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File:Fruit stand crash 6245.jpg


Gordon: Mount the curb!

Bill Corbett: We're gonna hit a fruit stand if it's the last thing we do!


From Roger Ebert's dictionary of movie clichés, fast chase scenes require a fruitcart being plowed into, preferably by a Red Shirt in hot pursuit. Almost always pops up in "ethnic" neighborhoods (i.e. Chinatown, Little Italy, etc.). If a chase scene takes place in one, you're supposed to chant "Fruit Cart! Fruit Cart! Fruit Cart!" repeatedly until its inevitable destruction in a spray of melon rind.

Occasionally the fruit cart is replaced by a newspaper stand, a pile of garbage, or a row of garbage cans, but the fruit stand is still a favorite, mostly because the crash will create a very colorful explosion.

One of the Tropes Busted By Myth Busters: in real life, driving through a fruit stand would leave the car in no condition to continue the chase.

In a related trope, action movies with a gunfight in an outdoor market will inevitably result in the shooting of one or more exploding melons.

Also note: If the cart contains prominently placed oranges, you're probably doomed.

The Sheet of Glass and Cardboard Boxes are often used in the same manner.

Examples of Fruit Cart include:


Advertising

  • Two adverts for the Nissan Almera spoofed these sorts of shows, complete with Fruit Cart moment. The first one, homaging The Professionals:

 Bodie: Turn left!

Doyle: Why?

Bodie: Litter! Makes the car look good!

 Regan: Market! *piles through fruit cart*

Carter: Stop shouting!

Regan: I can't!

    • "Market!" was a Mondegreen of the show's famous catchphrase "Mark it!"
  • A commercial for Marvin Windows broadcast during March 2005 hit all the chase-scene tropes, which cars running through carts, crates of chickens, crowds on sidewalks -- only to come to a screeching halt so as not to damage a huge Marvin window being rolled slowly across the street.

Anime

  • Batou pursues an optic-camo user through a market in the Ghost in the Shell anime. His invisible quarry shoves customers aside and plows through a pile of melons, which Batou then shoots to disrupt his camo.
  • A relatively recent example is the Cowboy Bebop episode "Cowboy Funk," where the Fruit Cart is destroyed by an incompetent rival of the heroes.
  • Shows up in the 2004 Appleseed film of all places; while in pursuit of Deunan and Hitomi, the van being driven by the robot ninja ladies smashes a watermelon stand that seems to have been placed there just to be crashed into.
  • On Pecola, this trope is the main reason for Mr. Saruyama the melon vendor's existence, even though he is a series regular.
  • Lampshaded/mentioned in Naruto where a move of Jiraiya's involving summoning a giant toad to crush something by landing on it is called the "Food Cart Destroyer Technique".
  • Played straight in Great Teacher Onizuka, with the Vice Principal's beloved Toyota Cresta.

Film

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) features a chase scene at the market in Cairo, involving fruit carts and many other stalls.
  • In the Pulp Fiction D20 mini-RPG from Polyhedron magazine, one of the possible random events occuring in a car chase is "Fruitcart!"
  • The 1977 film Grand Theft Auto [1] featured a chase scene where a crazy hillbilly family attempts to stop the protagonists' car with thrown sticks of dynamite. Then one of them inexplicably yells "frickin' fruit stand!" and proceeds to detonate one that is just lying by the side of the road. Huh.
  • In Police Academy 6, Captain Harris and Lt. Proctor commandeer a bus and go chasing after the Mastermind. In a Shout-Out to Ebert and his co-reviewer Gene Siskal, the bus just manages to avoid hitting "Gene and Roger's fruit stand."
  • Wayne's World 2. Wayne perform Lampshade Hanging by wondering why some workers are setting up a display of watermelons, chickens and a Sheet of Glass.

 Wayne Campbell: Excuse me, what are you guys doing here in the middle of the street?

Chicken-man: Well, I'm putting these chickens in crates, and stacking them right here. Jim's job is to make sure we always have plenty of watermelons.

Wayne Campbell: Oh, so you're selling watermelons.

Jim: No, no sir. We just have to make sure we have plenty of them stacked at all times, just like with these here chickens.

Garth Algar: What do these guys do?

Chicken-man: Well, their job is to walk back and forth with this big plate-glass window every couple of minutes.

Garth Algar: Weird.

Wayne Campbell: Yeah, you've got to wonder if this is gonna pay off later on.

  • The cast of Jackass: The Movie go flying into a fruitcart at the end of the opening credits.
  • Played with in the movie Conspiracy Theory: During a chase scene, a hotdog stand careens down a street, plowing into cars.
  • Happens at least once in Ronin, although made more bearable because the fruit vendor is then shot. That movie has enormous collateral damage.
  • The garbage-pile variant is used in The French Connection.
  • In the Jackie Chan film Who Am I, the protagonists, while being pursued, smash through a stall selling nothing but oranges. Some enter through the side windows, and others become embedded in the fender of the car, where they remain for the remaining duration of the chase. After the pursuit has ended, one of the characters that was in the car can be seen eating one of the oranges.
  • This counts, at least as a play on the trope: in Maximum Risk, Jean-Claude Van Damme is in a chase scene where he's driving a fruit cart. It is, of course, destroyed at the end.
  • Happens in the finale of What's New Pussycat, with a go-cart chase.
  • In The Matrix features a Shout-Out to the scene in Ghost in the Shell mentioned above, in which Agent Smith shoots the melons on the cart while pursuing Neo through a crowded market in the Matrix.
  • Ski Patrol actually had a fruit cart with a sign reading "Siskel and Ebert's Fruit Cart" on it.
  • The Rock did this hilariously during the car chase through San Francisco.
    • Along with damn near every other car chase cliché.
  • In The Mummy 1999, some fruit and vegetable stands are knocked over when Rick is driving through Cairo to escape from Imhotep.
  • Averted with Cop and a Half. while we see one, it sadly never gets pulverized.

Literature

  • Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett points out the related chase scene trope of marketplaces, where there are chickens and kamikaze rickshaws, and Johnny wonders if it's actually the same marketplace each time and what the stallholders must think.
  • Discworld
    • Moving Pictures. Two wizards fly a broomstick into a barn as part of a high speed chase. The farmers, watching, observe that in the movies they would come out covered with panicked chickens. The owner of the barn comments that he'd like to see that, because that barn is filled with cabbages. Thanks to the influence of "Holy Wood magic" and the Theory of Narrative Causality, they do in fact come out covered with chickens.
    • The Truth in which a minor disaster in the city streets results in the destruction of several fruit vendors', hegglers' and flour carts, provoking Sacharissa Cripslock to describe the incident in a headline as "The City's Biggest Cake-Mix-Up."
    • In Night Watch, the fleeing watchmen deliberately use this to slow down the men chasing them. One of them even apologizes to the cart driver. Also in Night Watch, the aforementioned fruit, egg, and flour carts are trampled by runaway oxen. One of the soldiers suggests making a giant cake.
  • Early in the climactic car chase in the short story Graft by Frederick Nebel, the heroes' car runs over a fruit cart. Graft was first published in the May 1929 issue of Black Mask, making this trope Older Than Television.
  • Animorphs. "Do you just hate trash cans?"
  • In Jean Merrill's The Pushcart War, about two hundred pushcarts of all varieties were blocking the street as a protest to try to end the titular "war". A truck driver who had a grudge against one of the vendors deliberately drove through the blockade. Then, for bonus points, a pushcart axle went through his windshield and he lost control and plowed into a cafeteria window.

Live Action TV

  • In many action-oriented TV programs of the 1970s and 1980s, the scriptwriters could barely restrain themselves from demolishing multiple fruit carts per episode. Examples: The A-Team, Baretta, Hunter, The Dukes of Hazzard, BJ and the Bear, and Knight Rider.
  • The first episode of the fourth season of Lost opens with a still shot of a pile of fruit against a blue sky backdrop. It's a very peaceful image... then Hurley plows through it in his Camaro.
  • The pilot for Burn Notice uses this one before the first commercial: Micheal is on a motorcycle in Nigeria, pursued by a car full of Mooks with SMGs. He dodges around a cart, while the car plows into it. Micheal's narration comments how, as the gun-running capitol of Africa, Nigeria is a bad place to drive a fast-moving car through a crowded market square. The Mooks step out and wave their guns around, only to have fifty pistols aimed at their faces.
  • Myth Busters covers this along with several other Hollywood car crash cliches on their recent Demolition Derby special. The resulting explosion of melons, tomatoes, bananas, carrots, etc. looked damn impressive (not to mention on highspeed camera), "just like the movies," but an actual car, it turns out, isn't likely to be driveable afterwards.
  • Variant: Top Gear: in the "Car for a 17-Year-Old" challenge the presenters demolish a flower cart, a bus shelter, a row of bicycles, and a parked car or two while pretending to drive like teenagers.
    • Also, in the episode where they go to Albania, the presenters get into a high speed chase with the police after robbing a bank. During the chase, Clarkson and Hammond drive past a man carrying a crate of oranges, which promptly spill all over the road. The above mentioned symbolism for the oranges is prevalent here, as the episode was kicked-off by a request from an Albanian mob boss, and while Jeremy and Richard make it safely to the getaway ferry, James isn't so fortunate....
  • Community: In "Basic Rocket Science," as Annie pilots the Kentucky Fried Chicken Eleven Herbs and Space Simulator on its triumphant return to Greendale, it sideswipes a table with a crate of apples which are then scattered impressively.

Music Videos

  • Seen in the Bollywood-flavored video for "Romeo" by Basement Jaxx.
  • A dog topples a fruit cart in the video to Who Let The Dogs Out by Baha Men.

Newspaper Comics

  • In a Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown told Linus about a movie he saw in which this trope played out. He noted that "No one ever goes back to pick up the oranges...."

Theatre

  • Parodied in The Complete History of America (Abridged), where a fruit stand (represented by a bunch of plastic fruit thrown by one of the actors at the other two) is merely the first of many hilarious obstacles encountered on a motorcycle race to Berlin.

Video Games

  • One stage of the fighting game Dead Or Alive 4 features a market with multiple fruitcarts. You can destroy them by throwing your opponents into them.
  • During car chases in the Roguelike Liberal Crime Squad, various obstacles will appear, such as red lights and fruit stands. The "safe" option to choose when encountering one is to drive right through it.
  • In Modern Warfare 3, your van hits a fruit cart near the end of the Chase Scene in "Bag and Drag".

Web Comics

Web Original

  • An article in The Onion included an interview with a Fruit Cart owner who, after having his fruit cart run over in many many chase scenes, was selling it and going into the plate glass delivery business.
  • Stupid Plot Tricks on Things We Learned At The Movies, # "127. The most unstable object in creation is a roadside fruit seller's cart."

Western Animation

  • The stars of Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender have run into a variation in the form of the same cabbage cart in three different cities, much to the despair of the salesman. This always results in an anguished cry of "my cabbages!" Near the end of the show's run, they mentioned (and watched) an in-universe play chronicling the events of the series (with... dubious accuracy). One of the sources? "A surprisingly knowledgeable merchant of cabbages."
  • Family Guy hangs a lampshade on it by having Stewie plow into a Fruit Cart and wondering aloud why they always seem to appear in car chases. The scene then cuts to a garage where fruit carts are being dispatched like taxicabs to the scene of a reported police chase.
  • The Mordhaus in Metalocalypse has everything, including Dethklok roadies running fruit stands and carrying sheets of glass when Toki and Doctor Rockzo go joyriding through the compound.
  • Parodied in the Robot Chicken episode "Vegetable Funfest," where one of the "channel flip" linking segments involves a near-miss with a fruit cart during a chase scene. Then the vendor is hit by a safe.
  • The heroes of the short-lived The Adventures of T-Rex destroyed a newspaper stand every time they drove out of their secret base. As the series went on, the owner of this stand resorted to ever more elaborate methods to save his livelihood, all of which failed ever more spectacularly.
  • One episode of Dexter's Laboratory had Dexter accidentally start driving a car. Due to him being so short, he can't see over the dashboard and as such runs not only through a fruit cart, but also a stack of empty Cardboard Boxes.

Notes

  1. unrelated to the Grand Theft Auto video game series
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