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Obfuscating Disability / Western Animation

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  • Invoked and then subverted in Archer. During Archer's time as Pirate King, Ray gets shot through the stomach, which hits him in the spine and resigns him to a wheelchair for six months. However, it's eventually revealed that Ray was just faking it, as they gave him a wheelchair when he left the hospital, and the rest of the cast just assumed he was paralyzed. In the season finale, he is actually paralyzed, forcing him to once again use his wheelchair. He is then un- and re-paralyzed several times throughout seasons 4 and 5. He is re-paralyzed again at the end of season 6, only for it to once again be him faking it, as revealed at the season 7 premier.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The King of Omashu appears to be a deranged, frail old man hunched over in his billowing robes. When Aang challenges him to a duel, the King straightens up and throws off his robes revealing a Heroic Build and the fact that he's one of the most powerful Earthbenders in the series.
    • Even though Toph is actually blind, her blindness is a Disability Superpower that makes her a good deal more aware of her surroundings than her sighted friends. She pretended on more than one occasion to be helpless because of her blindness, in order to get what she wanted from someone. So much so that for most of her life, her parents believed she would never master Earthbending... While she was secretly the all-time champion of the Earth Kingdom analog to Professional Wrestling. Toph's parents always treated her like she was incapable of doing anything; she just learned to play it up since people underestimated her anyways because of her blindness.
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  • In the Butterbean's Cafe episode "The Queen of Quiche," Ms. Marmalady fakes having a twisted ankle when she realizes Butterbean is willing to help her out while she's injured. She takes advantage of Butterbean's help to make a quiche which she passes off as her own. Of course, since "her" quiche and Butterbean's look and taste identical, her ruse is quickly found out.
  • An episode of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers had Dale fake a broken toe to get out of doing work, and get spoiled by Gadget. Later in the episode, Dale saved the day, breaking his toe for real, and got his comeuppance when he had to miss a party because of it.
  • In the 1933 Classic Disney Short "Old King Cole" the three blind mice smell cheese and look at it from behind their glasses.
  • The Cleveland Show: In "Beer Walk", after Donna broke her leg, Cleveland had to do all of her chores. However, since Donna finally has her husband do some work, she fakes her injury after she's healed. It took a Batman Gambit to snap her out of it.
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  • On Family Guy, Peter tried to make a quick buck by handing out sheets of stickers at the airport which said "I am deaf. Please buy this for $2." Peter being Peter, he blows his cover immediately.
    Man: [annoyed] I'm supposed to pay 2 bucks for stickers just 'cause this guy can't hear?!
    Peter: Hey! I might be deaf, but I have feelings! [notices everyone staring at him] ...I mean, "what?"
  • An episode of Fillmore! had an exciting chase sequence when a wheelchair-bound suspect got up and ran unexpectedly. She claimed without much remorse that she never told anyone that she NEEDED the wheelchair, she just preferred it (having two fake leg casts helped). Unfortunately, she had spent so long in it that she didn't get very far.
  • An episode of The Garfield Show has one where Nermal fakes a broken leg to get sympathy from Jon. Every time Garfield and Odie try to prove he's faking, they get in trouble with Jon. At the end where they unravel Nermal's foot, Jon believes Nermal's injury was healed. To make matters worse, Garfield and Odie were actually injured, but instead of getting rightful sympathy, they were put in full body casts and not able to eat anything while Nermal gets the last laugh. The whole episode was one large Karma Houdini.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • One episode had Phoebe taking advantage of Helga's niceness when she broke a leg and kept the cast even after it healed.
    • There's also the episode when a prank from Arnold left Helga temporarily blind, and she decides to keep up the charade so a guilt-ridden Arnold would stay at her side and help her at anything (obviously, she secretly did enjoy having him all for herself too).
      • A similar plot occurred when Helga was given Easy Amnesia from a Tap on the Head caused by a baseball Arnold had hit. Though she recovered quickly, she kept it up because she loved having his attention.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 128, while trying various methods to trick people into giving him money, Stumpy tries faking being crippled. Since the show has a Minimalist Cast, everyone already knows each other, and Kaeloo tells right away that he's faking. She pays him anyway because it was such a good act it would have seemed believable to anyone else.
  • In King of the Hill, Bill was diagnosed with Diabetes by an absurdly cynical doctor who jeered him with the fact he probably won't he heed his warnings and change his lifestyle so he'll lose the use of his legs, so to prepare, he started making all his movements in a wheelchair and seems to have forgotten he could actually still use his legs until he was drunk in a bar and stood up, shocking and majorly pissing off the wheelchair-bound basketball players he had befriended, along with his regular friends because he didn't fully explain it to them until they already made some adjustments for him (such as remodeling his house). However, Hank and the basketball players' leader put together that Bill actually overcame his Diabetes and help him realize how much of an accomplishment that is, even persuading him to get his revenge on the doctor (to the point where his own assistant is perfectly willing to look the other way).
    • In another episode, Principal Moss convinces Bobby and other underachieving students to pretend to be special needs so that they'll be exempt from taking the standardized tests, thereby raising the school's SAT scores and saving Moss' job. Promised no more schoolwork and a trip to "Alamoland", the kids eagerly go along with it and even start giving each other tips on how to look more convincingly special needs.
