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Faint in Shock

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"Beware of fainting-fits; though at the time they may be refreshing and agreeable, yet believe me: they will, in the end, if too often repeated and at improper seasons, prove destructive to your constitution."

Some characters are naturally calm in highly emotional situations. Others keep a Stiff Upper Lip. And some... faint dead away!

Older works sometimes call this "Swooning". Romance period novels and Gothic Horror provide plenty of examples of feminine women or girls doing this, even if they are not a Hysterical Woman. If a man faints in such works, he might be painted as cowardly or weak. '50s era monster films loved to have the pretty young heroine to faint upon seeing whatever horror the filmmakers decided to unleash upon her. In Opera, it's less often a sign of weakness: Many strong, assertive characters, both men and women, faint in their moments of greatest stress.

More recent works tend to play the stereotypes for laughs. Sometimes induced in characters by a well-executed Jump Scare. note  More serious treatments will generally have a truly traumatic event to justify it, if not an outright Trauma Conga Line.

Partly Truth in Television: doctors tell you to sit down when they need to discuss bad news because your body's Fight-or-Flight response can overreact and reduce blood flow to your brain. This happens more often in fiction than in real life. The more stereotypical the circumstances, the longer the faint can last: Monster movie heroines sometimes remain unconscious for hours.note 

A downplayed similar reaction is Dramatic Sit-Down. Compare and contrast Fake Faint, where a character tries to make others think that this has happened.

Don't confuse with the hero falling over exhausted after battle. That's Post-Victory Collapse. A character with some vague medical condition such as "Anemia" or "Consumption" may be more susceptible to this trope, but more likely just faint due to their illness. Not a character fainting because of pregnancy either — unless the faint is due to the shock of finding out that they are pregnant! Compare Angst Coma.

Subtrope to Fainting.


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  • Played for Comedy in a Christmastime television commercial for M&M's candies. While Red and Yellow discuss Santa Claus in someone's living room, they suddenly come upon the man himself. Red exclaims, "He does exist!" and faints from shock. Santa Claus also burbles, "They do exist!" and topples over supine. Poor Yellow is left to inquire "Santa?" uncomfortably.
  • A commercial in the late 1980s/early 1990s advertised a spread called Polaner All-Fruit, and featured a well-to-do family passing the jar back and forth between themselves on a silver platter. They repeatedly asked one another to "pass the All-Fruit." Finally, a more Country Mouse relation sitting at the table politely asked, "Would you please pass the jelly?" Cue the wealthy family reacting in horror, including the matriarch fainting dead away at the horror of the All-Fruit being mistaken for common jelly!

    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput:
    • Slim Doc faints upon seeing a muscular Fat Doc in "Diet Doc".
    • At the end of "Sleepwalking", Slim Doc and Lamput both faint after seeing a fainted Fat Doc with a drink resembling blood spilled all over him.
  • Mechamato: In episode 3, the scarecrow robot is shown to have been going around scaring people, having caused at least Pian and a woman to faint that way.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 15, some toys come to life in the middle of the night to save Tibbie from being cooked by Wolffy. As the toys leave their owners' houses, one crocodile kid sees his toy car moving on its own and faints a few seconds later.

    Comic Books 
  • In Black Science Sara faints when she is informed that Grant, blamed for multiple murders and kidnapping her children, was seen outside chasing her daughter Pia mere moments ago.
  • Papa Smurf in The Smurfs comic book story "The Smurfs And The Book That Tells Everything" gets so frustrated with his little Smurfs being so dependent on the titular book that he stamps his feet in anger collapses in a faint.
  • In the very first Superman story, a would-be tough guy faints after he attempts to stab Superman and his knife shatters on impact leaving Superman unscratched.
  • Paperinik New Adventures: Donald faints when Kaplan's vague description of what attacked his boat triggers some memories and a flashback of his encounter with Davy Jones in"The Ulysses Syndrome".
  • Tintin: In "The Castafiore Emerald", Bianca Castafiore and her assistant Irma faint when they hear that her jewels have been stolen.
  • In Violine, Violine faints when hearing that Muller is Marushka's brother, and her "mother" is actually Marushka, her father's former governess.
  • Uncanny X-Men:
    • Played painfully straight in issue 148, when Kitty Pryde (thirteen years old if even that at the time) faints when kidnapped by Caliban in his first appearance. He's much creepier than his later appearances would make him, but still...
    • Even more painful in issue 11, where after The Stranger walks on air and through a wall, someone utters these gentlemanish words:
      "Someone get a doctor! Women are faintin' like flies over here!!"

    Puppet Shows 
  • Dinosaurs: In "Nature Calls", Roy passes out at the sight of Baby's soiled diaper while he and Earl are changing him.
  • The Muppet Show:
    • Miss Piggy faints after knocking out Kermit and then seeing a robot Kermit standing right there. Fortunately, there's a squishy frog to break her fall.
    • Kermit faints in the John Cleese episode, after nearly being hit by two heavy weights falling from the rafters.
  • Sesame Street: Grover, Bert, and Mr. Johnson have a tendency to keel over as if they were passing out (though it's hard to tell since, being played by puppets, their eyes remain open) when frustrated.
    • For example, when Ernie had finished a pretend doctor examination on Bert, Bert wanted to know if he was healthy. Ernie couldn't tell him because he had 23 years of education before becoming a real doctor.
      Ernie: (to the audience) Gee, Bert fainted. Is there a doctor in the house?
  • St. Bear's Dolls Hospital: In "The Forgetful Elephant", when the titular elephant (who thinks he's a rabbit), is told he's an elephant, he faints.

  • Astral Cabal:
    • In Astral Blue a combination of guilt and not sleeping for over a day causes Elara to faint after chapter 1's trial.
    • The aftermath of Astral Acedamia chapter 2's trial is too much for Jaz, so she faints.
    • Masayoshi faints after the culprit's execution in Astral Academia chapter 4, shouting to the class that this happened because they weren't willing to trust each other.
  • CDT University: Maxwell faints after reading a graphic page in a Yaoi Book.
  • Dangan Roleplay Round Two: Sycamore faints when he sees Lysandre fake his death.
  • It's Curtains: Eliza faints at the first body discovery.
  • Roulette Rampage: In Chapter 3, Etsuko Reiki faints when she opens the bag with the very much dead Oten Kouei inside that she was supposed to bring into the Cathedral.
  • Trustfell Round One: Blue faints when she finds the gory second crime scene.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Castle Falkenstein, being a game of Victorian period adventure, has rules for fainting from shock, paralleling those for damage from combat or magic, but with less long-term effects.
  • GURPS has a "Fright Check" system to represent the effect on people of overwhelmingly horrible experiences, and some of the results on the Fright Check Table do involve fainting dead away. The third edition supplement GURPS Screampunk and the fourth edition update supplement GURPS Steampunk 1 augment this with a secondary system of fright checks in response to horrifying revelations of social inappropriateness, to suit the 19th century, Victorian milieu that both cover. Both note that actual period fiction might make the sexist assumption that only ladies will faint away in shock, but modern games don't have to follow this.
  • In Gamelords Ltd.'s Thieves' Guild 8 adventure "Rescue from the Trolls' Hole", when the Player Characters show up to rescue the girl Constance from the trolls, she will faint from the relief of seeing them.
  • Trail of Cthulhu actually creates an incentive for characters to faint occasionally, in best gothic horror fashion. Adventurers are prone to suffer a prolonged process of sanity loss as the Cosmic Horror of reality presses on them, but those who faint dead away as a result of specific shocks may at least avoid even worse sights that could destroy their minds.

    Web Animation 
  • My Story Animated: The unfortunate nurse in "A Spider Has Been Living In My Ear For Years" hits the floor when she realizes that there's a spider inside the narrator's ear.
  • Zatanna: Trial of the Crystal Wand: The rabbit faints when he sees Zatanna fall from the pole supporting her escapeology act.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Kid Farm: Downplayed BJ is so nervous after proposing to Lizzy, that he nearly faints. Jean catches him before he can.
  • TheNostalgiaCritic, in his review of Judge Dredd: Parodied. The Critic pretends to do a whole overwrought, nail-biting reaction to the tension at the Judge's trial. When the verdict is read, he throws his hand up to his forehead, and collapses face down.
  • The Sanders Sides episode "Crofter's - The MUSICAL!" has Logic of all people doing this when he sees that there's a new flavor of Crofter's jam named after
  • SuperMarioLogan: Mario in "Jeffy's Sister!", over the stress of both Jeffy and his sister Feebee losing his house.

  • Bobby Lashley: He faints out of fear when confronted by Boogeyman.
  • Mark Henry: He fainted when Chyna proposed that he get into a three-way with her and her friend Sammy who ended up not being exactly what she looked like.

    Other Media 

Alternative Title(s): Emotional Fainting, Faints In Shock


Benny Rabbit Passes Out

In "123 Count With Me" when the Dinger dings 14 times, Bennt arrives 14 pieces of 14 pieces of luggage and insane when he finds Ernie still "dinging" not understanding that he's curious of of how the dinging system in the hotel works. When Ernie tell him the dinger dinged this time, Benny passes out.

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