Follow TV Tropes


Organ Autonomy

Go To

YOU: Am I having some kind of stomach seizure?
ENDURANCE: Stomach truth. You're having a stomach *truth*.

This trope is for when parts of the body have "minds of their own" and will control or influence the brain of whomever they're attached to. Typically happens when said limbs aren't normally a part of the body, as happens to a Frankenstein's Monster or Shapeshifter Mashup. Quite a few times they can be considered part of the same person who can just move them from a distance. Possible reasons include when the body is mechanical or undead or another supernatural explanation. Depending on what the body does it can become Personal Horror. A Super-Trope of Evil Hand.

Any time this trope is present, expect it to either be a case of Anthropomorphized Anatomy or Animate Body Parts, depending on how the body part is depicted.

When a physical part other than the brain (usually the heart or liver) is the source of a person's emotions, see Cardiovascular Love.

If this is taken to extremes, it can drift into Body Horror territory.


    open/close all folders 

  • Many commercials have the stomach "advising" the brain what it wants to eat.
  • There's the Ball Park Franks commercials, which have the stomach spontaneously sprouting an arm and force-feeding the mouth.
  • The terrifying Reebok adverts, with an over-sized beer gut chasing a guy down the street; "Belly's gonna get ya!".
  • There's this award-winning Alka-Seltzer commercial from 1967 (with Gene Wilder as The Stomach!)
  • Froot Loops: "Follow Your Nose!"
  • There are the Puffs facial tissue commercials:
    • In one, a (CGI) child's sore nose flees around to the back of its head, to avoid being assaulted by an ordinary un-lotion-impregnated tissue.
    • In another, the nose also turns into a foghorn; and in another a flamethrower, which you really wouldn't want happening to your nose.
    • And in yet another commercial, a little girl brings Puffs tissues to her class, and all the other children's noses fly of their faces and go to hers.
  • Horror abounds in a California Milk Advisory Board that depicts a woman's skeleton shucking off the rest of her flesh in order to gulp down some of the calcium-rich fluid. The husband is oblivious as he watches t.v. in the other room, the skeleton retains the woman's voice... and the remaining flesh, left on the floor like a full-body sweatsuit, rolls its eyes as the skeleton keeps talking.
  • This surreal Old Spice commercial has the spokesman's abdominal muscles chime in on a sales pitch, and his right bicep grows an entire new arm in order to blame his left bicep.
  • Just-Eat is a restaurant food delivery service. Their ads feature a red blobby character named Belly and a little scheming yellow blob named Brain. The slogan is "Belly says takeout - Brain says Just-Eat!" The characters are clearly supposed to represent body parts although they are never depicted inside a body. Belly sits there and drools while Brain reads the Just-Eat menu.
  • This horrific Australian beer ad in which a man's tongue goes in search of beer while he is sleeping.
  • One ad for Coke Zero had a pair of Cockney tongues on rhino legs arguing with a French eyeball on bird legs over weather the beverage is Coca-Cola. An American brain wheels in on a cart and orders them to quit bickering, lest he force them to eat dirt and wear an "onion Sombrero," respectively. Another ad from the same campaign has the Tongues making fun of Eye for not being able to taste. Brain is absent.
  • A job-seeking service ad had a woman's heart leap out of her after her boss threw his weight around at her, march into his office, climb up on his desk and give him her two week's notice.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: When Bakura is first introduced in the manga, Yami Yugi is playing a tabletop RPG against Yami Bakura. In the game, the Yugi party manages to sever the Big Bad's hand, and as a result, the real Bakura manages to re-take control of that hand of his body and is subverting his dark side's plans, a literal instance of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. Yami Bakura eventually catches on and gets it out of the way by impaling it... but tips off the group as to his identity in the process.
  • Invoked in Gunslinger Girl. When cyborg girl Petrushka is told she is dying of cancer, she asks for her memory blocks to be removed and remembers her past as a ballet dancer in Russia. Petra then has her fellow cyborgs record her doing the ballet of the Dying Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns. Her handler Sandro delivers the video to her ex-boyfriend in Russia (who'd been told that Elizaveta, the woman Petra used to be, had died) telling him that this is a woman who'd been donated Elizaveta's organs after her death, and suggesting that this is reason why she is following in Elizaveta's footsteps as a dancer.
  • The basic premise of Hell Teacher Nube is that Meisuke Nueno, a.k.a. Nube, has sealed an Oni as his left hand. He typically uses it as a regular hand (if ultra-powered when released,) but by the end of the manga he and the oni have become allies in a symbiotic relationship, and Baki (the oni) is free to do whatever he likes as Nube's hand.
  • Despite being attached to/having replaced Seiji's right hand, Midori from Midori Days has complete autonomy and freedom of movement. If she wants to go somewhere, she will, often dragging an unwilling Seiji behind her.
  • In Vampire Hunter D, D has arguments with the parasite in his left hand — long ones, because the hand only ever shuts up around outsiders. It does, however, save his life on occasion — when you're in a high-risk profession like vampire hunting, it helps to have a hand that can give you CPR by itself.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry's fourth arc, you get to see exactly what happens when someone tries to lie in red text when Battler tries to do so (not that he realizes that it's a lie at the time). The red background disappears, and Battler's arm reflexively reaches up to quasi-strangle him.
  • Parasyte: Shinichi's arm gets possessed by an alien parasite of a race that usually gets into the brain and takes over the whole body. But it ate his hand and since it is its replacement, they're a duo.
  • A hermaphrodite character in Hot Tails gets yelled at by her guy-parts when she tries to live a celibate life. When she objects, she's molested by her own penis until she gives into his(?) demands.
  • Happens in Inuyasha the Movie: Swords of an Honorable Ruler: A demonic sword takes control of Inuyasha's arm by burrowing tentacles into it and pumping him full of demonic energy. It tries to force him to slaughter a village, but he temporarily disrupts its control by biting his own arm and holding on with his teeth while Miroku saves everybody.
  • In Zatch Bell!, the mountain-sized demon Faudo has a bunch of smaller demons living inside him that run his body parts. They seem like forgettable gag characters at first, but after Faudo wakes up, they reveal themselves to be very strong.
  • Bleach: The Soul King's body parts can function independently from the Soul King. His right arm wandered through Soul Society in ancient times being worshipped as a god. The Soul King's left arm has served Yhwach for an unspecified amount of time. In battle, when a finger of the left arm is blown off, the finger continues to act as a smaller version of the left arm, including possessing the same abilities. Both limbs display their own independent identities and abilities. The right arm, Mimihagi, lives inside Ukitake's body, protecting his life from a fatal lung disease until called forth to stabilise Soul Society when the Soul King dies; Yhwach absorbs Mimihagi to stop it. The left arm, Pernida, serves Yhwach as a member of the Schutzstaffel, seems genuinely angry over the wrongs the Soul Reapers have committed against the Quincies and hates being called the 'Left Arm of the Soul King'.
  • Played for horror in Junji Ito's short manga The Licking Woman. After the titular woman is seemingly killed (by being tricked into licking potassium cyanide), she rips out her own tongue, which turns out to be able to move on its own and attacks the heroine. Years later, the heroine and her new boyfriend are both killed by the tongue, which has grown to gigantic size.

