A Rube Goldberg machine is a deliberately over-engineered machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction. The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg. Since then, the expression has expanded to denote any form of overly confusing or complicated system.

In an "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter" cutaway, Peter Griffin buys a “breakfast machine,” which turns out to be a Rube Goldberg machine. The contraption ends up shooting him.