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Popcorn on the Cob

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Popcorn shows up in many forms of media. Sometimes, in TV shows and movies, it is often seen as being popped directly off the cob, which doesn't happen often in Real Life.

This happens when you put an ear of corn over the fire. Once the fire gets hot enough, the corn becomes so hot that the kernels covering the cob immediately start popping, turning into instant popcorn.

In Real Life, "popcorn on the cob" is possible, but only if the right kind of corn is used and the ear of corn has been sufficiently dried out before cooking. Otherwise (such as with a freshly picked ear of sweetcorn), heating it over a fire only results in, well, roast corn on the cob (perfectly delicious, but not popcorn).

Cousin Trope to Instant Roast. Not to be confused with Pass the Popcorn (which is where onlookers staring at something shocking and/or embarrassing have snacks handy for such an event).


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  • There was a car commercial in the mid-90's where the car being advertised drove past a cornfield and caused all the corn to start popping right off the stalk.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 3 episode 31 of Happy Heroes, the wolverine monster uses a speed-boosting apparatus on his tail, and the flames from it heat up a nearby man's wheelbarrow of corn cobs and turn them into instant popcorn.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Flying Island: The Sky Adventure episode 32, Wolffy's speed shoes give him an electric shock every time he stops running. One of these jolts hits a balloon person's corn cob and makes its kernels pop into popcorn.
  • In the Simple Samosa episode "Spa Wars", an anthropomorphic corn cob is among the customers at Appa Spa (all the show's characters are Anthropomorphic Food). He enters a tanner and has all his kernels popped into popcorn from the heat.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Don Rosa comics, this was an important part of Duckburg's history. Cornelius Coot, Donald Duck's ancestor, received possession of an unclaimed territory named Drakeborough. Since no nation claimed it, a ship of Spanish privateers arrive to take it by force. Since he was alone and unarmed, Cornelius pretended to surrender and offered them a feast with a dish they had never seen before: corn. He tossed a bunch of ears into the fire, and when they started popping, the Spaniards were so spooked they ran for it and sailed away.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights: The eponymous Men in Tights eat popcorn on the cob on sticks while Robin Hood woos Maid Marian with a song.
  • Achieved in Spaced Invaders with a grain silo. It has the added effect of exploding and covering part of a town in popcorn.

  • In Sid Fleischman's McBroom's Wonderful One Acre Farm series, the weather becomes so hot that corn starts popping right off the stalks in the fields.
  • In the Rainbow Magic book Goldie the Sunshine Fairy, the first sign that somebody's messing around with the Sunshine Feather is when it gets so hot the corn in the fields starts exploding into popcorn.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Corner Gas episode "Air Show", when Hank's corn stand burns to the ground, Oscar complains that the corn isn't popping. Wanda starts to explain why it's impossible for fresh corn to pop, only for the corn to actually start popping in the middle of her sentence, shutting her up.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one Zits strip, Jeremy uses the microwave to pop baby corn on the cob, which he then eats using a pair of tweezers.

    Video Games 
  • One of the bosses in Castle Crashers is a giant monster corn creature that drops popcorn anytime it's hit. It's also That One Boss.
  • In Don't Starve, cooking corn turns it into popcorn.
  • In the English version of Hey You, Pikachu!, Pikachu can use thunderbolt to cook corn from the garden into popcorn. In the original Japanese version there is no corn at all, just an eggplant with no special interactions.
  • In Story of Seasons the corn you grow can not only be used to make popcorn, but also any dish that normally uses sweetcorn, as well as dishes that use different cultivars of corn entirely like corn bread, tortillas, and cornflakes, as well as chicken feed.
  • In Ultima Underworld, passing a torch over an ear of corn turns it into popcorn.
  • A corncob you find in Toonstruck can be turned into popcorn by tossing it directly into a fire. Drew then warns the player not to try this at home.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Happy Tree Friends episode "Aw, Shucks!", Lumpy grows a giant ear of corn to be used for judging at a carnival. It happens to be a very hot day and the corn pops into popcorn, which ends up killing everyone.
    • In Pop's Barbecue Smoochie, Pop catches on fire after eating corn on the cob, causing the corn to pop inside of him, causing him to asphyxiate.
  • In Weebl & Bob "Pikea," Weebl and Bob are stuck in traffic behind a car driven by a corn-on-the-cob. When the sun shines directly into the corn's car, the corn pops. It's played for Black Comedy; the corn is aware of what's happening to it and screams as it starts.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh briefly featured popcorn as being popped on the cob. It ended up popping all over the place because Tigger put too much corn in the popper.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In "Mickey's Trailer", Goofy is eating corn on the cob when he accidentally sticks his fork in an electrical socket, causing the corn to pop as he gets shocked.
    • In another Disney cartoon, Mr. Duck Steps Out, Huey, Dewey and Louie put an ear of corn in the stove until it starts popping, then send it down Donald Duck's throat. The popcorn popping inside him makes him dance spastically, especially when he stands next to the fireplace.
  • Garfield and Friends:
    • In the U.S. Acres episode "Cornfinger", this is how Orson solves the mystery of who keeps taking the corn from the silo. Roy was revealed to be the one stealing the corn by hiding it in his parka, so Orson outsmarts him by using an electric heater to pop all of the corn that Roy had been stealing.
    • This event mirrors the climax of Orson's usual Imagine Spot earlier in that same episode. Double-O Orson bears a spy watch that's actually a hefty explosive (a "highly radioactive thermonuclear exploding grelbin device" to be exact). He arms it, it gets accidentally tossed under P. Cornfinger's limousine (which the stolen corn is hidden inside), and you can guess what happens when the explosion heats the car up.
    • Similarly, in his Imagine Spot in "For Butter or Worse", Power Pig needs to stop a wave of melted butter (It Makes Sense in Context). He accomplishes this by heating up a cornfield with his heat vision until it all pops, allowing the newly made popcorn to catch the butter. (Orson's method of solving the out-of-Spot problem does involve popcorn but is unrelated to this trope.)
  • The Simpsons season 10 episode "They Saved Lisa's Brain": During the "How Low Can You Go?" talent show (in which contestants perform the lowest, most disgusting acts ever), Homer wears a popcorn kernel suit and uses some blow-dryers to make them pop while singing a parody of Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" called "Hot Buttered." Soon, the suit gets too hot, Homer gets 4 out of a possible 10 for his "act," and Homer gets attacked by the chickens Barney was supposed to use for his act (which was Barney drinking an entire six-pack and juggling chickens, but the audience thought his act was just drinking the six-pack of beer and belching).
  • Occurs in reverse on Futurama. When the Planet Express ship is sent back in time, a bag of microwave popcorn has turned back into an ear of corn.
    Fry: Aw, it's less popped than ever.
  • Applejack's cornfield spontaneously begins popping in the season 2 premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. In this case, there isn't even any fire (in fact, it's raining - chocolate milk, but still), as it's being caused by Discord.
  • A Foghorn Leghorn cartoon ("The High and the Flighty") had this when Foghorn Leghorn gets an ear of corn attached to some electrical wires. It pops the feathers off his body and turns his crest into a giant popped piece of popcorn.
  • A Woody Woodpecker cartoon had Woody using a blowtorch to pop the kernels on an ear of corn some animals were carrying.
  • In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Birth of a Salesman", Scratch accidentally clones Sonic with one of Wes Weasley's devices while hiding out in a cornfield. The real Sonic makes a trail of fire and each of his clones holds a corn stalk over it, resulting in a giant popcorn ball that chases Scratch and Grounder away.
  • Dragon Tales, Ord cooks popcorn by throwing the unpopped kernels into the air and roasting them with his fire breath.
  • In DuckTales (2017), Webby goes looking for the Golden Armory of Cornelius Coot, founder of Duckburg, who supposedly fought the ancestors of the Beagle Boys with a giant army. When she finds it, however, it just proves to be storing ears of corn. She is disappointed, until a lamp accidentally lights a fuse that causes the corn to pop. She realizes the corn is the "golden armory", the popping fooling the Beagles into thinking they were under fire from all directions; indeed, the modern-day Beagle Boys, who were also looking for the Armory, hear what sounds like gunfire and head for the hills.
  • In the Tuca & Bertie episode "Nighttime Friend", when Speckle begins exercising while sleepwalking, he ends up with legs so well-toned that they rip through his pants. Tuca tests them out by putting three ears of corn between them, then having Speckle press them until the kernels pop.