Nuked The Fridge

What does nuked the fridge mean?

A movie series drastically decreased in quality

When someone says a film series "nuked the fridge," they mean the series has noticeably decreased in quality, and there is a key scene that exemplifies that decrease. The ur-example of "nuking the fridge" is the scene in Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in which Indy survives a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION by riding out the blast within a refrigerator. While most Indiana Jones fans agree that the majority of The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is bad, the "nuking the fridge" scene sums up their issues with the film in one key moment.

Other examples of "nuking the fridge" might include (YMMV on some of these examples):

  • The scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in which Starkiller Base is revealed as just a larger, more deadly Death Star.
  • The scene in Batman & Robin in which Batman reveals that he carries a Bat-Credit Card. (Though this scene is also kind of awesome.)
  • The scene in Live Free or Die Hard in which "normal" cop John McClane jumps a police car into a helicopter and survives.

"Nuke the fridge" is derived from the phrase "jump the shark," which was coined when the ostensibly-normal TV sitcom "Happy Days" had one of its main characters jump a shark while water skiing. If you feel like a movie series you previously liked is leaning into nonsensical plot twists and over-the-top special effects to grab audiences' attention, you may want to start considering when the series "nuked the fridge."


When do you think the Matrix nuked the fridge?
Definitely that underground dance party scene. What even was that?

Never leave home without it

Related Slang


Updated October 16, 2020

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