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Out-of-Control Popcorn

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Mmmmmmm... popcorn. It's delicious, it's buttery and salty (or another flavor, if you wish) and it's fun to see and hear it pop as you prepare it.

But be careful! Don't leave it unattended, make sure the cover is on whatever you're using to pop with, and don't use too many kernels. Failure to do so would leave you with a huge, popcorn-y mess.

Writers like to take popcorn popping to the extreme since, Truth in Television, popcorn does expand once it's popped. And hey, it doesn't even matter what kind of corn is getting heated up (or the condition of the corn or even if it's still on the cob); it's going to pop either way.

Expect a a big explosion if the popcorn is contained inside something as it's popping. Compare Impossible Leavening which is also about food going all over the place; and Pass the Popcorn, where a character is seen eating popcorn as they watch something happen. May even overlap if the popcorn they're eating is part of the mess.


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    Films — Animated 
  • In Chicken Little, Buck Cluck cooks some on the stove, and it explodes in his face when he hears his son screaming for help upstairs.
  • An early scene in The Croods features giant ears of corn that take this to an extreme. Once accidentally set on fire they take off like rockets, explode like fireworks and then bury the cast in popcorn kernels the size of their heads.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Invoked in Real Genius. The heroes hijack the test of the giant space laser, redirecting it to Dr. Hathaway's house, which they had previously filled with unpopped popcorn kernels, turning it into a giant Jiffy-Pop. The popcorn all pops and explodes out of the house. Dr. Hathaway, who hates popcorn, comes home during the beginning of the end credits to find his whole house full of the stuff.

  • In the children's book Popcorn by Frank Asch (provider of the trope image), a mother and father bear leave their son, Sam, to go to a Halloween party. The young bear takes the opportunity to call his friends for a party of his own. He tells them to bring something good to eat and they all end up bringing popcorn; so they decide to pop it all at once. It goes as you expect and they all have to eat it up before Sam's parents get home.
  • This happens in Tomie dePaola's The Popcorn Book. Throughout the book, Tony makes some popcorn while Tiny reads facts all about popcorn. At the end, it is mentioned that once in the Midwest, it was so hot, that popcorn started to pop in the fields, and there was so much flying popcorn everywhere, that it looked like a blizzard. As the popcorn fills up, Tony starts to cry out that it's like a blizzard here.
  • The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks: In book 6, Norman and his friend Bob decide to make popcorn, but can't find the top to the popper. They decide to start running it anyway, and a massive mess ensues when they can't find the top, or an alternate covering, in time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of The Lucy Show, Viv starts a home-based business making and selling caramel corn. She is so successful that Lucy buys her a movie theater popcorn popper to keep up with the demand. But then she hears that they are in violation of the local zoning laws, and the zoning official is on his way there to inspect the house. Lucy jams the popcorn popper into the hall closet and she and Viv frantically clean up the house to make it look like no caramel corn is being made there. They almost pass the inspection, but then the inspector opens up the closet and popcorn spills everywhere!
  • On MythBusters, the scene from Real Genius was tested where a house is destroyed by having a massive amount of popcorn cooked inside of it. Sadly, real life popcorn will fail to pop if it is not under pressure during cooking, so it's not actually possible.

    Print Comics 
  • In one Calvin and Hobbes daily, the duo decides to see what happens when you pop a normal amount of corn with the lid off, and it fills up the entire kitchen.
    Calvin: That's more fun than exploding a potato in the microwave!
  • Garfield: A January 1989 strip has Garfield cooking so much popcorn that it spills out of the kitchen and into the living room, to Jon's surprise when he sees it.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Between the Lions:
    • One of Arty Smartypant's tricks has him put the words "Popping" and "Popcorn" in his smarty pants. After he says the magic word and does his magic dance, popcorn starts popping right out of his pants.
    • In "The Popcorn Popper", Lionel and Leona pull a magical popcorn popper out of a book to make popcorn; however, they lose the instructions and don't know how to turn it off, resulting in a popcorn flood.
  • Fraggle Rock: While his parents are on an overnight trip for their second honeymoon, Junior decides to make a batch of garlic popcorn. After at least one failed attempt, a cloud of smoke is seen billowing out a window as a coughing Junior opens it, while a noise like out-of-control firecrackers is heard in the background.
    Junior: Well, another batch of garlic popcorn up in smoke. Maybe I should use more peanut butter. Yeah, that's it!
  • Muppet Viral Videos: In "Popcorn", the Swedish Chef tries to make popcorn shrimp, and starts by microwaving a few dozen bags of popcorn at once. At the end of the song, the microwave door explodes off, and enough popcorn spills out to fill the kitchen and bury the Swedish Chef.
  • In an episode of The Puzzle Place, Leon brings a package of popcorn, but when he turns on the popper, the corn doesn't pop. Later, after everyone else has left, Sizzle and Nuzzle come across it, and it finally starts to pop... and pop... and pop, getting bigger than the pets. Eventually the popper explodes and rains popcorn all over the room.
  • Sesame Street: In Episode 4007, Grover runs a popcorn stand and has difficulty getting the popcorn to pop. Emily suggests that Grover turn the machine on, and when Grover does, the popcorn begins to pop faster than he can fill the boxes, eventually engulfing him. After Bob shuts the machine off, several chickens dig into the popcorn to free Grover.

    Video Games 
  • The ending to Club Penguin's PSA Misson 11: The Veggie Villian ends with this. Herbert teleports a popcorn bomb and the player back to HQ after the player sabotages his earlier plan to reveal the PSA to the greater expanse. With the help of newcomer Dot, the player and the other agents barely manage to teleport out of the HQ in time. The resulting explosion lead to the Popcorn Explosion event online the day after the mission's launch in May 2010.
  • One of the many random animations you can trigger in JumpStart 1st Grade.
  • In Luigi's Mansion 3, one of the collectibles is obtained in this way.

    Western Animation 
  • In an Orson's Farm skit on Garfield and Friends, Orson can't seem to finish the corn inventory because corn, somehow, keeps disappearing. He imagines himself as Agent Double-O Orson dealing with nemesis Pinfeather (Roy Rooster) who was doing corn robberies. In the fight, Double-O Orson's invention goes off under Pinfeather's limousine and popcorn, formed by the stolen corn, pops the hood right off. This gives the real Orson an idea; he brings a battery powered heater into Roy's coop; soon revealing what happened to the missing ears.
  • Darkwing Duck: When Launchpad, Gosalyn, and Honker get trapped in a popping popcorn machine, Honker knocks over another pack of it inside; causing so much popcorn to pop that it breaks the glass of the machine, allowing them to escape.
  • The "Christmas Maximus" segment of Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas ends with a house being filled to the brim with popcorn thanks to Goofy's clumsiness.
  • While preparing the food in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Snoopy was in charge of the popcorn. But there was one time he forgot to put the lid on the pot when throwing in the next batch of kernels...
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: In the segment "Talent Suckers Return", the Talent Suckers tried making popcorn for the popcorn stand and put tons of kernels into the machine. Vlad forgot to plug it in and the arena was destroyed by all of the popped popcorn.
  • PB&J Otter: In "All Popped Out", Ernest acquires a popcorn popper from the Muskrat family when their travelling circus closes down. While Ernest is occupied with serving Mr. Snooty, Peanut, Butter, and Jelly try to pop popcorn for themselves before he comes back, but because they can't turn the machine off, they end up making a giant mess.
  • Rolie Polie Olie: When Olie and Billy were making popcorn for the monster movie marathon on tv, they accidentally forgot about the popcorn maker and soon Olie's kitchen is full of popcorn.
  • Near the end of the Rocko's Modern Life episode, "Popcorn Pandemonium", Filburt, who works as the projectionist for the Googa Plex cinema, accidentally falls over and leaves his glasses in front of the projector. This causes the projector to set the screen on fire, and the fire makes its way to the popcorn storage room, causing the popcorn to fill up the entire theater, destroying it and making it look like a drive-in. At the end of the episode, as Rocko and Heffer eat the popcorn from the pile that buries them, two of the rat garbagemen from the trailer for Garbage Strike: The Musical refuse to clean up the mess, and why is that? 'Cause they're on strike!
  • In a Curious George episode, George makes too much popcorn at the movie theater.
  • The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo: "That's Monstertainment" opens with the crew settling in to watch a movie on TV. Scooby is making the popcorn, so naturally the room is flooded with popped popcorn.
  • In an episode of The Scooby-Doo Show, Shaggy intentionally buries himself and Scooby in popcorn from a vending machine. When Fred and the girls catch up to them, Shaggy explains that he and Scooby were hiding, but the popcorn smelled so good that they began eating.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: In "Me Time," Mr. E got a new popcorn machine that won't stop popping popcorn, and calls Super to help with the problem.


Video Example(s):


Popping Popcorn

One of Arty Smartypant's tricks has him put the words "Popping" and "Popcorn" in his smarty pants. After he says the magic word and does his magic dance, popcorn starts popping right out of his pants.

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