Broken Streak

A run of consecutive losses by (say) the team the main character is on, or of consecutive wins by the team's rivals, or both, comes to an end.

Exceptions are when Failure Is the Only Option, or your would-be streak breakers get diabolically unlucky...or stupid. In other words, if the opposition wins, it's by luck rather than skill.


Anime and Manga
  • In a Halloween Episode of Axis Powers Hetalia, America (whose only fear is the supernatural), finally defeats the occultist England after 87 losses in their competition of seeing who scares the other first.
    • It should however be noticed that it was probably only because he enlisted Japan's help.
  • In Initial D, Takumi breaks the winning streak of Ryosuke Takahashi, who had previously been considered the best street racer around. In Second Stage, another opponent appears who had wanted that honour for himself.

Newspaper Comics
  • The losing streak of Charlie Brown's softball team is legendary. Most of the times they start winning have been when he wasn't able to play for some reason, with the winning streak ending the moment he returned. One exception to that general rule was a winning streak caused by a bug going around that affected every team in the local league except Charlie Brown's, which ended the moment the other players recovered.
    • They did win on their own which point, one of their players was revealed to be a gambler. And their win was canceled.

  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the protagonists break Slytherin House's seven-year winning streak in the House Cup. Dumbledore gives the ˇThree Amigos! enough last-minute points to put Gryffindor in joint first place, and then awards Neville "Why is it always me?" Longbottom another ten for being brave enough to stand up to his friends (the same ones who taught him to stand up to people in the first place) when he thought they were making trouble.
    • A more personal version in Order of the Phoenix: Gryffindor has limped its way to the Quidditch Cup final despite Umbridge kicking Harry and the Weasley twins off the team and Ron's year-long Performance Anxiety issues. No one's feeling optimistic, so when Hagrid asks Harry and Hermione to meet him in the forest during the match, they do so. When they hear what sounds like the Slytherins' 'Weasley is our King' song on their way back, they assume Gryffindor lost. Then they notice that the actual lyrics have changed a bit, and see Ron being carried across the field by his teammates...

Live-Action Television
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun: Harry makes an impromptu overhaul of a university football coach's strategy during their homecoming game...and then the team goes on to take the win.
  • Dawson's Creek: Also involving football.
  • Usually the protagonist is trying to break the streak. In the case of a Boy Meets World episode, Cory is trying to sustain Mr. Feeny's streak at a geography competition (the resident egghead is uninterested since they're not giving out the usual prizes this year). In the end, Feeny's streak is broken, while the winner spazzes out upon finding out she's getting a different prize from the norm. However, Feeny decides to pin up Cory's A on a geography test where his previous wins had gone.
  • Father Ted - where failure (to get off the island) is the only option - broke their losing streak... in such a fashion that Bishop Brennan was about to reassign them somewhere even worse. Therefore a success was required to maintain the status quo. They blackmailed the Bishop about his breaking his vows of celibacy.
  • Subverted in Only Fools and Horses. In one episode, Del constantly says to Rodney that the reason he keeps losing money to Boycie at poker is because he is on a "losing streak" which he feels is about to come to an end. Its actually because Boycie cheats. Del does end up winning a lot of money off of Boycie, but the reason he does so is by cheating better.
  • iCarly: iWas A Pageant Girl had Sam breaking the streak of the long-running champ of a beauty contest. Even though she completely screwed up everything but the final dance routine.
  • Cheers's yearly pranks with rival Gary's Olde Tyme Tavern.

  • Brad Paisley. Between 2005 and 2009, he had an impressive streak of ten consecutive #1 hits on the country charts. This included a five-straight streak for singles off his 5th Gear album, tying Rodney Crowell's Diamonds & Dirt for the country album with the most #1 hits (although one of Paisley's songs was a re-recording that was only added to later presses of the album). Then in 2009, after the mega-hit "Then", both "Welcome to the Future" and "American Saturday Night" stalled out at #2. (He's had four more #1's at Billboard since.)
    • He had two more streak-breakers in the 2010s. "Camouflage" (2011), the last single off This Is Country Music, became his first song since 2000 not to hit Top 10, and both the third and fourth singles off the polarizing Wheelhouse ("I Can't Change the World" and "The Mona Lisa") failed to make Top 10 either. The latter didn't even make Top 20!
  • Dierks Bentley had his streaks broken twice. The two singles off his bluegrass-tinged 2010 New Sound Album Up on the Ridge (the title track and "Draw Me a Map") were his only two singles since 2003's "My Last Name" (second release from his debut album) not to reach Top 10. And again in 2013, "Bourbon in Kentucky", the lead single to his 2014 album Riser, failed so badly that it didn't even make Top 40, leading to the album getting pushed back. (He quickly got back on track when the second single, "I Hold On", went all the way to #1.)
  • Carrie Underwood had a 12-song streak of #1 hits on the Mediabase country charts, of which all but two also got to #1 on Billboard (those two being "Don't Forget to Remember Me" and "I Told You So", which "only" got to #2 there). In early 2011, "Mama's Song" put an end to the streak, when it became her first song not to reach #1 on even Mediabase. Since then, the streak has either been broken or continued, depending on which chart you go by, and whether or not guest singles are included, further muddied by Billboard splitting its country singles charts into two separate charts after the second single from her fourth album, Blown Away, was released. Either way, "Something in the Water" re-broke the Mediabase streak in 2014 when it also only got to #2.
  • Kenny Chesney's 2013 album Life on a Rock is his first album since his little-known 1994 debut In My Wildest Dreams not to be certified gold.

