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Redefining "going on strike".

Lenny: Oww! Unnecessary roughness!
Carl: So what? That's legal in Rollo Pollo.
Homer: I thought we were playing Cincinnati Time Waste.
Lenny: Oh, in that case...[hits Homer in the groin with his broom]
The Simpsons, "Ice Cream of Marge (with the Light Blue Hair)"
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Characters in a Standard Office Setting (or equivalent) engage in some improvisational horseplay with the tools nearby. Sometimes this includes children's toys (like Nerf or wiffle balls), but usually they utilise some handy office supplies; stationary, paper, furniture, decor, old food from the fridge, job-specific tools, and more. They can make a ball out of crumpled paper or rubber bands. Notepads and small boards can be rackets. Brooms can become improvised hockey sticks. White boards or flip charts are used to keep score. Most people would get fired for these antics in Real Life, but in Fictionland, bosses tend to be more lenient.

Why do they do it? To kill time and avoid boredom. Also, it's fun. Not everything must be taken seriously, especially career or work in fiction. And it can be surprisingly good team-building. It develops improvization and creativity. It builds camaraderie, competitiveness or rivalry among characters. It can serve as characterization device because it shows the characters as goofy, silly or competitive. Some overachievers will be over-the-top competitive and people will very often treat it as Serious Business. More prim and proper employees refuse to participate.

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This trope usually appears in Work Coms and it's almost always Played for Laughs. Can very well be Mundane Made Awesome.

Related tropes:

  • Swivel-Chair Antics: Goofing around on swivel chairs: Sitting and moving around the office on chairs that have wheels and spin around.
  • Wastebasket Ball: Characters crumple up a piece of paper and try to toss it into a wastebasket (usually without standing up from the chair).
  • Office Golf: Characters play (mini)golf in their office.


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Frequent in Gaston Lagaffe. Gaston may not have much energy for work, but he has plenty to invent weird occupations for him and/or his accomplices. He and Jules-de-chez-Smith-en-face held a Chariot Race in swivel chairs once.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Better Off Ted episode "Lust In Translation", Linda and Veronica played a game called Lindabagel.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: NYPD detectives from Precinct 99 love those sports.
    • In the pilot, Jake Peralta and Rosa Diaz compete in the fire extinguisher roller chair derby.
    • Episode "Old School" has Rosa, Amy, Charles, Jake and Hitchcock goof around with a bomb-disposal robot and they blow up Scully's smelly shoes in the Cold Open, and they all blow up Jake's old book by Jimmy Brogan in The Tag.
    • Episode "The Jimmy Jab Games" has the office event described by Diaz as "a bunch of dumb contests we play to kill time"; examples would be "the monster mouth bagel toss" (trying to hit Scully's open mouth with a piece of bagel), "the mouthathon" (eating month-old Chinese food from the fridge) or "bulky bulky run run" (the bomb suit foot race), "keep your cover" (they must talk to as many officers as they can without being recognized) and "obstacle course".
    • "Lockdown": Everyone is supposed to fling gourds (Thanksgiving decor) and hit the elevator door. Jake tries to dodge them with a police shield.
    • "Mr. Santiago": They play Holt-off with a bowl of marshmallows. Everyone must perform the same scenario: Their no-nonsense, deadpan superior Captain Holt eating a marshmallow for the very first time.
    • "Skyfire Cycle": They're waxing floor during their night shift and Jake Peralta takes this as an opportunity to do the FBP, aka The Full Bullpen: He skids on his socks from Holt's office to the elevator. Even a locked up perp cheers him on.
    • In "The Therapist", they play bowling with huge barrels of water; Jake tosses them with a swivel chair while Charles Boyle's sitting in it.
      Jake: Behold, Brooklyn buddies, Boyle bullpen bottle bowling.
      Charles: Beautiful.
      Jake: Be brave, bro. Be brave. Bowl!
      Rosa: Bam!
      Charles: Bull's-eye!
      Jake: Booyah!
      Random Slavic woman: Babushka!
      [beat]
      Everyone: BABUSHKA!
  • Community, "Geothermal Escapism": Abed declares a school-wide game of hot lava in Greendale Community College. It's a classic children's game in which you are not allowed to touch the floor, or you're dead.
  • Franklin & Bash: One episode opens up with a curling game using janitor brooms and people sitting in rolling chairs.
  • Naturally, Sadie: While cleaning the corridor during detention in "Life Cycle", Hal and Rain start playing chair hockey using rolling chairs, brooms and an aluminium can.
  • The Office: Up to Eleven. The characters have Office Olympics when their boss is away for a day, complete with opening and closing ceremonies. Events include "Flonkerton" (box-of-paper snowshoe racing), "who can put the most M&M's in their mouth", "Dunder Ball", "Hate Ball" (called so because of how much Angela hates it), then there's a paper football game and "paper triangle flicking and hitting things" game. And Angela reveals she plays a game "Pam-Pong" (she counts how many times Jim gets up from his desk and goes to reception to talk to Pam). Also, Pam tries to throw stuff into Dwight's coffee mug.
    Pam: Okay, we will be competing for gold, silver and bronze yogurt lids. Now, the bronze are really blue and they're also the backside of the gold, so no flipping. Okay, honor system.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Trial By Jury", Mr. Conklin practices his casting in his office.
  • Occurs in a hospital setting in the The Resident episode "Snowed In" — with no patients arriving and little to do during a freak Atlanta blizzard, several med students commandeer a rolling IV stand and launch each other down the hallway towards a formation of exam glove boxes (arranged like the pins at a bowling alley). They call it "med student bowling."
  • In Rules of Engagement, Jeff and Adam invent a sport called Mannequin Head Ball when they have to clean out an old clothing store Audrey wants to use to start a business.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: Mitchell and Webb imagine such activities elevated to an actual Office Olympics international and televised like the real Olympics.
  • The X-Files, "Detour": Agents Mulder and Scully join over-enthusiastic Agents Kinsley and Stonecypher and they go with them to a team-building seminar that's supposed to involve building towers from office furniture. Mulder appears to be in hell and takes the first opportunity to disappear. He later jokes that he and Scully can build the tower in their motel room.
    Kinsley: Last year was something of a personal revelation. We were doing an exercise called team builders? Where we were given two minutes to build a tower out of ordinary office furniture.
    Stonecypher: When I stood on Mike's shoulders and I put that electric pencil sharpener on top of the pile, we both knew we could never have done it alone.

    Web Comics 
  • In this xkcd, the characters fence with swords while standing on roller chairs.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Jetsons had Mr. Spacely doing golf practice once or twice. And George playing some sort of virtual chess or something simlar with Rudy a few times.
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer, Lenny & Carl are playing chair hockey at work. Mr. Burns comes in to yell at them, but it turns out he's the coach and he's yelling at their poor teamwork.
  • Teen Titans: The characters play Stankball using a ball made from unwashed socks.

    Real Life 

 
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The Full Bullpen

Waxing the floor... Some see a problem, while others see an opportunity.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (3 votes)

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Main / OfficeSports

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