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Guinness Episode

An episode in a Sitcom where a character wants to break a record to be remembered for posterity. The bad part: the character tries with nearly every imaginable record, just to fail miserably. Once and over again.

Most of the time, the character will end up beating an obscure and rather unknown record, often "Highest Quantity of Failed Record Attempts in a Row". But a few times, the perseverance (or sometimes the luck) is prized with a real record—although it may be an Overly Narrow Superlative.

A common subtrope involves the character receiving a Consolation World Record: they didn't achieve the record they hoped for, but in the process they unintentionally set another one.

Named for the Guinness World Records, the most well-known compilation of world records in the English-speaking world. Attempts in TV shoes will often be for similar but fictitious Records books — probably because the rigorous rules set by the Guinness people get in the way of the comedy.


Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • The gag manga Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku had Kotetsu trying a world record after picking up a Kinness Book from the library after his mother forced him to read a book rather than a comic. He suffered from many failed attempts to break a record like being the fastest runner and most clothes pins on your face. After a number of chapters, he returns the book all beat up, including himself.

Fan Fiction
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has "The World's Greatest Calvin", which has the titular protagonist attempting to break several world records, culminating in an absolutely insane obstacle course that he sets up (providing some early insight into his later Gadgeteer Genius persona). Though he fails, he seems to realize that he needed to Be Yourself... since millions suffered and toiled to make him.

Literature
  • The trope is referenced by British comedy writer Tony Hawks (no, not the pro skateboarder, note the s) in his book Round Ireland With A Fridge, who was curious to see if anyone else had ever attempted to hitchhike the circumference of Ireland with the aforementioned household appliance before. (It Makes Sense in Context, sort of.) Turns out that "Most Unsuccessful Attempts To Get Into The Guinness Book Of Records" is not something you can get into the Guinness Book of Records for, sadly.

Live-Action TV
  • Happy Days did it twice.
    • In an early episode, Fonzie breaks the record for most garbage cans jumped over on a motorcycle, live on the TV show "You Wanted to See It" (a Serial Numbers Filed Off version of the show You Asked for It, which was running at the time Happy Days is set).
    • Later the Magilla Book of World Records guys were coming to town, so everyone wanted to break a record. Al tried to talk Fonzie into breaking his own record, but Fonzie refused. Fonzie's klutzy cousin was the only one to successfully break a record, catching 40 quarters flipped off his elbow.
  • There was a Guinness Book of Records Game Show called The Guinness Game, where the contestants bet as to whether the attempter would succeed in breaking the record or not.
  • iCarly had an episode dedicated to "breaking the longest webcast". They failed when they lost power due to the B-Plot, meaning it was not a continuous webcast. As consolation, they got to meet the World's Fattest Priest!
    • Plus, Spencer broke the record for the world's largest moving sculpture and let Carly and the gang add the last piece so they can share the credit.
  • Fred Sanford on Sanford and Son attempts to break the world record for staying awake the longest. He fails, but in the process of helping Fred stay awake, his friends break records, such as bouncing a basketball consecutively and singing a song the most number of times in a row.
  • The Red Green Show has an episode where various characters try to break world records after hearing that "the Guinness people" will be in town. At the end it turns out it's the Guinness beer company looking to set up a new factory, but seeing everyone doing their kooky world record attempts convinced them this wasn't a town that need any more alcohol consumption.
    • Who are the people who actually produce the Book of World Records, so, y'know ... same company.
  • The war between Pillowtown and Blanketsburg on Community is triggered by a Guinness attempt. Blanketsburg has the potential to set a record but has no more room to expand, so the Dean orders Pillowtown torn down to provide more space. Things escalate.
  • One episode of The Adventures of Pete & Pete had young Pete try to break the world record for playing freeze tag. Pete's friends started falling asleep after a few days. Pete himself ended up falling short of breaking the record by 1 second.
  • One The Brady Bunch episode had Bobby and Cindy set out to break the record for longest time on the teeter-totter after they got annoyed about being left out of things due to being young. Naturally, they fail, since the record is over 100 hours, but someone points out that they did set a record for their age group.
  • One The Dick Van Dyke Show episode had Rob flashing back to trying to break the record for staying awake the longest. He succeeded, but the problem was, he had an interview for his job with Alan Brady that same day, and had to go to it all exhausted. Hilarity Ensues, but he still got the job.
  • In the Israeli sitcom Zanzuri, soon-to-be-dead eponymous character tries to break the world record in most profanities uttered in a minute to be remembered by after his death. He fails when heís told something happy and canít bring himself to cuss anymore.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Arthur and friends made the world's largest pizza. In the same episode, Buster tried for longest time walking backward, Francine tried bouncing a soccer ball on her knee and Muffy tried not talking. [1]
  • On The Simpsons, Homer first tries to break the Duff record for jumping up and down making goofy noises. When told that the record is three years, he then tried to get everyone to make the world's largest human pyramid but they couldn't hold it for enough seconds. (Although they did hold it for long enough if you count the time it took to explain that they had to hold it for "at least three Mississippis".) They collapsed because Jimbo and Kearny realized their hands were touching and pulled away from each other. As a consolation, they learn that Springfield is the world's fattest city.
  • Hey Arnold! did this once in an episode titled "World Records," attempting record after record, going through everything from Longest Distance Walking Backwards to Longest Time Spent Not Bathing, culminating in a disastrous attempt to make the World's Largest Pizza Puff. It doesn't end well, but at least they got a Consolation World Record: most attempts at breaking a world record!
  • One episode of Garfield and Friends had Garfield try to take the world's longest nap. Just as he's about to make it, the current record-holder wakes him with lasagna so he can preserve his title.
  • An episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants had Sandy trying to break every World Record in the book with SpongeBob's help. But once they bring someone to offically recognize them, they find out that the book they have is out of date and that all the records have already been broken. However, it turns out that SpongeBob had already broken a record: Most Injuries Sustained While Helping a Friend.