    • In another episode, Peggy is fighting tooth and nail to keep a football player with bad grades from being allowed to play, when basically the whole town thinks that he should be passed without question. Eventually, the player's mom gets her and Hank to give up their crusade by tearfully explaining that her son is learning disabled, really has been trying to do his work, and that football is his only real chance of a bright future. This is, of course, a total lie, but it works. The kid himself actually wasn't in on the scheme, and has a Heel Realization once he finds out about it... sort of. Mostly he just seems embarrassed by how easy it is for people to believe that he's mentally challenged.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Lila Rossi occasionally employs this tactic, in particularly low moments even by her standards.
    • In "Chameleon", she feigns tinnitus, arthritis, and a sprained wrist in order to take advantage of her classmates' kindness.
    • In "Ladybug", Adrien gets fed up with her bullshit and tells her that she'd better make up a new lie to fix all the problems she caused with her lying or else he'll never speak to her again. She makes up a lie that she suffers from a rare disease that causes her to lie compulsively against her will. Considering how often she lies, this one might actually be true (not that it excuses anything she's done).
  • In the Popeye cartoon "Seein' Red, White 'n' Blue", Bluto feigns illness and injury as a means to get out of being conscripted into the Navy. But after seeing Popeye getting attacked by Japanese saboteurs and following a can of spinach between him and Popeye (after which a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown against the saboteurs ensues), Bluto signs up.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode, "Fly Burgers", a fly named Flecko trips on a rock and acts as if he broke his leg and neck to sue Rocko, since Rocko had earlier tried to swat him away for trying to eat the burgers he was grilling. Flecko wins the lawsuit and Judge Sockner sentences Rocko to thirty days as a fly as punishment, but Flecko's ruse is exposed when Judge Sockner discovers he faked his injuries.
  • The Rugrats episode, "Angelica Breaks a Leg" has Angelica pretending to break her leg by shoving a bowling ball down the stairs in an attempt to garner tons of attention from Stu and Didi. Thanks to a very young doctor, her X-rays are mixed up with those of a football player's, leading him to believe that Angelica's leg really is broken. The doctor does realize his mistake later, but not before Stu very nearly has a major breakdown. Karma soon catches up with Angelica when her mom really does break her leg at the end of the episode. Unfortunately for Antonio Peaches, the football player whose X-ray was mixed up with Angelica's, the doctor found out his leg was actually broken a little too late.
  • The Simpsons:
    • One episode has Bart pretending to be blind so he and Homer can pull off confidence tricks.
    • On another one, Bart had gone temporarily deaf as a result of a flu vaccine. When Marge is trying to explain this to Principal Skinner (after Bart accidentally moons an American flag), he refuses to believe that Marge is telling the truth, confident that he's right because Bart has faked disability before. He even goes as far as to pull out photos of Bart with several fake disabilities.
      Skinner: And my personal favorite: pregnant Bart!
    • In another, Homer goes into the Springfield Retirement Home and starts using a wheelchair as an excuse to slack off.
    • In "Little Big Mom", Marge gets injured and lands in the hospital. But since she doesn't have to do housework for the first time in her life, she fakes it after she's healed.
    • In "Bart Gets Hit by a Car", Mr. Burns hits Bart with his car, and Lionel Hutz calls in Dr. Nick for a "second opinion" on Bart's minor injuries. Everyone played along, except for Marge:
      Marge: He seemed a lot more concerned about wrapping Bart in bandages than in making him feel better.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Up the Down Steroid", Cartman fakes being mentally challenged in order to enter the Special Olympics and win the $1,000 prize. During the actual events, it becomes apparent that he spent more time on his efforts to appear disabled than actually training for the Special Olympics, as he's beaten in every competition by people with actual disabilities, although he's still given a consolation prize for never giving up despite his repeated humiliations. In the end, Jimmy outs Cartman as a cheater, then realizes that he cheated too with his use of steroids. After Jimmy apologizes publicly, Cartman claims that he only faked his disability to teach Jimmy a lesson on steroid abuse.
    • In "Bloody Mary", Randy starts to use a wheelchair, but it's more because of hypochondria—he heard that his alcoholism is "a disease" and began to look and act the part.
    • In "Le Petit Tourette", Cartman fakes having Tourette's Syndrome so that he can have an excuse to curse and use anti-Semetic language without consequence. It ends up biting him in the ass big time, since as it turns out, going so long without having to think before he speaks destroys his filter and he begins saying embarrassing secrets about himself, such as how he and his cousin touched penises or how he cries at night because he doesn't have a dad.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Norman Osborn fakes an injury as the Green Goblin, then twists his own son's ankle to frame him for the crimes.
  • In Steven Universe, episode "Joking Victim", a version with a temporary disability shows up. Lars (Totally Radical teenage rebel) slips on some spilled soda while working at the Big Donut, and doesn't miss a beat in faking a severe back injury to get out of work for the rest of the day. He's later caught trampolining by his co-worker Sadie, setting off the plot of the episode.
  • Taz-Mania: In "Nursemaid Taz", Digeri Dingo fakes having a broken leg in order to get the Tasmanian Devils to wait on him hand and foot. Digeri really didn't think this one through.
  • In the Tom and Jerry episode "Love Me, Love My Mouse", Jerry fakes being defenseless to make Toots care for him.
  • In an episode of The Venture Bros., an old Team Venture foe named Brainulo has seemingly gone senile, but drops the act once his old partner Scaramantula calls him on it. However, he ends up frying his brain trying to telepathically communicate with his old robot, and goes senile for real.
  • Invoked in What's New, Scooby-Doo?, by the villain of the day, Avalanche Anderson, to prevent anyone from knowing that he was behind the Snow Creature.


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