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 this:
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.
A very common gag in Swedish media. Very likely a Dead Horse Trope due to improvements in television transmission and reception, especially if your country's made the switch to digital media, rendering rabbit ears both obsolete and utterly useless.
Not related to Do Not Adjust Your Set.
- An egregiously annoying ad for either Dish Network or DirecTV:
Son: Daaaad! The cable's out again! Can't you fix it!?
- Conversely, the cable companies will take potshots at Dish and DirecTV for the fickleness of their dishes.
- Featured in the Eight Crazy Nights song "Bum Biddy", as one of the good deeds Whitey performed without getting as much as a "thank you" as a reward.
Once when we were watching Sunday football, a fuzzy screen was all that we can see.
Whitey came over with a hanger, and spent the game atop of our TV.
And when the lightning struck him, he let out a wicked loud yell!
But we just turned up the volume, and ignored the burning smell.
We should all rot in hell!
- 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.
- 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 protective plastic collar to stop him from scratching the cuts he picked up in a fight with another dog, and putting him on top of the set.
- An early series of Peanuts strips, circa 1960, had Charlie Brown using Snoopy as a substitute TV aerial.
- One of the games in WarioWare: Smooth Moves is about this.
- You can do this to TVs in Condemned 2: Bloodshot.
- Came up on more than one occasion on The Simpsons, for example:
- 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.