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Bowled Over

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Prinny: We challenge you to bowling, dood!
Adell: Bowling, huh? You do know that you're on the side that gets hurt by the ball, right?

A group of people are standing around, possibly in the same formation as bowling pins, and a large, often spherical object crashes into them and sends them flying. An appropriate sound effect is optional.

Oh— and the bowler will always get a strike, never mind how difficult that is in normal bowling.

Penguins seem to be a favorite for this.

Related to Foe-Tossing Charge. Compare Human Chess. Not to be confused with Bowling for Ratings.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Tintin does this with half of a wooden dumbbell on the second-to-last page of Tintin in America, complete with a bubble showing imaginary bowling pins knocked over.

    Comic Strips 
  • A Peanuts Sunday Strip has Lucy making a very large snowball the size of a bowling ball. Many other characters taunt her for this and walk off. Lucy proceeds to roll the ball down the sidewalk, scattering everybody (except Charlie Brown) like proverbial tenpins. Lucy has another ball in reserve, and the final panel shows Charlie Brown getting bowled over, commenting about "picking up the spare".

    Films — Animation 
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: In The Wind in the Willows, Mole is Pinned to the Wall with daggers thrown by the weasels. As they advance on him, Mole manages to pull himself free and propels himself onto the weasels, bowling them over with the appropriate sound.
  • In The Lion King (1994), we first see Timon and Pumbaa playing "bowling for buzzards".
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree: When Rainbow Dash is tripped by Gaea Everfree and propelled against her friends by her momentum, sending them all sprawling, the sound effect heard is one of a bowling ball hitting pins.
  • Robin Hood: Robin Hood and Little John do that to Prince John's rhino guards with barrels of wine during jailbreak.
  • The Three Caballeros: In the Cold-Blooded Penguin segment, Pablo freezes up and rolls down a snowy hill, turning into a giant snowball that knocks over his farewell party.
  • During a bar brawl in The Great Mouse Detective, one strong mouse's punch sends the bar piano flying into the other band members, complete with the sound of bowling pins as the piano knocks the band members away and breaks apart.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Flintstones, Fred Flintstone uses a round small boulder to bowl over Cliff Vandercave as the latter's escaping the destruction of his rock-crushing machine.
  • During the climatic Battle of the Goblin City in Labyrinth, a group of goblins stand up to one of the boulders summoned by Ludo, and are knocked down like bowling pins. They imminently retreat.
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, after Neo breaks out of the Dog Pile of Doom, he performs a hoisting of a Smith over his head before hurling it at a group of approaching Smiths, complete with the sound of bowling pins as they are knocked down.

  • The Dresden Files: Harry knocks one vampire into an audience full of them during a duel in White Night, and lampshades the resulting mass knockdown as "Bowling for Vampires!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Rescue from Gilligan's Island, the Skipper and Gilligan rescue Mary Ann from a wedding that neither she nor the groom wants to go through with by scooping her up in a wagon full of watermelons just before they get to the "I Do"s. A bunch of people run after them, and they throw the watermelons at the chasers to make them stop. Comes complete with bowling SFX and Gilligan lampshading "Hey Skipper, I got a strike!"
  • In the Married... with Children episode "You Better Shop Around (Part 2)," Al ensures his family wins the Supermarket Sweep-like challenge with the D'arcys by tripping up Jefferson and Marcy with a bowled turkey. Complete with "Steeeeeeee-rike!"
  • In My Name Is Earl, Earl is trying to convince a policeman that he should be a bowler. He shows the officer the list of misdeeds he is trying to fix, but the policeman immediately arrests Earl as it's more or less an evidence of his numerous crimes. Earl tries to run away, and the officer knocks him down, but lets him go afterward, because he did that with a bowling ball, thus proving Earl's point.
  • One of the stages of the Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle involved the contestants picking cards dressing them up in bowling pins and having a guard roll a giant ball at them
  • Ultraman Ginga have this happening in the final episode, where Exceller's alien henchmen, with a bunch of Mecha-Mooks, tries detaining the (human-sized) heroes. One of the henchmen gets shoved into a group of mooks, and as a hilarious nod to The Matrix Reloaded it's accompanied by the sound of bowling pins being knocked over!

