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Upside Down Blueprints

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A construction worker reads a set of blueprints upside down and foolishly follows it.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Eddy1215 on Jul 25th 2017 at 9:29:50 AM
Last Edited By:
Eddy1215 on Jun 12th 2018 at 7:41:07 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/upside_down_blueprints.jpg
Where Just Following Orders gets too extreme. When a construction worker unknowingly is looking at a blueprint the wrong way, instead of figuring out what's wrong with it, he builds his project accordingly to the misread plans.

Subtrope of Bizarrchitecture, which has to be at work in order for the project to be standing after the builder is finished. Also relies a lot on Rule of Funny.

It's only after construction is finished that the worker realizes his error, only for it to be too late. Expect yells of You Fool! or the worker experiencing a Dope Slap for his idiocy. See also Had the Silly Thing in Reverse. May result in Achievements in Ignorance.


Examples:

Film - Animated

  • At the beginning of Minions, after the newly constructed pyramid crushes the Egyptians flat, Norbit realizes that he had the blueprints upside down, earning himself a Dope Slap.

Literature

  • Wayside School is a 30-story building that was supposed to be 1 story. but the builder was holding the plans sideways. He said he was very sorry.

Newspaper Comics

  • The Far Side has a cartoon of an angry-looking devil, a "999" on the door, and the painter going "I must have been holding the dang work order upside down!".

Video Game

  • Discworld: Bergholt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson is infamous for the negative genius he applied to his creations, to the point where one of his other nicknames is "Look, The Plans Were The Right Way Round When I Drew Them". We don't see what resulted in that particular epithet, but he's built things like salt-and-pepper shakers big enough to be used as family housing, a shower that dispenses acid rain, a mail-sorting machine that breaks the laws of physics by rounding down pi to 3, and a trout lake an inch wide.

Web Animation

  • Happy Tree Friends has a variation of this idea, where blueprints are messed up and the house built is an amalgam of upside-down rooms, doors leading to nowhere, deadly pits and hazards, and twisted halls that lead to the deaths of many of the careless characters wandering within.

Western Animation

  • In the Rugrats Passover special, Chuckie builds an upside down pyramid for Angelica, who takes on the role of Pharaoh in Grandpa Boris' story. Angelica is shocked when she sees the upside-down pyramid, and Chuckie tells her that he followed the instructions the way she wanted him to. Angelica then turns the instructions right-side-up, and Chuckie realizes his mistake.
  • TaleSpin had a story about a pyramid that was accidentally built upside down and into the ground to the great embarrassment of the Pharaoh, who put a curse on the foreman to guard the shameful secret as a mummy. They end up correcting the error by lifting the entire thing out of the ground and flipping it over, allowing the mummified foreman to rest in peace.
  • George Jetson of Hanna-Barbera's The Jetsons is assigned by his Bad Boss to find a way to thwart competitor Cogswell Cogs from spying on him from Cogswell's newly-built neighboring building. The blueprints are shown, including a property line directly through Cogswell's building! Somehow, the architect never saw this as a Fatal Flaw; Child Prodigy Elroy Jetson, however, did.
  • Darkwing Duck: In the episode "Going Nowhere Fast", after being zapped by a particle accelerator from Negaduck, Darkwing gains Super Speed and uses this to try and be a better hero. One of the things he does is single handidly build a new skyscraper in a matter of seconds, but since he held the blueprints upside down the whole building ends up being constructed upside down. Darkwing being Darkwing, he fails to realize his error and instead states that the architect should be sued. He breaks it down again later after it's revealed the new super speed comes with Rapid Aging, and he has to run backwards to undo this effect.
  • Inverted in one episode of Peabody's Improbable History, where Sherman is shocked that it appears for once, Mr. Peabody makes a mistake when he designed the Great Pyramid upside down. However, Peabody reveals that he deliberately designed the pyramid upside down as part of a Batman Gambit, knowing that the Pharaoh's bratty nephew would try to destroy it. Instead, the nephew's attempt to blow up the pyramid results in it landing right-side up.

Real Life

  • There are a number of urban legends that claim that buildings which show a less-decorated facade to a now-more-important direction were accidentally constructed back to front. For example, the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, which was constructed to face the university campus, meaning that the main entrance from the street is actually the back of the building.
  • A related urban legend tells how some buildings (especially on college campuses) were supposedly built "backwards", with the more elaborate architecture and ornamentation on the less-used side, or where you couldn't admire it from a distance.

Feedback: 16 replies

Jul 25th 2017 at 10:37:46 AM

Western Animation

  • In the Rugrats Passover special, Chuckie builds an upside down pyramid for Angelica, who takes on the role of Pharaoh in Grandpa Boris' story. Angelica is shocked when she sees the upside-down pyramid, and Chuckie tells her that he followed the instructions the way she wanted him to. Angelica then turns the instructions right-side-up, and Chuckie realizes his mistake.

Jul 25th 2017 at 12:51:39 PM

  • Tales Spin had a story about a pyramid that was accidentally built upside down and into the ground to the great shame of the architect. They end up correcting the error by lifting the entire thing out of the ground and flipping it over.

Jul 25th 2017 at 1:47:01 PM

Wayside School is a 30-story building that was supposed to be 1 story. but the builder was holding the plans sideways. He said he was very sorry.

Jul 25th 2017 at 2:44:56 PM

The Far Side as a cartoon of an angry-looking devil, a "999" on the door, and the painter going "I must have been holding the dang work order upside down!".

Jul 25th 2017 at 4:04:01 PM

Tiny correction on Tropers.henke37's entry: it's WesternAnimation.Tale Spin, and the episode is "In Search of Ancient Blunders."

Another possible architect boo-boo is:

Western Animation

  • George Jetson of Hanna Barbera's The Jetsons is assigned by his Bad Boss to find a way to thwart competitor Cogswell Cogs from spying on him from Cogswell's newly-built neighboring building. The blueprints are shown, including a property line directly through Cogswell's building! Somehow, the architect never saw this as a Fatal Flaw; Child Prodigy Elroy Jetson, however, did.

Jun 7th 2018 at 9:54:04 PM

May achieve Achievements In Ignorance.

Do we have a related trope about reading a map upside down?

Jun 7th 2018 at 9:54:05 PM

May achieve Achievements In Ignorance.

Do we have a related trope about reading a map upside down?

Jun 7th 2018 at 11:07:05 PM

The animated series Happy Tree Friends has a variation of this idea, where blueprints are messed up and the house built is an amalgam of upside-down rooms, doors leading to nowhere, deadly pits and hazards, and twisted halls that lead to the deaths of many of the careless characters wandering within.

Jun 8th 2018 at 12:08:44 AM

Discworld: Bergholt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson is infamous for the negative genius he applied to his creations, to the point where one of his other nicknames is "Look, The Plans Were The Right Way Round When I Drew Them". We don't see what resulted in that particular epithet, but he's built things like salt-and-pepper shakers big enough to be used as family housing, a shower that dispenses acid rain, a mail-sorting machine that breaks the laws of physics by rounding down pi to 3, and a trout lake an inch wide.

Jun 11th 2018 at 2:13:05 AM

There are a number of urban legends that claim that buildings which show a less-decorated facade to a now-more-important direction were accidentally constructed back to front. For example, the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, which was constructed to face the university campus, meaning that the main entrance from the street is actually the back of the building.

Jun 8th 2018 at 3:17:32 AM

Darkwing Duck: In the episode "Going Nowhere Fast", after being zapped by a particle accelerator from Negaduck, Darkwing gains Super Speed and uses this to try and be a better hero. One of the things he does is single handidly build a new skyscraper in a matter of seconds, but since he held the blueprints upside down the whole building ends up being constructed upside down. He undoes it again later after it's revealed the new super speed comes with Rapid Aging, and he has to run backwards to undo this effect.

Jun 10th 2018 at 11:53:15 AM

@Miss_Desperado

Why not both?

Jun 12th 2018 at 3:48:52 AM

Added an image. I think it is ready for launch now Eddy 1215

Jun 12th 2018 at 7:20:25 AM

A related urban legend tells how some buildings (especially on college campuses) were supposedly built "backwards", with the more elaborate architecture and ornamentation on the less-used side, or where you couldn't admire it from a distance.

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