An episode in a Sitcom where a character wants to break a record to be remembered for posterity. The bad part: the character tries with nearly every imaginable record, just to fail miserably. Over and over again.
Most of the time, the character will end up beating an obscure and rather unknown record, often "Highest Quantity of Failed Record Attempts in a Row". But a few times, the perseverance (or sometimes the luck) is prized with a real record—although it may be an Overly Narrow Superlative.
Named for the Guinness World Records, the most well-known compilation of world records in the English-speaking world. Attempts in TV shows will often be for similar but fictitious Records books — probably because the rigorous rules set by the Guinness people get in the way of the comedy, as well as "Guinness" being a registered trademark.
- The gag manga Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku had Kotetsu trying a world record after picking up a Kinness Book from the library after his mother forced him to read a book rather than a comic. He suffered from many failed attempts to break a record like being the fastest runner and most clothes pins on your face. After a number of chapters, he returns the book all beat up, including himself.
- In episode 104 of Tamagotchi, Melodytchi finds a Tamagotchi Guinness world record book and wants to beat one of the records in it for Tamagotchi Planet's largest cake. Melodytchi works with the rest of the gang to bake the gigantic dessert, which goes pretty well until they run out of chocolate frosting. When they finally do finish the cake and beat the record, it creates a Tama Heart that looks like chocolate.
- In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 71, Mr. Slowy finds a record in a record book for the longest sleep from animal - 40 hours straight. Paddi decides to take up the challenge of beating that record and struggles to find a quiet spot to sleep at first, but eventually does find peace and beats the record (48 hours straight)... only to wake up and find the others have been captured by Wolffy. Wolffy himself is do tired from his endeavour that he ends up beating that record, having already slept for 72 hours by the end of the episode.
- Calvin & Hobbes: The Series has "The World's Greatest Calvin", which has the titular protagonist attempting to break several world records, culminating in an absolutely insane obstacle course that he sets up (providing some early insight into his later Gadgeteer Genius persona). Though he fails, he seems to realize that he needed to Be Yourself... since millions suffered and toiled to make him.
- The trope is referenced by British comedy writer Tony Hawksnote in his book Round Ireland With A Fridge, who was curious to see if anyone else had ever attempted to hitchhike the circumference of Ireland with the aforementioned household appliance before. (It Makes Sense in Context, sort of.) Turns out that "Most Unsuccessful Attempts To Get Into The Guinness Book Of Records" is not something you can get into the Guinness Book of Records for, sadly.
- Cheers: In episode "I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday", Cliff the resident weirdo is trying to set the record for longest amount of time walking backwards.
- Happy Days did it twice.
- In an early episode, Fonzie breaks the record for most garbage cans jumped over on a motorcycle, live on the TV show "You Wanted to See It" (a Serial Numbers Filed Off version of the show You Asked for It, which was running at the time Happy Days is set).
- Later the Magilla Book of World Records guys were coming to town, so everyone wanted to break a record. Al tried to talk Fonzie into breaking his own record, but Fonzie refused. Fonzie's klutzy cousin was the only one to successfully break a record, catching 40 quarters flipped off his elbow.
- There was a Guinness Book of Records Game Show called The Guinness Game, where the contestants bet as to whether the attempter would succeed in breaking the record or not.
- On a slightly similar note, unimaginatively-titled BBC series "Record Breakers" (a spin-off of Blue Peter) was basically a Guinness Series. Literally, because early seasons were co-presented by the original creators of the Guinness Book of World Records themselves, up until they achieved the rather unfortunate record of "First British children's television programme to have a host murdered by the IRA".
- iCarly had an episode dedicated to "breaking the longest webcast". They failed when they lost power due to the B-Plot, meaning it was not a continuous webcast. As consolation, they got to meet the World's Fattest Priest!
- Plus, Spencer broke the record for the world's largest moving sculpture and let Carly and the gang add the last piece so they can share the credit.
- Fred Sanford on Sanford and Son attempts to break the world record for staying awake the longest. He fails, but in the process of helping Fred stay awake, his friends break records, such as bouncing a basketball consecutively and singing a song the most number of times in a row.
- The Red Green Show has an episode where various characters try to break world records after hearing that "the Guinness people" will be in town. At the end it turns out it's the Guinness beer company looking to set up a new factory, but seeing everyone doing their kooky world record attempts convinced them this wasn't a town that need any more alcohol consumption.
- The war between Pillowtown and Blanketsburg on Community is triggered by a Guinness attempt. Blanketsburg has the potential to set a record but has no more room to expand, so the Dean orders Pillowtown torn down to provide more space. Things escalate.
- One episode of The Adventures of Pete & Pete had young Pete try to break the world record for playing freeze tag. Pete's friends started falling asleep after a few days. Pete himself ended up falling short of breaking the record by 1 second.
- One The Brady Bunch episode had Bobby and Cindy set out to break the record for longest time on the teeter-totter after they got annoyed about being left out of things due to being young. Naturally, they fail, since the record is over 100 hours, but someone points out that they did set a record for their age group.
- One The Dick Van Dyke Show episode had Rob flashing back to when he was a radio DJ, trying to break the record for staying awake the longest. He succeeded, but the problem was, he had an interview for his job with Alan Brady that same day, and had to go to it all exhausted. Hilarity Ensues, but he still got the job.
- In the Israeli sitcom Zanzuri, soon-to-be-dead eponymous character tries to break the world record in most profanities uttered in a minute to be remembered by after his death. He fails when he's told something happy and can't bring himself to cuss anymore.
- Some of the idiots featured on World's Dumbest... are actively trying to get into the Guinness book of world records. (Ashrita Furman is a repeat offender in this regard.) Some of the stunts are so bizarre and/or dangerous that Guinness won't recognize them.
- Lizzie McGuire featured an episode where Matt and Lanny attempt to break several world records. At the end, Matt's mom tells him they beat the record for most failed world records.
- Wishbone: In "The Impawssible Dream", paralleling Don Quixote, Joe Talbot tries to break the record for most freethrows thrown. He falls short of the record, however, he does better than his rival Damont Jones.
- A weird variant happened on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. A segment on Turkmenistan's president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, noted he has many Guinness World Records. So they reached for GWR regarding breaking one of their records to mock Berdimuhamedov, and the company refused rather hypocritically citing their need to be family-friendly. So without official backing, the show broke Guinness's record for the largest marble cake, putting a picture on it of the time when Berdimuhamedov infamously fell off a horse.
- Arthur and friends made the world's largest pizza. In the same episode, Buster tried for longest time walking backward, Francine tried bouncing a soccer ball on her knee and Muffy tried not talking.
- On The Simpsons, Homer first tries to break the Duff record for jumping up and down making goofy noises. When told that the record is three years, he then tried to get everyone to make the world's largest human pyramid but they couldn't hold it for enough seconds. (Although they did hold it for long enough if you count the time it took to explain that they had to hold it for "at least three Mississippis".) They collapsed because Jimbo and Kearny realized their hands were touching and pulled away from each other. As a consolation, they learn that Springfield is the world's fattest city.
- Hey Arnold! did this once in an episode titled "World Records," attempting record after record, going through everything from Longest Distance Walking Backwards to Longest Time Spent Not Bathing, culminating in a disastrous attempt to make the World's Largest Pizza Puff. It doesn't end well, but at least they got a Consolation World Record: most attempts at breaking a world record!
- One episode of Garfield and Friends had Garfield try to take the world's longest nap. Just as he's about to make it, the current record-holder wakes him with lasagna so he can preserve his title.
- In the Jay Jay the Jet Plane episode "Super Sonic Jay Jay", Jay Jay becomes obsessed with breaking a world record, and settles upon trying to break the world record for the fastest plane flight. When he isn't fast enough by himself, he attempts to make himself faster by borrowing Savannah's special jet fuel without her permission. Jay Jay ends up going fast alright, so fast that he cannot stop nor land safely until Savannah comes to his rescue. In the end, Jay Jay didn't end up breaking the record anyway, but does come out of the misadventure having learned not to borrow others' things without getting permission first or knowing how to use them.
- An episode of SpongeBob SquarePants had Sandy trying to break every World Record in the book with SpongeBob's help. But once they bring someone to offically recognize them, they find out that the book they have is out of date and that all the records have already been broken. However, it turns out that SpongeBob had already broken a record: Most Injuries Sustained While Helping a Friend.
- An episode of League of Super Evil revolved around Voltar trying to enter the supervilain record book. Of course, being Voltar, things don't go well until he eventually wins the record for most failed record attempts.
- An episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy has Eddy and Kevin competing to see who can set the most records.
- In an episode of Phineas and Ferb, the boys build the world's largest bowling ball in an attempt to win a spot in "The Most Pointless Book of World Records." The bowling ball promptly goes out of control resulting in the world's largest game of pinball, another record. It turns out that breaking two records at once is yet another world first.