Readings Blew Up the Scale
Excessive power levels may void warranty; scout carefully.
Someone has a meter that breaks down or explodes when the readings are too high for it to handle. No, it's not when it's measuring something that could reasonably destroy the scale, like measuring greater extreme heat than a thermometer can withstand. This is when the extreme amount of the readings themselves
cause the destruction.
How is that possible? Chalk it up to Rule of Cool
or Rule of Funny
of both Readings Are Off the Scale
and Explosive Instrumentation
Compare Awesomeness Is Volatile
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Anime & Manga
- Dragon Ball Z: If scouters aren't getting broken, they're blowing up while their owners are still wearing them. No wonder they got phased out of the series.
- After Bulma jury-rigged Raditz's scouter, Goku's Dangerous Forbidden Technique made it explode from across the planet.
- Vegeta's power level in the Namek arc broke at least two scouters — the first time, Zarbon's scouter blew up when he killed Cui, and Frieza's new scouter exploded when Vegeta proved he could actually go toe-to-toe with him (at least until Frieza transformed).
- A filler scene later on showed that SSJ Goku and final-form Frieza could blow up computers in different solar systems, implicitly killing the random superpowered mooks watching them.
- In the OVA where Vegeta's brother Tarble showed up, Goku demonstrated his scouter was obsolete by casually making it explode in this manner.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the title mech literally eating a Big Bang safely spoon-fed by Lordgenome causes the power gauge to shatter and then keep going outside the monitor. Keep in mind, this power gauge was designed in a universe where the Rule of Cool is scientifically acknowledged, to measure power levels that are known to routinely go off charts. The monitor blew up anyway.
- The Phobos computers in the Darkstalkers OVA do this when reading Donovan's power (at the same time that Donovan is unleashing a very powerful attack on the Phobos).
- In the Fantastic Four, Reed and Sue's son Franklin is a Mutant with Goo Goo Godlike potential. So Reed tasked a robot "playmate", H.E.R.B.I.E., to monitor for any manifestations of Franklin's powers. The first time Franklin really begins to start pouring out psionic energy, H.E.R.B.I.E. issues a few futile warnings before overloading and exploding.
- In Joe Bar Team, the main characters destroy numerous radar speed gun radars with their motorbikes using this very trope.
- One Calvin and Hobbes strip has an Imagine Spot where Calvin's dad lets him drive, and instead the car starts flying.
Dad: How fast are we going?
Calvin: Can't say. We broke the speedometer.
- In a Peanuts strip, Snoopy adds the number of pizzas he and Woodstock ate before midnight to the number of pizzas they ate after midnight. The result blew Snoopy's pocket calculator.
- In a Garfield strip:
Jon: From now on, I'm keeping track of the calories you take in!
Jon: My calculator blew up.
- The Goodies. In one episode the temperature gets so high that a thermometer ends up blowing its top and squirting fluid in someone's face.
- The above be a Shout-Out to a Twilight Zone episode about the world becoming unbearably hot.
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Upgrades", SG-1 is wearing armbands that increase their physical capabilities. The Tok'ra who discovered them has O'Neill squeeze a grip-strength-measuring thingy. After the armband reaches full power, O'Neill actually crushes the strength sensor.
- On Fundies Say the Darndest Things, a common response to an ironic statement made by one of the fundies whose statements have been quoted is that it has "destroyed my irony meter."
- This originated on the Usenet group alt.atheism, back in the 1990s: an irony meter was never mentioned except in the context of its (usually spectacular) failure:
"Every irony meter on the planet just exploded."
"My irony meter has melted a hole in the ground and is putting up plumes of radioactive fallout."
"I spent extra to get a heavy duty, auto-ranging industrial irony meter, with the 4th generation titanium filter and laser readout and everything, less than a year ago. Pfft, it's toast. First time I've had to use a fire extinguisher of a piece of smoking electronics."
"OK, Mark, you now owe me a new Myth 6 (model 66) Irony-O-Meter. It was not even a week old and it blew up like Krakatoa."
"And apparently this one has infinite irony, because my irony meter is still going. You are going to have to make your own guys, it isn't patented or anything, and i just made it out of spare parts: mostly my old ironymeter, a clock and one of those stroke counters some people use in golf."
- At one point, a meter designed to measure "nigh absurd amounts of irony" overloaded so much that it blew up straight through the roof, into space, and impacted Venus so hard it caused the planet to undergo nuclear fusion and turn into a miniature sun.
- In Finians Rainbow, the geologists claim to have discovered gold in Rainbow Valley in such enormous concentration that it broke the needle of their meter.
- The opening trailer of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 shows Lili watching a tournament fight with her hi-class viewing glasses. She then notices Jun Kazama near the exit and tries to zoom in on her, only for Lili's glasses to explode (minor one).
- Lampshaded by the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Frequently, their Canon Analysis Devices blow up when faced with particularly heinous breaches of canon. Savvy agents will hurl their CAD's in the opposite direction the moment something truly awful happens. Occasionally, they just don't turn their CAD's on at all, knowing that it would go boom — which doesn't always stop the explosion.
- Shane Killian's "Bogometer", used to measure the dishonesty of creationist claims, explodes at 3:18 of this video when Janet Folgar claims that "It was Bible-believing Christians who gave us science as we know it."
- The Spoony Experiment
- In his review of the Doctor Who 8th Doctor movie, Nash has a "Nerd Rage meter", and when it turned out the Doctor was half-human, it finally blew up. Then it blew up again later on.
- This trope became a minor Running Gag on The Nostalgia Critic. The Critic would count a certain feature in a movie; after a handful of examples, an explosion would sound and the Critic would cry out, "Oh, great, you blew up the (X) Meter!"
- In the Flander's Company episode "German Übber Fantasy", Gadgeteer Genius Caleb builds a "Millstone Detector" to help Hippolyte sort out supervillain candidates. That's when Maxence and Déborah, a pair of insufferable, fashion-obsessed gits, come by. The detector starts beeping very fast and explodes.
- An episode of My Little Pony Tales features a band talent show with a scale that measured how good the performance was. When the heroes performed their song, the scale hit the roof and blew up.
- On Phineas and Ferb, Phineas is trying to track a cute little alien, so he built a cute-meter. Later he mentioned that he filtered Isabella's cuteness and when he turned the safety off, the cute-meter blew up.
- The Simpsons
- Professor Frink invented a sarcasm detector, which of course explodes in the presence of overwhelming sarcasm.
- In another episode, Homer is being interrogated by Agent Scully while hooked up to a lie detector. He didn't understand.
- An episode of Mummy Nanny shows an old collector piece radar that can't handle flashing anyone above 203 km/h (that's 126 mph). But it's in town, so it's safe, right?
- An episode of Tom and Jerry has Jerry trying to convince Tom he's sick. He sticks an old-fashion ambient thermometer in his mouth and flicks a lighter on under it. It quickly goes to maximum, then the glass tube expands at the end and then blows all the pressure with a whistle.
- The Real Ghostbusters: Egon's PKE Meter often caught readings intense enough to make the thing overheat and/or explode.