You know the story: boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy gets kidnapped by the
Peter petrelli distress

Someone should... help him. Yeah. Help him.

evil overlord, girl rescues boy, fans rejoice.

It used to be that, if there was a character in need to be saved, it was usually a woman. This is why the phrase 'Damsel in Distress' is so well known. However, even before the feminist movement started, there have been male examples of this trope: Men in distress, captured by the black hats, often tied up, helpless and vulnerable and... sorry, what were we talking about, again?

Sometimes the Distressed Dude will be an hero in his own right who just happens to be at Big Bad's the mercy at the moment. In other cases he'll be a sidekick, or the heroine's (or hero's) love interest. This can sometimes be a source of comedy: If he's saved by a woman, expect him to make a quip about his wounded masculinity. Handed by the right writers, however, it can be a great chance to examine power and gender dynamics. Notice that this trope can also be used so the character can show off his escape skills.

Remember: This is not a page to list general examples of this trope (That's what TVtropes is for), but to list examples of it that turn you on.

Comic BooksEdit

  • Elfquest: Hidden Years #1 has a bit of a variation in that the people who "captured" him are trying to help him, but what it does have is Strongbow infected with rabies, gagged so he doesn't bite anyone, tied up naked next to a fire to help him sweat out the fever, and injected with a cure--while delirious, hallucinating he's beset by enemies/monsters.


  • The Librarian. Oh, The Librarian. As if him being an adorable hot nerd wasn't Fetish Fuel enough, he keeps getting in trouble and being saved by hot women.
  • In the A-Team movie, we have Face tied up in tyres, wearing a bathrobe and getting beaten up. Delicious. Him being a cocky bastard about it is icing on the cake.
  • Can't believe no one's mentioned all the crap that happened to Han Solo in Star Wars. A young sexy Harrison Ford starts out as 100% pure badass. Then he gets tortured by the Empire and shows this whole new vulnerable side. Then he has to submit to being frozen, is taken as a trophy for Jabba, and has to be rescued by Leia.
  • In the movie "The Count of Monte Cristo", the scene where Dantes just arrived in prison and is getting whipped for the first time. He just looked so helpless and terrified and adorable. I'm a bad person...
  • In the first third of The Matrix, before Neo erupts into the biggest badass the movie world had ever seen, he was just a regular hacker getting thrust into some pretty terrifying situations. Such as the interrogation scene, where agent Smith seals Neo's mouth shut , has agents pin him to a table and plants a robot bug inside his belly button. Neo is approprately (and visibly) terrified.
    • It goes on in the next scene, when Switch is holding a gun to Neo's head, and Trinity uses some big machine to pull the bug back out, while poor Neo has no idea what is going on, previously thinking that the bug was just a nightmare.

Live Action TVEdit

  • Peter Petrelli's first appearance in season two of Heroes had him trapped in a shipping container, shirtless, handcuffed and amnesic, for extra vulnerability.
    • Then the people who find him tied him up to a chair and torture him.
    • Sylar. Captured by the Company. Mmph.
  • In one episode of Firefly, Mal and Wash get kidnapped and tortured by Niska.
    • And in another, a sedated, unable to move Jayne is threatened by River. The thought of such a badass character being scared of a little girl does things for me.
      Tumblr lew2uyCj6g1qcabl0o1 250

      Oh, don't you just want to be her?

Also? I can kill you with my brain.

–River, Trash

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer had quite a lot of examples of this.
    • In Teacher's Pet, Xander is seduced by a mantis disguised as a hot bio teacher and trapped in a cage. If Buffy hadn't come to save him, the mantis would have mated with him before killing him.
    • In What's My Line? Part Two, Angel gets strung up, stripped shirtless and tortured by Drusilla.
    • In The Wish Angel in an alternate reality is kept in a cage and subjected to torrtue by a vampiric Willow, and is referred to as "Puppy"
    • In Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, among the women obsessively attracted to Xander is Drusilla. The scene where she saves him from Angelus is hot because Xander is so obviously helpless and terrified.
    • In Consequences Xander is nearly raped by a horney and murderous Faith.
    • Spike's kind of an ass sometimes, but he does spend a huge amount of time chained up somewhere.
  • In FlashForward, Dimitri gets strapped to a chair with a gun ready to fire when a timer runs down, or if he tries to move. Dimitri all sweaty and terrified = one happy troper.
  • This fangirl would like to offer you...the Doctor. He's been knocked around, electrocuted, tied up, shot, poisoned, aged up, Mind Raped, chained, the list goes on forever.
  • Supernatural . Not so much recently, but the first few seasons had one or both of the boys tied up, strangled, shot, stabbed, or otherwise in eminent danger. They're so pretty when they bleed.
  • Isn't this Dr. Spencer Reid's designated purpose in life on Criminal Minds? The man is constantly being targeted by unsubs and suffers so well uh, realistically through abduction/beating/drugging/torture/being held at gunpoint/etc. But for this Troper, the hottest thing is that he always finds a way to save himself. Woobie be competent!
  • In Veronica Mars season 2, Ahoy Mateys Logan gets kidnapped by the PCH street gang, tied up, and interrogated at gunpoint. And he's just as terrified as you'd expect him to be. Especially since the same gang has beat the crap out of this boy before.
  • In Chuck, there's Chuck. He spends a pretty good percentge of the show on the wrong end of a gun, tied up somewhere, or running from somebody, needing to be saved by his action girlfriend. Oh, and did I mention he's both very attractive and totally adorkable?

Video GamesEdit

  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, your crew gets kidnapped by the Sith, and Saul tries to interrogate you by threatening to torture your romantic interest. If you play a female character, and refuse to answer his questions, Carth gets tortured.

Web OriginalEdit

Critic kidnapped

Oh, sweet. Game Heroes T-Shirts!

  • The Nostalgia Critic also has the added charm of being a woobie who is often brought to tears by the horrible movies he reviews. And they wonder why he's so popular with the girls.
    • There was an episode where The Nostalgia Chick chloroformed him. Foe Yay, anyone?
    • And as you can tell from the screenshot; there was a video where he got kidnapped and was scared out of his mind. Yum.
  • I can't be the only one who enjoyed a little bit too much seeing Linkara defeated and terrified for once at the end of Cry for Justice #5-7.
    • The Power Rangers review! In one episode, we get to see Linkara tied up, choked, and beaten within an inch of his life.
      • In the episode's end, we also get to see Mechakara being tortured by a magnetic death ray.

Western AnimationEdit


Just another day in the life

  • Ron Stoppable, from Kim Possible, of the sidekick variety. He often gets saved by a hot redheaded cheerleader, to boot.
  • Two Words: Ugly Americans. Mark Lilly gets into all kinds of horrifying trouble, and not all of it is even from his demonic sadistic girlfriend, though a good amount of it is because of her. It's a pretty good mix of actual kinky sexual stuff, and just plain old cuddled up in a ball screaming for his life.
  • In Futurama, Fry gets caught up in a few mishaps, usually played for comedy. Most notable being the episode where all the men get chained up and captured by giant Amazonians, and have to be rescued by the girls.
    • Then there's that time Fry has to go to a robot insane asylum, and is constantly being threatened by an insane robot criminal.
  • Whenever Batman was held captive and occasionally suffering a Forceful Kiss by Poison Ivy in Batman The Animated Series, even as a kid this troper found it... confusing. Rewatching those episodes now? Boy howdy.
  • This troper can't forget any scenes from Batman Beyond involving a Forceful Kiss between Inque and Bats. See the BTAS example above for why.
    • Robin in Batman: Under The Red Hood. You know which scene I'm talking about. Robin at the mercy of the Joker is definietely sad, but, upon rewatching it,this troper can list several things she finds to be... a big turn-on during that scene. The grunting, the panting, pain, Robin's outfit/bare feet (thank goodness they got rid of those stupid shorts, and this troper isn't a foot fetishist AT ALL. Feet are pretty creepy.), his disheveled look, his determination to survive and the way he spits in the Joker's face as he taunts him, the way he accepts his death at the end with that smile, and the overall bondage-esque look of the moment. GOOD LORD.

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