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Forgot the Disability

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"I DON'T KNOW! I mean, seriously! What's with you people?! I'm blind!"

Peter: Kick, Joe, kick!
Lois: Peter, he's a paraplegic!
Peter: That doesn't mean he can't hear. Kick, Joe, kick!
Family Guy, "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire"

Many disabled people have lived with their handicaps for a very long time, and thus would usually develop a means of coping in a way where they appear "normal." Sometimes this applies naturally, like a blind person using all of their other senses to the point where they forget that they are blind. In most cases (and because it's cool), the trope usually applies to someone who uses superpowers to compensate, like getting around with levitation despite being paralyzed.

Because of this, running gags and moments of awkward silence are born from the times when the characters around them are suddenly reminded that one is disabled.

Compare with You Know I'm Black, Right?; contrast with Ignore the Disability.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the manga and 2009 anime Fullmetal Alchemist Ling asks Edward if he has athlete's foot, forgetting that Ed's leg is completely made of metal.
  • Rurouni Kenshin Shishio asks his blind swordsman Usui if he saw a man with a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek or a man who looks wolf-like, putting up two fingers describing "those two".

    Comic Books 
  • In Daredevil, characters will frequently forget that Matt Murdock is blind, immediately apologizing afterwards for being insensitive. Though Matt always casually brushes it off while acting amused by the mistake.

    Fan Works 
  • Since the Izuku of The Devil of UA is blind, there are jokes centered around this.
    All Might: That is the power that is growing inside your body now. You are now the next chosen bearer of One for All. The powers that which I had are now yours also. Take it in young one! This is who are you now! Feel the illumination of the great ball of fire down upon you and the view of the crystal water beach that which you yourself have created! Do you not see the beauty of which it possesses? Izuku! TELL ME, DO YOU SEE IT!
    Izuku: I can't, I'm blind remember?
    All Might: Oh... right.
  • In Star Wars vs Warhammer 40K, Anakin tries to offer a handshake to Iskandar Khayon after they agree to help each other escape the Inquisitor's warship, forgetting that his newfound ally is both blinded and armless.
    Khayon: [amused] Did you... just extend your hand towards me?
    Anakin: No! Obviously not! I was, uh, swatting a fly!
  • In Chapter 14 of Waiting is worth it, Izuku's classmates commend his win over Tenya when he used his quirk to telekinetically tie his shoelaces together. He explains to them that he learned how to do that with his own shoelaces because he could not reach them himself (being handicapped and all). This creates an awkward pause with the others.
    Ochako: Sometimes we forget that you are paralyzed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Happy Gilmore, Happy seems to constantly forget that Chubbs has a prosthetic hand and keeps knocking or pulling it off by accident before apologizing afterwards.
  • In Mandy, people sometimes forget that Ellis is deaf, and she has to remind them to look at her when they talk to her.
  • Before making love to Rita, Betty in Mulholland Dr., asks if she's ever done such a thing before. The amnesiac Rita sensibly answers, "I don't know."
  • In Psych-Out, Jenny's new friends sometimes forget that she's deaf.
    Ben: [yelling from a car] Hey, Jenny!
    Stoney: Hey, it's not gonna do you any good to yell, you know.
    Ben: Oh yeah, that's right.
  • A Quiet Place Part II: Emmett chews Regan out early in the film for running off without telling him.. except that he's not facing her and she's deaf. Finally, she grabs him by the head, points him toward her face, and whispers, "Enunciate."
  • Tom Stewart of Tormented is talking with Mrs. Ellis, a blind resident of the island, about a strange supernatural event that occurred in the past, and he absently asks her if she saw anything herself; she quips back, "It's been many years since I've seen anything." Tom replies that he keeps forgetting her blindness.
  • In Rogue One, Chirrut Îmwe is a Guardian of the Whills, a Warrior Monk and Blind Weaponmaster who fairly effortlessly takes down a squad of Imperial stormtroopers with his skills. When a group of Saw Gerrara's Partisans captures them and shoves a sack over their heads to take them to Saw, Chirrut snaps out an indignant, "Are you kidding me!? I'm blind!"


    Live-Action TV 
  • This has happened to the character who is disabled in Better Call Saul. Chuck McGill, the older brother of main character Jimmy, is convinced that he has developed a painful sensitivity to all electronics and anything that uses or conducts electricity, which has turned him from one of the most prestigious and influential lawyers in the state to a rather pitiful shut-in. Although Chuck's symptoms are psychosomatic, at times he has gone into a catatonic state reminiscent of locked-in syndrome. On a few occasions however, Chuck has been so distracted by other things that he has failed to react to those same external stimuli and situations that otherwise cause him so much grief.
  • The occasional scene in later seasons of Grey's Anatomy which feature Arizona limping or otherwise drawing attention to her being an amputee for a short period of time — beyond this, the rest of the time she is just as effective running to crashing patients or dodging her co-workers as everyone else despite only having one leg.

  • Nerdist Podcast: The Radiorama special with the Futurama cast has a subplot in which Fry buys Leela a custom 3D-projected sculpture, which offends her because, as a cyclops, she's incapable of viewing it properly. She forgives him at the end of the episode when he explains he doesn't define her by her disability.

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Wu Zi Mu is first met during a car race, and The Reveal that he's blind comes as a surprise to CJ. There are a few scenes where the joke is that he's blind (running into a wall or shooting randomly) and a few where other people forget about it, such as the heist planning scenes.
    Woozie: Hey, are you pointing again?

    Visual Novels 
  • In Case 3 of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the blind singer Lamiroir is assaulted with a blow to the forehead.
    Trucy: But they hit her on the forehead, right? That's right in front of her! How could she not see... Oh.

    Web Animation 
  • This occurs in RWBY volume 6 when Cinder tries to come to an agreement with the mute Neo:
    Cinder: Okay, let's talk.
    Neo: [points to mouth]
    Cinder: ...Right.

  • In Beyond the End, End constantly forgets that Roman is severely (can barely see a metre in front of him) short-sighted and will keep asking him about things he can't see.

    Web Videos 
  • In The Funniest Minecraft Videos Ever with the Better End Mod, Tommy and Phil find a biome with wildly colorful crystal spires. They bring some crystals back and excitedly show them to George... forgetting that George is colorblind.note 

    Western Animation 
  • A Running Gag in Avatar: The Last Airbender is that the characters have a habit of forgetting that Toph is blind (she "sees" by using her extremely powerful Earth elemental abilities to sense vibrations and perceive materials) and showing her written or printed documents. Every once in a while, she forgets it, such as the time she asks why she's not allowed to help put up posters... while applying the glue to the front of a poster and putting it up backwards. Similarly, because Toph "sees" using Earthbending, she genuinely is blind whenever she's not in contact with the earth (such as when flying, or on a ship). Sand also heavily impairs her ability to sense what's around her, at least at the beginning. Eventually, she gets more used to being on sand and her ability to sense and bend it improves dramatically.
    Sokka: [in a cave] It's so dark in here. I can't see a thing!
    Toph: Oh, no, what a nightmare!
    Sokka: Sorry.

    [The Gaang are flying on Appa in search of the entrance to the Spirit Library of Wan Shi Tong]
    Toph: THERE IT IS!
    [the Rest of the Gaang rushes to see nothing]
    Toph: ...That's what it'll sound like when one of you spots it. [waves hand in front of eyes]
  • Family Guy does not want you to forget that Joe is "dead from the waist down". When Peter tells him to kick, Lois reminds him that he's paraplegic, only for him to reply "That doesn't mean he can't hear!"
  • Lynx-O of ThunderCats briefly gets some humor of this nature in "Thundercubs Part II":
    Wilykat: Anyone entering [the Jungles of Darkness] might as well be blind.
    Lynx-O: Of course, that wouldn't make much difference to me, but the rest of you...


Video Example(s):


"I'm Blind!"

Saw's forces abduct the group and put bags over everyone's heads...including the blind guy's.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (25 votes)

Example of:

Main / ForgotTheDisability

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