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The Wrong Way on the Escalator

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Because what goes up always comes down.
"These stairs! They have a mind of their own!"

If a character goes up the down escalator or down the up escalator then they are going against the odds. This occurs either because the escalator is broken or because the character is really dumb, in a situation unfamiliar to them, or just wants to challenge themselves. See also Treadmill Trauma, Can't Use Stairs, Staircase Tumble and Stairway to Heaven.

Do Not Try This at Home: Unless the escalator is off. This is a good way to end up having a nasty accident. Children especially should be taught that escalators and travellators are not toys or play equipment.


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  • An ad for Citi bank showed a woman running up the down escalator as a visual metaphor for the fight for gender equality.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the finale of Pokémon the Series: XYZ, Serena departs the group going down an escalator at an airport, expecting to catch a plane to the Hoenn region. However, she remembers something at the last second, and runs back up the down escalator... so she can give Ash her First Kiss.

  • In one of his stand-up comedy routines Dara Ó Briain claims that he once got to the top of an up-escalator only to see an injured person on the floor in the area where he was about to get off. This prompted him to turn around and try and go back down the escalator, in the process forcing everyone behind him to do the same, until someone arrived to deliver first aid.


    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live Action 
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978): Several zombies try to go up the down escalator in a shopping mall.
  • In The Wiz, during the Flying Monkeys' attack, Tinman tries to escape by going down an up escalator. Given his limited movement due to being made of metal, he's pretty much just walking in place.

  • Ways to Live Forever: Sam and Felix list going up on down escalators as part of their list on ways to live forever.
  • In Eleanor Estes' Ginger Pye, this was a Meet Cute for the parents of the main characters, who met when he saw his chance to run up the down escalator—something he'd always wanted to do—and crashed into her at the top.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Several idiots on World's Dumbest... try to force their way on escalators in the wrong direction, usually while drunk and/or fighting people riding them the right way.

  • The Chameleons: In their album "Script of the Bridge", one of their singles is called "Up the Down Escalator".

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel: The town of Roer has a pair of outdoor escalators connecting its upper and lower levels. If you attempt this trope, Alisa will get exasperated and ask if you're doing that just because you can. Fie, conversely, seems to think it's fun.
  • Mario Kart Wii: You can invoke this in the Mario Kart Wii course Coconut Mall by going either up the down escalator or down the up escalator. It's possible to reach the top by doing this, though it will slow you down quite a bit (unless you use a mushroom power-up to speed up the escalator).
  • Sonic Shuffle:, In the mini-game "Wrong Way Climb", one player is standing at the top of a down escalator, guarding a treasure of 30 rings, while the other three players are at the bottom of the escalator and trying to make their way to the top by repeatedly tapping the A button within the time limit.
  • Persona 3: One of the outings the player can go on with Elizabeth has her attempt to do this. This ends up being another highlight of how out of touch she is with humanity, and her attempts to learn more about them.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Mothers", Tobias changes the direction and speed of the escalator Nicole is on which causes Nicole to speed up. Nicole is running so fast, that when Tobias turns the escalator off she flies through the roof of the mall.
  • In one episode of Animal Mechanicals, the Mechanicals attempt to go up a dinosaur escalator, but it's stuck in down mode and they all fall off. Once they're able to fix the on/off buttons, they can go up.
  • Animaniacs: In "Survey Ladies", Wakko walks down the up escalator when he and his siblings get on it.
  • Family Guy: In "Fresh Heir", Carter injures himself whilst going up the down escalator in the mall.
  • Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil: "Big Mouth" has Kick and Gunther chase Mouth up the down escalator, until he decides to screw it and jumps to the one that goes up.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Elementary, My Dear Stacy", during the musical number "Elementary", Candace and Stacy go on the up escalator, but then when they see Phineas and Ferb going on the down escalator, they run down the up escalator, pushing past other people on the up escalator.
    • In "Raging Bully", Phineas attempts to run up the down escalator while training for a thumb-wrestling match with Buford that afternoon; meanwhile, Ferb and boxer Evander Holyfield are timing him with a stopwatch. Phineas eventually gets to the top of the escalator.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel: Doofenshmirtz goes down the up escalator at Googolplex Mall.
  • Rabbids Invasion: In "Escalator Rabbid", a Rabbid tries to go up the down escalator to get the candy the two Rabbids at the top of the escalator are holding.
  • The Simpsons: In "Loan-a Lisa", Bart pays Gil Gunderson to walk up the down escalator.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): In the episode "Usagi Come Home", Usagi while confused and running away from the Turtles, tries to run upwards on a downward escalator. He becomes frustrated when he doesn't move anywhere, and slashes the escalator down the middle as he thinks the "stairs" are possessed by evil magic.
  • VeggieTales: In "Sumo of the Opera", Scallion has to go up the down escalator as part of his training.


Video Example(s):


Usagi goes up on the escalator

Usagi goes up on the down escalator in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) episode "Usagi Come Home".

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Main / TheWrongWayOnTheEscalator

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