"...when this baby hits 88 miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit."
Stock phrase and verbal shortcut used by intellectual types in shows with any sort of scientific theme. It denotes that whatever statement it references is, in fact, a carefully assembled construct of reason, probability, and logic instead of, say, an Ass Pull, while still allowing for the writer-friendly possibility that something might Go Horribly Wrong.
Often takes the less rigorous form of "If I'm right..." usually with the addendum of "...and I (always) am..." to show bravado.
Incidentally, the chances of the calculations actually being correct are roughly equal to the percentage of episode shown at the point it's said. Unless it's Tony Stark or Hari Seldon, or Doc Brown.
Usually said in reference to something that is being done For Science!. A character may respond to a usage of this trope with I Like Those Odds or Never Tell Me the Odds!.
See also Million-to-One Chance, Finagle's Law.
— Emmet "Doc" Brown, Back to the Future
Examples:
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Anime & Manga
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
- Subverted when the calculations are wrong and the Theme Music Power-Up cuts off. In actually, the calculations were completely correct — the shield was neutralizing all damage done with 100% probability. However, the bad guys were throwing enough PLANETS at them that probability itself bent and they took damage. Follows the trope right afterwards when Genome calculates that they can fire at EVERYTHING in the near past and near future in order to hit the Anti-spiral ships. They do.
- "The probability of success was zero percent. But I've learned that probabilities are meaningless when it comes to you guys."
- Calculations become even more useless when both sides start using Probability-altering missiles against each other ("they negate the probability of the enemy defending against them!").
- In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie Dr. Robotnik says the line. Nobody listens to him.
- "According to my calculations, if the Robot Generator isn't stopped by sunrise tomorrow, there will be a giant explosion... huh?"
- Dr. Ichigaki, the evil doctor from YuYu Hakusho during the Dark Tournament enters a team of controlled fighters into the tournament in order to capture Yuusuke's body for research purposes. When the masked fighter offered to have a three on three battle Ichigaki invokes this trope when he calculates that this leaves his team with a 99.95% chance of victory. However after Kuwabara is injured when he refuses to fight, Yuusuke is enraged and comes back stronger than ever leading to a victory. Ichigaki is shocked.
- Notably, the above scenario includes a hasty recalculation where Ichigaki realizes that his team's odds of victory have dropped significantly.
Comic Books
- Used in this Chick Tract.
- Interesting, in that it's said by a villain, and his calculations (at least the specific ones he's referring to here) are correct. Not that spectacular, though, because the calculations boil down to adding nine months. If that's your idea of "calculations", then I can see becoming a little complacent in your abilities.
- Tintin: in Explorers of the Moon, Calculus is hoping that his device will prevent the rocket from crashing against a meteor. Otherwise he would have to "redo all his calculations!"
- Léonard le Génie does this occasionally, usually adding arrogantly that they always are. Once, he 'proved' they are correct by checking a randomly chosen part of his long calculation and verifying it. The chosen part? 1 + 1 = 2
Films — Live-Action
- The Back to the Future trilogy. Fortunately for the protagonists, Doc Brown's calculations are always correct, even if they involve unnecessarily complicated and implausible plans.
- The Iron Man movie has Tony Stark finishing his first miniature Arc Reactor. His assistant Yinsen asks how much power it could generate, and Tony begins his reply with "If my math is right — and it always is..." Presumably they're talking about a theoretical full-scale version of the reactor, because the number Tony gives was absurd otherwise (3 gigawatts).
- Spoofed in The Movie of Mystery Science Theater 3000; after attempting to escape from the ship by tunneling out (in space), Crow declares, "Believe me, Mike, I calculated the odds of this succeeding against the odds I was doing something incredibly stupid and... I went ahead anyway."
- In The Princess Bride, Prince Humperdink says, "Unless I am wrong — and I am never wrong — they are headed straight into the Fire Swamp," as part of a demonstration of his tracking skills.
- This exchange in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014):
Leo: Donnie, what are the odds of us surviving?
Donnie: 0.00003%.
Leo: I'll take it. - This happens in The Dark Knight Rises, when Bane wants to pull the core out of a nuclear reactor.
Dr. Pavel: No! You cannot! This is the only power source capable of sustaining it. If you move it, the core will decay in a matter of months.Bane: Five, by my calculations.
- Both played straight and spoofed by combat droid K-2SO in Rogue One. For example, to Cassian, when he sees reluctant recruit Jyn Erso with a blaster:
K-2SO: You're letting her keep it? Would you like to know the probability of her using it against you? …it's high. It's very high.
Literature
- In "Part I: The Psychohistorians" of Foundation, Hari Seldon gives Gaal Dornick a bunch of calculations proving that Trantor, and by proxy the Empire, will fall within three hundred years. Several actual mathematical terms are thrown around, but the details are left vague enough to leave Seldon's specific calculations unexplained. Dornick is perfectly capable of verifying the calculations for himself; and it turns out Seldon is right.
- Hamish X: Parveen is always saying this.
- War Junkie by ITN cameraman Jon Steele. Steele is told by his producer Bridget to film the Trans-Siberian express as it passes an obelisk signifying where Europe becomes Asia.
"Now you foul cretins. I calculate a Trans-Siberian express will pass this way in less than an hour using a rather complex mathematical formula devised while travelling across this most inspirational of lands. Pay attention. A Trans-Siberian left Vladivostok at midnight three days ago. At an average speed of 53kph, and given the difference in time zones and allowing for stoppage and dividing that by a factor of twelve...""Factor of twelve? What in God's name has that to do with the Trans-Siberian Express?""Don't you begin to assume a superior intelligence to me!""Don't worry. I don't assume it. Not one bit."
Live Action TV
- Spock from Star Trek is constantly spouting these.
- In the new movie Chekov, of all people, gets this line.
- Some permutation of this phrase is often used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel when trying to decode a book/scroll/anything-in-an-ancient-language that holds information vital to the current plot arc (usually a prophecy detailing the end of the world). Will probably be uttered by either Giles, Wesley, or Fred.
- And, on another Joss Whedon show, Topher on Dollhouse.
- Used several times by Samantha Carter on Stargate SG-1, e.g.: "If my calculations are correct, we should emerge on the other side of the Earth...". Usually followed by nervous glances by the rest of the team.
- McKay on Stargate Atlantis once used precisely this phrase to predict where a fleet of enemy ships would come out of hyperspace, punctuated by a little smug look as if to say "And of course, they are correct." Infuriatingly, they were.
- One time a villain, hearing one of his plans depending on such calculations was going wrong, calls him on this, and Rodney responds with something like, "You may not have noticed but I'm a very arrogant man who thinks all of his plans are going to work!"
- And it does, he was just feigning failure so that the bad guy would abandon the city. It was also a landmark, being about the only time his feigned protestations of failure were actually taken seriously.
- McKay on Stargate Atlantis once used precisely this phrase to predict where a fleet of enemy ships would come out of hyperspace, punctuated by a little smug look as if to say "And of course, they are correct." Infuriatingly, they were.
- Parodied by Monk who often gives the line "Unless I'm wrong," but always follows it up with "Which, you know, I'm not." And he is not wrong.
- Though, he does at least occasionally mention a percentage of how 'sure' he is. One time, he was roughly 90% sure that the man he was speaking to had killed his own wife... only for the man to open the door to his hotel room and introduce them. Oops.
- The Captain, frustrated by this habit of Monk's, once ordered him to give a more definite statement, which Monk did: "Captain, I am one hundred percent sure that he probably killed his wife."
- Randy Disher, during a moment of low self-esteem, once borrowed Monk's gimmick, changing it to, "Unless I'm wrong, which I probably am."
- Though, he does at least occasionally mention a percentage of how 'sure' he is. One time, he was roughly 90% sure that the man he was speaking to had killed his own wife... only for the man to open the door to his hotel room and introduce them. Oops.
- In The Bloodhound Gang story, "The Case of the Dark Night," the young kid member of the gang member explains he calculated how much gas a car that does 14 MPG would need to start up and run out after going around 5 ft, 4 teaspoons. With this being a trap for car thieves using Mr. Bloodhound's antique car as bait (and this being an educational series) he has all the incentive necessary to get that right. As it happens, the trap works perfectly: the crooks go the expected distance, which is just enough to incriminate themselves to the waiting police officers.
- In the Adam West Batman it was once phrased as "If my memory serves..." and Robin interjected "Which it always does!"
- In Plain Sight had a witness who insisted that a bridge collapse was caused by faulty materials rather than his calculations. He goes to the government, testifies in court, and holds the owner of the construction company at gunpoint to force him to admit that substandard materials were used in the bridge...and it turns out that the materials were switched without his knowledge, and the collapse really was sparked off by events beyond his control. Unfortunately, during the course of his rigorous investigation to prove that it was not his fault, and after he gets the culprit to confess, he learned that it was his fault anyway. Though this particular collapse was instigated by the improper construction, he had been used flawed math on every bridge he ever made, and one of them was going to collapse sooner or later, this one just went first because there were additional problems. To his credit, he told everybody that part, too, in addition to what the constructor did.
- In Due South, when Fraser and Ray are trapped in a bank vault which robbers are trying to breach, Fraser starts his lecture with "Now, I don't have the specifications for the door, Ray. But I've been making calculations based on its thickness, the depth of the existing hole and the reflection of the tonal input as it percusses against my tuning fork." Ray doesn't want to even hear it, let along participate in the plan, but eventually permits Fraser to proceed to share his estimate of the amount of time it will take for the robbers to break into the vault and to activate the sprinklers so that the vault will fill with water, leaving the two of them with an inch of breathing space but allowing them to surprise the robbers when they get the door open. Provided, they maintain a constant rate of drilling.
- In Doctor Who, the Fourth Doctor goes for the less modest approach: "Now, assuming I'm right, and I invariably am..." (He is, of course. He's the Doctor.)
Music
- Played straight in Lemon Demon's "Dinosaurchestra Part Three":
"As a powerful and complex computer of near omniscience, I can report with total confidence, after a careful .3 seconds calculating a whole world of probability and statistics, that yes, we are all gonna die."
Video Games
- Bently says this as a catchphrase in the Sly Cooper games, usually going "If I did my math right, and I always do my math right..." While he never screws up safe combinations, his calculations are sometimes off in later games, hitting unforeseen security. This does not hurt his confidence any.
- In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, one of the ordinary Cipher Peons always quotes probabilities, which are clearly just pulled out of thin air. Although the one about how likely the player is to wreck their plans if not stopped seemed pretty accurate.
- Dmitri Petrovich of Backyard Sports.
- Used by Dr. Arne Magnusson in Half-Life 2: Episode Two, as a way to further emphasize just how hopelessly self-important the character is. He even tacks on, "and I have no reason to doubt myself."
- There's also a memorable exchange in Episode One, when DOG proposes an... unusual method of getting you and Alyx into the damaged Citadel - having Gordon and Alyx pile into a minivan while DOG grav-guns it across the chasm in downtown City 17. She expresses doubt about their odds of making it, but DOG insists, leading to this exchange:
Alyx: Are you sure?DOG nodsAlyx: Well, Gordon, he is a robot, he has done the math. (whispers) You... did do the math, right?DOG shakes his head- The best part is that DOG shaking his head was originally a programming mistake.
- In Sonic Adventure 2, Gerald Robotnik uses this line in his recorded "death sentence for every human on Earth" message. To be precise, he says: "If my calculations are correct, the Space Colony ARK will impact the Earth in 27 minutes and 53 seconds."
- Fi in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword throws out percentages at nearly every chance she gets.
- There is a 90% chance that the game makes sure to give her many chances. This quickly makes her an Annoying Video Game Helper for many players.
- Turns rather chilling when you head for the final battle and Fi says that there is a 0% chance of returning if you don't win.
- Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon: What are the odds of Professor E. Gadd having deployed a Toad assistant to the very next location Luigi has to visit? Why, they are 1 in 734,958! (But rest assured that there is one there every single time.)
- In Fallout: New Vegas, Mr. House runs many calculations. They're unbelievably correct - even his prediction for the start of a nuclear war is only off by a single day. The Courier is the only wild card variable in his calculations, and he does his damnest to play them in his own favor.
Webcomics
- The Order of the Stick: V, as The Smart Guy (girl?), is naturally fond of this trope. Also, Redcloak can do the math on god-killing abominations.
