Epic Fail / Live-Action TV

This is so frequent on Game Shows that they have their own page. Hell's Kitchen also has its own page.

  • Auction Kings has had a few of these:
    • The Billy Beer was appraised as worthless. Didn't stop it from selling for over $100 though.
    • A seller brings in a stamp they claim is worth a million dollars. Cindy calls in an expert and is floored when she hears the stamp is really worth it... if it were real. Naturally, the stamp is a cheaper reproduction and the seller pulls it.
    • A Seller wants to sell a cart which he runs a business out of. It breaks being unloaded from the trailer, and no one can find a replacement wheel. The most expensive item of the auction is in the front yard, broken.
  • A common situation comedy plot where Epic Fail is sure to arise involves one of the main characters announcing he is a chef and had distributed food he had prepared (often, it's a baked good, such as a pastry or filled roll) to a friend, and the friend – who invariably will be the owner of a bakery – is so impressed that he offers to buy the recipe. Things get hairy when there is a sudden huge order for the baked goods and a very short time frame in which to prepare them (e.g., 20,000 pop tarts in 24 hours) ... and only the main setting's home kitchen is available; of course, the main character will absent-mindedly accept. Naturally, this leads to many comic situations before the Epic Fail kicks in.
    • Truth in Television: This has happened a few times in the UK version of The Apprentice when teams have been given the task of creating and selling a product, and sold way beyond their production capacity.
  • One of the funniest moments in the history of Frasier is the first act of "Three Valentines", which consists of Niles managing to turn a minor adjustment of his pants while sitting on the couch waiting for his date to arrive into a six-minute-long, wordless catastrophe set to the diegetic score of a symphony orchestra that ends with the couch on fire, everything but the couch covered in fire extinguisher fluff, and Niles sprawled in the middle of the floor half-naked in a dead faint with the door wide open while Eddie the dog wolfs down his date's meal. While it may have been an Epic Fail for Niles, it was a Crowning Moment of Awesome for David Hyde Pierce.
    • Also, Daphne's attempt at throwing a dinner party in "Daphne Does Dinner". The Crane family, who are notorious for having all their parties end in disaster, proudly take the sheer massiveness of her failure as a rite of passage to her becoming "officially a Crane".
    • In the episode "The Apparent Trap", Niles tries playing one of Freddie's videogames and somehow manages to die during the training level - by tripping and falling in the game.
    • In fact, the show thrives on this very trope. Anything that any of the main cast try to do will descend into hilariously over-the-top, convoluted pandemonium two-thirds of the time (the other third of the time it will end in a Crowning Moment of Awesome).
  • On The Golden Girls, Dorothy mentions to Blanche about the weight loss through sex diet she and Stan went through, where anytime you went hungry you replace food with a sexual activity:
    Blanche: Did it work?
    • Blanche's attempt at Sitting Sexy on a Piano. Rue McClanahan declared it her favorite musical scene because of how badly it went.
  • Storage Wars:
    • When Mark Balelo found an original NES, he got a little excited. "NES-001, guys. I want you to look at this very carefully. This is the first Nintendo DS built. The last one that sold with five games in the internet for $13,000." That was the model number, not the serial number. It was worth maybe ten bucks. The reason the "last one" sold for $13,000 was because one of those five games was a fully boxed, mint-condition cartridge of a game whose distribution numbered in the hundreds.
    • In another episode, Dave Hester finds a beat-up violin in storage which he immediately convinces himself is an original Stradivari worth millions. He brings it to a violin expert who values it at possibly 300-400 dollars at most, if Dave invested 100-200 dollars to restore it to good condition. Up to that point, Dave had blabbed to the camera nonstop about how he'd found the holy grail of storage scavenging and would be retiring any day now.
  • Big Time Rush: A few times, but the biggest has to be when the boys cook up a scheme to get Carlos a girlfriend. In order to impress the girl, they plan for James, disguised as a robber, to rob Logan's handbag, who is disguised as an old lady, then Carlos jumps in, saves the day and gives the girl flowers put out by Kendall. Only when Carlos jumps in, he punches Logan, gives James the flowers, and the girl the handbag.
  • The IT Crowd:
    • When Moss attempts to put out a burning soldering iron, the fire extinguisher catches fire.
    • One time Jen has to give a presentation on her work in the IT department. Roy and Moss set her up for a fail by giving her a black box with a little flashing light and pretending that it's the internet. Yes, the entire internet, responsible for all of modern communications and civilization, specially flown in by Stephen Hawking. The entire audience buys into it until her boss comes bursting through the wall in a fist fight with his transsexual girlfriend and smashes the little black box. A riot breaks out, people run for the doors, some start crying, some start fighting and some start to get busy in the middle of the lecture room floor.
    • The entire trip to the theatre. Their Goth co-worker Richmond warns them that nothing good can come of their trip, but by the time he's finished they've all left. All three main characters have their night completely ruined.
  • In one episode of Up Pompeii, one of the actors, whilst proceeding off stage, managed to walk into some equipment, leading to a loud crash and some swearing. This was turned into an epic win by the main character, a slave called Lurcio (played by Frankie Howerd), who immediately said, "Blimey, worked in this house thirty years, and I never knew that way down to the cellar."
  • iCarly. In many episodes, something Spencer is doing catches fire, asplodes, and more. Often lampshaded when such happens. Notably, in one, he touches a bell on a desk. It burns, and puts it out with soda. It catches fire again!
  • Top Gear: It's not for nothing the motto of the challenges is "Ambitious but rubbish". Thanks to Jeremy Clarkson's devotion to Tim Taylor Technology, when he fails to achieve Epic Win, he winds up with Epic Fail. Two shining examples: the Toyota amphibious truck, which crossed a two-mile stretch of water and then capsized next to the dock when he turned too quickly; and the Fiat "Giant" Panda stretch limo, which was too long to maneuver and passengers required a The Great Escape-style sliding-board contrivance just to get into the back seat. Yes, folks, Jezza built a two-door stretch limo. And then it broke in half...
    • You have to be impressed with a convertible people carrier that ended up causing a fire in a car wash.
      • Speaking of which, and regarding the amphibious vehicles, "None of us were seaworthy. Mine was still on fire."
    • In the literal drag race during the tractor challenge, he decided that the best weight to pull was...a 747 jet airliner. It led to his turbocharged tractor taking 20 seconds to go from 0 to 1.
    • "Meanwhile, James had managed to get lost. On an oval."
    • After they turned a combine harvester into a snowplow, they decided to test it in Norway. They destroy a house, burn through a road sign, run over a car, and may or may not have set a person on fire...
    • In the aplline truck challenge, each of them was given a cargo (a giant cake for James, a car for Hammond, and a hay stack with a heater for Jeremy) for them to bring from one side of the hilly course to the other. The results: the cake was toppled over, the car was GONE, and Jeremy's trailer was engulfed in flames.
    • When they tried to make their own RVs, the whole thing was the definition of this trope.
    • One episode invokes this for laughs. The crew were all comparing 3 mid-70's British sports cars and seeing how they stacked up against a respectably built German car of the same era and class in a series of performance test races. To nobody's surprise, the German car had worse performance than all three British cars. Next up, they had to test out the fuel economy of the cars, so they were set to drive to a destination about 30km away. They mention that just for comparability, the German car would go first as part of the test. The German car promptly explodes when the driver turned the ignition. Not surprised in the least, they decide to just go on without it.
      • Later, they test the cars in a car wash to see if there were any leaks. The three cars driven by the presenters have minor leaks at worst (Hammond's being the most noticeable). Then, a new comparison car driven by the Stig goes through...and emerges completely filled with water.
      • Played for laughs again when Jeremy demonstrates the ridiculous lengths one has to go to when trying to destroy a Porsche 911; during which he slams the car into a block wall (much harder than he intended to) and damages the wall more than the car. All told, the Porsche also survives shotgun blasts, an upright piano dropped from a crane, and being doused with acid.
    • The episode where they make their own electric car, Geoff/Hammerhead-Eagle i-Thrust, was a string of consecutive epic failure, from design to the testing stage, culminating in a track test that ended when a faulty diesel-electric system asphyxiated their green technology Stig. Amusingly, they technically accomplished their goal: to make a car that scored higher than a real electric car—in the Autocar review they cited on the show (yes, the magazine actually did review it), the Hammerhead-Eagle i-Thrust was given a score that was half a star better than the G-Wiz. (Yep, neither car scored more than 1 star.) Probably because the Top Gear car, unlike the G-Wiz, made no pretense that it was actually any good.
    • Jeremy drives the Reliant Robin. And flips it over and over and over again.
    • The show has had such a long and ridiculous string of these, that they made a two-part, two-hour long special dedicated solely to them: Top Gear: Top Fails.
    • Michael Schumacher's lap in the Suzuki Lianna. He stalled off the line, ground gears after getting started, crashed into a camera tripod going round Chicago, when incredibly slow through the follow through went the wrong way around the tires, and got lost before the second-to-last turn.
    • When totaling up the score from the Tailgating Van Challenge:
    "Right, so I was minus a half... Uh, Richard, you were nine... and James, you were minus four million."
  • On The West Wing, Josh's hilariously craptastic attempt to brief the press when CJ has a root canal that renders her incomprehensible somehow ends with Josh telling the press to shut up and stop asking him questions, because the President has a Secret Plan to Fight Inflation. Bartlet, Toby, and especially CJ's reactions are priceless:
    Bartlet: Are you telling me that not only did you invent a secret plan to fight inflation, but now you don't support it?
    Toby: Have you fallen on your head? Have you fallen down and hit your head on something hard?
    CJ: What the heww happened in thewe? You compwetewy impwoded! You wewe vague, you wewe howstiwe, you wewe bewwigewent!
    • Also, in the pilot, Sam tries to bluff his way through telling a group of fourth grade students about the history of the White House. It doesn't work:
    Mallory: I'm sorry to be rude, but are you a moron?
    Sam: In this particular area, yes.
    Mallory: The 18th President was Ulysses S. Grant, and the Roosevelt Room was named for Theodore.
    Sam: Really?
    Mallory: There’s like a six-foot painting on the wall of Teddy Roosevelt.
    Sam: I should've put two and two together.
  • In the NUMB3RS episode featuring the hacker on the run from various criminal groups, the Israeli hacker/arms-dealer gets cornered by an FBI agent while said Israeli hacker's muscle is elsewhere. You see the hacker's eyes dart over to the glass window and you know he's gonna make a break for it— But you don't expect for the break to fail so spectacularly, as the hacker's body (appropriate for his specialty, and thus not made like a linebacker's) bounces off the window not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. He's caught, obviously, no doubt wondering why the breakaway glass didn't breakaway, like in the movies.
  • On Corner Gas, Oscar made a salad...that then exploded.
    Hank: How do you blow up a salad?
    Oscar: Happens more than you'd think!
  • Lampshaded in "Mr. Monk Is Underwater", where Monk discovers that a couple of years ago, the submarine he's on hit an undersea mountain. He's gobsmacked and can't believe that a Navy commander could possibly be that incompetent.
  • In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm goes bowling. Despite numerous failures, his mother continues to enthusiastically cheer him on. This eventually frustrates him so much that he grabs a ball, walks right up to the pins, yells that he'll give her the strike she wants...and gets a gutter ball. From half a meter away. However, it turns out this is the happy scenario. We get to see an Alternate Universe in which his dad takes him bowling instead of his mum and he ends up bowling pretty well...except he gets stuck in the pin machines. Epic Fail either way.
  • Attack of the Show! ends most episodes with an "Epic Fail" segment, showing a video usually from YouTube or break.com, followed by hate hosts mocking the subject of the video.
    • The "Kitten Warrior" competition they did, it took Keven's kitten around 40 of the 60 given seconds to even leave the starting box.
    • They epic failed themselves when their attempt to skywrite the world's largest ASCII penis turned up utterly meaningless smoke scrawl across the sky to their complete dismay.
  • In the Deadliest Warrior episode "Musketeer vs Ming Warrior", the leader of the Mings lets out a war cry, only to get shot by a Musketeer.
    • In the "Medellin Cartel vs Somali Pirate" episode, a cartel member leaves his hideout and locks the door. A Somali Pirate with a RPG-7 rocket launcher notices him and aims the rocket. The cartel guy tries to open the door to get inside the building, but...he just locked it! The Pirate's rocket hits him directly.
    • In the "Ninja vs Spartan" episode, the last ninja jumps out of a tree, in plain sight of the Spartan, in a last-ditch effort to... be impaled on the Spartan's spear, which the Spartan only had to extend. This may be more of an example of Too Dumb to Live than epic fail, though. Unless you're the Spartan, then the failure is pretty impressive for you.
  • Married... with Children: This trope, in two words, more or less sums up most of the life of Al Bundy.
    • Particularly glorious examples of Epic Failures are chronicled in the episodes 976-SHOE and God's Shoes.
    • In one episode, jealous Kelly plans to get rid of a French exchange student by letting her cheat off her. The poor girl fails every single subject, including French.
    • Kelly just seems to get into these situations. In the string of episodes where the family wins a trip to England, Kelly gets lost in London and then learns that Al and Bud are scheduled to be killed in the small English village they're visiting. Kelly's attempts to get to the village only get her even more lost...and by "even more lost", one means not only wandering across half the world's continents, but time-travelling back to the Mesozoic Era. Since Kelly eventually does manage to find the village in time to save her father and brother (with no explanation given), these are definitely Achievements in Ignorance for her.
    • Then there was the episode in which a buff fitness guru tries to get the slovenly Bundys to lead healthful lives. Not only do the Bundys remain lazy, but they turn the instructor himself into a fat, chain-smoking couch potato!
    • Terry Rakolta led a boycott against the show. Some sponsors did cancel their commercials, but the fuss she raised also raised the show's ratings, simultaneously raising both the rates the show could charge for commercials, and bringing in new advertisers.
    • In one episode, Kelly has to do a book report for class about Robinson Crusoe. When she asks her brother for help, Bud cannot help himself sabotage her in the most spectacular way possible by describing Gilligan's Island instead. She buys the whole thing hook, line and sinker.
    Kelly: *comes back home infuriated* Bud? Me and the principal just had a three hour talk. A three hour talk.
  • Comedian Bob Einstein combines this trope with Informed Ability in the character of Super Dave Osborne. Super Dave is continually lauded as one of the world's most brilliant stuntmen, whose death-defying feats are "astronomically sensational". Of course, when the audience actually sees Super Dave perform a stunt, it inevitably backfires in an Epic Fail manner. Sometimes Super Dave doesn't even need to be performing a stunt, as more than one Epic Fail resulted from him simply trying to show off some new attraction at the Super Dave Compound.
    • If Super Dave ever plays a piano, expect a car or truck to come crashing out of nowhere and take them out both.
  • Mike from Desperate Housewives had this to say about Susan's macaroni and cheese: "How did you...it tastes like it's burned and undercooked." (Thus is technically possible if you apply extreme heat for a very short time. The outside is burned, while the inside remains uncooked. That only applies to baked mac 'n' cheese, though— it's truly an Epic Fail if you managed this with the instant boxed kind!)
  • Survivor: Cook Islands: In the final episode, a tie at the penultimate Tribal Council led to the traditional tiebreaker: a fire-building challenge. Both Becky and Sundra were to build a small fire high enough to burn through a rope about three feet off the ground or so. Some contestants have trouble building fires (see Reality Show Genre Blindness), but in this instance, neither contestant could get their tinder to light using the flint-and-steel, despite throwing sparks nonstop for an hour. Jeff eventually stopped them and told them they were moving on to matches. Even with matches, they continued to fail at keeping a flame going long enough for their teepees to catch light for another half-hour. One of them ran out of matches. This was especially annoying because they made fire earlier in the season. And what made it even worse was that Becky and Sundra weren't seen as any particular threat to win compared to Yul and Ozzy, so essentially this challenge's only purpose was deciding who got third and who got fourth.
    Strong Bad: Hello, my name is piece of wood and I don't want to catch fire. Hello, my name is little match, and I don't want to make a fire! Hello, my name is fire, and I'm not comin' to your stupid party!
    • Partway through the challenge, the sound guys realize where this is going and change from dramatic music to comedic.
    • Russell Hantz came on for the third time. However this time he doesn't have the advantage of being unknown to his fellow players this time since the production staff practically shoved him down our throats during the previous two times he was on. You would expect that he would have wised up and realized that he's at a disadvantage due to being with people he doesn't know (like in Heroes vs. Villains) and that they know who he is and how he plays the game; so he wouldn't start playing the same game he was known for. Instead, he assembled his usual harem...started hunting for the idol without making sure people opposing him weren't watching first, then tried to get a tribe-mate to be a third wheel in the alliance on flimsy promises. Result? Third person voted out...second person eliminated in total in the series.
      • This Epic Fail is underscored by the fact that "Boston" Rob was placed in a similar situation in the other tribe and managed to play a masterful game where he ended up completely dominating the entire season and winning it all.
    • Not to mention the infamous Ulong Tribe of Palau, who managed to lose every single immunity challenge and was down to just one member by the time the merge came. The term "Ulonging" has since been used for particularity poor tribe performances.
      • And Ulong gets replaced by the appropriately named Matsing Tribe of Philippines (US version, not the Philippines version). They lost every single reward/immunity challenge and the two remaining members were absorbed to the other two tribes in the 5th episode.
      • Cagayan: The Luzon tribe. Lost all but few challenges? Check. Problems that also involved destroying 95% of their food on purpose? Check. Dissolved after the 4th challenge? Check. Here is how bad they were, on the 4th Immunity challenge, the Appari tribe was trying to let Luzon win, and yet the Appari tribe won ACCIDENTALLY. In other words, the Luzon tribe lost while one of the tribes was trying to lose the Immunity challenge.
    • Crystal Cox, the Olympic gold medalist from Gabon who utterly failed at anything even remotely athletic, culminating in her missing a slam dunk on a five-foot hoop when she's six-feet tall. This sums it up pretty nicely.
  • The worst team in The Amazing Race history is widely credited to be Dana & Adrian from Season 16 who were eliminated from the race without even completing a single task. While they were the third team to be eliminated without completing a leg, the other two were at legitimate elimination points, whereas Adrian was foiled by a wire walking challenge, something that's been completed by every other racer to ever attempt it on pretty much every other season, including an old, out of shape man with bad knees who could barely walk.
    • Season 22 has Jessica and John. Having won the first leg and an Express Pass they could use that would allow them to skip a task of their choosing, John refused to use it in Leg 4 (despite Jessica saying they should) when they were falling behind in both the Detour and Roadblock and are the first team to get eliminated with the Express Pass still in hand.
    • During a slingshot challenge, contestants must hit a target with watermelons. One of them hits herself squarely in the face at full power.
  • Frank Spencer from Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em pretty much embodied this trope. He tried to fix a toilet in a hightech house (which he'd broken when he found using it to be trickier than one might expect) and ended up stuffing it full of various household goods (including, if memory serves, a plant), flooding the house's electrics, causing every piece of equipment to go crazy and basically resulting in it nearly killing the occupants.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • The broken drive plate that killed the crew was Ret Conned into being a trivially easy thing to fix. Rimmer's failure killed the crew, sent Lister 3 million years into the future, and created enough ambient radiation in the sealed hold to allow a race of cat people to evolve from the descendants of a single cat without severe inbreeding problems.
    • Rimmer's astrophysics exam results are the stuff of legend. Shown onscreen is his failed attempt to write answers on his arms, only to smear them uselessly when rolling up his sleeves and stamping a huge handprint as his final answer. According to the novelization, he was gambling on the infinitesimal chance that his hand print would coalesce into all the correct answers. Another example mentioned by Lister was Rimmer writing I am a fish four hundred times before fainting
      • Even before smearing them he'd realized that he had no concept of what any of the notes meant. Dude couldn't understand a cheat sheet he wrote himself.
    • In Rimmer's backstory, he volunteered to work for the Samaritans, a helpline for the depressed and suicidal. Five people killed themselves after talking to him, including one who had the wrong number and only wanted the cricket scores.
    • When Lister attempts to outrank Rimmer by becoming a chef, he produces what appears to be a perfectly edible dessert. Shame he was going for roast beef.
  • Eddie and Richie from Bottom manage to get themselves trapped on top of Western Europe's tallest ferris wheel, in a conveniently deserted carnival (the wheel is scheduled for demolition the next morning), beat each other senseless, set fire to their carriage, break the cables holding it up, and when rescued by God, deny his existence, causing him to vanish in a Puff of Logic.
  • While many Mythbusters experiments end in failure because the myth tested is, well, a myth, some fail in such a spectacular fashion that only "epic fail" is strong enough to describe the result. One of the most memorable ones happened in the JATO rocket car supersize revisit, where every single test and planning step went perfectly well until the final run: when the car reached the ramp and the rocket was activated, it blew up sky high, shredding apart the car completely.
    Jamie: Well, let's reset.
    Adam: I think someone owes me 10,000 bucks.
    • The crew had their own epic fail when they tried to shoot some barrels of water with a cannon. They did this at a bomb range, so it's hard to believe they'd mess up too badly, but, well...not only did they completely miss the barrels, the cannonball bounced all the way out of the bomb range and into a residential area, where it smashed its way through a house, damaged the roof of a different house, and ended its rampage by smashing into a minivan. Seriously. They're just lucky the rogue ball was content with property damage, and didn't try for bodily damage.
  • In-universe example, but just fortuitous in Real Life: Michael Richards was once reminiscing about how, on the set of Seinfeld, he performed an impromptu pratfall while walking through Jerry's door as part of his "Kramer" character. As Richards's feet flew out from under him, one of them went completely over his head, curled around the doorknob, and closed the door all by itself. Richards regretted that he would never be able to do that again.
  • The second season of Wipeout had a contestant declare her love for one of the hosts, then run the qualifier. She slipped on the first corner, fell, and yelled "I'm done!" It could be said most of the appeal of the show is watching people fail the challenges in epic ways.
  • Taylor's attempt at a political seat on the first season of Benson.
    Governor Gatling: So, how did Taylor do?
    Marcie: He lost. He came in sixth.
    Benson: How did he come in sixth? There were only five candidates.
    Marcie: There was a large write-in for "none of the above".
    • It gets worse when they go to console him. He tells them his entire staff walked out after the results from one precinct came in and he didn't get any votes. His grandmother lives in that precinct.
  • In a similar vein in Night Court, Dan Fielding loses an election to a dead man.
  • In Home Improvement, Tim and Jill Taylor went to visit a marines base, and the soldiers offer to allow Jill to test drive one of the tanks due to her desire to be in one. Tim then cautions that trying to drive it is something else. Just then, Tim somehow manages to activate one of the Abrams' machine guns simply by touching it.
    • Pretty much describes everything Tim does on "Tool Time".
  • Many an Antiques Roadshow episode features a hopeful collector learning that her expensive early American furniture has halved in value because she (or a member of her family) had it refinished. But the all-time Epic Fail champion had to be the man who boasted about his fireplace andirons, which he claimed Liberace had once offered him $70,000 for. The man refused to sell, thinking they were worth far more. The Roadshow appraiser then had to inform the man that the andirons were fakes, and only worth a few hundred dollars.
  • At the beginning of the third season of Buffy, the title character has gone AWOL leaving the remaining Scoobies doing their best to take down any vampires they can in her absence. When a newly risen vampire takes out Xander and Willow before they can stake it, only Oz is left standing to try and stop the monster before it can escape. He grabs the stake and attempts to throw it through the now-fleeing vampire's heart... and he's able to throw it for about a foot before it falls to the ground.
  • In the Father Ted episode, "Think Fast, Father Ted", Ted is given a car, which is to be given away as a raffle prize. However, the car has a small dent in it, so Ted starts tapping out the dent with a small hammer. Cut to later, and the car is utterly totaled.
    Ted: No, we can't give that away as a prize.
  • In one episode of Blackadder, the Prince Regent spends an entire week trying to put on a pair of trousers.
  • In the Edgar Bergin episode of The Muppet Show, Gonzo the Great wrestles a brick blindfolded...and loses.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, during the episode "Deadlocked", Harry Kim invents a new type of forcefield, specifically designed to contain a growing hullbreach. He decides to be the one to implement his ingenious solution. Naturally, it utterly fails to work, leaving him right above the breach when it ruptures, sucking him into the cold, hard-vaccuum of space where he dies. All in all, classic Harry Kim move. Luckily, at the end of the episode, he ends up getting replaced by a Quantum Duplicate from the alternate Voyager.
    • Neelix got his turn in an early episode, nearly dooming the ship with cheese. Not the crew, the actual ship.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place some of Alex's screw-ups are actually pretty impressive, such as using the Wizard instant-mailing key to make the entire living room disappear.
  • Referenced by name in one episode of Fake Or Faked Paranormal Files when the crew attempts to test the official statement that a supposed UFO caught on video was in fact several airborne Chinese lanterns. After successfully lighting the lantern they released it... only to have it go sideways instead of up because of the wind, barely miss one of the camera crew, light itself on fire and then plummet to the ground, forcing them to put it out with a fire extinguisher. This caused them to declare that one getting up that high would only be possible with absolutely no wind, something next to impossible in the area where the video was filmed.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor," the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor, and the War Doctor are trapped in a cell. They come up with a brilliant plan to utilize The Slow Path, exploiting the fact that they're all one man at different points in time. The War Doctor scans the door with his screwdriver, then sets it calculating how to disintegrate it. Ten (who is a hundred years older) checks his screwdriver, and the calculation is still ongoing. Eleven (who is a few hundred years older still) checks his...and the calculation is complete! They're all congratulating themselves on their cleverness...until Clara opens the door from the other side. It wasn't even locked.
      Clara: There's three of you, and none of you thought to check the door?
    • Then there's the Twelfth Doctor's attempt at teaching some non-warrior Vikings how to use swords in "The Girl Who Died". One Viking hits another on his helmet with his sword, knocking the other Viking out. There's a bit of blood, which causes a third Viking to faint at the sight of it, knocking a torch onto some hay. This spooks a horse, which kicks open a gate... with the ultimate result of all this being the Viking village on fire and the Vikings desperately trying to put it out.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, when Howard tries to use a simulator to teach Sheldon how to drive, Sheldon somehow manages to wind up on the second floor of the mall and crash into a pet store.
    • Leonard's attempt to mix his own rocket fuel ended up destroying the elevator in events that happened prior to the first episode. How badly was it destroyed? Eight seasons in and it's still out of order.
    • In "The Bachelor Party Deterioration", we have the boys spectacularly failing to remove a nut from a hubcap while changing a tire. How badly did it end? Their van caught on fire.
  • There are many infomercials where someone will try to perform a simple task without the advertised product and screw it up in a completely contrived way. So many, in fact, there's a trope about it.
  • Pretty much everything The Goodies do turns out like this.
    • When Bill and Tim are arguing Like an Old Married Couple in "Kitten Kong", Bill says: "What did we get last time you cooked supper, eh? A bowl of corn flakes! Yes, and they were burnt..."
  • In an episode of Mr. Young, Adam attempts to knock over a bunch of bottles with a ball at a carnival. The first throw, he misses completely, but that's not the epic fail. The second time, he makes contact, but not enough to knock it over, but that's not the epic fail. The third time, he hits dead center, and the ball just ounces off without a single pin getting knocked over, but that's not the epic fail. No, the epic fail comes later, when the ride he's on malfunctions and he's sent flying off, and he crashes into the bottles at high speed, and still fails to knock a single one over.
  • In the Angel episode "Parting Gifts", Wesley shows he strapped a dagger to his thigh and boasts about being well prepared. During the big fight scene at the end, he is unable to unstrap it.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, when the gang are coming up with topics to talk to their dates about, Frank suggests they forget it and just go out and tell them their names. He gets his own name wrong.
    Frank: Hey ladies, I'm Frak. Shit!
  • On the Girl Meets World episode "Girl Meets Farkle's Choice", Riley rehearses the morning announcements so she doesn't mess up. However, as soon as the camera is on she delivers the announcements in almost-unintelligible gibberish. It's so bad that her best friend Maya (who is sitting next to her) cracks up hard every time.
  • In the first season of The Wire, one episode opens with Herc trying to move a desk into an office of the special detail. With him halfway through trying to wrestle the heavy desk through a narrow doorway, his partner Carver comes in and offers to help. Carver, not having seen that Herc is trying to move the desk into the office, goes around the other side, in the office, and begins pushing on it from there while Herc pushes on it from his side. Eventually more and more of the detail's detectives come in and attempt to help, always balancing out the amount of people on each side so that no matter how hard they strain and try, the desk isn't moving at all. All the while Detective Freeman just watches the struggle, barely able to keep his reaction to a wry smile. Eventually, the various detectives and their boss, Lieutenant Daniels, give up in frustration, convinced the desk has become wedged or caught on something, until the shoe finally drops. Enjoy watching it for yourself.
    Carver: Man, my ass is kicked.
    Herc: I could move it a bit when I was alone, it must have got wedged in the door somehow. ... Well, at this rate we're never gonna get it in. *Looks around, sees all the others doing facial expressions equivalent to a Face Palm or staring at him with barely restrained anger and frustration* What?
    McNulty: ... in?
    Carver: Unbelievable. Unbefuckinglievable.
  • In Yes, Minister, an off-screen politician is Kicked Upstairs because he fell asleep in Parliament while talking.
  • One of the funniest outtakes for Mystery Science Theater 3000 involved one of those. Joel had to come on the set and say one word. That word being "waffles." While he's eating waffles. In an episode where every host segment is about waffles. The camera starts rolling:
    Joel: "...Pancakes. Oh, I blew it!"
  • In one episode of Angie Tribeca, Geils goes all in during a high-stakes poker game. Turns out his hole cards are a three and the card with the instructions on it.
  • On the fifth installment in the Kamen Rider Double spin-off Hidari Shotaro's Hardboiled Delusion Diaries, Shotaro tries to imagine what things would be like if he was a police officer and Terui was a detective. The Narumi Detective Agency seems much better with Terui in Shotaro's place. Then, Shotaro shows up, and it's revealed that he accidentally imagined himself as Santa-chan. In an attempt to save face, he tries to give everyone gifts, only to pull a gun out of his bag and use it to shoot the Bird Dopant, a Monster of the Week who, in this delusion, is a cop.
  • The Apprentice:
    • In season two, the teams were tasked with shooting a recruitment commercial for the New York Police Department. One project leader, Andy (who'd committed a number of mistakes in previous weeks), went for an emotional commercial with police officers asking the viewers when was the last time they saved a life, made their families proud, etc. Elizabeth, the other project leader, went with a militaristic approach saying you don't have to enlist with the army to fight the war on terror. The advertising executive thought that Andy's commercial was the clear winner while Elizabeth's made America look like a police state. In the boardroom, Elizabeth continued to defend her decision right up until Trump fired her. It should be noted Elizabeth was the first contestant ever to be fired without the need for a second boardroom.
    • In the third season, the teams were tasked with producing a commercial for a body wash. Both of them did so poorly, Trump announced there was no winner that week and both teams were sent to the boardroom. If that's not bad enough, it happened again during one of the Celebrity seasons.
    • In the fourth season, the teams were tasked with taking control of a Dick's Sporting Goods store and promoting a sport of their choice. One team chose golf and improved sales of golf equipment by over seventy percent. The other team chose baseball, but focused on a demonstration instead of sales. As a result, sales of baseball equipment at that store dropped by thirty-three percent. (That's an over one hundred percent difference.) Trump's response: bring back the four contestants most responsible for the loss and fire all of them.
    • In the tenth season (and the last regular season), the teams had to manage and present a fashion show for Rockport's men's and women's shoes. The men had to present the women's shoes and while the models were well-dressed and attractive, Wade's choice for the emcee, Gene, stuttered, stumbled over words, mispronounced words and even mixed up the name of a pair of shoes with the name of the model who was wearing them (Jaeda)! This was largely because Wade didn't bother replacing Gene after Gene proved unprepared to rehearse! End result: Trump told the women they won, sent them out of the boardroom so he could lay into Wade and Gene, and fired both guys.
  • Chief from Gimme a Break! is in good company with Niles Crane. (See above.) He tries to play a video game with his daughter Julie and loses a life just by pressing start.