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Ambulance Cut

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Someone is either doing something obviously dangerous, suggesting a cunning plan that can't possibly go wrong, or has just found out what it is he's eating. Cut directly to an ambulance flying down the street, sirens blaring. A variation of this for the "cunning plan that can't possibly go wrong" would be a Gilligan Cut to a character trying to explain his actions to the cops as he's stuffed into a police car and read his Miranda Rights. Another variation is the fire department coming to put out a fire the character caused (whether the character is injured by it is entirely up to the writer).

Much like a Description Cut or Gilligan Cut, the actual injuries are generally left to the viewers' imaginations, but occasionally you will actually see the character falling victim to Amusing Injuries first.

If the character is The Klutz, sometimes the action being undertaken is apparently utterly harmless, and the humour comes from wondering how anyone could screw it up so badly that they require emergency medical attention.

Can also be Played for Drama, but usually without the Smash Cut associated with the comic usage. Related to Gory Discretion Shot. Compare Hospital Gurney Scene and Funeral Cut.


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  • A French PSA had the camera locked next to the front wheel of a vehicle which is seen speeding, running red lights, and recklessly passing other vehicles... Until the camera "zooms out" to an overhead perspective, revealing the speeding vehicle is the ambulance, which just arrived at the site of a previous crash.
  • A Liberty Mutual "Limu Emu and Doug" commercial from 2021 that cross-advertises with the film Spider-Man: No Way Home shows Doug being gurneyed into an ambulance after getting himself bit by a spider in the hopes of gaining superpowers he could use to help sell insurance.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Gintama, the Yorozuya trio helps dispose Otose's supply of crabs that gone bad due to a broken refrigerator. When Otose warns them to not eat them because they'll get food poisoning, they assure her that they won't eat them because they are not that poor and desperate to do that. Cue the ambulance and them being carted into it while they are in agony as Otose was not surprised.
  • In Future Diary, during Mur Mur's segment in episode 6, she creates a terrible soup, when Yuki's mother tries it, the scene cuts to an ambulance. Later Yuki himself tries the soup, only to end up in an ambulance as well.

    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput: In "Gym", Lamput makes the docs trip by setting up the treadmills they're on to go faster than they can run. The docs are sent flying to the other side of the room, and the scene cuts to an ambulance that is just arriving at the gym. The docs are brought into the gym in wheelchairs and with an impressive display of muscles from all that running.

    Films — Animated 
  • Near the beginning of Up, young Carl ventures out across a beam in the attic of a decrepit old house to retrieve a balloon. The beam snaps, and we cut to an ambulance. The scene after that shows Carl at home with his arm in a cast.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Party: Used near the end, after the hostess of the party repeatedly faints off a balcony and into soap-filled water.
  • In The Cannonball Run, J.J. drives a motorboat and gets distracted waving to some women. Victor tries to warn him about a third boat ahead of them and the trope plays. This actually affects the plot as the ambulance ride gives them the idea to use one in the race.
  • In The Nice Guys, March wraps his hand in cloth to punch through a window to unlock a door and immediately cuts his wrist open. Cut to the ambulance.
  • Happens in the 1983 film adaptation of The Outsiders, when the abandoned church is on fire with Johnny and Dally inside; the church's roof is shown collapsing and then it cuts right to the ambulances rushing Johnny and Dally to the hospital.
  • Forklift Driver Klaus uses it as a Running Gag. Whenever the title character causes an injury, the factory alarm rings and there's an ambulance cut...until the bell eventually breaks and falls off the wall (and hits someone in the head in the process). This means that there's nobody to save the victims of the bloody finale...

    Live-Action TV 
  • In "The Trouble With Mr. Bean", after Bean's attempts at Worst Aid inexplicably manage to revive an unconscious man, he immediately knocks him out again and wanders off guiltily — the next shot is an ambulance on its way (although Bean soon manages to screw that up as well).
  • Black Books, after Manny swallows The Little Book Of Calm.
  • The Bottom episode "Accident" has not one, but two of these.
    • And so did the episode "Digger".
  • In Father Ted, Jack accidentally ends up at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Some time later, a member of the group spots him in a pub and attempts to intervene with his drinking, only to get hospitalized in the process (resulting in this trope).
  • Hancock's Half Hour: In the classic episode "The Blood Donor", our hero has just given "very nearly an armful" of blood and discovered that he belongs to a rare blood group. Back home, fretting that his rare blood might not go to "the right sort of person", he decides to sharpen a bread knife. Cue Stock Footage of ambulance, and guess who needs the blood.
  • NewsRadio:
    • Bill tries chewing his nicotine patch. Three guesses what happens next.
    • Another episode begins with Matthew jumping out of the fridge to scare Mr. James, who goes into a fit of laughter, clutching his chest. Cue ambulance.
    • Yet another episode begins with Matthew cutting his hand while trying to grab a cup off a light fixture. After the staff wrapped his hand with paper towels, Dave checks how bad it is. Cut to ambulance.
  • Knowledge of the trope leads to potential audience confusion in the Doctor Who episode "The Eleventh Hour": The Doctor gets clobbered with a cricket bat, and then we cut to an ambulance pulling up at a hospital. The Doctor is not in the ambulance, and does not appear in the following scene within the hospital (nor in fact does the ambulance, which apparently is just there to make it clear that it's a hospital).
  • The Corner Gas Christmas episode "Merry Gasmas" uses this trope four different times. The first three are flashbacks to previous Christmases. Emma tells Oscar to be careful with the sharp carving knives, cut to an ambulance. Emma says her eggnog tastes off and Oscar tells her to drink it anyway, cut to an ambulance. Emma again tells Oscar to be careful with the knives, reminding him of what happened before, so Oscar gives them to a very young Brent instead, cut to an ambulance. At the end of the episode, Brent climbs onto a shaky ladder to take down some mistletoe, time for another ambulance cut. Emma watches the ambulance pull away and mutters, "Same damn thing every year..."
  • Steptoe and Son used a variation featuring a fire engine instead of an ambulance.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • In one episode, Lois gets fired and the family tries to cut their budget while Lois is unemployed. When people in the neighbourhood find out, they start sending them canned goods. While they reluctantly accept them, Lois goes into a rant about how people only ever donate the crap they don't want. Hal says the olives he's eating are perfectly fine, and Lois points out the can he's eating from is supposed to be peaches. Cue the speeding ambulance.
    • In another episode, Dewey begins dancing with his elderly babysitter, who really gets into the dancing. Cut to an ambulance driving away outside the house, with Dewey waving goodbye.
  • Done in Last of the Summer Wine where Nora and Ivy joke about showing off their "Flapper" outfits to Compo (who had a thing for Nora), cut to an Ambulance and then a hospital waiting room. This is because prior to filming that episode Bill Owen who played Compo passed away, and they wrote Compo out with a heart attack.
  • Naturally enough given its premise, London's Burning used a variation on the theme at least Once an Episode, cutting from this week's fire or accident to Blue Watch being dispatched from Blackwall. Not Played for Laughs, however.
  • An episode of Seinfeld has George visiting a holistic healer for help with a tonsil problem. He's given a herbal concoction, which leads to this trope crossed with Gilligan Cut (unusually for this trope, the journey in the ambulance is used for several more gags).
    George: Hmm. Not too bad.
    [Cut to ambulance. Inside, George is bright purple.]
    George: I'm an eggplant! I'm an eggplant!
  • On The Office (US), after Deangelo attempts a slam dunk on a free-standing basketball hoop and pulls the whole thing down on top of himself.

  • The music video for Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Cold Shot" has three of them, each time as a result of his wife assaulting him for focusing more on guitar playing than on her.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the So Bad, It's Good educational film Watch Out for Poisons!, a puppet boy named Eggbert keeps drinking things he shouldn't, causing his mother to exclaim, "Oh! Eggbert!" and then we cut to a puppet ambulance taking him to the hospital. And THEN, we get to see him get his stomach pumped! This happens three times in the film, making it unique in film history as the one that contains more puppet stomach-pumping action than any other film. Watch it here.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, after the mishap caused by the protagonist and Tamara (which is unseen), there is a cut to a picture of three ambulances driving up the slope of Barbarossa. It appears several times in flashbacks.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • From the episode "Homer and Apu" (in season five), Homer buys a pack of ham that expired in 1989 (it was 1994 at the time this episode aired). The first time he eats it, Homer gets a horrible stomachache (but keeps eating!), then it cuts to the ambulance. After Homer spends some time at the hospital, he returns to the store and complains to Apu that the ham made him sick. Apu then bribes Homer with ten pounds worth of bad shrimp, which is then followed by a jump cut back to the same footage of the ambulance. (The ambulance itself is Stock Footage for the show. It was used when Mr. Burns went to the hospital in the season two episode "Blood Feud", and in "Homer's Triple Bypass" after Homer passes out from a heart attack after Mr. Burns yells at him for being a lazy, incompetent worker.)
    • "Lady Bouvier's Lover" has an amusing variant near the end of the first act. After feeling amorous from being with Jacqueline Bouvier, he realizes "I'm in love! No, wait, it's a stroke." Then it cuts to an ambulance driving with Grampa inside it, realizing "No, wait! It IS love!" To which the paramedics toss him out of the ambulance on his gurney, sending him rolling onto a highway ramp as he gleefully and obliviously cries out "I'M IN LOVE!"
    • Also, in the season eight episode "Lisa's Date with Density", Lisa asks Milhouse if he can deliver a note to Nelson Muntz. The note reads "Guess who likes you?", Nelson looks back and sees Milhouse wiggling his eyebrows. Jump cut to Milhouse being wheeled out of the school on a gurney with everyone in the school watching.
    • Done with a fire engine in "22 Short Films About Springfield", during the "Steamed Hams" scene as a result of Skinner's ruined roast eventually burning down his house.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Born Again Krabs" (pictured above), Mr. Krabs is about to take a bite of a Krabby Patty that, if it were any more disgusting, would require EPA financial assistance. Immediately cut to an ambulance with the siren blaring. Cut back to Mr. Krabs, remarking "Oh, look, an ambulance." Then, he eats the burger and is rushed to the hospital.
    • In "Just One Bite", Squidward tries a Krabby Patty for the first time and becomes addicted. At the end, he breaks into the Patty Vault and eats all of the burgers. After SpongeBob remarks that they'll go right to his thighs... and then blow up, we see an explosion, and then a cut to the ambulance, with Squidward blown to pieces, all of his tentacles in a bucket.
    • In "No Weenies Allowed", immediately after SpongeBob is finally admitted into the Salty Spittoon, there is a cut to the ambulance and it is revealed he slipped on an ice cube and got covered in boo-boos.
  • American Dad!: Roger goes so crazy from trying to keep the house clean that he spreads gasoline everywhere and lights a match. Cut to a fire truck passing by the restaurant at which Stan and Steve are dining.
  • Regular Show:
    • In the episode "Eggscellent", Rigby goes to a restaurant to eat an enormous omelette in order to win a promotional hat. The moment he orders the omelette it cuts to him in an ambulance because apparently he was allergic to eggs.
    • This also happens in "Death Punchies" when Rigby tries to play punchies with Skips.
  • In The Hair Bear Bunch episode "Love Bug Bungle," two policeman radio for an ambulance after Botch tells them that he and Peevly were chasing three bears on an invisible motorcycle.
  • Fireman Sam used a variation pretty much identical to London's Burning, probably as a bit of Parental Bonus.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: The episode "Night of the Weremole" has Courage, upon seen the Weremole-infected Muriel, clutches his chest and collapses during a wild take, requiring an ambulance to transport him to Dr. Vindaloo.
    Dr. Vindaloo: You almost bought it, boy. What is up with that?
  • Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese: While Boy is pretending to be the hero Boysteros, he sees an old lady trying to feed the birds, but struggling to break a baguette into pieces. He helps her by ripping the bread in half and chucking it at the birds, which impresses the old lady so much that she faints. The next shot is of her being lifted into an ambulance.
  • Adventure Time: In the final episode, "Come Along With Me", there's a flashback of Simon and Betty making sundaes, and Betty tosses a jar of maraschino cherries at Simon. He's not paying attention and it predictably clonks him hard on the noggin. Cut to Simon being rushed to the hospital with a bandaged face.
    Simon: Have you thought about using sliced almonds for the sundaes?


Video Example(s):


Father Ted - The Mainland

An Alcoholics Anonymous member interrupts Father Jack's drinking session at a pub and gets hospitalized as a result.

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