Follow TV Tropes


Wrong Parachute Gag

Go To
He wanted a spare. He got a spare.

"I think that was just a regular backpack. See what happens when you assume?"

A staple of cartoons where a character grabs a backpack and jumps from a great height, opens the pack, and anything but a parachute falls out. Commonly, it can be food, cutlery, camping supplies, or heavy objects like an anvil. Whatever the case, it results in them crashing into the earth. Of, course, since these cartoons obey sets of rules that don't factor into horrible injuries and feature quick recovery times, it's a staple joke.

Sometimes a character may ask for a parachute only to be given something else entirely, whether it be due to the other person mishearing or obliging to Exact Words.

See also Chute Sabotage.


    open/close all folders 

  • Before the days of cell phones and SMS, an ad for a pocket message receiver showed a skydiver about to jump receive a message at the last second: "I have your parachute, where is my backpack?" cut to the poor guy BSODing in the plane.
  • The commercial for Banjo-Tooie has Banjo skydiving. The man in the plane tries to warn him, but Banjo shrugs it off. He jumps but finds out too little too late that Kazooie isn't in his pack.
  • In an ad for Fruity Pebbles (which, of course, features The Flintstones), Fred tries skydiving to keep Barney from getting his pebbles, but he still gets them nonetheless when the former finds out he got a backpack instead of a parachute.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ranma ½, Kinnosuke, after mooching off the Tendo family to one billion yen in debt, decides to bail on them by jumping off a helicopter he had rented that has just run out of fuel. He opens the backpack... and out comes a banner with "TRY AGAIN" marked on it while no parachute opens.

    Comic Books 
  • Used for a gag in the comic Cattivik. Subverted when our hero gets the wrong parachute but still manages to land safely on a plane. (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Two similar gags in Léonard le Génie:
    • One comic has the disciple open the parachute, only to reveal a sheet of paper from the maid Mathurine, saying the parachute is in laundry.
    • In a similar gag, Leonardo once handed Basile the backpack containing their lunch instead of a parachute.
  • The cover of Marvel Romance Redux: Restraining Orders Are for Other Girls shows a young man who has spent a fortune so he can escape on to uncharted island via parachute to escape an unwanted admirer, little does he know she's sitting in his parachute's bag.
  • Very likely to happen in Mortadelo y Filemón at the end of any segment involving planes.
  • In Superman #176, which explains how Superman decided on his ideal location for his Fortress of Solitude, he's on a flight over the arctic as Clark Kent when the plane suffers engine troubles. Almost immediately, everyone went for the parachutes, but Clark, who was inspecting the packs with his x-ray vision, notices a ripped parachute and switches it with his good one. Luckily for Clark, nobody notices the Human Alien dropping like a stone in the arctic night.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert:
    • In an early story arc, Dogbert gets a job as a Corporate Jet Pilot:
      Dogbert: [while wearing what appears to be a parachute bag] It looks like the plane's going down and there's only one parachute.
      C.E.O.: [grabbing the "parachute bag"] Give it to me!!! I'm a C.E.O. with a Harvard MBA. You're a dog!
      Dogbert: [as they're falling] That's my knapsack.
      C.E.O.: [while random junk is flying out of the open knapsack] Old joke.
    • Another strip has Dogbert showing off an exhibit from his new museum:
      Dogbert: Cooper hijacked a jet, demanded money and a parachute, then jumped. He learned that you should never get your parachute from the same people you're robbing.
  • The Far Side: A cartoon shows a skydiver with a piano and an anchor coming out of his backpack.
    "Murray didn't feel the first pangs of real panic until he pulled the emergency cord..."

    Fan Works 
  • Giggles Bags the Borg by Odon. A WW1 pilot opens the pack and finds a requisition form from the Ministry of Air which has to be filled out before a parachute can be issued.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • There is a joke about Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, the Dalai Lama, and a Boy Scout on a plane that is going down. (The identities of the figures vary according to when and where the joke is told. It's a very old joke.) There are only three parachutes. Michael Jordan declares that he is the world's greatest athlete and therefore deserves to live, grabs a parachute, and leaps out. Bill Gates declares he is the world's smartest man and therefore deserves to live, grabs a parachute, and leaps out. The Dalai Lama offers to give the last parachute to the Boy Scout. The Boy Scout says, "It's fine, Your Holiness. There are still two parachutes. The world's smartest man just jumped out wearing my knapsack."

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hilary goes skydiving as shock therapy to get over Trevor's death. She accidentally grabs Will's backpack by mistake. Thankfully Will corrects her before she exits the door.
  • Referenced in an episode of Friends. When Chandler realizes he's Digging Himself Deeper, he exclaims "Dear God, this parachute is a knapsack!" and rolls himself over the back of his chair to get away.
  • There is a dramatic version in the live-action Shazam! series in which a boy incorrectly packs a parachute by himself without telling any adults about it. As a result, a skydiver takes the pack and takes off for a dive before the boy confesses. They are too late to stop the dive and everyone watches in horror knowing that his parachute won't open. Fortunately, Billy Batson transforms into the Flying Brick Super Hero, Captain Marvel, and flies up to open the parachute pack himself.
  • Used as a gag in one episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? — a Scenes From a Hat game asked for things that one wouldn't want to see when their parachute didn't open.
    Greg: [pulls ripcord] Miniature Snickers?!
    Colin: [pulls ripcord, opens book] "What to Do When Your Parachute Doesn't Open."
  • In Married... with Children, Bud agrees to go skydiving to impress a woman, and just before jumping the instructor gives him safety instructions which include "we may have forgotten to pack the chute." He's then pushed out of the plane so the instructor can flirt with his girl and Bud ends up flapping his arms like a bird on the way down until it fades to black. He's none the worse for wear in the next scene.

    Video Games 
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin has an unnamed IDS agent reach for a parachute when the Great Owl starts going down, but instead discovers it's a sleeping bag. Luckily, she caught it before jumping.
  • While this doesn't actually happen in Far Cry 3, the in-game Survival Guide jokes about it once you receive the parachute after getting to the second island, stating that you should "make sure to watch out for the bags of pots and pans disguised as parachutes."
  • Henry Stickmin Series: In one of the route-specific choices in Escaping the Prison, Henry can use a backpack labelled as "Parachute" in the option menu to fall down from the prison's roof, only to find out that it's just full of random things without the supposed parachute. The fail screen lampshades this (see page quote).
  • In McPixel 3, an early level has you jump out of a crashing plane. If you take the nearby backpack and open it while freefalling, it opens to reveal Steve, who brings you to a completely unrelated bonus level.

  • Wildy's novel in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: Wildy decides the parachute scene is boring, so she decides the parachute has been "rigged to be replaced with an alligator."
  • Schlock Mercenary had eponymous amorph left behind because he doesn't have armor (he's ridiculously hard to kill anyway) and they were going through vacuum. Following the team on his own in an emergency exosuit, Schlock quickly discovered that the emergency suit doesn't have gravitics like powered armor and he's going to "navigate" a shaft 6.2 kilometers deep ballistically, in near-Earth gravity, but zero air resistance.

