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Trash the Set
You have the Bridge...what’s left of it.
Star Trek: Voyager, "Year of Hell"

Want a big spectacular finale? Want to build a new set? Why not solve both your problems at the same time and trash the set?

Even animators are tempted to do this if the background is elaborate enough. May lead to a Rebuilt Set.

Not to be confused with Die, Chair! Die! or Tantrum Throwing. Related to Proscenium Reveal and On a Soundstage All Along (please make sure your examples relating to breaking the fourth wall in this way are on those tropepages).

As this is an Ending Trope, beware of spoilers.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess's 'Lord of Terror' arc was put right at the end of the anime's first season, probably just so it could use this trope.
  • Cowboy Bebop ended with the Bebop sustaining heavy damage.
  • Lucky Star: Minoru's endless abuse from his partner led to him trashing the Show Within a Show's set.
  • GaoGaiGar's second half kicked off with the Bay Tower Base being utterly totaled, allowing them to move up to the Orbit Base. The finale of FINAL cheerfully deals outrageous property damage damage to copies of various Earth landmarks, as well as sacrificing the three Cool Ships to the Goldion Crusher.
  • Ranma ½ ended with the characters trying to prevent the destruction (via draining) of Jusenkyo. They failed. Then they destroyed it worse by flooding it (i.e., mixing up all the curses.)
  • Digimon Adventure pulls this off in the finale of season 01. With the entire Digital World taking the role of the "set."
  • One Piece The Merry Go, which had been the Straw Hats ship for a good chuck of the series is rendered unfit to sail when they reach Water 7. After sitting out most of the arc, it comes back into play one more time to save it's beloved crew before the damaged keel splits it in half. Forcing Luffy and the crew to give it a Viking Funeral in one of the series saddest moments.
  • Tenchi's old house in Tenchi Muyo! is destroyed at the end of the seventh OVA episode. The OVA series gets a brand new setting while it's spinoffs, Tenchi Universe and Tenchi in Tokyo, end up reusing it.
  • Of all of the major Gundam battleships, only White Base, Mother Vanguard, Reinforce Jr. and the Ptolemious are actively destroyed
  • After Yoshimori spends most of Kekkaishi protecting his high school/the Karasumori site his mother arrives to move Lord Karasumori to another location, resulting in the school collapsing.
  • Kill la Kill: Honnouji Academy is routinely smashed whenever major characters do battle there, but never more so than Episode 12.
    • The same happens to Osaka in Episode 14, carried even further in Episode 15, when Satsuki and Ryuko fight it out.
  • Dragon Ball saw the entire World Tournament arena destroyed by the end of the Piccolo Jr. arc. The Buu arc saw Kami's lookout get demolished during Gotenks and Super Buu's fight, but that was quickly restored along with the rest of the Earth not long after.
  • In Naruto's Pain Arc, just before the hero arrives to fight Pain, Pain uses his gravity powers to flatten the Hidden Leaf Village and turn it into a crater.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman had a storyline called "The Battle For Metropolis" which concluded with Action Comics #700, kicking off "The Fall of Metropolis" by leveling the entire city by missiles. It stayed destroyed for a few months until after Zero Hour
  • Batman kicked off the massive Batman: No Man's Land storyline by leveling Gotham City by an earthquake. Nothing was spared, not even Wayne Manor and the Batcave.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog had a storyline that had Eggman defeat Sonic, capture most of his pals and, to rub it in, turned Knothole and the Great Forest into a crater.
  • Justice League of America has the Watchtower get destroyed regularly every time the team disbands.
  • Hal Jordan's home town, Coast City, was destroyed during the Death And Return Of Superman story arc. This in turn resulted in Hal getting possessed by Parallax and destroying the Green Lantern Corps. Both were eventually restored down the line.

    Film 
  • "You Give A little Love" at the end of Bugsy Malone is 100% the kids splurging the set. It was done in one take and at the very end of production.
  • In Star Trek: Generations, the Enterprise-D was destroyed for the benefit of a newer, more cinematic version, better fitted for Hollywood action and wide screen format. While the destroyed model was custom-built, the original bridge set did get blown up for real.
    • A more subtle example from the last episode of the series. The final scene is the crew playing poker, joined by Picard for the first time ever, which features an overhead shot accomplished by cutting the ceiling out of the set.
    • Most of Star Trek: The Motion Picture's bridge set was trashed in the second movie and then blown up in the third. A part of it that was relatively undamaged was repaired and repainted for a single scene in the fourth movie, before an all-new set was built for the fifth. Then that set got largely blown up in the sixth movie. However, expecting much else from the first series that comes to mind when people think of Explosive Instrumentation would be somewhat naive.
      • The original TMP bridge wasn't completely trashed, though, since they had to use much of it to represent the Reliant, Grissom, and Saratoga bridges in movies II-IV (with a smaller portion needed to represent the Yorktown in IV as well) before getting the additional wall struts for its lone, brief appearance as the Enterprise-A's bridge. TNG then went on to use parts of the set for the Enterprise-D's battle bridge, as well as various other Starfleet bridges, and even other locations that weren't bridges.
    • The corridor sets underwent several changes in their lifetime. Originally built for TMP, the curved corridors were rebuilt for TNG to remove the angled bulkheads, though the straight corridors remained intact; they were significantly rebuilt for Voyager immediately after Generations; and they were finally obliterated after Voyager wrapped to build the new NX-01 sets from scratch for Enterprise.
  • In Conan the Barbarian, Conan torches the temple that had housed Thulsa Doom's cult after killing Thulsa Doom. This was very much for real; they actually did burn down the set, though the flaming brazier that Arnold used didn't land in the throne room, but instead bounced off the balcony and into the rest of the set.
  • During the filming of Titanic, they built a ship in a large tank of water... and then sank it. There's a reason it was among the most expensive movies ever made.
  • In Batman Forever, the Riddler sneaks into the Wayne Manor, bombs the Batcave, and destroys most of Bruce's arsenal, then trashes the Batmobile. The following sequel introduces a remodeled Batcave and newer Batmobile.
  • Wayne Manor burns down in Batman Begins.
    • Though the mansion used for outside shots was not burnt, as it was an actual home of royalty.
  • Subverted in The Simpsons Movie. The Simpsons' house, as well as most of the town are destroyed, but they start to rebuild them at the end and everything's back to normal in the season premiere.
    • Except for the next season's premiere all the town scenes of Springfield in the opening show the townspeople rebuilding and the couch gag shows the family sitting in a not-yet-finished house.
  • In John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), the Norwegian camp scenes were actually the charred remains of the American site from the end of the film. Rather than go to the expense of building and burning down another camp, Carpenter re-used the destroyed American camp.
  • Gone with the Wind will likely never be topped for this trope. Nowadays, a burning Atlanta would be CGI, but Golden Age Hollywood torched sets for real.
    • Also notable in that one of the burning walls was the paper-mache wall from the original King Kong film.
  • The EPIC set trashing in the gas station scene in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
  • Hard Boiled's teahouse shootout is an opening example of Trash The Set — the teahouse in question was slated for demolition around the time the movie was made, and John Woo got permission to use the teahouse for the shootout in question.
    • The entire movie is a series of Trash The Sets. First the tea house, then the warehouse, then a goddamn hospital explodes.
  • The same thing with the farmhouse in Night of the Living Dead. The cast and crew were given permission to do whatever they wanted to the house since it was marked for demolition. After the film wrapped, the house was indeed torn down.
  • The White house in Carrie was also marked for demolition, and the shots of the house falling apart at the end are real. However, the exterior scene of the house being stoned was cut because the stones looked like raindrops on film.
  • Dead Snow does this to the cabin. The scene where it burns down was supposed to be in the film, but had to be cut due to being too bright and unclear. The charred remains of the building remain used however.
  • Happens in Alice Cooper's Good to See You Again Alice Cooper, when he gets sick of pretending to be Frank Sinatra. Must be seen to be believed.
  • Gangs of New York did this for the Draft Riot scene, which was a pity if you think about it, they don't often make such detailed and elaborate sets for movies these days.
  • The forest in which George Lucas filmed the Endor sequences for Return of the Jedi was doomed anyway, because the government wanted to build a new highway or a mall or something like that in its place. So the film crew used real explosives for the pyro-effects in the final battle which burned and shredded real wood.
  • The Ministry of Magic gets trashed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - led to a Rebuilt Set after the seventh book came out and more scenes at the Ministry were needed.
    • In the final film, Hogwarts itself takes major battle damage from Voldemort and the Death Eaters and parts of the castle (the set of which had been standing for a decade) are nothing more than a ruin at the end. The difficult part was that destroying the sets outright would only reveal that the "stone" walls are really plywood with a plaster skin. Therefore, the damage to Hogwarts had to be pre-designed by the art department, which they did using ruined masonry from World War II as reference.
  • The climax of the third Lethal Weapon takes place at an actual failed real estate development, which the producers had permission to basically demolish.
  • The climax of Buster Keaton's The General features an actual train attempting to cross an actual burning bridge and subsequently falling into an actual river. The resulting wreckage became a minor tourist attraction until World War II, when the train was salvaged for scrap metal.
  • The Power Rangers movie makes good use of the command center set, destroying it "early" and running the same footage backwards to "fix" it for the final scenes.
  • Good Burger makes good use of Mondo Burger in the climax as Ed uses some sort of explosive chemical in the burgers, making them big & explosive destroying the joint.
  • Early in the John Frankenheimer film The Train, a French rail yard is attacked in an Allied air raid. The yard was a real SNCF (French State Railways) facility which was to be closed down, so the production was able to fill it with scrappable rolling stock and engines, bury dynamite all over the site, and blast buildings and all in one long unreplicable sequence.
  • Rock 'n' Roll High School was filmed at the defunct Mount Carmel High School, which had closed a few years before. This gave them the latitude to trash the school building and blow it up at the end.
  • The reason the 1960 movie The Last Voyage has such realistic effects of the cruise ship sinking is simple: the producers really did sink a ship.
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai: the directors spent months and hundreds of man-hours engineering and building the eponymous bridge. Needless to say, the final scene required perfect acting and camera work...
  • At the end of RoboCop 3, the OCP building in Detroit is blown up via a massive explosion, as a way to symbolize the end of the film trilogy (and the corporation's rule).
  • In Apocalypse Now, footage of the destruction of Kurtz's jungle outpost via pyrotechnics is shown at the end of the director's cut of the movie. Some have interpreted this as the aerial bombing Willard ordered in earlier.
  • In Iron Man 1, Tony's Malibu house suffered some damage from his suit testing. In Iron Man 2, it's destructively remodeled during his fight with Rhodes, and subsequently repurposed into housing a prismatic accelerator. It's really not much of a house any more. Probably why he's living in New York in The Avengers. The first trailer for Iron Man 3 shows Tony's "trophy room" of old suits exploding, and his entire Big Fancy House getting blasted into the sea. Turns out he has more armors stored in a safe room which he uses in the finale... and he blows up all of them too.
  • The climax of Home Alone 2 involves Kevin and burglars Harry and Marv completely wrecking Kevin's uncle's house.

