"Holy crap!! They TALKED! They actually TALKED! The Apocalypse has finally begun! Pigs are learning how to fly! Satan is skating his way to work, and I'm pretty sure that I just became a monkey's uncle!"This is what happens when Finagle's Law, Tempting Fate and the human tendency to spout hyperbole when a simple "never" would suffice all get together and have a drunken party with hilarious results. When circumstances conspire to incite someone to exclaim that something would happen if and only if something everyone knows is impossible occurs — "when Hell freezes over" (nevermind that according to The Divine Comedy, the final level of Hell is frozen over) and/or "when pigs fly!" and/or "when pigs fly over frozen hell!" — you can bet that by the end of the episode we will see pigs soaring majestically over the landscape or Satan running ski slopes while sipping hot cocoa. Compare No Man of Woman Born, Ironic Echo Cut, Retroactive Wish, Instantly Proven Wrong, Or My Name Isn't.... See also Kitchen Sink Included.
open/close all folders
- A Canadian lottery commercial references the trope. Two people are in the lunchroom at work. One looks out the window. "Hey, flying pig." And indeed there is a flying, or rather hovering, pig outside the window, along with a "Not possible" caption on the screen. "Hey, I won!" says his coworker, checking his lottery ticket. "Possible" shows on the screen.
- There's a Red Bull commercial featuring this. (Boy wants to go to a 'gentlemen's club', told only if pigs fly, cue the pigs.) The Italian (European?) version has the "flying donkey" variant. In the ad, the pigs/donkeys have drunk Red Bull, of course.
- A recent Burger King ad played with this, when a customer notices an ad for bone-in fire-grilled ribs and expresses disbelief until a winged pig confirms it's true. Namely, a winged pig driving a truck. The customer brings it up, and the pig explains that he's moving out of his mother's basement, and needs the truck to carry his stuff.
- An ad for GEICO has a pignote using his GEICO mobile app on a plane in preparation for takeoff. The flight attendants say, "I'll believe that when pigs fly," at which point the pig turns to the guy next to him and says, "Did she seriously just say that?"
- There's a Bush's baked beans ad where the talking dog asks the human if he can sell the secret family recipe. The guy replies "sure, when pigs fly". Cut to the dog talking to a pig with improvised wings getting ready for takeoff. "Now, just buzz around the house a couple of times and that should do it."
- A 2015 Super Bowl commercial for Doritos showed a young boy asking an older guy, possibly his brother, if he can have Dorito. His brother tells him he can have one "when pigs fly." The boy is then shown working on some plans and then the scene changes to a pig flying on a rocket, after which the kid is given a Dorito. The commercial shows the kid then patting the pig on the back, it having apparently come out of the experience no worse for the wear. "Good boy."
- A series of banned commercial in Indonesia: "If there's some telephone card that goes cheap to all operators, I'm marrying a monkey!
- A 2014 commercial for the New York Lottery features a pair of construction workers. One is going to get lunch.
Worker 1: Hey, I'm going to get a lotto ticket. Want in?Worker 2: Yeah, right. If you win, I'll be your pool boy.Worker 1: Alright.[cut to Worker 1 lounging by a pool while Worker 2 cleans it]Worker 2: You're real literal, you know that?
- During one of the Apollo missions, an ad for a convenience food (roast beef slices in gravy) was aired. It showed two servants working the roasting spit in a mediaeval castle kitchen, one proclaiming his dream that one day, roast beef will be available in little boxes. The other sneeringly replied "One day, a man will land on the moon!"
- The Magic: The Gathering card Phantom Wings has on its illustration a goat with wings magically added, and the flavor text is: ”But you said ‘when goats fly!’” Squee whined. The card Mighty Leap has a similar joke, except with elephants this time.
- The flavor text on the card Meteorite implies this trope.
- The Star Wars one-shot comic Force Fiction has this trope mixed with Ban... err... "Restaurant" robbery. When Yoda and Mace Windu were, in an interesting case of role reversal, debating whether Anakin should be made a Jedi or not at a restaurant, Yoda, while chewing out Windu for even suggesting the idea to let Anakin receive the late Qui Gon Jinn's lightsaber, much less train him as a Jedi, mentions "When Banthas fly, my Jedi friend." One panel later, a "flying bantha" of sorts (a repulsorlift skiff designed in such a way that resembled a bantha) crashes through the window of a restaurant, with the pilots declaring that they are committing a robbery, demanding that everyone put their credits on the table and raise their hands.
- Dilbert: During a brief period when Dilbert had a steady girlfriend, Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light barges in:
Phil: Heck just froze over.
Dilbert: This is not my fault!
Phil: [points over his shoulder to a pair of flying pigs] Tell that to them.
- Liberty Meadows:
- When Frank gets a date, it cuts to hell where it's snowing. A confused Satan (who looks an awful lot like Richard Nixon) says that this either means Germans finally hate David Hasselhoff or Frank got a date.
- Another comic has two demons arguing over a steady drop in temperature and snowfall in Hell, which is revealed to be caused by Frank working up the courage to ask Brandy out.
- In Zits, Jeremy's dad watches a flock of pigs flying by. He looks surprised until his wife tells him Jeremy cleaned out his bathroom without being threatened.
- Consciously averted by Garfield: "Don't get me wrong, I love dogs. I'd never hurt a dog. And if I'm lying, may lightning... *pause* ... strike the dog next door." (Crack) "Yip!"
- Jon made a drawing of a pig (which just so happens to look like Orson). Garfield made a better drawing. When Jon complained that pigs didn't have wings, Garfield said they'd have before Jon outdrew him. Also counts as a Shout-Out as that strip ended with Garfield calling Jon "Pablo".
- At one point in the Codename: Kids Next Door fic, ''Diplomatic Impossibility, Numbah Infinity states that Numbuh 4 has the same chances of getting an A+ in school as flying mutant space pigs attacking the KND moon base. At the end of the story, 4's essay on the customs of the obscure nation the mission took place in nets him that grade, and the moon base quickly braces itself for impending space pig attack.
- Ginny in Water Areobics For The Aquaphobic is turned into a flying pig (courtesy of the Spring of the Drowned Pig and the Spring of the Drowned Homing Pigeon). At one point, Harry says something might happen 'when pigs fly', and immediately collides with Ginny in her cursed form.
- In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, the lawyer Estermann boasts (on a radio talkshow, no less) that it was entirely inconceivable that the International Criminal Court would ever put Chrysalis on trial in The Hague, and that if they did, he'd eat his hat. It gets a Call Back in the next chapter, when Colm is surprised that Estermann's still wearing it.
Lauren Mephisto: Shame. I liked your hat.
- In Dusk To Dawn, Hibari Minoru almost goes to the window to check for flying pigs when his nephew Kyouya shows interest for someone other than himself.
Films — Animation
- In Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, this trope appears in the backstory. Whitmore reveals to Milo that he and Milo's grandfather Thaddeus had had a bet: If Thaddeus ever found the elusive Shepherd's Journal, Whitmore would not only finance the expedition to find Atlantis, but he'd also kiss him full on the mouth. Whitmore then shows Milo a photograph of himself and Thaddeus, both looking thoroughly squicked out.
Whitmore: Imagine my embarrassment when he found the darn thing.
- A downplayed example in Zootopia, when Judy tries to start the subway car containing the Night Howler lab:
Nick: You're a conductor now? Listen, it would take a miracle to get this rustbucket going! (Judy manages to start the car) Well. Hallelujah.
Films — Live-Action
- In Dogma Jay propositions Bethany, and she turns him down. So he says, "What if the world was about to end?" and she agrees so he'll shut up. Fast forward all the way to the end of the movie, when Bartleby is close to unmaking reality, and Jay tries to make good on their "deal."
- Subverted in Angels in the Outfield. Roger's dad tells him that he'll take him out of foster care and they'll be a family again "when the Angels win the pennant" — meaning never (the Angels were in last place in the standings at the All-Star Break, a little past the halfway point of the season), only Roger takes it literally and makes it happen, with the aid of supernatural beings. His dad leaves him in the custody of the state anyway. In the Cracked spoof, Roger's friend quips "It could be worse, he could've said the Padres!"
- Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
General Graham Chapman: It's all very well to laugh at the military, but when one considers the meaning of life, it is a struggle between alternative viewpoints of life itself. And without the ability to defend one's own viewpoint against other perhaps more aggressive ideologies, then reasonableness and moderation could, quite simply, disappear! That is why we'll always need an army, and may God strike me down were it to be otherwise. (is promptly struck by lightning)
- In The Wolfman (2010), Dr. Hoenneger is lecturing about the strapped-down Lawrence Talbot remarks that his patient can no more transform into a monster than he, the doctor, can sprout wings and fly out of the window. Sure enough, when Talbot transforms and breaks loose, he invokes Destination Defenestration on the shrink.
- In It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Miss Bitterman is threatening the Muppet Theater with foreclosure, and says they will raise the money to save it "when pigs fly." In swoops Miss Piggy, still suspended from the cables from the act they had been practicing. After a beat, Bitterman adds, "For the record, I consider that a coincidence, and not a sign from God."
- In Bruce Almighty, Bruce-turned-God confronts the hoods who had beat him up the previous day, demanding an apology, to which one replies:
Hood: Okay cool, man, the day a monkey comes out of my butt is the day you'll get your "sorry".
Bruce: What a coincidence, because that's today.
- In Nanny McPhee, Mrs. Blatherwick mentions "it'll be snow in August before ____" a few times throughout the story. In the end, when Mr. Brown decides to marry Evangeline instead of Mrs. Quickly, Nanny McPhee summons up a sudden snowfall, leaving her to marvel at the fact that it is, in fact, the last day of August.
- The sequel has actual flying pigs for the same effect.
- This joke about Finland. The end is obsolete now. Another version talking about Norway worked until 1985, and there was also one about Russia that worked until 2008. Has Europe run out of northern countries yet?
- The joke works with Northern Canada. Maybe even southern Canada, as long as you're not too close to any of the Great Lakes. Only problem is the crazy hot summers in the southern parts...
- Several of the Midwestern states have variants on it. Simply replace "Koskenkorva" with "keg" and "Eurovision" with "Super Bowl" (if you're in Michigan, Minnesota, or Ohio) or "World Series" (Wisconsin).
- The current version replaces Eurovision with Football World Cup. We Wait...
- The punchline shall suffice: "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky!" (/s/flying pigs/man on the moon/)
- In the Diana Wynne Jones book Dark Lord of Derkholm, an elf makes a sarcastic prophecy that he'll find his brother "when pigs fly". As it happens, the main character is a wizard who breeds flying pigs...
- The book Pigs Don't Fly by Mary Brown has it written in the title itself, and a pig actually does fly, only it's not a pig.
- Inverted in Dante's Inferno: Satan is imprisoned in ice. When it melts, it's gonna get bad.
- In Piers Anthony 's Incarnations of Immortality series, a minor character says she'll surrender to some pirates "when God kisses Satan and all the Incarnations applaud". Guess what happens at the end?
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians has the Clazmonian Sow, a pig which not only flies, but also has toxic breath.
- In the Disney Fairies book "A Snowy Surprise," Vidia claims she'll appreciate other talents "when it snows in Pixie Hollow" (where it's always spring or summer). One day, however, it does snow and all the fairies, including Vidia, enjoy playing in the snow. Rani points out to Vidia that she must appreciate another fairy's talent now, since the snow was all the work of the water fairies.
- In Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Miriamele tells Cadrach she will trust him again "when the stars shine at midday!" Of course, during the Storm King's attempt to return to the world at the end, the midday sky appears as the night sky did on the night of his death, and Miriamele trusts Cadrach enough to walk across his invisible magic bridge during his Heroic Sacrifice.
- A variant in Chrome Circle, by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon, when Shar insists to herself that she had purely practical and impersonal reasons for expending magical energy to Heal Tannim ... and then admits mentally, "And pigs were certainly flying in tight formation over LaGuardia at this very moment."
- In the Heralds of Valdemar novel By the Sword, teenage aspiring mercenary Kerowyn ruefully thinks that finding life with a man who would love her and let her be herself would be as likely as her horse talking to her. Given that Heralds are paramilitary agents of Valdemar who are bonded to Sapient Steeds, and that one of the Heralds has the hots for her, guess what happens a couple of decades later after her merc unit goes beyond the terms of the contract they accepted from Valdemar and her Shin'a'in Warsteed gets killed under her in the middle of a fight?
- The protagonist of the Garrett, P.I. series frequently references this expression about his own hyperbole, even though he lives in a fantasy world where winged pigs might hypothetically be possible.
- Justified in the Emily Rodda novel Pigs Might Fly. The story is set in a parallel universe where a weather pattern called the Unlikely Events Factor, or UEF Storm, causes all manner of unlikely events, most commonly flying pigs. On one occasion, the government foolishly attempted to stop these by tying pigs down, which meant the next UEF Storm was completely unanticipated and impossible to detect until it was over.
- At the beginning of The Jungle Book story "Toomai of the Elephants", the title character is told by Petersen Sahib that he may one day go into all elephant stockades "when thou hast seen the elephants dance" — although there is evidence that such events occur, no human has yet witnessed it, thus the statement equates to "never". Sure enough, though, by the end of the story, Little Toomai has seen the dance of the elephants.
- There was a children's book by Valerie Coulman about this trope called—you guessed it!—"When Pigs Fly".
- In "Fire, Water, Air, and Pigs" a short story set in the land of Caederan, a somewhat impetuous young wind-mage tries to fly a herd of oiled pigs from one side of the castle to the other to place them properly for a pig-catching contest. Even lampshaded:
Nahruahn (as narrator): We actually attracted quite a crowd the cook, several maids, the gardener and his two sons, and a number of fathers other servants. I dont think any of them had ever seen a flying herd of pigs before.
- In A Deepness in the Sky, it's mentioned that Qeng Ho genetic engineers routinely create flying pigs as a symbol as they go forth to do things sessile civilizations consider impossible. The geneticist at On/Off doesn't make any, because she finds flying kittens cuter. The mission produces miracles anyway, but judging from the sequel, nothing comes of them. Perhaps they needed the pigs.
- In Juliet Dove, Queen of Love, Juliet is asked if she'll recite a poem at their town's annual Valentine's Day Poetry Jam, and responds with "When rats fly!" A few days later, the talking rats Roxanne and Jerome wake up with wings (It Makes Sense in Context — they'd become temporary avatars of Cupid's power), and Juliet does indeed wind up reciting a poem at the Poetry Jam.
- In Sourcery Ipslore the Red tries to make his Curse Escape Clause (that will allow Death to claim his soul) when Hell freezes over, but Death says he can't inform him about conditions in the afterlife. He settles for making it when his son throws away his Magic Staff, into which Ipslore has also bound his soul.
- In the fourth season of White Collar, Neal is trying to find out who killed Ellen by searching for the man she told him about, Sam. Mozzie suggests that Neal should ask for Peter's help, because Peter's FBI resources could be useful.
Neal: You realize somewhere pigs are flying right now?
Mozzie: Yes, and that is the sound of hell freezing over.
- Saturday Night Live: Around the time of the 2000 US presidential election, there was a "flash forward" skit in which each of the candidates (Bush, Gore, Nader) is giving a speech about the state of the nation under their yet-to-be administration. When it came time for Nader, he droned on for a while, and then stuffed winged pigs started floating past and a couple of earmuff — wearing devils wandered into the shot rubbing their hands and throwing snowballs at each other.
- In one Everybody Hates Chris episode, Chris points out that his father's lack of an appetite can only mean one thing. Cue shot of Satan shivering and rubbing his arms.
- An episode of Weird, True and Freaky on animals with tattoos included a photo of a piglet with wings inked on its sides.
- In the CSI episode "Appendicitement", the BBQ restaurant's kitschy decor includes a plastic pig statue with white feathery wings. The subplot set at the restaurant is, itself, rather tongue-in-cheek, with one implausible event after another.
- On Midsomer Murders, Barnaby expresses his faith in the judicial process.
Barnaby: Look, we catch the criminals; we offer up the evidence. Not everyone likes what happens in court. Maybe the judge was right; give the boy one more chance. Oh, look, a squadron of pigs over Causton.
- On Family Matters when Laura finally agrees to go out with Steve, Steve throws his hands up and triumphantly declares "Hell has frozen over!"
- At some earlier point in the series, After one of the many, many, many, many, MANY, times Steve broke something of Cal's, Carl got even more ranty than usual, saying that Steve would only ever be allowed in that room again when He, Carl, explicitly says he can. "AND DO YOU KNOW WHEN THAT WILL BE, STEVE?!" "...When Hell freezes over?" "WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER, AND THE DEVIL GIVES FREE SLEIGH RIDES!!"
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia recently had a spectacular example where Dennis boldly proclaims that if Charlie becomes King of the World, 'I'll blow myself'. Cue episode title: Charlie Rules the World.
- Lorne gets one of these in an Angel episode.
Angel: I'm buying.
Lorne: Ladies and gentlemen, hell just froze over.
- The Kids in the Hall: If a line is so slow that its forward movement would only happen "when pigs fly", cue said Flying Pig to appear and entertain the crowds.
- On Alice, whenever Flo disagreed with someone, she would only agree that whatever it was the other person said would happen "when donkeys fly!".
- Her second replacement Jolene Hunnicuttnote also did this ("When pigs wear perfume!").
- Lucifer. Chloe Decker tells Lucifer she'll sleep with him when Hell freezes over. Lucifer replies, "I can arrange that actually!"
- Supernatural. At the start of Season 8, Dean returns after a year in Purgatory and finds that Sam has given up the Hunting business.
Dean: Yeah and Sasha Grey's gone legit.Sam: Huh.Dean: What?Sam: Nothing...she did a Soderbergh movie...
- In the Shakespeare Re Told adaptation of Macbeth, the prophecy is that Macbeth will be killed "when pigs fly". Cue a visit, near the end, from the Police Helicopter Squad.
- When The Eagles got back together in 1994, they named the tour and the new album Hell Freezes Over (which was when Don Henley said they would get back together after breaking up 14 years prior, in 1980).
- Brad Paisley's "Come on Over Tonight" takes this attitude toward falling in love. "Come on over tonight, we'll sit on the swing / Watch the pigs fly by, flapping their brand new wings..."
- And, perhaps, what was the best example of Saved from Development Hell in music: Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy. Some even suggested this cover◊.
- Akin to the Eagles, how was the tour that welcomed Slash (and Duff) back to the band named? "Not In This Lifetime" (which was when, four years before, Axl Rose said a reunion was possible - though the Exact Words of the question were about a full line-up, of which the band is short on the rhythm guitarist and drummer).
- Tom Petty, "It's Good to Be King":
Yeah I'll be king when dogs get wings
- The Foremen's List Song of things that will never happen, Hell Froze Over Today.
- Pink Floyd's Animals opens and closes with "Pigs on the Wing." (and the album's cover has an inflatable pig, which was carried over to the band's live performances)
- And predictably, when the band reunited for a one-off gig at Live 8 after decades of open conflict, several banners in the audience proclaimed "PIGS HAVE FLOWN."
- The Megas have the song "Hell Has Frozen Over," which features Fire Man and Ice Man teaming up to take on Mega Man even though they had thought such a union could never be. Just to drive it home, the majority of the chorus is the words "Hell has frozen over" over and over again.
- Ringo Starr sings in the Elton John-penned "Snookeroo": "Oh, pigs will fly and the earth will fry, When they get me doing honest hours."
Myths & Religion
- Hippogriffs, believe it or not. They were originally a speculation as to what would result from obeying the expression "breed gryphons with horses." Since gryphons ate horses in the myths, the saying "breed gryphons with horses" meant to perform any impossible task. But hippogriffs eventually evolved from a joke creature into their own myth. Love knows no bounds...
- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin aligning himself with long-time Arch-Enemy Vince McMahon at WrestleMania X-Seven.
- Likewise, Ric Flair aligning himself with long-time Arch-Enemy Hulk Hogan after Bound for Glory 10.10.10.
- When Bret Hart appeared on Raw in 2010, 12+ years after the Kayfabe Montreal Screwjob he said that he guessed hell just froze over.
- At TLC 2011, CM Punk, Zack Ryder, and Daniel Bryan walk out as the WWE Champion, US Champion, and World Heavyweight Champion respectively. Punk and Bryan are Indies wrestlers, which have great difficulty in the WWE and them alone would be enough. Zack Ryder? He was a jobber who worked his way up to this point through sure, home grown Popularity Power he got purely by himself! This is probably the single biggest Cue The Flying Pigs moment in WWE history! CM Punk, being who he is, lampshades this to no end the next night.
- Speaking of CM Punk, this was the general reaction when Punk made Vince apologize to him on live television.
- Christian, the newly crowned WWE Intercontinental champion, turning up at TNA's Slammiversary Pay Per View to present the number one moment in TNA history, as voted by the fans.
- While he remained involved in professional wrestling on some level or another over the years even after retiring, if one only watched WWE, you'd get the impression Bruno Sammartino had nothing to do with the sport whatsoever due to a long-standing hatred of Vince McMahon. So him going to the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2013 was this to many, be they WWE fans who thought he fell off the grid or fans of other promotions who insisted Bruno had no incentive to take WWE's offer, already being in their halls of fame.
- Barry Horowitz teaming in All Japan Pro Wrestling with STAN HANSEN qualifies, not so much because of any feud between the two, but because of how Hansen is one of the biggest foreign stars in the history of Japanese wrestling and Barry is best known, unfortunately, for his long losing streak.
- The fans at WrestleMania XXX looked like the ring had just exploded when Brock Lesnar ended The Streak. Cleanly.
- Rey Mysterio winning the Royal Rumble 2006 for a number of reasons: 1) he's billed at 5'6, pretty much the smallest wrestler on the WWE roster at the time, 2) this is just months after Eddie Guerrero's passing and this match was in his memory, and 3) he's the #2 entrant, Triple H being #1. He won through it all, and still holds the record at longest Royal Rumble time at 62 minutes.
- And two years prior, Chris Benoit lasting 61 minutes, 30 seconds by eliminating The Big Show by pulling the giant from under the bottom rope.
- AJ Styles leaving TNA was legitimately shocking due to his reputation as a company man and having been there (literally) since the very beginning, making him one of the TNA Originals. That was enough for many fans to start declaring that TNA is dead.
- Speaking of AJ, despite numerous rumors, reports, and even a statement from the TNA website all but confirming it as true, watching him debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble was surreal. Seven years ago, the idea of this ever happening was laughable to nonexistent. The fact that both he and Samoa Joe were in WWE at the same time only adds on to the craziness. And if not that, the fact that both were able to use their original names rather than WWE-generated trademarks.
- As of Backlash 2016, he's the WWE World Champion. Just to reiterate: the man who, once upon a time, was impossible to imagine competing in the Royal Rumble is now one of the top guys in the company.
- In 2001, a wrestler with World Championship Wrestling stated that he didn't want to work with Vince McMahon (and for a good reason considering what he did with some other WCW talent...). 13 Years later at Survivor Series, Sting debuted.
- Everybody thought that CM Punk wouldn't go into detail about what happened when he left WWE back in January. Then the 27th of November happened, and the internet exploded.
- The WWE NXT developmental brand's final two-hour special event of 2014, Takeover 3: R-Evolution, received such rave reviews, especially compared to the main roster TLC pay-per-view/Network special which would take place that same week, that the "NXT is superior to the main roster" sentiment which had been building for a long time finally exploded. This, combined with the WWE Network's financial woes and controversial comments from Vince McMahon which fans have perceived as proving true the complaint that Vince is out of touch with today's wrestling audience, has a noticeable contingent of wrestling fans, WWE wrestlers, and even investors with the company saying Vince should step down. The flying pigs part? Triple H, The Kliq member who married Vince's daughter Stephanie, the man notorious for protecting his spot at the expense of other wrestlers when he was an active performer, has been the man in charge of NXT since it became the developmental brand. And they want HIM to take over.
- If not that, then definitely Takeover: Brooklyn, which may perhaps be the first time in WWE history that fans agreed the best match of the night was a Divas match (Bayley vs. Sasha Banks) — let alone that it is far-and-away the frontrunner for Match of the Year (rivaled only by the Lesnar/Cena/Rollins triple threat at the Royal Rumble). The last MOTY with that unanimous level of consent? John Cena vs. CM Punk at Money in the Bank 2011. It got the point that just having to follow that match was the biggest flaw of the Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor main event.
- Adding to that, for the first time ever, the WWE Divas got to headline a WWE special when the thirty minute Iron(wo)man (re)Match between Bayley and Sasha Banks was made the main event for Takeover: Respect. If Brooklyn hadn't sent the pigs sailing, that sure as hell did.
- For seven years Kofi Kingston was a lifelong babyface, which led people to expect him to be the next Ricky Steamboat in that aspect. Then came The New Day and Kofi was a heel for the first time ever.
- The quality of Monday Night Raw eventually decayed to the point where the crowd at TLC 2015 chanted "We Want Cena!/Cena Sucks!" during the main event TLC match between Roman Reigns and Sheamus. That's right — the fans actually miss John Cena. Granted, it was Boston, Cena's de facto hometown, but while Boston does go a little easier on him than other smarky cities, they've never reached a point where they've actively chanted for him to come back.
- That same night, Roman Reigns, who many believe was never going to get over because of the terrible Cena-like booking he's had to endure for the last ten months, managed to get over. It turns out all he had to do was beat the crap out of Triple H. The next night, Philadelphia, who booed both him and The Rock out of the building eleven months before, happily cheered for him and even marked out when he won the title that same night. So somehow, Reigns went from one of the biggest heat magnets in wrestling and the unintentional embodiment of everything the fans consider wrong with WWE, to being over enough to get the smarkiest crowd on the planet cheering for him in the span of twenty-four hours. Smarks are outright baffled over what happened, even if they are happy for him. Unfortunately, it didn't last and he became The Scrappy again about a month later.
- Roman Reigns was pretty much designated as the next John Cena, despite the active resistance of the fans. That meant he would always win and only lose via shenanigans. It seemed nothing would change Vince McMahon's mind about that. And then, not even three months after they finally gave him his moment at WrestleMania 32 to the disgust of the majority of the fanbase, he violated the Wellness Policy. That meant the company had to get the title off him ASAP before he went on a forced vacation. He subsequently lost clean to Seth Rollins for the title, and then Dean Ambrose, of whom many were convinced the company was never going to pull the trigger on, cashed in his newly won Money in the Bank contract to finally become WWE Champion. After setting up The Shield triple threat for Battleground the following night, Roman was suspended. When he came back, he ate another clean pin from Dean Ambrose for the triple threat, much to the shock of the fans. And yet, despite this unprecedented turn of events, the IWC was still convinced Roman would get back his push soon afterwards. It wasn't until Roman ate another clean pin, at the hands of Finn Bálor no less, who had just debuted on the main roster, to make Finn the new #1 contender for the new WWE Universal Championship, did fans realize how deep in the doghouse Reigns was.
- Finian's Rainbow:
Woody: I'll raise the money somehow.
Buzz: Money don't grow on trees, you know.
[The cliché explodes in his face in a shower of dollar bills which Sharon drops down from the tree.]
- The Lion in Winter: Eleanor responds to the classic "When pigs fly" remark with "There'll be pork in the treetops come morning."
Potemkin: Nobody believes in God anymore. It's over, kid. The jig is up. There is no Heaven. There is no Hell. There are no little White Lady Angels hovering up in the sky—What's the matter? What are you staring at?
Orphan: There's a little white lady angel hovering in the sky.
- In the Sam & Max: Freelance Police game episode "What's New, Beelzebub?" Sybil says that they'll be serving ice cream in Hell before she lets Max conduct her wedding. At the end of the game, both these things happen, in that order. Max also gets the Nobel Peace Prize, while Sam lets Max have the phone and seriously considers working harder to lose weight. Oh, and the Shambling Corporate Presence is finally making progress at work.
- Duke Nukem Forever: Several years ago, 3D Realms employee George Broussard said that Duke Nukem Forver would be released "when pigs fly." On September 1, 2010, however, his Twitter account linked to a picture of a flying pig, and a playable demo of Duke Nukem Forever was on display at Penny Arcade Expo.
- Similarly, XSEED tweeted a picture of a flying pig shortly before release of Trails in the Sky SC, four and a half years after the release of the first chapter.
- Blizzard Entertainment celebrated the release of a long awaited patch for Diablo II, with a wallpaper◊ featuring the Chaos Sanctuary frozen over, and Diablo himself leaning over a campfire to keep himself warm.
- A conversation in Vagrant Story has a soldier claiming that swine will take wing before soldiers dabble in black magic, and his friend retorting that with a Grimoire's power, a sow could outfly a falcon. It later turns out that the Cardinal, as well several soldiers under his employ, are proficient in the Dark Arts.
- Donkey Kong Land invokes this trope with the Guidebook talking about how people shouldn't invoke the flying pigs, and then introduces a Flying Pig enemy Hogwash.
- In the heaven-and-hell sim Afterlife, one of the disasters than can strike is Hell Freezes Over. The description reads "Once in a long while, little pieces of Hell freeze over. No one’s sure why this happens, but many Demons attribute the phenomena to honest politicians, surprisingly strong dramatic performances by Madonna, and the occasional Rose Bowl appearances of Stanford and Northwestern."
- Early in Companions of Xanth, after an Info Dump about Xanth and magic, still skeptic Doug sarcastically remarks that he just saw a pig fly. Nada replies that the migration season hasn't started yet, and he must be mistaken.
- Blazblue: In Calamity Trigger, Rachel made the claim that Bang beating Ragna is about as likely as Bang erasing all the seithr in the world. Two games later in Chronophantasma, Bang not only defeats Ragna but also holds his own against Relius, and also ends up becoming an integral part of the villain's plans, which does indeed culminate in erasing all the seithr from the world. Bet Rachel Didn't See That Coming.
- In Tales of Zestiria, during a cutscene, late in the game, Edna comes to visit Zaveid to ask him why he was killing hellions. "Well, well, Edna coming to see me. Should I be scanning the skies for pigs?"
- Valkyria Chronicles has flightless winged pigs known as porcavians as an item of Europan wildlife. Squad 7 adopts Hans, a young porcavian, as their mascot and people occasionally claim to see him flying. This is probably unrelated to their strange and improbable victories against overwhelming odds.
- Boy Meets Boy has done both the "flying pigs" and the "hell frozen over" version.
- Invoked straight in an early Coga Suro, where a pug literally flies across the panel as Steve reailses that he is right and Jerry is wrong—at the time, an unusual situation indeed.
- Seen in this strip from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures .
- This Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip.
- In this Sluggy Freelance strip, Satan has stoked the fires of Hell to the point where they would sear the flesh from a demon queen's bones... and suddenly it's snowing. The Red Sox won the World Series!
- Girl Genius
- Happens in PHD.
- Bruno the Bandit does this literally. The pig's name is Wingham.
- This Penny Arcade strip. See Duke Nukem Forever in the Video Games section above for context.
- Sinfest "The day you change is the day '''pigs fly.''' Cue Squigley (A pig) soaring by...on a toilet.
- But before that, the Hell froze over.
- Full Frontal Nerdity — one of the characters looks out the window to see (offscreen) flying pigs shortly before he is informed that Samuel L. Jackson has been hired to play Nick Fury in the upcoming Iron Man movie.
- In The Order of the Stick book Snip, Snails, and Dragon Tails, 4e Haley explains to 4e Elan, that she used her Knockout on 3e Durkon by stabbing him in the foot. She had "used the power of abandoned verisimiltude" — and she and Elan are surrounded by flying pigs.
- Schlock Mercenary:
- After Tagii is locked down and Tagon has Ennesby take control of the ship, he comments on the irony of what he said the last time Ennesby asked to be the shipmind.
Tagon: I guess I was wrong. If you're the last A.I. on the planet, I will let you fly my ship.
- Subverted In another strip, Tagon and Kevyn are looking for another Demo for the company. The only applicate is Pi, who's Crazy Awesome, with an emphasis on 'Crazy'.
Kevyn: Shodan praises Pi's combat prowess, his courage, and even his leadership but I'll be a monkey's uncle before I trust him with a brick of boomex.
Tagon: Your sister has a number of gorillas on her staff. There's always a possibility…
Kevyn: That any illegitimate nephews would still be apes, not monkeys. I checked.
- After Tagii is locked down and Tagon has Ennesby take control of the ship, he comments on the irony of what he said the last time Ennesby asked to be the shipmind.
- In the And Shine Heaven Now arc "Fangirls Are Hell" we see hell freeze over, and all the other fangirls and fanboys literally frozen in shock because what they thought was impossible happened: Incognito has fans.
- Robot Chicken:
- We see hell freeze over before it cuts to a half naked nerd dance around singing "I got laid! I got laid!" with a hot girl in the background saying that she thinks Nerds Are Sexy.
- A small girl asks her mother if her curfew can be midnight. Her mother replies "only when pigs fly". The daughter then launches her pet pig out of a catapult to get her mother to change her curfew.
- Sheep in the Big City: There's a crazy example in the first season finale, where the narrator is being carried away to fuel the narrator-powered ray gun, he begs to himself that it's all just a dream, then the flying pig appears and says it's real, or else he won't have wings. Cue Big "NO!".
- The Simpsons:
- In the episode "Lisa the Vegetarian", after an actual roast pig is already flying through the air for perfectly good reasons, we randomly cut to a completely unrelated scene where Burns is telling Smithers that he'll donate an enormous amount of money to charity when pigs fly, and they both have a good laugh... which fades as they look out the window.
Smithers: Will you be donating that million dollars now, sir?
Burns: Nnnno, I'd still prefer not.
- Subverted in the episode "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", where Mr. Burns and Smithers enter a book store:
Burns: Books and cocoa in the same store? What's next, a talking banana?
[A moment of fruitless waiting follows.]
Smithers: Uh, I don't see one, sir.
Burns: Of course not. The very notion of a talking banana is absurd. But still....
- In the 2014 Treehouse of Horror episode Lisa is in a school in Hell and joins a group of "popular" demon girls, then it starts snowing. "Wow, it was a cold day in Hell that I become popular."
- In the episode "Lisa the Vegetarian", after an actual roast pig is already flying through the air for perfectly good reasons, we randomly cut to a completely unrelated scene where Burns is telling Smithers that he'll donate an enormous amount of money to charity when pigs fly, and they both have a good laugh... which fades as they look out the window.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: "Billy Joe, I will marry you when pigs fly!" Cue flying pig shooting heat-beam eye-blasts (though the flight part was caused by the rooster accompanying the pig), and also cue Billy Joe getting a big wet kiss.
- In one episode of the Aladdin: The Series, the rarity of two genies falling in love is illustrated by the presence of flying pigs playing croquet in the skies above Agrabah.
- Looney Tunes:
- Played with in the short Crowing Pains, where Foghorn Leghorn gets halfway through the phrase "I hope to be struck by lightning" when an ominous rumble of thunder and a lightning bolt appearing behind him forces him to reconsider.
- Another short, Fool Coverage, ends with one big parade of the trope. Daffy is trying to convince Porky to buy insurance. In the process, Daffy runs into mishap after mishap, and this convinces Porky to sign. He then says all he needs to get a million dollars is to get a black eye. Daffy then notes that the policy has a list of impossible conditions (no pigs, but there is a stampede of wild elephants). Cue Daffy's chagrin when every single one of the conditions occur...including the one he made up on the spot (one baby zebra).
- This happens several times in Almost Naked Animals, considering one of the characters is a pig...
Octo: Aren't bad things meant to happen when pigs fly? (cue comic slapstick)
- SpongeBob SquarePants, Played with in "Spongeguard on Duty":
- South Park:
- Subverted when Cartman is not hit by lightning when he says he has never done anything just for the money, although Butters does move out of the way.
- Kyle's parents will only allow him to go to a concert when he cleans out the garage, shovels the driveway, and brings democracy to Cuba. His parents explain that he wasn't actually supposed to accomplish the last one but he expressed more concern about shoveling the whole driveway.
- The Boondocks: Huey, after a number of odd schemes, fails to prevent the execution of an obviously innocent man on death row. Uncle Rukus, after some sort of near death experience in the beginning of the episode, claims to have spoken to God and creates an televangelical craze by claiming that hatred of black people, including self-hatred, can get one to heaven. As Rukus makes the standard "may I be struck by the Lord himself" a lighting bolt strikes the microphone in his hand. The electrical blast causes a blackout moments before the electric chair for the execution is activated. This is followed by the Governor finally calling to stay the execution.
- When Family Guy was Uncanceled, their very first scene back is Peter breaking the news to the family that their show has been axed by Fox. When asked why, he explains that Fox needs to make room for their hot new shows such as Firefly, Dark Angel, and about three dozen other programs which had come and gone in the period that Family Guy was on hiatus. When Lois asks if there's any hope, Peter replies sarcastically that they might have a shot if all those other shows get dropped. Roll opening credits.
- A running gag in the first season of American Dad! has Hayley telling Stan that he can do some crazy thing 'when pigs fly'. He then calls a CIA lab and tells them to keep working on the flying pig experiment. In one episode, Stan calls the CIA and they tell him that it's almost complete and it shows a pig with only one wing.
- Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers had Donald Duck muttering "I'll be a musketeer when cows fall out of the sky!" Naturally, Clarabelle the Cow happens to be falling from the bridge above at that moment.
- Johnny Bravo:
- When Susie says Farrah Fawcet is her cousin, Johnny notes "Yeah, and pigs fly." Then he looks up in the sky...
- There used to be a commentary by Johnny in Cartoon Network's years of running the show, asking Porky Pig if he could wear a pair of wings as a girl he asked out said she'd go out with him if pigs fly.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Lucius tells the story of how he won his bowling trophy, it involves him telling his father if he makes the strike, he gets to freeze him. Lucius VI agrees, muttering "And pigs will fly." Of course, Lucius makes it. Flash forward to the present where he's frozen, and his son is holding a flying pig on a leash, saying "He was always making crazy bets."
- Possible reference to this trope in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Toph's family crest is the Flying Boar, which is, well, a boar with wings. A vision of such a creature is part of what leads Aang to her, and it may be a reference to how unlikely it would seem for a 12-year-old blind girl to be such a master bender. More specifically, said minute, 12-year-old blind girl is a master Earthbender. The majority of Earthbenders are burly men. Incidentally these may be a real thing in the setting; one episode took place on a farm with pig-chicken hybrids, and Mix-and-Match Critters abound in the setting.
- On The Fairly Oddparents, when Timmy beats Vicky to determine the new Queen of the Skatepark, she refuses to step down, claiming that he's got a better chance of some loser 12-year-old plummeting from the sky and plowing her into the ground than her gracefully accepting her loss. Francis immediately falls from space right on top of her, and she cheerfully hands over her crown.
- In "Wish Fixers", Timmy must make no idiotic wish for five days. Cue "When Pigs Fly" poof. Cue pigs.
- In Yin Yang Yo!, Yang tells Yin that she'll only get a boyfriend when pigs fly. Later, when Yin actually gets a boyfriend, a nearby pig suddenly sprouts wings and flies off, spotted by Yang. And when said boyfriend turns out to be Yuck in disguise, the pig loses those wings and falls out of the sky.
- Magic Adventures of Mumfie has a flying pig named Pinkey in it. And yes, the characters do have a lot of good luck in this series.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "Brittney's Party", Brittney Wong says that she'll invite Star to her birthday party when pigs fly, so Star magically conjured up a flying pig.
Star: Problem solved.
Pig: Anything for you, Star. (Brittney swats at him) Flyin' pig don't need this.
- Parodied in the Toy Story short "Hawaiian Vacation", in which Woody decides to celebrate his vacation from Bonnie by playing checkers with Slinky Dog: Woody asks Slinky if he's ready to lose at checkers and the latter replies, "When pigs fly," which triggers this exchange between Hamm and Buttercup:
Hamm: Actually, I had an uncle who was a pilot.
Hamm: No, not really.
- In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, when the crew of the 42 are tracking down a fugitive Buzz on Trade World.
Booster: These streets go on forever in every direction.XR: Unless the clouds are going to open up and drop Buzz Lightyear right in our laps.(Buzz falls from above, crashes into the cockpit window, and slides off)Mira: Please tell me I'm not the only one who saw that.XR: Why didn't I ask for money?
- One overly complicated joke that can be found on the Internet has a graduate student answering the question of whether Hell was exothermic (releasing warmth) or endothermic (absorbing it) on his final exam, via the postulate a cheerleader had told him his freshman year, that she'd sleep with him when Hell froze over. Since he'd slept with her last week, this proved that not only did Hell exist, but it had frozen over and thus it was endothermic. There's an alternate version where, because the person hadn't slept with him, that proved that Hell was exothermic. Despite the claims that it was a real answer in a real university exam, it's not.
- The gist of the joke though is that he makes several otherwise scientific postulates, such that a soul has a certain amount of energy, and since every religion says that if you don't believe in that religion you're going to hell i.e. everyone is going to hell, the question becomes whether hell is expanding faster than there are souls going into it (hell freezes over) or it is expanding slower than the rate of souls going into it (all hell breaks loose). Then he discards those for the punch line.
- A spoof news story from 2002: "Pigs flying over the frozen landscape of hell reported that online retailer Amazon.com turned in the first profit in its history on Tuesday, just moments after the sun set in the East."
- Before Eurovision Song Contest 2006, after a Finnish metal band was announced, it was said that "Hell will freeze over before Finland wins". Finland got 292 points, at that time the highest number on record.
- Perhaps ironically, the Finnish band was Lordi, which was almost not admitted due to accusations of Satanism. Definitely ironically, the song with which they won was "Hard Rock Hallelujah," which the band's "face", Mr. Lordi, used as proof that they're not Satanic.
- According to a pre-2006 Russian joke: ‘At -10 degrees Celsius, heating is switched on in British homes, while Finns change into a long-sleeved shirt. At -20, Austrians fly to Málaga, while Finns celebrate midsummer. At -200, hell freezes over and Finland wins the Eurovision Song Contest. At -273 absolute zero temperature is reached, all atom movement ceases. The Finns shrug and say: “Perkele, a bit chilly today, isn't it?”’
- Given the number of Finnish metal bands, especially with the country's relatively small population, this was probably inevitable.
- Appropriate headlines were done when Apple switched to Intel processors.
- James Randi presents Pigasus Awards (Pig + Pegasus) each year for paranormal fraud in several categories.
- Hunter S. Thompson and the Battle of Aspen. Thompson ran for Sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, of which Aspen is the county seat. Folks said that the long-haired hippie-types who formed the "Freak Power" movement to elect Thompson would win when pigs flew, or some such. Thompson shaved his (already balding) head, and began referring to the crew-cut Republican candidate as "my long-haired opponent."
- The New Orleans Saints for the most part were one of the worst NFL teams; some exclaiming that "Pigs Would Fly" if the Saints went to the Super Bowl. Recently though, the Saints' fortunes have changed for the better and in 2010, the Saints finally got the right to play in the Super Bowl, which Saints announcer Jim Henderson then exclaimed: "Pigs have flown! Hell has frozen over! The Saints are on their way to the Super Bowl!". Later, making sure that "Pigs Were Flying" in New Orleans, the Saints would go on to win the Super Bowl.
- A popular radio sportscaster in New Orleans once said that if the Saints ever made it to the Super Bowl he would wear a dress. He died before he got the opportunity, so former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert led a drag parade in memory of this trope. It managed to be all three types of Crowning Moment at once.
- 1,275 breeding pigs flown to Vladivostok.
- An Italian soccer team has embraced a variation of this trope, but with donkeys instead of pigs. Verona hosts two soccer teams: Hellas Verona and Chievo Verona. In the past decades, the first team used to play in Serie A, while the second used to play in Serie B. Supporters of Hellas Verona even made a rhyme about this: Quando i mussi i volerà / faremo il derby in serie A / e sarà sempre così / Verona in A e Chievo in B. Translated into English: When donkeys fly / we'll have a derby in Serie A / and it will always be like this / Verona in A and Chievo in B. Cue 2001, when Chievo was promoted to Serie A and went on to actually play two derbies against Verona. At this point, Chievo itself embraced the trope, inserting the picture of a flying donkey in the team's website and getting the nickname "i mussi che vola" (="the flying donkeys"). For added irony, Helllas Verona were stuck in the bottom of the third division in 2007-08 (although Chievo spent their only season outside the top flight since 2002 then- they won Serie B easily, and have remained in Serie A since 2008, in spite of a terrible start to the 2008-09 season), but survived due to the financial predicaments of others, and, in 2011, managed two promotions in 3 years to return to Serie A and take on Chievo again.
- As almost everyone knows by now, there is a town in Michigan called Hell. Being in Michigan, it has been known to freeze from time to time. There's one in Norway as well.
- The one in Michigan has begun to realize this, and has begun to market themselves (sigh) to Hell and back. When Caroline Rhea had her own talk show, she asked one of the town citizens if she had seen her ex-boyfriend (whom she had told to go to hell previously.) The woman said that he had enrolled in their local university, Damn U. They also sell souvenirs (Hell in a Hand Basket) and toys (Bat out of Hell) and even have an Ice Cream Parlor.
- There's an urban legend that when Neil Armstrong was a boy, he overheard his next door neighbors arguing loudly. The wife shouted at her husband, "I'll give you oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"
- Johnny Carson told America in his monolog that NBC had given him a raise. "It was in my contract that I'd get a raise when people walked on the moon."
- Similarly, legend has it during one batting practice early in his career someone remarked that "they'll put a man on the moon before" then-San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry hits a homer (major league pitchers aren't usually known for their batting prowess). The most often-cited source of the quote is Alvin Dark, who managed the Giants from 1961-1964. It's not known for sure if Dark or anyone else actually made this claim, but Perry did hit his first career homer about twenty minutes after the P.A. at Candlestick Park announced that the Eagle had landed on the moon.
- In Australian Rules Football, the Sydney Swans had a long losing streak in 1992-3, which ended when they beat the Melbourne Demons. The next day, a newspaper cartoon featured two demons standing in a frozen-over hell, with one saying, "Looks like the Swans finally won a game."
- During World War II, Brazil was in a bit of a bind—traditionally aligned with the Allies and heavily dependent on American trade, the regime at the time was authoritarian with Fascist sympathies, and as a result tried to remain neutral. As a result, the dictator Vargas said that Brazil would enter the war "when snakes smoke" (at the time a Brazilian Portuguese expression for "when pigs fly"). When Brazil actually did join the war in 1943, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force was nicknamed the Cobras Fumantes—the "Smoking Snakes". Their insignia was even a snake smoking a pipe◊. Ever since , "a cobra vai fumar!" ("snakes will smoke!") has meant "it will definitely happen, and it will be huge!" in Brazilian Portuguese.
- Also during World War 2, Hermann Goering supposedly said, "No bomb will fall on Berlin (or, in some versions, the Ruhr). If they do, you can call me Meyer."Note German population called air raid sirens, common over most of Germany in the latter half of the war, "Meyer's trumpets" on the account of this.
- Göring also made comments that he would eat his hat. When he toured the devastated cities, civilians would call out "Hello, Herr Meyer! How's your hat?"
- A recent joke: In the 1970's, people said America would have a black president when pigs fly. In 2008, they elected Barack Obama, and sure enough, swine flu.
- It is said that before he became Emperor, Caligula met with a fortune-teller, who told him "You are as likely to rule the Roman Empire as you are to ride across the bay of Naples without getting your horse wet." When he did become emperor, he commandeered all the boats in Naples, lined them up from one side of the bay to the other, and rode his horse across them, just to spite the fortune teller.
- Appropriate headlines were made when Leonardo Dicaprio finally won the Oscar in 2016 (for The Revenant).
- Horror punk innovators The Misfits have a long, long history of disagreements between original members Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only, including multiple lawsuits, and it was assumed that they'd never reunite again. Jump to May 2016 when it is announced that Danzig, Only, and original member Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein will reunite for the first time in 33 years in September.
- Susan Lucci was, for a time, the Distaff Counterpart to Leonardo Dicaprio. She was nominated for the Emmy 18 times for her role on All My Children without winning. Many made flying pig jokes when she did win her Emmy on nomination #19.
- The 2016 World Series ultimately came down to a Chew Toy showdown: Cleveland Indians (last title: 1948) and Chicago Cubs (last final: 1945; last title: 1908). While the mayor of Hell said the town only gets really cold by November, jokes calling it the "Hell Freezes Over series" soon emerged. In the end, the world's longest championship drought was finally over as the Cubs won in extra innings on Game 7.
- On December 2 1976, London Heathrow Airport was closed by a flying pig (see the Music folder above).
Thank you for riding Pork Airlines, the only way for pigs to fly.