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Swivel-Chair Antics

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"Look, all I wanted was a frickin' rotating chair!"

A Sub-Trope of Cool Chair, swivel chairs are amusing pieces of furniture because they have wheels and can spin.note  Boredom and these can lead to endless possibilities.

Could include either someone spinning in a chair out of boredom or restlessness, rolling around in it in favor of just getting up, rigging them with explosives to fight bad guys with, or riding them like makeshift chariots.

This is often an integral part of Office Sports; also compare Wheelchair Antics.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Soul Eater: Stein enjoys riding around on his. Early on there was a Running Gag where he would "trip" over door frames (in fact he did so twice when he was introduced, failing to make a dramatic entrance). He also deflected several of Black Star's attacks while spinning around on the chair.
  • Durarara!!: Izaya has one in his office. In one memorable scene, he spun around repeatedly while laughing about how interesting humans are.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion: Misato is seen spinning on her chair while complaining how bored she is during a pilot sync test.
  • K-On!: Ritsu briefly spins around in Yui's chair while the rest of the club are helping Yui cram for her make-up exam as part of her boredom montage.
  • There's an adorable scene in episode 3 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS where Reinforce Zwei spins around at her new desk. It's made all the more adorable by the fact that she (and the desk) are less than a foot tall.
  • In one Aggretsuko short, Retsuko is spinning around the office in a swivel chair while thinking about how her life isn't fun because she has no time to do anything but go home and sleep after working all day. Ton catches her and asks if she is having fun.

    Audio Play 

    Fan Works 
  • In one chapter of the Massive Multiplayer Crossover chat fic Welcome to the Party Line!, Star, Ben, Sunset, and Penn have a swivel chair race through the halls of Star's castle. Unfortunately, they neglected to tell anyone beforehand, leading to Lee nearly getting run over.
  • Discworld-set fic The Price of Flight has the Ankh-Morpork City Air Watch playing darts in their unique way. the dartboard itself is magically enchanted so that it moves on the wall in a random and unpredictable way. The Air Witches compound the difficulty by sitting in a moving swivel chair - so that the pilot is throwing her darts from a moving platform at a moving target. This is defended on the grounds that it improves aim and targetting and simulates actual air combat. Sam Vimes suspects it's because the Air Watch pilots are, to a woman, crazy. And the Swommi pilot who devised this is craziest of all.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • A muted example in Changes from The Dresden Files. When arriving home Harry finds his erstwhile allies Susan and Martin cocooned to the walls and ceiling, and his chair spins around as Harry's Fairy Godmother Lea reveals herself to greet Harry with his cat in her lap, in the exact same manner as a Bond villain. While Harry thought this was an appropriate greeting (beside the awkwardness of having to explain everyone present were nominally friends), he privately thought this was an especially impressive greeting, since the chair had no mechanism for spinning, but details like that never stopped Lea from making a strong impression.
  • Shtum: After Ben's only employee Valentine quits, seemingly destroying the business, Ben spends about five minutes spinning around for lack of anything better to do.
  • Zomboy: While he and Evil-O are visiting Imre's home, Bob discovers that Imre has a swivel chair in his bedroom. The two then spend a good amount of time spinning it and launching themselves across Imre's room, before a finale wherein they both sit in the chair and launch themselves across the hallway.

