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Absurd Phobia

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Varla: You afraid of milk? How old are you, man? I got a two-year-old nephew who's not afraid of milk!
Monk: You must be very proud of him.
Varla: For what? Not bein' afraid of milk? That just means he's normal!

Everyone is afraid of something. While phobias are defined as irrational fears, most of the time they still make perfect sense. Fears of things that can hurt you like spiders, heights, needles, and snakes are perfectly understandable.

A crippling fear of grass, on the other hand, not so much.

Sometimes, in a work, a character has a phobia of something that is so ridiculous that people have a hard time comprehending it. Often comes in one of these flavors:

A Comedy Trope, this kind of phobia is usually Played for Laughs. In the rare instance that this phobia is Played for Drama or characters sympathize with the phobiac because of it, such as if the said phobia is a result of childhood trauma, then it is considered a subversion. Justified if a logical reason is given for said fear.

Remember, however, that Reality Is Unrealistic. While an absurd phobia is played for humor in fiction, people in real life can have phobias and trauma triggers that seem ridiculous to others but have very logical origins — for instance, a person who has repressed memories of being abused by a man in a red cap could develop a phobia of red hats without knowing where it comes from. Ignoring or deliberately poking at the phobia because "it's silly" is cruelty, and helping someone get over a phobia requires psychiatric training and should not be attempted by nonprofessionals.

Compare Faux Horrific, Nightmare Retardant, and Weaksauce Weakness. An Ironic Fear can be considered one of these. If one of these phobias is a recurring plot point, then it is Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?; if it's a one-off gag, it's One-Episode Fear. In contemporary settings, when irrational fear causes magical creatures to hide from Muggles, it is a Masquerade Paradox. To the phobia sufferer, of course, it is always Serious Business. This can add some levity to a "What Do They Fear?" Episode. See also Elephants Are Scared of Mice, where a huge and powerful animal is irrationally afraid of a small and harmless one.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: Eira Kaho is a Kick Chick whose main phobia is anything she can't beat up with kicks. This comes in two distinct flavors, either anything very small or immaterial such as insects, germs, or ghosts, or things such as babies and animals that she regards as so fragile a mere touch is enough to break them, nevermind a kick. To heighten the absurdity, Eira has absolutely zero fear towards anything she can defeat with a kick, such as an oncoming car.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Shadow Mei, who had recently been in stasis since the late 19th century, believes in the "cameras steal your soul" superstition so strongly she's deathly afraid of having her picture taken.
  • Battle Angel Alita: Alita is a fearless warrior, but it turns out that she has a phobia of owl-eye moths because the "eyes" on the wings unsettle her. (Author Yukito Ishiro shared this phobia.) She accidentally reveals herself to a roaming warband the only time this phobia affects the plot by emptying her Hand Cannon trying to kill one of these moths.
  • The Devils in Chainsaw Man are physical manifestations of different fears humans have, which include some really specific fears such as tomatoes, chickens or even marshmallows. This works against them as each Devil's power are equal to how broadly humans fear the concept, meaning that Devils who represent absurd phobias tend to be really weak.
    Makima: Coffee has no scary mental image whatsoever. If there was a Coffee Devil, it would probably be weak.
  • Durarara!!:
    • Celty has several odd fears, in fact there’s a whole chapter of Shinra explaining that no, the world will not end in 2012, the photon belt is not sentient and will not kill everyone, tesseracts from the fourth dimension will not destroy the earth and aliens did not kill the dinosaurs. Celty herself is a dullahan.
    • Izaya is afraid of dogs and dead fish eyes. Later, in his spin-off, due to being traumatized from nearly being killed by Shizuo, he develops a fear of anything remotely related to Shizuo. The mere sight of a woman wearing a bartender uniform was enough to make him freeze up, and he panicked after hearing about a man capable of lifting a vending machine.
  • Sara of Jewelpet Twinkle☆ has a fear of mushrooms due to the little gills under their caps and will invariably do a Wild Take if she sees one. This is the same girl who thinks snakes are cute, by the way.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
  • Mio Akiyama in K-On! (mostly the anime) has a fear of barnacles, mold, cray fish, other people's blisters, the covers of horror films and pretty much any string of scary words involving blood, injury, or ghosts. In The Movie, she gains a fear of things that turn (including conveyor belt sushi and The London Eye of all things).
  • Tohru of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is afraid of the shopping mall, due to it resembling a castle to her. The white color in particular reminds her of the fortresses of the crusaders who'd try to kill her on a regular basis.
  • My Balls. Elyse has a literal fear of penises, picturing a horrifying monster whenever she looks at one.
  • One Piece: Sugar, a member of Donquixote Pirates, developed a phobia to long noses or anything that resembles them, due to the long-nosed Usopp accidentally scaring her with a Nightmare Face (after being unknowingly fed with a spicy pepper) that made her faint.
  • Ranma of Ranma ½ has a crippling phobia of cats. It's often played for laughs for being a Weaksauce Weakness. But then it's revealed that this was the result of learning a particularly brutal martial art that activates his Berserk Mode whenever said fear reaches its limit. And, of course, the brutal martial art training, which entails being repeatedly thrown to the mercy of hungry cats by his asshole father as a child whilst wrapped in fish-meat, kind of makes it very understandable why he is afraid of cats.
  • Soul Eater. Death The Kid has Asymmetriphobia (a fear or strong disgust towards asymmetrical things) due to being extremely obsessive-compulsive. Because of this, anything slightly out of place will cause him to freak out. And don't remind him that he only has stripes on one side of his hair. In the manga, they reveal this fear is due to being a lord of order, and as asymmetrical objects are disorderly, naturally he detests them.
  • When Momoko of Sumomo Mo Momo Mo was six years old, her father tried to increase her protein by putting her on a diet of hardboiled eggs. Momoko has since developed a trauma-induced phobia of them, to the point she won't even use eggs in the food she cooks. She can handle it if they're normal hardboiled eggs, but the trauma kicks in to full gear if faces are drawn on them since her well-meaning father did that to all of the eggs to try and make it more enjoyable for her.
  • Alice Asmodeus from Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun is afraid of fish. He can't even approach one without wearing a full hazmat suit.
  • The title character of Yotsuba&! has an intense fear of targets and eyeballs, or anything that resembles either. This first comes up when she gets scared of a scarecrow with a target design on it, with her wanting to avoid being seen by "him" while walking with Miura.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: In Bruce Wayne: Not Super, Dick Grayson picks "Robin" as his alias because he is convinced that robins are scary after one of them pecked him.
  • Deadpool: Deadpool is afraid of cows. As he puts it:
    You ever had one of 'em stare you down? It's chilling! And that's all they do! Stare at you. Waiting.
    • Conversely, him admitting this got Domino to open up and confess she's afraid of chickens... Which would factor in his Zany Scheme to get the X-Men in the clear when Norman Osborn was trying to make them out as murderers during Dark Reign. And it worked.
    • Deadpool has also expressed an extreme fear of clowns, considering them a greater threat than Galactus.
  • Doom Patrol: Flex Mentallo mentions during Gerard Way's run that he is afraid of bicycles.
  • Monica's Gang: Cascão has an extreme hatred of water to the point of it becoming his one weakness. He basically sees it like a normal person would view acid, even though you need water to survive.
  • Mickey Mouse: There is a comic that shows Minnie being afraid of mice. This makes more sense than it sounds as most people would scream too, if they found a primitive hominid like say an Australopithecus waiting for them in their living room.
  • New Avengers (2015): Terry the Henchman has a crippling fear of squirrels. Of course, in the Marvel Universe, such a fear is entirely justified, because squirrels can only mean Squirrel Girl. Though Terry's fear is mainly their fluffy tails. His second worst fear is his fear of betrayal.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Super-Villainess Titania had a crippling fear of Spider-Man, despite the fact that she is far stronger than him and routinely takes on stronger heroes (She-Hulk in particular) with gusto. Her debut story in Secret Wars (1984) has her get defeated in an embarrassing fashion by Spidey, and she fears he'll do it again every time she sees him. She gets over it when she realizes she's been in a battle with a disguised Spidey.
      Titania: S-S-Spider-Man? I can't fight you!
      Spider-Man: Really? You've been doing a pretty good job so far!
      Titania: [beat] You know, you're right! [goes on the attack]
      Spider-Man: Me and my big mouth.
    • Doctor Octopus also had, at one point, a fear of spiders. He needed psychiatric counseling to overcome it.
  • Venom: Minor villain Dementoid develops one towards buttocks and anuses after Venom turns his rear end into a set of jaws and nearly eats him in reverse.

    Comic Strips 
  • Wiley from B.C. is terrified of water. Not bodies of water, the substance; he tries to run away from his own sweat on a hot day.
  • Walter the Softy from Dennis the Menace (UK) had a few of those, among others from things like butterflies as part of his extra-wimpy characterisation from the late '70s to the '90s. He'd run in tears to his mother for shelter whenever he encountered one of these.
  • The Far Side had several cartoons describing implausibly detailed (in a slightly disconnected way) phobias, including:
    • Anatidaephobia: The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you. Although in this case, it might actually be warranted.
    • Luposlipophobia: The fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly waxed floor.
  • Peanuts.
    • Snoopy suffers from Weed Claustrophobia — a fear of standing in tall grass.
    • Lucy once admitted to being afraid of small pieces of fuzz.
    • One strip (later adapted for a scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas) has Lucy trying to assign various phobias to Charlie Brown. Eventually she arrives at pantophobia.
      Charlie Brown: What's pantophobia?
      Lucy: The fear of everything.
      Charlie Brown: [so loud that Lucy face faults] THAT'S IT!!
  • Wade the Duck of U.S. Acres suffers from paranoia and the above-explained pantophobia. Both of which are almost always Played for Laughs.

    Fan Works 
  • Coyote: Played for Drama with original character Riley Coyote and him being Afraid of Blood — or being more specific, him being afraid of hurting other people with his Quirk, a fear so great that he goes into a several-day Heroic BSoD and his subconscious nerfs his Quirk greatly on the meanwhile if he ever so much as thinks this happened. It is treated as absurd by the other members of Class 1 because physical hurt (inflicted or received) in a fight is an accepted risk of being a Hero, and Izuku Midoriya (Riley's best friend) knows that this is a great (read: may get him hurt/killed in a fight) issue, so he asks his classmates to help him wean it out of Riley. The only one who treats it as something worth mocking is Bakugo, and and he really comes to regret doing it within earshot of Izuku.
  • Fire And Ice: Jean Grey admits to Emma Frost that she has an irrational fear of birds. When the amused Emma asks if her teammate Warren (Angel) knows about that, Jean clarifies that it's more a fear of creatures with beaks than feathers, but still forbids Emma from telling him.
  • A Growing Fire In My Heart: All the dragons in the barracks in chapter 14, despite dragons being huge fire-breathing monsters and many being depicted as a Proud Warrior Race Guy, are shown to be absolutely terrified of mice. When they spot a changeling disguised as a pony sized mouse, they all scream like little girls and run around the room, trying to stay away from it with only a few trying to kill it. Then when they lose track of it they all try Playing Possum until they are sure it is gone.
  • Infinity Train: Blossomverse: Any story that has Atticus in it will have him note that he's terrified of ball pits. Albeit this is justified because the last time he was in a ball pit it had him turned into a Ghom.
  • In A little dinner scandal, Camilo really dislikes sheep and hates it when asked to handle them.
    Camilo: I hate sheep[.] I hate how they look at me, I hate how they smell, I hate the feel of fleece on my fingers, I hate the oil that's covering them...
    Mirabel: Lanolin.
    Camilo: Whatever that is, I hate that, too. If it's sheep related.
    Mirabel: That's the grease they produce.
    Camilo: Then I hate it from the bottom of my soul. And I don't know anything about wool or fleece or how to say which ram has the best one and I'd rather not come within ten feet of any ram, if I can, because they are vicious dumb creatures. So there.
  • Peter Parker Needs A Hug: Red Hood, a fearless and occasionally ruthless vigilante, was afraid of Spider-Man for a while (he thought that Spider was a Man-Bat, only with spider DNA instead of bat). Even when Oracle and Red Robin told him this was impossible, Hood held on to his fear until Batman adopted Peter Parker into the family, proving to Jason that Spider-Man is just a metahuman and nothing to be afraid of.
  • The Pokémon Squad: It's not brought up that often, but RM is terrified of bronies.
  • Returning gives us Scorpius Malfoy, a wizard who is afraid of flying.
  • Riding a Sunset: Ultra Magnus is a large, powerful, respected Autobot warrior who serves as Optimus Prime's second-in-command until Prowl comes back. But Chapter 11 shows that he's afraid of spiders. This wouldn't be considered an absurd phobia if he wasn't a giant robot who a spider couldn't possibly hurt.
  • Played for Drama in Running Around in Circles. Yakko spends most of the story terrified of pencils because the guy who attacked and raped him weaponized pencils during the assault. According to the epilogue, Yakko does recover from this eventually as he heals from the emotional trauma.
  • The RWBY Loops shows that Ruby Rose has developed what she calls a healthy respect for rabbits, hares, and all things lagomorph. She attempts to justify it by pointing out the multiverse is filled with literal killer rabbits who can pass for "harmlessly cute" until it's far too late, but while other Remnant loopers are portrayed as being somewhat wary around errant bunnies and bunny-themed individuals Ruby is consistently terrified of them (unless they are people she already knows are decent).
  • Scarlet Lady: "Sandboy" reveals that both Chloé and Rose are afraid of having their possessions come to life and turn against them, which is used to highlight their differences: for Chloé, the idea stems from a fear of the things she owns proving to be uncontrollable, while Rose sincerely loves all her stuffed animals and is afraid her affection might not be returned. As Scarlet Lady, Chloé also mocks Rose's fear despite its similarity to her own.
  • Through Her Eyes: We don't see it at work, but Ren mentions that horses are one of the few things that make him lose his cool. One can only wonder why.
  • Ultra Fast Pony: In "The Nightmoon Mare Zone":
    Narrator: What are you afraid of? Is it death? Perhaps spiders? Why not be afraid of something original for once? You know what, from now on, you're afraid of farts. (fart sound) Did I scare you?
  • A Witch In Broad Daylight: Fluttershy has a crippling fear of ghosts despite being one herself.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • One segment in The ABCs of Death features a child who is literally afraid of the toilet, to the point of having nightmares about it turning into a monster and killing his parents. Justified at the end, when the toilet ends up falling apart and crushing him to death.
  • Jack from Blackjack (1998) has a phobia of the colour white, because of a flash grenade exploding in front of him in the opening shootout nearly blinding him. The main villain took advantage of this by tricking Jack to enter a room filled with white drapes in the final battle and attacking Jack in there.
  • Madeline in The Complex (2012) is afraid of even numbers.
  • Indiana Jones:
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark has Indiana Jones display epic bravery in the opening sequence, outrunning boulders and outsmarting booby traps. As he escapes in his friend's biplane, he freaks out over the presence of the man's pet snake. Fear of snakes isn't that absurd, but when you are as brave as Indy, it's a bit absurd.
    • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade then reveals that when Indy was a kid, he wasn't afraid of snakes until a rather traumatic incident in a circus train when he fell into a pen holding about a thousand snakes.
  • Jumanji: The Next Level: Due to dying because of it in the previous movie, Fridge is absolutely terrified of cake. When an NPC offers it to him in-game, he runs off screaming, and he can't even eat it in the real world.
  • Love at First Sight (2023): Mayonnaise is one of Hadley's greatest fears. Coincidentally, her love interest Oliver doesn't care much for the condiment.
  • Our RoboCop Remake hilariously gives Murph a fear of clowns.
  • Ultraman Ginga S The Movie: Showdown! The 10 Ultra Warriors!: The supporting character, Gouki, is revealed to be deathly afraid of.... tomatoes. Naturally when attempting to infiltrate Etelgar's fortress, his fears then manifests itself into giant, sentient tomatoes that bounces after him.
  • Dan Mott in Without a Paddle divulges to his friends that he's terrified of (among other more mundane things) Saran Wrap.
    Dan: I won't even keep it in the house anymore, because I'm afraid that somehow it'll get draped over my head and stick to my mouth and nose and I'll suffocate. How pathetic is that?
    Tom: Very.

  • To Daisy in Anansi Boys it sure looks like Charlie's apprehension concerning birds is an Absurd Phobia:
    Charlie: You'll think this is a bit silly, but I'm a bit—well, I have a thing about birds.
    Daisy: What, a phobia?
    Charlie: Sort of.
    Daisy: Well, that's the common term for an irrational fear of birds.
    Charlie: What do they call a rational fear of birds, then?
  • Roys Bedoys: “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Roys Bedoys!” reveals that Loys is scared of feathers (or at least one particular feather).
  • In Castle Hangnail, the castle's cook has an irrational hatred of the letter Q as a result of a past trauma. This mainly manifests in a running gag about Molly finding books and bits of books missing whenever she goes to look anything up in the castle library.
  • Cool Air is a short story explaining why the narrator is afraid of the cold. Given that this is a Lovecraft story, this trope is naturally Played for Horror.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • Greg admits in Cabin Fever that he developed a fear of puzzles, ever since he opened a puzzle box filled with crickets. He seems to have gotten over this fear in The Deep End, as he was shown doing puzzles without any problems.
    • An earlier book saw Greg admit to having a fear of Shel Silverstein when he was younger, to the point that his dad was able to stop him from getting out of bed at night by claiming he'd probably run into Shel in the hallway.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: Deborah is apparently afraid of inflatable arm-flailing tube men and the feel of rubber bands.
  • In The Infernal Devices Will Herondale is scared of ducks - "Bloodthirsty little beasts. Never trust a duck." This becomes a running joke as some of his Herondale descendants also have a strong dislike of ducks, implying that this fear of ducks is hereditary.
  • The Nomes from the Land of Oz series are terrified of eggs. They claim they're toxic to them, but it's heavily implied that's not true.
  • In My Godawful Life by Michael Kelly, a parody of Misery Lit, all the characters are afraid of Northumberland (a county in England.) This was the author's Take That! at Judith O'Reilly, a journalist who wrote about her wealthy family's move from London to Northumberland; Kelly considered her to be portraying a perfectly normal place in an unnecessarily harsh and negative light.
  • In The Savannah Reid Mysteries, the tough, manly-man cop Dirk is terrified of chickens. Savannah finds this amusing.
  • the secret lives of Princesses: Princess Hot-Head is only afraid of mini tree mice, which are even cuter than regular mice.
  • Aunt Josephine from A Series of Unfortunate Events suffers from phobias of everything, tripping over the door mat, getting electrocuted by using a telephone, and finally, realtors. In The Film of the Book, her fears of them prove amusingly rational for just one evening, when a hurricane strikes her house and causes all her appliances to malfunction in exactly the way she claimed they would. Apart from the realtors.
  • In the Teenage Worrier books, Letty has a phobia of the word death and instead substitutes the word "banana." Her brother Benjy is terrified of floors, although Letty finds this justified, since the floors in the household are rarely cleaned.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 100 Things to Do Before High School: In "Run with the Bears Thing!", Fenwick reveals that Crispo has a phobia about orange juice pulp.
  • A.N.T. Farm: Olive Doyle claims she has many phobias, including "ghosts, vampires, witches, zombies, leprechauns, giraffes, double decker buses, balloons and... (shudders) curly fries." Cue Fletcher sitting next to her with a tray of curly fries.
  • Better Call Saul has a dramatic variation with Chuck McGill, who's developed a fear of electronics. Believing he has electromagnetic hypersensitivity, he's a shut-in who lives in a dark house devoid of any modern tech, and relies on family to bring groceries and provide for the bills as he's too afraid to venture out into the world. What's more is that at several points, his condition is challenged (EHS isn't considered a diagnosable condition with scientific backing), and others consider that perhaps his symptoms are psychosomatic, but he's too much of a stubborn Control Freak to consider otherwise or believe he needs to seek treatment for it. This gets blown wide open when — during a disbarment hearing — Jimmy secretly plants a battery on an unknowing Chuck's shirt pocket, showing him to suffer zero symptoms for hours until he's informed of it, where only then does he freak out, suggesting that even if his condition isn't real, his fear of it certainly is and likely represents much more pertinent mental problems.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon has a fear of birds. The guys often tease him for it, particularly about the time he was chased up a tree by a chicken. Amy and Penny help him get over his fear when a bird flies into the apartment.
    • Sheldon is also mentioned to be afraid of hamsters, spiders, dogs - in fact, pretty much all animals except cats (he gets 25 of those).
  • Big Train did a sketch where one new office manager had a phobia of spoons and was explaining to his new co-workers about this by passing a piece of paper with the word "spoons" written on it so as not to even mention spoons himself. Sadly, one of the employees is late to the meeting and enters the room stirring a cup of tea. Cue the office manager diving out the three-storey window to get away from the spoon.
  • The Brittas Empire: Tim is afraid of men in parkas, to the point that seeing one in “Walk On The Wild Side” sends him screaming.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Anya is afraid of bunnies.
  • Cheers: After Diane leaves, Carla's hatred of her turns into a full-blown fear of her, screaming in horror when anyone mentions her name, since she believes it will "summon" her. By the finale, Carla's fear of Diane is so extreme she'd rather believe she's near death in hospital rather than acknowledge she's seen her again, and when she's faced with Diane in the flesh repeatedly screams in horror.
  • In Community, Abed has a bizarre fear of Daylight Saving Time, claiming that it "makes no sense". He finds the change back to Mountain Standard Time even more frightening.
  • Corner Gas: A "What Do They Fear?" Episode is sparked by the other characters learning that Lacey is globophobic (afraid of balloons), which is treated as a ridiculous fear. Although Hank seems to think the name is even more ridiculous than the actual fear.
    Hank: Shouldn't it be called "balloonophobia"? I mean, what if you're afraid of globes? What, your phobia doesn't get a name because the balloon people took it already? How's that fair?
  • Doctor Who:In "The Woman Who Fell to Earth", Karl is a tower crane operator who is afraid of heights. While a common fear, it makes it nearly impossible for him to do his job.
  • In "The Masked Veggies" from Donkey Hodie, when Purple Panda goes on the The Masked Veggies game show, he has a fear that he might suddenly put on a Santa beard and sing Jingle Bells, though this stems from a deeper stage fright. Wackily enough, it turns out his fear is actually justified, as he ends up doing just this while Donkey is trying to help him.
  • In For the People, Jay claims to have a legitimate fear of fluorescent colours because of Kate's propensity for neon tabs on her paperwork.
    Jay:Do you realize I have an actual fear of fluorescent colours because of her? Because of the tabs! A clinically verifiable phobia. I have been treated for this. Unsuccessfully!
  • Friends:
    • "The One with the Embryos": Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance, scares the bejeezus out of Chandler.
      Joey: The Irish jig guy?
      Chandler: His legs flail about as if independent from his body!
    • In "The One With The Home Study", Rachel reveals that she's been terrified of swingsets ever since she got her hair caught in the chain as a child. Ross makes no attempt to hide how ridiculous he thinks it is.
  • In Full House "The House Meets the Mouse, Part 2", as Joey freaks out over seeing a shark swimming around their underwater radio station, he says this:
    Joey: Some people are afraid of the dark. Some people are afraid of heights. Some people are afraid of eggs.
    Jesse: Don't worry, Joey. We're safe in here-- Eggs?
    [Joey shrugs]
  • Happy Days:
    • "Fearless Malph": Ralph admits to having literally every phobia in the book. The episode centers on Ralph becoming fearless through hypnotic suggestion.
    • "The Muckrakers": Richie potentially exposes the Fonz's fear and disgust for liver. Fonzie eventually chokes down the fear and eats some.
  • House of Anubis: One episode has the Sibuna characters admitting and discussing their fears. Patricia's turns out to be feet, which immediately garners weird looks from the others, who are afraid of things like bugs, skulls, and tight spaces.
  • How I Met Your Mother: While not explicitly described as a phobia, Marshall has an extremely strict rule about having food, any food, in his Fiero car, even something as basic as a bottle of water or a granola bar. The reason for this? He got the car from his older brothers, who wouldn't sell it to him unless he performed a dare; drive up naked to a McDonald's drive-through and order a bunch of coffees with no lids. They then hid in the backseat and jumped up, scaring him and causing him to drop all the scalding coffee right in his naked lap.
  • The IT Crowd: Roy is afraid of balloons.
    Roy: Balloons explode, Jen. They explode suddenly and unexpectedly. They are filled with the capacity to give me a little fright, and I find that unbearable.
  • Kaamelott:
    • Guenièvre is afraid of birds because they don't have arms.
    • Later, it's revealed that Arthur is afraid of snakes. While it's a common fear, his reason isn't:
      Arthur: They walk on their belly, it's creepy!
  • Kenan & Kel: Until seeing a hypnotist for a cure, Chris had an irrational fear of sandwiches; Kenan thought it was ridiculous.
    Chris: If it wasn't for hypnotism, I would have never gotten over my fear of sandwiches.
    Kenan: You were afraid of a sandwich?!
    Chris: Not anymore!
  • In Li'l Horrors, Webster Swampson is a fish man who is afraid of water.
  • In Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure, all mermaids not accustomed to life on land scream in terror upon seeing an ordinary house cat. No explanation is given, and over time all of the mermaids come to realize that cats aren't any sort of threat to them; in fact, the cat most commonly seen in the series (Poseidon) is owned by Rita, a mermaid who had been living on land for well over a decade before the series begins, and all other merpeople who are accustomed to life on land immediately declare their love of cats upon first seeing Poseidon. (The fear does not appear to extend to dogs, as an early episode has a dog bark at Lyla, and she only reacts with annoyance.)
  • Maury: Some episodes focus on people with weird fears, such as pickles and cotton balls. First they talk about the fear, then Maury has the thing that the guest fears brought out, guest freaks out and runs backstage. Somehow, they're all cured by the end of the show.
  • Monk: Adrian Monk has a VERY long list of irrational fears, including milk, glaciers, clouds, chalk, bees, blenders, bees in blenders, soccer riots, round things, dryer lint, underwear, harmonicas, mixed vegetables, "the miracle of birth", and fear itself.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: In the Barber Shop Sketch the barber has a fear of cutting hair, which makes him murder every client he gets. As it turns out he would have rather been a lumberjack...
  • In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Murdochophobia", the episode is spent surrounding a group of asylum patients being treated for their phobias, one of whom is afraid of feathers. However, beyond the initially absurd introduction, this aspect is Played for Drama as the episode's murderer is literally trying to scare the patients to death (the aforementioned patient suffers a terrible panic attack after a rigged pillow sets off in her room, showering her in feathers). Murdoch himself also admits he's phobic of butterflies; at first Dr. Ogden believes he's rather patronizingly attempting to connect with her patients, and starts laughing when she realizes he's serious.
    Murdoch: I certainly hope that isn't the reaction you give your patients.
  • Gerry in New Tricks has a phobia of woods and forests, due to being lost in one as a child when his friends ran away and abandoned him. His colleagues display as much sympathy as you might expect.
  • Out of This World (1987): Donna has a fear of gelatin.
    "I don't like the way it wiggles around. It's just not right."
  • Psych episode "Shawn Interrupted" featured a possibly crazy, possibly Obfuscating Insanity character with an Absurd Phobia of saxophones. Cue Gus putting on some Kenny G and the genuinely crazy man having a panic attack.
  • Ronen And Renana: This Israeli comedic education show featured a skit where a librarian blackmails someone by threatening to splash water on him. She figured out his fear of water based on his aversion towards the book Three Men in a Boat and that he once ran screaming at the sight of a glass of water.
  • Schitt's Creek: David Rose has a number of phobias, including heights, moths and butterflies, and business women in sneakers.
  • Seinfeld: George Costanza refuses to carry a pen around with him because he's afraid that it might accidentally puncture his scrotum.
  • The Sketch Show: The "Phobias Workshop" sketch is about a support group for people with these. The group has one member who is afraid of the word "Aagh!", one who is afraid of apologies, one who is afraid of repetition, one who is afraid of awkward silences and one who doesn't have a phobia but who compulsively barks at other people's. They keep setting one another off.
  • The Slammer has a Tyrant Takes the Helm episode where the Governor is replaced by Mr. Beltsem, who suffers from 'show-biz phobia': a crippling affliction for someone running a prison for show-biz offenders.
  • In Smallville, Clark Kent had a crippling fear of heights, despite his invulnerability. He eventually gets over it.
  • So Awkward: In "Friendundancy", Ollie decides that due to his fear of clothes he can't take the girls talking about clothes any more.
  • Supernatural:
    • Dean Winchester, a man who grew up hunting ghosts, demons, and all manner of supernatural monsters and is one of the greatest hunters who ever lived, is so afraid of flying that it causes panic attacks.
    • Sam Winchester, who also grew up hunting monsters, is also one of the greatest hunters who ever lived, has demon blood in his veins and is very, very tall, is afraid of clowns.
    • There'a also a pantophobia episode wherein Dean contracts ghost sickness and develops a fear of everything, including speeding, high floors, ghosts, cats, dogs and teenagers, among others.
  • Gaz from Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps has a crippling fear of sheep. He even sings a little ditty to himself before going to bed so that he doesn't dream about them.
  • In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt one of the lasting effects of Kimmy's fifteen years in the bunker is a fear of Velcro. Eventually explained as related to the moment when she was first abducted: she was alone and vulnerable because she fell behind her friends while struggling to deal with Velcro straps on her shoes.
  • In Zoey 101, Lola reveals during a psychology class that she has a fear of people in mascot costumes due to a man in a hot dog costume falling over and nearly trampling her when she was five.

  • 2D from Gorillaz has an irrational fear of whales, Although he is later swallowed by one, only surviving due to the whale dying before he could be digested.
  • "Bang" ("Frightened") by Doe Maar from their album 4US (Album) is about somebody who feels anxious and frightened of all kinds of things but is unsure why.
  • Liam Payne of the band One Direction has a phobia of spoons, exaggerated for comedic effect in the fanvid series The Adventurous Adventures of One Direction.
  • The Psychostick song "Quack Kills" is about a man who's afraid of ducks and convinced they're trying to kill him. The song ends with him being attacked by a massive flock of ducks. Twice.

  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour: Frank and Sadie Doyle regularly face down supernatural threats, such as ghosts, genies, and even actual gods. Despite this, they both have a crippling fear of bees after a Noodle Incident in which a bee got into their apartment; every time it's mentioned it's with a touch of terror or dread. In the "The Haunting of Howard Schroeder", the Doyles calmly explain to a Monster Clown that they see ghosts all the time, socially even, and there is nothing in the world that can frighten them; they completely freak out when Sadie notices that a bee has gotten in.
  • Wolf 359: In a season 3 episode, Jacobi has an "inexplicable, nearly pathological fear of ducks."

  • Bleak Expectations:
    • Mr. Benevolent is terrified of badgers. The mere thought of the "appallingly stripey" creatures is enough to drive him away, until series 3, where he without comment is no longer afraid of them.
    • After the opening episode of series 3, Pip Bin develops a fear of cheese, thanks to Mr. Benevolent cheeseboarding him.
  • Old Harry's Game: It's a minor Running Gag that Satan himself is creeped out by...motorcycle couriers.

  • Destroy the Godmodder: The titular antagonist is terrified of tubas, to the point where seeing one in his chronologically early incarnations could easily be used to deal damage. He's gotten less scared of them as he continues fighting the Descendants, however.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Phobiak Madboyz are commonly afraid of something small and insignificant, such as insects or other small animals, the sight of which will send them into paroxysms of terror.

    Video Games 
  • Afterlife (1996): The "Fear, Unlimited" generic punishment dedicates itself to inventing new kinds of phobia, then testing them out and implementing them on the damned souls that are tossed their way to torment them more and more. Given as examples are the fear of characters in a movie stepping out of the screen to murder you and the fear of fizzy drinks.
  • Borderlands 3: In the DLC "Guns, Love, and Tentacles", Wainwright asks the Vault Hunters if there's anything that scares them. Moze is terrified of exploding bees, Amara fears her personal trainer on leg day, Zane is so terrified of birds that he can't even eat chicken nuggets, and FL4K admits to being afraid of... tapioca.
    FL4K: That texture. Ugh.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Exdeath is stated to have a fear of turtles, a reference to Ghido the tortoise sage from Final Fantasy V.
  • Genshin Impact:
    • Every playable character has a voiceover where they bring up their least favorite food (except for Jean, who says that she can't afford to be a Picky Eater, and Xiangling, who says she'll eat anything). For Lisa, she claims to be afraid of pumpkins.
    • One of Xinyan's Idle Animations suggests that she has some fear of frogs, or is at least easily startled by their croaking.
  • In I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, Ellen has a crippling fear of the color yellow. It's predictably a hindrance in her area, as AM has painted several rooms and things yellow. It's eventually revealed that Ellen was once raped by a stranger in a yellow jumpsuit, and the trauma broke her. She doesn't consciously remember the event, only the color yellow. On the upside, after AM forces her to confront the rapist again and she manages to defeat him, she no longer fears the color.
  • In Hogwarts Legacy, one sidequest involves helping a student named Duncan who's become a laughingstock after people find out he's afraid of Puffskeins, which are basically balls of fur with Puppy-Dog Eyes. This led to him earning the Embarrassing Nickname of "Puffskein Dunkein".
  • In King of the Castle, the Spy Network ambition involves the King's Spymaster infiltrating the courts of the entire Council of Nobles with her spies, disguised as travelling bards. If the ambition succeeds, she tells the King that one of the nobles is irrationally terrified of lemons, and at the next Council meeting, she Blackmails the noble in question into doing as the King commands by casually offering them a glass of lemonade.
  • In "The Champions' Ballad" DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Daruk is revealed to have a phobia of dogs. It stems from an incident in his childhood where he angered a dog by stepping on its tail. It's especially comedic when he curls up in fear upon seeing a dog less than a tenth his size that he had just saved from a pack of Bokoblins he fearlessly attacked right beforehand.
  • Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is afraid of mice. This may seem rather reasonable for a young princess, but this keeps an issue when she's turned into a ghost and has to take over the big, heavily armored phantoms to have a physical body. So you'll have the sight of a terrifying armor with a huge sword stopping dead with fear until you kill the nearby mice. This even extends to one of the phases of the final battle, when the Big Bad surrounds her with ghostly mice to incapacitate her.
  • Chase McCain from LEGO City Undercover, immediately after scaling a building and being thankful he doesn't have vertigo or some other ridiculous phobia, is revealed to be terrified of French parrots.
  • In Littlewood, Dalton states he's terrified of vegetables due to what he describes as "the carrot incident."
  • One of the Toads you lead on an Escort Mission in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has a fear of clocks and gears, which even he admits is irrational. So, naturally, that takes place in the Old Clockworks mansion. And you've gotta carry him past that which scares him.
  • Mega Man 9: Splash Woman is weak to Hornet Man's Bee Chaser, so (or since) bees are her worst enemy. But, since she is a mermaid, she should have the water to protect her, since bees cannot tolerate her natural environment.
  • Monkey Island:
    • Guybrush Threepwood has a crippling fear of porcelain that is never explained.
    • Meathook is terrified of the beast that supposedly claimed his hands long ago, and which he forces Guybrush to confront if the latter wants to prove himself worthy. The beast turns out to be an ordinary parrot and is harmless.
  • Mr. Saitou: Saitou has an unexplained fear of the giant, harmless birds called Minimori. He refuses to get anywhere near one, and whenever he finds himself in a room packed with Minimori, he screams in terror and burrows underground while Brandon assures him that there's nothing to worry about.
  • Buddy of MySims Agents is afraid of pudding, and casually mentions Pudding War I. Justified, as he's allergic to it.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Walter, in a rather spectacular moment of drunken honesty:
    Walter: Yeah... I'm Walter. I'm the son of a fisherman... But I'm scared of fish! I must go tell everyone!
  • Arlene from Stick It to the Man! had a phobia of grapes up until she got therapy for it.
  • The ruthless ranger lord Nathanos Marris (who would become Nathanos Blightcaller, one of the most fearsome warriors of the Horde, after dying and being raised in undeath) is revealed, in the Dragonflight expansion for World Of Warcraft, to have a phobia of ducks (and to also dislike most other birds, though not as much as he does ducks).

    Visual Novels 
  • In Ikemen Sengoku, it's revealed in Sasuke's Dramatic route that the normally stoic, intelligent, and rational Sasuke has a deep fear of butterflies. The main character, upon learning this, tries and utterly fails to hold back her laughter.
  • In Sasami's route of Little Busters!, Masato develops a fear of cats after Sasami knocks him out in her cat form twice. No one except Riki (who knows the context behind it) takes his fear seriously.
  • The girl from Milk inside a bag of milk inside a bag of milk and its sequel is afraid of the letter O. This is just one of her many crippling insecurities and mental issues. And naturally she has to face it.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, in one conversation during the third act, Trucy states that, one time, presumably while making a magic act, she accidentally made a girl get prasinophobia, a fear of the color green. Problem is, that girl was a landscape artist, so her career was practically ruined, and made Trucy feel so bad she could not stand green things anymore, developing prasinophobia as well. Athena believes it's just an excuse, however.
  • The Lilim in VA-11 Hall-A have their fears programmed completely at random. Dorothy, in particular, has a fear of dogs and chinchillas.

    Web Animation 
  • ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Due to her schizophrenia, Kylie from "I Am Schizophrenic And Stopped Taking My Pills" has some pretty strange fears. She's afraid of staircases, crosswalks, the colors red and yellow, and traffic lights.
  • A guy in ASDF Movie 8 has a fear of backstories. When he consults a doctor who asks how said phobia began, he starts screaming in terror.
  • Mera from Epithet Erased is terrified of ducks, though this is somewhat justified since her Epithet would make it easy for a duck to seriously injure her. In her words, "they're small, and fast, and they bite, okay?!"
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In "That A Ghost", Old-Timey Marzipan is "suh-suh-suh-suh-suh-scared" of pumpkins. Not even jack-o-lanterns, just pumpkins growing on the vine. She's actually relieved when The Homestar Runner suggests leaving the "Punkin Patch" to go to a graveyard.
    • In the 2019 Halloween episode "The Homestar Runner Enters the Spooky Woods", The Homestar Runner must travel through the spooky woods and face his fears... which take the form of a middle-school life science textbook, decorative toothpicks, and the more-understandable but still oddly-specific "dead raccoon being held by a family of wet pigeons".
  • Puffin Forest: Ben's character Alagaros is afraid of libraries.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Grif is afraid of bats. Never mind that he's in Powered Armor that no bat could ever penetrate (as Simmons points out), he won't even go into the cave under Blood Gulch due to the possibility of there being bats.

  • Scott of Basic Instructions once mentioned a fear of birds. The "absurd" part was that it included pigeons and Big Bird. According to later commentary, the real Scott apparently developed a dislike of birds from having been around raised peacocks in his youth.
  • In Erma, the titular Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl, who has beaten It to a pulp and leaves the monster under her bed quivering in terror, is scared of Santa Claus. Just hearing what she thinks are sleigh bells will cause her to grab a knife for protection.
  • Laser Pony of The League of Super Redundant Heroes is extremely arachnophobic. Made absurd by the fact that whenever he's made aware of the presence of spiders, he freaks out and lasers everything around him until it's dead. Considering the fact that he's blind...
    • His friend and fellow hero Arachno-Dude points out that he's a spider-themed hero. The results aren't pretty.
    • Good Girl is secretly afraid of being electrocuted whenever she vacuums.
  • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things. These three comics talk about Commander's irrational millipede phobia.
    Commander: Look, unless you done two tours 'a duty on th' Millipede Planet in Millipede Season you don' get t' judge.
  • Yuki of Ménage à 3 has her fear of phalluses, due to inadvertently reading a hentai doujinshi when she was very young. Not especially comic in itself, but played for (rather cruel) laughs in that she hallucinates tentacles whenever she sees a penis, and then goes into a berserk fugue state. Which is kind of rough on Gary, the Loser Protagonist who wants to date her.
  • In one [NAME REMOVED] strip, Rabish becomes afraid of birds after watching Rabid get eaten by a giant penguin.
  • The Order of the Stick: Durkon, like all other dwarves, is terrified of trees (the roots of which break into their tunnels and are thus seen as violent invaders). In dwarf culture, destroying a tree is an act of heroism. The argument goes something like this: Thor is the god of lightning. The vast majority of lightning bolts strike trees. Therefore, trees must be Thor's mortal enemies. I mean, Thor wouldn't waste a perfectly good lightning bolt on a supposedly harmless tree just for shits and giggles, would he? (Well, yes, actually he would...) Thor himself has tried to repeatedly explain this to his followers when they arrive in Valhalla and freak out at the trees dotting the landscape, but it's so ingrained in Dwarf culture they have difficulty grasping the concept. At this point, he usually just gives up and tells them that these trees are good-aligned individuals who have turned against their evil kin.
  • Parisa: Jiro is afraid of revolving doors, which proves to be a problem when he tries entering the wrestling stadium.
  • Finn of Warrior U has a phobia of horses. Justified since during his childhood he was attacked by a psychopathic unicorn

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • An episode of Badman features the Scarecrow using his fear gas to fight Batman. The results are... unexpected.
  • Formula 1: The absurdity of Pascal Wehrlein's answer of waking up early in Grid Confessions: What Scares F1 Drivers? compared to the other drivers who gave far more normal fears like spiders and heights, is highlighted by him being placed last.
  • The Necro Critic has an admitted fear of babies that is Played for Laughs in his Baby Geniuses review.
  • SuperMarioLogan's version of Bowser becomes afraid of bananas after his son Junior forces him to watch a scary movie with him. On the 3rd time, Bowser gets a fear of milk.
    • A justified example in "Bowser Junior's Biggest Fear". Junior is paranoid that cotton balls would kill him due to Bowser shoving cotton balls in his mouth when he was a baby in an attempt to substitute a pacifier.
    • "Jeffy's Biggest Fear" has Jeffy be afraid of the number 7 the day after Junior tells him the classic "why is 6 afraid of 7?" joke. Hilarity ensues.
  • Vester And Friends: Red Yoshi is scared of Minecraft because it is too pixelated.
    • While it looks like Blue Yoshi is scared of Brum, in episode 7 of Total Drama Plush Season 1 it is revealed he was faking it the whole time. Subverting this trope.
    • Yellow Yoshi is scared of the PlayStation 2 Red Screen Of Death.
    • Black Yoshi is afraid of the Nintendo Switch because he thinks it will beat Sony.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: An episode where Jimmy invents a Dream Walker machine to help Carl with his nightmares reveals that the "horrible spooky thing" that Carl doesn't want to talk about is lima beans. Jimmy thinks this is just a case of Does Not Like Spam at first, but when he meets a lima bean in Carl's dream, it grows to giant size and reveals itself as a terrifying Man-Eating Plant. (It is defeated by luring it out of the dream, where it becomes harmless and is semi-reluctantly eaten by Jimmy, Carl and Sheen.)
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan has an unexplained phobia of seagulls.
      Stan: A SEAGULL? WHERE? Don't let it touch me with its feet!
    • He eventually conquers this fear when he and Roger are stranded on a small island atoll for several months, and seagulls are the only edible thing around.
    • And his son Steve is shown to be afraid of moths.
  • Arthur: In "The Squirrels", the kids in Elwood City all develop a temporary phobia of squirrels after seeing a movie called "The Squirrels" a la The Birds.
  • Back at the Barnyard: In "Buyers Beware", Otis tries to scare away an old lady who he thinks is someone trying to buy the farm from them. Unfortunately, she isn't fazed by the underworld, zombies, earthquakes, locusts, or any of the creepy things Otis claims the barnyard contains. She doesn't even freak out when Otis admits he's a talking cow! Otis gives up and hands her the keys to the barn... and she freaks out and drives away because she's terrified of jingling keys.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: When Batman gets stuck in the body of a Captain Ersatz of Batwoman, he proves his identity to Nightwing by citing that the latter is "deathly afraid of monkeys".
  • Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!: Something of a subversion, in that the gang takes it seriously when he's confronted by it, but they aren't above mocking him when he isn't. Fred isn't afraid of heights. He's afraid of widths. He believes it's more rational than Velma's more traditional fear of water because:
    Fred: The human body is 85% water. But how wide are we? Hmm?
  • Best and Bester: In "Get the Hump", Bester is revealed to have a fear of camels. This becomes a problem when the prize for Diamondo's dance-off is a ride back home on a camel.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • "Bed and Breakfast" reveals that Teddy has an irrational fear of costumed mascots that stems from catching one in flagrante delecto with his ex-wife. After Louise sics a bunch of "Fuzzy Buddies" she hired from a party supply store on him in an effort to get her bedroom back, Teddy claims to have mostly worked out his issues.
    • "House of 1000 Bounces": Bob has a fear of pigeons stemming from him being attacked by a flock of them in the attic of an old house. He got over it after he realized that he was describing a scene from The Birds. Apparently he watched it as a kid and it freaked him out. Teddy comments in the same episode that he used to be scared of babies.
  • Bugs Bunny Builders: In "Dino Fright", when Tweety reveals to the other Looney Builders that he is afraid of dinosaurs during the task of assembling a dinosaur skeleton, they try to help him overcome his fear by revealing their fears. Porky reveals that he's afraid of jack-in-the-boxes, being sung to on his birthday, and flushing toilets. He also reveals that Daffy is afraid of kites, to which Daffy tells him that was supposed to be kept a secret.
  • Camp Lakebottom: In "Cheeks of Dread", after much needling, McGee finds out that Gretchen has a phobia of chipmunks. The episode's monster turns out to be a vicious chipmunk that keeps a giant pile of skulls from the people it has devoured.
  • Chop Socky Chooks: In one episode, we learn that Chucky Chan is afraid of a toy duck called Mr. Quackers for unknown reasons while K.O. Joe is afraid of jelly beans due getting one stuck up his nose as a baby.
  • Earthworm Jim: The Planet of Easily Frightened People is home to people terrified of just about everything they encounter.
    Two inhabitants: AAAHH! A crow! AAAHH! A rock!
    Psycrow: Ehehehe! I love this planet.
    Two inhabitants: AAAHH! A bug! AAAHH! Air!
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Ed is shown to be afraid of soap and deodorant in "Once Upon an Ed", and the fear of soap becomes a plot point in "Run For Your Ed", when Double D's solution to removing a bottle stuck on his finger being to lubricate it with soap to slip it off. He also has a fear of wigs and hairpieces as shown in "X Marks the Ed" For context, Eddy had a pimple on his head that he tried to cover up with his dad's toupee.
    Ed: ATTACK THE WIG! [does so, specifically with his teeth]
    Edd: Ed, you're violating a hairpiece!
    Ed: [frowns, in earnest] Wigs scare me, Double-D.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • The Yugopotamians have a species-wide phobia of such innocent things as candy, flowers, small children, displays of affection, and anything cute, safe, or fun. Justified in that, biologically, these things can actually hurt and/or kill them.
    • "Déjà Vu": Francis appears to have a phobia of getting wet.
      [Timmy throws a water balloon at him]
    • "A Bad Case of Diary-Uh!": One of the embarrassing secrets revealed in Vicky's journal is her fear of cows. In the same episode, Timmy is revealed to have a fear of both clowns and feet. Vicky manages to use both (along with his allergy to oranges) against him by going to his school and declaring "Barefoot Orange-Juggling Clown Day". Also in the same episode, One-Shot Character Winston Dunsworth is revealed to be scared of the color pink, which Timmy has Wanda exploit so Vicky could save him from the "cute, pink squirrel she thinks is overweight".
    • It's not known exactly why, but Cosmo will have a breakdown hearing the words "Super Toilet."
      Cosmo: SO! MUCH! CLOGGING! [enters fetal position, starts sucking his thumb]
    • "Wishing Well": Timmy goes to a boot camp with two other kids, Molly and Dwight, to learn to deal with things without wishing. One of the challenges has all the kids face their fears. While Timmy and Molly have reasonable fears (Vicky and snakes, respectively), Dwight is afraid of a harpoon.
      Dwight: I dreamt I was a whale once, and it wanted my blubber!
  • Family Guy
  • FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman: Ruff's fear of ballet and spiders is somewhat Played for Drama, because back then, Ruff was going to star in a ballet that involved fake spiders, but on opening night Spotnik snuck in, replaced the fake spiders with real spiders, and dumped them onto Ruff; which ruined the show and severely traumatized Ruff ever since. It took Brian, Sterling, and Bethany's efforts in their challenges to help Ruff love ballet again.
  • The Flintstones: The weak spot of the Hatrock family (a bunch of hard-core hillbilliesnote  the Flintstones encounter in two episodes) is an Expy of The Beatles.
  • Garfield and Friends: Wade Duck is afraid of an incredibly large amount of things, that many fall into this category. Some of them include: chocolate donuts, finding out it's Tuesday and being attacked by legion of crazed Pat Sajak impersonators.
  • The Garfield Show: "Fraidy Cat" revolves around Dr. Whipple creating an invention that can be used to remove people's fears as well as give them fears they didn't have already. In a commercial where he advertises his service of using the device to cure people of their phobias, he mentions some rather ridiculous fears, including a fear of sitting on a grilled cheese sandwich and a fear of moving with your family to Peru and subsequently becoming a toboggan salesman. At the end of the episode, Garfield uses the invention to make Nermal afraid of being too cute and Dr. Whipple afraid of being in a cartoon.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • One Halloween special reveals that Mabel is afraid of Claymation. Grunkle Stan takes the kids to visit the Claymation animator who is living in Gravity Falls to help her get over it. It's then revealed, that the animator used dark magic to make his clay models move, and they attack the group when they enter his house. Mabel is able to save everyone with a clay monster of her own. She doesn't get over her fear, but she feels vindicated that her fear is justified.
    • "Dreamscaperers": When Bill Chipher declares that he can turn the worst nightmares of people Soos says he hopes he's not talking about the "British Dog Man" he sees in his dreams. Immediately a bulldog in a fancy suit, a monocle and a walking cane appears.
      British Dog Man: "'Ello, 'ello, 'ello! Who's crike for a stick in the pudding?"
      Soos: "Ahh! It's everything I ever feared!"
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • While Billy has the more standard fear of spiders, he's also absolutely terrified of clowns, and for some reason, the mailman. When the main characters were facing their worst fears manifest in The Movie, Billy ended up having to face a clown car full of spider-clown-mailmen.
    • Mandy, meanwhile, is afraid of professional figure skaters.
      (defensively) That's not a fear! I just don't trust the way they spin is all.
  • Invader Zim: The plots of many episodes revolve around Zim developing an insane phobia of a random mundane Earth object/group/action, and taking drastic measures to be rid of it.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Jimmy is afraid of pickles, which he claims are evil and out to get him. He claims it was due to an incident where fell into a pickle truck and was drenched in pickle brine, but even Beezy and Heloise find his fear to be silly. Ironically, it's less unjustified than it seems, given that his neighbor across the street actually is a pickle monster bent on destroying everyone.
  • Kim Possible:
    • "Roachie": Played with. The half-episode begins with Kim chiding Ron for being scared of ordinary bugs and then had Kim totally freaked out by giant roaches (which are actually harmless and friendly when separated from the influence of the story's villain, as shown by one that Ron develops a rapport with).
    • Ron is also afraid of monkeys, one of several phobias he developed thanks to the trauma he experienced while attending Camp Wannaweep as a child; in this case due to the camps agressive and mean-spirited monkey mascot he was forced to share a cabin with. He gradually gets over this phobia as the show progresses, especially after he begins training in Monkey Kung-Fu, and unlocks a superpowered state known as Mystical Monkey Power, which he eventually uses to save the day in the Grand Finale. Ironically, this also nets him a monkey-themed arch enemy; Monkey Fist.
  • King of the Hill:
    • There is an episode of where Hank develops a serious crippling fear of propane, the thing he sells for a living. Justified, in that he had survived a gas leak explosion in the previous episode.
    • Played straight in another episode where the entire cast treats Hank's fear of bats like this.
      Hank: You know, we've all got fears. What about Bill's fear of balloons?
      Bill: [alarmed] Where!?
  • The Legend of Tarzan: Jane spends a whole episode trying to figure out what Tarzan is afraid of, which seems to be nothing whatsoever. But at the end of the episode, she picks up a powder puff, causing Tarzan to go wide-eyed, jump back, and run out of the room. He then reveals to Terk that he was faking it to get Jane to stop.
  • Let's Go Luna!: In "Day of the Dead", Luna is helping Carmen to get over her understandable fear of skeletons and suggests laughing in the face of her fear to make it less scary. The whole gang explain the fears they laugh at, which are all pretty reasonable... except for Andy, who laughs in the face of asparagus.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012):
    • Russell apparently has a phobia of marshmallows, justifying it by claiming they're "soft and... squishy..."
    • "Heart of Parkness": Sunil reveals that she's afraid of creatures with six or more legs, loud noises, curtains, avocados, and quiet jazz music — but she isn't scared of cobras.
    • "Game of Groans": Youngmee reveals that she has a fear of jester hats.
  • Mighty Max: Norman has arachnophobia so extreme that he once jumped through a ceiling in response to a tiny spider landing on his shoulder. Justified when you learn that he is destined to die by being eaten by a giant spider.
  • Milo Murphy's Law plays with this — while Melissa's fear of roller coasters is perfectly commonplace, the reason WHY she's afraid of them (one fell out of the sky on the first day of summer and crushed her science project) is what's absurd. Zack's fear of fish (especially bagged ones) and Milo's fear of Chinese finger traps, however, play the trope straight.
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur: There are a few of them here:
    • Lunella's mother, Adira, has a fear of hair relaxers (chemicals that straighten curly hair). This is actually justified, as she used one of them as a child and it made all of her hair fall out. Her reaction to seeing a young Lunella with one, though, was a little unnecessary.
    • Devil Dinosaur, a T-Rex who is bigger than some of the buildings in the LES and will fight villains with no afraid of jellyfish. Specifically, he's afraid of being stung by a jellyfish.
    • Lunella/Moon Girl, who is considered fearless by most of the LES and her friends, is afraid of Coney Island. The Beyonder actually helps her dissect her fear, revealing that she's actually afraid of losing someone she loves, and that she associated Coney Island with that fear because of an incident when she was five where she was separated from Mimi.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Party Pooped": According to one of Pinkie Pie's party files, Twilight Sparkle has a fear of quesadillas.
      Twilight: They're just so... [shudders] cheesy.
    • "Starlight the Hypnotist": Twilight reveals that she's terrified of ladybugs because when she was a filly, a swarm of them invaded her family home and her brother, Shining Armor, joked that their spots were actually extra eyes.
    • "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?": We learn that Rainbow Dash has a phobia of the ultra-saccharine.
    • "Between Dark and Dawn" reveals that Princess Celestia is deathly afraid of chickens and needs her little sister, Princess Luna, to scare them away for her.
  • PAW Patrol: Ryder is afraid not of daring rescues, his pups or himself being in danger, or any of the other various dangers involved with running a rescue force, but Brussels sprouts. He's even mentioned having nightmares from them.
  • Peanuts: In the various specials, specials has Charlie Brown admit he's afraid of all sorts of things that seem silly. Partly this is justified as he often tries and fails at things to better himself. However, he does rise up to the challenge despite the odds, and tries again.
  • Pepper Ann: Nicky's fear of swans is a running gag. This fear, which her older sister secretly shared, is revealed to have a specific cause: they both had the same exceedingly creepy toy swan when they were kids. To be fair, swans are some of the most violently territorial animals on Earth.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz has many fears, including heights, bats, and... shellfish. He freely admits that most of his fears are irrational, with the exception of his fear of vending machines, which he insists will one day gain sentience and enslave humanity. His Evil Overlord version from an alternate dimension shares this fear and finds it just as reasonable.
    • His fantasy counterpart, Malefishmirtz, admits that he's afraid of unicorns, whales, octopus, pegasi, scorpions, barnacles and girls. Then a few seconds later a uni-whale-scorpio-Pega-squid-icorn Candace appears behind him, though he admits that when combined it's more ridiculous than scary.
    • "Monster from the Id" shows that Baljeet is afraid of contractions (the Frankenstein monster of grammar) and Irving is afraid of the color lavender.
    • Candace, for reasons unknown, fears the number seven. Probably because seven ate nine.
  • Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja: One episode reveals that Randy is afraid of chickens, which gives us this priceless quote:
    "Have you ever looked into a chicken's eyes, Howard? There's nothing there."
  • Rick and Morty: Rick mentions that he had a fear of wicker furniture before he transferred his consciousness into a Federation agent. He also has a fear of pirates (despite his passion project, the Pirates of the Pancreas, back in season 1).
  • Rugrats: Chuckie has a long list of these; including shoes, green Jell-O, and "that guy on the oatmeal box." Exaggerated in another episode where Chuckie meets a kid who has even more ridiculous fears than he does, including the fear of being eaten by oatmeal.
  • Sea Princesses: Isa, the Princess of the Penguins, was afraid of water, but with the help of Santa Claus, she overcame her fear.
  • The Simpsons: In "Fear of Flying" it is revealed that Homer has a fear of sock puppets.
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants: In "Fear of a Krabby Patty", SpongeBob becomes afraid of Krabby Patties after working nonstop and not getting any sleep.
  • Stanley's Dinosaur Roundup: After Stanley admits to being afraid of riding on a horse, his pets try to comfort him. Dennis, a goldfish, tells him he felt afraid the first time he tried to ride on a seahorse. Elsie, a cat, says that she used to be afraid of mice. Harry, a dog, tells him he used to be afraid of cheese and still gets a little nervous around Gouda.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Ludo appears to have a phobia of hair stemming from an early birthday party when he was assaulted by the Tickle-Monster.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!: In one episode, the whole team has to face their fears. While most of the team had understandable fears, turns out Otto is afraid of clams with feet.
  • Total Drama:
    • Total Drama Island: "Phobia Factor" shows the castmates' worst fears. While some of them are common, like Owen and Izzy's fear of flying and DJ's fear of snakes, others are very absurd. Examples include Tyler's fear of chickens, Duncan's fear of Celine Dion music store cardboard standees and Courtney's fear of green jello. Lindsay and Sadie both share the same fear, bad haircuts (Lindsay originally said her fear was walking through a minefield in heels before changing it). There are also some that are dangerous things but also rather odd, like Heather's (sumo wrestlers), Harold's (ninjas), and Cody's (having to defuse a time bomb).
    • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race gives several to the Adversity Twins, particularly Mickey. Sometimes these include a Freudian Excuse: for example, he's afraid of pencils because he once tripped on a bunch and tumbled down the stairs, and he's afraid of being on stage because of a serious accident he had during a school play.
  • Transformers: Animated: Optimus Prime is shown to have a fear of spiders (despite being a giant robot who can't possibly be hurt by an Earth spider), to the amusement of Sari, Bumblebee and Bulkhead. However, the episode quickly shows that he isn't so much afraid of spiders as he is triggered by them: he lost his friend, Elita-1, on a planet full of gigantic spiders (who were big and deadly enough to kill a Cybertronian).
  • Transformers: Prime: Subverted in the episode "Scrapheap". At first, it seems ridiculous that the gigantic Autobot warriors would be terrified of the little (even by human standards), adorable Scraplet, and the kids openly question how the Autobots could be afraid of it. It's then revealed that they have a very logical reason for their fear: Scraplets are metal-eating parasites that can eat a Cybertronian alive in minutes. Considering how they possess several rows of razor-sharp teeth and are fast enough to avoid laser blasts, the kids quickly develop a healthy fear of them, too.
  • Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy: In "Tyrannosaurus Wrecked", Whirl mentions that she is afraid of spaghetti.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (2012): In one episode, the villain Nightmare puts all of New York, except for Spider-Man and Iron Fist, to sleep and traps them in their worst fear. Some fears are logical/common, like Luke Cage's fear of letting his team down or White Tiger's fear of rejection/failure. What is Nova afraid of? Rabbits!
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald had Grimace reveal in his video call from the live-action portion of Scared Silly that he is afraid of baby ducks.
  • We Bare Bears: In "More Everyone's Tube", Grizz and Panda discover that Ice Bear, usually the most fearless of the three, is afraid of cucumbers. They shoot a whole video of them pranking Ice Bear by placing cucumbers all over the house and watching him freak out. (Oddly enough, he reacts normally to a pickle.) It ends with Panda dressing up in a cucumber costume, which causes Ice Bear to throw him out the window and ending up on traction at the hospital.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: Omi is afraid of squirrels. Even Jack Spicer thought that was incredibly lame.

    Real Life 
  • There are a wide variety of real-life phobias that can come across as this to other people. Including fear of clowns, ducks, babies, hair, vomit, dolls, colors, numbers (triskaidekaphobia), words, etc...
  • Probably the single most generally known "absurd" phobia is a fear of firecrackers and fireworks, a common side effect of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This one, at least, is well-publicized enough not to be used for comedy, and why more and more cities are banning the use of personal fireworks, or even banning their use at all (e.g. festivals, American Independence Day).
  • H. P. Lovecraft suffered from a wide variety of unusual phobias rooted in his (literal) xenophobia and his general misunderstanding of math, science, and technology. Many of these phobias served as inspiration for his stories.
  • According to interviews, Alfred Hitchcock was extremely afraid of eggs. He also was afraid of the police, but that one is a bit more reasonable.
  • Billy Bob Thornton admits to having an unexplained phobia of antique furniture.
  • Not even the father of modern psychology was immune to this trope. Sigmund Freud had a crippling fear of ferns.
  • The myths of elephants having a phobia to mice has an element of truth. Elephants' eyesights are not keen enough to clearly see small creatures on the ground, and so they react with fear when they detect unexpected movement from below, not because they hate mice, but because they can't tell the difference between a harmless mouse and a dangerous threat like a snake. Thus their phobia reacts with equal fear, to both harmless creatures and genuine threats. When a mouse is brought up close to the elephant's face, elephants do not tend to fear them at all.
  • The Little Albert experiment where scientists proved classical conditioning in humans by conditioning a baby to fear white lab rats. Eventually they found he feared all white, fluffy things. That's how the story went, anyway, though the experiment has since been questioned a lot.
  • In an instance that overlaps with Shaped Like Itself, Phobophobia is having a phobia of having a phobia. This isn't like FDR's famous "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself", but a literal stress reaction to the feelings of being afraid.


Celestia's Chicken Phobia

Wow, who would've thought that the most powerful pony in Equestria has a really insane fear?

How well does it match the trope?

4.82 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / AbsurdPhobia

Media sources: