Follow TV Tropes


Eject the Loser

Go To

"Win money or fall down a hole."
— Tag line for Russian Roulette

Game Show Trope where eliminated contestants, instead of merely being bid farewell, are forcefully ejected from the studio. Differs from a Walk of Shame, but often times no less humiliating. Generally, the contestants are not even given time to speak before they are removed. Ejections can range from being dropped through a simple Trap Door in the floor, to being disintegrated via CGI, to being launched off the edge of a cliff, to (in the case of fictional shows), either being dropped/launched into a brutal Death Trap, or flung into a big, metal box with “Tiny Loser Chamber” written on it.

The Ur-Example may have shown up in older Western Animation features with singing or talent contests, which inevitably had horrible contestants; their performances generally ended with the judge pulling a lever to open a trap door underneath the contestant.

Note that this does not include shows like Match Game, where losing contestants remain seated at a part of the set used for the upfront game that rotates or moves out of the camera's sight, or as the show segues to either a commercial or sponsor/prize plug as the winner prepares to play the Bonus Round. Nor does this include shows where the lowest-scoring contestant at a defined point of a progressive-elimination game (e.g., the 1978 version of Jeopardy!) is simply eliminated without fanfare – i.e., other than simply being told "thanks for playing" and perhaps told of a consolation gift; in this case, the departed contestant is simply taken offstage.

Compare Drop the Cow and Vaudeville Hook, for similar usage in dealing with overly long or bad stage acts.


  • Battle for Dream Island: The eliminated contestants are either flung into the TLC or teleported there by lasers, depending on the progression of the show. In Battle for BFDI, Four absorbs the eliminated contestants and place them in the EXIT Eternal Algebra Class With 4. Battle For BFB has X snap the eliminated contestant into the BRB. As for TPOT, 2 absorbs the contestants and places them in a room similar to that of the hotel's. The EXIT is seen in TPOT, but it is currently unknown what becomes of the Exitors due to these segments being set around the time of BFB's finale, and not in the modern day. It is also currently unknown if the efforts of the Exitors to escape is connected to 1 coming to Goiky.
  • Showdown, a 1966 Heatter-Quigley game show, is the Trope Maker. Teams of contestants competed to answer questions in a format similar to what would be used on Hot Potato, with players who answered wrong being dropped through the floor and eliminated from the game.
  • Musical Chairs, a 1975 game show hosted by Adam Wade, featured eliminated contestants being pulled backwards through a wall while still in their chairs during the final round.
  • The Video Game from 1984 featured the Res-Off Round, in which contestants had to navigate the Lovely Assistant through a maze of lighted squares; guiding her to a wrong square resulted in the contestant being "de-resed" (made to "disappear" by means of special camera effects).
  • Remote Control, the late-80's MTV game show; similar to Musical Chairs (but much more violent) and possibly the Trope Codifier. Contestants who were in last place when the TV went "Off the Air" in the second round were pulled back through the wall while being taunted by the host and announcer and serenaded with a Crowd Song by the audience.
  • Russian Roulette, where contestants answering incorrectly were forced to pull a handle in hopes that a rotating light would not land on their "drop zone" and eliminate them by the Trap Door beneath them opening and sending them through the floor.
  • Downfall (2010), where potential prizes were sent over the edge of a building via Conveyor Belt o' Doom; elimination resulted in the contestant likewise being sent over (in a controlled fall, of course).
  • Distraction featured this occasionally, in particular when the challenge involved wrestlers, nudists, or roller derby girls; the contestant who lost this round was picked up and carried off by these individuals.
  • Who's Still Standing? recycled the "hole in the floor" concept from Russian Roulette. One contestant (the "Hero") stood on a Trap Door on the center of the stage and faced off against a circle of ten competitors also standing on trap doors (the "Strangers") in a series of trivia duels. Eliminated contestants dropped ten feet into a padded room below the stage. If the Hero decided to walk away at one point and keep his or her winnings, (s)he then had the option of either walking out of the studio or by dropping through the floor. Every episode ended with host Ben Bailey (of Cash Cab fame) also dropping through the Hero's trap door.
  • The Syfy game show Total Blackout uses the mechanic in a slightly different way. After each round, the remaining contestants stand in front of trap doors and, on Jaleel White's command, are told to jump onto them. The contestant with the least amount of points in the round drops out of the game, while the other contestants' doors stay shut.
  • BrainSurge: Contestants locked in their guesses during the second round by sitting on a chair covered in Whoopee Cushions. The first two players to answer incorrectly were greeted by farts and then pulled backwards through paper "teeth" on a giant model of the host's face.
    • The Brain Drain, an ear-shaped water slide with "ear wax", may also qualify; eliminated contestants, as well as those who lose the Bonus Round, are sent down it.
  • Came up just before the Jack Attack in the TV series of You Don't Know Jack, where the eliminated contestant would be made to disappear using a CGI effect.
  • Inverted by Masters of the Maze, where the member of the winning team that had run the maze was disintegrated into a floating ball of particles via CGI and sent on a "special journey" through the set and into the game's giant monitor.
  • GamesMaster a UK show based around video games. Occasionally the mysterious guardian who awarded winnners with joysticks would also escort particularly dreadful challengers into a smoke filled pit within the arena. This was only however done in exceptional cases and the host would consult GM himself for a final decision to do this. On one occasion a girl was released the following week by her boyfriend winning a challenge.
    • The 2021 reboot goes full in on this trope with the Abyss. Losers are ejected from the show (via the magic of Green Screen and goofy acting) by being thrown down a shaft and into a pit of molten lava. Adding insult to fatal injury, the GamesMaster (Sir Trevor McDonald) also delivers a Bond One-Liner at their expense.
  • The 2018 British series Take The Tower has series host Dolph Lundgren push contestants who fail their challenges out of the top floor window of a skyscraper. We the viewers got to see them fall via Chroma Key and CGI.
  • In The Adventure Game, contestants who failed the final challenge would be "evaporated". Of course, it was explained that being evaporated was not fatal, but still, nothing like being a child watching your favourite celebrities, As Themselves, dissolving into nothing because they messed up on a giant Minesweeper game.
  • The reality competition House of Villains has contestants who get banished from the house pulled backwards into a wall whilst sitting in a chair.
  • The Medium Blending quiz show, Skatoony did this to losing contestants whether they be human or not. Subverted in the sense that the children obviously weren't being flung around, so all of it is VFX.
  • After an elimination vote in Big Brother, the housemate will be made to leave the Big Brother House. Oftentimes, while live on TV, as well, just to rub salt in the wound.
  • Ant and Dec series, I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! uses a similar format. If a celebrity is voted out, or in an extreme scenario, loses an elimination challenge, the campmate is forced to leave the Jungle, with the catchphrase to boot.
Ant and Dec: [Celebrity name here], you're a celebrity, GET YOURSELF OUT OF HERE!
  • Multiple games in The Jackbox Party Pack follow this trend.
    • Trivia Murder Party 1 & 2: If you lose a death minigame, or disconnect, you die. Audience players are immune to death.
    • Push the Button: This literally befalls all the human players if you can't determine all the aliens either in-time, before you run out of button presses, or at all.
    • The Poll Mine: You're kept inside the Poll Mine, FOREVER!
    • Roomerang: Big Brother rules.
    • Dodo Re Mi: If you don't satisfy the plant behind you, it eats you.

