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Joey: Hey Pheebs.

Phoebe: How come you're watching a rabbi play electric guitar?

Joey: I can't find the remote. (Phoebe turns off the TV) Thank you.

You want to watch some TV, but can't find the TV Remote. Time to turn the room (and probably the building) upside down looking for it. Which brings the question, why not use that same effort in changing the channel manually?

Many TV sets and cable/satellite/PVR/DVD etc devices can only be operated using their designated remote controls. (If you're really lucky, you might have a TV that uses the same control codes as your last one, and by a stroke of luck when you threw that one out you forgot to throw out the remote with it...)

And you can get replacement remotes from various places online.

Compare Dead TV Remote Gag.

Examples of Lost the TV Remote include:


  • Jim Gaffigan has a bit about this: "Have you ever been sitting on the couch and you suddenly lose the remote? How does that happen? 'I haven't even got up! And I don't remember throwing it...'"


  • In Click, Michael is just trying to find the TV remote, but accidentally ends up using a remote for his kids' toys and a remote that controls the garage door. He decides that he's just going to go buy a universal remote so that it won't take forever trying to find the one that they need. And so it all begins...

Live Action TV

  • This was the basis for a skit from Blue Collar TV. Probably comes from one of Jeff Foxworthy's standup jokes: "... and it's always in the last place I look" "well duh."

Newspaper Comics

  • Garfield
    • A strip had Garfield finding things in the couch, such as a pencil, some change, a comb, and a fork before finding the remote control.
    • In other strips, he's forced to watch boring shows like "The History of Norwegian Flowerpots", because the remote is lost, doesn't work, or he's just too lazy to reach it.
  • A short arc in The Boondocks occurs when Riley loses the TV remote, and is too lazy to find it. Huey, who has found the remote, chooses to try to force him into action by changing the channel to The Discovery Channel and C-SPAN.
  • In one strip for The Bucketts, there is a variation on this trope. Toby plays a prank on Grandpa Buckett by hiding the remote. He is quite confused when Grandpa changes the channels using the TV itself.

Web Comics

  • In Sluggy Freelance, vampires kidnap Torg, and he had the TV remote in his pocket. Getting back the remote is the only reason Bun-Bun is willing to help rescue him.

Western Animation

  • The Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: C.O.U.C.H." involved the tv remote getting lost in the sofa, prompting Numbuh Four to go down and retrieve it, only for him to find an entirely Greek-influenced civilization in possession of the remote.
  • Teen Titans: the first episode had Cyborg looking for the TV remote, doing things like holding up the couch, in the beginning and end.
  • There is an episode of The Simpsons, of course, that mentions this trope. Homer has to yell to Bart through a megaphone, and is told the true location of his remote:

 Homer: Bart! Do you know...where the remote is? I've looked all over for it.

Bart: Did you check your pocket?

Real Life

  • Avoiding this is the advertised purpose of jumbo sized remote controls too big to hold in ones hands.
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