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Off the Chart

Where a pie chart, line graph, or a bar graph has lines or bars shooting completely off the chart itself. Prevalent in cartoons and animation to imply either a severe rise in something or a severe drop in something (such as profits), that is severe enough that it goes through the ceiling or through the floor.

Refers specifically to when a chart runs out of space for data and the indicator for said data goes off the medium the chart is printed on, not the euphemism of the same name, although, depending on the context, it may count as well.

A sister trope of Readings Are Off the Scale.


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  • This Stride Gum commercial most readily comes to mind for an appropriate example of the trope. At the beginning, the president of Stride Gum uses a ruler to point at the rapidly descending red line on the chart, which continues off the chart and onto a piece of paper tacked onto said chart. The CEO then taps the paper with his ruler for added emphasis. It's not Take That, Us; Stride's flavor supposedly lasts so long that everyone bought one piece and never needed to buy another, sending sales down the drain.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, the sales quota on a bar graph for a specific branch of a travel agency has surpassed all others, going off the chart, onto the wall, and then onto the ceiling.
  • The eponymous mecha from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has, just like its smaller forms, a Spiral Power gauge installed. Now, at the start of the series this went from blank to filled with a spiral of blue light, depending on how much Spiral Power the user was generating at the time. Later, this wasn't enough, so the blue spiral was overlaid with a green one once it had been filled. During the final battle, the mecha eats a Big Bang and converts it to Spiral Power - the gauge goes from blank, through blue, through green, then a rainbow colour which quickly fills up the spiral, breaks the glass, and continues on into the empty air!

    Comic Books 
  • Often used in relation to the business of Uncle Scrooge. In both ways. Also often with paper tacked on, or even digging a hole in the floor for extreme cases.

  • An Inconvenient Truth: The CO2 chart goes off the screen and requires an adjacent screen to be turned on to display it.
  • Silent Movie features one of these showing Big Picture Studio's recent performance.

    Live Action TV 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes has a strip where Calvin claims his father's approval rating has done this. Calvin goes so far as to tape several sheets of paper and trail them along the floor just to hammer home the fact that he thinks that Dad's being a pretty horrible parent. Of course, he is only six, and his parents are doing what just about any good parent would do (try to get Calvin to eat healthier foods, go to bed at a reasonable hour, etc.)

  • Due to the state of the United States economy in 2008-2010, political cartoonists were drawing a lot of these for how high unemployment was, how big debts are, how many homes were being defaulted on the mortgage, and how much red ink was being sold because of all the prior conditions.
    • The same happened during the Great Depression.

    Video Games 
  • In Wii Sports, it is possible to get your ranking to over 2000 ("Pro" is 1000 rank, the champion is fought around 1500) at which point it will go off the charts. This is really only possible in boxing though (you can abuse the AI's inability to counter constant dodging+only counter attacking) and theoretically bowling, as the others are largely luck based. Keep it up, and you can go off the screen, indicating this isn't purposeful.
    • It is also possible to do this at Tennis, if you're good.
    • Averted in Wii Sports Resort, where your skill level has a Cap at 2500. Going off the charts is impossible.
  • In Ghost Busters The Video Game, Egon mentions in one level that the readings were off the charts, causing him to have to make new ones.
  • Repeatedly invoked during the SUPERHOT Kickstarter campaign, with the chart painted over the table, mouse, coffee cup and everything.


    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons Movie features a parody of An Inconvenient Truth where Lisa is pointing out the increase of pollution, and has to use a scissor lift to show just how bad the problem has become.
  • Robot Chicken once did a quick take of a boardroom with a chart like this, going off the bottom, and a guy with a pointer panicking: "What did I tell you? This is bad!!!"

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