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When Elders Attack

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Chief: [takes his coat off] I've been waiting for this since Nixon!
Vice-President: I got a new pacemaker, I can go all day!

An elderly person attacks someone or something, from a teenager to a monster, with an object like a cane or a purse. Effectiveness of attack varies from annoying and harmless to actually taking down the target.

See also: Never Mess with Granny, Evil Old Folks, Old Master, Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior! and Improbable Weapon User. Not to be confused with Racist Grandma, though it can overlap.

Also not to be confused with When Alders Attack. (Sorry.)



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    Comic Books 
  • In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, Scrooge McDuck often uses his cane as a weapon (he certainly doesn't need it for walking).
  • Kidney Lady, basically Howard the Duck's only unbeatable enemy. He wields a mean cane against anyone who smokes or sends off harmful fast-food fumes. Clearly nuts, but can be tricky; will use magic in a pinch.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Cornering The Duke:
    Only an elderly witch, her wrinkly face distorted in rage, swung her staff at the fast-moving blur that was Ami’s form.
    Undeterred, the old woman proceeded to whack her on the head with her staff over and over again, cursing her with language so coarse her cheeks grew hot.

    Films — Animated 
  • Madagascar: Nana, the little old lady from the first movie returned in the sequel, Escape 2 Africa, through sheer Popularity Power. Not only did she beat up a full-grown lion (three times!), but she showed a lot of skill as a survivalist and delivered a Rousing Speech to her fellow New Yorkers after the Penguins jacked their tour jeeps.
  • Rafiki, the wise old Baboon, pulls a Big Damn Heroes entry in The Lion King, smacking down a couple of hyenas with his stick during the final battle.
  • Ratatouille had the crazy old woman who tried to shoot the rats with a shotgun then gas her house with poison gas, but completely and utterly failed to be badass.
  • Carl attacks a worker manhandling his mailbox with his cane at the start of Up. Unusually for the trope, he gets into serious trouble as a result.
    • A more straight-forward example is found in the limited-animation short Geroge and AJ has mobs of senior citizens taking off with their houses in more and more insane ways, completely tormenting the titular two guys from the retirement home.
  • The Land Before Time sequels, during the rare moments when Littlefoot's Grandparents are protecting him and the other kids from any Sharp Teeth. More or less a combination of Battle Couple, Never Mess with Granny, and this trope all in one, often with Mama Bear and Papa Wolf added into the mix, since their daughter's death left them as Littlefoot's primary caretakers.
  • In the first BIONICLE movie, Mask of Light, during the scene while Ta-Koro is under attack by the Rahkshii, there's a brief scene where Turaga Vakama pulls out his staff and starts beating one of the invaders over the head with it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Rabid Grannies, a horror flick from Troma Entertainment, is a bit of a subversion, since the titular grannies are the monsters.
  • The title character of the Madea series... especially in Madea's Family Reunion and Madea Goes to Jail where a school bully in the former and the police in the latter found out.
  • In Spider-Man 2, although she is the Damsel in Distress at that point, this doesn't stop Aunt May from helping Spider-Man in fighting Dr. Octopus by giving the mad scientist a good whack with her umbrella.
  • In The Kid (1921), the old nanny beating up the Tramp for trying to drop the baby into her carriage.
  • Every Which Way But Loose. Despite claiming to be a helpless old lady, Ma drives off an entire outlaw biker gang with a shotgun almost as tall as she is. When the bikers later encounter another elderly person, they're wary of causing trouble.
  • In Targets, the protagonist Boris Kar.. er, Byron Orlock ends the younger villain's psychopathic shooting spree by knocking the punk's gun away with his cane and then slapping him.

