Want to get someone's attention, especially if they're sleeping? Banging pots and pans will certainly do.
Alternatively, it may be used to signal that it is time to eat. In real life, it's becoming common for women to stand up against violence by doing this, as it confronts the violent person indirectly but clearly.
- In Azumanga Daioh, Osaka says that it's always been a dream of hers to wake someone up by banging on a frying pan with a spoon. She, half-asleep, attempts to do so to Yukari (but ends up leading to the Memetic "knife" scene).
- Last Exile: Lavie wakes Claus every morning by banging a hammer against a sheet of metal.
- At the beginning of Happy Heroes Season 2 episode 8, Doctor H. bangs a ladle against a pot in an attempt to wake up the heroes. It doesn't work.
- In Dragon Bones, Ward uses this as a method to frighten a horse. His plan is to make the very fierce stallion run until it's exhausted, so that it becomes a bit more manageable. It works, and he eventually manages to tame the horse.
- In Ranger's Apprentice, The Siege of Macindaw has Malcolm's people banging pots and pans as part of a distraction for the attack.
- On Big Brother, three people have utilized this tactic:
- "Evel" Dick Donato on Big Brother 8 (US), to wake up the house at an ungodly hour as part of a ploy to become a scapegoat to save his daughter Danielle from becoming a target that week.
- Dallas Cormier on Big Brother 4 Canada also tried to wake up the house (to less effectiveness).
- Weaponized constantly in the case of Josh Martinez on Big Brother 19 (US), who, while also bellowing circus music, simply used the pots and pans to annoy people who ground his gears regardless of being asleep or awake, turned it into his signature move, and dubbed it the "jacksaphone"- Josh even broke a pan doing that and caused a celebrity, Bobby Moynihan, to come into the house imitating him, and a series veteran, Will Kirby, to wonder if Josh would get a sponsorship deal post-season (not likely, given that pots and pans aren't meant for that kind of abuse).
- In Hell's Kitchen, once a season and usually fairly early on, Chef Ramsay arranges an early morning wake-up call for the aspiring chefs, around 5 or 6 A.M. In at least one instance, the wake-up call was delivered in this form, by the sous chefs.
- Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin bangs on a pot for two panels. His mom tells him to stop giving her a headache. In the final panel, Calvin is marking his calendar, "And a check mark for Tuesday!"
- Garfield does this a lot to Jon.
- Cathy learns that babysitting Zenith is headache-inducing:
Cathy: I see. All activities lasting more than three seconds are out for you. ...Except for smashing a pan with spoons, which you can do for an hour and a half straight.
- Cook Kirby does this, in the "time to eat" variation. So does Chef Kawasaki.
- Kellam of Fire Emblem Awakening has trouble getting others to notice him, despite wearing a giant suit of armor (everyone thinks the barracks are haunted because there's an "extra" plate at the table and things "mysteriously" appear and disappear). He resorts to this trope on at least one occasion...and Tharja still didn't see him standing right in front of her.
- In the opening of Legia 2: Duel Saga, Nancy does this to wake Lang up.
- In Neopets, this is one of the methods that can be attempted to wake up Turmaculus in hopes of receiving a prize.
- This is done a lot in Looney Tunes cartoons. Many times it's in a particular order—shout, then bang pots and pans, then the One-Man Band.
- The Simpsons: In a Flash Back to when Bart was 2 and Marge was pregnant with Lisa, we see Bart with a pot on his head, banging another pot.
Bart: I am so great! I am so great! Everybody loves me, I am so great!Marge: Honey, honey, honey, honey, honey. Could you please be quiet?Bart: Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quie—Marge: Bart, get out!
- The Aaahh!!! Real Monsters episode "Attack of the Blobs" had the main trio take shifts in taking care of an infant monster. Ickis is banging the trash can lids during his shift.
- In the Tom and Jerry short "Quiet, Please!", this is one of the things Jerry does to try and wake up Spike, which will get Tom beaten up.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: As a filly, Granny Smith did this while she was being chased by timber wolves, in the hopes that it would scare them away. It actually worked, too!
- Some families celebrate New Year's by going outside at midnight and banging on pots and pans to make as much noise as humanly possible.
- Little kids absolutely love raising hell with pots and pans like this.
- Used as a form of protest in South America, particularly Chile and Argentina.
- In medieval Europe there was a tradition called "rough music" in small towns, of gathering the population around someone's house and raising a ruckus, including banging pots and pans, to signify disapproval of an occupant's deeds. Common offenses included living in sin or spousal abuse.