They Killed Kenny Again

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Stan: Oh my god, they killed Kenny!

Kyle: You bastards!
—Almost every episode of South Park for the first five seasons.

A Recurring Character Red Shirt, as impossible as it sounds. This character is, and sometimes exists only to be, killed off repetitively (sometimes even Once Per Episode), always returning by the next one, as a Running Gag.

Usually found in shows with Negative Continuity, particularly Sadist Shows - in more realistic shows, the character may be a robot who can be rebuilt or replaced between episodes, or Immortal Life Is Cheap in some way, unless there's a Groundhog Day Loop going on. The character does not need to die permanently as long as he appears to die in the narrative.

A subtrope of Negative Continuity and Comedic Sociopathy. A ritualized form of Staying Alive. Could overlap with The Chew Toy and Cosmic Plaything. Often a by-product of Death Is Cheap. Chronically Crashed Car is a variant that refers to vehicles.

As of season 14 of South Park, this trope has been deconstructed via a Cerebus Retcon. Details can be found in the main and character pages.

NOTE: this is a comedy trope. If it's not a Running Gag, it's probably just Death Is Cheap.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of They Killed Kenny Again include:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Louie the Fly, in the Mortein insect spray commercials. For the character's 50th anniversary, Mortein are having a public poll on whether to kill him off permanently.


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • There is a character in Sailor Moon who gets killed off several times and always looks the same, but never gets lines (or a name).
  • Hyatt of Excel Saga. Often many times an episode.
    • The Ropunmatsus too. Those pretty much exist to explode and then be replaced like nothing happened in the next episode.
    • Excel herself has suffered this status on occasion.
      • For example, dying roughly two or three times before the second half of the first episode. She gets better.]
  • Sakura (a boy) in Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan is killed many times per episode depending upon how much he pisses off Dokuro only to be resurrected seconds later.

Sakura: "Why did you just murder me, Dokuro?!"
Dokuro: "There was a mosquito on your shirt!"

  • Getter Robo has an unusual subversion in the form of Musashi Tomoe. Musashi is unfailingly Killed Off for Real (usually by way of a Crowning Moment of Awesome Heroic Sacrifice), only to show up alive and well to repeat the process... In the next continuity.
    • And not just the anime either. He bites the dust in most of his appearances in Super Robot Wars as well. Very, VERY rarely is he savable. However, despite being savable in Alpha 2, his death is Canon.
  • There seems to be a Recurring Character in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, who's almost always the Mook leader, that dies all the time during the latter part of the series. On a side note, he may also be the one that ends up shooting Dekim in the head from the sound of his voice but that's probably due to recycling VAs rather then intentionally.
  • Leomon from Digimon is a special case. Every series but the second and seventh is a hard Continuity Reboot, and all Mons of a type are identical, so there are several guys named Leomon or SomethingLeomon who are not the same guy, or even Alternate Continuity versions of the same guy. And what happens to them?
    • Digimon Adventure: Leomon eats a blast meant for Mimi, and after helping vanquish the villain, bites it.
    • Digimon Tamers: Leomon becomes Juri's partner, and eventually gets run through and absorbed by Beelzebumon, sending Juri over the Despair Event Horizon and setting the stage for D-Reaper's use of her.
    • Digimon Frontier: JagerLowemon's Japanese name? KaiserLeomon. Actually being human doesn't save him from death at the hands of Lucemon, though it turns out that like Shibumi of Tamers, he's actually physically in the human world and his mind is connected to the digital world, unlike the others. He's alive and well when they get home. Bonus points for a Monster of the Week, Panjamon, who is a white recolor of Leomon. He gets taken out quite easily, but since he's in Mercuremon's illusionary world, and leaves no egg behind, he may never have been real.
    • Digimon Savers: SaberLeomon is a "good but misguided" type who believes humans are bad due to the bad actions of one guy. Not only does he die, but... in all Digimon series but Tamers, Digimon revert to an egg state and begin life again, never truly dying. However, Kurata figures out a way to corrupt a Digimon's data so that it can never be revived. SaberLeomon is the first Digimon in this series to die permanently. Also, BanchoLeomon turns out to be holding the spirit of the lead character's father. Naturally, he dies too. When the reformed Big Bad gives Daddy back, nothing is said about BanchoLeomon. Harsh.
    • Digimon Xros Wars: MadLeomon is a villain general. The first one. As he's a Warmup Boss, he's offed very quickly. The fastest record for a Leomon death in the franchise. And he's not the only one; later on there's Apollomon, who while not sharing the name is definitely leonine. He dies twice, but is revived at the end of the series.
    • No, that award goes to Digimon X Evolution, where a Leomon dies in the first three minutes. And because he considered the digimon he was attacking (the main character) more worthy of being alive!
  • Vrumugun from Slayers appears in maybe eight episodes, and dies roughly a dozen times over the course of them. In the anime, this is because he has been repeatedly cloned. In the novels, this is because the 'Vrumuguns' who are killed are actually people being magically controlled by the real Vrumugun.
  • Chuck the ghost dog from Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt is killed multiple times in every episode only to reappear at random times alive only to get killed again.
  • Although everyone in Angel Beats! dies repeatedly, none of them dies as often as Noda, whose appearance WILL gurantee death.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has the Zeppeli family, in Parts 1 and 2, which has both of their members ( Will A. Zeppeli and Caesar Zeppeli die against one of the major enemies but managing to inspire the protagonist beyond the grave. Gyro Zeppeli from Part 7 does not escape the same fate.
  • Carnival Phantasm has Lancer, who seems to die in his every appearance. In fact, he once got spontaneously struck by lightning on a clear day. The Beach Episode is the only episode where he doesn't die because he doesn't show up there. Episode 11 remedies this by revealing that he was hiding in the rocket when it got punctured by a ballistic volleyball.

Card Games[edit | hide]

  • Magic the Gathering features a handful of cards whose Flavor Text references the various deaths of a hapless goblin named Furt.
    • More famously, there's Squee, who eventually proved to be so popular he got his own card, complete with a returning-to-play mechanic.

"He is Yawgmoth's reward to me. I shall kill him a hundred times a day."

      • More recently, the card Reassembling Skeleton lampshades a lesser-known rule regarding creature cards; If a non-token creature leaves play for any reason but returns at some point, the game state considers it a different creature. To sum up, same card does not equal same creature.
    • Chaotic has similar flavor text for some cards involving Bodal.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Great Lakes Avengers
    • Mr. Immortal. His one power is the ability to come back from the dead after a few minutes. Since he has a considerable lack of fighting skills, this mostly translates to him frequently dying in a variety of hilariously painful and bizarre ways. Death by giant novelty scissors, death by impalement from a remote control, death by alcohol poisoning from a ray that was only supposed to make him drunk...
    • An interesting variation in the succession of Grasshoppers that join the same team; none of them are the same character, but all of them take the hero name Grasshopper, join the team to replace the last Grasshopper, and then get killed in various ugly ways, each with less panel time than the one before.
  • The Mad Magazine comic Spy vs. Spy features a black and a white spy trying to outsmart each other, and either one of them usually ends up beaten or dead by the end of the strip, only to be alive and well by the next gag.
    • According to Word of God from creator Antonio Prohías, they are not the same spy, but are instead merely spies from rival nations that die horribly and are replaced - this was the basis of his commentary on the Cold War.
  • The Red Tornado gets blown up so many times it's become a running gag in the Justice League, and also makes its way into Batman the Brave And The Bold.
  • Emperor Palpatine in Dark Empire. Practically everyone kills him. Mostly Luke and Leia. Han kills him the last time.
  • Due to a combination of Dead Baby Comedy and Negative Continuity, nearly the entire cast of Twisted Toyfare Theatre, or at least the setting Megoville, dies several times over the course of the series. The character guides in the trades frequently list several deaths for each character. Bucky Barnes probably dies the most consistently.
  • It's well known among Transformers fans that any character without a toy is a Red Shirt. The Transformers Armada comic series had a recurring Red Shirt in Dropshot, whose design was taken from a Japanese transforming robot that was not imported during the original series' run.
    • The Decepticon Dirge is in any number of unconnected comic series, and meets his doom in nearly every last one, and blows up twice in the G1 cartoon. His death count may be higher than Prime. The TF Wiki quotes his Badass Boast, "Death comes to he who crosses me!" and attributes it to "a confused Dirge."
  • DC's Solomon Grundy is a cursed zombie (sort of), so whenever he dies he just rises again from the same swamp he died in (often with a completely new personality, including some times where he's been heroic), which of course happens all the time. Eventually they just strand him on an uninhabited planet.
  • A number of characters in Viz have died and come back without explanation, but Suicidal Sid and Big Vern (and his supporting cast) die almost every time.
  • The Finish western comic, Pekkos Bill, have the titular hero dying violently in every third panel, always with the same smug expression on his face (unless the death involves the obliteration of his head or entire person).
  • Iznogoud, in his plots to overthrow the Caliph, always ends up locked in a dungeon, permanently transformed, vanished, etc. and is back to resume his plotting at the beginning of the next episode.
  • Freddy in Horndog.


Fanfic[edit | hide]

  • In the Final Fantasy fanfic Cid Wars, Biggs and Wedge are killed every time they show up, amounting to at least a dozen times over the course of the fic.
    • A Fan Fiction.Net author by the handle of Carbuncle frequently kills off Aeris in his Final Fantasy VII fanfics, which is followed by exclamations of "Oh my god, they killed Aeris!" "You beasts!" This is an obvious reference to Kenny's deaths on South Park.
  • In Chris McFeely's later Digimon fics, the series' running gag of Leomon dying becomes this.
  • Kyo Kusanagi died repeatedly in the early chapters of The King of Fighters improfanfic Reforming Evil Can Be Tricky. It quickly became a Running Gag.
  • Sunsetshine in Hidden Prophices.
  • Dirge in the Transformers fic, They Just Don't Care Anymore, dies in almost every chapter, even parodied in the Halloween Special, where he dresses up as Kenny and, predictably, dies.
    • He fares no better in canon.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy fanfic YouTube Ed, after chapter 6, Eddy gets brutally killed in some sort of way. Edd and Edder then give an obvious South Park reference, as seen below. This was actually required in one chapter to find Edder, though the kids found out it was a trap for them the whole time.

Edd: Oh my goodness, they killed Eddy!
Edder: You bastards.
Ed: I see an obvious crossover here!

  • Adric in Doctor Who fanfic setting This Time Round.
  • In The Emiya Clan, Lancer gets this shoved upon him at every possible point. It got to the point where AU!Illya and Zelretch were summoning him just to see how many strange and peculiar ways they could make him suffer.
    • Also, an army of Lancers makes for a great supply of expendable labor.


Film[edit | hide]

  • In Little Nicky the title character is killed a total of seven times throughout the movie first when he got hit by a train when coming to the surface of the world, next when he got hit by a bus trying to find his brothers, next when he's killed by a polar bear in the zoo, then he got hit by a truck when one of his brothers is mind controlling his body, afterward he tells his room mate and stoner friends to kill him they do so by drowning him in the bath tub, the next time when he sacrifices his life to save Valerie by shoving his evil brother Adrian in front of a subway train when he tried to kill her causing it to hit both of them, and for the last time when he wishes to see his father (the Devil) so Valerie smashes his skull with a boulder given to her by Ozzy Osbourne.
  • In the first, second, and third Scary Movie films Brenda gets killed and she's always back for the next one. The fourth one she actually survived.
  • In both Men in Black movies, the local alien black market dealer Jack Jeebs serves a humorous variant on this trope in which his head is blown off, only to re-grow within less than a minute. This happens multiple times in both movies, usually with the MIB themselves perpetrating the deed, much to his frustration ("You insensitive pricks, do you know how much that stings?").

Jeebs: Even if I did, if it doesn't work, K dies, you blow my head off. If it does work, I brought back K who, just for the fun of it, blows my head off. Sooo, what's my incentive?
[K raises his gun to Jeebs' head]
Jeebs: [Weak laugh] Okay homey, I keep it right downstairs next to the snow blower.

  • A long-running joke like this is hard to pull off in a film-format, but Top Secret manages with the character of Latrine, who shows up three times, mortally wounded, to gasp out the intelligence he gathered.
  • In The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, the bard user gets sick of being resurrected (and subsequently losing a level)... so he brings in 50 more bard character sheets. In one scene, the other characters literally use his pile of corpses as cover.
  • The Quirky Miniboss Squad in The 6th Day technically does stay dead, but they clone themselves over and over, and several of the deaths are Played for Laughs. One of them repeatedly expresses a feeling of phantom pain from whatever his previous death was.
  • Phil in Groundhog Day due to a time paradox is living the same day over and over. He finally loses it and causes a bunch of destruction, abducts the town's groundhog and kills himself by driving off a cliff, only to wake alive and well the "next" morning. He then spends a horrifying montage in suicides in every way he can think of, only to wake up safe in bed on Groundhog Day morning.
  • Scamper the rabbit from Igor is killed multiple times but always comes back because he was injected with an immortality potion. At one point his head is blown off but it just regenerates; a recurring gag is how he just wants to die permanently.
  • Scruffy Banister the cat from Madhouse died about 7 times in the movie: its deaths include getting hit by a car, drowning in a fish tank, hit by a lawn mower, blown up by a firecracker, and dying of a heart attack after snorting cocaine. This is probably because of the myth that cats supposedly have 9 lives.
  • Seltzer and Friedberg do this in every one of their "movies".
  • Loaded Weapon 1 has a character that keeps returning after his death because he thinks it's the sequel already.
  • The Three Stooges die at the end of four of their shorts "Half Shot Shooter", "Three Little Sew and Sews", "You Nazty Spie!", and "I'll Never Heil Again".
  • In several of the James Bond movies CIA agent Felix Leiter is fed to sharks ("He disagreed with something that ate him") only to go through it again in another movie.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Cat from The Looking Glass Wars dies repeatedly in the series, since he has nine lives.
  • In Joel Chandler Harris' original Uncle Remus stories of Brer Rabbit and company, characters sometimes were said to be actually killed by the actions of Brer Rabbit or the others. In the first volume of stories, Brer Possum burns to death during a 'trial by fire' in Brer Rabbit Nips the Butter, Brer Wolf is locked in a chest and scalded to death in The Awful Fate of Mr. Wolf, and Brer Fox is killed by a farmer and decapitated in The Sad Fate of Mr. Fox. But all are back alive again in the second volume, Nights With Uncle Remus thanks to the Negative Continuity of the stories. Brer Wolf, in particular, is done in again several times in the second volume, and again back as if nothing happened.
    • In fact, Brer Wolf is back in a later story in the first volume, How Mr. Rabbit Saved His Meat, which lampshades this. The little boy to whom Uncle Remus tells the stories to objects when Uncle Remus introduces Brer Wolf, saying that Brer Rabbit scalded the wolf to death. Uncle Remus is forced to admit that yes, that's what happened in the earlier story, and that the story he's telling now might take place before it happened or be about a different Brer Wolf. He doesn't really know—he just tells them the way he hears them. And that's his final word on the matter and he goes on with the story.
  • Commissar Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) has been mistakenly reported dead so many times that there is a standing order that he isn't to be taken off the active duty list. Inquisitor Vail notes in the commentary that he is the only officer in the history of the Imperium to remain on the active duty list a hundred and fifty years after being buried with full military honors.
  • In David Wong's John Dies at the End, John dies in chapter six of the book. He gets better.
  • In Daniel Pinkwater's Young Adult Novel, installments of the story within the story "Kevin Shapiro, Boy Orphan" are said to frequently end with Kenny's unceremonious death. Charles the Cat explains: "Kevin is indestructible. You can kill him as often as you like. He can be brought back to life in the next chapter, which usually gets told the following day during lunch."
  • In the series of Clue books, Mr. Boddy was always "killed" in the final chapter. He would then explain how he survived in the introduction of the next book, usually by some silly, implausible stroke of luck (ie, his murderer accidentally picking up a banana instead of a revolver).
  • While only one died, teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts is not good to anyone's health. No wonder Dumbledore didn't find someone to take the job in the fifth book.
    • Well, let's see... One died, one got his memory permanently erased, one quit because of an oncoming scandal due to his Lycanthropy, one got shoved in a trunk/bag of holding for nine months by an impostor, one was run out of the school by essentially an open rebellion of the students and a poltergeist, one was part of a VERY complex double agent plan for Voldemort, and the last one... well, he actually lived after Dumbledore guilt-tripped him into taking the job.
      • That said, it is implied no one person ever holds the job for two consecutive years. Something always makes them quit. The one who died was said to have taught in prior years before taking a sabbatical to get more experience.
      • Word of God says he originally taught Muggle Studies.
  • Agrajag from The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy is repeatedly reincarnated and is killed again every time - always by Arthur Dent, and always by accident.
  • Actually conversated in an Animorphs book, where Rachel dreams she killed the Trope Namer.
  • Master Pangloss from Voltaire's Candide dies a few times.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Dinosaurs had a Show Within a Show called Ask Mr. Lizard. The young volunteer, Timmy, would die as a result of the science experiment every episode, prompting Mr. Lizard to spout his much anticipated Catch Phrase, "We're gonna need another Timmy!"
  • Mr. Bill is another early example.
    • A recent example on SNL is Bobby Moynihan's "Ass Dan" character, who has been declared dead in 2009, but has come back (and died again) in 2010 (twice), and 2011.
  • Not necessarily a Running Gag or any sort of comedic effect, but Ensign Kim from Star Trek: Voyager seems to fit for this. Basically put, Ensign Kim is the series' designated Red Shirt and any time he and one other person are on an away mission, you can almost guarantee that Kim is going to bite the big one... again. Of course, he comes back rather easily with all the various temporal stuff, cloning, alternate dimensions, and just damn good medical stuff.

Female Changeling: "I wish you hadn't done that. That was Weyoun's last clone."
Garak: "I was hoping you would say that."

  • It's been removed now for being too interesting, but at one point the Wikipedia page on Charmed had a tally of how many times the sisters had died. They were all in double figures.
  • In The Middleman there are the various Interrodroids, and to some extent Ida.
  • Larry Duff from Father Ted. Whenever Ted calls his mobile, he's in the middle of doing something from which he really doesn't want to be distracted. The resulting accidents are never shown to be fatal, but he probably qualifies for the trope anyway.
  • Spoofed, along with the Red Shirt, in an episode of My Best Friend Is An Alien, in which the combination of Fan Dumb and VR results in the school being turned temporarily into an episode of Tarbox Moon Warriors (an in-universe show everyone except the main character hates). Said main character comments that "the ensign in the orange shirt" is killed every episode.
  • On Misfits, after Nathan's power is revealed to be immortality, he begins to die frequently in a variety of gruesome (and often comedic) ways.
  • The henchmen on Primeval, it turns out that they're clones.
  • In the episode "Welcome Back Carter" (Eureka), the new robotic sheriff Andy is crushed multiple times, but Fargo always seems to be able to fix him, though with varying malfunctions occasionally popping up.
    • He comes back as Jack's new deputy in season 4, and goes in for repairs a lot.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor, and other Time Lords, can regenerate into a new person every time they die, hence "The Nth Doctor" being the name of the trope. It's happened to him 10 times so far.
    • Rory Williams was killed or thought to be killed so many times in the space of less than 2 seasons that it was lampshaded in "Night Terrors." Rory and Amy were transported to a dark room and Rory said, annoyed, "We're dead... We're dead, AGAIN!" It's Lampshaded again in "The Wedding of River Song." Apparently, aliens have a new title for Rory: "the man who dies and dies again." It's also led to the meme 'OH MY GOD, THEY KILLED RORY!'
  • The original MacGruber shorts all end with the team failing to disarm the bomb and the building they're in blowing up. Despite this, the shorts in each episode refer back to one another, and dialogue suggests that they see the bombs as threats to the buildings rather than themselves. Don't ask how.
  • Daniel Jackson of Stargate SG-1 dies a lot. The Other Wiki used to have a list, in fact. Depending on whether or not you count androids, alternate realities, and virtual reality simulations, he's over 20. Even disallowing every single time he didn't actually die, he still died at least four times. That might not sound like a lot for this page until you consider that in-universe, he's just a Badass Bookworm with no actual special abilities. It's not that he's a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, he just keeps on being saved at the last minute or seeing duplicates of himself get killed. After the second time he died (ironically, one of the times he wasn't really dead), his friends basically gave up on even giving him a funeral. Eventually it did become a Running Gag that some of the other characters (Jack) just stopped buying it whenever someone claimed that "They killed Danny!".
  • A Season Five episode of Supernatural actually opens with a montage of scenes from previous episodes where Sam and Dean "died," along with Bobby Singer snarking "how many times have you two died?"
    • Mystery Spot. 'Nuff said.
  • TV's Frank in Mystery Science Theater 3000. Not every episode, but pretty close.
  • Mongrels has one episode where Marion dies eight times if you count all the Family Guy esque-flashbacks, but otherwise averted unlike a lot of the "adult" cartoons it draws inspiration from.
  • Similarly, expect any recurring immortal in Highlander to die and come back to life several times. Unless the death involves decapitation, it's only an inconvenience to them.
  • One of the few times it's played for drama is Pygmon from the Ultraman series. Everytime the little guy shows up he normally gets killed, or at the very least, severely injured or threatened. While in universe this is played for the drama, and can be a Tear Jerker, he's earned the reputation in the fandom as the Kenny of Kaiju due to this.
  • Kennedy Smith and Allan Kriegman, the feuding retired secret agents and lead characters of The War Next Door, are prime examples of this trope. At least one of them dies at the end of every episode.
  • The Young Ones ended several episodes by killing off all four of the lads, and Neil died once in addition to that. Subverted with Vyvyan, who suffered injuries a few times that would've been fatal for anyone else, but shrugged them off.
    • Neil didn't die when Rik clouted him with that shovel. "Good thing Rik only stunned me, eh?..."
  • Jack Harkness of Torchwood and Doctor Who gets killed numerous times, but he's immortal, so it doesn't stick.
  • Due to the fact that he's literally a crash dummy, Buster from MythBusters is "killed" frequently by being put in situations that most often would be fatal to any actual people who were subjected to them. There have also been a few occasions where Buster has been so trashed that he's had to be completely rebuilt.
  • Obligatory Lana Lang from Smallville reference. Well first she died in a car crash but then Clark flew around the world to reverse time like in the film and brought Lana back to life, resulting in the death of his father instead. Great to have you back, Lana.
    • Then she apparently died in another car accident when a bomb went off underneath her truck. Turned out she'd faked her death and was living in Shanghai as a fake blonde. Naturally she came back to Smallville to relive the horror, cry some more, and break a few more hearts before being Put on a Bus and she hasn't been seen since.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Bill the Cat in Bloom County was a frequent example of this in his earlier days in the strip. Notably when he's electrocuted by his tongue being wired into an amplifier while rehearsing with Deathtongue...

Steve Dallas: ...AW, FERCRISSAKES, he isn't dead AGAIN, is he?
Portnoy: ...Naw, naw...I'll get the Bactine.

