A speedometer measures how fast you go, a radiometer measures the radiant flux of electromagnetic radiation, and the Thing-O-Meter measures everything else.
Commonly seen as the Laugh-O-Meter or Applause-O-Meter, which is based on the Clap-O-Meter
used in old game shows. There are thousands of variations, though— Suck-O-Meter, Creep-O-Meter, Love-O-Meter, Sarcasm-O-Meter, basically Whatever-You-Want-O-Meter.
They're usually not very reliable, as their indicators are prone to going off-scale
or even breaking
. They generally measure things on an Abstract Scale
Though popularized by game shows and the like, this trope is Older Than Radio
at the very least: William Hogarth's 1727 satirical engraving Masquerade Ticket
features "a pair of lecherometers, showing the company's inclinations as they approach 'em."
Not to be confused with any of the meters used in games (like Karma Meter
and Awesomeness Meter
). Compare Thing-O-Matic
, The Little Detecto
, Everything Sensor
and 20% More Awesome
- Nicorette's "Suck-O-Meter" ads (the page pic is one such ad).
- There was an interactive Japanese IKEA Christmas holiday commercial had had this thing called, a "Merry Meter".
- Ghostbusters (1984). When the team goes after the library ghost, Egon Spengler has a meter that reads PKE (Psycho Kinetic Energy) valences, which are apparently given off by ghosts. It's the one that has the "arms" go up when the PKE increases. When Venkmann goes into Dana's apartment, he brings an odd meter of some sort with a long pole that sucks in air, with a hand-pump. When Dana asks him about it, he only says that it's one of their "little toys". It's based on a real-life device called a "Bacharach Chemical Sniffer", once used to check for gas leaks and other things. One could, in theory, use it to find evidence of a haunting (vapor trails and such), but con-man Venkman is only trying to look like he knows what he's doing.
- The movie That Thing You Do! has an applause-o-meter that determines the winner of a band contest.
- In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the FLDSMDFR has a dangeometer to warn Flint if the food is going to over-mutate.
- In Men in Black, Agent J comments that the Edgar Bug gets a 9 on his "Weird-Shit-O-Meter." Seriously though, Agent K uses a small soil analyzer with a row of multicolored lights to determine what kind of alien he's dealing with. ("Green" apparently means "Bug.")
- Discworld's thaumometer, which measures a magical field in "thaums". Mind you, this is just a perfectly sensible piece of equipment for a wizard on a world run by magic.
- Moving Pictures has the resograph, a device designed by a wizard named Riktor the Tinkerer to measure changes in the fabric of reality. On the Discworld, said fabric is a lot more flexible thanks to the power of belief and the Theory of Narrative Causality. The name is a Brick Joke from an explanation that "thaums" are made of sub-particles called "resons", which is doggy-Latin for "thingies", so the resograph is literally a thing-o-meter. Riktor also invented the Mouse Counternote , the Rev Counternote and the Swamp Meternote .
- Queen for a Day's Applause Meter - Trope Maker if not Ur-Example.
- Dr. Fad, a children's game show from the late 1980s which focused on creativity and using scientific knowledge to solve problems, had a round where the contestants brought their inventions (pre-made before the show), and explained and demonstrated the items. The audience reaction was measured with an on-screen meter, with the winner decided by how far to the right the needle went.
- Canadian teen talk show Jonovision had an applause-o-meter to determine how much of the audience agreed with the topic du jour.
- On Frasier, Niles snarks that the psychic debunker they've invited over will be bringing a "ghost-oh-meter" (hard "o"). Daphne rejoins that it's called a "ghost-ah-meter" (soft "o").
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring Angel's Revenge, Tom Servo invents a Shame-O-Meter (pronounced "shuh-MAH-meh-ter") to measure the shame the actors in the film are feeling.
- Saved by the Bell had a Love-O-Meter at The Max.
- An Ascendometer is a self-contained, portable unit from the Stargate Verse used to analyze neural activity in the brain. This allows people to judge how close to ascension someone is.
- Originally found on P3X-584 in Stargate SG-1, the device was named as such by Cameron Mitchell, leaving Samantha Carter wishing she had thought of it first.
- Assumably the very same device was used in Stargate Atlantis when they were monitoring how near to ascension Dr. Rodney McKay was during the events of 'The Tao of Rodney'.
- The Summarize Proust Competition on Monty Python's Flying Circus uses a graph gauge to determine who can summarize Marcel Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu best. (No one can, so the prize goes to the girl with the biggest tits.)
- A variation has a man surrendering to police, claiming he's Atilla the Hun. He's asked to breathe into a Hunalzyer. Nothing happens, so he's proven to be Alexander the Great as he actually breathed into an Alexander the Greatalyzer.
- Top Gear's cock-o-meter measures how much of cock you are judging by the car you're driving. Hammond's BMW M3 tops it.
- Hot Seat was a short-lived ABC game show from 1976 (which premiered the same day Family Feud did) in which married couples are attached to lie detectors in answering questions about their married life.
- In the Youngblood Chronicles, a series of Fall Out Boy music videos, we see an Evil-Meter when Patrick's being brainwashed to hate music.
- One Far Side strip has a dog pointing a device at a mailman which measures the subject's level of fear.
- Bally's Dr. Dude has the Dude-O-Meter and the Jackpot-O-Meter.
- Fish Tales has "Stretch The Truth", a gauge which measures how big the current catch really is — from "5X Actual Size" to "Total Lie".
- Scared Stiff is named after the "Stiff-O-Meter", which has ten levels from "Hair Raising" and "Pulse Pounding" up to "Heart Stopping" and "Scared Stiff".
- During the "Farley Claymore" mode in The Shadow, a "Hit-O-Meter" appears; making key shots results in Farley getting smacked and the meter getting emptied.
- The Party Zone has the "Rock-It Meter", which indicates how much fuel the player has collected by how far he will go, from the "Wisconsin State Line", past "The Edge of Reality", and up to "The NEW Frontier!"
- During his reign as WWE Intercontinental Champion, Santino Marella would rate himself against the longest-reigning IC champ in history, The Honky Tonk Man, using the "Honk-A-Meter".
- A strange old PC game called "How to be a Complete Bastard" has several meters including a "food-o-meter" and a "wee-o-meter". No need to say what those stand for.
- How do Homestuck trolls know how effective their trolling is? Kanaya uses the "Flighty Broads and Their Snarky Horseshitometer" in an exchange with Rose. It ends up exploding (after Rose goes Off the Rails and blows up her gate), because it simply couldn't take that much horseshit.
- You can't forget the Prankster's Gambit.
- In Sluggy Freelance, Torg is sent to Guantanamo Bay as an enemy combatant after airport security thinks he's about to blow up a plane. He comes back claiming that he was set free when his Viking blood "sent their caucasiometer through the roof," so clearly he was too white to be a terrorist.
- Rational Wiki's Irony Meter. Irony Meters are often mentioned on Fundies Say the Darndest Things, usually in in a Readings Are Off the Scale Explosive Instrumentation way.
Before reading one of karl's entries, for safety's sake I removed the irony meter from my computer and substituted a pair of LEDs, for a simple binary readout. It didn't work. Somehow the LEDs transformed into high-powered lasers and were burning holes in things. Really thick things.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Special Edition, a clap-o-meter is used during the Clap Your Hands If You Believe segment.
- Cybershell's Let's Play of the Genesis Sonic games started each zone with a map and an overview of the enemies in the zone, each rated on how annoying it was using a "Cunt-o-meter".
- In Ask King Sombra, Sombra rates Equestria's three Princesses by their bitchiness using The Royal◊ Bitch-o-meter. Coffee Talk later shows the Crystal Ponies'◊ Royal Bitch-o-meter, in which Sombra ranks 5000%.
- The Nostalgia Critic once measured actors' performances on a Not-Giving-A-Fuck-O-Meter. Apparently topped by Jeremy Irons in Dungeons and Dragons.
- The Polish furry site Polfurs.org for many years featured a yiffometer, a color scale in the menu bar, with a needle position depending on the number of Yiff-related words found in text of given page of the site.
- Todd in the Shadows goes with a "Douche-O-Meter" for Justin Bieber's "Sorry". It breaks after one lyric. Then, later, it explodes.
- A laugh-o-meter features prominently in a the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Almost Got 'Im," where Joker rigs one up to an electric chair, straps Batman to it, and lets laughing gas leak into a studio audience.
- The Care Bears have, of course, the Caring Meter, which monitors how much caring is going around on Earth. In some incarnations, it's the Care-O-Meter and can take more specific readings, such as the amount of caring within a particular individual at the moment.
- Clone High's official voting system for student council president is an applause-o-meter. This meant that, in a heated competition between Abe Lincoln and JFK for the presidency, the winner was a random puppy who wandered on stage.
- On Futurama Professor Farnsworth once pulled out a "cool-o-meter" which apparently measured coolness in MegaFonzies.
- On another occasion, he pulled out a "Doom-o-meter" that measures just how doomed something is, in Milidooms. Of course, 1000 Milidooms = 1 Doom.
- When Bender, Amy and Leela are at club looking for someone for Leela, Bender mentions he has "Gaydar" and can tell if someone is gay, unless he gets interference from a gay weather balloon.
- The Simpsons:
- Professor Frink's Sarcasm Detector from "They Saved Lisa's Brain":
Do I detect a note of sarcasm? Frink:
[With sarcasm detector
] Are you kidding? This baby is off the charts, mm-hai
. Comic Book Guy:
A sarcasm detector, that's a really
useful invention. [Sarcasm detector explodes
- Frink has also brought his Frog-Exaggerator to Loch Ness, thinking he had brought his Monster-o-meter.
- Also from The Simpsons, in the "spinoff" The Lovematic Grandpa, wherein Grandpa Simpson dies and is reincarnated as a love testing machine at Moe's.
- Martin once built a device that accurately measured surprise as a school project. People learning what the device did registered "mild surprise". When they found out that Lisa had successfully turned Groundskeeper Willie into a gentleman, it went higher.
- When kids enter an audition for a singing contest not affiliated to American Idol and produced by people who claim to have never heard of American Idol, Krusty uses an applause-o-meter so he won't have to pay attention to the songs.
- A season 2 episode of Laff-a-Lympics employed an applause meter to gauge which of the three teams would win a specific event. Mildew Wolf would hold his microphone to the camera, presumably for the viewers at home to vote by applause. Naturally, the Really Rottens got bupkis.
- As mentioned in the description, the Clap-O-Meter, which was a feature on many game shows in the 60s and 70s. It was supplanted by more accurate forms of audience voting, like keypads.
- There's also the version without an actual meter - you "vote by your applause" and the judges decide who/what gets the loudest applause. Used often in Bikini contests.
- When discussing the development of the Wii, Miyamoto mentioned a theoretical "Wife-o-Meter" he used to measure his wife's increasing interest in video games over the years.
- Perhaps the most pervasive example ever would be the speedometer in your car.
- British election coverage always features the Swingometer, a needle that is turned from one major party to the other to indicate how many voters have switched their allegiance. Originally a cardboard prop (which was parodied in the election night sketch on Monty Python's Flying Circus as spinning crazily around), it has more recently taken the form of CGI.
- As referenced in several of the examples above, various devices are described as being able to "test" how much two people love each other. There are stand-alone machines, sometimes seen in bars or arcades, there are pocket-sized ones (somewhat popular in Japan), and naturally several dozen written "tests" (frequently in magazines like Cosmopolitan) which will supposedly rate how strong a relationship is.
- In 1979 inventor Carlisle Dixon patented a system for single people to identify potential friends/lovers in crowds. Each person programs a personal transceiver with musical, literary, and other preferences. When two such transceivers detect each other, the person carrying them is told how compatible they are.
- During the 1980s, the beginning of the drunk-driving-is-wrong awareness era (thanks to MADD and other organizations), bars would often install breath-alysers as a public service, so that patrons could know "when to say when." The practice was discontinued when people started using the machines to adjudicate who's-the-most-drunk contests.
- The id Tech 3-based games (Quake III: Arena, Call of Duty), as well as engines derived from id Tech 3 (Infinity Ward's IW Engine) feature a Lag-O-Meter, which measures network lag during online play.