Created By: thewhitefairy on January 22, 2017 Last Edited By: thewhitefairy on February 22, 2017
Troped

Domestic Appliance Disaster

Chaos caused by the bad use of a domestic appliance

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Alice don't know how to do the house chores; maybe she's The Lad-ette and as you know, only Feminine Women Can Cook. Bob can't either, he may not be used to it because Men Can't Keep House.

Or it's because they're kids or rich persons and have to experience it for the first time. Or they're clumsy, or very unlucky, and everything they do end up in a disaster, usually. A third possibility is they were simply distracted (for instance by a phone call).

Whatever the reason, the kitchen is now a mess: dinner is burned to the ashes, the oven caught fire, (often because of Oven Logic) and cutlery put in the microwaves made the latter explode.

It's not better in the laundry room: too much powder was put in the washing machine, resulting in a room looking like a pool of bubbles. Clothes have shrunk, and if not, their colors have changed (white laundry is now tinted with other clothes colors). And let's not talk about the iron, left for too long on a cloth, tearing a giant hole in it.

Domestic disasters can be used as an Establishing Character Moment, to show the chronic bad luck, distraction, or clumsiness of a character.

Doomed New Clothes tend to particularly attract the problems tied to the laundry disasters; notably prom or wedding dresses. Add extra points when the dress is damaged only a few moments before it shall be put on, and with no replacement possible.

More rarely, the trope can be applied voluntary, with revenge in mind. For instance an Alpha Bitch or an aloof big sister will get rid of her rival by ruining her (often expensive) dress.

Pretty much an Undead Horse Trope as it's not happening very commonly nowadays, but were once frequents accidents until Technology Marches On. However, to preserve the comedic effect, the trope is still in use, including in works set in modern days.

Often related to Men Can't Keep House, Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket, Doomed New Clothes, Oven Logic, and tend to happen during A Day in Her Apron. Se also Electrified Bathtub for a lethal version.


Examples

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     Advertising 
  • One televised commercial for Robitussin cough syrup has a mother abed with a cough-and-cold, trying to recuperate. Her daughter approaches her at one point, displaying an iron's footplate burn mark on her dress, declaring, "Mom, Dad's ironing!" She takes a spoonful of Robitussin, and recovers enough restore order.
  • One Allstate Insurance commercial shows a married couple leaving home for vacation in a station wagon crammed with baggage. Suddenly, the wife gasps, "I left the iron on!" Her husband disputes that, but the wife is insistent. The husband reaches under his seat to produce a steam iron, and smiles in triumph. The wife, however, states, "That's my old iron." After a double take, the couple return home in time to see the fire department conduct a post-suppression inspection.

     Fanfic 
  • A Certain Unknown Level 0: The advanced Academy City laundry machine repeated has errors despite repeated attempts to fix it, and causes things like all of the water spewing out.

     Film  
  • Pleasantville : The male bowling club have a member, named Roy, who was asked, as a proof of the new anarchy, to show the back of his shirt hidden under his jacket. It have a iron-shaped burning on it. How did it happen? Apparently, Roy's wife was distracted because she was "thinking".
  • Defied in Home Alone. Granted, Kevin is only nine and does not even know how to pack his bags at the very beginning. However he adapt very quickly and avoid all disasters while alone.
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch : Voluntary example with destructive intentions when a gremlin put metallic elements in a microwaves. It explode and that's exactly what he had in mind.
  • The Santa Clause : Scott Calvin burn the Christmas turkey to the ashes and have to take his son to a dinner. Turn out he's not the only dad to have to do that.
  • Similarly in Honey, I Blew Up The Kid , Wayne let the dinner in the oven catch fire during his wife day out. Cue to Wayne and his sons having a meal of peanut butter sandwiches.
  • In "Just My Luck", poor Ashley has just caught extreme bad luck. As a result, Jake pity her and let her go to his flat, in order she can wash her wet clothes. She inevitably turn his laundry room into a pool of bubbles (being distracted by a shirtless Jake while putting powder and being unable to find the stop button after) .
  • The Color Purple : Albert have no idea on how to do any house chore, but insist on prepare breakfast for his old flame Shug Avery. Thinking the (fire fueled) oven does not work fast enough, he pours too much petrol in it and the inevitable bonfire ensues.

     Literature 
  • Freaky Friday : 13 years old Annabel, stuck in her mother's body, have to do the laundry and have no idea on how to proceed. As a result the over packed machine release a wave of bubbles.
  • In the Clarice Bean book "Utterly Me", Clarice Bean asks her grandfather to launder her jersey, but it shrinks down to "the size of a midge".

     Live Action TV  
  • A Princess For Christmas
    • The "wave of bubbles" occurs in the first scenes. Six years old Maddie just wanted to wash the shirt she just stained, without disturbing her nanny. Unfortunately she's too young to have been taught how to deal with the washing machine.
    • Later, on a rare voluntary example of "giant iron hole" occurs with benevolent intentions. A maid of Castelbury castle burn the evening dress of the heroin to the fiber with her iron...Actually a pretext to buy her another, more spectacular dress for the Christmas ball.
  • In La Valise En Carton (The Cardboard Suitcase), the main protagonist, Linda, once violently argue with her mother while she was busy with the ironing. She let the iron on the top of a pile of clothes, and they suddenly stop when they notice that the clothes are smoking.
  • In Lois and Clark a b-plot once involved Ma and Pa Kent swapping roles. Jonathan tried to do the house chores, but among others disasters such as turning his son's white shirts pink after washing them with his Superman cape, he also teared a hole in the cape with a hot iron. note 
  • Red Dwarf : Dave Lister once tried to press his least slovenly clothes into a fit state to impress - or so he thinks - the female crew the Dwarfers are about to rescue. Discovering he has burnt an iron-shaped hole in his garment, Lister shrugs, puts it on anyway, and spray-paints the skin underneath with an almost- matching color of spray-paint, so as to conceal the hole...
  • The Goldbergs: In "Smother's Day", Barry and Erica try to make Beverly breakfast in bed after forgetting Mother's Day. Unfortunately, all they manage to do is set the kitchen on fire. Bev is touched nonetheless that they at least made an effort.
  • Explored extensively on "Mythbusters", whenever they looked into a myth of an appliance gone berserk because of mishandling or another (such as how possible (and lethal) the Electrified Bathtub could be (result: more modern appliances would probably shut down the moment they hit the water and not create a shock, but older appliances were still pretty dangerous) and whether or not an overloaded washing machine that had its user standing on it when it went off could injure said user (the result: washing machines do not have the kind of horsepower necessary to perform said spinning, let alone cause injuries).
  • In the episode "Burnin' Down The House" from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will tries to make the dinner but accidentally burns the entire kitchen with his failed flambe attempt.
  • In The Sooty Show, when Sooty and Sweep both get given jumpers that are too big for them, they try to shrink them in the wash but use too much soap powder and the laundry room fills with bubbles. Later, they didn't shrink, so they put them in the dryer but they shrink to itty-bitty size.
  • On "The Brady Bunch": episode "Law and Disorder", Bobby makes a clandestine effort to launder his good suit (after he got it cover in soot from entering a condemned house). But he poured about half a box of detergent into the washing machine, and almost drowned himself when the laundry room filled with suds. To add insult to injury, the ordeal all but ruined his dry-clean-only suit pants, as they were now, in his sister's words, "tighter than his skin".

     Videos Games 
  • In The Sims series, if a sim is not skilled at using certain appliances, then they can end up breaking them, such as the oven catching on fire if the sim doesn't know how to cook.

     Western Animation  
  • One Pink Panther cartoon has Pink lie upon an ironing board, and iron his tummy fur. The phone rings, and Pink answers it, leaving the hot iron to burn its way completely through his body and the ironing board to tumble onto the floor. Pink hops to his feet and regards the triangular hole in his midsection. Amazingly, it seems neither to hurt nor to debilitate him, being nothing worse than unsightly.
  • In a 1950's Goofy 's cartoon Father's day off, Goofy replaces his wife for a day. A dress got wet and shrink immediately. Goofy then tries to iron it, but forget the iron on it (granted, he had to answer a phone call). It goes Up to Eleven as the iron not only tear a hole in the dress , but also burn the plank, then the floor, and finally fell on Goofy's head who was in the room downstairs.
  • The Simpsons
    • Parodied when Homer has to cook. Wisely, he just prepares a bowl of cereals. But as soon as he pours (cold) milk into the bowl, it catches fire.
    • In the "Stark Raving Dad " episode, Bart puts his red cap into the white laundry and all Homer's shirts turn pink. It leads Homer to be judged as a defiant mind at work when he wears one - and to be put in an asylum.
  • Miraculous Ladybug : Ladybug once used a microwaves as a weapon, when she voluntary put a metallic box in it in order the waves destroy a virtual padlock. It works, but not before the oven explode.
  • The Tom and Jerry cartoon "Push Button Kitty" sees Mammy Two-Shoes purchase Mechano, the Cat of Tomorrow to replace the ineffective Tom. Against a single mouse, Mechano jettisons Jerry with maximum efficiency and zero damage. However, when presented with a dozen wind-up mice, Mechano goes haywire, turning a row of commemorative plates into a shooting gallery, and circular sawing a mahogany coffee table in two, among other destructive efforts. Mammy is screaming for Tom to return by the cartoon's end.
  • Many episodes of the first series of Mézga család are about Geza and Aladar trying to avoid their mundane chores with household appliances from the future that are bound to go wrong.
  • Les Drew wrote and animated Every Dogs Guide To Complete Home Safety, which shows Bumbling Dad Bernard use a circular saw on a 30-amp outlet. The tool goes haywire and starts sawing up the whole house. When Bernard's boss arrives and rings the doorbell, the whole structure collapses. Happily, Wally the dog and the couple's toddler escaped unharmed. Viewable here: [1].
  • Rugrats: In the episode "Accidents Happen", Stu puts Dil's onesie in the laundry with something else and it turns pink.

     Real Life  
  • Despite the trope still used for comedic effect, modern appliances are not that prone to derail any more. Notably ovens and irons burn less often since they work with electricity rather than fire. Many, but not all irons and other hot domestic appliances now have auto shut offs to prevent fires. In fiction they lack such a feature even in modern settings to cause "I left the iron on" and "iron burns marks/through toons" situations. Also, putting metal in microwaves only have effect with elements with sharps (as an electric arc can appear between two of them).
  • Note that the "room full of bubbles" problem was more common in the early days of automatic washing machines. At that time washing powder came in two types - standard for use in "twin tub" machines or for hand washing and "low suds" versions for use in automatic machines. Using standard powder in the automatic machine would cause the room full of bubbles effect.
  • Dishwashers are also capable of the room full of bubbles effect. No other detergent but that specifically formulated for dishwashers can be used in one. Bottled dishwashing liquid, bar soap, shampoo or powder for laundry will all result in the dishwasher overflowing with suds,no matter what Google searches tell you.
  • Ironing is not recommended for certain clothes. Nylon stockings, raincoats and anything made of vinyl, latex, or some synthetic fabrics - all melt under a hot iron.
  • Allegedly.... a coach at an American university wondered why the star quarterback in the American Football team (a man not overburdened with intellect who got there on a sports scholarship to do a dissertation in stacking towels) was seen to have a series of regularly-shaped burns all over his upper body. Fearing that the quarterback was into some sort of sexual perversion and therefore laying himself open to blackmail or worse, the coach took him aside for a man-to-man talk concerning how he got the burns. Apparently he'd got them while ironing his shirt. Nobody had ever told him you take a shirt off to iron it.. he'd been pressing it while on his body, "to save time".
  • In the "System 32 twitch services" video , a young Twitch user was abused by persons pretending to be Twitch help services, who among other things told him to put the battery of his computer in the microwaves...and it took fire.

Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • January 22, 2017
    thewhitefairy
    The reworked version of the Iron hot hole page. As suggested, I've included all kind of domestic disasters.
  • January 22, 2017
    TonyG
    The Goldbergs: In "Smother's Day", Barry and Erica try to make Beverly breakfast in bed after forgetting Mother's Day. Unfortunately, all they manage to do is set the kitchen on fire. Bev is touched nonetheless that they at least made an effort.
  • January 23, 2017
    Omeganian
  • January 23, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • The Tom And Jerry cartoon "Push Button Kitty" sees Mammy Two-Shoes purchase Mechano, the Cat of Tomorrow to replace the ineffective Tom. Against a single mouse, Mechano jettisons Jerry with maximum efficiency and zero damage. However, when presented with a dozen wind-up mice, Mechano goes haywire, turning a row of commemorative plates into a shooting gallery, and circular sawing a mahogany coffee table in two, among other destructive efforts. Mammy is screaming for Tom to return by the cartoon's end.
  • January 27, 2017
    thewhitefairy
    bump
  • January 28, 2017
    marcoasalazarm
    Explored extensively on Series/Mythbusters, whenever they looked into a myth of an appliance gone berserk because of mishandling or another (such as how possible (and lethal) the Electrified Bathtub could be (result: more modern appliances would probably shut down the moment they hit the water and not create a shock, but older appliances were still pretty dangerous) and whether or not an overloaded washing machine that had its user standing on it when it went off could injure said user (the result: washing machines do not have the kind of horsepower necessary to perform said spinning, let alone cause injuries).
  • January 28, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Advertising
    • One Allstate Insurance commercial shows a married couple leaving home for vacation in a station wagon crammed with baggage. Suddenly, the wife gasps, "I left the iron on!" Her husband disputes that, but the wife is insistent. The husband reaches under his seat to produce a steam iron, and smiles in triumph. The wife, however, states, "That's my old iron." After a double take, the couple return home in time to see the fire department conduct a post-suppression inspection.
  • January 29, 2017
    Snicka
    • Many episodes of the first series of Mezga Csalad are about GĂ©za and Aladár trying to avoid their mundane chores with household appliances from the future that are bound to go wrong.
  • February 3, 2017
    thewhitefairy
    Bump
  • February 3, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Les Drew wrote and animated Every Dogs Guide To Complete Home Safety, which shows Bumbling Dad Bernard use a circular saw on a 30-amp outlet. The tool goes haywire and starts sawing up the whole house. When Bernard's boss arrives and rings the doorbell, the whole structure collapses. Happily, Wally the dog and the couple's toddler escaped unharmed. Viewable here: [1].
  • February 3, 2017
    mizorefan
    • In the episode "Burnin' Down The House" from The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, Will tries to make the dinner but accidentally burns the entire kitchen with his failed flambĂ© attempt.
  • February 9, 2017
    Prfnoff
    This is tropeworthy but needs a better fitting title, I think.
  • February 10, 2017
    thewhitefairy
    domestic appliance disaster?
  • February 14, 2017
    thewhitefairy
    bump

  • February 14, 2017
    Malady
    A Certain Unknown Level 0: The advanced Academy City laundry machine repeated has errors despite repeated attempts to fix it, and causes things like all of the water spewing out.

    Maybe some examples from home repair shows, like Holmes on Holmes or something?
  • February 14, 2017
    Unicorndance
    I know several examples
    • In The Sooty Show, when Sooty and Sweep both get given jumpers that are too big for them, they try to shrink them in the wash but use too much soap powder and the laundry room fills with bubbles. Later, they didn't shrink, so they put them in the dryer but they shrink to itty-bitty size.
    • In the Clarice Bean book "Utterly Me", Clarice Bean asks her grandfather to launder her jersey, but it shrinks down to "the size of a midge".
    • Rugrats: In the episode "Accidents Happen", Stu puts Dil's onesie in the laundry with something else and it turns pink.
  • February 15, 2017
    SquirrelGuy
    TV: On The Brady Bunch episode "Law and Disorder", Bobby makes a clandestine effort to launder his good suit (after he got it cover in soot from entering a condemned house). But he poured about half a box of detergent into the washing machine, and almost drowned himself when the laundry room filled with suds. To add insult to injury, the ordeal all but ruined his dry-clean-only suit pants, as they were now, in his sister's words, "tighter than his skin".
  • February 18, 2017
    TomWalpertac2
    Never forget that this trope can sometimes result from Oven Logic Gone Horibly Wrong.
  • February 19, 2017
    thewhitefairy
    Launch soon with this title, what do you think?
  • February 19, 2017
    Snicka
    ^ Good. The foreign vowels in some of the examples (particularly Mezga Csalad) need to be fixed, though.
  • February 19, 2017
    ZuTheSkunk
    • In The Sims series, if a sim is not skilled at using certain appliances, then they can end up breaking them, such as the oven catching on fire if the sim doesn't know how to cook.
  • February 19, 2017
    Skylite
    Important real life point: many — but not all— irons and other hot domestic appliances now have auto shut offs to prevent fires. In fiction they lack such a feature even in modern settings to cause "I left the iron on" and "iron burns marks/through toons" situations.

  • February 20, 2017
    Exxolon
    Note that the "room full of bubbles" problem was more common in the early days of automatic washing machines. At that time washing powder came in two types - standard for use in "twin tub" machines or for hand washing and "low suds" versions for use in automatic machines. Using standard powder in the automatic machine would cause the room full of bubbles effect.
  • February 20, 2017
    Skylite
    ^ Dishwashers are also capable of the room full of bubbles effect. No other detergent but that specifically formulated for dishwashers can be used in one. Bottled dishwashing liquid, bar soap, shampoo or powder for laundry will all result in the dishwasher overflowing with suds,no matter what Google searches tell you.
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