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Elevator Buttons Mash

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"It looks like a Christmas tree!"

A person in an elevator car pushes buttons for several or all the floors. Among the reasons:

  • It may be a kid on an elevator who hits all the elevator buttons as a prank. The buttons light up when pressed so other patrons know they don't have to press them again and the kid wants to light them all up.
  • The person may be trying to get the elevator to move. This might happen outside the elevator, when the person pushes both the "up" and "down" buttons despite only wishing to go in one direction or the other. Generally signals impatience on the part of the person, a breakdown of the machinery, or both.
  • The person has a specific reason for making the car stop on multiple floors. Perhaps they're fleeing pursuer(s) and want to slow them down. Perhaps it's a Dying Clue.


    open/close all folders 

  • The Chick-Fil-A cow does this to a guy in an elevator eating a hamburger.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Yotsuba tries this when she visits Miura's apartment building for the first time. She doesn't have a real reason for it; she just likes when the lights turn on. Ena stops her, and makes up some lie about how the elevator will explode if too many buttons are pushed.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Rowdyruff Boys story "Father Knows Worst" (Cartoon Network Action Pack #2), Brick pushes all the buttons of an elevator as panicked citizens enter it to escape a catastrophe.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, a Chinese boy does this while riding the elevator the Big Bad and his bodyguards are taking to his secret biowarfare lab in a Hong Kong skyscraper. This slows him down, giving Lara Croft time to break into the lab before he arrives.
  • When an elevator stalls in You've Got Mail a person hits all of the buttons in a vain attempt to get the thing to go somewhere.
  • Elf: Buddy presses all the buttons to make them light up like a Christmas tree, then exits at his floor leaving the other elevator users to stop at every floor.
  • Happens in Serendipity, as one of the Contrived Coincidences that keep the leads apart.
  • Aliens. Ripley frantically hits the buttons on the service elevator, as she's being chased by a pissed-off Queen Alien and the entire station is exploding around her. An elevator arrives just in time to save her, but unfortunately, her button-pushing summons a second elevator which the Queen uses to follow her up to the landing pad.
  • Being chased by a mysterious assassin in Three Days of the Condor, Joe Turner (Robert Redford) and Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway) flee her apartment via elevator. Before the door closes the assassin gets on. So do some teenagers, easing the tension. Then the teenagers playfully push all the buttons and get off! It is a tense ride as the elevator stops at every floor. The suave assassin says, with a little smile, "Kids", but he does not assassinate them at that time.
  • In Molly (1999), Molly presses every button in an elevator because she likes the way the lights look, to the annoyance of the eight or so other people on the elevator.
  • There's a variation in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom when the people inside the lift don't have the security code to get it going. One man does know the code so he shoves a woman aside so he can enter it into the keypad. Unfortunately she sees a raptor and screams her head off, alerting the predator to their presence.

