainer uses him as a volunteer, he ends up using a tarantula Hal is terrified it ends up biting him because he spooked it.
  • Zack the Black Ranger from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, among other things like snakes and bugs.
  • Adam Savage of MythBusters although in the Ultimate MythBuster special, Adam said his experience in the "Daddy Long-Legs" myth (arm stuck in a tube of spiders until one finally bit him) had gotten him over this fear.
    • Grant Imahara is also arachnophobic. And he gets the same type of "treatment" that Adam got...
  • Shane the Red Ranger from Power Rangers Ninja Storm. First mentioned by Tori to prove it's really her and not her evil clone, it turns up later in a surprisingly subtle fashion - a flashback of kid-Shane rescuing an alien ball of light from a spider-web.
  • Budnick in Salute Your Shorts. The only thing he's afraid of.
  • Chief O'Brien once admitted to a fear of spiders in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He not only got over it in time, he actually kept a pet tarantula. Presumably Keiko told him to leave it behind when they moved to Deep Space Nine.
  • Hank from Sirens US is afraid of spiders. He kept it a secret for years, because he knew that Johnny would give him shit over it. And indeed, as soon as Johnny found out, he proceeded to give him shit.

Insects (entomophobia)

  • Niles Crane from Frasier has a very severe form of this. He often believes that insects are bigger than they are, he has carried a ridiculous amount of bug repellent with him on more than one occasion, and, while Frasier insists that he should see a therapist, he never does.note 
  • Nick Stokes from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation displayed something of an ant phobia after being buried alive and covered in red ants, though it's not popped up again.
  • Kenan & Kel: Kenan's dad is afraid of ladybugs.
  • Bees (apiphobia), Wasps, Hornets, Yellowjackets (sphecksophobia) — Adam Savage from MythBusters.
  • Richard Hammond from Top Gear, if the Bolivia special is to be believed.

Mice & Rats (musophobia)
  • Gunn from Angel. First mentioned in S3's "Heartthrob", his phobia gets explicit illustration in S4, when the coming apocalypse causes a house's walls to fill with rats.
  • In the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale Of Watcher's Woods", a girl is captured by three witches and put in a wooden cage. One witch asks her if she'd like to "play with some rodents" and proceeds to put a bucket of rats into the cage with the girl, who happens to be terrified of rats. The girl then freaks out and says: "Why did it have to be rats?!"
  • The Brady Bunch: Alice is revealed to be afraid of mice in "The Impractical Joker" after seeing a small, white mouse running loose in the house. The mouse was on loan to high school freshman Greg for a science project, and Jan playing up her one-episode practical joking side lets the mouse loose.
  • In Community episode "Environmental Science", Troy and rats, with Troy even referencing the Trope Namer.
  • Doc Robbins from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, who yells and screams and generally stands there scared to death when a rat launches itself out of a body on his table. Grissom is left to chase it and watch it escape.
  • Topher in Dollhouse which Dr. Saunders/Whiskey takes advantage of.
  • Knit Knots on Imagination Movers seems to be at least somewhat afraid of Warehouse Mouse, telling the Movers to keep the "furry, woodland creature" away from him.
  • Ive Got A Secret: The first celebrity guest, Boris Karloff, reportedly had a rather mundane secret: "I'm afraid of mice." It wasn't long before the celebrity guests at least during the CBS run had more elaborate secrets to share.
  • Kenan & Kel: Kenan freaks out at the sight of a rat in his workplace. Kel, on the other hand, likes the "cute furry little mouse" Wendell.
  • The warden in one episode of The Mentalist is afraid of mice/rats. What does Jane do? He uses a muffin and some other tools to catch a mouse/rat, and as part of his plan to break out of jail, essentially scares the crap out of the warden so he won't stop him.
  • Gary from Miranda is scared of mice, and jumps onto a chair when told there's one in Miranda's flat.
  • Modern Family: Mice for Mitchell.
  • Tony on NCIS has admitted that he quite liked rats, before his bout with the plague. Since rats usually carry the plague...you get the idea.