This trope serves as the main premise of the following:

  • One Hundred And One Ways To Leave A Gameshow: Exactly What It Says on the Tin; each eliminated contestant was ejected in whatever bizarre way the producers could come up with.
  • Exit (2013), a show on Syfy where contestants had to answer questions to escape from rooms filled with Malevolent Architecture that would otherwise end up "killing" them.
  • Ejector Seat, a UK offering in which contestants who answer questions incorrectly move backwards in their chairs toward the end of a long track; during this, they are bombarded with questions, and a correct answer will stop the chair, but if they reach the end by failing to stop their chairs, they are tipped backwards and ejected from the studio in a cloud of smoke. If a contestant survives the all or nothing final round, they get ejected anyway.
  • "Know or Go", a game played on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Contestants are placed in a high platform and asked simple trivia questions; one wrong answer and a Trap Door dropped the contestant inside the platform. Most of the fun came from the contestants sweating it out as Ellen delayed the drop. In this example, though, just because you're the last player standing, it doesn't mean you're safe. Ellen will continue through the stack until you miss one, which means even if you're the winner, you get dropped anyhow.
    • The spinoff Ellen's Game of Games also has this trope as a central premise. "Know or Go" keeps the drop, but most other games have their own wacky ejections: flung through the ceiling, dunked in a slime pit, kicked offstage by a giant boot... Or several games just get the losers (and winners) Covered in Gunge.
  • Games World, a UK show based around video games, featured an Aztec theme in the final (crap) series with Andy Collins. Contestants who lost would be forcefully shoved into a hole in the top of a temple as a sacrifice. The temple was proven to be fully wheelchair accessible...
    • In earlier (far better) series hosted by Bob Mills, losers were removed from the premises by “bouncers” (read large intimidating guys... not entirely unlike Millsy himself). One of the main reasons why Mills worked as a host and Collins didn’t was that their removal played second fiddle to Bob’s mockery of their self proclaimed games playing prowess, whereas Andy Collins made being thrown down the pit the focal point of each round.

