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Namely, it's when Not the Fall That Kills You meets Overly Long Gag; a character takes a fall (perhaps from an Absurd Altitude), and falls for a really, really long time, long enough for either the character or the audience to start wondering when the fall will end. Generally unrealistic (unless someone is sky diving), especially since the character will almost always survive the fall. It's rather hard for it not to be Played for Laughs. It might involve a Bottomless Pit, or at least a near-bottomless one. Bonus Points if the character becomes bored and starts to look for things to do to pass the time, though it can be equally hilarious to just have them scream their lungs out the entire time (perhaps even stopping to take a breath mid-scream, which is a sure indicator that this trope is in effect).
Just a little bit of trivia: it would, theoretically, actually take you 42 minutes (so less than an hour) to fall through a frictionless hole drilled through the Earth and accelerating only due to gravity. Considering that the earth is about 6,000km thick, there's little chance you'll fall for more than a few minutes from any part of the atmosphere with breathable air. Unless you purposefully slow your descent.
- The trap-door pit in Ilpalazzo's headquarters in Excel Saga is subject to this gag at one point. There's plenty of amusing background scenery during the fall.
- Usually it's a fairly short fall, ending in a splash. However, the first time, Excel spends a good two minutes lamenting her fate, and later we see Il Palazzo hired Puchus to expand it. He eventually uses it to drop Excel from Japan to America.
- In the finale of Sailor Moon SuperS Chibi-Moon is thrown from an asteroid that is rising up to the moon and falls down to earth, down to Tokyo, with Sailor Moon after her, in a sequence that takes about four minutes within the show.
- Kite, otherwise a rather serious OVA, has one of these that doubles as an Overly Long Gag. Sawa fights a man in a bathroom; the two end up falling out of a large hole in the wall. Sawa grabs onto a sign which snaps off the hinges. Sawa and the man spend about two minutes falling, during which they see a random couple having sex in an office. They hit a tunnel and go through the roof; they hit a car and go through the floor of the tunnel. Another two minutes of falling. The car, the mook and Sawa hit the ground and go through to the subway system, upon which they hit a subway train. The sign then falls the rest of the way and blasts Sawa into a nearby building.
- Kevin Matchstick is suspended over a bottomless pit while being interrogated by the Umbra Sprite in The Hero Discovered. In a horrific variant of this trope, the Umbra Sprite describes a cat he tossed down the pit whose cries he could hear echoing back up for weeks.
- At one point in the Tales of Suspense story "The New Iron Man Meets The Angel," Iron Man's jets fail during an aerial battle with a Brainwashed and Crazy Angel. While Iron Man exclaims at least twice that he will hit the ground in "seconds," his fall lasts for more than one page of the magazine. During that time, Iron Man reflects on at least two regrets (not coming up with suitable Famous Last Words and never saying goodbye to Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan) and the Angel pulls a Heel Face Turn, before the Angel finally saves Shellhead about 16 panels after letting him fall.
- In a SpongeBob SquarePants comic, Spongebob and Patrick drop down a seemingly bottomless pit. They fall for so long that they grow beards and then shave them off before hitting the ground.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Eddie Valiant falls off a Toontown sky scraper long enough to have a conversation with Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse.
- In the 3-D Journey to The Center of The Earth movie, the characters fall, scream, stop screaming, realize, "WE'RE STILL FALLING!" and scream some more. In the end they land in water.
- The second Spy Kids movie. The fall was so long, they eventually got bored to tears.
- Though it was actually an illusion; they were being held up by a fan.
- A variation on this was done in Undercover Brother, where the titular hero was first being led to the BROTHERHOOD headquarters, the entrance was through a barbershop. Then the seats drop, and we see Undercover Brother and Sistah Girl falling for quite a while, with UB screaming all the time. Then it turns out they only dropped a single story with the fans and some clever lighting providing the falling effect.
- Though it was actually an illusion; they were being held up by a fan.
- Even in the book Gandalf later on claims to have been falling forever, but in the movie version of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers we actually see Gandalf and the Balrog falling down the pit under the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm, taking several minutes to reach the bottom, and fighting each other all the way down.
- In Twice Upon a Time, Flora falls for so long after stepping out of Rod Rescueman's flying bachelor pad, Rod has enough time to wash and iron one of his dirty capes before flying to her rescue... sorta.