Bats (chiroptophobia)
  • Mr Smoketoomuch in Monty Python's Flying Circus gained his odd speech impediment (pronouncing the letter "C" as "B") after being attacked by a Siamese bat. No, not a cat — a Siamese bat (they're more dangerous).

Cats (ailurophobia)
  • Laura Roslin from Battlestar Galactica (who has one or two issues with snakes, as well).
  • Rei Tachibana/Dyna Pink from Kagaku Sentai Dynaman. The mere sight of cat just freaks her out and she's rendered mostly incapable of fighting a cat monster, and it gets worse when said cat monster just transform the Mooks into cat statues. Ironically, she wants to develop a tool to communicate with animals... but can't even touch a cat without freaking out.
  • Ed in Flashpoint, at least according to Greg. Ed claims it was just once with a "scary cat," a point which Spike (hilariously) backs up.

Dogs (cynophobia)

Rabbits (leporiphobia)
  • Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She dressed up as a bunny for Halloween ("Bunnies frighten me."), sang about bunnies in "Once More, with Feeling!", then was standing on a table when misspoken incantations had filled the Magic Box floor with rabbits of all shapes and sizes, calling it a "cotton-top hell". Somewhat justified, in that a highly traumatic incident involving an unfaithful husband, angry villagers, and rabbits was the catalyst for her becoming a demon in the first place.
  • Bishop Brennan in Father Ted — apparently he was once stuck in a lift in New York with about a hundred rabbits, and "they began nibbling at my cloak and everything". Obviously he is destined to wake up in a room full of rabbits in "The Plague" episode of season 2.
  • Julius is terrified of rabbits on Everybody Hates Chris because he saw a horror movie about them when he and Rochelle were dating. When he takes Drew to a magic show, he passes out when the magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat. Clearly, he saw Night of the Lepus.

Birds

Other Animals
  • Horses: Parker, in Leverage. As a young child, she saw a horse kill a clown. (It was actually a guy in a horse costume.)
  • Grant Imahara of MythBusters is afraid of sharks. Naturally, he got to be the one in the water for the Shark Week episode.
  • Billy of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was terrified of fish. For one episode, anyway. Apparently one bit him on the finger when he was a kid. This phobia turns up just in time for a fish-themed monster to appear so he can overcome it and rescue his friends.
    • It wasn't a coincidence. Rita created the monster on purpose when she found out about it, and used a curse that amplified his phobia. By standing up to it, he not only broke the curse, but overcame the fear permanently.
  • Tokumei Sentai Go Busters: Hiromu (a.k.a. Red Buster) is surprisingly afraid of chickens, to the point where even seeing a picture of one causes him to freeze up. This is due to a traumatic event in his childhood where he was accidentally locked inside a chicken coop.
  • Comedian Russell Howard is afraid of guinea pigs, shown by his reaction to a guinea pig appearing on Russell Howard's Good News when he unsubtly hid behind the guest animal psychic.
  • In Call the Midwife, Trixie is terrified of fish- which causes trouble when she's delivering the baby of a fisherman's wife. Her patient says she has the same problem with chickens.

Flying (aviophobia) or Heights (acrophobia)

