"Drop everything! (Unless it is a baby.)"Dramatic Drop is kind of a step-sib to Dropped Glasses and Slow-Motion Drop. Something very startling or utterly shocking is announced or discovered — and the person encountering the shock literally drops what they're holding in astonishment. It most often falls ...and falls... and shatters at their feet — an aural punctuation mark to the bewildering announcement. It usually occurs in specific situations:
- The person is given shocking or bad news, or sees someone unexpected come into the room, and they drop what they're holding, so it falls to the floor, and breaks.
- The person was doing something, and is in trouble.
- The person was minding their own business, when the bad guy comes and yanks them out of their day. What they were doing falls to the ground, broken or otherwise ruined.
- The person was minding their own business, and fell ill or succumbed to some injury or illness they were previously unaware of. What they were doing gets dropped.
- In particular, seizures, heart attacks, catatonia due to major emotional trauma (or Heroic B.S.O.D.), etc., are frequently announced by dropping crockery.
- The person dies.
- The person drops something in order to make a mad dash to save something more important/valuable.
- The person is suddenly the victim of Mind Control and turns immediately to the task they've been commanded to do.
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- A British PSA about how to recognise the symptoms of a stroke includes the on-screen victim losing control of one arm and dropping her mug of coffee.
- This PSA against texting and driving.
- An industrial spy is telling the CEO of a car manufacturing company about all the features in the latest car a rival company has built.
CEO: Who can do all that?Spy: Daihatsu. (CEO drops his coffee cup, which shatters on the floor) That's who.
Anime & Manga
- Ranma ˝: Kasumi sees Akane's Close-Call Haircut and drops what she was cooking in shock. Ranma, not one to waste food, manages to save dinner.
- Used at least twice in the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist: first, Edward drops a basket of vegetables when he sees his sick mother collapsed on the floor, and later on, Hughes's wife drops a tea set when she goes into labor.
- Hilariously invoked on Crayon Shin-chan, when Misae tells his son some shocking news (not really, but Shin-chan is quite the drama queen) and he actually goes to the kitchen to fetch some cookies in order to drop them after he makes his mother repeat what she just said.
- Done in a blatant fashion in Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, when Tomari catches Hazumu and Yasuna kissing, which in turn makes her realize her own feelings for Hazumu.
- In Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit when Shuga, who was the tutor of a young prince receives a message that the boy is dead: He reads it and wordlessly drops several probably valuable books. The scene has some impact as he's normally very composed and circumspect.
- Doraemon: A woman drops her shopping onto the floor on seeing her baby hanging on the rail of a balcony.
- Haibane Renmei: In the first episode, Reki drops her box of art supplies when she finds Rakka's cocoon. Later on, Rakka herself drops a teapot when she's feeling faint.
- A heartbreaking example occurs in Fushigi Yuugi. Just before Miaka and her Seishi leave for Hokkan, Tamahome pays a visit to his family with Miaka and Nuriko. He buys them a few gifts before heading to their home, but when he opens the door to their house, he is horrified to see that his entire family had been murdered. The ball he had bought for Yuiren rolled right out of his hands and bounced on the floor before reaching her barely-alive fingertips.
- Lyrical Nanoha:
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Fate Testarossa drops her intelligent device Bardiche when she discovers the truth about her past. Quite the Tear Jerker moment.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Shamal is preparing a bento when she gets a message on her cell phone from Suzuka about wanting to visit the hospitalized Hayate with some friends. Shamal's initially pleased to hear this, but when she recognizes Nanoha and Fate (whom she fears will expose Hayate as her mistress), in the attached picture, she becomes shocked and drops her chopsticks.
- In Sherlock Hound, Mrs. Hudson is chloroformed and kidnapped by Moriarty, and as she loses consciousness she drops the flowerpot she's carrying.
- In D.Gray-Man, episode "The Black Order Annihilation Incident", both Lenalee and Alan drop their trays full of coffee during their encounter with Komui's robot.
- In one of the picture dramas of Code Geass, Nunnally is holding half of her mother's commemorative plate (she had an argument with Lelouch over whether Euphemia would give it to her when it got cracked in half and Euphemia gave one half to her) while listening to the news about Euphemia starting the Specially Administered Zone. When the news gets cut off as the massacre begins, Nunnally drops the plate.
- The Fantastic Adventures of Unico features a variant, in that Katy drops the bucket she was carrying to fetch water after the Baron D'Ghost invites her to his castle, and then only after he leaves.
- In the Mai-Otome manga, Erstin drops her tray upon learning that she will have to move out of Nina's room to accommodate Mashiro.
- In Pokémon Heroes movie, when the team was just about to leave the island, Bianca (or Latias, it is never made clear) kisses Ash on the cheek. It seems to be so shocking that Misty drops her Togepi.
- In Girls und Panzer, this happens twice. Darjeeling drops her teacup, breaking a pre-fight promise, when Oarai manages to put pressure on her. Mako drops her cell phone after receiving a call informing her that her grandmother has collapsed and been hospitalized.
- In Dragon Ball Z, Mr. Popo drops his watering can in shock when he sees Kami returning to life.
- In Your Name, Mitsuha drops the tamago she was about to eat after she is told that Taki in her body had kicked over a table the previous day.
- Sword Art Online: During Kayaba's announcement of SAO's avatar death = player death function early on, every player receives a 'Mirror' item that converts their avatar to reflect their real appearance. Some characters are still holding the item when he signs off with what is basically an A God Am I announcement; Silica dropping hers and screaming is what turns the crowd into a furious/panicking horde.
- In a flashback from the second Tokyo Babylon OAV, a woman drops her shopping bags in horror when she enters her house and sees that his Creepy Child eldest son (the Big Bad of the story) has accidentally strangled his little sister to death. Even worse, the boy doesn't seem to realize what happened and when he notices his mother, he happily and obliviously goes to her...
- In Batman, Alfred drops his tray of tea when he sees that Stephanie, aka The Spoiler is still alive. Steph then Lampshades this by commenting that it's nice to see Alfred lose his cool British demeanor once in a while.
- The Flash: When the death of Bart Allen is announced to Robin (Tim Drake) via cellphone, he drops the phone in shock. There's no dialogue on the page and if the audience hadn't known exactly what had been happening in the DCU of late you probably wouldn't realize why (it was pretty safe for them to assume everyone who read Teen Titans might well have known about events in The Flash, but still possible that somebody could pick up the issue for the first time and wonder why Tim was dropping the phone and looking so depressed).
- 52: Fittingly enough, Renee Montoya drops her pack of cigarettes when she learns that her mentor Vic Sage is dying of lung-cancer.
Renee: When did you quit [smoking]?
Vic: Not soon enough.
- In the Iron Man issue 182, Tony Stark is drinking a bottle of alcohol when his friend, Gretyl, announces that she's giving birth. Tony promptly drops the bottle to help her.
- Ultimatum: When the Ultimatum wave hits New York, Reed drops the ring that he was about to use to propose marriage to Sue.
- In Backward with Purpose, Snape drops his wand in shock when Dumbledore admits to having the Elder Wand. Several more revelations later, he states that he needs to sit down as well.
- In The Lord of the Rings fanfic Left, Frodo drops Sting as Shelob jabs him with her stinger.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Heroes, Kirk drops his load of branches to run after Spock when Spock disappears to regain his lost control.
- Bunnymond drops a basket of eggs in Mistaken Relations when Danny claims that Jack is his father (the fact that they both know someone named Jack F. is where the confusion comes from).
- In the Rango fanfic Old West, Angelique drops her glass of water out of shock when she's told that the Big Bad is her uncle Dufayel.
- In The Waiting Room episode 9, Deadpool is playing with a Fluttershy toy, when Elektra tells him "Last week, I killed forty men in a bathtub, wearing nothing but bubbles." — and Deadpool drops Fluttershy.
- In a chapter of the Life During Wartime, a canon sidestory of Neon Metathesis Evangelion, Kaji let his coffee cup drop when he learns from Kaworu that SEELE had purposefully caused Second Impact. Naturally, the mug shatters upon hitting the ground.
Film — Animation
- Happens thrice during the formal dance in Barbie and her Sisters in a Pony Tale. All three of the boys from École Montagne drop their (glass) punch cups in some form of shock, one of which is She Cleans Up Nicely. Barbie's younger cousin Max is not happy when he has to clean up the mess.
- Batman: Under the Red Hood: Alfred drops a tray when he sees that Batman's analysis of a blood sample has identified the Red Hood as being Jason Todd.
- Cars: The mustache grilles of Chick Hicks' forklift crew all fall off upon seeing how Guido can change all four of Lightning McQueen's tires in four seconds.
- Disney Animated Canon:
- Cinderella drops a tea tray when she overhears Lady Tremaine tell the stepsisters that the prince is searching for the mystery maiden he met at the ball.
- The Black Cauldron did this with a dog and his bone.
- Done offscreen in Hercules: Megara, holding a vase, is told by Hades that she will be freed from her Deal with the Devil if she finds Hercules' weakness. The camera is held close on Meg's reaction, but a distinct crashing sound is heard.
- Near the beginning of The Princess and the Frog, After Tiana realizes that she had made enough money to start her own restaurant for being a waitress at another, said restaurant's owner actually drops a fried egg from a spatula.
- A slight variation occurs in The Prince of Egypt. During the plague of the Death of the Firstborn, we see a young boy carrying a jar of presumably water into his home. He gets through the door, we hear a loud exhale, and then the sound of the jar shattering. All we see is the boy's hand sticking out from the doorway.
- Ratatouille: When Ego gets a taste of Remy's ratatouille, he experiences a flashback to his childhood, when his mother served him some ratatouille (in more conventional stew form) to make him feel better after he had a bicycle-riding accident. After the flashback ends, this trope occurs with his note-taking pen.
Film — Live-Action
- At the end of 1408, Mike Enslin is listening to his mini-recorder while his wife puts away stuff from a recent move. The recording jumps from mundane observations by Mike to the sound of the couple's dead daughter's voice. Mrs. Enslin stares dumbfounded at the recorder and very gradually lets go of the box she's holding, letting it crash to the floor.
- Amélie uses this to get the plot started, as the titular protagonist reacts in shock to hearing news of Princess Diana's death.
- The scene where Kevin Spacey throws his dinner plate against a wall in American Beauty was supposed to be one of these, but after it didn't work, Spacey unexpectedly ad-libbed, causing a priceless reaction that was kept.
- Chick's ex-wife drops the phone when her small child says, "Mommy? That salesman is on TV." 'That Salesman' was her ex-husband, and the TV announcement was of the Freedom and Independence teams being launched to save the world.
- Also, later one in the movie Truman drops a mug (which shatters on impact) after receiving bad news.
- Citizen Kane provides one of the best known examples: when Kane dies, the snow globe in his hand rolls down the stairs and shatters.
- In Critters, when the mom spots a crite outside she drops her tray, breaking many dishes and teacups.
- In The Dark Knight Rises , Bane collapses most of Heinz Field in the middle of a game. A single player makes it to safety in the endzone, then looks back on the gaping hole in the ground, and drops the ball in shock. (Fun fact: that's Hines Ward before he left the Steelers.)
- In The Death of Stalin, Svetlana drops Vasily's flask when Beria tells her that Aleksei is dead.
- In the film version of Driving Miss Daisy, Idella drops a bowl of peas when she dies suddenly.
- In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Elliott's mom doesn't completely drop what she's doing when she sees E.T. isn't just a great Halloween costume, but her fingers go slack on her coffee cup and it dangles from her fingers, spilling messily to the floor.
- In The Eye, a man and woman are having a conversation over the phone. The man drops the phone in the middle of a conversation with her because he's been mind controlled. The woman he's conversing with realizes something is wrong, and she drops the phone and her bags to rush to him and see if he's all right.
- In Gran Torino, Walt drops his glass when he sees Sue come back into her house bloody and beaten from being kidnapped and raped by Spider's gang.
- in Harold and Maude, Harold's mom drops a glass (by missing the table) after discovering that he has ruined his third and final date.
- In The Hunt for Red October a high-ranking Soviet politician has a cup of tea in his hand when he reads a letter in which Ramius announces his intention to defect. He very carefully tries to put the cup down, but his hand is shaking so much it falls over anyway. Then he mobilizes the entire Soviet navy to sink the renegade submarine before it reaches America.
- The Incredible Hulk has Stan Lee, who drank a soda with Banner's blood in it getting gamma poisoning and dropping the soda.
- Kill Bill: Hattori Hanzo is preparing food when The Bride addresses him by name. The food doesn't make it.
- Happens in the movie Latter Days when the main character Christian finds out that his love interest Aaron has not killed himself as he was previously led to believe and he's come back to be with him. He drops all the dishes he's holding when he sees him, and then rushes to embrace him.
Wes Ramsey (Christian): (on the commentary track) A ghost!!
- When the Police Inspector in M finds out that the criminals caught the Serial Killer he was looking for, the cigar he's smoking falls out of his mouth.
- Murder at the Baskervilles When Simpson tells Mrs Straker that Hunter is dead, she drops the teacup she is holding.
- The Mummy (1999): Jonathan drops the Book of the Dead when an angry Imhotep turns on him.
- One of the "targets" in Munich drops his groceries when he's shot.
- In National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, Riley drops several incalculably valuable treasures instantaneously the moment someone recognizes him as a treasure hunter and book author, and asks for his autograph.
- The Omen (1976) has the second type: Damien intentionally runs his tricycle into the chair that his mother is standing on while she changes a second-story light fixture, it crashes to the first-story floor slightly before she does.
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- In Red Dawn (1984), after a Soviet squadron is killed following a chance encounter, Matt Eckeret is sent on a recon. mission, and when Col. Bella, gives the order to open fire, Matt drops his binoculars at the sight of over a dozen unarmed civilians being machine-gunned in front of a mass grave.
- Run, Lola, Run: plays this after Manny calls Lola; because the story explores several For Want of a Nail possible outcomes, it's repeated three times.
- A comical example happens in Saving Mr. Banks, when P.L. Travers walks into her hotel room and drops her suitcase upon seeing Disney character plush dolls in her room.
- The Shaggy Dog: Stefano drops the tray he's holding when he thinks the dog has opened a locked door by removing said door from its hinges.
- Great Expectations: Pip drops his glass when Magwitch returns and reveals to Pip that it is he, and not Miss Havisham, who was Pip's anonymous benefactor that set him up as a gentleman.
- At the end of Shoot 'em Up, Mr. Smith joins up with his Hooker with a Heart of Gold Love Interest, who's now working in a café. When she sees him, she smiles and deliberately drops the tray of glasses she's holding before they embrace.
- In Spaceballs the cook at the space rest stop drops what he's carrying when he catches sight of the little alien doing its song and dance number on the counter.
- Speed Racer Speed's mother drops the glass she is holding when she hears that her eldest son Rex has died in a car crash.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming, After Peter comes in through his window and unsuits, he turns around to reveal Ned sitting there holding a LEGO Death Star, which promptly falls out of his hands and shatters against the floor. Ned doesn't seem to care about that.
- A bar patron in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby dropped his beer the second that Jean Girard introduces everyone to his "husband".
- In The Usual Suspects, Agent Kujan drops his coffee cup when he realizes that he [apparently] let Keyzer Soze walk out the door after having him in the police station for several hours spinning his yarn.
- Parodied in Wrongfully Accused. After Harrison finishes his Line-of-Sight Name gag and leaves, John Walsh turns around, sees the brand names of the fishing equipment on the pegboard, and drops his coffee cup. We see a shot of the shattered cup from boot-level... then down comes a doughnut... then an egg... then a water balloon.
- Happens a lot in mystery novels (Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes and the like): Someone who on the face of it shouldn't be startled or even interested in the news, drops something when hearing it and thus reveals to the detective that they have a secret interest in the matter.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Hermione is compulsively worrying over an exam while Ron tries to convince her she should eat "when her fork slid from her limp fingers and landed with a loud clink on her plate.'Oh, my goodness,' she said faintly, staring into the Entrance Hall. 'Is that them? Is that the examiners?'"
- In Breaking Dawn Alice drops a vase because she had just had a vision of the Volturi coming to kill the Cullens.
- In Deathly Hallows, Hermione dumps a whole armload of basilisk fangs to kiss Ron after he finally earns his Relationship Upgrade by showing concern for the Hogwarts house-elves.
- Also, in Philosopher's Stone, Minerva McGonagall dropped the books she was carrying when she learned the Golden Trio knew about the Philosopher's Stone being kept inside Hogwarts.
- In Faith of the Fallen, from Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth, Nicci "was only dimly aware of the eggs hitting the floor" after being informed that Richard had been taken prisoner. Although, thinking about it, he gets captured so frequently in the series - indeed, by Nicci herself just earlier in the book - that you think she'd just roll her eyes or something.
- In Paradise Lost, Adam makes a crown of flowers for Eve, and then drops it when she tells him about having eaten the forbidden fruit.
- In The Iliad, Andromache drops her weaving shuttle when she realises that Hektor has died.
- The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. Tatiana overhears her family arguing with Alexander over whether to tell her something. She walks in and demands to know, whereupon she's told her grandfather has died. Tatiana drops the tea tray she's carrying and rushes out.
- In the sixth Dresden Files book, Murphy meets Harry's mentor, Ebenezar. She is not impressed, and demands brusquely she be the driver since he doesn't have a license in Chicago. Harry tells Ebenezar he better just let her do so, calling the older man 'sir'. Cue Murphy dropping her armload in pure, unfiltered shock at hearing Harry Dresden address someone with authority with respect. She talks to Ebenezar afterwards as if he's on the same level as the Pope.
- This tends to happen to Ravenswood in the Relativity stories. One time he drops a platter when he hears that the waitress he hired is secretly in love with the superhero Overcast (who, she doesn't know, is actually Ravenswood). Another time it occurs when he's visiting the home of Sara's foster father and hears that Queen Elizabeth will be one of the dinner guests.
- Defied in The Chronicles of Amber. Before telling another character some potentially shocking news over a long distance call, Merlin advises that the person put down anything they're holding that might be fragile.
- Necessary Evil. The previously infallible seer Gretel scalds herself with boiling water when she drops a kettle after a prediction of the future turns out to be wrong for the first time in her life.
- The last 30 seconds of an episode of Babylon 5 has Delenn dropping a snow globe which shatters at her feet.
- Of course you would too if the supposedly dead wife of your love interest walked into the room and found you spending the night with her husband.
- Hilariously parodied in Blackadder the Third: Prince George is reading the news that a criminal (who unknown to the prince, Blackadder teamed up with then was almost immediately betrayed by) was hanged:
George: It says here she had an accomplice!
[Blackadder drops the tray he was carrying]
George: But they don't know who it was!
[The tray jumps back up into Blackadder's hands]
- In an earlier episode of the same series, Blackadder "accidentally" dropped a tray full of refreshments after the Prince insulted him one time too many, leading him to the brink of resigning that very moment.
- Hilariously parodied in Blackadder the Third: Prince George is reading the news that a criminal (who unknown to the prince, Blackadder teamed up with then was almost immediately betrayed by) was hanged:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- This happens in the episode "Surprise" for no real reason other than some anvilicious foreshadowing.
- Also happens in "Passion," when Giles discovers Jenny's corpse.
- Also happens in "Earshot", in which Buffy is temporarily telepathic and suddenly hears someone in the cafeteria think about killing everyone in the school. She's so shocked by this that she drops her lunch tray, and the whole cafeteria applauds her (while she, of course, goes into a mindless panic).
- And also happens in "Out of My Mind", when Joyce is preparing breakfast for Dawn before suddenly asking Dawn who she is and then dropping the plate and collapsing.
- On Charmed, when Phoebe and Dex got married under a spell, Dex carried Phoebe over the threshold and then they realized what happened. Confused by what happened, Dex promptly dropped Phoebe on the floor.
- In the first episode, the hotness of Sarah is startling enough to Chuck that he drops the phone he's using.
- Big Mike drops his fishing tackle box when he gets a text about a security breach at Buy More. In a much earlier episode, he likewise drops his danish (a huge shift in moment-to-moment priorities for the character) when the fire alarm is pulled at the Buy More.
- Happens in the Criminal Minds episode "Won't Get Fooled Again". A mother is cooking when she realizes her daughter is holding a package containing a bomb. She drops an egg she was holding and it smashes to the floor.
- The Doctor Blake Mysteries:
- In "Measure Twice", the niece of the Victim of the Week finds his body and stops short. Her husband walks into the back of her, causing a dramatic drop of the plate with a cake she is carrying.
- In "Family Portrait", Cec drops a crate of bottles he is carrying when he finds Patrick Tyneman standing over a dead body outside the Colonist's Club.
- Doctor Who:
- "Aliens of London": The Ninth Doctor brings Rose back to London after her first journey in the TARDIS. Problem is, he overshot the return date. He intended to drop her off only twelve hours after they left, but they arrive twelve months into the future. Rose's mum thought her daughter was missing all this time, and she's so stunned at her daughter's sudden return (while Rose has no idea of how much time really passed), she drops her coffee mug and it smashes into pieces... what a waste of good Joe. And then she furiously bitch-slaps the Doctor when she hears he's responsible for whisking away her beloved child for a year.
- Happens offscreen in "Boom Town". The Ninth Doctor goes to confront a previous enemy, who is currently Mayor of Cardiff, and asks her receptionist to tell her "The Doctor" is there to see her. He goes in, the Doctor turns, waits... and looks rather smug when he hears something shatter.
- "The Vampires of Venice": When the Eleventh Doctor turns up at Rory's stag night and casually mentions that he kissed his fiancée, we hear a beer glass being dropped offscreen.
- "The Pandorica Opens": It takes the Doctor a long time to notice that Rory's mysteriously come back from the dead, after being killed and Retgoned in "Cold Blood". So long, that he walks out of the room carrying two Cyber guns before the penny drops — as do the guns, offscreen.
- "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" begins with the Doctor materializing the TARDIS around Amy and Rory while they're at home — helping Rory's dad Brian look at a broken lightbulb socket. When Brian realizes that he's in a different place, he drops the lightbulb he's holding in shock.
- In The Duchess Of Duke Street, a character's very quiet death is heralded by his cigarette falling from his fingers.
- Colin on Everwood drops a glass when he starts having a seizure in a late first season episode.
- Fawlty Towers:
- In the episode "Communication Problems" Basil drops an expensive vase when The Major tells Sybill that Basil had been betting on the horses behind her back.
- In "Gourmet Night", Polly tries to get Basil to put down the bottle he's opening first, but he still ends up dropping it on his foot after she tells him that the chef has gotten drunk right before an important dinner.
- In Fringe, Olivia Dunham drops the bowl of cereal she was eating when her dead love and partner walks into the room. Seeing as this is Fringe, we see the shot several times over a couple of episodes.
- Parodied in The Goodies - Bill isn't really shocked, he's just into loud noises.
- In the Heritage Minute about Dr. Wilder Penfield, Mrs. 'burnt toast' famously announces her seizure by dropping the traditional plate.
- Heroes: In "The Eclipse, Part 1" when Mrs Bennet walks into the room and finds Claire unconscious on the sofa she drops what she's holding.
- In one episode of Home and Away, Leah drops the plates and cutlery onto the floor after she learns Dan dies
- This trope is the very reason Moss in The IT Crowd always makes two cups of tea.
- In 'Gently With the Woman' Gently dropping his glass, which shatters in slow motion, is the main reason why he decides to go get checked out at the hospital.
- He drops a bottle in the next episode, prompting his partner Bacchus to start to worry about his mentor's health and in the last episode of the series, 'Son of a Gun' it is mentioned that this is happening frequently.
- Kamen Rider Double:
- This is the Character Tic of Kazu, who drops whatever he's holding almost every single time he's asked a question or is told something even remotely dramatic. (This is in almost every scene he's in.) Inverted in the fact that he hardly even seems to be fazed by this in any way, regardless of what he may be holding, be it a spoon, a suitcase, a teacup, etc, even if the object breaks.
- Played straight with Shoutarou late in the series with his phone.
- When Henry Blake's death is announced at the end of the third season of M*A*S*H, a nurse is heard dropping a scalpel amidst the shocked silence in the operating theatre. This was a case of Throw It In!. The actors had not been told prior to filming what would happen, they expected Radar to announce that Henry had made it back to the States safely. The actress' reaction in the first take was genuine, and the director decided to keep it in later takes.
- Wendy is consoling herself with ice cream from the carton because she just screwed up badly and got sent home by her boss, The Middle Man, when roommate Lacey casually mentions that the Villain Of The Week is hanging out at the restaurant from which she just quit working. Wendy turns attentively to Lacey, and the viewer hears the spoon clatter to the floor.
- "Mr. Monk and the Genius": Linda Kloster is nervous because her husband has been threatening to kill her. Her housekeeper tries to calm her, then leaves the room to get her a sandwich. When the housekeeper reenters the room, she drops her tea tray as she sees Linda's dead body on the bed. Lampshaded and played with in the same episode: Randy tells Stottlemeyer to put down his coffee mug so he won't drop when he hears the news. He puts it down, but when Randy tells him Linda is dead, he picks it up again and hurls it against the wall.
- "Mr. Monk and Little Monk": When Natalie tells him he has a visitor and that it's his childhood crush, he drops the cup he's holding and temporarily forgets that they're no longer thirteen years old.
- It happened in NCIS when Gibbs drops his coffee after hearing a bullet whiz by, shattering glass, and the sound of Abby screaming. I repeat, he DROPPED his COFFEE.
- The New Avengers: The villain attending Steed's party drops his champagne glass when he hears the general announce that the 'Eye of God' satellite is going to do an underground scan of Buckinghamshire, where he has concealed his stolen missile.
- On an episode of Night Court, someone said "Who's willing to drop everything and help me?" Roz drops her lunch tray, just before she passes out. (Turned out she had diabetes.)
- In an early episode of NUMB3RS, Charlie is making a sandwich when he sees a news report on TV saying that FBI agents are in a firefight with bank robbers; we see the knife he was holding drop to the counter as Charlie realizes that his brother Don is among the agents on the scene.
- Used humorously to make for a particularly charming moment in Once Upon a Time, especially considering it sets up an important Tragic Keepsake.
Rumpelstiltskin: You will serve me my meals, and you will clean the Dark Castle... You will dust my collection and launder my clothing... You will fetch me fresh straw when I'm spinning at the wheel... OH! And you will skin the children I hunt. For their pelts.
[Belle drops the teacup in alarm]
Rumpelstiltskin: ...That one was a quip.
- Happens on One Tree Hill when Peyton finds the body of her biological mother, Ellie Harp, who has succumbed to her battle with breast cancer, resulting in Peyton dropping the box of cds she is carrying.
- Psych, "Ghosts": Gus drops his cocoa mug when he sees someone moving in the woods outside. Later the pattern on the china turns out to be a clue.
- Ned's mother in Pushing Daisies was brushing dust off him when she died suddenly, the brush falling from her hands. She then drops a pie after being revived and seeing her neighbor drop dead across the street.
- Sherlock. Done as a Rule of Three in "The Reichenbach Fall" when Moriarty breaks into the cabinet holding the Crown Jewels. First he takes out the CCTV cameras. The security guard monitoring them is holding a couple of coffee cups, which slop visibly as he quickly puts them down so as to call someone. Then Moriarty remotely opens the vault of the Bank of England; as the bank manager gapes at this impossibility, the cup he's holding tilts in his hand until it pours coffee into this lap. Finally someone bursts in on the Governor of Pentonville Prison to tell him that all the cells are unlocking. Cue the Governor knocking the coffee mug off his table as he leaps to his feet.
- Sisters: "... soon as we find a Justice of the Peace." Alex hears these words, and things just start dropping.
- At the end of the Sliders pilot episode, the Sliders are sitting down to dinner believing they are safe and sound on their home earth. Quinn and the others make a toast just as Quinn's father, who died years ago, walks into the room. Realizing this means they didn't make it home, Quinn drops his wine glass and it shatters on the floor.
- Clark drops the white rose he brought when he sees Lana and Lex together.
- Lana once dropped her phone when she received a message that brainwashes her into beating the living daylights out of Chloe.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In "Dramatis Personae" a telepathic Hate Plague has caused the main characters to turn on each other. Kira is in Quarks' bar, trying to convince Dax to join her in a conspiracy against Commander Sisko. At one point she drops a strong hint that she's planning to have Sisko assassinated, whereupon there's an Off Screen Crash. Kira turns to look at Quark with an evil smile on her face, realising he's been listening in on their conversation.
- On Supernatural, Sam drops a cup of coffee when his father dies suddenly as part of a Deal with the Devil. Notably, the cup doesn't tip over when it lands.
- There's an episode of Brian Clemens' Thriller in which the heroine tries to phone for help but the villainess cuts the phone line. The heroine then drops the receiver.
- In True Blood, last episode of the first season, Sookie drops the pitcher she was holding when she realizes the killer is in the room with her.
- In the Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Garrity and the Graves", Mr. Garrity was telling the bartender that he brings back the dead for a living. The bartender promptly dropped a full mug of beer.
- V: The Series. After the Star Child grows overnight from an eight year-old to a beautiful teenager, the other characters bring her home. She drops a glass, which looks like she's having trouble adjusting to her new adult body...until they realise she's staring out the window at an alien shuttlecraft discharging a squad of Visitor soldiers — this is a Mass "Oh, Crap!" because up to then everyone assumed the Visitors had been driven off Earth for good.
- Jed Bartlet of The West Wing, on discovering that his daughter, Zoey, had been kidnapped dropped first of all the photos he had been holding, followed shortly by his whiskey glass. A particularly well-executed example of the trope.
- On Wishbone, David drops a glass when his father walks in holding the rear view mirror of the new car.
Myths & Religion
- Older Than Feudalism: This even happens in The Bible. Moses drops the tablets with the Laws and breaks them (well, trashes them) when he notices that his followers have started worshiping the Golden Calf. He had to go back to get the Commandments, since he had broken the Laws, and God apparently had failed to keep a spare copy.
- Judas reportedly spilled his salt when Jesus announced that someone would betray him.
- In Charley's Aunt upon hearing the news that one man intends to marry Charley's Aunt, who is actually another man in drag, drops the tray he's holding.
- One coarse acting play had this as a Running Gag involving an unseen cook. At the end of the play the hero has enough money to marry her, so he just tells her to smash everything in the kitchen before breaking the news.
- At one point during Final Fantasy VII's ending, Cid drops his cigar from his mouth.
- The team is stuck in a collapsing cavern, with things about to get worse. Cid mutters to himself something along the lines of "Lady Luck, don't give up on me now." Cue the reaction above when the Highwind litterly drops from the ceiling.
- In the Riviera drama CDs, this is the young Malice's reaction to realizing that her mother has just died; she was fixing Rizuna some fruit beforehand, and we hear the plates shatter when she drops them.
- In RWBY's fifth Volume, Ruby walks into the living room of where they're staying carrying a tea tray from the kitchen, only for her to see Weiss and Yang, her two teammates who, thanks to the events of Volume 3, she hasn't seen, or been in contact with, for months. She immediately drops the tray and its contents on the floor in shock.
- Queen of Wands: Shannon drops the phone due to a complication with her pregnancy, and Angela thinks Shannon just got disgusted and hung up on her.
- Dominic's father Donovan displays it upon a harsh shock in this Dominic Deegan comic.
- Done by Meimi, Yuki's mother and retired magical girl at the end of Megatokyo's 9th chapter to introduce an element of uncertainty to Miho's No One Could Survive That!, providing a massive cliffhanger as well.
- The webcomic Nothing Better has it at least twice:
- Jane drops her shower bucket when she discovers a prank grodying up the shower stall.
- Katt drops her art supplies when she is shocked.
- In Cwen's Quest, Riddly Lancer is occasionally so surprised he not only drops what he is holding but is himself dropped to the ground.
- Questionable Content has a three-person example of this trope.
- Being around the cast of Ménage ŕ 3 can be bad for anyone's grip. Just a couple of examples:
- The trope is discussed in this PvP strip.
- Girl Genius:
- When Vanamonde informed by his grandfather that there's one more claimant to be his liege than he thought, while holding a big cup of coffee.
- Done by Bangladesh Dupree with a person.
- One of those frozen in time in Mechanicsburg had just dropped his cup in shock when the time stop hit so it has been sitting midair just beneath his hand for the better part of three years.
- Homestuck. Ms Paint has this reaction upon seeing Lord English behind the fourth wall.
- In The Order of the Stick this is Malack's reaction to seeing Nale.
- Scandinavia and the World. Denmark's reaction to Iceland's new exhibit.
- In El Goonish Shive, Sarah drops her glass, which immediately shatters, after hearing Tedd interpret an almost illegible note from his dad as advice not to be thinking of proposing to Grace at his age.
- Discussed in Bug Martini here.
- Daughter of the Lilies: A servant drops a tray when she spots Thistle with her true form revealed, performing magic to heal a premature baby.
- The Spoony Experiment: Spoony drops his controller at the sight of Quistis in his Final Fantasy VIII review. A very hot teacher.
- In Survival of the Fittest version 4 Reiko Ishida does something like this with a piece of bread she had been eating when she finds out that her twin sister Reika has been killed. This quickly reached Memetic Mutation.
- The SuperMarioLogan episode "Shrek's Diet!" has Mario briefly dropping rolls of toilet paper upon noticing Shrek unconscious on the floor after having a heart attack.
- The Nostalgia Critic:
- Invoked: the Critic sees the sharks from The Legend of the Titanic agreeing to sink the Titanic, starting with a Jaw Drop. Then he says he needs to drop something, picks up a glass, pours water into it, and promptly drops it.
- Then there's his review of the Ducktales 2017 reboot. He prepares to celebrate the end of the review with his favorite and most expensive champagne inside his favorite and most expensive champagne glass. Then the cartoon revealed that Della Duck, Donald's twin sister and mother of Huey, Dewey, and Louie, would play a part in the Myth Arc.
