Green Around the Gills

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Henry Chan learns the hard way that spinning cars aren't as much fun as they look.

Nausea isn't always easy to detect in another person in real life. Sometimes you can tell by how pale they look, but they might be pale for another reason (natural coloring, lack of sunlight, makeup, other unrelated sickness).

In cartoons, however, you can tell right away as the character's face turns green. This is usually followed by vomiting, either offscreen or on. Expect this to happen if a character has just been through a wild or fast ride (typically a roller coaster), eats or smells something gross, or thinks about something unappealing (sexual or otherwise). Motion sickness can also result in this, especially seasickness. Expect a long groan and maybe a Circling Birdies motif to accompany this trope.

This is somewhat based in reality, as some people's skin does turn a fairly greenish hue when they're nauseated.

May happen as a result of Universal Poison. Sometimes Played for Laughs when the character is supposed to be green. If the character has fur it may overlap with Through a Face Full of Fur.

Not to be confused with Sickly Green Glow, although they may be related.

Examples of Green Around the Gills include:

Anime & Manga

  • Happens to Hyatt in Excel Saga, when she feels sick before she vomits up blood and dies (as opposed to the times when she just drops dead).

Films -- Animation

  • Turns up in The Castle of Cagliostro. Lupin's face goes green for a bit after he overstuffs himself on food. Combined with Balloon Belly.
  • Grimsby's face turns a very unflattering shade of green right before he bends over the ship's rail in The Little Mermaid.
  • Fievel's face turns green for a few moments in An American Tail, when an alcoholic politician burps in his face.
  • Happens to John in Peter Pan when he smokes a peace pipe.
  • Osmosis Jones, during the scene when the eponymous, lead character (who's disguised as a germ) is at the club. After drinking a rather nasty, phlegmy beverage, he has the reaction of not only his face turning green, but his head gets twisted up and stretchy as well.
  • Happens to the title character in Pinocchio when he inhales an entire cigar.

Films -- Live-Action

  • A rare live-action version, in the adaptation of George of the Jungle when after beating up Lyle's henchman George sniffs his own armpit and turns bright green.


Toad said, "Frog, you are looking quite green."
"But I always look green," said Frog. "I am a frog."
"Today you look very green even for a frog," said Toad.

Live-Action TV

  • In the Quantum Leap episode "8 1/2 Months", Al mentions that Sam looks "a little green around the nostrils" before he throws up due to Morning Sickness from leaping into a pregnant woman.
  • The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers episode "Zedd's Monster Mash" (a Halloween Episode) Bulk and Skull eat too much Halloween candy, and literally turn green for a few seconds after Kimberly offers them another piece.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Happens to Lila in the Hey Arnold! episode "Love and Cheese" during a ride on the tilt-a-whirl.
  • In Kim Possible, Ron encounters Shego who has a cold and comments that she's looking even greener than usual.
  • Star Wars the Clone Wars: Ahsoka mentions that Rotta the Hutt is so sick, "He's turning every shade of green except the one he's supposed to be!"
  • Looney Tunes
    • The Bugs Bunny short Falling Hare. Bugs is in a plane that's in a power dive. As he looks out the window, he puts his fingers to his mouth and turns green. Watch it here.
    • Bugs' face goes green again in A Corny Concerto, after he is supposedly shot.
    • In The Wacky Worm, the crow's face turns green for a few seconds, as the result of a tummy ache from eating several apples in an attempt to find the title character.
    • In the Merrie Melodies take on Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton's face turns green at one point from seasickness.
    • In the short Lumber Jerks, a Goofy Gopher's face became green due to noxious fumes, after siphoning gas from a furniture truck.
  • Pictured above: Happens to Henry in The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan episode "The Mardi Gras Caper" when he and Stanley hit a Chan Plan that results in some rather crazy driving.
  • This happens to all the ponies who sampled Applejack's "baked bads" in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Applebuck Season".
  • In the Classic Disney Short The Riveter, Donald Duck turns green when he finds out he'll be working on the top floor of a half-constructed skyscraper.
  • It would often come up as a gag in the 80s' Ninja Turtle cartoon. When the turtles are disguised in public under a trenchcoat and a hat, if they are noticed people might wonder if they are ill because their faces are green.
  • King of the Hill
    • Bobby Hill becomes green-faced from smoking several packs of cigarettes which his dad Hank made him do as a form of punishment, after finding out his son has been smoking.
    • Happens again in "Death of a Propane Salesman" during Buckley's funeral Dale thinks that there's nothing in the coffin, he peeks inside and sees his gruesome remains, he turns pale green and vomits into the coffin.
  • The Simpsons
    • In episode "Homer's Night Out", Bart becomes green-faced at the sight of some repulsive-looking seafood.
    • In "The Ten Per-Cent Solution", Homer's face turns green as he acts out the part of a bloated corpse.
  • Quack Pack
    • In the episode "Can't Take a Yolk", Huey, Dewey and Louie's faces get green around the gills from motion sickness on an amusement park ride.
    • In "The Really Mighty Ducks", an airsick pilot turns green not only in the face, but his hands as well.
  • In The Magic School Bus episode "The Magic School Bus For Lunch", a shade of green appears on each of Ralphie's cheeks due to not being able to stomach (literally), being inside Arnold's digestive system.
  • In the Woody Woodpecker featurette "Socko In Morocco", the eponymous woodpecker and Buzz Buzzard's faces turn green momentarily from inhaling smoke out of a hookah.
  • In the Tex Avery cartoon The Screwball Squirrel, Meathead the dog is looking for Screwy Squirrel on a ship, Screwy draws a picture of water and waves it out the port window Meathead turns bright green and leans over the ship to vomit, Screwy laughs at him for only to try it on himself and gets the same results.
  • In the Jungle Cubs episode, "Hulla Baloo", Prince Louie's face became green as a result of a stomach ache from eating too many bananas.