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A character puts a gun to his head, and the gun fails to go off. The character's attempt at suicide has failed.
Afterward, he is very happy to be alive, glad that the suicide attempt failed. Maybe he's realized that he wants to live after all, or maybe he never truly wanted to die in the first place: The suicide attempt was not based on a genuine wish but rather in desperation — at the moment, he just couldn't stand his life.
Compare Driven to Suicide
This may be Truth in Television, as a surprising proportion of people who survive suicide by jumping report having regretted the act before they landed.
Anime and Manga
- In a one-shot Girls Love manga Rooftop Miracle by Natsuneko, two girls try to commit suicide after having been cheated out of all their savings by a lesbian swindler. However, they pick exactly the same spot to do it and soon discover that they were ripped off by exactly the same girl in exactly the same manner. The more they talk, the more similarities with each other they discover, and you know where this is headed.
- Welcome to The NHK!: In the end of the series, the perpetual loser Satou throws himself off a cliff in an honest-to-God suicide attempt, but discovers that a hidden metal net has been installed just below the cliff after the previous suicide on that spot. After that, he seems to become quite happy with his life again.
- Robin in One Piece, before she joined the Straw Hats. After her hopes of finding the Rio Ponegraph were crushed in Alabasta, she decided to stay in the crumbling Royal tomb, when she could have escaped with her powers. An Unwanted Rescue occurs in the form of Luffy and though it takes some time, the Power of Friendship helps Robin to realize that it is better to live with her crew.
- In Planetes, a couple with a young child in episode 5 were planning to commit suicide due to some extreme financial burdens. But then a thief aboard the spaceship steals the medicine, and later takes the young girl hostage. They try to dissuade the thief from killing her, and begin to realize that they themselves were about to decide her future in a bad way themselves. After the girl is saved, she tells her parents about her hopes and dreams of going into space and piloting a spaceship, and they seem to reconsider killing themselves, and instead promise the little girl that they'll work hard for her as well.
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn in the early chapters of the manga Yamamoto almost commits suicide. This was due to some bad advice that he broke his arm over, and he thought that his career as a baseball player was over. So he moseyed on over to the edge of the school rooftop and prepared to jump, and he was dead serious about it. With an audience of students trying to cajole him out of it, the only voice he listened to was Tsuna's. He ended up falling due to bad construction of a gate but Tsuna saves him. After that, he and Tsuna become good friends and he joins Tsuna's mafia family.
- In Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest, Akiko Aoshika tries to jump off the hospital's terrace when she hears about Inugami being dead; she is stopped by a wolf who resembled Inugami, and she realizes that he could be alive somewhere and that she has to live in his place and honor. In truth the wolf was local Intrepid Reporter Jin, Aoshika discovers this by herself and talks to Jin in Alaska about it, thanks to this she now can recognize each wolf individually and finds a new respect for them, that's where she decides to live in Alaska, rebuilding herself from scratch... which considering what just happened to her, is a massive feat.
- Arseface in Preacher (Comic Book) tried to kill himself because he was sad and lonely, and his idol and his only friend had both just killed themselves and the friend had told him to do the same. After the failed suicide attempt, he does all he can to turn his life around, but can never get away from his face being horribly mutilated by the shotgun blast that so fortunately missed his brain.
- The Mickey Mouse comic strip story "Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers" actually involved him trying to commit suicide in various ways, all of which failed. In one attempt, Mickey jumps off a bridge but lands on a boat. An angry sailor (who resembles Pete) yells that he throws stowaways overboard. Mickey starts pleading by saying he can't swim.
- In Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Johnny tries to kill himself with a gun-toting robot that will shoot him if he tries to turn it off or answers the phone. After an indignant conversation with some of the voices in his head, he changes his mind and decides he wants to live after all, switching the robot off. As it turns out, the robot doesn't work, and Johnny exclaims that he was extremely lucky. The moment after, the phone rings and Johnny, happy to be alive, turns to answer it. The robot then shoots him. He forgot to turn it on in the first place and only did so when he thought he was switching it off.
- This was actually his third depicted suicide attempt (it's implied there were others), having first been distracted from killing himself by a funny commercial, and later having used the gun's only bullet on someone else, after which he immediately got distracted by soda and cheered up.
- Heartwarmingly in the American short film Trevor. Thirteen-year-old Trevor attempts suicide due to the problems of being gay, but his aspirin overdose fails and, thanks to a kindly male nurse and tickets to a Diana Ross concert, he ends the film saying he's "definitely decided to live...till tomorrow", then dancing up the drive to his house.
- In Hannah and Her Sisters, Woody Allen's character considers life to be meaningless and tries to shoot himself, failing at it. Roaming the streets, he goes to see a Marx Brothers movie, enjoys himself, and decides life is worth it for such things.
- A darker take on this comes in the Saw franchise, as this provided the final step that made John Kramer become the Jigsaw Killer.
"The cancer isn't what started me in my work. It was the moment I decided to end my own life that started me on my work, and brought meaning to it. I had literally driven myself to suicide, and I had failed. My body had not been strong enough to repel cancer cells. Yet I had lived through a plunge off a cliff. But to my amazement, I was alive."
- Tom Smykowsky from Office Space. After getting laid off, he attempts to kill himself by leaving his car running, in the closed garage. When his wife walks in, he decides he's got something to live for, backs out...and gets rammed by a drunk driver. The next time we see him, he's in a wheelchair, with about every conceivable bone broken, but is on top of the world, thanks to the fat settlement he got.
- The Man in the Iron Mask has Porthos attempt to hang himself after he is...unable to perform. T He beam he chooses, however, has been sawed through and he inadvertantly collapses the entire barn. This somehow reawakens not only his libido, but his warrior spirit as he conquers not only the woman he was suicidal over, but also joins the final battle.
- In Titanic, after her suicide was stopped by Jack, Rose goes on to live a long and meaningful life.
- A number of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's literary peers were troubled by the ending to his 1787 novel, Die Leiden des Jungen Werther (The Sorrows of Young Werther) and the behavior that it was inspiring among many of its youthful fans. One of them, a man named Friedrich Nicolai, wrote a satirical alternate ending called Die Freuden des Jungen Werthers (The Joys of Young Werther), in which Werther's attempt to kill himself is foiled by the husband of the woman he loved, who withdraws out of friendship and allows Werther to pursue her; he eventually marries her, sheds all of the "storm and strife" of his youth, and becomes a respected gentleman in society. Goethe hated this treatment of his work and wrote a poem in which Nicolai desecrates Werther's grave, starting a literary war between them that lasted the rest of
- Nicolai, who died in 1811, was one of the leading German literary critics of the Enlightenment, and belonged to an older literary generation. He was rather sceptical of the new movements like Sturm und Drang and Romanticism. Die Freuden des Jungen Werthers is therefore correctly described as a parody, and it is worth noting that Goethe not only was angry at Nicolai specifically, but was violently opposed to parodies in general. Nicolai meanwhile not only parodied Goethe, but also the folk songs that were then being eagerly collected by the early Romantics.
- The opening scene of the novel White Teeth is a complex example. Archie Jones is devastated after his Italian war-bride from the 1940s leaves him three decades later to go live with her family (in her defense, she's a paranoid schizophrenic by this point and needs her family's care), and contemplates suicide mostly because he doesn't know what else to do. He finally settles for flipping a coin (his stock method of making decisions) but then doesn't immediately kill himself when the coin tells him to do so. He finally works up the courage to die about a week later and tries to gas himself in his own car, but is rescued by a Pakistani butcher. Afterward, he is suddenly happy to be alive — but he doesn't truly acquire a new lease on life until he journeys to a hippie commune and becomes infatuated with a Jamaican girl half his age, whom he later marries. One of those rare cases of a lighthearted book that begins with a Despair Event Horizon.
- MacWhirter in Agatha Christie's Towards Zero.
- MacWhirter is somewhat of an ambigious case, because he explicitly asks himself at one point if he's glad he was saved and decides that, even though his life has turned around and he has no desire to try again, he's not. However, almost immediately after he thinks that, he stops someone else from killing herself, telling her it's always better to live. Ultimately it's hard to say if he was really unhappy about having been saved or it just being stubborn.
- The Dover cliff scene in King Lear.
- In G. K. Chesterton's Manalive!, a character named Innocent Smith employs this trope to his advantage. Nihilists and Nietzsche Wannabes who talk about the greatness of death and suicide have a habit of changing their minds when their lives are actually threatened, and holding them at gunpoint usually "cures" them and makes them love life again.
- You can find plenty of these in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
- In Enchantress From the Stars Elana , an agent from The Federation, is captured by The Empire. To avoid mindprobing, Elana runs towards the imperial rock-chewer, intent on being crushed by debris. However Georyn, one of the natives , whom she taught telekinesis, sees this and stops the whole load of debris in mid-air, saving her. This scares the Imperials so mauch that they leave the planet and liberate all prisoners, conveniently removing the reason for Elana to die.
Live Action TV
- Jodie, from the 1970s sitcom/soap opera parody Soap, takes a bunch of pills, falls asleep and wakes up as the most emotionally healthy character in the series. Go figure.
Live Action TV
- The video for Collective Soul's "The world I know" has the protagonist almost throw himself off a rooftop. Then a dove lands on his outstretched hand and he decides otherwise.
- Final Fantasy VI: Depending on how things play out, Celes may attempt suicide, but fail... happily, because from where she lies, she sees evidence that one or more of the others may have survived, which gives her the will to live.
- At one point in Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, Tony attempts suicide by gunshot, but the gun is empty.
- In A Softer World:
I took a bottle of pills when I found the photographs of them together / But instead of dying I pooped all over our bed / which is a funnier story, in the long run.
- Fans used this with Aly, who was surprised at her happiness.
- In Felix Out of Luck (1921), a despondent Felix the Cat is trying to commit suicide with a pistol—but misses.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, a man jumps off the ledge of a building just as a massive ball of people comes rolling by. The tone of his voice implies that he is pleased with the result.
Goodbye, Cruel World! falls into the ball Hello ironic twist!
- An Eastern European cartoon from the 70s has a despondent man repeatedly trying and failing suicide. Then a man with a gun holds him up and, terrified, he hands over his wallet, watch, clothes, everything...and ends up overjoyed that he's still alive.
- Vanilla Ice. After failing his suicide attempt, he turned his life around, gave up drugs, and went on to have a very productive music career.
- This is very much Truth in Television for many, and that's something to be taken into consideration if you're thinking of it.
- Of course, the "Happily" in Happily Failed Suicide might take a while to kick in. Clinical depression doesn't always adhere to logic.
- This Cracked article lists many ways in which small, random objects (or a puppy in one case) stopped suicides.