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Smack on the Back

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Frozone: Just like old times— oof!
Mr. Incredible: [slaps Frozone on the back] Just like old times.
Frozone: Yeah. Hurt then, too. [groans]

A character wants to congratulate another, and slaps him on the back. However, due to his size, powers, or occasionally the recipient's injuries, he uses a little too much force, causing the recipient to wince, fall down, send them flying across the room, etc.

While it's most commonly a slap on the back, it can be applied to any friendly gesture done with too much force.

A variant is when the slap wouldn't be all that painful if the recipient didn't have a sunburned back or other injury.

If the slapper is not so friendly, be wary of a possible "Kick Me" Prank.

Related to Does Not Know His Own Strength, although superhuman strength is not required. A staple of the Boisterous Bruiser and The Big Guy. See also Crushing Handshake and Bear Hug.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z:
  • Occurs twice in the Anime series Girls und Panzer: the first instance occurs when Absurdly Powerful Student Council president Kadotani Anzu smacks reluctant Nishizumi Miho for joining the Ooarai tankery team. Though ostensibly done as a "welcome aboard" gesture, it also carries the subtext of "we can hurt you if you cross us." The second instance occurs when Takabe Saori smacks her teammates Miho and Yukari with too much enthusiasm while the Anglerfish team visits Reizei Mako's grandmother in the hospital room. Saori is the excitable type.
  • In One Piece Luffy gives Nami too many friendly smacks on the back in Zou when she's being praised, causing Nami to yell that he's hurting her and beat him up.
  • Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea. May says that she can't believe that Meredith is Elizabeth's mother: from their appearance, she thought that they were sisters. Meredith is so pleased by the compliment that she slaps May on the back, knocking her to the ground.
  • Asa from SHUFFLE! always greets Rin every morning at school with an absurdly powerful slap on the back. He's her best friend, and has been ever since they were kids. He often knows it's going to happen every day, but sometimes sees it coming.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Bandit Keith slaps Bones on the back before sending him off to duel Joey, knocking him across the room in the process. In the English dub, though, Keith does this intentionally as a way of warning Bones of the consequences of losing.

    Comic Books 
  • Mortadelo y Filemón once met a character (a circus strongman) whose friendly slaps on the back were strong enough to send the recipient flying from Spain to the Arctic, India or Egypt. After this happened several times, Mortadelo got fed up with it and created a spring-loaded device that had enough force to return the favor manifold, sending the guy to the rings of Saturn!
  • In The Punisher Presents Barracuda: 'Cuda himself doesn't know his own strength sometimes when he delivers these. After spending the entire series working to keep Oswald "Hemo" Angelone alive, all it takes is one of these to cause Oswald to cough up blood and die within seconds.
  • One issue of She-Hulk has Mallory Book try and prevent Hercules from getting sued after beating the Constrictor so badly that the guy needed extensive reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation. At one point, she manages to convince the Constrictor to settle for Herc paying his medical bills. Herc is so pleased that he gives Constrictor a good-natured smack on the back. The next panel shows them all back in court, with Constrictor now even more bandaged than he already was.
  • At the end of a crossover event between the Teen Titans and the Justice League of America, Aquaman gives his former teen sidekick Tempest several affectionate smacks on the back, much to the latter's increasing annoyance.
  • In Tintin: The Crab with the Golden Claws, Tintin meets the Thompsons in a bar. Just while he's drinking each of one of them hits him on the back in a friendly gesture: "How good to see you again!", causing Tintin to spill his drink. He later does the same to them, causing them both to spill their drinks at the same time.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Garfield, Jon and Garfield spend some time on the beach, but Jon is left wondering if he's been sunburned. To find out, Garfield slaps him on the back. Yes, he does.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Phoebus winces from Quasimodo slapping him on the back, no doubt aggravated by his recent arrow injury.
  • The Incredibles: Mr. Incredible's back-slaps are painful. At one point he slaps Frozone on the back and Frozone comments on how much it hurts.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Guys and Dolls. After his fellow gangsters sing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" to Nathan Detroit, Big Julie slaps Nathan on the back so hard that he staggers forward.
  • Happens in Sky High when Will has just gotten his powers and his super-strong dad hugs him.
    Will: OOOWW!
    Dad: Sorry!
    Will: [grins and hugs him back]
    Dad: OW! You are strong!
  • After the climax of Spider-Man: No Way Home, MCU Peter gives a parting hug to the two other Peters as they're about to leave, which they gladly reciprocate, except Raimi-verse Peter, who has been stabbed, admits shortly afterward that his wound hurts a lot.

  • Brotherband: In The Invaders, Thorn slaps one of the Herons encouragingly on the back during training. Given Thorn's strength, the young man finds it hard to keep his feet.
  • At one point in The Elenium, Sparhawk delivers several "friendly" slaps to Martel's shoulder ... knowing that the shoulder in question is sensitive due to an old injury.
  • Harry Potter: Hagrid has knocked Hermione to her knees, and buried Harry up to his shins in soft dirt. He doesn't intend to cause pain, much less injury, but Does Not Know His Own Strength.
  • The eponymous protagonist of the Israeli popular book series Jinji complains about a friend he runs into who has the nasty habit of doing that, to the point he accidentally knocks him over at the end of their interaction.
  • Inverted in The Lord of the Rings. After giving Frodo the mithril chainmail, Bilbo gives him one of these and immediately goes "Ow! You are too hard to slap now."
  • In Protector, human-Protector Jack Brennan gives Elroy Truesdale a friendly backslap, which Larry Niven describes as "like being hit with a sack of walnuts".
  • In Tacky the Penguin, Tacky greets people with "a hearty slap on the back." He nearly knocks over one of his friends and one of the hunters this way.
  • Temeraire: Despite his size, Temeraire is not immune to these. A head-rub from Maximus makes him stagger.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: In the episode "GROPOS", Lt. Keffer gets stuck with a couple of marines in his quarters. Though initially standoffish, he endears himself to them, particularly Cigar Chomper Pvt. Large, who sticks a cigar in his mouth and sits him down to listen to war stories, which he punctuates with a slap on Keffer's back that knocks the cigar right out of his mouth.
  • In Family Matters, Steve is spending a few days over at the Winslows' while at the same time, Carl agreed to look after his friend's pet goldfish. The fish ends up getting sucked up in the vacuum cleaner (long story), and Steve is desperately trying to suck it out of the hose. He succeeds, but at that moment, Carl comes in and unknowingly slaps him across the back, causing him to swallow it.
  • Fawlty Towers: In "Basil the Rat", Basil claps Manuel on the back to try and cheer him up. Manuel, who is used to being hit and slapped around on a regular basis, screams "Don't hit me! Always you hit me!"
  • In Game of Thrones, there's a scene in the fourth season where the very deadpan and Straight Edge Evil Tywin Lannister is talking to his daughter, Cersei, and recalls with distaste being clapped on the back by Cersei's late and unlamented husband (whose murder she arranged), the Boisterous Bruiser King Robert Baratheon.
  • Gilligan's Island. A Method actor appears on the island preparing for his upcoming film role as Tongo the Ape-Man. The island regulars think he really is an ape-man. Ginger tries to teach him to speak à la "Me Tarzan You Jane."
    Actor: Tongo. [hits self in chest] Ginger. [gives Ginger a wallop on the shoulder, knocking her off her chair]
  • One of Marshall's brothers does this to Lily and sends her halfway across the room in a season 1 episode of How I Met Your Mother. The Eriksen family and their spouses are all tall, strong, and athletic so they are used to treating each other this way, while Lily is much shorter and slighter of build.
  • In an I Love Lucy episode, Ethel slaps Lucy on the back, forgetting that she has a horrible sunburn.
  • At the end of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Day of the Dove", when the characters are laughing together to drive out the alien, Kang slaps Captain Kirk on the back so hard that he's staggered.

    Music Videos 
  • At the beginning of the video for "Get Freaky" by Music Instructor feat. the Lunatics and Abe, Dean slaps the latter on the back, causing Abe to fall off the stage, lose consciousness and have a vision.

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide. In the Non-Player Characters section there's a drawing of a scene in a bar. One man is laughing and slapping another man on the back so hard that the second man's drink spills.


    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Katawa Shoujo: In one route, Kenji greets Hisao by slapping him on the back. Hisao gets extremely angry about this, telling Kenji in no uncertain terms to never, ever do that again. The reason being that Hisao has a weak heart, and that good-natured slap very nearly caused a heart attack. (Kenji, for his part, had no idea and is very apologetic.)

  • In Girl Genius, Doctor Rakethorn tanks two explosions with his back while protecting Agatha from them. He then assures her that he is all right, but when Oggie congratulatory pats him on the shoulder, Rakethorn winces in pain.

    Web Videos 
  • In Noob, the two friendliest warrior-class players, Golgotha and Abraham, have displayed this. Golgotha's childhood friend Gaea has complained about almost being killed by Golgotha's greetings at least once.

    Western Animation 
  • The Betty Boop cartoon "Judge for a Day" has Betty launching a crusade against "public pests" who carelessly burden people with their antics, this being one of them.
  • In the DuckTales episode "Top Duck", Ripcord (Launchpad's father) slaps Scrooge playfully on the back. Given that Ripcord is a Top-Heavy Guy, it nearly knocks Scrooge over.
  • In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Trial by Fire", Ben slaps Reed on the back when he tells him that, "You've got the harder job... keeping Suzy from tying you in knots." Reed winces.
  • House of Mouse: In "The Mouse Who Came to Dinner", Mortimer Mouse is the subject of a roast, and one joke leads to Gaston giving him a smack at his expense. He then receives one from Willie the Giant that sends him flying.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Applebuck Season", after reassuring Big Macintosh that she can handle the harvest all by herself, Applejack gives a friendly nudge to her brother, completely forgetting that he has injured his back. Big Mac winces and glares, and AJ says "Sorry."
    • At the end of the episode "Slice of Life", Twilight Sparkle gathers her friends in a Group Hug. This, however, makes Rainbow Dash yelp in pain from a bite wound she received from the Monster of the Week.
    • In episode "Molt Down", Smolder smacks Spike on the back while congratulating him for growing up. However, said growing-up involve a rash of "stone scales", and the smack ends up painful for Spike.
    • In "A Trivial Pursuit", Bulk Biceps "high-hoofs" Fluttershy when they score a point, but does so with such force it sends Fluttershy sprawling on the floor.

    Real Life 
  • Oftentimes, when someone is knighted, the superior giving the knighting punches him or strikes some other kind of blow, the last such blow that the new knight is expected to take without some form of retribution. A variant of this may happen during the accolade, when the person is hit with the flat of the sword almost hard enough to be winded or knocked over.


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