"Aww, this show ain't no good..."
''So I bought a 44. magnum, it was solid steel cast,
And in the blessed name of Elvis, well, I just let it blast,
'Til my TV lay in pieces there at my feet,
And they busted me for disturbing the almighty peace."
When a character is finished watching TV and has a Hair-Trigger Temper
, is an Eccentric Millionaire
who replaces electronic devices like normal people replace rolls of toilet paper, or just can't get the remote control working
, he'll whip out a gun and shoot the television set
(or otherwise destroy it).
In the event that a news item or message on television is the cause of the sudden anger or frustration that makes someone do this, the trope may be a slight variant on Shoot the Messenger
. Other times, it may just be a sign that someone is so wealthy that they can afford to live in a way that involves wasting expensive home appliances in this manner.
In Video Games
, television screens and monitors occasionally appear as an interactive, breakable object which the player character can destroy, especially when a villain character appears on these to taunt the player.
The Trope Codifier
is Elvis Presley
, who was known for doing this at least once, possibly many
times. Several stories and explanations of Elvis doing this exist, some, perhaps, less true than others. He's rumored to have kept a basement full of spare TV's so he would always have a fresh set handy after destroying another one. One television set shot by Elvis is on public display at Graceland.◊
Compare Agitated Item Stomping
, Ring... Ring... CRUNCH
, Appliance Defenestration
, and Cutting the Electronic Leash
. Sometimes coincides with Computer Equals Monitor
or Screens Are Cameras
, in the event that the destroyed TV screen is part of a larger system. Not to be confused with Smash TV
- In Gorsky and Butch, a politician appears on a TV screen in a pub. Someone calls for it to be turned off, causing one of the patrons to throw a shoe at the TV, smashing the screen.
- The Powerpuff Girls story "Drama-O-Rama" (issue #48, DC run) has Sedusa throwing a boot at her TV and shattering the screen after she sees the girls' latest heroics.
- In Marks of Time, chapter 10 has a funny moment when the elves discover a television. Meredith finds the remote and presses the power button. The screen makes "frightening images and painfully loud sounds", then Gilorn shoots an arrow at the TV, destroying it.
- Dave Barry:
- In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, it's mentioned that Dudley did this when his favorite program was canceled. Of course, Uncle Vernon bought him another one, and the old one was left in Dudley's second room.
- Done with a flamethrower towards the end of Fahrenheit 451.
- An interesting case in a short story (involving time travel, but I can't recall the title): the characters are in a Flying Car when a Tarbleck, which takes Charm Person Up to Eleven, comes on the screen and orders them to stop. They try to wreck the screen, but unfortunately get the order anyway. Fortunately, they both try to carry out the order, crashing the car and disabling the screen.
- The 1979 made-for-television biopic about Elvis Presley titled The King, starring Kurt Russell as Elvis, at one point depicts Elvis shooting his TV after catching a news report which claims he isn't as popular as he once was.
- In Johnny Bago, Elvis Lives in a trailer park in the spot next to Johnny's; when Johnny goes over to complain about the noise from the TV, Elvis shoots it. Johnny decides not to say anything about the barking dog.
- Sammy Jaye did it in a sketch on Good News World. After installing a digital TV and discovering the programs are just as crap as regular television, he shoots the set (in a callback to an earlier joke about Elvis) to demonstrate the only power the average viewer has over television.
- Dragnet did one. The guy got angry at the people who lived at the roominghouse with him because they never watched the shows he wanted (they only had one TV). He shot the TV and then killed the manager before getting shot by someone else in self defense, running up to his loft room, and dying.
- In one episode of Babylon 5, Garibaldi has been bugged all day by an old station artificial intelligence. Eventually, his annoyance leads him to shoot out the speaker of the transport tube he's in, just to get some relief from that damn voice.
- On the M*A*S*H spin-off AfterMASH episode "All About Christmas Eve", Father Mulcahy gets a TV so that the long-term patients at the Missouri Veteran's Hospital can have it for Christmas and beyond. However, the airing of a soap opera with a story about a cheating wife infuriates a vet who fears that his wife is running around on him, and he summarily shoots the TV. Some vets are still staring through the hole in the set when all is done.
- Bruce Springsteen's song "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" is about a man who, after his investments in television, cable, satellite dishes, and home entertainment fail to bring him happiness, takes out his frustration by shooting the television set. The lyrics reference Elvis in this regard. (This visual is also present in the song's Music Video.)
- John Denver's "Blow Up Your TV (Spanish Pipe Dream)" recommends something like this as part of adopting a back-to-the-land lifestyle.
- In Pink Floyd's The Wall, Pink smashes his hotel room TV (with a guitar, in The Movie) at the beginning of "Another Brick in the Wall Part 3".
- In Queensryche's song "The Mission," on the album Operation: Mindcrime, Nikki is watching television, where a televangelist says, while Nikki loads a gun, "I'm asking for hands to be uplifted for just a moment. God the Holy Ghost is calling out to embrace you. I want you to reach deep into your hearts and your pocketbooks and take his hand." Nikki says "Bless me father for I have sinned" and shoots the tv.
- The level "Charlie Don't Surf" in the first installment of the Modern Warfare franchise has an achievement called "Your Show Sucks" for shooting or otherwise destroying all the televisions showing Al-Asad's speech.
- In Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Batman can throw batarangs at most TV monitors which the games' villains appear on, cracking the screens.
- There are a couple of times in Max Payne when muzak or something else annoying is playing through a speaker. If you shoot out the speaker, Max will reply, "Thank you."
- Jim Raynor does this in the opening cutscenes of StarCraft II, when Emperor Mengsk refers to him as "a clear and present threat" to the Dominion during a news conference interview. He later gets a note from the owner billing him for the damages, and at the Hyperion cantina, the TV has a note on it that says, "Do not shoot screen!"
- Late in Portal 2, the player can use the portal gun and the in-game momentum mechanics to hurl objects (or oneself) at monitors on which Wheatley appears. Other times, you find a handy turret and set it down to happily shoot away at the screens. Destroying them all earns the player an achievement/trophy.
- In Final Fantasy VII, an NPC in Sector 7 mentions that Barret did this using his gun-arm with an outdoor television monitor when President Shinra came on making an announcement. This did not win him any fans, since the only other functional television in the area is in AVALANCHE headquarters.
- In the "Dexter Industries" mission in Hitman: Absolution, part of the 'Sore Losers' level challenge demands the player destroy a video game console two guards are enjoying by shooting (or otherwise breaking) the television screen.
- In the final stage of Revolution X, the player is confronted by a wall of monitors on which Head Mistress Helga taunts you. The player must destroy all of them before facing her directly.
- The Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Millions" has the Joker shooting the Video Will in which his benefactor reveals most of the money is fake.
- The Garfield and Friends episode "Renewed Terror" has Jon watching The Buddy Bears on TV, when the magazine subscription guy he's been trying to avoid all day interrupts the show, saying the price of the magazine Jon signed up for (to try to get rid of the guy) has been lowered to 40 cents an issue. Jon is so terrified he throws his shoe at the TV, effectively breaking it.
- The Simpsons:
- One episode sees Bart and Lisa write a script for an "Itchy & Scratchy" cartoon that ends with Scratchy's head (now just a skull) going through a ceiling and into Elvis Presley's television set. Elvis promptly produces a revolver and shoots Scratchy's skull through the TV.
- The trope is inverted in the episode "The Cartridge Family", where Homer uses the new revolver he bought to turn the TV on. Hilariously, the image that comes on the screen when it does turn on is of a cowboy, having been shot, falling off a roof.
- In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Chief Wiggum, after he had been kicked out of The Be Sharps, becomes so upset while watching Johnny Carson that he begins wildly shooting the TV in a fit of rage. It then becomes apparent that Wiggum had accidentally left the remote control in his gun holster and got that and his gun confused for the other.
- In "Steel this Episode", Homer gets into movie piracy business until the FBI troops caught Homer and they shoot Homer's laptop, and they grab Homer from climbing over the fence and blurts "From now on, The only place you will see a movie without buying a ticket is jail!"
- In WALL•E, while in an elevator, EVE shoots a screen after it shows the "Caution: Rogue Robots" image.
- Lrr does this in Futurama when the season finale of "Single Female Lawyer" is knocked off the air and replaced with several cartoon shows.
- In the DuckTales episode "Time Is Money, Part 2", Scrooge McDuck's rival Glomgold watches a news report on how a diamond mine has been ruled as Scrooge's property. Angry, Glomgold asks one of the Beagle Boys for something to throw. He gets a vase and chucks it at the screen (Causing the newscaster to duck). He learns what he did only too late.
Glomgold: Aah! That vase cost a quarter-million!
Beagle: Not anymore!
- Valerie of Danny Phantom shoots her television with an ecto-gun during a news report on her "Arch-Enemy's" growing popularity.
Mr. Grey: Valerie, were you using your ecto-gun!?
- In one episode of SWAT Kats, after Feral blames the titular duo for letting a criminal escape, Chance angrily throws a can of milk at the television.
Jake: Ah, great. Morbulus is gone. So's our tv.