The Critic: Do you know how close I came to dropping that?
- American Dad!:
- Invoked during an episode:
Stan: Francine, drop whatever you're doing and help me!
Francine: [holding a plate with food] But it'll stain the floor. Can't I just put it away first?
Stan: Drop it!
[Francine sighs and drops the plate]
Stan: Good. Now clean that up and help me look.
- Played straight in "Pulling Double Booty", where Stan drops his coffee mug after Francine tells him that Jeff broke up with Hayley, sending her into an Unstoppable Rage through the mall.
- Invoked during an episode:
- In the Arthur episode "Bleep" when DW is in a store she sees a mother arguing with her son and when she tells him he can't go to a concert he swears and the mother drops the glass she was holding in shock. Later she repeats the word to Arthur to ask what it means and he drops his model plane. She gets the idea that this is some kind of magic word that makes people drop things.
- As Told by Ginger: Macie's father, on realizing Ginger's right and he and his wife have forgotten Macie's 13th birthday, drops the stylus to his PDA — and then lets the PDA fall.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- "Imprisoned": Katara drops what she's doing (a perfectly nice ceramic jug of water) when she realizes that Haru's been arrested and taken prisoner for illegal Earthbending.
- "The Fortuneteller": Aang goes all the way up the mountain at the top of the village for a panda lily to give his crush. He drops it when he realizes that the volcano atop said mountain is close to erupting.
- Season 3: Katara again, when she discovers that Aang has run (well, flown) away (perfectly good food).
- The Batman:
- Two old ladies drop their teacups to shatter on the floor when Solomon Grundy shows up for revenge in a Halloween episode.
- Alfred drops a Ming vase when Ethan says something to Bruce about the Batman.
Alfred: Just a Ming.
- Batman: The Animated Series episode "See No Evil": There's a criminal who is literally the Disappeared Dad, thanks to the Applied Phlebotinum. He pretends to be his daughter's Imaginary Friend, and holds a toy so she can tell where he is. When the little girl tells him they're moving, he drops the doll in shock.
- Danny Phantom where Sam drops her tea cup when she gets word Danny and Valerie have been in the same room together for hours. Can be taken as a Double Entendre as well.
- Daria's Mom was busy talking to her boss, Eric, on the phone when Jake collapsed from a heart attack. As soon as she realized what happened, she dropped her phone.
- Helga and her father Big Bob on Hey Arnold! both drop their glasses in shock when Miriam announces she's going to be away from a few days, suggesting they spend some father-daughter quality time together while she's gone in the episode "Quantity Time".
- Justice League Unlimited uses this trope a fair bit:
- The Karate Kid The Animated Series: Kina when Daniel and Taki come suddenly into her hut. A more problematic example than most because she drops the remaining water from the fountain of youth.
- In the episode Hand in Hand on Kick Buttowski, Kendall drops her phone in the middle of a conversation with her boyfriend, Ronaldo, when she realizes she's right outside the store he's in and he's about to exit and sees the possibility of him catching her and Kick together.
- Kim Possible:
- Ron drops his "flour baby" in shock when his parents spring on him that they've adopted a baby. The "flour baby" is a school project, and it becomes the episode's Running Gag, as it is repeatedly dropped or otherwise damaged.
- And when Nana Possible gets mind-controlled, she lets her lemon squares drop to the floor.
- Mike, Lu & Og:
- After Margery accidentally gets hypnotized into thinking she's a duck, she drops a cooking tool she was holding at the time.
- This also happens in "Fathers and Pies", when she catches Mike and Lu eating a pie (she thought Og had been turned into said pie).
- Happens in The Simpsons episode "G.I. D'oh", when Bart announces that he's going to join the Army when he turns 18, and Marge is conveniently carrying a bust of Homer.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man's Gwen Stacy drops her books in shock at seeing Harry Osborn unconscious on the ground after disappearing a while.
- Felicia Hardy drops a jar of face cream when she hears the body of Michael Morbius has been found in an episode of the '90s' Spider-Man Animated Series.
- Transformers Animated is very fond of this. We even get close-ups of the objects hitting the ground.
- Yin Yang Yo!: Master Yo, who is extremely fond of soft pretzels, drops one when he realizes the twins have been duped into actions that will result in letting Sealed Evil in a Can out.
- A less dramatic, but memorable example occurs during a lecture by L. Ron Hubbard on the events of OT III. When he gets to the part about how Xenu used his last moments in office (he was about to be forcibly "un-elected") to "goof the floof", an attendee can be heard dropping their pencil, apparently in shock. Hubbard comments on this:
- According to Rob Halford of Judas Priest, this happened when he came out of the closet in 1998, which was basically a slip of the tongue. During an interview with MTV, he accidentally said "Speaking as a gay man..." while he was talking about something else, and the next thing he heard was the sound of the producer dropping his clipboard in shock.