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"I tied my shoes together and fell down three times!"
Ralph Wiggum, The Simpsons: Road Rage

A good way to simultaneously express just how mean and crafty someone is, usually but not limited to kids, is to have them tie an unsuspecting someone else's shoelaces together. Then, when the victim gets up to walk, they fall over, often face first. If the prankster is quite small in comparison to the prank victim's shoes, then this doubles as Hobbling the Giant.

A common practical joke in Real Life as well.


Examples

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    Comic Strips 
  • In one gag of Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin conspires with Hobbes to find somebody and tie their shoes together, only to fall over on his face when it's revealed Hobbes had already tied Calvin's shoes together by the laces.

  • In Garfield Poor Jon is the victim of this multiple times thanks to his titular cat.

    Fan Works 
  • The Arithmancer: At the start of third year, Hermione tries to create a charm that would help her tie her shoelaces, as a first active attempt at spellcrafting. It doesn't turn out quite right and only manages to tie her shoelaces together, to the point the spell was initially assumed to be a jinx without context. She later casts it on Draco Malfoy in Chapter 43, saving him from being attacked by Buckbeak.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Marsha uses this when she and Louis foil the Macks' kidnapping. She doesn't have much telekinetic power, but it's good at manipulating small objects in complex ways.

    Films — Animation 
  • Roquefort the mouse did this to Edgar in The Aristocats.
  • In Fun and Fancy Free, the Jack and the Beanstalk segment features Mickey Mouse trying to do this to a sleeping Willie the Giant, but Mickey failed when the giant suddenly woke up.
    Charlie: Heh, shoulda left well enough alone.
  • Early in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy's Shoe-Bot ties Jimmy's shoelaces together instead of tying them properly, so when Jimmy gets up after seeing the school bus pull up outside, he falls over, sees his laces have been tied together, and glares at the Shoe-Bot, which shrugs.
  • Angelica does this to Jean-Claude in Rugrats in Paris to slow him down while she and the babies escape from him on the Robo Reptar.
  • In The Thief and the Cobbler, Tack ties one of the bandits' shoelaces together when he picks him up by the legs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • While Kat is being introduced to her class the other students relentlessly tease her. None of them realize Casper followed her and secretly ties everyone's shoelaces together. When the bell rings the whole class ends up falling to the floor.
  • In the 1982 TV movieDont Go To Sleep a flashback towards the end reveals the younger brother and sister pulled this prank on their older sister when the family is driving. It accidentally ends up as a Deadly Prank when the car breaks down and the older sister can't get out fast enough. Her younger sister slams the car door shut on her and moments later watches in horror when the car explodes.
  • And then there's Hot Shots! Part Deux:
    (Dexter is being rescued)
    Dexter: You don't understand. I can't walk... they've tied my shoelaces together.
    Topper Harley: A knot. Bastards!
  • In Kazaam The titular Genie is able to pull this trick on his young friend Max much to the boy's anger.
  • In Captain EO, Fuzzball does this to the whip-warrior's whips, causing them to crash together.
  • Dietrich in V for Vendetta incorporates it into his satire.
  • Jeremy from Slick does this to people all the time.
  • Number 5 from Short Circuit pulls this on Newton while Newton is looking over the changes to Number 5's wiring.
  • In Molly (1999), Buck spends hours trying and failing to teach Molly to tie her shoes before he gives up for the day and falls asleep in a chair. Molly finally gets the hang of it while he's asleep and shows off her new ability by tying Buck's shoes together.

