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Rip Van Tinkle

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Fry: Hey, I was frozen! I know what people want to hear when they wake up.
[walks up to a newly unfrozen Human Popsicle]
Fry: Bathroom's that way. [guy gives a grateful look and runs off]

One of the first actions most people undertake upon awakening is to relieve themselves, largely because the kidneys are still hard at work even during sleep. Despite the fact that you can't exactly hydrate in your sleep, you're still going to end up with something to get rid of. If your bladder is full after a night's sleep, just think how much worse it would be after being Asleep for Days, or at least decades. Writers will sometimes milk this for comic potential by having a character be awoken from, say, a magical sleep lasting a hundred years, or even being dead, be in desperate need of a bathroom. But don't worry; this trope rarely ever ends in a Potty Failure.

It doesn't have to be that; suppose you weren't asleep at all, but just incapacitated/trapped somehow. Conscious or semi-conscious, the results still feel the same to you.

A much more mundane version of this trope would be simply Potty Emergency.


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    Abridged Series 
  • Related but squicky example in Dragon Ball Abridged. After spending a month on a spaceship with Bulma walking around in her underwear the entire time, Krillin has had no opportunity to... relieve himself, especially because the toilet keeps screaming at him. Once they finally land on Namek, Krillin excuses himself and heads into a nearby cave to "take care of business", then leaves with Gohan. Then Bulma goes into the same cave to set up camp and... "OH GOD, IT'S EVERYWHERE!"

    Anime and Manga 
  • A slight variant in Miyazaki Maya's Minimum; when Haru, the mini data girl was introduced to the real world, one of the first things that she did was empty her full bladder.

    Comic Books 
  • When Deadpool is cocooned in Duct Tape for a few days by other Marvel Heroes to keep him out of the picture, he quickly comments that he needs to pee. Upon being freed he goes to the bathroom for about 9 panels.
  • Ironwood begins with Dave being rescued after spending three days hanging upside down in a snare with a boulder tied around his neck. His first act on being rescued is to dart into the bushes to empty his bladder.

    Fan Works 
  • This happens to Link in this fancomic of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Rauru stands before him after he wakes up from his 7-year-long sleep and tries to explain his mission to him... only to begrudgingly cut himself off and point Link to the bathroom after noticing the boy's extremely strained face.
  • This happens to Eclipsa in this parody of Star vs. the Forces of Evil. After she breaks out of her crystal prison, she lunges forward, seemingly at Queen Moon. Moon throws up her arms to defend herself... only for Eclipsa to leap past her. Moon is surprised at first, before becoming annoyed upon realising Eclipsa was aiming for the public toilet next to her.

    Film - Animated 
  • Over the Hedge: After waking up from hibernation, the first thing Hammy the Squirrel does is go wee-wee.

    Film - Live Action 

  • In Good Omens, Crowley says that he slept through the entire nineteenth century and only woke up to use the bathroom.
  • At one point in Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 series, a severely sleep-deprived pilot is forcibly sidelined by the airbase Chief Medical Officer, who cons him into taking a sleeping pill. When he wakes up (48 hours later) he feels a hell of a lot better overall but really desperate for a piss.
  • In Early Riser, an Alternate History where humans hibernate for the winter, the protagonist Charlie accidentally falls asleep for four weeks. By the time they're woken up, they immediately have to run for the bathroom, and it feels like it's "burning a new way out".

    Live Action TV 
  • NCIS: In "Boxed In", Tony and Ziva get locked in a dockyard shipping container for most of a day. When they're set free, Ziva's first action is to head directly for the ladies' room, an intention she explains in tones that promise mayhem for anyone who gets in her way.
  • In Sleepy Hollow, Lieutenant Abbie Mills asks if Ichabod ever needed to get up to pee during his ~250 year sleep. Apparently he did not.
  • In one segment of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Ryan Stiles has to play a defrosting Neanderthal. The first thing he does after regaining full control of his body is to turn away from the camera, widen his stance, and make relieved-sounding groans... we know what he's doing. (Well, what he's pantomiming.)

    Web Comics 
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: Upon awakening from a 300 year sleep, this is Lari the Ninja's first thought. When his siblings wonder if the strange modern world is the afterlife, he disagrees because "I don't think the dead pee."
  • Schlock Mercenary: After Kevyn's body is reconstructed from the neck down over the course of several days he mentions that he needs to pee like a racehorse.
  • During an arc of The Whiteboard where Doc is unconscious for days Sandy wonders out loud why he's at the hospital when the shop has an ICU now. Swampy asks if she's willing to change his bedpan and she gets the point.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad! had a variation: This trope isn't mentioned or implied when a "statue" of a Mr. Alt Disney turns out to be the actual man, frozen. But when he refreezes himself at the end, he realizes at the last second that he forgot to go to the bathroom. The new "statue" is holding its crotch in agony, implying that this trope will come into play if he is ever unfrozen again.
  • Happens in Avatar: The Last Airbender in the second half of the season one two-parter "Winter Solstice", after Aang rescues Sokka from the Spirit World.
    Katara: You were trapped in the Spirit World for twenty-four hours! ... How do you feel?
    Sokka: Like I seriously have to use the bathroom! (runs off)
  • The Bunsen Is a Beast episode "Fright at the Museum" involves Bunsen's uncle waking up after he is discovered to be an exhibit at the Muckledunk museum. Shortly after his awakening, he rushes to the bathroom due to holding it in for ten years.
  • Dave the Barbarian: In "Pipe Down", when Dave plays the gargle pipes loudly enough to wake the God of Evil Quozmir, Quozmir temporarily pauses in the middle of his declaration of destruction to say he needs to use the restroom because he's been holding it in for thousands of years ("Since 8,000 B.C!").
  • Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist: When the series Big Bad Syrrus awakens from a centuries long hibernation, he ponders what his first act should be. After a few seconds thought, he decides it should be to find a bathroom.
  • Happens in Futurama, after Fry, Leela and Bender are fired from Planet Express and Fry goes to work at Applied Cryogenics (where he was frozen and where Leela worked in the pilot). See the quote at the top of the page.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: The episode "The Demon Behind" ends with Finn rushing to a restroom now that he's free. He wasn't unconscious, but he did have a sentient Japanese mask fused to his rear end that was controlling his body the whole episode.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: In "Timetagger", Ladybug and Cat Noir free Bunnyx from a statue in which she has been sealed since ancient Egypt. She starts to explain what is going on, realizes there is something she needs to do, and the next cut has her continuing her explanation from inside the ladies' room.
  • Numb Chucks: In "Fan Boy", Dr. Sinister is freed after being frozen in wax as part of Buddy's collection. He advances menacingly on Buddy, vowing that he is about to do what he has been dreaming of doing for the last three weeks: which turns out to be finding a washroom.
  • Tutenstein: Tut's first act after being brought back from the dead is to run to the bathroom.
    Luxor: Well, 3,000 years certainly is a long time, Cleo.
  • We Bare Bears: At the end of the short "Frozen Ice", Ice Bear excuses himself after the ice cube he was stuck in all day finally melts.
    Ice Bear: Ice Bear had weird dream. Have to pee.

    Real Life 
  • Sometimes people experience this when they wake up after major surgery. If they're expected to be incapacitated for a while, they'll usually be hooked up to a catheter.


Over the Hedge

Hammy wakes up from hibernation.

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