    Western Animation 
  • There has been a case where Scratch and Grounder's plan seems to have worked without a hitch, a rarity in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, as they have trapped Sonic and his Girl of the Week in a carriage that's plunging off a cliff and they gloat over them having parachutes that will allow them to make it in one piece, an even rarer occasion until it turns out that they are not parachutes, which makes it an even bigger failure as Sonic manages to use the actual parachutes to survive this cliff-hanging predicament.
  • In a Boot Camp Episode of Animaniacs, while plummeting toward the ground with their drill sergeant, the Warners tell him that they took the liberty of washing the sheets he stores in his backpack. He pulls the cord and a duck-headed flotation device comes out.
  • The Day My Butt Went Psycho!: In "Flush of Dooty", Deuce opens his parachute for nothing but a stack of cheek burgers to come flying out.
  • Family Guy:
    • Brian is going skydiving. Right before he jumps out, the instructor stops him and points out that he grabbed "the one with silverware" in it. He tosses Brian another parachute... that contains an anvil.
      "... that one's probably fine...."
    • Subverted in a Cutaway Gag that explains why Stewie does not trust Brian with packing his parachute. When Stewie jumps out of a plane, he pulls the cord and his parachute works just fine — but it has the words "I'M A HOMO" painted on it.
  • In one episode of Laff-A-Lympics, Mumbly switches the tags on Grape Ape's and Yakky Doodle's parachutes during a skydiving competition. The small parachute causes Grape Ape to fall like a stone, while the large parachute leaves Yakky Doodle stranded aloft in a thunderstorm.
  • Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies:
    • In "Duck Amuck", Daffy's parachute works just fine, but the animator erases the chute and replaces it with an anvil.
    • On one Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoon, Wile E. tries to be Crazy-Prepared by wearing a parachute in case he falls off a cliff. He opens it and out comes... canning samples. He was even prepared for that and swallowed a bunch of painkillers.
    • "Devil's Feud Cake": An econo-cartoon featuring clips of past Bugs Bunny-Yosemite Sam adventures with alternate endings. The trope-fitting clip comes in the segment featuring a segment from "Hare Lift" where — after Bugs sends the plane they're on into a nosedive — Sam grabs what he thinks is the only available parachute and jumps... only to find he's grabbed a knapsack of camping supplies and it's bye-bye, Sam! In the original cartoon, Sam's chute works fine, except that he lands in the backseat of a police car (having earlier robbed a bank).
    • Variation in the Wartime Cartoon "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips", Bugs encounters a parachuting Japanese pilot and hands the guy a "scrap iron" donation (See: Anvil) and the poor fellow instantly plummets to earth like his canopy was cut.
  • Happened on The Magic School Bus's desert episode. Arnold tries to avoid his usual complainer status by being Crazy-Prepared. When the Friz puts the bus-plane into a steep dive when they arrive in the desert, Arnold asks Liz for his parachute.
    Arnold: That's not a parachute! That's a pair of shoes!
  • In an episode of Molang, Molang and Piu Piu are trying to get a football player’s picture, they manage to follow the player onto a plane where they’re about to do some skydiving. When the player pulls the chord, only a football comes out and Molang and Piu Piu grab their own parachutes to save the player.
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants does it once when he visited a dream in which he and Sandy were free falling. One of the things Sandy asked him to do was use a parachute. SpongeBob misheard that twice by inflating his shoes and giving Sandy a parakeet before she (forgetting to deploy her parachute) falls onto a truck full of clam manure and flatly says, "Medic."
  • The intro for the Tex Avery Show has the Wolf falling through the air, to which he casually releases a parachute from his tuxedo. Looking up, he then panics as the parachute has inexplicably become an anvil that crushes him.
  • Total Drama:
    • In the first episode of Total Drama: Pahkitew Island, the contestants each have bags and when they jump off the blimp they were riding on, only half of the contestants have parachutes and the rest only have normal bags. The ones with the parachutes were put in the team Pimâpotew Kinosewak and those who don't are in Wâneyihtam Maskwak (Confused Bears).
    • Total DramaRama: In "Cuttin' Corners", Beth, LeShawna, and Duncan try to become Izzy's best friends to get a corner piece of her cake. While playing 'Parachute', Izzy says it was lucky she found enough parachutes for everyone. However, when they jump out of the tree, it turns out only Izzy has a parachute, and the other three have ordinary backpacks.
  • In one episode in Unikitty!, Puppycorn deliberately does this when he jumps off the roof of the castle to show that he is invincible with the safety suit he is wearing.


Video Example(s):


Beep, Beep

Wile E. Coyote has prepared a backpack just in case he has a date with gravity, but what comes out of it is not what he expected...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / WrongParachuteGag

Media sources: