I don't get what this phrase means. I tried googling it, but the answers weren't satisfactory.

Could someone please tell me its meaning? I'm guessing it has something to do with TV shows (I first saw it here: in the Urban Dictionary.)

  • 1
    Any context for where this might be used?
    – Andrew Leach
    Mar 27, 2014 at 14:36
  • 2
    Where did you hear it, in what context? On it's own it's meaningless.
    – David M
    Mar 27, 2014 at 14:36
  • 4
    Don't use comments to enhance the question. Edit the question to include all relevant information, including where you heard the expression.
    – Andrew Leach
    Mar 27, 2014 at 14:43
  • 3
    Is the explanation on the page where you saw the term unclear to you?” Mar 27, 2014 at 16:53
  • 19
    I first saw it <at this link that completely and entirely explains it using clear language>. What is the point of this question?
    – Wayne
    Mar 27, 2014 at 18:14

2 Answers 2


It refers to a previously well-regarded series (of films, television shows, books etc) suddenly including a very strange or illogical event. Such an event is often interpreted as an indicator that the series has lost its way and declined in quality.

The name comes from a scene in the fourth "Indiana Jones" film, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", where Indiana survives a nuclear explosion by sheltering within a lead-lined refrigerator. This scene was seen as being unrealistic even within the world of the story, not least because refrigerators are not usually lead-lined (even in time-period of the story). (The relevant scene is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Arib8uWMWsM)

An earlier idiom for the same concept was "jumping the shark", from a scene in "Happy Days".

  • so how do we use it in a sentence? @senex
    – Ardis Ell
    Mar 27, 2014 at 14:40
  • 2
    One would say "The show just nuked the fridge" or "The show has just jumped the shark".
    – Senex
    Mar 27, 2014 at 14:42
  • 23
    Clearly, somebody needs to introduce the idiom "nuked the shark". Mar 27, 2014 at 14:45
  • 1
    Indeed. I almost typed "nuked the shark" when composing the answer.
    – Senex
    Mar 27, 2014 at 14:50
  • 4
    @PeterShor, Maybe that could be the answer to how to stop a sharknado? Just nuke it. To be fair, I'm pretty sure that would indeed stop the tornado... and everything else within a few miles.
    – reirab
    Mar 27, 2014 at 17:53

Nuke the Fridge Con is a sponsor of comic book/media "conventions". The show itself usually occurs twice a week - on Wednesdays and Saturdays - making it more of a collectibles swap-meet/flea-market than an actual convention.

The TV/Movie trope, Nuke the fridge means when something so ridiculously unbelievable happens in a plot that the whole thing is marred by it; it's downhill from there. Know Your Meme explains that “Nuking the Fridge” is an idiomatic phrase used by movie fans to describe the declining point of a film franchise as a result of its heavy reliance on special effects.

According to Newsweek, the phrase was first used on the IMDB message board for Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on May 24th, two days after the film’s release. Fans were disappointed by a highly unrealistic scene wherein Jones escapes a nuclear explosion unharmed by hiding inside a refrigerator.

Examples of use:

  • Star Wars didn't really nuke the fridge until Jar Jar Binks was introduced.
  • Peter Parker dancing around the bar in Spider-Man 3? Kinda nukes the fridge!

On May 25th, 2008, the website Nukethefridge.com (featuring video game and action film news) was created. On June 4th, SlashFilm.com published an article titled “Is 'Nuke the Fridge' the New 'Jump the Shark'?” referencing the common phrase to describe the point in a TV show’s run when it started to go downhill.


Frying the Coke (three main characters hide behind a Coke machine to survive a fiery explosion.)

enter image description here

  • 4
    Too bad it wasn't an old-fashioned fridge with a latch (unopenable from the inside). After a few minutes, the movie is over. Problem solved! Now if we could only lure Jar Jar into said device...
    – Phil Perry
    Mar 27, 2014 at 20:06
  • If Indy can escape from Castle Brunwald when it's full of Nazi soldiers, I think he can get out of a latched fridge.
    – tobyink
    Mar 28, 2014 at 8:04
  • In short, it's just "Jumping the shark, only for movie franchises instead of TV series". We didn't actually need a new idiom, and as far as plot armor goes it was still more realistic than all these Russian soldiers being Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy graduates.
    – Medinoc
    Mar 28, 2014 at 9:15

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