  • The Reginald de Koven opera Rip van Winkle has a ball-less variation. Rip, having drunk the Magic Flask, is revealed as young once more, and, as the stage directions put it, "the astounded and terror-struck Dutch folk... tumble over like rows of ninepins." Hendrick Hudson's voice then rings out, in a Call-Back to the bowling scene: "A strike for Rip and Peterkee!"

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In Army Men: Sarge's Heroes, in the Cut Scene before the the final mission, Sarge confronts General Plastro who says he will use the last remaining portal to destroy the Green Nation and marry Vicky Grimm, they share the following dialogue:
    Sarge: She wouldn't marry you on your best day.
    Plastro: How about my worst?
    [Sarge kicks over a wooden block, and knocks down some Tan soldiers, guarding Plastro, off a ledge, complete with a wooden pins being knocked down sound effect]
  • In Day of the Tentacle, there's a bowling ball that you see for nearly the entire game, but which is too heavy to pick up. In the climax, our heroes are merged into one body, and the Evil Minions guard their captive in bowling-pin formation. Guess what? The three heroes together are now strong enough to pick up the bowling ball. If you can get past the Big Bad who's now guarding the room it's in...
  • In Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, one map during the Tournament Arc has Adell and Rozalin encounter ten of Etna's Prinnies, who challenge them to a game of bowling. As soon as they assume their formation, Adell warns them that they're in for a bad time, as the map also contains a black "12-Pounder" Prinny to serve as the ball.
  • In Evolution Worlds, Mag can actually acquire and equip Bowling parts for his cyframe which can knock over enemies in the form of this trope.
  • Played for Laughs in Jazzpunk where the player is escaping from a band of mooks by barging past them, resulting in the sound of bowling pins being knocked over. Lampshaded twice - firstly when one mook utters, "Bowling joke" before being knocked over, and secondly when the last group of mooks contains a giant bowling pin in mook clothing.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: one room in the Chariot Master's tower is set up like this; one of the giant boulders that can be struck with a melee attack to send it flying, sitting at the top of a slope, at the bottom of which are a group of Monoeyes. It's actually not that easy to get a strike... on a single downhill send, but as the ball can also bounce back up the slope, Pit's more likely to take them all out with one hit than not.
    Viridi: Hey, look! It's a giant bowling ball and some ugly bowling pins!
    Hades: My troops are a worthy sacrifice for the sport of kings!
  • At one point in the D23 Tokyo 2018 trailer for Kingdom Hearts III, Sora grabs Mike Wazowski and rolls him like a bowling ball at a group of Heartless, complete with a strike sound effect and said Heartless lined up in ten-pin formation.
  • One of the most effective (if not essential) tactics in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is to use Skills and/or regular attacks that have either a wide area of effect or can hit through multiple targets at once to achieve this. The end result is enemies being left vulnerable for follow-ups (some of which trigger automatically if you have a high Bond Level with your Party Members) that do a healthy chunk of damage. The game even has a helpful indicator (located below your current character's feet) of an enemy's trajectory before you hit then with an attack, further cementing this. Additionally, if you knock enemies into your allies instead of other enemies, they too will swat them into the ground, leaving them susceptible to the aforementioned automatic follow-up attacks.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has an area where ten enemies are lined up like bowling pins and marching forward. Players who see this for what it is and run into them as a morph ball are rewarded with an achievement.
  • The Massive Multiplayer Crossover PlayStation Move Heroes has "Bowling" as one of the five weapons classes, joining the Frisbee of Death as Improbable Weapons.
  • Both Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Donkey Kong Country Returns feature Mooks shaped like bowling pins for you to run over with Rolling Attacks.

  • In El Goonish Shive, this is inverted during the "Nanase Craft And The Crypt of Zappiness" storyline. Nanase turns herself into a human bowling ball and knocks down giant pins.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: In "Trail of the Missing Tails", Sonic does this to Scratch, Grounder, and Coconuts when they pounce at him, turning them into bowling pins and knocking them over.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
  • It happens in ChalkZone to a group of cartoon penguins who enjoy being knocked down.
  • A Couch Gag in one episode of The Critic had Indiana Jones running from that boulder, which then hits a bunch of Nazis who just happen to be there, and, well, you know...
  • Donald Duck does it to his own nephews in "Donald's Snow Fight". Huey, Dewey, and Louie were hit with snowballs so terribly, they literally turned into "duck-pins" before Donald had threw a good-sized snowball in their general direction!
  • Described, but not seen, in one episode of Donkey Kong Country; during one battle, DK scrunched King K. Rool into a ball and used him to bowl Klump and Krusha over. When we cut to King K. Rool's lair, we see the king wearing an arm cast.
    King K. Rool: That last defeat by Donkey Kong was not only damaging, but humiliating! When was the last time either of you were used as a bowling ball!?
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Dragonshy", this happens to Rainbow Dash when a dragon's roar propels her out of a cave and she knocks over Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Applejack and Pinkie Pie.
    • "School Daze – Part 1": Gallus, while carrying Sandbar, accidentally drops him, causing the young earth pony to crash into the world leaders, knocking them over like bowling pins.
  • The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon "Oh, What a Knight" featured Oswald bowling over the Big Bad and his knights.
  • Pac-Man does a variation early in the episode "Around the World in 80 Chomps". The Ghost Monsters are arranged like bowling pins, and Pac-Man approaches them like a bowling ball. Instead of knocking the ghosts down, he chomps them in his usual manner.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Bowl-R-Ama Drama" has P&F try to set a record for the world's biggest bowling ball. Meanwhile, Dr. Doofenschmirtz's minions are giant robotic penguins, suspiciously shaped like bowling pins, attacking the town in a triangular formation. The ball gets away from them, and... well, you can guess what happens next.
  • Popeye does it to some of Abu Hassan's mooks in Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves.
    Popeye: How does that strike ya?
  • In the The Powerpuff Girls episode, "Power Lunch", the girls use this attack on the Gangrene Gang, who gain superpowers after gorging themselves on junk food at a mini-mart. Blossom uses her ice powers to freeze the road like a bowling lane, and Buttercup rolls Bubbles towards the gang.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Schnit-Heads", a religious cult based on sausage wants to go "bowling for sinners" with our heroes... as the pins.
    Rocko: You can't chuck bowling balls at us!
    Cult Leader: Yes, we can! Says so in the Great Book of Bratwurst. "And if there is one among you who does not follow the ways of the Schnitzel, let that one go, and do not throw bowling balls at them."
    Rocko: You see? It says let us go.
    Cult Leader: It's a matter of interpretation.
  • Shaun the Sheep: The rotund Shirley bowls over the rest of the flock in "Shirley Whirley".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Frankendoodle", Doodlebob draws a bowling ball with the magic pencil which he hurls at Patrick, who gets knocked into bowling pins complete with the sounds.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Destroy Malevolence", Obi-Wan takes out several battle droids in a very short period of time by Force-pushing two droidekas into groups of other droids. After he escapes, one droid is impressed, causing General Grievous to smack its head off.
  • Taz-Mania: In "Yet Another Road to Taz-Mania", Taz and a group of spies get trapped in a pin-setter, set up on the bowling alley, and knocked down by a bowling ball.
  • The Tex Avery Cartoon "Batty Baseball" has a pitcher use a bowling ball to knock down the player at bat, catcher and umpire; there was even a pin reset to put them all back in place.


Double Deadly Dodging

Characters dodging hits during a bar brawl.

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