Follow TV Tropes


Maximum Capacity Overload

Go To
Every one of them is wishing they had taken the stairs.
Someone gets inside an elevator, expecting to be the only person there. Then suddenly, dozens of people cram themselves into the tiny car, which may or may not exceed the "maximum capacity" sign displayed on the elevator. You know where this is going by now.

It doesn't even have to be suddenly crammed for this trope to apply. It could even involve the elevator slowly filling up with passengers until it reaches its breaking point, one really heavy passenger that exceeds the capacity, or one extra passenger getting in a totally packed car. Either way, it's no good.

This is not Truth in Television, since elevators are designed with redundant safety measures and this listed capacity is less than their breaking point. In fiction, the outcome is disastrous Elevator Failure at worst. At best, it is merely an Uncomfortable Elevator Moment of a different sort.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Used dramatically in The Big O as a reminder that Dorothy is a ~300lb android, not a petite 90lb girl.
  • In one episode of Case Closed, the elevator gets stuck when a group of characters gets in. Later, Conan gets an "Eureka!" Moment when he remembers that he is now a kid, and thus too light for the elevator to go over capacity. There is a dead body on the roof of the elevator.
  • GaoGaiGar: In Episode 21, a group of office workers are perplexed when the elevator they entered sets off the capacity limit as the Monster of the Week is increasing the gravity pressure of the city.
  • In the library arc of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, the girls and Negi are running from what they think is a killer golem and find an elevator, only to find that their combined weight is above the capacity limit. This being a fanservice-heavy series, the girls start stripping to reduce weight.

    Comic Strips 
  • In a comic from Dragon Magazine, an elevator full of monsters is held open by a Gelatinous Cube. A dwarf replies "There's always room for Jell-O!"
  • In The Far Side, we see a man on an elevator with several elephants, and he watches in horror as one more tries to get in. The max. capacity is shown as several thousand pounds.
  • This was deliberately done in one Spy vs. Spy comic, with White tricking Black into carrying several 1000-pound weights on an elevator (he thinks they are White's secret plans).

    Films — Animated 
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: When Flint enters the elevator in LivCorp, it is already at maximum capacity, causing his nose to become stuck in the doors.
  • The Flintstones: On The Rocks: The elevator the Flintstones and the Rubbles get on is unable to take them up, even when the elevator technician gets on the pile of rocks, forcing Fred to take the stairs.
  • Once Upon a Studio: When a group of Disney characters are about to take an elevator down to the studio lobby, Baymax attempts to squeeze his inflatable self in, with his form briefly jamming the doors, which sends Donald Duck into a fury.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alluded to in Avengers: Endgame when the Hulk is refused access to the tower elevator after the battle of New York. "HULK HATE STAIRS!"
  • In Fantastic Four (2005), one of the indignities Ben Grimm experiences after his transformation is having to take the stairs because he's too heavy for the elevator.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Near the end of an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will is on an elevator when dozens more people get on. He looks at the maximum capacity sign just as his Uncle Phil gets on, and then begins to scream.
  • On Gimme a Break!, Nell and several members of her overweight support group do this. The founder of the group was in his top-floor apartment contemplating suicide and the others wanted to stop him. The weight causes the elevator to get stuck, the people inside argue for a while, then try going down in the elevator, which works. Nell gets off at the lobby but the elevator then closes and goes back up, now no longer over capacity, forcing Nell to have to take the stairs.
  • Hancock's Half Hour: In "The Lift", Hancock is the ninth passenger in a lift designed to carry eight. When the lift sticks between floors and stays there all night, his attempts to cheer everybody up are not appreciated.
  • An episode of Night Court had the elevator fail with only four people on board: Dan, Roz, ... and two sumo wrestlers.
  • The Night Gallery short "Room For One Less" has a towering Thing boarding an already crowded elevator, whereupon one of the human occupants casually points out the Maximum Capacity sign. The Thing solves the problem by zapping the guy into non-existence.
  • The X-Files: In "Blood", subliminal brainwashing is being used to turn ordinary people into murderers. One subject is in a crowded elevator and is sent messages that he's running out of air and can't breathe. He kills everyone in the elevator with his bare hands.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street: An elevator stops at ten floors, picking up ten passengers. The tenth, a mouse, causes the elevator to overload and explode.

    Video Games 


Video Example(s):


Maximum Capacity Overload

Dilbert and his co-workers get onto an overpacked elevator. When an old lady with several shopping bags gets in, the elevator's cord breaks and the car comes crashing down.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / MaximumCapacityOverload

Media sources: