Car Meets House
Stephanie: I sorta... drove Joey's car... into the kitchen.
Jesse: Steph, you can't even drive!
Stephanie: You're telling me.
You know how car accidents are a serious matter? And crashing into a building would be a big deal? Not so in TV Land.
A trope often seen in sitcoms, usually played for for a tiny bit of drama, a lot of laughs and shock value all at the same time. You have a new driver... or maybe an old driver... or a drunk driver...Maybe even somebody who isn't even old enough to drive in the first place. Doesn't matter the situation, for some reason their vehicle is magnetically drawn to the house, and comes bursting through the front door, just as any character normally would. The shot usually ends with some witty one-liner from the front passenger, along the lines of "that went well", while the horrified occupants of the house stare in well... horror.
A few notable thing about this trope is the fact that no one is ever harmed, the car always stops right after it enters the house, and of course, the house is usually fixed by the next episode. No one is ever killed by standing near or against the wall that just got crashed into. The car never continues on into the the rest of the house (leading us to believe that hitting a house will suddenly trigger the braking reflex in said poor driver). And the family will rarely have to stay in a hotel, while they wait for a contractor to fix the gaping hole in the front of their home. By the next episode, everything's fine. Exceptions to this would be a subversion.
Obviously this differs from Real Life, where a car plowing through your front living room might cause a few headaches.
And it's not always a house. Sometimes it's an office, a hotel, a bar or another public place. But the same rules apply; no lasting damage or repercussions. The rarer incarnation of this trope is when a character with perfectly decent driving skills purposefully drives into the house. Usually still played for laughs though.
Sitcoms of The Eighties and The Nineties drove this trope into the ground, but due to the constant recycling of Sitcom plots, the trope still pervades. See also Drives Like Crazy and Standardized Sitcom Housing, which contributes to this trope's appearance.
Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]
- A 2012-ish State Farm commercial features a former customer who has "just combined" his auto and home.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- In The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Phineas builds a full-size remote-control racing car and is running it through the city streets from the roof. Fat Freddy wants to play, but crashes it straight through a bank. After Disney's Beagle Boys take the opportunity to ransack the place, the Freaks hide the car and leave town.
- In Land of Black Gold, Thomson and Thompson fall asleep while driving and their jeep goes through the wall of a mosque.
- In The Cannonball Run, Mad Dog and his partner end up parking their truck in the hotel lobby.
- In the sequel, an old woman driving a car waves at the chimpanzee driving the limo. When the chimp flips her in response, she does an insult gesture with her arms, which causes her to lose control of her car as she takes both hands off the wheel and it crashes into the shop of a gas station.
- Played with in When in Rome. In one key scene, several men are driving in a tiny car and drive into a museum, without damaging anything (they go through the door), and even go up in the elevator. A definite example of the Rule of Funny.
- Used in Talladega Nights, when Ricky Bobby is relearning how to drive.
- Done with a Boeing 747 and an airport terminal in Airplane!.
- And with a small plane and a restaurant in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
- Silver Streak climaxes with a train crashing into Chicago's Union Station.
- Happens twice with one house in Malibus Most Wanted.
- Taxi: This is the reason why Emilien keeps failing his driving test. Again and again.
- Averted in 28 Days, where a drunk Gwen does this and almost kills a child, leading to her being forced into rehab.
- A car crashes through a (paper) wall intentionally as part of a comedy skit being done on a '50s comedy show in My Favorite Year.
- In The Terminator, The Terminator starts his epic rampage through the police station by crashing a car through the front desk.
- A famous scene in 2012 has the protagonists drive a limo through a collapsing office building.
- The Great Muppet Caper, Beauregard the cab driver plows into the lobby of the Happiness Hotel.
- The Three Stooges Go Round the World in a Daze ends with the Stooges driving a police van through the wall of the Reform Club.
- In The Blues Brothers the police chase the titular duo through a mall. Both the Brothers themselves and the police repeatedly drive into shops.
Elwood: The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year!
- An extreme example occurs in Galaxy Quest, where a detached part of the NSEA Protector crashes into a convention center - true to the trope, no one is hurt.
- In The a Team, the interns of a mental institution are watching a 3DFilm. A humvee goes into the camera... just as a real humvee crashes through the wall to rescue Murdock.
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles: with a burned out car and a motel room.
- In one of the Lethal Weapon movies, criminals drive a car through Murtag's front window in an attempt on his life. The repairs are going on for the rest of the movie and later movies reference how much work had to be done.
- Twister featured the two main characters driving their truck through a house during the climactic storm-chase. They had little choice, though, what with the tornado dragging the house out onto the road right in front of them.
- One of the tornadoes also picks up a station wagon and slams it into the side of a service garage the protagonists are taking cover inside of.
- In Pulp Fiction, Vincent drives straight into Lance's house, as a result of his panic over Mia being about to die.
Literature[edit | hide]
- Two and A Half Men has Walden's ex-wife Bridget drive into his living room after she finds out he's seeing someone new.
- Everybody Loves Raymond - An aging Marie/Frank crash their car into Ray/Debra's house, during an episode that discusses how old is too old to still be driving.
- Family Matters - Eddie failed his driving test, but takes a girl out for a drive anyway. A bread truck comes into his view, he panics and swerves right into his own house.
Carl: Harriette, there is a car in the the living room!
- Entourage - Andrew Klein pulls the rarer "on purpose" scenario to get back at his wife after she burned the notes he needed for an important business meeting.
- One Thank God You're Here scenario had the stand-up parachuted in as a yobbish driver who had just crashed through the wall of a house.
- The flat he'd crashed into was supposed to be on the third floor. Sadly, the UK version omitted this line from the broadcast, but the Australian version kept it intact.
- Worth noting that this was the first episode where the contestant had to enter through somewhere other than one of the side doors, and that the Catch Phrase was changed to "Thank God You're Alive!"
- Happened in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody with new driver London.
- On Full House, a grade-school-age Stephanie drove Joey's car into the kitchen after deducing that the 'R' on the gearshift must mean 'Radio'.
Michelle: There's a car in the kitchen!
- Helen does this deliberately to Joe's office - twice - in Wings.
- On Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson lost control of a car he was pushing and sent it into a small shed. No lasting harm was done, though Richard Hammond may have sprained something laughing.
- A Happy Days episode has Marion forgetting to set her car's parking brake, causing it to roll down a hill and crash into Arnold's diner.
- Happens in an episode of Chuck, complete with Chuck comprehensively mocking Casey's one liner.
- On the The Good Guys Dan drives a car through a wall in two episodes. Both times it was not going very fast and the first time he placed a weight on the gas pedal so he would not be behind the wheel. He also only did it because Jack was about to get killed inside and he needed a big distraction fast.
- NCIS: Los Angeles featured a serious subversion of this as a car is driven into a night club as a murder weapon. The driver and a soldier inside the club are killed.
- Has happened in the past in Coupling:
Steve: What, in a relationship, is the worst thing to come through your front door?
Patrick: A Volkswagen.
- Noah's Arc: Chance does not take being cheated on by Eddie well.
- In the Doctor Who minisode "Space":
Rory: *explaining how bad a driver Amy is* I let her drive my car once.
Amy: Yeah, to the end of the road.
Rory: Where, according to Amy, there was an unexpected house.
- The Season 7 finale of House has the titular character driving his car into his ex-girlfriend/boss's house. Because of a bad breakup.
- On DIY Network's Disaster House a show where they do horrible damage to a house, then show how to repair it, the last thing they do to the house to see if they can irreparably damage it is to try putting a garbage truck, which weighs about 20 tons, on the roof of the house. Slowly lowering the garbage truck onto the roof with a crane, it still falls through. An insurance agent who is on site to watch says the damage is so severe it would be cheaper to bulldoze the house and build a new one than to repair the damage and make the house structurally sound. This basically was the end of the series.
- In Knight Rider, Michael uses KITT's Turbo boost to jump into an apartment building.
Music Video[edit | hide]
- In P!nk's "There You Go," the climax features her jumping off her motorcycle as it crashes into her ex-boyfriend's window, then she flips him off and rides away with her new man. It was her debut and successfully got the point across that she was not your older sister's pop star.
- Not a Truth in Television - In Real Life cars crashing into houses is a serious matter and sometimes a deadly one. Very rarely does it happen without any consequences.
- One prominent example occured in Saxony, Germany, when a car that crashed into a church roof seven meters above the ground. After flying for 37 meters.
- Subverted however. In Missoula, Montana, a 44-tonne lorry crashed into a house, but no-one was hurt.
- The clip was shown on Police Stop! 7 in the United Kingdom.
- Didn't this happen to Billy Joel?
- The Pennsylvania Railroad managed to run a GG1 locomotive into the main concourse of the Washington D.C. Union Station in 1953.
- The Silver Streak example in the above Film category is likely an homage to this event.
- The September 11 terrorist attacks actually did this with aircraft.
- A drunken Stewie crashes Brian's car into the front of The Drunken Clam. Another episode has a car crashing into the Kool-Aid Man's house (with the Kool-Aid Man realizing how annoying that is).
- Played even straighter in "To Live and Die In Dixie", when Peter and Brian crash their General Lee-ized station wagon into the house provided by the Witness Protection Program.
- In "Da Boom" there's a cutaway gag of Peter doing this intentionally after commenting on how he loves going to parties at other people's houses because he doesn't have to clean up the messes there.
- In "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", when word gets lout that Brian is an atheist, he gets a rock through the window...followed by a car.
Peter: I thought he who is without sin cast the first Prius.
- One episode of South Park concerned the danger of elderly drivers, and had the boys chased through a house serial-killer style by a barrage of old people crashing their cars into the building.
- It's worth noting that one car shows up on the second floor, previously unseen in the corner of the room.
- Fairly Oddparents did this when Timmy wished to be the most wanted boy in the world. In a desperate attempt to have Timmy, the bus driver crashes into their kitchen to get his attention.
- And in another episode, where Timmy's dad drives the station wagon into the living room. He then says "Hey, who moved the couch into the garage?"
- Happens a few times in The Simpsons.
- Abe drove into the Simpsons' house after Homer refuses to give Mr. Burns his long-lost teddy bear and commenting that they don't need Mr. Burns's money because they're already financially sound.
- Another episode has Homer accidentally crashing his car into Burns' office.
- One episode has a plane crashing into the Simpsons' house.
- In "To Surveil With Love", as Lisa preaches that no one should give in to stereotypes like "old people can't drive", Grampa crashes into the school.
Grampa: This building got in my way!
- When all the citizens of Bikini Bottom mysteriously disappear, SpongeBob SquarePants takes advantage of the situation by making his own driver's license and driving a mobile boat. More than once does he crash his boat into his own house, and doesn't think of it despite the glaring holes.
- At one point he feels the need to flee the house on foot and makes another hole in the wall instead of using the one the car made.
- In Darkwing Duck, after Gosalyn and Darkwing switch bodies.
- Launchpad has his moments, too. Including twice in the pilot episode.
- Thomas the Tank Engine actually did this with trains.
- "You miserable engine! Just look what you've done to our breakfast! Now I shall have to cook some more!"
- In Regular Show Mordecai and Rigby do this with a limo in the episode "Benson be Gone". To the second story of the house, without a ramp.