    Comic Books 
  • Super Agent Jon Le Bon: In The Brain Of The Apocalypse, after Henry B. Belton's head is cut open by Whitewash, it disappears from his skull while Whitewash is too busy conversing with Agent Jon. It's later discovered in the book that Belton's brain gained sentience independent from Henry and decided to take control of the Agency building to Take Over the World. It's defeated in the climax by being injected with a serum that turns it back into a regular brain. After it's returned to Henry's head, he's advised to take weakly injections to keep his brain from turning evil again.

    Comic Strips 
  • At least two Peanuts strips had various parts of Snoopy's body expressing opinions of their own — usually connected with jogging, which meant the feet said a lot. One of these strips ended when his heart commented, "Just remember, boys — if I go, we all go!" to which the feet remarked, "That's scary!" and another part said, "Shut up and keep jogging".
  • Pooch Café has occasional strips in which Poncho's various body parts (usually the brain and stomach) argue.
  • Pearls Before Swine has Pig's sunglasses-wearing brain, frustrated with being underused, step out of Pig's head and go on to have a life of its own, successfully winning Jeopardy! and becoming something of a lady's man. It eventually skipped town in favor of an extensive stay at a spa resort for runaway brains.
  • A series of Zits strips involve Jeremy's brain deciding to go on strike right before a big test.
  • The Wicked Willy cartoons by Peter Mayle and Gray Jolliffe featured a man with a talking penis. They are widely regarded as the tackiest cartoons ever produced. Quite funny, though.
  • Vajee: do we need to mention what organ she is? The style of the art is very similar to Wicked Willy, but the cartoons weren't quite as funny as Willy overall. Some were hilarious, though.
  • A Beetle Bailey strip has a similar concept to the Peanuts one, with all of General Halftrack's body parts complaining as he tried to go to sleep. (Well, almost all — The Comics Curmudgeon was surprised there was no complaint from his poor, overworked liver.)
  • My Cage features scenes inside Norm's head, where his brain, heart, and libido often have it out with each other.
  • The November 22, 1998 Garfield strip had Garfield's stomach leave his body to raid the kitchen independently of Garfield.

    Fan Works 
  • In one Stargate SG-1 fanfic, Dr. Daniel Jackson has a series of bizarre conversations with various body parts as a result of a caffeine overdose and nervous breakdown.
  • Harry has conversations with his brain when trying to escape from Azkaban in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.
  • Goku in Dragon Ball Z Abridged once thanks his brain for providing him with a comeback and it responds. Later, when he is being drowned, he asks his brain for a status report, and it is only able to gargle incomprehensibly about "frozen peas".

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Iron Giant, the title character's limbs are shown to be capable of seeking out his body when detached. In The Stinger, his scattered nuts and bolts are shown rolling to his body in the North Pole after being nuked.
  • Toy Story:
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sally, the Rag Doll, is able to separate parts of her body to escape her creator, Doctor Finkelstein, and later, to try and free Santa from Oogie Boogie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Battle Beyond the Stars. The protagonists allow a member of the Nestor Hive Mind to be captured. Being a Mix-and-Match Man, Sador has his surgeon-torturer cut off the man's hand to replace his own diseased limb, only to find out almost too late that the hand is still under the control of the Hive Mind. The surgeon is able to stop Sador from cutting his own throat by chainsawing off the limb on the spot.
  • Spaceballs has Barf blaming his tail for trying to feel up a waitress's skirt — though his snickering afterwards suggests he is just lying.
  • This is a common horror movie trope. For example, Ash is forced to sever his possessed right hand in Evil Dead 2.
  • Idle Hands is basically the possessed hand scene from Evil Dead 2 blown up into an entire movie, with the hand possessed by a demon drawn to particularly lazy individuals (Anton Tobias, the 'owner' of the hand, speculates that this is because he did so little with the hand).
  • Little known 1977 film Chatterbox is about a woman with a talking (and singing) vagina!
    • There is at least one other movie with an almost identical premise, Angel Above - the Devil Below, but is due to the vagina being possessed.
  • Soul Vengeance (aka Welcome Home Brother Charles) has a black man, experimented on during his term in prison, who takes vengeance on the people who put him there by strangling them with his giant prehensile penis.
  • In Peter Sellers' Dr. Strangelove; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, one of Dr. Strangelove's hands has a mind of his own, down to attempting to strangle him, and snapping off Nazi salutes.
  • Guess which organ has a mind of its own in a movie called Pervert! The homicidal maniac turns out to be James' voodoo-enchanted penis.
  • Osmosis Jones, which is about several animated anthropomorphic microbes living inside a live-action man.
  • A lesser example in Liar Liar; when Fletcher Reede finds himself unable to lie for one day, he attempts to 'test' it by writing that a blue pen is red, but the hand holding the pen ends up writing 'Blue' all over his face.
  • In The World's End, the heads and limbs of the Blanks can be broken off and will move on their own, even reattaching themselves if you don't smash them.
  • The main character in Curse II: The Bite is bitten by a snake that's been contaminated by nuclear radiation, and his left hand turns into a snake that has a will of its own.
  • In Victor Frankenstein, Victor demonstrates to Igor the results of his electro-vitality experiments by using a pair of disembodied eyes in a tank of preservative gel that follow a lit match, despite not being attached to a brain.
  • Deadtime Stories: In "Peter and the Witches", Peter defeats the revived Magoga by driving his hand into her chest and ripping out her heart. After Magoga collapses, the still beating heart jumps on to Peter's face and attempts to suffocate him.
  • The Thing (1982): The eponymous entity takes this to its logical conclusion, with every single portion of its body, even a few drops of blood, being capable of functioning autonomously.
  • In The Hazing, the spirit of Professor Kapps causes Roy to grow an Overly-Long Tongue while he is orally pleasuring Delia. After Roy bites off his tongue, the tongue continues to act independently; attempting to strangle Delia.

