Created By: SeanMurrayI on December 5, 2011 Last Edited By: SeanMurrayI on December 8, 2011
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Shoot The Television

One "turns off" a TV set by shooting the appliance with a gun.

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Redirect: Shoot The TV

"Aww, this show ain't no good..."

When a character is finished watching TV and has a Hair-Trigger Temper, is an Eccentric Millionaire who replaces electronic devices like normal people replace rolls of toilet paper, or just can't get the remote control working, he'll whip out a gun and shoot the television set.

In the event that a news item or message on television is the cause of the sudden anger or frustration that makes someone do this, the trope may be a slight variant on Shoot the Messenger. Other times, it may just be a sign that someone is so wealthy that they can afford to live in a way that involves wasting expensive home appliances in this manner.

In Video Games, television screens and monitors occasionally appear as an interactive, breakable object which the player character can destroy, especially when a villain character appears on these to taunt the player.

The Trope Codifier is Elvis Presley, who was known for doing this at least once, possibly many times. Several stories and explanations of Elvis doing this exist, some less true than others. He's rumored to have kept a basement full of spare TV's so he would always have a fresh set handy after destroying another one. One television set shot by Elvis is on public display at Graceland.

Compare: Agitated Item Stomping, Ring... Ring... CRUNCH, and Cutting the Electronic Leash.

Not to be confused with Smash TV.

Examples

Comics
  • In Gorsky and Butch, a politician appears on a TV screen in a pub. Someone calls for it to be turned off, causing one of the patrons to throw a shoe at the TV, smashing the screen.

Film
  • In Tim Burton's Batman movie, The Joker does this twice. The first is when he takes a boxing glove gun to the TV for mention of Batman in connection to an assassination that Joker pulled off on one of Grissom's underbosses, demanding to know, "What kind of a world we live in where a man dressed up as a BAT gets all of my press?!" The second time, Joker shoots the television screen with a real gun after learning on the news that his poisoning scheme involving beauty products has been foiled by the Batman.
  • Lois Einhorn from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective reveals herself as Ray Finkle when commentary during the Super Bowl halftime show on the "Kick Heard Round The World" that ruined Finkle's career pushes her over the edge:
    Lois Einhorn: THE LACES WERE IN! THEY WERE IN! [shoots the screen]

Live-Action TV
  • The 1979 made-for-television biopic about Elvis Presley titled The King, starring Kurt Russell as Elvis, at one point depicts Elvis shooting his TV after catching a news report which claims he isn't as popular as he once was.
  • In Johnny Bago, Elvis Lives in a trailer park in the spot next to Johnny's; when Johnny goes over to complain about the noise from the TV Elvis shoots it. Johnny decides not to say anything about the barking dog.
  • Sammy Jaye did it in a sketch on Good News World. After installing a digital TV and discovering the programs are just as crap as regular television, he shoots the set (in a callback to an earlier joke about Elvis) to demonstrate the only power the average viewer has over television.

Music
  • Bruce Springsteen's song "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" is about a man who, after his investments in television, cable, satellites, and home entertainment fail to bring him happiness, takes out his frustration by shooting the television set. The lyrics reference Elvis in this regard.
    So I bought a .44 magnum, it was solid steel cast,
    And in the blessed name of Elvis, well, I just let it blast.
    • This visual is also present in the song's Music Video.

Newspaper Comics
  • There was a Bloom County strip which featured a man shooting his TV.
    "Vanna White! Got her in mid-spin!"

Video Games
  • The level "Charlie Don't Surf" in the first installment of the Modern Warfare franchise has an achievement called "Your Show Sucks" for shooting or otherwise destroying all the televisions showing Al-Asad's speech.
  • In the Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games, Batman can throw batarangs at most TV monitors which the games' villains appear on, cracking the screens.
  • Jim Raynor does this in the opening cutscenes of Starcraft II, when Emperor Mengsk refers to him as "a clear and present threat" to the Dominion during a news conference interview.

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons:
    • One episode sees Bart and Lisa write a script for an "Itchy & Scratchy" cartoon that ends with Scratchy's head (now just a skull) going through a ceiling and into Elvis Presley's television set. Elvis promptly produces a revolver and shoots Scratchy's skull through the TV.
    • The trope is inverted in the episode "The Cartridge Family", where Homer uses the new revolver he bought to turn the TV on. Hilariously, the image that comes on the screen when it does turn on is of a cowboy, having been shot, falling off a roof.
    • In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Chief Wiggum, after he had been kicked out of The Be Sharps, becomes so upset while watching Johnny Carson that he begins wildly shooting the TV in a fit of rage. It then becomes apparent that Wiggum had accidentally left the remote control in his gun holster and got that and his gun confused for the other.

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • December 5, 2011
    Oreochan
    Is this related to Percussive Maintenance? Though that is when you hit it to make it work.
  • December 5, 2011
    SeanMurrayI
    ^ I'm gonna have to think about that. I guess it might be viewed as an inversion, depending on how you look at it...

    I don't know.
  • December 5, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In Johnny Bago, Elvis Lives in a trailer park in the spot next to Johnny's; when Johnny goes over to complain about the noise from the TV Elvis shoots it. Johnny decides not to say anything about the barking dog.
  • December 5, 2011
    SeanMurrayI
    I'm wondering if something like in the Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games, where the player can throw batarangs at most TV monitors and shatter their screens, could (or, if not, should) cover this. Or that one achievement in Portal 2 for smashing monitors Wheatley appears on.

    Anyone got an opinion?
  • December 5, 2011
    Oreochan
    It probably would cover this. This trope seems to be when someone smashs or shatters a TV screen to either prevent someone from seeing something on there or because the person on TV was someone they hated.
  • December 5, 2011
    Andygal
    Possibly also related to Ring Ring Crunch and Cutting The Electronic Leash.
  • December 5, 2011
    Duncan
    There was a Bloom County strip which featured a man shooting his TV. "Vanna White! Got her in mid-spin!"
  • December 5, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    • Joker does this twice during Tim Burton's Batman. The first is when he takes a boxing glove gun to the TV for mention of Batman in connection to an assassination that Joker pulled off on one of Grissom's underbosses, demanding to know "what kind of a world we live in where a man dressed up as a BAT gets all of my press?!" The second is the "I have given a name to my pain" scene, where Joker shoots the screen with a real gun after learning that his poisoning scheme involving beauty products has been foiled by the Batman.
    • Lois Einhorn from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective reveals herself as Ray Finkle when commentary during the Super Bowl halftime show on the "Kick Heard Round The World" that ruined Finkle's career pushes her over the edge:
      Lois Einhorn: THE LACES WERE IN! THEY WERE IN! [shoots the screen]
  • December 5, 2011
    foxley
    Sammy Jaye did it in a sketch on Good News World.
  • December 5, 2011
    Rytex
    Well, I suppose Star Wars COULD count, where Luke, Han, and Chewie shoot the security cameras, turning off the TV in the Security rooms, but I dunno if it applies to what you mean.
  • December 5, 2011
    SeanMurrayI
    ^^I'll add this one to the list, but if you have any additional details about the sketch or how/why the character shot a TV, I'd really like to include them, as well.

    ^No, that's not this.
  • December 5, 2011
    KTera
    • The level "Charlie Don't Surf" in Modern Warfare has an achievement called "Your Show Sucks" for shooting or otherwise destroying all the televisions showing Al-Asad's speech.
  • December 6, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    In Gorsky And Butch a politician appears on a tv screen in a pub. Someone calls for him to be turned off, causing one of the patrons to throw a shoe at the tv, smashing the screen.
  • December 6, 2011
    c0ry
    IIRC, Elvis did this once when a program he particularly disliked came on.
  • December 6, 2011
    SeanMurrayI
    There's a lot of different stories out there about Elvis and this. He hated Robert Goulet, something on TV portrayed him negatively, drug abuse had him agitated and whacked out... I just think it's best leave it how it's already stated. He's associated with the action, and stories and rumors about it abound.
  • December 6, 2011
    foxley
    The longer version of the Good News World example: After installing digital TV and discovering the programs are just as crap as regular television, Sammy J shoots the set (in a callback to an earlier joke about Elvis) and demonstrates the only power the average viewer has over television.
  • December 7, 2011
    SeanMurrayI
    ^Appreciated. Thank you very much.
  • December 7, 2011
    AaronAAardvark
    IIRC, there were TV's the player can shoot in Max Payne.
  • December 7, 2011
    SeanMurrayI
    ^Is there anyone familiar with the game that can provide greater clarity on this?
  • December 7, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Wow, and here I thought The Simpsons was the only show that did it. Was I ever wrong. o.o
  • December 7, 2011
    Nitro378
    To me I would think games where you 'can' shoot T Vs shouldnt be included because theres just too many of them, only if this happens in a cutscene or if you are encouraged to do it (like the example with Wheatley's monitors) should this trope apply.
  • December 7, 2011
    CrimsonZephyr
    Jim Raynor does this in the opening cutscenes of Starcraft II.

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