  • BA Baracus in The A-Team. He typically has to be rendered unconscious before flying him anywhere. According to The Movie, he used to be a paratrooper and developed his fear from "H.M." Murdock's piloting.
  • In Auction Kings, Paul hates flying, Cindy hates heights in general. Paul had to ride with on a test flight of a plane he was to sell. Cindy got brought along to ride in a hot-air balloon. They both ended up enjoying the experiences in the end.
  • MythBusters:
    • In the "Hammer Drop", we find out that Jamie Hyneman apparently has a mild case of acrophobia. This comes up again in the "Outtakes Special". In some unaired footage from "Plywood Builder", Jamie is trying to reassure Christine about her impending (until she decided not to) zipline ride, and says "You know I'm afraid of heights". And he jumps off a building in "Dumpster Dive" ... but you could tell he wasn't happy about it. He was even less happy about crossing a 100-foot duct tape bridge 50 feet above the ground. Though, considering how unstable the thing was...
    • Colleague Tory Belleci is also acrophobic, so he had to go up in a stunt plane for the "Cold Feet" myth.
  • Lori from Big Wolf on Campus.
  • Supernatural's Dean Winchester is terrified of flying. Why do you think he drives everywhere?
  • MacGyver, at least in the early seasons. He seems to get over his problem with heights as the show progressed.
  • Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap, who, due to the amnesia caused by leaping, didn't remember his fear of heights until he leaped into a trapeze artist in the middle of a practice.
  • Both versions of Neverwhere have Richard Mayhew say he dislikes heights rather early on. The series has it in the introduction of the very first episode, where Richard talks about himself including his dislike of rats, blood, and heights. He encounters all three.
  • Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1 mentions in a throwaway line in one episode that he has a problem with heights. This came up right before he and Sam had to crawl across a tiny strip of floor over an apparently bottomless pit. He did fine with it, and eventually threw himself off their "bridge" to save their companion, 'cause he's Daniel.
  • Presenter James May on Top Gear gets height vertigo (a spinning sensation when he looks down from a height). He took flying lessons and acquired a private pilot's license to help himself learn to cope with it. He's still not quite over it though, as evidenced by the Bolivia special.
  • Alice from Alice is very afraid of heights. Most likely to balance the fact that she is an Action Girl.
  • Clark Kent in the early seasons of Smallville. Insert clever one-liner about "Irony" here.
  • On Cheers, Carla is afraid to fly, which prevents her from seeing her husband, hockey player Eddie LeBec, on the road. She takes an aviaphobia group therapy class conducted by Frasier on a plane to get over it. Carla overcomes her fear but Frasier suddenly becomes freaked out about being on a plane.
  • The first episode of The Bob Newhart Show has Bob heading a workshop for people trying to overcome their fear of flying. When the group is ready to "graduate", he plans a group flight from Chicago to New York, and enlists his wife Emily to join them...only to discover that she's afraid of flying herself.
  • A Sanford and Son episode has Fred inheriting money from an uncle, with the hitch being that he has to fly home to St. Louis (which he's afraid to do) to collect.
  • Jack Carter of Eureka has acrophobia, although not to a disabling point, it does make him visibly uncomfortable in a few episodes.
  • Dave Barsky of Dirty Jobs, as shown in the "Aerial Tram Greaser" episode.
  • At least one team a season on The Amazing Race. If a fear is expressed at any point during the seasons (generally heights), expect the racers to have to face it at some point.
  • Gary on Are You Afraid of the Dark?
  • Reid's mom (played by Jane Lynch) in Criminal Minds mentions being afraid of planes.
  • Horatio Hornblower: Horatio is prone to sea-sickness and is really afraid of heights. Excellent material for an officer in the Navy, wouldn't you say? His fear of heights is referenced quite often, and he has to climb in the riggings or on the fighting top and deal with shortening sails quite a lot. In "Retribution", he volunteers himself to descend from a cliff on a rope and his pal Archie mischievously reminds him of his anxiety.
    Archie Kennedy: [saucily] I remember when you used to be scared of heights, Mr Hornblower.
    Horatio Hornblower: [measures the height he must descend from] Nothing's changed, Mr Kennedy.

Water (aquaphobia/hydrophobia)
  • Merton's sister Becky from Big Wolf on Campus.
  • Malcom Reed from Star Trek: Enterprise has a fear of drowning that prevented him from carrying on his family's naval tradition. Oddly enough, this fear doesn't extend to the vacuum of space. Maybe he realized that Space is NOT an ocean.
  • George Ikaruga from Ultraman Mebius isn't afraid of water per se (he's a good swimmer, in fact). He's specifically afraid of the Ocean. Perhaps justified in his case, as when he was younger, something horrible would happen to him every time he went there. He eventually decided the Ocean just had it in for him.

