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Tongue on the Flagpole

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Looks like Flik isn't gonna be doing that anymore...

"She got stuck! Should've ducked! Worst of luck! Stuck, stuck to a pole!"
Courtney, Gwen, & Heather, Total Drama World Tour, "Stuck to a Pole"

A character, usually (but not always) a kid, is dared to place his tongue on a flagpole (or other metal object) in sub-zero temperatures. The tongue becomes stuck to the flagpole and Hilarity Ensues.

Truth in Television. The saliva on your tongue will freeze on contact with a cold surface if it's cold enough, and it's possible to lose your tongue to severe frostbite. Better not try it. And if it happens - don't try to tear it off, you will leave your skin on it! Of course, if you breathe on it enough or get some hot water, that isn't a problem.



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  • Happens in a UK advert for Pot Noodle. A boy's tongue is stuck to a pole. A teacher needs warm water and a sponge to free him. But when she goes to boil the kettle she finds a Pot Noodle and uses the hot water on that instead, leaving the boy stuck.
  • Played with in this commercial for Jeep.
  • All three of the Budweiser Frogs once got their tongues stuck to a very cold can of Bud in the middle of a blizzard in the swamp.
  • There was one commercial where a man is walking through the snowy wilderness. He then stops to drink a Pepsi and the rim of the can gets stuck to his lip. He heads to the doctor's and sees a bunch of people in the waiting room who have the same problem, including a dog.
  • A Pop-Tarts ad plays this trope straight. Strawberry Milkshake is tricked into licking the North Pole, with predicable results- thanks to those mad children.

    Comic Books 
  • In Uncanny X-Men #177, a powerless Storm grabs a length of pipe to defend herself when attacked during a blizzard, only to have her hands freeze to to the metal.

    Comic Strips 
  • Even well past age 20, Nemi still does this.
  • Garfield
    • Odie once gets his tongue stuck on a frozen fire hydrant. The strip then shows six panels' worth of outstretched Odie tongue, leading to Garfield saying, "We need a blow dryer and a really, really long extension cord."
    • Jon once got his tongue stuck on the mailbox, but it wasn't seen.
    • In one strip, Garfield's lips get stuck to a frozen cup of coffee.
  • Peter gets his tongue stuck to a flagpole off-screen in FoxTrot. Jason tells Andrea to get the camera instead so he can upload it to YouTube.
  • In one strip of For Better or for Worse, Elizabeth gets her tongue stuck on a flagpole after her mother warned her of the risk. Her reasoning (after Mom painfully peels her tongue off the frozen metal)? "I wanted to see if it was true!"

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • As a colt, the eponymous Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron gets his tongue stuck to a large icicle. He then snaps it off and carries it away with him until he melts his tongue free in his mouth.
  • In Brother Bear, Koda relates a story to Kenai wherein some bear licked an iceberg and got his tongue stuck to it. It then floated away, so to save him "They had to, like, rip his tongue off, so now, he hath t'talk like dis alla time..."
  • The Ice Age movies:
    • Scrat gets his tongue stuck to a glacier.
    • In the first movie, Sid gets his tongue stuck on the floor of an ice cave.
  • At the end of Flushed Away, the evil Toad and his French cousin Le Frog actually get their tongues frozen onto a large pipe containing liquid nitrogen after Roddy smashes it apart to freeze the tidal wave Toad sent to drown the rats of Sewer-London. It's implied that the two amphibians were both arrested after they were unfrozen.
  • In Rise of the Guardians, a young boy gets his tongue stuck to the frozen water from a drinking fountain due to Jack Frost freezing various things around town.
  • Sven in Frozen gets his tongue stuck on the railing of a staircase at Elsa's ice palace as a Funny Background Event.
  • In Despicable Me 2, one of the minions is trapped when he licks a a popsicle dangled in front of him and his tongue gets stuck. He wakes up on the tropical island with his tongue still stuck to it.
  • In The Snow Queen (2012), Orm gets his tongue stuck on some ice.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2: When Toothless is using an icicle to draw in the snow, the icicle gets stuck to his tongue.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A Christmas Story, the Trope Codifier. Flick and Schwartz are debating on whether or not a tongue will get stuck to a frozen object. Flick is given a triple dog dare to lick the flag pole, and Mrs. Shield has to call the fire department to release him.
  • Dumb and Dumber. Happens on a ski lift, and Harry doesn't need any goading or triple-dog dares; he just says "Oh look, frost!" and sticks his tongue on it.
  • Happens in Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, with tongue-tearing results.
  • Happens in Epic Movie, also with tongue-tearing results.
    • In the unrated cut of the film, her tongue stretches to an insane length and she attempts to cut free with a knife and axe.
  • A variation occurs in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. Hint: it's not Harold's tongue that gets stuck.
  • The former variation occurs in Jackass 2, when one of the guys freezes his balls to a block of ice.
  • And that same variation occurs in Joe Dirt when a dog's testicles get stuck to the porch of a house during a cold night.
  • Another variation occurs in Saw III: Jeff freezes his cheek onto a set of pipes while reaching for a key to free a woman being sprayed with freezing water. He gets the key, tearing some skin off his cheek, but is too late to save her.
  • Butterball's tongue gets stuck to an icicle in Snow Buddies.
  • During a parody of The Exorcist in Scary Movie 2, the priest played by Andy Ritchter enters the room with the possessed girl inside and complains about how cold the room is. He then kisses the small metal cross he has with him, only for his lips to get stuck to it.
  • In the Czech film The Elementary School, the principal warns his students to be careful on this winter day and not to do certain things, including lick the metal handrail in front of the school. Lo and behold, the very next scene shows three boys stuck on said railing. They are then sent spitting blood, since two of the boys tear themselves off while being freed via a blowtorch and the third one gets a Dope Slap, biting down on his tongue, after being successfully rescued.
  • Whiteout: When Carrie is being chased at Vostok, she loses one of her gloves. When she opens the metal door, her hand freezes to it and she has to tear off a large chunk of skin to free herself. The hand later gets infected and requires the amputation of two fingers.

  • One Paul Jennings story features a boy kissing an ice sculpture of a girl. The inevitable happens, inevitably, so he goes into a pool of water to melt it off.
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham had a scene like this too. Specifically, one of the boys was kissing a mirror, so he got his lips stuck. Unable to use hot water to get him off, his mother rips him off the mirror. He keeps his lips, but is incredibly sore and has to cover them with Vaseline for a few days.
  • The narrator in Popular Music From Vittula climbs to a mountain in the Himalayas, and kneels over to kiss a metal plate on the ground. He has to pee in a cup to free himself.
  • In Farmer Boy, Almanzo is egged on to lick a pump handle, but knows better than to rise to the bait.
  • While not using the tongue, it is mentioned in Hogfather. Albert reminisces about a toy horse he wanted as a kid. "I must have spent hours staring at it with my nose pressed against the glass, until someone heard my cries and unfroze me."
  • One of the stories in The Book of Heroic Failures tells of a man who knelt down to breathe on the lock of his car door in an effort to defrost it and ending up spending a freezing night outside with his lips stuck to the car door.
  • Warrior Cats
    • Ravenpaw goes to drink from a gutter on the barn roof, but ends up with his tongue stuck to the ice he wasn't expecting to be there.
    • In Sunrise, Hollyleaf gets her tongue stuck to a frozen pond. After much hilariousness, Brambleclaw gets her free by breathing on the ice to melt it.
  • At the beginning of Neal Stephenson's Cobweb a guy tries to feel Desiree Dhont's bum, not realising that she has spent her whole life wrestling with her champion-grade brothers and is just as badass as they are. Before he knows what's happening, she slams his face into a freezing cold metal window frame and leaves him stuck to it.
  • One of the beliefs cited in The American Credo—"That there was once a man who placed his tongue against the rails of the Monon railroad near Kokomo, Indiana, and, being unable to get loose, had his head cut off by a passenger train four hours later." (New #1130)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tested and confirmed on MythBusters. Evidently, enough people thought it to be a myth to justify it (possibly because the show was filmed in balmy California). This also showed how much damage it could cause. They stuck a pig's tongue to it, and when they pulled it off by force...
  • The Paul Jennings story mentioned above was one of many adapted as an episode of Round the Twist. The ice statue Bronson kissed was of a girl who had red hair — who turned out to be his cousin.
  • An episode of Kenan & Kel where they get stuck in a refrigerator in a restaurant and one of them gets his tongue stuck on a fish.
  • Happens to one of the President's bodyguards (on a skilift) in an episode of The Nanny.
  • Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear. In a variant, it was a metal hex nut he was holding with his mouth — but since he was standing on the polar ice north of Canada at the time, it had the same effect.
  • An episode of Rescue 911 had this happen on one of their segments where a kid got his tongue stuck in a freezer and the rescue squad had to come and free him.
  • Referenced in Scrubs. Turk is keeping his boxers in the freezer and JD's brother warns him to make sure he is completely dry 'down there' before putting them on or he could end up with "a tongue on the flagpole situation".
  • In one This Hour Has 22 Minutes segment, an eco-terrorist who blew up a pipeline in British Columbia offers some advice to other terrorists. He insists the media was wrong about no one being hurt, since he licked the pipeline not knowing his tongue would get stuck. Things got progressively worse when the bear showed up.
  • On The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, London gets her tongue stuck a frozen smoothie that Zack had stuck on a popsicle stick.
  • Happens in one clip on World's Dumbest.... Chuck Nice even references A Christmas Story.
  • On The Goldbergs, Adam dares Barry to stick his tongue in a pole. Barry gets even by pushing Adam's lips to the pole. And then they realize that no one knows where they are and they can't call for help.
  • In one episode of QI, Phill Jupitus learns that the coldest place in the known universe is a science lab in an American university, containing a metal bar which has been cooled to a fraction above 0 Kelvin. He wonders if any of the scientists have ever been tempted to lick it.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "The Call of the Void", the Victim of the Week dies clutching a shelf in a walk-in freezer. By the time he is found, his hand is frozen to the shelf and Lucien has to break his fingers to detach him.

  • There's a verse about this in "There Are Many Dangers" by Crash Test Dummies.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic: "Your Horoscope For Today" features a variant.
    Aquarius: There's travel in your future
    When your tongue freezes to the back of a speeding bus!

    Puppet Shows 

  • On A Prairie Home Companion Garrison Keillor jokingly suggested that pump handles (and frozen objects in general) have the ability to hypnotize children to make them stick their tongues on them.
  • On Cabin Pressure, The Ditz flight attendant Arthur has trouble opening the plane's hold door with his gloves on when it's on the ground in St. Petersburg, so he takes them off. Once he's been freed with the liberal application of vodka, he goes to put his gloves back on and in order to do so, puts the keys he was holding in his mouth... The incident is a Chekhov's Gag that gets them out of a pickle later in the episode.
  • Stuart McLean plays with this trope in one of his The Vinyl Cafe stories. A man gets stuck on the roof in the middle of winter. He contemplates peeing on the TV antenna, though knowledge of this trope prevents him from doing so.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • This Newgrounds Flash short. For Bilingual Bonus, the sign on the pole says "Wishing pole: one lick = one wish".
  • Happy Tree Friends:
    • In the episode "Tongue Twister Trouble", Sniffles the anteater gets his tongue frozen to a lake after trying to eat an ant.
    • In another episode, Giggles and Petunia get their lips frozen to Cro-Marmot's ice block after trying to kiss him.
  • Simon's Cat briefly gets his tongue stuck trying to get to a fish in a frozen pond in "Icecapades".

