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Stuffed into a Trashcan

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Damn fifth question gets me all the time, too!

Sharon: Being entrapped in a dustbin is traumatic. You don't know what effect it could have!
Tracey: Oh, you mean that's why you've always hung around with rubbish?

Imagine a typical scene where a kid, not necessarily but often times a nerd or a Geek, meets a Jerk Jock and maybe even his little gang of miscreants in a schoolyard/park/alleyway/etc. The bullies pick on the helpless little guy, maybe even playing Keep Away with something that belongs to him or something, and eventually after beating the poor guy up they stuff him down a garbage can that's conveniently located in the area.

Truth in Television as it is done in real life by actual bullies. In Hollywood, this is sometimes Played for Laughs; when presented seriously, it is often used as an Establishing Character Moment for The Bully and/or his victim, usually leading to Pay Evil unto Evil and Revenge of the Nerd moments.

A related trope would be Stuffed into a Locker, although this happens much more. This trope has nothing to do with Stuffed into the Fridge.

Sister trope of Swirlie. Compare Garbage Hideout, in which a character deliberately hides in a trash can.

By the way, just so things are clear, Oscar the Grouch is not related to this trope at all.


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    Comic Book 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends fanfic More than My Friend this is Played for Drama. Mac gets stuffed into a trash can by Terrance and his drug-affiliated friends after he trashes a large amount of drugs he was supposed to deliver. They proceed to kick the trash can mercilessly. They only stop when Frankie appears and beats them up.
  • Played for Drama and weaponized in Chapter 25 of What is a Person Worth? when bullies after Lincoln Loud stuff Ronnie Anne into a trash cash to take her out of the fight. In a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome moment, she swallows garbage on top of the injuries she got from being stuffed into the can and then it being thrown while she was inside and becomes ill.
  • In The Unexpected Rookie, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe are made to rebuild Luigi's tower of tires after they knocked it over. While doing so, they get into an argument with Luigi and Guido, and end said argument by stuffing Guido into a dumpster. Prime makes sure that the twins are punished for this and personally apologizes to the tire shop owners.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Peter tosses one of the Rocket Racers into a dumpster. He decides to web the lid shut for good measure.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Inverted in the 1982 musical Annie when the title character does this to a bully instead of the other way around.
  • At the beginning of As Good as It Gets, Melvin shoves Verdell the dog down the apartment garbage chute.
  • The Turtles do this to Keno, the pizza guy in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, but it's for his own good.
    • It also happens in the first film, ending the fight between Casey and Raphael after Casey nails Raph with a cricket bat, sending him flying into a trash can.
  • In The Neverending Story (the film), Bastian gets his lunch money stolen and tossed into a dumpster. In the end, he gets his revenge when he terrifies the bullies by pursuing them on a flying luckdragon and they hide in the dumpster themselves.
  • In The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, to prevent Dodger from interfering with the fashion show, the bullies toss him into a dumpster. Only problem with this plan? He could just as easily get out of the dumpster, which he does.
  • In The Spy Next Door, Ian’s bullies throw him in a trash can after giving him a wedgie.
  • In Shorts, this is what the main character has to endure every day: stuffed head first in a trash can. It gets better though, as the girl who does it to him becomes his girlfriend.
  • In Max Keeble's Big Move the title character is thrown by Troy McGinty into a dumpster. Later, all the rest of the students, seeking revenge on McGinty and Dobbs, toss them in the same dumpster.
  • In When Evil Calls, spotty boy Neville gets stuffed into a recycling bin, and a lump of concrete is placed on the lid to stop him getting out. Overnight, rats get into the bin and chew most of his face off.
  • A non-bullying example occurs in Bumblebee when Bee sticks Carlie in a (thankfully empty) garbage dumpster in an attempt to protect her before he fights Shatter and Dropkick. It doesn't really work as she's sent flying by an errant missile that nearly hits the dumpster.
  • Molly (1983): Jones finally gets fed up with Molly and shoves a bag with her in it into a trash can. A worker empties the trash can into the garbage truck. Maxie manages to grab the bag from the truck at the last second.
  • Happens to bumbling French cop Emilien in the first Taxi when he thought it was a good idea to hide in the trunk of a gang of Mercedes-driving bank robbers when they searched for new tires. The Running Gag of the series has him landing in other trash containers after jumping otherwise.