    Live Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Cure That Habit", Stretch Snodgrass swivels Principal Conklin around in his chair, in an attempt to cure his hiccups. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In one of the opening title sequences of the 1970s CBS Sitcom Arnie, the title character, having just been promoted from a blue-collar position, spins around on an office chair, tips over and pulls down a venetian blind in the process.
  • There was a Brit Com called Two In Clover where the heroes leave their boring job by tying their boss to a swivel chair and pushing him out the window. On the ground floor, it is hoped, although it may well be a fantasy sequence...
  • Early in Angel, the title character defenestrates a corporate executive on swivel chair through a glass wall. Only the chair hits the ground, the executive having combusted on exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Battlestar Galactica: Baltar is seen swiveling his chair aimlessly, in a homage to his namesake's swiveling Cool Chair in the original series.
  • The Jimmy Jab Games episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine features a swivel-chair race, majestically won by Amy, although it was supposed to be a prize at first (it being the best-quality chair in the bullpen, with all wheels intact).
  • The Countess Dowager (Dame Maggie Smith) on Downton Abbey is caught off guard to be sitting in one when she visits Matthew Crawley's office:
    Countess: (almost falling off) Good heavens! what am I sitting on?
    Matthew: A swivel chair.
    Countess: Another modern brainwave?
    Matthew: Not very modern, they were invented by Thomas Jefferson.
    Countess: Why does every day involve a fight with an American?
    Matthew: I'll fetch a different one.
    Countess: No, no, no, I'm a good sailor!
  • In one episode of The Office (US), Jim switches his squeaky chair with Karen's, and then proceeds to ride his chair throughout the office to avoid having to get up out of it and giving Karen an opportunity to switch it back.
    • Another episode reveals that Michael regularly had Erin spin him around in his chair.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Geordi has a swivel chair that he flings around the engineering console when sitting in it so he doesn't need another person to operate it. It looks like fun.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: in Season 7 Buffy gets a job as school councilor; in one episode she's killing time in her cubicle by swiveling on her chair while balancing a container of pencils on her forehead.
  • How I Met Your Mother has Lily showing up smashed on wine and wearing nothing but a nightie in Marshall's office, rocketing by a meeting room where Marshall is leading a meeting on a swivel chair, using a fire extinguisher for propulsion. Marshall quickly excuses himself to chase after her.
    Businessman on the TV: Did anyone else see the drunk chick?
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Early in "The Murdoch Identity", Detective Slorach is joining Station 4 to help find the missing Murdoch when he's distractedly playing with Murdoch's desk chair while the others are trying to bring him up to speed on the case.
  • Veep has a scene where Vice President Meyer is alone in her office and idly spinning in her chair, showing her frustration at having nothing to do in spite of her high position. The image was used in commercials for the first season.
  • One clip often used in the opening sequence of MythBusters features Jamie Hyneman having two dogs pull him forward on a rolling chair. The version of the clip used in the actual episode ("Dog Myths") shows him getting pulled off the chair when the wheel catches on the transition to the next room.
  • An episode of Matlock has an apparently out-of-nowhere scene where Ben pushes Julie in a chair while she times him. While they are enjoying themselves, this turns out later to be part of solving the mystery.
  • Stargate SG-1 occasionally features Jack goofing around with his chair when he should be paying attention to either Sam or Daniel.
    • Serves a purpose in "200". During a "flashback" in which Jack is rendered invisible, the unoccupied chair in Carter's lab appears to spin on its own, signaling where Jack is. As opposed to a chair that isn't moving, which Carter evidently constantly failed to realize was a sign that Jack had ditched her.
  • One trailer for People of Earth shows Don and Kurt interrupt Jeff addressing the puny earthlings with a swivel chair race.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: Once Mr. Carlson was in his office and did a few spins in his desk chair. Soon after he picked up the double-pen holder on his desk and imitated a tailgunner ("Rahtatatata!") until Jennifer came in and he tried to look dignified again.
  • One episode of Full House has Jesse, shocked and annoyed to have lost a series of competitions to Joey, engaging in spinning around repeatedly in a swivel chair in order to beat him at something (which the latter refused to do, calling it childish and pathetic.) The former ended up "winning", but immediately fell down the second he tried to stand.
  • In the season 3 premiere of The Mandalorian, Grogu uses the Force to spin himself around in Greef's chair.
  • Star Trek: Picard: In the episode "No Win Scenario", Vadic spins around in her chair. Doubles as a Casting Gag: Vadic is played by Amanda Plummer, whose father once did the same thing.

  • Old Master Q tries fooling around with a swivel-chair in this strip, only to comically run himself into a wall.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Dilbert:
    • Someone stands on a swivel chair to hang up a "Ten days without an accident!" poster. The chair slips, and he falls and injures himself. Dilbert comments on the irony, and the guy who fell replies, "No, it was ironic when this happened 11 days ago."
    • In the followup comic, the company makes Swivel Chair Safety Training mandatory. At the training, the demonstrator spins wildly while doing a headstand on his chair. The pointy-haired boss can't tell if that's a "do" or a "don't".
    • In another strip, a manager (Not the Pointy-Haired Boss) decides to pick someone for a task by spinning around in his chair like a roulette, and asks to be spun. Alice sends him down a flight of stairs, killing him, and causing the forces of darkness to possess his body.
  • In one Garfield comic at Irma's diner, Irma asks Jon why he and Garfield always sit at the bar rather than in one of the booths. Turns out they both enjoy spinning around on the stools.

  • This gif
  • The Office Chair Racing Championship in the German resort town of Bad Koening sees more than 50 participants race downhill over jump ramps.

  • In Closer Than Ever, the Naughty by Night song "Miss Byrd" is supposed to be performed, "including any 'dancing'" (the stage directions specify), entirely on a typist's swivel chair at an ordinary real-estate office desk.