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry movie. Gorthon, an evil-looking racer voiced by Tom Kenny (who isn't really evil), is tricked by Biff and Buzz (the race announcers) into sticking his tongue to the South Pole (because he thinks his tongue won't stay there).
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Out to Launch", Dr, Doofenshmirtz gets his tongue stuck on the giant ice cube tray he was using to hold Perry the Platypus prisoner.
  • Interesting, if sick, take on the subject in Superjail!: The Warden gets his tongue stuck on Alice's frozen body, while trying to lick her breasts...
  • In the first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang gets his tongue frozen to his glider. Since he appears in the next scene not attached to the glider, he presumably detached himself.
  • The Simpsons
    • One of the winter hazards faced by Lewis and Clarke (a.k.a. Lenny and Carl) in the episode "Magical History Tour".
    • Homer gets his tongue stuck to the ice sculpture at Otto's wedding.
    • In "The Springfield Files", Channel 6 News uses a file photo of Homer that shows him with his tongue stuck to a lamppost.
    • In "My Fair Laddy'', Bart stores Lisa's saxophone in the freezer and then hands it to her. Her tongue gets stuck when she attempts to blow it.
  • In Yvon of the Yukon, Harland and the Duke find themselves lost in the middle of the arctic tundra when they come across a set of train tracks. Wondering if a train is coming, Harland gives the sage advice: "If you stick your tongue to the train track and it doesn't stick, then a train has gone by, and if it does stick, then a train is coming". The Duke tries this, and naturally gets his tongue stuck to the tracks.
  • In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Scratch and Grounder are in the Arctic cold, Scratch kisses Grounder, Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the Grossology episode "Fangs a Lot", Professor Skinner gets stuck when he kisses a frozen, giant, genetically modified snake.
  • Happens to Sir Roderick in Gawayn. Having won a fake Crystal of Gawayn in a game show, Roderick tries to get it to work by licking it. At this point, he discovers it is actually made of ice.
  • When it starts snowing in King of the Hill, Peggy says "Nobody lick any flagpoles!"
  • Total Drama World Tour:
    • In the Yukon episode, Bridgette gets her tongue stuck to a flagpole thanks to Alejandro. Then Chris forces her to sing about it (With Gwen Courtney and Heather as backup), made even funnier considering that her voice is slurred as she tries to speak, and it's the only song to have visible lyrics to make it more understandable.
    • In an exclusive clip, Heather is sent to the Yukon after she is eliminated, and gets her tongue stuck to a pole as a reference back to the episode.
  • In Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, MacArthur gets her tongue stuck to a trash can in Siberia after Josee shoves her.
  • Penny from The Mighty B! once tried to do this on purpose. She failed.
  • In the Class of 3000 episode "Eddie's Money", Madison gets her tongue stuck on an ice sculpture at Eddie's birthday party. Twice.
  • The Venture Bros., "Now Museum, Now You Don't": Hank sticks his tongue to the ice block containing Ug-Ugh.
  • Stimpy from The Ren & Stimpy Show once did this, once it became stuck he pulled until his tongue got ripped off.
  • In the Squirrel Boy episode "The Grim Cheaper", imaginary future Andy gets his tongue stuck on an icicle during the sled chase through the deep frozen house (which also makes sense in context).
  • In the Zeke's Pad episode "The Artful Dodger", Zeke's dad gets the Captivity Harmonica he was playing inside the snowbound house stuck to his lips.
  • In the Camp Lazlo episode "Beans Are From Mars", Chip and Skip get their tongues stuck to an ice cream truck. Which then drives off.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearth's Warming Eve", Scootaloo and some other poor anonymous filly get their tongues stuck to a huge (Christmas-tree-sized) candy-cane prop. They get better though.
  • Stōked: In "Channel Surfers", Reef attempts to kiss Lo while they are standing in the cool room. He misses and ends up with his tongue stuck to a metal strut.
  • Taz-Mania: Taz gets his tongue stuck to frozen dinner in "Take All of Me". Wendal's attempts to free him do not go well.
  • Happens to Patrick when he gets his tongue on a wooden pole when the Krusty Krab is frozen in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Krabs a la Mode"(not that he minded, though). Later on in the same episode, he also gets it stuck to the back of the clamboni.
  • Storm Hawks: In "Fire and Ice", Leugey gets his tongue stuck to a wall of ice.
  • This happens to Mystique Sonia in the Penguin Castle episode of Hero: 108. She gets her Overly Long Tongue stuck to a frozen bowling ball.
  • Not seen directly, but it is mentioned in the Futurama episode "A Leela of Her Own" that Hank Aaron XXIV once got his tongue stuck to his blernsball bat on a cold day.
  • A Smurf in The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol tries to lick an icicle and gets his tongue stuck on it. He is seen dancing with the other Smurfs with the icicle still stuck on his tongue.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: Courage's tongue gets stuck to a frozen Muriel in "Snowman's Revenge". This gets worse when the snowman snaps the poor dog's tongue in half to free him.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Billy gets his tongue frozen to Santa's sleigh in the Christmas Special.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In "A Christmas Carol", Daffy gets his butt frozen to a park bench during the song "Christmas Rules".
  • In the teaser trailer for Frozen, the reindeer character Sven gets his tongue stuck on a frozen lake during a quarrel over a carrot with the snowman Olaf.
  • SheZow: Maz, as MEAT-eor Man gets his tongue on a frozen Kelly Hamdon in "Coldfinger".
  • The Skinner Boys: In "Freezer Burn", the Skinner boys are investigating a wrecked icebreaker when Butt-Monkey Edward trips over a dog and winds up with tongue stuck to a bollard.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! episode "Snow Bound", Timmy sticks his tongue to a frozen fishbowl and then proceeds to pull himself out of a pit he was stuck in using his tongue as a lasso.
  • In LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles , Han Solo gets his lips stuck on C-3PO when he kisses him on Hoth. Threepio is moping about not getting more recognition, and Han tries to kiss him. The last scene has Zek using his crystal arm to try and heat up Han's face enough to free the lips.
    Threepio: I wouldn't do that if I were you.
    Han: (muffled) My lips are stuck!
  • Stan Lee discussed this in the The Spectacular Spider-Man "Blueprints" when he was talking to a crew member at the docks that he hates it when he sticks his tongue on a ship in the cold weather.
  • In the The Mr. Men Show episode "Parties", Miss Whoops offered Mr. Bump to lick her strawberry flavored ice sculpture of herself. But Mr. Bump ended up getting his tongue stuck on a piece of the sculpture.


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