Follow TV Tropes


Inflating Body Gag

Go To
They advertised it as "lighter than air", so you are what you eat, I guess...

Good thing I found a magic balloon!

A character inhales too much helium, or other some other gas, and their whole body inflates like a balloon. This usually causes their clothes and hair to inflate as well. This is often inflicted on the character as an Amusing Injury, but some characters will do it to themselves deliberately. Because All Balloons Have Helium, inflated characters are liable to float in the air or blow away in the wind, even if they were inflated with normal air. It often ends with the character deflating just like an untied party balloon, flying through the air and sputtering as the gas rushes out of them. Alternately, the character may inflate beyond their limits, resulting in "Pop!" Goes the Human.

May also be done with water or other liquids, in which case you can expect a lot less floating and a lot more wobbling.


Of course this would be impossible and grotesque in Real Life, unless you happen to be a pufferfish or a hedgehog (see Real Life section). Online, this trope is known for being a common fetish, but let's not go into that here.

Compare Balloon Belly (only the belly inflates) and Temporary Bulk Change or Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever (grow in size but not inflate). Related to Be the Ball. Constrast with Squashed Flat. As a form of Toon Physics, this trope tends to run on Rule of Funny and Willing Suspension of Disbelief.



    open/close all folders 

  • One hhgregg ad has hh blowing up some balloons for a blowout sale via a helium tank. hh ends up sucking in the helium for one balloon, causing him to inflate and float around in the air.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Used bizarrely in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, involving a giant toilet. Whoever falls in, they swell up. At one point, Jelly Jiggler (who fell into the toilet with Gasser) blows up into pieces. He got better.
  • Princess Buburina from Catnapped! has an enchantment on her, causing anyone she touches to blow up into a balloon.
  • In episode 11 of Kidou Shinsengumi Moeyo Ken, it happens to everybody in Kyoto (spare at least five people) who is hit with a nikuman filled with cursed medicine that blows people up if directly contacted. Not even a bite, but any contact with the body.
  • One Piece: Luffy uses this as one of his attacks through Gum Gum balloon, sucking in so much air that he turns, quite literally, into a balloon. Worth mentioning is his second fight with Crocodile where he ingests an entire barrel of water and turns into "Water Luffy". He later developed a much more potent version by distributing the air in his Balloon Belly to his Haki-infused muscles, bulking him up considerably and becoming very bouncy. Sounds ridiculous, but this is bona fide Person of Mass Destruction grade.

  • Yang Maoyuan has several creative taxidermy sculptures, made by sewing actual animal skin (horses, camels, and sheep) around a gas-filled rubber bag. Some of the results look like inflated animals, while others are even more surreal.

    Asian Animation 
  • Motu Patlu: In "Scooter Race", Dr. Jhatka accidentally inserts the pump for his scooter tires into Motu's mouth, causing Motu's body to inflate to the point that he floats in the air.
  • In Pororo the Little Penguin, "Flying Poby" (season 3, episode 20), Tong-Tong uses magic to make Poby the polar bear fly. Then Tong-Tong forgets the spell to bring Poby back down, and accidentally inflates him instead. Twice.

    Comic Books 
  • From the Legion of Super-Heroes: expanding into a human superball was Bouncing Boy's actual superpower.
  • Asterix: In "Asterix and the Great Divide", the Romans get their hands on some of the magic potion, but make the mistake of drinking it in combination with another potion from Getafix (one that can instantly heal injuries). The mixture of different potions in their bodies has the side effect that they swell up like balloons before shrinking in size.

    Eastern European Animation 
  • In Sheep & Wolves, Grey briefly inflates like a balloon after downing several magic potions in desperation to turn back to normal. Almost immediately after, though, he deflates and is sent flying upward before falling back to the ground.
  • Played for Drama in Tri Drovoseka, where a character called Bubble inhales air in order to to lift his drowning fellows out of the water. Watch it here.

    Fan Works 
  • In Changeling Space Program, the changelings' standard procedure for pony prisoners is to keep them comatose and give them dreams about their strongest desires, so the changelings can feed off the resulting positive emotions. When Cherry Berry wakes up from her imprisonment and sees the changeling who had been guarding (and feeding from) her:
    Cherry Berry decided she could have lived a long, happy life without seeing a nearly spherical changeling. It looked at her, gave a little wave with a hoof, and burped.
  • In Earth and Sky, a battalion of Royal Guards get dosed with Poison Joke pollen, which induces transformations with a humorous bent. Their leader, Sir Concord, turns purple and inflates, until he resembles a giant grape.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the opening scene of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Scrat is climbing an ice wall that suddenly springs leaks. He tries to plug one leak with his muzzle, but winds up drinking the water and inflating. When he can't take any more, goes flying through the sky as he spews the water back out.
  • Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: Crash and Eddie shoot exploding berries at a bunch of flying pterodactyls that are chasing them. One during the chase gets inflated like a balloon after a berry is fired in its mouth as it tried to eat the possums, leaving it billowing smoke and floating away complete with balloon deflating sounds.
  • In Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure, random parts of King Koo Koo's body inflate when he laughs; when he inflicts the Tickle Torture on the good guys, the "last laugh", this gets from him causes him to expand to monstrous proportions. When Raggedy Andy realizes that the King is just "full of hot air", he tells the Pirate Parrot to pop him. The resultant explosion sends Marcella's toys, plus the Camel, back to her backyard.
  • The Three Caballeros: After Donald is shrunken down by Joe Carioca, Joe shows him how to inflate back to normal by blowing on his index finger. Donald blows on his thumb instead, causing him to inflate in all manner of crazy shapes.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
    • The first scene, taking place in the Show Within a Show "Somethin's Cookin'", has Roger accidentally getting inflated by an ACME vacuum.
    • A downplayed example near the end: after Judge Doom gets Squashed Flat, he uses an air tank to inflate himself back to normal size.
  • Eliot in Open Season, after accidentally inhaling a helium balloon during the convenience store scene.
  • Bloat in Finding Nemo often has this happen when his emotions become too high. Sometimes, he can be seen being used as a ball by other characters, much to his chagrin.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Big Trouble in Little China: Thunder inflates himself by massively inhaling. He eventually goes too far and explodes.
  • In Live and Let Die, Kanaga gets inflated by the gas in James Bond's shark pellets until he explodes. Serious Narm.
  • A literal case was shown in The Master of Disguise. One of Pistachio's disguises while being trained by his grandfather was an inflating "fat businessman" suit. Unfortunately, Pistachio tugged on the cord too hard and, well, guess what happens next.
  • In Space Jam, after Stan gets flattened by the Monstars, some nurses help him by inflating him like a balloon using an air pump, then he deflates and turns back to normal.
  • Strange Brew: The villain sticks Bob McKenzie in a vat, slowly filling with beer, and leaves him to drown. Bob just drinks all the beer. After bloating up as big as the vat, Bob shrinks back to normal size by peeing it out—and extinguishing a house fire in the process.
    Bob: Jeez, I gotta take a leak so bad I can taste it!
  • Both Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prominently feature Violet Beauregarde's blueberry inflation scene from the original book.
    • The scene from the former arguably being the Trope Codifier. It certainly didn't invent the trope, and the book came out before the movie did, but you'd be hard-pressed to find an Inflating Body Gag more well-known or ingrained in popular culture as this one.

  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Violet Beauregarde ignores Willy Wonka's warnings and chews on some prototype gum that's supposed to taste like a three-course meal. The gum tastes fine, but the dessert—blueberry pie—transforms Violet into a giant blueberry: she turns blue all over, then fills up with juice until she's almost spherical.
  • Near the beginning of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry's accidental magic makes Aunt Marge inflate and fly into the sky.
  • In Robert Arthur's "The Wonderful Day" Danny, after overhearing an idiom-laden conversation between his parents, wishes on a unicorn horn that all the expressions adults use would be literally true for just one day. When Mrs. Edward Norton thinks prideful thoughts the day after, she puffs up like a balloon and only grabbing the branches of a nearby cherry tree saves her from floating away.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Get Smart, Agent 86 uses an inflatable bodysuit on a few missions.
  • Home Improvement: One of the inventions shown on Tool Time combined a shop-vac and work coveralls. As always, it's funny because it's impractical.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the "Dungeons & Dragons" 5E book Mordenkein's Tomb of Foes there are several customization options for demons. One of these is the ability "Blimp Body" which grants the user the levitate ability as long as they have at least 50% health. This customization option can be added to ANY demon, meaning you could fight a Balor that looks like a balloon. Strangely, this customization option has no effect on physical or combat-related abilities (past that of the levitate spell) which means a bloated demon is as deadly as its kin.

    Video Games 
  • Breakers Revenge has Maherl's hilarious BALLOON-O! attack, in which he inflates and attempts to slam his opponent into the ground.
  • In the Christmas Episode of The Darkside Detective, the monster of the week is defeated by inciting an allergic reaction that causes it to swell up and float away like a balloon.
  • In Deep Duck Trouble, Scrooge McDuck takes a pendant from an ancient temple that curses him to inflate like a balloon and float in disgrace. The only way the curse can be removed is if Donald Duck returns the pendant to its rightful place. At the end of the game, after Donald returns the pendant, a mysterious crown appears. He takes it, and since every treasure in the temple is cursed, he ends up going through the same curse Scrooge went through.
  • Dig Dug: You defeat enemies by jamming a pump into them and inflating until they pop.
  • Cheng Sinzan from Fatal Fury already has a nearly spherical torso, and he can inflate himself with air during at least one of his attacks.
  • ''Horace: At certain points in Chapter 7, Horace can eat a cake that will inflate him like a balloon, allowing him to cross over obstacles for a time.
  • Kirby: By inhaling enough air, Kirby puffs up and becomes a balloon, which enables him to fly.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks you get the boss Fraaz, whose attack involves inflating himself with fire or icy air, and he shows off his ability within seconds of you meeting him for the first time.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • In Mortal Kombat II, Kitana's "Kiss of death" causes its victims to painfully inflate and explode.
    • A similar fatality in Mortal Kombat 9 has Rain conjure a large ball of water over his victim's head and force it down their throats, causing their body to bloat up until they burst. (Oddly, there is very little gore in the actual explosion.)
  • In Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, both the player characters and enemies swell up like balloons and pop when they are hit enough times.
  • Shiftlings makes a game mechanic out of this: you play as a pair of bumbling space custodians, one of whom has swollen to enormous size after drinking a bottle of "the galaxy's fizziest soda". The pair must traverse various stages while connected to a hose, through which the player can transfer gas to change which one of them is bloated up and which is normal-sized.
  • Various Super Mario Bros. games feature inflating and floating as a game mechanic.
    • Super Mario World has the Power Balloon (or just P-balloon), which enables Mario to swell up and float.
    • In Super Mario 64 DS, the Power Flower turns Mario into Balloon Mario so he can float.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, eating the blimp fruit turns Yoshi into Blimp Yoshi, with the ability to to swell up and float.
    • In New Super Mario Bros. U, there is a purple Baby Yoshi, whose ability is to swell up and float.
  • Lola Pop from ARMS can inflate her entire body like a balloon as a shield.
  • The boulder worms in Heart of Darkness instantly bloat up upon getting shot by Andy's Life Energy-attacks, leaving them momentarily stuck in the wall. Waiting a few seconds or shooting them again causes them to fly around like deflated balloons.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In "helium", The Cheat tries to inhale helium to see if it makes his voice sound funny. He accidentally sucks up the entire balloon, and drifts away helplessly.
      Homestar: Woah, Marzipan, check out that ugly bird.
      Marzipan: Homestar, I think that bird is the Cheat.
      Homestar: No way! The Cheat is one fine-looking young man. That is an ugly bird.
    • In "licensed", Strong Bad buys some ferret ointment from Bubs that makes The Cheat "swell up like a balloon" and, as seen in an Easter egg, once again float away.

