Slippery Skid

Slide on the soap! (runs up soapy slope, slides back down)
Slide on the soap! (runs up soapy slope, slides back down)

Something slick like oil, or slippery like a jar of marbles, is poured out on to a floor, and a targeted character or vehicle slips, skids and falls/crashes, typically backwards.

Seen often in broad physical comedy, as well as vehicular action sequences. In chase scenes, it is guaranteed that when small spherical objects are scattered, the enemy in chase will step on them and immediately fall down, giving the hero ample time to escape.

A standard cause of The Pratfall. In more cartoonish variations it's accompanied by a common Stock Sound Effect.

Banana Peel is a subtrope of this. When done from a car against another car, it's usually an Oil Slick.


Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • Tintin cracks open an abacus in a chase scene from The Secret of the Unicorn. He also does the same thing with a barrel of oil in Tintin and the Lake of Sharks.
  • There's one early-ish issue of Daredevil, before things got Darker and Edgier, where the floor gets covered in pool balls. DD, having the Radar Sense, is able to run and jump around anyway. His opponent, not so much. Daredevil remarks in thought caption that it's easier to recover from defeat than humiliation.
  • Sexton sets up some marbles as a trap for his and Death/Didi's captor in Death: The High Cost of Living, hoping he'll slip and break his neck, but it ends up being sprung on the wrong person. (Nonlethally.)
  • Averted in Sin City despite a few chase scenes happening in the snow.

Fan Works
  • The eponymous hero of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality uses transfigurated bearing balls during battles.

  • During the climax of With Strings Attached, John instantly coats the rooftop of the warehouse with wet ice, causing everyone except him to lose their footing and go crashing down, thus rendering them incapable of casting spells at him while he races to the trap door in the roof.

  • 3 Ninjas did this with an oiled wooden floor and jelly beans.
  • In Animal House, they used marbles during the end parade.
  • The 2008 Get Smart movie did this with a fallen hanging bead curtain.
    Maxwell Smart: "I set that up."
  • Used with gumballs and basketballs in the 1998 Godzilla.
  • The Goonies. Data's "Slick Shoes" lead to some nut-crunching acrobatics by the Fratelli brothers.
  • In Home Alone, Kevin sprayed water on the outside steps that froze into ice, in addition to placing Micro Machines in front of the inside stairway.
    • In the sequel, he bought some cheap necklaces from a street vendor and spilled their beads onto the sidewalk, which the bandits promptly slipped on. Later, Marv stepped onto a slippery floor (courtesy of Kevin), struggled to keep his balance, managed to stop himself for just a moment, and then finally lost his balance...propelling him forward into a shelf loaded with paint cans in spite of the laws of physics. Finally, Kevin himself slipped on ice, getting himself caught.
  • Hook featured an elaborate marble/bead-shooting apparatus.
  • In Jumanji, it turns out the spilt detergent that almost sends Van Pelt into a skid is actually intended to allow a rocket-mounted canoe to slide across the floor.
  • In the film Pokemon Ranger And The Temple Of The Sea, the Pokémon Ranger of the title causes several Evil Minions to slip and fall by overturning a basket of potatoes (yes, potatoes!) under their feet.
  • In The Transporter, Frank pours motor oil onto the garage floor (and all over himself) to fight a gang of Mooks, using cleats improvised from bicycle pedals to keep his footing.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
    • Judge Doom pours "the dip" on the road, causing Benny the Cab to skid.
      • Although the dip is probably actually burning Benny's wheels off. At least, that's how I've always understood it.
      • Given that Benny screams and crashes and his tires look shredded, I'd say yes, yes it did.
    • Later, Judge Doom himself slips on some Toon "Eye Balls" and falls.
    • And in the opening cartoon, Roger slips on both a rolling pin and a bar of soap.
  • The first step of defeating the witch in the wraparound story of Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is having her slip on marbles.
  • In the film Robots, Rodney fights Fender in a tug of war to get his foot back, with the pair of them fighting while trying to keep their balance on a large number of ball bearings. Fender eventually loses his balance and falls over, losing his head quite literally in the process.
  • In the film Casper, Carrigan tries to kill Dibs, who covers the floor with what appears to be oil. Sure enough, Carrigan slips on the oil and goes skidding across the floor before crashing out the window.

  • Subverted in The Dresden Files. Harry spreads marbles out in front of his supernatural enemy. It steps on them and crushes them underfoot rather than going slipsliding away. His ally badly hurts her ankle, and is not amused.
    • "That's not a plan, Harry, that's a Looney Tune."

Live-Action TV
  • Happened to Wesley on Angel after the titular character attempts - and fails - to use his superstrength to crush coffee beans still in the bag. Results in a classic pratfall, something Wesley's actor is apparently quite fond of.
    • He'd have liked Graduation then, when Angel tries to sneak into where Buffy is searching for clues he slips and stumbles through the door. Buffy lampshades both his smooth moves and David Boreanaz's clumsiness as Angel feebly makes excuses.
  • Similarly subverted in the Doctor Who serial "Robot". The Doctor tosses ball bearings into the path of the titular robot, only for it to squash them flat.
  • Jackass has done it a few times.
  • Wipeout (2008) is a game show that pretty much entirely runs on this.
  • Variant in the first season of Sweet Valley High: Jessica removes a warning sign from a freshly waxed diner floor. Lila slips, twists her ankle inward, and plops on the ground. All for the sake of an appearance in what later turns out to be a local commercial.
  • Mr Mash and Mr Lucas staged one of these in Are You Being Served? in an attempt to get Mr Lucas off work for the day. Mash makes a big show of spilling cleaning fluid on the stairs, then loudly moans in Mr Lucas' direction that he hopes no one slips on it.

  • In the video of Pink's "Please Don't Leave Me", it's those darn marbles again. Upstairs. Twice.

Newspaper Comics
  • The Far Side had a "Ball Bearings, Bananas, Roller Skates & Floor Wax" factory, where numerous people were suffering pratfalls and slippage.

Tabletop RPG
  • Because of the nature of Tabletop RPGs, smart players can use anything from grease to marbles to set traps.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has first-level 'Grease' spell for this purpose from AD&D1 expansions on. Even magical item — Oil of Slipperiness.
    • Forgotten Realms of AD&D2 era added 'Grease Slick' that has greater area and duration, is cast silently, and instead of one surface sprays everything. Which sometimes is worth a spell of the same level as fireball.
  • The Champions supplement C.L.O.W.N. has this twice. Merry Andrew's Banana Gun squirts out banana oil that causes opponents to go slip sliding away, and Marbles can throw her marbles into a character's path and send them skidding away down the street.
  • Paranoia does this twice.
    • Adventure Vapors Don't Shoot Back. During Mission 1, while the PCs are fighting in the warehouse boxes will break open and spill ball bearings all over the floor, which will make slipping and falling very likely.
    • Adventure Send in the Clones. During the Sewerworld segment, the PCs enter an old TV studio with boxes of ping pong balls. The boxes break open, spilling the ping pong balls all over the floor and tremendously increasing the PCs' chance of slipping and falling.

Video Games
  • In Dead Rising you can do this to zombies. Yes, it is as funny as it sounds.
  • This is a method of escaping pursuers in Bully.
  • The vintage arcade game Spy Hunter has a car that can deploy oil slicks (see below).
  • A powerup in Backyard Hockey causes the other team to do this.
  • Street Fighter IV character Hakan uses a fighting style based entirely on covering himself with oil and being slippery.
  • In Machinarium, one of the early puzzles involves throwing some duck shots on the floor so one of the bad guys could slip.
  • In the backstory of Orcs Must Die, the old master War Mage meets his end by slipping on monster blood and suffering a fatal head injury as a result, leaving the defense of the realms to his apprentice.
  • Subverted by the Glider series, in which spilled jars of grease make it safe to land on surfaces, and while sliding in grease you can stop on a dime.
  • In Scooby Doo: Night of 100 Frights, there are areas which are covered in oil or are just generally slippery, which hinder Scooby's progress until he manages to find the professor's Plunger invention - after which walking on slippery surfaces becomes a cinch. Ruins going down the slide in the playground, mind you.
  • Sub Zero could ice a patch of the ground in some of the Mortal Kombat games. Typically the victim would slide forward.
  • One of the options in the first World Heroes 'Death Match' matches was two spots of oil or grease.
  • That One Level for some of the Soul Calibur campaign modes would have the floor act like this. Even worse when it's just you skidding all over, whereas the opponent is as solid as a rock.

Western Animation
  • Done hilariously in a Looney Tunes cartoon, where Sylvester greases up Elmer Fudd's stairs and thumb-tacks his walkway in an attempt to deter him from interrupting his caterwauling. The hilarious part is that after having going through all that, Elmer then runs through it again to go inside and get his shotgun, and then runs through it a third time. (Funny how he doesn't bother to put on shoes.)
    • Bugs uses grease in his coup de grace in Bully for Bugs.
    • Wile E. Coyote uses grease either to immobilize the Road Runner or to generate speed for himself - it never works out well.
    • And, of course, the many shorts that have Banana Peels.
  • Subverted in the first Superman: The Animated Series crossover with Batman: The Animated Series. The Joker throws a bunch of marbles on the floor to make good on his escape from the pair. Superman thinks he must be kidding, but it's quickly revealed that these are exploding marbles, and the good guys are forced to make a hasty escape.
    • Joker does it again in Justice League, this time to the Flash. First he slips on them, and then they blow up, sending him flying.
  • A subversion in The Simpsons: Homer attempt to injure himself in order to skip work, by slipping on some oil. Instead, he only manages to skid through the entire plant unharmed.
  • Another subversion as The Spectacular Spider-Man unleashes bowling balls onto the floor of a sporting goods store in an attempt to stop The Rhino. "This always works in the cartoons!" It doesn't work.
  • Used in The Movie of Batman Beyond to knock down the Didis.
  • Hanna-Barbera's The Adventures of Gulliver. In the episode where he takes on pirate captain Cutler, Gulliver uses a bar of soap on the ground to send a pirate careening on a long slide into a lifeboat.
  • Jonny Quest TOS episode "Monster in the Monastery". Jonny shoots arrows to break oil bags hanging from the ceiling, and the chief yeti slips in the oil, rolls down some stairs and falls to his death.
  • In the Classic Disney Short Mickey's Service Station, a hydraulic hoist pops out of its shaft with a car on it - Goofy grabs it, and while struggling to hold it up, gets caught on a puddle of spilled oil and goes into a slipping maladroit dance.

Vehicles that can deploy Oil Slick behind them to foil pursuit:


Live-Action TV
  • KITT from Knight Rider did this regularly. One spectacular use of it involved causing a pursuing Armoured Assault Vehicle to slide out of control and unable to stop, and at the last minute turbo boosting over a storage depot while the pursuer plowed into it, blowing the depot and itself up in the process.
  • The villains in the live-action Inspector Gadget film used this to make the protagonist's car slip, eventually making it flip over and tumble.

Tabletop Games
  • The vehicles in Steve Jackson Games' Car Wars have this as an optional extra. For a little extra, it can be ON FIRE.

Video Games
  • The G-6155 Interceptor from Spy Hunter.
  • You could install one in the second Grand Theft Auto game. Lay some slick down and watch the fun.

Alternative Title(s):

Marbles Of Doom