- In "Bill and Teds Bogus Journey", the two title characters find themselves in this situation when they are exorcised by Missy and her new age friends. After several minutes of screaming, Bill remarks, "Dude. This is a totally deep hole." and Ted replies "Yeah...now what?" and they start screaming again because there is nothing else they can do. The drop last so long and B&T are so bored that they end up playing 'Twenty Questions' before FINALLY hitting the bottom (Hell).
- The rabbit hole Alice tumbles down in Alice in Wonderland is the likely Trope Codifier. This fall is so long that it gives her plenty of time to wonder about the ways of the world and talk to herself. One of the few examples which doesn't double as an Overly Long Gag.
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Infinite Improbability drive changes a missile into a sperm whale two miles above the surface of a planet. It has about half a page of monologue to come to terms with its own existence, comprehend its situation, and come up with a name for the big round thing rushing up at it really fast before it learns, rather abruptly, that the ground does not wish to be friends with it, whereupon it becomes a rather messy canyon at ground zero.
- In the ~Robin McKinley~ novel The Hero and The Crown, the protagonist climbs an insanely huge staircase, and then falls down it when during her battle with the Big Bad, it's destroyed. The kicker is that it's way, way more than hours.
- Based on the state of her injuries and the landscape she landed in, she spent somewhere between one and five centuries climbing, and six to twelve months falling.
- In The Wheel of Time while Skimming, one of the Aiel being transported falls off the platform everyone's on. The area in question is essentially an endless nothingness where one will fall forever without chance of rescue. Gulp.
- In the Tunnels series, if you fall into the Pore, you fall for days. What eventually stops you is not any sort of bottom, but the gradual loss of gravity. (The Tunnels series has a rather strained relationship with inertia... don't think about it too hard).
- In House of Leaves, Navidson is stuck at the bottom of the Grand Staircase after it suddenly gets a lot longer, and hears a coin drop. He realizes it must have been dropped by Tom right after the Staircase stopped expanding, over fifty minutes ago. The book explicitly notes that this makes the shaft of the Staircase longer than the diameter of the Earth. Considering how fucked-up the geometry of the house is, it makes perfect sense.
- Used in some Choose Your Own Adventure books. One has the main protagonist fall into a bottomless pit (one is a dragon, and the current speed prevents the dragon from opening the wings), and another has the lead charcters fall down a bright, cold, icy slide.
- In Wizard, second novel in the Gaea series, a character falls from the hub of the gargantuan living space station all the way to the outer torus. Between the low gravity inside of Gaea and the sheer distance, it takes the better part of a hour, allowing sufficient time for a winged humanoid to notice her, and offer to slow her fall to a survivable speed in exchange for sexual favors.
- The Abyss from His Dark Materials takes this to a ridiculous extreme -- it's mentioned that someone who fell in would die of starvation long before they reached halfway, then they'd keep falling as a ghost even after this.
- In Tik-Tok of Oz, the party falls down the Hollow Tube all the way to the other side of the world. The trip down takes over an hour; the return trip takes longer, but they are riding a dragon (who is in no hurry).
Live Action TV
- One German comedy show had the reoccurring skid "The man who was falling down a very tall cliff". Which was about a man who was falling down a very tall cliff and each week met new interesting people or experienced suprising events.
- The Lemon Demon song "I've Got Some Falling To Do" deals with a man who falls off an airplane and finds himself with enough time to get a phone call from Death, get bored, think of an interesting way for himself to die and ponder the nature of perpetual motion. In the end, he's caught and rescued by a giant squid... even though he would have rather just kept on falling.
- Older Than Feudalism example from Greek Mythology: When Hephaestus sides with Zeus in an argument against Hera, the latter throws him off Mount Olympus. He doesn't hit ground for a full day. This seems to happen to Hephaestus a lot. When he was born his mother Hera was so disgusted by his ugliness that she chucked the baby Hephaestus off the mountain. He fell nine days and nights and landed in the ocean (or fell until sunset and landed on an island). In the latter story he was rejected for being born lame; in the former story, he became lame because of the fall. Greek mythographers contradicted each other all the time.
- One of the multi-strip story arcs in Calvin and Hobbes had Calvin holding onto a balloon only to have it float away with him, high into the sky. When it pops, he falls for incredibly long time. At one point he looks down and expects to wake up from a dream at any moment, but it doesn't happen. Luckily he finds his transmogrification gun and saves himself with it by turning himself into a light particle.
- Also, a Demetri Martin joke:
One time I was riding the escalator and I tripped. I fell down them for an hour and a half.
- Many of the Super Mario Bros.. games feature levels in which Mario falls a long distance, and is able to steer himself through the air to grab rows of coins on his way down.
- A good example is level 5-2 from Super Mario Bros 3
- The Sunken Ghost Ship in Super Mario World.
- The very first part of Super Mario Bros 2 has you falling from a door in the sky onto a hill in Subcon.
- Super Mario Sunshine has a glitch involving Mario, Yoshi, and a flower that forcefully moves sand on the beach to send Mario flying past the sun. The resulting fall can take anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour.
- Easily doable in Glider PRO given a sufficient expanse of open sky.
- Torin falls down one in the adventure game Torin's Passage, and he falls so long that he has to stop to catch his breath mid-scream.
- Doable in most Grand Theft Auto games, provided that you use the invincibility cheatcode and have access to aircraft. And depending on where you land (e.g. the sea), sometimes doable without the aforementioned cheatcode.
- In Portal, you can set up a portal loop such that your character falls indefinitely through the ceiling and into the floor. There's an achievement for doing this, called "Terminal Velocity" -- you have to set up a portal loop and let yourself fall for about 15 minutes to get it... and hope you aren't subject to motion sickness.
- The beginning of Chapter 6 in Portal 2, aptly titled "The Fall" and containing a nice bit of Lampshade Hanging from GLaDOS.
GLaDOS: Well, since we aren't going anywhere -- well, we are going somewhere, alarmingly fast actually, but since we aren't busy other than that...
- The Curse of Monkey Island had a scene where Guybrush is falling and falling and falling until you remember that you picked up an umbrella at some point earlier. You have plenty of time to open your inventory and select it, allowing him to drift gently to the entrance of the cliff lair of some smugglers.
- Banjo Tooie features an elevator to move between the five floors of Grunty Industries, only there's no elevator and you have to climb a rope to get to the top. Without any elevator to get in your way, however, you can jump off from the top and fall for such a long time that Banjo's falling yell ends before you're even halfway to the bottom. The fall is so long that you will die even with full health (unless you have the fallproof cheat active).
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, during the Metropolis Zone there's a certain part that turns out to be a vertical Wrap Around, leading to instances of this trope until the player finds a way out of it.
- And this also happens near the beginning of Ice Cap Zone in the sequel, Sonic 3 & Knuckles. How do you make it stop? You see that one ice block there? Try to land on it, because it's the only flat surface around. It'll break off from the rest of the ice, then slide along and break through an otherwise-unbreakable wall, thus getting you out of the area.
- Shadow the Hedgehog had Cosmic Fall. You spend the entire level jumping from falling platforms.
- In the original Castlevania 1986 on the NES, the entrance to level 4 starts by Simon Falling down a chasm into the level. It was not even close to endless, but some fans came up with a theory that the fall is the reason for Simon now taking 4 damage from everything, due to mortal wounds
- In The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask, in Snowhead Temple, there's one area where you must fall for several in-game hours (if you aren't using the Inverted Song of Time, that is) as Deku Link -- just to get the last Stray Fairy of the area. Of course, it's worth it to get the Double Magic Meter. All the while, Link's just making strange spasms while holding onto the flowers.
- Any 3D Zelda game, when using a cheating device and a levitation code, can result in this.
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories has one really long fall at one point, in its Dark World.
- Many stage fatalities in the Mortal Kombat series feature this, but the one most in effect of this trope is the Sky Temple in Deception (which returns in Armageddon), from which the fall is outrageously long.
- The loading screens of Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex only show Crash falling, and never hitting any ground.
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has, in what has to be a Homage to Lord of the Rings, Samus fighting Ridley in freefall early in the game. The shaft they're falling down is explicitly shown to be several kilometers deep. Samus survives because Rundas catches her before she hits bottom. Ridley survives because he's Ridley.
- Halo loves this and on several occasions has Master Chief and Noble 6 jump from space ships to either land on another ship several kilometers below, or go all the way down to the planets surface.
- Twice in Final Fantasy VI:
- First, when Sabin and Cyan reach Baren Falls (and Shadow leaves) they jump over the edge to continue their trip. They fall alongside the cascade and fight carnivorous fish, including a miniboss, all the way down, taking a few minutes to do so.
- Later, when trying to reach the Floating Continent via airship, they fight the Imperial Air Force boss in mid-fall. This is quite a lengthy encounter, with clouds scrolling up at high speeds the whole time, but when the party reaches solid ground they're no worse for wear.
- Bayonetta has a few of these. The playable introductory sequence has you tumbling down a cliff while fighting angels for four minutes, and the penultimate boss battle has you falling continuously from a skyscraper for however long it takes you to defeat him. The final boss really takes it up to eleven though, when you punch the spirit of Jubileus out of her body and send it falling into the heart of the sun from beyond the orbit of Pluto.
- Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity
- There is a section of Toad Man's level and it is based on the same thing from Sonic the Hedgehog's Labyrinth Zone.
- After beating Mothraya, Mega Man falls because the explosion knocks Rush away. In fact, the screen fades to black during said fall.
- Illusion of Gaia: At the end of the Floating Continent dungeon, the protagonist Will jumps off the side and starts falling. His cousin Neil tries to pilot a biplane under him but drops a contact lens, resulting in Will continuing to fall for a while while Neil argues with his passengers and brings the plane around again.
- God of War 3 has the sequence right before Cerberus, the game's That One Boss. Kratos Literally jumps off the Daedelus' Labyrinth and falls forever until he gets to the bottom of the chain. What's really strange, is how the impact from hitting things during the fall causes damage, yet the impact from reaching the ground does nothing.
- During the prologue of the H-game Sumaga, the main character has enough time from waking up in freefall to think to himself for a bit, have an extended conversation with three flying girls, watch an aerial battle between said girls and what they mistook him for, and have one of them make a mad dive towards him before he hits the ground and dies. He's awfully calm about it, more so than having Laser-Guided Amnesia.
- One of the bonus levels in Aero the Acro Bat is a long, long dive into a pool.
- In Retarded Animal Babies, Bunny takes a break from screaming during a leap to his death to look at the time.
- One of the Homestar Runner main pages shows Homestar falling through the air for an endless amount of time. By rolling over certain buttons, the viewer could also make Homestar stop in midair, fall even faster, or fall in the upward direction.
- In one of the Teen Girl Squad cartoons, So-And-so falls into the school football team's "bottomless spirit pit". This prompts the observation that, "When you fall in a bottomless pit, you die of starvation." An Easter Egg at the end of the cartoon shows that So-and-So eventually gets bored of falling and turns to conversation with her imaginary boyfriend.
- The German internet phenomena Coldmirror has one scetch called "The NEW EIGHTH Harry Potter Book" in which she, dressed up as JKR, presents "Harry Potter and the bottomless black hole". She even reads an excerpt: "Harry looked at Ron and Hermione and fell and fell and fell and fell and fell and fell and fell and fellandfellandfellandfellandfellandfellandfellandfelland."
- Done as a Running Gag in Problem Sleuth, where the fall is accompanied by requested actions like "Fall in a silly/nervous/hardboiled manner."
- Usually followed by the command (Character): Land already. The same gag has been used in Homestuck.
- Roy's famous (and monologue-heavy) fall in this strip of Order of the Stick.
- In an arc of a gaming webcomic, one of the PCs falls down a bottomless pit, which is made bottomless by having a teleport zone zap them up to the top of the pit repeatedly. It's said to kill you via the eventual build up of air friction burning you to death.
- Irregular Webcomic, of course, has a long fall (with commentary).
- A chapter of Flipside has two characters going down on a seemingly endless staircase only to discover that the whole thing is just three floors and a pair of portals. A non canon intermission has one of them fall off. You can guess the rest.
- The Trope Namer, coming from the Super Mario World cartoon. In the episode "Mama Luigi", Luigi explains to Yoshi that a
Sumo BrotherFire Sumo opened up a crack in the ground as it attacked, and Luigi allegedly fell into the resulting chasm "for hours". He then admits that it just seemed like hours, though, making it a possible subversion. He survived falling because he "Found a MAAAAAAAGIC balloon!"
- The old The Legend of Zelda cartoon had an episode where Ganon was thrown down a Bottomless Pit by his rebelling minion, after he was trapped in an invulnerable sphere that could only be broken by the Tri-Force. He falls for quite a while, until the story eventually comes back to him when he realizes that his magic still works inside the sphere, and he magics up a balloon to slowly float his way back out. Actual times or distances are never mentioned, though they are implied to be fairly ridiculous.
- Bugs Bunny:
- The early cartoon Heckling Hare had both Bugs and the canine antagonist accidentally plummet off a cliff, screaming hysterically and clutching each other as they fall for a ridiculously long time by the standards of a seven minute short. Director Tex Avery wanted to have them fall off yet another cliff after they survived the fall from the first one, but Leon Schlessinger cut Avery's ending, which prompted Avery to leave Warner for MGM. The cut part also alluded to a very riske joke. Bug's after they fall again. "Hang on to your hats fellas, here we go again!"
- A similar gag was done in Falling Hare, with Bugs Bunny trapped in a plane which plummets down for a long time, with some hilarious takes of Bugs panicking and becoming sick to his stomach. It only stops just before hitting the ground because it runs out of gas.
- Which gets a redo in Looney Tunes: Back in Action but with a falling car instead, once again stops a few inches just before hitting the ground, Bugs Bunny saying: "Heh, out of gas., the screen fading out, and the girl of the party saying: "That doesn't work like that! the car crashing into the ground anyway.
- On Tiny Toon Adventures, in the episode "Journey to the Center of Acme Acres", Plucky and Hampton fall down a crack in the ground when a huge earthquake hits Acme Acres. After a while, they start getting bored and hope they eventually hit something just to break the monotony. They eventually end up at the center of the Earth where they float because their gravity reaches an equilibrium.
Hamton: Think we'll hit bottom soon?
Plucky: I hope so, this is so boring. Getting splattered would be a nice change!
- In The Flight of Dragons: "It seems like we've been falling for hours!" "Actually, it's been more like ten centuries!"
- The Simpsons:
- Ozzie Smith falls into a seemingly-bottomless pit tourist attraction in the softball episode. It doesn't stop him from snapping pictures on the way down.
- Also happens when Bart and Sideshow Bob fall off the Springfield Dam in "Brother from Another Series". The fall takes long enough for them to scream, take a long inhale, then keep screaming.
- In the Freakazoid! "Virtual Freak", this happens to Freakazoid and the Lobe.
- An episode of Thundercats features the Four-Day Drop, a meteoric crater allegedly so deep it takes four days to hit bottom if you fall in.
- In the French stop-motion film A Town Called Panic, the main characters ride a falling rock for so long that they eventually lapse into a card game on top of it.
- In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Wallaby on Wheels", Heffer falls down the O-Town Bottomless Pit at the end, taking a breath mid-scream before the Iris Out.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- The episode 'Shanghaied' has the Flying Dutchman throw Squidward in the Fly Of Despair because of his endless ranting. Squidward doesn't reach his house until near the end of the episode.
- In another Spongebob episode, Plankton uses a device to switch lives with Mr. Krabbs, and he begins falling through a type of portal on his way there. While he is only shown falling for a few seconds before a flash, he actually stops mid-fall/scream, takes a drink of a soda he pulled from nowhere, and then continues to scream and fall.
- In the My Life as a Teenage Robot episode "The Boy Who Cried Robot", a mountain climber slips and falls after having climbed the largest mountain in all of Asia. The fall takes him so long that he coughs in mid-scream and begins screaming again and eventually takes out his watch. Don't worry, Jenny conveniently catches him right before he has the chance to hit the ground.
- Astronauts in orbit are actually in a state of freefall for the entire duration of their mission - it's just that the smart guys at NASA have figured out a way to throw yourself at the Earth and miss for days at a time.
- Planets, moons, and satellites in orbit around stars. Stars flying through space. Anything flying through space.
- A Low Earth Orbit has a period of about 90 minutes, so falling for hours would mean that you'd fall all the way around the world, multiple times.
- In 1960, Joseph Kittinger, during testing on the feasibility of putting a man in space, rode a balloon to an altitude of 102,800 feet -- over 19 miles up -- and then jumped out. The resulting skydive lasted four and a half minutes and still holds several relevant records.