"Aww, this show ain't no good..."
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
, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
So I bought a .44 magnum, it was solid steel cast,
And in the blessed name of Elvis, well, I just let it blast.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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. 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.