  • The elderly superheroes of Bigtime.
  • In the Discworld novels:
    • Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde are, indeed, very old, but they are very old Barbarian Heroes. As pointed out in Interesting Times, they have survived a very long time in a deadly profession. Suffice it to say, Badass is an understatement.
    • The Ankh-Morpork "Seamstresses' Guild" is guarded by The Dreaded Agony Aunts Dotsy and Sadie, who deliver, if not swift justice, slow, inexorable, exceedingly injurious justice to anyone who abuses a Guild prostitute. They've been active for at least 30 years and were both very old and very infamous even then, so there's some question of whether they're human or not.
  • Foundation: Hari Seldon is forced to do this several times as conditions on Trantor deteriorate; he's blamed for the deterioration and is also a victim of gang violence caused by it. Because he was a martial artist in his youth, Seldon successfully defends himself at first, but eventually age and illness catch up with him.
  • Captain Underpants: Geezer Powers — ACTIVATE!! Only within the Show Within a Show, though, until the grandparents accidentally get superpowers.
  • In The Dresden Files, Shiro, a tiny ancient Japanese guy with poor eyesight beats the crap out of a Denarian in the shape of a six-legged bear with a cane. On the other hand, this cane turns out to be the sheath for Fidelacchius, one of the Swords of the Cross.
  • In both Adrian Mole and its TV adaptation, the thirteen-and-three-quarter year old Adrian confides in his beloved granny that he is being bullied at school. His tiny granny promptly goes out and Curb Stomps the bully into a whining pleading-for-mercy pulp.

    Live Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: Mrs. Davis beats up a gym teacher in "Angela's Wedding". He insulted the deviled eggs she prepared.
  • Father Ted and the episode, "Attack Of The Nearly Dead". Grannies make for intense fan girls...
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: "Hell's Grannies"
  • Mad Men provides a disturbing example when Layne Pryce's father Richard, who hits his grown son upside the head with a cane and threatens to break his fingers—all because Layne doesn't want to go back to England and has started dating a black woman. The attitudes are right for the generation, but even then, it comes off as pretty harsh. It's enough to make it somewhat surprising that Pryce turned out as as stable and sympathetic as he did given his upbringing, instead of totally screwed up, given the series' norms (on the other hand, perhaps not...).
  • The 'Nanageddon' episode of The Mighty Boosh, unsurprisingly. Although little old ladies are considerably more dangerous with knitting needles when said little old ladies have been summoned from the pits of Hell.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Amy's Choice", the menace of the week is a smallish crowd of senior citizens, which is frankly hilarious, except when the old people turn out to be possessed by aliens that kill people with lethal bad breath. Amy has no compunction in running them over. Turns out in the end that it's all a dream created by the Doctor's evil side. He choose 'alien-possessed old people' as something the Doctor and his companions would believe, which probably tells you something about the common Monster of the Week tropes this show uses.
  • In Community episode Basic Genealogy, Troy's grandmother attacks Britta with a switch.
  • An example from a soap opera is Crane Tolliver, Lila Quartermaine's first husband on General Hospital, who shot Susan Moore (Jason "holy hitman" Morgan's mother) when she tried to double-cross him in a blackmail scheme.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: In "Convalescence", Murdoch's elderly landlady Mrs Kitchen has been get imprisoned for several days while criminals search her house. When a weakened Murdoch passes out while fighting one of the criminals, Mrs Kitchen picks up Murdoch's crutch and whacks the crook over the head with it, knocking her out.

  • In one bit, comedian Patton Oswalt says that, if you can live to be 100, you should be allowed to legally murder anyone you want, provided you kill them with your bare hands. He then says, "Would any of you come to the rescue if you heard, 'Help, a 100 year old woman is beating me to death!'?"

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In old-style British wrestling, such as that featured on World Of Sport, a section of the audience with the power to terrify some of the largest, hardest, men to stalk the ring were.... the grannies. Little old ladies who let it all out on a Saturday afternoon at the wrestling. Special bile was reserved for whoever was playing the Evil Wrestler part. The old ladies were capable of seriously foul swearing, throwing things including handfuls of drawing pins or even nails. If anyone was unlucky enough to fall or be thrown out of the ring... ouch. Being belaboured with walking sticks was only the beginning of it. Some dedicated wrestler-baiters did things like sharpen the ferrule of an umbrella to a vicious point, and stab with it. Cigarettes would be stubbed out into bare flesh. Hatpins would be inserted where it hurt most. Imagine a ringside of wrestling grannies claiming vengeance on the baddie who'd just apparently beaten the golden boy to a pulp... the blows in the ring might still sting, but at least they were agreed and roughly scripted. In the ring the wrestler had an idea of what was coming. Outside the ring was a different matter.
  • Chikara's Melvin Snodgrass and Darkness Crabtree, the Senior Assault Team. They hold victories over the likes of the Wildcards (Eddie Kingston and Blackjack Marciano)
  • Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat vs Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania, when they collectively become tired of Jericho's never ending rating about the fans because they cheer Shawn Michaels more than him.
  • Just to hammer in how much TNA did not care for the tag team known as No Limit, it uncovered them from their shallow graves so they could be squashed down to fit into deeper ones by the completely grey headed Kevin Nash.
  • Kevin Sullivan and his army of darkness (or what was left of it) ambushing Ring Warriors Grand Champion Bruce Santee to prove they were still relevant.
  • Before a match with Matt Cross at Absolute Intense Wrestling's Hell On Earth XII, Colt Cabana had to first be saved from Cross's irate grandmother.

    Video Games 
  • Tellah does this to Edward in a scripted Final Fantasy IV battle, hitting him with his cane and calling him a Spoony Bard. It barely even hurts him, and this is Edward we are talking about.
  • Paper Mario: ELDER POWER ACTIVATE!! The Puni Elder's back acts up before it can even do anything
  • One of the Wild Wasteland encounters of Fallout: New Vegas has The Courier being ambushed by a trio of old biddies armed with rolling pins and knives, as a Shout-Out to the Hell's Grannies above. They're about as threatening as they sound, especially since the player character should be pretty well-armed by this point.
  • In The Sims games, Mrs. Crumplebottom is an NPC who visits community lots. If two Sims kiss on the lot, she'll come over and hit one of them with her purse.
  • Dragon Quest VIII: Yangus's Golden Oldies attack summons the diminutive King Trode, which leads a horde of old men, running over whatever enemy it is aimed at.
  • One of the missions in South Park: The Fractured but Whole has you fighting your way through a retirement center filled with pissed off old people after they recognize you as the local vigilante and think you're there to take their Percocet.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Kim Possible episode 'The Golden Years', Drakken's army of seniors attacks Kim.
  • In a The Powerpuff Girls episode, an old lady does this from the roof of an episode to a Godzilla-like monster, who promptly eats her.
    • In another episode, Mojo Jojo gets body swapped with an old lady. It does not seem to affect his fighting prowess.
    • One time the girls are called in to take down a group of senior citizens robbing a bank, but Blossom insists they leave them be since they have to respect their elders. Instead her idea is to bring a geriatric superhero out of retirement to take down the elderly bad guys.
  • In South Park, treat your elders with respect..... or else. Case in point: "Grey Dawn". In a parody of Red Dawn (1984), the town's seniors, organized by the American Association of Retired Persons, orchestrate a takeover of the town when the state of Colorado decides to revoke the driver's license of any person over 70. They are thwarted when the boys lock the doors of the Country Kitchen Buffet (based on a real restaurant chain, the Old Country Buffet, and it gets a lot of business from seniors), where all the seniors had been eating, and thus cutting off their food supply.
    • Another episode features Butters' grandma being even more abusive then his parents.
  • Stinkmeaner and the Hateocracy from The Boondocks.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: the Senior Citizen Squad and The Horde of Senior Citezombies lead by the borderline-Eldritch Abomination Grandfather.
  • Bruce Wayne fits this trope occasionally in Batman Beyond. Given that this is Batman as a senior citizen, he is much more effective than average.
  • Shows up in the opening credits for the old cartoon Superchicken (at :04 in).

    Real Life 
  • Andrew Jackson did this to a guy who tried to kill him, chasing him with his cane after both of the would-be assassin's pistols failed to fire. Jackson, 67 at the time and reportedly having respiratory problems, had to be pulled off his target by his aides after administering a highly justified beatdown.
  • Ann Timson (71-years-old at the time) fought off armed robbers that were breaking into a jewellery shop. The purse she was using as a weapon was filled with pound coins, making it quite heavy.
  • It has been proven that elderly victims of muggings and armed robbery are twice as likely to retaliate against an attacker, compared to younger victims. The reason basically being that a younger victim would believe he or she had more to lose.
  • More than once a mugger has targeted an elderly man they thought would be an easy mark, only to discover said elderly man is an ex-special forces Retired Badass.


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