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People Fall Off Chairs

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A character has just encountered something so surprising, shocking, or hilarious that he falls off the chair on which he was sitting. Occasionally, the entire chair may tip over with him. The character may have just been told not to lean back in his chair.

May be a consequence of Swivel-Chair Antics. Compare Face Fault, Breaking Bad News Gently (when it involves saying "You better sit down"), and Dramatic Drop, though in this case the thing being dropped is yourself. Sub-trope of The Take. Sister Trope of Spit Take, Forgot to Mind Their Head, and Dramatic Sit-Down. It's named after the non-trope People Sit on Chairs.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Death Note:
    • In the first episode, Light screams and falls out of his chair when he sees Ryuk for the first time. To be fair, the reveal was accompanied by a flash of lightning and thunder.
    • When L finds out that Shinigami might exist, he's so shocked he falls out of his chair.
    • A far less funny version happens later when Light kills L with the Death Note and he keels over mid-sentence.
  • Hanayamata: Thinking about Genki Girl Hana's incessant invitations to do such impossibly bold thing as dance together, the shy schoolgirl Naru is sitting at the library table. Next moment she realises that Hana is squatting down under the same table, patiently watching her. The chair doesn't take kindly to frantic try to pull back. Rule of comedy, nobody gets seriously hurt after the flip.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Josuke has this reaction when Koichi tells him and Okuyasu that he got back together with his yandere girlfriend Yukako. Except instead of a chair, it was a windowsill. Two stories up. Thankfully, his Stand catches him.
  • Manabi Straight!: In a montage of do-it-yourself remodeling of Student Council room, Manabi tests a freshly glued-together chair by vigorously reclining in its plastic seat-and-back-piece. She flips back with it to the laugh of onlooker, the glue apparently wasn't given enough time to harden.
  • My Hero Academia: When All Might tries to hype Izuku up for the upcoming U.A. tournament, as it's a chance to make Izuku better known and get pros to notice him, the ever so meek and unsure boy's weak reply leaves All Might tumbling out of his sofa, taking the sofa with him.

    Comic Books 
  • In the prologue of Killer Condom, the student's mother falls off her chair from shock after hearing what her darling daughter did to her professor (supposedly bite off his bits). Then goes the father. Played with in the general direction of Justified Trope, as both fainted, which in itself is quite an exaggeration of reaction, even if you were from Philadelphia.

    Comic Strips 
  • In a Peanuts Sunday Strip from 1986, Charlie Brown tells Lucy at her psychiatric booth that he's afraid of falling off chairs. While she tries to convince him that it's an irrational fear, he falls off her stool twice.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happens at the end of the early Stephen Chow movie All for the Winner, where Stephen is blessed with psychic powers that he abuses on the gambling table. It's the big final fight, his Heroic BSoD is gone and he takes the one card that he needs to change to get four of a kind, forces all his powers into it... and it remains the same. Cue the Face Fault off his chair. Turns out that what really changed was one of his opponent's cards, breaking his straight flush.
  • In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Captain Kirk's most famous line is delivered from the floor in front of his captain's chair. Kirk missing the chair was entirely accidental. But director Leonard Nimoy thought it suited the scene (since Kirk had just learned of the death of his son) and left it in.
  • Inverted in Inception — pushing someone off a chair is used to trigger a huge shock (causing a sleeping person to wake up), rather than a huge shock causing someone to fall off a chair.
  • In Wayne's World, each time Garth sees his dream woman in Stan Mikita's.
  • In the official Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney film, both Phoenix and Edgeworth each manage to cause the entire courtroom, including the witnesses, the gallery, the Judge, and Von Karma, to Face Fault off their chairs due to how incredibly, blithely dense their statements sound.
  • Sun Valley Serenade: Grumpily refusing Karen's advances and help, Ted fusses to nestle on a chair and leg rest for night's sleep by himself. First, his legs slip down to the floor, next attempt he drops forward off the chair. When a third try ends with him tumbling backwards with the chair, the two break into laugh together.
  • In Batman (1989), a news anchor does this as she dies laughing from the effects of The Joker's "Smilex" chemical found in her makeup.
  • In the 1993 version of Much Ado About Nothing, Benedict does this after overhearing Leonato and Don Pedro talk about how Beatrice is in love with him.
  • Nothing but Trouble: When Chris learns that Judge Valkenheiser has survived the giant earthquake through a news report at the end, he literally falls off his couch.
  • Blazing Saddles: When the newly-minted Sheriff Bart is riding down the street into Rock Ridge, one man is sitting in chair leaned against the wall of a building, gapes at Bart in surprise, and the chair slips out from under him.
  • During the initial rash of pranks in April Fools' Day, Arch is caught twice by a booby-trapped chair that collapses under him when he leans back.

  • Chalet School: In The Chalet School and Jo, Joey (in her much-hated position of Head Girl) has to take prep, in which the troublesome Middles get into one spot of bother after another, including "chair tilting", with the predictable result of falling over.
  • Downplayed in The Famous Five book Five on a Hike Together, in that the chair falls, but not the person in it. Dick and Anne walk in on an old woman sitting in her home, who is completely deaf. She does not see them until Dick has walked right up to her; and then she leaps up in such a fright, that her chair falls over with a bang.
  • Mr. Men: While eating his supper, Mr. Clumsy leans back on his chair, and falls. Whoops!
  • Struwwelpeter has "The Story of Fidgety Philip", who swings on his chair at dinner time; and when his chair falls over, he catches at the table cloth, pulling the cloth and the entire contents of the table with him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Ted makes Stella laugh so hard she does fall off of her chair.
    • The following season, this happens to Jed Mosley as a cheap pratfall in the movie The Wedding Bride. Marshall comments on the weakness of the humor, proceeds to mock it by leaning back in his own chair, then falls for real and admits that it was Actually Pretty Funny.
  • In Arrested Development, Michael is leaning back in his desk chair, proud to be running the Bluth Company finally. He tips back too far and the chair falls apart under him, being cheaply made specifically for model homes. Later in the episode, he is describing the situation to his family and tips back in the kitchen bar-height chair... but it, too, collapses under him (which Michael lampshades on his way down).
  • In Lessons for a Perfect Detective Story Tenkaichi sneaks his way into the back of a meeting within a police station while they discuss a murder. He sets up a dramatic moment, as he has something say and grabs everybody's attention, but only asks where the toilet is and all of the policemen fall off their chairs in response.
  • In the ER episode "Motherhood", as Dr. Lewis rushes in with her laboring sister, screaming for assistance, perpetual Butt-Monkey Carter does this.
  • Sesame Street's "Little Miss Muffet: The Continuing Story" segment has a scene where Miss Muffet is eating spaghetti in a restaurant at the mall, and among seeing the spider that keeps following her around, she's so terrified she falls back in her chair (and her scream raises in pitch to reflect that.)
  • Bruno, the most hyper judge on Strictly Come Dancing has fallen out of his chair so often it has become a Running Gag. It's got to the point where he and Craig have both lampshaded it several times. When Craig impersonated Bruno in his absence, he deliberately fell out of his chair.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Vince McMahon once did this as he was being enticed by Stacy Keibler during her job interview segment. It has since become a popular reaction GIF on the internet.

  • It is a theatrical tradition that Hamlet is so shocked at the appearance of his father's ghost in his mother's bedchamber that he leaps from his chair, knocking it over.

  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Grace falls off her chair upon meeting the Alternate Universe versions of Tedd and Elliot, who are dating.
    • Played With with Noah here - he falls without a chair.
      Greg: Are you okay?
      Child Left Behind: I'm fine! I tripped!
      Shade Tail: But you were sitting.
    • Noah later does it on hearing that Grace is visiting Raven.
      Raven: Your classmate Grace is going to be here, and it's best she doesn't—- *THWUMP*
      Raven: What happened?
      Noah: Nothing! I tripped!
      Raven: ...How?

    Web Original 
  • In an Achievement Hunter Let's Play of 3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures 2, Geoff Ramsey, the worst player of the game in the office, makes an incredible putt that nets him an eagle. He falls backwards on his chair in excitement and temporarily goes deaf in his left ear. Since the scene from the AH office was recorded on camera, the viewers got to see the scene as it happened and an instant replay of it.
  • A Running Gag for Daniel Howell, as he has done this many times in both livestreams and Let's Plays due to being startled, jumpscared, or plain old clumsy.
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "pizza joint", Strong Bad gets an email from a "typical college girl" named Daphne who hopes Strong Badia has a pizza joint she and her "girls" could come visit. Strong Bad is so excited at the prospect of meeting hot college girls he falls off his stool.
  • Pissed Off Angry Gamer: He falls off of his chair at the end of his Contra 4 review.

    Web Video 
  • Critical Role: Campaign One: During the battle against the green dragon Raishan, Keyleth successfully lands a crippling Feeblemind spell, causing her player Marisha Ray to get so excited that she falls off her seat, with her feet briefly sticking into frame.

    Western Animation 
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: In "The Big Clam-Up", when Gaia comes to fetch Ma-Ti for a new mission, he's so lost in his book that she has to wave a hand in front of him to get his attention. He yelps and falls off his chair.
  • In the episode "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace" from The Simpsons, when Homer is trying to think of an invention and Bart makes fun of Homer's lack of progress, Homer tips his chair far too back and he falls down. Later, as Homer laments that his inventing career was not working out after all, he once again leans back too far on his chair... but this time, he doesn't fall. He explains that he added hinged extra legs so he'll stop tipping over while trying to invent stuff. The family commends him for his idea, and Homer is satisfied... until he looks closely at his poster of Thomas Edison and sees hinged legs on Edison's own chair. Realising that his own inspiration had a secret invention, Homer decides to go to the Edison Museum and smash the chair, taking all credit for himself. In the end, Homer couldn't do it because Edison was inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci, just as Homer was inspired by Edison.
  • Steven Universe: Peridot does this in "Log Date 7 15 2", when Garnet asks her to fuse with her. "Oh My Stars...!", indeed.
  • Kim Possible: In "Emotion Sickness", Kim (under the influence of a "Moodulator" device) kisses Ron just as Wade calls. The sight causes Wade to do a Spit Take and fall out of his chair.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In "Joker's Millions", the Joker falls out of his chair and screams when an IRS agent presents him with the inheritance tax bill for the money he inherited.