Follow TV Tropes


Faking The Dead / Western Animation

Go To

People faking their deaths in western animation.

  • In the Adventure Time episode "What Have You Done", in order to make Ice King cry because his cries are the cure for a disease he accidentally caused Princess Bubblegum's people to have, Finn pretends that he's dying after Ice King accidentally hits him. It works, but Ice King soon demands to dispose his carcass. Finn takes offense at that and Jake says that he would mourn dramatically for ages if he had found his dead body and the episode ends with Finn pretending to be dead and Jake pretending to mourn him.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • At the end of the first season, Zuko survives an assassination attempt in which his ship is completely destroyed, but he and Iroh pretend that he did die so that he can stow away on one of the ships to the North Pole and catch the Avatar there.
    • The second season ends with Katara pulling Aang back from the ragged edge of death after the latter was struck down by Azula. Come the third season premiere (three weeks of unconsciousness later)...
      Sokka: Yep, the whole world thinks you're dead! (stands up and raises his arms triumphantly) Isn't that great?!
  • In the climax of Batman: The Animated Series two-parter "Feat of Clay", Clayface suffers a Shapeshifter Swan Song and smashes into a set of controls, seemingly electrocuted. At the end though, Batman tests a small sample of Clayface he kept and proves electricity has no effect on it. Clayface had left a hollow shell behind as a decoy and escaped into Gotham under a new identity with his shapeshifting power.
  • Advertisement:
  • Rhinox/Tankor does this for a while in Beast Machines in order to be able to further his own agenda. Too bad for him that Megatron figured it out... Probably because he pulled a similar scheme in Beast Wars. When the Maximals install a camera in the Predacon base to spy on them, Megatron uses it to stage a fake uprising that seemingly blows the Predacons up (complete with a small explosion and a set of fake Trantulas legs). In reality, they'd been hiding in a nearby crevice, waiting for the Maximals to salvae parts from the Predacon ship, so they can hijack the Maximal ship and use it to scoop up the Protoforms in orbit.
  • In the Biker Mice from Mars episode "My Cheese is Quick", the main villain Lawrence Limburger fakes his death to avoid paying his taxes and to get Charley Davidson in jail for his murder.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode "The Ghost of Porkaloin Past" had Hoggish Greedly's grandfather Don Porkaloin fake his death as part of a plan to try and persuade his grandson to abandon his eco-unfriendly lifestyle.
  • The Defenders of the Earth do this in "The Mind Warriors II". Ming, having found a way to turn the virtual creatures the Defenders face in their Battle Simulation Room into reality, has Kshin (who is under Ming's control) create beings capable of wiping out the Defenders. Realising these "Mind Warriors" will not leave Monitor unless they think they have succeeded in their mission, the Defenders use a combination of holograms and Mandrake's "disappearing act" to fake their own deaths.
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "The Bride Wore Stripes", Ma Beagle comes up with a scheme to get half of Scrooge McDuck's fortune by lying about being his wife and forging evidence that they actually were married. Scrooge has no choice but to play along with the sham because Ma Beagle would be entitled to half his fortune if he divorced her, but eventually manages to get Ma Beagle to confess that she lied about being married to him by pretending to drown in his Money Bin, knowing that otherwise Ma Beagle would be accused of killing him so she could have the fortune all to herself.
    • Scrooge also fakes his own death in DuckTales (2017) episode "The 87 Cent Solution!", complete with a staged funeral he attends in disguise, in order for Flintheart Glomgold to admit he deliberately attempted Gaslighting and passing it on as "Gold Fever" with use of the Time Teaser, in order for Scrooge's stocks to falter, making him the richest duck in the world.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "I Take Thee, Quagmire", Quagmire marries a woman he barely knows, realizes he made a terrible mistake, and tries to break it off. When she reveals herself to be unstable, the guys help him fake his death so as not to end up with a Fatal Attraction case on their hands. When Death comes to collect him, he "comes back to life", but Death insists on collecting Quagmire. When she jumps in front of Glen, she touches Death and drops dead.
      Peter: Technically, her name was Quagmire.
      Death: Works for me!
    • "Thanksgiving" shows that Joe's son faked his death in order to go AWOL.
    • A Cutaway Gag shows Peter faking his death up to the point where he's in a coffin and being buried while his family and friends mourn him. Inside the coffin that's being covered with dirt, Peter says to himself, "Hehehe. No dentist appointment for this guy."
    • In "Connie's Celica," Connie D'Amico – the self-described "most popular girl in class" at Adam West High School – fakes her own death in a car accident to get revenge on Lois for having her expelled from school (for violating a "three strikes" policy for misbehavior). The revelation that Connie staged her own death is not revealed until the final scene, however; beforehand, Lois was arrested and jailed in connection with the alleged death when an investigation revealed the brake lines to Connie's car were cut.
  • Mr. Herriman does this in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends during Halloween, in a group prank to get back at Bloo for pranking them all the last Halloween.
  • In the Futurama episode "Lethal Inspection", Mom finds out that Bender has a manufacturing defect and sends Killbots after him. Hermes is able to call off the attack by changing Bender's information in a factory terminal so that he's listed as dead.
  • Gargoyles has Sevarius faking his own death as part of Xanatos' plan to turn Talon into an Unwitting Pawn.
  • Gravity Falls has a version of this: Grunkle Stan's real name isn't Stanford, but Stanley and was in fact impersonating his brother. Dipper and Mabel find a news article saying that Stan Pines was dead, but Stanley later admitted to faking his own death while taking up his brother's identity and trying to rescue him from another dimension. After the finale, Grunkle Stan drops the whole charade and goes by Stanley again.
  • In the Grojband episode "Hologroj", Corey spreads a rumor that his band has died so they can perform a sudden comeback performance and soak up the publicity. It ends up backfiring in the end though, as everyone still thinks Grojband is dead and that the real deal is just a cover band.
  • Heckle and Jeckle go after the title game "The Lion Hunt." Using an exploding popcorn machine, Jeckle fakes being dead while Heckle psyches the lion out accusing him of killing Jeckle.
    • Both Heckle and Jeckle do this to Chesty and Dimwit in a deserted house in "The Hitch-hikers."
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "Dino Checks Out", singer Dino Spumoni was presumed dead on the news. But it turns out that he only faked his death in order to have his record sales skyrocketed.
  • In the second season opener of the 90s Iron Man cartoon, Tony Stark fakes his death by allowing the Mandarin's flunkies to blow up his private jet.
  • Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures: Dr. Zin faked his death to see if his daughters were ready to take over his criminal empire. They failed.
  • In Johnny Test, Johnny and Dukey get overworked as their alter egos, Johnny X and Super Pooch. Ultimately, the only way to get out of the mess is to convince the town they're dead. They try once on their own, only to fail, so they get Susan and Mary to help them, disguising themselves as alien supervillains and making it look like they've vaporized the two. Susan and Mary actually seem to enjoy this...
  • Justice League:
    • In the Pilot Movie, J'onn J'onnz telepathically prevents everyone from noticing Batman, leading to the villains (and heroes) not realizing he was there until it was time for him to attack. Being Batman, this was a plot he was used to; see the episode in his own series where everyone thinks a minor crook offed him.
    • In "A Better World", after the Justice Lords capture the Justice League, Flash speeds up his heartbeat so that it appears flatlined to the sensors, causing Lord Batman to frantically rush to his cell and unshackle him, enabling him to escape and free his comrades.
    • Unlimited did this as well with Green Arrow taking a nerve relaxant so that he appeared to have been killed in the illegal Metabrawl at Wildcat's hands, to show the aging fighter what he could unintentionally do if he continued fighting in it.
