Nuking the Fridge

Nuking the Fridge

Updated Aug 25, 2020 at 04:32AM EDT by ohmyjosh.

Added May 07, 2011 at 05:46PM EDT by Tomberry.

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"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. The phrase stems from a scene in the 2008 action-adventure film Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull wherein Jones survives a nuclear explosion by hiding in a refrigerator.


The phrase was coined by fans of the franchise who were disappointed with Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, released on May 22nd, 2008, particularly about a highly unrealistic scene wherein Jones (played by Harrison Ford) escapes a nuclear explosion unharmed by hiding inside a refrigerator.

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.


On May 26th, 2008, The first entry for "nuke the fridge" was posted on Urban Dictionary[1] by user theinterviewer3. It describes the phrase as:

"a colloquialism used to refer to the moment in a film series that is so incredible that it lessens the excitement of subsequent scenes that rely on more understated action or suspense, and it becomes apparent that a certain installment is not as good as a previous installments, due to ridiculous or low quality storylines, events or characters."

On June 4th, 2008,[3] 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. Similar articles examining the origin and importance of "Nuke the Fridge" were published in June on Kottle[4] and Newsweek.[5] The phrase was also included on Time Magazine's "10 Buzzwords of 2008."[7] On May 25th, 2008, the website[8], which features video game and action film news, was created. In an interview with Empire Magazine[9] published on October 29th, 2011, Indiana Jones director Steven Spielberg expressed pride in in the phrase explaining,

"People stopped saying "jump the shark". They now say, "nuked the fridge". I'm proud of that. I'm glad I was able to bring that into popular culture."


Frying the Coke

On April 19th, 2011, Doug Walker uploaded a video in which he reviews the 1997 action film Double Team to his site ThatGuyWiththeGlasses. [8] In the video, which is part of his Nostalgia Critic series, he examines a scene that shows three of the main characters (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman, and Paul Freeman) hiding behind a Coke machine to survive a firey explosion.

Walker compares the scene to Indian Jones' "Nuking the Fridge" saying:

"I’m not usually aware when I’m starting an internet meme, but this has to be an internet meme! It is far too good! Okay, there was 'Jumping the Shark,' 'Nuking the Fridge'… ladies and gentlemen, this is 'Frying the Coke!'"

The section of the review video that introduces "frying the coke" was uploaded by YouTuber Laurence Santos[10] on April 19th. As of February 2014, the video has over 35,000 views.

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External References

[1] Urban Dictionary – nuke the fridge

[2] IMDB – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

[3] – Is Nuke The fridge the new Jump the Shark? / 6-6-2008

[4] – Indiana Jones and Nuke the Fridge / 6-19-2008

[5] News Week – ‘Jump the Shark,’ Meet ‘Nuke the Fridge’


[7] Time via Wayback MachineThe Top 10 Buzzwords of 2008

[8] GuyWiththeGlasses- Double Team (site closed YouTube channel redirect)

[9] Empire Online via Wayback Machine – Spielberg: More Indy & Jurassic Park?

[10] YouTube – Laurence Santos

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