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Someone has a meter that breaks down or explodes when the readings are too high for it to handle. No, it's not when it's measuring something that could reasonably destroy the scale, like measuring greater extreme heat than the scale can withstand. It's when the extreme amount of the readings themselves cause the destruction. Chalk it up to Rule of Cool or Rule of Funny.
Compare Awesomeness Is Volatile.
- Dragon Ball - if scouters aren't getting broken, they're blowing up while their owners are still wearing them. No wonder they got phased out of the series.
- After Bulma jury-rigged Raditz's scouter, Goku's Dangerous Forbidden Technique made it explode from across the planet.
- Vegeta's power level in the Namek arc broke at least two scouters -- the first time, Zarbon's scouter blew up when he killed Cui, and Frieza's new scouter exploded when Vegeta proved he could actually go toe-to-toe with him (at least until Frieza transformed).
- A filler scene later on showed that SSJ Goku and final-form Frieza could blow up computers in different solar systems.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the title mech literally eating a Big Bang safely spoon-fed by Lordgenome causes the power gauge to shatter and then keep going outside the monitor.
- In Joe Bar Team, the main characters destroy numerous radar speed gun radars with their motorbikes using this very trope.
- Seen a fair few times in the Troperiffic Discworld series.
- In Moving Pictures, a resograph (a device designed to measure changes in the nature of reality) starts going haywire thanks to the influence of the filmmakers in Holy Wood. Eventually, the showing of an Epic Movie about the Ankh-Morpork Civil War causes a rift in reality big enough to allow a Thing from the Dungeon Dimensions to escape onto the Discworld, which makes the resograph explode violently.
- In The Last Continent, Ponder Stibbons' magic-measuring thaumometer melts when the magic field used to create the Last Continent exceeds its limit of one million thaums.
- In Children of the Lens, the last physical battle of the series involves a faster-than-light planet hitting a star.
Finally it happened. What happened? Even after the fact none of the observers knew. The fuses of all the recorder and analyzer circuits blew at once. Needles jumped instantly to maximum and wrapped themselves around their stops. Charts and ultraphotographic films showed only straight or curved lines running from the origin to and through the limits in zero time.
- The Goodies. In one episode the temperature gets so high that a thermometer ends up blowing its top and squirting fluid in someone's face.
- One Calvin and Hobbes strip had an Imagine Spot where Calvin's dad lets him drive, and instead the car starts flying.
Dad: How fast are we going?
Calvin: Can't say. We broke the speedometer.
- In a Peanuts strip, Snoopy added the number of pizzas he and Woodstock ate before midnight to the number of pizzas they ate after midnight. The result blew Snoopy's pocket calculator.
- The opening trailer of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 shows Lili watching a tournament fight with her hi-class viewing glasses. She then notices Jun Kazama near the exit and tries to zoom in on her, only for Lili's glasses to explode (minor one).
- On FSTDT a common response to an ironic statement made by one of the fundies whose statements have been quoted is that it has "destroyed my irony meter."
- This originated on the Usenet group alt.atheism, back in the 1990s: an irony meter was never mentioned except in the context of its (usually spectacular) failure:
"Every irony meter on the planet just exploded."
"My irony meter has melted a hole in the ground and is putting up plumes of radioactive fallout."
"I spent extra to get a heavy duty, auto-ranging industrial irony meter, with the 4th generation titanium filter and laser readout and everything, less than a year ago. Pfft, it's toast. First time I've had to use a fire extinguisher of a piece of smoking electronics."
"OK, Mark, you now owe me a new Myth 6 (model 66) Irony-O-Meter. It was not even a week old and it blew up like Krakatoa."
- In Homestuck, Kanaya's "flighty broads and their snarky horseshitometer" explodes when Kanaya watches Rose blow up her first gate.
- Lampshaded by the Protectors of the Plot Continuum." Frequently, their Canon Analysis Devices blow up when faced with particularly heinous breaches of canon. Savvy agents will hurl their CAD's in the opposite direction the moment something truly awful happens. Occasionally, they just don't turn their CAD's on at all, knowing that it would go boom--which doesn't always stop the explosion.
- Shane Killian's "Bogometer", used to measure the dishonesty of creationist claims, explodes at 3:18 of this video when Janet Folgar claims that "It was Bible-believing Christians who gave us science as we know it."
- In The Spoony Experiment, Dr. Insano's Gaydar blew up when watching a scene with a swishy proprietor in this review of Beastmaster 2.
- In this review of the Doctor Who 8th Doctor movie, Nash had a "Nerd Rage meter", and when it turned out the Doctor was half human, it finally blew up. Then it blew up again later on.
- An old episode of My Little Pony featured a band talent show with a scale that measured how good the performance was. When the heroes performed their song, the scale hit the roof and blew up.
- On Phineas and Ferb, Phineas was trying to track a cute little alien, so he built a cute-meter. Later he mentioned that he filtered Isabella's cuteness and when he turned the safety off, the cute-meter blew up.
- Professor Frink on The Simpsons invented a sarcasm detector, which of course exploded in the presence of overwhelming sarcasm.
- In another episode, Homer is being interrogated by Agent Scully while hooked up to a lie detector. He didn't understand.