    Video Games 
  • Fortnite has a traversal emote called "Office Chariot" that consists of your character spinning around in a wheeled swivel chair.
  • Harry the Handsome Executive, a game based entirely on scooting around an office on your swivel chair by kicking off walls.
  • Everybody knows that the second Death Star is meant to look incomplete as a disguise, but LEGO Star Wars II gives a different explanation: when Darth Vader arrives, he finds a bunch of technicians slacking off, one of whom is having fun in a swivel chair!
  • Joker of Mass Effect fame is entirely too fond of his swiveling pilot's chair on the Normandy, especially its second incarnation. (Real leather!) However, EDI takes control of it when he's antagonizing her, spinning him around until he gives up.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: The ZCorp Chair Racer zombie rides a swivel chair backwards into the battlefield at very fast speeds. When he hits a plant, he deals massive damage to it (often a One-Hit Kill) and gets launched further into your defences.
  • Rhythm Heaven Fever has a minigame, "Board Meeting", about anthropomorphic pig businessmen spinning around on swivel chairs. The reading material unlocked by scoring a Perfect on this game reveals that their doing this is part of a company motivational seminar (it has to do with their pulling off their spins in unison).

  • xkcd has the famous "my code is compiling" comic.
  • A very similar battle ensues in Questionable Content involving broomsticks. Dora is not pleased.
  • S.S.D.D.: Central accuses the IT nerds who are supposed to be watching his firewall of wasting time racing swivel chairs while trapped in his own mainframe by the Oracle.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Sparks from Sealab 2021 is always seated in a rolling chair, because the footage from Sealab 2020 always had Sparks seated. Despite trying to claim disability in one episode, he really can stand, he's just lazy. Maybe. The show flip-flops on this.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Ice Cream Of Margie With The Light Blue Hair", we find Homer, Lenny, and Carl playing office chair hockey at the plant; Mr. Burns comes in and chastises them for goofing off...but then we see him complaining that they're not practicing their chair hockey moves hard enough.
    • In "Bart On The Road", Lisa, who's spending the day at the nuclear plant with Homer, decides to liven things up by spinning in swivel chairs wearing hazmat suits. Homer replies that, "This is a lot more fun with a second person."
    • In "Homer's Enemy", Bart combines a swivel chair and a fire extinguisher for some real fun.
      • The beginning of the same episode has Homer spinning in his chair saying, "Chair goes round... Chair goes round..."
    • In "D'oh-in' in the Wind", Homer accidentally harvests the "special" garden (the one with the camouflage netting) at a local "organic" juice farm. So that morning's shipment is nothing but carrots and peyote. Cue, among other things, Officer Lou trying to turn his office chair into a helicopter.
    "The electric yellow has got me by the brain banana!"
  • Camp Lazlo: Nurse Leslie uses such a chair to move around. In fact, when the chair is broken, he can't even use his legs to stand.
  • Mega Mind in his very own film has a number of swivel chair scenes, and of course spoofs the "villain in turning chair" thing.
  • Principal Prickly on Recess has one as his desk chair. When TJ becomes "Principal-for-a-Day", this is one of the first things he does:
    TJ: Wow, this is one big chair.
    Prickly: Yes it is. And it takes a big man to fill it.
    TJ: (immediately takes it for a spin) WOOHOOOOOO!
  • On The Looney Tunes Show Bugs gets a job at Porky's office and convinces him to have more fun at work. During a montage of various fun activities they spin around ad roll on swivel chairs.
  • Ezra from Star Wars Rebels loves playing with the copilot's swivel chair in the Ghost's cockpit.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Brittney's Party", Marco is on a bus and is carsick. He tries to sit down, but finds himself in a swivel chair that goes out of control due to the bus' motions. He complains about who would be dumb enough to put such a chair on a bus.
  • A compilation of Animated Outtakes for My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Friendship Games sees Principal Cinch getting carried away with her Chair Reveal and spinning wildly, which she seems to find amusing.
  • We Bare Bears: When Grizzly gets shanghaied into working at an office in "Fashion Bears", one of the things he does to pass the time is spin around wildly in an office chair.
  • In 3-2-1 Penguins!, Zidgel tends to spin around in his captain's swivel-chair. He even tries to spin around in it as many times as he can in one minute in Between an Asteroid and a Hard Place.


Video Example(s):


Dr. Evil's Defective Chair

Dr. Evil's electric swivel chair goes haywire for a few moments, with Dr. Evil having to go along for the ride.

The best part? The scene was unscripted (the chair malfunctioned by pure accident), and Mike Myers decided to just roll with it until it finally stopped.

How well does it match the trope?

4.85 (34 votes)

Example of:

Main / SwivelChairAntics

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