Underpants Gnome Gambit YKTTW Discussion

Underpants Gnome Gambit
(permanent link) added: 2008-09-14 03:35:23 sponsor: Unknown Troper @ (last reply: 2008-09-16 15:54:40)

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Step 1: Steal Underpants. Step 2: [under construction] Step 3: Conquer world.

A plan in which the early steps do not seem to have any logical causal relationship to latter portions. We are expected to believe that the one will lead to the other, but it's really hard to see HOW. A logical step is missing to make the actions of step 1 lead to the results of step 3.

Distinct from a Xanantos Roulette, in that a Roulette claims a complicated chain of events with large chance factors was all planned from the start. An Underpants Gnome Gambit instead cuts out the middle and has the desired results stemming from apparently unconnected actions. Generally becomes apparent through Fridge Logic

Can be played for laughs as a way of lampshading the ineptitude of the chessmaster, but appears in straight form very often.

If this is just the result of people making things up as they go along, this is an Indy Ploy.

  • The trope maker example is a South Park episode, and if somebody could tell me which one that would make things a lot cooler.
  • Webcomic example: In Penny & Aggie, Karen recently pulled off a straight one of these. How exactly does spreading a rumour that Penny is a lesbian result in her making an angry fool of herself at Karen's party when she doesn't know Karen was behind it?
  • Return of the Jedi: Luke Skywalker's actions in the second half are a fairly well-known example. Luke appears to have the plan; 1, Get captured. 2, Redeem my father by making him feel bad, 3, Destroy Death Star and save the rebellion. He managed part 2, but it lead to part 3 only by the unconnected actions of the other characters. There have been attempts to explain away this one.
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