Fire (pyrophobia)
  • Zoe Graystone in Caprica, due to almost dying in a housefire as a child.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor, at least in his third incarnation.
  • Shalimar Fox in Mutant X.
  • During the flamethrower episode of Sons Of Guns, it's revealed that Will has been deathly afraid of fire since he was three, when the house he was sleeping in burned to the ground.
  • Fox Mulder of The X-Files, discussed in the episode "Fire". However, it was an issue for the episode and it never occurred again.

Other Things in Nature
  • When MythBusters looked at ways flu/cold virii could be spread, Kari Byron confessed to being something of a germophobe. She was the only one not to get "tagged" with Adam's fluorescent fake snot thanks to her previously developed skills at staying away from the ickies.
  • Simon Tam of Firefly is a cosmophobe (afraid of space), as first shown in the episode "Bushwacked."
  • A.J. from The River has speluncaphobia, the fear of caves, thanks to having been in a mining accident.

Clowns (coulrophobia)
  • Modern Family: kind of a subversion. Phil thinks his fear of clowns is irrational by nature and has nothing to do with that time he found a dead clown in a field when he was a kid.
  • Alan Shore in Boston Legal, as we learn when he has a case involving a professional clown who shows up to court in full costume. Alan avoids looking directly at the man for fear of publicly wetting himself.
  • Supernatural's Sam Winchester remains freaked out by clowns even after years of fighting supernatural creatures and a visit to Hell. According to his brother, he gets scared when seeing Ronald McDonald on TV.
    Dean: I know what you're thinking, Sam. "Why did it have to be clowns?"
  • Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayerhe deals with it by punching the knife-wielding nightmare clown chasing him and tells off the clown for making bad balloon animals.
  • Kramer in Seinfeld. Incidentally, his real life inspiration Kenny Kramer is a big fan of clowns.
  • Booth from Bones. He once shot a plastic clown on the top of an ice cream truck, and a murderer posing as a clown (after the murderer found out he didn't like them).
  • Sarah Jane Smith of Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures. (Mention of Johnny Depp!)
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The God Complex", people get trapped in a hotel where they meet their worst fears. However, a malfunction in the alien technology keeps the fears of previous occupants around - One of these is a clown, sitting sadly on a bed.
    • It's not clear if Ace has a true phobia about clowns, but she does think they're creepy.
  • John Sheppard of Stargate Atlantis.
  • Overton in the '90s sitcom Living Single.
  • Zak Bagans from Ghost Adventures isn't fond of clowns. He briefly goes to a place that's right out of a coulrophobic's worst nightmare during the revisit to Goldfield, Nevada: a clown motel. Even the clerk at said motel doesn't like clowns.
  • In Haven, Audrey Parker and her counterpart, Audrey II, are terrified of a Monster Clown that nearly scared them to death when they were 6.
  • Kristen of Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
  • In the Halloween episode of The Worst Year of My Life, Again, we learn that the school bully Parker is afraid of clowns.

Women (gynophobia)
  • Raj from The Big Bang Theory, while not afraid of women per se, has a comedic inability to speak to women while sober.
  • Dougal in Father Ted. Father Jack is also terrified of Nuns.

Blood (hemophobia)
  • Space: Above and Beyond: In an episode where the enemy is using a fear-enhancing weapon, Damphousse is revealed to have a fear of blood. Perhaps a bit ironic for a Marine.
  • Doc Martin in the show of the same name.
  • Niles Crane faints when he even sees a tiny cut on a finger.

Ghosts (phasmophobia)
  • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: Takeru, despite being able to slaughter dozens of Gedoushu, still faints at the sight of an amusement park haunted house!