  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children do this when they're in the Hotel Denouement, and they're trying to slow down the antagonists. Their father taught them to do it.
  • Corduroy Lost and Found: Corduroy does this at first thinking that the elevator's buttons are part of some sort of game. Afterwards he does this think that the entire elevator is some sort of rocket.
  • Fudge: Discussed in Superfudge; as Peter talks to Henry the elevator operator about how he and his family will be moving to Princeton for the next year, Henry brings up the time that Fudge got into his elevator and pressed all the buttons at once, jamming up the works for two hours.
  • In Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, the main character does this to her nemesis Cynthia whenever they're in the elevator together.
  • Janie from More Than Human does this as a young child because the elevator's stupidity in stopping at every floor amuses her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow. Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak enter an elevator planning to exit via the roof hatch to infiltrate a restricted area. Unfortunately despite Felicity fanatically hitting the Door Close button, someone gets into the lift with them. Oliver 'accidentally' knocks some papers he's carrying so he has to get out of the lift to pick them up.
  • In the Doctor Who story "Paradise Towers", set in an enormously tall apartment building, the Kangs do this, and the protagonists get stuck in an elevator they've done it to while fleeing from the monsters. (Fun fact: Something like this actually happened to story author Stephen Wyatt; he brought it up on the DVD commentary.)
  • In Workaholics, while the guys (minus Ders) & Alice are high on acid at a hotel, Blake mashes the up and down buttons like he's playing a manic arcade game.
  • Kung Fu: The Legend Continues: Two flowergirls do it at the hotel where a wedding reception is being held. When they stop at a floor that's under renovation Peter sees an AK-47 being held by a Janitor Impersonation Infiltration guy who kept his back to the elevator (Peter seeing the reflection in some brightly polished marble tiles) leading to the plot of the episode.
  • In an episode of Ellery Queen (the TV version), a dying man pushes certain buttons in an elevator to indicate the office number of his killer.
  • In one episode of Leverage, Nate does this from outside the elevator- his team are on the top floor, and Sterling is taking the lift up. To slow him down, Nate takes the stairs and runs to hit the Call button on the elevator on every floor.
  • In the Charmed episode "I've Got You Under My Skin'', as Prue is hurrying to make it to her interview at Buckland auction house, and telekinetically makes it happen. Though it turns out one of the other passengers was the person she was supposed to meet with.
  • An episode of Law & Order had a dead body found in an elevator. Using the elevator stop history, they initially determined the floor that the elevator was on before the body was found. An office worker on that floor had initially called for an elevator but went back to his office to retrieve a few items. It was later determined that the elevator in question was also involved in a "double call" where both the up and down buttons were pressed in order so that the murderer was not on the same floor as the dead person and the elevator sent in a different direction so that the murderer could escape.
  • On Elementary, Sherlock offends the janitor at the hospital. So when the two end up in the elevator, the janitor gets his revenge by pushing all the buttons as he leaves.
  • Kate Bishop does this in the final episode of Hawkeye (2021) in an attempt to delay Yelena from reaching Clint, much to Yelena's annoyance.

  • Used to iconic effect in the music video for PSY's "Gentleman", his follow up to "Gangnam Style". This is one of many douchebag moves he performs on hapless Korean celebrities throughout the music video (in this case, doing so just as Yoo Jae-Suk stumbles in with obvious signs of bowel movement issues).
  • The video for the Radiohead song "Lift" features lead vocalist Thom Yorke being forced to stop on every floor of an elevator ride and interact with strange characters because a blonde girl at the beginning of the video pressed all of the buttons at once.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Ellen DeGeneres commented one time during a stand-up routine how somebody would repeatedly press the same elevator button over and over again, thinking that the elevator is going to respond faster with repeated presses.

    Video Games 
  • In an elevator chase sequence in Mass Effect 3, the player's ally Commander Bailey exploits the fact that Everything Is Online in the Citadel to remotely press all the buttons in the villain's elevator. Unfortunately, said villain hops to another elevator and makes sure to disable the remote control circuits on this one.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Dorkly Originals short, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Elevator Troubles, a businessman named David Crussman does this in the elevator the Turtles are battling the Foot Clan Soldiers in, providing the explanation as to why it stops at every floor. Crussman is absolutely no help in this situation, as not only does he let the Foot Clan Soldiers in the elevator at one point, he complains that the elevator is taking too long. And just to add insult to injury, he eats the pizza the Turtles were planning to use to refill their health.
  • RWBY: Alluded to when Ruby walks in a bit late for her debriefing for having encountered an enemy spy at Beacon. "Someone accidentally pushed all the buttons in the elevator on the way up... it wasn't me."

    Web Comics 
  • A Brawl in the Family strip has the Space Pirates pull this on Samus.
  • In College Roomies from Hell!!!, this is one of the stunts Blue pulls in a bid to appear to be everywhere at once and thus fix herself in Dave's mind. She appears to be leaving the apartment building as Dave enters the elevator, but she has pressed the buttons for every floor and, during the elevator's slow upward journey, she sprints up the stairs and arrives back at the guys' apartment ahead of Dave.