- Riff of Sluggy Freelance uses an after-the-fact version of this, reaching into his coat and muttering, "Let me check my notes," immediately after one of his inventions goes horribly awry.
Web Original
- Spoofed in the Leeroy Jenkins Video, where the calculations being performed were clearly an Ass Pull.
- Parodied in EvAbridged 4.0, when people's calculations don't match up.
Misato: How much time until penetration?Makoto: According to my calculations, we have about twelve hours until penetration.NERV Tech: Actually according to my calculations we only have about ten hours until penetration.Makoto: Well according to my calculations, YOU DON'T HAVE ANY CALCULATIONS!
Western Animation
- Spoofed by The Simpsons in "Itchy and Scratchy Land": in the Itchy and Scratchy theme park populated by animatronic robots, Professor Frink warns that "all robots will eventually turn against their masters and run amok, in an orgy of blood and the kicking and the biting with the metal teeth and the hurting and shoving." But he adds that "According to my calculations, the robots won't go berserk for at least 24 hours." Immediately, all the robots start attacking the humans. Frink says in a slightly embarrassed tone, "Oh. I forgot to Carry the One."
- Parodied in Futurama: A giant asteroid of garbage is about to hit the city. Professor Farnsworth has arranged the construction of another ball of garbage to be fired at the asteroid to deflect it, and declares that if his calculations are correct, the two balls should collide. Not to be outdone, his archrival Dr. Wernstrom declares "And if my calculations are correct, we're all going to die horribly!" and laughs - until he realizes what this means for him personally, at which point his laughter dies away quite quickly.
- "Our calculations are always correct, for we are gigantic brains."
- On The Magic School Bus, Dorothy Ann could be expected to start every sentence related to the lesson of the day (and a few that weren't) with "According to my research..."
- Lampshaded on one episode where she loses her bookbag, when she's asked if the observation she made about a volcano is 'according to her research' she snaps "How can it be according to my research?!? I don't HAVE my research!
- The Backyardigans: A variation of the phrase is used by Pablo during the "Mission to Mars" episode. Near the beginning of one of the episode's songs, he sings, "My calculations say...we're pretty much toast".
- An episode of Storm Hawks has Piper using the "If my calculations are correct... and they always are" line. Unfortunately, she then has to make such large-scale calculations, a small margin of error was inevitable. Fortunately, Aerrow saves her from a Heroic B.S.O.D. by reaffirming her that he has faith in her calculations, and she's able to make new calculations to successfully resolve the problems created by her first one.
- Extremely subverted in The Secret Show: An episode involving a Mirror Universe states that when the dimensional doors close, if everything isn't in the universe it started in, both will explode. Everyone has prepared for the worst when they realize they got all their people out successfully, but left the villain behind... but the calculations are "completely and utterly wrong".
- Pinky and the Brain: One of The Brain's many catchphrases was "If my calculations are correct...and they always are..."
- while the duo are parachuting Brain says "If my calculations are correct, which they always are, we will land directly on the roof". His calculations are correct in terms of their landing, but he failed to take into account the fact that the roof was covered in ice, so they slide right off.
- In the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "Food for Thought", pilgrim Simon uses an abacus to calculate the groups chances of survival, beginning each announcement with "According to my calculations..."
- "If my calculations are correct" was the Catch-Phrase of the inventor Newton Gimmick in The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin.
- Used often by the titular character in Jimmy Neutron.
- Hanna-Barbera's Secret Squirrel uses this phrase when trying to catch a bomb launched from a submarine in the episode "Sub Swiper".
- Delivered at least once an episode on The Penguins of Madagascar by Kowalski, the resident Gadgeteer Genius. He then laughs at the very idea of them being wrong with, "Pfft... if..."
- Mega Brain from Widget the World Watcher constantly uses that phrase.
- The Beatles episode "Mr. Moonlight" has the boys following Professor Ludwig Von Brilliant to a native island to see a lunar eclipse. He's a bit daffy, but he was right about his calculations as to when the eclipse starts.
- Parodied in an episode of Phineas and Ferb, when Dr. Doofenshmirtz's plan results in him and Perry being stuck to thousands of balloons and flying off into the stratosphere:
Doofenshmirtz: "You know, on paper...this was the outcome too."