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Explosive Stupidity

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"Yah, zis is an example of smartness here. I have said that zis is ze quick fuse. Huh? And zis is ze quick fuse." (Double Take) "Ze quick fuse???" (The building blows up.)
Franz Liebkind, The Producers
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When a character manages to unintentionally blow only themselves up with the explosives that they are carrying. The character can either be mishandling unstable explosives, or they can be a failed suicide bomber. No matter the case, the explosion is usually caused by their own stupidity, making this a case of Too Dumb to Live and often an Epic Fail. It is a good way to show the audience that the character is REALLY DEAD, because the person unfortunate enough to have this happen to them always dies instantly.

One possible outcome of riding a Nitro Express or screwing up a Powder Trail. Or Alcohol-Induced Idiocy.

Video games tend to arbitrarily exempt explosive weapons from Friendly Fireproof, seemingly just to enable this trope.

Compare Jumping on a Grenade for when a character does this to protect others from a blast (see Heroic Sacrifice), Hoist by His Own Petard for when a villain is killed by a bomb he meant for the heroes (see Karmic Death), Throw the Pin when someone holds on to the wrong part of the grenade after pulling the pin and throwing, Pineapple Surprise when someone pulls the pin on the grenade their enemy is holding, and Boom in the Hand when someone held onto a primed bomb for too long. Contrast Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb when the character is surprised by a bomb someone else planted.

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See also Dynamite Candle and Mismeasurement.

This is a Death Trope, so spoilers ARE to be expected.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Invoked in a viral video for Volkwagens. Some found it tasteless, most found it funny.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In an early episode of Hetalia: Axis Powers, Germany tried to teach Italy how to use a grenade, only to find the latter throw the grenade pin and leave the explosive hanging in his mouth. Germany stopped him before anything bad could happen, though.

    Film — Animation 
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In '71, the explosion in the pub is probably caused by this, or at least a Hair-Trigger Explosive. Probably the former.
    "They're thick as fuck!"
  • Act of Valor. A female jihadist wearing an explosive vest blows herself up when the SEAL team bursts into the room she's in. Nearby is another suicide bomber; we get a Slow Motion shot of him turning toward the fireball, then suddenly going up himself as the blast detonates his own vest.
  • In Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, a non-lethal example occurs; General Dark Onward loses his right arm by fumbling his own grenade during his first encounter with the Nerd.
  • Subverted in Battlefield Earth, as while Terl has an explosive collar strapped to his arm when he triggers the detonator that he believes will kill the hero's love interest, he doesn't die from it.
  • In The Darwin Awards, a pair of men attempting to ice fish become frustrated and use a stick of dynamite to blast a hole in the ice. The problem is their dog plays fetch with the lit dynamite and runs it back towards them. They shoot at the dog in an attempt to dissuade it, and it hides under their brand-new SUV. The dynamite goes off and sinks the SUV into the frozen lake.
  • In The Gatling Gun, Pvt. Sneed's fellow deserter stashes half the dynamite that was supposed to be used to bury the Gatling gun in the mine inside his tunic. This results in him exploding when he gets shot by the pursuing cavalry patrol.
  • In the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Hard Target, the bad guy quickly unscrews the fuse assembly from the live grenade he's been gifted with — just not quite quickly enough. What renders this explosive stupidity is that it would have been a hell of a lot quicker to just throw the damn thing away!
  • In Jojo Rabbit, the title character wants to prove himself as brave. He steals a grenade out of someone else's hands, and throws it. It hits a tree, goes back to him and explodes. His injuries aren't shown, but are heavily implied to be gruesome. He survives.
  • In The Ladykillers (2004) remake, Garth is trying to calm his coconspirators down about the stability of C4. "You could light this stuff on fire, hit it with a ham-" Actually no, you can't hit it with a hammer. Nobody dies but Garth loses a finger.
  • Narrowly averted in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Saruman is filling up a bomb with explosive powder, while Grima Wormtongue approaches while holding a lit candle. Saruman sees this just in time and pulls the torch away while giving Grima a look. In his defense, Grima clearly has no idea what it is.
  • Played with in Mom and Dad Save the World, with the Light grenade. "Pick me up!"
  • In The Producers, Franz Liebkind isn't sure whether he's used the slow fuse or the quick fuse when arming a bomb to blow up the building where he and Bialystock and Bloom are currently standing. So in order to test it, he lights it to find out. Turns out he was smart after all; he thought it was the quick fuse and so it was. ... Wait, Oh, Crap!! Nobody is killed, although Liebkind winds up in a full body cast and all of them end up in prison.
  • In Reno 911!: Miami, The Rock gets overconfident with his grenade handling and ends up turning himself into red paste.
  • In Saving Private Ryan, a soldier with a sticky bomb lights the fuse too early and spends too long trying to apply it to an enemy tank, resulting in Ludicrous Gibs when it inevitably blows up.
  • In A Fistful of Dynamite a member of Juan's gang tries to show he's as good with explosives as John the demolitions expert. It doesn't end well for him.
    John: "Short fuse."

