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Bungled Suicide

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"I'm so dumb I can't even kill myself."
Twisty the Clown, American Horror Story: Freak Show

This is when someone attempts to kill themselves, and fails. This may lead to them trying to kill themselves again, or maybe they'll see it as a sign and go on their merry way. It's not Interrupted Suicide; they go through with it... they just don't die, for whatever reason. It may be because of some kind of immortality, or maybe the means they used weren't effective enough. People who are physically not able to die for some reason usually cannot kill themselves no matter how hard they try. If done well, this can be either touching or tearjerking... and if done badly, it can just seem like the writers didn't have the guts to kill a character off. Occasionally Played for Laughs.

This is Truth in Television, Ate His Gun being a frequent source, although with firearms being the most lethal method, the great majority of these in Real Life involve drugs or cutting - the two least likely to work due to the time they require (which often leads to the attempter being found before it's too late) or due to the lack of knowledge of the attempter (trying to overdose on a homeopathic remedy, sideways cuts).


Fake Assisted Suicide is one way of invoking this trope. Compare Interrupted Suicide and Mid-Suicide Regret.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • This banned Bridgestone commercial.
  • This Hyundai ad depicting a man attempting to suffocate himself with car exhaust fumes. As it turns out, the car emits water vapors.

    Comic Books 
  • Arseface from Preacher— he was trying to imitate the suicide of his hero Kurt Cobain, but failed in a particularly grotesque fashion (thus the name.)
  • In Alpha Flight, Jerry Jaxon tried to hang himself. He survived but did enough damage to leave himself paralyzed.
  • This pops up in Ultimate Fantastic Four as part of deconstructing the Thing's Blessed with Suck/Cursed With Awesome powers. He's a huge, freakish rock monster, stands out anywhere, has to be careful about crushing anything he touches, has almost no sense of touch. In the 616 Marvel Universe, this is played for drama now and then but sometimes falls into Wangst territory. In the Ultimate Marvel universe, which is both Darker and Edgier and is earlier in the characters' timelines, he tried to kill himself several times but has not found anything that can break his skin.
  • In a similar vein, Sharon Ventura in the 616 Marvel-verse tried to kill herself after being mutated into She Thing. And failed for the exact same reason.
  • Mr Immortal from the Great Lakes Avengers (or whatever they are now), after losing the love of his life (and then loses another). Given his name ...
  • During the 80s run of The Defenders, a depressed Gargoyle tried to hang himself. He failed, due to the fact that his body was too strong.
  • One special issue of Dylan Dog had a terminally ill man who, after selling his soul to Baba Yaga in exchange for revenge on the killers of his family, tried to kill himself multiple times to uphold his side of the deal, but the Devil continued to interfere in darkly funny ways because the man had sold his soul to him first (he sold it to Baba Yaga when the Devil announced he'd give him his revenge only when he would not be able to enjoy it).
  • In the backstory of God Loves, Man Kills, William Stryker attempted to blow himself up after killing his mutant son and wife, but wound up being blown clear.
  • Judge Dredd: At the start of the "Necropolis" arc, Chief Judge Silver tries to commit suicide with his Lawgiver pistol when he realizes that he's inadvertently handed over his city to the Dark Judges on a silver platter. He botches the attempt, consigning himself to a Fate Worse than Death instead.
  • Simon Dark: Simon's first "brother" is significantly more Blessed with Suck than he, as a homeless drug addict who wanted to die, and is now deformed, constantly in pain, nigh immortal, unable to kill himself and losing his mind. When he starts tearing people in half Simon eventually manages to kill him.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

  • A little guy is sitting at the bar just staring at his drink for half an hour when this big trouble-making biker steps next to him, grabs his drink and gulps it down in one swig. The poor little guy starts crying. "Come on man. I was just giving you a hard time," the biker says. "I didn't think you'd CRY. I can't stand to see a man crying." The little guy sniffs and says "Today is the worst day of my life, I can't do anything right. I overslept and was late to an important meeting, so my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car was stolen and I don't have any insurance. I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife in bed with the gardener and my dog bit me. So I came to this bar trying to work up the courage to put an end to my life, and then you show up and drink the damn poison."
  • A Dumb Blonde arrives at the hospital with a severed finger.
    Receptionist: How did that happen?
    Blonde: I tried to commit suicide!
    Receptionist: By cutting off your finger?
    Blonde: No, I bought a gun, and I pointed it at my chest, but then I remembered that I just recently got breast implants and they were very expensive, so I didn't want to ruin them. So then I put the gun in my mouth, but then I remembered all the expensive dental work I've had done over the years and I didn't want to ruin that either. So then I put the gun up to my ear, but then I realized that the gun was going to make a loud bang... so I put my finger in my other ear.
  • There's a joke, which may or may not have been originated by The Two Ronnies, in which the world's most unsuccessful soccer goalkeeper attempts to throw himself under a bus, and misses.
  • Then there's the one with the elderly lady who tried to shoot herself in the heart, which she'd been told was directly below the left breast. She's being treated for a gunshot to the kneecap.
  • Then there's the story of the man who tried to kill himself with an overdose of ten thousand aspirin. After he took the first two he felt better.

