The hero has just gone off the deep end under stress. Proving himself to be Not So Above It All, he grows increasingly hysterical, mean, unresponsive or (w)angsty, at a time when his team needs his unaffected ability the most. How do you fix him?
With human-centered Percussive Maintenance, of course!
His Sidekick, Distaff Counterpart, right-hand man or woman, love interest (especially the ladies of the Tsundere or Broken Bird kind) or superior jolts him back to his senses with a sharp slap, a straight-up punch to the face, a shake to both shoulders or an Angry Collar Grab, and occasionally a retort for him to get his head out of his ass already (see entry title for the archetypal one). The shame-faced hero says something along the lines of "Thanks. I needed that." Less appreciatively he'll say "Not even my dad hits me!", but will eventually calm down.
Alternatively in a program wanting to limit the potential for imitation violence, a glass of cold water may be used to bring the subject back to their senses.
Might overlap with the Dope Slap; also compare Zen Slap, when a Zen master does this to their disciple for the purpose of enlightening them. May also be used on a Hysterical Woman — even by a man. Similar in spirit, but not so much in execution, to Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!. Compare with Quit Your Whining, in which it is verbal, but this trope can be used to spice it up. If you need to lay a full-on beating to snap someone out of it, see Beat the Curse Out of Him. A form of Tough Love.
The MythBusters tested a myth based on this trope and found that — at least when dealing with someone who's merely tired and frazzled — a slap to the face does help the slapped person regain his or her focus. Apparently the surprise and minor pain of a slap kicks in the 'fight or flight' response and temporarily boosts adrenaline and related hormones. Nevertheless, it should be applied with extreme caution, as smacking someone when you don't know what's wrong with them can easily do more harm than good.
For reassembling after destruction, see Pulling Themselves Together.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- The Far Side: Parodied when a man wakes up as just a head and screams "AAAAAH! DOCTOR, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY BODY!?" The doctor slaps him and he says "Thanks, I needed that."
- One FoxTrot strip has Peter about to spray Roger with the garden hose when, while trying to trim the hedges, he ends up hallucinating that he is back inside watching baseball after his tools "melted."
- In one Sherman's Lagoon stripe, Filmore begins flipping out over the tidal wave that's set to wipe out the lagoon. Sherman promptly gives him the slap, but says "Thanks, I need that" himself.
Filmore: I'm supposed to say that.
- Alternate Tail Series:
- At the start of the Edolas arc, Gajeel punches Pantherlily to snap him out of the Heroic BSoD from failing to stop Edolas from taking Fairy Tail.
- Played for Laughs later in the same arc, with Levy slapping Gajeel when he falls into "The-End-Is-Nigh" rant after seeing the Earthland and Edolas versions of Mira fighting each other.
- Gohan had to punch Goku in the cheek in an attempt to get Goku to snap out of being frozen in terror after Vegeta went Super Saiyan 3 in Goku's Wish: The Return of Broly. Subverted in that it doesn't quite work.
- The Child of Love: In chapter 9 Misato is trying to get Shinji moving to go with her and save Asuka, but the sudden shock has paralized him, so she resorts to slap him to get him focused:
Misato: "Grab your stuff off the floor and put it on in the car! I told you, there's no time to waste!"
Shinji: "Will you at least tell me what's going on!!!!?"
Misato: (losing patience) "ASUKA'S GONNA GIVE BIRTH SOON!!!!!! Now hurry up, Shinji-kun!"
Shinji: "No...what the...?"
He stands there trembling.
Misato: "Hurry UP!"
Misato slaps him. Shinji doesn't even flinch.
Misato: You're supposed to be a man now. ACT like a man! Come with me, NOW!"
He then grabs his clothes off the floor, and Misato half-drags him to the car, where Kaji is waiting for them.
- The One I Love Is...: After killing the last Angel Shinji feels more depressed and lonelier than ever and he implies he wants to commit suicide. Misato slaps him and points out that if he dies all hurt his friends went through and all sacrifices they did will be meaningless.
"Why am I the one who always stays alive? Why do people have to sacrifice themselves for me? I'm not worth it! My life is not worth so much pain. I should have been the one to die. Maybe there's still time to put an end to the pain."
I gasped as I felt Misato's hand hitting my cheek.
"Don't you ever say that, Shinji! Don't even dare think about it! If you die now, then all the sacrifice and suffering your friends went through would become meaningless! Don't disgrace them!"
The words hit me even harder then her hand. I had never thought about things this way.
- In Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns, the The Wise Prince protagonist applies a very strong backhand to Faren, the dwarven commoner, in order to snap him out of a serious case of shut-down brain that the latter ended up in after being shoved into his worst nightmare by the Sloth Demon. He follows it with a Cooldown Hug of epic proportions. Big Brother Mentor indeed.
"There is no blood on your hands!" (and he was speaking literally)
- Evangelion 303: In chapter 8 Shinji flips out after seeing Asuka's war plane crashing down and he loses control of his own plane. Gendo's reaction was quoting the line almost verbatim.
- In Reflections, Princess Luna does this to a grief-stricken Princess Celestia.
- In Relationships Series, Nanoha gets one from Vita as she becomes hysterical about the prospect of Yuuno dying on a mission, and Vita reminds her that Yuuno is determined to get back safely.
- In Fail to the King!, Almaz is subjected to this trope twice: Once in Chapter one to snap him out of his three-day long Heroic BSoD, and again in a later chapter to prevent another from surfacing in the middle of an invasion. Both played largely for laughs, naturally - this is a Disgaea fic after all.
- Rise of the Minisukas: Shiki starts losing it when Shinji is kidnapped by an Angel. Leader's quick slap snaps Shiki out of it and lets her focus on their "search, rescue and annihilate" mission.
Shiki shouts in an uncharacteristic display of raw anguish, snapping Leader out of her shell shock. Leader slaps Shiki out of her state and stares her in the eye.
"Anta Baka!" Shiki blinks and nods, her face now a visage of vengeful fury.
- In The Second Try, Asuka delivers this trope almost word for word to Shinji in chapter 2, thankfully without the slapping, when he seems too downcast to even try to take care of himself.
- In Ace Combat: Equestria Chronicles, Medley hits Rainbow Dash in the face to snap her out of her Heroic BSoD.
- At one point during his side story of the Pony POV Series, Shining Armor has to get headbutted by Captain Baseplate when he freaks out over the existence of the SAS (Equestrian Black Ops).
- A Future of Friendship, A History of Hate: During the climax of Episode 5, Scootaloo, who passed the Despair Event Horizon when she realized that her wish to be an adult not only blew up in her face but also enabled Miserain to empower a woebeghoul, which is now destroying Ponyville, states it would be better if she had never been born. Rainbow Dash responds by smacking her, telling her to never belittle herself like that again, and giving a Rousing Speech that pulls Scootaloo back to normal and enables her to help Dash destroy the woebeghoul.
- In Post Nuptials, Twilight floors Shining Armor with a punch to the face when, in the midst of a Heroic BSoD, he considers canceling the wedding.
- Subverted in Wedding Bell Blues: Shining Armor is screaming continuously after learning that he's being forced to marry Queen Chrysalis. Another pony slaps him, whereupon Shining says "Ow" - and then carries on screaming.
- In White Devil of the Moon, Nanoha's in the middle of a Heroic BSoD after finally confirming that she is the resurrected Princess Serenity, that her past life was just one big colossal failure, that the Senshi's sacrifices were in vain because Serenity killed herself in grief, that this is could have been avoided if Queen Serenity did better in teaching Princess Serenity and that all of these memories are driving her to the point where she isn't sure where Serenity ends and she starts. Fate solves this problem by making her feelings known and kissing her.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Roll does this to Mega in episode 11, slapping him and lecturing him back to his senses—though it takes more than that to fully convince him.
- In the Darkwing Duck / DuckTales (1987) Death Fic Two Worlds, One Loved One, Scrooge clouts Darkwing with his cane, sensing that he's thinking about giving up, and scolds him for even considering dishonoring Launchpad's memory by not continuing with his good work.
- In the Facing the Future Series, Sam was on the verge of a Despair Event Horizon due to her new fire powers continuing to grow out of control. Danny managed to get through to her by saying he'd never leave her side.
- In Despair's Last Resort, Ryouta Hoshino begins to get overly paranoid and hostile after learning the news that someone among them is working for Monokuma. This leads him to get into a fight with Kazumi Katsuya the next morning. It looks like she's about to beat him up, but then Kumiko Akamine gives him a well-deserved punch to the face and tells him to stop acting paranoid and acting like an ass.
- In Shatterheart, Syaoran has been refusing to eat or to leave his room for days. Kurogane tries to shake him out of it, which triggers memories of being tortured to death, causing a screaming panic attack.
- Advice and Trust: During Rei's activation test, Maya slaps Ritsuko to force her to react and run away when Unit-00 goes berserker.
- Soul Eater: Troubled Souls: Once Crona experiences a Heroic BSoD at a shocking revelation, Ragnarok puts his foot down and brings Crona out of it with this speech.
Ragnarok: Alright, Crona, you listen to me, and you listen to me good. Get up. On your feet. After all that stuff we talked about, don't turn into a hypocrite. I ain't scared no more, I'm ready for this! You shouldn't be either. I'm with you! Albarn's with you! Hell, if everyone else was here, I'm sure they'd have pom-poms at the ready too! So what if you're not completely human? I'm not either! You gotta learn not to take everyone's crap at face value. It's like what Albarn is saying – you're you! Can't anybody change that!
- In Ace Attorney fanfic Turnabout Blue Earth Iris of all people gives one to Apollo after he learns that his client is responsible for murder, although not the one she's accused of, and he refuses to continue defending her, despite case being far from over.
- In the 21st chapter of Old West, Beans has to slap Rango when he's angsting over the upcoming court with the Big Bad.
- In This Bites!, Cross delivers one to Chopper to snap him out of his Mad Doctor alternate persona. Given that this seems the most effective way to do so, and that Chopper's research is actually useful, Chopper receives a lot of them as the story goes.
- If the Boa sisters ever find themselves lost in the horrific memories of their slavery, Salome is trained to bite Sandersonia and Marigold to snap them out of them.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, Shinji breaks down into a full-on panic attack from witnessing Maya getting shot by the JSSDF as they are invading the Geofront; Asuka slaps him to get him to snap out of it and focus on helping her find a way to escape.
- In The Return-Remixed, Trish Stratus has a panic attack after finding out that the one who trained the Diva Army was Jazz . Lita has to give her one of these to get her to calm down.
- In A Gem of a Day, Rarity freaks out when she discovers that Suri Polomare stole her dress design, forcing Applejack to pin her to the ground to get her to settle down.
- The New Adventures of Invader Zim: In Episode 17, when Zim sinks into a Villainous BSoD over learning his mission is fake, Norlock snaps him out of it by hitting and insulting him until his anger over the situation takes over.
- RWBY: Epic of Remnant: Ruby Rose is completely horrified when EMIYA Alter blows up Roman Torchwick and Cinder Fall's Bullhead because she assumed it killed them. Glynda Goodwitch has to smack her to snap her out of it.
- Simple Gifts: Watson contracts influenza, complete with high fever, just before Christmas. Holmes splashes the delirious doctor with cold water to startle him back to normal, and Watson promptly deals him a surprisingly painful left hook with his injured arm.
- Remnant Inferis: DOOM:
- Downplayed. When Ruby was having a Heroic BSoD after they get trapped in Hell, the Slayer lightly taps her on the back of the head to snap her out of it, though it still hurt as much as an actual punch to the back of the head would.
- Inverted and defied. Taiyang was absolutely pissed at the Slayer for dragging his daughters into Hell (figuratively and literally) and tries to punch him in the face to calm himself down, only for the Slayer to catch his punch and respond in kind with his own. Qrow even finds it bemusing that the Slayer didn't let Tai punch him.
- Funeral for a Flash: After being told that his uncle Barry Allen did not survive the Crisis after all, Wally West is panicking and babbling incoherently until Hal Jordan shouts his name loudly to calm him down and get him to listen.
- The Flash Sentry Chronicles: In The Knight of Friendship, Flash goes through a Heroic BSoD after losing to Cold Steel and failing to finally become a Royal Knight. When he refuses to listen to Twilight when she finds him in the mountains and tries to get him to come back with her, arguing that she doesn't understand all the struggles he has had to go through to get to where he is now, she gets his attention by angrily throwing snowballs at him, instead of one of her usual speeches on friendship, and shouts he isn't acting like the Flash she knows. The results of this are zig-zagged. This initially only makes Flash madder until he tackles her and pins her to the floor screaming in her face to stop it. While he has her pinned though, he sees Twilight sobbing and she gives an Anguished Declaration of Love to him which gets him back to normal.
- Liquid's Resident Evil: In Downfall, Claire finds herself dealing with a hysterical, panicking Sherry after saving her from a Licker. Fearing she may draw attention from the monsters and unable to think of any other way to get her to be quiet, Claire is forced to slap her in the face; it works.
- In Ranma's Sudden Wedding,Nabiki hits Akane over the head with a hair dryer when the latter is panicking over having had her body stolen by an evil doll.
- Read the Fine Print (Evangelion): Shinji starts screaming hysterically when a demoness shows up in their apartment, so Asuka slaps the back of his head to shut him up and calm him down. It works.
- At one point Mortal Kombat Khronicles, Jade has to do this to Queen Sindel, while the latter is too wrapped up in her past failures to protect her daughter and realm to act on the situation at hand.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers's "Knock Me Down" is an Ode to Sobriety requesting the person listening to do this to the narrator if he relapses.
- U2's "Stuck In a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" is all about the narrator doing this to a friend. Bono wrote it inspired by the suicide of his friend Michael Hutchence, saying the song is basically "a really tough, nasty little number, slapping him around the head" trying to show that killing himself is a foolish act.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf sometimes speaks this trope's name word for word when the ball enters Paths of the Dead.
- Japanese wrestling legend (and eventual WWE Hall Of Fame inductee) Antonio Inoki is/was known for this... among other types of hitting.
- In WCW, when Torrie Wilson was Corpsing during Randy Savage's backstage rampage, he slapped her to break her out of it. Botchamania turned this into a meme:
X corpsing? SEND FOR THE MAN!
- MsChif did this to Ministry Of Hate Stablemate and Gateway Heavyweight Champion Nikki Strychnine, to get him to stop thinking about "love" and focus on defending his title. Unfortunately for her and him, it did not have the desired affect, Nikki lost his title and would remain in depression for the better part of a year.
- When Maria Kanellis kept worrying over her tag team match with John Cena, he kissed her to shut her up.
- In the "Give Me Your Money" number from Avenue Q, Nicky refuses to give up his money by ranting "I can't! I need it! I'm homeless! I can't! I need it! I'm homeless! I can't...." until Princeton slaps him. Nicky calmly hands over the money then.
- In the Direct to Video Muppet Classic Theater, during the Rumpelstiltskin rendition, Piggy's father gets a little overboard trying to introduce himself and his daughter to the king.
Miller: She is Piggy, Miller's Daughter. And I am her father, Miller, Piggy's Father, your Majesty. No, wait I am not the majesty, You're the majesty, and this is my daughter, Piggy, and this is—
(Loyal Royal Advisor backhands him)
Miller: Thanks, I needed that.
Gonzo: Intermission!? Wait a minute!! Why wasn't I told about this?! This is an outrage!! OOF!! Thanks, I needed that.
- And it's done again at the end of the Intermission.
Rizzo: Don't mention it.
- On an episode of the short lived MTV series Super Adventure Team, Chief Engineer Head literally slapped Dr. Criswell blind trying to get him to snap out of his funk.
- Parodied in the Hamish and Dougal episode "Trapped!":
Hamish: Help! We're trapped between floors! Help!
Dougal: Hamish, you're getting hysterical.
(SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!)
Hamish: Well, don't just stand their applauding, do something!
Dougal: All right!
(SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!)
Dougal: Now, control yourself. Or next time it's the face.
- X Minus One: In episode eighty-three, adapted from Theodore Sturgeon's "A Saucer Of Loneliness", Jason Bernaides slaps Janet Boyce to prevent her from killing herself.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Player's Handbook 3 for 4th Edition includes Skill Powers, such as "Snap Out of it", which is pretty much this trope.
A smack across the face brings your ally back to his or her senses.
- Dungeon magazine #28 adventure "Night of Fear". Goddle is one of the NPCs trapped in Crellar's Trading Post with the doppelganger. At some point he will panic and become hysterical until someone slaps him.
- The Player's Handbook 3 for 4th Edition includes Skill Powers, such as "Snap Out of it", which is pretty much this trope.
- Pathfinder has a magical club (from the Inner Sea Temples sourcebook) known as the Censuring Placard. Though it can be used to remove status buffs from enemies, it's just as effective at breaking Charm Person effects on allies.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Fairly common among the Imperial Guard. When they're not being executed for cowardice, that is.
- Orks have a similar rule where morale tests can be passed by the boss dealing a few good thwacks to his underlings. It tends to be lethal more often than not, but orks aren't awfully concerned about it.
- Helluva Boss: When Colin begins freaking out that the C.H.E.R.U.B. have accidentally killed a human, Keenie promptly slaps him and tells him to get a hold of himself.
- During the Sicily campaign, General George S. Patton slapped a soldier suffering from shell shock in two separate incidents. One was later found to be suffering from malaria, the other was Just Following Orders after repeatedly requesting to stay with his unit. It almost ended Patton's career, proving that this isn't a good idea to try for real.
Grampa: You can push them out of a plane, you can march them off a cliff, you can send them off to die on some God-forsaken rock, but for some reason you can't slap them.
- As a side note, the soldier Patton slapped later said, "He was probably pretty well worn out himself." Combat can do strange things to people. Patton's popularity and effectiveness as a battle commander saved him. All the same, Patton's boss ordered him to apologize.
- It doesn't work if it is "shell shock" (PTSD), either. Anyone who's been in the Armed Forces can tell you that, combat experience or not. A person that far gone has usually spent themselves keeping a hold for as long as they have.
- This was parodied during the extensive Patton movie pastiche in The Simpsons episode "Bart the General". Bart (the "Patton" of the parody does it, but just like actual Patton he gets scolded for it, this time by Grampa Abe (as the superior officer of the parody):
- In some sects of Zen Buddhism, a monk walks the room during meditation sessions with a light, flat stick. When a meditating monk loses their focus because they starts to get tired or fall asleep, they will lean forward to get a light slap between the shoulder blades with the stick, which triggers the reaction to give the adrenaline to make them fully awake again, to be truly present-minded.
- This practice is the premise behind one of the microgames in WarioWare: Smooth Moves: You play as the supervising monk and must do a quick slapping motion with the Wii Remote whenever he passes by a monk nodding off or not paying attention to put them back in line.