Darkness (nyctophobia)
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark? Well, are you? Frank is.
  • Criminal Minds: Spencer Reid claims to be afraid of the dark "because of the inherent absence of light."
  • Doctor Who: But it's not the dark, it's Vashta Nerada. These are microscopic creatures that tend to disguise themselves as shadows. Once you get too near them, you'll be killed instantly. The Doctor tells that these creatures are the reason so many races fear the dark.
  • Winston on New Girl. Jess has also claimed to be afraid of the dark after getting pushed into a closet by Prince.
  • Bosco on Third Watch.

Various phobias
  • Beards (pogonophobia) — Frank, from The Adventures of Lano and Woodley . Everyone he runs into throughout the episode in question has a beard. It's cured at the end, though.
  • Noise — Leonard Hatred in Look Around You, invented "Psilence", a type of liquid skin that blocks the ears, as a response to being subjected to loud noises all his life. (Unfortunately the mental instability caused by his condition ultimately led him to attack Sir Prince Charles at an award ceremony.)
  • Tommy from Big Wolf on Campus is afraid of ending up alone due to people finding out about his lycanthropy. And Merton is scared of monster movies (which is kind of weird, because he's a Goth).
  • Balloons (globophobia) — Lacey and Davis in an episode of Corner Gas. Also, by the end of that episode we find out that Brent seems to have a fear of globes.
    • Wanda's implied agoraphobia (fear of open space). It's especially ironic as she lives in Saskatchewan, which has nothing but open space.
  • As revealed on Attack of the Show!, co-host Olivia Munn is also afraid of balloons. Needless to say, fellow co-host Kevin Pereira takes so much delight in tormenting her whenever the subject comes up.
  • Embarrassment: Richard Hammond. "I have several recurring nightmares. One in which I am presenting a radio show and can't work the desk, another in which I find myself on stage with a truly catastrophic band. I am only waiting now for Top Gear to make me run naked through a shopping centre on a Saturday and I will have completed the set."
  • On Home Improvement Tim's neighbor Wilson reveals his biggest fear is that all of reality is actually a dream, and when the dreamer wakes up, he'll cease to exist.
  • Alfredo Aldarisio from Pushing Daisies was terrified of the possibility that the Earth's atmosphere would one day be sucked away into space, leaving them all to suffocate.
    • Olive mentions the same fear, leading him to believe that he had found someone he could relate to. Sadly, she was being metaphorical.
  • A M*A*S*H episode has Hawkeye and Margaret simultaneously confronted by (and trying to help each other get through) their greatest respective fears, claustrophobia and loud noises.
  • In the original Mission: Impossible, Cinnamon was claustrophobic. There's a delicious arc in which the bad guys trick her into trying to escape through a narrow pipe, then lock her in the middle.
  • Monk is afraid of many things; amongst the weirdest of these is milk.
    • Sharona has a phobia of elephants.
  • Ben Wyatt of Parks and Recreation appears to have policophobia:
    Ben: I'm not afraid of cops. I have no reason to be, I never break any laws ever... because I'm deathly afraid of cops.
  • Brick in The Middle is afraid of bridges.
  • JAG: In "Shadow", Meg is claustrophobic. It has never been a serious problem for her before, but being aboard a submarine causes her to go into a barely concealed breakdown.
  • Alan Statham from Green Wing is scared of goblins. When Joanna decides to scare him (because his cheerfulness was annoying her) she asks her dwarf cousin to hide under his desk, with green make-up over his face and jump out at him shouting "boo!" Statham then beats him to death with a heron.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Kimberly the Pink Ranger is terrified of roller coasters (which arachnophobic Zack can't get enough of).
  • A scene on The Sketch Show has the five stars in a support group for phobias - Lee has a fear of people screaming, Jim has a fear of apologies, Karen has a fear of repetition, Ronnie has a fear of awkward silences and Tim barks at people's phobias. This combination repeatedly sets off chains of screaming.
  • On Crossbones, Selima is severely agoraphobic, to the point where she violently refuses to leave Blackbeard's house.
  • On Sirens US, Brian is afraid of midget hands.

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