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 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.
  • When Subaru Mimasaka was introduced to Shokugeki no Soma, he is said to have won 99 consecutive shokugekis, and the count rose to 100 when he defeated Takumi in the Autumn Election's first round. He then attempted to do the same to Soma, who managed to defeat him during the semi-finals, and broke his win streak.

Newspaper Comics
  • Peanuts: 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. Prior to that, they had won two games in a row after the other teams forfeited due to bad weather, and one when Charlie Brown stayed home.
    • They did win on their own once in the early 1970s... at which point, one of their players was revealed to be a gambler. And so their win was stripped and given to the other team.
    • They won again twice in the early 1990s against another team (with Charlie Brown hitting the winning runs, no less), but it was revealed later that the opposing team's pitcher had let them win because she thought that Charlie Brown was cute.

  • Harry Potter:
    • 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.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry fails to catch the Snitch and loses a game of Quidditch for the first (and only) time in the series.
    • 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. It's 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 always end with Gary triumphant - until the final season, when Harry "The Hat" Gittes tricks Gary into demolishing his own bar.

  • 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 former 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. (However, he quickly got back on track, as the other three singles off the album all went 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 there.
  • 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 or higher.
  • Canadian Country Music singer Charlie Major sent his first nine singles to #1 on the RPM country charts. The streak was broken by "Waiting on You" in 1996, which stopped at #2, followed by "This Crazy Heart of Mine" at #8. After re-releasing the seventh of those nine #1 hits in the US only to see it not chart there, he had one last #1 in 1997 with "I'm Feeling Kind of Lucky Tonight" plus a couple more chart entries before RPM folded in November 2000.
  • Rascal Flatts' 2008 single "Bob That Head" broke an 18-streak song of consistent Top 10 country hits dating all the way back to their debut single "Prayin' for Daylight" in 2000; it was also their first song not to enter the Hot 100.note 
  • One Direction's streak of albums debuting at #1 was ended at Made in the A.M., when Justin Bieber's album Purpose debuted at the pole position for the week of November 13, 2015. It's especially ironic because Bieber was coming back from a massive popularity drop — one that began by 1D's meteoric rise to fame and takeover of Bieber's tween/teen demographic. Another streak of theirs that got snapped earlier in the year was their Teen Choice Awards winning streak — they went in 19-0 and lost two of their ten nominations to Super Junior. Despite that, they became the biggest winning act in the show's history.
  • Tracy Lawrence had a #1 smash in 1991 with "Sticks and Stones", the first of 19 consecutive top 10 hits for him. But after some domestic dispute issues and an ensuing lawsuit, radio dropped him like a hot potato, blunting his 1997 single "The Coast Is Clear" at #26. While he did spordically return to the charts afterward, his momentum was gone.
  • Jess Glynne's "Ain't Got Far to Go" only reached #45 on the UK charts before falling off immediately, making it her first single to fail to reach the Top 10 and ending the 8-song streak of her doing so.

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.
  • 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).
  • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune hands out special titles for defeating a player with a sufficiently long victory streak.

Web Video
  • After winning his Movie Fights eight times in a row, Dan Murrell finally loses his title of "Undefeated Movie Fights Champion" during the "Jurassic World — Fun or Failure?" battle. He's still the official champion of the shows though, since the round he lost in wasn't a championship round.

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.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: After a consectutive string of losses in the titular games against Crystal Prep, Canterlot High doesn't lose that year's games. Granted they don't win either due to some magical shenanigans and the reveal that the Principal of Crystal Prep, Abacus Cinch, flat out tried to cheat when she found human Twilight had been unwittingly collecting magic. But they're more then happy to take a tie. Even better it's a fitting punishment for Principal Cinch who prided herself on having a spotless winning streak.

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. Note that this is technically an inversion of the trope for Americans, but straight for every other nation.
  • The Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars won every sanctioned game they played from November 7, 2010 to November 7, 2015 when the Rose City Rollers Wheels of Justice defeated them by a score of 206-194, two weeks after the death of longtime team coach, Rob Lobster. The team posted to Twitter, "We did it, Robin," sending the entire Derbyverse into an Ugly Cry.
  • The Boston Red Sox broke the "Curse of the Babe" and won the World Series in 2004, a drought that had lasted 86 years and through numerous close calls.
    • And the Chicago White Sox won the year after (and 88 years since their last championship). The San Francisco Giants snapped their 56-season rut five years later, too.
    • For the National Hockey League, the New York Rangers in 1994, their first Cup in 54 years.
  • 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.
  • Pixar provide several examples of broken streaks.
    • After 11 films, 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 and Monsters University.
    • Predating Cars 2, Toy Story's streak of 100% Rotten Tomatoes ratings ended when Toy Story 3 got...99%. The first two critics with negative assessments (one of whom already had a reputation as both a Commander Contrarian and a Pixar hater) were bashed to death, the third review only escaped with less flames for being released later.
    • Inside Out ended the studio's #1 Openings streak as Jurassic World beat it out on its opening weekend, though Jurassic World exceeded even the most optimistic box office predictions and Inside Out managed to open with $90.4 million in the US and Canada, which is not only Pixar's best opening weekend for an original film by almost $20 million (beating out The Incredibles' $70.4 million opening weekend), but the biggest opening weekend ever for an original film, besting Avatar's $77 million debut. The film did go on to take the #1 spot in its third weekend, though.
    • Unfortunately, the #1 streak came to an end for good with The Good Dinosaur. It was also their first bomb and their first film ever to not be nominated for a Kids' Choice Awards.
  • 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.
  • The most famous streak in Game Shows, Ken Jennings' 74-game Jeopardy! win streak, came to an end in November 2004 after he missed a Final Jeopardy clue which competitor Nancy Zerg got right. The cut to Zerg's look of shock as Jennings' wrong answer was revealed is now known as the "Zerg Cam" by the J! Archive.
  • Brad Bird's streak of Certified Fresh ratings as a movie director became broken when Tomorrowland received a 50%.
  • NBC and Storyline Entertainment had a positive example regarding their 2010s series of live, made-for-TV musicals. The first two, The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!, received mockery for their questionable casting, among other things. The third, The Wiz Live! boasted a cast with more extensive backgrounds in music and/or theater, and also addressed some aesthetic criticisms lobbed at the previous two musicals. Consequently, The Wiz Live! earned more positive reviews than its predecessors, and also scored higher ratings than Peter Pan Live! did.


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.
  • Cleveland sports as a whole has been teased with championships since the Browns won the NFL championship in 1964. The Browns were in four AFC championship games in the 1980s, going down to memorable moments like Red Right 88, the Drive, and the Fumble. The Indians had their try in the '90s, reaching two World Series, but losing both (in 1995 to the Braves, and in 1997 in a memorable 9th inning collapse in the 7th game to the Marlins). The Cavaliers have had chances with LeBron James, but were swept by the Spurs in their first Finals appearance in 2007, and after several near misses, one Decision, and one reconciliation, the Cavs and LeBron are back in the Finals again... (They lost again.)