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Alien 1: Couldn't we, at least, abduct their political and religious leaders, instead of just any idiot in a pickup truck?
One of the most pervasive (and perverted) story-telling tropes of Alien Abduction lore amounting to being nothing more than a very vulgar form of Orifice Invasion. In other words, it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
All humans taken on board a spaceship against their will are subjected to grueling tests and experiments by their Strange Captors for intended purposes ranging from studying foreign biology, researching the prospects of interbreeding, and monitoring for long periods of time via tracking chip implants.
Fortunately for the abductors, all three of those things can be achieved through a single method which involves inserting vaguely described alien technological instruments into the rectal cavity of the victim. If the audience learns anything about the probing tech itself, it's usually never much more than just what it looks like, which is typically either an insanely large torture device with pincers and needles and spinning blades mounted on a rotating head or a dildo.
Naturally, the trope can be used to great effect to either showcase the sheer horror of or, more frequently, take Refuge in Vulgarity to explore the total absurdity of the nature of Alien Abductions; it can also be a novel way of fitting jokes about gay sex (abductees depicted as being subjected to this are much more frequently male) and rape into a story or work.
Anal Probing is a Dead Unicorn Trope. This trope is rarely, if ever, taken seriously in fiction, and even when it's supposed to be seen as something truly horrible and undesirable, there's usually enough room to interpret the trope's use as Comedic Sociopathy. Real Life UFO abduction communities, which would seem like the most likely place to hear straight-forward examples, don't even discuss probing as something that exclusively involves the rectal cavity (if they do at all).
The Science Fiction equivalent to a cavity search.
See Also: Ass Shove, Refuge in Vulgarity; Half-Human Hybrid and Mars Needs Women which are both popular motivations for one kind of alien probing or another. This trope is practically synonymous with The Greys and is often evident whenever Aliens Are Bastards, especially if the probing doesn't appear to have any real significance apart from torturing the abductee.
- There's an old joke where a group of aliens is having a conference about Earth. The keynote speaker gets up and informs the gathered scientists that, "We have now been performing our rectal probe study on the inhabitants of Sol 3 for 60 of their years. So far, the only information we have reliably obtained is that one in six likes it."
- Pierre from the Two Thousand AD strip Bec & Kawl was abducted in the prologue to "Attack Of The Cones." Explaining his experience, "Whatever their desseines impenetrable, the temple of my body was violated," showing one panel with two Greys producing increasingly larger probing apparatuses with diagrams instructing to insert them in Pierre's anus.
- Lampshaded in Maxwell Strangewell, where the Moon Man complains to a Martian, "All you Martians care about is probing people up the bum and slaughtering cattle!" The Martian's response: "Hey, it's a living."
- The Gagwallers from the Spacehack strip in Knights of the Dinner Table:
Captain Queaze: After all these experiments... over all these centuries, what have you learned?
- In Squee, when the wheelchair-bound aliens try to abduct Squee for a second time, one of the two aliens goes to his parents' room and subjects Mr. Casil to this.
- The Black Hands 2011 Special ends with the Black Hands characters being anally probed by aliens after Weird Pete decides to combine his Cattlepunk campaign with Scream of Kachoolu.
- Happens to Cherry during the Cherry Comics parody of The X-Files. She enjoys it.
- Almost happened to Hellboy the time he was abducted by aliens. He decided he didn't like the idea and proceeded to kick all their asses.
- In one radio spot for Dos Equis beer, the narrator describing The Most Interesting Man in the World says about him, "Alien abductors ask him to probe them."
- The following exchange takes place between Paul and the alien Varx in the Prologue of With Strings Attached when Varx is trying to convince Paul to go on a “great adventure”:
Paul: Is this one of those alien abductions where you're gonna probe me, then?
- In the Mockumentary Waiting for Guffman, a supposed visit by a UFO is a significant part of the history of Blaine, Missouri. One abductee shares his story, in which he details being probed for "three to four hours" by "five or six" aliens—not all at once but individually. Every Sunday around the time of his abduction, the abductee finds that he has "no feeling in his buttocks."
- Happened in the beginning of the Alien Invasion Horror Comedy Evil Aliens. Including a close-up of the probe getting inserted into the anus.
- In Independence Day, Russel attests to having been abducted by aliens. Those who don't believe him crack jokes and ask if he was ever sexually abused on the flying saucer, suggesting this trope.
- In Men in Black II, Sci-Fi nerd Newton, upon finding out what Jay and Kay actually do, raises the question, "What's up with Anal Probing?"
Newton: I mean, do they really travel billions of lightyears just to...
- There's a bit in Eight Legged Freaks where Harlan goes on a tirade about aliens and this very subject. "...I mean, what do they expect to find there? It's just wrong!"
- In Paul, the titular alien appears to have assimilated human culture after 60 years on the planet, and is your average slacker-nerd. However, Clive isn't so sure and asks Graeme, "What if we wake up and find him inserting a probe into our anus?" Paul is annoyed by the suggestion. Wondering why people assume aliens do that, he asks, "Am I harvesting farts? What can I learn from an ass?!" Paul does, however, threaten a pair of homophobic hillbillies with probing.
- On Twitter Simon Pegg mentioned that they did consider doing a joke about anal probing and repressed memories (of sexual abuse), but they ditched it because they couldn't find a punchline and felt that it might actually be true and not funny.
- In the Nightside series a Grey is seen lying in the gutter with a "Will probe for food" sign.
- Communion by Whitley Strieber, the allegedly true story of the author's experience of a UFO abduction helped establish this trope and has inspired just about every joke about rectal probes, much to Strieber's dismay, ever since. It's probably the closest thing to a straight example of this trope one can find. Even the Film of the Book, starring Christopher Walken as Strieber, made light of the probing with Walken's character trying to reason, "Can we talk this over? It looks like you're going to sing 'White Christmas'..."
- Christopher Buckley's novel Little Green Men reveals alien abductions to be the work of a Government Conspiracy to manufacture evidence of alien activity. Rectal probing wasn't actually their doing but rather something that the abductees seemed to have demanded.
- Angel Down, Sussex by Kim Newman features alien visitors whose appearance and actions vary depending on the expectations of the people they encounter. That one of the characters gets his rectal cavity probed really says more about him than about the aliens.
- Earth (The Book) mentions Anal Probing in the Foreword as one thing humans who believe aliens have already visited Earth think extra-terrestrials came here to perform. It then refers to the anus as "the orifice least likely to yield useful pedagogical results." Mykonos, Greece is described as the one place that would have been the most receptive to Anal Probing.
- A pastime of the titular Ass Goblins Of Auschwitz. No reason is given why they do it; it's just apparently something that they do.
Live Action TV
- One episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun began with the main characters watching an episode of The X-Files on television, groaning over how laughably inaccurate the show is. One scene, described by Tom as an alien inserting a probe through someone's ear, is met with the derisive comment from Dick, "Everyone knows the proper place to insert an alien probe is the butt!"
- In another episode, Dick is captured by an insane alien hunter who accuses aliens like him of "probing the butt of the poor American farmer". Dick initially denies this, but after being pressed, he mentions a farmer near Akron "...but he was ASKING FOR IT!"
- Dr. Albright's brother Roy claims that this happened to him.
- In the Supernatural episode "Tall Tales" in which the Trickster forges LOTS of strange happenings in a college town, one of them involves a guy who's been abducted by "aliens." The victim's experience involved being repeatedly probed (a total of eight times according to the dialogue). This ordeal apparently paled in comparison to being forced to slow-dance with one of the aliens to "Lady in Red."
- In the sixth season episode "Clap Your Hands If You Believe", when Dean informs Sam that he is fleeing from a pursuing UFO, Sam pronounces this a Close Encounter of the Third Kind and suggests that Dean keep running as he has "heard the Fourth Kind is a butt thing". Dean reminds him that he's supposed to be feigning empathy.
- An episode of House featured a young boy who believed he'd been abducted by aliens, and he had the bleeding anus to prove it. This obviously led the team to believe he'd been sexually abused, which (predictably for House) turned out not to be true.
- The Kids in The Hall have a sketch about aliens (quoted and pictured at the top of this page) that Hangs a Lampshade on this trope. After doing this for over fifty years, one alien argues that they haven't learned anything from probing, except that one out of every ten actually likes it. He wonders if his Great Leader is just some kind of seriously disturbed guy.
- Referenced and Played With often on The X-Files. In "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space,'" for instance, it's Agent Scully's opinion that a young couple whom Mulder believes were abducted by aliens were only engaging in sexual activity before they're old enough to handle it. Mulder, not seeing how this could discredit the girl's interpretation of events as revealed under hypnosis (which resembles the typical Alien Abduction story), asks his partner, "So what if they had sex?" to which Scully responds, "So we know it wasn't an alien that probed her."
- When Alien Abductions were covered on Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, they covered a sex toy with silver spray paint to show people who claim to have been abducted. Upon seeing the sex toy, many claimed they were probed with a similar device.
- They actually made a game out of this where they paused the tape before one female abductee disclosed where in her body the aliens had inserted a probe and encouraged viewers at home to guess what part of the body it was. The correct answer was the abductee's nose.
- In the seventh episode of Volume One on Heroes, when Lyle discovers Claire's ability to heal herself after stumbling upon a tape that she and her friend Zach made to demonstrate her ability, this forces Claire and Zach to chase after him to retrieve the tape. A freaked out Lyle questions if they're both actually aliens to which Zach, in full-on Sarcasm Mode, responds, "Yeah, and we're gonna anal probe you."
- A segment on The Colbert Report about an "Alien Hunter," Derrel Simms, sees Mr. Simms recount a story about him being probed by aliens in his youth. After describing the alien probe in very phallic terms, Colbert interrupts him in a voice over just before Simms was about to say where the probe was "jammed very painfully," exclaiming, "Okay, that's enough; I think we all know where the probe goes." Simms then reveals that it went into his nasal passage.
- Invoked in The Finder, episode "Little Green Men". The lead character disappears for a couple of days while researching alleged alien activities, and one of the first questions when the Finder turns up back at his home is "Was there anal probing?"
- The quasi-improv theater group Sound and Fury used this trope in "Cyranose," while Cyranose is trying to distract De Guiche by pretending to be a lunatic:
Cyranose: They probed me-
- The second act of In The Next Room, or the Vibrator Play introduces the Chatanooga anal vibrator.
- Fallout 3 downloadable quest package "Mothership Zeta" sees the Lone Wanderer abducted on board a spaceship and probed.
- The Sims 2. The (actually light green) Greys have pollination technicians, who abduct, probe and impregnate Sim men.
- Destroy All Humans!. In the first game, the anal probe is a Charged Attack that can make the victim's head explode. It returns in the second game without the need for charging, though it now requires ammo.
- The Simpsons Game features this exchange between two of Kang and Kodos' mooks during the Alien Invasion level:
Alien 1: This human has tiny pieces of paper which gives him big, big savings. We must study him!
- Referenced in Mass Effect 2 - you can probe the planet Uranus, and EDI is not amused when you do. The planet is even considered 'depleted' (...of minerals) on the scanner to logically discourage you to scan it aside from Just For Laughs.
- In Disgaea Hour of Darkness human Jennifer asks Laharl and co. if the demons (who basically are aliens in the Disgaea universe) anal probed them. It's a Subversion because Laharl and Etna are young demons and no demon in the series are interested in probing either them or Jennifer.
- In Super Scribblenauts, creating an alien and a probe will result in the alien making a '?' bubble and going to pick up the probe. The probe doesn't do anything.
- Sluggy Freelance has The Greys in its "Oceans Unmoving" arc, apparently having arrived in Timeless Space from the game X-COM. They make continual references to probing; later they explain that they have been genetically engineered to have an instinctual drive to shove things into holes.
- Thog Infinitron. The title character is trampled by a herd of mammoths when an alien research robot attempts to administer an anal probe to an unsuspecting mammoth.
- Chainsawsuit puts this into context. With one phrase...
- A truly horrible probing is implied at the end of a two-part comic in Channel Ate.
- Unity of Skin Horse once probed an alien. "If it looks like Kermit, I'm gonna look for Brian Henson!"
- Done in The KAMics although it was a mistake.
- Invoked in a Wulffmorgenthaler strip by a very lonely farmer who wants to be anal probed and jumps at the chance to be abducted.
- Schlock Mercenary used it as a metaphor.
- The 2006 Halloween event at Gaia Online centered around the themes of Alien Abduction and Aliens Steal Cattle with probing devices becoming available items with which to decorate user avatars.
- The Deep Fried Live episode "Fleeb Cooks A Cow" features a Little Green Man who lists his occupation as "probe technician" who seeks Chef Tako's assistance in learning how to cook a cow, although he seems much more interested in probes. The alien even reveals his probing device, which resembles a human forearm and hand with the index finger fully extended.
- Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series has this bit of dialogue between Tristan and Duke:
- Eric Cartman was probed by The Greys in the Pilot episode of South Park, appropriately titled "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe".
- It was later revealed in "Earth is Canceled" that Earth is actually an alien reality show, and that the device up Cartman's ass (and presumably others) is tasked with the TV transmission.
- The Simpsons short "Citizen Kang" from "Treehouse Of Horror VII" saw Homer abducted by Kang and Kodos. Homer's reaction to this is to say, "I suppose you want to probe me. Well, you might as well get it over with," and immediately drop his pants and moon his alien captors. Kang and Kodos respond to this with horror, begging, "Stop! We have reached the limits of what rectal probing can teach us!"
- In another episode, whilst searching an Air Force base for Sideshow Bob, an airman opens the door to Hangar 18 before quickly closing it again after seeing a Grey with a glowstick. The airman proclaims, "Watch out! He's got his probe!"
- When Homer and Flanders marry floozies in Vegas, Homer decides they should tell their wives they were abducted by aliens, who "gang-probed" Ned.
Ned: Do we really have to tell them I was "gang probed"?
- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. Phil Ken Sebben mistakenly believes The Jetsons are Greys—not time travelers—and that they're out to give him an anal probe. "Ha HA! Third Kind."
- Life's a Zoo. When Ray believes he's been abducted by aliens he thought it was awesome, until he figured that: Alien Abduction = Anal Probe.
- In Futurama, Fry is abducted by a flying saucer whose vanity plate reads "PROBE #1."
- Inverted in an episode of Robot Chicken. A group of flannel-wearing, toothless rednecks in a pickup truck abduct an alien on his home planet. Then later, in a simultaneous parody of this trope and Deliverance, the hicks gleefully surround the alien, bent over and tied to a tree stump, and bluntly announce how they're going to perform "scientific experiments" in his backside.
- Specifically in Uranus.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force indirectly offered an interesting theory as to why aliens anally probe. While dealing with a Puppeteer Parasite alien that was controlling Shake, Frylock said he probably recycles his waste (he didn't). Therefore, one reason for anal probing may be that aliens lack anuses and are curious as to their purpose.
- Subverted in The Tick: when the Tick is abducted, he is enthusiastic about being probed to expand interstellar knowledge, but it turns out the aliens actually want him to help defeat their enemies. The thought of probing him never crossed their minds.
- In a Family Guy Cutaway Gag, Quagmire has been abducted by aliens and is inquiring about anal probing. They reply that they don't do it anymore. After a short pause, he asks if they still have the device.