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Gassy Scare

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Rat #1: [waking up] I'm hungry!
Dr. Dolittle: It's a false alarm. There's nothing wrong with him. He just has gas.
Rat #2: Whoa, you're telling me!
Dr. Dolittle: [to a disbelieving crowd] He just had gas.

This character is minding their own business, going about their day as usual... when suddenly, there's this growing pain inside of their body! Clutching their chest/belly, they're worried that they could be having a heart attack or a Ruptured Appendix or something! Why does this tension just keep getting worse? What could this strange illness possibly be?!


Nah, never mind, turns out they only had a bad case of gas instead! Or that all they had to do was just go to the bathroom.

If the character isn't typically a Gasshole, this can come off as a shock, then an embarrassment, to them. If this scenario lasts for an entire episode, it will end as a "Shaggy Dog" Story. In particularly egregious cases, it may lead to someone (usually a woman) being Mistaken for Pregnant.

An obvious source of Toilet Humor and typically a case of Mood Whiplash. See also Hypochondria and Mistaken for Dying. Not to be confused with Deadly Gas (well, in a certain sense, at least).


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    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 6, there is an episode where Big M. develops a bump in his tummy and is convinced that he is pregnant with a baby. By the end, it seems like he is about to give birth... only to realize that it was just gas.

  • Discussed when Jim Gaffigan tells a story of his family vacationing in Alaska, miles away from civilization. He gets severe stomach pains and is pre-diagnosed with appendicitis. He gets airlifted by helicopter to the nearest hospital, and spends the whole journey hoping it's not gas, or he would look really foolish.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Powerpuff Girls story "Monkey Business", Townsville is enjoying a bowl of chili at Mojo Jojo's restaurant. Blossom causes a panic when she mistakes everyone farting for a gas leak.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: When Wallace and Gromit go into their basement to find Hutch looking huge with all the other rabbits trembling and terrified, they assume that he's eponymous beast, believing that his primitive instincts were overstimulated by Wallace's rabbit rehabilitation experiment. After Wallace picks him up with a pair of prongs, Hutch starts twitching and grunting like he's about to transform, only to finally force a huge belch past the metal around his neck. The other rabbits let out a sigh of relief, and Gromit waves the stink away from his nose.
  • Inverted in Recess: School's Out. As the gang spies on the villains' lab, Mikey nervously eats a granola bar until suddenly he gets an uncomfortable feeling. His friends tell him to try and hold it in, but it's no use and Mikey unleashes a belch that echoes through the entire lab, alerting the Big Bad of their presence and resulting in this classic line.
    "Someone had better said... 'Excuse me.'"
  • In Shrek 2, Shrek is skeptical about whether the Happily Ever After potion works and apprehensive about transforming from an ogre into a handsome human if it does work. When he drinks it, an ominous gurgling from his belly sends Donkey and Puss running for cover behind a log while Shrek stands there with an uncomfortable look on his face as he anticipates a Painful Transformation. Instead he lets out a huge fart, which Donkey complains about.
    Donkey: Whoo, Shrek, I think you just drank the FARTY ever after potion!
    Puss: Maybe it's a dud?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Dr. Dolittle, one of a pair of rats the titular doctor had been heckled by in previous scenes appears to be dying of severe stomach pains, resulting an extended scene of Dolittle trying to treat the rat at the hospital, and then performing CPR when the rat passes out on the examination table. Dolittle's attempt at chest compressions pushes out a fart, and the rat is fine and back to heckling him again with his buddy the next day.
  • In The Last King of Scotland, Idi Amin has consumed some medicine with beer, which results in a gas buildup in his stomach; Amin thinks he's dying, but his doctor presses on his stomach with a baseball bat; this lets his gas escape in an enormous fart. This scene is the first time the doctor sees the dark side to Idi Amin's personality; up until now, he has seen Amin as a jolly, comical individual but now he sees him ranting and paranoid (until the doctor cleared the gas, Amin thought someone had poisoned him).
  • Necessary Roughness: Coach Gennaro has massive chest pains and goes to a doctor, seemingly missing his team's final game. The doctor gives him an Expospeak Gag about his symptoms, then when asked "Is it fatal?" the doc replies: "Indigestion? Only in Mexico."

