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Forgot the Disability

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I don't know! I mean, seriously!
What is with you people? I'm blind!

Sokka: [after Toph bumps into him] Can't you watch where you're—
Toph: No!
Sokka: [embarrassed] Right...sorry.
Avatar: The Last Airbender

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 man using all of his other senses to the point where he forgets that he is 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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    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 
  • 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.

    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.

    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: Carl? Are you pointing?

    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.

    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.
    Sokka: (in a cave) It's so dark in here. I can't see a thing!
    Toph: Oh, no, what a nightmare!
    Sokka: Sorry.
  • Family Guy does not want you to forget that Joe is "dead from the waist down".
    Peter: Kick, Joe, kick!
    Lois: Peter, he's a paraplegic!
    Peter: That doesn't mean he can't hear. Kick, Joe, kick!
  • Lynx-O of Thundercats 1985 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):


Avatar: The Last Airbender

Since Toph does not need her eyes to get around, characters tend to forget that she's blind.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ForgotTheDisability

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Main / ForgotTheDisability