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • Bonanza: The season 12 opener "The Night Virginia City Died," the first episode to be filmed on the set of Warner Bros. after spending the previous decade at Paramount. To remove some of the Virginia City buildings used on the old set, a script was devised to bring the "old" Virginia City down in flames ... literally, by having an unidentified arsonist fires to various buildings around town. Various people are suspected, but it isn't until episode's end that the real culprit — the fiancé of Clem, the town's deputy — is identified, and it happens only after she dies in the last fire she set (she had been sexually abused as a child by her stepfather, who died in a fire she set years earlier). By the episode's end, when the townspeople are rebuilding, the new set is seen for the first time. (The outside scenes set in Virginia City heretofore are at night, when the arsonist goes to work.)
  • Alias in the Season 3 finale.
  • Without a Trace smashed some windows in its Season 4 finale.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street didn't exactly trash the set, but the bloody shootout in the police station for the sixth season finale was used to justify the new set used afterward.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this a lot:
    • In the Season 3 finale, Sunnydale High School was blown up. In late season 5, Tara's dorm room was destroyed. The Magic Box was ruined at the end of season 6. Buffy's house was trashed on a more regular basis, and quickly rebuilt for the next episode. During the last season there was extensive Lampshade Hanging as Buffy commented everything in the house had been replaced at least once and Xander (a trained carpenter, at least at that point) mentioned how often he had to replace the windows and finally declares that he is tired of the picture window being smashed in over and over again, and refuses to repair it again. It remains boarded up for several episodes. There's also a dining-room chair in the battle-weary Summers household that's conspicuously duct-taped through most of the end of the series. Finally, in the series finale, the entire town of Sunnydale fell into a crater.
    • Also, Spike's factory is set aflame thanks to Angelus' recklessness. However, Spike did revisit the charred ruins.
    • The Bronze seems to have an unlimited refurbishment and furniture-replacement budget and, throughout all seven seasons of Buffy, seems to have self-repairing capabilities (like the school) since major damage is completely fixed by the next episode. Exceptions are when Olaf the Troll trashed it in "Triangle", which was used as an excuse to introduce a new Bronze set a few eps later, and when Xander rebuilt the window jamb after a Sex Bot tossed Spike through the window.
  • Angel got his office and home bombed in the first season finale, allowing them to find a more expansive location for later seasons. In the final season, the LA Branch of Wolfram & Hart (trashed in season 4 but quickly rebuilt) is completely destroyed by the Senior Partners.
    • Also, Lorne's place got trashed with some regularity, something that he bemoaned once during a reconstruction.
  • War of the Worlds blew up their cottage headquarters in the Season 2 opener.
  • The eponymous ship in Andromeda was trashed by the Magog, resulting in the bridge being rebuilt much more cool-looking.
    • Albeit much less sensical. There's no pilot chair anymore. Whoever's flying the ship has to stand the whole time.
      • Well at least it was more internally sensical since there were no other chairs or seats of any kind on the bridge even before the make-over.
  • In a rare Game Show example, several panelists progressively destroyed the set of ABC 70's flop Rhyme And Reason at the end of the Grand Finale
  • In a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, the exterior set for M*A*S*H — which had stood since the making of the original movie — was destroyed by a wildfire during the filming of the show's Grand Finale. Rather than spend the money to rebuild the 4077th compound, the producers instead wrote its destruction into the script.
  • In the Docu Soap arena, we have American Chopper, the cast of which rather enjoys trashing their old places and vehicles. Since it's also their place of business, it's not exactly a "set", but...
  • Subverted by The Young Ones, which trashed various portions of the set in every episode - the damage would always disappear by the beginning of the next episode. The main reason that the show featured a guest act or band every episode was so it would qualify for a "Variety Show" budget, not a "Sitcom" budget. This higher budget was needed as the sets were constantly being demolished by the cast. The character Vyvyan played a game called "Murder In The Dark" in one episode, the rules of which were Trash The Set with an axe and with the lights off.
  • Early in the second season of 24, the headquarters of CTU is bombed, destroying much of the facility and killing people. Rather than relocate to a new set, however, the team merely work around the debris and gradually bring the facility back up to speed, and in later seasons the office is just the same as it always was.
  • Done in the Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide Grand Finale — Gordy gets fired, and resolves to catch the weasel once and for all, completely and totally demolishing the set with a large bulldozer and several other pieces of construction equiptment, but he succeeds(It must be really tempting at the end of a school-related series—the producers and stars get to act out their adolescent fantasies of tearing apart the school....)
  • The third season finale of CSI: NY involved a bunch of Irish criminals attacking the lab to recover a small fortune in seized cocaine. The place got shot up, soaked by sprinklers and then finally blown up by a pipe bomb.
    • They shouldn't have tried to mess with Gary Sinise. That dude's awesome when he's given the chance to shine.
  • In one season finale of Little House on the Prairie an entire "Minnesota" village set was burned to the ground.
    • In the 2 hour series finale movie, the townspeople learn that Walnut Grove has been bought by a greedy developer who wants to make money from their businesses. They blow the town up in defiance and leave. In real life, Michael Landon did not want other TV shows using the sets, so the finale was written specifically to employ this trope.
  • The set completely falls apart during the closing credits of the final episode of Police Squad!!.
  • Power Rangers
    • At the end of MMPR season three, just as the Rangers have fixed their "turned into kids" situation, Goldar and Rito show up in the Command Centre with a bomb. The Rangers teleport out just in time to watch their base explode with Zordon and Alpha still inside.
    • In an even bigger cliffhanger, Turbo's finale saw the Power Chamber invaded and completely demolished, with comic-relief villain Elgar personally smashing the tube that once held Zordon / Dimitria.
    • Once the different series stopped leading directly into each other, "villain breaks into / takes over the base and wrecks it" became a staple of the finale. Aquabase? Infiltrated and flooded. Clock Tower? Destroyed. Ninja Ops? Smashed to pieces by Lothor. Tommy's computer-cave? Blown up by Zeltrax. The Jungle Fury pizza place got out unscathed, but the villain base got demolished in a drag-out brawl.
    • This also happens in just about every Sentai series.
  • Joey's apartment and Foosball table were smashed up in the last episode of Friends.
  • The fifth-season finale of The X-Files ended with Mulder and Scully's office burning down, as a farewell to the sets. (The following seasons were produced in LA rather than Vancouver.)
  • The Bill used damage caused by a car bomb to justify one remodelling of the Sun Hill set, and damage from an arson attack to justify a second.
  • Home Improvement tries it with the Tool Time set, although firefighters were, regrettably, right on-hand.
    • For good reason. Tim Taylor Technology, anyone?
    • Subverted in-universe in the series finale. The new management tells Tim to intentionally light the set on fire as a ratings stunt. Tim acts like he's going along with it...until he reveals the management's plan to the audience and brings out the tool-themed band who sing about burning down the set while Al and Tim brandish lighters (but don't burn anything).
  • In 1981 the British Soap Opera Crossroads decided to refurbish its sets at about the same time that actress Noele Gordon was axed, and so her character Meg Richardson was written out in a fire, videotaped by burning the original sets in an empty studio backlot. (It later turned out that Meg had not died in the fire after all. Just before it broke out she had left to take a sea cruise, without bothering to tell anybody...)
  • The big Season 3 finale of Strangers with Candy, combined with a bit of Biting-the-Hand Humor as the teachers riot and burn down Flatpoint High to prevent it from being converted into a strip mall, symbolic of Strangers with Candy being cancelled for Strip Mall.
  • The series finale of Babylon 5 ends with the station being decommissioned. Series creator J. Michael Straczynski showed up as a random tech to shut off the lights before he left.
    • Earlier, an episode had the station's casino trashed in a massive Bar Brawl, after which the set was rebuilt as the Voice of the Resistance headquarters.
  • Charmed featured the local house/HQ getting trashed all the time, but magic is commonly used to fix the important bits. Although, they did finally blow up the set in the second to last episode.
  • The final season of the new Battlestar Galactica started at this, with the eponymous spaceship suffering more and more damage.
    • In the finale the Final Five Cylons wreck the CIC in order to install Anders' to the ship.
    • Also the destruction of the Pegasus when the set was needed for the Cylon basestar interior.
  • The final episode of Games Master saw that year's set being calmly dismantled and put away by the production team around presenter Dominik Diamond's half-hour farewell. And clips.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Davies-era TARDIS console room was destroyed in-canon in the cliff-hanger between "The End of Time" and "The Eleventh Hour", when it's set on fire by the Tenth Doctor's regenerative energy and then further damaged by the subsequent TARDIS crash. The stunningly beautiful replacement interior makes it even more worthwhile. The 'Coral' console room set was not genuinely destroyed, however, but left assembled and intact so it could be used in a Call Back appearance in "The Doctor's Wife" as an archived version of the main console room. Then it was dismantled. (And rebuilt at The Doctor Who Experience in London. It's got various replica console rooms, but that one's the real thing.) And then they had to use it again for "The Day of the Doctor". But, at least they knew where to find it.
    • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, the final Eighth Doctor novel, Lance Parkin's The Gallifrey Chronicles, had the console room destroyed by a nuclear bomb that the Doctor materialised the TARDIS around to save other people, so that the spin-off readers had an explanation of why the set would look different in the new TV show.
    • Averted with the changes to the Eleventh Doctor's second console room set and then the Twelfth Doctor's console room, which aren't given any explanation within the story beyond the Doctor fancying a change.
  • Torchwood just blew its set to smithereens in the five-part "Children Of Earth" miniseries, with Jack in the middle, so that the studio could be used to accomodate the Eleventh Doctor's first console room.
  • Just about every episode of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.
  • The final episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles had this, with the Hunter-Killer Drone crashing through the window of ZeiraCorp.
    • Even before, season two opened with their house being set on fire. They even get a new car.
  • The 1st season finale of Leverage shows the team blowing up their home base to avoid having all their secrets falling into enemy hands.
  • Conan O'Brian did this on air to his Late Night set before taking on the reins of The Tonight Show.
  • When The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson was scheduled to get a new set, they did this on the last episode with the old set. Arguably the highlight was Bob Barker (yes, that Bob Barker, 82 years old at the time) breaking the top of Craig's desk with his bare left hand
  • On Happy Days, the original Arnold's restaurant burns down when Chachi leaves the grill on and they build an all new, different set.
  • The primary motivation of every episode of Human Wrecking Balls. Take a location and unleash a pair of professional breakers on it.
  • Sesame Street did it with Hooper's Store in one episode: Biff tries to put a single nail into the wall to hang up a picture, and somehow this causes a chain reaction that destroys the store's entire interior. The rest of the episode involved rebuilding it all, with a more modern décor.
    • At the end of that episode, when Biff offers to hang Mr. Hanford's framed first dollar, Mr. Hanford, to make things safe, says "I'll hang this one myself."
  • The season 3 finale of Chuck blows up the Buy More. It got rebuilt.
  • Happens every once in a while on Home and Away. The Diner has had this happen several times, having been destroyed after an earthquake several years ago and more recently being burned down by some angry racist yobbos.
  • Knight Rider had an interesting variation: they trashed the "prop"/cast Member KITT on average once a season so they could rebuild him with different trimmings.
  • Blake's 7 blew up the bridge set of the Liberator at the end of season 3 because it was falling apart anyway. They moved to a new ship in season 4.
    • ..which was trashed in turn at the end of season 4.
  • One early live episode of Hancock's Half Hour involved Hancock trying to sell a house without letting on that there was an airfield nearby. Over the course of the scene bits of the set were scheduled to fall apart from the vibrations of the as-yet unseen planes taking off. Unfortunately the set started falling down ahead of schedule, forcing Hancock to lean against a table for the whole of the scene to prevent it collapsing before it was supposed to.
  • Smallville destroyed two long-standing sets for its final season, the Talon coffee shop/upstairs apartment (by missile) and the Luthor Mansion (by fire).
    • It's also possible that the set decorators were frequently bored with the design of the Watchtower, since by season ten the insides were damaged almost every other week by one thing or another. Good thing they had two rich people on their team...
  • At the end of the first season of Space Cases, the Command Post set was trashed to portray the severely damaged Command Post of the Christa's sister ship. Which caused some minor continuity issues when the second season began immediately after the end of finale in the Command Post...
  • In February 2009, an open oxygen tank plus a spark equaled a burning General Hospital. This paved way for a brand new hospital set, which is the only thing most fans care to remember from February 2009...
  • At the end of the first season of Nikita, Nikita's loft is attacked by a Division strike team, and is subsequently blown up.
    • A few episodes into Season 2, Birkhoff's house, which had been serving as the protagonists' new base, is attacked by a strike team and blown up (noticing a pattern here?)
    • Happens again with their next base near the end of the season.
    • Season 3's story arc involves shutting Division down for good, and the final episode has Nikita blow up Division HQ.
  • Community has done a Paintball Episode both seasons. May act as a gambit since it forces the network executives to decide to renew or cancel them before the damage to the set becomes irreversible.
    • It's also lampshaded twice-over the second time it happens: first, them trashing the campus is actually the villain's plan to force the school to shut down since they won't have the money to repair/rebuild. Later, after they find a way to get the money to save the school, Abed is talking to one of the janitorial staff, giving a play by play of the whole adventure. The janitor is not amused, and sarcastically suggests that next time they just spray paint everywhere with a hose.
    Abed: We pretty much already did that. Did you not see the library yet?
    Janitor: I'm working my way over.
  • On the last episode of Super Password, host Bert Convy had Betty White destroy the "Magic Toaster" prop for the Ca$hword round after she failed to guess the Ca$hword.
    • Bert himself accidentally broke a different Magic Toaster a few years before. After a Ca$hword had to be thrown out due to an illegal clue, he dropped it on the floor behind him before he realized it.
  • In the premiere of Season 7 of The Facts of Life, Edna's Edibles was destroyed in a fire. The second episode showed the store being rebuilt as "Over Our Heads", a Spencer's Gift-type novelty store.
  • In the season 3 finale of Warehouse 13, the eponymous Warehouse was vaporized by an artifact-powered high yield explosive device. The season 4 premiere has it restored via a time travel Reset Button.
  • The entire premise of both Finders Keepers and Estate of Panic - trash the rooms in a house to find hidden objects or money.
  • The third-season opener of Due South, "Bringing Down The House", involves going back to his apartment building, which he discovers has burnt down (off-screen). He tours the wreckage of the building before making his home at the Canadian Embassy in Chicago. This was done when production of the series changed hands from CBS to Alliance-Atlantis.
  • The third anniversary show of I've Got A Secret ended with Steve Allen and Skitch Henderson destroying the old set because a new set was being made.
    • What's more, the set wasn't ready next week, so they did the entire show with two desks made from orange crates and soapboxes.
  • In The Eric Andre Show, the host lays waste to his talk show's set in the opening of every episode. After he finishes, the set rebuilds itself in seconds.
  • In the second season finale of the new Hawaii Five-0, the HPD office is bombed.
  • In early episodes of the PBS Antiques Roadshow, we saw crew members taking down the set and packing it as the closing credits rolled.
  • A 1987 episode of The Hollywood Squares was done while the crew was taking down the set and packing it to do a week in Florida. Halfway through, all the stars had to get up and leave their squares so they could move them out, so they all played on a set of audience risers so they could finish the game. Check it out (starts around 3:00).
  • The lair of the "Evil Dude" in LazyTown is a no brainer, no thanks to a bounty hunter destroying his stuff and all.
    • This made the "Evil Dude" relocate to Rotten Town so he can be with his people & built a new lair under Rotten Town Hall looking like the old lair but with some changes. A list would be too long to put here.
  • 666 Park Avenue: A real life example - Hurricane Sandy has severely damaged the show's sets.
  • Casualty: Holby City Emergency Department has been destroyed several times.
    • The most recent of these was a fire, used to accommodate the show's move from Bristol to Cardiff. While the new set in Cardiff still retained the general shape and layout of the Bristol set, it is obviously quite different - both outside and in.
      • Changes to the exterior set in the past have gone mostly unexplained.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place:
    • Though the destruction did not happen onscreen, in the final season Alex's school was destroyed by an asteroid and her graduation ceremony happened in the wreckage.
    • In "The Wizards Return", the reunion special, Evil Alex burns the family couch◊.
  • Revenge: In the Season 2 finale, the Grayson Global offices are blown up by the Initiative as part of a False Flag Operation to get Conrad into the Governor's mansion.
  • The 2nd season finale of The Walking Dead has Hershel's farm burned down and overrun by walkers.
    • In the mid-season finale of season 4, the prison is pretty much destroyed thanks to the tank The Governor brings along with him.
  • Arrow: Laurel's workplace, CRNI, is destroyed in the first season finale by the earthquake leveling the Glades.
    • The season 2 finale has two examples: in the present, the Arrow lair is wrecked by Slade's Mirakuru soldiers, while in the flashbacks the Amazo (a standing set all season) is sunk.
  • One of Ernie Kovacs' series of specials ended this way — Ernie was under the impression that his company (which was pretty much him) would get the balance of the unused production budget when the series of specials were finished. When he found out this wasn't true, the last episode had an elaborate set, and every member of the cast was issued a small hatchet...
  • Two episodes of The Mentalist, "The Great Red Dragon" and "Red John," involve the CBI office's being dismantled. Even Jane's couch is taken away.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • For a given definition of "set", the RV that Walt and Jesse used as a mobile lab in the first two seasons is destroyed in a compactor halfway through Season 3 before Hank has a chance to get a search warrant for it.
    • The superlab introduced in Season 3 is burned down in the last episode of Season 4 after Gus' death for fear of the impending DEA investigation.
  • In Ultraman, the headquarters of the Science Patrol featured a wall-sized computer with lots of flashing lights making bell-like sounds. In the final episode of the 1966 series, one of Zetton's minions took over a human's body and, for no apparent reason, destroyed the computer by shooting a lightning ray gun at it. Lots of sparks and switch explosions. The Science Patrol building exterior took some hits as well, and even briefly caught fire, but in the end only suffered minor damage.
  • In the first season finale of Helix, The Scythe blows up Arctic Biosystems, leveling the entire facility. As a bonus, this kills off everyone outside of the core cast.
  • Hogan's Heroes managed to outsource this: since hiring an actual demolition crew was expensive and couldn't destroy the set themselves, they allowed for the Gorn filled Nazisploitation film Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS to be shot in their set under the condition that they utterly destroy it. Which they did, via a climax where the prison camp is blown to hell.
  • In the Supernatural season 2 finale, "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One", the Roadhouse set was completely destroyed after it was burnt to the ground.
    • In the second episode of Season 7, "Hello Cruel World", the Leviathans completely destroy Bobby's home, which had been a fixture of the show since the end of the first season.
  • Punky Brewster: The story arc "Changes" has Henry's photography studio destroyed by a fire. It leads to him collapsing from exhaustion and being hospitalized, which in turn leads to Punky being sent back to Fenster Hall.
  • The Dutch version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? known as "De Lama's" does this during its final recording. During the introduction, part of the backdrop partially came crashing down, and the rest of the destruction occurred during the final game after some scenery getting knocked over by accident made the whole thing escalate. One performer even grabbed a paint can from behind the set to write "See you next week!" on the wall. It was later mentioned in an interview that this specific recording was meant to be the second last episode to be broadcasted, the actual last episode having been recorded beforehand. The performers thought it would be funny to make it look like the studio was completely rebuilt just for one last episode.

    Music 
  • Many Music Videos end with the band trashing their instruments and/or the set. So do many concerts.
    • The end of the literal video version of The Beatles' "Penny Lane" lampshades this with the line "Trash the set and end the video."
    • Reportedly, the set-trashing of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" happened due to the (volunteer) cast getting a bit sick of filming, as opposed to being scripted.
  • The video for Billy Joel's "She's Right On Time" ends with Billy and his date watching as the festively-decorated apartment turns into carnage around them. (There may or may not be some Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex after the video ends.)
  • Overlaps with Film and Theater in the case of Pink Floyd's The Wall, in which Pink trashes the hotel room on the album. This is reproduced in the 1982 movie, when Bob Geldof trashes a hotel-room set, and in the 1990 Berlin Wall event, where Roger Waters breaks windows in a specially-built hotel room set in the upper-left-hand corner of the wall.
    • Not to mention the end of the show, where the gigantic Wall set itself is torn down!

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, this happened several times with talk show segments:
    • Piper's Pit, hosted by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper:
      • During one of the most famous segments of the show's run, one featuring Piper mocking Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka before smashing him in the head with a coconut, the set partition fell over as Piper began whipping Snuka.
      • In 1986, when Piper returned as a face and began dueling with former buddy "Adorable" Adrian Adonis, an overweight wrestler with an effeminate gimmick who had gotten his own talk segment, "The Flower Shop." On an installment of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Piper and Adonis began debating on their respective sets before Adonis began initiating a gang-style attack on Piper, destroying everything. A week later, in retaliation, Piper hobbled onto the set of The Flower Shop, bat in hand and began smashing the set apart before screaming bloody revenge.
    • The Brother Love Show, hosted by Bruce Prichard as the title character (a smarmy, red-faced "preacher" inspired by the televangelists of the 1980s). On Brother Love's last segment, the Ultimate Warrior tore apart the set (knocking apart the podium in which Love sat "The Book of Love," ripping apart the curtain surrounding the set and tearing the pages of "The Book of Love") before chasing Love to the ring to give him a brutal beating.
    • The Barber Shop, hosted by Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake, a popular wrestler who (with a barber gimmick) was still recuperating from a near-fatal parasailing accident a couple of years earlier. His last segment saw bully wrestler Sid Justice damage everything on the set — throwing the barber chair, smashing the plate-glass window (and this was just weeks after Shawn Michaels threw Marty Jannetty through it) and pushing over the set partitions.
  • This happens in WWE, when the TitanTron (OvalTron on Smackdown) gets destroyed to make way for a new model:
    • In early 1999, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin tore up the TitanTron (after The Big Show brought it down).
    • In 2001 Rhyno gored Chris Jericho through the OvalTron, resulting in the "big fist" set.
    • In 2008 Triple H destroyed the TitanTron with his sledge hammer, which made way for the current TitanTron HD stage, which is used on all shows from then on.
  • At the beginning of the last episode of WCW Worldwide (a Recap Series) they showed a sped up video of stagehands building the set. At the end of the episode, when they admitted it was the last show and there was no more WCW they showed it again but forward, revealing that (1) the version shown at the start of the show was broadcast in reverse and (2) they were actually tearing down the set.
  • At one point during the Ring of Honor vs Combat Zone Wrestling feud, CZW wrestlers destroyed ROH's ring mat.
  • Jessicka Havok went on a rampage that cost WSU $4500 in property damages to protest a bad call that lead her losing one of her championships to Mercedes Martinez. She'd have done more but was eventually restrained.
  • In 2010, the WWE stable The Nexus made its debut when its seven members came to ringside to beat John Cena, before turning their attention on everyone (the commentators, ring announcer, referee and cameramen) and destroying both the ring and the announcer's table.

    Role-Playing Games 

    Theatre 
  • Bertolt Brecht's very early play Die Kleinbürgerhochzeit (The Petite Bourgeoisie Wedding) is all about this: the man getting married is a carpenter and has built all of his furniture single-handedly. It breaks down over the course of the play, and ends with the (very drunken) characters falling through the floor and bashing each other over the head with chair legs.
  • God's Favorite by Neil Simon uses this. During the first act, more and more pieces of furniture and finery are removed from the mansion onstage. When the curtain rises on the second act, the mansion has been burnt to the ground.

    Video Game 
  • In Tomb Raider: Underworld, Croft Manor gets totally burnt and destroyed.
  • Ico castle crumbles down after the final battle.
  • Mass Effect 2: The SSV Normandy SR-1 is destroyed within the first ten minutes and you later visit the crash site. But not to worry, you get a new, similar far more awesome replacement, the Normandy SR-2.
    • In Mass Effect 3, this is combined with Apocalypse How class 0 (at least) on Earth. Among the mayhem is a hapless Alliance cruiser in the background hovering over the besieged city, getting hammered by and futilely shooting at a landing Reaper, which then promptly blows up in a thermonuclear fireball and knocks Shepard over in the blast.
    • Don't forget the final boss fight with Kai Leng, which takes place in the Illusive Man's "office". It gets completely trashed, with Leng's shockwave attacks tearing off the floor panels that created the field-of-stars illusion.
    • The ending in general. Regardless of which option the player chooses, the galaxy is changed forever.
    • For that matter, the ending of the original game saw the game's Hub Level of the Citadel get completely demolished by Saren and Sovereign during the climax. It gradually was going through repairs in 2, which was why Shepard and crew were restricted mainly to the Wards section in that game, and the newly revamped version of it was back in time for 3, but then the ending happens and it's destroyed again.
  • Azeroth got this treatment in the aptly-named World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm. Interesting because, as an MMO, the untrashed set will be Lost Forever. Examined here.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, Spiral Mountain, Banjo's home in the first game, is smashed up. 8 years later, in Nuts & Bolts, it is still in this state.
  • This is the objective of Stage Battles in Brutal Legend.
    • Or rather, trash your opponent's set.
  • The Might and Magic series does this whenever it's looking for a plot reboot.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved starts the game in a still-functional and inhabited Pillar of Autumn. The last level takes place in the same ship, albeit crashed, burned out, and otherwise not going anywhere. The object of said level is to detonate the ship's reactor and destroy the entire ring.
    • Halo 2 does this in Cairo Station's main control center. In the first level, it is populated and is well-lit. In the game's last few moments, Lord Hood is seen alone in the darkened, sparking room.
    • Halo 3 does this with High Charity, which has been completely overtaken by the Gravemind since the previous game.
  • The gameplay and setpieces of Final Fantasy XIV was considered busted by 2010 standards to the point that the development team working on it was fired or reassigned to other projects, and a new development leader was hired. His response to being told to fix the mess? smash it all with a giant meteor and literally reboot the world.
  • Mother 3 ends with the entire Nowhere Islands being destroyed as a dragon as large as the islands themselves rises. Footage of this destruction can be seen at the end of the game, though the dragon is never seen for some reason.
  • Final Fantasy VI does this when the entire world is destroyed halfway through the game, rearranging the map and drastically changing all the game's locations.
  • Star Trek Online has the Federation's Hub World, the Earth Spacedock, ravaged by the Undine/Species 8472 to explain the setting change between Season 8 and 9
  • One of The 11th Hour's endings has Stauf Mansion destroyed by fire.
  • At the end of Riven, the eponymous age disintegrates upon the re-opening of the Star Fissure.

    Web Original 
  • The reason Spoony ended his Final Fantasy VIII on such an explosive note was because he was moving and wanted to justify a change of scenery.
  • Red vs. Blue Revelation. For the Recollections Trilogy, Valhalla has been the main setting (basically the Halo 3 version of Blood Gulch). But with Halo Reach coming out the same year and their fancy new CGI scenes, Valhalla has been on the receiving end of what could be some permanent damage.
  • Survival of the Fittest has had a number of moments in each version where a particular location was destroyed through explosions of fire: v1 had the bamboo coppice burn to the ground from Jacob Starr's Molotovs, v2's school building suffered a destructive boiler explosion, v3 lost the field hospital to a grenade, and v4's lumber mill was destroyed by dynamite. These are only SOME of the examples of map-changing incinerations.
  • Usually after UberHaxorNova and Seamus finish a Minecraft adventure map together, they will celebrate the completion by spawning stacks of TNT and blowing the map up.
  • The Yogscast have done this a few times over the course of the Shadow of Israphel series: So far an unknown force destroyed the Yogcave, while Jock Fireblast burned down Mistral City and BBQ Bay.
  • Parodied on Atop the Fourth Wall in its 100th episode. Linkara had just moved into a new apartment, and since his old house was a bit of a Weirdness Magnet, he set up a little trap at his old place. Cue Phelous walking into his old house and triggering the trap, resulting in an explosion and Phelous dying. Again.
  • Rooster Teeth has, for their "Let's Play Video Game/Minecraft", "Plan G", a bunch of dynamite buried underneath the courtyard of Achievement City. It's been used at least three times: once out of curiosity, once to stop one of their own from winning their match and once completely by accident when a Creeper detonated on the courtyard.

    Webcomics 
  • The cast of Sluggy Freelance has lost two homes over the years. The first was their original apartment complex, which was taken over by an evil corporation and eventually blown up. The second was the Kesandru house, which lasted several years before being destroyed when Aylee assumed her 50-foot tall form inside it.
  • "Happy 3rd anniversary, Dr. McNinja! You don't have an office anymore."
  • When the creator of Dandy and Company wanted to yank Mistake's owners from the cast, he just had the Villain of the Week burn their house down, forcing them to move away.
  • After the destruction of Gobwin Knob in Erfworld, the new Gobwin Knob was created in a different architectural style suited to its new role as potentially world-conquering imperial capital.

    Western Animation 
  • During the three-part second season finale "Hunter's Moon", Gargoyles had the clock tower home of the heroes destroyed by a missle. This forced them to relocate back to the skyscraper-top castle they had previously abandoned due to the villain owning it.
  • Rocket's evil counterpart destroies the Rocket Room with C-4in Little Einsteins twice in hopes of getting rid of the team.
    The second time it happened, the Rocket Chamber came forth from the ashes of the debris from the Rocket Room.
  • At the end of the second season of X-Men: Evolution, the mansion is destroyed by a Self-Destruct Mechanism.
  • In the Grand Finale for Gummi Bears, Gummi Glen is destroyed courtesy of Duke Igthorn.
  • In the (second) finale of Kim Possible, Kim's house gets completely obliterated, along with most of her school and her boyfriend's favorite fast food joint.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited series finale, Darkseid lifts up the huge globe on top of the Daily Planet and smashes Superman with it causing it to crash several stories down through the building.
  • ReBoot completely destroyed the ruined Mainframe at the end of season 3. This paved the way for a backup copy of the city to be loaded by the User to replace it.
  • In the Fireball XL5 episode "A Day In The Life Of A Space General," much of the Space City set is destroyed when the title ship crashes into it. It was all a dream, but the crash sequence was filmed at the end of production on the series.
    • "The Fire Fighters" from the same series did the same to the beach set and Venus's beach house.
  • Parodied in Animaniacs for its first episode that aired on Kids' WB after the show's Channel Hop. It features a fake recap of the previous season which concludes with the Warner siblings' water tower being destroyed. Yakko states that they'll build a new one that's better, stronger, and otherwise exactly like the original one.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Applejack's barn goes through this with astounding regularity.
    Raze this barn, raze this barn, one, two, three, four!
  • At the end of the first season of Ultimate Spider-Man the Hellicarrier gets smashed inside out by Green Goblin and Venom, so the team moves in with Peter till the new Tricarrier is built.
  • Happened more than once to the Planet Express building during the run of Futurama. In at least one episode, the rest of New New York gets trashed as well.
  • Total Drama: In the Grand Finale of All Stars, the island of Wawanakwa is sunk, destroying the set that's been used for most of the series and setting the stage for the next season, which is supposed to take place on a new island.
  • In the season 4 episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) "Scion of the Shredder", this happens to the Turtles' underground lair when it's destroyed by a vengeful Kairi, along with most of the Turtles vehicles. They move into an abandoned warehouse for the remainder of the series.
    • Back in the '87 show, the 8th season premiere "Get Shredder!", saw the Shredder blow up the Channel 6 news building.

    Real Life 
  • Real World example: Fans tore up Cleveland Municipal Stadium after the final Browns game played there; the stadium was eventually dropped into Lake Erie.
    • Similarly, fans of the second Washington Senators baseball franchise (the original had moved to Minnesota) tore apart pieces of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium on the eve of that team's relocation to Texas. Anything not nailed down (and some things that were) was ripped up and carted off by unruly fans. Unfortunately they didn't bother to wait until after the final home game against the New York Yankees to trash the place, forcing the umpires to declare the Yankees the winner by forfeit.
    • Also happened after the last Minnesota Vikings game played at Metropolitan Stadium in 1981.
  • Rampant Fans burnt down Cumberland Oval after the Parramatta Eels triumphantly won the 1981 NSWRL Premiership in Australia.
  • As an unfortunately discredited rumor would have it, this was Subverted (yes) by the Monsanto House of the Future, the old Disneyland attraction. The House was scheduled to be demolished and replaced, but its sturdy plastic construction caused the wrecking ball to bounce off, leaving the building completely unharmed. It eventually had to be taken apart manually, via a whole bunch of workers with a whole bunch of hacksaws. Truth time: According to the House's own introductory video, it was built modularly, meant to be easily assembled and disassembled. Neither hacksaws nor wrecking balls would have been necessary or practical. The rumor probably arose from the fact that the attraction's concrete base proved to be indestructible; wrecking crews gave up on trying to remove all the pilings and they can still be seen today.
  • One thing that Las Vegas is famous for besides casinos and showgirls is its numerous building implosions and the celebrations associated with them. Since the early 1990s the ever growing city has been building bigger and more lavish (or gaudy) resorts and because of the lack of space: these new resorts have been replacing older ones. Many classic casino resorts that were established in the 1950s were closed down by their owners and were torn down. Some of the bigger hotel towers were imploded with dynamite. Some doomed resorts received a lot of attention and usually had fireworks displays prior to the building's implosion as a final tribute to the resort. Probably the greatest example is the implosion of the Dunes Hotel and Casino in 1993: The 24 story hotel tower was set ablaze by thousands of gallons of aviation fuel after a spectacular fireworks display, the tower collapsed moments after.
  • A part of all theater productions is the 'striking of the set' in which sets used in the show are dismantled. Some parts will be saved for future use (or in the case of travelling productions the whole thing will be saved), while other parts will be destroyed.
  • This often becomes a celebration (of sorts) for the cast and crew of long-running Live-Action TV shows following the completion of the final episode.
  • Vanilla Ice was offered the chance to destroy the master tape of the video for "Ice Ice Baby" by MTV on the 25 Lame special and did so but began trashing the set with a baseball bat.
  • Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard shoot up the House sets with paintballs during the "Swan Song" special that aired just before the series finale.
  • In 2000, the Kingdome, Seattle's closed-roof multipurpose sports stadium, was due to be demolished to make way for a football stadium. So they planted explosives strategically throughout the building and the entire city gathered (with cameras rolling) to watch it blow. Several clips are viewable on YouTube.

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