  • Brewster Rockit Space Guy play this one for laughs with Winky, Dr. Mel's unfortunate assistant, who seems to be able to lose his spleen many, many times.
    • Everyone in Brewster Rockit, but especially Winky.
  • Show Within a Show version: In Pearls Before Swine, Rat's "Angry Bob" stories tend to have the titular character die in all sorts of absurd and gruesomely comic ways, only to be alive at the start of the next story with no explanation (though in a few occasions Rat did write that Bob "undied")


Radio[edit | hide]

  • The later British radio comedy series The Burkiss Way featured the character of Eric Pode of Croydon, most of whose appearances ended with him getting shot by whoever he was talking to, usually the long-suffering Fred Harris. On one single occasion, Pode shot Harris, announcing 'I had to do that, he was getting on me nerves.'
  • The early "Guy Noir" sketches on A Prairie Home Companion (and its 80s substitute, Garrison Keillor's American Radio Company) were set up in this manner, with the title character and his then-sidekick, Jimmy, repeatedly accidentally killing each other. After the Moral Guardians protested these violent acts, Jimmy was Killed Off for Real and "Guy Noir" adapted its current format, with Noir getting by on his wits alone.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Any video game where the player's character can be killed can be this if the player is bad or the game is hard. Some games try to find creative ways of making every death part of the actual plot.
  • The Black Baron in MadWorld. He introduces every death trap-based Mini Game in the game... and is always thrown into them by his wordless girlfriend. "Aw, hell naw..."
  • The Carmine Brothers from Gears of War
  • Silent Hill 2 - Maria.
  • Gamon from World of Warcraft is a player based version of this. He's the only NPC in all of Orgrimmar that can be attacked, and due to his low level and the fact that he's sitting in an inn (where people usually hearth to after questing), he seems to exist solely to die over and over again. This is somewhat infuriating to low level rogues who need to pickpocket him to complete a class-based quest. He later appeared as a card in the World of Warcraft trading card game with the flavor text "Not again!"
  • In Halo, due to limits in terms of how many voices and models there could be, there's quite a bit of You All Look Familiar in the Redshirt Army, who usually do not last long at all in firefights with the Covenant. Ironically, one of said red shirts (the one with the Australian accent) apparently survived to the end of the third game, while many of the main characters died.
  • There is a running gag in Live a Live where each chapter whenever somebody says Watanabe, a random person will get killed, and usually a son will run in streaming tears dragging them away. Not played for laughs in Cube's chapter.
  • In the Team Fortress 2 "Meet the..." shorts, the entire BLU team.
    • Especially the BLU Soldier.
      • The BLU Spy deserves mention too.
  • The Ship Captain in God of War gets killed by Kratos on three separate occasions. In the first game, Kratos deliberately lets him fall into the belly of the Hydra, then when they meet in the Underworld, Kratos leaves him to drown in the Styx as he escapes. When the Barbarian King summons the Captain as an undead minion to do battle with Kratos in II, he screams "No! Not you again!" before Kratos kills him.
  • Bowser probably counts, as no matter how many times he gets dropped in lava, falls into a bottomless pit, or blown sky-high by a bomb, he is always back in the next game to kidnap the princess.
  • In Xenogears, this is actually a significant plot point. The characters Fei and Elly are incarnated five times, with Elly dying the first four times in Heroic Sacrifice. Miang, on the other hand, has been killed and revived 999 times, once even as twin sisters.
  • Lynne from Ghost Trick. The game has 18 chapters, 5 of which feature her dying and you being forced to go back and save her. She can, of course, die many more times if you fail at said "saving" often enough. Eventually, she herself stops taking her deaths seriously. Also, she almost dies once more in the last chapter, just before Sissel decides that he's had it with Lynne dying and stops it before it happens.

Sissel: It's Lynne! And she's not dead, for once!

  • Demon's Souls as a whole makes the player character this Trope; a lower then average player can expect to die at least 100 times. Quite possibly all on the 1st level.


Web Animation[edit | hide]


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Half the point of Nobody Scores!, in which the entire cast dies with alarming frequency.
  • In MSF High, death is cheap. Revives are easy. And one of the characters, Rainer, has multiple bodies. A measure of his killed-count reveals he's beginning to approach this trope.
  • Ran from Bob and George who dies multiple times in a single comic from the slightest touch.
  • Done excessively with Red Shirt in Legostar Galactica. It runs in the family.
  • Casey and Andy. The tag line was 'mad scientist roommates who periodically die!'. It was always their fault too.
  • Cooch of the Bulldog And Cooch strips in Pv P, always by falling victim to Stuff Blowing Up.
  • From the Fire Emblem Online Comics, we have... You know what, the entire cast.
  • Nodwick's title character is pretty much this trope - he often dies multiple times per story.
  • In Starslip, Quine's vital role as Protocol Officer means he is equipped to be automatically revived in a fresh clone body any time he dies, which makes him a convenient frequent target for death.
  • In The Order of the Stick the string of clerics always standing next to Redcloak so he can have someone to explain to before they die? His name is Jirix. Now ruler of a sovereign goblinoid nation.
  • The blond woman in Dinosaur Comics gets stomped by T-Rex every single strip, usually without comment.
  • In #465 of Double Fine Action Comics, one of the flies is cut in half by a spear, but is perfectly fine in #673.
  • Homestuck takes this trope in a slightly more serious and infrequent direction - John has died three times already, twice not counting Bad Futures, and all in the same day owing to an extreme case of Webcomic Time. The first time led to him becoming a Physical God, so now he's pretty much immortal - as Karkat keeps pointing out, he also keeps proposing ideas which will likely result in him dying again. Hussie lampshaded this in a news post about an imminent move of his:

Moving seems to have become an annual tradition, just like killing John has.

  • Yaythunder from Bad Drama dies at least once in all six story arcs of the 150-strip comic (twice in the second story arc, though his first death in that arc occurred in a dream world). Yaythunder's deaths appear to be a direct reference to Kenny's deaths on South Park, especially considering the utterance of "Oh my god, they killed Yaythunder!" and "You bastards!" in response to his first death. David, Yaythunder's equivalent in the Bad Drama remake Landslide, has not died so far and it is not clear yet if that running gag will still be used.
  • Ctrl Alt Del's early strips would feature Ethan getting killed every once in a while by ninjas or arrows fired from off-screen. The other characters don't pay much attention, as if this were absolutely normal, and Ethan (being the main character) is invariably alive and well in the next strip.
  • Used in a crossover of game mechanics isn Level 30 Psychiatry. Take Roger Wilco's penchant for getting killed, add some 1-up mushrooms and you've got this trope.

Gardevoir: The worst part is, when Roger comes back to life, he'l have to mop up his own shredded remains.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Phelous often dies at the end of his reviews.
    • This running gag stopped for awhile after doing a Doctor Who parody for an April Fools joke, where he became someone else and then became himself again. He almost never dies by the end of the episode unless he lampshades it.
  • Masaya in Tokyo Mew Mew in a Nutshell.
  • There had been times in which The Nostalgia Critic died a lot for consecutive episodes.
  • Death Is Cheap in Ink City, and Ren tends to die a lot. The fact few of the other residents seem to notice or care make him even bitterer than usual.
  • As a reference to her counterpart Aerith's death, the character Aeromite from the Kingdom Hearts parody Kingdom Paf gets killed several times in gruesome ways, only to ALWAYS come back alive a few minutes later.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Kenny McCormick from South Park is the most well-known example and Trope Namer. During the first few seasons, Stan and Kyle would always give their trope-naming exchange (seen above), sometimes varying it depending on the situation. There's even a pie-chart devoted to the causes of each of his deaths at the top of this page! The formula was played with quite a bit over the years to keep it amusing—giving an obvious way he would die and then using something else instead, having him come back as a zombie for a Halloween Episode and get killed again, having his girlfriend give him CPR, etc. The show creators were aware that this could become an Overused Running Gag though, and made one Very Special Episode where Kenny's death actually stuck. His place in the Four Man Band was later filled by Tweek or Butters, but he then returned with no explanation after one season (Word of God has hinted that it might have had something to do with Jesus dying in the episode he comes back). Now he no longer dies...as often.
    • This is lampshaded in a few episodes, particularly in "Cartmanland"

"...and the rest of the money is owed to the family of a boy who died on one of your rides."
"Kenny?! He dies all the time!"

    • In later seasons they've taken to subverting/averting this trope. For example, in "Poor and Stupid," Kenny finds himself on an active NASCAR track while accidents are happening all around him and cars are ramming each other trying to win, and manages to not get killed. In other episodes, they use him to avert Like You Would Really Do It. The audience is so used to seeing him die, that whenever they want to have real tension in a potentially-fatal situation, they stick Kenny in there.
    • And now, it seems that Mysterion is Kenny, and he has been completely aware of these multiple deaths all along, though no one else is much to his annoyance. The three-part episode deconstructs and explains the mechanics of his "power." There are still some plot holes (for example, his resurrection in "Cartman's Mom Is Still A Dirty Slut"), but for a show with Negative Continuity and Multiple Choice Past it's oddly cogent.
    • Actually it could be explained that his reappearance is really their memories of his death being wiped away. They act as if he walked back to them.
      • It is - he shoots himself in the head during the Mysterion trilogy after stating he's tired. He awakens in his bed and all the South Park kids as their hero identities show up at his door asking him why he just ran away like that. The same thing happens when he gets knifed in a fight with the others.
    • Non-Kenny example: In "Probably," Satan's caught in a Love Triangle, with his two potential boyfriends (Saddam Hussein and some random dude) constantly killing each other. However, since they're already dead and in Hell, this just means they disappear for about a day and show up again with the next batch of damned souls. ("Where was I supposed to go, Detroit?)
    • Osama Bin Laden has been killed twice on the show (maybe three times if the events of his real life death occurred in their universe).
  • Virtually every cartoon featuring Wile E. Coyote:
    • In his pairings with the Road Runner, the most famous example is "To Beep or Not to Beep," where he makes six attempts to use a catapult to hurl a large boulder on top of the unsuspecting Road Runner. Each attempt fails, often in comically spectacular fashion; the sixth attempt has—after much prodding—the catapult finally working (he jumps up and down repeatedly to get it to unjam ... only for him to be hurled toward a large rock formation and then a series of electrical transmission lines, after which he is hurled back to the catapult and finally killed. (After Wile E. is finally flattened, the catapult's manufacturer is revealed—The Road Runner Manufacturing Co., the Road Runner on the name plate "beep-beeping" for joy as he runs off.
    • In his pairings with Bugs Bunny, the most spectacular deaths come in:
      • "Operation: Rabbit." In the final gag, Bugs uses a tractor to pull a shed (where the Coyote is pouring nitroglycerin into carrots) and unhooks it on some railroad tracks ... just in time for a train to be coming. The train hits the shack, resulting in a huge explosion and sending Coyote high into the air. The dazed Wile E. lives long enough to visit Bugs and admit defeat.
      • "Compressed Hare," where in the final gag, Wile E. builds a 10 billion-volt magnet to—after getting Bugs to eat a metal carrot—pull his prey to his cave for an easy dinner. However, not only does Bugs send the carrot back, but the magnet begins pulling everything with metallic properties toward Wile E.'s cave, trapping him inside as a Mercury rocket lodges itself in the cave; immediately thereafter, everything explodes and (presumably) killing the Coyote once and for all.
    • There have been at least two occasions where he's blasted into space and the rocket explodes once turning him into a constellation.
  • N.I.G.E.L in Godzilla: The Series was destroyed or heavily damaged in just about every episode. Of course, being a robot, the crew would often send him into dangerous situations so they wouldn't put themselves at risk.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has XR, who was built by the LGMs for the purpose of being practically indestructible- he could be reassembled from ludicrous amounts of damage. In the prequel movie, he gains his 'human' personality and improbable equipment loadout from being incorrectly repaired while the LGMs were in disarray. Thus, in pretty much every episode he is destroyed, disassembled, taken over, torn apart, and otherwise suffers all kinds of Amusing Injuries and complains about it all the while.
  • Sealab 2021 has the whole lab blow up with all hands aboard on in several episodes. It once lead to the line, "Once again, your stupidity has killed us all!"
    • Note that this was the very first episode of the show, period.

Dr. Quinn: "You know Sealab is prone to massive explosion!"

  • The Simpsons: Hans Moleman dies in just about every episode he appears in.
    • Also lampshaded with The Itchy and Scratchy Show, in which Itchy kills Scratchy in every episode, only to have him return in the next for another slaughtering.
      • Except for the one episode where Scratchy kills Itchy. Naturally, neither the viewers nor the Simpson children get to see the end of said episode.
    • In the Halloween Episode "Treehouse of Horror V," Groundskeeper Willie tries to assist the protagonist(s) in all 3 tales, only to be murdered with an axe to the back.

Willie: Hold on, kids! I'm coming to rescue the lot of you! I'll- OW! Ugh, I'm bad at this. (collapses)

    • "Holidays of Futures Past" reveals this is also the case with future Ralph.
  • Happy Tree Friends: Most of the cast, with Cuddles (just barely) in the lead. Mole is the only character not to have died in the series itself, although he did in a cutscene from the video game adaptation.
    • The reason Mole has not died as frequently as the other characters in the main series is kind of touching: he's blind. So is the daughter of one of the creators.
    • Mole has died several times in the latest season of Happy Tree Friends - most notably, during the episodes Concrete Solution and Idol Curiosity, as well as fifteen other deaths from regular episodes alone. Normally, however, Mole is one of the characters responsible for the deaths of others.
  • Aeon Flux, at least in the original shorts. Notable in that she's the series' main character. Justified in that they were all clones... maybe.
  • Why trope page forget Waspinator?
  • Something happens to Eustace from Courage the Cowardly Dog in every episode. In the pilot, he was shot by a ray gun and reduced to a cinder, but other episodes just have him suffering some horrible fate that there doesn't seem to be any way to reverse.
  • Futurama had a minor character, a used car salesman named Malfunctioning Eddie. Every episode he appeared in, his head exploded at some point. Of course, being a robot, he was always fixed by his next appearance.
    • The various members of the Waterfall family are always killed off at the end of the episode they're featured in, with the Waterfall that will be featured next time lamenting their demise.
    • The entire cast has died at some point at least once, most notably the first Comedy Central episode (Rebirth) when everyone BUT the Professor died, and the Professor himself often declares himself to not be technically alive. In the episode Ghost in the Machines, even the robots Bender and the Robot Devil die during the episode and are alive again before the end of it, which is amusing considering in the prior season Bender was told he'd Killed Off for Real if he ever died. The episode doesn't technically violate continuity, since Bender wound up in his same body while the Robot Devil downloaded to a new one.
    • Even the city of New New York and Earth itself have been Kenny'd several times, from being scorched from the Omicronians to being consumed by a Grey Goo of Benders, only to be rebuilt perfectly in time for the next episode. Even lampshaded during one such ending.
  • Everyone in Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but mostly Carl.
  • Virtually everyone in Squidbillies. Most common targets being Rusty, the Sheriff, Granny, the convenience store guy, and Early himself. Technically justified for the Sheriff, as it's revealed he's actually one of hundreds of identical Sheriffs grown in a field, all just as stupid and incompetent as him.
  • In most episodes of The Venture Brothers H.E.L.P.eR. has something horrible happen to him, including being sent into orbit around the Earth and shrunk to ant-size and stepped on. Of course he's a robot so it's likely that he gets repeatedly fixed up. As well, Hank and Dean are shown in the first episode of the second season through flashback to have been killed/died many, many times.
  • Sylvester J. Pussycat from Looney Tunes died the most out of any golden age cartoon character at 16 deaths in 8 cartoons with one of them losing all nine of his lives, but he always came back when he was needed.
  • Fluffy and Uranus the teddy bear secretaries from Duckman died in every episode they appeared in except one.
  • The entire cast of Drawn Together is subject to this, with Toot and Ling-Ling dying the most.
    • Somewhat justified with Xandir, as he is a video game character with numerous extra lives in reserve. In one episode, however, Ling-Ling was so angry with him that he killed off all of Xandir's extra lives, though that didn't stop Xandir from coming back to life the next episode anyway.
      • Totally Justified. He used a CONTINUE after that one.
    • Lampshaded by Wooldoor in "Lost in Parking Space, Part 2": "We can't just keep dying and coming back to life the next episode! IT'S TOTALLY ILLOGICAL!"
      • After which Ling-Ling appears to say he agrees with that—two minutes after dying himself.
  • Optimus Prime of Transformers is known to die once or twice in almost every continuity he appears in.
  • Robot Chicken has the host of the Blooper shows, who always ends the show by killing himself. The entire show's staff has been killed at least once as well.
  • Tom of Tom and Jerry has died at least three or four times, not counting the short Heavenly Puss which was All Just a Dream. He's been executed in Revolutionary France in The Two Musketeers, and in another cartoon is blown up and floats upward toward Heaven after a failed attempt to catch Jerry. But of course he's back next cartoon as if nothing happened.
  • Daffy Duck has died four or five times: first in "Daffy and the Dinosaur" when a giant inflatable duck stuff with dynamite exploded and he's seen as an angel on a cloud, in "Draftee Daffy" when the rocket he's riding on crashes and explodes and his soul is seen in Hell, in "Duck Dodgers in The Twenty Fourth And A Half Century" he is vaporized by Marvin the Martian (but revived by Porky so this one may not count), in "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" in which he may or may not have died after shooting himself in the head, and in "Show Biz Bugs" he swallows a bunch of explosives and tosses a lit match down his throat causing himself to explode and is then seen as a ghost.
  • The title characters of The Ren and Stimpy Show died at the end of many of their shorts, most notably in "Terminal Stimpy" when Stimpy keeps getting killed and he tries to stop himself from losing his last life.
  • Scarface the Ventriloquist's puppet from Batman the Animated Series is destroyed at the end of every episode he appears in. The creators said they went out of their way to give Scarface the most gruesome "deaths" they could, which they'd never get away with if he was a human, because hey, he's a puppet, so it's okay.
  • A running gag in Celebrity Deathmatch was Don King getting killed randomly during matches; he eventually had a deathmatch himself against Donald Trump who kills him for the last time in the series when he climbs down his throat and tears him apart from the inside.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures when Dao Lon Wong turns Finn, Chow, and Ratso into Dark Chi Warriors they got killed multiple times per episode exploding into dust every time they do so, until they are changed back. Uncle explains that Wong had the power to resurrect them any time he wanted.
  • In the Private Snafu shorts, the title character died in 6 out of his 15 shorts all due to his stupidity; these were made to teach soldiers what they shouldn't do when in the army.
  • In Superjail the fat, balding, lecherous inmate (the one who wants to show you his penis) gets killed several times but is always shown as a recurring character.
    • Actually this extends to all of the inmates of the prison.
  • Katnip Cat of Herman and Katnip died at the end of many of their shorts.
  • Nearly every episode of Stressed Eric had Eric die from stress at the end.
  • The title characters from both Johnny Bravo and SpongeBob SquarePants have both completely exploded... and somehow returned... seconds later in the same episode.
    • Justified with SpongeBob; it's explicitly shown he can regenerate.
      • Also in SpongeBob, a fish apparently drowned when SpongeBob left him buried up to his neck on the beach. This same fish was seen alive and well in later episodes.
        • He also appeared later in that episode as a ghost/angel. Let that sink in for a few seconds.
    • That character (Scooter is his name) died on two other occasions, in "Something Smells" SpongeBob's stinky breath killed him and another fish and in "My Pretty Seahorse" after he thinks Mystery the seahorse is a ride and inserts a coin into her she kicks him and he explodes where he lands.
  • In Woody Woodpecker his nemesis Buzz Buzzard died in a couple of shorts. In "Wild and Woody" Woody locked him in a stove and threw dynamite inside causing it to explode and then guides his soul to hell, in "Buccaneer Woody" he lights a match in a gun barrel he's carrying and it after it explodes he's seen as a ghost, in "Scalp Treatment" he's blasted off into the distance with a large explosion where he lands, and in "The Great Who Dood It" he launches him into space with exploding cigars.
    • Woody himself has died in a couple of cartoons such as "Ration Bored."
  • There's a series of short films based on a picture book named "The Many Deaths of Norman Spitall," in which the title character would die or be executed by quirky methods.
  • Surprisingly mostly averted in Family Guy. Once a character dies they stay dead, unless they're Meg.
    • Peter's died a few times, but he's tight with Death. Except when he WAS Death.
  • Bluto from Popeye has died in a couple of shorts like in "Blow Me Down" after being punched around the world twice by Popeye he falls to the ground with x's on his eyes and in "We Aim To Please" at the end Popeye punches him into a wall where he lands on a meat hook and he turns into cuts of meat labeled "a bunch of baloney"
  • In Big Guy and Rusty The Boy Robot, the crew had a trio of robots who they would sometimes use to protect them, they would give them a command and they would repeat the command they were given and be instantly destroyed by the Monster of the Week.
  • In the South Park parody segment in the Arthur special episode "The Contest", Buster's character fell victim to this trope after aliens landed directly on top of him right when he told the aliens to land. Staying true to the source material, Francine's character shouts "Hey! You squished Buster!"
  • Many of Chris's interns in the Total Drama Island series end up dying in various horrible ways only to come back perfectly fine in future episodes.
  • Donald Duck may have died at least three times, in "Uncle Donald's Ants" after getting sick of the ants invading his house he attempts to blow them up inside his shed sending him sky high and he never comes back down, in "Dragon Around" he is blown sky high by Chip and Dale with rockets and sticks of dynamite attached to his ladder with the dynamite exploding one at a time and like the previous entry he doesn't come back down, and in "All In a Nut Shell" Donald is knocked unconscious and Chip and Dale place him in a log then cut down a bee hive, when the bees sting Donald he goes bolting out of the log like a cannon and falls off a cliff and Chip and Dale hold their hats while "Taps" plays and they laugh.
  • Another Looney Tunes character to get this treatment is Yosemite Sam. In the short "Devil's Feud Cake", Sam has a run-in with Bugs Bunny and gets himself killed. He finds himself in Hell, where the Devil offers to bring him back to life if he can send him Bugs's soul to take his place in Hell (by killing Bugs). Yosemite Sam ends up getting himself killed a second time while going after Bugs, so the Devil "gives him another chance" and sends him after Bugs again. After dying a third time, Yosemite Sam tells the Devil that if he wants Bugs so badly he should go get him himself - he's staying right here.
    • He also died at the end of "Dumb Patrol" after his plane crashed into a mine field and he's seen as a spirit in a devil costume strumming a harp.
  • Elmer Fudd died at least twice. After being buried alive in "The Old Grey Hare", Bugs hands him a huge stick of dynamite and the explosion rocks the title card. In "Back Alley Oproar" he is fed up with Sylvester's singing so he plants a bunch of dynamite around the fence; it explodes as he lights it, killing both of them. He's seen as an angel on a cloud surrounded by Sylvester's past lives. This last one may or may not count but in the ending of "Hare Do" he is eaten by a lion but he's still alive before the Iris Out.
  • Zorak from The Brak Show died at the end of a lot of episodes, most commonly being shot or blown up.
  • Several characters such as Grim, Billy, Irwin, and General Skarr from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy have died multiple times.
    • Granted, they have The Grim Reaper under their control. They could easily reverse death with him.
  • Everyone in Action League NOW; every episode usually involves heavy objects falling on the characters, getting dismembered, run over by cars...and more!
  • Anton the toast from The Amazing World of Gumball is often eaten alive, but he always gets better.
  • Rigby from Regular Show has died or almost died on multiple occasions, often getting better through supernatural means.


Other[edit | hide]

  • At the New York Renaissance Faire, Sheriff of Nottingham Philip De Marque has been killed off a number of times at the end of many years' story lines.
  • Alice Cooper "dies" at the end of his concerts.