Banana Peel

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"A banana has two uses: food, and entertainment."

Guaranteed to send a character into a Slippery Skid, a Banana Peel is one of the most dangerous things you can encounter in a cartoon. Just stepping on one will inevitably lead to a pratfall or some variety of injury, often capped by a case of Circling Birdies.

The use of a banana peel as an injurious prop is actually alarmingly realistic and a reference to its ubiquity on the streets of American cities in the early part of the 20th Century. Refrigeration and shipping speed had combined to make bananas the most popular fruit in the country, and in that age before anti-littering laws, people would just eat the fruit and discard the peels wherever they were. As they rotted, the peels would become quite slippery and thus dangerous to tread upon. Banana peels were in fact responsible for a large number of accidents and injuries, including several severely broken legs that eventually had to be amputated, according to period sources. The problem grew so bad that modern urban street sanitation systems were invented mostly to deal with the peel; in New York City, the banana peel actually became something of a symbol of modern sanitation. This is also frequently homaged, just about anytime a cartoon character ends up crashing into a trash can, garbage truck, or any other public-sanitation device, he's likely to find himself having at least one banana peel stuck to him.

It has been claimed that the trope actually originated in the time before cars with combustion engines and electric trams, when almost all public transport was powered by horses. And the huge amount of horse manure that piled up in the streets became a serious slipping hazard. When film was invented, this was considered inappropriate to show, so the banana peel became a substitute.

Note, however, that the slippery banana peel trope is often used unrealistically—a fresh banana peel is hardly slippery at all. One episode of Jonathan Creek makes the point that you're more likely to slip on a dog turd. Even so, they are still not an inconsiderable risk—for example, in 2001 Great Britain recorded over 300 banana-related accidents, most of which were caused by slipping on a peel.

And the rest? Well...

Examples of Banana Peel include:


Anime & Manga

  • While Azumanga Daioh never showed a banana, much less a peel, Osaka mentions slipping on a banana peel as something she wants to try.
  • Ouran High School Host Club has chimpanzees appear out of nowhere just to spill banana peels all over the place. In Episode 9, Haruhi slips on one of them, setting up a dashing rescue by one of the St. Lobelia Academy girls. Not so much in the manga, though.
  • In an episode of Keroro Gunsou, Giroro distracts Keroro with a banana peel. Keroro being the big showoff that he is, he can't resist stepping and slipping on the peel. Keroro's inability to resist slipping on banana peels becomes a minor Running Gag.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia
    • One strip has America tripping on one. He breaks his leg even though he landed on his face.
    • It also happens to South Italy (Romano) in an old strip when he tries to charge at Germany. He trips on the peel, but winds up with a skinned arm and forehead from landing on his face.
  • Happens in episode 7 of Season 2's Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. Right after responding to a guy who sent him a text message about why he was so curious about peeping in the girl's bathroom, Akihisa sends a reply stating "Isn't it obvious? I like what I like." Unfortunately, he sent that message to one of the main girls of the show (so to her it would seem like a Love Confession from the Oblivious to Love character), and before he can correct his mistake, his friend Yuuji walks by to see what was wrong, and happens to slip on a banana peel. It causes him to slip, and he accidentally steps on Akihisa's cell phone before a reply can be made.
  • Features in the opening theme animation (and song) to Excel Saga.
  • Occurs in the Eiken OVA.
  • The first training to make Sumika more clumsy in Sasameki Koto is this. Also lampshaded in its status as Discredited Trope.
  • In the Pokémon episode "Beauty and the Beach" (initially banned in the West, and then aired with several edits), Meowth uses banana peels to slip up Bulbasaur and Misty, who are helping to serve customers at a restaurant. In Misty's case, it also counts as Foot Focus, since she's wearing sandals.
  • In one episode of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Itoshiki talks about wanting to die a "celebrity death", which he initially means dying by something owned by a celebrity. One example is "slipping on a celebrity's banana peel", which is immediately followed by the Rimshot sound.
  • It happens early on in Bakemonogatari, when the protagonist, Araragi, discovers Senjogahara's "condition"... Because she slipped on a banana peel and fell from the stairs into his arms. After their slightly later, slightly more traumatizing encounter, Araragi demands that Hanekawa never eat a banana in school, and if she does, to always throw it away properly.
  • In an episode of the anime adaptation of Kochikame, a banana on the subway platform tracks caused a train to derail with hilarity reaction.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Nanami slips on a banana peel discarded by Chu-Chu.
  • Ranma from Ranma ½ slips on a banana peel, causing a chain reaction which results in the creation of a clone of his girl-side possessed by a ghost, stepping from a Magic Mirror. After much trouble, the twin (who wasn't so much evil than horny) is sealed again in the mirror, at which point Ranma slips on a banana peel in the exact same place, resulting in a clone of his male side.
  • In a variation, when Shouma from Mawaru Penguindrum steps on a discarded bottle in episode 15, it has the same effect as if he had stepped on a banana peel.
  • A banana peel appeared in Nichijou during one episode, in which a karate person slipped on that banana peel.
  • Su from Love Hina sometimes leaves these around. Sarah also tries to deliberately throw one in front of Keitarō once.
  • A chapter of To Love Ru Darkness involved experimenting to analyze Rito's Accidental Pervert tendencies, in hopes of developing a cure. A fresh banana peel was dropped in front of him; he pointed out that he could see it and knew to avoid it — and WHOOPS....


Comic Books

  • A short comic bit at the end of V for Vendetta has V lock a guy out onto an 18 inch ledge, where the guy slips on one of these.
  • In the Marsupilami comic series, there is an evil businessman who wants to make profit out of banana plantations, and his henchmen try to find original product ideas. One suggests making lubricant out of the banana peels since its slippy factor would be of great advantage, but this idea is already heavily patented. Another henchman suggests making concrete out of the banana peels, but another one points out that the concrete would be very slippery.
  • In the comedy comic series Nabuchodinosaure, there is an episode where the title character has to outrun another dinosaur and is carrying a lot of bananas. Therefore, he throws the banana peels at his pursuer so he keeps on slipping. The end of the story is him being bloated up because he ate all the bananas that he peeled since he doesn't like wasting food.
  • Tintin
    • Tintin in the Land of the Soviets has one villain set a banana peel as a trap for Tintin. Snowy takes notice and moves the banana peel right next to the man's foot, and he gets Hoisted By His Own Petard.
    • In Cigars of the Pharaoh, Tintin attempts to foil security guards with banana peels. He manages to foil two of them, but the third manages to turn the tables.
  • Batman
    • Issue number five of The Batman and Robin Adventures (a tie-in comic to Batman the Animated Series) features the story "Second Banana", which begins with The Joker trying to beat a man to death with bananas ("Bananas are funny. Death by bananas is a positive riot."), complains how long it took for him to do so, and states that he'll bring plantains next time. Cue about ten or so pages of him trying to kill The Riddler, who had been declared smarter than he was. After an old bait-and-switch, he comes to kill Riddler for real... with plantains this time. The peel itself comes in at the very end, where The Joker, about to shoot Batman with a Hand Cannon, slips on it and falls, allowing the Caped Crusader to haul him back to Arkham.
    • Even Batman himself can be laid low by a banana peel.
    • A recent issue has The Joker facing off against the equally villainous Dr. Simon Hurt. He places a gun just out of his reach and they have a contest to see who can get to the gun first, but Hurt fails to notice the banana peel Joker had left on the stone steps; he ends up slipping on it and cracking open his skull, allowing The Joker to bury him alive.


Films -- Animation

  • In The Wizard of Speed and Time (both the short and the feature), the title character, after a minute of running hyperfast across the world, encounters a banana peel that trips him up.


Films -- Live-Action

  • Played straight in the 1917 Harold Lloyd short The Flirt.
  • In Sherlock Jr (1924), Buster Keaton sets a banana peel trap for his rival but ends up slipping on it himself.
  • The opening of Wrongfully Accused has the prison bus slip on a banana peel while driving through the mountain road, causing it to fall off the cliff!
  • Shaolin Soccer
    • Played straight and subverted. In an early scene, the main character and his coach watch a women trip on a banana peel, they then cut to a shaolin temple where a monk trips, catches himself and procedes to jump across a field banana peels, landing on each one and using it as a jumping point.
    • There's a callback to this at the end of the movie, when a woman slips on a banana peel and catches herself spectacularly, starting a chain of scenes showing that now the main character and his girlfriend are now world-famous and have started a craze for learning amazing martial arts skills.
  • Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World has a banana peel joke in the final scene. Ethel Merman is the victim.
  • Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl subverts the banana peel joke as part of the "Custard Pie Lecture" sketch. Rather than slipping on the skin, Michael Palin picks it up and stuffs it down Terry Jones's overalls.
  • In Singin in The Rain, Donald O'Connor sings that one of the ways to "Make 'em Laugh" is to slip on a banana peel.
  • In Woody Allen's Sleeper, the future has produced giant-sized bananas. Naturally, two characters have lots of trouble staying standing when the peels are left on the ground.
  • In the movie version of The Colour of Magic, the wizards try to kill Trymon by using a banana peel as a distraction so that he would die because of wet cement covering him; it fails. Later on, during the climactic battle atop the Tower of Art, Trymon slips on a banana peel and is hit by his own spell.
  • In the football game of Horse Feathers, one of Chico and Harpo's plays involves the use of banana peels for offensive blocking—but Harpo is enjoying it so much, he tosses one under teammate Zeppo, who is running with the ball.
  • In Billy Madison, a bus driver tosses a banana peel out of the window onto the highway. The banana peel slowly rots, forgotten, as the film goes on... until the end of the film when the Jerkass O'Doyle family's car drove onto and swirves around and ends up driving off the cliff.
  • One of Sam Boga's men slips on a large bunch of them in The Gods Must Be Crazy. It was pretty much inevitable, considering the guerrillas were camped out in a forest of banana trees.
  • Subverted in the French movie La vengeance du serpent à plumes. The protagonist is trailed by an assassin in the Parisian subway while eating a banana. You'd expect this trope to come into play, but the bad guy instead slips on a discarded metal can just as he's about to strike, and falls on his own blade. The clueless "hero" then discard the banana peel, which lands on the face of the dying assassin.


Jokes

  • A very old joke:

Q: What do you call two banana peels?
A: A pair of slippers!


Literature

  • Mentioned in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, when Nick Rostu stalls a mob by firing into the floor and making the first meter or two turn into slippery goo, so that they all fall in heaps and struggle in vain to stand.

"Not bad. Maybe not up there with slipping on a raballa peel, but still pretty funny."


Live-Action TV

  • In the pilot episode of Dead Like Me (called "Pilot"), George goes to collect a soul and the banana peel on the floor of the bank is the subject of debate, as she thinks she is Genre Savvy enough to know that this will be the cause of someone's death--and even after the bank is held hostage and shot up, she turns out to be right.
  • Jonathan Creek
    • As mentioned, the first episode saw the title character experimenting with this after seeing a commercial making use of it; after taking a good run at it, he ended up slipping on dog muck instead.
    • Earlier on, another character complained about the use of this trope in an unaired TV commercial, especially since it depicted a bicycle slippping on the peel.
  • The Goodies
    • In episode "Cunning Stunts", Bill is seen throwing several banana peels on the floor just so he can slip all over them as part of his entry in the Eurovision Loony Contest. Graeme and Tim also slip all over the skins.
    • And a mimed banana peel causes a nasty accident in "Daylight Robbery on the Orient Express". It Makes Sense in Context (sort of).
  • An episode of Good Eats featuring bananas and plantains spoofed this multiple times.
  • The MythBusters tested this trope by building a field full of banana peels and running an obstacle course over it. For comparison, they also had a similar field coated in animal birthing lubricant (which Jamie happened to have in the shop). While the peels were definitely more slippery than solid ground, it was nowhere near as slick as the lubed ground and (assuming you know the peel is there) it was certainly not an automatic slip like you'd see in a cartoon. You know what that means...
  • RV Robo falls victim to this in an episode of Gekisou Sentai Carranger. Yes, you read that right: the Humongous Mecha slips on a banana peel.
    • Even more ludicrous, Tokumei Sentai Gobusters has a gorilla mecha that fires banana missiles; the peels pop off right after the launch and immediately become hazards. That's right, even giant metal banana peels are slippery.


Music

  • "Fallin' Never Felt So Good" by Shawn Camp:

Now I'm a guy that does what he feels
But I never seem to spot that banana peel
With eyes shut tight and nerves of steel
I'm takin' the plunge, baby, head over heels
Fallin' never felt so good…


New Media


Newspaper Comics

  • Garfield
  • Il agente secreto
    • Played with in this Spanish strip: in one gag, the main character slips on a banana peel... in the middle of a frozen river in the South Pole.
    • Yet another strip shows the main character trying to infiltrate in one house by walking right up the façade. It works well, until he slips on a banana peel.
  • One Far Side comic features a penguin slipping on a banana peel in the middle of a vast plane of ice.
  • An old New Yorker cartoon by Charles Addams shows a banana peel lying innocently on a busy city sidewalk, cordoned off by "caution" signs.
  • There is a humorous full-page cartoon in a magazine showing a monkey skating in the jungle by having its feet in banana peels. It would be very hard for banana peels to slide on jungle soil, not to mention that the peels had the "non-slippery" part on the outside.


Video Games

  • The Mario Kart series features banana peels as an item; crashing into one causes you cart to spin out and possibly lose coins.
  • The PC racing game Crazyracing Kartrider also features a banana peel item.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl has banana peels as items, and also Diddy Kong can drop them any time. Sometimes players will trip even without slipping on one though.
  • Mother 3
    • Fassad is both very fond of bananas and rather careless about where he throws the peels, and it's possible to slip on them. This bites him in the ass at the end of Chapter 5.
    • There is an item called an "Ancient Banana", which can be used in battle to make an enemy trip and lose HP.
  • Pipo Monkeys from Ape Escape occasionally drop these.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, if your character eats a banana and then continues adventuring in the same area, you will eventually trip over the peel. There is a trophy for doing this multiple times.
  • In the adventure game Gobliiins, one of the player characters can make a werewolf novelist laugh by intentionally slipping on a banana... just a banana.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha VS King Abaddon has Raidou slip on a peel early in the game while cornering a suspect with unbelievable luck. The banana peel is later used as the standard slip/tripping animation.
  • Um Jammer Lammy involves a banana peel accident. After Lammy gets her new guitar and dashes off, in her haste she slips on PJ Berri's banana peel and dies. This leads to performing concerts in Hell. The U.S. version, however, significantly alters the accident and the result location to a/an (presumably more humid) island.
  • There is a powerup called Banana Peel in Backyard Hockey which sends the opponent into a Slippery Skid, even though there is no actual banana peel in the powerup except for the icon.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • The Bouncywild enemies in the first game occasionally toss banana peels. Should Sora step on one, he will slip, fall on his ass, and lose a ton of munny.
    • In Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, they lost the banana peels, and in its PlayStation 2 remake, it was re-added, although Sora will now lose Moogle Points instead.
    • Also, in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep during the Fruitball minigame, if your character gets hit by a bunch of bananas, banana peels will spead thoughout your side of the field. If you slip on one, your character is knocked out for several seconds.
  • During one phase of the final boss in Donkey Kong 64, you have to make him slip on giant banana peels. There are also parts earlier in the game where running over a banana peel results in slipping on it.
  • Water Warfare has banana peels as an item that make you slip if you run over them—rather difficult to distinguish from the pick-up-able item, too. Strangely, they make you unable to turn your head as well, which we're still working out.
  • Subverted in Sam and Max Freelance Police Season 3: The Penal Zone. Max's psychic visions hint very heavily that a thrown-away banana peel is important, and that the heavy they're trying to dispose of ends up falling down a manhole. If the player opens the manhole and places the banana peel in front of it, the heavy comes over to tell them 'no littering', and while he's distracted, Max runs up behind him and bangs two dustbin lids together, stunning the heavy into the hole.

Sam: Oldest trick in the book!

  • Luigis Mansion has banana peels which can be sucked by your vacuum cleaner.


Visual Novels


Web Comics


Web Original

  • Chuckles the Clown, a superhero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is armed with (among other things) a gun that spits out banana peels, with predictable effects against his enemies.
  • This image is made of this trope, Steampunk, and win.
  • One FUNimation Update Quickie takes this to truly ridiculous extents in one of its funniest episodes by having a careless Scott drop a banana in frustration. Then, a man walking by who was a major character in the rest of the month's quickies slips on the banana, falls off the roof of the building from it, and dies. Turns out it was All Just a Dream... which in return was All Just a Dream Chris Sabat had before getting hired by Funimation.


Western Animation

  • Darkwing Duck villain Splatter Phoenix, who has the Relm-esque ability to call something into existence by painting it, made a banana peel for Darkwing to slip on, and bemoaned the necessity of painting such a mundane object.
  • Garfield and Friends
    • Garfield engages in a little rapid-fire banana eating in order to slip up the "monster" he thinks have invaded his home. It is Jon, back from the store.
    • Happens in the Orson's Farm segment, where aliens arrive to steal away the Earth's comedy. The animals try everything to convince them otherwise by trying to make them laugh, such as jokes, slapstick humor, and a singing segment about the joys of humor, but nothing works. Finally, with their time almost up, Roy the rooster accidentally slips on a banana peel he threw away seconds ago, making the aliens burst with laughter.
  • It would be easier to list the Looney Tunes cartoons that don't use this trope than the ones that do.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • In the episode "Funny Pants", Patrick slips on the same banana peel several times.
    • Exaggerated in the episode "The Bully", where Flats drives a truck trying to run over SpongeBob but the truck slips on a banana peel and flip over.
  • On Ed, Edd n Eddy, Kevin slips on a banana peel in the episode "See No Ed".

Kevin: Man, that's old.

  • A subversion from Family Guy: After Cleveland found out Quagmire was sleeping with his wife, Mayor Adam West gives Quagmire a banana to protect him from an angry Cleveland, the implication being that Quagmire would use it to slip Cleveland up. When the big chase scene comes to use the fruit, Quagmire instead throws the entire banana at Cleveland. It does what it would do in real life.
  • Robot Chicken
    • Subverted in a "Behind the scenes" of the original Battlestar Galactica Classic: we see a montage of clips of the Cylon actors falling over in the costumes in a variety of interesting ways, culminating with a lone Cylon taking his time to walk down a hallway towards a banana peel on the floor. Just as he's about to reach it he's hit by a wrecking ball and sent flying through the hull into space.
    • Played straight...er when Jesus slipped on a banana peel while walking on water.
  • Futurama. Fry gets tiny, tiny fruit as a gift. He throws a near-microscopic banana peel on the floor. Amy Wong slips and falls on it. Of course, Amy IS a klutz....
  • Inspector Gadget got turned into a cyborg super-investigator (sort of) after he seriously injured himself by... slipping on a banana peel.
  • Metalocalypse: The band gets an in-house therapist who reinforces good behavior with banana stickers (the sort of thing one would reward to preschool kids) - when they have enough of him and give him his notice, he rushes them in a fit of rage, but slips on a banana sticker, and plummets out a window.
  • Occasionally used in Tom and Jerry; the Chuck Jones shorts featured this fairly often.
  • A very early Popeye cartoon has him squaring off with Bluto, who owns a produce cart pulled by a mistreated horse. A bunch of bananas gets thrown to the pavement, and things go naturally from there.
  • In the Eek! The Cat special "It's a Very Merry Eeks-mas", Santa Claus slips on a banana peel and gets severely injured after he complains about the mob of angry reindeer.
  • The title character on Jimmy Two Shoes manages to weaponize this in a fight against the Rodeo Clowns.
  • Zelda defeats a dragon this way (while Link is trying to defeat it) in the The Legend of Zelda episode "Kiss N'Tell".
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: In "Operation: S.N.O.W.I.N.G.", Numbuh One throws some banana peels before a quadruped Humongous Mecha (straight out of The Empire Strikes Back). The mecha pilots burst into laughter at this sight, but then their vehicule steps on a peel in the snow... and it immediately topples to the side.
  • In Richard Scarry's Best Learning Songs Video Ever, Freddie Fox slips on one after his song about numbers. Epic Fail ensues.
  • In Batman the Brave And The Bold, Batmite use this to take out Gorilla Grodd, while pretending to be Batman, in "Legends of the Dark Mite!" ("Irony' good.")
  • One episode of Arthur has Brain slip on a banana peel resulting in a badly sprained ankle on one leg and a torn knee ligament in the other.
  • In the Taz-Mania episode, Tazmanian Lullaby, during one scene, Francis X Bushlad tried tons of things, but the screen kept shaking. The camera then focuses on Francis to reveal that Francis slipped on a banana peel three times.
  • Naturally, the Donkey Kong Country animated series has had this happen more than once. In fact, one episode began and ended with people slipping on banana peels!


Real Life

  • Charlie Chaplin was once asked how to do a perfect banana peel gag. He replied that a woman should be walking along, see the banana peel, step over and continue walking until she falls down an open manhole.
  • Bobby Leech did numerous death-defying stunts like swimming down Niagara in a barrel. One day he slipped on an orange peel, fell, broke his leg so badly it was amputated, and eventually died. Bananas and oranges: the difference between hilarity and gruesome, horrible death.
  • Guy Delisle tells in Shenzeng when he saw, in real life, a man slipping on a banana peel and he was surprised because it was just like in "comics".
  • Many marathons offer bananas to runners late in the race. Bananas are a tasty and digestible source of energy. And there's nothing like having dozens of discarded banana peels in the middle of a footrace.