  • Depeche Mode's "Blasphemous Rumours":
    Girl of sixteen, whole life ahead of her
    Slashed her wrists, bored with life
    Didn't succeed, thank the Lord
    For small mercies
    • It became even Harsher in Hindsight when singer Dave Gahan attempted suicide the same way a few years later. See Real Life.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel's "Three Peaches", in a similar vein:
    You're in the bathroom carving holiday designs
    Into yourself, hoping no one will find
    You, but they found you, and they took you
    And you somehow survived
  • Dave Mustaine once introduced Megadeth's "Skin o' My Teeth" in concert with "This is a song about how many times I tried to kill myself and just couldn't get the fucking job done."
  • The Monkees did "Goin' Down" where Micky Dolenz sings of trying to drown himself in the river over a spurned love. When he gets over his anxiety he decides he's better off without her and takes the river out of town.
  • Suicidal Tendencies' "Suicidal Failure" is sung from the perspective of a 19-year-old who has tried many different means of killing himself, but he just can't get it right.
  • In the video to Milaya by Filipp Kirkorov at 1:27 the cat takes poison, puts his neck in a noose and tries to shoot himself and pull the stool from under himself. And everything fails. The song doesn't mention suicide, though. Possibly inspired by an urban legend below.
  • Mitch Benn's "I'm Still Here" is about a rock star who wants to go out in a big dramatic rock'n'roll style, but nothing he tries works. His attempts include drug overdose, heavy drinking, starving himself, blow-drying his hair in the bathtub, running naked down a railway line, swimming with sharks while bleeding, and playing Russian Roulette with bullets in all the chambers.
  • The music video for "Los Malaventurados No Lloran" by Mexican group Panda, switches between various scenes of people trying to kill themselves via various different methods, but each of them fail in one way or another (with the possible exception of the guy jumping through the window for a second time). The song is not about suicide, but it deals about someone mourning his lost love and one lyric does mention that "finding the way to go to the unknown and be at your side" would be impulsive.
  • Vocaloid: Nashimoto-P's Suicide Song sung by Hatsune Miku is a parody of this, if it doesn't outright avert it. The narrator first says she is going to hang herself, only to give up once she realizes that she doesn't have a rope. She then decides to commit briquette suicide, only to realize that her lighter is out of oil. Finally, she chooses to chug a bottle of pills, but gives up on killing herself entirely once she realizes that she has no water to take the pills with because she forgot to pay her water bill. It is clear that she doesn't really want to kill herself because her excuses are rather flimsy; if she could go out and buy a bottle of pills, what's stopping her from buying a rope, or a new lighter, or a bottle of water?

    Newspaper Comics 

  • In one episode of The Men from the Ministry, after loosing 600 000 pound win on the football pools, Mr. Lamb repeatedly attempts to hang himself on his braces, naturally failing because they're too elastic.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Gamma World adventure GW6 Alpha Factor. The Rakees are flying squirrels with the mutation of being almost unkillable. Going crazy because they've lived so long, they constantly attack any creature they can in the hope that the opponent will put them out of their misery by killing them.

  • The play Spared by Israel Horovitz is all about this trope. The protagonist has been trying to kill himself for years, but somehow he's been unlucky enough to live.
  • Konstantin in The Seagull attempts to shoot himself in the head in Act Two and survives, then succeeds in Act Four.
  • In the stage version of Amadeus Salieri attempted to commit suicide by slitting his throat, but survived.
  • In Wolfgang Borchert's play The Man Outside, a Shell-Shocked Veteran returns home to Germany after World War II only to find that everyone wants to pretend Those Wacky Nazis never happened and refuse to have anything to do with him. Eventually, he tries to jump in the river, but even the river won't take him.
  • Per The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples, Shakespeare did it with Antony in Antony and Cleopatra. He does die eventually, it just takes a lot longer than he thought it would. Allegedly Truth in Television.
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Lucy's failed self-poisoning following her rape by Judge Turpin provides important plot, in the person of the Beggar Woman, who is Lucy after her failed suicide and imprisonment in Bedlam drives her insane. The character in question winds up dying at husband Sweeney/Benjamin's hands, and his realization afterward of who she is leads to his killing his partner in crime and allowing his own murder.
  • In Dear Evan Hansen this is how Evan really broke his arm.

