Created By: ginsengaddict on September 6, 2016 Last Edited By: ginsengaddict on March 10, 2017
Troped

Percussive Shutdown

It won't turn off! *SMACK* Ok, now it's off

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
trope
Trent: "Some plan; just *shoot* everything."'
Ozu: "Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best."'

When all else fails, sometimes the easiest way to turn off a thing that needs to be turned off is to break it.

Characters occasionally come across situations where a device in their vicinity that is integral to the plot; more specifically, integral to derailing the plot, and it has to be prevented from doing so. But such devices rarely come with an "off" switch, so what are the intrepid heroes to do?

Why, smash it to bits, of course! When there is simply no better option available, you might as well.

Contrast Percussive Maintenance, which is using violence to get stuff working again. Can overlap with Percussive Therapy if the continued to failure to deactivate the stubbornly functioning device becomes a source of frustration for the character. Compare Cut the Juice.


Examples:

Film
  • Subverted in The Avengers. When Tony first encounters the portal generator, the first thing he tries is blasting it with his repulsors. This does absolutely no damage to the device; it does however create a shockwave which knocks Selvig back to his senses. Later on, he is then able to inform Natasha that despite being brainwashed, he was able to build an off-switch into the generator with Loki's sceptre as the key.
  • In Sing Street, the evil school's principal wants to finish a dance at the gym by turning the lights back on. The school bully prevents this by smashing the light switch, making it impossible to do so. Everyone cheers and the dance continues.

Live-Action TV
  • The Bionic Woman episode "Doomsday is Tomorrow". With the doomsday device's countdown running out, Jaime tries to stop the explosion by destroying the circuits of the ALEX 7000 computer that's controlling the countdown.
  • Castle: During a particularly tense two-parter episode, Castle and Beckett have been chasing a group of domestic terrorists attempting to set off a dirty bomb in town. Eventually, they do find the bomb, but with only seconds left on the timer.... with no time to pick a wire to cut, Castle just yanks all of them at once... this works.
  • Mr. Bean once opted to turn off a light by shooting it, in order to forego the effort of getting out of bed to do so manually.
  • Torchwood: One both occasions where resurrection gauntlets are used to bring characters back to life, they end up going out of control and sucking the life out of hosts with no way of being turned off. So Jack just shoots them.

Western Animation
  • Inside Out
    • The emotions Anger, Disgust and Fear have realised that giving Riley the idea to run away was a mistake, and are trying desperately to correct the mistake by removing the idea bulb. But it proves to be unmovable. So they try smashing it. But is also proves unbreakable.
    • Shortly afterward, Joy and Sadness make it back to headquarters, but are stuck outside the window with no way to get in. The first attempt to get them inside involves throwing heavy objects against the window to no avail. Disgust has the brilliant idea of getting Anger riled up, turning him into a living flamethrower and melting a hole in the window for Joy and Sadness to climb through.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: After Sendak takes the castle and captures Lance and Shiro, Allura and Keith are stuck outside after the particle barrier is activated, leaving Pidge the only Paladin still at large on the inside. Allura directs Pidge to the castle's star drive chamber, in order to shut it down and prevent Sendak from getting away with the castle, and also the Lions. Unfortunately, the drive activates before Allura can go through the proper shutdown sequence, disrupting communications. With no other options, Pidge just says "whatever" and smashes the controls with her bayard, preventing the launch.

Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • September 6, 2016
    ginsengaddict
    Any time a character resorts to use of force in order to shut down something that isn't shutting down through normal means.
  • September 6, 2016
    ginsengaddict
    Or, when shutting it down through normal means is not a viable option at the time.
  • September 6, 2016
    ginsengaddict
    Tropeable?
  • September 6, 2016
    ginsengaddict
    Also, while both current examples have an element or urgency, that is not part of the trope. The trope is the act of turning something off through force when the situation at hand means doing so is the last or best option.

  • September 6, 2016
    DAN004
    Would Mr. Bean turning off the lamp by shooting the lightbulb with his gun count?
  • September 6, 2016
    eroock
    Film:
    • In Sing Street, the evil school's principal wants to finish a dance at the gym by turning on the lights. The school bully prevents this by smashing the light switch. Everyone cheers,
  • September 6, 2016
    ginsengaddict
    ^^ If he had no other means of doing so available, then yes. Yes it does. Can you cite the specific instance of that happening?

    ^ I suppose that does count, since smashing the switch is a more permanent solution than simply flipping the switch off again.

    Also, taking votes; which title is better? Percussive Deactivation or Percussive Shutdown? I think both work, but I'm leaning toward Shutdown at the moment.
  • September 7, 2016
    Arivne
  • September 8, 2016
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • The Bionic Woman episode "Doomsday is Tomorrow". The doomsday device's countdown is running out. Jaime tries to stop the explosion by destroying the circuits of the ALEX 7000 computer that's controlling the countdown.
  • September 7, 2016
    ginsengaddict
    Thanks Arivne. BTW, any votes on the title?
  • September 7, 2016
    DAN004
    @ ginseng: I can't recall the exact episode, but I fully remember that Mr. Bean just... shot the lamp. For no good reason other than being too lazy to get off his bed.
  • September 7, 2016
    ginsengaddict
    ^ In my mind, in order for this to be tropeable, the circumstances in which the character resorts to destructively rendering something non-functional have to be such that doing so is either the last or best available option.

    In Bean's case... yeah, I'd say that counts, at least in his context; if his options are A: Get out of bed, walk over to the switch, stub your toe on the cabinet, hobble the rest of the way, turn the light off so that the room is now dark, walk back to bed, bump your head on something you couldn't see, stub your toe again, trip and fall and get stabbed by broken glass from a vase that got knocked off from hitting the cabinet, miraculously make it back to bed, and finally get some sleep., or B: Just shoot it... yeah, that's a reasonable choice.
  • September 7, 2016
    ginsengaddict
    Decided to go with my preferred title: fewer syllables, more direct, easier to say
  • September 8, 2016
    ginsengaddict
    Bump
  • September 11, 2016
    DAN004
    Compare Cut The Juice
  • March 10, 2017
    ginsengaddict
    More examples handy?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=mhlgc8wtjpc1e7g3891ekmvc