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“Don't worry boy, another girder always swings in for you to walk on when you get to the end.”
—Homer, The Simpsons, "The Fool Monty"

A common stock setting, the construction zone, normally pictured as the skeleton of a sky scraper made up of steel beams, tends to be the place where every sleep walker or escaped baby inevitably wanders into, giving way to crazy slapstick antics as their pursuer tries desperately to catch up with them and keep them out of harm's way. Said constructions zones almost always have No OSHA Compliance, so when our bumbling protagonist gets a job working at one, there's bound to be trouble.

Things to watch out for include super-heated rivets, malfunctioning elevators, wooden beams or steel girders dangling from cranes (which have an eerie way of positioning themselves at just the right moment to prevent someone from falling), or spilled grease upon a high steel beam threatening to send a character sliding off a ten-plus story drop. Also, expect to see a Literal Cliff Hanger, though if someone actually falls, they're likely to just safely land in liquid cement and become statues when they try to climb out.

It doesn't show up very often today, but Western Animation kept it alive long after it mostly fell out of use in Live Action Film.

Examples of Construction Zone Calamity include:


  • The Three Stooges' short "How High Is Up?" has the stooges taking jobs as construction workers and ending up working on the 97th floor. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Harold Lloyd was at least the Trope Codifier in Never Weaken, in which his character ends up being whisked away by a steel girder whilst attempting suicide, and is carried onto a building still under construction.
  • Charlie Chaplin's "Pay Day" features the Tramp's zany antics as a construction worker.
  • The Laurel and Hardy silent short "Liberty" climaxes with the duo getting stranded atop an unfinished skyscraper...with a live crab in Ollie's pants, no less.
  • The film Baby's Day Out makes use of this trope after two crooks chase a kidnapped baby into a construction zone.

Live Action Television

  • Soap: Burt owns a construction company and brings stepson Danny into the business. At one point they're up on the high iron talking and accidentally knock over a bucket full of rivets.

Western Animation

  • The Popeye short "A Dream Walking" has Olive Oyl sleepwalk into a construction site, as Popeye and Bluto try to stop her from killing herself.
    • A Recycled Script short "Nix on Hypnotricks" has Olive wander into a construction site after being hypnotized.
    • In "Child Shockology", Popeye and Bluto chase an escaped Sweet Pea, who wanders into a construction site.
    • The short "Bridge Ahoy!" has Popeye, Olive and Wimpy building a bridge to compete with Bluto's ferry business, and Bluto attempts to sabotage them.
  • The Tom and Jerry short "Tot Watchers" has the duo try to protect a baby who wanders into a construction zone.
    • The later Chuck Jones shorts "Pent-House Mouse" and "Bad Day at Cat Rock" take place at construction sites.
    • Tom and Jerry Tales also had this as a setting a few times, in the shorts "Deconstruction Junction" and "Jackhammered Cat".
  • The Donald Duck short "The Riveter" has Donald work as a construction worker, and incurring the wrath of his boss after his jackhammer goes out of control.
    • In the short "Clock Cleaners", Goofy unknowingly wanders into one after being hit on the head and put into a daze.
    • The early Mickey Mouse short "Building a Building" has Mickey working at a construction site.
  • This was also used in The Garfield Show episode "Jon's Night Out".
  • The Animaniacs Buttons and Mindy short "Cat on a Hot Steel Beam" has Mindy chase a kitten into a construction site while Buttons chases after her, as shown in the above screenshot. Eventually, some actual workmen find her and take her to safety, leaving Buttons to take the blame as usual.
    • In Elite Beat Agents, the Bonus Level using "ABC" by the Jackson 5 is pretty much a direct Homage to this short, where the Agents have to help a cat keep its owners' baby from getting into trouble as it wanders through a construction site.
  • The Looney Tunes cartoon "Homeless Hare" features a battle between Bugs Bunny and a burly construction worker on a building site, including a dazed Bugs, after taking a girder to the face, walking through a harrowing series of moving girders and other objects.
    • Chuck Jones' "Cat Feud" takes place at a construction site, with a dog trying to rescue a kitten.
    • The late '60s short "Skyscraper Caper" has Daffy Duck sleepwalking into a construction site, and Speedy Gonzales trying to rescue him.
  • Fairly Oddparents has an entire short tributing this trope. Pappy describes to Timmy how one can wander into a construction site almost by accident and be saved from falling off it by a moving girder.
    • A little later on in the series, Timmy is watching Poof while Cosmo and Wanda go out to eat at a fancy restaurant. They up the ante with 3 construction sites, the last one being in space where Dark Laser is building a brand new Death Ball.
  • On The Penguins of Madagascar the penguins chase a baby into a demolition site, with Kowalski Lampshading it all the way through.
  • The climax of Mr. Bug Goes to Town has the bug characters scrambling up a skyscraper under construction on the vacant lot where they used to live, staying within a hairsbreadth away from being crushed by bricks being laid or shaken off by riveters.
  • The Two Stupid Dogs episode "Seeing Eye Dogs" have the two dogs leading a mostly-blind Hollywood on a "shortcut" through a construction site.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Fool Monty", Homer leads a dazed and amnesiac Mr. Burns to a construction site in the hopes of bumping him off via this manner.
  • In the episode "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, the titular mystery heroine saves construction workers from a collapsing construction site.
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