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A character comically dons a corset or a girdle, usually to conceal a gut. In some variations the unfortunate garment will burst, after being put under far too much strain.
There are two main ways this is used:
- The humor comes from the character trying to cram themselves into something that is clearly far too small and constricting for them. Bonus points if they manage it, but the end result makes their figure look absurd.
- A character we previously thought was in shape suffers a mishap which reveals their humiliating secret. This is popular in cartoons, as it's easy to suddenly add extra weight to a character once their corset has been removed.
Always Played for Laughs, but if the corset wearer is attractive it can loop back around to Fanservice. Similarly, if the owner of the corset is not attractive or very overweight it can become Fan Disservice.
Unlike Of Corsets Sexy, this trope is fairly unisex, probably because the idea of a male wearing a girdle is funnier, and more indicative that the wearer is vain, pathetic and ridiculous. The exposure of a girdle is often used as part of a Humiliation Conga, especially if the character is unsympathetic. Most likely to happen to a Fat Bastard, a Narcissist, a Small Name, Big Ego, The Prima Donna, an Alpha Bitch and a Nice Character, Mean Actor. If the character is sympathetic, it's often a device to show the character as insecure while picking up a cheap laugh along the way.
- One of the earliest examples in film: Airy Fairy Lilian Tries On Her New Corsets.
- The Carry On films of the 50s and 60s LOVED this trope, and it's unusual to find a film in the series that doesn't include a few jokes about some of the more ample cast members struggling with their corsetry.
- The Clingy Jealous Girl / Rich Bitch from Malibu Bikini Shop gets her just desserts after her dress gets ripped off in front of the bikini babes she's been plotting against, exposing her dark secret- a long leg panty girdle.
- One of the many unsettling scenes in the film version of The Cat in the Hat includes the well-groomed, suave Alec Baldwin locking himself in the privacy of his house, removing the girdle he wears under his shirt and unleashing a massive beer belly.
- Happens to Shrek and Fiona at the very beginning of Shrek the Third.
- Bridget Jones squeezes herself into a panty girdle to look slim in her slinky black dress- she only remembers she has it on when her office crush is undressing her. He has a chuckle at her expense.
- The joke is repeated several times in the sequel. Bridget's big support knickers are her Iconic Item.
- C. Bagley Beetle attempts to lace himself into a corset for his wedding day in Mr. Bug Goes to Town, with disasterous results.
- In the first Erast Fandorin novel, Fandorin encounters an ad for male corsets, with a lot of bizarre snake-oil claims about improving health. He buys one, and closer to the end of the novel it does save his health by working like an armor vest. Then his boss considers making these corsets standard issue.
- On an early episode of The Muppet Show, hairdresser Gilda is trying to make herself look younger, and resorts to wearing "very tight foundation garments." In the middle of her conversation with Kermit, her girdle explodes.
- Another episode revealed Link Hogthrob wears a girdle. Well, his character was a parody of William Shatner...
- CSI had an episode with a dead Civil War re-enactor who wore one, apparently well-born men wore them back then just like women, and though it wasn't meant solely for humor,they did get a lot of funny out of it. Grissom's Quip to Black was "What a waste" (waist).
- An episode of Bewitched has Samantha befriend a beleagured magician who is being exploited by his scheming, vain assistant. On learning how she plans to use his tricks to become a star herself, Samantha magics her gown to rip off in front of the live audience and TV cameras, revealing that the assistant wears a girdle.
- Dick from 3rd Rock from the Sun became self concious about some extra weight and bought himself a male corset called "The Shatner". He laces it tightly and goes to work, where Mary and Nina instantly notice when he drops a calculator and can barely pick it up. Then he sits down. The corset can't take the strain and bursts in a spectacular fashion.
- A skit from The Carol Burnett Show has a woman who can't get through the metal detector without it beeping. She finally goes behind a screen, takes off a METAL corset, and goes through the metal detector a last time, getting stuck.
- Lister on Red Dwarf tranfers his body to Rimmer so he can exercise and get it into shape. He ends up going on a huge binge, having forgotten how good food tastes, and tries to hide the fact he made the body much fatter with a heavy duty girdle.
- On Thirty Rock it's often mentioned that Liz wears Spanx - when she set out to seduce someone she wore a double set. It's implied Lutz wears Spanx too.
- Andy wears one in the Extras Christmas special, and of course it bursts during his audition.
- Nikki in an episode of Spin City proves Carter is vainer than she is by tearing his shirt open, exposing his "Mr Tummy-Tucker".
- Family Guy: Peter wears a comedically tight corset in order to ride a rollercoaster which he otherwise wouldn't be let on because he's too fat.
- In the Bugs Bunny cartoon "The Wacky Wabbit", Bugs pulls down Elmer's pants, exposing a girdle. (This was at the time when Elmer was drawn fat.) Elmer turns to the audience and says, "Don't waugh. I bet many of you men wear one of these."
- A Warner Bros Wartime Cartoon has a gag about how citizens are giving up their corsets to help the war effort. The before shows a couple walking down the street; in the after, the woman looks the same, but her husband has a noticeable paunch.
- The Simpsons has a few examples: When a shop specialising in whalebone corsets opens in Springfield, the Comic Book Guy buys himself a ridiculously tight one: "Behold, I am Captain Kirk from Star Trek One! *girdle gives way* Two. *girdle gives way more* Five. *girdle gives way more* Generations. *girdle breaks entirely* Boston Legal."
- Homer tries to wear a very tight girdle to fit into his Pie Man superhero costume. The poor girdle pops seconds after he puts it on.
- An old Mickey Mouse short "The Dognapper" shows Peg-Leg Pete receieving his comeuppance by being frog-marched through the streets with a feminine corset binding his arms to his sides.
- This happens to Zapp Brannigan on an extremely high gravity planet.
- On episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield attends a cat obedience class with a snooty teacher who secretly wears a girdle under his suit.
- This has become so associated with William Shatner he's become the Trope Codifier. Any parody of Star Trek worth it's salt is bound to include a few shots at the infamous girdle, which he denies ever having worn to this day.
- Tabloids that love to point out the follies of celebrities often feature unfortunate actresses with their Spanx showing from under their dresses as they disembark cars.