  • This explicitly exists as a fundamental law of reality in the Discworld series. Of course, in a world where the Law of Narrative Causality is also a fundamental law, it's hardly incongruous. In Pyramids, the mummified King Teppicymon XXVII awakens as an undead, but can't see. He fumbles his way to the canopic jar that contains his eyes, so he can return them to their proper place; through the disembodied eyeballs, he sees his own hand reach into the jar to collect them.
  • In one of Aesop's Fables, the members of the body refuse to help the belly. The body is dissatisfied with "King Stomach's" rule, so they overthrow him and try to decide who is most important and thus worthy to be king. Tongue nominates himself but is laughed off the floor; the debate continues without recess until a lack of rest and nourishment has everyone telling someone else to do the job since they're too tired to do it. They eventually work out that maybe King Stomach wasn't such a bad ruler and put him back in power, and go make soup so as to not be dying. Then the story derails and the body parts aren't metaphorical parts of everyone but the bits of one specific guy. This man hears that if he can collect the milk of a lion, the only cure for the disease from which the king's beautiful daughter suffers, he gets to marry her; in typical folk hero fashion, he does so by cunning and resourcefulness. Just as he is presenting the king with the milk, Tongue, still bitter about being called worthless, makes the man say it's the wrong kind of milk. The king gets angry, and nearly has the man killed, but the other body parts relent and agree to respect Tongue a little more, and Tongue corrects the mistake. Guy marries princess, happy ending, hooray.
  • There's a parody version of Aesop's fable, where the organs argue over which one is the king of the body, and they all seems to hate the anus because "he's an asshole", so the anus decides to clog up to "stop being an asshole" and the body gets gradually sick from constipation, then the organs apologize to the anus, which decides to work correctly (="be an asshole") again, the body recovers and the organs decide that the anus is the real king of the body. And this explains why in any organization or committee it's always the asshole who is in charge.
  • In William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch, Dr. Benway tells the story of 'the man who taught his asshole to talk'. Bad idea.
  • There was a story in a magazine of Short Science-Fiction stories featuring an antagonist who was a member of a species whose reproductive organs became active and self-motivating after death. He happened to have a genetic flaw that caused his to activate early, resulting in constant arguments with his gonads, which were usually concerned with finding a female and spreading his seed. Eventually, they leave him in disgust after a humiliating defeat.
  • In Ray Bradbury's short story "Fever Dream", a sick boy suffers a form of this: he's being taken over by rogue cells, which control him bit by bit, for instance his hands, and finally his mind.
  • JumpMan series by James Valentine: In a very odd variant, Jules' brain seems to be a separate sentient advisor from his consciousness. Also, the brain makes comments about when it first met a time jump it shut up because it had to argue with itself. This implies every last cell (or at least every neuron) is at least somewhat sentient.
  • In Harry Potter the magically created silver hand Voldemort gives to Wormtail seems to be under Wormtail's control, until it strangles Wormtail to death when he hesitates to follow an order.
  • The titular character of Bill the Galactic Hero has his left arm replaced with the right arm of a bunkmate in the first book. Tembo's arm seems to still retain the memories of its former owner and will make a fist when in the presence of old rivals.
  • In The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School, Speke's spiky, crab-like "hands", although under her control when she's awake, wander around when she sleeps, as if possessed of (animal-grade) minds of their own. Restraining them doesn't work because they can untie knots and pick locks, but give them something sturdy to "play with" during the night — a wooden toy, a puzzle, an old rag to unravel — and they'll stay put to investigate and pick apart the "gift".
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the notorious alien poet Grunthos the Flatulent died after a particularly bad recitation when his own small intestine saved the audience from further torment by leaping up through its owner's neck and throttling his brain.
  • A symptom of Love at First Sight in Dante's Vita Nuova is that your organs give a play-by-play commentary of the romance. The heart (source of all Cardiovascular Love) starts to worship the beloved, the brain recognizes Beatrice as a true source of happiness, and the stomach laments that the lover now has a higher goal than satisfying his hunger.
  • In China Miéville's short story "Entry Taken from a Medical Encyclopaedia", speaking a particular "wormword" aloud and with precisely the right (wrong!) inflection causes portions of the speaker's brain tissue to spontaneously re-form into worm-shaped coils. These coils then slither into the speech center and make them recite the wormword again and again, driving their host insane and tempting any other listeners to repeat the brain-destroying word in turn.
  • One poem from Always Coming Home has a penis tired of constant activity cutting itself off and running away.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry's girlfriend forces him to read scripts with her as she horribly overacts, and representations of his brain and penis engage in a chess match to see whether or not he'll dump her.
  • Herman's Head, his head is the one controlling things (well, obviously) with bits of his personality disagreeing. This is purely Rule of Symbolism however (not to mention Rule of Funny).
  • The "breast brains" concept in Coupling. Not to mention Patrick's penis.
    Susan: Does you dick do all the thinking for you?
    Patrick: I don't know I'll ask him.
  • In Steven Moffat's sitcom Joking Apart, the lead character's penis gets his own episode - sort-of. He's had a blow to the head and is hallucinating.
  • In a sort-of-live action example, (Puppets, to be specific), Magellan, the dragon (But not The Dragon ... Well, maybe.) of Eureeka's Castle simply never managed to get control of his tail.
  • Scrubs:
    • In the episode "My Best Laid Plans", J.D.'s penis (informally known as "Mr. Peeps", and speaking in a British accent) tries to get him to sleep with Molly when his girlfriend, Kylie, won't sleep with him. Later, when Kylie is finally ready to sleep with J.D., he admits that he was hanging out with Molly instead of Kylie, which gets him dumped and incurs death threats from Mr. Peeps.
    • A recurring fantasy of J.D. has him becoming a "Floating Head Doctor". However most end with Body getting into a fight with Head.
      Turk: Head fight Body again?
      J.D.: Yeah. I don't get why those two don't get along?
  • On Angel, lawyer Lindsey had "Evil Hand Issues", after Angel chopped off his hand, and his Evil Lawyer Bosses, Wolfram & Hart, gave him a new one. It turns out the hand was suicidal rather than evil, influenced by a former employee of Wolfram & Hart who was being vivisected and kept in storage for his parts. Once that person dies his hand appears to function normally, though he once pretends it's acting on its own to Troll his colleagues.
  • This happened three times in Red Dwarf, to Rimmer (a holographic crewmember maintained by the ship's computer):
    • At one point gets his body taken over by the ship's computer AI, forcing him to do exercise up until he faints... and even after (his body jogs on, with his head lolled to the side).
    • At a different point, the ship AI plays a trick on Rimmer by giving him someone else's arm... and the arm attacks him repeatedly, including poking him in the eyes and grabbing him by the nuts.
    • And a third one: when something goes wrong with the hologram suite, Rimmer's lower half begins running around by itself, and Rimmer's upper half complains about it.
  • Murdock's delusion in The A-Team episode "Waste 'Em!" involves his left hand using this trope, although it is more of a nuisance than actually evil. He names it Lefty.
  • One of the least impressive episodes of the Round the Twist revival had Pete and Linda's brains sucked out of their heads and forced to hop around Port Niranda to find their bodies.
  • Pam & Tommy has a scene where Tommy Lee holds a back-and-forth conversation with his own penis (with some real life inspiration, as Lee's autobiography opens right away with such a dialogue, and the penis has many intermissions afterwards!).

    Tabletop Games 
  • An occasional frustration for the Frankenstein lineage in Promethean: The Created is that their limbs and organs sometimes run under their own control. This leads to, among other things, one eye sometimes insisting on looking in a different direction. Other lineages have this problem on occasion, but it happens most often to Frankensteins because they're always made of multiple corpses. There is, however, a merit called "Residual Memories", which can grant the Promethean bonus dice on skill rolls - because his body parts retain memories of the skills in question. (When the dice are exhausted, though, the risk of the body parts getting out of control goes up.)
  • In Mage: The Awakening, there's a particular Abyssal entity called Flesh Intruders, a highly intelligent race of parasites who manifest in tainted organ transplants. Over the period of their gestation, they reform their host's organs to ones suiting their goals, until they literally hatch from the organ, totally suppressing the host's mind in the process, while they still remain aware. The kicker? Every organ that was infected was actually a victim of Sinister Organ Qigong, so not only is there a crazy monster running around, you can bet there's someone whose watching all this and laughing.

  • Me and My Dick by Team Starkid, is a musical comedy about teenagers learning the complexities of relationships by talking to parts of their body like their genitals, (usually, they have names like Dick or Miss Cooter), and other parts, like the heart. The main character's heart thinks Bill Pullman is the greatest actor of our generation.
  • Some versions of The Rocky Horror Show have Doctor Scott's right arm automatically doing Nazi salutes as a nod to Dr. Strangelove.

    Theme Parks 
  • This was the premise of Cranium Command, an old Epcot Edutainment attraction — main character Buzzy is the "pilot" of an adolescent boy and is challenged with getting the various organs of his body (left and right brains, stomach, heart, etc. — played by an All-Star Cast!) to work together in harmony.

    Video Games 
  • Ocelot was controlled by the transplanted arm of Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, possibly due to being the son of the Sorrow, a spirit medium. Later, to overcome this he has the arm removed but uses hypnosis and nanomachines to fake it in order to confuse his enemies. It's all in The Metal Gear Solid Database.
  • Subverted by Hugh Bliss in the last episode (Bright Side of the Moon) of the first season of Sam & Max by Telltale Games. Max's hand, stomach, and tail are literally removed from his body and then become separate copies of Max, personifying his senseless violence, greed, and sloth. Sam is horrified. Max is (somehow) able to continue to function, although he's definitely not himself.
  • In Toribash, severed limbs can still be controlled if they have joints still intact. This makes dismembering yourself for some moves a valid strategy.
  • In Tales of Monkey Island, Guybrush's left hand becomes infected with The Pox of LeChuck, causing it to smack him around and occasionally thwart his puzzle-solving attempts through Chapter 1. This is solved when he replaces it. It maintains its autonomy even when severed, eventually leading to the downfall of the Marquis de Singe.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas Old World Blues, a bunch of Mad Scientist Brains in Jars take out your brain to turn you into a cyborg for manual labor. Due to your abnormal condition from being shot in the head, however, their Auto-Doc doesn't destroy your original brain (it gets drained to somewhere else in the facility) and the Applied Phlebotinum brain mock-up in your cranial vault retains your original mind and memories. Later on, you can find your brain and have conversations with it, who now has a personality of its own as well and is kind of a snarky jerk. Old World Blues is weird.
  • In Evil Genius, Doctor Ethan Asia performs a pancreas transplant on himself. Unfortunately, the donor was a cannibal, and as a result Ethan inherits a curse that turns him into The Butcher.
  • Sunless Sea: The Thalatte, a large sea monster available through the Zubmariner expansion, is described when dissected as having organs that won't stay where you put them until you stake them to the deck. You can actually sell them to the aquarium at the Labyrinth of Tigers as Live Specimens.
  • Mad Rat Dead: Mad Rat's heart is a sentient heart... named Heart. He acts as a separate entity from Mad Rat, having his own personality separate from his host. It eventually turns out he was the heart of a cat, which then was dissected and transplanted into Mad Rat.
  • Disco Elysium: A key mechanic is that various parts of your nervous system overlap with your skills and weigh in during gameplay with opinions. There's one conversation where your detective can get stuck as a Broken Record repeating the same line over and over while various parts of his own brain frantically try to figure out why he's doing that and how to get him to stop.
  • Fallen London: The Masters and other Curators like them are revealed to have autonomous teeth. Not only are they all horrendously sharp, they're seemingly so eager to draw blood and cause destruction they can just leave their mouths, tear things apart by themselves and return with the pieces they might want for themselves. The Vake/Mr. Veils uses his for quite a few purposes (and you even use one such tooth to make a club), and Mr. Stones destroys an entire establishment with his while talking to you, and you have no idea until the teeth come back bloodied and covered in sawdust.
  • Terraria: You encounter the Eye of Cthulhu, the Brain of Cthulhu, Skeletron (a giant animate skeleton) and the Eater of Worlds (implied to be living intestines) over the course of the game. The final boss is Cthulhu himself, the Moon Lord, to whom all those parts once belonged before he was torn apart in his war with the Dryads. He was banished into the moon, but his severed organs got up and went on their own rampages.

    Web Animation 
  • An Akatsuki's Life takes this to its natural extreme, with an entire crowd of Kisame's taste buds reacting to the word "Spaghetti".
  • In the short film In a Heartbeat, a closeted gay boy literally struggles with his disembodied heart, who wants him to confess to the boy he has a crush on.
  • A group called Project Consent did their part in raising awareness of the importance consent plays in sex by submitting several NSFW videos animated in CGI on the Internet where a hand, a penis, a vulva, a breast, and a pair of buttocks act out situations where the hand or penis tries to do something inappropriate with the breast, vulva, or butt before being reprimanded.
  • SolarBalls: In the episode “What happens if your body is EXPOSED to the Vacuum of Space?”, we seen Astrodude’s organs and like planets, moons, ect, they can talk.

    Web Comics 
  • Used occasionally in Something*Positive. When PeeJee gets offered a job at a bar, complete with on-the-house drinks (and her liver makes a sound like it's having an orgasm). When she tells Jhim, the gay man on whom she's crushed for years, that she can't think of anything else she'd like their relationship to be, her vagina thinks, "I can!".
  • In College Roomies from Hell!!!, Roger's hand occasionally becomes self-aware and autonomous.
  • Part of the deal with the snake-girls/hydras/medusas in Modest Medusa.
  • In The Noob, Ohforf's crotch agrees to go on a suicidal quest against the brain's will when Hypatia says she might "do anything" for a man brave enough to go.
  • In Girls with Slingshots, Hazel's ovaries often speak up to tell her that My Biological Clock Is Ticking. And McPedro's mustache has run away from him. In addition, McPedro's mustache is French.
  • In Digger the Hag is sufficiently skilled at surgery to re-attach severed body parts, but there is a slight chance that they'll go evil and try to kill their owners. As she points out, this is more of a problem with arms than with earlobes, which rather than trying to throttle you just wiggle aggressively. Specific mention was made of a suicidal re-attached toe that tries to stub itself at every opportunity.
  • One of the character in Sexy Losers is a guy with a talking penis. It's a total Jerkass who makes the guy's life a living hell.
  • Even though it was not actual verbal communication, Ki from General Protection Fault experiences her own uterus going 'TWINGE' and triggering near uncontrollable lust in these strips of year 2001.
  • Occurs in Spinnerette with the eponymous character's six arms sometimes acting on their own. "Bottom Lefty" in particular has a tendency to act up, and often grabs Mecha Maid's ass, much to Spinnerette's annoyance. Mecha Maid doesn't really mind, since she's got a thing for Spinnerette herself. Later, she becomes Spinny's Closet Key and the two start dating.
  • Monster Pulse: Practically the entire premise—these organs aren't just autonomous, they're physically separate from the original body! And yet, somehow, the walking, talking organ continues to perform its function just fine—Bina still has blood moving around in her body, West still gets nutrition, etc.
  • Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger has one alien species called the Gestaltians. Each of their major systems (nervous system, musculoskeletal system, digestive tract, etc.) is an completely separate entity. However, only the brain and nervous system entity has true sentience; the rest have an animalistic intelligence. One member of this species, Y'Yvir, spent a good portion of one story arc attempting to get donor organs to accept him. Apparently, since the numerous individuals that make up the Gestaltians grow up together, the less intelligent ones tend to be less then enthused about getting a new "master."
    • The cardiovacularite was especially cantankerous, almost choking an attending doctor.
  • In Deep Rise Nobles have multiple nerve clusters that have some individual consciousness. At one point Cheertwit severs an arm so it can deliver a "surprise".
  • In Goblins, the goblin known as Dies-Horribly gets fitted with a magical prosthetic hand after losing his real one. Said hand has been shown to be autonomous, has the ability to possess its owner, and even has Yandere tendencies towards him. Eventually, Dies is forced to cut it off when it threatens to murder his friends.
  • In Charby the Vampirate Manick finds himself scolding the arms and tentacles from his stomach portal as they have a tendency to try and pull things in.
  • In the Team Fortress 2 webcomic, it is shown that the demoman's organs have some degree of autonomy, being able to be directed to produce booze.

    Web Original 
  • In Mortasheen, this often happens to zombies and creates monsters, with the parts usually being the stomach, the brain, and the placenta, or a recently birthed Zombie Spawn.
  • The Nostalgia Critic's genitalia convinces him at gunpoint to watch Sailor Moon in a flashback.
  • The Ricky Gervais Show: Among the many insane beliefs of Karl Pilkington is that his body parts have a will of their own. Typified by his oft-repeated question "So, am I in control of me brain, or is me brain in charge of me?"
  • The Creepypasta This is What Happens When You're Patient Zero For a New Virus is about a newfangled disease that causes organs to achieve sapience and motility and try to leave, believing that the human mind doesn't treat them right. Anything autonomous decides to simply quit performing their duties for longer than it takes to sustain themselves, and if the brain tries to do anything about it, they maliciously comply, generating crippling pain, pirapisms, or simply jettisoning their contents, in the case of the stomach and bowels.

    Western Animation 
  • Centaurworld: As Centaurworld transforms her and she gains magic, Horse's first spell takes the form of her tail coming to life and acting on its own without her control.
  • The Simpsons: This occurs several times, especially to Homer.
    • In "Fear of Flying", after Homer gets banned from Moe's and tries to find a new watering hole...
      Homer: The last bar in Springfield. If I can't get a beer here, I'll have to quit drinking.
      Liver: Yay!
      • Homer gets so annoyed he proceeds to punch his liver. With rather obvious consequences.
    • Or in the episode where they joined a cult that forbade alcohol...
      Marge: Would you like a tall, frosty one, Homer?
      Brain: No! Must resist! I love The Leader!
      Stomach: Go on! Give in! Beer!
      Feet: Ooh, these nylon socks sure are comfortable!
    • And in "Brother from the Same Planet", when Homer joins the Bigger Brothers program to spite Bart (who's abusing the system):
      Brain: Don't say revenge. Don't say revenge.
      Homer: Uh... revenge.
      Brain: That's it, I'm gettin' outta here. (receding footfalls, door slam)
    • This is Homer visiting the cider mill in "Burns Baby Burns":
      Ned: Well, if God didn't make little green apples! It's Homer Simpson! How long have you been here?
      Homer: Twenty of the suckiest minutes of my life.
      Ned: Ho ho ho, suckin' down the cider, huh? Hey, word to the wise — (shows Homer a card) season pass! It pays for itself after the sixteenth visit. You know, most people don't know the difference between apple cider and apple juice, but I do. Now here's a little trick to help you remember. If it's clear and yella', you've got juice there, fella! If it's tangy and brown, you're in cider town. Now, there's two exceptions and it gets kinda tricky here...
      Homer's Brain: (moans) You can stay, but I'm leaving. (brain floats away; Homer stares blankly for a second, then collapses)
    • Homer is frequently shown to be stupider than his own brain, and frequently argues with it, to the point where in "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood" Homer has to ask his brain to explain how money is more useful than a peanut. It's because money can be exchanged for goods and services.
    Homer: Woo-hoo!
    • Marge's Beehive tends to nag her. Well, the lower part. The upper part reassures her. The top admits it is nothing but hair and has no opinion on the matter.
    • On a Treehouse of Horror, Snake is finally put to death, and his hair is donated to Homer. Homer then becomes Snake and takes revenge on all the people responsible for his arrest. Also, Voices Are Mental.
    • "Shut up, Brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-Tip!"
    • Even done with Lisa's brain a few times, like this exchange from "Trash of the Titans":
      Homer: It's just like David and Goliath, except this time David won!
      Lisa: (groan)
      Lisa's Brain: Yeah, I heard it too. Here's some music. (plays Für Elise)
    • Better still, from "Bart of Darkness":
      Lisa's Brain: You do realize they're only pretending to like you because of the pool?
      Lisa: Shut up, brain! I don't need you any more; I have friends now!
      (Later when all her new friends ditch her)
      Lisa: Huh? Hello? Hey, I'm stuck in here! I gotta think of a way to get out!
      Lisa's Brain: Well, well, well, look who's come crawling back.
  • Men in Black: The Series: In one episode an alien is victim of Organ Theft, with the twist that the organ in question is quite capable of independent motion and reasoning. In one scene, the alien watches anxiously as his heart lies on the operating table after being shot.
  • There are several gags in Chowder in which the title character is conversing with his own stomach. Chowder once had a conversation with the representation of his self-esteem, manifested as his own hand.
    • In "Taste Buds", Chowder's tongue is strengthened and ends up dominating the rest of his body, dictating what he will eat and beating him up if he does not comply
  • A character who has conversations with his stomach (which is more of a slave/master type relationship) is Jay Sherman on The Critic.
    "Now dance for me!"
  • Due to an assassination attempt, all that was left of Hector con Carne in Evil Con Carne was a disembodied brain and a disembodied stomach with a mind of its own, originally used in the pilot cartoon for the sake of a cheap pun on the phrase "listen to your gut."
    • Another episode has Ghastly surgically attach Boskov and Skarr's arms to each other, but they find out that they can still control them — even on the other's body!
  • ¡Mucha Lucha!: All of The Flea's organs have autonomy, and get out of his body to save him from an evil doctor that wants to extirpate one of them.
  • A recurring gag on Brandy & Mr. Whiskers involves Whiskers' brain (who has a Yiddish accent, for some reason) literally packing his bags and leaving through Whiskers' ear, usually announcing "You're on your own!". Hell, it became a plot point later on.
  • Princess Clara's "Octopussoir" from Drawn Together, to the extent that when it's removed from her body, it has an independent and fulfilling life. Also Octopussoir's replacement, Vajoana.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "Aduckyphobia", DW once acquired four extra arms after being bitten by a radioactive spider. They didn't always do what he wanted them to, especially Number Six.
  • In The Drinky Crow Show almost every character's organs have come to life at some point (usually in overly gruesome detail). Drinky even throws his brain out at one point (much to the relief of his liver) because it keeps telling him to drink.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: King Julian gets into a squabble with his own brain while congratulating himself on using his muscle-enhanced naive mouse lemur henchman Mort to intimidate the other zoo animals to giving their stuff to him.
  • In the Spliced episode "Stomach on Strike", Entree makes a bet with his brain, heart and stomach that he could survive a week without them when the organs get fed up with his abuse. They left his body for the duration of the bet and spent the week getting into trouble on the island.
  • Happens to Krypto the Superdog when exposure to red kryptonite caused his tail to gain sentience and separate from his body to cause trouble.
  • Freakazoid!: The protagonist once had his own sidekick named Handman in "The Sidekick Chronicles," which happened to be his own hand with eyes drawn on it, and a voice provided by his ventriloquism. What's more, Handman then had an affair with Freakazoid's other hand, who both shared a long, kissing sequence (which was graphic even for a kids show) and married among a wedding made up of the cheering, dressed hands of the guests. Despite losing his sidekick, Freakazoid hopes to gain a daughter... or an upper hand. Unlike his hand couple, however, his feet are in a very rocky relationship.
  • Family Guy: Adam West is so crazy he struck up a relationship with his hand and even tried to marry it. His other hand, however, rejected the proposal.
    Judge If anyone has any reason as to why this marriage should not take place, speak now or forever hold your peace.
    (West's other hand raises up)
    Adam West: Shut up, you had your chance!
    • There actually is a joke in there. For something by Seth MacFarlane, it's incredibly subtle. Did you get it?)