    Western Animation 
  • In Robert Rankin's The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, Jack is tempted to do this, having never been in an elevator before, but Eddie scolds him not to... but not before he's pushed one button for a floor he didn't mean to get off on.
  • Rugrats (1991): Angelica does this when her mom takes her to work in "Mommy's Little Assets", causing the elevator to stop at every floor rather than go straight to the top as planned. It apparently took so long to get to Charlotte's floor, her assistant Jonathan was worried she'd been abducted by eco-terrorists again.
  • This is treated very dramatically in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode Dirtfoot. Meatwad pushes all the buttons in the "Old, abandoned elevator" complete with 2D Visuals, 3D Effects, an Orbital Shot and Awesome Music.
    Meatwad: Which button do I push? All of 'em. I'm pressing all of 'em.
    Frylock: NOOOOOOOOO!
    Shake: Just kidding. There's only one floor.
  • Bloo in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends does this when he rides in an elevator with Mac, saying "Ooh, buttons!" He misses one and deliberately goes back and presses it.
  • Bobby does this in King of the Hill wandering around the hospital, bored, while Hank sees the doctor for his constipation problem. He exits the elevator pressing every button, while a man and a doctor wheeling a birthing mother enters. The door closes and after a few floor dings, "WAAAH!"
  • Kon does this in the Grojband episode "Love in a Nethervator" when the band boards onto a Hellevator.
    Kon: "Hey, if we're riding this thing to our fiery deaths, I wanna have fun."
  • Baby Plucky does this in Tiny Toon Adventures at one point "Elevator go down the hole..."
  • In the first episode of Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, Dwayne accidentally presses all the buttons on the elevator.
  • In one episode of Phineas and Ferb, Dr. Doofenshmirtz pranks Perry the Platypus by meeting him at the elevator and immediately sending him back to the lobby. Perry retaliates by riding back up on a different elevator, tricking Doof into entering the first one, then hitting the buttons for all the floors.
  • Chowder, in the episode "The Blackout", needs to descend to the basement of the Tower O' Power to restore power to Marzipan City (after he caused it by turning everything electrical on, exciting him with POWER). After trying to figure out which button is the basement button, Chowder becomes excited with POWER again and presses all the buttons.
  • Bart does this at a hotel in The Simpsons episode "Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington".
  • In the Dennis the Menace (1986) episode, "The Big Candied Apple", Dennis does this when he rides the elevator of the Empire State Building with Henry, Alice, and Dr. Meeker, resulting in the elevator bouncing up and down. While Dennis enjoys the ride, Henry, Alice, and Dr. Meeker do not.
  • DuckTales (2017): The episode "Louie's Eleven" features Louie and the Three Caballeros scheming to perform at an exclusive party, where Daisy Duck is the party planner. Donald's job is to stall her and steal her stage pass, so he gets into her elevator and pretends to trip against all the buttons.
  • TaleSpin: In "On a Wing and a Bear", Baloo decides to search for a new career after he fails his test to get his pilot's license renewed. One of the jobs he gets is an elevator operator at a department store. To his horror, two of his customers are Ralph Throgmorton, his driving instructor, and Kathy, his granddaughter, both of whom caused him to mess up his previous jobs by insisting he do his tasks in alphabetical order. As a result of their orders, Baloo gets confused and presses every button on the elevator, causing it to drop down to the basement, after which, both Ralph and Kathy Throgmorton demand the department store fire Baloo.

    Real Life 
  • Don't try this in real life, as it can be a nuisance for other passengers, especially in buildings with many floors. Some elevators have mechanisms to prevent this, often using the measured weight of all passengers in the car to impose a variable limit on how many floor buttons can be lit up. Ultimately, it might be faster to get out soon and just take the stairs.



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