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Fly Crazy

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But at what cost?

Nothing like a nice relaxing day at home. Sitting around, with a book, no distractions, no annoyances, just a nice, quiet-BZZZZZZZZZZZ!


Or not. There's a bug buzzing around your head, making it impossible to relax. Could be just a fly making trouble, but even worse, it could be a wasp, just waiting to sting you when your back is turned.

The worst part is, it just won't go away. No matter how hard it gets swatted, it just won't leave. So, of course, zanier and zanier schemes are required to get rid of it. After all, a baseball bat's big enough, so it should be the perfect thing to whack a fly with, right?

Of course, what generally causes the most trouble isn't the bug itself, but rather the character's increasingly extreme attempts to get rid of it, unless the bug itself is a trickster. Generally, the character will only hurt themselves with their angry attempts to rid themselves of the pest, or, at worst, end up destroying their perfect afternoon, while the fly gets away scot-free.

This has happened to everyone.note 


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  • There was an ad for Tabasco sauce where a man was eating pizza on his porch, putting a good dollop of Tabasco sauce on each bite. A mosquito landed on him, bit him, flew off, and blew up, engendering a satisfied nod and smile from the man. One might surmise that he did this on purpose to get back at them.
  • An online advert for Schick — "ridding the world of irritation" — depicted a lab technician angrily shooing away a fly... until it lands on a mirror. The technician smugly pulls out a can of shaving foam and sprays the fly into oblivion.
  • The first two trailers for Angry Birds had the evil pigs distract the birds this way in order to steal their eggs.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Tomo had a scene where she rampaged across the classroom trying to obliterate a cockroach that had flown in. Desks were overturned, students were catapulted into the sky, and much chaos ensued.
  • In the first episode of Squid Girl, the title character tries to swat a bug with her Combat Tentacles, but ends up punching a hole in the wall of the Lemon Beach House, thus kicking of the plot by indebting her to the Aizawa sisters.
  • In Nichijou, Yuko is lying in bed trying to go to sleep with a mosquito deflector buzzing close by. The deflector obviously wasn't doing its job; Yuko ended up flying out of bed and karate-chopped the mosquitoes right out of the air.
  • Done with a mosquito in the One-Punch Man anime. A man who can annihilate monsters and split mountains with a single punch is driven to almost homicidal frustration by a lowly mosquito.
  • Downplayed example in Toradora!; Taiga ends up slapping Ami's face in order to get a fly when the latter is mid-sentence (the former thought the flying bug in question was a mosquito).
  • Done in One Piece, where the kaiju-sized Yonkou Big Mom groggily detects a fly in her sleeping chamber. Her reaction? Attempting to use her Super-Strength to smash said fly, followed by shooting it with a lighting bolt, then a blast of fire (from a miniature sun!), and hurling a BFS at it.

    Comic Books 
  • There was an Archie comic where a fly kept bothering Archie in school, with his attempts to swat it getting him in bigger and bigger trouble.
  • In the Tintin book Tintin: Land of Black Gold, Dr Müller swats away a wasp and in the process, accidentally knocks off everything on his desk — including a box of sneezing powder, which causes Tintin (in disguise) to blow his cover.

    Comic Strips 
  • One comic from The Far Side has a stegosaurus sitting in a room whose walls have several dents in them. He casually smashes a fly with his tail, creating another dent.
  • A few Garfield strips had Garfield either getting bothered by flies or trying to swat flies that enter the house.
  • In one Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin destroys the living room with a baseball bat trying to take out a fly. He's promptly hurled out the door by his mom.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Hell Hotel in Barton Fink has a mosquito in Barton's room. He finally swats it one morning when it lands on Audrey, sleeping next to him… and she doesn't wake up.
  • In Caddyshack, Carl the groundskeeper is attempting to eradicate one gopher, and ends up blowing up the club's golf course.
  • Invoked in The Karate Kid (1984) by Mr. Miyagi who explains to Daniel-san the tradition of trying to catch a fly with chopsticks for good luck (if successful). Something—he notes—he himself hasn't even managed.
  • MouseHunt is an entire movie of this. It ends happily.
  • In The Pink Panther Strikes Again it was a bee, which Clouseau was chasing with a mace. He destroyed a priceless Steinway piano (Not anymore) when he swatted it. He then told the beekeeper that he might be missing a bee.
  • Used as an Establishing Character Moment in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Smiley is in a car with his coworkers when a bee starts flying around. Everyone tries to swat it ineffectually while Smiley calmly waits for the right moment and opens the window allowing it to leave.
  • In the Robin Williams movie Toys, Colonel Leland Zevo shoots himself in the foot trying to end this. As in he literally draws a handgun and starts shooting at the fly. Then the fly lands on his foot...

  • The main characters of Animorphs cause this when they morph flies to spy on the aliens that know every fly could be an enemy spy. Jake gets a fly as his cover morph in The Capture. Later in The Warning he almost dies after being swatted in fly morph.
  • One of La Fontaine's fables has a man become good friends with a bear. One day, the bear notices a fly buzzing around the sleeping man's head, and will not go away no matter how many times he swats at it. So he grabs a brick and hurls it at the fly, obliterating it (along with the guy's head. The fable's moral? "Better a wise enemy than an ignorant friend."
  • In The Test a fly gets into the cockpit, making Pirx's first flight quite memorable. Not. Or, actually, yes, memorable, but it was a simulation, actually, to test his reactions in new, unusual, crazy, dangerous situations, like flies creating short-circuits in the spaceship wiring. He passes. A colleague Pirx was sure would pass loses it completely.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: When this happens to Londo Mollari, he does not screw around.
  • Breaking Bad has a rather famously ludicrous Bottle Episode based entirely around catching a fly that got into their meth lab.
  • One Chespirito sketch involved a man being pestered by a mosquito and wrecking his entire room while trying to swat it before tripping and falling out his bedroom's window. The Reveal is that the mosquito is a trickster: once the man hits the ground outside, the mosquito buzzes off "neener, neener".
  • Doctor Who: "In the Forest of the Night" has troubled little girl Maebh Arden waving away creatures only she can sense.
  • In the House episode "The Itch", House is bugged by a mosquito bite all day. That evening he chases the bug around his house with a rolled up magazine, accidentally breaking off a propane tanks valve and lighting his gas stove. The obligatory explosion is revealed to be all just a dream.
  • Frasier: Martin accidentally brings back a cricket from his fishing trip, which is somewhere in Frasier's kitchen and constantly drives Frasier crazy with its chirping. Frasier and Martin end up bonding over their attempts to get rid of it.
  • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has a variant, where one Monster of the Week is a Sizeshifter who manages to get into the Humongous Mecha. When he gets into the cockpit, the more Hot-Blooded Gokaiger pull out their guns and start shooting at him, damaging the equipment. Shortly thereafter he manages to get inside Gokai Yellow's costume, and Gokai Pink's use of bug spray to get him out causes him to punch a giant hole in the fuselage during his escape.
  • In Married... with Children, Al enters full combat with a rabbit, with predictable results.
  • Happened in one Mr. Bean episode where the titular character is on a picnic, and gets repeatedly harassed by a bee, borderline driving himself insane to get rid of the insect. He finally managed to trick the bee into entering his soda and drowning it, only for the drink to attract a whole mini-swarm of bees.
  • The Netflix short series Man vs. Bee features Rowan Atkinson trying to get rid of a pesky bee while house-sitting for a wealthy owner. It's more or less an Actor Allusion to a Mr. Bean episode starring the same actor.
  • In one Poirot episode adaptation of Murder in Mesopotamia, during one night when Hercule Poirot is asleep, he gets woken up by a buzzing sound from a mosquito out to bite him. He tries many ways of catching it.
  • One of the early episodes of Sports Night featured Casey being plagued by this on the air, resulting in a noticeable flinch. Nobody else sees the fly (including his co-host sitting two feet away) and he is mocked relentlessly for appearing nuts. Later, after a Sorkin Relationship Moment with Dana, she sees it too.
  • On Top Gear's Bolivia special, Richard Hammond (who genuinely dislikes bugs and creepy-crawlies) has a series of minor freakouts when he discovers insect life in his tent and car.
  • The Worst Year of My Life, Again: After getting ice cream in his hair, Alex is plagued by a bee following him around. When it gets trapped inside a zorb with him, his attempts to escape it set off a string of Disaster Dominoes.

  • More than one Old Master Q comic uses this gag, usually happening to the titular character. One of these ends with Master Q kicking his shoe in desperation, and somehow knocks the fly out cold.

  • Fly Trouble (Buzz, Buzz, Buzz) by Hank Williams is a country tune narrated in the 2nd person as you are being annoyed by a pesky fly that always manages to ruin your day, even going as far as buzzing around during your wedding day.
    Did you ever sit straight up in bed with something circling around your head? You swat at it as it whizzes by and it's just one pesky little fly. You shake your head and twitch your nose and settle down to sweep your floors. And when you're just about to dose, fly trouble.
  • Classic children's song "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly."
  • The song "Swattin' the Fly" by Vernon Duke and Howard Dietz.
  • Pink Floyd's "Grantchester Meadows" ends with a stereophonic fly being chased and swatted by (presumably) Roger Waters.
  • Homer And Jethro, "Someone get a hammer there's a fly on Papa's head."

    Music Videos 
  • Phil Collins' "Don't Lose My Number" has a scene in which Phil's face is superimposed on a computer-animated cartoon fly's body. As the music fades out, we see the real Phil, whose eyes are following the "fly." Eventually, it lands on the back of his neck; he swats it with his hand and asks, "So, how does it end?"

    Video Games 
  • The entire premise of the game Fly in the House.

    Web Animation 

    Web Videos 
  • The cast of Critical Role had a recurring fly problem in campaign two. Travis Willingham took to arming himself with two electrified flyswatters, even though he was able to clap a fly to death once. In one incident, a fly that Travis couldn't get divebombed Marisha Ray's coffee and drowned in it seemingly out of nowhere — but fans noticed Taliesin Jaffe waving his hand downward a split-second before the divebombing. Given the Running Gag that Taliesin is an eldritch being of some sort, using "magical powers" to get rid of a fly is extreme indeed.
    [Travis spots a fly and withdraws the black swatter from underneath his table]
    Laura: Where did that even come from?!?
    Travis: [in his Fjord accent] Don't ask questions.

    Western Animation 
  • The Popeye short "Flies Ain't Human" (1941, remade in 1949 as "The Fly's Last Flight") uses this as the plot. The fly eventually gets into Popeye's spinach and, well, Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Pink Panther:
    • Pinky has a lot of trouble with both a hungry fly (who eats up all his food) and a flea (who itches him like crazy, then eats up all his food). In the first case, he sends the fly away by mail, only for it to return with a Stamp Gag.
    • There was also a fly that he tries to kill with karate, wrecking some of his own furniture... before it turns out the fly also knows martial arts, flips him a time or three, and then twists his arm and throws him out of the house.
  • The What A Cartoon! Show's "Raw Deal In Rome," which notably had an extremely unsettling ending.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head have their "Die, Fly, Die!" episode. In their efforts to kill the fly, they hit each other with shovels, chainsaw the furniture, break a window, and use enough bug spray to knock themselves out. Oh, and when Butt-head says that flies are attracted to "garbage and crap", Beavis takes him literally and poops on the floor, causing a whole swarm of flies comes in through the broken window.
  • Mr. Bean, like his live-action counterpart, has a similar episode where Bean goes crazy trying to get rid of a fly harassing him around bedtime, only to get himself locked out of his own apartment.
  • The Bugs Bunny cartoon Baton Bunny (1959) features a fly infuriating Bugs as he conducts an orchestra. Somehow Bugs manages to get through the piece (with a lot of discordance), then discovers the orchestra's been playing to an empty hall, with only the fly offering applause, which the rabbit graciously accepts.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "Stressed to Kill", a fly interrupts DW's attempt to relax, and he goes after it in a manner that destroys the room and renders him even more stressed.
  • The Justice Friends episode "Bee Where?" is based around this. The three desperately try to get a bee out of their apartment. In the end they leave the bee alone in the apartment and move their things outside, saying they showed the bee who's boss.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has an episode where a fly get into the tower, with Numbuh One and Four trying to get rid of it (Numbuh Four in the textbook overly violent self-destructive way), Numbuh Two wanting to make a machine based off it, and Numbuh Three trying to have a tea party with it. Things get increasingly weird as they each try to get to it, until it lands on Numbuh Five, who catches it effortlessly and then gently releases it out the window. Too bad the fly was a spy-machine all along.
  • The was once an adaptation of the story The Bear and the Fly. It involved a Papa Bear taking a flyswatter and inadvertently knocking out his wife, his daughter, and even the dog before finally knocking himself out when the fly landed on his nose. Overall, the fact that it wasn't presented in an over-the-top fashion made it somewhat unsettling.
  • The presence of a bee causes a lot of havoc in the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon "The Band Concert".
  • In the Title Sequence to the animated series C.O.P.S. (Animated Series), while silently robbing a museum, Cyborg gangster Buttons McBoomBoom gets irritated by a butterfly and fires at it with his chest-mounted guns, blowing up several valuable pieces of art and summoning the police.
  • Happens in Heavy Metal Mater, where the real reason why Mater started a heavy metal band is because while in the recording studio, the Drummer Pitty was forced to play the drums faster in order to shoo away a VW Beetle, therefore prompting Mater and his two guitarists Rocky and Eddie to play faster.
  • In "Country Buzzin'', a Laurel and Hardy cartoon, the boys go to the country to relax, but a mosquito torments them.
  • One gag on Family Guy had the family getting annoyed at a fly repeatedly failing to fly out of an open window.
    • In a cutaway gag in "Road to Rhode Island", Peter repeatedly shoots at and misses a fly as Lois tries to read.
  • The Rocko's Modern Life episode "Day of the Flecko" had Rocko trying to catch up on his sleep after staying late at work, only to be bugged by (among other things) an obnoxious fly named Flecko.
  • The "Freddy the Fly" segments in The Wacky World of Tex Avery revolve around this.
  • The Monster Farm episode "P.S. I Love Ewwe" had Goatasaurus Rex unsuccessfully try to kill a fly that's bothering him throughout the episode.
  • In the DuckTales episode "Challenge of the Senior Junior Woodchucks!", Donald is constantly annoyed by a mosquito during the episode that turns out to be a spy drone from F.O.W.L.


    Real Life 
  • A possibly apocryphal blunder from an accident claims report, as told by Richard Lederer in Anguished English, says "In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole."
  • Google "20 bug bombs house" and you'll find countless stories similar to this one; homeowner has bug infestation. Homeowner uses bug bombs — more than they need. This usually turns out okay as long as they read the rest of the instructions beforehand; specifically, to eliminate all heat sources such as electricity and pilot lights. Most do. The ones that don't...
  • Barack Obama once swatted a fly during a TV interview, earning him the ire of PETA.
  • Flies in real life are attracted to scents that will frequently come from your face or body (shampoo, perfume, etc.), which will prompt them to fly around your face more often.