Non-game show examples:

  • A cereal commercial from the late 80's or early 90's showed several people in a dark room seated around a table, with a voice asking them about the ingredients in the cereal; the ones that said "salt" and "sugar" were speedily dropped through the floor.
  • One of the CD-ROM games based on The Magic School Bus takes place in the Costa Rican rainforest. One bit includes a game show hosted by a vain jaguar, asking questions about the wildlife. The contestants, representing various jaguar prey species, are launched into the air and straight into the waiting host's mouth upon answering incorrectly. The final contestant gets his answer right, "but I am still hungry, so I'll eat you anyway!"
  • In My Monster Secret Akane attempts to get the two leads to be more open about their feelings for each other... by setting up a mock game show in which she questions them about their relationship and each "dishonest" answer causes them to be tipped further and further toward a mud pit. Akane being Akane, she sets it up so they both end up going into the mud pit regardless of their answers.
  • Gruntz: This happens to your Gruntz in High Rollerz (essentially a Floating Continent Casino) if they are touched by a spotlight, which forces them to sing. Unfortunately they're unable to sing properly, so a hole opens below them and drops them from a great height to their death.
  • One round of the Chunin Exams early on in Boruto is hosted by Shikamaru. He asks a yes-or-no trivia question to the examinees, and they have to stand on Trap Doors labeled "yes" or "no." He explains that a wrong answer will drop them into a pit of ink and that anyone with ink on them when the round ends automatically fails the exam. True to Shikamaru's indirect nature, this round runs on Exact Words: The answer is a trick question, and every examinee gets dropped into the pit. The real purpose of this test is to see who can react quickly enough to break their fall before they reach the ink while not letting any of it splash onto themselves.
  • In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr. Evil loves to dispose of henchmen who annoy him in this manner: all the chairs at the table are rigged to dump their occupant into a pit of flames at the push of a button.
  • Danganronpa has a humorously horrifying variant for its Deadly Game: after one contestant has killed another, if the killer is correctly identified/voted off, they are ejected into one of Monokuma’s Death Traps to suffer a Cruel and Unusual Death (or “execution”, as he calls them). If someone else gets the most votes, everyone but the killer gets the punishment. The executions themselves are as over-the-top as would be expected from a real game show, and kill the losers in a way specifically tailored to their talent (for instance, baseball star Leon Kuwata gets pelted to death by baseballs). The survivors, rather than laugh and have fun as in a real show, are often left staring in horror, and sometimes break down screaming and crying at the inhumanity of it all. And yes, it is all part of an Immoral Reality Show.
  • The Crumpets has an example performed from a home. Losers of the "My Family's Full of Losers" game show are picked by a claw and thrown to the moon from their house (where it is played). This game show is hosted by the Crumpets' Evil Uncle and Aunt (who aren't in the house, instead utilizing a flying camera that transmits to their own set) and is played between family members.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Pegasus has the option to forcibly eject disqualified duelists through a trap-door and into the ocean, albeit he only uses it once on Bandit Keith who thinks it's wise to stick the man up with a gun (though Pegasus does state he doesn't care about that and is doing it because Keith was cheating in his duels).
  • Friendship Is Magic Bitch basically consists of Princess Celestia, a despotic tyrant in the short, herding ponies into her chamber to hear their problems, asking if they like bananas, and launching them to the moon via cannon no matter what they answer. It was made worlds funnier when, in an actual screen shot of the show, the ponies just happened to stand around where the trap door would benote .
  • In Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, between each round, all players are placed into small square cells in a big wall. After a drumroll, the back wall of certain cells will move forwards, pushing the losers out.
  • The Graham Norton Show has an occasional segment named and based around "the red chair", where an audience member will sit and deliver an anecdote, while Graham stands ready at a giant lever, ready to eject them from said chair if he deems the story to be boring. Very few attemptors have finished their stories.
  • In the Doctor Who episode " Bad Wolf", losing contestants of the in-universe reality and game shows are zapped with ray guns, causing them to disappear. The Doctor eventually discovers that they are being teleported to the Dalek fleet.
  • Two of the games in Squid Game have losers fall from great heights to their death, as opposed to the other games where losers are merely shot. The third game, Tug-of-war, is played over two platforms and a big gap in the middle, with both teams chained to the rope- whichever team falls in the gap is plunged to their doom. The fifth game, Glass Stepping Stones, is similar to hopscotch where each player must cross a bridge by stepping on a series of two identical-looking glass platforms, one of which will break and send a contestant falling and splattering down below.