Antenna Adjusting

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Sometimes the TV goes on the fritz. What to do? Other than Percussive Maintenance, try adjusting the antenna, which may take a while. Conversations can go like this:


Alice: (adjusts antenna) Can you see it now?
Bob: No.
Alice: (gets into strange position) Can you see it now?
Bob: No.
Alice: (gets into even stranger position) Can you see it now?
Bob: THAT'S IT! Don't move!


If in a comedy, expect the TV to work only if someone stands in a ridiculously awkward position.

Specifically, the only way to fix this condition in a comedy is to get the Butt Monkey to wear a tin-foil hat with rabbit ears and pose like an idiot at the direction of his so-called friends, possibly while also standing on the roof.

A very common gag in Swedish media. Very likely a Dead Horse Trope due to improvements in television transmission and reception, especially if your country's made the switch to digital media, rendering rabbit ears both obsolete and utterly useless.

Not related to Do Not Adjust Your Set.

Examples of Antenna Adjusting include:



Son: Daaaad! The cable's out again! Can't you fix it!?


Live Action TV

  • On Married... with Children, the Bundy family had "Fox network viewing positions" to take when watching FOX. Self-Deprecation to their own network, and Truth in Television: Fox came in pretty badly at times in Chicago, where Married was allegedly set, pre-Digital TV.
  • Mr. Bean tries placing the aerial in increasingly silly places in order to watch his TV. Finally he discovers a position that works — but only when he can't see the screen.
  • Tony Hancock in his solo episode of Hancock's Half Hour spends several minutes moving his indoor antenna when the TV picture keeps breaking up. Inevitably, the picture clears up when he's out of sight of the set. Eventually he realises that it's not his reception but a studio fault.
  • On The Honeymooners, Ralph and Norton buy a TV together. They have trouble agreeing on what to watch before settling on a program. When Ralph complains about the fuzzy picture, Norton tells him to take the antenna and move around. When Ralph is holding it out of the apartment, Norton tells him that its good and closes the door to watch his own show.

Newspaper Comics

  • An early series of Peanuts strips, circa 1960, had Charlie Brown using Snoopy as a substitute TV aerial.

Video Games

Western Animation

  • Came up on more than one occasion on The Simpsons, for example:
    • In The Tracey Ullman Show short "TV Simpsons", this is the entire plot.
  • Garfield and Friends gets Nermal to do this by telling him Jon thinks it's cute.
  • LEGO Star Wars: Revenge of the Brick: General Grievous himself becomes the antenna while Count Dooku tells him how to adjust himself to get a good reception.
  • On The Penguins of Madagascar, King Julien wins the penguins' TV set and has Mort hold up the antenna, yelling at Mort when he gets tired and can't hold the position any longer.
  • In Camp Lazlo, Edward's bullying brothers force Scoutmaster Lumpus to hold the TV for them and adjust his antlers until they get a reception.
  • When Quicksilver is ordering the Brotherhood around in X-Men: Evolution, he has Toad move around with the antenna on the roof. He tells him to hold his position just as Toad is struggling not to fall off.