    Literature 
  • A tragically Played for Drama example in The Overstory: an attempt at arson goes wrong when the devices set to detonate and set the place on fire explode too early, killing one character, Olivia, who is caught in the blast.
  • In Relativity, one of the bad guys springs a death-trap on the heroes while standing inside it with them. They all survive.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 1000 Ways to Die episode "Tali-Bombed", a terrorists' bomb went off prematurely because they forgot to account for daylight savings time.
  • The team on Criminal Minds point out the first victim of a bomb explosion is more often than not the culprit due to them being inexperienced with bombs.
  • An episode of CSI: Miami had some Western Terrorists planning to set off a dirty bomb in a helicopter using a bomb attached to an altimeter. In the cold opening a nervous looking man walks into an illegal rave and tells them to keep it down. Then explosions happen. It turns out he was experimenting in then next room when the impromptu party began and the vibration from the speakers in the next room set off a mercury switch (basically a very sensitive tilt switch) he'd attached to some explosives.
    • Another example saw a sicario attempt to assassinate a witness outside of a courthouse with a rocket launcher. He managed to successfully fire the shot, but failed to kill his target. The team later finds the unfortunate would-be assassin at the site of his attack. He had the bright idea to fire the rocket launcher in the enclosed space of a modern art sculpture and was burnt to a crisp by the rocket's backblast.
  • Played for laughs in Danish comedy series Finnsk Fjernsyn. In a skit about the Battle of Dybbøl in 1864, the hard-pressed Danish soldiers is issued a new revolutionary weapon: The hand grenade. The soldiers only instructions on how to use the explosive is "Pull out the pin, count to ten, and then stuff happens", upon which one of the soldiers takes out the pin, puts the grenade between his legs and starts counting...
  • In a one episode of Ghost Whisperer, a minor villain managed to kill himself after succeeding in exchanging a hostage for a special book, when his explosive device rolled off the table and onto the floor.
  • Played for laughs again on In Living Color! with Fire Marshall Bill, played by Jim Carrey. Bill's fire safety lectures would inevitably escalate into an explosive demolition of whatever building he was in, and possibly the occupants. Bill tended to survive.
  • In the German sketch show Klimbim, a soldier pulls the pin of a grenade, throws it over to the enemy, pulls the pin of a Cola bottle...and finds he mixed things up.
  • Happens twice on Lost:
    • In the first season, which resulted in the death of Dr. Arzt. This was especially jarring, since he had spent the previous minute handling the stick of unstable dynamite with extreme caution.
    • In the sixth season, when Ilana drops her bag containing dynamite on the ground and it explodes, instantly killing her. Ironically, this was just after lecturing the survivors about her ability to protect them. Of course, after the fact it was decided that the immortal Richard should carry it.
  • An episode of Malcolm in the Middle had the boys' grandpa give Reese some old war memorabilia, including a live grenade. Reese being Reese, he pulls the pin, the two of them panic, and Malcolm hastily stuffs it into the fridge before they all bolt out of the house. Cue Hal coming home from work just in time to see the bang.
  • In an episode of NCIS, two criminals were trying to blow up a computer server to get rid of files... and ended up hitting a gas main, literally incinerating themselves in the blast.
  • Only Fools and Horses: Happened offscreen to Freddie "The Frog" Robdal, who sat on his own detonator during a post office heist.
  • In The Outer Limits (1995) episode "From Within", a man with fetal alcohol syndrome needs to use explosives. No one else can, as he's the only one immune to the mind control worms due to his conditions. It doesn't help matters that his father died from misusing explosives. Needless to say, everyone but him is terrified he'll mess up. Surprisingly, it all worked out.
  • Played for laughs in The Red Green Show with explosives enthusiast Edgar Montrose. He's lost most of his hearing, several fingers and is permanently emitting a waft of smoke from his singed clothing. He claims he can fix anything with explosives, but even Red himself seems afraid of his methods, which says a lot about how Edgar embodies the spirit of this trope.
  • In The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Jeopardy Room", the bad guys are killed in the end when a mook absentmindedly answers a phone that his boss turned into a bomb.
  • On Unforgettable a bunch of treasure hunters make home-made explosives in order to blast their way into a sealed room. One blows himself testing them out and another poisons himself through careless handling of the toxic chemicals. The cops stop their accomplice from setting the explosives off under a busy New York City subway station and potentially killing hundreds of people.
  • Westside: In "Dire Combustion", explosives expert Dougal blows off half his hide while attempting to blow open the doors of an armoured car follwing an Armed Blag.

    Music 

    Radio 
  • In one episode of The Men from the Ministry One and Two are trying to get to House of Parliament through the sewers because the package Mr. Lamb left there during their inspection has been mistaken for a bomb and the area is sealed by police and military. In the sewers Lennox-Brown drops the flashlight in water, and Lamb lights up a match to help, not realizing it'll lit the flammable gasses of the sewers.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Goblins are occasionally issued with explosives, which - given that a goblin genius is at best a barely functional human - rarely ends well for anyone, especially not the goblin. Goblin Kaboomist and Goblin Bangchuckers are among the less incompetent ordnance technicians, in that with toughness pump they have a chance to survive the injury they have a 50/50 chance of inflicting upon themselves.

    Video Games 
  • In The Binding of Isaac it's easy to blow yourself up with your own bombs if you don't get away from them in time. Items which increase the effective blast radius like Mr. Mega and Bomber Boy increase the likelihood of this happening. There are also items like Dr. Fetus, Ipecac and Fire Mind that make you fire explosive shots or bombs instead of your tears. These can be hard enough to use on their own, but then you add in items that make your shots explode near you, such as Loki's Horns or Tiny Planet, and it becomes nearly impossible not to hit yourself. This in enforced in the Suicide King challenge, which starts you with My Reflection (which makes your shots come back to you) + Ipecac. There are also familiars which explode on contact with enemies such as BBF and Bob's Brain, if said enemies are close to you then you will also be caught in the blast. All of this can be averted with either Host Hat or Pyromaniac, which prevent you from taking damage from explosions.
  • In Blaster Master Zero, it's possible to blow yourself up if you fire a Cannon Shot too close to SOPHIA when low on health. This drawback is removed if you fulfill the requirements to obtain SOPHIA ZERO.
  • Common in Bomberman, though some later games in the series make bombs color-coded to somewhat lessen the confusion.
    • It's also extremely common in single player when trying to set up chain reactions or blocking your only way out of a dead-end with a bomb. So common, in fact, that the game have a special Oh, Crap! expression for the player character for when he's bombed himself into a corner.
  • Borderlands 2 gave us the DLC Sky Rocket grenade, a firework-style explosive with an unpredictable travel path, massive blast radius, and equally insane damage. It's probably the #1 cause of stupid grenade-related accidental suicides in the game, which is impressive considering some of the other ridiculous grenades you can get.
  • In Bug Hunt, which is set on a space station, attempting to use the frag grenade as a normal weapon causes a Non Standard Game Over. You can also blow yourself up by taking off on the shuttle after rigging it to explode.
  • Some of the quotes from the Orks in Dawn of War imply this happens to their boyz quite a lot:
    "'old on to the pin. Throw the uvver part."
  • Fallout3 has this as the most effective way to advance a quest; during the Wasteland Survival Guide quest, there is a task to take yourself below half health and cripple a limb, and nothing does that quite like frag grenades bounced off walls at one's own feet.
  • In Fallout 4, one should never equip a companion with explosive weapons, lest they bounce a grenade off a wall at you or set off a missile or mini-nuke too close to you. Fortunately, there's a perk which among other benefits makes you immune to friendly fire from your companion, which changes giving them access to high explosives from potentially lethal to merely annoying.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has one posthumous instance with the previous lorekeeper of the Boomers. To quote the current one...
    Whiskey and landmines don't go together.
  • In F.E.A.R., it is not uncommon for Replicas to bounce grenades off walls back at themselves.
  • Future Tactics subverts this beautifully. The first few levels feature enemy creatures that strap dynamite to their backs and explode when they get in range, damaging you but killing them. It's much later in the game that you learn the creatures have a machine that revives them if they die, so they can blow themselves up all they want and live to fight another day.
  • Game & Watch: Not only can the smoking soldier blow up the bomb in your hands in Mario's Bombs Away, but Mario also has to dodge the oil spill he keeps setting ablaze.
  • In a very rare non-lethal example, Arms Dealer Phil Cassidy's last mission in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City involved preventing this by driving Phil to a doctor after he blew off his arm with a bomb while drunk on his home-made moonshine, explaining why he was missing the limb in 3.
  • Any explosive in Halo can kill its user with just the slightest application of incompetence. Most commonly, the Plasma Grenade will occasionally adhere to its user, or their friends, at the worst time. Non-sticky grenades and fuel rod rounds can ricochet a surprising number of times and don't always detonate on impact, leading to more than a few embarrassing self-frags for players and AI alike. Rare is the player who has not had at least one accidental teamkill or suicide from an explosive of some description.
  • Henry Stickmin Series: Escaping the Prison has Henry attempt to fend off guards with a grenade, which bounces back into the room he's hiding in and explodes.
    Henry: What the -? (grenade explodes, taking Henry with it)
  • Used in the backstory of demolitions 'expert' Marty 'Kaboom' Moffat from Jagged Alliance to explain his abysmally low Wisdom score (The lowest in the series.) as having stood too close to too many explosions and failed bomb disarmings, leaving him with significant memory and cognitive issues.
  • In most The Legend of Zelda games, you'll harm yourself if you don't get clear of an explosion you caused with your own bombs or bomb arrows. This includes shooting a bomb arrow at an enemy that is in point blank range.
    • Breath of the Wild adds using bomb arrows on Death Mountain into the mix, as the place is so hot that everything wooden instantly combusts. Meaning that if Link is dumb enough to pull one out while traversing the place, it'll blow up the second Link tries to draw the arrow.
  • Minecraft: Did you accidentally scroll-wheel to the flint and steel while running along the expanse of TNT you set up for blasting terrain or for demolition? And did you accidentally click the mouse? Hope you have backup tools, foodstuffs, materials, and weapons in various wooden chests; everything you had on you got blown to bits along with your body.
  • Prevalent in Overwatch. Pharah's rockets, Soldier: 76's Helix Rockets, and Tracer's Pulse Bomb can all damage the user, possibly killing them if used improperly. D.Va's Self Destruct, Junkrat's grenades, and Junkrat's RIP-tire used to be able to do this, before the devs realized it was near inevitable, especially when the fuse on D.Va's Self Destruct was shortened by a full second.
  • Mishandled bomb rocks in the original Pikmin can inadvertently wipe out a good chunk of your troops if you're unlucky.
  • Pokémon has two moves, Selfdestruct and Explosion, that inflict massive Normal damage at the cost of the attacking Pokémon's entire HP. Ways to make this backfire include using it on Ghost Pokémon (which are immune to Normal attacks) and using it when you have only one Pokémon left, resulting in an immediate game over afterwards.
  • Tangos in Rainbow Six 3 sometimes, upon hearing your footsteps through a wall, proceed to throw a grenade at the wall and blow themselves up. Even better if there's a window they could have just shot you through.
    • There is also a part in one of the levels where an Exploding Barrel sits right behind a door. Use a breaching charge on it, and you can say goodbye to half of your team.
  • Red Dead Redemption contains a random encounter involving a couple of guys transporting TNT barrels. At some point, one the men mentions lighting a cigar while sitting on of said barrels. Players more intelligent than said character will take that as their cue to run the hell away.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 has two not very bright thieves attempting to open a stolen safe with dynamite. When Arthur rolls along, it distracts them just long enough for them to get blown to kingdom come.
  • The ganados in Resident Evil 4 obviously haven't learned explosive safety, as they frequently frag themselves and each other with dynamite or tripwire mines. As usual, Leon can also injure or kill himself with misthrown grenades or Exploding Barrels.
