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"With what?" Spencer asks. "Don't tell me you know how to make a bomb with a stick of chewing gum." Wow, the first ever MacGyver joke was actually in the first ever episode of MacGyver. That's actually kind of impressive.
The Agony Booth recap of the first ever episode of MacGyver (1985)

Describe MacGyvering Here, with just a match, an envelope, and three ounces of rubbing alcohol.

A character saves the day by making a gadget out of unlikely things, such as creating a bomb out of chewing gum, dental floss, duct tape, and a match. If he isn't already using the dictionary to provide the fuse, the character would realize he's a bricoleur and what he's doing is bricolage.

The characters that do this may be Technical Pacifists or Mr. Fixit. The Professor often seems to have the right tools on hand at the right time, as well. Even a Gadgeteer Genius can get into the act. Anthropomorphic characters include a Resourceful Rodent using their resourcefulness to outsmart and outwit larger and stronger opponents by making equipment out of anything they can find.

The Trope Namer and most famous practitioner of the art is Angus MacGyver, main character of the show that bore his surname, who would create said gadgets at least Once per Episode.

A Sub-Trope of Improvisational Ingenuity.

Go here for a list of every MacGyver-ism.

Note that the gadget has to be based on more science, creative thinking and Rube Goldberg Device than simply, "Hey, this blunt object could hurt someone!" Look for those under Improvised Weapon. May involve Noodle Implements. The hero may improvise devices using surplus gear from a scrapyard or from the tools and parts in the Abandoned Warehouse they're locked up in.

Compare Homemade Inventions, Bamboo Technology, and Duct Tape for Everything. When MacGyvering is exaggerated and used as a setting it's Scavenged Punk. See Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard for situations in which this is used to escape confinement. Merit Badges for Everything is when MacGyvering is institutionalized and parodied at the same time.


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  • Played for laughs in this Mastercard commercial, which explains where MacGyver gets all his common household items.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Soreike! Anpanman
    • In the second episode, after Baikinman defeated Anpanman with his cloud, three rabbit kids (Pyonkichi, Usao, and Usako) saw Anpanman on a tree and he needed a way to get back to Uncle Jam's bakery since his head got bumped. They decided to take apart their unicycles to created a tricycle for him to get there.
  • Shogetsu from Dazzle got a can of mackerel for lunch... but No Can Opener. So, with a few tools he got from the school's kitchen and science lab and the graphite from a pencil, he made a welding torch in the hopes that it would open the can. It did, but sadly, it also burned the mackerel. Oh, and Rahzel and Fay both had can openers.
  • This trope is played on a larger scale in the Gundam metaseries. It's not uncommon for mechanics to see their big ace in the hole Mobile Suit get beat up and are unable to fully fix it, so they gotta patchwork it or make brand new suits out of what they have left.
    • In various sidestories set during Mobile Suit Gundam's One Year War, it wasn't unusual to see Zeon come up with various variants for their aging Zaku I Is, especially once Zeon leaves Earth and hunkers down in space.
    • Shirou Amada from Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team. His team uses highly limited production RX-79(G) Gundam Ground Types made from leftover high-spec parts of the namesake RX-78, so spare parts for repairs are limited. Unfortunately, his mobile suit gets turned into a heap of junk. So, rather than use the spare parts (which weren't enough anyway), he salvaged parts from normal military vehicles such as jeeps, helicopters, and tanks to rebuild his RX-79(G) into the Ez-8, which surprisingly performs better than the RX-79(G). His fellow teammate, Karen Joshua, got away a little bit easier as they attach a RGM-79(G) GM Ground Type head to her suit, creating the nicknamed "GM Head".
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, the Zeta Gundam gets its head blown off by the Hamma-Hamma in battle. Since they didn't have a spare Zeta head, they're forced to slap on an old Zaku II head, making the "Zeta Zaku" until they can go and get an actual head. Whenever the "Zeta Zaku" shows up in video games, it tends to have very poor stats.
    • In Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: The Steel Seven, the Crossbone Gundam X-1 Kai Kai "Skull Heart" is badly damaged in battle. It's hauled off to SNRI for repairs, who are forced to use spare parts from the X-3 to repair it, creating the X-1 "Patchwork".
      • A later entry, Shin Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Dust, features numerous Mobile Suits created this way during the Space Warring States Era due to the state of the world and colonies in the post-Mobile Suit Victory Gundam era. These "Mixing Build" suits are effectively made out of Mobile Suits dating back all the way to the One Year War.
    • In After War Gundam X, when the Gundam X is heavily ravaged in combat with the Bertigo, the crew of the Freeden is unable to fully repair the suit, thus create the Gundam X Divider using various spare parts they had collected. As it fixed various flaws the original Gundam X had, it was much superior that the old Gundam X
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Second Season, Setsuna F. Seiei creates the Exia Repair through a bunch of crude repairs, such as a basic cockpit door and a Flag eye where the Exia lost its eye. Unlike other examples, the Exia Repair's poor maintenance meant that it was going to get its ass kicked until Setsuna was rescued by his old allies in Celestial Being.
    • In Gundam Build Fighters, Sei Iori and Tatsuya Yuuki use various Gunpla to make their main models operational enough for one last battle before the Plavsky Particles run out completely.
    • In the manga Gundam Build Fighters Document, we have the Shuffle Gundam. It's a strange Frankenstein Monster-style mishmash of various parts comprised of the Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee's head and left arm (adjusted for use on the right arm), the Hazel Custom's upper torso, lower torso and backpack, the Blitz Gundam's left arm, the GM Spartan's right leg, the GM Cold District's left leg and the RX-78-2 Gundam's beam rifle.
    • In Gundam Build Fighters Try, with both Team Try Fighters and Team Celestial Sphere preparing for a sudden death match and Try Fighters down to just a damaged Try Burning Gundam, Yuuma uses the remaining functional parts of the fallen Lightning Gundam Full Burnern and Star Winning Gundam to fix up the Try Burning and fight.
  • Heavy Object:
    • Qwenthur is an engineering student who is quite skilled when it comes to improvising weapons and tools with limited resources. Havia is no slouch himself, though he usually only gets to show off when separated from Qwenthur. Their most ridiculous feat involved destroying an Object with bedsheets, milk, and lemons.
    • This isn't exclusive to the main characters either. Ayami organized her mechanics to build an improvised flamethrower to fry powered armor troops while a group of unarmed astronauts used work lights to fatally distract armed soldiers. Even enemies display this, such as an ice-locked enemy warship which assembled an ice cutting blade from radar equipment.
  • Rena in Higurashi: When They Cry, builds a homemade bomb by blocking the school's gutter with a base-ball, pouring gasoline in said gutter, and setting a cook-timer to ignite the explosive gas and blow up the school (in which she has also poured a generous amount of gasoline). It's only thanks to Satoko that Keiichi can find the bomb and defuse it in time.
  • In the English dub of Lupin III: Bye-Bye Liberty Crisis!, Inspector Zenigata theorises Lupin probably stole the Statue of Liberty using only a bobby pin and a piece of string.
  • Taichi Hiraga-Keaton in Master Keaton does stuff like stopping bulldozers with soapy water, defusing bombs with chocolate, and turning a lamp and oil paint into a bomb set off by a light switch.
  • In Spy X Family, a survivor from one of Yor's missions tries to kill her with an improvised bomb made from a restaurant's storage room supplies, but Anya stops him by making the bomb first after reading the instructions from his mind, using peanuts as shrapnel.
  • Yusei from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, in episode 88, disarmed a high tech battle royal collar with a nail.

    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore's Child Prodigy character Jack B. Quick takes this to parodic heights.
    Genetically re-constructing Spark-plug using only ingredients in toilet cleaner, aspirin and dad's hemorrhoid ointment is a longshot, but I have to try!
  • Batman:
    • Batman has pulled this off several times, usually on those rare instances when he is without his Utility Belt.
    • Likewise, the Joker has demonstrated enough chemistry skill to create assorted neurotoxins, explosives and slippery agents from the contents of a janitor's closet.
  • In an early issue of the third Blue Beetle's original run, the Peacemaker is able to make a knock-out gas using ordinary items from a convenience store.
    Brenda: You made nerve gas from common kitchen items?
    Peacemaker: Also used anti-freeze and road salt. Let’s not exaggerate.
  • In G.I. Joe Special Missions #13, having lost the explosives necessary for the mission, Demolitions Expert Lightfoot jury-rigs a fuel-air explosive out of some foodstuffs he finds in an abandoned bunker and the detonators he still had. The method he describes would actually work and the comic obscures the art so the reader cannot see what he is actually doing.
  • Mocked, inevitably, in MAD's spoof of MacGyver (1985). MacGyver remarks that the the room the bad guys have locked him in has nothing he can use to escape, to which the woman with him points out that the room is full of explosives. He complains about the indignity of having to actually use explosives as explosives instead of improvising.
  • In a Mortadelo y Filemón story, Filemón tells Mortadelo about an art counterfeiter who could replicate Modigliani paintings using just tomato juice, egg yolks and a brush.
  • While trapped in the Nightmare dungeon in the second story-arc of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW), Rainbow Dash muses that Daring-Do would make a bomb out of duct tape and Applejack's hair to escape.
  • The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis:
    • In Springfield, Farnsworth decides to make a walk signal more efficient by using a gum, a coat hanger, a broken watch, and tin foil. The result is that the walk signal can project a hologram of a pretty lady who wears nothing but a two-piece swimsuit.
    • By using pinking shears, an MP3 player attuned to the correct vibrational frequency, and a shiny control knob attached to it, that is how Farnsworth is able to bring Simpsons characters from their comic into New New York.
  • Spider-Man villain the Vulture once escaped Riker's Island by destroying the wall of his cell using a tractor beam made from a headset radio, using his expertise in the field of electromagnetics. Then, as the alarms were going off, he flew from away with wings tinkered together from bedsheets, wooden rods, and duct tape; he knew they'd only last a few minutes, at most, but luckily for him the crooks he had hired to have a boat waiting were there.
  • Superman: Spectacular jailbreaks based on his MacGyvering skills are a huge part of pre-Crisis Mad Scientist Lex Luthor's character. In his appearance in the short-lived The Joker comic, he improvises a jetpack out of a couple of bottles of pop and some paint flakes. Another story has him consider that it has reached the point where his guards won't allow him to have anything other than a pad of paper and a pen. He knows perfectly well how to turn to the ink, metal, plastic, wood pulp, and glue into a high explosive to blast his way out... but he would never do that, because then they wouldn't let him have a pen and paper anymore.
  • Tintin tends to resort to this after being kidnapped by the villain-of-the-week. Interestingly, while they're still ingenious a lot of his inventions are surprisingly plausible.
  • Subverted in the "Frightful" arc of Ultimate Fantastic Four when zombie Mr. Fantastic convinces the soldiers guarding the Frightful Four's cell that he's built a teleporter out of stuff lying around the cell and they promptly disappear. Turns out Zombie Invisible Woman had just made them all invisible so that the guards would open the cell to investigate, whereupon they were eaten.

    Fan Works 
  • Finding The Path Taylor does a LOT of improvising, due to the fact that she holds the Path to Victory. Common household items — such as a stress ball, a permanent marker, and a tissue box — in her hands make her capable of taking out the Wards, the Undersiders, Amy, and Glory girl all at once.
  • In chapter 38 of The Great Alicorn Hunt, Applebloom manages to make a Bee-Bee Gun as part of a plan to deal with a rampaging chaos being, out of random machine parts said chaos being broke.
  • In My Stupid Reality Light modifies a cheap laptop to work better with pieces ripped out of L's refrigerator. Somewhat grounded in reality, believe it or not; the heat-exchanger from a fridge would be powerful enough to counteract a hell of a lot of overclocking.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Samantha Carter improvises a maser from items lying around the International Space Station to cook the alien organism infesting her. It helps that she has Terawatt to provide the power.
  • Things I Am Not Allowed to Do at the PPC: Rule 256 is a subversion, reminding agents that they aren't MacGyver and thus can't repair their consoles with items such as ballpoint pens, rubber bands, sweat socks, and knitting needles. Then it says Gadgeteer Genius Makes-Things is likewise incapable of similar feats.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The LEGO Movie, this is what makes a Master Builder: they have sufficient imagination to be able to pull out any Lego blocks around them and make whatever they need. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realise the 'Master Builders' are simply just the boy in the real world building whatever his mind thinks of for that particular part of the narrative he's telling. Anything that ISN'T a standard Lego build is a 'Master Build' in that case.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: Apparently, Dr. Cockroach can build a super-computer out of a pizza box, two cans of hairspray, and a paperclip. On screen, he manages to build what appears to be a nuclear bomb out of Legos (he asks Susan if she has uranium) in his spare time, and a rocket-powered, wheel-steered tram car in less than ten minutes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Owen, the protagonist of The Aggression Scale, is like a sociopathic teenage MacGyver when it comes to turning common household items into lethal weapons.
  • Also Truth in Television: Apollo 13 features a scene where a group of engineers have to figure out a way to make the command module's air filters fit into a port it's way too big for, using only the spare materials inside the lunar module. We later see the stranded astronauts rigging up the devised solution, which includes a sock, a plastic baggie, and duct tape, among other things.
  • In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Station builds a pair of robot versions of Bill and Ted out of things they got from raiding a hardware store. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Jason Bourne of The Bourne Series has a talent for this. The stand-out example is probably him blowing up a building through the use of a toaster and a newspaper.
  • In Cast Away, Chuck finds himself stranded on a remote island with several FedEx packages full of stuff that initially looks worthless in his current setting, like a taffeta party dress (used for a fishing net), a pair of ice skates (which make handy axeheads when tied to a stick) and lots of videocassettes (whose videotape innards can be woven into some handy rope). There was also one package, the one he used to float to the island, that he never opened. According to one draft of the script, it contained two bottles of salsa verde and a note. In the FedEx commercial parodying it, it held a satellite phone, a GPS locator, fishing pole, water purifier, and seeds.
  • Vintage example: In the 1952 swashbuckler-spoof The Crimson Pirate, rebel townsfolk cobble together a hot-air balloon, cart-mounted cannons, a proto-gatling gun, and a flamethrower from old barrels, wagon wheels, wickerwork and some stolen long guns.
  • Dawning of the Dead: When Alex and Christian end up trapped in a supply closet by a horde of zombies, they use a floor waxer, some wood, and nails to make a device to grind the zombies into mince meat.
  • In Disturbing the Peace, Dillon rigs up an explosive booby trap that kills one the bikers using items he finds in the hardware store.
  • Half Baked had some fun with this:
    Thurgood Jenkins: The MacGyver Smoker is a very handy guy to have around, especially when it comes to reefer.
    MacGyver Friend: Hey, man, we're out of papers.
    MacGyver Smoker: All right. Then get me a toilet paper roll, a corkscrew and some tin foil.
    MacGyver Friend: We don't have a corkscrew.
    MacGyver Smoker: All right. Then get me an avocado, an ice pick and my snorkel.
    [Friend looks at him funny]
    MacGyver Smoker: Trust me, bro. I've made bongs with less. Hurry up!
  • Hollow Man has one character MacGyver an electromagnet from a defibrillator and a drawer handle to open a locked walk-in freezer.
    • Scary Movie 2 parodies that scene by having Cindy use various things (including a can of peanuts and a Slinky) to make a bulldozer.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Indy uses Teddy's chewing gum to plug the leak in the radiator of the tuk-tuk.
  • Iron Man movies:
    • In Iron Man, Tony Stark creates a revolutionary way of generating huge amounts of power and a bulletproof power suit whilst captured by terrorists and only some scrap weapons parts at his disposal.
    • In Iron Man 2, he reconfigures his house and uses it to create a new element even more powerful than the one he revolutionized in Iron Man.
    • In Iron Man 3, he even manages to make several homemade non-lethal weapons out of products bought at a hardware store, which he then uses to storm into the villains' hideout with maximum efficiency.
    “You’re a mechanic, aren’t you? So build something!”
  • The pickup-mounted Harpoon Gun with which Jack Sr. takes on the Creeper in Jeepers Creepers 2 is bodged together from a post-hole driver, winch, other bits of farm equipment and one of the creature's own knives.
  • In the Cuban film Juan of the Dead the gang decides their only option to survive the Zombie Apocalypse is to escape to Florida. Their flotation device is no mere raft; they attach empty oil drums to a convertible and build a ramp with dead bodies to jump into a wall and to the sea.
  • Julia X: Using junk she finds in the abandoned school, Julia is able to whip up both a means of taking down The Stranger and of signalling her sister.
  • Kukushka: Veikko is chained to a rock, and frees himself with creative use of his minimal supplies.
  • Mallrats: Silent Bob is said to have a knack for this kind of thing.
    Jay: He won the science fair in eighth grade by turning his mom's vibrator into a CD player usin' some chicken wire an' shit. Motherfucker's like MacGyver. No, motherfucker's better than MacGyver!
  • The Lock-and-Load Montage in Night of the Demons (2009) features Maddie improvising weaponry (twisting a bed spring round her knuckles, shoving mails into shotgun shells, etc.) to take advantage of demons' Weaksauce Weakness of rust.
  • In the Danish Olsen Banden (The Olsen Gang) films, the leader, Egon Olsen, always makes heist plans that can be done using careful timing and everyday household objects.
  • In The People Under the Stairs, Fool does this to lure Daddy into a trap, embedding coins in the sides of lit candles so they'll drop as the wax burns away, making it sound like he's around the corner counting them.
  • In Preservation, Wit makes a needle out of wire from the car's ignition and uses dental floss as thread to sew up her scalp wound.
  • In Revenge of the Nerds II, the nerds get dumped on a desert island and have to find their way off it using their brains. In one of the most hilariously implausible scenes in the movie, one of them builds a metal detector out of coconuts, sand and seawater, leaving even his companions dumbfounded.
  • Truth in Television, according to the man's autobiography: in The Right Stuff, Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier with the help of a sawed-off broom handle.
  • Angelina Jolie's rocket launcher in Salt, built from a swivel chair and cleaning chemicals.
  • The Star Trek example below is satirized (with so many other Star Trek tropes) in Galaxy Quest; with Tim Allen's Kirk-like character fighting a giant rock monster in a barren rocky valley.
    Guy: I know! You can make a weapon, look around you, can you construct some sort of rudimentary lathe?
    Jason: A lathe?!? Get off the line, Guy!
  • Common in the Tremors films and series, whenever they run out of ammo and need to improvise defenses against the latest Graboid life-cycle stage or Monster of the Week.
  • Under the Bed: Neal and Paulie make a weapon to fight the monster under Neal's bed by taping a bunch of flashlights to a broom.
  • Bimba, comes up with an elaborate contraption to burst the boulder that's blocking the road in The Wages of Fear.
  • In Who Am I? (1998), Jackie Chan improvises a rear-wheel hub into a grindstone (with the wheel off) to make a tool to puncture a coconut to insert a tube to hydrate a snakebite victim with coconut milk.
  • This trope is invoked in Zack and Miri Make a Porno: "You give me a two popsicle sticks and a rubber band and I'll find a way to fuck it, like a filthy MacGyver!"

  • Hunter of Ever After High can be very resourceful, and rather quick about it.

  • The characters in most Cormac McCarthy novels. Could be considered Author Appeal.
  • In Circumference Of Darkness, the main character is locked in a barn along with some friends. Using a broken tractor, some copper tubing, and some other random items, he builds a fully functional giant tesla coil inside the barn. This also leads to a You Have Failed Me moment from the mooks responsible by their boss.
  • Ragnar Benson has written multiple books on how to make deadly weapons from stuff lying around the house. These are encrusted with warnings that doing so before the Day of the Jackboot will land you in prison, hospital, or the morgue.
  • Bored Nothing To Do: The two boys who are trying to fight their boredom decide to build a life-sized working airplane. They get the parts for it around the house, including...
    • Wheels from a bicycle and baby buggy.
    • Wires from a fence and the TV antenna.note 
    • Mom's sheets for cloth.
    • The engine from the car.
    • Wood from another fence.
    • Door hinges.
    • Windshields from the windows.
    • A clothesline for rope.
  • Ciaphas Cain is not only a Hero of the Imperium! but apparently also the MacGyver of the 41st millennium; in Death or Glory, while escaping from a large mass of pursuing Orks, he takes shelter in an abandoned warehouse. Using AdMech-sanctioned cleaning fluids in a non-sanctioned way (apparently learned from pulling pranks back at the schola), he constructs a firebomb in a truck to go off in the Orks' faces when they follow it, and another bomb to blow up any Orks who burst in the building's back door. The second one is powerful enough to drop the warehouse roof.
  • Abbe Faria from The Count of Monte Cristo has managed to create several tools over his years in solitary confinement, which come in handy when he accidentally tunnels into Edmond Dantes' cell and decides to pass the time instructing him in various subjects as they work to escape.
  • In Dear Mr. Henshaw, Leigh does this to try to catch whoever's been swiping his lunch items. He doesn't figure out who it is, but he does make a pretty cool, if incredibly loud and bulky, lunchbox burglar alarm.
  • Dopamine has Danny jerry-rigging his way out of most of the jams he gets himself into.
    • Danny's field modification of the HERF gun to turn it into "the world's most overpowered barbecue lighter."
    • The improvised thermostat for the bacterial incubator he builds with Tina.
  • Emily the Strange: Stranger and Stranger: Emily was very capable. She even explains it to another character.
    I accidentally duplicated myself using a device I built from items I found in a junk store dumpster.
  • Future History involves a starship engineer whose spark of genius is doing things like using a polishing rag to interrupt a circuit in order to finish repairs faster than would be otherwise safe, or inventing completely new technology from systems that were never meant to work together, on the fly!
  • Just So Stories: In How the Whale Got His Throat a castaway sailor gets Swallowed Whole by a whale. Once he's inside its stomach he causes a commotion to convince the whale to release him. But before he leaves he takes out his jackknife and uses it to fashion his suspenders and his raft into a makeshift grate. When he walks out of the whale's mouth he then jams that grate into the back of it's throat. And so from that day on whales could only eat the tiniest of fish.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering novel Test of Metal, Tezzeret performs an impromptu heart surgery on himself in a bare cave with no tools. Not even a box of scraps! It takes him less than ten minutes.
  • In MARiiMO, the titular robot's design involves a lot of parts cannibalized from other machines, like smartphone processors and hearing aids. Tammy builds the prototype for her face from a polycarbonate cereal bowl.
  • The Martian, a story about an astronaut stranded on Mars who has to figure out how to survive, involves pretty much constant MacGyvering, as the protagonist has to figure out how to repurpose all his gear for a long-term stay. He takes the hydrazine that was supposed to be a fuel source and burns it with oxygen to make water. He then uses one of his departed fellow crewmember's EVA suits as a cistern to hold the water. He also manages to re-establish communications with NASA, using the long-abandoned Pathfinder probe and its Sojourner rover. From there on, NASA works to support Watney by experimenting with duplicates of whatever gear Watney has on hand on Mars, since the unmanned supply ship they sent to Mars to help him take months to reach him and the supply ship is destroyed in an accident on launch anyways.
  • Lofty of Monstrous Regiment improvises a bomb from various kitchen supplies, the active ingredient being flour.
  • The Mysterious Island, where a few people build a civilization on a remote island with nothing but two watches and a metallic dog collar.
  • In the Isaac Asimov short story Robot AL-76 Goes Astray a robot designed for mining on the moon ends up in Virginia and builds a mining rig out of scrap, powered by two D-cell batteries. Unfortunately a nearby human, freaked out by it all, tells the robot to destroy the machine and "forget it" and so the design is lost.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events:
    • The character Violet uses her skills as an inventor to create gadgets off-the-cuff with available materials, often in dire situations.
    • And Klaus gets his turn in The Miserable Mill.
  • Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River: "Hoover-Two" is a makeshift dam made out of sandbags on top of Hoover Dam, to hold back more water and prevent Davis and Parker dams downstream from overtopping.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel has Fred do this sort of thing a few times through the course of the series.
    • Fred builds a contraption that is either something lethal based on catapults, or a machine to make toast. It decapitates via flying blades.
    • One other time, it's to defend herself against Wesley in the episode "Billy" when a demon so evil that Lilah kills the demon poisons Wesley with violent and misogynistic emotions.
  • Second only to the Trope Namer in fame would be The A-Team, who would consistently be imprisoned by villains who would inexplicably lock the 'Team in a warehouse (or other location) full of enough PVC piping, broken-down all-terrain vehicles, used engine parts, and potentially-explosive material to ensure that they could (after an A-Team Montage) build a makeshift tank, equip themselves with heavy artillery (usually consisting of the aforementioned PVC piping and explosive chemicals), stockpile massive amounts of ammunition, and still have enough material left over to escape from captivity via a very large, door-breaking (if not violently building-destroying) explosion.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Grey 17 is Missing", Garibaldi makes use of a steam line and some bullets he had in his pocket to make an impromptu gun to kill a monster running loose on the level in the title.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • Walt and Jesse are left stranded in the wilderness when their RV's battery dies. They eventually are able to construct a new battery out of coins, bolts, brake pads, and their meth-making chemicals.
    • Then there's the episode where Walt creates a bunch of smoke bombs that look exactly like meth, or the pilot episode, where he creates a poison-gas bomb on the fly, while two guys are trying to make him teach them his method at gunpoint.
    • Then near the end of the first half of the fifth and final season Walt finds himself strapped to a pipe in an office. He has somewhere he needs to be, pronto. He takes two wires, grits his teeth, and brings them together to make a circuit, burning his plastic cuffs, (and a bit of his skin, too.)
    • In the finale, an M60 machine gun and a car engine are used to make a remote-activated automated turret that kills six people: five of the seven Aryan Brotherhood members and Walt himself.
    • In the prequel series Better Call Saul, Mike manages to evade a tail using just a stick of gum, which he feeds into a ticket machine in the parking lot so that it breaks and causes a traffic jam after he drives away. Mike also interviews in a parking ramp for a position of escorting a man selling stolen pharmaceuticals to a drug dealer, competing with another man who is heavily armed, demonstrating his superiority by disarming the other candidate. In general Mike's mere presence and confidence that he can master a situation with the resources at hand are more important than any weapons or tools he brings to the scene.
  • Mike Westen of Burn Notice does this constantly, either preparing at home or in the field. He has particular expertise with cell phones. His friends Fiona and Sam has also demonstrated some competence in this area. The narration provided by Michael often explains that this is part of his training as a spy since it is assumed that operatives will rarely have access to actual 'spy gear' and will have to improvise from readily available items.
  • Australian Aboriginal show Bush Mechanics is built around this trope — the first episode sees the protagonists claim an ancient car and MacGyver it into (barely) working order out of scraps from a car yard and fix it up along the way using garbage, trees and an axe. When they stop for tea and find they're out of matches, one makes a fire the way "the old folks" taught him...with jumper leads and the car battery.
  • Defied by Beckett in the Castle episode "Last Call". Before exploring a hidden passageway under a bar, Castle rigs up a torch by placing a roll of toilet paper in the cup of a plunger and soaking the paper with liquor.
    Beckett: What are you doing, Castle?
    Castle: We're going to need light. [lights a match to ignite the liquor-soaked toilet paper]
    Beckett: [blows out match, pulls out a flashlight] We're also going to need breathable air. [hands Castle an electric lantern]
    Castle: [muttering to himself] A torch would have been more fun.
  • In an episode of Chuck, Casey handcuffs Chuck to a counter in a frozen yogurt shop (long story). After failing to get the Action Girl to come free him, he freezes the chain with some kind of nefarious yogurt device and breaks it in two. His quip afterwards was something along the lines of "all those years of watching MacGyver finally paid off."
  • CSI:
    • In one episode, Gil Grissom's crime lab kit is stolen while he's up in the middle of nowhere alone investigating a murder. Instead of filling out a form with the local police (who stole the kit) or requesting a new one from the lab in Vegas (time is of the essence, especially with said dirty cop) he uses items he buys at a home maintenance supply shop as a makeshift kit.
    • Catherine does it once too, when she fears that she'd been raped in "Built to Kill", though it's more like the first CSI: NY example below with using stuff on the scene than it is Grissom's.
  • CSI: NY:
    • In "Trapped", Danny is stuck in a panic room and has to improvise with super glue, a coffee pot, a cd case and several other items the victim had stockpiled. He even calls Stella "Miss MacGyver."
    • When the lab is stormed by drug lords in "Snow Day", Mac builds a bomb and laser trip wires out of stuff on hand.
    • While in Greece without either of their kits, Mac and Stella improvise a way to test evidence for elemental properties using one of her earrings, water from the town fountain, and things they borrow from locals.
    • Sheldon uses sulfuric acid from a recyclable battery to weaken a bar of a cell he and an inmate are locked into during the prison riot in "Redemptio".
  • In Diagnosis: Murder:
    • In "Naked Babes", Ty is able to craft a set of cradles that rock for the newborn quadruplets out of some drawers, round objects at the ends of said drawers, and some wire hangers to rock them/hold the babies' bottles
    • In "Murder on the Run", Mark and Jesse craft a device to help George's lung inflate using a water bottle, the tubing of a stethoscope, and the tubing of a ball point pen.
  • The Doctor in Doctor Who does not carry a gun (though he has used them on occasion), and often cooks up homebrew super-tech.
    • In "The Time Monster", he builds a "time flow analogue" out of cups, spoons, a pie pan, and other objects found in a small house.
    • In "Time Crash", the Tenth Doctor lampshades this based on the fact that the Fifth Doctor never used a sonic screwdriver after it got destroyed in "The Visitation".
      Ten: Like, "Hey, I'm the Doctor. I can save the universe with a kettle and some string. And look at me, I'm wearing a vegetable."
    • This even extends to the TARDIS. In the earliest episodes, it's implied that he invented it himself and his granddaughter named it; we gradually learn that he actually just jury-rigged it back to functioning order, after finding it rusting away in a museum. Then stole it.
    • The Kahler race introduced in "A Town Called Mercy" is described by the Doctor as being one of the most ingenious races in the galaxy, being able to build a spaceship "out of Tupperware and moss".
  • Get Smart. In "Run Robot Run", 99 uses the magnet in Max's Shoe Phone to pull CONTROL robot Hymie across the finish line when he runs out of power at the end of an Olympic race. Naturally the trope is spoofed at first by our Idiot Hero.
    Chief: We need magnetic power!
    Max: And you need electricity for that, right? Have you got a key? (The Chief gives him his car keys) Have you got a kite?
    Chief: Have you got a storm, Ben Franklin?!
  • The Edison Twins: The Twins are able to create these things. One of the cleverest and simplest is when the Twins, Paul and a rival are lost in the wood: Tom has the bright idea that since he has an AM radio and knows where a AM radio station' transmitter is, he is able to angle his radio until the internal AM radio antenna is perfectly perpendicular to the station's broadcast signal. That results in the radio facing the direction where the signal is the loudest and strongest, thus providing the direction back to civilization.
  • Forever Knight. Dr. Natalie Lambert has to revive Nick Knight in a Flatline Plotline, so she uses rat poison, a spoon and a candle to filter out a small dose of strychnine as a neural stimulant.
  • A contestant on History Channel game show Forged in Fire created an iron forge in his backyard out of dumpster scraps (which included a satellite-tv dish) as an example for low-tech, low-income societies to be self-sufficient. Even in the well-equipped competition forge he preferred to stick with pre-modern blacksmithing techniques.
  • In the show Future Food, there is an element of this in some of the cooking methods employed.
  • Get a Life: In one episode, when Chris and Sharon get locked in her meat locker, Chris takes a paper clip to unlock the door, stating the trope namer as well.
  • The Professor from Gilligan's Island could make a lot of things from the materials on the island, and jokes about the show made him able to make anything if he had enough coconuts... except a boat.
    • It's even lampshaded in Gary Larson's The Far Side!
    • Gilligan later himself calls the Professor out on this, in one the zillions of cameos in the Affectionate Parody beach party movie Back to the Beach. In that film, Bob Denver plays a bartender that is explicitly the same character from Gilligan's Island:
      Willy Gilligan: You know, I lived with a guy for years. A real genius. He could take a couple of these pineapples or a couple of coconuts with some strings and wire and make a nuclear reactor. But he couldn't fix a two-foot hole in a boat.
  • In the pilot of The Good Doctor, Shaun uses baggage handling tape and a tube from a vending machine to make a one-way valve so he can operate on a boy injured by broken glass in an airport.
  • Real life example: Alton Brown of Good Eats. Basically, his credo of cooking is "the only single-purpose item in your kitchen should be the fire extinguisher". And in the 10th anniversary special, he uses that to cook too.
    • The episode "Scrap Iron Chef" featured this trope heavily, as Alton was forced (in a parody of Iron Chef) to construct various cooking methods (such as a smoker) from what he found in a scrapyard.
  • Hardball: After Kevin's failed trial of digital locks puts the school into Lockdown in "The Odd Couple", Mikey and Tiffany work together to fashion a fishing rod, a tennis racquet, wire hangers and duct tape to fashion a reaching device to lift the key to the override box from the caretaker's storeroom so they can shut the system off.
  • In Lost Girl Lauren is forced to make an antidote for a Fae parasite with basic supplies. She has some medical/mystical ingredients in her back, but she says she will also need things like hairspray, sugar, baking soda, vinegar, and lubricating oil.
  • Lupin (2021): The protagonist goes to prison to get information about his deceased father, then fakes a suicide by hanging to get out of there via a bodybag. He survives the hanging because he built himself a safety harness using a basketball basket's net and used some meds to reduce his heartbeats to pass off as dead.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • In "Mulcahy's War", Father Mulcahy has to perform a roadside tracheotomy with a pocketknife and an eyedropper.
    • "They Call the Wind Korea" sees Major Winchester and Klinger reinflate a man's lung with a pocketknife, syringe, catheter, and surgical clamp.
    • In "A War for All Seasons", Hawkeye and B.J. rig a primitive dialysis machine using meat casings from a Toledo sausage company and a washtub ordered from Sears & Roebuck.
    • "Goodbye, Radar" sees Colonel Potter create a handcrank-powered Wangensteen suction machine with a few tubes, jars, and cans.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road", Ellen manages to quickly fashion a booby trap for Moonface using some sticks and her own panties.
  • Tabby from Monster Warriors is a real gadget queen who takes ordinary household appliances and turns them into monster-blasting weaponry — hold on to your hair diffuser around this girl!
  • The MythBusters often refer to MacGyver as their patron saint. So, for their 100th episode, they did a MacGyver special, consisting of several of Mac's myths, followed by Tory and Grant putting Adam and Jamie through their own "MacGyver obstacle course." Though both the myths were busted, Adam and Jamie managed to go three for four on the obstacle course.
    • No, saying three out of four does not do it justice. In true MacGyver fashion, they managed to escape the first part of the obstacle course, then had to use items found at a campsite to signal for pick up by the helicopter. The original plan was that they would build a Potato Gun, instead, they built a kite out of the same materials, plus the rope they were tied up with at the beginning of the segment.
    • The one task they failed was because they lacked the scientific knowledge to develop a roll of film. The apparatus they set up would have worked had Adam been able to remember one key aspect of the process.
  • NCIS:
    • Ziva and Tony manage to MacGyver a means of getting a cell phone signal from inside a metal shipping container, using Ziva's necklace and bits of DVD cases.
    • Lampshaded in another episode. When a woman who has access to pretty much all iris scanners in existence is kidnapped, she eats blood pressure medicine she finds in the kidnapper's bathroom in an attempt to alter the blood vessels in her eyes, thus blocking her ability to unlock iris scanners. Abby's comment: "It didn't work, but A+ for the MacGyver!"
    • In another episode Ducky and Palmer are held prisoner by some Cuban spies and forced to autopsy their dead colleague to figure out where he had hidden a flash drive full of stolen files. The two pathologists use the cabin's stove, a cigarette, some autopsy supplies and gas extracted from the corpse's digestive tract to make a bomb that takes out one of their captors and distracts the others long enough to allow them to escape.
  • The Partridge Family: When the bus's engine blows a gasket in "Don't Bring Your Guns to Town, Santa", Keith creates a new one out of an old inner tube.
  • In Person of Interest, Finch makes a WiFi antenna using a Pringles can. Root makes a cutting torch with an oxygen cylinder, spaghetti and tinfoil.
  • Sam on Quantum Leap had MacGyver moments, but only when he used his brain to make a gadget to save the day. Thus, a successful MacGyverist is different from a hero who is simply smart.
  • The USA series Royal Pains features the lead doctor utilizing "A bottle of vodka, a sharp knife, a plastic sandwich bag, a BIC pen, and some duct tape" to save the life of a hemophiliac who is bleeding internally. The girl helping him remarks "What are you, MacGyver?"
  • Standard operating procedure for Scorpion, although it's usually employed as damage control and/or desperation patch-up work when their original plan, which was rather more professional and prepared for, goes disastrously wrong due to bad luck, oversight and/or sabotage.
  • The British series Scrapheap Challenge, known as Junkyard Wars in the US, had two teams compete to MacGyver together some sort of machine from parts found in the junkyard each episode.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Used explicitly as a verb in "Children of the Gods", in which Samantha Carter refers to having been forced to "macgyver" a crucial device to make the Stargate work. The fact that Richard Dean Anderson used to BE MacGyver makes this a cheeky Shout-Out (which was apparently ad-libbed on-set by Amanda Tapping, much to Anderson's surprise).
    • There's also a prank executed for the bloopers reel in "Solitudes" (planned by Amanda Tapping and episode director Martin Wood) in which Carter and O'Neill are stranded in a glacier, and she laments that she's "stuck in a glacier with MacGyver" and he can't figure a way out for them.
      Carter: We got belt buckles and shoelaces and a piece of gum: build a nuclear reactor, for crying out loud!
      [RDA's face is priceless]
    • The one-shot Stargate in "Ascension" is made out of (among other things) toaster parts.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Arena", Kirk manages to build a primitive cannon out of various ingredients (bamboo, sulfur, potassium nitrate, coal, and diamond crystals) he tripped over while stranded on an uninhabited asteroid. Partly justified by the fact that the asteroid was set up by powerful aliens so the combatants could fashion their own weapons, but still, a cannon... (The Chinese used similar mortars out of bamboo or ceramics centuries before Europeans made cannons out of metal.)note 
      • One Expanded Universe novel mentions that the episode was turned into a training exercise that was considered hellishly difficult, and that 90% of the people who tried Kirk's approach ended up blowing themselves up when the cannon misfired. Riker's solution was to use the makeshift cannon as a giant mine and clubbed the Gorn with a rock while it was disoriented from the blast.
    • Scotty gets a shuttle to run on the energy from phaser weapons in "The Galileo Seven".
    • In "The City at the Edge of Forever", Mr. Spock builds a computer with 1930's technology, complete with a very cool but pointlessly energy-wasting Jacob's Ladder.
      Spock: I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins.
    • Star Trek does it again in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "A Fistful of Datas". Worf, stranded in an Old West simulation, makes a forcefield out of telegraph parts and his communicator.
    • Again in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Empok Nor" when Chief O'Brien manages to fashion a Tricorder into an improvised bomb to disable Garak, who was temporarily driven to xenocide by exposure to a Cardassian Psycho Serum.
    • Again in Star Trek: Voyager. B'Elanna Torres turns a phaser into shielding to seal a gap in a shuttle.
    • Again in the Star Trek: Enterprise two-part episode "Demons"/"Terra Prime", when Trip picks a future-tech lock using his zipper and belt buckle.
    • In-universe, Starfleet officers (engineers in particular) have this reputation. It's even lampshaded in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Rocks and Shoals" by a captured enemy who hopes for them to have "one of those famed Starfleet engineers who can turn rocks into replicators" so he can live the high life as a Federation POW, instead of starving on some empty rock or being butchered by his soon-to-be insane troops.
    • In Star Trek: Picard, we discover that Geordi La Forge had been rebuilding the destroyed Enterprise-D using scavenged surplus Galaxy-class parts. In fact, the entire stardrive section comes from a sister ship, the Syracuse, which still has its decal markings on it.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Croatoan", Sam and Dean make explosives out of alcohol and other supplies in the medical clinic.
  • In Torchwood: Miracle Day, the team creates a chelation agent (to treat cyanide poisoning) from only chemicals available on an airplane.
  • In one episode of Warehouse 13 Artie releases himself from handcuffs by making an electromagnet out of a hotel iron so he can get his toolbag. Lampshaded with "I was doing this when MacGyver was still trapped in his crib!"
  • A cross between this trope and Sufficiently Advanced Alien, the aliens of War of the Worlds (1988) fashioned intergalactic communications, weapons, and scanning equipment out of numerous household products.
  • When The Wizard does not have a high-tech toy handy, he can also MacGyver one to save the day.
  • The X-Files: In the episode "Detour", Scully tries to open a bullet and use the gunpowder to start a fire. She does open it (what a badass!), but the gunpowder explodes in one bright flash and the wood doesn’t catch.

  • The ability of Starfleet engineers to do this at the drop of a hat is parodied in Aurelio Voltaire's "USS Make Shit Up":
    And if you're on a party on the starship Enterprise,
    And the karaoke player just plain old up and dies
    Set up a neutrino field inside a can of peas,
    Hold onto Geordi's visor and sing into Data's knees!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Played for laughs in an early BattleTech sourcebook, as a pair of very efficient (but prank-prone) technicians repaired a lance of 'Mechs with various pieces of machinery... that included a lard rendering tank, a truck that advertised processed chicken, and metal labeled for Spam cans. Most of the Mechwarriors were amused, but one went after the techs with a wrench.
    • Given all the Lost Technology in the setting and the fact that many characters are down-on-their-luck mercenaries operating on a shoestring budget, plenty of straight examples crop up in the books as well.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Nearly everything ever made by tinker gnomes, from Dragonlance setting (and spread in Spelljammer 'verse) qualifies.
  • In Genius: The Transgression a Genius can "kitbash" a Wonder together in hours, minutes, or even seconds if they're powerful or have bought the right merit.
  • Humblewood: The Mapach's Scroungecraft racial trait lets them build simple items out of whatever resources they can scrounge from their surroundings.
  • Hunter: The Reckoning
    • Hunters have to do improvise a lot of their equipment, since, unlike the other gamelines, they have no social institutions whatsoever to lean on for support and are just random civilians who went crazy one day and were told by the voices in their heads to kill monsters. White Wolf brought some notoriety on themselves by having the Wayward creedbook include discussion of how to improvise a fertilizer car bomb, among other things.
    • The Terrible Swift Sword (named for the line from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"), a special application of the Cleave Edge discovered accidentally by a member of the Avenger Creed who was also an amateur swordsmith and Renaissance Fair enthusiast. Any melee weapon, however crude or clumsy — so long as it's made by hand by the Avenger themselves — can be imbued with a little bit of their power, allowing it to be a permanent channel for the aggravated damage done by Cleave.
  • Warhammer 40,000 is not devoid of this kind of stuff either, strangely enough. Da orkz build a majority of their own inventions from random scraps of junk, including most of their firearms and vehicles. Ironically, due to the generic mindset of the whole race, most of their inventions work simply because they think it will work.
    • Ork players have been known to construct vehicles using strategies ranging from "leftovers from other vehicles" to "grab all the spare parts, put them in a box, pour in glue, and stick wheels on whatever comes out".
    • Although it's not like non-Ork players don't get in on the action either. Because of the price of the hobby, any 40k player (or indeed, wargamer) worth their salt will have a bitz box whether they are Orks, Humans, Eldar, whatever. It is the most efficient way to go about doing things and anyone who has played for a long time will have closets full of hoarded spare parts that they can cobble together into just about anything.

  • In Coming Out of Their Shells, Donatello manages to make vests that cloak them from the De-Harmonic Convergence Converter using magnetic strips on the back of their American Express cards.
    All of the Turtles: Don't leave home without it!
  • Hamlet features the title character forging a letter that will result in the execution of his False Friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with various items around the ship where he's being taken to his own execution.

    Video Games 
  • Alone in the Dark (2008) demands that the player combine odd items (without pausing, even during battle) in a way that would be cool yet MacGuyveresque. Usually, however, those brave enough to make an attempt have little success except for those who cheat and read the tips for good combinations of items, or worse, using trial and error.
  • Technologist in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura can assemble explosives, chemicals, guns and various mechanical devices from random junk. This includes a device which can resurrect dead and is made from a capacitor, snake venom and three different herbs.
  • Battletech: Dr Farah Murad is somewhere between this trope and a Ms Fixit. Her first notable accomplishment in the campaign is getting the battered hulk of a crashed starship powered up and ready to launch while her bodyguards were still trading shots with the bandit gang who'd taken up residence in it. The player's faction's chief Mech mechanic Yang Virtanen has his moments as well, since until you get hold of that crashed starship in an early campaign mission he's repairing and servicing battlemechs in the hold of a Leopard-class Drop Ship, which is roughly equivalent to doing an engine-swap on a Humvee in the back of a C-130 in flight.
  • In Cave Story, a character makes a bomb out of charcoal, "jellyfish juice" and gum base.
  • Fotbar Laboratory in Choro Q HG 4 allows you to make powerful parts out of spoon, wrist strap, piece of cloth, paper bag, and others. The strongest chassis of the game is happened to be made of eraser.
  • Dark Chronicle has the protagonist, Max, who is able to come up with ideas and create things out off photos he takes: trash can, belt, pipe, streetlight, hospital skeleton, tree, iron maiden, etc. Also, there's even more bizarre case where he can synthesize element out of bread to upgrade his weapon.
  • This is recurring game mechanic in the Dead Rising games from the sequel onward.
    • In Dead Rising 2, Chuck can make a weapon out of every last thing he finds. These range from simple (Nails + Baseball Bat = Baseball Bat with Nails Through It) to creative (Knifes + Boxing Gloves = Wolverine Claws) to really weird (Chainsaws + Paddle = Double Ended Polearm with Chainsaws at both ends) to just plain crazy (Gas Can + Super Soaker = Flamethrower.)
    • In Dead Rising 3, Nick can not only craft on the spot, but, being a mechanic, he can also combine vehicles to make super vehicles, some of which are even armed with special weapons.
  • Dead Space:
    • In Dead Space 2, the protagonist, Isaac, builds a plasma cutter (the main weapon of the series) out of a flashlight and a surgical laser.
    • Dead Space 3 takes it to the next level by having Isaac craft everything involving his guns including tiny upgrade chips from tungsten, semiconductors, transducers and yes, scrap metal. The whole thing gets then turned up on Pure Survival Mode where no ammo, health or stasis kit drops at all. Instead, you get resources with which to craft all that stuff yourself.
  • Jeff Andonuts from EarthBound (1994) is the Badass Bookworm who can make anything from a Slime Generator from a broken iron to a Gaia Beam from a broken antenna.
  • The trapper character Jack in Evolve is quite skilled at this. Among his cobbled together devices are a satellite uplink and override, a motion negator, and a hybrid assault/medical droid.
  • Fallout 3:
    • You can do things like make a gauntlet out of a monster's arm and a medical brace, make a nail-launching rifle out of a steam gauge assembly and a pressure cooker, or make a Flaming Sword out of motorcycle parts and a lawnmower blade.
    • By combining a leaf blower with a vacuum cleaner, you can build a cannon that launches anything you put in, from tin cans to teddy bears. or a toaster.
  • Fallout 4 completely revolves around this. Players are expected to build weapon and armor modifications, settlement defenses, robots, and repair pre-war suits of Powered Armor with duct tape, an alarm clock, and a couple dozen tin cans.
  • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • When faced with a broken world item (fuse box, food processor, etc.), you can either go hunt for parts, or use a high repair skill to fix it. Special mention for the food processor at Camp McCarran, which you can fix with a repair skill of 80 by using a paper clip, a swiss army knife and other stuff.
    • The Jury Rigging perk lets you repair any piece of equipment with any other piece of equipment in the same category, as opposed to needing two of the same item in order to repair without the perk. This lets you somehow repair a Power Fist with a pair of boxing gloves, a laser bladed Proton Axe with a pool cue, a high-tech stealth suit with some scraps of cloth worn by primitive tribals, Military Grade Powered Armor with slaped together metal armor, and even Anti-material Rifles with a childs BB gun among other things. The perk's image depicts Vault-Boy duct-taping a rifle and a shotgun together, while its description lampshades how nonsensical the concept is, but you still somehow manage to make do.
  • Rikku in Final Fantasy X, as part of her Limit Break, she can create powerful bombs or healing items just by combining two often ordinary items.
  • In Jagged Alliance 2, you can make some gadgets out of random items you find. For example: duct tape and a steel tube can be used to make a barrel extender for your rifle, which increases its range (though it's prone to get fired off since it's only held on with duct tape), or combining a game system, an x-ray tube, and a couple other things to make an x-ray scanner (reports of massive doses of x-ray radiation when in use are "unconfirmed").
  • The Infocom game Leather Goddesses of Phobos revolves around MacGyvering a machine to prevent the titular aliens from turning the population of Earth into their sex slaves out of, among other things, a pair of cotton balls, a blender, and a small white mouse.
  • Most (if not all) of the characters in any LEGO Adaptation Game will automatically know what to build out of the piles of pieces lying around.
    • A gameplay mechanic is The LEGO Movie Videogame is that Master Builders can use green circles to highlight 3 groups of parts in a green aura and throw them into a green whirlwind to reassemble them into something else. However, the parts need to be within range of the circle in order to be selected.
  • Parodied in Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail!. When you try to combine random objects, the announcers says something along the lines of, "Larry, sometimes you try to mix two things together, but what do you always get? An ass".
  • In Lost Horizon, when Kim makes a sarcastic comment about the apparently useless junk Fenton keeps collecting, he is able to remind her that he recently took out a German fighter plane with just a pumpkin, a bag of flour, and some water.
  • This is Doc Hawkins' trick in MDK2. "I've created toast! Delicious!"
  • In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, after losing all his equipment in a fire, Solid Snake defeats Big Boss with a makeshift flamethrower made of a spray can and a cigarette lighter.
  • In Minecraft, all the player has at the beginning of the game is their bare hands and the clothes on their back. They can fashion a crafting table after chopping down a tree and processing it into planks with their bare hands, use that table and those planks to make makeshift wooden tools, use those tools to gather cobblestone, which they can then use to build a furnace and upgrade to makeshift stone tools, which they can use in turn to gather coal and iron ore... and so on. With the right raw materials and a crafting table (which can be crafted on the spot in a pinch), the player can make whatever they need almost instantly, though some recipes are very odd.
  • Any of the Monkey Island games in which Guybrush Threepwood has to use all manner of wacky items to save the day. One is in The Curse of Monkey Island, in which you have to pour cooking oil on a guy's back so he'll get sun burnt and you can then peel off the skin on his back which just happens to have a map tattooed on to it.
  • Subverted in Night in the Woods. While hanging out with Bea during a housecall to fix Mrs. Miranda's noisy furnace, Mae attempts to cobble together a fix of her own using the objects you find in the basement: a fan, a fishing pole, a badminton racket, and a garden gnome. There are a few options available, all of them look ridiculous, and all of them just fall apart before you even get a chance to try it out. Oh, and while you were messing around, Bea already fixed the problem because she does this sort of thing for a living.
    Bea: Way to go, Mae. Please don't fix anything ever again.
  • Octopath Traveler II has Osvald escaping from Frigit Isle by using magic to create a boat made of straw and ice.
  • Professor Layton has a habit of this:
    • At the end of Professor Layton and the Curious Village, the titular character manages to build a functioning glider from some poles, drapes, and other junk. Not only can it carry three people, but he's able to thwart the villain's own sinister flying contraption with it.
    • In Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, Layton manages to produce a functioning helicopter out of a bunch of odds and ends in a shack on a deserted island. As above, it carries three people and somehow works.
    • Not to be outdone, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future has the good professor create a working machine gun out of some spare slot machine parts. He's under heavy gunfire, but when a bullet knocks the parts loose, he's only one quick puzzle away from sending the Mooks running with their tails between their legs.
  • Scrap Mechanic, as the name implies, features you playing as a Gadgeteer Genius mechanic who can literally build vehicles and buildings out of scrap lying about, or out of repurposed industrial equipment.
  • One of the gimmicks of A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) centering around the children inventing devices from scrap materials lying around. Klaus, for example, creates a grappling hook by combining a bicycle pump, coil, and gardening tool.
  • The weaponry of Splatoon is all comprised of household tools and scrap gadgets cobbled together to make weaponry: the entire Roller class is comprised of oversized paint rollers and paintbrushes, most Slosher class weapons are buckets, the L-3 and H-3 Nozzlenoses are garden hoses with their spray nozzles still attached, the Heavy Splatling is a repurposed office water cooler, the Classic Squiffer is a bottle of cleaning detergent with an extra-long nozzle, Glooga Dualies are a pair of hot glue guns, the list goes on.
  • While it's closer to an Informed Ability rather than anything else, Sonic the Hedgehog's Miles "Tails" Prower is reportedly capable of doing this, according to Sonic Lost World. In the same game, he uses his tails as extra appendages and reprograms a roboticizing machine to let him keep his free will with nothing but a toothpick. This boastful exchange between him and Sonic displays to what extent Tails can do this. His boast regarding this also doubles as a referencing a Noodle Incident.
    Tails: I've built a TV out of paper clips...
    Sonic: Yeah...
    Tails: And reprogrammed a supercomputer using dishwashing detergent and a toothpick...
    Sonic: I know...
    Tails: ...So look, fixing a propeller on a biplane? That's about as difficult as taking a nap.
  • Two-Hat Jack from Sunset Overdrive uses his considerable scavenging and design skills to craft extremely unusual firearms. Justified in that he lives in an apocalypse, and the game is very loose on what items would make for ammunition. The rest of the guns he sells are obviously looted from enemy corpses.
  • Team Fortress 2's Medic literally created a device that can heal people from the brink of death to full physical health within the minute, out of a flowerpot, blender, fire hose, several gauges and malfunctioning medical equipment. The Soldier has a cobbled-together rocket launcher, Pyro a flamethrower, and Medic once more, a syringe gun that's just as cobbled together as the Quick Fix.
  • Tomb Raider: The entire equipment system in Tomb Raider (2013) and Rise of the Tomb Raider revolves around this trope. Lara usually only receives the basic weapon of each class automatically, and everything more advanced needs to be assembled from parts she can find throughout the game. These weapons as well as other parts of her gear can then be upgraded with random pieces of scrap that need to be salvaged as well. Rise expands upon this system by introducing a wide variety of improvised weapons for Lara to craft on the fly, ranging from tin can grenades and smoke bombs over gas canister fire bombs and walkie-talkie proximity mines to rigging dead mooks with deadly poison gas traps that silently kill anyone who tries to investigate the body. And let's not forget about her arsenal of nifty special arrows up to and including cluster grenade arrows, all of which can be crafted from scavenged resources at any time as well.
  • This is the superpower that fans have inferred Nitori of Touhou to have. She lives in a Medieval Stasis world, but has access to books from the real world, and is nevertheless capable of producing working machines of the modern age (or even better than modern equipment, as with her stealth suit) without access to an industrial base, education system, or any kind of energy source (until the end of the tenth game, at least). Western fans even directly state MacGyver to be her personal hero/romantic fantasy.
  • Unturned is similar to Minecraft in that you start with nothing and can eventually craft and construct supplies and shelter. In particular, some weapon attachments can be improvised using some rather unorthodox materials. For instance, using two tin cans and two cans of cola (cooked over a fire, for some reason), you can make an improvised silencer called the 'Muffler'. Another example is the "Zoomifier", an improvised scope made out of a pair of binoculars and some duct tape which has a fairly high zoom level but no reticule.
  • Wizardry 8 has the gadgeteer class. Spell casters can obviously cast spells and bards can produce similar spell-like effects when they find the proper musical instrument. Gadgeteers will be collecting odd assortments of scrap and knick-knacks to assemble devices that allow them to do the same, like a lava lamp that hypnotizes enemies. Their unique weapon, the omnigun, also functions this way: it gets more powerful as the gadgeteer gains levels because they're installing upgrades and new functions. At first model, omnigun is slow, inaccurate and uses musketballs and sling stones for ammo — the final model is very fast, very accurate, can cause a laundry list of debuffs, and can use every kind of ammo.


    Web Original 
  • In Masks, there's a superpower that allows people to do this.
  • According to Troll Science, it seems that there is nothing that a Troll cannot achieve using only flashlights, magnets, and a complete disregard of the laws of physics. Exhibit A is this charming little wagon.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in American Dad! when Roger uses a rock, some twigs and a piece of gum to make a Sniper Rifle, complete with bullets and scope.
  • In Beast Wars, Rhinox often has to improvise with whatever spare parts are available to build new useful tech. Lampshaded in "Chain of Command":
    "Make a device to extract physical molecular structure from an alien probe? Man, I gotta be a miracle worker." note 
  • Grampy from the old Betty Boop cartoons usually does this. A prominent example comes from the 1936 Color Classics short "Christmas Comes But Once a Year", wherein Grampy MacGuyvers together several Christmas toys for a group of downtrodden orphans, using nothing more than common household items.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: Gadget Hackwrench has this as her hat. Thanks to Cartoon Physics — not to mention a healthy dose of Rule of Funny — she can build practically anything using what's lying around, including a fully functional rocket ship out of a garbage can.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, the KND's self-parodying Bamboo Technology equipment mostly consists of random objects, pieces of wood, and duct tape, fondly referred to as '2x4 Technology'. It's played completely straight (and exaggerated) in "Operation: E.L.E.C.T.I.O.N.S."; a kid escapes from a cell by slugging Lunk (who's guarding him), stealing Lunk's bubble gum and turning the gum into a makeshift skeleton key (which, likely for the sake of humor, is given the 2x4 designation G.U.M.M.B.O. right on the spot, standing for Gooey Unlocking Mush Maximizes Break Outs).
  • Subverted in Dave the Barbarian when Dave makes a megaphone out of "a squirrel, a string, and a megaphone." It's simply a squirrel tied to a megaphone.
    "You might be wondering why I tied a squirrel to a megaphone. [beat] Well, goodnight."
  • Jenny 10 from Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist: "Last week I made a hadron collider from a broken hairdryer and a box of paperclips..."
  • This is a speciality of Ramon Ridley on Dogstar. Amongst other things, he once constructed a functioning radio telescope out of an old satellite and a toaster.
  • Parodied in the Family Guy episode "Brian: Portrait of a Dog". Peter writes a letter: "Dear MacGyver, Enclosed is a rubber band, a paper clip, and a drinking straw. Please save my dog." MacGyver proceeds to fumble around with the rubber band and the paper clip and accidentally shoot himself in the eye.
  • Subverted in the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before". Fry tries to make a bowstring out of caterpillars, but the first time he uses it the string breaks and leaves him with caterpillars all over his face and clothing.
  • in Gabby’s Dollhouse Baby Box is known for using craft material to make stuff that will solve whatever problem Gabby and Pandy has.
  • Played with in G.I. Joe: Renegades. Being fugitives on the run, it's a given. Duke manages to defuse a bomb with a wad of chewing gum, but Roadblock's attempts to jury-rig an engine-cable for the truck don't go as smoothly.
  • Inside Job (2021)'s Reagan can put together bombs from Amazon Alexas, drones from Simon Sez's and a fully functioning laser weapon using only a gun's laser sight and her phone's circuit board (though why she doesn't just use the gun is unclear). Ironically, she has no idea who MacGyver is.
  • This is the bread and butter of the titular superheroine in Miraculous Ladybug, because her Lucky Charm superpower requires it in order to be of any use. The Charm is always a random piece of junk, and Ladybug has to figure out exactly how she's supposed to use it to defeat the Monster of the Week. Fortunately, she's quite good at it, and the nature of the Lucky Charm means the answer is guaranteed to work.
  • My Little Pony:
    • In the My Little Pony 'n Friends serial "The Return of Tambelon", the ponies are able to break out of Grogan's dungeon by using their gruel ration and Fizzy's bubble-making magic to turn a crack in the ceiling into a gaping hole that they can escape through.
    • In an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, we're introduced to Party Favor, a stallion who can make anything out of balloons, whether it be binoculars or a bridge.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat once builds a cloning machine using a cardboard box, a wooden board, some wires and a pair of toilet plungers.
  • Kim Possible: "Anyone could've made a high-powered signalling out of things found in the airport gift shop." Well, anyone's who's Kim.
  • Kipper: Subverted in "The Flying Machine". Kipper and Tiger make a flying machine out of a tricycle, balloons, and winglets. It doesn't work.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • In the Season 3 episode "Long Live the Queen", Asami builds a working Sand-sailer out of the wrecked remains of an airship so she, Korra, and a group of Earth Kingdom soldiers can escape the desert (and the giant sand shark intent on eating them).
    • In Season 4, Varrick makes an EMP generator out of a radio, a table leg, and a regular generator. It's strong enough to knock out at least three Earth Empire mech suits.
  • Molly of Denali: In "Heat Wave," Tooey and Mr. Rowley manage to make a solar-powered fan out of the likes of bottle caps and a ballpoint pen.
  • The Simpsons
    • In one gag, Homer makes a powerful bomb out of a can of soda pop and a packet of pop rocks, based on the urban legend about their volatility when mixed.
    • In "Black Widower", Patty, Selma and Sideshow Bob watch an episode of MacGyver, which concludes with this exchange:
      "Thank you, Senor MacGyver, for saving our village."
      "Don't thank me. Thank the moon's gravitational pull."
    • In "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore", guest-starring Richard Dean Anderson, he starts doing this in real life after Patty and Selma kidnap him from a Stargate SG-1 convention (he gets so much of a kick after escaping them MacGyver-style, he actually keeps coming back for more), such as making "MacGyver-burgers" out of Slim Jims and rubber bands. Also contains this quote:
      Richard Dean Anderson: I've come up with another escape. I want you to tie me up and lock me in the trunk of your car, under the pier at low tide. All I need are these everyday objects — a toothpick, some liquor, a gun with no bullets, bullets, and three of my MacGyver writers.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Mugato, Gumato", Boimler and Rutherford rig a bunch of jungle debris and spare equipment into a holoprojector so that they can do a presentation for the Ferengi on the cost-benefit ratio of mugato poaching versus a theme park-style nature preserve.
  • Thomas & Friends: In "James and the Coaches" ("James and the Bootlace" in the original book), James' rough riding causes the brake pipe on one of his coaches to rupture, bringing the train to a standstill. The crew covers the hole with newspaper and pressures a reluctant passenger to hand over his leather bootlaces to seal it up. It works.
  • The Transformers: Played for Laughs in the episode "Webworld". During a therapeutic building exercise, the Ax-Crazy Galvatron manages to construct a fully functional laser gun out of the ordinary materials he's given.
  • X-Men: Evolution: In "Joyride", Sam uses his chewing gum to fix the controls to the X-Jet which they flew unauthorized after they're fried accidentally by Jubilee being startled by Kitty and Lance.

    Real Life 
  • Brazil and Portugal are two nations whose whole philosophy is based on improvisation, and this is taught in schools. Portugal even have a word for it: desenrascanço.
    • In Brazil, the word is gambiarra. And besides that, the improv way of life is usually called "Jeitinho Brasileiro", or "Brazilian (Little) Way", which is not limited to MacGyvering, but also any sort of problem-solving in non-conventional ways, including amoral ones.
  • In French, MacGyverish translates to débrouillard. And we've got a magazine teaching the virtues of ''la débrouillardise'' to little Quebecers everywhere.
  • In a similar vein, the Egyptians have a stereotype about themselves that they can always find a way to make what they need; unconventional solutions will often be complimented as "very Egyptian." A somewhat famous example is the time a European and American documentary team was trying to figure out some element of how the Pyramids had been built with the technology of the day; they submitted the question to some modern Egyptian laborers, and within a few hours they had rigged a system of levers and ropes that would both have been possible 4000 years ago and done the job. As it turns out, this might be true of Arabs in general, judging by the jury-rigged weapons systems of Hamas and Hezbollah in the Arab–Israeli Conflict, and of the Libyan rebels in their Civil War.
  • Bricolage is a French loanword for improvisation and one of its definitions is "something constructed or created from a diverse range of available things".
  • Jugaad (a word taken from Hindi which captures the meaning of finding a low-cost solution to any problem in an intelligent way) is a new way to think constructively and differently about innovation and strategy. It is extensively used in India, and is accepted as a frugal management technique. Companies in India have adopted Jugaad as a practise to reduce research and development costs.
  • Cracked has covered this in a few lists:
  • The website There, I Fixed It archives photos of some of the more amusing attempts at this. Some of them apparently do the job; they just look humorously thrown-together.
  • One of the most useful devices in amateur telecommunications is pretty much only available in MacGyver form. The Cantenna is a directional (meaning it has to be aimed) antenna made out of an ordinary metal can (anything from a soup can all the way up to a metal trash can will work) and some wire. Splice it into a normal antenna and you can pick up wifi from hundreds of yards away. One episode of The Screen Savers covers making a Pringles can directional antenna, and it was even taken mainstream with WarGames: The Dead Code. Building one can also be said to be one part of the rite of passage to becoming a real geek, particularly if you live in a dorm and need Wi-Fi from the nearby fast food joint or coffee haunt because campus Wi-Fi blocks out the services you want to use.
    • An alternative to the cantenna is the WokFi, built from an old cooking wok, camera tripod (or chopsticks), and again some wire.
    • MacGyvering is a popular pastime in the Amateur Radio community. In the US at least, federal regulations give licensed amateurs quite a bit of leeway in building and modifying their own equipment. Plenty of people have fun figuring out what random objects they can modify into communications equipment, to include one fellow who used the HVAC ducts in his house as a radio antenna.
  • On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart makes reference directly to MacGyvering when interviewing William Kamkwamba, a young man from Malawi who created a functioning windmill for his village during a famine, using only, according to That Other Wiki, "blue gum trees, bicycle parts, and materials collected in a local scrapyard."
  • During the American Civil War, the South was strapped for cash and couldn't stand a protracted Naval Blockade, especially with the North's greater resources for building ironclads. Considering that the South's main resource was cotton, they strapped bales onto the decks of merchant ships and used them to absorb enemy fire. Thus, the Cotton-clad was born.
  • Americans are known for coming up with crazy ideas that just happen to work like using human hair to soak up oil. At the Battle of Midway, the carrier Yorktown had been redeployed after improvised repairs were rushed after taking heavy damage at the Coral Sea. The Yorktown was bombed by Zeroes, but the Damage Control units not only kept her afloat, but got her back up to speed, to the point that when the Japanese bombed her again, they thought they had sunk two carriers (which would have been a far more crippling blow to the U.S., as the only other active Pacific carriers at the time were Hornet and Enterprise), rather than hitting the Yorktown twice. She did sink, but not before turning the tide of the battle by means of improvised repairs and sheer endurance.
    • In the Iraq War, American soldiers, lacking suitable armor for their Humvees and trucks, created what came to be called "hillbilly armor" made from scrap metal, kevlar, bulletproof glass and even plywood. The result looks like something out of Mad Max.
    • Another example from Iraq: Using Silly String to check doors for tripwires. As the article mentions, this kind of improvisational thinking is taught and encouraged in the US Army.
  • In the wake of the major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, basically everyone and their uncle came up with an idea to either A) get the oil from the water, B) fix the gushing oil pipe or C) clean the oil off the poor, helpless animals. Almost all these ideas (well, maybe not the "stop the gushing pipe" one) usually involved simple materials that could be found in either the average home, the average high school, or the average supermarket. And most of them either worked or would have worked, although not on a Gulf-wide scale.
  • The phrases "Yankee ingenuity" and "Kiwi ingenuity" refer to the tendencies of early colonists in, respectively, New England and New Zealand to make do with whatever was available in order to perform the task at hand, such as using a pole saw to cut brush in the absence of a machete.
  • Nuclear physicist Ted Taylor, while waiting out a delay during a nuclear weapons test, found a parabolic mirror. He placed this outside the observation bunker and used wire to fix a Pall Mall at the mirror's focal point. When the bomb went off, the mirror focused the heat flash on the cigarette, and Ted Taylor became the first person to light a cigarette with an atomic bomb.
  • The British Home Guard was left to fall back upon its own resources in the early days, as priority had to be given to re-equipping the regular Army. Their most deadly anti-tank weapon was a sort of self-igniting Molotov Cocktail, so one especially enterprising Home Guard officer designed and built a mortar from a length of old drainpipe and some black powder to launch one of these further than it could be thrown.
  • Averted probably more times than not in Real Life. Many an ER attending and trauma surgeon has put away some retirement money from homemade MacGyver devices. The tragedy is that most lay people can scrounge together just enough information, skill, and resources to build something that gets themselves really, really hurt. What professionals have is not only the ability to build devices, but do so safely with a low margin of error. As Adam and Jamie would say, don't try this at home. They're what you call professionals.
  • The MythBusters showed a prison museum exhibit of weapons made in prison, including a gun made from the sink pipes. The same episode proved that, with enough time and the proper technique, a prisoner could build a functional, lethal crossbow out of newspaper, underwear elastic, and plastic forks and spoons.
    • MythBusters testing has also showed that while MacGyver's improvised explosives like the sodium gel capsule are all chemically plausible, they aren't sufficiently powerful to do any real damage. This was likely intentional on the part of MacGyver's producers.
  • On the Apollo 13 mission, an oxygen tank explosion left the command module uninhabitable. Using the lunar module as a lifeboat had been discussed earlier, and the crew evacuated into the LM for the rest of the trip to the Moon and back to Earth. Among the problems they had to solve was that the carbon dioxide scrubbers were being used up too quickly, being designed for the requirements of two astronauts for 1½ days, not three for four days. There were spare canisters in the command module, but those were cube-shaped and large, not cylindrical and small as in the lunar modulenote . Ground Control put together a team with the objective to find a way to use items available on the spaceship (and only those items) to build something to make the CM canisters usable. Using things like plastic Moon rock bags, cardboard from log book covers, space suit hoses, and duct tapenote , they MacGyvered a working adapter.
  • Self-injurers will often use whatever they can find to harm, if their regular razors or knives are missing.
  • In the hands of orthopedic surgeon Angus Wallace, a coathanger, knife and fork became surgical tools and five-star brandy became disinfectant when the airplane's first-aid kit proved inadequate to treat a woman for tension pneumothorax. Using duct tape or plastic bags to temporarily seal a sucking chest wound is actually a fairly standard Macguyvering technique for administering first-aid to a sucking chest wound in the absence of proper materials. Likewise, using the outer casing of a pen as tubing for an improvised tracheotomy. Many first-aid training courses emphasize the usefulness of improvised solutions, provided you know what you're trying to accomplish. This might include things like using the victim's clothing to improvize pressure bandages, slings, or even litters. For the aforementioned sucking chest wound, soldiers are sometimes advised to consider using the plastic packaging that many components of their first aid kits are packaged in.
  • Before 1969, there was no network link between the television stations in the North and South Islands New Zealand, which in times of crisis led to some Macguyvering to ensure the entire country could see the footage promptly.
    • When the ferry Wahine foundered in Wellington Harbour on April 10, 1968, the extra-tropical cyclone responsible for the ferry's demise prevented aircraft flying the footage to the South Island. Instead, a camera crew drove north to Kaikoura, within range of Wellington's transmitter, and filmed a television set broadcasting the North Island news. They then rushed the footage to Christchurch and played it over the South Island network.
    • The inter-island network was supposed to be completed in time for the Apollo 11 Moon landing in July 1969, but it got delayed. As a stop-gap, outside broadcast vans were strategically placed to relay the signal between the islands to ensure everyone got to see the event at the same time. And getting the footage across New Zealand was the easy part - getting it into the country was another story. With no international satellite link, the NZBC contacted the Royal New Zealand Air Force, who sent a crew in a English Electric Canberra to Sydney to pick up the film of the moon landing from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and then fly it from Canberra to Wellington.
  • According to The Other Wiki, John Logie Baird built the first mechanical television using items including " old hatbox and a pair of scissors, some darning needles, a few bicycle light lenses, a used tea chest, and sealing wax and glue that he purchased."
  • The US Army had to do this. During the Korean War in 1950, US troops were stuck at the Chosin Reservoir. The fuel lines of their tanks were cracked from the harsh winter cold. They were running low on ammo and called in for an ammo drop using the code name "Tootsie rolls". Because of some error, they were dropped boxes of real Tootsie rolls. While confused, they quickly realized if they chewed one Tootsie roll enough to thaw it, the roll could be made into a putty and they used them to cover the cracked fuel lines. When they refroze, they could safely drive the tanks out of there and were saved.
  • After being stranded in the desert when his Citroen broke down, French electrician Emile Leray spent twelve no doubt grueling days taking apart the now-useless vehicle and rebuilding it into a fully functional desertpunk-style motorcycle that would've brought a tear to the eye of any Mad Max fan.
  • Ninja, hands down. Since most operated out of rural farming villages, majority of the time, these saboteurs and spies lacked "actual" weaponry or even the materials to make them. Many of these were mere farming implements like the kama and kunai, being simple harvesting scythes and trowels. Coins could be carved into shuriken, spiky water chestnuts could be dried into Caltrops, tear gas bombs could be made from hollowed-out eggshells filled with a mix of eye irritants, the list goes on on how many of the ninja's arsenal were improvised from otherwise innocuous and commonly found objects.
  • In World War II, both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy used the same aircraft, the Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber. A large biplane with open cockpits, it was noted in service that a particular manoevre caused the fuel tank to leak into the observer/gunner's cockpit via an open valve designed to keep air pressure constant in the fuel system. Having aviation fuel slopping around the air gunner's feet was held to be a design flaw. While the RAF grounded its fleet of Swordfish for an expensive mod, the Royal Navy's fix, a wine cork on a string, solved the leak problem and took five minutes to install.
  • During World War II, in the Pacific Theater, the personnel stationed on small islands usually had plenty of bottles of Coca-Cola, thanks to a very aggressive program by Coca-Cola to make certain they did. However, they often lacked refrigeration, and a warm bottle of Coke just isn't very appealing. The solution? Get a bunch of ice cube trays and buckets, fill them with water, stick them in the bomb bay of a bomber, and have the pilot go up to around 30,000 feet for an hour. Plenty of ice for everyone when the plane returned.
  • During WW II, American bomber crews did much the same thing on the European missions: they put a bucket of cream and sugar in the back of the plane. The shaking and freezing temperatures churned ice cream, which they ate to celebrate returning in one piece.
  • According to Masahiro Sakurai, Kirby's Dream Land was programmed using a jury-rigged setup that made use of a Twin Famicom console (a Famicom variant manufactured by Sharp that combined a Famicom and a Famicom Disk System into one singular unit) and a trackball controller, with the trackball used to input values with an on-screen keyboard.


Video Example(s):


The Warden

The Second Coming is at the mercy of a terrifying monster called the warden and is trapped at a dead end with nothing but a book, a candle, and a stick. With no choice but to utilize whatever he could use at his disposal, The Second Coming finds that the warden is not really a monster.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / MusicSoothesTheSavageBeast

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