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There Will Be Toilet Paper

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Men seem to cut themselves a lot while shaving on screen, possibly more often than happens in real life.

If they cut themselves shaving, it's either the set-up for a gag, or to contribute in some way to Character Development. And if there is blood, There Will Be Toilet Paper - typically applied to the cuts in tiny ripped squares. Sometimes the shaving scene is cut and we skip directly to a shot of the man with bits of toilet paper stuck to his face with dried blood. Expect the Deadpan Snarker to snidely comment on the character's poor shaving job.

If the cut is for comedy, he will usually forget about the toilet paper and go through at least some part of his daily routine with toilet paper stuck on his face. If it's for Character Development, he'll be more likely to remove it.

For added humor, include after-shave in the equation, for screams of pain as the alcohol hits the open cut.

See also Cut Himself Shaving (when he didn't really) and Dangerously Close Shave (when the wound will need a lot more than toilet paper). Not to be confused with a Toilet Paper Trail or Toilet Paper Prank.

Subtrope to Improvised Bandage.


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  • An ad for a brand of toilet paper shows a dad teaching his teenage daughter how to shave her legs by demonstrating it on his own leg, including how to use toilet paper bits on any cuts.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Airplane II: The Sequel. A man tries to shave himself in the lunar shuttle's bathroom and cuts himself horribly. The shuttle is in the process of crash-landing on the moon at the time. True to the trope, he subsequently tries to apply aftershave, screams and collapses. When last seen he is covered with toilet paper bandages.
  • Jumanji. Robin Williams' character Alan, who had been trapped in the game for over 20 years, starting as a child, shaves for the first time ever and comes out of the bathroom with pieces of bloody toilet paper stuck to his face.
    Judy: What happened to you? Shave with a piece of glass?
    Alan: What happened to you? Clampetts have a yard sale?
  • Distaff Counterpart version: A female character in the Body Horror extravaganza Cabin Fever shaving her legs while unknowingly exposed to the flesh-eating bacteria. Hilarity most certainly does not ensue.
  • The end of the film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. Used for plot development, even.
  • In the 2000 film adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, it's revealed as part of the Grinch's Dark and Troubled Past that he hates Christmas because most of the other children at the school gift exchange — and even the teacher — laughed at his less-than-stellar attempts at shaving, which he did to try to impress Martha May. He was always something of an outcast, mind, but this was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.
  • In Home Alone, Kevin tries to shave at one point. That is to say, he slathers on shaving cream, scrapes it off with a razor, then applies aftershave. Judging from his immediate scream (and iconic hands-pressed-to-face pose), he didn't do a perfect job. On the other hand, it could just be the feel of the aftershave on his newly-shaven skin that hurts.
  • In The Devil and Max Devlin, Max Devlin cuts himself shaving because he can't see his reflection after he came back from the dead in order to get three souls for the Devil, so he ends up having toilet paper bandages. One of the people he has to get a soul from gives him an electric razor.
  • Played with in Valkyrie, in which Stauffenberg intentionally cuts himself shaving, in order that when he arrives at the Wolf's Lair he has an excuse to change his clothes and prepare the bomb.
  • In "Crocodile" Dundee, after Mick takes Sue into the Outback, there's a scene of him shaving with a disposable plastic razor in the morning. Once he sees that Sue's awake, he immediately hides the razor and pulls out his enormous Bowie knife and acts like he's been shaving with it the whole time. He promptly nicks himself with it.
  • In In Order of Disappearance, Nils cuts himself shaving and goes through the rest of his preparation for his award dinner with toilet paper stuck to his face, showing his general lack of familiarity with anything formal.
  • In Firestorm (1998), Davis is shaving and cuts himself and sticks a piece of toilet paper on it. This is the last thing he does before Shaye sticks him with a Sinister Shiv.

  • The title character of the Adrian Mole book series shows his haplessness by constantly having one or more squares of tissue paper stuck to his face.
    A taxi driver said, "good job you ain't going on telly wiv your face". He must have been referring to the green toilet paper sticking to my shaving cuts.
  • Discworld:
    • Sam Vimes in the novel Jingo is distracted and in a hurry, so cuts himself shaving. This is referenced later in the book where he's neglected to remove the tissue from his chin at the benefit, and a foreign diplomat asks if he had been injured while subduing a criminal.
    • Happens at the end of The Fifth Elephant. After being in charge for a while, Fred Colon's sanity slips pretty far until Carrot comes back and begins issuing orders. He tells a relieved Colon to shave, who does so with such enthusiasm and vigor that he comes back with a few nicks on his face.
  • Conspicuously averted in the Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, where Rawne is shown shaving with his sharp, sharp combat knife without a nick, reflecting his deadly skill.
  • Mark Darcy appears like this at one point in the second Bridget Jones book.
  • Mark Studdock in That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis cuts himself badly shaving and has to go to an important interview with a big glob of cotton wool stuck to his upper lip.
  • Becomes a minor plot point in The Valley of Fear, where the butler had seen the dead man cut himself shaving to explain the presence of a small plaster on the corpse. The corpse is in fact the would-be murderer, and the would-be victim chides Holmes for not looking under the plaster and seeing no cut, which would have been a dead giveaway.
  • The Someday Birds: When the kids visit their dad in the hospital, he has a shaving nick on his chin stanched with toilet paper.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All Commercials... A Steve Martin Special has a gag ad for vaguely flesh-colored TP for these purposes. African-American men can buy a solid black roll.
  • Happens to Adama a lot in Battlestar Galactica (2003).
  • One CSI episode ends with a man cutting himself while shaving, which is funny but if one would remember that killer has been using anti-coagulant before, and they didn't catch her in the end. He bleeds, saying that it looks bad. Makes it a sinister example.
  • On CSI: NY, at the beginning of "Indelible," the series' 10th anniversary tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mac gets shaving cream on his ear, which triggers his flashback of Claire's last morning. He had done the same that day, and cut himself shaving, prompting him to ask her for a Q-tip to stop the bleeding. When she opens the canister for one, she finds opera tickets he'd gotten as a surprise for her. He kept them for 10 years, finally letting go of them after the anniversary program he was part of that day.
  • In the opening credits for Dexter, Dexter cuts himself shaving. But they use some really clever camera work to make it look like something much more sinister and disturbing until they pull the shot back. Keep in mind they do that for his entire morning routine.
  • In one later episode of Family Matters, Steve comes out of the bathroom with his face covered in bits of toilet paper. Eddie asks what happened to him, and Steve replies, "Oh, I was shaving, and I got the hiccups!"
  • Happens to Casey when he attempts to shave while hungover in the Frontier Circus episode "Patriarch of Purgatory."
  • In the Get Some In! episode "Kit," Corporal Marsh finds a straight razor in Teddy boy Jakey Smith's coat during the National Service recruits' morning ablutions and threatens to put him on a charge for having an unauthorised weapon. Jakey claims that he was going to use the razor to shave (which, as he has just put a blade in a safety razor, is clearly false); Marsh calls his bluff and makes him shave with it. In the next scene, Jakey's face is covered with squares of toilet paper.
  • You don't see him actually shaving, but in Lois & Clark, when Clark temporarily loses his powers, he comes into work covered in little squares of toilet paper. This is, of course, to be expected, since he usually shaves by blasting himself with lasers in the mirror, and is also unaccustomed to flesh that well, you know, can be cut.
  • A rare example with a female character came in "Last Whiff of Summer," the fourth-season premiere of The Middle. In her attempt to gain more parental attention by going bad, Sue decides to shave her legs with her father's razor. Cut to her sitting next to her father watching TV with bits of bloody toilet paper on her legs.
  • When MythBusters took on "pyramid power," Tory agreed to shave for a month with a razor blade stored inside a pyramid for so-called sharpening. At the end of the month, he came out with bits of bloody paper all over his face.
  • Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth has a habit of plucking Richard's arm when he is shaving, causing him to cut himself.
    Richard: One of these days, you're going to find me lying in a pool of blood.
  • New Tricks: In "The Sins of the Father," Gerry is shown cutting himself wile shaving multiple times. This shows how much the current case (which he has a personal stake in) is getting to him.
  • Parodied in Phil of the Future. Lloyd Diffy was having trouble figuring out 21st-century razors and ended up with bits of toilet paper stuck to cuts all over his face, including his forehead.
  • Happens to Lister in the Red Dwarf episode "Future Echoes"...but he sees it in the mirror before it actually happens.
  • A Deleted Scene from the West Wing episode "Posse Comitatus" (which is about the president deciding to order the assassination of a foreign statesman who sponsors terrorists) shows the original, more Anvilicious teaser, in which Bartlet — humming the "and victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace" song used later in the episode — cuts himself shaving and dabs the blood off with a White House towel. The camera lingers on the image of blood smeared next to the Seal of the President before smash-cutting to the opening credits.
  • The Garry McDonald character Norman Gunston, from Australian TV, was always covered in bits of bloody paper, despite claiming he used an electric razor.
  • In an episode of Hancock's Half Hour, Tony Hancock is preparing for a date on which he hopes to strike a Beatnik pose when he cuts himself repeatedly while shaving. He arrives on his date but the woman thinks he looks like a thug. When he explains the tissue paper all over his face by saying, "They're razor cuts," she screams, "He admits it!"

    Web Animation 
  • Near the end of one episode of Happy Tree Friends, Lumpy tries to cover a bad case of Dangerously Close Shave (specifically, The Mole scrapped off every last bit of skin from below his chin to just above his nose) by putting a tissue over some of the exposed muscle. An Iris Out focuses on it just before the paper goes completely red.
    • The Mole also patches his own cuts this way after shaving in the episode "Blind Date."

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons did it, of course:
    • In "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish," when Homer decides it's time to teach Bart how to shave, he makes sure to show him how bits of toilet paper can be used to staunch the many, many little wounds that will result.
      Homer: Now we take some little squares of toilet paper and put them here, and here, and here ... don't worry, the blood will hold them on. And now, some aftershave! YEEEEEEAAAAAARGH!!! nnnnnnnnn! Son of a—! And that's how we shave.
    • And, in "Weekend At Burnsie's," when Homer has to take medical marijuana, Homer tries to shave while high. Large rainbows shoot out of his face.
    • Homer springs multiple leaks after trying to shave with a cutthroat razor in "Helter Shelter''.
    • One issue of Simpsons Comics showed him cutting himself shaving and wrapping his entire head in toilet paper to staunch the bleeding.
    • And his blood covers his fingers and his razor in a Downton Abbey-esque theme in "Dangers on a Train."
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Happens offscreen in "The Big Problem," where Timmy wishes to be an adult. He thinks shaving will be fun... And then we hear the screams of pain. Then Cosmo suggests he try some "manly cologne." More offscreen screaming.
    • In "Channel Chasers," Timmy and the gang end up in a parody of Blue's Clues called "Clint's Hints." The Steve/Joe character, here named Jeff, claims he is a kid but has a shaving cut with a large piece of toilet paper on it.
  • Practiced in The Venture Bros. by who else, but Dean Venture:
    "Dean, what'd you do, shave with a hatchet?" "I used the one with the big pink handle..."
  • On an episode of Superjail!, Jailbot has crash-landed on a strange land while trying to capture Jackknife as part of his routine, and the Warden tries to start his day without his beloved creation to help him. He answers the videophone covered in cuts from trying to shave, including a huge blood-spurting gash on the side of his neck and half of his nose cut off.
  • Pictured above from the The Loud House episode "A Tale of Two Tables": Lincoln tries to prove he's "grown up" by attempting to shave. The scene then Smash Cuts to his face covered in toilet paper bandages.
    Lincoln: Maybe I shouldn't have used the razor Mom uses to shave her legs with.
  • In The Flintstones episode "Bachelor Daze", we flashback to Fred's first job as a bellhop at the Honeyrock Hotel; it was shortly after his father gave him his first razor, and the flashback begins with a shot of him with some bandages on his face.
  • The setup of the Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero episode "The Last Mountain Beast" shows Penn with many bandages on his face talking to his parents about Uncle Chuck teaching him how to shave despite his lack of facial hair. Only they were used not to cover up cuts, but to cover up the burns from the cheap shaving cream he was using, as the razor didn't so much as touch his face.
  • Il était une fois...: In the episode set in Ancient Rome, Centurion Teigneux and Legionary Nabot are having a shave in the barbershop Lucius Sergius is passing by. The barber is doing a poor job of it, resulting in the two men leaving the barbershop with bandages all over their faces.
  • Arthur's Perfect Christmas: Clumsy Uncle Fred is shown with toilet paper on his face after he shaves on Christmas morning.
  • In the What About Mimi? episode "Forget Etiquette" Mimi's dad is shaving and Mimi rushes him out of the bathroom to be ready for the Travers coming over for dinner. Next scene is him sitting at the dinner table with bandages on his face.


Video Example(s):


Uncle Fred

In the "Arthur" special "Arthur's Perfect Christmas," D.W. encounters Uncle Fred while he's shaving and thinks he's Santa. He gives her a little "Ho ho, well, hello there," then nicks himself shaving. When Arthur comes by moments later, his face is now covered in toilet paper scraps from nicks.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ThereWillBeToiletPaper

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