    Western Animation 
  • In Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Ickis' special scaring ability (referred to as looming) has him inflate his body and grow gigantic, but he can't hold the form for very long.
  • Maybe the weirdest version of this trope was done in the Bonkers episode "Bobcat Fever. Bonkers is infected with by an actress germ named Cheryl which is making her way to various organs and giving him various wacky symptoms. In the middle of the episode, Cheryl reaches his heart, which is represented by a pair of bagpipes connected to air compressors. Cheryl does a dance and accidentally lodges her cane in Bonkers's heart, causing his heart to swell. This gives Bonkers the hiccups, and every time he hiccups, another part of his body inflates until he floats into the air.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In "Pseudo Sonic", Sonic and Lawrence both fall into Poison Flower Valley. The poison flowers make Sonic and Lawrence get extremely itchy, then bloat up like balloons. They stay that way for the rest of the episode (excluding, of course, the "Sonic Sez" segment).
    • Happens to Tails in the episode, "Musta Been A Beautiful Baby", when he eats dehydrated food at a factory, then drinks a glass of water. He swells up to the size of a parade float, and as a result, gets stuck in the doorway when Sonic tries to get them away from Scratch and Grounder.
  • In the The Amazing Spiez episode "Operation The 50 Ft. Hacker", Davey Hacker steals a gadget that makes its target grow. When the kids are fighting the giant Davey, Megan uses it on herself, making herself as tall as Davey. After successfully defeating him, however, the gadget winds up malfunctioning, causing her to inflate like a giant balloon. Marc manages to revert her back to normal size shortly after.
  • Animaniacs
    • An episode begins with Wakko drinking a huge root beer float, expanding, and floating back onto his seat afterwards... then he got hiccups.
    • In another episode, Wakko's being psychoanalyzed by Dr. Scratchnsniff, who follows up one of his statements with, "Can you expand on that?" So Wakko literally expands himself.
  • The Big Hero 6: The Series short "Gumball Trouble" has Go Go mistaking one of Honey Lemon's miniature chemballs for a gumball. After eating it, she blows up like a balloon.
  • The MTV cartoon Celebrity Deathmatch ended its very last fight with this gag, with Keri Russell inflating until she exploded and destroyed the stadium. It was lampshaded that she shouldn't have detonated since she was filled with inert helium gas.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In the 1934 Silly Symphonies short "Peculiar Penguins", the male protagonist penguin catches a fish as a gift for his love interest — which turns out to be a pufferfish. When she swallows the fish whole, it puffs up inside her stomach, causing her to inflate as well.
    • In the 1936 Mickey Mouse cartoon Moving Day, Donald gets thrown beak first into an open gas line, filling his body with gas until he deflates and flies around the room.
    • One Pluto the Pup short has Pluto deal with a Bully Bulldog trying to steal his bone by using a bicycle horn to inflate the bulldog like a balloon and send him flying.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • In the episode where the Eds are pretending to be one another, Ed (pretending to be Eddy) makes Eddy (pretending to be Edd) drink enough juice to fill a swimming pool causing him to become massively bloated.
      Ed: [as Eddy] Kids will pay big money to ride a blimp! You're a genius, Double-D!
    • Likewise, in an episode in which Ed and Edd are trying to make Eddy taller (due to the latter's hatred of being short), Ed convinces Eddy to eat an inflatable raft. As Edd points out: "Well, he's certainly... um... wider..."
  • Herman and Katnip:
    • In "Rail Rodents", Katnip gets his head stuck in a water tower's output pipe and inflates like a balloon.
    • In "Mouse Trapeze", Herman tricks Katnip into drinking from a hose connected to a fire hydrant, which makes Katnip swell several times larger before he pops off and flies across the room.
  • Loona from HOOD has the power to inflate her body like a balloon.
  • One of Inspector Gadget's less complicated technologies inflates his coat like a giant balloon, allowing him to float over obstacles.
  • The Itchy & Scratchy Show applies their over-the-top approach to this trope in "Spherical on 34th Street". Itchy inflates Scratchy with hydrogen gas, then shoots him with a flaming arrow to make him explode in a huge fireball.
  • The guardian shark in Lego Atlantis: The Movie is defeated by being tricked into consuming a disguised-torpedo, bloating it to the shape of a football & giving it some digestive issues.
  • In the Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "Mr. Stenchy", Stitch inflates himself like a balloon when he sucks air from one of the X-Buggy's tires, causing him to float until he belches.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In the early short "Hold Anything", a goat bites into a radiator, causing the hot air to inflate it and send it flying like a balloon. Bosko then uses it as an improvised set of bagpipes.
    • In "Fastest with the Mostest", Wile E. Coyote tries to blow into a balloon for his latest plan, only for the air to shoot back and inflate him. He desperately grabs the nearest object — a bomb — to stop himself from drifting away, but just winds up carrying the bomb as he floats up. Then he deflates and finds himself high in the air, still holding a bomb. Whoops.
    • In "The Daffy Doc", Daffy Duck gets his head stuck in an iron lung. When he takes it out, his head starts inflating and deflating repeatedly. His attempts to stop it only move the inflation to another part of his body. The cartoon ends with both him and Porky Pig getting caught in the iron lung, causing their bodies to inflate all over.
  • Played to comedic effect with Lulu's father in the Little Lulu episode "A Scout with the Gout". Lulu's father ends up drinking the entire contents of a cave filled with water. The cartoon takes water sloshing to a ridiculous degree as poor Papa's body behaves like an ocean wave, complete with breaking. Watch here.
  • During the opening sequence of Mike, Lu & Og, Lu tries to blow up an Action Guy balloon, but the air shoots back into her, causing her to inflate.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses this one a few times:
    • In "Feeling Pinkie Keen", Pinkie Pie's "Pinkie sense" makes her twitch all over — in anticipation of a "doozy" happening soon — and this includes her spontaneously inflating very briefly.
    • Takes a more grotesque turn in "Too Many Pinkie Pies": Twilight casts a spell to send the clones back to the Mirror Pool, and this makes the clones inflate and pop first.
    • In "Spike at Your Service", while desperately looking for some way to help, Spike offers to help Applejack with breathing. He shoves a fireplace bellows in her mouth and pumps hard enough to inflate AJ.
    • In "Simple Ways", Pinkie gasps so hard that her head inflates, and she just floats off-screen.
    • In "Discordant Harmony", Discord calms himself down by breathing into a paper bag. The bag stays still, while Discord inflates and deflates as he breathes.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: In the episode "Action Reaction" Skipper accidentally gets doused with a mysterious chemical called Inflatium. The substance takes its toll on him by making him inflate like a balloon when stressed.
  • Ren & Stimpy
    • One of the That's All, Folks! segments from season one had Ren tell Stimpy "You can blow yourself up, like a balloon!" to pass the time until the next episode.
    • "Nurse Stimpy" has a faulty blood pressure cuff inflate Ren's head.
    • A downplayed version also happens in "Son of Stimpy" when Stimpy tries to prove Stiny is real by trying to fart a second time. With each attempt Stimpy's butt gets just a little bit bigger and rounder. By the third attempt it has swelled up to its limit then suddenly deflates like a balloon.
  • In The Scooby-Doo Show episode "The Beast is Awake in Bottomless Lake", Shaggy and Scooby inflate themselves with an air hose to scare the Monster of the Week. This also enables them to float until they open their mouths and let the air out. 
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", Patrick mistakenly blows into Squidward's wax statue in an attempt at CPR, thinking that it's a dying Squidward. Then he blows too hard, causing himself to puff up and then zips around the room like a deflated balloon.
    • In "Bubble Troubles", Sandy gets puffed up by Pearl when she desperately needs more air, as Pearl's nose is full of it.
    • "Pizza Delivery" has SpongeBob check the tire pressure by putting his mouth up to the tire and letting the air fill him up. He deflates by blowing the air right into Squidward's face.
    • "MuscleBob BuffPants" has SpongeBob wear inflatable "Anchor Arms" to look muscular, but when he tries to lift an anchor with them on, the air keeps shifting to one of his body parts. He tries to push it back, only for the air to shift back to another body part, and so on until the Anchor Arms simply explode.
    • In "Suds", Patrick tries to cure SpongeBob by plugging his pores so that bubbles don't come out when he sneezes, Instead, the bubbles build up, making SpongeBob bigger with each sneeze, until he looks like a beach ball the size of the Krusty Krab.
  • Star Wars Rebels has the puffer pig from the season one episode, Idiot's Array. In the episode, Lando Calrissian smuggles the pig onto the Ghost and out of curiosity, Zeb and Ezra look into its crate and accidentally release it. One thing leads to another and Zeb ends up scaring it, causing it to rapidly inflate, blocking the main hallway on the ship.
    Lando: See? You scared her!
  • Steven Universe: In "Steven the Sword Fighter", Amethyst eats a magic cloud and immediately puffs up like a balloon and starts floating away — Garnet has to hold her on a string until she deflates.
  • An episode of Superfriends has an alien family come to Earth as refugees from their homeworld, Balloonia. Their spacecraft is about the size of a child's toy, and at first, the friendly aliens emerge the size of toy soldiers. However, they have a valve on their thorax that lets them inflate to human size. They can also deflate to save on volume and resource consumption.
  • The Super Mario Bros Super Show!: In "Little Red Riding Princess", King Koopa wearing a scuba suit attempts to kidnap Princess Toadstool. However, she escapes easily by releasing the air in his tank, causing him to expand rapidly and float upward.
  • In the Super Mario World cartoon.
    • In "Gopher Bash", Mario touches a P-Balloon and inflates.
    • In the final (and most memetic) episode "Mama Luigi", Luigi grabs a P-Balloon.
      Luigi: Good thing I found a Magic Balloon!
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • In the short "Jerry's Cousin", said cousin, Muscles Mouse, inflates his fist to punch Tom across the room.
    • "Mouse into Space" has Jerry getting his blood pressure taken, and he inflates instead of the cuff.
    • In "The Brothers Carry-Mouse-Off", Tom gets Squashed Flat. Jerry offers to use fireplace bellows to restore him back to normal, and over-inflates him instead.
    • Similarly, in "Tom-ic Energy", Tom gets his foot smashed, and Jerry tries to use a bike pump to help him "regain his shape", then inflates him into a balloon.
  • The Wally Gator short "Medicine Avenue" also features the "blood pressure cuff inflates the patient" gag.
  • On the Willie Whopper cartoon "Stratos Fear", Willie gets too much gas at the dentist, and he blows up like a balloon and floats up into outer space.

    Real Life 


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: