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Banging Pots and Pans

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"We're banging pots and pans
To make you understand!
It's the song I hate."
Sonic Youth, "Youth Against Fascism"

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.

Compare Trash-Can Band, when this is done for music, and Paper-Bag Popping. Contrast Frying Pan of Doom, which is about smacking things with pots and pans.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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 checkmark 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.

    Film Animated 

    Film Live-Action 

  • 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 exhausting so that it becomes a bit more manageable. It works, and he eventually manages to tame the horse.
  • Ranger's Apprentice: The Siege of Macindaw has Malcolm's people banging pots and pans as part of a distraction for the attack.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Big Brother, four 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. When Dick returned to host a Veto Competition in the following season, Big Brother 9, he woke up the houseguests in the same exact way. Unlike the 1st time, Big Brother 9's Houseguests reacted positively to his pot banging. Bonus points go to Dick, who realized he was using the SAME pots from last season and threw out a snide remark about how production was being cheap over using the same kitchenware.
    • 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).
    • During Big Brother 20, Brett lied about Rockstar trying to start an alliance with him before Week 3's Eviction. Brett was saved from being evicted, but Rockstar's chewed him out for lying on "MY DAUGHTER'S BIRTHDAY!". Later that night, Rockstar sought revenge by banging on a pot throughout the house and mockingly cheering on Brett, her so called "alliance member" . Ironically, Rockstar WOULD try (and fail) to start an actual alliance with Brett, later in the season.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: The Sentries are men too wounded and disabled to fight, so they were placed in specific spots to, as the name implies, stand watch. If you are spotted by one, he will immediately begin hammering the pan he carries, making an unholy racket that will draw any enemy within earshot straight to his location.
  • Tales of Destiny: Lilith weaponizes it in her "Wake the Dead" arte, where she bangs the ladle on the frying pan so loudly, it damages enemies around her. She invented it to wake up her brother, Stahn, which says something about the latter. In the sequel Rutee uses it to wake up Kyle, Stahn's son.

    Web Original 
  • In Neopets, this is one of the methods that can be attempted to wake up Turmaculus in hopes of receiving a prize.
  • QSMP: In an attempt to wake an unconscious Forever up,note  Phil uses a ladle and a pan and loudly singing at the same time to make as much noise as possible. Unfortunately, it didn't work.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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!
  • Steven Universe:
    • "Steven the Sword Fighter": At the end, Steven welcomes the recently-regenerated Pearl back by tying his shirt around his head and banging on a frying pan with a spoon, to her confusion.
    • "Maximum Capacity": Steven and Greg make noise with pots and pans at the New Year's fireworks every year, and Steven gives Pearl and Garnet some to use. Pearl barely makes a sound, and Garnet bangs two pots together so loudly that everyone else covers their ears, which they didn't do for the fireworks.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • Wassailing, an ancient tradition in cider producing regions of England, involves walking through apple orchards in winter banging pots and pans and/or more conventional drums, in addition to making offerings to the trees, reciting an incantation, singing, shouting and firing guns into the air. The original purpose being to make enough noise to awake the trees and scare off any malicious spirits that may be hanging around.


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