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After a long, hard day, nothing's more refreshing than a dip in some nice cool water.
A character wants to show off how brilliant and athletic they are without getting all sweaty and gross or joining a team? Platform diving is the best way to do it. Climb that ladder to the diving board or platform, throw the shoulders back, and let gravity do most of the work.
In the situations where this trope shows up, it is never as simple as that. Swimming pools and diving boards are not necessarily hazardous themselves, unless tampered with, or Artistic License has been invoked -- then diving into the pool goes from a simple activity most people can do with ease to something a lot more difficult and dangerous.
The trope is common in several different visual media, both live action and animated.
When the trope is played seriously, particularly in live action, the technical prowess will be focused on (entering the water without a splash, doing the trick dive correctly) and the Jerkass will seek to ruin it for the diver.
The dive may result in:
- The diver finding out that the perfectly normal swimming pool was a Portal Pool.
- Discovering they have a Slippery Swimsuit problem.
- Jerkass bystanders holding up cards to score the diver.
When Played for Laughs in a live action setting, the diver will often flub the dive and end up belly flopping instead (which is actually a rather painful way to hit the water in real life).
When the media is animated, the high dive is almost always Played for Laughs, and the sky is the limit. Almost literally.
- The regular dive is what a live action high dive is.
- The "real" high dive is probably the height of your average two or three story building.
- The *gulp* high dive is so high that:
- satellites are passing by as the character steps onto the platform.
- astronauts are floating by to wish the character luck.
- when the character looks down, they can't see the pool, just the impossibly long ladder and the "big blue marble" view of planet Earth itself.
The dive itself, when taken from the low earth orbit high dive may result in the swan dive, the jackknife, the triple somersault, the half-gainer, etc., all done for the viewer's benefit as the diver is falling several thousand miles to the pool below. Occasionally, the diver may catch fire from re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, only to be extinguished by entering the water. If the diver is the protagonist, no matter how high the dive, they will find the pool filled with Soft Water. If the diver is the Butt Monkey, all bets are off for how the dive ends.
Oh, and the pool below? It may be a flat surface painted to look like a pool full of water. It may be filled with water. Or jello. Or not filled at all. It may be replaced by a glass of water. Or a damp sponge. Or the pool may be populated with sharks or crocodiles, leaving the diver to attempt to land safely with all that momentum, and without getting eaten or toon damaged. Often results in the diver ending up bellyflopping into the water.
- In The Craft, the Alpha Bitch yells "shark!" at the diver, and causes her to land with a splash, which will cost her points as it was a swim meet.
- In Lethal Weapon 2, one of the police officers took a dive and a swim regularly. This habit was used to set a bomb on the diving board.
- Back to School, the Triple Lindy, a dive that involved jumping from the high dive and landing on all the lower boards before hitting the water.
- Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken is about a a girl and her diving horse.
- In The Right Stuff, Washington bureaucrats are being shown a film of potential astronauts. One of them is a circus high diver, who dives into a pool of flaming water. The people showing the film say he might be a good candidate because of his "ease with flames, comfort at heights and agility in the splashdown phase."
- In Coneheads, Connie aces the three meter high dive by entering the water literally without making a splash. Watch it here.
- In Sabrina The Teenage Witch (there was a movie before the series) the Alpha Bitch tries pull this trope on Sabrina, but fails.
- Referenced in Singin' in the Rain, where Don Lockwood laments that after The Dueling Cavalier comes out, no one would even show up to see him jump off the Woolworth Building into a damp rag.
- An episode of The Twilight Zone has children diving off the diving board, and surfacing in a swimming hole at a kindly old woman's, rather than the pool into which they'd originally dived.
- Primeval has a prehistoric crocodile turn up in a swimming pool, in a tip of the hat/spin on the way this trope is usually portrayed in animation.
- Mr. Bean had to get his hand stomped on to let go of the board.
- In the early days of film, high diving horses were common as pre-movie entertainment, or entertainment at carnivals and fairs.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Gordito's father, The Great Flying Shooting Juan, was both a circus acrobat and a sharpshooter. One of his tricks involved a high dive into a small pool, while shooting a playing card out of the air on the way down.
- Commonplace in Looney Tunes, where Bugs Bunny triumphs in one form or another over the high dive.
- Bugs was supposed to be the hapless diver in High Dive Hare, but he turns the tables on Yosemite Sam.
- Bugs Bunny short "Big Top Bunny". Bugs and Bruno the bear compete to see who can make the most difficult high dive. Bruno wins by saying he'll dive 1,000 feet into a block of cement, and does. Watch it here.
- "Stage Door Cartoon". Bugs maneuvers Elmer Fudd into making a high dive into a glass of water. Watch it here.
- The Looney Tunes Show "Casa de Calma" episode has Daffy choosing to go to the low earth orbit high dive, knowing that at poolside waits Bugs whom Daffy had insulted and offended only moments earlier.
- The Tex Avery toons:
- "Daredevil Droopy" has Droopy successfully make a high dive into a bushel-sized container of water, much to the consternation of his antagonist, Spike.
- In another Droopy short, Spike tries to kill Droopy by painting a tennis court blue and putting in a diving board. Droopy dives and splashes into the "water". But when Spike tries it...
- Uncle Scrooge has the high dive lead to a swimming pool filled with coins instead of water.
- The Classic Disney Short "How To Swim", with Goofy trying out the high dive. The pool is empty, and he leaves a Goofy-shaped hole on the floor.
- The Horace Horsecollar comic book story "High Horace" (Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 692) has Horace brag his way into promising to make a 100-foot dive. In his ensuing efforts to skip town, Horace eventually plummets from a plane into the pool, accidentally accomplishing the dive in the process.
- In the Pixar Short Mater the Greater, one of Mater's daredevil stunts is to jump off a high dive into a small pool of water.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle - One of the introduction sequences was Rocky preparing to jump from a very high diving board into a tub of water tended by Bullwinkle. However, Rocky is a flying squirrel, so he flies around the circus tent, while Bullwinkle chases after him carrying the tub. As Rocky lands safely, Bullwinkle tumbles into the tub.
- Most of Fred Flintstone's attempts to show off in a pool result in him bellyflopping, sinking, and then needing to be rescued by Barney.
- Timmy in The Fairly Odd Parents goes for the low earth orbit high dive to impress Trixie on more than one occasion. A particularly memorable one involves him losing his swimsuit and then wishing to have no emotions, which results in him being able to do more and more reckless things, though he no longer cares about impressing Trixie.
- In one Andy Panda cartoon, a circus performer attempts to dive into a tub, but an elephant drinks all the water just as he dives. Ringmaster Andy takes the tub to get refilled and rushes to put it back, but the diver, now aware of his predicament, starts running around in mid-air. The two go back and forth, knocking down the big top tent in the process. Andy finally catches the diver, only to realize the bottom has fallen off the tub long ago.
- In Fun and Fancy Free, one of Bongo's circus acts was to dive a hundred feet into a damp sponge.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- Inverted: They have Perry the Platypus dive from a low platform into a small wading pool of water.
- Played straight: "Sick Day" has Doof up on a very high dive with one of his inators.
- "Last Train to Bustville": When Candace goes into the "Give Up!" song, a scared swimmer afraid to take the high dive is the second person to join her give up line up.
- Planet Sheen: Sheen challenges the Gronze brothers to dive 50 feet into a bowl of pudding.
- In ''The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball does a high dive into the school pool to be a distraction for Darwin. However, he spots Penny, and begins wondering if he's doing the right thing. Then he belly-flops onto the water, which is anything but soft. Ouch.
- And in "The Club" he tries to join the synchronized swimming club by showing them his "Swan Dive of Eternal Beauty": a cannonball accompanied by an image of a swan floating behind him from a high dive. Which results in the club having to fish him out of the pool when the bubbles stop, and his swim trunks coming off.
- The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode Dragon Quest has Spike faced with having to do a cannonball into lava to impress other adolescent and teen dragons. He jumps off, eyes shut, and ends up doing the belly flop -- which really impresses them more than any other attempt he's made to gain their favor.
- Magilla Gorilla has a cartoon in which he runs off to join the circus. The first act he performs as "Magilla the Masked Gorilla" is jumping off a platform into a bucket of water.