[[quoteright:225:[[ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lopsideeddichotomy.png]]]]
->''"Either that kid has a lightbulb up his butt, or his colon has a great idea."''
-->-- '''Dr. Cox''' from ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', on [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qEJKIRxIrk an x-ray showing a lightbulb in a patient.]]

[[SelfDemonstratingArticle Either you're hallucinating after eating too much radioactive pizza last night, or you're reading a trope page about rhetorical comparisons like this one.]]

Sometimes, as a means of humour, or simply to argue for one possibility through ridicule of all possible alternatives, someone will frame a description or explanation as "either it was X highly unlikely set of circumstances, or it was Y straightforward apparent conclusion." (However, the X and Y can be reversed.)

Often associated with {{Deadpan Snarker}}s and/or {{First Person Smartass}}es.

Most often [[OccamsRazor "Y straightforward apparent conclusion" is obviously the truth]] and the dichotomy is employed as means of snark or lampshading. However on occasion, this trope will be subverted to comic effect when [[StrangeMindsThinkAlike the more bizarre conclusion turns out to be precisely correct instead]], perhaps sometimes as AnAesop about not being too sure of yourself about what is possible and what is not.

If the characters decide that the mundane explanation is actually ''less'' plausible, it may be an ImpossiblyMundaneExplanation.

Sometimes also overlaps with FalseDichotomy, when the ludicrous explanation isn't really the only alternative to the implied one. TalksLikeASimile is related. See also OccamsRazor.

EitherWorldDominationOrSomethingAboutBananas is a subtrope.



* Creator/GeorgeCarlin suggested something like this as a way to "wake people up": When someone asks you what time it is, you look at your watch and say, "Either it's 8:15 or Mickey has a hard-on!"
* Creator/BoBurnham has an example in his song "Sad" that doesn't follow the usual format, but otherwise fits perfectly:
--> ''I saw a red giraffe who had a short neck, that was sad! ...Or a deer.''

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'':
** The page image, is of Calvin's detective alter ego commenting why a room was trashed.
** Calvin saying "either mom's cooking dinner or someone got sick in the furnace duct."
* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'':
** In "The Dilbert Principle", Scott Adams describes the two possible results of a career in engineering:
--->'''Risk:''' Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent people. '''Reward''': A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame.
** At the end of a ''Dilbert'' arc, Dilbert wonders why he's sitting naked in a trash can, and Dogbert explains, "Either [[ItMakesSenseInContext you were killed by wild deer and we cloned you back to life from your old garbage]]... or... you saved a lot of money on an aboveground pool."
* David Ramirez's prize-winning short comic, "My Little Tomoka", is protagonized by a girl who was, accidentally, named Noo. So, when her mother calls her yelling...
-->'''Mother:''' NOO!\\
'''Noo:''' Has my mother just found my father's corpse inside of the microwave, or she is calling me for supper.
* In the ''ComicStrip/PearlsBeforeSwine'' treasury "Pearls Freaks The #%*# Out", one strip taking place in a supermarket had about three box-things lying on a shelf in the background. Pastis comments "Either the store had a huge run on that particular item, or a cartoonist I know got tired of drawing them.".
* A ''ComicStrip/{{Buckles}}'' strip from 5-29-13 had this:
-->'''Buckles:''' Either I'm a bad liar, or Paul knows what TV shows the plant really watches.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'', when Dory is translating whale speech: "Okay, he either said, 'move to the back of the throat,' or he 'wants a root beer float'."
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'': "Did that just say 'Grand Central Station', or 'my aunt's constipation'?"

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Groucho Marx in ''Film/ADayAtTheRaces'':
--->'''Groucho:''' Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.

* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', [[AlienAmongUs Aximili]] ("Ax") says one time, while in flea morph, "He's welcoming the Visser back aboard the Blade ship. Or he may be telling him his brother is a meteor fragment. I understand [[CommonTongue Galard]], but this morph's hearing is very uncertain."

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* During the "Inspector" sketch of ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'', Inspector Lookout sees the body of Inspector Tiger. Lookout surmises that either the murderer is someone in the same room, or else he had 40-foot long arms.
* In ''Series/{{Angel}}'', with Lorne translating for some demons...
-->''"Either they're going to talk to their prince, [[EitherWorldDominationOrSomethingAboutBananas or they're going to go and eat a cheesemonkey.]]"''
* From ''Series/{{House}}'', where House talks about the [=iPhone=]:
-->Either that costs more than 25 bucks, or I'm seriously starting to doubt Steve Jobs' business strategy.
* ''Series/PennAndTellerBullshit'' used this in the college episode in response to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESc0z1Tbwfk a college rally organizer who told a counter-protester to move away from the crowd.]]
-->There's 300 of them, and 1 of us, and he's worried about ''their'' safety? He's either a pussy, or he thinks he recognizes Erin from ''[[Film/DrunkenMaster Drunken Master 2.]]''
* The page quotation from ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', of course.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine:'' Dax does this to Sisko when translating some ancient Bajoran.
-->'''Dax:''' During The Reckoning, the Bajorans will either suffer horribly or eat fruit.\\
'''Sisko:''' Eat fruit?\\
'''Dax:''' Given the tone of the rest of the inscription, I would bet on the horrible suffering.
* From the Creator/TomBaker-era ''Series/DoctorWho'' arc "The Deadly Assassin":
-->'''Doctor:''' Engin, I can feel my hair curling, and that means either it's going to rain or else [[EurekaMoment I'm on to something]].
* In ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' "Allegiance," Root confronts Greer about some of the things he's recently acquired:
-->'''Root:''' You have some things that don't belong to you: two hard drives, a superconducting chip, and six generators. Which means either you're planning to bring Samaritan online or you're the world's most ambitious gamer.

[[folder:Print Media]]
* In the Mad Magazine parody for ''Series/CharliesAngels'', the angels are given "costumes" to wear, namely skimpy bikinis. One of them quips:
-->"Do we put these on our bodies, or do we paste them on an envelope?"

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', if you ask HK-47 for help understanding a Jawa, he says, "Translation: 98% probability that members of the miniature organic's tribe are being held by Sand People, master. Doubtless he wishes assistance." When asked about the other two percent, he adds, "Translation: 2% probability that the miniature organic is simply looking for trouble and needs to be blasted. [[RoboticPsychopath That may be wishful thinking on my part, master]]."
* At the end of ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV'', the hero is surrounded by the thankful people of the land after (like the past three games) completing yet another heroic quest. Cue [[CloudCuckooLander Erasmus]] and [[TalkingAnimal Fenrus]] taking that moment to scry on the hero, with Fenrus commenting that "It's either an award ceremony or a [[TorchesAndPitchforks lynch mob]]."
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'', while looking for an infiltrator who is apparently stealing people's uniforms and able to paralyze with a touch, Rhytlock comments
-->"More dazed soldiers staggering around in their skivvies. Either we're on the right track or [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar we missed the best party ever]]."
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces'', a Traveling Beastmaster concludes from Sophie's acrobatic tricks that she's either from the circus, or she's an assassin.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Subverted in a strip from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', when Roy (as a spirit in the AfterlifeAntechamber) attempts one after his father hands him copies of ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'', ''Literature/IRobot'', ''TabletopGame/PrometheanTheCreated'' and ''Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Your Dead Body Being Used To Make A Bone Golem (But Were Afraid To Ask)'' to "help [him] come to terms with the [[GoodNewsBadNews bad news]]".
-->'''Roy:''' Either you're trying to tell me that my body was used to make a golem, or... actually, I can't think of any other possible interpretation.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'' -- a scientist tells a reporter "Either we had a slight measuring error, or all of science is wrong." Again, she says this to a ''reporter'', a profession notorious for misleading attention-grabbing science headlines. [[http://smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3732 You can probably guess the result]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* [[http://secotm.tumblr.com/ Shittiest Editorial Cartoon]] uses this from time to time.
-->[[http://secotm.tumblr.com/post/23671041718/agoodcartoon-the-conservative-vote-is-a-blunt Shouldn’t there be a comma in that dialogue? Or is Gay Marriage Obama a new action figure?]]
* ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' does this in [[http://www.cracked.com/article_20614_6-insane-video-game-fan-theories-that-make-total-sense_p2.html#ixzz2fI7gOpZM one of their articles on video game fan theories,]] referring to a line in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' about Clock Town losing tourism.
-->''"It's either the looming death planet, or the snow cone stand ran out of cherry again."''
* ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'' gets in on this during the Cell saga, after the inhabitants of Kame House witness the ocean being parted down at the beach:
-->'''Roshi:''' Well, either [[BigEater Goku's]] awake, or Moses has brought the Jews. Either way, my pantry's not full enough.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'' episode, "Wonderful World":
-->'''Garfield:''' Either Jon's home or somebody put a VCR in the garbage disposal.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'':
** "Ask A Foolish Question":
--->'''Major Monogram:''' Good morning, Agent P. The entire Tri-State Area is becoming riddled with holes. Also, numerous light beams have been shot from Doofenshmirtz's building. Either he's having some sort of a rave, or he's the one behind all those holes.
** "Meatloaf Surprise":
--->'''Major Monogram:''' Morning, Agent P. We've recently found surveillance footage of Doofenshmirtz buying fresh produce. We've concluded that there are two possibilities: either he's up to something sinister that is food-related, or he's cooking dinner because he's got a beautiful woman coming over and he wants to imp... Never mind, it's obviously the first thing.
** "One Good Scare Ought to Do It!":
--->'''Major Monogram:''' Good morning, Agent P. Dr. Doofenshmirtz is on the move. We tracked him to these coordinates when we suddenly lost his signal. We have two scenarios to explain his disappearance. First, that magical elves have caused Dr. Doofenshmirtz to vanish to the land of angry corn people. The second, is that he may be on his secret, hideout-shaped island with the initial "D" carved into it that satellites found in the exact, spot, where he... vanished... uh, you know what? Uh, forget the magical elves thing. Way off base with that.
* From ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS8E9ElViajeMisteriosoDeNuestroJomer El Viaje Misterioso De Nuestro Jomer]]", when Homer stands in front of a lighthouse, [[BatSignal causing his silhouette to be projected onto the clouds]]... [[note]](this is entirely accidental on Homer's part.)[[/note]]
-->'''Bart:''' Hey look! Is that Dad?\\
'''Lisa:''' Either that or Batman's really let himself go.
* From ''WesternAnimation/{{Duckman}}:''
-->''"Either you're babbling, or you just said in Cherokee that my scrotum is many colored."''
* Happens once in ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'' when pop music starts playing.
-->'''Tom:''' What the hell is that?
-->'''Daria:''' Either a traveling band of eunuchs, or Quinn's figured out how to turn on the radio.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Pakistani women's rights activist Shahnaz Bukharihas on bride burning:
-->''Either Pakistan is home to possessed stoves which burn only young housewives, and are particularly fond of genitalia, or (...) there is a grim pattern that these women are victims of deliberate murder.''