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Freud Was Right

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Our architect doesn't dick around.

"It may interest you to know, fräulein, that the carrot and the cucumber are both very powerful sexuality symbols. They represent the masculine phallic member. And you are vishing either to chop it up or to pickle it!"
Sigmund Freud, according to My Uncle Oswald

"Paging Dr. Freud..."

When characters in story think that any kind of long thin shape is a symbolic penis, or that any hole that is oval is a symbolic vagina, you've got Freud Was Right in play. Obsession with sex is one of the core aspects of this trope when it's lampshaded.

The truth is that All Men Are Perverts and All Women Are Lustful, but they are too ashamed of it. Thus, they express it in covert sexual symbolism and repressed desire everywhere, every time, with everybody. Not only is everyone Jesus in purgatoryeverything is about sex.

The Trope Namer is Dr. Sigmund Freud, a Viennese doctor who proposed a theory of human behavior and development based on the idea that all our behaviours are ultimately expressions of instinctual, biological desires. Like, for instance, sex.

Some say Freud was right about something else, too. Not to be confused with All Psychology Is Freudian and Everybody Has Lots of Sex.

Related to Freudian Slip, when someone inadvertently says something that reveals they have sex on their mind, and to Fauxdian Slip when they do it on purpose.

See also Compensating for Something, Erotic Eating, Lecherous Licking, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?, Perverted Sniffing, Phallic Weapon, and Visual Innuendo. Also compare Everyone Is Satan in Hell. When played for horror, it becomes Psychosexual Horror.

In-Universe Examples Only

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Naruto: Suigetsu Hozuki starts to say what we're all thinking about Sage Mode Kabuto's belly snake before Sasuke cuts him off.
  • Yamanko!: Invoked and parodied. Ogawa spots Nene's tail a couple times when it slips out and describes it as "big and black and fully erect" to Tanaka, who assumes Ogawa is feverish or sexually frustrated.
  • Gate: The "Men in Green" (Japanese soldiers) achieve worldwide (the world on the other side of the gate) fame when they use a man-portable rocket launcher to seriously wound a giant dragon, viewing it at some sort of Phallic Weapon activated by the magic phrase "Backblast... clear!". And then the S&M-themed dark elves get ahold of some...

  • Gary Gulman has a bit about how the birth control pill is colloquially known as simply "the pill", and how that really says something about humanity's priorities as a species.
    Gary Gulman: There are a lot of pills out there, but that's the pill. There's a pill that keeps you from getting polio. That's not the pill.

    Comic Books 
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has a Cybertronian psychologist, Rung. In issue 28, Megatron is sent to see him, leading to this gem:
    Megatron: Enough's enough. Two hours listening to you tell me why I used to wear a giant weapon on my arm. I hate to disappoint you, Rung, but sometimes a fusion cannon is just a fusion cannon.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Shrek: Shrek takes one look at Lord Faarquad's castle, which consists of an enormously tall keep, and says to Donkey "Do you think maybe he's Compensating for Something?"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Annie Hall: Discussed:
    Miss Reed: [after 6-year-old Alvy kisses a girl on the cheek] You should be ashamed of yourself!
    Adult Alvy: Why? I was just expressing a healthy sexual curiosity.
    Miss Reed: Six-year-old boys don't have girls on their mind.
    Adult Alvy: I did!
    Girl Classmate: [whom young Alvy kissed] For God's sake, Alvy, even Freud speaks of a latency period!
    Adult Alvy: Well, I never had a latency period! I can't help it.
  • Dear White People: Kurt brings up ‘Pastiche’s motto, metaphorically saying that comedy and criticism should not hold back and hit raw nerves: ‘Sharpen thy sword’. One of the members thinks it’s a euphemism for something else.
  • Dr. Strangelove:
    • Invoked by the film itself. A central theme of the movie is the portrayal of sexual symbolism as more than symbolism; Kubrick transparently paraphrases Clausewitz as in "war is the continuation of sex by other means". Specific examples include:
    • In the opening refueling scene, the bomber and the tanker are coupling.
    • The madness of General Ripper is driven by not-even-veiled sexual references. He seems to be Compensating for Something with his stiff cigars and his long one-barreled machine gun.
    • The film is rife with sexually Meaningful Names; the two warmongers (Turgidson) push against a peaceful and mild figure (Merkin Muffley).
    • Buck Turgidson may be in a particularly bad mood because his summons to the War Room interrupted things going very well for him with a pretty, young, lady.
    • Near the end, there is another Mood Dissonance when the characters are happily planning a postnuclear scenario where the male to female ratio would land them with their own harems to repopulate the world. The excitement over this allows Strangelove to stand up.
  • Freddy vs. Jason: Kia decides to try this on Freddy by comparing his tiny knives to Jason's great big machete. A few seconds later, Kia meets said machete.
  • Summer Lovers: Invoked, though not in those words, when Cathy builds a small replication of one of the mountains using sand from the beach and Michael and Lina say that it looks like "a tit." Cathy says, "You two have sex on the brain."
  • Titanic (1997): Over lunch Bruce Ismay, the owner of the White Star line, talks about how the name "Titanic" was chosen to highlight the size of the ship. Rose snarkily asks him if he's ever heard of Dr. Freud (he hasn't).
    "His ideas about the male preoccupation with size might be of particular interest to you, Mr. Ismay."

  • The Discworld series:
    • Going Postal: A she looks over Moist's ideas for stamp pictures, Adora Belle Dearheart notes that the stamp with the highest value has a picture of the Tower of Art at Unseen University — the tallest building in the city.
      Adora: Oh, the Tower of Art... How like a man.
    • Lords and Ladies: Naggy Ogg tells Casanunda "Magrat says a broomstick is one of them sexual metaphor things." (Footnote: Although this is a phallusy.)
  • The League of Peoples 'Verse: Discussed In-Universe example in Expendable. When explaining why the FTL drive is called a "sperm-tail generator", the narrator comments that, given sufficient time, soldiers will assign sexual references to every damn thing.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four: Invoked. Julia theorizes that the Party keeps people in a state of warlike hysteria and power hunger by subjecting them to sexual deprivation. She even calls it "sex gone sour."
  • One character in the Piers Anthony novel Tarot insists that the old English folk song "The Riddle Song" (which begins with the line "I Gave My Love A Cherry") is about sex. It's not - the third verse of the actual song gives completely non-sexual answers to the riddles - but the characters in the novel seem unaware of this.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Frasier:
    • invokedLampshaded, of course — Frasier thinks Niles is making up for a dry spell in his sex life by buying suggestive antiques;
      Frasier: In addition to the loveseat, let's see, your most recent acquisitions have been: a French bed- warmer, a pair of Toby jugs... the less said about that Civil War ramrod, the better.
      Niles: Oh, you Freudians! Sometimes a ramrod is just a... oh hell, even I can't make that one fly.
    • The source of jokes in at least two episodes dealing with a characters Oedipus Complex. In Season 5, when Roz reveals her pregnancy to Rick, he points out that his mother is the same age and even kind of looks like Roz. She makes him stop talking. In another episode, Frasier dates a woman who could be Hester Crane's twin.
      Niles: These pants might have to be REPRESSED!
  • In an episode of Cheers, the series that Fraiser was spun off from, Woody meets up with a former girlfriend from his home town. They had split up because the two of them would overeat terribly whenever they were together, and the problem reappeared now that they had started seeing each other again. Various characters try to help them, offering plausible-sounding explanations for the problem, but Frasier says that their problem is that they're sublimating their sexual desire for each other into a desire for food, and that all they have to do to stop overeating is have premarital sex. They do, and it cures their problem.
  • House of Cards (US): invoked Discussed by Frank Underwood to Zoe. He references an Oscar Wilde quote:
    "A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power."
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:invoked An actor playing Hamlet is depressed because he is bored with life and wants to become a private dick (detective), hoping to get fame, money, glamour, excitement, and sex; all the psychiatrists and other people around him jump on the "sex" part.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • "12 to the Moon": Invoked by Servo and averted by Crow
      Tom Servo: I wonder what Freud would make of that sun hat!
      Crow: Well, sometimes a sun hat is just a sun hat.
  • "Merlins Shop Of Mystical Wonders": The first half, lampshaded by Tom Servo.
    Servo: Based on a story by Sigmund Freud!
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: invoked Inverted in "Phantasms", when Data recreates Dr. Freud in the holodeck with the hope of interpreting the disturbing images generated by his dream program. Freud, of course, proceeds to assume it's all about Data's issues with his mother and his sexuality, neither of which he has because he's an android.note 
  • Game of Thrones. In "The Dragon and the Wolf", Bronn and Jaime don't see the point of the Unsullied army, made up of former slaves who have been castrated. If you're not fighting to impress women, or get the pay and loot to buy women, or protect your family (the making of which requires having sex with women), then why fight? They conclude that war is all about cocks after all.
  • Referenced in an episode of Gilmore Girls, when Rory's new boyfriend, Logan, is trying to bait her ex, Jess, into a Cock Fight by trying to make Jess sound less intelligent and sophisticated than he is. Jess is in town because he wrote a novella and wanted to show Rory. When this is mentioned to Logan, we get:
    Logan: So, what are we talking here? Short novel? Kafka length or longer? Dos Passos, Tolstoy? Or longer? Robert Musil? Proust? I'm not throwing you with these names, am I?
    Jess: You seem very obsessed with length.

  • Ninja Sex Party: Invoked multiple times by Danny. One such example is "The Ultimate Sandwich", complete with multiple instances of Metaphorgotten.
    Now just add panther, bear meat, and duck
    And you've got a sandwich that I'd like to fuck!
    I mean eat...what?

    Video Games 
  • Fallen London: In-Universe, Dr. Schlomo's the Trope Namer, so this comes as a natural consequence. He's not always right, mind - for instance, he may interpret your dreams of Death By Water as a suppressed desire to return to the womb - but even so, his descriptions of Parabola are quite informative.
  • Shadows of the Damned: Invoked long and hard. Both Johnson and Fleming can barely go three minutes without making a penis innuendo, Fleming because he thinks it's intimidating and Johnson because he's the comic relief.
  • Tales from the Borderlands: Lampshaded by Vasquez, who pointed out that every spaceship in the universe looks like a penis. The really funny thing is that he's wrong: We haven't seen very many ships in this 'verse (escape/drop pods from Atlas and Jacobs, Sanctuary, a crashed Hyperion ship, some jet-looking things, a Dahl fleet is seen early in the Pre-Sequel!, but that's about it), and other than the Hyperion and Dahl ships being long and thin, they don't really look like penises unless you squint. Vasquez might be projecting a little.

    Web Comics 
  • The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon: invoked "Take me to that phallus!"
  • Homestuck: invoked
    TG: i just want your professional take on how many things in my dream symbolize dicks
    TT: We've already established that all of your dreams are packed with enough homoerotic symbolism to lift Freudian theory from the ashes of discreditation.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Roy is very pleased to have his sword back. Durkon dismisses the idea that "a big phallic sword" makes a man "more masculine or attractive to women". Enter Roy's girlfriend Celia announcing that she made dinner reservations.
    • While the party is riding a giant Sand Worm, Haley gets frisky with Elan, commenting that "staring at a huge worm all afternoon" may be one reason for her lusty mood.
  • Virtual Shackles: Invoked in the console wars, where apparently Sony's end-goal is the "Playstation: Giant Penis".
  • In S.S.D.D. Dr. Cook dismisses speculation that the Anarchists deliberately made their new superweapon phallus-shaped, only to cut to the Anarchists making penis references.

    Web Original 
  • Nerd³: Invoked in his video on Underground Mining Simulator. He looks at a spiky, phallic-looking drill and comments that he's, "seen that on dodgy websites".
    • Also in his video on Skate 2:
      Dan: *reading* "Air grab over the funbox." I remember that one from the Kama Sutra.
    • Played straight in In The Little Cubed episode 2-3:
      Martyn: What was it you told me to do? Earlier on, you told me to "fiddle with my pink slot" or something, when I was trying to plug the microphone into the computer...
      Dan: I went "Make sure you're putting it in the pink slot", which you decided was incredibly funny!
  • The aptly named Freudian Nightmare from this image; a 260 kilometer long Star Destroyer (100km larger than the Death Star!) who's huge list of flaws show that it exists for reasons other then actually combat usefulness.
  • In an arguably original take on the Dark Souls franchise, the Wisecrack Edition video "The Philosophy of Dark Souls" views the philosophical implications of Dark Souls (and by extension Demon's Souls and Bloodborne) through the lens of psychologist Sigmund Freud.
    Jared: Dark Souls is about wanting to climb back into your mom's womb, getting your dick cut off and being endlessly miserable. I am completely serious about this. I'm Jared and welcome to this Wisecrack Edition on the Dark Souls series.
    • The beginning of Dark Souls beginning with a symbolic birthing scene, plunging into a tonic-crevice deep within the Earth into a pit where "things" are born, but only a few (the Old Gods) developing names and identities via the Lord Souls. The beginning of Dark Souls II has the protagonist exit an underground labyrinth and breaching the surface through a yonic-shaped crevice.
    • Themes of openings and other tonic imagery (symbolic of the mother) being blocked by a masculine figure with phallic weapons that seek to stop your progress (symbolic of the father). This also applies to the protagonist needing to enter through deep dark caves for both progress and fulfillment in the story, symbolic of the Freudian desire to return to the womb.
    • Vagina Dentata symbolically represented in Chaos Witch Quelaag and Mytha, the Baneful Queen, attributing to themes of metaphorical castration.
    • Kilns, thrones and the First Flame representing the womb, fighting metaphorical fathers as to return to this metaphorical womb and finally finding satisfaction.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Paging Doctor Freud