When, out of anger or frustration, one character flips over a table that another character is sitting at, doing something on, or eating from.
In Western uses, it's almost always a sign of a hot-tempered or violent character, and is done in anger, but as an alternative to hitting a person; while in a Boke and Tsukkomi Routine, it's more likely to be caused by frustration. Sometimes, the character is Drunk and filled with rage, which is more often used in Japanese media. This may also be used in action movies as a form of diversion when fighting breaks out.
Bonus Points if the table is covered with countless small objects which go flying everywhere when it is flipped.
See also Tantrum Throwing. If the action taking place at the table is a game of some sort, Flipping The Table often accompanies a Rage Quit.
In Star Of The Giants, an old-fashioned father would flip over the family dinner table whenever he was morally outraged, while they were eating; the dinner would be subsequently ruined. Several subsequent occurrences of Flipping the Table were direct references to this scene, which appeared in the series' closing-credits montage; after undergoing Memetic Mutation, Flipping the Table became part of the visual meme-pool of Japanese comedy in general.
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has a card called "Flipping the Table". In one episode, used by Hayato's (Chumley in the dub) father who (in the Japanese version, at least) was a substantial drunkard and owns a sake company (in the dub, he just owns a hot sauce company). When played, a giant table does invariably appear and Hayato's father does overturn it fairly violently.
Referred to in two of the SlayersNon Serial Movies. In Slayers: Gorgeous", Lina and Naga are engaged in yet another duel of spells, and Lina has cast a spell that, by way of a side effect, froze the surface of a nearby pond; Naga retaliates by summoning up an earth golem and having it perform a chabudai-gaeshi with the sheet of ice — it flips through the air and almost crushes Lina. In "Slayers: Great", while engaged in a battle that parodies the Super Robot genre, Naga purposely freezes a river the two are duelling near and uses her giant golem to flip the ice sheet to knock Lina's giant golem off of her feet.
One Piece: Franky does this during Luffy's fight with the Galley-La company, due to him being denied battling Luffy, since they were the ones fighting in the first place. Also done in Unlimited Adventure, where Franky actually builds a table from scratch, only to flip it mere seconds after finishing it. He also flips another table during the ending cinematic.
Ranma, trying to scare someone away, flips a dinner table over. It didn't have the right effect as everyone at the table grabbed a plate and saved the meal and he got kicked into low earth orbit.
Subverted in the first episode, where instead of flipping the table over, Akane picks it up and smacks Ranma with it.
Genma has actually developed this as a martial arts technique, Wrath of the Father, which he uses against Nodoka (yeah, he's scum).
In Naruto, Shikamaru Nara gets mentally and verbally probed by his father Shikaku during a game of shogi after Shikamaru's sensei, Asuma, is killed. Shikamaru finally snaps and flips the shogi board with a well-placed backhand.
Kyouya flips the table on Tamaki (amoung other things)on Ouran High School Host Club when Tamaki jokes that losing claim to his father's company would give him time for more interesting things. As third in line in his family, Kyouya is disgusted Tamaki is so close to having it all and is not willing to fight for it. Tamaki counters that Kyouya is just projecting his frustrations on Tamaki and is mad that he isn't fighting for his father's company.
The second episode of Panda Z is made entirely of Talon, the main character, and his aged grandfather sitting down to a healthy meal of batteries (let's all use them properly). Talon tries various utensils to eat the batteries (fork, knife, screwdriver, scissors, etc.), but fails each time, and himself gets frustrated and angrily knocks the table over. After several of these, Panjii gets up, picks up another fully set table from offscreen, sets it down where the original table was, and flips the new one over himself.
Early in Fruits Basket Kyo upends a table during a heated exchange with Yuki... and unintentionally hits Tohru in the head with it. Then we find out why you don't anger Yuki...
Seitokai no Ichizon: Ken upon hearing Kurumi say she didn't do anything wrong on the exams. She got two 25s and a 27.
In Heaven's Lost Property, Tomoki sometimes does this when he's frustrated with the angeloids shenanigans (usually Ikaros'), such as when Ikaros failed to affect a smile or when the angeloids decided to make an entrance in the roof of his house.
Referenced by Death in the final episodes of Soul Eater when he flips over Arachnia's fortress while piloting Death City transformed into a Giant Mecha!
Shizuo Heiwajima of Durarara!! has an infamous habit of flipping and tossing the nearest 400-pound object whenever he gets angry. Tables are not excluded.
In Zettai Karen Children, BABEL has different interview rooms specially designed for different situations. The "Gift of Children" arc shows one for talking to an esper-hater if their child awakens as an esper. It includes a tea table specifically so the parent can flip it if they get angry.
Done hilariously in magico by a samurai when he finds out that her wife had been lying about her BWH measurements.
Haruhi-chan had this in episode 3, which is Achakura's first episode. When Achakura is given a doggie dish, the doggie dish appears to contain dog food. Nagato thinks it's a joke and proceeds to give real food to Achakura in said doggie dish. Achakura's response? She flips the dish. Achakura acually does this with every other food Nagato gives her.
Flipping the (traditional) mahjong table seems to be a Running Gag in Legendary Gambler Tetsuya. Tetsuya does it the first time he is pwned by Boshu, then when Tetsuya get rid of the bamboo-backed mahjong tiles and change the set to plastic ones to deny Innami's heightened sense, and then when Danchi is pwned by Tetsuya. Everytime it happens, it's epic.
A slightly drunk Itsuwa does this in A Certain Magical Index. To Tatemiya, who had just played a prank on her regarding her crush on Touma. She flipped it so hard it struck him in the face and sent him flying out of the room. Everyone else wisely decides to stay out of Itsuwa's way after this.
One of the later chapters of Baki the Grappler (Baki: Son of Ogre) the protagonist Hanma Baki is engaging his father in a battle of minds where both try to catch the other in their illusions. This goes as far as the two of them having an imaginary dinner at an imaginary table. Baki eventually wins this battle when he flips the table and gets his father to try to catch it thus proving that the latter was deceived by the vividness of Baki’s illusion.
Samurai Champloo episode, 'War of the Worlds' has one rough-tough teacher insult and aggravate Mugen into learning how to read. In a semi-quiz, Mugen gets a character wrong, and gets slapped and yelled at - as a result of which, Mugen flips the table sitting between him and his teacher, shouting, "This sucks!!"
In the world of Go, a common act of violently sore losers is referred to as the "nuclear tesuji", AKA "Throwing The Board Against The Wall, Denting The Wall And Board Prior To Uppercutting Your Opponent". See the page image for Rage Quit for an example.
Is rather common in ANY board game, to the point where jokes are made that it's often the only way to end a game.
Brian from Knights of the Dinner Table flips the table he and his friends play Hackmaster at when the other players drive him into an Unstoppable Rage somehow. Bob sometimes attempts it but usually can't lift the table.
Prowl in IDW's Transformers comics has a tendency to do this, according to Rewind and Chromedome, to the point of it being a meme both in the fandom and in-universe.
In The List a terminally-ill Harry was upset by Hermione's badgering and flipped over his table in the library.
In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the newly married Milly flips the table her uncivilized brothers-in-law are sitting at after witnessing their disgusting table manners.
You will see this once in a while in American sports movies; usually the coach of a losing team flipping a table or bench loaded with Gatorade in order to shock his team into being serious.
In the Thor film, Odin berates Thor for his belligerence and withholds his Kingship. Thor does not take this well. The scene them immediately cuts to him flipping over an entire banquet table in frustration.
Happens in Take Shelterduring a fight between the hero and his fellow colleague.
Live Action TV
Battlestar Galactica: Colonel Tigh is playing a game of cards with some of Galactica's pilots. He and Starbuck obviously don't get along, due to her being a Military Maverick and Tigh being a bitter obnoxious drunk. Eventually, the two antagonize each other to the point where Tigh finally loses it and tosses the table, leading to Starbuck reflexively punching him in the face. She gets locked up for her troubles, but Tigh agrees with Commander Adama not to press charges because he was too drunk to remember who started the fight.
Parodied in a Kids in the Hall sketch where a disgruntled employee barges into his boss' office to berate him. He tries to flip the desk over but it proves too heavy. He makes several attempts but fails each time, eventually settling on throwing a pen across the room.
An episode of Monk involved a play where the male lead was supposed to flip over a table in anger. After he becomes the Victim of the Week, Adrian — after having memorized the entire part just from watching the rehearsal and turning out to be a good actor in his own right — ends up taking over his role. When it comes around to the table flipping scene, he can't bring himself to do that; instead he removes everything that's on it before carefully turning it on its side.
Once Upon a Time: Emma is on a date with the person she needs to put in jail, and the guy flips the table on her.
On Bottom, a seemingly "innocent" game of Chess led to Eddie Hitler flipping the table onto Richie's feet.
Rizzoli & Isles: In "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", Korsak and Frost attempt to arrest a suspect at an underground gambling club. He flips the table as part of his attempt to escape.
The Colbert Report introduced Stephen Colbert's Super Coin Toss, a board game with an elaborate set-up (actually a Mouse Trap board with a few other things added on it) and rules. The first player — who would be the winner of the game — was determined by flipping the "Medallion of Fate". When Stephen lost the toss to young Brandon, he did this.
Last in Bloodline does this a ton in the Tomato Land side story volume.
The video for Duran Duran's Hungry Like The Wolf has the lead singer flip over a table in a restaurant. This is due mostly to sexual urges than anger, however.
Also done in the video for "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel, and quite appropriately, at the line "I can't take it anymore!"
In one live performance (one of the concerts he did in the USSR in 1987) he noticed that audience members who were enjoying themselves became uncomfortable when the lights fell on them. He lost his temper, and ended up flipping over his piano.
In the video for "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers, during the scene when frontman Brandon Flowers is playing checkers with Eric Roberts.
About 2:25 into the music video for Rihanna's song "Hard", she flips the table during a card game.
In the DVD performance of "Not In Our House" from !HERO: The Rock Opera, the lead character Hero turns over tables at the synagogue that Chief Rabbi Kai is in charge of.
Whenever there's a contract signing for a huge match in WWE, expect this to happen at some point as the tension between the two wrestlers boils over, and they either glare at each other with their faces inches apart, or just start brawling.
Made even more badass when you realize those tables were probably made of marble.
One of Kliff's opening poses in Guilty Gear involves angrily flipping a table.
Meta example: Nintendo producer Shigeru Miyamoto is known within the company for (metaphorically) "upending the table" on projects which he was unsatisfied with, like the father in Star Of The Giants. The phrase has since become a minor meme to the fanbase.
During the development of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Eiji Aonuma described Miyamoto as "upending the tea table" in the story development, leaving the plot rather... messy. He felt it was too complicated.
Referenced in Super Robot Wars. One of Masaaki's possible spoof-Calling Your Attacks for his Psybuster's basic Discutter is "Magic Blade: Ether Table Flip Attack! ...just kidding."
In Final Fantasy VII in the snowboarding minigame where you're weaving through igloos, one of them has a Moogle at a table. Crash into it and the Moogle will throw the table at you, imitating this trope.
One of Zangief's attacks in Super Gem Fighter, complete with him reading a newspaper before getting angry at the opponent and ripping it in half before flipping the table at them.
In the game One Piece: Unlimited Adventure, Franky flips a table as part of his animation when creating a new invention in his workshop.
Cho Chabudai Gaeshi is a Japanese arcade game from Taito that allow players to do this, with the goal being to cause as much property damage as possible from all the flying debris. No, we are not kidding.
In the Mass Effect 2 DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker, the Shadow Broker is revealed to be a 4 meter tall space gorilla. When Liara responds to his Breaking Speech by pushing his Berserk Button, he hurls his entire desk at the party before charging them. While Shepard and Liara dodge, whoever's filling the third party slot isn't so lucky and is knocked out for the fight.
High level cooks in World of Warcraft can aquire a "flippable table" as a reward item in Mists of Pandaria. The icon for this item looks like an extremely enraged face.
If you're willing to accept the Earth, or at least Sumaru City as the "table" in question, then Nyarlathotep's actions just after the final boss fight in Persona 2: Innocent Sin are basically one huge table-flip, but one he had carefully set up just in case he was beat. Yes, Nyarlathotep is such a Chessmaster that table-flipping is one of his stratagems - he doesn't care about playing, he cares about ruining the game for everyone else.
Table-flipping has been taken to new heights with the KaguyaTable Flipping RPG. It was originally a simple flash animation on Walfas, but was turned into a game. Kaguya's Five Impossible Tasks just became six, with the goal of Rebirth requiring, by most estimates, several thousand times the age of the universe to accomplish. Strangely, through several patches and even Dividing By Zero, obsessive players have already achieved this◊.
The latest version includes special moves called "Enlightenment" and "Master Slice", both of which make achieving Rebirth not only possible to do legitimately, but much quicker and easier.
The Adventure Time episode What Have You Done? has Princess Bubblegum flipping a table in both the title card and in the episode itself.
On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy attempts to do this when subjecting Beezy to some Perp Sweating. He ends up being too weak to do so, and asks Beezy to help him. He does.
Averted in Metalocalypse. The band's manager has their tables bolted down since Nathan does this so often.
Muscle Man on Regular Show flips the table out of anger of being splashed with a soda twice.
On one episode of Family Guy, Cleveland was living with the Griffins, and in the midst of a messy divorce. While watching tv with Stewie, he finally snaps and says "I hateBewitched!" when it comes on, and flips the couch over. While Stewie was sitting on it. Stewie responds "Yeah, that was totally reasonable reaction..."
Another possible instance is in the episode, where Stewie and Brian are playing Chess in the back of Quagmire's RV, while he is having sex while driving. When their chess pieces get knocked off due to the reckless driving, they argue when they try to put the pieces back, causing Stewie to snap and knock the pieces off the table again.
Jackson Pollock did this to the dinner table in November of 1950. He was angry at Hans Namuth for ordering him around so much for the colour film they had been shooting and just finished, and also had his first drink of alcohol after two years of being sober (followed by several more). Drunk and angry, he eventually flipped the table much to the shock of the dinner guests. Bonus points for Thanksgiving dinner being on said table at the time he flipped it.
Reportedly happened in real life when Ed O'Brien of Radiohead lost his patience at a restaurant. "He thought he was Jesus in the temple of the moneychangers," fellow bandmember Colin Greenwood commented.
Football player Jim Everett did this to sports reporter Jim Rome when Rome called Everett "Chris" right after Everett asked him to stop doing so.note For those not familiar with late '80s/early '90s sports, Chris Evert was a female tennis player at the time, so the nickname was intended as an insult to Everett's masculinity, as though Rome was one to talk.