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"Brooahhh! Coffeecoffeecoffee! Coffee! It's not as strong as methamphetamine, but it lets you keep your teeth!"
Gordon Freeman, Freeman's Mind

Caffeine Bullet Time is when a hyperactive character of some sort, usually a comic Sidekick, ends up saving the day by increasing their speed to superhuman levels with some sort of stimulant. Sometimes the speed increase is so great that it seems like Time Stands Still. Since this is a comedy trope, the stimulant is usually caffeine.

In some cases, it is a generally low-Genki character who imbibes enough caffeine to send them into bullet time.

Of course, despite caffeine being a G-Rated Drug, caffeine overdose in the real world is not pretty. Wikipedia claims it can cause "dizziness, fast heartbeat, blurred vision, drowsiness, dry mouth, flushed dry skin, increased urination, loss of appetite, nausea and stomach aches". Consume "enough" at one time and it will kill you; for example, if you could drink about 154 cans of Mountain Dew in five minutes, you wouldn't be around to finish number 155. (Of course, your stomach would burst long before the caffeine did you in. However, this is a real hazard with caffeine pills; you can kill yourself by popping too many.)

It certainly doesn't make time appear to stand still around you in a hyper-stimulated Bullet Time (although some people have reported a short period of "everything going slowly" right before crashing). But this is Comedy Land.

Usually used in cartoons.

Examples of Caffeine Bullet Time include:

Comic Books

  • Villainous example: Snowflame, a New Guardians villain who got his power from cocaine.

Fan Works

  • The Mythbusters test what happens when you give Pinkie Pie coffee.
  • The Pony POV Series has Pinkie Pie ingest a massive amount of caffeine in order to remain awake through the continuous party she puts on... For a week straight! She finally crashes when her friends take away all the coffee in the house.
  • In the Harry Potter/Justice League crossover Terminal Justice, after drinking fourteen pots of iced mocha, Harry started skipping down the hallway singing and babbling a mile a minute and was described by the author as "greatly resembling Flash on a sugar high".
  • In the Harry Potter fic Growing Up Kneazle, after spending nearly his entire pre-Hogwarts childhood in his Kneazle animagus form, Harry discovered that in human form, catnip had a stimulant/hallucinogen effect on him.


  • In the live-action George of the Jungle film, George sees a commercial for "Chock Full'o Nuts" coffee which suggests that drinking coffee will stimulate a romantic relationship. He proceeds to get the can from the pantry and eat the grounds. Cue several minutes of him running around the apartment at top speed, acting insane and chanting "Javajavajavajavajavajavajavajavajavajavajava..."
  • Played straight in Over the Hedge. In the climactic fight between the woodland dwellers and the suburbanites, Verne and RJ give Hammy, the hyperactive squirrel, an energy drink. He enters Bullet Time and leisurely strolls past the exterminator, a crazy happy dog and the crazy Housewife to activate the laser grid defense system, while getting the cookie he wanted earlier to boot. Not only that, when he activates the lasers, he casually walks past the slowly extending beams, which means he exceeded the speed of light. And he had enough time left to forage for an empty log's worth of food.
  • The movie Hoodwinked also included a hyperactive squirrel (named Twitchy) who, at the end, needed a caffeine boost to rocket down a mountain to warn the cops about the Big Bad while the rest of the cast tried to stop his evil plot. Unfortunately, when the squirrel finds the cops, he spoke so fast that they couldn't understand a word he said (similar to how Mumbles's testimony was portrayed in the movie Dick Tracy).
    • The cops then recorded him repeating his superspeed speech, and played it back at about half- or quarter-speed, which gave him a very *deep* , smooooooth voice resembling an automated phone recording. This is a parody of how most people sound awful on tape, but Twitchy sounds very cool and collected. He actively preens himself as he hears the recording.

The Wolf: What have I done?

  • The 2000 short film Sixty Cups of Coffee has the main character explain to the audience that drinking sixty cups in a single sitting allows the drinker to "see the truth", although what that truth could be is left unclear. The short centers on this character slamming cup after cup, the diner patrons having varied reactions to his attempt: the waitress worries for his health, the mother tells her curious son to look away, the truckers betting increasing amounts of personal trinkets over his success or failure and so on. Something happens after the 60th cup but the ending is left open to interpretation.

Live Action TV

  • This happens to Manny in Black Books when Bernard gets him an espresso machine and a cop series boxset for his birthday.
  • The infamous Saved by the Bell Very Special Episode where Jessie gets hooked on caffeine pills.
  • One episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway had a Hoedown on the subject of coffee. Colin Mochrie proceeded to sing his 8 measures of lyrics in 4 measures of music, then did a fast hyperactive dance for the remaining four measures.
  • In one episode of Outnumbered, the already-hyperactive Ben and his older and more responsible brother Jake (who is not responsible on this occasion) drink (black?) coffee and their mom is devastated when she learns about it, because she'll have to deal with even more outrageous behaviour than usually.
  • In the "Wink of an Eye" episode of Star Trek, Deela slips Kirk a drug which speeds him up to Bullet Time, enabling him to see her and her compatriots who live in Bullet Time permanently. But since she got the drug into him by slipping it into his coffee, it ends up looking an awful lot like Caffeine Bullet Time.

Newspaper Comics

  • Dilbert. Wally teaches Dilbert that "sadness is another word for not enough coffee". As a result of the massive coffee cup Dilbert begins carrying around, he completes all his projects in a day before developing X-ray vision, precognition, and telekinesis. Unfortunately, just as he's telekinetically crushing the PHB's throat a la Darth Vader, he wakes up.
  • In Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet, Helen and her friend are at a coffee shop, and Helen orders some sort of boosted, experimental coffee. After remarking that she doesn't seem to feel the supposed effects of all this extra caffeine, she stands up and notices that her friend is in the middle of a blink, and that she has gone into Caffeine Bullet Time.
  • From the Boondocks comic strip, Huey is at his computer, and:

Riley: Hey, it's a nice day wanna play soccer?
(Beat Panel)
Riley: And you've been drinking Red Bull again, haven't you?


Tabletop Games

  • The Mage: The Ascension had the Technocracy bring out a little gem in the form of caffeine plus: "You'll be so wired, you'll see into other dimensions. Any more caffeine and you'll start vibrating off sound waves. Caffeine plus is dangerous to the human body, addictive to the mind, poisonous to the soul and sheer heaven with a pack of smokes."

Video Games


  • In PvP, Francis tries to induce this so as to win at a video game competition. He believes he's succeeded when he sees time stop, but in reality he's hallucinating it and foaming at the mouth.
  • El Goonish Shive does this straight in an early Filler Strip.
  • This happens frequently to Robin DeSanto in It's Walky! and Shortpacked!, due to her alien-enhanced metabolism, though with sugar rather than caffeine. One time, after eating a whole bowl of cream eggs, she blacked out; when she came to, she found she'd been elected to Congress.
    • When she realizes how little she has to show for her time as a Congresswoman, she decides to do this deliberately to ensure she has a legacy. When she comes down, Community is America's top comedy, Transformers Animated is in its fourth season, Justin Bieber is in line for the Nobel Peace Prize, and WORLD PEACE has been declared. Unfortunately, this all comes at the cost of her relationship with Leslie.
  • Agatha Heterodyne in Girl Genius. She drinks a cup of coffee (apparently her first ever), then she asks for a book on coffee, gets the book, reads the book, marks all the spelling errors in the book, comprehends the material, and rushes off for ingredients. All before the waitress can finish her answer.
  • Kiki, the ferret mascot in Sluggy Freelance, goes into hyperspeed whenever she eats candy. This has actually been used as an offensive technique by the protagonists of the comic, after they notice that this state allowed her to break through concrete walls due to sheer propulsion with apparently no damage to herself.
  • In Bob and George, Mega Man defeats an opponent copying Quick Man's power by shooting him with a stimulant. The results aren't pretty.
  • User Friendly: "DAMN! I JUST REWROTE THE ENTIRE LINUX KERNEL!" "When did you learn how to code?" "TODAY!"
  • In Wings Of Change,[1] pure sugar turns pixies into hyperactive Flying Bricks.
  • A Story Arc in The Whiteboard describes the effect of someone in bullet time pretty realistically - despite starting with Doc drinking enough high energy shot drinks to fill a quart mug.
  • This strip of Real Life Comics.
    • Despite some claims about Truth in Television, this can actually have the opposite of the intended effect. CNS stimulants like caffeine tend to increase the mind's obsessive-compulsive-perfectionist tendencies and make reaction times worse, whereas a light alcohol buzz will make players more relaxed and less hesitant (and, paradoxically, stimulate some parts of the brain due to alcohol's effect on glutamate receptors), thus improving reaction time. Reaction time is worthless if you can't aim well.
  • A modified version shows in the Rooster Teeth staff comics (featuring a fan drawing comics of the staff who brought us Red vs. Blue). The mellow Matt Hullum is shown often drinking coffee, but laid back. Someone tries swapping in decaf. The next scene shows that were Matt any more mellowed out, he'd be dead.
    • That's not a fan, that's Geoff Ramsey's wife. Matt Hullum probably does drink that much coffee.
  • Fur Will Fly:

Page: Brad, you wouldn't do a butt stupid thing like give a 5-year old squirrel sugar or caffeine, would you?
Brad: No! No without getting them drunk first!


Web Original

  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Mister Excitement was a member of the Crimestoppers a team of superhero wannabe's. Excitement had honest to God super-strength and Super Speed... except he gained the super-strength by way of adrenalin rushes, and there was never a guarantee he was going to have one. Mister Excitement was hyper-active, fidgeted, and his team instinctively knew that whatever they did, giving this man caffeine was a bad thing because who knew what would happen. But when the chips were down and they were captured by a real supervillain, they consciously invoked this trope, allowing Mister Excitement to save the day.
  • From SCP Foundation. SCP-914's outputs when the input was a Red Bull. On "Fine" setting the output "Red Bull Ultra" let the subject be awake for 3 days straight with no ill effects. The "Very Fine" output? "Security on duty reported seeing 'some kind of gray blur'."
  • Das Bo Schitt's Update Day revolves around Heavy consuming a "Bonk! Atomic Punch" and a sandvich, causing a thermonuclear reaction in his stomach to such levels that time slows nearly to a halt. He then sets out and causes everything shown in the beginning sequence, which includes switching Medic's medic-gun with Soldier's bazooka, shoving Demoman's grenade launcher down his throat, lightly punching Sniper's head, which would be enough force in real time to send his head flying, then gets a massive diarrhea attack because of the drink/sandwich mix. While on the run, he rapid-fire punches Rochelle to the ground, grabs the portable toilet she was waiting for, runs back to base, stopping to startle Soldier with garbled speech, then puts down the toilet and uses it. Pyro spots both him and Spy, and because of the reeking gasses from Heavy, the whole building explodes when Pyro starts his flamethrower.
  • D-decaff-f? Wh-why would I want decaff-f?

Western Animation

  • Futurama contained this one in the episode Three Hundred Big Boys. In it, all the characters are given $300 tax refunds. Rich girl Amy points out that this isn't much, only 'a hundred cups of coffee', inspiring Fry to buy a hundred cups of coffee with his refund. As time goes on, his caffeine addiction becomes stronger and more hilarious as he twitches and babbles his way through the episode. Every time he drinks a cup of coffee on screen a small counter appears in the corner of the screen showing how many he's drunk so far. At the end of the episode, the characters are in a burning building, but Fry is too overdosed on caffeine to notice, and throws back another cup. The counter hits 100, and time stops for him. He's now calm and serene, as if he has achieved caffeine enlightenment. He then carries each character out of the building, before putting out the fire. Leela later remarks that she thinks they were saved by a 'mysterious orange blur'.
    • This is also Lampshaded when a hummingbird is seen near a window flapping very slowly, as it has no apparent purpose but to showcase how quickly Fry is moving. This is also a Shout-Out to the time-slowing scene from Star Trek: Insurrection.
  • In one Earthworm Jim episode, Psycrow develops this sort of power after drinking ridiculous amounts of espresso, becoming "Hyper Psycrow". Jim, in turn, counters him by becoming "super-mellow" through the use of an aromatherapy kit (one was hung on this, as Peter questioned how a worm without a nose could use the kit). When they touch, the universe explodes.
  • The Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Op: UNDERCOVER" has a Villain of the Week that has Super Speed from consuming large amounts of coffee regularly. When Numbuh Five gets a coffee overdose of her own, she gets temporary Super Speed as well, but notably crashes pretty quickly and realistically.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, an Earth Kingdom general is trying to artificially induce the Avatar State in Aang and at one point feeds him their world's equivalent of Red Bull. It just turns him into a Keet.


  • In the movie The Iron Giant, young protagonist Hogarth Hughes pays a late-night visit to beatnik junk artist Dean, who is drinking espresso. Hogarth asks for some, insisting he can handle it despite Dean's warning that the drink is "like Coffeezilla." Quick-cut to the rapid speech, wild gesturing, shaking hands... asking for more espresso...
  • In the Family Guy movie, there's a scene of Stewie driving an RV offroad in Nevada while wired on caffeine pills, yelling about being like "the pioneers, man!" They promptly crash, and while Stewie doesn't seem to notice at first, as soon as the airbag deploys as a makeshift pillow, he falls asleep.
  • In the Thundercats 2011 episode "Berbils," Trickster Twins the Thunderkittens induce this by deliberately eating Candyfruit to achieve Super Speed, taunting and baiting a slow-moving Giantor into a tripwire.
  • Spliced: Peri experiences this as a result of consuming huge amounts of sugar in "Sugar Low".

Real Life

  • Real Life Example, sort of. There have been scientific experiments which indicate that when pumped on adrenalin, perception of the world slows down sufficiently to see numbers flashing between black on red and red on black too fast for normal human perception to read. Also, experiments done on mice indicate that their perception slows down sufficiently so that they're off by about four seconds too soon while on speed when trained to push a button after ten seconds.
    • Similarly, experiment has shown that people in fear-inducing free-fall can perceive numbers flashed too fast to comprehend. (Not, however, an example of Adrenaline Time.)
    • At this point, your mind's also running on pure instinct (excepting the cases of things such as law enforcement or military training), so good luck doing anything useful.
      • Speaking of law enforcement, there was once an interview with a member of a SWAT team who during a fire fight noticed these cans floating in front of him with government stamped bottoms. He later realized that he was so hopped up on adrenaline that he was able to read the bottoms of the cartridges his gun was ejecting one at a time.
      • Interestingly enough, for some people colours cease to exist as the brain tries to crank the speed up to eleven by blocking out unimportant stuff.
  • Alzheimer's patients have been shown to recover cognitive function temporarily after drinking strong coffee.
  • While it didn't actually do it, moxie was originally the name of an energy drink in the nineteenth century, the golden age of patent medicine. It, along with a few other tonics from the time (for example, Coca-Cola), are still sold today - as soft drinks, rather than medicine.
  1. on indefinite hiatus