Pro Wrestling
  • Goldberg's 173-win streak (the longest in the history of pro wrestling) finally ended when he got tasered behind the Easily Distracted Referee's back, courtesy of Scott Hall and opponent Kevin Nash and their new booking superpowers.
    • The losses he suffered before the streak storyline begun were Retconned.
  • The Undertaker has appeared at WrestleMania twenty-odd times. After about the tenth time, everyone started making a big deal about who will be the first to beat him. Brock Lesnar finally broke it at Wrestlemania 30, leaving Taker's record at 21-1.
  • In 1995, jobber Barry Horowitz finally won a match (he had supposedly lost over 500 straight matches), defeating Chris Candido (aka, Skip of the Bodydonnas).

Video Games
  • Phoenix Wright has broken the winning streaks of Miles Edgeworth, Manfred Von Karma and Franziska Von Karma, while his mentor Mia broke the winning streak of Winston Payne.
    • And depending on what ending you get in the last case of Justice for All you can end up breaking Phoenix's winning streak as well. Note that the good ending actually has Phoenix losing, because saving Maya and putting the guilty man behind bars is much more important than a perfect record.
      • You can also subvert this, in that the good ending also allows you to save Maya and still get a "Not Guilty" verdict... at which point your guilty-as-sin client willingly pleads so and goes behind bars anyway, since the alternative was being marked for death by a world-famous assassin.
  • Pokémon X and Y broke the three-generation streak of final evolution Fire/Fighting starters with the Fire/Psychic Delphox.
    • That's not the only trend they broken. There is also the other two starters Which are Water/Dark and Grass/Fighting embeeding a second elemental trinity. Cynthia is nowhere to be seen despite appearing all games in the last two generations, The Ice gym is docked by one being the 8th gym. The pseudo-legendary is a single typed dragon. There are only three new Legendaries in the game with it reusing the first 4 legendaries instead of a new duo and secondary trio, all the legendaries are shinylocked instead of just the plot-relevant ones and this is the first game in the Pokemon Franchise to have a worldwide release.
  • Final Fantasy X gives you the option of ending the Besaid Aurochs' multi-year losing streak on Wakka's last game as team captain (the only thing it affects is if Wakka holds the trophy in the following cutscene).

Western Animation
  • Hey Arnold!, "Road Trip": Helga's mom needs $500 to repair her car. Enters bull-riding contest with $500 prize. Rival has won 5 years running. Turns out she was state bull-riding champion, and she takes the money.
    • "Tour De Pond": Not only is it a case of Feuding Families, but Rex Smythe-Higgins the 3rd has also won this race a couple years running.
  • In the Peanuts movie Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown, the title character, as he is leaving for France, tells Schroeder to take care of the baseball field, whereby Sally bluntly tells him that "the last time you went away, our team won three games in a row."
    • The only time Charlie Brown's baseball team had a winning streak where Charlie Brown himself wasn't benched for some reason, it was because a bug was going around that made all the other teams too sick to play. Said streaks invariably ended when Charlie Brown returned to the game or the other teams recovered.
      • There was also the time he had a two-game winning streak, but that time it was because both opposing teams couldn't make it, and thus forfeited.
  • In the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: C.A.K.E.D.-F.O.U.R." Tommy breaks his family's Tube-a-Thon Losing streak, despite his brother losing.

Real Life
  • The longest winning streak in the history of any sport is the one held by the Americans in the America's Cup yacht race. The American yacht won every race held between 1851 (the year of the original America's Cup race) and 1983 (132 years of consecutive wins) when the Australian yacht Australia II won the race. The Americans won the cup back in the very next race, and have continued to be the dominant force in yacht racing (winning six of the eleven America's Cup races since 1983), but since 1983, no single nation has been able to establish the same sort of win record since the American streak was broken.
  • The Boston Red Sox in 2004.
    • And the Chicago White Sox the year after. The San Francisco Giants five years later too.
    • For the National Hockey League, the New York Rangers in 1994.
  • January 5, 1971: the Washington Generals beat the Harlem Globetrotters 100-99, bringing the Globetrotters' winning streak to an end at 2,495.
  • On June 1, 2012, Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history, ending the Mets' streak of 8,019 games (roughly 50 seasons) without one. This was easily the longest stretch without a no-hitter in MLB history.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013, broke their streak of 20 straight seasons with a losing record. They also broke the streak of not making it to the playoffs during that time span.
  • Sussex won cricket's County Championship for the first time in 2003, after 164 years of trying.
  • After 11 films from Pixar, all certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, they released Cars 2, which is currently at 38% on the Tomato-meter. Also, all Pixar films released since the establishment of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001 have been nominated for it, except Cars 2.
  • Susan Lucci's run of Daytime Emmy losses for Erica Kane ended in 1999. This 28-year streak included 21 nominations.
  • From 1993's Mystere onward, all of Cirque du Soleil's shows enjoyed indefinite runs in one venue or another. This streak of successes ended in 2010 when Banana Shpeel, a Genre Throwback to Vaudeville, bombed in New York City and couldn't make a go of it as a tour — ushering in a gloomy few years in which several other shows (most of which premiered in 2008 or afterward) were also shut down.
  • The Detroit Lions lost nine Thanksgiving Day football games in a row, ending the streak in 2013.
  • A non-competition example: Pope Francis, the first pope since 913 to have an entirely new name, first Jesuit and American pope, and first non-European pope since 741.


Live-Action Television
  • A Minute With Stan Hooper: The titular newsman wants change in the town he's moved to (it doesn't even allow women to vote), and decides to run for mayor against the 20 year incumbent, a bait shop owner who happens to have a political aide backing him. After spending a better part of the ep drumming up support, he ends up getting just 2 votes: himself...and the mayor's aide.
  • Gilmore Girls, "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?". Lorelei is desperate to break Kirk's winning streak (and her own streak of futility) at a dance marathon and almost does it (just like last year), but her partner / daughter Rory runs off the floor with fifteen minutes to go after breaking up with her boyfriend Dean (the real important event in this eppy), leaving Lorelai with yet another 23rd-hour loss as Kirk outdances the others to win his 5th in a row.

Western Animation
  • The telefilm The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones: Looks as if Nate Slate is about to end his losing streak to a rival in a pig catching contest...time for Dino and Astro come in and inadvertently help sustain the rival's streak, naturally this also results in Slate berating Fred Flinstone.
  • South Park, "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride": QB Stan is looking for his gay dog Sparky, while his football team continues its decades-long losing streak against Middle Park without him. Fortunately, the denizens of South Park were more interested in beating the 60-point spread, and Stan shows up in time to at least do that.
  • As Told by Ginger, "Next Question": Ginger's school Lucky Jr. High up against 9-time winner Furnace Brook in a televised quiz contest. Ginger asks her quiz team coach out on a date (!) right on the air (!!), resulting in Furnace Brook continuing their streak.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: Norrisville High's Chess Team has defeated Flackville High's eleven times in a row. When they tried the twelfth time, Hannibal McFist replaced one of Flackville's players with a robot that broke that streak, making several Norrisville students depressed enough to be stanked by the Sorcerer. The students reverted back to normal when Howard Weinerman, who knows practically everything about chess except for the pieces' names, defeated the robot.

  • Used in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, when Rosencrantz spends the first ten minutes of the play desperately trying to break a streak of turning up heads every single time he flips a coin. He can't. It's their first clue that reality is warping, and that they're stuck in something powerful that they might not be able to escape from by following any of the usual rules.

Real Life
  • The Boston Red 1986. Bottom of the 10th, two outs, Sox lead 5-3. Then: single, single, single for a run, pitcher switch, wild pitch for the tying run, grounder through Bill Buckner's legs for the win.
  • The Chicago Cubs in 2003. Almost made it to the World Series, which they haven't won since 1908 and haven't even been to since 1945, but despite having their best pitcher on the mound and holding the lead twice, they still lost Game 7 of the NLCS.
  • Karl Malone moved to the Los Angeles Lakers hoping to finally win the NBA title. He reached the finals but lost, leading to retirement instead.