  • In The Revenge of Shinobi and Shinobi III, using the Mijin jutsu (a technique that heavily damages all enemies in the area and gives you another use of a jutsu of your choice at the expense of one of your lives) while you're on your last life will result in an automatic Game Over. To drive this point home, Joe's exploded body parts will simply fall off the screen instead of regenerating him.
  • In Robo Warrior, getting caught in the blast radius of one of your own bombs will burn off half of your energy. This can be especially troublesome if you've boxed yourself into a corner due to the game's Ratchet Scrolling.
  • Space Quest IV has an item simply labeled "unstable ordnance." Guess what happens if you pick it up and leave it in your inventory. Intelligence is actually rewarded with it, as if you take it you can then put it back where you found it and receive one Last Lousy Point.
  • If you have the Utwig Bomb in your inventory in Star Control II, clicking on it (the usual way to activate an object in your cargo) will blow up your ship and end your game.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront has a particularly impressive line in it, with AI troops so enthusiastic with badly aimed grenade spam that it's not uncommon to get troopers listed as their own Nemesis, meaning they killed themselves more often than the other team did.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: One type of PvP is a Blood Sport called Huttball. After play-testing revealed that people tended to hog the ball and turtle around it, a new game mechanic was added: The ball is now made of uranium, and if a player hogs the ball too long, the Hutts will get bored and detonate it.
  • In Street Fighter the ninja girl Ibuki actually averts this. Her bombs do not affect her and many of the bomb's usage actually work optimally when the bomb explodes. Professional player Xian would even use the explosion effect itself to hide where Ibuki was actually standing and even hide the startup of her slow overhead to give the opponent less time to visually react.
  • Most forms of explosives in the Super Smash Bros. series are not subject to damage discrimination and can potentially blow up both the user and their victims should they decide to throw it at too close of a range.
    • Snake's C4 in particular can be subject to this, as if it's used right next to an opponent, it can be planted directly on them. However, it can be transferred by contact and can be very difficult to see due to its small size, meaning if you don't pay attention to the tell-tale "sticky" noise it makes when it switches victims, you could very well end up blowing yourself up.
  • Tallowmere lets you use grenades and rocket launchers as weapons, but allowing one to explode too close to you is a good way to get yourself killed.
  • Team Fortress 2: More than a couple of Demomen have blown themselves up with their own remote detonation Sticky Bombs by forgetting where they put them... or forgetting that while the unlockable Scottish Resistance usually requires them to look at the mines they wish to detonate, it will also trigger any that they happen to be standing near as well (originally meant to make the bomb jumping tactic easier). There's also the Ullapool Caber, which is an old-fashioned stick-grenade... that you use as a melee weapon. Once. Quoth the item description in-game, "A sober person would throw it."
  • Terraria allows the player to craft Bouncy Dynamite, which is exactly what it sounds like - dynamite sticks that bounce off all surfaces with no loss of momentum, making it exceptionally good for blowing your own legs off. Even the item's tooltip states that "This will prove to be a terrible idea". The only slightly better Sticky Bomb and its variants are just as bad—it adheres on contact, so you can throw it into the ceiling block above you and summarily blow yourself to pixelated bits.
  • In Uncharted, the ability to shoot enemies to drop their grenades whilst prepping them combines with them standing out in the open for some incredibly easy kills from time to time.
  • Also common in Worms if one is careless. The lower AI levels sometimes even deliberately aim to hit themselves, frequently doing no damage to anyone else.
    • One of the cutscenes in Worms 2 has a worm try to blow up a rival by throwing a grenade at him, only to somehow throw the pin instead and keep hold of the grenade. He still has time to laugh, realise his error and then make an Oh, Crap! expression before the eventual explosion.

    Web Comics 
  • In the Bloodsuckers Are Not Sexy arc of Fafnir The Dragon, one of the vampires is an expert with grenades... only he wound up throwing the pins at Vlad the Impaler. It ends exactly how you'd expect.
  • Concerned has Frohman's first encounter with snipers.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • The demolitions expert lives up to his namesake. In his defense, somebody really did mess with his detonator and his eyes so that he would mess up the red button and the green one in an attempt to kill him while making it look like this trope.
    • A group of thugs try tossing an anti-matter grenade at Schlock only for it to bounce off a wall and explode at their feet. Or as Schlock prefers to put it, "They committed suicide when they saw me coming."
    • Pibald manages it again during the "Massively Parallel" arc by setting a mine that, thanks to a bit of poor planning, would go off when their employer — a robotic king built from a damaged tank — approaches.note  While everyone concerned survive, the incident gives us the phrase "negligent regicide".

    Web Original 
  • Gavin Free is not good with explosives, as seen in various Worms and Counter Strike games. The latter is due to a combination of unfamiliarity with the controls and plain bad luck, while the former is due to a Complexity Addiction when he'll try to perform an intricate strategy to kill his opponents' worms, only for his own incompetence to kick in and he bungles the throw or blocks himself off from escape.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    Caboose: Not my fault. Someone put a wall in my way.
    • This happens again in the Chorus trilogy during one of many attempts of trying to get one over on Felix, albeit fortunately with a flashbang grenade.
    Tucker: Does anyone have a fucking grenade?
    Smith: I gave mine to Caboose.
    Tucker: You what?!
    Caboose: Fire in the hole. (throws the flashbang into the wall in front of him which goes off)
  • Soviet Womble's incompetence with thrown explosives appears as a Running Gag in multiple games, most prominently CS:GO, often throwing his flashbangs, smoke grenades, and in at least one occasion an actual frag grenade at inconvenient angles or aimless trajectories that only result in screwing himself and/or his teammates over.

    Western Animation 
  • In American Dad!, Steve is planning on blowing up Roger with fireworks (don't worry, he's fireproof) because a hot girl said that she'd let Steve feel her breasts if he did something cool and dangerous. He lights "The Finger-Blaster" to start the pile, but it goes off in his hand, blowing off his thumb. The girl is still impressed, but his hand has been numbed by the paramedics when she makes good on her promise and she takes it the wrong way when he complains that he can't feel anything.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse, one of the many clones of Rhomboid and Octagon are killed by Rhomboid's misuse of a hand-grenade.
    Octagon: You just take the pin out and throw it.
  • On Family Guy, Peter blows his fingers off before he finishes naming a firework
    I took 10 M80s and stuck 'em together. I call it Peter Griffin's Bunker Busting Mega Ultra Super....*BOOM*
  • Humorously subverted in an episode of Futurama: Fry, Leela, and Bender are being pursued by the evil Robot Santa, who fires a nuclear missile at them when they run into an elevator. The missile's warhead falls into the car; the next shot shows the trio running from Santa's ice palace with Leela carrying the warhead for some reason. She stops and comments "Wait—this is what we're running from!" before throwing it back inside.
  • This is a fairly common gag in Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and other cartoons from The Golden Age of Animation. Though you can expect the characters to live most of the time.
    • This gets Double Subverted in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Operation: Rabbit". Bugs hands Wile E. Coyote a lit stick of dynamite instead of a pen to sign his will. Wile E. catches on quickly and douses the fuse, but is too busy bragging about it to notice the lit fuse on the other end until it's too late.
  • One Robot Chicken skit had a couple of soldiers firing at a shed. They then have a pin thrown at them. We briefly hear "oh, you idio-" before the shack explodes.
  • The Simpsons: In "Three Men and a Comic Book", there is a flashback to Mrs Glick's brother Asa, who dies in World War I when he pulls the pin on a grenade and then delivers an extended And This Is for... speech, with the emphasis on extended.
  • Super Mario World has one of these in the Christmas Episode. When King Koopa steals the gifts, a stowaway Oogtar unwraps one to reveal a lit Bob-omb, and hands it to Koopa in a panic. Instead of throwing the explosive away like anyone with the basest of survival instincts, he did this:
    King Koopa: Stop! You're not supposed to go off till Christmas– KABOOM!morning.

    Real Life 
  • There are true stories of suicide bombers accidentally blowing only themselves up because their bombs went off too early. They deserved it.
    • A couple of Palestinian terrorists built a bomb with a timer while in their home, planning to make it go off in Israel. However, Daylight Saving Time was observed in Israel but not Palestine, meaning the bomb went off while it - and they - were still in the car. They won a Darwin Award right there.
    • A Russian bomber died when his remote controlled bomb went off while he was transporting it to the Moscow airport. He had rigged a cell phone detonator and a telemarketer called him during transit.
      • A similar case involved a bomb that was supposed to go off at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Except it wasn't a telemarketer, it was the cell phone company sending a "Happy New Year" text to all customers, but a few hours earlier.
    • A pair of terrorists once tried to blow up the Thomas Jefferson Cultural Center in Manila in 1991. They tried to set the bomb in the middle of the night, using a device rigged with a digital reader to count down the time. They armed it, but forgot what they set the time to. They check the time on the highly volatile explosives with a zippo lighter...but this is not what makes them fall under this trope. What makes them fall into this trope is that they set the bomb down upside down, and suddenly realized that when they set the bomb for five minutes they actually set it for five seconds. Surprisingly, one of the bombers actually survived and was caught in a local hospital.
    • Terrorists try to set up a roadside bomb, not knowing they're being watched by a helicopter gunship which is getting ready to blow them sky-high. Until the bomb blows up unintentionally. "Oh! Never mind", goes the Apache pilot.
  • Several of Guy Fawkes's Gunpowder Plot co-conspirators injured themselves with an accidental explosion while preparing for a daring last stand against the militia that had come to arrest them. During the chase, their personal supply of gunpowder (for their muskets and pistols) had been soaked by rain, rendering it unusable, so they spread it out in front of an open fire in hopes it would dry out more quickly.
  • Joke/urban legend: an Iraqi terrorist sent a mail bomb with insufficient postage and got it sent back to him.
  • In Northern Ireland, it wasn't unknown for an Irish terrorist to accidentally immolate himself with his own bomb. British security forces dryly referred to this sort of incident as an own goal.
    • One rather famous screw-up happened when someone forgot to take into account the backblast from a rocket-propelled grenade launcher when firing it from a concealed position in a van... a van in which they were also storing a large amount of explosives. They didn't even hit the VIP's car they were aiming at.
    • "There were so many killed by premature bomb blasts that NO ONE in the IRA wanted to work with explosives." - Shane Paul O'Doherty, a former IRA Bomb-maker who reformed in Prison. Cracked has an interview with him here.
    • During this same time in Northern Ireland, government agents transported sensitive documents in special briefcases armed with explosives to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. They featured a safety pin and two hooks preventing the briefcase from opening all the way until they were slid down with a long metal object (typically a coat hanger) and would detonate the briefcase if pushed down without the safety pin in place. Naturally someone didn't have a coat hanger and removed the safety pin and used it to push the triggers out of the way. They got a Darwin award.
  • A thankfully non-lethal example occurs in this video showing a flub by Norwegian armed forces. They fail at performing a breach-and-clear, but succeed in finding a way to flashbang themselves with a stun grenade. There's even a moment where the door briefly pushes open from the blast pressure with a flash of detonation behind it—the whole effect comes across somewhere between Red vs. Blue and Looney Tunes.
  • The Soviet-made RPG-7 anti-tank rocket has the warhead exposed at the end of the firing tube. The warhead is fitted with an impact fuse, which has a protective cap to be removed just before firing. It's a very common weapon throughout Afghanistan and the Middle East, leading to numerous instances of poorly-trained militia fighters removing the nose-cap and arming the warhead to save time before firing, only to bump into a wall or trip over something and blow themselves and all their companions to smithereens.
  • At the Second Battle of Galveston during the American Civil war, Admiral William Renshaw managed to get his flagship, the Westfield stuck aground. When the Confederates proposed a cease fire for surrender negotiations, Renshaw decided he would take this opportunity to blow up his flagship and transfer command to another vessel. After most of the crew abandoned ship, Renshaw and a small rowing team personally rigged the ship to explode and made there escape, only to watch Westfield fail to explode. Renshaw and his team then violated navy protocols and common sense by quickly rowed back. They found, to their probable horror, that the fuses leading to the magazines were simply burning slowly. They apparently failed to extinguish them in time and the Westfield exploded with Renshaw and his team. Ironically the confusion this caused gave the rest of Renshaw's fleet an opening to escape and prompted the Union ground forces (who were severely outnumbered) to surrender, decisions that saved thousands of lives. If he'd intended it, he would have been a hero.
  • It's said that the single most stressful day for a Drill Instructor at Boot Camp is the day they run grenade training. Numerous videos from various armed forces show the mishaps that can happen during training. Some are intense as the Instructors grab the trainee and run like hell. Some are hilarious because they trained with smoke grenades and get a face full of smoke.
  • An example involving gasoline instead of explosives: A man in Iowa killed two women and decided to set fire to the apartment to cover it up. For some reason, he thought it was a good idea to light up a cigarette while pouring gasoline through the apartment. Predictably, he dropped the cigarette and not only suffered severe burns in the ensuing blaze, he left behind both his glasses and the cigarette, which allowed the police to link him to the murders.

"What the—Oh sh—" KABOOM!
 
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Belt of Grenades

Henry throws the grenade at the guards but it comes back to him before he can close the door.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

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Main / ExplosiveStupidity

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Main / ExplosiveStupidity

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