    Literature 
  • In Orphans Of Gaia this is actually not considered a prank in Haven Oasis but a way for a boy to show interest in a girl. Jay admits she finds it weird, but she often falls for this prank due to her shoelaces always being untied.
  • Eddie the resident prankster from Bailey School Kids book series does this to Melody in the 4th book "Leprechauns Don't Play Basketball" during gym class after she earlier pointed out her green shoelaces to stop Eddie from pinching her on St. Patrick's Day. He also ties Carey's shoe to the leg of her desk in "Skeletons Don't Play Tubas."
  • Used as a legitimate strategy for incapacitating a group of attackers in Thief of Time; Lobsang can "slice" time to make himself fast enough to tie everyone's shoelaces together before they can move.
  • In Unseen Academicals, Dr. Hix, the Unseen Academicals' official evil wizard does this in the football crowd, both because it helps him move through the crowd and because it's the acceptable level of evil by university statute.
  • During the post-funeral gathering in Pet Sematary Lou Creed, who worked for his uncle's funeral business, contemplates telling the guests about the practice of tying the deceased's feet together, so the dead won't walk. Most of the early morticians were Irish, who brought the custom to the New World, and the custom of tying a toe tag to a body during an autopsy comes from this. Lou decides not to share the story.
  • In The Worst Witch book A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, Mildred kidnaps another girl Griselda. She tricks Griselda into looking under her bed for a beetle, and stealthily ties her laces together. When Griselda emerges, Mildred quickly ties her arms and gags her. Griselda tries to run for it, but falls on her back because of her tied laces.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • In the music video for "Fantastic Three" from beatmania IIDX 22 PENDUAL, when the Funk Brothers decide to retaliate against the bullies with pranks, this is Abbas' (wac's) prank of choice.

    Web Comics 
  • This is used as a prank in this Eerie Cuties, but quickly turns into a Deadly Prank.
  • In Jackson's Diary the two resident bullies fall victim to this by way of the strange green magic Jackson witnesses. Much later it's revealed that Exer was the one using magic.
  • Ozy and Millie: Millie does this to Ozy while he spaces out, though he notices before he tries to walk. It's still impressive since she had to put shoes on him first.

    Western Animation 
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: In "The Chipmunk Story", Baby Alvin does this to Mr. Roach, an evil landlord hounding Dave for his rent. When he falls over, he discovers the Chipmunks.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • Implied in "Operation: E.L.E.C.T.I.O.N.S.", after Numbuh 1 and the new fourth grade presidential secretary, Wilson Woodrow, are sent to Permanent Detention for trying to expose the Delightful Children's evil plan after they are elected the new fourth grade class president following the incident with James Nixon McGarfield. After the Delightful Children bribed Wilson with a slice of their cake if he fudged the results (this is an Understatement, as they weren't on the ballot), they framed him for tying Muffy Jenkins' shoelaces together the minute they were elected, giving him detention for life with no chance for recess.
      Numbuh 1: Well, serves you right!
    • During the flashback Cold Opening of "Operation: T.R.E.A.T.Y.", when a younger Numbuh 1 and Chad are sparing, Chad wins the fight by pulling this trick on Nigel, calling it "the oldest trick in the book". Numbuh 1 wins their later, much more serious fight with the exact same trick.
  • Paulina and Kwan team up to attempt this to an AV volunteer in Danny Phantom, however Sidney Poindexter's spirit thwarts both pranksters and carefully reties the AV kid's shoes properly before he trips.
  • Tubby fell victim to this trope by the Westside Gang in The Little Lulu Show episode "Spook Delivery".
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In the prologue to "Gribber's Quest", Daffy shows Porky a new pair of basketball shoes he bought online. Porky tries to tell Daffy that he accidentally tied his shoelaces together, but to no avail. Daffy ends up tripping when he tries to play basketball.
  • Mr. Bogus did this to Mr. Anybody's overbearing boss near the end of the first act of the episode "A Day At The Office".
  • The Owl House: Eda does this to her goody two-shoes sister Lilith in "Covention".
    Eda: Now, let's go before my sister realizes I tied her pointy shoes together.
    (cue off-screen thump and Lilith screaming in anger)
    Eda: Aaand that's our cue!
    • It's even funnier when in a later scene, Lilith angrily walks forward and trips on her tied shoelaces. Whatís more, the scene appears to take place at her house, meaning she didnít bother to untie her laces and instead stumbled for miles going home.
  • In the Popeye short "Customer's Wanted", Popeye pulls this on Bluto.
    Popeye: This guy's started on a shoe-string and he's gonna end the same way.
  • Twister from Rocket Power falls victim to this courtesy of his older brother Lars.
  • Seven Little Monsters: In "My Fair One", a mischievous gopher makes Two and Seven fall down by tying their shoelaces together.
  • In an episode of Speed Buggy, Mark and Debbie did this to a villain who had grown to giant size.
  • Larry did this to Tuddrussel twice on the Time Squad episode "Hate and Let Hate."


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