The Ur Example example of this trope would probably have to be Heracles (his legends date back to 600 BC, three hundred years before the trope naming legend, in which Alexander the Great figured heavily). When met with a lion whose skin could not be pierced with any blade or point, he beat it to death; and when charged to wash out a massive set of stables, in a very short time, he lifted up a river and washed them all out at once.
When Hercules offended a friend by being rowdy at his wife's funeral. He decided that the best way to make it up was to go off and bring the lady back to life by wrestlingThanatos for her. Sure enough, before the end of the night, he came marching back to the house with the manís wife in his arms.
The Trope Maker and Trope Namer was the mythical, impossibly complex Gordian Knot that, the oracles predicted, could only be untied by the future king of Asia. Alexander the Great tried in vain to untie it and then, when that didn't work, simply drew his sword and sliced it in two. Other versions of the story are the exact opposite of the trope, however, with Alexander finding a clever way to untie the knot without cutting it, like where he basically removes the main object that the knot was apparently wrapped around, thus loosening its entire structure; the equivalent of leveling a building by removing its foundation. However, he never did take all of Asia.
In one episode, Roger is about to open a door using a high-tech device that would form the key for a lock when inserted, just before Dorothy just breaks the door open. ...with a one-handed push.
In the last episode Roger lampshades this trope when he was unconscious underwater and Dorothy was unable to give him the oxygen. So she simply busts the oxygen tank to fill the cockpit with oxygen. Roger asks why she couldn't have been more gentle, such as using Mouth To Mouth. (He wouldn't have asked that if he knew how small her internal tank was, apparently.) She responds that the water displacement was quicker and far more effective by bursting the tank anyway.
Rak from Tower Of God just gambles which door is the one which opening won't get the team killed while Koon still tries to figure out fake clues. He just kicks it open.
To advance through part of the Hunter Exam, Gon is given the choice of two candles by his opponents, and they compete to keep theirs burning for the longest. After some I Know You Know I Know, Gon ends up with the much faster-burning candle, but just uses the bigger flame to freely move around and blow out the other one.
Later in the same arc, the group is confronted with two doors: one leads to a short path to the exit, but only allows one person to pass, while the other has a long path (and will take too long for them to get to the exit in time) but will allow them all. Either one can make it, or no one? They take the third option to go through the second one, and then break down the wall between the passages to get to the shorter one. It takes a lot of effort, but it's faster than the long passage would have been.
Gon beats a guy who rotated super-fast to defend himself by ripping the floor out from under him.
In one chapter of Keroro Gunsou, the Keroro Platoon has been beefing up the security on their base when Oka Nishizawa, Momoka's Action Mom, comes calling for apparently sinister purposes. The first obstacle they present her with is a heavily-encrypted electronic lock on the mini-fridge that serves as the entrance to their base. Oka almost immediately rips the door off its hinges.
In Mouse, one ancient challenge was to figure out how to untie this extremely hard knot. Alexander the Great solved it by simply cutting it. So to make the next one more challenging, they made the second knot out of metal chains.
In Phi Brain Kami No Puzzle, Daimon Kaito is trapped in a Fool's Puzzle in the form of a burning tower. Ideally, he would use a maze of elevators to reach the top where the goal is, but the flames have risen high enough to block the route. His solution is to break off the door of one of the elevators so that he can jump off when it passes a floor that will let him take the route to the goal.
Durarara!! How Shizuo solves every one of his problems. Tangled and complicated schemes involving mafia and set-ups and supernatural creatures? It must be time to beat Izaya's face in again. Problem solved.
In one episode where the main characters are doing the Indy Escape. When they run out of places to... well, run, Honda turns around and punches the boulder as it's about to crush them. It pops. Turns out it was a balloon with a speaker inside.
Fate Zero has a few examples. Ironically, of all characters, Alexander the Great, in spite of both being the Trope Namer and going around with the chariot that has the Gordian Knot, never does it:
Kayneth Archibald had rented most of a hotel and, for defence, filled it with magical traps, demons, gateways that open in other dimensions, and the likes. Kiritsugu just blows everything up;
that was part of another attempt at this: Saber's arm had been wounded by Lancer with a cursed weapon, so they could have made a few attempts at fighting a powerful curse... Or just kill Lancer, who, as Kayneth's Servant, is always with him, thus dispelling the source of the course with him. In the end the curse is dispelled during the battle with Caster, when Lancer, knowing that Saber is the only one who can stop the crazy Servant and his monster, breaks the cursed lance;
the most epic happens in the battle between Archer, AKA Gilgamesh, and Rider, AKA Alexander the Great. To fight Gilgamesh' Gate of Babylon (an Hyperspace Arsenal containing all the treasures of the world, including a shitload of powerful weapons that could be shot out at high speed), Alexander uses Ionoi Hetairoi, a Reality Marble that brings forth his ancient army. Only problem, a Reality Marble is to bring to life a manifestation of your own inner world, and Gate of Babylon contains an Anti-World sword, thus bypassing the whole 'facing a near-invincible army' problem.
Even more so recently, because contrary to his original "famous" deck, Turbo Lands, his recent decks in the past season have all been super-aggressive aggro decks, with some of them winning on turn 3 or 4.
The first arc of The Losers has team tech Jensen having to copy the secure hard drives of Goliath, an oil company. When security finds out about the operation and exchange fire with his friends, he hacks the outer casing with an axe and pries the thing out whole.
Watchmen features the Gordian Knot Lock Company (one of many companies owned by Ozymandias, who fancies himself a new Alexander the Great). Rorschach breaks the door down. Several times.This is actually a clue as to Ozymandias' endgame: the U.S. and Soviet Union are on the verge of nuclear war, and have been at each other's throats for so long that it has become impossible to untangle them from their conflict. So he plans to cut the knot by introducing a third side for them to unite themselves against—an genetically engineered monster that he teleports to New York, killing half the city. What's frightening is that—at least initially—it works.
In Incredible Hercules the title character is presented with a game of dark elven chess that he must solve to pass the Test of Mind. He responds by referencing The Kobayashi Maru (Not The Kobayashi Maru, but Kirk's handling of it), saying that when faced with an impossible situation one should change the rules of the game, and knocks over the table. Princess Alfyse is delighted with his resourcefulness, while her adviser starts to point out that it's not an impossible situation, he just had to move the rook...
It wasn't Hercules's resourcefulness the princess was admiring.
In Justice League, Batman loses in a fight to Prometheus because he downloaded the fighting abilities of several great martial artists. In the rematch, Batman wins because he switched that disc with another, containing the fighting skills of Professor Stephen Hawking.
In the Jackie Chan Adventures fanfiction Queen Of All Oni, when Left is faced with a giant stone barrier supposedly impervious to magic in his and Right's attempt to rescue Jade, he (being a bit of a Mad Bomber) just blows it up with dynamite.
In the Jackie Chan Adventures and Teen Titans crossover fanfiction A Shadow Of The Titans (by the same author), Jade, forced to attend the HIVE, is presented with the task of traversing Death Trap-ridden obstacle course and ringing a bell during a Physical Feats class. Upon noticing that the course is circular, she just turns around and rings the bell that's a few feet behind her.
HIVE student: Can she do that?
In the new Casino Royale, James Bond pursues a freerunning enemy who nimbly scales obstacles and slips through narrow gaps. Bond finds more simple but equally effective means of traversing obstacles, such as running straight through a plaster wall and, eventually, hopping into the driver's seat of a bulldozer.
A similar thing happens in Johnny English Reborn (a parody of spy movies and takes quite a few cues from James Bond). While chasing someone, the sequence goes as follows: Opponent climbs over a fence. Johnny opens the door. Opponent uses parkour. Johnny uses a ladder. Opponent jumps across a gap and onto a building. Johnny uses a crane carrying a load of bricks to send himself across. Opponent scales scaffolding to get down. Johnny uses the lift.
In GoldenEye, the villains make their getaway in a car into a crowded Russian street. Bond commandeers a tank and drives through a wall.
In the case from The Last Crusade where Indy and his father are in a zeppelin looking to make their escape from Berlin. Suddenly Indy notices an SS officer looking for them. How exactly does one evade a search by a powerful faction in a confined yet public place with lots of witnesses and no place to hide? Well, you could knock out a member of the zeppelin's staff, disguise yourself in his clothes, hit the officer with a surprise attack and throw him out the window. Then, when the witnesses stare at you incredulously, simply point to the window and say "No ticket."
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy sneaks into a Nazi U-boat base, he could continue sneaking around, staying out of sight. Or he could knock out a guard and steal the guard's clothes. And then, after finding that the guard's clothes are too small for him, he could bluff his way out of trouble when a larger superior officer mistakes him for the guard and begins lecturing him for his poor appearance, or he could knee the superior in the balls, knock the superior out too, then steal clothes that will actually fit.
In Big Trouble in Little China, the heroes are trying to enter an elevator but the door is jammed. Jack Burton hauls out a knife and cuts through the wall to get in, which works because the wall is made of paper.
Miles Dyson starts to explain how to open the container holding the robot arm, but is interrupted by John breaking it.
Also, when his keycard isn't working to open a door earlier in the scene, he is interrupted by Arnie blowing it up.
Miles: "My personal access code might still work... no good."
Terminator: *hefts grenade launcher* "Let me try mine."
When John Connor, in a phone box, asks Arnie if he has a quarter for a phone. Arnie smashes open the phone's money box, picks up a quarter, and hands it to John.
The Fifth Element gives us the Corben Dallas method of negotiating a dangerous hostage situation:
Corben: Anyone else wanna negotiate?
Of course, this only works because the Mangalores give up when he shot their commanding officer, and Mangalores are absolutely useless without their leader. Really. They literally won't fight without a senior Mangalore present.
Breaker: What you'll have to do is rewire the laser panel's brain by—
Snake Eyes stabs the panel
Breaker: —or you could just stab it.
MacGruber (The Movie) sees the eponymous hero confronted with a nuclear missile that's about to launch. He looks at the complicated wiring, panics, and declares he doesn't know how to defuse it. His allies express their disappointment and the villain basically says "I Knew It"...to which Mac replies that he wasn't finished. He does know how to rip out the guidance computer, the plutonium, and a couple of other critical parts. The missile will still explode, but it won't go anywhere before it does and it won't be nuclear.
The first Tomb Raider movie: Lara Croft finds the old clock containing the Plot Coupon (conveniently in her own basement), and her Smart Guy tries to disassemble it carefully and slowly, keeping track of which screw goes where. Lara will have none of it and smashes the clock to pieces with a hammer.
In the movie Sneakers, Robert Redford's character is faced with a locked door and keypad and asks for advice over his earpiece on how to disable it. After several moments of a one sided conversation with Redford saying "mm hmm... uh huh... yeah," he says "Okay, I'll give it a shot," and kicks in the door.
Patton. During the invasion of Sicily an entire column of troops is being held up by a couple of stubborn donkeys on a bridge. After his subordinates try to push, pull and cajole them out of the way, Patton steps up, delivers a bullet to each of their brains and has them tossed off the bridge.
In a non-violent method, he comes to a cross road with two caravans of vehicles trying to both get by at the same time. He pulls rank and stands in the cross road, ordering one vehicle from one group to go by, then one from the other group. All they needed was a traffic cop directing them but it took a general to do it.
In the Day Watch, Tamerlane spends a while examining the ways into the maze guarding the Chalk of Fate, before realizing it would be a lot easier to simply blast through the walls themselves to get to the middle.
In Red Frank has to break into a secret archive in the basement of CIA headquarters. He gets right to the door but it is protected by a state-of-the-art biometric system that he cannot break or subvert. However, it is not an actual vault but a converted file room so the walls around the door were built by a lowest bid government contractor. He simply smashes through the drywall around the door.
Near the end of I, Robot the enemy shuts a critical panel on the protagonists. Turns out that the panel isn't as tough as maverick cop Detective Spooner's mechanical arm. Said arm comes in use again soon after when they have to descend several stories to get to VIKI's core processor, because a mechanical arm isn't compromised by having its skin flayed off. Still hurts like hell though.
Jurassic Park III has one of the characters finding a row of vending machines, pulling out change and counting how much he needs. One of the other characters, remembering that they're on an abandoned island, simply walks up and kicks through the display window of the next vending machine and takes what he wants. Then the first guy tries it on his vending machine, and completely fails.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, one drill sergeant tells the recruits that if they can get a flag off the flagpole, they won't need to finish their run and can take a ride back to base. After everyone fails to climb up the flagpole, Steve Rogers takes out the screws at its base, causing it to fall over, removes the flag, and gives it to the sergeant.
In Ever After, the servants are trying to get Danielle out of the cabinet her mother locked her up in. Feeling that it is useless to pick the lock, Da Vinci comes over, simply pulls the pins out of the door hinges and opens it that way. Da Vinci comically lampshades this.
Servant: That was genius!
Da Vinci: Yes. I will go down in history as a man who opened a door.
In The Last Unicorn Schmendrick tries various spells to free the unicorn. After a few unsuccessful tries he produces a set of keys he has stolen that will open the cage.
In the film of The Bourne Identity, both Jason and Marie get in on this. Jason makes a complicated plan to get some information on one of his other identities from a hotel, but Marie simply walks up to the hotel manager, introduces herself as the personal assistant to "John Michael Kane", and asks for a photocopy of his hotel bill. Later, Marie and Jason are trying to get into Marie's cousin's house to hide. Marie starts looking for the spare key, but Jason rams the door open with his shoulder.
Played with in Blue Streak. Martin Lawrence's character is a professional jewel thief, trying to steal a large diamond under heavy security. Him and his apprentice get to the safe. The pro asks the rookie (in a quiz-like fashion) how to open the safe. The rookie starts rattling off the procedure. The pro stops him and tells him that step one is to check if the door is open. Naturally, he's just kidding. The safe is locked.
A rare non-violent example in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In Kirk's backstory, it is revealed that he dealt with the infamous "no-win" scenario in Starfleet training by reprogramming the computer so that the scenario can be won (by programming in a fearsome reputation for himself, so the enemy ships stand down when he announces his presence). He is given a citation for creative thinking. This comes up again in the 2009 reboot movie. However, in this timeline, he programs in a glitch that shuts down the enemy defenses. The more militaristic Federation puts Kirk through a court-martial for cheating. It is interrupted by the main plot of the film, so we never get to see if he would have been able argued his way to a commendation instead.
In the novelization of the STII movie, Kirk was almost kicked out of Starfleet, as well.
In the Artemis Fowl series, Holly had to defeat a number of projected holographic opponents as part of her entrance exam to the LEP. Rather than fight with all of the holograms, she simply shot the projector. They had to pass her because she technically defeated every single opponent.
She also passed a different test by shooting Root with a paintball. He did say that doing so would let her pass automatically...but she shoots him in a situation which any sane person would consider inappropriate: he was about to fail her, and he asked if she could do something to change his mind.
The Discworld book The Last Hero includes a reference to the Tsortean Knot, followed by a scene in which Cohen the Barbarian (disguised as a god) is asked to prove his divinity by rolling a 7 on a six-sided die. He solves it by rolling the die and cutting it in half on its way down. He further lampshades it, referring to his task as "a knotty one."
According to Norwegian folklore, King Olaf did the same thing, thereby winning an island from the king of Sweden.
It should be noted that none of Cohen's barbarian horde were very impressed by the story, feeling that cutting it was rather a cheap move.
Another time Granny Weatherwax challenges three prospective witches to knock her hat off. Two of them decline to attempt, one concentrates and fails to do anything. She then asks Nanny Ogg to demonstrate, who then throws a stick at her head.
Girl: Any of us could have done that!
Granny: But you didn't.
This is a running theme in that particular book; the younger witches think witchcraft is about magic, while the older ones know that witchcraft is about having the capacity to think sensibly for three seconds in a row. When the younger witches still complain, Granny gets frustrated and obliges them by using magic to blow up Nanny's hat.
Speaking of Olaf, or in this case Captain Sham, this is employed in book the third of A Series of Unfortunate Events to reveal Count Olaf's disguise to authority figures, with the author explaining the concept by name (Gordian Knot) immediately beforehand.
The novelization of the first Resident Evil title has a scene analogous to the "Armor Room" puzzle from the actual game. Instead of manipulating two statues to block the poison gas vents before pressing the button to unlock the crest kept under glass (as happens in the game), Jill simply uses the butt of her pistol to smash the case and grab the crest - an option that, sadly, is not available in the game itself.
In How Kazir Won His Wife, Kazir wants to marry the daughter of a king. The king, with one always-truthful daughter and one always lying daughter sets him a series ofKnights and Knaves puzzles, ending with an impossible one: he must determine both the name and the marital status of one of the king's daughters, whose honesty he does not know, with a single yes/no question. one of the king's daughters elopes with Kazir
Myst: The Book of Atrus has Atrus and his father Gehn exploring the ruins of D'ni, searching for blank books. While scavenging, Atrus happens upon a door locked by a puzzle that could have come straight from the video games, and happily settles down to think his way through it... only to be disappointed when Gehn simply smashes the door apart, nicely foreshadowing the latter's approach to problem-solving.
In Phule's Company, similar to the 8-bit Theater example but earlier, the Omega Squad learns soon after Phule takes over that the fastest way to get through an obstacle course leaves it needing to be rebuilt.
The Robert A. Heinlein short story "The Long Watch" has a nuclear weapon engineer on the moon locking himself in a bunker (with all the nuclear warheads) to stop a rebelling office from taking control of them in a coup attempt. His first thoughts are to defuse the "brain" circuits of each bomb, realizes he doesn't have enough time before those involved with the coup break into the bunker and ends up smashing the plutonium with a hammer.
In The Princess Bride, Inigo and Fezzik are trying to get through Humperdinck's sinister and booby-trapped Zoo of Death. The first staircase has a mighty snake that Fezzik must overpower. The second staircase is pitch black with poisonous bats, requiring Inigo's superhuman sword skills to detect and skewer. The third and final staircase looks completely ordinary and harmless. Its trap is an extremely poisonous spider that will bite anyone who turns the doorknob. However, by this point, Fezzik is so scared that he rams through the door in a panic, not bothering to turn the knob. Then Inigo casually steps on the spider that emerges from the broken door.
In Animorphs, Puppeteer Parasite aliens try to infiltrate a major conference attended by several heads of state with the intention of infesting the majority of the world's leaders at once. The main characters try the stealthy sabotage route, which does not work. In the end they end up turning into elephants and rhinos and doing so much damage to the hotel that they have to cancel the whole event.
In Humans, a safe cracker explains his favorite method of opening a small wall safe - break the safe out of the wall and take it home with you, where you'll have all the time you need to open it any way you prefer.
Truth in Television: There have been reports of robberies where the perps will steal an entire cash register rather than try to break it open in the store.
Quite a few home safes are made with handles. They are actually intended as fire protection, but some people still keep valuables in them.
This one got subverted on one clip on Worlds Wildest Police Videos. The perp tried to steal the register, only to discover it was cable-locked to the counter. He ended up leaving empty-handed.
Fantastic Mr. Fox has a sequence where they need to choose who's going to jump over a fence with barbed wire, slide under tire spikes, etc, until one of them points out there's another path with no obstacles.
In the Dean Koontz novel The Face, Big BadCorky Laputa is breaking into a secured area. The door is held in place with a chain latched with a massive padlock, one with an immensely thick metal clamp that bolt cutters will be useless against. Heck, Shoot Out the Lock might not even be an option! Corky ignores the lock completely and cuts the chain.
Averted in-universe in Bloodhound, where Beka is given a briefcase charmed for protection before setting out to Port Caynn. The spell is on the whole case, "none of this spelled-the-buckle-so-cut-the-leather nonsense."
In the Immortals series a few quartets earlier, the dragon Kit is trying to get past a lock charmed against her lock picking spell. When it fails, she just uses another spell to yank the lock out.
In the second book of the first quartet, Song Of The Lioness, Alanna is also confronted with a door charmed against lockpicking. She puts both hands on it and shoves her magic into the lock, forcefully exploding the spell. Her cat Faithful compliments her on the technique.
In The Hunger Games series, Tributes are trapped in an arena where they must survive by killing all the other competitors. 24 years before the start of the series, Haymitch Abernathy spent his Game trying to find the edge of the arena, as if his survival plan was to escape the arena rather than win the game. In the second book Catching Fire, this is how the rebels save the heroine and (some of) her allies — not by helping her win the game but by getting her to destroy the force field separating the arena from the outside world.
Ender's Game: While Ender is still in his preliminary training to combat the bugger aliens, he enjoys whiling away his downtime on a computer game called "Freeplay". In one section of the game he encounters an evil giant who forces him to choose between two drinks; one of them is poison. After failing the test several times, Ender makes his character attack the giant and gouge his eyes out, allowing Ender to continue. The school's top brass takes this as a sign that Ender has what it takes to win the alien war.
In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Full Circle", Carter, Jonas Quinn and the ascended Daniel are trying to find the Eye of Ra. They decipher where it is, but can't figure out how to open the compartment...until Carter, noting that they don't have much time, tells the other two to stand back, and shoots it open with her P90.
And much earlier, as Bra'tac is telling SG-1 of the convoluted series of tasks they have to do to destroy the shield generators, O'Neill busies himself with pulling the pins on a pair of frag grenades and dropping them down the hole.
Daniel, of all people, does this. After activating Merlin's library, Mitchell has to battle the Black Knight solid hologram guard outside. After unsuccessfully trying to turn it off, Daniel writes down everything he can and shoots the control crystals.
Done memorably by Ronon in the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Lost Tribe." Keller, clearly not knowing much about Ronon, starts rattling off the necessity of an elaborate series of computer commands to shut down systems and then lock the Wraith out. Ronon just starts blasting away at crystal trays until the right thing shuts down.
Another time, Keller's mind got Freaky Friday Flipped with a thief. When the team locates the Ancient phlebotinum that caused it, McKay starts trying to figure out how it works, but Ronon shoots it and the FFF reverses.
In Twin Peaks, Sheriff Truman gives Agent Cooper Laura Palmer's diary, saying that they haven't found the key yet. Cooper simply breaks the lock with his hands.
In another episode, a character finds a metal puzzle-box which he is supposed to tortuously figure out how to open. He blasts it a few times with a handgun, which opens it right up.
In Firefly, the crew is very keen on this approach, especially Mal. In the pilot episode "Serenity", he defuses a hostage situation which he just walked into by shooting the captor in the head without even breaking stride.
And this ends up in one of the comics leaving him with a crazy with a mechanical eye (Mal failed to kill the guy, just took his eye) working with the Hands of Blue to kill Mal and capture Simon and River. Needless to say, they fail. Epicly.
Or the episode where a Crime Lord'sDragon refuses to take back money from Mal for a job they couldn't complete, instead telling them how he'll come after them until he kills them all. Rather than create a Recurring Boss, Mal kicks the guy into the turbines of his spaceship. When they bring the next mook over to the same spot and restart the process, the mook immediately agrees to do whatever Mal says.
Penny has to get Sheldon's Flash drive from inside a puzzle box. Before he gives her the instructions on how to open it over the phone, Penny asks if he has any emotional attachment to the box. When Sheldon answers no, she simply smashes it open.
In another episode, Howard tries using a robot hand to pleasure himself and it gets stuck. After Leonard and Rajesh run out of ideas of what to do, they take Howard to the Emergency Room. There, the Nurse suggests simply turning the hand off, and despite Howard's pleas not to do so, she turns it off, and the hand lets go.
Possibly a subversion, as the first thing any tech support representative will ask is "did you try turning it off and back on again?"
On All That, this was pretty much the M.O. of Kel Mitchell's Repair Man (Man man man man man...), who would "fix" problematic objects by simply destroying them completely. No more object, no more problem.
On Leverage Eliot disables a security camera by throwing a rock at it. Unusually, the Magical Security Cam doesn't apply in a show that likes its Hollywood security systems, and the guards come to find out why the camera went out.
In the episode "Fear Itself", Anya asks Giles if he can make a door to rescue the trapped Scoobies in the haunted house. He says "I can", and instead of a mystical spell, whips out a chainsaw and starts cutting.
In the same episode, as Giles tries to figure how to stop the demon, mentions destroying it's symbol ... is not the way to do it, and will bring forth the demon. By the time he finishes telling her, she has already destroyed it, but the demon turns out to be only a few inches tall, so she easily kills it.
Buffy does this earlier in the series when fighting a demon called the Judge which is invulnerable to any weapon forged. Cue rocket launcher.
A similar thing happens in the Angel spinoff series when the group fight the beast - a nigh invulnerable demon - for the first time. Angel attacks it with his fists and a wooden stake to no avail, and one might expect Wesley being the ex watcher to whip out an enchanted blade or magical spell. Nope. Out come dual pistols. Then a shotgun. Unfortunately...
In Burn Notice, Michael spends most of an episode trying to gather enough evidence to get a war criminal extradited to his home country. When the plan falls through, he simply kidnaps him and ships him back home in a crate.
In the Torchwood episode "Meat," when the team tries to break into a warehouse, the following dialog ensues:
One episode of Bones has an actual corpse inside a Halloween maze made out of hay-bales. After spending some time trying to make their way through the maze normally, Booth gets frustrated, asks the policeman standing next to the corpse to toss his flashlight in the air, and barrels his way through walls until he reaches it.
An episode of Sesame Street had Mr. Hooper present Cookie Monster with a puzzle - make both of these plates (which contained cookies, naturally) look the same. After deliberating for a bit, Cookie Monster proceeded to eat all the cookies from both plates, thereby making both plates look the same (i.e. empty).
In the "Countdown" episode of Castle, Castle and Beckett are faced with a just-about-to-detonate dirty bomb with no sign of the bomb squad. Castle's response to this tricky situation is to simply grab all the wires he can see and yank them under the reasoning that one of them would have to shut the bomb off, and what's the worst that could happen. It works.
He's smart enough to do it after kissing Beckett.
In one episode of Titus, Titus is trying to formally propose to his girlfriend in the emergency room while both their families are there after a Thanksgiving brawl. Unfortunately, her thieving ex-con older brother has stolen it; though tied to a chair by the police officers who dragged him in for treatment, he still refuses to give up the ring. Titus asks his dad for help:
Ken: You know, I never hit my boys. Instead, I took years to destroy their self-esteem and mold them into upstanding citizens. With you, I don't have that kind of time. Flicks his cigarette lighter, starts moving it towards Michael's face until Michael relents
In an episode of Supernatural, the only weapon that can kill the monster of the week is a sword trapped Excalibur-style inside a stone. Dean does at first try just pulling it out, confident that he's the brave knight the legend says can free the sword; when that doesn't work he switches to sticking explosives all over the rock. And manages to break the sword.
Killing an okami usually requires stabbing it seven times with a bamboo dagger blessed by a Shinto priest. Not being in possession of such a weapon, Bobby throws the okami into a wood-chipper. Ludicrous Gibs ensue.
Earlier, Dean killed a tiny fairy by stuffing it into a microwave.
In a dream sequence on Gilligan's Island, someone tells the Skipper's character "Inspector Whatney", "Use your head, Inspector!" to defeat the vampire. The inspector head butts him. This works.
In one episode of NCIS, Abby's computer is being hacked by a person or system so fast and skilled that she can't stop them, even with super-nerd McGee's help. Gibbs' solution? Unplug the computer. In another episode, someone has set up an evil supercomputer, and when Abby And McGee are struggling to hack into it and shut it down before a countdown ends, Gibbs ends up just shooting the computer. Many times.
Truth in Television example: On Untold Stories of the ER, a patient who desperately needs surgery can't be treated at the small clinic where he's diagnosed, but his insurance won't pay for the ambulance service to take him to a bigger hospital. Unable to cut through the red tape to arrange transport for their patient, the doctors hit upon a counterintuitive solution: they call 911, which the ambulance service is contractually obliged to respond to, even when the call comes from a hospital.
On The Amazing Race, Season 11, Danny became frustrated while doing a Roadblock that involved finding and collecting old newspapers from locals in a Malaysian neighborhood, so he just went to a store and bought a bunch of papers to complete the task (though this would cause them further problems later in the race).
One Top Gear challenge had the team trying to take down housing with military vechiles. First they tried to use the crane, mine clearing spinner, and several other devices to pull the building down. Finally, they gave up and just used them as battering rams.
Savino of Vegas needed to ensure his candidate for mayor came out on top of a televised debate against a far more experienced politician. They prepped a brilliant opening speech and then cut power to the broadcasting antenna so his opponent couldn't tear it apart.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Arsenal of Freedom", the crew comes upon an ancient advanced weapon system that appears to have been left on demo mode. After threatening the lives of both the away team and the Enterprise in orbit... Picard defeats it by telling the sales pitch hologram that he'd like to purchase it.
In The Mentalist, Patrick pulls a prank on Lisbon by putting her keys in a puzzle box he had trouble solving. She pulls a hammer out of her desk, bashes the lid in, and removes her keys.
A villainous example in the Person of Interest episode "All In." The Dirty Cop organization "HR" is trying curry favor with the Russian mob by getting one of their enforcers, arrested in an earlier episode, acquitted. At first they try framing the organized crime detective leading the investigation as a Dirty Cop. After Detective Carter uses Forensic Accounting to reveal the frame-up, HR turns to shooting the detective, and the DA prosecuting the case for good measure.
In one episode of House of Anubis Sibuna is trying to figure out how to get the crocodile bridge over the chasm in the tunnels. Fabian suggested a complex counterweight lever system. Immediately after, Amber suggested they merely picked the bridge up on it's side and drop it over the hole.
In another episode they are trying to get past a dead-end, and Alfie suggests to just smash the wall down with their shoulders. He doesn't smash the wall, but he does disarm the pendulums swinging over the chasm bridge and finds the way across.
Red vs. Blue: Church is implanted with ten megaton bomb which proceeds to destroy the present and send everyone into the future, except for himself who instead gets sent into the past (don't ask). After returning to the present, Church makes several attempts to disarm the bomb in his former self only to be constantly met with failure, including making several copies of himself. At one point, his plan is as follows:
Church: And then I teleported back and just decided to kill everybody that I could see.
Other Church: Why did you do that?
Church: Well... seemed like fun... think I went a little nuts there for a while...
Sarge uses his contingency plan when their attempt to bluff their way past the computer failed. The contingency plan being a shotgun.
A hilarious example is seen in thisDM Of The Rings strip, where the players come across the doors to the Mines of Moria, completely ignore the riddle and instead rattle off several increasingly ludicrous ways of Cutting the Knot (picking the hinges, bashing the lock, breaking down the door, pouring water in the cracks to crack the door when it freezes, etc), culminating in the players getting ready to build a battering ram until the DM screams the answer in frustration.
In Ars Magica, this is part of the theme of House Tytalus, and part of the background has an apprentice to a mage challenged, as his final exam, to open a box which his master has spent a long time enchanting. After gearing up, and throwing every spell at it that he had, the apprentice kneels in front of his master, acknowledging that he was not ready to be a full mage. His master then walks over to the box and pulls the lid open. He hadn't locked it.
That door magically reinforced, locked, and likely to have a trap on it? No problem. Smash through the wall next to it.
In Portal 2, there is a point in which Wheatley must "hack" open a door. He tells you to turn around, then smashes the window, allowing Chell to portal herself into there.
He does the same thing when attempting a "manual override" on a wall.
In Tales Of Eternia, the party encounters a gate that will not open unless they figure out how to open it from a riddle. As the party laments that The Smart Guy stayed behind, Max simply rams it open.
At the end of Brog's segment of Zork: Grand Inquisitor, he is confronted with a complicated puzzle guarding the Skull of Yoruk. After making a valiant effort to solve the puzzle, the solution presents itself in the form of smashing the cage open with a wooden plank.
Also, when stuck on the tech support hotline from hell (literally), you can copy down and work through the complicated set of rules to figure out which buttons to press... or just cast the "Simplify complex directions" spell left over from a previous puzzle.
In Second Sight at the end of the game, the Big Bad hides behind bullet/psi-proof glass. Too bad the frame wasn't psi-proof as well.
Clank: It says, "Use wrench to break glass." Ratchet: *Pulls back his wrench* Clank: Hang on. *Looking at a smaller glass case with a rock inside* This one says, "Use rock to break glass to get wrench to break glass to get rock." Oooh! I love logic puzzles! Let's see, if you break the- *SMASH* Ratchet: *Having broken open the case with his own wrench* Solved it! * Victory music plays*
In the same game, while not a real puzzle, Planet Joba contains multiple doors with switches wired to them, but the doors often have enemies behind them, and a smart player will have to prepare themselves with an appropriate weapon so that they can find a switch and react in time in order to defeat the resulting attacking enemies. An even smarter player will just hop on a nearby turret, blast open the door, and then blast the enemies inside.
At the climax of Guilty Gear 2: Overture, Sol has to analyze and deactivate the Key before it can unlock the Cube while his party tries to hold off Valentine. After he accomplishes this, he reveals that even though his analysis was going well, he got bored and decided to just break the Key instead (this also has the beneficial effect of making it so that the same Key can never be used again).
This is Adell's modus operandi in Disgaea 2. He even lampshades it at one point by solving a complex geopuzzle in no time when he explains that it's not that he can't think, it's that it's usually faster to just beat your problems into submission.
At one point in Evil Dead: Hail to the King, Ash comes upon a locked door guarded by what seems to the worst puzzle in the game yet. The game changes perspective to the standard, pre-rendered "puzzle screen" and the instructions tell you to find seven rare earth elements and then balance them against each other by their specific weight to open the door. Then Ash suddenly jumps in, aims his trusty shotgun at the wall-mounted puzzle and simply shoots the door open instead.
In Mass Effect, a sidequest has you trying to stop a rogue AI from self-destructing. You can use your computer skills to disable the AI before the self-destruct finishes warming up...or you can just shoot it a few times. Granted, the brute force approach is the least beneficial option, as while it's guaranteed to work, it deprives you of the large sum of credits the AI had stored in its system.
At one point in the sequel, a drell named Kolyat takes a turian hostage at gunpoint. You don't want to kill Kolyat because he's the son of one of your sqaudmates, and you certainly don't want Kolyat to kill the hostage because preventing him from becoming a murderer like his father was the whole point of the mission in the first place. Renegade Shepard just shoots the hostage himself.
Kolyat: All of you, back off! I'll kill him!
Shepard: No you won't. (BANG) Hostages only work when your enemy cares if they live.
Thane: Interesting solution.
Shepard: Now your son can't kill him.
Level 18 of Chip's Challenge: You can push water-removing blocks into the moat to build a bridge, or... you can walk all the way around the level to the flippers.
Many doors and security terminals in Knights of the Old Republic can be simply bashed open or blown up, but this yields less experience.
The room before the final boss in KotOR 1 has a locked door that will unlock after you deactivate six droid generators, by using the parts from the droids they create. Alternately, you can just bash the door a couple of times and skip the whole problem.
In the second game, though, this often leads to some or all of the loot behind the door getting turned to slag.
This also applies to open-ended questions posed by the Jedi Council, as one answer to how to get past a locked door is "Knock."
Kreia of the second game has been Jedi and Sith, historian, exile, master, archivist, and teacher. She has seen the constant pattern of the two major Force schools squbble endlessly, hunt down each other to near-extinction, only to have a handful of survivors come roaring back to repeat the Cycle of Revenge. Her idea the stop this nonsense? Kill the Force!
Locks can either be slowly but quietly unlocked, or Sam can cut through them with his blade. This makes a lot of noise, and enemies are smart enough to know when doors have been tampered with.
In the same game, in the "Displace" level, Sam has to get codes from a laptop by accessing it wirelessly. This would require Sam to stalk the men carrying the laptop. Or he could just use his gadgets to take them down by force.
Sam: Finesse is for the young and the cocky.
This is pretty much the defining characteristic of Johnny Gat from Saints Row. Presented with any intelligent, well-worked-out plan, his own suggestion is invariably to simply kill everyone in the general vicinity until the problem goes away. This isn't for ease or effectiveness; he just loves to kill people.
Devil May Cry: Dante, while trying to return to town in his section of the fourth game, comes across a board game/puzzle that Nero had to stay and waste his time with previously in the Cathedral's basement. A statue of Dante and the die appear prompting him to play through with it to leave the room. Deciding not to waste his time while poison gas slips through the room, Dante slices the die in two, ending (and somehow winning) the game prematurely.
In the Fallout New Vegas DLC Old World Blues, a challenge/experiment involves securing a document without being spotted by patrolling robots. One solution is to destroy the robots, then start the test. Likewise, a later part of the test involves getting past tripwires in the same test. You can disable those before (or during) the test then walk right through them. The latter two portions of the test can't be cheated, though. For extended knot cutting, if you have a high enough lockpick skill, you can bypass the test entirely, and just get in the final room through the back stairs.
Take The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess - early on in the fifth dungeon, you have to deal with ice by aiming stationary cannons with hidden cannonballs at it, carefully avoiding it, and so on. Later on, you can pull out your Ball and Chain and go to town smashing it.
This also comprises the entire second half of the Temple of Time in the same game. The entire gimmick for the area is that you have to traverse the temple in order to find a statue, bring it back down to the first level, and position it in the correct place in order to unlock the way to the boss. Going up to retrieve said statue, you have to deal with tedious puzzles involving sliding gates that are controlled by specifically-placed switches. However, once you get the statue, it turns out that it's also equipped with a big honking hammer that you can use to just bash the gates down (along with any other monsters in your path) on the trip back down.
Done in the Penumbra series, which tends to use a fairly realistic approach to solving puzzles. The most notable example happens early in the game where you need to open a locked chest. You can look for the key...or you can just break it open with your pickaxe.
Red Faction was pretty much sold on this premise alone. It boasted a real-time environment damage-modeling system called GeoMod that actually took rocket fights to their logical conclusion, which was completely wasted buildings. It was actually necessary to blow holes in walls with grenades and mines at some points in order to progress. One of the taglines on the back of the box was "Can't find the key? Make your own door." Coming from the world of FPSes where a BFG9000 blast could lay waste to every ounce of organic tissue in a 100x100 room but a series of 10 of them couldn't even put a scratch on a door, a lot of gamers found it refreshing to be able to say "Screw the red key" and blast a hole in the adjoining wall instead.
...and then found themselves feeling ripped off once the game started throwing completely indestructible buildings and doors their way at around halfway through the game.
This tactic works pretty well in Red Faction: Guerrilla. Pretty much all buildings are destructible so if you encounter soldiers taking pots shot from a doorway or holed up in a bunker you can eschew FPS convention by approaching the structure from the side and smashing your way in with a sledgehammer. That or drive a truck through it.
Relatedly, Battlefield: Bad Company allows this by way of the Frostbite engine, especially in multiplayer in the sequel; you can either force your way into the building housing an M-COM station, set it to detonate, and keep the other side away until it blows up, or you can shoot at the walls around it with a tank or RPG until the entire building collapses and takes it out.
In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, there is a puzzle consisting of two rooms, each with a mixture of fire and ice mephits randomly flying around. Your task is to put all fire mephits in one room and all ice mephits in the other one. You can carefully time openings of the door between the rooms... or you can use an obelisk to kill them all, and then drag their corpses around. You get less XP the brutal way, though.
In Final Fantasy VI, the boss Wrexsoul can be rather complicated to defeat; you're supposed to kill your own party until he emerges from hiding, and then commence attacking him. Or, you know, you could just cast X-Zone on him, that works just as well.
In Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni for the first arcs people tend to take this approach because they feel the other options just aren't good enough. For example, in the third question arc,note Though it also comes up in most of the arcs, especially Tsumihoroboshi which is focused around Satoko, she's in a terrible situation. Numerous possibilities are gone through and discarded before a more direct approach is taken. Ultimately, though, Higurashi does not support this conclusion and it's one of the aesops you can pull out of the story that even if the other guy really has it coming and is a complete scumbag with no redeeming qualities, murder just isn't the answer.
In Dungeon Crawl, there are labyrinths that pose a significant threat to under-prepared adventurers. While they feature almost no enemies, the entrance disappears shortly after discovering it, leaving little to no time to prepare for the maze itself. The maze can often be long and elaborate: The autoexplore feature is disabled while you're inside, the game doesn't remember any map tiles for long after you're out of view of them, and the clues to the location of your goal are obscure at best. Worst of all, the maze regularly shifts itself, rearranging and making it that much harder to solve. Finally, while wands of digging do exist, and can be used by a canny player to help reach the goal, they will only have an effect on the weaker rock walls, and not the harder metal and stone walls that compose much of the maze. But it is still possible for a player to cut the knot, with just the right spell: Lee's Rapid Deconstruction can tear down nearly any wall with high enough spell power, allowing you to bypass parts of the maze with a bit of effort.
Inverted in Professor Layton and the Lost Future, naturally. Thugs are expected to use good-old violence to stop interlopers... but here, they toss a puzzle your way instead! Is it any wonder that the next game introduced Emmy to deal with thugs?
In one mission of Swat 4, you can choose to enter a building through the back door. However, the door has metal bars on it to prevent its use. Instead of removing the screws, bolts, or whatever held it together, the team simply attaches a hook and rope to a car and the metal bars and have it pulled away from the weak bricks. This is probably Truthin Television given the amount of research and realism the company put into that game.
In Minecraft, any block, with few exceptions, can be broken. This proved troublesome for map makers, because frustrated players would often break through a wall than solve a puzzle, so Adventure Mode was added to defy this trope.
In Survival, the default game mode, there are temples just sort of lying around in the jungle, with an elaborate series of levers connected to the treasure room. It is generally faster just to mine through the wall, and steal the materials to make your own traps.
The Secret Of Monkey Island has Guybrush thrown into the sea tied to an idol. You have ten minutes to escape before Guybrush drowns. There are several sharp objects that could free you just out of reach. The solution: Pick up the idol and walk out with it.
In Deus Ex, doors had both a lock strength and physical strength. You can break any door with the right firepower provided its strength was not infinite. The same goes for destroying doors in Human Revolution.
In Call of Duty 2, during the Battle of Stalingrad campaign, you get a bunch of Germans barricading themselves in a building. Instead of trying to talk them into surrendering or trying to beat down the door, the commander simply orders you and the others to place charges on the building supports. As the smoke clears, he screams: "That is how you negotiate with fascists, comrades!"
PAYDAY: The Heist has one heist where the robbers are going to steal a cache of money from a local gang dealing in drug trade. The money is locked inside a panic room, but rather than brute forcing the door open or trying to crack the code needed to open the door, the robbers decide to steal the entire panic room by blow up a hole to the roof with some C4, detaching the panic room's bolts on the floor with some saws, and then having their helicopter pilot come in with a magnet and airlift the entire thing away.
In 8-bit Theater, in a mystic castle, Fighter is subjected to the trial of sloth, wherein the trial monster attempts to get Fighter to overcome his reliance on stagnant sword skills, and instead use his brain in combat for once. Fighter promptly slaughters the monster, stating that his brain told him that it was faster that way.
Black Mage makes a reference to the Trope Namer when confronted with a sealed, metal door with a confusing riddle on it.
Black Mage: Okay. I seem to remember some dead old king guy who, when presented with a problem of unsolvable perplexity, would blaze a path to victory via stabbity means. Therefore! * TINKTINKTINKTINKTINKTINK*
In Gunnerkrigg Court, when Reynardine is trapped by a complex magitek binding Antimony can't figure out how to free him. Jones smashes the device.
