A character who is stranded on a Deserted Island or other tropical location will often get hit on the head by a falling coconut, if any trees are around. Although the character will usually just suffer Amusing Injuries, there are many people who have been killed this way in real life, since coconuts are fairly heavy and trees can be tens of feet high. Sometimes, the character-hitting coconut is already somehow without a husk.
Apart from coconuts, the next most likely fruit to hit a character on the head is apples, in an homage to Sir Isaac Newton's discovery of gravitynote . In Southeast Asia, it is possible for durians to be substituted for the coconuts — given their spiky shape and having heft equal to that of a standard coconut, their potential for killing when falling off trees and hitting someone on the head is quite comparable.
Bowling balls can also have a tendency to hit people on the head, even if they are not actually fruit.
Should be a note that this supposes a Hard Head.
- An early chapter of Ganso! Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku had the kids stranded on a small island. They throw coconuts on Akane's head to be hydrated, which is a nod to her having a Hard Head in a previous chapter of the predecessor series.
- A Running Gag in Kyō Kara Ore Wa!! is that of Mitsuhashi dropping coconuts on the heads of teachers that piss him off. In one case the target, the science teacher, had hired a large former Yakuza as assistant before going mad with the power of such protection, and the Yakuza could break them in flight... So he next threw one filled with pepper.
- Moomin (1990): In the episode where a jungle grows around the Moominhouse, a falling coconut hits the head of Moominpappa who's wearing a sun helmet. He just stands dazed for five seconds before happily commenting how useful the helmet is.
- In episode 9 of Sonic X ("Amy on the Beach" if you're watching the original Japanese version or "The Last Resort" if you're watching 4Kids' English version) while Amy Rose is daydreaming about dating Sonic a coconut falls and hits her on the head stopping her train of thought. She gets annoyed by the coconut so she picks it up and throws it while kicking off the antagonist's plot of the story by accident without knowing.
- The title card of Happy Heroes episode 38 depicts Doctor H. being hit on the head by a coconut.
- Motu Patlu has a Running Gag where coconuts fall on Chingum's head whenever he shoots his gun in the air. This is played with in one episode where John the Don steals the gun and fires it, and is hit by tomatoes instead of coconuts.
- In Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure, Captain Haddock gets hits by falling coconuts when he knocks a palm tree with his pickaxe.
- ABCs of Death 2: In "E is for Equilibrium", the woman is killed when one the men throws a coconut at her head.
- One hilarious example of the Bowling Ball variety happens in The Adventures of Milo and Otis when a Bear is trying to catch and eat Milo in an abandoned shack by the beach.
- Help!: In the Bahamas, one of Clang's mooks waits up in a tree and hurls a coconut at Ringo (actually Paul in a Ringo mask), knocking him out.
- In the 1966 Disney film Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N., the title character (played by Dick Van Dyke) gets hit by a bunch of coconuts during a rainstorm.
- The hero of The Navigator gets incapacitates for a few moments when a monkey drops a coconut from a palm tree onto his head.
- In the Abbott and Costello film, Pardon My Sarong Lou Costello gets hit repeatedly by coconuts while sitting under the "Tree of Truth" (a coconut tree lie detector)
- Jack Sparrow throws a coconut at the head of one of Davy Jones' crew in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
- "Drop bears", a pseudomythical carnivorous version of koala that ambushes prey by dropping on it, are thought to have been invented as a warning to be careful around eucalyptus trees, whose branches can fall down unexpectedly.
- In Are You Being Served?, Mr. Rumbold removes his hat in "By Appointment" to reveal bandages for injuries from a coconut falling on his head in Coconut Island.
- The pilot episode of NBC’s Crusoe features Friday knocking out a Spanish sailor who has him at gunpoint in this manner.
- Death in Paradise: In "Murder on the Airwaves", DI Mooney attempts to impress DS Madeleine Dumas by fetching her a coconut fresh from the tree. In doing so, he winds up dropping a coconut on her head: bruising her head and spraining her wrist.
- Happened to Brett when he was on a humanitarian tour in Africa in Le cœur a ses raisons. He gets better quickly (albeit bloody).
- In The Mighty Boosh, Howard and Vince are trapped on a desert island and have no food. As Howard chases Vince in an attempt to eat him, Vince backs into a coconut tree, knocking a coconut down onto Howard's head. He knocks several more down in his delight, all of which hit Howard.
- Lee Mack on Would I Lie to You? claims that he was nearly killed when a coconut fell on his shoulder. It's a lie.
- In Zoey 101, when the main cast gets stranded on a deserted beach away from the end of semester beach party courtesy of Logan, Zoey considers hitting Logan on the head with a coconut as punishment for getting them into the situation.
- In an El Chapulín Colorado episode, there's a palm tree near a pyramid. El Chapulín hits his head with the tree multiple times in the episode, with a coconut dropping on his head every single time (bar the last one, which El Chapulín catches before it hits him).
- The song "Killed by a Coconut" by Bob Gibson and Shel Silverstein is about, well, a series of guys suffering fatal coconut-related injuries, but only in the first example does the coconut fall out of a tree. ("Just when things were lookin' up, he happened to be lookin' down!")
- While it wasn't dropped vertically onto his head, this happened, more or less, with Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper in perhaps the most famous bit of both Piper's talk show, Piper's Pit, and Piper's initial heel run during the '70s and '80s. Piper had Snuka on his show, and after insulting him repeatedly, smashed him upside the head with a coconut that he had brought out alongside a pineapple and some bananas, for no other reason than to be an asshole. The act is considered such an effective bit of heeling that despite Snuka kicking Piper's ass up and down the coast over the course of the resulting feud as revenge, it was Piper who came out of it looking like the bigger star.
- For whatever reason, the children's show Candle Cove had this as a small Running Gag. They once actually defeated a recurring villain with this method. Like many things in the show, it went unexplained.
- In Judy Collins' episode of The Muppet Show, the Swedish Chef decides the best method of cracking open a coconut is throwing it into the air and shooting it with a gun. When he tries it, a rubber chicken falls instead. As he looks at the chicken, confused, the coconut comes back and hits him square in the head.
- In the Sesame Street episode, "Birdie and the Beast", whenever the Beast loses his temper, he backs into the coconut tree that takes the place of the rose from the source material and causes one of the coconuts from it to fall and hit him on the head.
- Don't Starve: Characters in the "Shipwrecked" expansion need to be wary while chopping a coconut tree with an axe. The trees occasionally drop a coconut on the player's head, dealing 20 damage.
- Dunnet: Shaking one of the palm trees will cause a coconut to fall on your head, killing you.
- In Escape from Monkey Island, Herman Toothrot suffers this and loses his memory for a while. You have to hit him with another coconut (along with other items he mentions) in order to get him to recover his memory.
- Papa Doc in Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island throws coconuts at two zombie workers to manipulate them into fighting each other.
- Hearthstone: Implied. There's a coconut tree on the Stranglethorn battlefield. If you click on the coconut a few times, it falls down and you hear a monkey screech, so it must have been hit on the head.
- It's possible to knock out or possibly kill someone with coconuts (individually or in clusters, respectively) in the Bangkok levels of Hitman (2016).
- Jolly Rover even has an achievement for dispatching the guard with a coconut three times.
- Lumberwhack: Defend the Wild: This is the weapon of choice for the player character, a monkey. You can also equip the Almost-Bright Ape units with throwing coconuts as weapons via one of your skills, which is even called "Head-Cracking Coconuts".
- Mario Party:
- Mario Party 3 and Superstars have a minigame called Coconut Conk, which consists of three players butt-slamming coconut trees to make the coconuts fall on the fourth person, who is rolling along the floor in a barrel. If the solo player is successfully hit in Superstars, this will destroy the barrel entirely.
- Mario Party 6: Played with in the minigame Banana Shake. The players have to shake the banana trees to make their fruit fall down, but it's not them which can hit and stun the characters, but the hammers that were somehow placed in the treetops. The shake is done by repeatedly tapping A, while the evasion is done by pressing B.