  • End of Watch: At the start of the story, two ambulance drivers named Rob Martin and Jason Rapsis are send to check on a man named Harvey Galen, who is suffering from severe chest pains. However, after a few belches and "a trombone blast from the nether regions that had his social X-ray of a wife booking for the kitchen", he already feels much better.
  • In the children's book, Farley Farts, Farley is farting a lot and his parents worry that it's a sign of something but the doctor assures them that all he has is gas and that "it'll pass".
  • In Maxis Secrets, Maxi is whining in the car on the way home from the dog breeder. Timminy thinks she's scared and squeezes her a little too tightly to make her feel better, but it turns out she just had gas and stinks up the car.
  • Secret Vampire: Inverted; it's established in the first chapter that Poppy keeps having stomach pains and nausea, but she dismisses it as indigestion or something non-serious. When she gets a bout of pain so bad so nearly passes out, it becomes obvious it's something more and her mother insists she go to the doctor's for tests. Even then, Poppy still insists that it's probably something relatively easily treated like appendicitis. It turns out to be pancreatic cancer, which she's likely had for months, and the reason she's experiencing pain now is because it's at an advanced stage.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon realizes that he'll miss The Singularity by 100 years, and decides to take up healthy eating and regular exercise. However, on the night of his diet change, he comes to Leonard in a panic about his appendix being infected. As soon as they leave Leonard's room, he lets out a massive fart. He ultimately gives up on the diet.
    Sheldon: Oh Lord, I think it's about to burst!
    [passes gas]
    Sheldon: On the other hand, it might've been the Brussels sprouts.
  • On ER, Frank once thought he was having a heart attack. When a doctor tends to him, he lets out a burp. Annoyingly, NBC put the supposed "heart attack" in the episode's promo, but not the burp.
    • There's a similar situation on Days of Our Lives when local Big Beautiful Woman Nancy thinks she's having a heart attack. She's humiliated when she finally lets out a huge belch, relieving her pain.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: In "Home is Where the Heart Attack Is", this gets inverted when Carlton goes into heavy denial about his father's heart attack and tries to make claims that it could be "acute indigestion", saying that "even doctors have made that mistake". Of course, Will doesn't buy it.
  • An episode of The Golden Girls revolves around Dorothy's elderly mother Sophia believing that she's having a fatal heart attack. After learning of the Long List of things she's recently consumed, a doctor discovers that it is due to indigestion from overeating.
  • An early episode of Louie features Louie and the kids being visited by his pregnant sister, who is revealed to have had multiple miscarriages in the past. In the middle of the night, she starts screaming in pain, claiming that something is wrong with the baby. Louie rushes her to the ER and... cue massive fart.
  • On Murphy Brown, Miles has what he thinks is a heart attack during his 30th birthday party, but after going to the hospital, the doctor diagnoses him with acid reflux caused by stress. "Or, if you want the Cliff Notes version, you got gas and freaked."
  • On One Day at a Time (2017), Penelope sees a patient with abdominal pain who is afraid that she has appendicitis or cancer:
    Penelope: It's not cancer, but your family is still gonna be very upset. [beat] It's gas.
    Patient: Are you sure?
    Penelope: You had Cajun food at three a.m. Yeah, I'm sure.
  • The Too Close for Comfort episode "Where There's a Will" focuses on Henry making a video of this last will and testament, confronting his own mortality along the way. As he is filming, he gets agitated and has what appears to be a heart attack. As his terrified family commiserates in the hospital waiting room, Henry casually saunters out to them, explaining that "it was just a little gas".
  • The Young Ones: In "Cash", Vyvyan announces that he is pregnant, complete with an alarmingly swelling abdomen. At the end of the episode, it turns out to be merely gas, that is expelled with a very long, very loud, very smelly fart.

    Video Games 
  • In Persona 4, during the school trip to Port Island, the group discovers Teddie not moving after eating a bunch of bowls of ramen. They worry if he's hibernating, or worse, that something has happened to him because of spending too much time outside of the "TV world". Then... he burps.
    Yukiko: Leave it behind.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Gigglebug episode "Tummy Ache", Barry Bear's tummy doesn't feel so well and has to interrupt their playing to go to the doctor, but once there, they find out it was just gas.
  • Sam & Mickey: "Baby Shower" has Yasmin thinking that she's pregnant with Ken's baby. At the end, she feels like the "baby" is going to come out. Barbie (with a doctor as one of her occupations), gets close to Yasmin to help with the "delivery"... only for Yasmin to unleash a huge fart right in her face.
    Barbie: Are you *bleep*-ing kidding me?!
  • In this Toilet Training Plot stop-motion video made with toy bunnies, a little girl thinks her tummy is sore, but really she just goes to the bathroom. The weird part is, she apparently had to pee.

    Web Comics 
  • Rain: Played with. In Chapter 35, Emily pretends to be going into labor while in the principal's office. Maria manages to get the secretary to leave so Emily can help Maria escape school in order to avoid her parents coming to probably take her to a gay conversion camp. When Maria successfully escapes and Emily returns to the principal's office, she tells everyone she just had gas to further cover Maria's absence.
  • In this strip of Bob and George, Proto Man has a sudden feeling something's gone wrong, but Bass tells him when he has that feeling, it's usually gas.

    Web Videos 
  • Glove and Boots: In the Don't Be a Dummy (with Johnny T.) episode "Don't Google Your Illness":
    Johnny T.: The other day, my stomach was kinda upset. So I googled what I should do. In fifteen minutes, I was convinced that I had cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, and AIDS. I didn't have none of those! Turns out, I just had to take a sh-*bleep*.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Animaniacs cartoon "The Three Muska-Warners", Wakko eats the king's dinner to test it for poison. Instantly he looks sick and the king exclaims "It was poisoned!" But then Wakko lets out one of his signature burps and says "No, just mayonnaise."
  • Beavis and Butt-Head: In "Pregnant Pause", Beavis thinks he's pregnant when he feels a pain in his stomach. It turns out that he's just constipated.
  • Bobby's World: In one episode during Martha's pregnancy arc, she thinks she's going into labor, but it turns out to be a false alarm. While she never says what really caused the pains, Uncle Ted guesses it was gas. She's also slightly gassy throughout the episode where she finally gives birth to the twins, which is Truth in Television.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch: In the episode "The Prophecy," referee Mills Lane starts to experience symptoms that are a prelude to spontaneous combustion, much to the horror of the others. Moments later, however, Mills lets out a burp, revealing that it was just gas brought on by egg salad.
  • Cro: In "No Way Up", Nandy has gorged herself on lots of food to the point where she gets sick. Everyone thinks she's dying, so they build a hang glider so she can fulfill her dream of flying. After she takes the glider for a successful flight, she walks off to the bushes to die... then lets out a burp and says she's feeling better.
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: In "Daniel Sits On the Potty", Daniel thinks he has a tummy ache, but he actually just needs to poop.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In "Critical Gas", Dexter is concerned by a build-up of gas in his body after eating a giant burrito. When an experiment to replicate the effect with a balloon leads him to think he's going to explode, Dexter sets out on a list of things to do before he dies. The last thing on his list is telling his parents about his secret lab. Just before he can tell them, he breaks wind with enough force to embed the television (which he was standing in front of) into the wall.
  • Family Guy: Peter tries to invoke this in "Mr. Griffin Goes To Washington". After calling his boss and telling him that he and his family were involved in a horrific plane crash (claiming they were killed, he was now a vegetable, but would show up tomorrow) as an excuse to get out of work for a Red Sox game, he runs into his boss at the game and tries to brush the whole thing off by saying that the plane crash was just gas.
  • Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs: In "Emergency!", Scorch the dragon thinks he's sick because he's in pain and can't breathe fire, but it turns out he just needs to burp, so Harry and the gang burp him like a baby.
  • Hey Arnold!: In "Big Bob's Crisis", Bob keels over after eating a load of ribs believing he's having a heart attack. When he wakes up in the hospital, he find out it was just gas but he still believes his "near-death experience" was a sign and he spends the rest of the episode trying to be healthier and more relaxed.
  • Life's a Zoo: Chi Chi's "pregnancy" in "Chi's Having a Baby" turns out to be a deeply held fart, and when Chi Chi unleashes, the stench goes across the entire mansion, and destroys the houseguests' eggs.
  • Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" takes the plot of the aforementioned Beavis and Butt-Head example a step further with "Stimpy's Pregnant," in which Ren and Stimpy similarly believe that... well, Stimpy's pregnant! As it turns out, he's constipated, but Dr. Mr. Horse doesn't have the heart to tell them, so after Stimpy "gives birth," the doctor fashions the massive turd into a baby.
  • The Rick and Morty episode "Promortyus" featured Face Huggers that reproduced by laying eggs after living for only half an hour. The episode ends with Rick and Morty thinking they're going to lay eggs and thus die, but they just needed to take dumps.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: "Yarnbenders" has this little moment:
    "I'm nauseous. I'm nauseous. (farts) I'm better now."
  • The pilot episode of Sam & Max: Freelance Police has Sam resolve the problem of a monstrous, mutated TV dinner wreaking havoc inside The Geek's freezer by fulfilling its purpose and eating it. Just when it seems all is well, Sam begins to moan in pain from severe internal agony, seemingly setting up an homage to the iconic chest-bursting scene from Alien. After a beat, he instead unleashes a MASSIVE belch —illustrated with a live-action cut to a house flattening in an atomic blast— and is none the worse for wear, with the added benefit of his noxious emanations drifting into the upper atmosphere and plugging up the hole in the Earth's ozone layer.
  • Secret Mountain Fort Awesome: One moment has Festro coming to the aid of a woman with a bulging belly, apparently about to give birth, but it's revealed to be just horrible gas that she farts out right in front of him once he presses a hand on her stomach.
  • In the Timon & Pumbaa episode "South Sea Sick", Pumbaa gets sick and Timon tries to cure him. It turns out that Pumbaa just needed to release a large, loud burp to feel better.


Video Example(s):


He Just Had Gas

Dr. Dolittle is operating on a rat, to the shock of his colleagues and wife. He thinks it could be a serious situation, maybe even cardiac arrest, but it turns out that the rat just had gas.

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Main / GassyScare

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