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The Graph Shows the Trend
To demonstrate how some situation has been progressing, a line graph is brought out as a prop, showing a line clearly proceeding upward or downward. The axes may be unlabeled, especially in parodies. Sometimes someone realizes the graph is on the easel pointed in the wrong direction and fixes it, and now the line is going in the opposite direction. In comedy uses, the line is sometimes drawn out Off the Chart and goes into the ceiling or floor, or just lies there in coils.


Examples:

Advertising
  • The upside-down graph is used on an ad for Monster.com in which a guy works in an office full of chimpanzees. The executives are celebrating the upturn in sales until the guy turns the graph right side up. One of the chimps turns it back the other way and continue partying.

Live-Action TV
  • How I Met Your Mother has a rather offbeat example of this. There is an episode where Marshall has an obsession with making graphs of trivial things. So much so that the gang stages an intervention.
  • Dave Gorman showed a number of graphs in The Dave Gorman Collection, the premise being that he didn't want to break his miles per Dave Gorman rule.

Literature
  • Dave Barry Slept Here has a chart of the "Level of Colonial Tension" following the passage of the Irritation Acts. The vertical axis is unlabeled, and the points on the horizontal axis are labeled as days of the week.

Web Comics
  • Parodied in this xkcd.
  • Lampshaded in this Shortpacked!:
    Faz: Contrary to what he claims, I have a graph here that clearly shows a line going up.
    Ethan: You don't even know what that line represents!!!
    Galasso: It represents upness.
    Faz: The graph has spoken.

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