    Visual Novels 
  • Yaginuma's sister in Kara no Shoujo attempted suicide and failed, but there was too long of a time without air getting to the brain and she was left brain damaged.
  • What happens to Aeka in Yume Miru Kusuri if you aren't on her path (or if you get her bad ending). She survives, and spends the rest of her life comatose in the hospital.
  • In the backstory of Hakuouki, Harada Sanosuke (like his real-life counterpart) attempted to commit seppuku after being mocked by a retainer who accused him of being a peon who wouldn't know how to do it properly. He survived the experience, and occasionally shows off the scar at drinking parties.
  • Kanon: In Sayuri's backstory, she tried to commit suicide after the death of her little brother but didn't cut deeply enough. As she couldn't have been older than 12 at the time, this is probably understandable.

  • Warbot from Warbot In Accounting throws itself from the roof of the office building it works at. As it's a decommissioned combat robot, it survives.
  • Happens several times in the early strips of the "Suicide Girl" storyline of the extremely NSFW comic Sexy Losers, though she eventually does end up offing herself when she mistakes a handgun that she bought to protect herself from the lecherous Shiunji (who wants to have sex with her dead body) for a hairdryer. Things get worse from there.
  • This causes the entire plot of YU+ME: dream . The protagonist found her mothers old suicide note, decided to "finish" what she started, and got into a car accident. She survived but was put into a coma which is where the series begins...
  • Happens often in Mr Square, the main character once tried to hang himself but he was too top heavy
  • In Ape, Not Monkey the anti-vaccine pig attempted to commit suicide using homeopathic sleeping pills.
  • Because I'm Depressed: Diego's frequent attempts to end his life end either in complete failure or with him getting cold feet.
  • In S.S.D.D Julien, the squad's apparent Only Sane Man, turned out to have some telltale scars on his wrist. After his wife died he tried to join her, but fortunately no one had told him that it was "down the road, not across the street".
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a comic with a guy trying to cut his wrist with a scalpel, which bent thanks to a "suicide vaccine."
  • Unsounded: in Quigley's backstory, he managed to bungle a Suicide by Cop, with ugly results:
    He strapped his boy to his back and raided the municipal office on a suicide mission. Trouble was they survived it. No one else did.
  • The whole premise behind Suicide Noun is that there is nothing Ethan can do that won't result in one of these. He is literally immortal, in the most painful Healing Factor induced way, and first learns this when he tries to kill himself by jumping off a bridge.

    Web Video 
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Mr. Rochester's explanation of the nightmarish scream and mysterious accident number two from episode "Blood". Jane tries talking about it in episode "Mr. Mason". She thinks Mr. Mason tried to commit suicide and that Mr Rochester stopped him. Forgone Conclusion of the book however makes it clear that it did not in fact happen.
  • During one of his Combine Harvester freakouts on Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara attempts to kill himself with the Magic Gun... by using it to try and slash his wrists.

    Urban Legends 
  • There is a story about a high schooler who tried to kill himself by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge. He survived, and after police recovered him from the water, he is supposed to have told them, "dammit, I can't do anything right!"
  • Another urban legend, debunked, holds that a fat woman was despondent because her husband left her for a smaller woman. She jumped out of the window and landed on top of him. She survived, he didn't.
  • An English botanist in Australia tried to kill himself by eating a poisonous root. Being English, however, he boiled the root first, robbing it of its poisonous qualities - and discovered he'd made tapioca, which has been a staple in South America for centuries and needs to be boiled for detoxification.
  • An Urban Legend from Darwin Awards involves a classic Romeo and Juliet plot; two college students are in love but their parents disapprove, and they decide that the only way to be together is to die together. Juliet goes to a pharmacy and asks for potent sleeping pills under the guise of having difficulty sleeping before exams. She gets what she assumes are such pills, and that night, the couple takes them together with some wine. It turns out that the pharmacist was suspicious of the request for powerful sleeping pills without a prescription, and gave her laxatives instead. the smell is what ends up alerting everyone else in the building. note 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Attempted Suicide


The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie

Toxie's attempt to kill himself falls hilariously short.

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Main / BungledSuicide