A Smash Cut cut occurs without warning in the middle of a scene and transitions abruptly to another, and is often intended to startle the audience. Very often, it goes something like this:
Can also be combined with Gilligan Cut
, or Ironic Echo
, though a Smash Cut is defined by the lack of warning that it is coming and the fact that it usually cuts someone off mid-sentence. This is also a popular technique for going to credits, or for when someone wakes up from a Nightmare, so it often overlaps with Catapult Nightmare
. Compare Ironic Echo Cut
Not to be confused with the Canadian movie Smash Cut
Anime and Manga
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, chapter 83, we follow Yue briefly after she sees Negi and Nodoka off on their date. In the last two panels of the page she bumps into someone and apologises. The scene then abruptly cuts back to Negi and Nodoka, and it's not until four chapters later that we return to this scene and find out that she bumped into Negi himself.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion uses this quite a bit, usually skipping from an Eva having its ass whooped to a replay of the damage.
- A Delicate Balance ends one of its chapters with Twilight and Applejack joking about Pinkie watching them through a telescope. The next chapter opens with none other than Pinkie watching them through a telescope.
- An Angel episode had Wesley happily declare "We're winning!" during a battle. Smash Cut to the aftermath of the battle and the group tied up.
- In fact, something like this happens in almost every episode of Angel.
- Joss Whedon does another one in Serenity, when we cut from River being told to "lie down" to her having a needle shoved into her forehead in a lab. Joss admits on the commentary track that much of the camera work in the first few minutes, which includes several Smash Cuts and Hard Cuts, are designed to show River's fractured mental state, and by contrast when we first see the titular ship it's done in a Oner to establish a sense of safety.
- Yeah, Joss Whedon loves these. A particularly heart wrenching example is in the Buffy episode "Selfless" which goes from Anya singing an upbeat song about how much she loves Xander to her with a sword through her chest after Buffy impaled her, she gets better quickly but the audience doesn't for a while
- Several more appear in "The Body", cutting from imagined scenes of Joyce's recovery to her dead body.
- A more light-hearted version from the Musical Episode is cutting from the midst of Tara's highly-suggestive love song ("You make me—" (complete)) to Xander hinting Tara and Willow have slipped away for some nookie.
- The LOST episode "The Constant" uses Smash Cuts to show Desmond's jarring transitions between 1996 and 2004.
- A Stargate Universe episode had body-swapping communications devices "blink" as a result of the spaceship carrying them going in and out of FTL. This resulted in people who were temporarily borrowing other people's bodies thousands of light-years away, getting jerked back into their own for a few seconds with no warning at all.
Destiny drops out of FTL.
Eli (in the control room): All right, this is ridiculous. Jumping back and forth without any warning is completely—
Eli (back in his hotel on Earth): —unacceptable! [looks around] Seriously?
- Lampshaded in 30 Rock episode "Smash cut to".
- Happens at the end of the Doctor Who serial Revelation of the Daleks when the Doctor is telling Peri where he'll take her for some peace and tranquility. "I'll take you to-" (closing credits).
- Lampshaded rather sinisterly in the later episode Forest of the Dead where Donna apparently lives in a computer-generated television reality, where these cuts actually happen with nothing in between.
Dr Moon (walking with Donna in her front garden): Shall we go down to the river?
They're suddenly by the river.
Donna: You said 'river' and suddenly we're feeding ducks.
- In an episode of The George Lopez Show, Benny vows do something horrible to George for rigging a productivity contest. George thinks she's bluffing. Cut to George crying over his broken golf clubs.
"AY DIOS MIO!!!"
- Every episode of the BBC Two series Lab Rats ended in complete disaster, with some (or all!) of the characters exclaiming, "Oh, for fu—" and being abruptly cut off by the end credits.
- Another Joss Whedon example in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog - a particularly bleak one and heartwrenching one at the very end that will have you desperately waiting for another scene. There isn't one.
- An earlier one is played for laughs, when Dr. Horrible details (on his video blog) his plan for his next big attack. He signs off, and we immediately cut to his next blog, showing him battered and bruised, where he explains that his list of viewers evidently includes Captain Hammer and the Los Angelas Police Department, and that he needs to be more careful about what he says on his blog in the future.
- A scene from The Gmod Idiot Box uses one of these, when Coach suffers from a volatile form of gonorrhea.
[Nick sitting at a computer.]
[Coach blasts a hole through the wall with flames shooting from his groin, frying Nick into a charred husk.]
Nick: Coach...you do that again, and I will bury you alive.
[Coach is barely holding it in.]
[The entire building explodes, and we smash cut to Coach's hand sticking out of the ground, giving the middle finger.]
- Every episode of The Venture Bros. ends with a smash cut into the ending credits.
- In Futurama, we have the producer's favorite smash cut ever from the episode "Put Your Head on My Shoulders":
Bender: Wait. You mean people will pay good money for romance? Hmm. I think I have a scheme so deviously clever that I—
[Smash Cut to courtroom and judge banging his gavel]
Bender (with a gold tooth, fur coat, and two hooker bots): Stupid anti-pimping laws!
- Another example happens right at the end of "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", when Zoidberg starts to sing his song and it smash cuts to the credits. We then hear Zoidberg sigh.
- Most of "Time Keeps On Slipping" is held together entirely by Smash Cuts, with the twist that the characters don't remember what happened in between.
- From Bender's Big Score
Nudar: Tough times earth chumps. We're repossessing your TV. Seems you can't afford it now that you're unemployed!
Zoidberg: We're not unemplo-
(Cut to the crew being kicked out of the office).
- In "Proposition Infinity", Amy and Bender have a torrid and illegal romance. They spearhead a campaign to make robot/human relationsihps legal, and actually win. Amy says now they can openly have a serious, monogomous relationship.
Bender: That's righ— monogamous?
(Cut to Bender on a beach somewhere with two fembots.)
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The new Justice League, still a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits at this point, is about to go take on Darkseid. Martian Manhunter encourages everyone with a Rousing Speech...and we cut to everyone chained up in Darkseid's dungeon. While he got to finish his sentence, it was sudden and unexpected. And hilarious.
- From the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Ponyville Confidential": Rarity, at Sugarcube Corner, is dismissing the idea that Sweetie Belle is the gossip columnist "Gabby Gums".
Rarity: How could you say such a thing, Twilight?! [Sweetie Belle] is the most innocent, most lovely-
[cut to Rarity, back home, finding her diary in Sweetie Belle's saddlebag]
Rarity: MOST EVIL PONY IN EQUESTRIA!
- Happens a lot to Helga and Arnold on Hey Arnold!.
- Happens a few times on The Simpsons
- In "Homer Goes to College", the nuclear physics professor invites Homer to demonstrate how a particle accelerator works. Smash Cut to students fleeing and screaming from the building, which is now glowing green.
- Archer has a very idiosyncratic trick of cutting people off mid-sentence and having the dialogue in the new scene either responding to, echoing, or finishing off whatever the previous speaker had been saying.
- The Spongebob Squarepants episode "Krusty Krab Training Video" ends with the narrator saying, "Okay! The [Krabby Patty] secret formula i-"
- Occasionally accompanies the more hopeless plans on Avatar: The Last Airbender. For instance, in "The Cave of the Two Lovers", the Gaang decides they're not going to walk through the eponymous haunted cavern, they'll just fly instead. Smash Cut to a Fire Nation artillery battery using them for target practice, and they change their minds.