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Inflating Body Gag

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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 some other gas, and their whole body inflates like a balloon. Usually their clothes stretch with them. 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. The inflating body gag can happen if a character blows his thumb.

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

Naturally, a trope Played for Laughs because of its sheer impossibility in Real Life (unless you happen to be a pufferfish).

Compare Balloon Belly (when a character gets an extreme potbelly), Breast Expansion (because of the Buxom Beauty Standard) and Temporary Bulk Change (when a character gets fat and then inexplicably slims back down between scenes) or Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever (grow in size but not inflate). Its logical conclusion is usually "Pop!" Goes the Human. Related to Be the Ball, so overlap occurs. Contrast with Squashed Flat. As a form of Toon Physics, this trope tends to run on Rule of Funny and Willing Suspension of Disbelief.

Online, this trope is also known for being a common Fetish, but let's not get into that here.


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  • One commercial for Gas-X involves 2 people swelling up like balloons after a meal. With one able to quickly undo everything from Gas-X. The other remains bloated for the rest of the commercial.
  • 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.
  • One FXX Ident for The Simpsons has the citizens of Springfield ballooning, and eventually popping.

    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.
  • Doraemon
    • Doraemon had a gadget called the Inflating Gum, and true to its name chewing a single stick can make a person inflate and float like a balloon. One of the movies Doraemon: Nobita's the Legend of the Sun King have Doraemon throwing a whole pack of these into the maw of a giant crocodile trying to chomp him down, leading to the entire croc bloating comically and floating to the stratosphere.
    • Doraemon: Nobita and the Galaxy Super-express have Nobita and Doraemon visiting the Planet of Cowboys, where they get to play Sheriff with inflating guns - it deactivates robot outlaws when scoring a hit, but if humans are shot by these guns they instead inflate into a bubble and float away. This toy weapon shows up one movie later in Doraemon: Nobita and the Spiral City as a Call-Back, where Nobita gets to use the inflating gun to harmlessly take down Onigoro and his clones (and later tie them up like balloons).
  • Dragon Ball Z: During the Other World Tournament arc, Maraikoh nearly loses to Froug, who inhales inflating his own body to a humongous size with the intent of pushing the opponent out of the ring, only to fail when Maraikoh lifts him off the ground and throws him in space where he smashes violently against a meteor, thus deflating and plummeting back into the area and outside the ring.
  • In episode 11 of 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 
  • In the Catch! Teenieping episode "The Bubble Gum Disaster", the Royal Teeniepings are told of a story about a Teenieping who chewed and swallowed gum, and then blew up to the point where the Emotions Kingdom fell. This story, however, only serves to make them crave the gum (which Sara had put away in a pantry) more, and they decide to obtain it for themselves. While they're successful, Gogoping ends up chewing and swallowing multiple cubes of gum, which causes him to inflate and grow to the point where he begins to rip the Heartrose Bakery off of the ground. Romi transforms into Princess Heart and uses star candy given to her by Mr. Monju to deflate Gogoping, and at the end of the episode, Moseyping ends up eating a piece of gum and swallowing it.
  • In Season 8 episode 26 of Happy Heroes, Big M.'s body inflates like a balloon after he's hit by a needle that a guard shoots at him.
  • 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.
  • Top 10 has Andy "Airbag" Soames, an insurance salesman who can inflate himself to several times his normal size. It can happen involuntarily when he's upset, and he mentions needles can make him "burst and fly around the room" when the police ask him to take a blood test.

    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 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 
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein: Alvin undergoes this as the "Cartoon Monster Maker Frappe" starts to take its full effect on him.
  • In the opening scene of Ice Age: The Meltdown, Scrat is climbing an ice wall that suddenly springs leaks. When all his limbs are used up to plug various leaks, he tries to plug one more with his muzzle but winds up being stuck drinking the water and inflating. When he can't take anymore, he blasts off flying through the sky as he spews the water back out.
  • Ice Age: 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.
  • Migration: While the Mallards are hiding from the chef, Mack is holding a duck-shaped balloon. When it springs a leak, Mack tries to stop it with his beak, leading to him inflating as he takes in the helium inside. He then deflates and flies around the room.
  • 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 sorts 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.
  • The Angry Birds Movie 2: When trying to rescue some unhatched eggs which ended up stuck on a cloud, the hatchlings inflate one of their own, Zoe, and rides her up to the cloud as she floats. It works too well, as they pass the eggs entirely and, unable to deflate Zoe in time, end up floating to outer space, only landing back when the string tied to Zoe's beak gets caught in a satellite and she deflates.
  • The 1970 Chuck Jones film The Phantom Tollbooth has the heroes menaced by a demon called the Overbearing Know-It-all. Milo defeats him by firing the word "HUMILITY" into its mouth, causing the demon to puff up and float away.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Big Trouble in Little China: Out of anger, 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 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear Frank ends the fight against the hitman Hector Savage by shoving a fire hose into his mouth and turning it on at full force, causing his cheeks to puff up and his body to get filled with water with cartoonish leaks. Frank tries to turn the water off, but the valve breaks. He can only run into Jane's apartment before Savage pops.
  • In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Clouseau tries on a Hunchback costume that includes an inflatable hunch with a helium tank included. Clouseau doesn't turn the tank completely off and is distracted by a phone call, causing the hunch to get excessively inflated and making him float out of his apartment.
  • In Space Jam, after Stan gets flattened by the Monstars, nurses Spike and Chester 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 the scene from the novel where Violet Beauregarde swells up and turns into a giant blueberry after impulsively trying Mr. Wonka's experimental three-course gum.
    • 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, in the movie adaptation, 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.
  • In John White's "The Iron Sceptre", protagonist Mary begins to "swell like a balloon" after eating from a giant pile of enchanted icecream. She has to vomit a magic mirror to deflate.

    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.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise. In "Home", Phlox defuses a Bar Brawl by inflating his face up like a pufferfish to the alarm of the xenophobic humans attacking them.
  • Much like the anime, episode 5 of Netflix's One Piece opens with the Marines attacking the Straw Hat Crew’s ship during which Luffy uses "Gum-Gum Balloon" to deflect a cannon ball.

    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.
  • In Paranoia XP's Mutant Experience, one of the "Useless Mutations" listed is inflation. This involves the character inflating like a parade balloon or puffer-fish (without the spikes). Not only is damage taken in this form more deadly, given your character's fragile balloon nature, but they also cannot move their limbs due to the excess swelling, causing them to become a bigger target. It's up to the GM whether the character floats up, as if filled with Helium, or if their clothes survive the expansion.

    Theme Parks 
  • In the sensor maze in the original version of Epcot's Image Works, one animation of Figment depicts him attempting to blow up a balloon only to accidentally inflate himself instead.

    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.
  • Donkey Kong 64: Once Lanky Kong learns the Baboon Balloon ability, he can inflate his body to each high places, and as he does so a comical fanfare plays. He can only do this ability if he stands onto a round pad showing his face, however.
  • 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. King Dedede can also do the same thing too.
  • 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 swell up and float.
    • In New Super Mario Bros. U, there is a purple Baby Yoshi, whose ability is to swell up and float.
    • In Wario Land II and Wario Land 3, getting stung by stinging enemies (such as jellyfish or bees) causes Wario to swell up, which gives him the ability to float like a balloon until he's popped.
  • Lola Pop from ARMS inflates her entire body like a balloon when she shields. If activated while in midair, she'll briefly bounce along the ground too.
  • 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.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, when Crash touches a pufferfish, he would inflate about 3 times his size, floating helplessly. Happens in the N. Sane Trilogy remake too.
  • The pig man, Ki Hong of Unruly Heroes specializes this trope to aid his team by floating them through tall passageways as well as pummel and roll down their enemies.
  • The Super Smash Bros. series has multiple instances:
    • In Brawl, during the E3 trailer, Wario starts to get loaded up for his signature move by the end of the trailer before unloading a fart nuke on the Smash combatants.
    • He also becomes visibly bloated in Brawl and Ultimate during gameplay whenever you wait some time before using his mighty Wario Waft Down+B special for a satisfying release on the most unfortunate victims near him.
    • King Dedede, Kirby and Jigglypuff all puff themselves with air to gain height.
    • Jigglypuff also inflates massively during its final Smash.
    • King K. Rool's Down+B repels and counters damage by inflating his belly. His mid-air neutral also causes him to briefly balloon with a silly noise. Wario's neutral air is quite similar to his.
    • K. Rool's belly slap taunt also makes him bloat briefly.
  • The pufferfish pirate enemies in Tribal Hunter inflate when fed a power egg, and then start floating like balloons till defeated.
  • In Shape Shift Shawn, one of the creatures Shawn can transform into is a blue anthropomorphic balloon. He starts out small and deflated, but the player can inflate to several times their original size by jumping repeatedly. This ability allows the player to defy gravity and float around the level, but they must take care not to pop Shawn by moving too close to any sharp surfaces.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends:
    • In "Remains To Be Seen" zombie Fliqpy gets a leaf blower shoved into his eye socket, causing his brain to inflate until zombie Toothy bites into it, causing a huge explosion.
    • In "Ski Patrol" Lumpy accidentally balloons a sickly Toothy up with an oxygen tank, sending him to drift away. Towards the end of the short, Toothy gets popped by a pointy flag pole.
    • In "From Hero to Eternity" Splendid performs a CPR on Cuddles, but due to his Destructive Savior recklessness, accidentally inflates and pops Cuddles like a balloon.
    • In "Gems the Breaks" Splendid is exposed to dusted Kryptonut, causing him to deteriorate and vomit uncontrollably his bloody innards out. When he tries to shut his mouth, his cheeks puff up from the erupting vomit until he bursts to death.
    • In "Double Whammy (Part 1)" Fliqpy overfills Nutty with a water pistol until he bursts.
    • In "Party Animal" Flaky's body becomes grossly inflated due to her peanut allergy. The second time it happens, she pops to death after Mole accidentally pokes her with a donkey tale.
    • In "Sea What I Found (Part 2)" Lumpy causes Russell's diving suit to become overinflated due to him standing on the air pump hose and forming a huge bulge of air that inflates Russell's suit. Then when the hose detaches, Russell painfully expands to death due to the Explosive Decompression.
  • 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 
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series:
    • Happens to Rolly in "Food For Thought" after he is fed ice cream with a helium-based additive by PH De Ville. Rolly eventually inflates and is able to float around in the air.
    • Happens to Spot in "Oozy Does It" and "Snow Bounders". In the former it happens when Spot tries to deflate car tires with her beak, causing her to fill up with air. In the latter, it happens when she tries to inflate an inflatable tent but too much air is released the other way.
  • 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.
    • Happens to Krumm in "Krumm Rises to the Top" when he swallows a helium tank. Ickis does the same in an attempt to chase Krumm, and he is later used as a parade float.
  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears: Drinking Gummiberry juice that doesn't include purple berries in the mix results in bodies being inflated like balloons, as Duke Igthorn and his ogres found out first hand.
  • 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.
  • The Angry Beavers:
    • In "Tree's Company", Daggett has been hosting a party up a tree. Norbert inflates himself with helium to try and get his attention.
    • In "Tree of Hearts", Daggett tries to stop Truckee from leaving by biting into one of the tires. Daggett gets inflated and rolls with the tire when Truckee starts driving.
  • 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 the pilot episode, Wakko is being psychoanalyzed by Dr. Scratchnsniff, who follows up one of his statements with, "Would you care to expand on that?" So Wakko literally expands himself.
  • The Ant and the Aardvark: In “Isle of Caprice”, The shark goes to deflate the yellow inflatable raft that the Aardvark is using, thinking that his deadly chomp should be enough.
  • The Big Hero 6: The Series short "Gumball Trouble" has GoGo mistaking one of Honey Lemon's miniature chemballs for a gumball. After eating it, she blows up like a balloon.
  • Maybe the weirdest version of this trope was done in the Bonkers episode "Bobcat Fever." Bonkers is infected with 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.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch:
    • In the episode with Beavis And Butthead, the two manage to turn their bodies into the "third dimension" (becoming claymation like the rest of the characters) by inflating themselves with a fire extinguisher.
    • In the last fight of the series, Keri Russell is inflated until she explodes destroying the stadium. It was lampshaded that she shouldn't have undergone a flaming detonation 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.
    • In the 1947 Donald Duck short Wide Open Spaces, Donald inhales a huge amount of air ballooning his own body to blow up an air mattress.
    • In the 1948 Goofy short "The Big Wash", he is turned into a giant living water balloon due to a tap hose stuck in his pants, which swells his whole outfit with water until it bursts.
    • Pluto the Pup has been subjected to these a few times (by biting into an inflatable toy's valve in "Donald and Pluto" which deflates sending all the air into him, and later by biting into a leaking air tank hose in "Pluto's Quin-puplets") before he subjects a Bully Bulldog that was trying to steal his bone to it in "T-Bone For Two" 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..."
  • Goof Troop
    • In "Calling all Goofs," after eating overwhelmingly spicy food, Pete freaks out, complete with a fire truck siren blaring, and rushes to the nearest water source, which happens to be a hose outside. He drinks enough to quench the heat in his mouth, filling himself up like a water balloon in the process. Then one of Goofy's relatives, a pushy Army Sergeant, sees Pete and mistake his inflation for weight gain, so he forces Pete to do pushups until he shrinks back to his normal (still overweight) size.
    • Twice the episode "Slightly Dinghy". First, Waffles the cat accidentally inflates himself with a spray can of cheez whiz. Second, Max tries to convince Pete to leave the boat anchored in a specific spot (because it's right above a sunken treasure Max wants to retrieve) by insisting they can catch large fish there. To sell the lie, he grabs a small fish and inflates it with an air hose. (That same fish gets mistreated constantly throughout the episode and eventually seeks revenge on the protagonists.)
  • 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 trying to blow into a horn which has connected to a fire hydrant, which makes Katnip swell several times larger before he pops off and flies across the circus tent.
  • 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.
  • Legend of the Three Caballeros: In the episode "Mt. Fuji Whiz", Cornelius Coot teaches the Caballeros that, as ghosts, they can inflate any body part they want, giving them a combat advantage. Sheldgoose and his ancestors also weaponize this, each inflating a different body part and merging into a Body of Bodies. The scene is a Mythology Gag referencing a similar scene from The Three Caballeros.
  • The Giant Shark “Guardian of the Deep” 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 the short "Billboard Frolics", a chick gets inflated with a tire pump while attempting to catch a worm. However, for some reason, this scene is missing on the third volume of Shokus Video's Cartoon Collection series.
    • 1964 "Hawaiian Aye Aye" featuring Tweety and Sylvester. While Granny is gone, Tweety has a pet shark named Sharkey as security. One of Sharkey’s attempts to stop Sylvester gets the deadly fish puffed.
    • 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.
    • In the episode "Giant Steps" the Black Shark is taken care of when Lancelot accidentally overinflates it with a diving suit pump and sends it flying off.
  • In the opening of Season 6 of Minnie's Bow Toons, Cuckoo Loca gets balloon blowback from a balloon she was inflating.
  • 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.
  • PAW Patrol: An episode depicts Liberty using her "Mighty Pup" power of elasticity to inflate herself in order to blow up a red balloon.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Thanks But No Thanks", Dr. Doofenshmirt's latest invention is the Inflate-inator; when some stray shots hit him and Perry the Platypus, their bodies inflate like balloons.
  • Pinky Dinky Doo: In every episode, at the climax of the story, a problem arises and Pinky will have to "think big" as she sings a thinking song with her head growing to the size of a large balloon, and after any nearby characters cheer "C'mon Pink, think!", Pinky starts flying around the place with her head deflating until it returns to it's normal size.
  • Pig Goat Banana Cricket has the episode "Happy Chalawunga!" climax with the character Goat try to sneak into a parade to sing her holiday song for the crowd. Chased by a security guard, she gets the nozzle of a helium tank stuck up her nose and inflates to a parade float size. In a comical inversion of Helium Speech her voice is deeper from taking in so much helium.
  • 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. Ren then kills Stimpy by poking them with a pin, causing them to pop and leaving bits of Stimpy all over the place.
    • "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 "Blazing Entrails", Dr. Brainchild subverts the "Fantastic Voyage" Plot by not shrinking Ren in order to get into Stimpy's body and help him, but by enlarging Stimpy through bike pump inflation.
  • 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. 
  • In the Shimmer and Shine episode "Potion Control," the girls accidentally mix blue and yellow potions that cause Nazboo to inflate like a balloon. After they turn him back to normal, Zeta mistakenly mixes the same potions and inflates herself, much to her dismay.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Naughty Nautical Neighbors" Patrick saves Squidward after he accidentally got a fork stuck in his throat by performing a cartoonish CPR which consists in blowing Squidward up and having him deflate to spit the fork out.
    • 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.
    • In "Pizza Delivery", SpongeBob checks the delivery boat's tire pressure in the most inaccurate way possible. First he puts his mouth on the hubcap which inflates his entire body until he is the shape of a giant cube, eyes bulged open with his mouth swelled along with his voice becoming high-pitched. After floating around the boat in front of a frightened Squidward, SpongeBob deflates back to his normal size.
    • In "MuscleBob BuffPants", SpongeBob wears 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.
    • In "Squirrel Jokes", Sandy makes SpongeBob stop making offensive jokes about squirrels in the hard way, by inviting him over to her house where she behaves stupidly like the squirrels described in his jokes, taking out SpongeBob's water helmet as a vase for the flowers he brought to purposefully dehydrate him, at which point she shoves a gardening hose into his mouth inflating him, then assumes that he wants more and attaches the tube to a bigger water outlet. By the end of it, SpongeBob is overinflated to the point of filling every inch of the treedome, and appears in the next scene covered in bandages.
    • In "Banned in Bikini Bottom", SpongeBob begins the episode singing an ode to Krabby Patties. He then inhales a large amount of air, comically inflating his body and busting his belt. After fully inflating to the shape of a Krabby Patty, SpongeBob uses the air inside him to yell out the next verse to his song, which causes Squidward and a stack of cups he arranged to fall to the ground.
    • In "Fungus Among Us", SpongeBob gets infected with an "ick" of which he refused to let Gary eat. While quarantined in a bubble, his size changes grossly when the ick continues to infect him.
    • There's a Running Gag involving Mrs. Puff (who, as the name implies, is a pufferfish) rapidly ballooning like an airbag whenever she's startled, usually by SpongeBob crashing during his driving lessons. ** In "Pranks a Lot", she gets so scared by SpongeBob and Patrick pretending to be ghosts that she not only inflates, but also deflates and flies all over the room.
    • In "Squidbird", near the end of the episode, SpongeBob inflates himself into a landing mattress while Patrick is on top of him.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "The Spy Humongous", an alien frog skull causes Ensign Rutherford to expand. Unlike most examples of this trope, it's treated as a horrific event — Rutherford is visibly disoriented and distressed, and Ensign Tendi has to quickly use an antidote on him. Once back to normal, he vomits profusely.
  • 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. When Garnet forgets for a second and lets go, Amethyst floats into the sky, so Garnet has to go retrieve her. This leaves Steven to deal with his problem without their help for the rest of the episode, making this a rare case of inflation serving as an important plot device rather than a quick gag.
    • "Adventures in Light Distortion" reveals the Crystal Gems' Hard Light bodies don't react well to faster-than-light travel, so Gem ships equipped with an Alcubierre Drive also have a containment field to maintain the Gems' bodily integrity. When Steven has to manually recalibrate the containment field, the Gems distort in all kind of ways, including a brief shot of the normally skinny Pearl swelling into a sphere and rolling away.
  • 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.
    • The 1952 short "Just Ducky" has Tom chase Jerry into a pond. Jerry attempts a reed snorkel to sneak away, but the movement's a dead giveaway. Tom blows into the top of the reed and inflates Jerry into a ball. Jerry blows the air back into Tom's head, inflating it significantly larger than Jerry's body had been. The scene ends when Quacker runs in with a safety pin and pokes a hole in Tom's head, the deflation leaving it extremely shrunken.
    • In "Muscle Beach Tom" Tom puffs Jerry up with a beachball, sending him to zip away deflating in mid-air like a balloon. Towards the end of the short Jerry retaliates by overinflating Tom's swimsuit with a helium tank, at which point he punctures it sending Tom to deflate away in the same manner he did.
    • "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 Year of the Mouse" has Tom grabbing himself a tourniquet, which he uses to tighten his neck. When he does, he ends up inflating himself like a balloon and floats up onto the ceiling. As he does, he floats out of the bathroom and back in the living room where he notices the bottle of ketchup on the table. Then he tastes the ketchup on his chest and realizes it's a trick and starts laughing, but as he does, the tourniquet loosens and he starts to deflate, flying around the room until he lands on his pillow.
  • A particularly odd version of the trope shows up in the Totally Spies! episode "The Antisocial Network." Lewis had invented a device called a CHIP which when attached to a user's tooth causes their head to inflate. Apparently it's buoyant enough that when Sam and Clover use it together they send not only themselves but a cart and passenger airborne.
  • 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 anesthetic gas at the dentist, and he inflates like a balloon and floats up into outer space.

    Real Life 
  • First reported in 2013, a hedgehog can suffer balloon syndrome, which causes them to inflate, thanks to trapped gas inside their bodies. It is believed to be usually caused by their lungs getting damaged and leaking air into their body, which collects in the areas of loose skin on their body that let them curl up. Now those Sonic The Hedgehog fetish fanart were Truth in Television after all...
  • Unlike what certain online communities would like to have you think, getting air or some other vast quantity of gas or fluid trapped inside the body is a horrifying way to die, with death occurring either from barotrauma or from the rupturing of internal organs and tissues. Several people have met their end in this way, including an unfortunate Indian car washer in Mumbai who met his end after his Lethally Stupid friend decided to jam an air hose straight up his rectum, then turned it on...
  • Pufferfish can also do this, though with water instead of air. It's mainly used to scare away predators.
  • This viral video of a group of oceanologists in a submarine coming across a gulper eel, a species of eel that can eat things far larger than itself. The eel appears to resemble a balloon in the footage, due to it holding a great quantity of water in its mouth, until it eventually opens its jaws and returns to its normal appearance.

Alternative Title(s): Body Inflation Gag


Scrat Fails To Plug A Leak

In the opening scene of the movie Ice Age: The Meltdown, Scrat inflates like a water balloon when he's climbing an ice wall and he tries to plug a leak with his face.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / InflatingBodyGag

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