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Antenna Adjusting

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Alice: (adjusts antenna) Can you see it now?
Bob: No.
Alice: (gets into strange position) Can you see it now?
Bob: No.
Alice: (gets into even stranger position) Can you see it now?
Bob: THAT'S IT! Don't move!

Sometimes the TV goes on the fritz. What to do? Other than Percussive Maintenance, try adjusting the antenna, which may take a while. Conversations can go like the quote above.

If in a comedy, expect the TV to work only if someone stands in a ridiculously awkward position.

Specifically, the only way to fix this condition in a comedy is to get the Butt-Monkey to wear a tin-foil hat with rabbit ears and pose like an idiot at the direction of his so-called friends, possibly while also standing on the roof. This is a very common gag in Swedish media.

This is a Dead Horse Trope, as due to improvements in television transmission and reception over the years, these sorts of aerials just aren't used anymore, especially if your country's made the switch to digital transmissions and digital media, rendering rabbit ears both obsolete and utterly useless. Unless it's a Period Piece from the 2000's, you'll likely never see this trope in modern works, unless it has to do with wi-fi routers (and even then, the routers themselves are seldom the issue).

Not related to Do Not Adjust Your Set.


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    Animated Films 

    Live Action Films 
  • In the opening of Blankman, the young Darryl and Kevin rig their antenna up with kitchen items and utensils hanging on a line. During the scene, one of them ends up getting a foot in the toilet, which improves the signal, followed by repeated flushing that causes it to back up—And invokes the wrath of their grandmother.

    Live Action TV 
  • On Married... with Children, the Bundy family had "Fox network viewing positions" to take when watching Fox. Self-Deprecation to their own network, and Truth in Television: Fox came in pretty badly at times in Chicago, where Married was allegedly set, pre-Digital TV.
  • Mr. Bean tries placing the aerial in increasingly silly places in order to watch his TV. Finally he discovers a position that works but only when he can't see the screen.
  • Tony Hancock in his solo episode of Hancock's Half Hour spends several minutes moving his indoor antenna when the TV picture keeps breaking up. Inevitably, the picture clears up when he's out of sight of the set. Eventually he realises that it's not his reception but a studio fault.
  • On The Honeymooners, Ralph and Norton buy a TV together. They have trouble agreeing on what to watch before settling on a program. When Ralph complains about the fuzzy picture, Norton tells him to take the antenna and move around. When Ralph is holding it out of the apartment, Norton tells him that it's good and closes the door to watch his own show.
  • In the Season 5 Cheers episode "Dance, Diane, Dance", The Teaser finds the Cheers crowd watching a football game when the picture quality suddenly drops. Sam sends Woody over to the set to adjust the antenna, which involves balancing on the panelling while hanging onto the set; inevitably, he loses his footing, but as he hangs from the set, several feet off the floor, the picture clears up - almost. Cliff makes a minor colour adjustment by picking up one of Woody's legs to balance his foot on top of the panelling.
    Woody: Wow, I sure hope this game doesn't go into overtime!
  • The Stinger of the Frasier Season 3 opener "She's the Boss" sees Martin struggling to get a coherent picture on the television. Daphne solves the problem by picking up Eddie, who is wearing a Cone of Shame to stop him from scratching the cuts he picked up in a fight with another dog, and putting him on top of the set.
  • The Red Green Show: In Snowed In, the tv goes out due to the snowstorm, and being snowed in, nobody can get to the rooftop antenna from the outside, so Harold is sent into the attic to try to adjust it from underneath. He fails. Naturally, cannibalism jokes ensue.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • An early series of Peanuts strips, circa 1960, had Charlie Brown using Snoopy as a substitute TV aerial.

    Video Games 
  • WarioWare: Smooth Moves: One of the microgames requires adjusting a house's antenna to the right position to win.
  • You can do this to TVs in Condemned 2: Bloodshot.
  • Creep TV: When the TV stops working, Courage has to fix the antenna on the roof of the house with a wire hanger from the laundry bin.

    Western Animation 
  • Came up on more than one occasion on The Simpsons, for example, in The Tracey Ullman Show short "TV Simpsons," this is the entire plot.
  • Garfield gets Nermal to do this by telling him Jon thinks it's cute.
  • LEGO Star Wars: Revenge of the Brick: General Grievous himself becomes the antenna while Count Dooku tells him how to adjust himself to get a good reception.
  • On The Penguins of Madagascar, King Julien wins the penguins' TV set and has Mort hold up the antenna, yelling at Mort when he gets tired and can't hold the position any longer.
  • In Camp Lazlo, Edward's bullying brothers force Scoutmaster Lumpus to hold the TV for them and adjust his antlers until they get a reception.
  • When Quicksilver is ordering the Brotherhood around in X-Men: Evolution, he has Toad move around with the antenna on the roof. He tells him to hold his position just as Toad is struggling not to fall off.

    Real Life 
  • A 2010s example was the antenna on the iPhone 4, which could lose effectiveness depending how the phone was held.