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Made of Explodium

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"I do not understand why everything in this script must inevitably explode."
Teal'c, Stargate SG-1, "200"

Everything Is Better with Explosions, isn't it? Well, if you spice it up to maximum, you have Stuff Blowing Up in complete defiance of science and logic.

In the wonderful world of fiction, nothing ever just breaks. If it's even slightly mechanical or electronic, its destruction is loud and accompanied by Impressive Pyrotechnics. Apparently, circuit boards, moving parts, and Tokyo are the most volatile substances in the universe.

And that's just in serious works. In comedies, anything can blow up, especially if there's an Epic Fail involved.

Objects that are particularly prone to exploding include:

Related to You Have to Burn the Web. See also Incendiary Exponent, Catastrophic Countdown, Hair-Trigger Explosive and Ridiculously Potent Explosive. Sister trope to Made of Incendium, in which something easily catches fire. Contrast Made of Indestructium, which is when something is so ridiculously impervious to physical damage (without the excuse of, say, Nigh-Invulnerability superpowers) that it seems genuinely indestructible.

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Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • One commercial for Sprite showed people running at one another. Upon contact, they explode in huge splashes of soda. Apparently, this is supposed to make you want to buy it. No, we don't get it either.
  • One Japanese Sega Saturn commercial for Saturn Bomberman had Segata Sanshiro throwing his opponent with such extreme force that he blew up upon hitting the ground, twice. Sanshiro himself was unfazed.
  • The Old Spice commercials with Terry Crews usually end with Crews exploding in some way.

    Comic Books 
  • An excerpt from Warren Ellis, on what his comic Nextwave is all about:
    "It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode."
    • And it lives up to that hype, too.
    • Tabitha's super power is described as "mutant powers of blowing things up and stealing all your stuff."
    • Elsa's reaction when she shoots the first of a horde of what look like clay golems and it explodes spectacularly:
      Elsa: Oh my god. They explode? My life has taken on new meaning!
  • In one issue of All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, Batman sets what looks like a standard, buy-it-in-a-store bottle of bleach on fire with a road flare from his belt. That's commercial bleach, which is almost entirely water. And he sets it on fire. He then throws it into a huge stack of similar bottles, causing a nice big explosion and gloating as it kills the small-time hoods that were stealing it.
  • In Asterix in Corsica, fumes from a Corsican cheese explode, destroying a ship. Asterix and his friends already jumped the ship (fortunately for them), but then the pirates came on board (unfortunately for them, as always).
  • The Human Bomb.
  • As Atomic Robo puts it:
    "My years with Mr. Tesla have taught me that there's one underlying scientific principle common to all existence... everything explodes."
  • This becomes a superpower in Strikeforce: Morituri; the character Revenge could convert anything to energy by touching it, with the effect of making it explode. He once defeated an opponent with Super-Speed just by touching him once during the fight.
  • In Our Worlds at War, the Imperiex Probes are this, as cutting open their armored bodies sets off a chain reaction that leads to a big boom. This is what caused a humongous trench to form where Atlantis used to be, what temporarily took out Wonder Woman and killed her mother Hippolyta.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Airplanes, tanks and most everything else regularly goes up in giant explosions after taking little damage in this series.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the Beetle Bailey strip for 8/6/2013, Cookie says his recipe has real kick to it. Then the food blows up.
  • Invoked in a cartoon in The Far Side: A worker is hammering nails, manufacturing a huge weapon. A coworker with a mischievous expression has slipped up behind him with an inflated paper grocery bag, and is about to slam it.
  • In one Peanuts comic, Charlie Brown finally manages to get a kite into the air... only for it to explode on him. Lucy even comments how she's never seen anything like that happen before.

    Fan Works 
  • Lampshaded by Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z Abridged after being defeated by Zarbon. "Why did I explode?"
  • In Incompatible System, the FTL drive Mankind uses (as well as another drive used by a neighbor race) causes proportionate explosions in all eezo nearby (the first test was a jump to Mars... the Prothean ruins promptly became a dinosaur-killer level fireball). Naturally causes a delay in First Contact with the Council races.
  • In Triptych Continuum, platinum absorbs magical energy from its surroundings. It's used to make self-charging Magitek, and in small amounts unrefined platinum leaks the magic back out. But large chunks of unrefined platinum, or damaged platinum wiring, simply absorb magic without being able to discharge it, until there is so much magic stored up that the platinum chunk can't hold it anymore and explodes in a building-levelling blast.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has Pegasus's wife. In the original, there's a flashback where her dying of unspecified causes is visually shown by her turning into a rose and the petals flying off. Later on, Pegasus has a vision of her returning to him, which ends when she glows and disintegrates. The Abridged version proclaims that these instances were literal, and she just has a habit of exploding.
"You really need to stop doing that."

    Films ó Animation 
  • Frozen:
    • In Frozen, Kristoff's wooden sleigh bursts into flames after falling at the bottom of a chasm. Justified by Kristoff's earlier mention that it was freshly lacquered, which presumably worked as an accelerant when the lantern at the front set the whole thing on fire.
    • Olaf's Frozen Adventure: Olaf manages to set Kristoff's replacement sled on fire too from overloading it. This time, the fire is burning as the sled is falling into the chasm, is snuffed out momentarily by the impact... and then there's the explosion.
  • During a chase scene in Rango, bats are seen to explode on crashing. Yes, bats. Justified by several of their riders swilling moonshine, which is rather explosive.
  • In The Swan Princess Rothbart explodes after he is killed when Derek shoots him in the heart with an arrow in his great animal form.
  • In Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, a plane, which isn't even a real plane but a toy plane from a theme park ride, somehow manages to produce a massive, fiery explosion when it crashes. Conclusion: it exploded because it was running on awesome.

  • In Dragonlance Tales, the characters are confronted by a door secured by a gnome-built time-lock (with lots of levers, mirrors and other bits — gnomes are inveterate tinkerers). One character goes to touch it, but another shouts:
    "Be careful! It might explode!"
    "Why? Do you think it's trapped?"
    "No! It was built by gnomes!"
  • Justified in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series: in one scene, a character blows up trees to kill portions of an enemy army. Granted, it's explained that it's really just superheating the sap, but still...
  • Tom Clancy also lampshaded explodium cars in Debt of Honor. In a crash involving two sedans and a semi, both sedans exploded in huge fireballs soon after the crash. This was an important plot point — the cars had faulty gas tanks — and one of the accident investigators remarked that real cars don't blow up when they crash, That Only Happens In Movies.
  • Discworld:
    • The small, doglike swamp dragons are living, breathing explodium. The internal chemical factory required to breathe fire is incredibly unstable; when a swamp dragon hiccups, people dive for cover. As in the Pokémon example, this might seem a bad evolutionary decision, but Pratchett points out in Guards! Guards! that exploding as a defense is a good evolutionary move, from the perspective of the whole species. Not from the perspective of the dragon landing in different chunks around the scenery.
    • Played with in a couple of references to Bloody Stupid Johnson's inventions, which included a chiming sundial (which tended to explode around noon) and an explosive somehow made out of sand and water, as well as a small ornamental fountain which, when switched on, gurgled ominously for a few minutes then fired a cherub a thousand feet in the air.
    • In the opening of Soul Music, a coach runs off the road and falls into a gorge. When it hits the ground, it doesn't just break, it "erupts into fragments.... Then the oil from the coach lamps ignites and there is a second explosion, out of which rolls — because there are certain conventions, even in tragedy — a burning wheel."
    • The regiment in Monstrous Regiment manage to MacGyver some explosives when they're held prisoner in a kitchen that has flour and some matches in it. (Justified. Flour can and will explode violently if dispersed into the air and then ignited.)
  • Songs performed by Fake Band Disaster Area in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe are described as following "the familiar theme of boy-being meets girl-being beneath a silvery moon, which then explodes for no adequately explored reason."
    • Also their actual music, which sounds best when listened to from bunkers at least 40 miles away from the stage. The band itself plays from a spaceship on the planet's orbit — or, preferably, some other planet's. The music once terraformed a planet by causing its crust to flip over (with an assist from a stray Improbability Field in the vicinity).
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, both by J.K. Rowling): Whatever touches the horn of a creature called an Erumpent is injected with a substance (pure Explodium, perhaps?) that causes it to explode.
  • In Animorphs, Yeerk Bug fighters routinely go head-to-head with other spaceships armed with laser beams and zip through galaxies like it's nobody's business, but apparently their Achilles' Heel is getting gently pushed by a slow-moving bulldozer, which causes them to explode.
  • If Harry Dresden takes out his blasting rod, then the best course of action is to run. When burning down buildings is a Running Gag, then you know this trope applies.
    The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault.
  • In The Tomorrow Series a handy petrol tank gets improvised into a fiery bomb of death on a number of occasions. In the most extreme case, they use a petrol tanker truck.
  • Gerald Kersh's short story Comrade Death features the concept of Made of Explodium itself weaponized. Anything exposed to a chemical called "Disintegrol" becomes an extremely powerful and volatile high explosive. A single pin prick to a technician's hand blows the man into pieces.
  • Lyra in Northern Lights manages to, if not totally demolish Bolvangar, at least cause rather a lot of damage by turning on the gas stoves in the kitchen all the way, lighting them and throwing a huge bag of flour in the air. This is Truth in Television, to an extent; see Real Life below.
  • In Tales of Kolmar, Kantri can commit suicide by exploding in flame. It's not a particularly large or forceful explosion, but it does burn hot. This also happens when they die without killing themselves, though normally there's some delay.
  • In Horatio Hornblower, the accurate dangers of working with black powder are explained. Men who work in the powder store have to wear slippers because shoe nails can strike a spark that would send everyone sky-high. When Hornblower rigs a powder store to explode, he continually thinks of himself being surrounded by violent death.
  • Justified in Greg Egan's Orthogonal trilogy, where it drives the main plot: Because of the way physics works on an atomic/quantum scale in this universe, any matter will create an immediate and massively explosive reaction when it comes into contact with orthogonal matter (more or less matter from Another Dimension). Air included. Doubles as a very straight but justified example of Collision Damage.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Tercentenary Incident": The official record for the titular incident is that a robot duplicate of the President had been in the crowd, shaking hands and hugging people, and then "the robot spontaneously exploded". After that incident, the robot industry suffered from the public impression that robots could explode unexpectedly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Smallville does this so often fans joke about Clark's passive ability to transmute anything near him into explodium.
  • MythBusters trades in this trope on occasion. Admittedly, most objects are not Made of Explodium until Adam and Jamie (and retired FBI agent Frank Doyle) get to modify them a bit, but their end results would do Monty Python's "not being seen" sketch proud.
    • In one episode, inspired by the ending of Jaws, they test to see whether an oxygen tank explodes upon being shot. It doesn't explode, but the gas spewing out of the bullet hole at high pressure would kill a shark just as well.
    • Then there was the time where, after having already explored the myth "you can clean out a cement truck with dynamite", they then made the cement truck cease to exist, for no better reason than that they had enough explosives to do it.
    • While attempting to do a small-scale experiment on what happens when you throw water onto a kitchen oil fire, the resulting fireball led to a stunned silence followed by Adam remarking "I think we need a smaller scale!"
    • As featured in the credits in the earlier seasons; Adam ended up asking the crew "Am I missing an eyebrow?", after a more-energetic-than-expected experiment with sending static sparks into a fuel-air mixture.
    • Also subverted several times. More than once, an explosive device has failed to go off on cue, leading to some very tense moments where a live explosive has to be reset/made safe somehow.
    • Spraying a big plume of non-dairy coffee creamer into the air then setting it on fire creates a gigantic fireball that almost had Grant reaching for a wardrobe change.
  • iCarly: Nearly anything Spencer creates or meddles with ends up on fire. This is roughly split 50/50 between things that shouldn't catch fire, like the doorman bell, or a drum kit, and things he really should be smart enough to not build, such as the overpowered metallic magnetic Christmas Tree.
    • This is Lampshaded by Spencer when a cymbal on the drum kit catches fire after being hit.
      • Doubly so when he tries putting out one of those fires only to have the extinguisher belch out fire as well.
  • Stargate SG-1
    • According to the earlier episodes, Naquadah is extremely volatile. It is also superconductive and incredibly strong. It only explodes after it has absorbed too much energy. To blow up a stargate, there must already be a sizable explosion. This is lampshaded in "200". According to Word of God, important episodes are specifically designed to have as many explosions per second as possible.
    • Then there is Naquadriah, which is a much more energy dense (and accordingly, much more unstable) isotope of Naquadah, which is used because much more power can be drawn from it. It makes for an excellent warhead.
  • In the Stargate Atlantis episode "Sunday", an Ancient device (an experimental weapon against the Wraith) is discovered in an Atlantis lab. It emits radiations that, even after a short exposure, give people exploding tumors. This causes at least five deaths, including Dr. Carson Beckett's.
  • Star Trek is famous for using a minor version of this trope constantly. Whenever a ship gets hit, control panels on the bridge spray sparks everywhere.
  • Scrubs hangs a lampshade on this in the episode My Unicorn. As Murray's toy plane explodes, J.D. notes, "What an odd-sized explosion..."
  • Hello, Top Gear. As James May put it after they somehow lit a car wash alight, "We managed to set fire to something that's basically made of water!"
  • For the invention exchange at the beginning of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Pod People", Joel invents a guitar chord that, when played, causes the guitar to explode. It makes for an awesome end to a rock concert.
  • In UFO (1970), the alien Flying Saucers heat up and explode if they spend too much time in Earth's atmosphere.
  • Space: 1999 features the exploding planet Psychon. We're unlikely ever to see the proof for ourselves, as destroying an entire planet apparently is a bit harder than it looks on the telly. So it's a bit disappointing to see that an exploding planet looks like two Roman candles ignited at once.
  • Entire planets have also exploded at least four times on Doctor Who. One, at least, was still in the process of formation and had help from several thousand megatons of explosives. Two others were victims of malfunctioning Phlebotinum.
    • Let's not forget the time when some Alternate Universe Cybermen's heads blew up from regaining emotions. Or when an entire Dalek fleet went kablooie after flicking a switch.
    • Truly monstrous monsters of the week (as opposed to recurring alien races) are often Made of Explodium, especially in the modern series.
  • And speaking of exploding planets... take a bow, Battlestar Galactica (1978).
  • Played with, like everything else, in Monty Python's Flying Circus: "Mrs Niggerbaiter's exploded!" "Good thing too." "She was my best friend!" "Oh mother, don't be so sentimental, things explode every day."
  • In the Look Around You Season One module "Germs", the scientists grow a culture of germs collected from the wings of a Brown Lady moth. A small tree grows from this, and small "moth apples" are collected from this tree. Quoth the narrator: "They're smaller than crab apples — sweeter, too — but you should never eat them, because they are highly explosive."
  • Name any toku series. Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, other franchises. You name it, and everything goes boom when they die. Hell, sometimes they go boom when they go down, even if they survive. One of the very few aversions is Kamen Rider Kiva, where the Fangire shattered into glass instead. Kamen Rider Amazon also avoids explosions by adhering to Bloodier and Gorier instead; you can't show ludicrous amounts of blood well if the enemies blew up, right?
    • Kamen Rider Decade changes this. Fangire still shatter - but the usual big explosion happens too (that's not how it works in Kamen Rider Kiva proper.) Monsters taken down by Amazon also spray a much smaller amount of greenish CGI blood for a few seconds before exploding normally (in Amazon proper, monsters were torn apart and sprayed goo everywhere.)
    • A notable subversion in Engine Sentai Go-onger. A chainsaw monster goes on a sawing rampage, filling the air in a building with sawdust. A spark is all it takes for the whole building to go up.
    • To name a bunch of Power Rangers examples:
      • Recent seasons have become increasingly prone to very random explosions. Power Rangers Operation Overdrive episode "Man of Mercury, Part 1" features an exploding folding table, after someone merely kicks it. The Operation Overdrive Pink Ranger's personal weapon can also cause explosions — despite being called the Drive Geyser and firing a blast of water. In the same episode as this, two villains cause a huge explosion by POINTING at each other. These are known among fans as "Kalishplosions" after then-current producer Bruce Kalish. (However, sparks from things like cardboard boxes were common before Kalish.)
      • The scene in "Forever Red", when all Red Power Rangers transform and pose in a wide-shot, everything behind them explodes for absolutely no reason. This is the Rule of Cool taken to the extreme. This particular situation, though, is something of a tradition. In any PR teamup, after the combined team poses, smoke clouds in the Rangers' colors erupt, followed by a massive explosion. An explosion's also optional for when an individual team goes through its posing routine. Linkara posits in his reviews of the seasons that it's the combined energy of the morphs leaking out into the atmosphere, which is somewhat backed up by the example below.
      • Lampshaded (among many other things) in Power Rangers RPM, in which Ziggy wonders why there's always an explosion behind them after they morph (turns out it's runoff energy from the morphing process), and later one of the Rangers actually uses this explosion to defeat several Mooks. These particular explosions have therefore been dubbed "Ziggysplosions" (since Kalish is no longer the producer).
    • When a fight between two Kamen Riders take them past a bus - past, not even into or through, this is the result. Even the Pinto didn't have it that bad... (oh, just so you know: the "monsters" are the good guys in this scene. Long story.)
    • The opening credits of Kamen Rider V3 consists of V3 riding through a BBC Quarry while the ground explodes behind him randomly, for absolutely no reason.
    • The first episode of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger alone — hell, just the first two minutes will suffice — could easily pass off for a Michael Bay flick what with The Empire's spaceships' explodium lasers causing lots of massive explosions when aimed at the ground, random unexplained background explosions during the prologue war, said war ending with a space explosion that wipes out everyone into smaller explosions...
  • While spraying bullets in all directions, The A-Team would often hit a small bush, which would then violently explode and cause a nearby jeep to flip over (without injuring the occupants of course).
    • A standard trope of most TV action shows of the era, due to Network Standards regarding violence. Yes, they considered car wrecks to be less violent than actually shooting somebody.
  • House: In the beginning of the season 2 episode "Distractions", a character has a Deadfoot Leadfoot-type of problem while he's driving an ATV, which crashes and explodes in a fireball.
  • The Colbert Report: Stephen Colbert likes to have random things blow up, especially the titles for his new segments.
  • '90s Super Hero series Night Man firmly establishes that if you set a vampire on fire, it will explode in a giant fireball.
  • The musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The very air itself explodes if it's cool enough. Not so cool: people doing the same thing. Try not to sing.
  • Pretty much everything in Blake's 7.
  • Practically every car in an accident in CHiPs had to go BOOM. In one episode, the timing was a bit off, though, as it went off a cliff and exploded BEFORE it struck the canyon bottom.
  • Pretty much everything in Burn Notice. At least once per episode, they manage to explode roughly a Miami city block.
    • To be fair, Fi and her endless supply of C4 usually help.
  • Played for Laughs (like everything else) in The Goodies. In "Robot", the household appliances (the stove, computer, etc.) explode when the collide.
  • In Hallo aus Berlin, Rita brings her pet snake Zischer to Rolli's house and shows him that it can do math problems, but when Rolli asks Zischer to add multiple numbers at once, it explodes and destroys his living room.
  • At the climax of the second season of Babylon Berlin, a character is killed after lighting a cigarette while standing next to a leaking tank wagon of phosgene, which promptly explodes. In real life, phosgene is not flammable or explosive in air. He might have been fatally poisoned, but small amounts of phosgene are notorious for causing You Are Already Dead with a period of hours or days, which would not have been dramatically effective in that specific plot.

  • The video of "Eat It" by "Weird Al" Yankovic features a guitarist replicating Eddie Van Halen's work from Michael Jackson's "Beat It". At the end of the solo, he's working the guitar so furiously ... kaboom.
  • In a George Michael song "Freedom" the music video has not only a jukebox exploding into flames, but also exploding guitars. They appear to violate laws of physics to do so.
  • In van Canto's video of "Kings of Metal", the air is made of explodium.
  • All of the instruments and amps featured in the music video for "I Don't Love You" by My Chemical Romance.
  • The piano at the end of the music video to "Epic" by Faith No More.
  • German comedian/chansonnier Reinhard Mey had "Das Geheimnis im Hefeteig...". The narrator, leaning strongly into Lethal Chef, manages to detonate his cake. Hilarity Ensues when he, barely escaping the incident with his life, is hunted by all secret services of the world for the secret formula of this new super explosive.
  • There is a large mushroom cloud at the end of the video for "Rock N' Roll High School." This is the album version, not a version from the movie, Rock and Roll High School.
  • In the music video for "Master of the Universe" by Angus McSix, when Angus throws away the broken Hammer of Glory, it explodes upon hitting the ground.

  • Some of the extra balls you get in Twilight Zone explode. Others just walk or fly away.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show:
    • Explosions happen all the time on the show. In one episode, Kermit admits that explosions are one of their trademarks. And if something isn't going to explode on its own, there's always Mad Bomber Crazy Harry to help out.
    • One episode is a Western-themed sketch. Kid Fozzie, having discarded his pickles (which function as guns) and his carrot (knife), has an apple bomb which explodes in an impressive display of apple pyrotechnics.
      • I don't remember the exact quote, but Jim Henson stated once in an interview that if he didn't know how to end a skit, he'd just have one of the puppets eat one of the other puppets or have something randomly explode
  • Any of Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation programs. From Supercar, to Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (including its 2005 remake) and Joe 90.
    • Most notoriously ThunderbirdsThe Movie of which featured a helicopter and a rocket that exploded when they hit the water. The second movie then went on to top that with an exploding missile base.
    • Fireball XL5 also featured at least one episode where the main base went up in smoke after XL5 made a landing run just as another ship left the same runway.
    • Even inanimate concrete structures such as bridges would regularly explode as they collapsed. Case in point.
  • Lampshaded in Nebula-75, when the Ship's Doctor explains that the main computer is made with highly volatile components, unless kept under refrigerated conditions. The Commander of the ship asks whether it's possible for them to build just one component that does not run the risk of exploding on them.
  • 31 Minutos gives us Maguitonote , whose actual name is Dante Torobolino, who once drank a cocktail of different kinds of Explodium for a trick and only produced a little burp. Then he exploded. Ever since, he has been exploding both himself and anything that comes in contact with him at random times — once, he accidentally blew up the Mascot of the show's new corporate sponsor when he touched Maguito after having subverted the expected explosion (he managed a trick involving electricity without exploding the bulb, the battery, or himself).
    • Eventually, the other characters get fed-up with the constant explosions and send him to rehab (apparently, there are a lot of people suffering from similar conditions, go figure)... the problem was that an immense asteroid was going to impact the Earth, and not even all of the world's nuclear weapons would be able to do anything. The strongest explosive force known to man (and puppet) was Dante himself and his uncanny ability to make other things Explodium, and the therapy left him unable to explode even after another nitroglycerin cocktail. Oops.note 
  • Strange Hill High: In "Health & Safety", a giant papier-mâché head of Winston Churchill (It Makes Sense in Context) explodes into flames after it collides with a wall. Lampshaded and justified as they are trapped in a health and safety film where everything is dangerous.

  • The Goon Show:
    • "Fear of Wages" has two thousand cans of sake explode, possibly because everyone present believes them to be nitroglycerine. "1985" has a desert just randomly explode, possibly because Bluebottle was there.
    • There's Major Bloodnok, who explodes constantly in a slightly... different fashion.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Certain things in Paranoia. More specifically, everything in Paranoia. One recommendation for bringing a mission to an end when the shafting has ceased to be funny is to have something — anything — explode. Even the shoe polish can be dangerously explosive. Not to mention Bouncy Bubble Beverage, which is the real reason it's so popular: most citizens don't have security clearance to use actual grenades, and even if you do, B3 is cheaper and more plentiful. And often is far more lethal and effective than official grenades.
  • Most things in Warhammer 40,000 kind of do this. The races really just have enough guns that blow whatever they are pointed at to atomic smithereens to make a nuclear arsenal look like a lot of nerf guns. And they do it in the most creatively absurd ways possible.
    • In game, most vehicles suffer Critical Existence Failure after losing their last point of damage, blowing up on a roll of a 6 and showering nearby forces with shrapnel, burning fuel, and cooked-off ammunition that can cause further damage. Certain vehicles are even more likely to explode, such as the Imperial Hellhound (a flamethrower tank with extra fuel loaded inside it) and many vehicles aligned with Nurgle (which are often filled with disease causing fluids and rot that pilots want to spread to others), which usually explode on a roll of 4+ or 5+.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Some creatures explode when killed. The most well-known are Dragonlance's draconians, but there are other, like the greater fiend Balor, the Fiend Folio's dark stalkers and dark creepers, Mystara's huptzeens, etc.
    • Some magical items, like the staves of power, can also be broken to provoke a big explosion if the wielder wish to take his enemies with him.
    • And of course, there's the gas spore. A variety of floating fungus full of unstable gas that explodes if it receives so much as a scratch. It doesn't help that, unless looking closely, the gas spore can be easily confused with a beholder — the kind of monster you pretty much attack on sight.
    • Early editions had rules for mixing potions, either externally or drinking one while another one with a duration was still in effect. A very bad roll could result in an external (bad) or internal (very bad) explosion.
  • Starfleet Battles applies this to ships when they are destroyed. Since almost everything that qualifies as a ship in this game is fueled with antimatter (which will explode if anything happens to the systems keeping it from coming in contact with literally any portion of the storage tanks), this is entirely justified.
  • This classically afflicts Gauss weaponry (one of the few weapon types to use non-explosive ammunition) in BattleTech. In this case it's explained as a catastrophic capacitor discharge — all the stored-up energy that would normally go into magnetically accelerating a heavy nickel-iron slug to supersonic speeds over the length of the barrel being spontaneously released if something happens to damage the weapon while powered up. (By in-game explosion standards, this one is actually relatively survivable at least for BattleMechs, though it will generally still take out the location the weapon was mounted in.)
    • Contrary to the MechWarrior examples below, fusion engines in the board game generally do not explode unless a special optional rule is applied to explicitly make them so for coolness' sake; they simply shut down and can't be restarted once damaged badly enough. However, 'Mechs and vehicles powered by internal combustion or fuel cells instead do have an excellent chance of going out explosively due to engine or fuel tank critical hits.
  • As happens with space video games, hull failure causes an explosion.

  • BIONICLE has exploding fruit, animals, and boomerangs.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • The Cheat's head appears to be made of Explodium. It frequently blows up, leaving The Cheat with an Ash Face, in response to just about anything — including Strong Mad standing near him and eating rocks. In one cartoon, they even use The Cheat in place of Fourth of July fireworks!
    • In the Strong Bad Email "4 branches", Homestar starts a campfire in his "Jolly Dumple" costume after locking himself out of his house, and ignores Coach Z's warnings that the suit is made of "flame pro-tardant polymascotfoamalate". The suit quickly goes up like a powder keg, and while Homestar is apparently unharmed Coach Z is sent flying by the explosion.
  • In the Charlie the Unicorn video series, apparently almost every other major character besides the titular equine can explode, which they typically do at the end of each video's musical number.
  • In The Demented Cartoon Movie anything can and will explode. Including the earth. Multiple times.
  • Parodied in a Weebl and Bob cartoon, Armagooden, where they are "trapped in a Micky Bay film" and "anything we touch is likely to explode." This causes problems when Bob's helmet explodes and he can't get another one.
  • In the Flash animation "Kerri's Big Invention" by LegendaryFrog, several of her inventions spontaneously burst into flame for no good reason, including (most ludicrously) a drinking bird.
  • From ASDF Movie5:
    "Hello, Mine Turtle!"
    [followed by someone else stepping on the Mine Turtle... which promptly blows up]
  • in this machinima short has three guys make wild accusations to their friend about an impending asteroid about to hit the planet the next day, working him up to a breaking point.
    Maceath: Calm down, calm down. We're just pulling your leg. It's only in the news because the asteroid is made of an entirely new metal.
    Nynnja: What new metal?
    Maceath: Explodium.
    [Nynnja runs in a circle screaming]
  • Most of the cast in SMG4, specifically in the classic era.
  • The Most Epic Story Ever Told in All of Human History: The setting as a whole seems to be this. The trailer alone contains several explosions, including Ridiculously Epicís stage entrance, the random TNT box that Ridiculously Epic Fail throws a match at, the stack of TNT boxes that Ridiculously Epic blows up with his fire breath that he got from eating the sun, and Epic Failís toaster during The Stinger.

    Web Comics 
  • Adventurers! has the enemy named "Bombat" which explodes as soon as the heroes encounter it.
  • Discussed in Bug Martini; the bug could do without this trope.
  • In Darths & Droids 1449, a wooden Ewoc catapult blows up when it's hit by Slow Lasers because the Game Master is using a vehicular damage table for a more high-tech setting.
  • Doghouse Diaries: In The day after yesterday, expired milk explodes violently enough to demolish a house.
  • In Dominic Deegan, souls are Made of Explodium.
  • Dragon Tails: Bluey describes helicopters as being this way. For that matter, most things made or modified by the aforementioned Bluey qualifies.
  • Spoofed in 8-Bit Theater: after blowing up icebergs with magic, Black Mage stabs another iceberg to get it out of the way... guess what happens? BM even lampshades: "Why would it explode?!", and the comic is actually titled "'Tis A Good Question".
  • In El Goonish Shive, when Sarah throws a couch at Elliot, it explodes in a massive fireball.
  • Flying Man And Friends: In this strip, after Robinson is rescued from slavery, the entire location is engulfed by an atomic explosion with no explanation given as to where it came from.
  • In This Freefall strip, Florence knows there's no logical reason for a desk chair to explode, but she decides to play it safe anyway because it belongs to Sam Starfall.
  • Conversational Troping in Girl Genius: one of the Jägergenerals asks why the crashing dirigible didn't blow up, and another tells him that that only happens in cheap novels.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, inside Dr. Disaster's space battle simulator, the Enigmarons' Death Ray explodes when Antimony knocks it over. Of course, by this point it was already established that realism was the last thing on Dr. Disaster's mind when he designed the simulation.
  • In Homestuck, robots tend to blow up. This is Lampshaded by Jake as he remarks on his experience fighting robots: they never simply power-down and deactivate the way he hopes. Instead, to his dismay, they only ever explode.
  • In Parhelion, this is why Peter's homeworld became independent.
  • Actually justified in Schlock Mercenary, as this strip explains. A drawback of plentiful annihilation-based energy is that starships require huge annie-plants, which explode massively if damaged. Space battles lead to explosions, which the ships usually do not survive. It was a major tactical development when Petey found a way to disable an annie-plant without destroying the entire ship. "Thus, when you find a wounded ship, you may be looking at evidence of extreme competence."
    • The annie-plants' own explosiveness is justified as well; an integral part of their generation process involves crushing matter into Neutronium using Artificial Gravity. Neutronium being matter so compressed the atom's nuclei are practically touching each other. Naturally, when this artificial gravity's shut off from damage, these atoms immediately reclaim their usual spacing, and suddenly a few cubic meters of matter become a few hundred. There's a reason why the highly distinctive *SKOOOOOM* noise of this happening is one of the setting's most feared sounds.
  • Tag Dream invokes this in what appears to be a blatant Chekhov's Gun - a ring repair job specifically designed to explode if it takes a sufficiently powerful impact, apparently because the management mandated that it be unbreakable.
  • In Titanzer, Johnny doesn't believe a robot has been beaten until it explodes.
  • Westward: A nuclear reactor threatens to explode as soon as a saboteur disables its "safeguards"; the author lampshades this in the comic's comments section: "It's just like if somebody went and disabled all the safeguards on your, uh, toaster. Boom!" Later on in the comic, in an unrelated incident, a small spacecraft (an "asteroid pod") mysteriously bursts into flames when it is damaged. This is again lampshaded in the comments section:
    Reader: There is something I don't get, why is the pod enveloped in fire?
    Author: Clearly because the accident disabled all the safeguards that normally keep the asteroid pod from bursting into flames. It's the Nuclear Toaster scenario.
  • Lampshaded in The Whiteboard when a human customer (who causes this to everything he touches) arrives with a broken paintball gun. Repairs are completed and he gets the gun back. He arrives back the very next day with it broken again. Doc repairs it again and hands it back to the customer. It breaks apart in the customer's hands in front of Doc. Doc hands the guy a hammer as an experiment. The metal head of the hammer explodes into dust.

    Web Original 
  • In an OCT on Deviantart, one character encounters an Explodes After Large Impact Tree. They're extinct now. I hope they didn't cure cancer.
  • Inverted in Orion's Arm. Monopoles aren't explosive themselves but on contact they cause just about anything else to explode.
  • A humble water glass in the What If? entry "Glass Half Empty", and perfectly justified by pressure physics. If the bottom half is the empty half (as in, hard vacuum-empty), the bottom of the glass will literally blow off in a fraction of a second, and the top will smash into the ceiling and spray shards everywhere.
    Randall: The lesson: If the optimist says the glass is half full, and the pessimist says the glass is half empty, the physicist ducks.

    Web Videos 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd:
    • As a parody of the old Nintendo Power commercial, James Rolfe eats a Nintendo Power magazine, causing his head to explode — followed by the world and then the freakin' galaxy! Don't worry; it's all for comedy.
    • His other works also have their fair share of explosions — specially after he started destroying the games after his ranting reviews. Best example being the one featuring a Die Hard video game, where he throws the cartridge and it blows up!
    • In his review of Lester the Unlikely, the Nerd brings up the fictional fourth game in the series, which doesn't work at all. He puts it in his SNES, and as soon as he turns the console on, the game explodes.
  • Climate Town: In "The Troll Army of Big Oil" the fact that much of Los Angeles was built on top of abandoned oil fields leading to several fires and the explosion of a Ross is discussed.
  • Lampshaded and subverted (at the same time no less!) by MikeJ of Channel Awesome in his Speed 2 review: "I hope if I throw this ball against that wall nothing explody will happen." *throws ball against the wall and nothing happens* "Oh."
  • Paper of all things tends to explode when put in the titular machine of the Hydraulic Press Channel. So much so that in his Crushing different plastics video he actually jokes that the paper-lined plastic will explode. And it does. Paper being the most explosive thing to crush has since become a Running Gag, to the point he even made a "which is the most explosive paper" video, and paper products scored the highest points overall on his "most explosive items" countdown. Ironically things like dynamite, lithium batteries (though he did get one to explode, rather epically, in a later video when a fan advised him to puncture the battery while crushing it), and such things you'd expect to be explosive under pressure just crush harmlessly, much to Lauri's disappointment and frustration.
    Lauri (on dynamite): What the hell?! No explosion!
    • He's since made a video explaining why paper explodes by filming it through a microscopic lens at high speeds. What effectively happens is as the press comes down the fibers in the stack of paper tear one by one, until there's not enough left to "resist" the pressure and the remainder all tear at once, creating the loud bang and sending everything flying.
  • Mr. Gibbs: In "Don't Nuke Yourself Challenge", one of the explosives Ledger and Alex have is titled as "A Simple Soda Can" and seems like an ordinary soda can. It somehow causes the worst explosion out of all of them.

    Western Animation 
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
    • A Running Gag is that whenever any of the main characters (but mostly Shake) throws something to the ground (phones, toy drills, video game joysticks, et cetera) it will explode. This usually gets no response, except once, in "The Clowning", when Master Shake tries to throw a toilet brush on Carl's yard but lands on their own yard and explodes, causing everyone to jump back in surprise.
    • The Aqua Teens' television explodes almost Once an Episode, usually because of Shake hurling/shooting something at it or throwing it.
    • Carl's head exploded out of sheer rage at the end of the episode "Kidney Car".
      Meatwad: Why'd he do that?
      Shake: Why wouldn't he?
    • Their golf game uses this as the raw material for golf balls. No, nobody knows why.
    • A montage of the series' many, many explosions. Observant viewers will notice that it still leaves out quite a few of them.
    • This gets lampshaded in the online episode "The Dumbest Doll of All", where the Aqua Teens start noticing this and decide to toss a bunch of things on the floor, culminating in Meatwad blowing up Shake on the floor after he dares him to try tossing him on the floor.
      Frylock:Daaaaamn. We shoulda thought of that in 2002.
  • Pretty much anything in The Simpsons can be Made of Explodium, with tricycles, shopping carts, and even a man's appendix getting in on the action.
    • "Duffless" has Chief Wiggum rolling down a hill while dressed in a novelty beer stein outfit, hitting a tree, and exploding.
    • In "Miracle On Evergreen Terrace", it's taken to ridiculous lengths when a car the Simpsons had recently bought in winter lost control on the ice. The Simpsons bailed out only to watch the car skid into the middle of a frozen lake, break through the ice and sink into the water, and then explode, raining fiery fragments down onto them.
      Homer: Aww, I knew this would happen!
    • In another instance of deliberate lampshading, in "Homer To The Max", the impossibly badass protagonist of a Show Within a Show (who just happens to be named Homer), among other stuff (like picking a bullet in mid-air), he grabs a mook and throws him over a couple of other mooks, they explode.
    • In "Lisa the Simpson", Homer, Bart and Lisa watch a documentary series on spontaneously exploding buildings.
    • In "Homer Goes to College", Homer's Epic Fail power causes a simulation of his workstation, with no nuclear material inside, to go critical and explode. Later, he does the same thing to a model proton accelerator.
    • In "Homer The Smithers", While attempting to make a meal, Homer manages to burn a few things to where they burst into flames. Eventually, he just decides to fix a bowl of corn flakes. He pours them into a bowl, and then pours milk on them. They burst into flames.
  • Futurama:
    • In one episode, Doctor Zoidberg tries to re-coil a slinky after Bender has straightened it into a straight wire. It goes down two steps, falls over and then bursts into flame.
    • Lampshaded in another episode where Zoidberg claims a giant conch shell on the bottom of the ocean as his home. Later in the episode, they return to it to find it's burned down, leaving only a charred framework.
      Zoidberg: How could this happen?!
      Hermes: (equally surprised) That's a very good question!
      Bender: So that's where my cigar was.
      Hermes: That just raises further questions!!!
    • Malfunctioning Eddy, the robot owner of a car dealership who exploded when he's startled, excited, or for any other inane reason.
    • Apparently, space bees explode whenever they hit something at high velocity.
    • In "Fun On A Bun", DOOP's tanks explode after having beer poured on them, and their hovercraft explode after falling, oh, ten feet.
  • Robots in Gargoyles seem to suffer a violent catastrophic failure when defeated. With Xanatos' robots, they're probably rigged to cover his tracks; the guy didn't get a trope named after him because he failed to anticipate as many win and loss conditions as possible
  • As do the robots that Samurai Jack destroys. Jack is just that awesome.
  • In this short from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy a truck carrying a giant pillow blows up when shot with custard.
    • When Grim watches a Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends parody, the house explodes for no reason.
    • Who could forget the cinema classic, Exploding Penguins 3: Total Annilation?
    • When Billy looks at his bowl of cereal and is mad that it's not pancakes, he throws it out the window and it explodes.
    • In the Christmas special, when Billy enters Santa's office and looks at his desk, he makes the computer monitor explode when he splits the screen open with a pen.
  • While Star Wars certainly has its share of explosions, in Star Wars: Clone Wars, all machines are somehow even more combustible. For example, the battle droids would just fall over or fall apart in the films; in the cartoon, they light up like Life Day fireworks.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: This becomes a Running Gag in the series. Usually, the explosion even has a visible mushroom cloud and blast wave.
    • In "Jellyfishing", Squidward explodes after falling down a cliff on his bicycle. And mind you, this is taking place underwater!
    • Pretty much everything that falls or flies a great distance on the show will usually cause an explosion of sorts.
    • In "Something Smells" when SpongeBob jumps on a boat's windshield asking the driver if the former is ugly, his rancid breath blinds the driver, who puts the boat to a complete stop and it explodes for no particular reason, leaving behind only the charred frame. A police officer then puts a ticket on it.
    • In "Band Geeks" Squidward is leading his band through downtown and orders the flag twirlers to spin faster. They spin so hard that their flags carry them into the air, and they crash into a blimp, which explodes.
    • In "Dying for Pie" Squidward buys an explosive pie that he believes SpongeBob ate, so he spends the episode trying to give him a good day before the pie explodes. In the end, it turns out SpongeBob didn't eat it after all, but when he trips and hurls it in Squidward's face, it destroys all of Bikini Bottom.
    • In "My Pretty Seahorse" Squidward again gets sent flying off his bike, falls off a cliff and explodes. Later, Scooter mistakes Mystery for a kiddie ride and attempts to insert a coin into her. After he finds somewhere to put it, she kicks him over the horizon and he explodes.
    • In "That Sinking Feeling" when SpongeBob and Patrick's lawns are separated because of Squidward drawing a border around his, Patrick attempts to mail himself to SpongeBob. He squeezes himself into the mailbox, then it tips over and explodes.
    • At the end of "Company Picnic", Mr. Krabs puts Plankton on a paper plate and tosses him over the horizon, causing him to explode.
    • In the episode "Snooze You Lose," after SpongeBob and Patrick (inside of the currently deep-sleeping Squidward's body.) accidentally bump into a random fish lady, she hits the ground and explodes.
  • Rambo: The Force of Freedom has Rambo racing to stop a pipe from burning away like a fuse and making the fuel tanker it's connected to explode. He brandishes his knife and tosses it, slicing the pipe off at the source. Crisis averted, it seems... but that's not good enough for Rambo. He runs over and throws the remains of the pipe up into the air where — you guessed it — it explodes.
  • Code Lyoko: Any of XANA's virtual monsters, when critically hit, explodes either in robot debris, Ludicrous Gibs or plain light (with the exception of the Kolossus). Note, though, that monsters materialized in the real world don't explode.
  • I Am Weasel: At the start of "I.R. Mommy", Baboon is prancing through a cornfield when he trips and explodes for seemingly no reason. Then it cuts to Baboon in a smoldering crater, reminding himself not to go around with dynamite in his pockets.
  • "Michael Bay and Robot Chicken present: EXPLOSIONS!"
  • The robotic Foot Soldiers in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon were a fairly straight use of the trope, a fact which is lampshaded a decade later in Turtles Forever.
    Leonardo: Robots?
    Michelangelo: (evil grin) Exploding robots.
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had Beezy attempting to tie his non-existent shoes while wearing a too tight business suit. The suit explodes under the strain.
  • In an episode of Regular Show, a poacher gets karate-chopped with enough force for him to explode in a stories-high mushroom cloud. After being bisected by the attack, of course.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • The episode "Road Trip" has Doofenshmirtz driving a truck full of "boom juice" for use in his -inator's self-destruct systems. At the end, it rolls off a cliff and doesn't explode. And then it does.
    • "Ask a Foolish Question" ends in a series of objects exploding around Dr. Doofenshmirtz, punctuated by him asking "Why does everything explode so easily?"
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, chocolate milk makes a fairly impressive explosion. Justified in that the chocolate milk belonged to a Reality Warper who's known for doing chaotic things because it amuses him, who, before throwing the chocolate milk away, filled a glass from top to bottom with it and then drank the glass.
  • In later seasons of Thomas & Friends, if a train comes off the rails and into a large bush, said bush will explode.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the episode "I Never Met the Dead Man", after Meg runs an Amish man off the road in a race, his carriage explodes, then his horse follows suit. Maybe it was a Pinto...
    • In the Return of the Jedi spoof "It's a Trap!" Peter and a scout trooper race on bicycles (in place of the speeder bikes in the original scene) and the trooper crashes his bike into a tree. He survives, tries to limp away, then explodes for no reason.
  • In Sonic Underground, the SWAT-bots tend to explode at the slightest inconvenience.
  • This is what happens when Strawberry Shortcake tries to reason with the Cake-inator in the 2021 Strawberry Shortcake episode "Robot Strawberry!?". Strawberry Shortcake thusly gets covered in soot.
  • X-Men: The Animated Series: You can't go five minutes without something exploding. Even the walls are made of the stuff.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated probably contains the most explosions in the entire franchise.
  • In an episode of The Cleveland Show, Cleveland and Donna get into a low-speed rickshaw chase to get back a blacksploitation film that Donna was in. As they go down the sidewalk, people panic and get out of the way as if they were in a car going a hundred miles per hour, including a man who crashes through a glass window. The last "obstacle" is a fruit vendor, whose cart is very lightly tapped, causing a single apple to fall to the sidewalk. The entire stand explodes, prompting bewildered looks from Cleveland and Donna.
  • Uncle Fester in The Addams Family (1992) is prone to random explosions just for his own amusement.
  • In an episode of Total Drama Island, the contestants are engaged in a cooking competition. The Screaming Gophers attempt to make a flambé and Lindsay uses an entire bottle of cooking oil on it not knowing that she's supposed to also light it, so when Heather lights the flambé herself it explodes, searing off her eyebrows for the next few scenes.
  • Back at the Barnyard:
    • In one episode, the farmer get injured and the animals try to do his chores in his stead. One of them is gathering eggs from the hens, whom they fed milkshakes made with what Freddy thought was pepper but was actually dynamite powder, so the resulting eggs become explosive.
    • In a later episode the animals discover and start selling a powerful adhesive gel, which they have to recall once they discover that it explodes after a certain period of time.
  • In The Neverending Story: The Animated Adventures of Bastian Balthazar Bux, Urgl's bugbee honey, if mixed improperly, becomes a powerful liquid explosive. Which proves a great problem with Vermin steals a barrelful of badly mixed bugbee honey.
  • In Green Eggs and Ham (2019), whenever Guy-Am-I invents something, sooner or later, it violently explodes, even if it's a very simple device like one made from two chopsticks, an eggbeater, and a pair of gloves. In the Season 1 finale, "Anywhere", He uses this side-effect to defeat the Goat.
  • Taz-Mania: In "Taz Live", the Platypus Brothers play three different musical instruments for Hotel Tasmania's talent show; electric guitars, tubas, and violins. Every time they so much as play a single note, their instruments explode.


Alternative Title(s): Law Of Inherent Combustibility


Chlorine Trifluoride

The chemical too volatile even for the Nazis.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / MadeOfExplodium

Media sources: