Created By: TooBah on June 19, 2012 Last Edited By: eroock on September 9, 2016

Passionate Desk Sweep

A character swipes everything off of a desk, either out of rage or amourousness

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Alternate title: Rage Swipe

Inspired by this Bug! comic.


Maybe the Cowboy Cop has been forced to turn in his badge, or the Big Bad's plans have just been thwarted, or the hero's Berserk Button just got pressed, or maybe (to show a different type of emotion) the Sexy Secretary has finally said "Yes", and there's no time to waste... How better to show rage, impatience or sudden amorousness than to take one arm and swipe everything off the desk (sometimes accompanied by an inarticulate scream)?! Used as shorthand to show that the character is out of control and they need something to take their frustrations out on.

Related to Flipping the Table, Villainous Breakdown, Professionals Do It on Desks. Often a part of an Anger Montage.


Examples

Film
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox. When Mr. Bean, leader of the local farmers, gets word that Mr. Fox has robbed them blind by digging under all of their security, he swipes everything off his desk, flips it, and keeps going, completely wrecking the trailer he was using as a headquarters.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has Peter do this when his investigations into his parent's deaths end up nowhere.
  • Quite famous scene with a "work place" in Jurassic Park.
  • In Birdman, Naomi Watts' character sweepes a table clean in the dressing room in rage after her acting partner forced himself on her on stage.
  • In The Wall, the first thing the hero does during his Anger Montage is dramatically sweeping all the stuff off the living room table.
  • In The Machinist, the protagonist goes into a rage and wipes dishes from a kitchen table when finding a suspicious photo at his girl friend's place.
  • Deon, the creator of the titular robot in Chappie, goes to sweep a table clean in anger about the kidnapping of his brain child.
  • Johnny does this at the end of The Room as he smashes his room up.
  • TRON: Legacy had CLU 2.0 do this to Kevin's table after he arrives at his now vacant home.

Live-Action Television
  • Done on Herman's Head when Herman and Heddy finally get together... on the boss's desk!
  • Discussed a couple of times on Friends.
    • When Rachel is dating her assistant Tag, she dramatically sweeps all the stuff off her desk:
    Tag: Oh my God. Are you serious?
    Rachel: No, I just always wanted to do that. Can you help me pick this stuff up?
    • David the Scientist Guy (played by Hank Azaria) awkwardly attempts this trope to make love to Phoebe on his desk before realizing that most of the equipment on it is quite expensive. To get him to stop, Phoebe has to point out that he's cleaning up more than spontaneously sweeping off the table.
    David: ...the longer I waited, the more phenomenal the kiss had to be, and now we've reached a place where it's just gotta be one of those things where I just like... sweep everything off the table and throw you down on it. And, uh, I'm not really a, uh, sweeping sorta fella.
    • A third example, Chandler tries it with Monica, sweeping everything off the table in the apartment:
    Monica: Okay, trying to turn me on by making a mess? Know your audience!
  • Played for Laughs on How I Met Your Mother when Robin is dating an Argentinian guy Gael. When they're in Argentina and he sweeps off some fruit with the words "I must have you" and sits her on the table, Robin is turned on. When he sweeps off stuff in her New York apartment, she just desperately cries, "Ooh, Laptop! Laptop! Laptop!"
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In the season 2 episode "Heavy is the Head", Fitz sweeps a bunch of papers off the desk when he gets frustrated with his difficulty communicating due to the brain damage he had suffered.
  • Will Gardner does this in a state of fury in The Good Wife after he finds out Alicia, Cary Agos, and others are leaving to start their own firm.
  • An exec does this on his way out of the office after getting made redundant in Mad Men.

Video Games
  • Issac Clarke of Dead Space 3 does this in the beginning of the game, right before he's brought into another mission.

Web Comics

Web Video


Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • June 19, 2012
    0blivionmobile
    • Fantastic Mr Fox: When Mr. Bean, leader of the local farmers, gets word that Mr. Fox has robbed them blind by digging under all of their security, he swipes everything off his desk, flips it, and keeps going, completely wrecking the trailer he was using as a headquarters.
  • June 19, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Between Professionals Do It On Desks and Anger Montage, this seems to be covered. IMO of course.
  • June 19, 2012
    TooBah
    @randomsurfer, it's certainly an element of an Anger Montage, but I think it stands on its own as well. Let's stand back and let the Wiki magic do its thing, and we'll see. I could limit it to just the anger angle, if people think PDIOD has that part covered.
  • June 19, 2012
    Xtifr
    Do you mean "sweep"? "Swipe" really doesn't sound like the right word here.
  • June 21, 2012
    surgoshan
    Yeah, 'swipe' usually means 'steal'.

    • A third Friends example. Phoebe is enamored of and has gone on multiple dates with Hollywood Nerd David. She asks if he's ever going to kiss her, and the conversation builds up to the dramatic sweep, which is immediately subverted as he starts carefully putting away expensive equipment.
      Phoebe: Well, now you're just tidying.
  • June 21, 2012
    Vashiane
    What about "Desk Sweep of Rage"?
  • June 21, 2012
    Generality
    There's a related trope in which a player of some board game angrily sweeps the pieces off, usually as a response to losing.
  • June 22, 2012
    TooBah
    I got "Swipe" from the comic, but OK, we can use Sweep. Swipe, btw, can also mean, "a strong, sweeping blow". Swipe is slang for stealing, not mainstream.

    @surgoshan, sounds like that's later in the same scene already cited above. Seems unlikely that David the Hollywood Nerd and David the Scientist Guy are two different people, doesn't it?
  • June 22, 2012
    surgoshan
    Yeah, I didn't see you already had it.
  • June 22, 2012
    GymQuirk
    Angry version can be a less energy intensive form of Flipping The Table.
  • June 22, 2012
    surgoshan
    Perhaps Passionate Table Sweep, then have the description point out that the passion can be sexual or enraged.
  • June 27, 2012
    TooBah
    I like that, surgoshan. I like it...
  • July 3, 2012
    ElCheViva
    Johnny does this as he smashes his room up at the end of The Room.
  • November 30, 2013
    Susyspider
    Hmm, I feel that the passionate version should be separated from the enraged one... either that or maybe it needs a more general name.
  • November 30, 2013
    kjnoren
    Yeah, I think the trope should focus on the action only. Leave the cause to be explained by the examples.

    One "classic" is a scientist getting an idea, and clearing out a bit of desk this way to get an instant workspace.
  • November 30, 2013
    DAN004
    What's the difference from Clear The Table?
  • November 30, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    Clu does it in Tron Legacy after finding that Flynn had abandoned his hideout (for context, Flynn had sensed that his son and Quorra were in grave danger and had followed them).
  • November 30, 2013
    Excrubulent
    Professionals Do It On Desks doesn't mention the sweep, just the doing it. I've seen this particular action so many times I'm amazed it doesn't have a trope page yet.
  • December 1, 2013
    Dcoetzee
    I'm not sure if this is a related trope or the same trope, but it's common when showing two people playing a board game for a player who is either angry or frustrated to sweep the pieces off the board and storm off. I'll leave an example here:

    • Several famous real-life chess players have been known, when losing a game that they thought they deserved to win, to react with anger and sweep the pieces from the board.
      • One was Nimzovich, who was defeated in 1925 by a far inferior player. He swept the chess pieces to the floor, got up on the table, and exclaimed: "Gegen diesen Idioten muss ich verlieren!" ("That I should lose to this idiot!")[1]
      • Viktor Korchnoi was frustrated during a 1987 game with Karpov, and then accidentally lost because he picked up his king at the wrong moment. He was so furious, he swept the pieces to the floor, got up, and walked out. Karpov on the other hand never looked up from the board.[2]
      • Bobby Fischer, during a 1960 game with Miguel Najdorf, was winning but made a blunder. "Realizing that he could no longer win, Fischer swept the pieces off the board and declared to an astonished Najdorf, 'I'll take a draw.' Miguel accepted the proposal, but later, in the foyer, made it known that Fischer would have to wait a long time before being invited to a tournament in Argentina."[3]

  • December 1, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^The last of those is Rage Quit.
  • December 3, 2013
    Sahira
    Related to Flipping The Table?
  • September 26, 2014
    Sahira
    • Fixed Bug link.
    • Linked media types
    • italic-ed work titles
  • September 28, 2014
    Arivne
    • Added blank lines for readability.
    • Examples section formatting
      • Deleted unnecessary blank lines.
      • Namespaced work names.
      • Alphabetized media sections.
  • September 28, 2014
    DaibhidC
    • A third Friends example, Chandler tries it with Monica, sweeping everything off the table in the apartment:
      Monica: Okay, trying to turn me on by making a mess? Know your audience!
  • October 1, 2014
    dexterian120
    I like Desk Sweep of Rage,
  • October 1, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
    • On The Good Wife, Will does this when he hears Alicia and Cary are leaving to start their own firm, along with many of the fourth year associates, taking many of Lockhart & Gardner's clients with them, and gives Alicia a The Reason You Suck speech.
  • October 5, 2014
    XFllo
    @ Svarti Kotturinn: Please use phases "he does this" as little as possible. See Word Cruft and Zero Context Example. That example barely makes sense with all the spoiler-tagging (Handling Spoilers).

    Live-action TV:
    • Played For Laughs on How I Met Your Mother when Robin is dating an Argetinian guy Gael. When they're in Argentina and he sweeps off some fruit with the words "I must have you" and sits her on the table, Robin is turned on. When he sweeps off stuff in her New York apartment, she just desperately cries, "Ooh, Laptop! Laptop! Laptop!"

    For a name, I'd like Desk Sweep of Rage and Passion .
  • October 5, 2014
    ryanasaurus0077
    @ Dcoetzee: GIGGITY! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
  • October 5, 2014
    eroock
    Film:
    • In The Wall, the first thing the hero does during his Anger Montage is dramatically sweeping all the stuff off the living room table.

    Can we merge with Flipping The Table? Or at least mention it as a sister trope.
  • October 5, 2014
    Sahira
    ^ I think this is distinct from Flipping The Table, but it certainly seems to be a Sister Trope. At any rate the description should at least say "Compare...".
  • October 6, 2014
    Sahira
    • Agents Of SHIELD. In the season 2 episode "Heavy is the Head", Fitz sweeps a bunch of papers off the desk when he gets frustrated with his difficulty communicating due to the brain damage he had suffered.
  • June 7, 2015
    eroock
    This should be merged with Desk Swipe.

    Compare Clear The Table.
  • June 8, 2015
    eroock
    Film:
    • In The Machinist, the protagonist goes into a rage and wipes dishes from a kitchen table when finding a suspicious photo at his girl friend's place.
  • September 25, 2015
    eroock
    Film:
    • Deon, the creator of the titular robot in Chappie, goes to wipe a table clean in anger about the kidnapping of his brain child.
  • October 16, 2015
    eroock
    Web Video:
  • October 27, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    I feel like Jake did this in Brooklyn Nine Nine but I'm afraid I don't remember specifically enough to provide context.
  • October 28, 2015
    Loekman3
    • In an anime only scene of Naruto, after Shikaku mentions Asuma's death when playing Shogi, Shikamaru sweeps the board in anger. Shikaku eventually suggest that Shikamaru let his rage go out after he makes a scene.
  • October 28, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • The 1973 adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has Mad Scientist Doctor Clerval mentor eager med student Victor Frankenstein on reanimating the dead. However, Clerval observes that some of his successes have Gone Horribly Wrong, and sweeps his notes and materials from his workbench to begin writing a warning in his journal: "The process is reversing itself." However, Clerval has a seizure at this point, which kills him, leaving the journal entry unfinished. Victor reads, "The process is re ..." and interprets it as "ready to begin."
  • October 28, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    • In A Few Good Men, it looks like the case is about to be lost, and Kaffee is drowning his sorrows. Galloway says that Kaffee should just put Jessup on the stand, but the risk involved gets Kaffee to go on an angry rant, finishing with doing this to the paperwork on his desk.
  • October 28, 2015
    PaulA
    For the impatient variant:

    • In Lords And Ladies, Granny Weatherwax sweeps a bunch of stuff off King Verence's dining room table to clear a space where she can put down someone who needs medical attention. Lampshaded:
      Granny swept a candlestick and some crockery on to the floor with a dramatic motion and laid Diamanda on the table. In fact there were several acres of table totally devoid of any obstruction, but there's no sense in making an entrance unless you're prepared to make a mess.
  • October 31, 2015
    randomsurfer
    Played for dark laughs in an episode of NYPD Blue. The suspect in the murder of his sister wants a refreshment, specifically a Coke. At first some detectives brought him a can of ginger ale (offscreen), and later Simone brings him a Diet Coke because the machine was out of regular. The perp dramatically sweeps the can off the table insisting that he get a regular Coke. "Does this look like a Coke to you?!" Simone sarcastically asks him that if they give him a Coke, will he confess? The perp surprises them by responding "Can I have a liter?" Long story short, they give him two 2-liter bottles of Coca-Cola and he confesses not only to the murder of his sister, but also the never suspected murder of his brother 30 years prior.
  • November 1, 2015
    Folamh3
    • In Brooklyn Nine Nine, Jake goes to visit Sophia in her office and dramatically sweeps everything off her desk so they can make out. Sophia then quietly points out that her desk is the other desk in the office, on the opposite side of the room.
  • November 2, 2015
    Kartoonkid95
    • Classic Disney Shorts: In No Smoking, Goofy vows to quit smoking and sweeps all the tobacco-related on his work desk into a rubbish bin below.
  • September 9, 2016
    Katsuhagi
    • In The Wire, Lieutenant Rawls does this in frustration at Detective McNulty, only to be informed that the desk in question wasn't actually McNulty's.
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