Bowled Over

A group of people are standing around, possibly in the same formation as bowling pins, and a large, often spherical object crashes into them and sends them flying. An appropriate sound effect is optional.

Oh— and the bowler will ALWAYS get a strike, never mind how difficult that is in normal bowling.

Penguins seem to be a favorite for this.

Related to Foe-Tossing Charge. Compare Human Chess. Not to be confused with Bowling for Ratings.


  • There was an Officer Jenny in the Pokémon episode "I'm Bowling For Thieves" who carried around a bowling ball and used it on criminals like this.
  • Excel Saga did this. On a mission to discover what the most popular sport in the country is, Excel and Hyatt get a job at a bowling alley right before it gets taken over by an evil terrorist group that wants to prove bowling is the world's greatest sport. Hyatt, a pair of TV hosts and Excel and Hyatt's idol singer doubles get held hostage in one of the lanes, in giant bowling pin costumes waiting to be knocked down by the evil group's balls. Until Excel uses her bowling balls to save them all and beat the bad guys.
  • There was one episode in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pure that played this trope for laughs. In this episode, the main characters where trying to rescue Hippo, who was imprisoned at the top of a tower where they have to get past a couple of their adversaries, who are stationed on one floor each. At the second floor, the three heroines confront Lanhua, who then splits into twelve chibi versions of herself, ready to play their music. For no reason at all, a bowling ball lands on Hanon's hands. After a brief imaging of the chibis as bowling pins, she rolls the ball, and… you know what happens next.
  • During the Dressrosa Arc of One Piece, a minor character (One Orlumbus), uses one Mook to bowl over other Mooks with a move called Killer Bowling. Zoro later likens it to throwing people like cannonballs.

Comic Books
  • Tintin does this with half of a wooden dumbbell on the second-to-last page of Tintin in America, complete with bubble showing imaginary bowling pins knocked over.

  • In The Matrix Reloaded, after Neo breaks out of the Dog Pile of Doom, he performs a hoisting of a Smith over his head before hurling it at a group of approaching Smiths, complete with the sound of bowling pins as they are knocked down.
  • The Three Caballeros: In the Cold-Blooded Penguin segment, Pablo freezes up and rolls down a snowy hill, turning into a giant snowball that knocks over his farewell party.
  • During the climatic Battle of the Goblin City in Labyrinth, a group of goblins stand up to one of the boulders summoned by Ludo, and are knocked down like bowling pins. They imminently retreat.

  • Harry knocks one vampire into an audience full of them during a duel in White Night, and lampshades the resulting mass knockdown as "Bowling for Vampires!".

Live-Action Television
  • In Rescue from Gilligan's Island, the Skipper and Gilligan rescue Mary Ann from a wedding that neither she nor the groom wants to go through with by scooping her up in a wagon full of watermelons just before they get to the "I Do"s. A bunch of people run after them, and they throw the watermelons at the chasers to make them stop. Comes complete with bowling SFX and Gilligan lampshading "Hey Skipper, I got a strike!"
  • In My Name Is Earl, Earl is trying to convince a policeman that he should be a bowler. He shows the officer the list of misdeeds he is trying to fix, but the policeman immediately arrests Earl as it's more or less an evidence of his numerous crimes. Earl tries to run away, and the officer knocks him down, but lets him go afterward, because he did that with a bowling ball, thus proving Earl's point.
  • One of the stages of the Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle involved the contestants picking cards dressing them up in bowling pins and having a guard roll a giant ball at them.

Newspaper Comics
  • A Peanuts Sunday Strip has Lucy making a very large snowball the size of a bowling ball. Many other characters taunt her for this and walk off. Lucy proceeds to roll the ball down the sidewalk, scattering everybody (except Charlie Brown) like proverbial tenpins. Lucy has another ball in reserve, and the final panel shows Charlie Brown getting bowled over, commenting about "picking up the spare".

  • The Reginald de Koven opera Rip van Winkle has a ball-less variation. Rip, having drunk the Magic Flask, is revealed as young once more, and, as the stage directions put it, "the astounded and terror-struck Dutch folk... tumble over like rows of ninepins." Hendrick Hudson's voice then rings out, in a Call-Back to the bowling scene: "A strike for Rip and Peterkee!"

Theme Parks
  • In the Yolkian Planet sequence in the Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast ride, Ooblar accidentally rams into a group of Yolkians set up like pins, resulting in this, complete with the sound effect as well as Ooblar yelling "STRIKE!".

Video Games
  • At one point in the D23 Tokyo 2018 trailer for Kingdom Hearts III, Sora grabs Mike Wazowski and rolls him like a bowling ball at a group of Heartless, complete with a strike sound effect and said Heartless lined up in ten-pin formation.
  • The Massive Multiplayer Crossover PlayStation Move Heroes has "Bowling" as one of the five weapons classes, joining the Frisbee of Death as Improbable Weapons.
  • Both Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Donkey Kong Country Returns feature Mooks shaped like bowling pins for you to run over with Rolling Attacks.
  • In Day of the Tentacle, there's a bowling ball that you see for nearly the entire game, but which is too heavy to pick up. In the climax, our heroes are merged into one body, and the Evil Minions guard their captive in bowling-pin formation. Guess what? The three heroes together are now strong enough to pick up the bowling ball. If you can get past the Big Bad who's now guarding the room it's in...
  • Played for Laughs in Jazzpunk where the player is escaping from a band of mooks by barging past them, resulting in the sound of bowling pins being knocked over. Lampshaded twice - firstly when one mook utters, "Bowling joke" before being knocked over, and secondly when the last group of mooks contains a giant bowling pin in mook clothing.
  • Metroid Prime 3 has an area where ten enemies are lined up like bowling pins and marching forward. Players who see this for what it is and run into them as a morph ball are rewarded with an achievement.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: one room in the Chariot Master's tower is set up like this; one of the giant boulders that can be struck with a melee attack to send it flying, sitting at the top of a slope, at the bottom of which are a group of Monoeyes. It's actually not that easy to get a strike... on a single downhill send, but as the ball can also bounce back up the slope, Pit's more likely to take them all out with one hit than not.
Viridi: Hey, look! It's a giant bowling ball and some ugly bowling pins!
Hades: My troops are a worthy sacrifice for the sport of kings!

Western Animation
  • The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon "Oh, What a Knight" featured Oswald bowling over the Big Bad and his knights.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Bowl-R-Ama Drama" has P&F try to set a record for the world's biggest bowling ball. Meanwhile, Dr. Doofenschmirtz's minions are giant robotic penguins, suspiciously shaped like bowling pins, attacking the town in a triangular formation. The ball gets away from them, and... well, you can guess what happens next.
  • A Couch Gag in one episode of The Critic had Indiana Jones running from that boulder, which then hits a bunch of Nazis who just happen to be there, and, well, you know...
  • Popeye does it to some of Abu Hassan's mooks in Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves.
    "How does that strike ya?"
  • Donald Duck does it to his own nephews in "Donald's Snow Fight".
  • It happens in ChalkZone to a group of cartoon penguins who enjoy being knocked down.
  • In The Lion King, we first see Timon and Pumbaa playing "bowling for buzzards".
  • Pac-Man does a variation early in the episode "Around the World in 80 Chomps". The Ghost Monsters are arranged like bowling pins, and Pac-Man approaches them like a bowling ball. Instead of knocking the ghosts down, he chomps them in his usual manner.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Schnit-Heads", a religious cult based on sausage wants to go "bowling for sinners" with our heroes.
    Rocko: You can't chuck bowling balls at us!
    Cult Leader: Yes we can. Says so in the Great Book of Bratwurst. "And if there is one among you who does not follow the ways of the Schnitzel, let that one go, and do not throw bowling balls at them."
    Rocko: You see? It says let us go.
    Cult Leader: It's a matter of interpretation.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
  • Taz-Mania: In "Yet Another Road To Taz-Mania", Taz and a group of spies get trapped in a pin-setter, set up on the bowling alley, and knocked down by a bowling ball.
  • Described, but not seen, in one episode of Donkey Kong Country; during one battle, DK scrunched King K. Rool into a ball and used his to bowl Klump and Krusha over. When we cut to King K. Rool's lair, we see the king wearing an arm cast.
    King K. Rool: That last defeat by Donkey Kong was not only damaging, but humiliating! When was the last time either of you were used as a bowling ball!?
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Dragonshy", this happens to Rainbow Dash when a dragon's roar propels her out of a cave and she knocks over Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Applejack and Pinkie Pie.
  • Shaun the Sheep: The rotund Shirley bowls over the rest of the flock in "Shirley Whirley."