Gambit Gridlock YKTTW Discussion

Gambit Gridlock
Multiple independent schemes with the same intentions all wind up annulling one another.
(permanent link) added: 2011-04-28 06:22:53 sponsor: SonicLover (last reply: 2011-05-04 11:40:06)

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Alice is running down the sidewalk. Captain Zeke would like nothing better than to see Alice bite the dust, so he sets up a disguised pit trap on the sidewalk so she'll run right into it.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gnarly is also interested in getting rid of Alice, so he disguises himself and approaches her going in the opposite direction with plans to assassinate her with a knife when they pass.

Can you guess what happens? Dr. Gnarly blunders into Captain Zeke's pit trap, trapping himself AND revealing the pit trap-- and Alice avoids it and continues unhindered.

Ladies and gentlemen (And Zoidberg), you have just witnessed a Gambit Gridlock, an occasional outcome of the Thirty Xanatos Pileup. This is when two (or more) schemers, shooting for similar goals but not properly informed of each other's schemes, end up ruining each other's plans with their own completely by chance, rendering both moot or counterproductive. Usually if not always Played for Laughs.

Typically involves Right Hand Versus Left Hand. Not to be confused with Colliding Criminal Conspiracies.


  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again: Many international assassins are out to kill Clouseau, but they all get in each other's way and end up killing each other instead of anybody accomplishing the job.

Live Action TV
  • In Better Off Ted, the main characters all decide to cheat to make sure Ted's project does better in testing than his rival's. Veronica and Linda, knowing that the rival project is next up on the docket, get Ted's daughter Rose into the testing pool, and convince her to badmouth the next project she sees. Meanwhile Ted, knowing that being tested earlier is usually an advantage, bribes the guy in charge of scheduling to bump his project ahead of the rival one.

Newspaper Comics
  • Dilbert: In one strip, Wally tells the boss that if his budget is cut, the world will suddenly stop spinning and fling everyone into space. Dilbert makes a similar threat saying that if his budget is cut, a plague of locusts will be the result. The boss's response:
    "I'll cut both budgets. With any luck, we'll fling the locusts into space."

Western Animation
  • Has happened once or twice in The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. In one episode, Penelope was driving along in her car, and the Bully Brothers tried to pull ahead and block the road. The Hooded Claw was waiting further ahead with a boulder, ready to push it off the cliff and crush Penelope with it as she passed. You can guess how it turned out.

  • In the 'Gallimaufry' arc of Buck Godot: Zap-Gun For Hire, humanity winds up being targeted by virtually every other sophont race in the galaxy... and they all have ninjas. Thus, when Buck steps out of the human embassy, he gets ambushed by 'round 80 ninjas, all from different races and working independently... stumbling all over (and killing) each other in their attempt to reach him.
  • Often an aspect of The Fool, explaining how he manages to win.
  • This happens quite often with real-life law enforcement agencies, when the different Alphabet Agencies end up busting each other because their undercover missions are kept secret so successfully. This was even used on CSI.
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