- Mario Party 8: In the minigame Flip the Chimp, four Ukikis (each representing a player) have to climb thin, yet tall trees planted within an amusement park. While they do so, they have to move sideways to avoid being hit by coconuts that fall down (being hit will briefly stun them and make them waste time). The Ukiki that reaches the goal line at the top first will render their represented player victorious, though it's possible to have more than one character win should two or more Ukikis reach the goal at the same time. Conversely, in Duel mode, only two Ukikis are competing (in defense of their respective playable characters), and if both make it to the goal at the same time a tie is declared and neither player wins.
- No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: One of the job minigames in both games has you collecting coconuts by hitting trees. If you're not careful or really unlucky, Travis can get hit on the head with them, dazing him for a few seconds. In the second game's version, he also has to dodge the numerous bees and scorpions located in the coast, and the minigame now lasts four levels.
- Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time has the Coconut Cannon, which fires high-explosive coconuts that indeed do take the unlucky target zombie's head off quite easily due to the sheer damage. As well as the heads of other weaker zombies around it.
- Narrowly averted in Return to Mysterious Island. Walking among the palm trees, you'll hear a thump as a coconut falls to the sand just a few inches behind you.
- Sonic the Hedgehog games:
- In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Coconuts enemy tosses coconuts at Sonic. If Sonic isn't careful, said coconuts can hit him on the head.
- In Sonic Unleashed, in an exclusive cutscene of Sonic and Chip at Adabat, Sonic gets clocked in the head by a bunch of coconuts due to a mishap by Chip's appetite.
- One of the minigames in Tweety and the Magic Gems for the Game Boy Advance involves Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, and Marc Antony in coconut trees, tossing coconuts at crabs. Red crabs are worth three points, and green crabs are worth five.
- In Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, a sidequest in Scorch has Hunter asking for Spyro's help in retrieving monkeys that escaped from the zoo. You're required to charge the palm trees they're in to knock them off before they throw coconuts at Hunter, though the coconuts can also hurt you.
- Tsuki Adventure: On Hareshima, Tsuki can sometimes be found trying to climb a tree to reach a coconut. If the player taps the coconut, it will fall on Tsuki's head, knocking him to the ground.
- The image◊ for Neopets's Caption Contest #1107 featured a dapperly-dressed Hissi getting conked silly by a coconut while on Mystery Island while his just-as-dapperly-dressed Lupe friend panics. This particular caption contest gained fandom notoriety due to the staff deciding to experiment with showing some of the rejected captions that users had submitted at random, the results predictably looking as if the unfortunate Hissi (a.k.a. "Mr. Sneky") had submitted them himself.
"GOOD NIGHT mr. coconut"
- Action Man (2000): At one point in a later season when Team Extreme was on a tropical island, Rikki had several coconuts fall on his head.
- In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "Stranded", after he and Cindy get stranded on a deserted island, Jimmy gets conked on the head by several coconuts while trying to make his own camp.
Jimmy: I accept your nomination as mayor of Donkey Town...
Cindy: Haha! How pathetic! He's lost without his precious lab!
- In the Animaniacs episode "Broadcast Nuisance", the Warner siblings get revenge on a rude TV anchor and towards the end, use the TV station's editing room to get him Trapped in TV Land. The first TV show he goes into is Gilligan's Island.
Skipper: Hey, Little Buddy, where did this guy come from?
Gilligan: He's a space alien! Hit him with a coconut! [They proceed to do so]
- The qualifies-for-the-Censored Eleven Tex Avery MGM cartoon Half-Pint Pygmy's climax had the titular Living Macguffin set up a trap using one of these to bonk the heads of his pursuing hunters, followed by many gags with the coconut hitting more jungle animals (not usually on the head) until it comes back and hits him in the end.
- The Beatles: In "Can't Buy Me Love", the boys are on holiday in Polynesia where George is trying to break open a coconut. When he sees a monkey eating a freshly broken one, he asks "How do those tiny monkeys ever open those big coconuts?" The monkey throws a coconut at George's head, knocking him out cold and breaking the coconut open. John uses the same ploy to escape the tribe chief's administrators when he's forced to marry the tribe chief's daughter.
- In the Brandy & Mr. Whiskers episode "The Babysitters Flub", when Brandy makes a request for fruit, she has several different fruits dropped on her, including a coconut that, instead of bouncing off her head, breaks open and covers it. The holes on the coconut cause it to briefly turn into an Expressive Mask as she clarifies that she wanted the fruit on a plate.
- In the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Chipwrecked Shipmunks", Chip gets coconuts to the head. Now add to this the fact that one coconut is both bigger and heavier than a chipmunk, and that Chip is standing on sand.
- During a camping trip, Darkwing Duck gets hit with five in a row. And a sixth for good measure. Diplomacy is definitely not Gosalyn's strong suit. (It happens a second time!)
- Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "Have Plane, Will Travel," the Vulture Squadron is stationed on a deserted little island. Zilly climbs a palm tree to avoid a mission in one of Klunk's Bamboo Technology planes, so Muttley shakes the tree to get Zilly down. Muttley gets plonked on the head by four coconuts then Zilly.
- In the episode "One With Nature" from the more recent George of the Jungle series, first with George, then all of the main characters.
- Jellystone!: In "A Coconut to Remember", Magilla Gorilla takes a coconut to the head and gets Easy Amnesia. Jabberjaw uses this to her advantage, up to and including pelting him with dozens of coconuts.
- In the Little Golden Book Land special, after Saggy Baggy Elephant pulls Poky Little Puppy out of a bush, he backs into a coconut tree, causing coconuts to land on them and Scuffy.
- In the Looney Tunes short "Gorilla My Dreams", a gorilla gets hit by a coconut after Bugs Bunny shakes it loose, the shell forming a football helmet on his head.
- This gag also shows up in the Mr. Bogus episode "Totally Bogus Video", during a sequence that parodied Casablanca. Ratty is the poor victim of this trope.
- In the Pac-Man short "The Abominable Pac-Man", this happens to Inky, but with a bowling ball: "I didn't think they bloomed in winter."
- The Patrick Star Show: In "Stuntin'", one of Patrick's classic sketches involves him shaking a coconut tree, getting hit on the head with a coconut, and saying "Mmm, coco-nutty!" When Squidina is trying to prevent his injuries, she has GrandPat sub in and get hit instead.
- The Perils of Penelope Pitstop: In "Jungle Jeopardy," the Ant Hill Mob and their car Chuggaboom get buried under an avalanche of coconuts after Chuggaboom backs into a palm tree.
- Private Snafu: In a rare moment of competence, Snafu performs a Vine Swing and drops a pile of coconuts on the head of a Japanese sailor in "No Buddy Atoll".
- In Skunk Fu!, the episode "The Art of Endurance" has Fox fall victim to this trope, as a monkey throws a coconut at her head while walking on a tight-rope bridge. Luckily, Skunk is able to save her from falling.
- Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons:
- In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Big Daddy", when Coconuts first meets Boom-Boom, the son of the titular ape, he tosses a coconut at his head, much like his video game counterpart does to Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- At the beginning of the Sonic Boom episode "Cowbot", when Knuckles throws Sonic into the tree to make coconuts drop down, one of the coconuts falls on Amy's head.
- Referenced by the page quote in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Rock-A-Bye Bivalve", on a TV show that Patrick was watching. In the end, Patrick himself falls victim to this.
- The bowling ball gag is repeatedly played for laughs in the Stripperella episode "Evil Things Come in Small Packages". Cat, a fellow stripper, discovers that Erotica is Striperella. The problem is, she keeps getting hit in the head and forgetting it...then learning it again...then getting hit in the head again.
- Super Mario Bros. cartoons:
- In the Thomas & Friends episode, "Thomas and the Monkey Palace", a monkey makes its way into Thomas' freight car and tosses the coconuts inside it at Thomas' head.
- Tiny Toon Adventures: Getting hit in the head by monkeys throwing coconuts was Sappy Stanley's schtick in his cartoons in "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny?".
- Tom and Jerry
- Both titular characters got hit by coconuts in the short "Surf-Bored Cat".
- Also happens in Tom and Jerry Singapore short "Ice Ice Paradise" when Tom chases Jerry up a palm tree. Jerry pelts Tom with the coconuts growing on the tree, only for the cat to return the favor by throwing one of the fallen coconuts at the mouse.
- Total Drama:
- A squirrel goes down for the count in "Hide and Be Sneaky" when an acorn drops on its head. The acorn was (presumably) shaken loose from the tree (which is an evergreen) because Geoff climbed into it to use as a hiding spot.
- A coconut hits Courtney in the head mid-rant in "Haute Camp-ture", which prompts her to complain to the camera that coconuts aren't geographically correct props for the area of Muskoka. She gets what she wants a second later when in order a large pile of snow, a sledge, and a Native Canadian fall on top of her.
- An odd variant happened in the second episode of VeggieTales. in the second segment, "Larry's Lagoon", (an obvious homage to Gilligan's Island) Bob had climbed a coconut tree to look for Larry (who had run away due to everyone blaming him for the boat crashing), and then The Professor (Dad Asparagus) shows off a catapult that he invented in the hopes of flinging everyone home and used a (sapient) coconut as a demonstration, and then it hit Bob in the head (more like his whole body), sending him falling out of the tree and into the house of the millionaire and his wife.
Bob: You bonked me on the head with a coconut!
- Happened to Debbie in an episode of The Wild Thornberrys.
- Zig & Sharko: Happens occasionally to Zig.
- Death by falling coconuts is a well-documented, serious problem in tropical seaside areas, and it is reported that more people die from coconuts than from sharks in a year. Many beaches ban coconut trees as a result.
Examples of the apple variant
- The French comics artist Gotlib's most famous Running Gag involved Isaac Newton walking under falling objects or running into the subject of the day or otherwise being subject to cranial trauma, allowing him to come up with the theory of universal gravitation (or sometimes not, like when he took a pumpkin to the head).
- In Yellow Submarine, the Bonkers are extremely tall Blue Meanie minions who attack people by dropping large apples on the targets' heads.
- Doctor Who: According to the Doctor (initially in "The Pirate Planet", then referenced several times in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe), he was hiding up the tree dropping apples on Newton's head. Newton was more annoyed than inspired, so the Doctor explained gravity to him over dinner instead.
- Referenced by Sir Isaac Newton himself on Star Trek: The Next Generation when Data plays poker with holograms of Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking.
Newton: The day that apple fell on my head was the most momentous day in the history of science.
Hawking: Not the apple story again!
Data: That story is generally considered to be apocryphal.
Newton: What? How dare you...
- Kirby has the recurring Warm-Up Boss Whispy Woods, whose main attack is to drop apples on the player's head. Said apples can be inhaled and shot back at Whispy to defeat him.
- Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: The Apple Mortar fires a Spread Shot of apple cores into the air that land on zombies' heads, stunning them for a very short while. Its Plant Food shoots full apples into the air to land on all zombies on the field, doing splash damage and stunning for longer.
- Pokémon Sword and Shield introduces Flapple. Its signature move, Grav Apple, causes the fruit to miraculously fall from a tree onto its opponent.
- Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure: If Buster isn't careful, a raven enemy can drop an apple on his head. This is also played straight in the Game Over screen, where Montana Max throws an apple at Buster, hitting him in the back of the head.
- Arthur: In "Francine Frensky, Superstar", when Arthur is recounting all of the difficult roles that Francine had when in a play, one of the roles mentioned was when she played Sir Isaac Newton. The results were predictable.
- The Hair Bear Bunch: The bears discover Mr. Peevly's scheme to spy on them with closed-circuit TV when one of the cameras falls from one of the zoo's palm trees and plunks Square Bear on the head.
- My Little Pony:
- My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "Bright Lights, Part 4", Arabus fires a lightning bolt at the Flutter Ponies. He misses and the bolt hits an apple tree, causing apples to fall down and burst on his rat minions.
- My Little Pony Tales: In "Shop Talk", Teddy blames Sweetheart for spreading rumors that he sleeps with a teddy bear. During his tirade, he bucks an apple tree in frustration, and all its apples rain down on him.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Fall-Weather Friends", after Applejack shows up Rainbow Dash in a test of strength, AJ kicks the tree Dash is standing under, causing some apples to fall out of the tree and land on Dash's head (to the tune of Shave and a Haircut, no less).
- It is often believed that Sir Isaac Newton developed his theory on gravity when an apple fell on his head.