|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
A Frenchman, a German and a Jew walk into a bar. "I'm tired and thirsty," says the Frenchman. "I must have wine." "I'm tired and thirsty," says the German. "I must have beer." "I'm tired and thirsty," says the Jew. "I must have diabetes."
This trope is the tendency for people to often, if not outright chronically, think they are coming down with diseases based on vague symptoms.
This is usually Played for Laughs in fiction, showing these people as whiny, lazy, and/or paranoid. This is especially common among Jews making fun of themselves for being like this. These are extra funny when the disease in question isn't even real (or it's extinct), even in the work of fiction.
This can be Played for Drama though, if someone is actually debilitated by this, but it's rare. And in shows with Abusive Parents or Comedic Sociopathy, a character's genuine illness may be brusquely dismissed with accusations of this. "Pnuemonia, my ass. You're just lazy!"
This can lead to a "Boy who cried 'Wolf'" moment when the hypochondriac actually does get sick.
These days, using the internet for self diagnosis has become a new tool for this trope.
A Sickly Neurotic Geek is more likely to be this than actually sickly.
Compare Terrified of Germs, Playing Sick, Munchausen Syndrome (both when characters know they aren't actually sick), You Don't Want to Catch This (which is faking an illness for other reasons), Mistaken for Dying, Jewish Complaining (which often involves something that might get them sick).
- Woody Allen is more than likely to play this character.
- Kyle's east coast cousin in South Park is like this.
- Wonderella once thinks she's come down with bird flu.
- Moliere's The Hypochronriac
- In Parks and Recreation, Chris was born with a blood disease and it was predicted that he would die within days. As an adult, he's a health nut in ridiculously good shape, but becomes a hypochondriac and germaphobe when there's a chance of his becoming sick. This is played for both humor and drama.
- Michael's mom in Burn Notice, is hypochondriac for just the first episode.
- A guy was convinced he was getting diabetes because of his family history, and when he did get sick it turned out to be caused by the "special diet" he made his wife make him. House was much displeased.
- One example that is from the main case and not clinic duty is half of the Death in the Clouds episode.
- Scrubs has a minor recurring hypochondriac. Doctors dread taking his case.
- In Liberty Meadows Leslie the frog is a hypochondriac who diagnoses himself with anything from lead poisoning (from a pencil) to "ovarian cysts", much to Frank's frustration.
- In Guys and Dolls, Nathan Detroit's fiancee Adelaide is a hypochondriac, as shown in the song "Adelaide's Lament."
- The Who song "Doctor, Doctor" (by John Entwhistle) takes this to ludicrous extremes:
Doctor, thanks for seeing me today, I'm glad
I've got every sickness there is to be had
I had whooping cough last month
And today I've got the mumps
And tomorrow I'll catch chicken pox as well
- Star Trek: The Next Generation actually predicted something happening before it was reality: hypochondriacs diagnosing themselves over the internet! In this case, Reg Barclay looking up symptoms for various diseases, including transporter psychosis.
- In Star Trek: Voyager, the EMH wrote a holonovel called Photons be Free which featured characters that were thinly disguised expies of the Voyager crew. When Harry Kim ran the program, he encountered his character, Kymble, who was worrying about the possibility of their decompiling the fictional EMH because there were probably millions of new viruses in the Delta Quadrant and he'd probably end up catching half of them. "Great," grumbled the real Harry Kim, "my character's a hypochondriac."
- The Disney Junior series Doc McStuffins features a hypochondriac snowman character who worries about such things as getting broken bones (he's a stuffed toy), being wet (he's a snowman) and catching various illnesses that aren't contagious.
- Babysitting charge Charlotte Johannsen develops a temporary case of this in book #43 of The Baby Sitters Club after Stacey is hospitalized for complications with her diabetes. Dawn, Charlotte's sitter at the time, realizes Charlotte must want to be sick so she can be in the hospital with Stacey.
- Filbert Turtle is one on Rocko's Modern Life. He even sings a song about it in the episode "The Lounge Singer."
- Cory Matthews has shades of this on Boy Meets World, but especially in a final season episode where a stupid magazine quiz tells him he's going to die young. The doctor he goes to recognizes this as hypochondria and gives him some placebos, though the real cure comes from Topanga promising she'll always be there to take care of him if he's sick. The promise clearly worked, as he's gotten over this by the sequel series Girl Meets World.