Created By: Nightway on January 23, 2012 Last Edited By: Nightway on September 20, 2015
Nuked

Assembly Line Panic

The stuff on the belt is just a bit too fast for our hard-working friends.

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Trope
So, the characters have decided to make an honest living. Their task is something simple: take the stuff off of the conveyor belt, maybe wrap it up. They've been warned, however, that if they miss so much as one thing, they're fired! So, they start the belt. It starts slow at first, but it starts going faster and faster. Hilarity ensues as they frantically try to keep the stuff away from the end. Popularized by I Love Lucy, with chocolates, but has been imitated all over the place, especially in kid's shows.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • January 23, 2012
    CaveCat
    This was done in an episode of Timon And Pumbaa.
  • January 23, 2012
    shimaspawn
    • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic had an homage to the I Love Lucy scene with Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie trying to sort red cherries from yellow cherries. Apple Jack keeps running faster causing the belt to speed up and they reach the point where they completely lose control.
  • January 23, 2012
    Nightway
    Other examples I know of off the top of my head: Drake and Josh did it with sushi, I think they did it in ANT Farm with fortune cookies, and they Played it for Drama in My Little Pony recently with cherries.
  • January 23, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Assembly Line Panic?

  • January 24, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of "The Itchy And Scratchy Show" Scratchy is dead, so Itchy builds a Cloning Machine to churn out new Scratchys to kill. But the machine is going so fast he can't keep up - so he builds a Killing Machine for the conveyor belt to deliver the newly made clones into.
  • January 25, 2012
    WackyMeetsPractical
    I second Assembly Line Panic for the title. The current title is making me think of racing on conveyer belts, or running on conveyer belts.

    I'm remembering an example involving toys and a character had to paint smiles on them, but couldn't keep up, but I can't remember where that's from.

    I'm sure this has happened a couple times on the reality series Undercover Boss.
  • January 25, 2012
    Nightway
    I do like Assembly Line Panic, but the most famous version (I Love Lucy), isn't actually an Assembly Line, is it?
  • January 25, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    They aren't actually assembling anything, no, but the production process itself known as an assembly line.

    Production Line Panic, if you're unconvinced. Now with Added Alliterative Appeal!
  • January 25, 2012
    LeeM
    Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times. The belt keeps going at the same speed, but he gets distracted and has to race to catch up. The he falls into the machinery.
  • January 26, 2012
    Rognik
    I like the trope (suggested the idea only 2 days after, not knowing of this process), but I don't much like any of the names. The one thing they all have in common is conveyor belt, and then it speeds up for one reason or another. I suggested Conveyor Belt Speed Up, as it gives the idea with little ambiguity.

    ... I suppose it could be confused for when someone is running on a conveyor belt (ie. tread mill) and it starts to speed up, but that's a bit similar in design, and makes the trope a bit broader.
  • January 26, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^ Then you're mixing two unrelated tropes. On the one side, we have characters racing on one of those Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belts in order to avoid whatever might befall them on the other end. On the other, we have characters failing to keep up with the pace of an assembly line (and the "speeding up" part is just for laughs).
  • January 26, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    I like the name Assembly Line Panic.

    On a more serious note, "speedups" (as this was generally called back in the day) were a frequent problem for assembly line workers back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and usually occurred due to the employer deciding that the speed at which his employees were putting things together was a little too slow for the schedule or his general liking. It was one of the many contributing factors leading to the unrest among workers that would lead to the formation of the labor movement.
  • January 26, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    In the Donald Duck cartoon "Der Fuehrer's Face," the assembly line in front of Donald has bombs to screw caps on and pictures of an Expy of Adolf Hitler to salute to. It mentally then physically exhausts him as the belt speeds up. In another episode, Donald has an assembly line of gifts to wrap for the holidays and gets singled out by the foreman for not working adequately compared to all of his co-workers.
  • January 26, 2012
    Dawnwing
    • This can happen in the computer game Chocolatier, where the factory's production is determined by a minigame where the player fires ingredients into a machine to make the product. The more successful the player is, the faster the machine goes, and therefore the more chocolates they can make, but inevitably it'll get to the point where they can't keep up and miss the machine. The player can miss up to eight times.
  • January 27, 2012
    Nightway
    I've decided to change the name from Conveyor Belt Race to Assembly Line Panic for the time being. Please feel free to modify it if everybody agrees on a different name.
  • June 21, 2012
    DanglingModifier
    test
  • June 21, 2012
    DanglingModifier
    Well that was fun, lost my write-up. Ugh. Take two:

    • In Saved By The Bell, the kids create an assembly line to bottle the sauce they want to sell. The first bottle goes smoothly to demonstrate their intended process, but the predictable happens, and Hilarity Ensues.
    • Square One Television featured a short where one worker explained to another how their goal was to put a precise, uneven number of chocolates into each box. Said chocolates were dispensed in smaller boxes containing 1,000, 100, or 10 chocolates, with the final dispenser dropping singles. Thus, to put 3,947 chocolates into a box, the simplest way would be to dispense three boxes of 1,000, nine boxes of 100, four boxes of 10, and seven singles. After the first box, one dispenser would randomly fail, and another dispenser would have to be adjusted to compensate for the failure; e.g., the thousands dispenser would fail, so the hundreds dispenser would have to dispense 39 boxes of 100 to cover the same amount.
    • Neopets has a game version of this called http://www.neopets.com/games/game.phtml?game_id=538, where the goal is to sort jellies by colour. Sometimes, ice cream cones will accidentally(???) appear on the belt--these are to be fed to the hungry Skeith.
  • June 21, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^FYI Square One Television should be Square One TV.
    • In another Square One sketch a new worker is the sole human posted at a "make a box" assembly line. The machine spits out flat cardboard pieces which the worker has to fold into a five sided cube (with an open end to fill it with whatever). Each one is different and the final one is an Impossible Task - the flat piece of cardboard isn't formed in a way to be able to fold it into a box shape.
    • Laverne And Shirley did an I Love Lucyesque bit where they got temp jobs as giftwrappers at a department store, with the gifts coming faster and faster.
    • Get Smart: 99 is laid off from CONTROL so she gets a job at an Expy[?] of a Green Stamps redemption store. Lots of people come in to order a #949 electric toaster and the conveyor belt goes very quickly, so she starts stacking the boxes and they end up dropping off the end of the belt. The store is really a KAOS front and the #949 is a "stereophonic pistol" (a two-barreled handgun).
    • In The Parent Hood Robert's son gets an after school job at a pizzaria. For plot related reasons Robert takes over the job and has to make a lot of pizzas very quickly.
  • August 14, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD: Linda Who's coat gets snagged on a lever that makes a conveyor belt of meals for Robomen turn on. Tom tries to turn it off but that only makes the belt go faster. They have to dispose of the meals in order to hide the fact that they're there.
  • August 17, 2012
    MetaFour
    • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
      • The short "The Chicken of Tomorrow" has a scene of a woman sorting eggs by size as they come off a conveyor belt. This prompts Mike to quip, "I've seen the episode where the eggs come out so fast, she has to start putting them in her mouth!"
      • For one invention exchange, Dr. Forrester invents a buffet on a conveyor belt. Frank tests it, and Dr. Forrester increases the speed until it's moving too fast for Frank to actually eat any of it. At the end, Dr. Forrester says, "There, Joel. I've turned dinner into a Lucy sketch."

    • The Futurama episode "A Tale of Two Santas" referenced the original Lucy sketch. In order to make enough toys for Christmas, Fry, Leela, and Bender push the assembly line to its fastest speed setting: "Lucy Speed".
  • August 17, 2012
    animeg3282
    The description needs work. I think this is a Stock Parody
  • August 18, 2012
    tweediddyda
  • September 12, 2015
    pvsage
  • September 12, 2015
    Berrenta
    Since we already have it as poined out by ^, we may need to migrate whichever applicable examples not in Assembly Line Fast Forward to there, then discard this one.
  • September 20, 2015
    MetaFour
    Copied examples. Discarding.
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