Earlier in the comic Antimony orders Renard to open a glass case with lockpicks that she hid inside his body. Renard, who was never actually taught how to pick locks, proceeds to smash the case with the said picks.
Vaarsuvius: Gordium called. They have a knot that you may want to take a look at.
Beautifully inverted by the encounter with the hydra, which they defeated by decapitating it until it regenerated so many heads it could no longer hold them all up to fight didn't have enough blood for all the heads it regenerated. The group outwitted the test of brawn and bullied their way through the test of brains, leaving the test of heart... a medical examination
Xykon may be the patron saint of this trope. "And now I see that planning doesn't matter. Strategy doesn't matter. Only two things matter: Force in as great a concentration as you can muster, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide."
In thisLooking for Group, Richard, while possessing a golem, is asked to undertake a perilous and tedious quest to free the mages caged in crystal by eventually getting three fangs from the "open mouth" of a twenty-headed dragon to smash a glowing crystal. Richard of course decides to take the easy way out and try to smash the crystal himself. And though it's not explicitly shown, he succeeded.
Supermegatopia: When Crushed and company are faced with navigating an evil-infested mansion (and risking a horrible death at the hands of the undead nasties sure to be lurking within) in order to destroy an ancient artifact, the intrepid heroine elects to simply torch the place and call it a day(Dead Link).
Goblins plays this one brilliantly. When Dies Horribly's party is forced to solve the riddle of the temple guardian, Noe, who will kill them horribly if they summon him more than three times (and homonyms such as "know" and "no", which are used frequently, will also summon him), Big Guy K'seliss solves the problem in a beautifully direct fashion: intentionally summoning him, then ripping his throat out.
Tempts Fate is challenged with a devilishly complicated riddle by a talking door, and the wrong answer will unleash horrible death. Tempts Fate elects not to answer at all, and just opens the door, which wasn't locked. After all, it never said he had to give a right answer either.
At one point, tempts is confronted with a series of armor piercing arrow launchers that will kill anything attempting to cross the room. He jumps into the air, activating his magic belt, and his metal skin deflects them. The Rant Golem picks up a bit of sand, which is the solution, and passes by completely unharmed. Oddly, he knew the solution ahead of time, and but was bored.
In Bob and George, a handful of Dr. Cossack's Robot Masters, lead by Ran, have to figure out how break into Dr. Wily's fortress. He discusses the various traps and hazards they'll have to navigate; Dive Man blows up the front door and walks in.
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Captain Hammer, when faced with a complex electronic device controlling a van, punches it so it breaks. This just stops Dr Horrible from controlling it, leaving a fast moving, out of control van that almost kills someone before Horrible can stop it. Not that Hammer even notices.
Whateley Universe example: in "Boston Brawl 2", the Necromancer creates a horrific rip in time-space that the mages try to magically repair. Instead, Bladedancer just slices through it with Destiny's Wave.
Silent Hill: Dead/Alive: There's a paper bag in front of his door that can't be moved without "something needlessly complex and crafted from several parts"? Screw that, he's just going to shoot it.
By the point of Silent Hill: The Grinning Man, the soup cans have gotten wise. Linkara finds boxes blocking his door and threatens to turn them to ashes if they don't move—and they promptly fall over, out of the way.
The Mario Party Tv group's approach to M.P.I.Q. in Mario Party 3 is to mash the buzzer and choose a correct-sounding answer rather than let their fellow players out-buzz them after reading the question.
A Popeye cartoon ending where Olive Oyl is tied to a train track. After trying for a few seconds to untie her, Popeye simply decides to punch the train, which instantly stops and falls apart. It was so famous that it was repeated several times in several different episodes.
In one Ludwig Von Drake cartoon, Drake explains his method of getting rid of an annoying but probably fixable experiment; he teleports it to who-knows-where with another annoying but probably fixable experiment.
In one episode of DuckTales, McDuck is thrown in prison with Iron Mask, and tells him "you have to Use Your Head to get out". The Mask then destroys one wall with his helmet.
In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer uses an ancient map to escape the plant so he can sneak away to a tour of the Duff brewery. He encounters a giant spider and consults the map, which says, "To escape the spider's curse, simply quote a Bible verse." When Homer can't think of any Bible verses, he throws a rock at it and knocks it out.
One Treehouse of Horror special puts Bart and Lisa are in Fairy Tale Land. When Bart comes across the Three Bears' porridge, he (of course) discovers that one is too hot and the other is too cold. He remarks "It doesn't take a genius to figure this out." and proceeds to pour the contents of one bowl into the other.
In Metajets, In "Under the Ice," when Vector says it'll take a while to find the right access code to open the door to the abandoned research facility, Burner just blows the door open with a good shot from his snowmobile cannon.
The Powerpuff Girls used this once. When Him gives the girls a "Train A is travelling..." problem with real trains that'll collide if they don't stop them, Blossom first tries to solve it with an abacus, then realizes, "We're superheroes! Let's just find the trains and stop them!"
Movie example: The girls play an unintentionally destructive game of tag. Blossom and Bubbles hide on the top of a building dozens of blocks away from Buttercup. Buttercup snaps and tears through all those buildings to get to them.
In one episode we get an overly long scene of Mojo Jojo meticulously bypassing all the security measures in a museum to steal an artifact. After remember there was another artifact he needed as well, he just smashes its glass covering, grabs it, and runs away.
This is featured in Toy Story 2 when Buzz and his friends are trying to rescue Woody. When asked how they're going to get past a grate to attack who they think are evil toys torturing Woody, Buzz says, "Use Your Head!" Cut to Rex being used as a battering ram, screaming, "But I don't want to use my head!" before crashing through. In a fake outtake scene, the grate was still screwed on by accident, which had predictable results.
Human scientist: It's a safe bet those doors are locked. Optimus: Fortunately, I know a delicate lockpicking technique. [BOOM!]
Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Tony's classmate Happy winds up in the armor and has to deal with a bomb about to go off. Tony doesn't know how to defuse the bomb...so Happy just snaps it in half.
During Gaston's Villain Song in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the line "No one matches wits like Gaston!" is sung while Gaston is shown playing chess with someone... and throws the board and pieces into the air.
His debut episode involves a re-creation of a video game maze, which Batman bypasses by hacking the controls of the flying guardian; later, when faced with a robot minotaur, Bats orders the same guardian to ram it.
In "What is Reality?", he lures the heroes into a virtual reality simulation by trapping Commissioner Gordon's consciousness inside it. When they get to the center, they discover that their goal is inside a Baxter's box. Batman's solution? Turn his hands into hammers and break the damn thing, referencing an earlier comment by Robin:
Robin: You're looking at the guy who solved the Baxter's box in 37 seconds. Of course this time, I don't have a hammer.
Another episode deals with Batman locked in a showroom while a bomb goes off in 10 seconds. Riddler is stumped as to how he survived. Simple, he hid in a nearby reinforced safe.
Xanatos of Gargoyles attempts to do this towards the end of the City of Stone arc. In order to save the city, Xanatos and Goliath need to get a password for Demona. Demona is locked in combat with her Arch-Enemy, the Anti-Villain MacBeth. Goliath attempts to talk the two into stopping, and only succeeds in getting both of them to attack him. Out of patience, Xanatos tells Goliath "If they won't listen to reason, take them both both down. We'll sort it out after", and shoots at both with a laser. It doesn't work because Xanatos somehow manages to miss them from about three feet away.
In Phineas And Ferb, one of the puzzles in "We Call it Maze" is to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar. While the duo and Baljeet attempt to solve the problem mathematically, Buford's solution was to eat all the jellybeans, then type the number zero. And it worked, too.
Baljeet: Okay, technically that was correct, but you did not show your work!
Also used in "Phineas and Ferb and the Temple of Juatchadooin", when Phineas tries to figure out how to get a key out from under a glass dome, and Isabella suggests "Or, we could hit it with a rock!" Near the end of the cartoon, Phineas uses the same technique (complete with the same remark) to deactivate the magic talisman that powers the rampaging Corn Colossus.
In the beginning of one episode of Xiaolin Showdown, the four monks-in-training are tasked to get a stuffed toy dog at the end of an obstical course. Clay, closer to Earth cowboy, upon noting that the course is shaped like a circle, with the start and finish right next to each other, simply turns around snatches the dog off its pedestal. This comes up several more times in the episode, where the moral is, "Simple solutions to complicated problems"
In the second season premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the new villain Discord sets out to corrupt the heroes while they find to powerful Elements of Harmony. When he gets to Fluttershy, he tries to convinces her how her friends think she's helpless and it should make her mad. However, she openly admits her flaws and says that they try to help improve her. Frustrated at this unwanted outcome, Discord stops with the mind games and simply brainwashes her forcefully.
In Justice League Unlimited, The Question is looking at a locked glass door to a building with a key card lock. After a few seconds of inspecting the lock, he simply walks off screen for a few seconds, comes back with a potted tree and uses it to smash through the glass door and calmly walks in. Seen here.
A Supervillain of the Week on one episode of The Batman had Bats and four scientists tied up in a sort of game show, whose object was to stump the supervillain or get dumped into acid. The scientists ask difficult science and math questions; the supervillain answered them all easily. When it was Batman's turn, he simply asked the supervillain "What is the true identity of the Batman?" Apparently the supervillain never thought to take Batman's costume off.
That part would require him to actually grab Batman, and we all know how hard that would be.
Generator Rex: The Providence Agents attack the EVO's at Abyssus (large enemy castle), and the EVO's use the terrain to their advantage, beating all the agents and the elite units, and freeing their captured Allies. Black Knight (the leader of Prodivence), just has her ships air lift the castle out of the territory, gas the place, and sends in even more troops.
One of the best ways to disarm a nuclear bomb is to shoot it. While this is incredibly counter-intuitive, most modern nuclear weapons operate in such a way that the desired nuclear yield will only occur if the high-explosive plates around it all fire at the exact same instant with an acceptable error in the fractions of seconds. So if one plate goes off too early, the bomb won't go critical, and the explosion will be...smaller. And still radioactive, but considerably less destructive.
Also works for conventional explosives as well. Skilled bombmakers will include all sorts of intricate anti-tampering mechanisms to prevent the warhead being disarmed, but firing a .50-calibre bullet through the timer almost never fails; at worst you'll set the thing off prematurely, but if you know the bomb's there then you can clear the blast radius before the EOD team arrive.
In the military, when opening a door in or around a combat zone that has not been previously entered one must first check for booby-traps, then carefully open the door, checking it for traps along the way, unless there is any chance whatsoever of a hostile inside the room, in which case you blow the hinges to hell with 12 gauge slugs or C4 then kick the door the rest of the way down. Incidentally, there is an under-slung shotgun attachment for the M-16 and M-4, known as the "Masterkey", marketed for this express purpose.
Additionally, rather than clearing a building full of hostiles, it's usually recommended to simply throw in a satchel charge, or call in an artillery/air strike from a safe distance. Of course, you could look for traps, blow the door, get shot at by ambushing hostiles, evacuate your wounded and send some other guys in, look for traps some more, check every single room in the building for more hostiles... Unless the enemy has hostages or you need someone or something in there intact, blowing it up without ever placing your foot in the door is much easier and safer (at least for the would be breachers).
Who says you even have to enter the building? Soldiers fighting in the Battle of Falujah found that, instead of attacking an enemy building by clearing it with infantry, throwing a large enough block of C4 in the front door would kill everyone inside.
If you must enter the building, but know that approaching the door is too dangerous, you can always just use explosives to invoke Dynamic Entry by blasting a man-sized hole in a wall to catch them by surprise. Extensive use of this in urban warfare is known as "Mouseholing".
In computer security, there are two ways to prevent a computer from being attacked and taken over via a network: hideously complex Intrusion Detection Systems, firewalls, and meticulously written firewall rules, or not plugging the thing into the network.
A prime example of this was related in Kevin Mitnick's The Art Of Deception: in his younger days (when he was already a notorious hacker) he visited an IT conference where some company was demonstrating a network security solution. They were so convinced it was unbeatable that they dared people to hack it (specifically access the protected server via the public terminal in the showroom and grant the latter administrator access) and promised a cash prize to whoever did (the reps even had the bills pinned to their shirts). Mitnick won by...picking the lock of the server room while no one was looking, accessing the totally unsecure server, granting the terminal admin access and walking back to the terminal. Which turned into a Humiliation Conga, since not only did the reps for some reason leave the program's source code saved in the server (which Mitnick then started printing), but the cash was most of the money the reps had, forcing them to take the bus home.
Most hackers who defeat malware for a living employ solutions that revolve around this trope. One of the simplest methods to defeat malware is to simply wipe the hard drive and start over. If you have stuff on the drive you need, boot from a flash drive or CD, thus circumventing the malware.
During the last Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, several bolts on the telescope were found to be vacuum-welded, meaning that support struts that had been needed when the observatory was first launched now formed a block to replacing the broken instruments. After two hours of deliberation, the following advice came from Mission Control: "Pull on them. If that doesn't work, pull harder".
Whoever was the first player of the Rubik's Cube that figured out how to pull it apart and rearrange the colors so it was "solved" proverbially cut the Gordian Rubik's Cube.[[hottip:*:You have to jam it mid-turn then force another turn for it to fall apart, though this is easier with cheap cubes.
According to Cognitive Psychology, compared with people with high attention spans who may try to come up with increasingly complex solutions, people with low attention spans are usually able to see simple answers to problems because they're able to notice their immediate surroundings.
A tortoise is a rather tricky creature to eat, due to its hard shell. When it retreats into it, it becomes Nigh Invulnerable, and most animals just can't pull out the meaty bits due to a lack of dexterity or due to the protective plates that come up to cover the holes for the tortoise's head, legs and tail. The eagle and the hyena get around this problem, with the former simply picking up and dropping the tortoise from high up over rocks and the latter by biting it with its incredible bite force.
In 1417, the city of Florence held a contest to decide which architect would be contracted to build the dome of Florence Cathedral. Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the contestants, challenged his rivals to stand an egg on a flat marble surface; if they couldn't do it and he could, they agreed to withdraw from the contest. When none of the others could manage it, Filippo took his egg, smashed one end of it and stood it on the smashed end, winning the contract.
In the early 1990s, handwriting recognition was in its infancy, and the doomed Apple Newton showed how unreliable it could be. So Palm Inc., instead of trying to teach computers to read like humans, decided instead to make a simple, unambiguous shape for each letter, and train its users to write what the computer could understand. And so Graffiti was born.
Firefighters carry keys to enter the vast majority of locked buildings, rooms, and vehicles in existence: they are called "sledgehammer" and "axe".
And speaking of firefighters, the most efficient and safest way to remove a trapped victim after a vehicle accident? Disassemble the vehicle around them.