"It's a large brick house. You can't miss it."
"You know, you never really know a car until you've driven it through a wall. This little baby did good!"
You know how car accidents are a serious matter
? And crashing into a building would be a big deal? Not so in TV Land.
A trope often seen in sitcoms, usually played for for a tiny bit of drama, a lot of laughs and shock value all at the same time. You have a new driver... or maybe an old driver... or a drunk driver...Maybe even somebody who isn't even old enough to drive in the first place. Doesn't matter the situation, for some reason their vehicle is magnetically drawn to the house, and comes bursting through the front door, just as any character normally would.
The shot usually ends with some witty one-liner from the front passenger
, along the lines of "that went well", while the horrified occupants of the house stare in well... horror.
A few notable thing about this trope is the fact that no one is ever harmed, the car always stops right after it enters the house, and of course, the house is usually fixed by the next episode.
No one is ever killed by standing near or against the wall that just got crashed into. The car never continues on into the the rest of the house (leading us to believe that hitting a house will suddenly trigger the braking reflex in said poor driver
). And the family will rarely have to stay in a hotel, while they wait for a contractor to fix the gaping hole in the front of their home. By the next episode, everything's fine. Exceptions to this would be a subversion.
Obviously this differs from Real Life
, where a car plowing through your front living room might cause a few headaches.
And it's not always a house. Sometimes it's an office, a hotel, a bar or another public place. But the same rules apply; no lasting damage or repercussions. The rarer incarnation of this trope is when a character with perfectly decent driving skills purposefully drives into the house. Usually still played for laughs though.
Sitcoms of The Eighties
and The Nineties drove this trope
into the ground, but due to the constant recycling of Sitcom plots, the trope still pervades. See also Drives Like Crazy
and Standardized Sitcom Housing
, which contributes to this trope's appearance.
If it's done intentionally in order to make a spectacular entrance, see also There Was a Door
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- A 2012-ish State Farm commercial features a former customer who has "just combined" his auto and home.
Anime & Manga
- Word of God says that Germany of Axis Powers Hetalia once did this because he is so confident in technology that he insisted on following the GPS instructions exactly.
- During Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode, "Gorilla Tactics", Jigen and Goemon crash through a restaurant during a failed attempt to corral the gorilla's jeep.
- Played with in Bleach's second chapter. Due to the unpredictable effects of Rukia's memory-eraser device, Ichigo's family thinks that the giant hole in their wall put there by the Hollow Fishbone-D when it attacked them was caused by a truck plowing into the house in the middle of the night.
Isshin: What a miracle! A truck crashes into our house and nobody gets a scratch!
Ichigo: (playing along) Double miracle, none of us even woke up!
Karin: Some miracle. The jerk left us the repair bills. This family, geez...
- In The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Phineas builds a full-size remote-control racing car and is running it through the city streets from the roof. Fat Freddy wants to play, but crashes it straight through a bank. After Disney's Beagle Boys take the opportunity to ransack the place, the Freaks hide the car and leave town.
- In Tintin Land Of Black Gold, Thomson and Thompson fall asleep while driving and their jeep goes through the wall of a mosque.
- "The Calculus Affair". On driving a stolen tank to the Bordurian border, Tintin finds the road blocked by heavy trucks and the border protected by anti-tank obstacles. So he drives the tank straight through the guardhouse.
Films — Live-Action
Live Action TV
- Two and a Half Men has Walden's ex-wife Bridget drive into his living room after she finds out he's seeing someone new.
- Everybody Loves Raymond - An aging Marie/Frank crash their car into Ray/Debra's house, during an episode that discusses how old is too old to still be driving.
- Fridge Horror sets in when you realize that the car flattened their couch - where they had been sitting literally seconds before.
- Family Matters - Eddie failed his driving test, but takes a girl out for a drive anyway. A bread truck comes into his view, he panics and swerves right into his own house.
- Entourage - Andrew Klein pulls the rarer "on purpose" scenario to get back at his wife after she burned the notes he needed for an important business meeting.
- One Thank God Youre Here scenario had the stand-up parachuted in as a yobbish driver who had just crashed through the wall of a house.
- The flat he'd crashed into was supposed to be on the third floor. Sadly, the UK version omitted this line from the broadcast, but the Australian version kept it intact.
- Worth noting that this was the first episode where the contestant had to enter through somewhere other than one of the side doors, and that the Catch Phrase was changed to "Thank God You're Alive!"
- Happened in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody with new driver London.
- On Full House, a grade-school-age Stephanie drove Joey's car into the kitchen after deducing that the 'R' on the gearshift must mean 'Radio'.
Michelle: There's a car in the kitchen!
- Another episode has a cement truck backing up, again into the kitchen, spilling the wet cement all over.
- Helen does this deliberately to Joe's office - twice - in Wings.
- On Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson lost control of a car he was pushing and sent it into a small shed. No lasting harm was done, though Richard Hammond may have sprained something laughing.
- A Happy Days episode has Marion forgetting to set her car's parking brake, causing it to roll down a hill and crash into Arnold's diner.
- Happens in an episode of Chuck, complete with Chuck comprehensively mocking Casey's one liner.
- On the The Good Guys Dan drives a car through a wall in two episodes. Both times it was not going very fast and the first time he placed a weight on the gas pedal so he would not be behind the wheel. He also only did it because Jack was about to get killed inside and he needed a big distraction fast.
- NCIS: Los Angeles featured a serious subversion of this as a car is driven into a night club as a murder weapon. The driver and a soldier inside the club are killed.
- CSI also featured a variant where the car crashed into a restaurant and killed several people.
- Has happened in the past in Coupling:
Steve: What, in a relationship, is the worst thing to come through your front door?
Patrick: A Volkswagen.
- Noah's Arc: Chance does not take being cheated on by Eddie well.
- In the Doctor Who minisode "Space":
Rory: *explaining how bad a driver Amy is* I let her drive my car once.
Amy: Yeah, to the end of the road.
Rory: Where, according to Amy, there was an unexpected house.
- The Season 7 finale of House has the titular character driving his car into his ex-girlfriend/boss's house. Because of a bad breakup. Very definitely Played for Drama, and leads to Cuddy's permanent departure from the show and House going to prison. The fallout from this stunt has a massive negative impact on House for the rest of the series.
- On DIY Network's Disaster House a show where they do horrible damage to a house, then show how to repair it, the last thing they do to the house to see if they can irreparably damage it is to try putting a garbage truck, which weighs about 20 tons, on the roof of the house. Slowly lowering the garbage truck onto the roof with a crane, it still falls through. An insurance agent who is on site to watch says the damage is so severe it would be cheaper to bulldoze the house and build a new one than to repair the damage and make the house structurally sound. This basically was the end of the series.
- In Knight Rider, Michael uses KITT's Turbo boost to jump into an apartment building.
- A Silver Spoons episode had Ricky crash into the mansion when his grandfather, played by John Houseman, gave him an illicit driving lesson. Houseman then had to explain himself to his horrified son.
Edward Stratton II: Those who can't do, teach. I can't...I taught...we crashed.
- An episode of The A-Team had Hannibal, BA and Murdock drive a car into a police station as part of a plan to get themselves arrested.
- An episode of Emergency! involved a car driving through the front wall of a restaurant.
- In the pilot episode of Supernatural, Sam rams the Impala into the abandoned home of the Woman in White. Dean was not pleased.
- Done intentionally at least twice in Burn Notice.
- The season 1 finale has Michael crash his brother's truck through a warehouse wall in order to rescue Fiona from drug smugglers.
- The season 3 finale has Fiona drive her car through a small-time arms dealer's wall into his living room with the express intent of scaring the shit out of him.
- Happens on 2 Broke Girls to Max and Caroline's cupcake shop, right after they sold it.
- A car goes through Jules' office in one episode of Cougar Town.
- In an episode of London's Burning, Vaseline is more interested in the couple kissing on his back seat, and promptly crashes the car into someone's lounge.
Vaseline: Did the earth move for you too?!
- The Magnetic Fields song "Irma" ends with the title character's father driving his Jeep through the wall.
- Happens in the Slugbug song Australia (Land of Magnets)
When I tried to drive my car to get some food I backed into my living room, I'm in Australia!
- This is how Papa killed Mama and her lover in the Garth Brooks song "Papa Loved Mama".
The picture in the paper showed the scene real well;
Papa's rig was buried in the local motel.
The desk clerk said he saw it all real clear;
He never hit the brakes and he was shifting gears!
- In P!nk's "There You Go," the climax features her jumping off her motorcycle as it crashes into her ex-boyfriend's window, then she flips him off and rides away with her new man. It was her debut and successfully got the point across that she was not your older sister's pop star.
- In one Zits strip, Jeremy manages to hydroplane the car while pulling it ten feet forward into the garage and puts it through the back wall of the garage.
- At least one Garfield strip involved Odie driving Jon's car through his living room. Jon's chair(with Jon in it) ends up overturned.
- An old Sesame Street Muppet skit has Cookie Monster as a contestant on the game show "Beat the Time", where he has to find three things that rhyme with "rain" to win the prize of a cookie, culminating in his plowing a train right into the studio.
- Older Than Radio: The very first recorded automobile accident occurred in 1771, when the prototype of an new steam-driven car invented by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot crashed through a French military building, badly damaging a wall. This fiasco perhaps damaged Cugnot's reputation more than the Arsenal. Big, unwieldy, and able to move at a whopping two miles an hour, the prototype was not commissioned by the French army. Cugnot eventually died broke and in exile.
- Not a Truth in Television - In Real Life cars crashing into houses is a serious matter and sometimes a deadly one. Very rarely does it happen without any consequences.
- One prominent example occured in Saxony, Germany, when a car that crashed into a church roof seven meters above the ground. After flying for 37 meters.
- Subverted however. In Missoula, Montana, a 44-tonne lorry crashed into a house, but no-one was hurt.
- The clip was shown on Police Stop! 7 in the United Kingdom.
- The Pennsylvania Railroad managed to run a GG1 locomotive into the main concourse of the Washington D.C. Union Station in 1953.
- The Silver Streak example in the above Film category is likely an homage to this event.
- A similar incident to the above happened with a steam locomotive in 1895 France.
- The September 11 terrorist attacks did this deliberately with aircraft, with extremely deadly results.
- The Jordan's Furniture store in Natick, Massachusetts has a large animatronic Mardi Gras attraction complete with a car that pops through a wall, referencing this trope's appearance in The Blues Brothers. Yes, this is a furniture store. (Their Reading location can be stated with certainty to be at least as bizarre.)
- In 2009, a driver in Nevada got drunk and decided that he was going to kill his ex girlfriend and her new beau by plowing his car through their house. Unfortunately, he got the wrong house, and managed to land the car on top of a couple who were sleeping in bed. Fortunately, the mattress of the bed provided just the right amount of cushioning and support to keep the car from crushing them, and the worst injuries they suffered were some burns from being in contact with the undercarriage.
- There is a really cool Subverted Trope example which happened in Fresno, California. A stolen car ended up parked on the roof of an apartment after a wreck. Perfectly. It must be seen.
- After yet another bitter fight with estranged husband Dan—he'd sold their home without her knowledge or consent—LA socialite Betty Broderick drove her car through the front door of the new home that he now shared with his mistress. They were uninjured. . .this time.
- Naturally, some homeowners defy the trope by placing barricades. Some drivers still try driving through, but the barricades kept the house safe.
- One homeowner that put up barricades a long time ago was Uncle Sam, who put barriers around The White House for obvious reasons—and someone still drunkenly crashed into them on the way back from a late-night party. Who? The goddamn Secret Service.
- Ram raiding. Basically, some thieves drive a car through the windows or door of a store, grab what they can, and escape in a getaway car parked outside. Ever wonder what those short concrete poles in front of stores are for? Deterring people from doing this.