Bug Splat

"You want I should wash the dead bugs off the windshield?"
Elwood, The Blues Brothers

Oftentimes when you're out for a drive, a lot of things end up hitting the windshield. Rocks can hit the windshield and may cause a chip after getting thrown up from the ground by a passing car or truck. However, another popular thing that hits the windshield is bugs.

Oftentimes, bugs wind up flying into the path of a car that they wind of getting splattered against the windshield, making a really big mess on the windshield, though the mess may sometimes be made even worse when the windshield wipers are turned on, smearing the bug guts all over the windshield. This is a Comedy trope for when that splatting is Played for Laughs.


Films — Animated
  • Not a windshield, but in the first Toy Story film, Buzz winds up with a bug against his space helmet while he was hitching a ride on the car to catch up with Woody.
    • In Toy Story 3, near the end, Lotso gets picked up by a garbage truck driver and tied to the grill alongside some other toys, which warn him to keep his mouth shut. You see multiple dead bugs on the grill, around and on the other toys.
  • In Bee Movie, Benson ends up on a truck's windshield, where he discovers that the other bugs are just pretending to be splattered in order to hitch a ride. Except for the grasshopper, who really is dead.
  • In The Incredibles, at one point Dash is racing through the forest on Nomanisan Island, and runs into a swarm of bugs which hit him in the face and cause him to stumble and fall.
  • Another Pixar example: The first Cars movie trailer had the camera following a bee from flower to flower, with sweet pastoral music in the background... until it's suddenly smashed by Mater's windshield. Watch it here.
    • About halfway through the actual movie, Lightning McQueen actually races against Sally in the woods, and ends up getting VW Beetles in his bumper (which actually serves as his mouth). Guess what will actually happen if said Beetles fly into his windshield (which serves as his eyes)!
    • The bee in the teaser for some reason is an actual bumblebee. In the movie, all animals are also supposed to be vehicles, so that bee really should have been either a VW Beetle or a Camaro colored to resemble a bumblebee.

Films — Live-Action
  • In the third Beethoven film, the family drives through a section of the road that has bugs flying all around, falling into this trope.
  • The first Men In Black movie started with the camera tracking a flying insect that splats against a windshield.
  • In The Gumball Rally, the crazed motorcyclist at one point runs into a swarm of bugs that splat on his helmet faceplate, making him unable to see and causing him to crash.
  • Elwood from The Blues Brothers provides the page quote.

Newspaper Comics

  • Galaxy of Fear: The Swarm: The Shroud, moving through a huge swarm of beetles, smashes into so many of them that the viewports are useless, making it necessary to fly via sensors only.

Live-Action TV
  • Lexx cleverly inverts this, with a small space pod getting squished on the front of the Lexx, which is a giant insect.
  • In MythBusters they try to test whether Bug Splats can cause a motorcycle crash. They really can't, unless an African goliath beetle hits your windshield.

Video Games
  • In the "Desert Bus" game from Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, about the only event that happens on the eight-hour trip is a bug splattering across the windshield halfway through.
  • In the Midway racing game Cruis'n World (the sequel of Cruis'n USA), switching to first person view while you race on tracks without asphalt roads (like Australia or Mexico) will allow players to see small bugs randomly splatting against the windshield (i.e. the screen).
  • In "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing", the player goes driving in a minigame. A succession of sentences is presented on the dashboard for copying. Each miss is met by a bug splat. The minigame ends when there is a layer of bug guts covering the windshield.

Western Animation
  • An alien bug winds up hitting the windshield of 42 in an episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
  • On Futurama, Fry is talking about how incomprehensively vast the universe is when a tiny planet splatters on the spaceship's windshield.