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Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn

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"Double D! You nincompoop, you forgot the sunscreen!"
SpongeBob: Am I the biggest loser on the beach?!
Shubie: No, I am. I forgot to put on sunscreen! (slaps sunburnt skin; leaves an indentation)
SpongeBob: Ouch.

One result from the Beach Episode is, unfortunately, sunburns. Always remember to bring sunscreen, enough of it, otherwise you may get some embarrassing words or images on your body (or, you know, skin cancer).

People who are Prone to Sunburn are especially likely to end up in this situation. This can also come from getting Trapped In a Tanning Bed.

See also Tan Lines. For weirder examples, see also Moonburn.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ranma ½: After most of the males in the student body eat some bad fruit and all think Ranma is their wife, they do some activities that newlyweds might do, like feeding each other, taking pictures together, and putting suntan lotion on "their wife." Ranma isn't amused when she develops a sunburn that spells out the word "love" on her back.
  • Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!: In the Beach Episode, Dekomori suffers this after neglecting to sunscreen and instead opting to use a "magic seal". In the next Beach Episode in Ren, she remembers to bring sunscreen to avert this.
  • This becomes a Running Gag in K-On! any time Azusa goes out in the summer heat. Her sunburns have made her the butt of jokes from her classmates, and sometimes people don't even recognize her after she burns.
  • Please Tell Me! Galko-chan: Galko suffers this in Episode 7, having mistakenly used her sister's pheromone spray instead of sunscreen spray.

    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot:
    • Happens to Paige when she falls asleep while sunbathing.
    • Another strip has Jason planning on laying letters on Paige's back while she tanned to spell out "KICK ME", but his mother stops him.
    • Subverted in one strip where Paige thinks this has happened to her as she's beet red. Turns out that Jason had actually covered her in paint while she slept.
    • Subverted in another where Paige's dark sunglasses made her grab the wrong bottle instead of sunscreen.
      Peter: That's one mustard yellow tan you've got going there...
  • The "fall asleep while sunbathing" gag also happened to Jeremy in Zits.
  • This also happened a few times to Jon whenever he and Garfield go to the beach.

    Fan Works 
  • Downplayed in the Fallout: New Vegas/The Familiar of Zero crossover fic The Fall: While Louise is more vulnerable to the sun than the other wastelanders, her burns are not often played for laughs, and no-one even makes fun of her for them.
  • In this Bones Bonesogy 2016 End Of Summer Fanfic challenge Hodgepodge Collection chapter by Mphs 95, the group has a beach house rental. Oliver Wells, who’s dating Daisy, stomps in alone, griping about Daisy stopping him from drinking too many shots. He finds part of a bottle of absinthe, downs it, and by the time the guys come looking for him, he’s naked on Booth’s Flyers raft, singing and bearing a nasty sunburn. Naturally he gets recorded singing and then the guys argue over who’s pulling him out. The girls return, pull him out themselves, and put him to bed. He later wakes up screaming when he unknowingly rolls over on his sore backside and someone fires up the embarrassing video while an angry Daisy goes to give him some aloe.

    Film — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cheers: In "Tan 'N' Wash", the gang invests in a tanning salon. While everyone else gets unnatural mahogany tans, a malfunctioning booth leaves Frasier looking like a tomato. Carla makes sure to slap him on the back.
  • Happens on I Love Lucy. After Lucy spends too much money on a dress for a fashion show she is participating in, she becomes worried that Ricky will yell at her when he discovers the price. Lucy then conspires to get a light sunburn so that Ricky will feel too sorry for her to yell. However, her sunburn turns out much worse than she anticipated—and her outfit for the fashion show is changed to a tweed suit. Ouch
  • Seinfeld: Kramer gets severe sunburn after falling asleep while tanning using butter as his tanning lotion. Cue Newman seeing him in Meat-O-Vision, since Kramer smells like a roast turkey.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, Reese's skin starts peeling from a bad sunburn. Rather than being embarrassed, he starts to peel it off in one piece to create a "Reese suit".
  • Occurs in the Perfect Strangers episode “The Sunshine Boys.” In an effort to impress Larry’s rich high school nemesis at a party, Balki and Larry attempt to make themselves appear like they had just returned from a vacation in the Caribbean by getting faux suntans. They oversleep while in their tanning beds, and when they wake up, they are bright red from head to toe. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Hannah Montana, Jackson goes to play a "shirts" vs "skins" game of beach volleyball. He gets a bad case of sunburn and is particularly embarrassed as his father had reminded him to put on cream before he left. Of course, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Neelix from Star Trek: Voyager gets one in "Tsunkatse" after falling asleep under Binary Suns without using sunscreen. His attempts at Talaxean homeopathy only make it worse.
  • Frasier: A flashback in "Crock Tales" reveals that Niles picked up a horrible sunburn during his honeymoon with Daphne. When they come home he's bright red and can barely move because he's in so much pain.
    Frasier: Oh dear, Niles. You look like you've crawled out of a bisque.
  • In the Better Call Saul episode "Bad Choice Road", Jimmy McGill meets with Lalo Salamanca on his release from jail, having secured his bail money and transported it through the New Mexico desert on foot after his car broke down. Seeing Jimmy's horrific sunburn, Lalo decides to thank him with a hearty slap on the back.

  • In the Waitresses' holiday classic song, "Christmas Wrapping", this was one of the things that kept the singer and the guy of her dreams away from each other for most of the year.
  • One of the Playmates' (of "Beep Beep" fame) more obscure singles is a thing called "Keep Your Hands in Your Pockets". It's about the protagonist's girlfriend getting a sunburn and asking of him to keep his hands in his pockets and to learn how to kiss with his hands behind his back. Later on, the boyfriend gets a sunburn himself and asks the exact same things of his girlfriend.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • On a 2000 edition of WCW Monday Nitro, Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo find a couple of tanning beds backstage. While they were using the tanning beds, Woody (a stagehand they had been harassing in previous segments) tied them shut, then turned them up all the way, leading to this.
  • A commercial on the USA Network featured Johnny Smith receiving a vision of an asleep-while-sunbathing Triple H getting one of these and getting painfully slapped on the burn by John Cena. Johnny wakes up Triple H and tells him to put on some suntan lotion.

  • In the Neil Simon play The Star-Spangled Girl, we're told that Andy spends time with the landlady in lieu of paying rent. At one point they go surfing; Andy later describes his sunburn in detail, saying that he has the outline of a bird from where a seagull passed over them while they were out at sea waiting in vain for waves.

    Video Games 
  • In Puyo Puyo Sun, this ends up happening to Draco Centauros in her ending, complete with red-hot skin and a Pain-Powered Leap that sends her flying right out of the stratosphere! It also leaves her unable to have a proper Puyo match with Arle in her story due to the pain she's in from the burn.

    Web Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Digital Series: In the music video "I'm on a Yacht!", Applejack falls asleep on the deck and wakes up even more dark-skinned than usual. The sunburn doesn't stop her from partying with her friends, of course.

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • When the Order visits the Great Barren Desert, Durkon intentionally "forgets" to prepare endure heat for Belkar, causing him to turn bright red for a few strips (whether this was due to sunburn or heat exhaustion is unclear).
    • Also, in the non-canonical desktop picture "Beach Party", Elan (a fair-skinned blond) is noticeably redder than the rest of the cast. He doesn't seem to mind.
  • Unsounded: Matty is very pale and ends up with an intense painful sunburn after he plays in the sun with Jivi and Sette. Sette offers him a (fake) sunburn cure if he trades her his sight aid and draws an eel with the pressure of her finger on his back.

    Web Original 
  • SuperMarioLogan: Happens to Cody in the episode "Cody's Mistake", since he was going to put sunscreen on himself after going to the beach before being distracted by Junior.

    Western Animation 
  • In the "Sonic Says" segment at the end of the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Close Encounter of the Sonic Kind", Tails wishes he could get a great tan like the Sunfish. Sonic tells Tails that he's going to get a tan the right way, and hands him a bottle of sunscreen, to which Tails complains that it'll take all day. Sonic explains to Tails and the viewers that the damage caused by a bad sunburn can last the rest of their life, and sure enough, the Sunfish screams in pain as a result of not using sunscreen.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Ben gets a particularly embarrassing sunburn from being on a planet that is literally half inferno and half icy wasteland. He's only unprotected for like three seconds, but... half his face is bright red in the next scene. This is never mentioned again.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: The end of the Beach Episode results in the trio getting sunburns. Edd was quite distressed earlier in the episode about forgetting the sunscreen, even more so when Ed wasted all of Jonny's. Ed makes the best of the situation by likening himself to a chameleon.
  • Stewie from Family Guy once got into the whole tan lifestyle. Unfortunately, he fell asleep in the tanning bed and suffered one of these. And then Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs as a new mole is suspected to be a melanoma. In real life, this is a definite hazard of early childhood sunburns, though it might not develop for many years.
  • Happened to The Powerpuff Girls in one episode when they refused to put on sunblock, saying it was for geeks. Now, since they are nigh-invulnerable it's not inconceivable that the sun wouldn't harm them. However, the girls end up going into space to stop a solar flare from destroying the city and thus end up with sunburns. They were in so much pain they could barely move, let alone fight. At the end of the episode, two criminals suffer this after they also declare sunblock to be for geeks.
  • Heffer in Rocko's Modern Life had one on his butt of all places.
  • Brainy turns bright red and has to be wrapped in swaddling cloths when he gets sunburn in The Smurfs (1981) episode "Mummy Dearest".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Near the end of the episode "Ripped Pants", SpongeBob asks "Am I the biggest loser on the beach?" One of the fish who claim to be the biggest loser on the beach is a lady with sunburn.
    • In another episode, SpongeBob and Patrick try to get tanned with a tanning booth. SpongeBob stays on too long and ends up sun-bleached. When he shows up to a party, one character is so impressed that he declares sun bleaching the ultimate tan.
  • "Sunburn Stanley" from Stanley has Stanley Griff getting one during a trip to the beach after he runs out of sunscreen. He goes as red as a lobster over a large part of his body and ends up learning about lobsters from the Great Big Book of Everything.
  • Total Drama:
    • In "Haute Camp-ture", Cody aims to use his time at Playa Des Losers to get a tan to make himself more attractive to women. He foregoes sunscreen to make the most of every ray of sunshine coming his way and of course ends up not with a tan, but a pink, full-body, majorly painful sunburn.
    • In "I See London...", Gwen leaves Jamaica with a sunburned left hand. She doesn't know how she got it, but Cody does. While she was sleeping under a parasol, he had a picture of the two of them taken without her consent. As she seemed to be waking up, he made a run for it, knocking the parasol over just so that Gwen's left hand became directly exposed to sunlight for the remainder of her nap. Courtney helps Gwen with her injury by handing her a makeshift salve of green tea and bird guano. It's gross, but it heals.
  • Luna suffers one of these in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Between Dark and Dawn", due to her usual nocturnal nature meaning she had no idea sunburns and sunscreen were a thing before spending several hours basking on the beach.note 


Video Example(s):


"You Forgot the Sunscreen!"

The end of the episode results in the trio getting sunburns. Edd was quite distressed earlier in the episode about forgetting the sunscreen, even more so when Ed wasted all of Jonny's. Ed makes the best of the situation by likening himself to a chameleon.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / EmbarrassinglyPainfulSunburn

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