There are many debilitating conditions that make for interesting narratives. Amnesia, paralysis, blindness, can all be used to give a character a new perspective, humility, or a lesson, or they can be used to drive the plot in interesting new directions. However, most of these are permanent, or very long-term, which causes problems for authors who want to use them in shows where Status Quo Is God. So how do you show one of your characters what it's like to be quadriplegic without having them in a wheelchair for the entire remainder of the show? Easy: A freak repeat of the exact same injury that caused the condition will somehow cure it.
Unlikely to work in real life.
Compare Percussive Maintenance, for inanimate objects.
- In a bonus chapter of Gals!, Ran gets her personality changed into a demure and studious girl after getting her head hit by a signboard. At the end of the chapter, she slips on a Banana Peel and hits her head on the ground, causing her personality to revert to normal.
- In Odd Taxi, it's revealed in the last episode that Odokowa's unusual condition is the result of a brain injury from his childhood when his mother attempted murder-suicide by driving the family car into the ocean. The injury caused Odokowa to suffer insomnia and the visual agnosia which makes him see humans as animals. Shortly after the reveal, Odokowa accidentally drives his car into the ocean and wakes up cured of the insomnia and agnosia.
- In an Anime only story of Ranma ½, early on Akane accidentally knocks Ranma's head into a rock. After waking up he spends the rest of the episode as a full female personality. Recreating the accident at the end undoes it... then it happens again due to his father, though Ranma simply get dazed that time.
- In episode 129 of Tamagotchi, Himespetchi hurts Prince Tamahiko by accident and makes him think she, not Princess Tamako, is his crush. An incident with some bouncy balls later in the episode fixes the problem, with the prince getting by one of them and remembering his real princess upon regaining consciousness.
- Happy Heroes: In Season 2 episodes 1 and 2 (a Multi-Part Episode), Careful S. loses his memory after a collision with a spaceship. A similar collision is what restores his memory later.
- Lamput: The plot of "Memory Loss" starts with Fat Doc accidentally getting himself whacked with his net, giving him amnesia and making him act like a baby. The problem is reversed when baby Fat Doc causes a book to fall on himself.
- Asterix: In Asterix and the Big Fight, Getafix loses his memory when Obelix inadvertently strikes him with a menhir. Much later in the story, Obelix attempts to cure him by intentionally hitting him with a menhir, fully expecting him to recover... only it doesn't work. The same happens in the half-animated adaptation.
- One Donald Duck comic has Donald develop super smell after getting his head hit by a rake. With his newfound skills, he helps out the police track down several escaped criminals, while rushing to their hideout, he runs headfirst into a wooden fence, causing him to lose his super smell. While the police laments his loss of abilities, they still reward him for his help.
- The first The Addams Family movie has Uncle Fester's amnesia he got from the Bermuda Triangle cured by a lightning storm from one of the enchanted books in their library.
- Rugrats Go Wild!. Nigel Thornberry falls on his head and regresses to believing he's three years old. Later, when chaos ensues inside a small sub, a subsequent whack to the head restores his memory.
- Subverted in the 2004 short film Fluent Dysphasia. A guy gets hit on the head, wakes up speaking fluent Gaelic, and can no longer understand English. His friend tries to knock him back to normal by hitting him on the head again with the proverbial frying pan, but he wakes up speaking fluent FRENCH.
- Invoked in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. When hillbilly cousin Eddie comes to visit, Clark's mother-in-law remarks with awe that Eddie's youngest daughter Ruby Sue is no longer cross-eyed. Both the crossing and uncrossing happened offscreen between movies:
Frances: "Oh, my God. Her eyes aren't crossed anymore!"Eddie: "That's somethin', ain't it? She falls down a well, eyes go crossed; gets kicked by a mule, they go back to normal." *shrugs* "I dunno."
- In Desperately Seeking Susan, Roberta falls and hits her head early in the film, giving her amnesia and prompting her belief that she is Susan. Partway through she falls and hits her head again in the same way, restoring her memory.
- One The Addams Family episode centers around this after Gomez gets amnesia from being hit on the head with a juggling club. One person hits him and fixes him, another person thinks he's still out of it and brings the amnesia back by hitting him again, and so on.
- Played With on Corner Gas: Local cop Davis had no sense of smell because he got hit in the back of the head with a ball when he was young. When he falls off a ladder and hits the back of his head, he regains his sense of smell, but wants to re-lose it after discovering bad smells. Oscar suggests he get hit in the head with a ball again, which Davis says won't work because "this isn't Gilligan's Island". Oscar later hits Brent in the head with a ball, mistaking him for Davis. This causes Brent to go deaf in one ear.
- In one episode of Father Ted, Mrs Doyle falls down the stairs and hurts her back, leading to trouble walking, a hunched posture, and inability to do most of her usual work. Ted tries to help (against her violent protests) but just makes it worse. At the end of the episode, she trips, falls down the stairs again, and is cured.
- John Doe. The title character had his universal knowledge erased by lightning at the beginning of one episode, only to have it returned by getting electrocuted later in the episode.
- Johnson and Friends: In "Diesel Who", Diesel's memory is restored when he bumps into the bedroom door. Colliding with a wall is exactly how he got amnesia in the first place.
- In one episode of The Munsters, Herman gets struck by lightning and is turned into a regular human being. After all of Grampa's magic fails to return him, he gets struck by lightning again and is back to his old self again.
- Inversion from Soap. Chester has amnesia due to brain surgery gone somewhat wrong. He gets a bonk on the head and remembers his life, but then very quickly gets another bonk and forgets everything again.
- Tiresias, the blind seer of Greek Mythology. Before being blinded, he was turned into a woman when he saw two snakes having sex. He was told by the Oracle that he would remain a woman until he saw the same two snakes having sex. He eventually did and was turned back into a man.
- Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender is injured in the finale of season two, and unable to enter the avatar state. In the season three finale, he runs into a rock directly on the spot he was injured, unlocking his avatar state again.
- In American Dad! Stan was paralyzed by being shot, and after hijinks and character development he was shot again, and his paralysis was cured.
- Reversed for comic effect in Family Guy. Joe Swanson, who is paraplegic, gets the use of his legs back when someone skies over his legs. He then jumps up and yells "I can walk again!" only for someone else to run into him and cripple him just as he was before.
- The above is expanded on in the episode "Believe It or Not, Joe's Walkin' on Air" where Joe gets leg replacement surgery that allows him to walk again. This also turns him into a jerk who ditches his old friends for new athletic ones, and then he even leaves his wife. His friends, wanting the old Joe back, try to re-cripple him, but are no match for him athletically. His wife, also wanting her husband back, then shoots him to try to recripple him, but keeps missing his spine. Joe, in pain, tells her to give him the gun and shoots himself in the spine, making him a paraplegic again and everything goes back to the way it was.
- In another episode, Peter gets Easy Amnesia after Richard Dawson punches him. When he runs into Ernie the Giant Chicken, competitor in the Running Gag epic fights, his ignorance of their history infuriates the poultry, causing him to repeatedly strike Peter in the head. Each blow either cures or reinstates the amnesia.
Peter: I was just lucky he had an odd number of objects.
- In an early episode of The Flintstones, Fred gets hit in the head with a bottle. When he comes to, he becomes a "formal" personality who insists on being called "Frederick", but who ends up being a bit too sickeningly sweet. Eventually, Wilma and the others decide We Want Our Jerk Back!, so he is hit in the head again.
- In an episode of Rugrats (1991) Stu falls off the roof while putting up a high-tech, duck-shaped weathervane. He hits his head and this causes him to think he's just a big baby. Soon after, Tommy decides he misses Stu as his dad, and "Stewie" agrees to go up on the roof and "fight the duck." He does, and falls off, waking up as his "normal" self and being confused as to why he's holding a rattle.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- Played with. In one episode, Squidward gets hit in the face by a door, and the resulting alteration to his bone structure causes him to become ridiculously handsome, so much as to attract copious amounts of attention from both men and women. After becoming overwhelmed with his newfound status, he attempts to become normal again, getting hit in the face with the same door several times again. This just makes him even more beautiful, however, only going back to normal after getting hit in the face with a pole after running to avoid a falling shoe.
- In another episode, Squidward sustains a head injury that causes him to think he is a baby. A similar concussion is what reverses the effect at the end of the episode. (Ironically, the doctor specifically warns that head injuries would be less than helpful for Squidward while in this condition.)
- On one Tom and Jerry cartoon, Tom gets a Tap on the Head and thinks he's a mouse. Jerry tries to get Tom hit again to return him to normal and eventually succeeds. Unfortunately, Mammy has the same idea, and Tom is back as a mouse for the Iris Out.