Desk Sweep of Rage

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Maybe the Cowboy Cop has been forced to turn in his badge, or the Big Bad's plans have just been thwarted, or the hero's Berserk Button just got pressed. How better to show rage or impatience than to take one arm and swipe everything off the desk (sometimes accompanied by an inarticulate scream)?! Used as shorthand to show that the character is out of control and they need something to take their frustrations out on.

Often a part of an Anger Montage, Rage Quit or Villainous Breakdown. Sister trope of Flipping the Table and Tantrum Throwing.


Examples

Anime & Manga
  • In an anime only scene of Naruto, after Shikaku mentions Asuma's death when playing Shogi, Shikamaru sweeps the board in anger. Shikaku eventually suggest that Shikamaru let his rage go out after he makes a scene.
  • In Black Butler, after learning that his servant, Agni has joined Haroldís side, Prince Soma trows a fit and sweeps Cielís tea set in anger, right before running off, weeping.

Fan Fic
  • In Facing the Future Series story Trial by Fire. Danny is torn between going after Sam or staying to protect Amity Park from Undergrowth, causing him to lash out at a nearby workstation before falling to his knees while holding his head in his hands in frustration.

Film
  • In Birdman, Naomi Watts' character sweepes a table clean in the dressing room in rage after her acting partner forced himself on her on stage.
  • In The Wall, the first thing the hero does during his Anger Montage is dramatically sweeping all the stuff off the living room table.
  • In The Machinist, the protagonist goes into a rage and wipes dishes from a kitchen table when finding a suspicious photo at his girl friend's place.
  • Deon, the creator of the titular robot in Chappie, goes to sweep a table clean in anger about the kidnapping of his brain child.
  • Johnny does this at the end of The Room as he smashes his room up.
  • TRON: Legacy had CLU 2.0 do this to Kevin's table after finding that Flynn had abandoned his hideout.
  • In Doctor Strange (2016), Strange wipes a desk clean at his apartment out of frustration about his injured hands not healing after the car accident.
  • In The Shining, Jack swipes a table in the corridor while roaming the hotel.
  • The 1973 adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has Mad Scientist Doctor Clerval mentor eager med student Victor Frankenstein on reanimating the dead. However, Clerval observes that some of his successes have Gone Horribly Wrong, and sweeps his notes and materials from his workbench to begin writing a warning in his journal: "The process is reversing itself." However, Clerval has a seizure at this point, which kills him, leaving the journal entry unfinished. Victor reads, "The process is re ..." and interprets it as "ready to begin."
  • In A Few Good Men, it looks like the case is about to be lost, and Kaffee is drowning his sorrows. Galloway says that Kaffee should just put Jessup on the stand, but the risk involved gets Kaffee to go on an angry rant, finishing with doing this to the paperwork on his desk.
  • In Prisoners, detective Loki does this to his office desk out of frustration after all his leads turned out to be dead ends.

Live-Action Television
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In the season 2 episode "Heavy is the Head", Fitz sweeps a bunch of papers off the desk when he gets frustrated with his difficulty communicating due to the brain damage he had suffered.
  • Will Gardner does this in a state of fury in The Good Wife after he finds out Alicia, Cary Agos, and others are leaving to start their own firm, taking many of Lockhart & Gardner's clients with them.
  • An exec does this on his way out of the office after getting made redundant in Mad Men.
  • Community:
    • Pierce in "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples" rage-swipes a desk at the local precinct when Jeff treats him like a small kid.
    • In "Geography of Global Conflict", Annie freaks out when she is about to lose a competition against her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Annie Kim and swipes the table clean. Watch it here.
  • Played for dark laughs in an episode of NYPD Blue. The suspect in the murder of his sister wants a refreshment, specifically a Coke. At first some detectives brought him a can of ginger ale (offscreen), and later Simone brings him a Diet Coke because the machine was out of regular. The perp dramatically sweeps the can off the table insisting that he get a regular Coke. "Does this look like a Coke to you?!" Simone sarcastically asks him that if they give him a Coke, will he confess? The perp surprises them by responding "Can I have a liter?" Long story short, they give him two 2-liter bottles of Coca-Cola and he confesses not only to the murder of his sister, but also the never suspected murder of his brother 30 years prior.
  • In The Wire, Lieutenant Rawls does this in frustration at Detective McNulty, only to be informed that the desk in question wasn't actually McNulty's.

Video Games
  • Issac Clarke of Dead Space 3 does this in the beginning of the game, right before he's brought into another mission.

Web Comics

Web Video

Western Animation
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox. When Mr. Bean, leader of the local farmers, gets word that Mr. Fox has robbed them blind by digging under all of their security, he swipes everything off his desk, flips it, and keeps going, completely wrecking the trailer he was using as a headquarters.
  • Classic Disney Shorts: In No Smoking, Goofy vows to quit smoking and sweeps all the tobacco-related on his work desk into a rubbish bin below.


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