  • Roger of American Dad! has an independently mobile pancreas with fangs that runs away when Hayley accidentally removes it.
    • Another showed that all his internal organs are like this while also demonstrating his pancreas as uniquely feral. When he passes out from their absence they all re-enter his body with a short song and dance, through his butt.
  • South Park:
    • "Fat Butt and Pancake Head": For a report on Cultural Diversity, Cartman chooses to do one on Latinos in the arts with the help of a Jennifer Lopez hand puppet. Later, at the mall, the puppet gains autonomy and insists they make a music video, which launches the hand puppet's musical career. Ben Affleck falls in love with the Jennifer Lopez hand puppet (whom he thinks is actually Jennifer Lopez), and strikes up a relationship with it (and they both have sex). Then the REAL J-Lo shows up to protest the hand's authenticity. When things get out of control, the hand reveals its real identity by removing "her" hair and, in a male voice, making a confession that she is not 'Jennifer Lopez', but 'Mitch Connor', a con man who has been moving around from town to town. He apologizes to Ben for playing around with his love and states that he will die because he has recently consumed a cyanide pill. After the hand "dies", Cartman is left in control of his hand again. What makes the entire situation funnier is that everyone besides Kyle thought Cartman's Jennifer Lopez hand puppet was really Jennifer Lopez.
    • She/he/it returns again in South Park's 200th episode disguised again as Jennifer Lopez, aiding a group of celebrities led by Tom Cruise aiming to suck out the prophet Muhammad's goo so they can empower themselves and not be made fun of. unbeknownst to them however, she planned to take the goo for herself and sell it to the highest bidder.
    • In "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society," A brief scene shows that Bebe's boobs are apparently sentient and actively conspire to destroy society. Upon being freaked out at this after they inadvertently wake her up in the middle of the night with their voices, her mother reveals that for her part, she is perfectly aware of this and further says they feed on the misery and chaos they cause and treats it as a part of her growing up.
      • This later turns up again in "A Million Little Fibers" where this time, it is focused on Oprah Winfrey's vagina and ass. Throughout the episode, they are starved for attention and devise a plan to humiliate Opera on public TV by exposing Towelie's fraud in an attempt to get her fired from show-business so they can receive some attention again. When this backfires however, Opera's vagina winds up blowing up this trope by a mile by busting the masquerade in front of both Opera and the angry mob who were chasing Towelie in an attempt to take hostages and have a shootout with the police unless they receive a flight to Paris where it and Opera's anus can receive attention again (don't ask).
  • Ugly Americans: As Mark's zombie roommate, Randall's penis once separated from his body in "Treegasm" and attempted to board a bus to Bufallo at Port Authority (apparently traumatized by what Randall put it in). Under a set of guidelines put down by his dick, they both made up and Randall promised to treat his member as an equal.
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum: Fanboy's weeks of unbathing caused his own stench to animate his hand under the name of Stinks. It had mushrooms for eyes, and had the personality of a mobster.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: Eustace's foot gets infected with a fungus that turns it into a gangster that forces the others to commit crimes for him. In "Ball of Revenge" the foot returns but exists as an entity separate from Eustace so it's unknown if it possessed anyone else or if it really is a separate entity.
    • Another episode had a pair of alien naturalists abduct Courage's human owners so they could use them to create antibodies to help neutralize a disease infecting their race that causes their multiple arms to relentlessly beat themselves up.
  • Adventure Time: The Ice King's heart leaves his body to seduce Princess Bubblegum, then cut out her heart and make it his bride. He even gives himself a name: Ricardio the Heart Guy.
  • In El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, Manny uses science/magic to grow a large mustache, which he names Raul and has a mind of its own. It even gets Brainwashed and Crazy!
    • In a later episode, Raul falls for a girl...'s unibrow, which also has a mind of its own.
  • The opening of the Arthur episode "Arthur's Knee."
  • "Reason and Emotion", a 1940s Disney Wartime Cartoon, demonstrates how the two forces (anthropomorhised into tiny people) fight for control at the "drivers seat" of the brain.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, Everything Talks, organs included. Gumball's brain leaves his body when Gumball tries reading a book, and spends the rest of the episode outside it. On one occasion he tried to eat something disgusting, causing an argument between his tongue, stomach, heart, brain, and what is implied to be his anus.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Yosemite Sam's moustache in the Merrie Melodies song "Moostache" in "Itsy Bitsy Gopher".
  • Stewart Lee and Richard Herring's sketch show This Morning with Richard, not Judy featured an animation called The Organ Gang, a spoof of children's TV shows that was even voiced by BBC children's TV stalwart Brian Cant. The animated and autonomous bodily parts got into frequent amusing scrapes and "would end up laughing for a whole five minutes". It was a parody of a real BBC children's show called The Garden Gang, in which the principal characters were animated fruit and vegetables. See an episode here.
  • Occurs in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Sleepwalk Surprise", where Candace has brief arguments with her own brain. This is unrelated to the time she was fighting her Id.
    Candace's Brain: Nice going, you busted yourself.
    Candace: Quiet, you!
  • The Disney short film Inner Workings (paired with Moana in theaters) depicts the struggle between the pragmatic Brain and the fun-loving Heart of a bored office worker.
  • The Cow and Chicken episode "Tongue Sandwich" had Cow's tongue leave her mouth and end up getting in trouble with the law. By the end of the episode, Chicken's wattle tries to make a break for it, but Chicken steps on him before he can get away.
  • The Bump in the Night episode "Gum Crazy" plays with this, where Mr. Bumpy enters his own body to try and retrieve all the chewing gum he's swallowed and gets into confrontations with his stomach, his heart, and his brain. Mr. Bumpy's brain and stomach both appear as sentient organs, while Mr. Bumpy's heart simply appears as Mr. Bumpy with a mustache and a French accent.
  • Tuca & Bertie: After Dirk hits on her in "The Promotion," Bertie's breast literally leaps off her body and spends the next 24 hours getting drunk.
  • Grojband: Laney's own disgruntled heart has leaped out of her mouth on at least one occasion when Corey's obliviousness to her crush on him ends up disappointing her.
  • Big Mouth has the episode "Girls Get Horny Too" where Jessi has a conversation with her vagina.
  • In one Gumby cartoon, the top part of Gumby's head detaches and proceeds to run amok as Prickle tries to chase after it.
  • The Toonsylvania episode "Phil's Brain" depicted Phil's brain as sentient and named Larry Cortex. Phil has trouble following Igor's instructions to clean up the castle because Larry is feeling depressed and lonely, which is remedied when Igor (or, rather, Igor's reflection in the castle's moat) gets him a Mail-Order Bride brain named Sarah Bellum. In the end, Sarah leaves Larry and runs off with Stu, Phil's pancreas.
  • Cipka is a Polish animated short where a woman's vulva comes to life and detaches itself from her body when she tries to masturbate.
  • The backstory of Evil Con Carne is that the Villain Protagonist Hector Con Carne was reduced to a brain and a stomach in an explosion. While the brain retains his original consciousness, the stomach is fully sentient and capable of communicating on its own.
  • The Patrick Star Show: In "Olly Olly Organ Free", Patrick's organs leave his body and run around freely, even being able to talk, drive vehicles, and dance.
  • Seven Little Monsters: "Nightmare on Chestnut Street" has Two inform his siblings about a nightmare he had where his nose had detached from his face and acted as a separate entity.

    Real Life 
  • Older Than Feudalism: Ancient Greek and Roman doctors commonly believed that the uterus could wander around a woman's body, inciting her to madness. This is where we get the concept of "hysteria" from. In the 19th century doctors were still curing hysteria by inducing "hysterical paroxysm" (basically, women's uteruses just make them sort of crazy and it's better to let all that crazy out in one big spasm). How did they induce this full-body spasm? Why, by massaging the clitoris, of course! (and yes, it was male physicians who arrived at this conclusion) Incidentally this led to the invention of the vibrator.
  • The idea that men think with the wrong head. And by the wrong head, we mean the head of the penis.
  • Bit of Truth in Television: check out the enteric nervous system, complete with neurotransmitters. Takes "thinking with your stomach" to a whole new level, doesn't it?
  • Each of an octopus's eight arms carries its own individual brain, capable of controlling the arm even after it's been severed. During the animal's daily life, the central brain decides what each tentacle ought to accomplish, but the tentacle gets to decide how to go about it, and the easiest way for the octopus to determine where a tentacle is and exactly what it's doing is to look at it.
  • Unlike octopi, starfish don't have a central brain that could give their limbs a general directive. Instead, each arm is sort of a separate entity (complete with sensory organs, nervous system and muscle control) that usually cooperates with the others to keep the starfish as a whole functioning. When one arm smells something edible in the vicinity, it simply overrides the other arms' will and practically forces them all to move their shared mouth and stomach in the prey's direction. Starfish arms are actually so autonomous that some species can regrow an entire new starfish from a single severed arm.
  • Alien hand syndrome is this. Also called "Dr. Strangelove Syndrome" for obvious reasons, mein Führer.
  • Human (and animal) reflexes occur without any conscious thought. The purpose of most reflex actions is to withdraw a part of the body that is being exposed to harm from the harmful situation as quickly as possible. If you had to think about it consciously, it would add a few vital tenths of a second to the reaction time which could result if a lot more damage being done. For example, the reflex that causes to withdraw your hand from extreme heat is triggered at the spinal cord. It's also why the pain of getting burned doesn't hit until a second or so after the burn occurs. The spinal cord will have already withdrawn your hand before the pain stimulus reaches your brain.
  • The heart will continue beating as long as it has a sufficient supply of blood oxygen and nutrients, since its contractions are regulated by a nerve cluster independent of the brain. This means that if the connection to the heart is severed but the lungs are still functional, the heart won't be able to get regulation signals to slow or speed up but won't stop either. It also means that a heart which doesn't have a sufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients, such as a freshly-harvested transplant organ, will diligently keep contracting until it's either hooked up to a recipient's vascular network, is chilled down in ice/water slurry to slow its functions to a crawl, or works itself to death via tissue infarction.
  • The Portuguese man-of-war and its relatives are very strange because they blur the line between a single organism and a colony of multiple organisms. They are made up of zooids, which are neither animals nor organs, but something in between. Different types of zooids work together work together like the different organs of a body, but in several ways they act as though they are separate creatures, such as being able to asexually reproduce to add more zooids to the whole.


Video Example(s):


Organ Free

After Patrick eats a disgusting lunch, his stomach revolts and leaves his body, with the rest of his organs following suit.

How well does it match the trope?

3 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / OrganAutonomy

Media sources: