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Law of Disproportionate Response

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But Mr. Horrible says "I don't mind,
The thing that bothers me is
Someone keeps moving my chair"
They Might Be Giants, "Someone Keeps Moving My Chair"

Fundamental of television comedy:

Characters will not bat an eyelash at the absurdities of their daily life, but a relatively small slight or obstacle will completely unhinge them.

Now, this might be because they live their lives so close to the edge that it only takes a small thing to break the camel's back, but it seems more likely that the writers just can't be expected to consistently come up with problems of the week which really compare to the absurdities they've written into the premise. Perhaps all the weird, outlandish, improbable dilemmas that occur every episode have just become routine by now as a result of living through them, but the more humdrum dilemmas only crop up when a specific subplot needs them, and thus seem more of a break from the norm, and thus cause for panic or irritation.

Small things for our characters to get bent out of shape about include:

Sometimes leads to an Escalating War. Other times, it's the Pretext for War for two trigger happy nations.

Perhaps not actually more common with teenage characters, but less obtrusive, since we expect teenagers to act like that anyway.

The Law of Disproportionate Response may be a subset of Finagle's Law. See also Rage Breaking Point. Can go hand-in-hand with Berserk Button, where the cause is specific and predictable (even if the response is no less unreasonable). Occasionally goes the other way, with a Disproportionate Reward for small favors. May result in No Sympathy.

Compare Felony Misdemeanor. Not to be confused with Disproportionate Retribution, where the perceived slight may actually be legitimate, but the response is still way over the top.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Howl's Moving Castle the titular wizard, who messes around with Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and frequently fights demonic creatures and fleets of airships, goes completely batshit after he accidentally dyes his hair the wrong color.
    • Ditto with the book (minus the fighting fleets of airships and the like; at this point from the reader's perspective there's no evidence Howl is actually doing anything significant, so the trope applies less).
    • Rule of Funny applies as this takes the form of a literal emotional melt-down.
  • Discussed in one chapter of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. The sensei pointed out that some people often exaggerate small things, while talking about VERY IMPORTANT THINGS in a very casual manner.
  • In the Cowboy Bebop episode "Heavy Metal Queen": "You spilled my egg. I needed that egg." What's impressive is that the reason the egg was such a big deal to him (he needed it for a hangover cure) should have prevented him from being able to do what he did to the guys who spilled it. That's how good Spike is at fighting.
  • In Deadman Wonderland, Genkaku not batting an eye when a bunch of people (including his own soldiers) die, yet breaking down crying when Shiro destroys his electric guitar. He even goes as far as to say he'll have to hold a memorial service for it (yes, something he would never do for humans).
  • In Medaka Box, Kei Munakata is introduced by the other characters as a serial killer, but Munakata points out that they're making him sound like someone who kills for no good reason, and he always has a good reason for killing. He then rattles off reasons for killing, rather than just fighting, the main character. At first the reasons kind of make sense ("I don't have time to deal with you," "I don't want Kurokami-san as part of the 13 party"), but as he keeps going, he starts giving reasons like, "Because I had a good dream last night," and "Because my phone's battery is almost out of power," finally ending with "And for no reason whatsoever, I'll kill you. The same way you guys think of those things as nothing, they all lead to killing for me, is all."
    • His reason for killing the main characters, however, is that he was told not to kill them.
      • Except it's revealed that he actually doesn't kill people, his ability to attack people without killing them is what earns him his abnormal status, and what he said before was a lie.
      • Not precisely a lie, he does have an incredibly high urge to kill people, and all of his reasons (and lack thereof) for killing do in fact make him want to kill... however the reason he out and out states it is so that people will avoid him and he won't actually kill them. That said, if the people he fought were any less skilled/determined they would in fact be dead.
  • Fairy Tail - Do not mess with Erza's cake, or she'll make you regret it.
  • Death The Kid from Soul Eater, largely thanks to having OCD, hates anything that isn't symmetrical. When he saw how the pharaoh demon was asymmetrical, he blasted it to smithereens.
  • Edward Elric puts up with a real lot. And he does well, considering his temper is even shorter than he is. He even stays relatively calm when you threaten his loved ones (though it is not a good calmness.) However, call him small - KABOOM - you've got him in your face.
  • In The World God Only Knows, Keima is The Stoic who never bats an eyelash at any oddities his current target might have, for he's truly someone who had seen it all in at least one Dating Sim out of the unspecified thousands he ever played. But when his target turns out to be the Girl Next Door classmate who should be an unimportant secondary character with zero character development as per standard dating sim formulas, he completely flies off the edge and repeatedly proclaims his task as impossible.
  • Being a deconstruction of the Fighting Series Played for Laughs, Ramen Fighter Miki justifies Law of Disproportionate Response because the core cast is a bunch of Schoolyard Bullies All Grown Up.

  • Christopher Titus's reason for this, in his act, Norman Rockwell is Bleeding is: Normal People. "See, screwed-up people have had a bunch of shit happen in their life. Normal people haven't had enough problems in life to know how to deal with one when it comes up. They just snap. *starts muttering and whimpering, imitating a "normal person"* Toilet's blocked up.... IS THERE NO GOD!??!! Oh, I'm getting a pickaxe, and I'm going to Burger King...
  • David Sedaris describes his sister as thus: "Tiffany is big on rules but allows a pretty wide margin when it comes to mortal sin. Rape, murder, the abandonment of children: these are taken on a case-by-case basis. What riles her are the small things, and in denouncing them, she tends towards proclamations, most beginning with the words 'A person doesn't". "A person doesn't just go around making things out of pinecones' or 'A person doesn't use the word weenie when talking about a hot dog. It isn't cute. It isn't funny. It isn't done'." Also a lot of humor in David Sedaris essays in general encompasses this trope.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: The Joker is infamous for this quality. There's absolutely no telling WHAT will set him off, and furthermore whether or not his reaction will be a harmless joy buzzer jolt, a temper tantrum, or brutal murder. Being called a deranged lunatic or knocked around by Batman results in a smile; getting his fast food order wrong results in a fatal gunshot.
  • This happens to Johnny the Homicidal Maniac constantly. He hates being called "wacky". This is someone who considers being talked to by a dead bunny to be perfectly normal, and who doesn't bat an eyelash upon meeting God or the devil.
  • The Sandman (1989): Dream of the Endless cast Nada into Hell because she didn't want to get into a Mayfly–December Romance. There are undoubtedly other examples within the series, but that is the one that stands out the most. To be fair, he did let her out... after several thousand years, and being bugged about it by various people the whole time.
  • In some versions of Superman, Lex Luthor hates Superman so much because Superman accidentally caused Lex's baldness (among other reasons). Other versions have him being hated just because he exists.
  • In Superman: Brainiac, Supergirl accidentally reveals that Daily Planet's journalist Cat Grant has fake boobs. Later, in her own book, Supergirl accidentally gets Cat slightly bruised while saving her. As a result of this, Cat spends one whole year slandering Supergirl in the hope that her tripe drives the young hero away from Metropolis.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Pitch Perfect Ghostbusters fic "Paranormal Aca-tivity", the Ghostbusters (Becca, Benji and Jesse) unintentionally prevent Bumper from introducing himself to John Mayer at the Sedgewick Hotel when Bumper slips on slime Beca accidentally dripped into the lobby while Mayer was talking to Beca and Jesse after their first ghost capture. In response, Bumper goes so far as to accuse the team of plotting a terrorist attack, getting them arrested and shutting down the containment unit to release all of their previously-captured ghosts, when the Ghostbusters never did anything to Bumper on purpose and Becca notes that it's unlikely John Mayer even remembers the incident.
  • In the Arrow fic These Foolish Things, Felicity is so consumed by jealousy when she learns that Laurel still has a sweater Oliver gave her (specifically, he gave her the sweater because she was cold during a date to the cinema before he was trapped on Lian Yu) that she hacks Oliver's bank account going at least back to Oliver's prom night to try and identify any expensive gifts he might have given Laurel so that she can demand them back. As Laurel points out, such an act would be a serious breach of Oliver's privacy even if he and Felicity now had a joint bank account (which they don't), and if Felicity is this insecure about past gifts than she needs to question her own reasons for getting involved with Oliver in the first place.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Hot Fuzz police officer Nicholas Angel is convinced that the reason behind all the murders is a complex scheme to buy soon-to-be valuable land carried out by Simon Skinner. But it turns out to be a whole conspiracy by the entire Neighborhood Watch Alliance to kill the people who may make the town look bad for the Village of the Year Contest. The charges which led to the executions are exactly as follows: Martin Blower: being an apalling actor; Eve Draper: having a very annoying laugh; George Merchant: having an awful house; Tim Messenger: editing the Sandford Citizen Newspaper, riddling it with tabloid journalism and persistent (spelling) errors; Leslie Tiller: being set on moving away and might give her green thumb skills to another town.
  • I Am Legend - "I was saving that bacon." Fully justified in this case, as Go Mad from the Isolation has been in full effect for several years, he recently had to strangle his beloved dog after she got The Virus, attempted suicide as a result, and wakes up to find two strangers in his house, eating his food. The bacon was just a snapping point in the middle of a generally extreme level of stress.
  • Jason's speech to Kelly in Mystery Team. He tells the orphaned girl that life isn't fair because he got a car for Christmas instead of a new bike... this discussion taking place hours after they were kidnapped by a drug dealer.
  • Clive Owen's character in Shoot 'Em Up takes gun fights, leaping out of planes and women giving birth in his stride, but people who don't indicate when switching lanes, have unkempt fingernails or yell at their children in public can send him dangerously close to the edge.
    Mr. Smith: You know what I really hate?
  • Spaceballs:
    Princess Vespa: My hair. He shot my hair. That son of a bitch.
    • Not to mention her father relinquished his planet's air supply, dooming billions. His reason? The aliens who captured his daughter threatened to reverse her plastic surgery. In his defence, the surgeon they called in to do it looked like he was about to do so on the spot, without anaesthetic.
  • Zombieland: "Sno-Balls? Sno-Balls?! Where's the fucking Twinkies?!"
  • In Pulp Fiction, Vincent Vega tells his heroin dealer about how someone vandalized his car's paint job by scratching his car. The dealer more-or-less agrees how horrible this crime was unforgivable and deserved immediate execution. Vincent says he wishes he could have caught the guy, and in fact, it would have been worth getting the damage to his expensive paint job to be able to catch the guy. As Vincent's regular job is mob hit man, it isn't hard to figure out what he'd do to the guy who deliberately vandalized his car.
  • Mommie Dearest: Joan Crawford flies into a hysterical rage, because she discovers some wire hangers in her closet, which lead to the infamous yell: "No... wire hangers... ever!" Even more disturbing: this anecdote was taken directly from her daughter's autobiography about the famous actress!
  • Falling Down: every single obstacle that gets in the way of "D-Fens" Foster, no matter how small or inconsequential, for him is worth attacking or pulling a pistol over (anything from people trying to mug him to people being annoying to the fact that he arrived too late to a fast food joint to get a breakfast menu or being overcharged for a can of soda). It is shown later on that he had a seriously explosive personality long before the movie started (to the point that his ex-wife feared for her and her daughter's life... and it's not quite unsubtly implied that he was going to her home to kill them and then kill himself).

  • Discworld:
    • Vetinari is used to the absurdities of the Disc, Ankh-Morpork being Ankh-Morpork. But don't be a mime... or else. He does, however, prefer corrective measures against practitioners of that form of art. Rather than the ham-fisted "kill them all" approach of lesser patricians, Vetinari uses a scorpion pit on whose wall is painted the advice: "Learn The Words".
    • In Thief of Time, the History Monk Sato is a pacifist unless you touch his hair. If you do, like the Big Bad of the story does, well, let's just say you probably won't be alive long enough to apologize.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club:
    • The Club had Andrew, who was pretending to be a monster, terrify the life out of one charge because she didn't want to wear a smock and paint.
    • Jessi accused one kid of being racist because the kid didn't want to play.
  • Older Than Steam: Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock circles around this trope as surely as the Earth around the sun. In Real Life, the Fermor family (close friends of Pope's) got into a humongous uproar because an aesthetically pleasing lock of Arabella Fermor's hair had been clipped without her permission. She was engaged to the man in question, and was so angry she actually broke off the engagement on account of a haircut. In The Rape of the Lock, then, Pope turns the incident into the subject of its own epic, complete with epic card games, a journey to the Underworld, and a Deus ex Machina to crown it all. It's awesome.
  • In Catch-22 Yossarian discovers Aarfy has raped and murdered the maid. Yossarian furiously tells him that he'll be arrested and imprisoned for life, and at that moment, the military police run in....and arrest Yossarian for going AWOL from the army, apologising to Aarfy for the disturbance and ignoring the maid's dead body.
  • In The Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator discusses this trope as he tries to reason exactly why he wants to kill the kindly old man he lives with. The narrator remarks that he genuinely loves the fellow (who has never hurt him in any way) and has no desire for his vast wealth, then decides that the real problem is the fact that the old man has "a pale blue eye with a film over it." That single quality is enough to drive the narrator into a homicidal rage. Of course, it's Poe we're talking about, so the fact that the narrator is utterly insane is another possible factor.

    Live Action TV 
  • Liz Lemon on 30 Rock is usually the Only Sane Woman on the show's writing staff, but she gets irrational when food is involved. Notably, when Liz was trying to stop the Guy of the Week from getting on a plane, a TSA agent stopped her from bringing a sandwich past a security checkpoint because the included dipping sauce was a quantity greater than 3 ounces. She promptly scarfs it down and dashes through.
  • Half of what Sue Sylvester does on Glee can qualify, the most glaring example when Will leaves behind a straw at the lunch table and Sue takes it as a personal insult and launches a plan that involves brainwashing Sam and locking Kurt and Blaine in a closet.
  • Saved by the Bell: Screech takes no issue with being a constant object of scorn and derision, but explodes over a forgotten birthday. Jessie has a complete mental breakdown over The B Grade. And caffeine pills. And everything else that happens to her, really.
  • The Drew Carey Show: Winfred-Lauder is taken over by aliens, one of whom informs Drew he will spend the rest of his life in a dead-end job without chance of advance. Drew shrugs it off and asks how long he gets for lunch. On being told "Forty-five minutes", he attacks the alien. (Though the joke here is more that the working conditions the alien describes are exactly like his job anyways.)
  • The nature of Power Rangers led to this quite a bit. Their hometown is attacked by monsters on a weekly basis, causing ungodly amounts of property damage, yet Billy still gets freaked out when he gets a "B" on a test.
  • Newsradio episode "Security Door": Bill McNeal has a part in a blue jeans commercial that unexpectedly turns out to consist of dressing in a ridiculous "blue genie" outfit complete with blue body paint. He's outraged...not because of the genie outfit, but because there's no complimentary fruit basket in his dressing room as promised.
  • Full House - During the episode where the children move all the furniture in Danny Tanner's room two inches to the right to cover up a hole in the wall, leading him to the brink of madness convinced that everything is slightly off before the mishap is revealed. Alien Geometries is in Horror Tropes for a reason.
    • The mishap wasn't revealed. He discovered that Kimmy moved a box of baking soda that was in his drawer, and decided that that was why everything felt slightly off, which is itself an instance of this trope.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Marshall points out that Barney has a tiny bit of marinara sauce on his tie. Barney considers this utterly humiliating and plots elaborate revenge.
  • Every episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen involves some rich girl throwing a fit about some minuscule detail. Another great example involves receiving a Lexus at the wrong time... nobody was watching to see how lucky she was, so she stormed off calling her mother words we will not repeat here.
  • Brides Behaving Badly is another show in this vein.
  • Friends
    • A brief incident involving his boss and a Moistmaker-equipped Thanksgiving leftover sandwich with a clearly marked limerick indicating rightful ownership resulted in Ross being given "indefinite leave" from his job and enough tranquillisers to calm a elephant.
    • The gang tends to take it very hard when cheated on by a lover, yet Joey's insane promiscuity is just treated like business as usual.
  • The Big Bang Theory has this a couple of times, particularly one were Howard has an emotional breakdown and the rest of the crew that needs his help is in dismay..for they can't even open the tool box.
  • Craig Ferguson has been known to every so often get derailed from his monologues by a small thing an audience member does.
    Craig: ...Of course, Paul Gauguin ended up with a terrible case of syphilis. Like Snookie. ...That's a ridiculous thing to say- Did you just offer him a candy?? You're meant to be pretending to be watching this crap!
  • After years and years of calmly taking crap from his parents, Ray Barone finally flips because the replacement wallpaper on one wall of his living room isn't quite the same as the rest of the room's. Note that this is after they hit his house with their car, which is the reason the wallpaper had to be changed. The car wasn't quite the final straw, but the wallpaper...
  • A sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Look featured David Mitchell and Olivia Colman as a married couple. Olivia is slightly niggled by David's habit of sleeping with his secretary and the fact that he refuses to start a family...but this is only a front to cover up the heartrending distress she suffered when he left the fridge door open.
  • In one episode of Community, Jeff goes in for a physical and learns that he's in perfect physical condition except for slightly high cholesterol, and reacts as if he's been told he's dying. Lampshaded when his horrified reaction causes the nurse to wonder if he's accidentally told someone they have AIDS again.
    • Annie refuses to let anyone leave the library for hours because she's convinced her pen was stolen by someone in the group.
    • Abed deals with everything that hits the group calmly and rationally, including a full on zombie apocalypse - but nearly suffers a nervous breakdown when his favourite show Cougar Town is moved mid-season, and has an actual panic attack when the clocks are changed for Daylight Savings.
  • A Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch opens in a court of law where a prisoner is giving a statement prior to his sentence:
    Prisoner: Well...I'd just like to say, m'lud, I've got a family...a wife and six kids...and I hope very much you don't have to take away my freedom because, well, because m'lud, freedom is a state much prized within the realm of civilized society. [lapses into Olivier] It is a bond wherewith the savage man may charm the outward hatchments of his soul and soothe the troubled breast into a magnitude of quiet, It is most precious as a blessed balm, the savior of princes, the harbinger of happiness, yea, the very stuff and pith of all we hold dear. What frees the prisoner in his lonely cell, chained within the bondage of rude walls, far from the owl of Thebes? What fires and stirs the woodcock in his springe or wakes the drowsy apricot betides? What goddess doth the storm toss'd mariner offer her most tempestuous prayers to? Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!
    Judge: It's only a bloody parking offence.
  • The Wire: In season 2, Major Valchek of the Baltimore PD, is outbid in a local Polish Catholic church for the placement of a stained glass window by the local stevedores union. In response, Valchek orders his patrol officers to drive by the union hall every thirty minutes and rain tickets down on every union vehicle they can find. He also orders DUI checkpoints on roads used by dockworkers, starting at 8AM. When that doesn't work, he decides to meddle in Baltimore PD politics (he tried to meddle in the Catholic church politics, but no one outside the church hierarchy can do much) in order to get a major case detail investigating the dockworkers for whatever they can find, luckily for him, the dockworkers were complicit in drug and human traficking.

  • "It's the Little Things", a song by Alice Cooper: "You can poison my cat, baby I don't care, but if you talk in the movies I'll kill you right there."
  • This is a frequent target of "Weird Al" Yankovic's songs - both parody and original ("Don't Wear Those Shoes", "Close But No Cigar").
    • An example from the latter: "She was gorgeous, she was charming/Yeah, she was perfect in every way/Except she was always using the word "infer"/When she obviously meant "imply"/And I know some guys would put up with that kind of thing/But frankly, I can't imagine why." He's got a point.
    • In a mini-video filmed for MuchMusic, Al recites Green Eggs and Ham to the tune of U2's "Numb" while undergoing the same randomness that the Edge underwent in the original video. He doesn't complain until the moment "Bono" starts singing.
  • Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant": While registering for the military draft, the singer/narrator is placed on the "Group W Bench" with an assortment of criminals (mother rapers, father stabbers, father rapers, and so on). When one of the thugs asks what he was arrested for, Guthrie mentions his crime: littering. ("And they all moved away from me on the bench there..."), then adds "And creating a nuisance."
  • David Lee Roth and Brown M&Ms. Van Halen's contract had a clause that there had to be a bowl of M&Ms in the dressing room, but the brown ones had to be removed. On one occasion, Roth found brown M&Ms and flipped out. What's not usually included in the telling of this rather well-known story is that the whole reason for the "no brown M&Ms" clause was to test how closely the venue's responsible parties were reading the contract. The band had fairly demanding requirements for power, weight, etc. for their equipment, and needed to know that they had been read and followed (otherwise the heavy stage could sink into the floor or worse).

  • In Classical Mythology a beautiful woman named Medusa was being raped by Poseidon in one of Athena's temples, and Medusa pleaded to the goddess for help. The goddess of wisdom responded by turning her into a hideous gorgon.


    Web Animation 
  • Ultra Fast Pony. Twilight Sparkle and Night Moon Mare both threaten to kill each other, and think nothing of it. Twilight then ups the ante with "I hope you get crabs!" NMM is so shocked, she can only answer, "Well, that's kind of a mean thing to say."

    Web Comics 

    Web Video 
  • To get a grudge against Polnareff, Cursed Devo proceeds to list off the ways Polnareff has "slighted" him in Vaguely Recalling JoJo
    • Making Devo forget to put his cell phone on silent.
    • Making Devo forget to record a TV drama.
    • The fridge being too cold for Devo.
    • Messing with Devo with his long hairstyle.
    • Trying to run away from Devo.
    • Causing Devo to fall off the Singapore hotel balcony.

    Western Animation 
  • Beavis And Butthead: On a regular basis, Beavis puts up with no end of verbal and physical abuse from Butt-head while hardly blinking an eye (and, to be fair, he gives a good share of it back). But for some reason, being called a "butt-knocker" makes Beavis murderously angry.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998), "Impeach Fuzz": Local redneck, Fuzzy Lumpkins becomes the mayor after the Townsville residents get tired of The Mayor's constant rambling. Fuzzy degrades the mayor's office into a a pig farm, demeans Ms. Sara Bellum, and leaves The Mayor an apathetic hobo. The Mayor's response to Fuzzy Lumpkins becoming mayor and tarnishing his position: "I don't care." Mayor's response to Lumpkins wearing his hat: Challenging him to a wrestling match.
  • Done a lot on The Ren & Stimpy Show. For example, in "Space Madness", the first sign Ren's starting to go stir-crazy is that the sound of a bored Stimpy nervously drumming his finger causes Ren to yell "Do you have to keep tapping like that?! You bloated sack of protoplasm!"
  • The whole premise of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, a show where imaginary beings spring to life on a regular basis, most of the plot involves overreactions to very minor everyday things, such as getting lost or going to the mall.
  • In Adventure Time, Princess Bubblegum and Finn decide to play a harmless prank on the earl of Lemongrab— they leave a sign beside his bed that says "YOU REALLY SMELL LIKE DOG BUNS." How does the earl react? He clenches his fists, starts shaking, and opens up his mouth wide to scream loudly in sheer outrage for several seconds. And how does he attempt to punish those responsible? Round up EVERYONE in the castle, to sentence them to seven years in the dungeon, no trials!
  • An episode of Hey Arnold!, "Olga Comes Home", has Olga, Helga's sister and the stereotypical "perfect girl" in a highly dysfunctional family, becoming catatonically depressed when Helga tricked her into thinking she had gotten a B in one of her college classes.
  • South Park, "Scott Tenorman Must Die": Cartman is cheated out of about $16 and swears revenge. After getting bamboozled through several failed attempts to get even, he eventually makes Scott eat his own parents.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Giant Squidward", Squidward is forced to do favors for the townsfolk to prove he's not a scary giant. The townsfolk turn against him again when he doesn't say "bless you" to a fish who sneezed.
  • This is quite common in Family Guy, especially with Peter:
    • Peter acts casually after the death of Michael Eisner.
    • Sometimes, Peter forgets Brian can talk, even though he's done it for the past 6 years. Once, he only understands Brian when he barks.
    • In "Death Has a Shadow", Lois thinks that Stewie's advanced weapon is a toy.
    • Parodied in "Brian the Bachelor" when Chris gets a pimple. It makes Chris vandalize a wall and destroy Mort's pharmacy, assaults his brain, and then holds a dermatologist at gunpoint. Though this was a crazy, talking pimple.
    • In the Christmas episode, Lois stays calm throughout the disastrous shenanigans that have been going on. Peter gave the presents away? Another family benefits. House caught fire? At least no one got hurt. No turkey? We can work something out. No paper towels? Destroy Christmas!
      Meg: Oh, wait - here's the paper towels!
    • This:
      Cleveland: I hate Bewitched! (flips couch over)
      Stewie: (under couch) Hey, so, that's a pretty reasonable reaction, huh?
  • In one episode of Kevin Spencer, Anastasia screams at her husband to answer the phone (which is right next to her.) When she doesn't get a response (he wasn't even in the same province at the time. He just didn't tell her he left), she proceeds to destroy everything Percy would hold dear, culminating with the destruction of the house.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Bart's Dog Gets An F" Santa's Little Helper eats Marge's old quilt, which was a family tradition for centuries. She is understandably very upset and Homer tries to comfort her by telling her it's just a quilt. Then he discovers the dog also ate a cookie he wanted to eat, which sends him into a hysterically Narmy despair. This also turns to be the final straw for him to get rid of the dog.
    • Homer goes as far as suing the owners of a seafood restaurant with an all-you-can-eat buffet because they threw him out after closing time, even though he hadn’t yet had “all he could eat”. Marge is dragged along through the whole ordeal against her will and much to her embarrassment.
    • Homer caused similar trouble with the garbage men in 'Trash of the Titans', and with the bag boys union in "Simpson Safari".
    • In a "Monkey's Paw" story, after the first wishes get the Earth tyrannized by space aliens, Homer makes a determined wish for a turkey sandwich, making sure the wish has no unexpected horrible loopholes. The sandwich appears, he takes a bite or two, likes the bread, the mustard, but...the turkey is a little dry. He wails to the heavens.
    • Homer was banned from Moe's Tavern for spilling sugar on Moe's table as a prank, while previous pranks included Moe getting bitten by a cobra and being set on fire, which was considered funny.
  • In one episode of Adventures in Care-a-Lot, Grizzle, disguised as Busybody Bear, is trying to break up a band that some of the bears started by spreading gossip about the members. "She" tells Harmony that Cheer said that she sounds like "a thunderwhale with a sore throat" when she sings, but Harmony just says Busybody must have misunderstood. So Busybody replies, "Oh, that's right, she just said that you're bossy," causing Harmony to gasp loudly in shock.
  • A Robot Chicken sketch has Sir Issac Newton being hit on the head by a falling apple and proceeds to uproot the entire tree.
  • Kaeloo: Stumpy's reaction to anything is the opposite of what it should be. Being told to take a bath? Big "NO!"! Olaf trying to attack people with a hairdryer (of all things)? Look out, it's a dangerous weapon! Mr. Cat set Quack Quack on fire? "Oh hey, Quack Quack's on fire."


Video Example(s):


A Scratch on James's Paintwork

James, who has to pick up the mayor later, freak out over a tiny scratch on hsi paint. He even goes so far as to get repainted, even though his paint will still be wet and sticky.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ComicalOverreacting

Media sources: