->'''Cyborg:''' Well, how am I supposed to watch TV ''without a remote''?!\\
'''Raven:''' ''Simple.'' You ''get up'' and ''change the channel''.\\
'''Cyborg:''' ...Don't even joke like that.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''

{{GASP}}! The batteries in the remote control for the TV are dead! The [[FateWorseThanDeath greatest horror]] of all befalls our hero. Having to actually go up to the TV and change the channels manually! DUN DUN DUN!, or at least that's what your Plucky Sidekick, unaware of the seriousness of the situation, suggested. It should be noted that, since the early 2010s, many modern sets have extremely minimal on-board controls, if they have any at all, so a dead remote really can mean a very considerable loss of functionality. Same for a set-top box, as more and more of them have come to rely ''entirely'' on a remote, so watching TV without one actually does become impossible until you change the batteries.

When the trope is PlayedForLaughs, AnAesop about being lazy or about spending too much time watching TV may occur. Be on the lookout for [[ShootTheTelevision a gun being used as a substitute for a remote]]. Compare LostTheTVRemote.



* In a commercial for Energizer Batteries, a man who has suffered from a major injury is watching TV. He is channel surfing, until he comes to a very intimate channel. When he hears from his Wife that his Father-in-law is coming to visit, he tries to change the channel, only to find out the batteries in his remote have died. Because he is heavily injured, he can't walk up to the TV and change the channel by hand. He gets caught by his Wife and Father-in-law as the Announcer says, "Should have used Energizer. They keep going and going...", complete with the Energizer Bunny passing by his house.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'':
** With the batteries in the remote dead, Jon challenges his lazy tabby on how he'll be able to change the channels now. Garfield picks him up by the heels and uses Jon's long body to press the buttons on the TV.
** In another strip, the remote's batteries die and Jon and Garfield, rather than going to change the channel on the set, decide to ''go drive to the store and buy new batteries instead.'' Liz is totally baffled by this.
* Peter in ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' also faces this dilemma, the batteries are dead and there are no replacements, so he wails about how he'll have to watch the same channel all night, at least until his Mom comes in to tell him his bedtime is in five minutes. "THAT SOON?!"
* [[http://www.gocomics.com/brewsterrockit/2009/04/13/ This installment of]] ''ComicStrip/BrewsterRockitSpaceGuy'', eventually, Winky is sent back in time two days earlier to get the remote that [[StableTimeLoop has been missing for two days...]]
* ''ComicStrip/HeartOfTheCity'': [[http://www.gocomics.com/heartofthecity/2009/07/16/ Good thing it landed on something she wanted to watch.]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'':
** In ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'', several toys are watching TV in Andy's room when a commercial for the toy store owned by Woody's kidnapper, featuring the evil chicken voiced by Wayne Knight, comes on. Everyone panics and the batteries fall out. Most of the toys have no idea how to use batteries.
** Doubles as a ContinuityNod to a similar situation in the first movie. Instead of a remote, it's a walkie-talkie that loses it batteries, and Woody is the only one who knows how to use them.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* This trope is how the plot of ''Film/{{Pleasantville}}'' is caused to happen. Jennifer isn't too worried, commenting that they can just get up and press the buttons on the TV; only for David to explain that this TV doesn't have any buttons on it.

* In ''[[Literature/FullDarkNoStars A Good Marriage]]'', protagonist Darcy finds a lot more than she meant to while she was looking for batteries. [[spoiler:She finds evidence that her husband is the SerialKiller who's all over the news.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The {{Pilot}} for ''Series/TheSarahSilvermanProgram'' (though it was actually aired as the last episode of the season) "Batteries" found Sarah scrambling around town for batteries for her remote so she wouldn't have to watch a telethon for sick children. This was after she taped dollar bills to the screen.
* There was a slightly different TV Remote batteries gag on ''Series/{{Coupling}}''. Steve checks the remote to find there aren't any batteries in it ''at all'', points this out to new girlfriend Susan, and is bemused when she goes [[ADateWithRosiePalms into her bedside table]] to get them back... when those are dead too, she opens up a drawer to reveal several huge multipacks of spare batteries.
* In a bit filmed for ''Series/LateNight with Creator/DavidLetterman'', the gang at ''Series/{{Cheers}}'' are watching TV and the remote is dead. They all decide that's OK, they'll just watch whatever's on next. Cue ''Late Night''' s Opening Montage. Everybody runs out the door of the bar, including Sam.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Sheldon}}'': [[http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/020114.html Arthur can't change the channel on his own.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' "Perry Lays An Egg": Candace recounts how going five feet for popcorn is all right, but five feet to change the channel is too much.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}}'' TV show had an episode that was kicked off when Dogbert complained the remote wasn't working, and Dilbert told him to change the battery. The left one. Also, he bought a battery on the way home from work the day before because he sensed this coming. This was a demonstration of Dilbert's "knack" with electronics, which he goes on to lose later in the episode.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Contrasting Bart and Homer's desire to avoid watching a space shuttle launch with their panic over the complex technology of the TV remote not working (the batteries have fallen out).
** There was another instance in one of the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes in which Bart crams a stick of glowing radioactive waste into the remote (Marge had taken the batteries to curb the kids excessive viewing) and with a push of the On button sends Bart and Lisa into an "Itchy & Scratchy" cartoon.
* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'': In "The Inconveniencing", Grunkle Stan loses the TV remote and refuses to get up and change the channel, even when a cheesy old romantic period piece movie comes on TV. Later he is so transfixed by the movie that he misses Dipper's phone-call for help from a haunted convenience store.
* Toot from ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' demonstrates a novel solution for this: [[ExtremeOmnivore just eat the television]].
* On ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'', Heffer goes to [[GoshDangItToHeck Heck]], and is informed by the demon [[FluffyTheTerrible Peaches]] that "[[FauxHorrific THERE IS NO REMOTE!!]]" Cue BigNo from Heffer.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGo'' episode "Oil Drums" is all about the Titans losing the remote control, and ends with the FamilyUnfriendlyAesop that getting out and expanding your horizons is what rots your brain, while mindlessly watching television all day is what's good for you.
* ''WesternAnimation/BuddyThunderstruck'' "Babysitters, Yo": After spending the entire day looking after the inept Tex Jr. Buddy realizes he forgot to buy batteries for the TV Remote. Darnell suggests they just change it manually, to which Tex Jr. ''and'' Buddy express shock that you can do that. Buddy attempts to make Darnell be his personal remote for him, which proves to be the breaking point for Darnell where he realizes Buddy hasn't been mocking Jr's ineptitude all day, he just really is exactly as inept.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Some flatscreen [=TVs=] don't have buttons, so the remote is the only option. Fortunately these models are a true minority, as manufacturers do realize the possibility of the batteries dying, or losing the remote. This trope will still be in force if a TV with buttons is mounted out of reach causing the buttons to be inaccessible.
* A variant of this trope is also possible with some cable boxes.
* Many modern [=TVs=] can be controlled over a home wifi network using a smartphone app (unless [[CellPhonesAreUseless the phone is dead too]]).