  • On King of the Hill, Peggy gets involved in a pyramid scheme while Dale is confronted by the man whose identity he (somewhat accidentally) stole years ago. While hiding in the same hedge they decide to fake a murder/suicide to get out of their respective predicaments. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Bugs Bunny does this on a regular basis. Usually this causes his pursuer to feel remorse and go into a crying fit, only to have Bugs "come to life" and give him a kiss on the nose or something equally impudent.
    • The most unique form of faking death was in "What's Opera, Doc?", with Elmer Fudd using a Magic Helmet to strike the rabbit with massive lightning. Elmer Fudd felt remorse for killing the rabbit, but Bugs showed he was alive by Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Well, what did you expect in an opera — a HAPPY ending?".
    • Pepé Le Pew did this in one of his skits. Penelope the Cat that he regularly chases decides to lock herself in a reinforced glass safe that he can't get into, and being his usual self he acts as if she is playing hard to get and demands she come out, and since it was shown from Penelope's side of the safe, we can assume Pepe was swearing. When Penelope refuses, Pepe asks why, and her response is that Pepe stinks. Shocked and ashamed, Pepe pulls out a gun and waves goodbye to Penelope as he walks behind the safe and a gunshot is heard. Penelope, in despair, rushes out of the safe to see if he really went through with it, and to her surprise Pepe is waiting for her, "I missed... Fortunately for you."
  • Daffy does this in The Looney Tunes Show when he becomes too popular as member of the city council and discover the "Prop 14," which is to make Daffy's seat on city council permanent because of his overwhelming popularity. Unwilling to be in city council forever, Daffy decides to fake his own death by driving his parade float off a bridge and into a river.
  • One episode of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has Captain Knuckles pretending to be dead so that Flapjack, who has been annoying him throughout the episode with his overprotectiveness, would leave him alone.
  • It was revealed in the season 3 premiere of Metalocalypse that Charles Ofdensen did this. It's not until the penultimate episode of season 4 that we find out why: when Mr. Selacia brainwashed Crozier, Ofdensen witnessed it and it caused his soul to separate from his body, making him 'The Dead Man' in the prophecies regarding Dethklok, and invisible to Selacia. He spent the time investigating the prophecy and spying on the Tribunal until Dethklok needed him again.
  • The Mickey MouseWorks episode "Mickey's April Fools" had one of Mickey's pranks involve tricking his rival Mortimer into thinking he killed him by running him over. This backfires on Mickey later when he tries to collect his inheritance and he has to convince the executor (really Mortimer in disguise attempting to get back at him for his prank) that he isn't dead.
  • Philomena, the Phoenix pet of Princess Celestia, does this in an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Unlike most examples, Philomena is just doing it to be a jerk to Fluttershy.
  • Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks: "Ghost With The Most" had Jinks clobbering Dixie with a fireplace shovel during a chase. Dixie fakes his death and dons a bedsheet for a ghost disguise which he uses to scare Jinks into subservience to Pixie. When Jinks catches on to Dixie's charade, he leaves a suicide note (faking his own death) and does the same ghost set-up to haunt Pixie and Dixie.
  • An old Fleischer Popeye cartoon had Popeye thinking that Olive was taking him for granted, so he feigns a severe illness and is taken to the hospital. He fakes his death, but only to see if Olive really cared. When he stages his "resurrection," Olive proceeds to beat the hell out of him.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "A Clue for Scooby-Doo" offers us the Ghost of Captain Cutler, whose identity is revealed to be Captain Cutler himself, who's alive but masquerading as his own ghost.
    • In The Scooby-Doo Show, Voltner would fake his demise and pretend to be his own ghost as the 10,000 Volt Ghost in the episode "Watt a Shocking Ghost".
    • In the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "Riva Ras Regas", the gang visit a Vegas venue that's haunted by the ghost of a magician named Rufus Raucous who was supposedly killed when one of his stunts went horribly wrong. It turns out he staged the entire thing so he could return to a normal life, while his ghost is really his former assistant in disguise.
    • In the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Dance of the Undead", the zombies of Rude Boy and the Skatastics, a ska band reportedly lost in a plane crash, rise up and begin attacking with hypnotic music. They turn out to be the very much alive Rude Boy and the Skatastics themselves, having faked their death by plane crash.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Mother Simpson", Homer has a dummy of himself made and tosses it off a cliff into a river where it falls over a waterfall, has its limbs crushed by rocks, is attacked by beavers, and ultimately is sucked into a turbine while his coworkers watch in horror... in order to get out of an afternoon of community service. "Best 600 bucks I ever spent!"
      • What makes the scene hilarious is the Comedic Sociopathy of it all: rather than thinking to help Homer, all his co-workers think that all they have to do is say "Oh no! He's hit the rocks!" "Don't worry, those beavers will save him." "Oh no! The beavers are taking his clothes!" No one thinks to, you know, move and help him.
      • Bart tried something like this in "Milhouse of Sand and Fog", as well, but the Blind Without 'Em Milhouse unintentionally shoves the real Bart off of the cliff instead of the dummy. He, of course, didn't suffer the fate of the Homer dummy.
    • "Bart the Fink" has Krusty the Clown faking his death to collect on an insurance policy after the IRS strips him of his assets.
      • In fact, he faked his death twice in that episode. First to escape his IRS debts and start a new life as "Rory B Bellows" and second to escape his new life, commenting as he does so that "The life of Rory B Bellows is insured for a surprisingly large amount".
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Norman Osborn (AKA Green Goblin) pulls this off in the final(?) step of his 2 season long Evil Plan.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Deception", Obi-Wan fakes his own death so he can go undercover as his supposed killer to investigate a plot against the Chancellor.
  • Star Wars Resistance: In "The Children from Tehar", Kaz helps the titular kids escape the First Order this way. They make it look like the kids pulled a Better to Die than Be Killed and jumped into the ocean, with two engineering staff from a species with the ability to slow down their vital signs jumping into the water instead, and then going into dormancy so that when the stormtroopers scan their life signs, it looks like the two people in the water are drowning.
  • Steven Universe: It's revealed in "A Single Pale Rose" that Pink Diamond faked her own shattering and permanently assumed the identity of Rose Quartz... by having Pearl shapeshift into Rose Quartz and pretend to murder her.
  • Stroker and his son do this in an episode of Stroker and Hoop to throw ninjas off their trail.
  • Super Friends episode "Dr. Pelagian's War". Dr. Ansel Hillbrand fakes his death in a deep sea diving accident to allow him to prepare for his Eco-Terrorist activities as Dr. Pelagian.
  • In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Late Mr. Kent", Superman is stuck with the dilemma of everyone believing his alter-ego to be dead after Clark Kent's car is planted with a bomb when he uncovers a near Miscarriage of Justice. He only manages to come up with an explanation for Clark surviving after realizing the one eyewitness is actually incredibly near-sighted and wasn't wearing his glasses.
  • When the Teen Titans are first attacked by the HIVE (Jinx, Mammoth and Gizmo), Robin falls to ominous doom, and the others only find his utility belt. He resurfaces after his teammates get kicked out of their own home.
    • And at the end of season two, Terra seemingly killed the Titans, only for them all to somehow survive and later attack her when her guard is down. Needless to say, Slade was not pleased with her.
  • Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats: When it seemed Mrs. Vandergelt's butler would finally get her fortune, it was revealed she had faked her death.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: Matt does this some time before season 4, leading both the audience and his sister to briefly believe he is actually dead.
  • In season 2 of Young Justice, Artemis does this in order to infiltrate The Light with Kaldur.
    • Both Artemis and Kaldur do it in the second season's penultimate episode. When their cover is blown, they're both immediately shot dead by Deathstroke- who was really just M'gann in disguise, armed with a fake gun, and the death were used as a catalyst to break down the uneasy partnership between The Light and The Reach.
    • Professor Ivo was apparently presumed dead prior to the episode "Schooled".


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: