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And Call Him "George"

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Love Hurts, but hugs kill.

"Hulk want hug kitties
But they so easy to squish!
Hulk live in cruel world."

Aww, isn't this little guy cute? I'm gonna take him home and hug him and kiss him and squeeze him with all my heart and be such a great friend and...

...and for some reason he fell asleep. You OK, little guy?

Little guy...?

Named after the character Lennie Small, in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, this is a subtrope of Does Not Know His Own Strength, in which a large, but (usually) non-malevolent monster just wants to express their love (typically by hugging) for something much smaller than them — without being aware of how much their love is harming it. This can also be done by a character with Cumbersome Claws regardless of overall strength. Usually played for laughs, although there are exceptions. Possibly a deconstruction/satire of the Gentle Giant.

If the monster is a human, this may be the way they tame Fluffy. If not, it is a type of Non-Malicious Monster.

This trope, like Fluffy the Terrible, Grotesque Cute, Enfante Terrible, Killer Rabbit, and Psychopathic Manchild, plays off the conflict between "cute" and "terrifying."

Compare Black Comedy Animal Cruelty, where intentional animal abuse is Played for Laughs. If the hugging is intentionally meant to cause pain or even a Dramatic Spine Injury, that's a Killer Bear Hug. Also contrast Lacerating Love Language, when violent acts are how a character expresses their love.

This is Truth in Television: "cute aggression", to give it its technical name, is a measurable behavioural phenomenon.

This Trope is not to be be confused with naming conventions of Sleeping Car Porters.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Tomo gets too rough while playing with Mayaa and gets scratched as a result of it.
  • Black Butler: In one episode, Finnie reminisces about a pet bird he once had. One day when he tried to pet it...Let's just say that Finnie Does Not Know His Own Strength and leave it at that.
    • Downplayed with Sebastian. He doesn't seem to harm the cats he catches , but they often are seen desperately trying to escape his grasp.
  • Bleach: Adult Nel, after saving Ichigo's life, rushes to give him a hug. Ichigo had just been completely curbstomped by one of the Espadas, repeatedly taking hits that would have killed a regular human. He was in a great deal of pain during the hugging as a result.
  • In Chainsaw Man, this turns out to be a major twist in the true nature of the legendary "The Hero of Hell". It turns out that trying to hug people when you're a massively-powerful creature with chainsaws for arms doesn't end well. Chainsaw/Pochita's reputation as a horror that killed even those he rescued was simply the result of being too powerful to experience his Humble Goal of hugging people.
  • In Durarara!!, Shizuo's romantic history can effectively be summed up as "boy meets girl. Boy finds girl in danger. Boy tries to save or protect girl, but accidentally hospitalizes her in the process. Boy and girl never speak again. Repeat until boy is convinced that he's incapable of loving or being loved."
  • Fairy Tail: Milliana, whenever she gets anywhere near an Exceed. She can even smell one out!
  • Ghost Sweeper Mikami: In one of the later story arc, Yokoshima and Hyakume are captured by Ashtaroth's agents. One of these agents, Papillio, has a ridiculous fondness for collecting pets, so into the menagerie Yokoshima and Hyakume go. The problem isn't that they'll get squished or otherwise negligently killed by Papillio...not directly. The problem is her other pets aren't so nice. Not when they include the likes of KERBEROS.
  • Gintama has Kagura, a super strong alien that kills any cute animal she keeps (like say, a rabbit) by hugging them when she sleeps. Both Gintoki and Shinpachi were unsure whether to laugh or cry at such a story. Averted later when she gets Sadaharu, who is normally aggressive and deadly, and has the tendency to bite on anyone's head to draw blood, but for someone like Kagura, is the perfect pet.
  • The Clawed Man in GUN×SWORD. Played very straight, almost for tragedy, and he regrets it every time.
  • Hatsukoi Limited: While he's actually far too gentle for this, the appearance of Zaitsu Misao immediately convinces people and animals alike that this is the case. Evidence suggests that he knows his limits better than that, but the birds he loves to feed never take the chance. It doesn't help that his fantasies about his crush bear some definite undertones of this as well.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: Russia's treatment of Latvia in general, including affectionate head pats that are implied to have crushed part of his spine, and Russia stretching him bodily after Latvia tells him that his small size is Russia's fault. At another point, when Russia asks Latvia why he can't stop shaking in his presence and gives him a hug in an attempt to calm him down, Latvia pretty much dies of fright. The Sealand and Latvia Desktop mascots allude to this:
    Sealand: Why does Latvia hate Russia so much?
    Latvia:...I don't want to be twisted anymore...
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: When Kuroe turns into Harugon at a metal festival, Arata, who manages to deduce from the creature's gaze and behavior that it's trying to tell him something, manages to calm her down after she catches him from a crashing helicopter. Relieved that he's okay and that he doesn't think her monster form is scary up close, she lovingly squeezes him in her hand...which causes him to pass out from the pressure. Unpleasant for him, but fortunate for her, as this allows her to change back while he's out cold without him discovering her Secret Identity.
  • Monster Musume: A Running Gag is the protagonist constantly being injured by the affections of Miia the lamia, who coils her tail around him every time she hugs. During the chapter where Lunacy drives the Unwanted Harem into a mating frenzy, our hero realizes that if he does go for it, their unrestrained physical strength will kill him.
  • Mad Science teacher Nakamura of Nichijou adores her cat Taisho, but has no idea how to care for a cat, among other things feeding him ramen like it was proper food. Taisho eventually ran away and became the Shinonomes' cat Sakamoto, though as he himself notes this isn't that great an improvement other than more reliable feeding.
  • Nyan Koi!: In the first episode, the main character's Love Interest (or at least he wants her to be) absolutely adores cats. Unfortunately, she doesn't understand that the cats don't appreciate being hugged so hard by a complete stranger after being lured with food. The local cats are terrified of her and consider her to be an evil and devious monster. Even more unfortunately, the main character is tasked with stopping her due to his curse (he has to do favors for 100 cats or be turned into a cat himself because he accidentally broke the statue of a cat deity).
  • One Piece: A flashback shows that the pirate Charlotte "Big Mom" Linlin used to have this problem as a child. Even at five years old, Linlin was already much bigger than even normal-sized adults, which, combined with her Ambiguous Innocence and hunger-crazed rampages, was not played for laughs. When trying to spank a full-grown bear like you would a naughty child, Linlin killed the poor beast in one hit. Her idea of "helping" her non-human playmates was to simply tear off their abnormalities, and would have done it had no-one stopped her. It's strongly implied that Linlin ate the other residents of her orphanage while on a "Hunger Rampage".
  • Pokémon: The Series: This seems to be a bit of a problem for newcomer Iris.
    • She got shocked by Pikachu when she first met it and Cuteness Proximity took over.
    • Iris smooches Ash's Tepig. Poor thing, as if it didn't suffer enough already.
    • Iris has taken fire to the face twice and electrocution, and all before the ninth episode! She's not stopping, and we should all fear for the safety of every Pokémon.
    • In XY, Clemont's little sister, Bonnie, once got shocked by Pikachu because she hugged him too hard.
    • In Sun & Moon, Lana's two little sisters do this to Pikachu. He ends up shocking them, Lana, Ash, the RotomDex, and Lana's Popplio. Then there's Bewear and Team Rocket...
  • Ranma ½:
    • When Ryōga hears (Shampoo impersonating) Akane tell him she loves him, he goes mad with joy and pursues her, intending to give her a big hug. Akane, for her part, thinks he's being mind-controlled (long story) and is absolutely horrified when she sees him destroy half the landscape pursuing her. Realizing that a hug from him would crush her, she escapes and trades places with Ranma, who is resilient enough to be only slightly squished when he embraces her.
    • Played straight. Ryōga's on the receiving end when he's kidnapped in his piglet form by Azusa Shiratori of the Golden Pair, who steals anything she considers cute (animals and inanimate objects alike) and give them cute French names like Françoise or Charlotte.
    • Akane takes P-Chan (Ryōga's pig form) to bed with her. Happōsai decides to steal a turn and spends an entire chapter fending off Ranma and Ryōga only to learn — a bit too late — that "sweet lil' Akane" tosses and turns in her sleep, and gets pummeled. The following dialogue ensues;
      Ranma: Does she usually sleep like this?
      Ryōga: No, this is a lot calmer than usual.
    • One author has noted that this makes her a perfect fit for Ranma's Unconscious Objector sleep pattern.
  • Spy X Family: Yor is often on the giving end of this due to her superhuman strength.
    • She accidentally broke Yuri's ribs when he was little while hugging him.
    • She hugged Anya a little too hard when she obtained her first Stella. Thankfully no damage was done.
  • Tokyo Babylon: In the OAVs, a young boy around 10 years old accidentally strangled his younger sister to death while they were playing in the living of their home. He didn't seem to even notice that she was dead, even happily greeting their shell-shocked mother when she walked on the scene. Ten years later... the grown-up boy has become a Serial Killer and the Big Bad of the second OAV.
  • Toriko gives us the Monkey King Bambina, so friggin' strong that he can hurl mountains around the Earth. He's a very playful fella, but woe betide anyone he thinks are his playmates, as his strength can make even a game of Look The Other Way rip someone's head off.
  • Transformers: Energon has a variation with, of all mechs, Megatron, who didn't realize until his soldier Demolishor pointed it out, that humans actually die and don't have "sparks" that can be collected after their bodies are destroyed. (Unlike Cybertronians, who have fought the same war with the same people for millions of years, and most death just results in a new toy... uh, body.) Megatron even pauses to think about this, saying "Really?". This doesn't stop him from wanting to blow up the planet later on.
  • In Urusei Yatsura, one of the reasons Tobimaro rejects the affections of his would-be love interest Asuka is because she is so strong that she tends to break his bones when she hugs him. The other very important reason is that she's his little sister.
    • Initially, Lum was going to lose control of her Shock and Awe powers whenever she hugged Ataru; when she first returns in the manga's third chapter, she hugs him three times, and shocks him each time. The 1981 anime adaptation even includes a unique scene in its 5th episode where it's stated that Lum's "expressions of love" have been repeatedly crashing the local power transformer. However, Rumiko Takahashi evidently decided that this wasn't a funny gag and so dropped it — it appears a grand total of six times in the manga's 366 chapters, vanishing entirely after chapter 112, and only marginally more frequently in the 1981 anime.
  • In Wolf's Rain, where Toboe greets the old woman who keeps him as a pet a little too vigorously and breaks her neck.

  • In a rare art-related example, Frank Kelly Freas' painting The Gulf Between, which also served as inspiration for Queen's News of the World album, features a giant robot that has inadvertently killed a man by holding him too tightly. In the issue of Astounding Science Fiction that featured this on the cover, this was accompanied by the caption, "Please... fix it, Daddy?"

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in the old newspaper comic version of Batman, in which a Dumb Muscle gangster is shown having a Pet the Dog moment by giving a kitten a saucer of milk. His affluent boss doesn't like the distraction his henchman's having, so picks up the kitty to pet him... and breaks the poor thing's neck right in front of its owner.
  • Happens on a cosmic scale in Hero Squared. After their petty super-squabbles destroy their own universe, Captain Valor and his archenemy Caliginous find themselves stranded in a more mundane universe. Valor quickly realizes that in this universe, his "protection" doesn't come without a price like it did where he came from, and that superheroics and physics don't go so well together.
  • In Hulk: Gray, the Hulk befriends a rabbit in the desert at one point. "Friend. Gray, like Hulk..." It's all very sweet; you don't get to see the soft side of the Hulk often. However, what was meant by the Hulk as a playful poke proves fatal to the poor thing, and the Hulk is driven into one of his trademark rages because he doesn't understand why his friend is "wet" (from the blood).
  • This is guaranteed to happen whenever Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl gets a pet.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: In "En Alemania", they meet an extremely strong drunkard who mistakes them for some friends of his and constantly wants to hug them. He was so strong that his hugs were quite painful for them.
  • In issue #2 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW), the Mane Six run afoul of a hulking cave troll who wants to add the "pwetty po-nays" to his collection of toys. Rarity manages to distract him by whipping up some decoys out of stone, wood, and moss that the troll finds just as cute as the originals. Amusingly, he winds up calling the Rarity decoy "George", much to her dismay.
  • The Russian does this to one of Ma Gnucci's henchmen in The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank.
  • At the end of The Punisher Presents Barracuda, Barracuda accidentally kills the hemophiliac Oswald, one of the few people who he's ever seemed to actually like, by slapping him on the back too hard and causing him to bleed out.
  • While captured by Fang, Bark, and Bean of Team Hooligan in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Cream the Rabbit fires off a (rather polite) rant. Bean finds this so adorable, he wants to keep her around and call her "Jorge". Amy and Blaze arrive to rescue her and Cheese the Chao before anything else happens.
  • In Action Comics volume 1, issue #643, Superman returns from a self-imposed exile. Overjoyed to see Jimmy after his long time away, Superman grabs the young reporter off his feet. Jimmy yelps and tells Perry to hurry if he's going to have a picture taken because "I think he's crushing my ribs."
  • In volume 4 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage), Shadow, adopted daughter of Casey Jones, discovers her boyfriend is leading some kind of terrorist anti-alien group. Upon finding her, he sends a little toy robot after her that "just wants to play". The robot chases after her relentlessly and the message is clear that playtime will mean her death, and when both of them fall into a river, he tries to drown her, thinking it's all a fun game.

    Fan Works 
  • In Jonathan Joestar, The First JoJo, Jonathan does this to Joseph after learning that he's his grandson.
    Jonathan laughed, while Joseph only gasped, trying to suck in air. "G-Grandpa, I-I can't b-breathe!"
    "Oh! My apologies!" He chuckled nervously, releasing Joseph from the death grip, but kept him at arm's length.
  • A Running Gag in Ben 10: Unlimited. Kara loves to hug Ben, and sometimes squeezes too tight. This isn't a problem when he's in an alien form (as most of them are far more durable than humans), but when he is a human, he or someone nearby needs to stop her before she goes too far.
    Ben: Kara, AIR!
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Gladion and his Pokémon suffer from this after Tapu Koko drops them in front of the wild Bewear, who takes them away.
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H.: As shown basically every time she greets her grandson Simon, Agnes Skinner’s hugs are just like her parenting style: smothering.
  • Total Drama Legacy: Carter hugs like a boa constrictor. As his father Noah puts it:
    You really need to be careful with that, or you could wind up like Lennie Small.
  • In Touhou Project fanworks, Flandre Scarlet and Koishi Komeiji are sometimes depicted as being a little too energetic in their pursuit of cuddles. Poor Okuu gets all bent out of shape and ruffled when Koishi glomps her. As for Flandre, well, those that she "plays with" down in the Scarlet Devil Mansion's basement frequently end up "broken."
    • There is also this pic with Suika and Alice. Poor Alice.
  • In the PreCure in a Nutshell take on Miyuki meeting Candy, "Kiyumi" immediately wants to adopt "Cancan" and literally call her George.
  • In The Unexpected Rookie, the Delinquient Road Hazards are plotting their next prank against Radiator Springs when they accidentally get caught by the Dinobots. Swoop is quite taken with Boost's color scheme, and is examining/scaring the fluids out of him when Prime, Wheeljack, Sheriff, and the others show up. He's being as gentle as he can be, but Transformers are made of stronger stuff than the Cars, and it's only because of the timely intervention that Boost wasn't hurt.

    Films — Animation 
  • Finding Nemo: Darla is notorious amongst the Tank Gang because of this. She innocently killed Nemo's predecessor by shaking his bag too much.
    Darla: Fishie? FISHIE! Wake! Up! Wake! Up! WOAI! ARE! YOU! SLAYPING?!
  • The Lion King 1 ½: Timon's mother tends to give him such tight and agonizing hugs.
    Timon: Ma! Choking, not breathing!
  • Monsters vs. Aliens:
    • B.O.B. enthusiastically hugs Susan's mom, and since he's a Blob Monster, accidentally absorbs her. Susan orders him to spit her out before she suffocates, then apologizes for him. "He's just a hugger."
    • Susan goes to her fiancé Derek, and as she is ten times taller than he is, she very nearly crushes him and almost snaps his head off with a kiss.
  • In Penguins of Madagascar, Corporal hugs the penguins quite tightly. The girl who shakes the snow-globe Dave's trapped in might count.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls Movie, when fighting the superpowered monkeys, Bubbles picks up Cruncha Muncha, the littlest capuchin monkey. She hugs him really tight and starts swinging him around in her arms when, suddenly, he goes limp in her arms, and she begins to cry.
  • Clara who captures Snoopy and Woodstock (naming Snoopy "Rex") from Snoopy, Come Home seems to be a proto-Elmyra.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Edward Scissorhands. His name should give you an idea as to why it was hard for him to properly express physical affection. Though in this case, Edward seems to understand the dangers his hands pose.
  • Another Trope Maker was Universal's original Frankenstein (1931) film, in which the childlike monster, while innocently playing with a little girl, gets too enthusiastic and throws her in the river, where she drowns. This was considered so disturbing in the 1930s that the scene was cut right as the Creature is reaching for the girl, skipping to her father carrying her dead body. This made the implications of the scene worse.
  • The example from Frankenstein (1931) was parodied in Young Frankenstein, when the monster accidentally throws a little girl through the air by sitting down too hard on a see-saw. This time she's safely thrown through a window of her house into her own bed. In an earlier scene, the girl, after throwing all their petals in the well and making their wishes, asks, "What will we throw in now?" Cue the Monster's Aside Glance.
  • At the end of Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, when Hope and Sassy are reunited, Hope is so overjoyed, she scoops Sassy up in her arms and gives her a big hug.
  • In the Chuck Norris film Silent Rage his partner Charlie tells him about when he was little he had a puppy that when it got dirty he gave it a bath in the toilet and put it in the freezer to dry but he accidentally forgot about it and it froze to death.
  • In Tommy Boy, Chris Farley's character at a restaurant demonstrates to a waitress how he ruins a sales pitch, likening it to a pet (represented by a dinner roll) that he crushes with manic love.

  • The Howlers from Animorphs are a terrifying race of warriors responsible for the genocide of several other alien races — until our heroes find out that they're all children who believe they're playing a game, under the control of the evil Crayak. It gets better: Jake morphs into a Howler and finds out they have a Hive Mind and are personally killed off by Crayak to ensure they don't remember death. He retaliates by downloading his own memories into another Howler — including his and Cassie's First Kiss. This throws off the whole killer race thing, as the Howlers now try to kiss everything into total submission. Whoops.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm:
    • The Selective Obliviousness prone Manchild of the cast remembers his childhood Fantastic Fauna Counterpart pet to have been a quite weak creature. When he brings this up with a childhood companion in the present day, the companion's response boils down to "your pet wasn't weak, you just tired it out too much while playing with it and hugged it too hard".
    • The nobleman passing the physically fragile protagonist off as his daughter has a Hot-Blooded father who is in very good shape for his age. The protagonist initially has no idea that her grandfather is Hot-Blooded and a Doting Grandparent because he holds his real personality back out of fear of accidentally killing her. It almost happens when her grandfather rescues her from a kidnapper and shakes the bag in which she's being kept too hard while trying to quickly get her out of it.
  • The Beginning After the End: Angela Rose does this to Arthur thrice, each time giving him Marshmallow Hell in the process. The first time happens when Arthur meets her and the rest of the Twin Horns as a boy. The second time happens three years later when he meets them again after having reunited with his family. The third time happens after he returns from Elenoir with his Love Interest Tessia, much to the latter's chagrin (even moreso once she does it to her as well).
  • Discworld has Tshup Aklathep, Infernal Star Toad with A Million Young. She shows pictures of them all to anyone she can catch. Until her new friends' brains implode or they kill themselves.
  • The Enchanted Pony Academy series has a G-rated version. Electra loves running more than anything, so when riding classes start, she's enthusiastic about being able to share that thrill with a child. So when someone gets on her back, she flat-out gallops, with absolutely no regard for the terror the six(?)-year-old kid is feeling or the fact that he hasn't ridden at all before. This gains her a reputation for being unrideable.
  • Hagrid from Harry Potter fits the bill in more than one way. Being a benevolent half-giant, he really doesn't know his own strength, so he routinely crushes his human friends by hugging them or slams their bodies against the floor with a friendly pat. Hilariously, this translates into his cooking as well. Since he's really strong he can ingest anything with no problem, but his meals tend to be strong enough to break his guests' teeth.
  • In Memories of Ice, the third book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Toc the Younger is subjected to a horrifying variant of this. After being captured by the enemy, he's given as a plaything to an insane K'Chain Che'Malle Matron. Desperate for a child to cling to, the enormous beast promptly begins hugging Toc, all the while crushing and distorting his body... but the magic applied to Toc keeps him alive and healing, leaving his body a twisted, pitiful wreck.
  • Moongobble and Me: Early in book 4, after Urk gets turned into a miniature cat, Snelly the Mischief Monster promptly tries to run up and hug him, exclaiming "But I wanna hug you and kiss you and wrap you in a blanket!" Fortunately, Edward is able to catch her and keep this from happening. Unfortunately for Urk, she keeps trying to grab and hug him. (And she still thinks he's cute after he turns back into a toad.)
  • Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation: When he was three years old, Zanoba accidentally killed his infant brother Julius when he mistook him for a puppet and since he did not know his own strength as a miko ended up tearing Julius's head off.
  • Averted in Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October, where Snuff's barking at the Experiment Man attracts the Good Doctor's attention. He convinces his creation to put Graymalk down and stop holding her too tight.
  • One of the Trope Makers is undoubtedly Lennie Small, in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Lennie is a childlike man who doesn't know his own strength, and so ended up crushing the mice and puppies he tried to pet, and eventually kills someone by accident in much the same way. George is the name of his sidekick (or rather, Lennie is his sidekick), hence the Looney Tunes and MGM examples are Shout Outs. There is also the fact that poor Lennie's reaction to being startled is to hold on tightly to whatever he's holding.
  • In Tad Williams' Otherland, the Other, quasi-sentient operating system of the titular network, loves children and seeks them out, but the combination of its ignorance of real life, Psychic Powers, and the horror of its existence means that its attempts to "play with them" ends up inadvertently Mind Raping them into comas. Oops.
  • Reincarnated as a Sword: When Fran first meets Amanda, the latter declares herself to be the former's mother before promptly giving her a crushing embrace. Fran is not at all pleased by this overt display of affection from this stranger. Not helping matters is that afterward (in a montage added in the manga and later on the anime), Amanda is seen stalking Fran all over Alessa. As it turns out, the reason for why Amanda is so affectionate towards Fran is that she was her adoptive grandmother, having known both of Fran's parents when they were young.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger volume IV, The Moment of the Magician, contains an example where a sentient swamp refuses to let our protagonists go because "They are new and interesting". It likes new and interesting. In order to coax it to let them leave, Jon-Tom conjures up a variety of objects from his own world such as a grandfather clock or a flea circus to entertain it, and eventually it is overcome by... tv commercials.
  • The Stand. Lloyd Henreid, starving to death after being abandoned in prison, likens his situation to a rabbit he got as a pet when he was a little boy. A forgetful lad, he unfortunately left the bunny caged in a garage for two weeks. The consequences for the poor creature are described in horrifying detail.
    The rabbit's paws were ragged and bloody. He tried to tell himself that the paws were bloody because it had tried to scratch its way out of the cage, and that was undoubtedly how it had happened, but some sick, dark part of his mind spoke up in a whisper and said that maybe the rabbit, in the final extremity of its hunger, had tried to eat itself... And now, looking at his bloody fingers, [Lloyd] thought with fresh horror about the paws of that long-ago rabbit, to whom he had meant no harm.
  • In The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign, the White Queen's lover/victim compares her to a bear: she might not mean to hurt people, she might be actively trying her best not to, but one slip in discipline and she'll pulverize the human she's playing with.
  • In Mikhail Uspensky's Zhikhar's Adventures humorous fantasy novels, that's what a varkalap does to you.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the third season of American Horror Story, Kyle accidentally kills the Coven's guard dog by hugging her too tight. Mind you, she was a German Shepherd.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy accidentally makes breathing hard for Giles while hugging him in one episode. Her slayer strength makes the hug harder than she intended it to be.
  • In the episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler adopt a chick and a duck, Phoebe tells them that baby chicks need a lot of love. Chandler invokes this trope when Joey picks up the check and starts aggressively snuggling it.
    Chandler: Easy, Lenny!
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Charlie accidentally smothers a pigeon he was hiding in his jacket. He tries to set it free during a therapy session, only for it to slam down onto the coffee table, dead. His therapist is thoroughly disturbed.
  • In The Middle bookworm (and special needs kid) Brick is reading "Of Mice and Men" for the first time. "Aw, he's petting the bunny. Oh, he crushed it. Now he's comforting the woman. Oh, he killed her."
  • In The Outer Limits (1963) episode "Behold, Eck!", the titular creature is a meek, polite entity who comes from a two-dimensional universe. After he accidentally enters our world through a dimensional rift, Eck unintentionally causes all sorts of havoc until the heroes figure out how to send him home. The script's original title was "The Reluctant Monster," which gives you an idea of the tone the writers were going for.
  • In The Outer Limits (1995), an episode involves a man copying his comatose dying son's consciousness into a clunky robot body. When he comes home, he finds the cat has finally stopped being afraid of the robot, because he's petting its "soft" bloody body with his cheap robot claws.
  • In the first episode of QI, Alan Davies jokes about giant anteaters doing this.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the episode "Let He Who Is Without Sin...", Jadzia Dax asks Worf why he is so uptight and restrained compared to other Klingons. He reluctantly admits that he acts like that because at the age of thirteen he was being raised on a Human colony. He ended up as the captain of a local soccer team, while a Human friend of his, Mikel, was on another. During a game between the two teams, they both went for the ball and butted heads. Worf barely noticed, but Mikel died on contact.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Cameron accidentally kills birds in her hand due to a glitch in her mechanical fingers.


  • In The Hidden Almanac, this is mentioned as a hazard posed to pets by garden yetis.
    At worst, the yetis may attempt to snuggle the chickens and name them George. Fortunately, they are easily distracted and will usually put the chicken down before it becomes annoyed.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Beasts of Nurgle in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 only want to play with all the friends they meet on the battlefield. However, since they're living embodiments of disease in the form of giant slugs strong enough to crush a man's bones to powder and have acid-oozing skin, you can guess how well that goes.


  • Frankenstein: A New Musical
The Creature attempts to embrace the blind old man who showed him kindness, and accidentally kills him.
  • In the play Rabbit, set in a Teenage Wasteland, Tib does this to the bunny from the title.
  • Comes up in Romeo and Juliet. No, really:
    Romeo: I would I were thy bird.
    Juliet: Sweet, so would I;
    Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.

    Video Games 
  • A thief is on the receiving end of this in A3 hAve A greAt trip story. Homare mistakes the thief for an overseas fan and greets him with a hug. While no physical damage is done, the thief is unable to flee and ends up getting arrested.
  • The yeti stage hazards in Bug attempt to grab Bug and squeeze him like a toy, all the while saying stuff like "Nice Buggy...".
  • The description for the corpse of a monster in Clonk is "He only wanted to play..."
  • In Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes, Mother Superior Ignatz tells a story from her childhood; she desperately wanted a pet unicorn, but was given a tarantula instead. She decided to try and make it more unicorn-like... and accidentally killed it by driving a nail through its head.
  • Gogron, an orc in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, crushed the skull of his pet rabbit by petting it too hard.
  • In FEAR 2: Project Origin, Alma repeatedly tries to...embrace Beckett. If Beckett doesn't fight off her amorous intentions, she will kill him by doing so. It is implied that the only reason he survives getting raped at the endgame is because of the Telesthetic Amplifier boosting his Psychic Powers.
  • According to the instruction guide for Final Fight 2, this is what makes Bratken, the third Boss, so dangerous; he's a hulking brute and a Psychopathic Manchild who loves to play with toys, and often mistakes people for teddy bears.
  • Debilitas from the Survival Horror game Haunting Ground, the Psychopathic Manchild gardener who chases Fiona around the castle because he's mistaken her for one of his dolls and just wants to play with her. Unfortunately, his over-excitement means he'll violently beat her to death in glee if you let him get close, or pick the poor girl up and squeeze her to death in a Bear Hug while giggling manically. His misunderstood intentions, however, mean he's the only assailant in the game who makes it out alive (in the Good Ending).
  • In Jade Empire, there's an ogre named Zhong who worked on a farm, who used to enjoy throwing his master's ox into the air then catching it. When you meet him, he's sad because he missed the catch and the ox landed on its head.
  • Referenced in the Killing Floor "Twisted Christmas" update with some of the Scrakefrost's lines.
    And I will pet him.
    And I will name him George.
    And I will carve him up.
  • Dink in King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!, and the clinging vines in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow. In his Let's Play of KQV, Paw Dugan makes direct reference to the Trope Namer when he gets killed by Dink.
  • Luigi's Mansion has ghosts that hug you... which rapidly drains your health and slows you down until you shake them off.
  • In Mage, the spaces between galaxies are filled with infinitely large trees that used to be people- purified magical beings that determine the local laws of reality to their whim. Visiting these trees is dangerous- because they like to play with the people who visit them. Play with them until they break. And then fix them and send them back to earth.
  • Pokémon:
    • Bewear, one of the Pokemon introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon, has a reputation for giving painful, crushing bear-hugs to its trainer.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield introduces the Gigantamax form of Eevee, which is even friendlier and cuddlier than Eevee's standard form. But since it's at least 18 meters tall, however... Its signature G-Max move, G-Max Cuddle, even has it cuddle with a target, and any opposite-gendered targets and their allies become infatuated with the Eevee.
  • Resident Evil (Remake) introduces a deformed mutant. (It is worth noting that said mutant is a forty-five-year-old woman with the (damaged) mind of a fourteen-year-old girl and is wearing her mother's face.) In your first encounter, she doesn't hurt you; she just knocks you out. One of her "diary" entries reads:
    dunno dadd found mum again
    whne atachd mommy she moved no more she screaming
    why? Jst want to b with her
  • The Rawshocks in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories relentlessly chase the protagonist, Harry Mason to give him a hug. As they are freezing cold, this damages Harry, eventually cause him to freeze to death or fall unconscious if he doesn't shake them off quickly enough. The Rawshocks will then caress Harry's cheek.
  • The Orz from Star Control. They just want to "come together for *parties*" but apparently they wiped out the Androsynth. Don't ask them about the Androsynth.
  • Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People - in Strong Badia The Free Strong Mad hugs the Cheat tightly while The Cheat gasps for air.
  • Paprika, resident Love Freak from Them's Fightin' Herds, was absolutely dreaded for this tendency in her homeland. While her fellow alpacas finally got rid of her, she still brings bone-crushing hugs and deranged, giggling affection as her main weapon in fights.
  • Flandre Scarlet, from Touhou Project, is pretty much the embodiment of this trope. Although pet isn't the word she'd use. More like toy. And yes, her toys break. Constantly.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • XT-002 Deconstructor, a Humongous Mecha raid boss in Ulduar (who does yoga-like exercises while it waits for you to show up) who has the voice of a cartoon child and seems to regard the players it smashes into flinders as "toys".
      XT-002: New toys? For me? I promise I won't break them this time!
    • Patchwerk from Naxxramas, who "want to play". He also exclaims, "No more play?" when killing a player.
    • Festergut and Rotface from Icecrown Citadel are portrayed this way, particularly Rotface, who exclaims loudly on killing a player: "I broked-ed it!"
  • X Com Chimera Squad: Yarvo, a Muton engineer, was given two cats as part of their rehabilitation program, to help them develop nurturing skills and compassion. Instead, Yarvo killed them both, purely by accident, and expressed no emotion beyond deep frustration that they had broken something and couldn't fix it. Yarvo took these incidents as proof that it was impossible for Mutons to integrate in human society, and instead hatched a plan to try to leave Earth and settle somewhere where Mutons wouldn't be looked down on for things beyond their control.

    Web Animation 
  • Referenced in the "Fun Dead" episode of Eddsworld, where Matt declares (about a cymbal-playing monkey novelty toy he won from a claw machine), "I'll hug him and squeeze him and call him Little Tom!"
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: Vulkan seems to have this problem. He's both the nicest of the Primarchs, being a massive Love Freak who just wants to be friends with everyone and is so glad to finally be back, and also the physically strongest, to the point he fought the biggest Ork there ever was in hand-to-hand combat. Both don't mix too well; Alfabusa has said he was quite generous with his hugs on his return, and that many of the hugged Space Marines needed to visit the Apothecary afterwards. What we do see on screen is the massive bear hug Magnus gets, and despite the fact he's another Primarch and also mostly incorporeal he starts screaming in abject pain. We get this line in the spinoff show after Vulkan starts hugging a Raven Guard Space Marine.
    Corvus: Vulkan, stop unintentionally murdering my son.
  • In RWBY Chibi, when regular Ruby sees her Chibi counterpart, her eventual reaction is "I just wanna squeeze you 'til you pop!" Then she glomps her Super-Deformed self until the latter wakes up, nearly choking.
  • Salad Fingers, in a series available on Nitrome.
    "You got all flat, and gooey... I shant play with you 'till you have a bath."

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • In SMPLive, Connor gives his pet parrot a cookie as a treat, unaware of the fact that cookies are poisonous to parrots and kill them instantly in Minecraft. He proceeds to have a Heroic BSoD.
  • VlogBrothers provides an example where the Green brothers' mother claims that Hank tried to kill John with a hammer, and John tried to hug Hank to death.

    Western Animation 
  • A couple of instances happen in American Dad! with Barry:
    • When he mistakes a girl in a cat costume as the ghost of his pet cat Mr. Whiskers, he says "I'm sorry Mr. Whiskers I didn't know you couldn't breathe under water!" while sobbing.
    • He also once said "Puppies can't fly, or at least mine couldn't" while holding back tears.
  • In an episode of Animaniacs, a Killer Gorilla named Kiki can only be calmed down if she can play with a cat. Rita learns the hard way what that means.
  • Cyberchase does the occasional Shout-Out to this, though they're usually not examples of this trope. The henchrobot Delete is always begging his boss, Hacker, for a bunny "so I can love it, and keep it, and call it George."
  • In DuckTales (2017), Glomgold puts his sharks in too-small tanks and takes them out of the water to put them in parkas (or "sharkas" as he calls them), but the affectionate way he talks to them suggests he's doing this out of misguided affection instead of malice.
  • Family Guy:
    • While being hugged tightly by a girl with Down Syndrome, Stewie comments, "I bet this one had a bunny, but not anymore."
    • Brian in an episode, ended up on the receiving end of this when a special needs kid began petting him too hard, despite Brian telling him to stop. Brian, eventually can't take it anymore and bites him, which sadly, can be Truth in Television in many cases like this (as noted in the folder below).
  • Bender in Futurama is always down to smack a cherished friend around, but his occasional Cuddle Bug moments may be even worse for the humans in his life. Imagine getting squeezed tightly by a robot designed and built specifically to bend steel girders.
  • In Green Eggs and Ham (2019), it is revealed Snerz's pet Flemur ran away because he played too rough with it and hugged it too tight, his mother saw how hurt it was and allowed it to leave the house.
  • In "Can You Hear a Drip?" on Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs, Trike falls under the grip of an octopus named Soggy who tells him that he's going to cuddle and love and pet him forever. It later turns out that Soggy was one of Harry's bath toys that came alive in Dino World.
  • One of the pet care tips from Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats tackles this issue as Heathcliff explains to keep a close eye on small children around dogs and cats because they may not realize that animals are not toys and treat them too rough. As he explains this, a baby in the background is grabbing Spike by the tail and thrashing him around.
  • An uncompleted episode of Invader Zim would have featured a giant alien named Squishy, Hugger of Worlds and the efforts to stop him from hugging Earth to death.
  • Justice League:
    • In Cheetah's first appearance, it was implied that Solomon Grundy killed her this way — but then she was shown alive, in hand-cuffs. Earlier in the episode, when Batman exposed her to the members of her criminal team as the "traitor,", she was "given" to Grundy and was shown being dragged out of the room, screaming. However, despite the implied death, the end of the episode featured an ensemble picture of the villains being loaded into a police vehicle, including Cheetah. Word of God states this was an accident, the intention was for everybody to assume she had been "petted" to death, but it allowed her to make a few future appearances in various episodes.
    • In the episode "Only a Dream", Superman is subjected to a dream where his strength is out of control. His attempt to hug Jimmy Olsen in joy snaps the kid like a twig. Given that the dream is his worst nightmare, it's Played for Drama.
  • Looney Tunes shorts:
    • The Trope Namer was shorts with Hugo the Abominable Snowman, a furry giant who would "adopt" fuzzy animals (like Bugs) and nearly smother them with adoration as a riff on Lennie from Of Mice and Men. He would always call his new pet "George".
      "I'm gonna love him, and hug him, and pet him, and call him George!"
    • One version of this trope that originated the Trope Namer before Hugo took over occurred in "Hoppy Go Lucky" (1952), in which Sylvester the cat tries to catch Hippety Hopper as a pet for his large, warm-hearted if dumb friend Bennie, who also appeared with a cat named George in "Cat-Tails For Two" (1953). In a neat twist, Bennie calls Sylvester "George", even going so far as to utter the immortal line, "But I can't say 'Sylvester', George."
    • Junyer Bear is a classic embodiment of this. In "A Bear for Punishment", Junyer is determined to give dear ol' Dad a memorable Father's Day. At one point, he tries to give his father a shave with a jagged straight razor. A moment later, he tells his mother, "Ma? Pa won't talk to me. I nudged him and I nudged him... he's awfully still." Subverted a moment later when a tattered arm reaches through the door and yanks Junyer back through it, followed by the sound of Pa beating the crap out of his son. "Pa is all right now, Ma!"
  • Martha Speaks: In "Martha And The Doggie Lover", Martha explains the difference between a dog lover and a "doggie lover", being that a dog lover is simply someone who likes dogs, whereas a doggie lover is someone (usually a little kid) who likes to hug and squeeze dogs, usually resulting in the dog getting mad and causing the kid to become scared.
  • The Spikels from Mixels picture themselves as cute and cuddly and love to show affection to the other Mixels. Unfortunately, they have the tendency to forget they're covered in sharp spikes and blades. It doesn't help the case with the fact that their leader, Scorpi, is the cutest Mixel you could find.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • One segment featured a giant robot coming to life and innocently harming everyone he meets; he picks up a dog and crushes it when he pets it, splattering its guts all over himself. When police open fire to try to stop his apparent rampage, he decides to "play" too... and "wins".
    • Another sketch features an Elmyra Captain Ersatz who is so cuteness-crazed that upon encountering a Pegasus in a bear trap, she hacks off his wings, knocks him out, paints him pink, and whips him until he accepts that his new name is Sunnymuffins. Definitely Crosses the Line Twice. It was made even better when you realize the voice actor for Pegasus is Wayne Brady, and the little girl is voiced by Cree Summer, who also voiced the aforementioned Elmyra and Susie Carmichael from Rugrats.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • A seemingly kind old woman turns out to be this type in the episode, "Gary Come Home." When Gary, the pet snail, runs away from a neglectful SpongeBob, he is rescued by the old character. Before he is smothered by attention, he finds the shells of other pet snails that she's loved to death by fattened them up with food and affection. He beats a quick path home.
    • While he doesn't actually kill them, SpongeBob himself has this behavior towards Squidward, Ms. Puff, Gary, and Barnacle Boy.
    • SpongeBob is on the receiving end of this in "Bossy Boots", when Pearl hugs him for agreeing to "fire" her from being the Krusty Krab manager so she can get back to enjoying her summer vacation.
      Pearl: How can I ever thank you?
      SpongeBob: [muffled] Stop trying to break me in half?
      Pearl: Deal. [drops SpongeBob]
  • Starfire of Teen Titans is normally able to control her super-strength, but when she gets particularly emotional, even a joyful hug becomes capable of constricting the recipient. Take this exchange from "Titan Rising" when Starfire greets Terra with a tight squeeze.
    Starfire: Oh, hello long-lost friend!! You remember me, yes?
    Terra: [in terrible pain] Of course, Starfire. I still have bruises from the last time you hugged me.
  • The animated short, The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9
  • A similar type of character also appeared in Tex Avery MGM Cartoons.
    • " Lonesome Lenny" is probably the ultimate example of this. "You know, I had a little friend once — but he don't move no more!". At which point Screwy Squirrel (the "little friend" in question) pulls a sign saying "Sad ending - Ain't it?" Noticeably, this is the last Screwy Squirrel Cartoon chronologically.
    • Avery did a series of cartoons with George and Junior, a vaguely bear-like pair closely modeled after George and Lenny. Junior's regular screw-ups required him to bend over for George to kick his ass. This was actually the censored version. A more controversial version had Junior turning around so that George could shoot him in the headexactly like the ending of the book it was referencing. It was presumably changed due to a case of Dude, Not Funny!.
  • Elmyra of Tiny Toon Adventures (pictured above):
    • Elmyra loved animals but didn't know how to treat them. She was honestly confused when the adorable animals she meant no harm towards objected to being put in too-small cages, bathed via near-drowning, and other overly-affectionate acts. Her bow is decorated with a small gerbil skull (some fans believe that the skull in her bow is the skull of her very first pet, who died when she was little).
    • In the "Night of the Living Pets" segment from the Tales from the Crypt parody "Toons from the Crypt", she is seen looking through a photo album of deceased pets, including a fish that she didn't realize couldn't live out of water, and a horse that jumped off a cliff after she screamed in its ear. Said pets end up coming back as zombies to try and get revenge, only to endure more torture from Elmyra. Fortunately, this was only a nightmare.

    Real Life 
  • This story, about a guinea pig in a wheelchair, is exactly the sort of thing that can happen if kids that don't know any better are allowed to be around small, vulnerable animals. Some kid squeezed the poor guinea pig so badly that her back broke, leaving her entirely unable to move the back-end of her body. In this case, at least, the animal thankfully wasn't killed.
  • In general, this tends to be the cause of some (minor) animal attacks on children - the kid starts petting the animal far too hard, or squeezing them where they shouldn't, prompting the animal to lash out as a warning, whether by scratch or bite. Sadly, this often doesn't end well on the poor animal's end, as this has landed pets in animal shelters or abandoned, and tragically in some cases, euthanized.

Alternative Title(s): Smothered In Affection, Hug Em To Pieces, Love Em To Death, Cute Aggression


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