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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

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Leela: What are we delivering?
Professor Farnsworth: Something without which no ribbon-cutting ceremony could proceed: the ceremonial oversized scissors.
Leela: We'll get them there as quickly as we can.
Professor Farnsworth: All right, but don't run with them.

This is where there is a ceremony to celebrate the completion of some edifice, like a bridge, road, building, ship, etc. Although ships are different in that they don't have a ribbon cutting but a champagne bottle breaking.

This ceremony usually has a large red ribbon tied between the front doors or arches of said edifice, huge scissors and a politician who cuts the ribbon while announcing that the X is now open.

A similar related event is a ground-breaking ceremony, which indicates the start of a building project about to get underway.

Truth in Television, it's a great publicity event for those involved. Actual ribbon not necessary.



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  • An American TV advertisement has a couple driving a car and the GPS device directs them to a bridge. At the exact moment when the politician cuts the red ribbon and announces the bridge is now open, the car arrives and drives across it. Apparently, the GPS device is just that good.
  • A bottle breaking ceremony for a ship launching had the VIP leaping over the side to save the advertised wine from being wasted.

    Comic Books 
  • In one Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Robotnik was getting ready to cut a ribbon for some sort of ceremony. At that moment, the Freedom Fighters (minus Sonic, who is stuck in the past) charge onto the scene and start attacking the robot soldiers. Robotnik responds "Oh no! I can't escape! Mother told me never to run with scissors!"
  • Cleopatra does this at the opening of her new palace in Asterix and Cleopatra.
  • Smurfette in The Smurfs comic book story "Bathing Smurfs" does this at the opening of the new Smurf Village getaway resort.
  • So far, performing one of these on a new lab has been the only duty that Tyler Marlowe of PS238 has performed as class president. Mainly because the teachers felt that since they now had a class president, they needed to attach some kind of duty or responsibility to the title.
  • Superman in a Bronze Age comic book story about the opening of the Superman Pavilion (Action Comics issue 500) uses his heat vision to cut through a steel ribbon at its entrance.

    Comic Strips 
  • When Buck Rogers leaves Earth for the first time for Mars, Wilma Deering breaks a champagne bottle on the pop-riveted hull and names the rocket ship Satellite (hey, they didn't have artificial satellites in the 1930's).

    Films — Animation 
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, the opening ceremony for the saloon is a trap: cutting the ribbon would have triggered a giant mousetrap on the stands where the mice were sitting, crushing them all. Thankfully, the good guys warn the mice just before the trap is sprung.
  • There are two in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: "Baby" Brent cutting the ribbon to unveil Sardine Land, and Flint cutting the ribbon to reopen the town, using the same oversized ceremonial scissors, which have to be pried away from Brent.
  • Megamind opens and ends with these. The film starts (after Megamind's Origin Story) with Metro Man cutting the ribbon to his museum with Eye Beams. The ceremony gets interrupted by Megamind. At the end, the museum has ben re-dedicated to the reformed Megamind, who cuts the ribbon with a Lightning Gun.
  • Shrek the Third: Shrek attempts to christen a newly made ship via the standard shattering of a wine bottle. Unfortunately, he accidentally pushes the ship away from the dock by leaning against it too hard before he can finish the ceremony. Deseprate, Shrek tosses the wine bottle at the ship so hard it breaks a hole in the hull, sinking the ship and somehow causing the sails to burst into flames.
  • Near the end of Treasure Planet, the shapeshifting Morph turns into a pair of scissors and cuts the ribbon in the front of the entrance of the newly-rebuilt diner.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (Lepa sela lepo gore) opens with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the "Tunnel of Brotherhood and Unity" going horribly wrong when the dignitary gets his thumb caught in the scissors splattering blood all over the little pioneer girl standing next to him.
  • Star Trek: Generations shows a bottle-breaking for the launch of Enterprise-B; the bottle is shown careering through empty space before abruptly shattering against the ship's hull.
    • The original Enterprise in the first Star Trek movie also had a champagne bottle ceremony.
  • In A Hard Day's Night, John Lennon plays with the ribbon cutting ceremony, cutting a tailor's measuring tape...
    • In the movie, John says "I now declare this bridge open!" as he cuts the ribbon, but in unseen takes before that, he'd ceremoniously cut the ribbon for other (ridiculous) places, such as a "fish and chips shop."
  • In K19: The Widowmaker, the champagne bottle fails to break at the launch ceremony for the eponymous submarine. This is taken as a very bad omen.
  • In The Towering Inferno, the mayor of San Francisco is cutting the ribbon to open the building with an enormous pair of scissors, and as a homage to such events, doesn't quite cut it all the way through on the first slice.
  • Wild Wild West has the famous "golden spike" event. Interestingly, it fails, if for other reasons than in Real Life.
  • In Explorers, the young heroes try to christen their Tilt-a-Whirl-cum-spaceship by breaking a bottle of soda over it. After trying several times without success to break the bottle, the wielder tosses it over his shoulder into the woods, whereupon it smashes on the ground.
  • In One Crazy Summer, Hoops and his friends try to christen a sailing ship that they fixed up by breaking a small nip of liquor on the bow, but they end up breaking a hole in the ship instead.
  • In Back to School, Thornton Melon has a ground-breaking ceremony for the new school building that the university would open up in exchange for giving him admission to take courses. At the ceremony, Thornton flings some dirt and it lands on the head of a member of the university's faculty, particularly the one who criticized Thornton buying his way into the university.
  • Those Fantastic Flying Fools (a.k.a. Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon). Queen Victoria cuts the ribbon to open a new bridge, only for it to collapse in front of everyone.
  • At the beginning of the French movie The Little Bather with Louis de Funès, the launch of a ship goes sour when the champagne bottle, instead of breaking against the hull, breaks through it because of shoddy construction. At the end of the movie, the ceremony is held again with the repaired ship, and the bottle breaks normally. The ship just sinks as soon as launched, however.

  • In the third book of the Christ Clone Trilogy, the Clone Jesus and The Antichrist Christopher Goodman and his associate Robert Milner attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the newly-built United Nations building in the renovated city of Babylon. However, God's angel shows up at the ceremony to warn the people that Babylon is destined to fall.

    Live-Action TV 
  • When Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear was asked to open a swimming pool, he felt that the obvious method was to use a Rolls-Royce to cut the ribbon. Coincidentally, since the pool was directly behind the ribbon, Hilarity Ensues.
  • An episode of Friends had Monica go to a ribbon ceremony for a new hospital wing with her rich boyfriend. They both agree that the ceremony is boring and decide to leave. On their way out he cuts the ribbon and get his picture taken because he was the one who had donated the money for the hospital.
  • George Bluth from Arrested Development loved to open new buildings with a lavish ribbon-cutting ceremony. At one point GOB had them build a fake house so flimsy that when they cut the ribbon it fell apart, and GOB attacked Michael with the giant scissors.
  • One episode of My Name Is Earl, during a "Bad Earl" flashback, has a reporter showing a new rehab center opening this way, but the ribbon cutter is obviously drunk and failing. And then Earl and Randy run through the ribbon.
  • Battlestar Galactica. When the crew of Galactica handbuild a stealth fighter out of spare parts, they name it "Laura" after President Laura Roslin, and naturally invite her to christen it with a bottle of champagne. Roslin raises the bottle to break it over the nose, whereupon everyone shouts "No! No!" as the fighter's hull is made from carbon fiber and is actually quite fragile. Roslin says, "Just kidding!" and settles for sprinkling some of the bubbly instead.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • Episode "Timeless" has the bottle-breaking ceremony take place with the unveiling of the ship's new quantum slipstream drive; Dramatic Irony is involved, as the audience already knows most of the crew will be killed as a result.
    • "Alice" has Tom Paris almost ready to do this to the titular shuttlecraft that he was refurbishing, but with B'elanna Torres's prompting, he shares a toast to the shuttle with her instead of breaking the champagne bottle on its hull. They do, however, manage to spill a bit of champagne on the upholstery inside the shuttlecraft.
  • The Avengers: A reincarnation of the 18th century Hellfire Club, pranking the government, sets up a sabotage at a ribbon cutting ceremony ostensibly with gag rubber scissors, but in reality rigs things up to electrocute the ribbon cutter.
  • Bottle smashing version in Community: at a sailing class, Pierce attempts to "launch" their ship with a champagne bottle, but can't break it with repeated tries. Troy marvels at his abilities, saying "Look at him christen — that were me, I'd have broken the bottle!"
  • Gilmore Girls: Though we don't see the actual ceremony, reluctant town selectman Jackson is left giant scissors (which he sees as a threat) as a way of convincing him to preside over an opening he doesn't want to. Later, when they trick him into running a town meeting, Kirk mimes cutting the ribbon.
  • The Wire: In season 3, Senator Clay Davis and a few other public officials take part in a golden shovel ceremony to inaugurate a new construction project. This also appears in the opening credits for that season, and given how corrupt Davis really is, it's meant to show his hypocrisy.
  • Cougar Town: Andy is elected mayor, and most of his duties consist of attending ceremonial openings, mostly of bicycle racks.
  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie: The second episode is given a champagne christening... over Hugh's head. Vince, run that tape if you'd be so careful to do exactly as you're told...

    Puppet Shows 
  • The 25th season premiere of Sesame Street included a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new playground around the corner from 123 Sesame Street. The problem was, as soon as Biff knocked the wall down, Big Bird and his friends started playing on the playground before the official ceremony could take place.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • The radio series has a champagne-bottle-breaking ceremony for the bypass being built through Arthur's house.
    • Marvin tells a story about how he was invited to do the opening ceremony of a new bridge through a swamp. Unfortunately he caused the bridge to get so depressed that immediately after he opened it it sank into the swamp.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • One of the minigames in Work Time Fun has you playing a bungling politician who has to cut a ribbon at such a ceremony... while drunk.
  • While no actual ribbon-cutting occurs, whenever you complete a public works project in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you and Isabelle hold a ceremony to commemorate the new addition to the town. You hold a celebration for every project, even if its as something simple as installing a trash can.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama:
  • In the episode of The Simpsons where Ned opens Praiseland, Mayor Quimby drives up in his limo, simply pokes his head out of the window and says, "It is with, uh, great pride that I dedicate this new school, sports arena or attraction." The mayor cuts the ribbon and just drives off.
  • In the episode of Top Cat in which Benny's mother shows up, she attempts to "christen" a ship by whacking it with the bottle, but whacks Officer Dibble instead. Later, when she cuts the ribbon to "open" a bridge, a similar incident happens to Dibble.
  • In one episode of Fillmore!, a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a new bathroom provides a vital clue: The girl cutting the ribbon used her left hand and was wearing a glove, indicating that she was left-handed and that she had a marker stain on her wrist from vandalizing the bathrooms.
  • One happens in a SpongeBob SquarePants episode. The mayor of Bikini Bottom declared an unfinished bridge open, just in time for SpongeBob and the police to drive right off it.
  • In the series Side Kick, super heroes must cut ribbons at ceremonies to keep a large ribbon monster from returning to attack the city. Eric learns this the hard way.
  • The Smurfs:
    • In "The Last Smurfberry", Papa Smurf christens the S.S. Smurf II upon its launch by breaking a bottle against its bow, which takes him a few tries before the bottle breaks.
    • In "The Fake Smurf", Papa Smurf cuts the ribbon when he inaugurates the newly-completed bridge over the River Smurf.
  • The Perils of Penelope Pitstop episode "The Terrible Trolley Trap" starts with Penelope about to cut the ribbon for a new streetcar track, when the Hooded Claw abducts her and ties her to the antenna of a runaway streetcar.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Sweet and Elite", Rarity is shown in a montage christening an airship with a champagne bottle.
    • "Parental Glideance": While distracted by her parents' cheering during a Wonderbolt ribbon-cutting ceremony, Rainbow Dash accidentally snips off part of Spitfire's tail, much to her annoyance.
    • "A Royal Problem": One of the duties taken over by Princess Luna when she swaps role with Celestia is a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Except the scissors are blunt, so she has to karate-chop the ribbon with her hoof.
  • In one episode of DuckTales (1987) has Scrooge christening a ship with a bottle of champagne. Mid-swing, he checks with Duckworth that the bottle has cheap champagne. "The cheapest, sir!"
  • In the Mickey Mouse cartoon "Boat Builders", Mickey, Donald and Goofy build a boat out of prefabricated parts. At the christening ceremony, Minnie hits the bottle too hard, causing the boat to fall apart in the water.

    Real Life 
  • In the USA, the First Transcontinental Railroad was ceremonially completed on May 10, 1869, at the famous "golden spike" event at Promontory Summit, Utah. Despite TV and movie portrayals, written historical records indicate that when the first strike was made, it missed. "Someone cried out, 'he missed it, huzzah!' he tried again, 'he still missed it!'" Apparently the third try was successful. The spike and hammer were wired to a telegraph, so that the hammer connecting with the spike would signal the exact moment the railroad was completed. An impatient telegraph operator went ahead and sent a message announcing the completion after the first or second miss.
  • Just before the Sydney Harbour Bridge's ribbon was about to be cut, a pro-monarchist protester charged toward the ribbon, on horseback, and sliced it with a sword before the official ribbon-cutter could react.
  • Has happened every year since 1995, at the beginning of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It involves the parade's cohost Al Roker (who not by coincidence also started cohosting in 1995), the parade executive (currently Amy Kule, previously it was Robin Hall and before him Jean McFaddin), and since the Turn of the Millennium a special group chosen by the production team (i.e. 2014 had the Taney Dragons, a Philadelphia little league team). Notably in 2013, the parade was led by several female robotics people from First Robotics, who used one of their machines to cut the ribbon at the start.


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