  • This is one of the humiliations suffered by the protagonist of The Eighteenth Emergency by Betsy Byars.
  • The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks: Happens twice to Michael (owner of the titular plant)'s younger brother Norman. In the first book, as Michael is sorting the piles of junk in his side of the room into boxes, Norman tries to jump over said boxes and falls into the one marked "Throw Out or Give Away". In the second book, the family has rented an RV and is going to Florida for their vacation. Norman, who is up and about when they're moving, loses his balance, causing him to fall backwards into a plastic trash can and get stuck, much to Michael's amusement.
  • In The Neverending Story, Bastian mentions that kids once did this to him, when he tried to respond to their insults.
  • In the Illuminatus! prequel, The Historical Illuminatus:The widow's Son, Irish fisherman Seamus Muadhen is tortured this way by British soldiers in Dublin Castle. A large bucket is placed over his head and it is pounded with rifle butts, causing injuries, excruciating pain, and burst eardrums. As Seamus said, the Brits who tortured him have converted a mere fisherman into an Irish Republican who will seek vengeance, so go and eat shit, Englishman. Seamus gets his revenge years later as commanding officer of an Irish Legion in the American War of Independence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played with in an episode of Bella and the Bulldogs called "Pretty in Stink". In the episode, Bella's two friends stuff her into a trash can, however, it wasn't to be mean. It was to keep her out of her crush's sight while she went without showering that whole week as part of a sports ritual.
  • This happens fairly frequently in Glee:
  • It happens in the Peruvian series Esta Sociedad.
  • This occurs to Gibby from iCarly.
  • On Cheers, diminutive Lilith did this to her twice-her-size husband Frasier after he threw away her dead pet rat before she could give it a "proper burial".
  • They did this to Rick on Degrassi.
  • Happened in Lois & Clark. Clark (disguised as a barkeep) ejected Lois from a mob-controlled club, carefully using his x-ray vision to toss her into the dumpster full of spoiled vegetables — and not the dumpster full of harmless paper shreddings. Superdickery, indeed.
  • In the Starsky & Hutch episode "The Crying Child," an abusive mother leaves her eight-year-old son in a trash can in the garden shed after she beats him.
  • Part one of the Malcolm in the Middle episode "Company Picnic" sees Reese paired with a bully just like him for the Scavenger Hunt. They come to blows over making no progress until they see two kids with most of what they need. Said kids are tossed into trashcans nearby while Reese and his accomplice make off with their stuff.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: One story arc has Calvin having to clean his room. Calvin (badly) tries to offload the job to Hobbes by making himself the "organizer" who sits and tells Hobbes to pick up everything he tells him to. Hobbes responds by picking Calvin up and tossing him in the wastebasket.
  • The infamous comic cat, Garfield, has done this at least once to his gray kitten friend, Nermal.
  • A recurring theme in the Australian newspaper comic, Ginger Meggs.
  • Beetle Bailey offers some variants, with Sarge playing the part of the bully to Beetle or Beetle hiding in the trashcan from him:
    • Beetle hides in a trashcan, falls asleep, gets taken in with the trash, and is angry that Sarge won again without even knowing it.
    • Beetle hides in one of three trash cans and, rather than trying to find out which, Sarge shuffles them around like a Shell Game.
    • Sarge has beaten Beetle into a pulp as usual, but after being told he can't just leave him like that conscientiously puts him in a trashcan.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Variation, in garbage wrestling matches, it's common to stuff a trash can over the head of the opponent, as it both blinds them and restricts their arms. Sure, it also protects their upper torso but banging on the can can't be good for the ears.
  • The New Age Outlaws disposed of Mankind in a dumpster after having defeated him in a handicap match.
  • Kane tried to dispose of Shane McMahon in a dumpster, after he had lit its contents on fire, but ended up falling in himself.
  • Masked luchadora Tsunami is infamous for beating her opponents to bloody pulps and then dumping them in trash cans after they are defeated.
  • During the unauthorized ROH A Night Of Hoopla, Eddie Edwards stuffed television champion Matt Taven inside a garbage can.


    Video Games 
  • In the video game, Bully, you get to stuff other people into trashcans if close enough; the beating is optional. This has acted as slight Video Game Cruelty Punishment in that sometimes you want to beat the victim, not stuff him.
    • Oddly, while victims are stuffed in and helpless, Jimmy can dive in voluntarily to hide, with no problems getting out once the heat is down and the prefects finish failing their Spot checks. Lockers work the same in both situations.
      • Well, it's probably because he shoves them in ass-first. If you've ever thought it would be a good idea to sit on something similar to a trashcan with an opening like that, chances are you'll need help getting out.
  • Some Professional Wrestling games reverse the trope if a garbage can is nearby; they may let you stuff the can onto a wrestler, rather than vice versa.
  • In Deltarune, Susie does this to a Rudinn in order to escape her jail cell. Subverted, as the Rudinn really did jump in voluntarily and even wants to invite his friends in.
    Rudinn: Thanks for inviting me! This trash can's really great!
  • In Skullgirls, Beowulf has a special grapple attack where he shoves his opponent into a trash can and kicks them away. The move functions as a snapback.
  • Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots will sometimes use a dumpster as a hiding spot.
  • In the Game Over sequence of the Arcade Game APB, the other cops beat Officer Bob up and dump him into a trashcan. Occasionally, they toss him into the back of a police van instead.
  • In Sleeping Dogs (2012), Wei can toss people into open dumpster bins if they drag them to one.
  • In Undertale, Undyne picks up Alphys with an Effortless Amazonian Lift and tosses her into a trashcan.


    Western Animation 
  • This happened on The Simpsons a couple of times:
    • In 'Bart The General', Bart was stuffed into a trashcan by Nelson and his now missing cronies two or three times and rolled down a hill. (And when it stopped rolling, he coughed up his own hat. Apparently, Nelson made him eat it.)
    • Barney Gumble was once stuffed into a trashcan by boxer Smokin' Joe Frazier. Originally it was supposed to be Joe Frazier who was to be stuffed into a trashcan by Barney. However, it was changed under the advice of Joe Frazier's son. It was also funnier this way.
    • In the parody of 24, Bart jams a trashcan on Nelson's head and pounds on the can to get Nelson to talk.
  • The Hey Arnold! episode "Longest Monday" was about this. It was a yearly tradition for the fifth graders to stuff the fourth graders into trash cans on "Trash Can Day," and Arnold and the other fourth graders worked together to figure out a way to get home safely without being canned. They get through the whole day going through many perils to escape the fifth graders, only to be betrayed at the last second by a false Samaritan and getting canned anyway. After it's over though, they decide it wasn't as bad as they expected, and are considering doing the same once they're in the fifth grade.
  • Recess: Gelman does this to Gus in an episode.
  • Betty and Veronica actually do this to Archie in Archie's Weird Mysteries after Reggie coaxes them on with the idea that Archie was stringing them along.
  • This happens regularly to Templeton in Strange Hill High.
  • Courtney from As Told by Ginger went from being the most popular girl in middle school to a bully victim come high school. One episode involved some older girls flushing both of her cellphones down the toilet, banning her from the girl's bathroom, and stuffing her in a garbage can.
  • The Wrong Trousers: At the end of the film, the Techno Trousers were stuffed in a trashcan outside Wallace and Gromit's house. Funnily enough, they just happen to walk off by themselves into the sunset.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In the Rocko's Modern Life episode “Turkey Time”, Rocko and Heffer were stuffed into trash cans by an angry mob after serving a vegetarian turkey to the O-Town citizens.

    Real Life 
  • Frequently happened in Ukraine after the Euromaidan to officials and politicians who were deemed corrupt and/or treacherous by local Powder Keg Crowds. This practice was dubbed "people's lustration" or "trash lustration".


Video Example(s):



When Nino is introduced, the flashback shows him having been bullied this way in school.

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