"Some have challenged my mathematics that Phil Reeves is 1000% local. I stand by my statement 10000% :-)"
A person or object is described in some way that involves fractions. Oddly, those fractions don't add up to one. The most common form this description takes is "half [one thing], half [another thing], and half [something else]" or extended versions thereof — hence the name — but it can also involve more complicated addition problems. Another common variation is to have a character refer to splitting something "fifty-fifty," then realizing there are more people to split it among, and adjusting the proposed split to "fifty-fifty-fifty," etc. An occasional inversion is to say something is "half-something, half...just half-something" as an insult.
Sometimes this is used to suggest that the described thing is paradoxically larger (or smaller) than itself. It is almost always Played for Laughs
, unless it's a really bad example of Writers Cannot Do Math
Film — Live Action
- In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Willy says "Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple." Mrs. Teevee points out that that adds up to 105%.
- Caddyshack II:
Jack Hartounian: My father was Armenian. My mother was half Jewish, half English, half Spanish.
Chandler Young: That's three halves.
Jack Hartounian: Oh, she was a big woman.
- In The Producers, a lot of little old ladies are each sold a 50% or greater share of the profits of "Springtime for Hitler" (which are expected to be negative).
Max: Leo, how much percentage of a play can there be all together?
Leo: Max, you can only sell one hundred percent of anything.
Max: And how much of "Springtime for Hitler" have we sold?
Leo: Twenty-five thousand percent.
- Mrs. Doubtfire contains this variant:
"Is your sister English?"
"Half English, half American. Half-sister, really, so that makes her, what, about an eighth English? I don't know, I've never really done the math."
- In Anger Management, Chuck claims to be "half Jewish, half Italian, half Mexican."
- The Discworld novel Eric has the Aztec-flavoured god Quezovercoatl, who is described as "half-man, half-chicken, half-jaguar, half-serpent, half-scorpion and half-mad", making "a wossname total of three homicidal maniacs".
- An epigram by Alexander Pushkin describes one of his contemporaries as a "half-milord, half-merchant, half-fool, half-ignoramus, half-scoundrel, but there's a hope he'll finally be full".
- In Animorphs, Ax — and by extension the Andalite race in general — is once described as half blue deer, half centaur, and half scorpion. Then the narrator Lampshades it by saying they realize that it's too many halves.
- From the Known Space book Destiny's Forge:
: Half a sense of adventure, half a sense of duty, half no better plan for my life.
Tskombe: If I was smart enough to do math I wouldn't be in the infantry.
- When Eric Flint expanded 1632 from a one-off novel to a Shared Universe, he set out to avert this trope, by laying down rules for what characters other writers could create. Otherwise,
... In addition to the half who are rocket scientists and the other half who are SEALS, Eric has provided us a list of the following additional halves:
The half who are engineers, which are in turn divided into half electrical engineers, half locomotive engineers, half chemical engineers, half mechanical engineers, and too many thirds and quarters to count.
There is, I believe — at last count — exactly one person in everybody's fantasy Grantville who is elderly and illiterate. Of course, he's also the son of Alvin York and shoots even better than his daddy. "The Many Halves of Grantville
- At the end of the Seinfeld episode "The Sniffing Accountant", Jerry describes his shirt as "half silk, half cotton, half linen".
- One episode of All That revealed that Britney Spears is "half girl, half robot, half ravioli."
- From a Demetri Martin bit discussing his ideas for mythological creatures:
Demetri: A very beautiful mythical creature is called the Zebratard, and this animal is one-half pig, one-half eagle, one-half zebra, making it an improper fraction - so that's three halves of a creature, that's one-and-a-half mythical creatures - and it's surprisingly graceful, and very rare.
- In one episode of Farscape, Crichton (while posing as a bounty hunter) suggests splitting a bounty 70/30; the other bounty hunter demands it be split "70/40!" Crichton, who clearly knows he's dealing with an idiot, ups the bid to 80/40 to calm him down.
- Not that a split has to add up to 100%. A split like 70/40 would be a bit of extra trouble to calculate, but 80/40 is actually very easy: two for me and one for you.
- Stargate SG-1, when the team needed to use the power source of a bomb in order to power up the gate and dial out, Vala estimated a 70% chance they'd dial out and a 50% chance the bomb would explode. When Mitchell pointed out that this totaled 120%, Vala states that there's a 20% overlap where both happen, subverting this trope.
Mitchell: Jackson, you get all that?
Jackson: Yep. 100% chance we should have brought someone who knows what they're doing!
- In Andromeda, when talking about a madman's diary:
Harper: It's half mystical mumbo-jumbo, half putrid poetry, and half bad math.
Rommie: That's three halves.
Harper: Like I said, bad math.
- In earlier seasons of MythBusters, Adam (who averts this trope) would often give percentage chances of what would happen during an experiment. One of the few times Jamie tried to do this, this trope resulted. (Yes, even Jamie can make mistakes.)
Uh, Jamie, that's 125%. Jamie: [chuckling]
So sue me!
- WWE: Montel Vontavius Porter: "I am half-man, half-amazing, half-tag-team-champion... I'm so great, I'm the only man on Earth with three halves!"
- Car Talk: Frequently, Tom & Ray will give the answer to last week's Puzzler, then promise "We'll have a new Puzzler for you in the third half of the show."
- Dead Ringers, when parodying Location, Location, Location, has Kirstie Allsopp introduce herself as "half-woman, half-scarf" and then Phil Spencer introduce himself as "half-man"... (silence)
- This can happen in Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition due to abuse of the various "half-x" templates.
- Some supplementary materials try to Handwave this by say that species that can produce half-X templates have such strong genes that the template still applies even if the child is a quarter or eighth of that species, but that still doesn't account for the fact that certain half-x templates have full blooded counterparts as templates and that the baseline races that these templates can be applied to include various HeinzHybrids, some of which are stated to be distant descendents of said templates. This means that you could have a Fiendish Half-Fiend Tiefling who was 153% Fiend and 97% Human.
- Played with in Munchkin. Despite being built from the ground up to parody various role playing game clichés (and the entire concept of role playing games in general), the "Half-Breed" card only lets you play two Race cards at once, as the name implies. To play three Race cards, you'll need a "1/3-Breed" card. (But then, the rules encourage cheating...)
- In one of his many boasts in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, Qwark explains to Ratchet that "being a hero is 45% strength, 60% bravery and 10% raw intelligence". Ratchet doesn't fail to lampshade that something doesn't add up.
- In the South Park episode "ManBearPig", Al Gore describes the eponymous monster as being "half man, half bear, half pig." When we actually see ManBearPig exactly as Gore imagines him in the Imaginationland episodes, it does in fact look part man, part bear, and part pig in some proportion. Other characters point out that this is too many halves, and instead describe it as "half man and half bearpig", or some such version.
- The Charlie Dog character from Looney Tunes had jokes about this as one of his main schticks. He would claim to be 50% of about half a dozen different breeds.
Charlie: I'm 50% Pointer (There it is! There it is! There it is!), 50% Boxer, 50% Setter (Irish Setter), 50% Watch Dog, 50% Spitz, 50% Doberman Pincher. But, mostly, I'm all Labrador Retriever! If you doubt my word, get me a Labrador and I'll retrieve it.
- Bender from Futurama has claimed at various points to be 30% Iron, 40% Zinc, 40% Titanium, 40% Lead, and 40% Dolemite (that last one having at least some demonstrable truth to it because he survived swimming in molten lava). According to the professor he's mostly made up of a Titanium-Osmium alloy with a .3% nickle impurity.
- A House of Mouse short has the Big Bad Wolf telling his son that catching pigs is "fifty percent" whatever lesson he's trying to teach at the moment. Eventually, the son dryly informs him of just what all the "fifty percents" add to by that point.
- The Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat" had Burns attempting to improve the plant baseball team by hiring a hypnotist:
Hynpotist: You are all very good players...
Team: [entranced] We are all very good players...
Hypnotist: You will beat Shelbyville...
Team: [entranced] We will beat Shelbyville...
Hypnotist: You will give one hundred and ten percent...
Team: [entranced] That's impossible. No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give...
- An old joke, but not necessarily true depending on the context. For example, if I asked you to give 10% more effort than you did yesterday, you could be said to be giving 110% compared to the day before.
- On Gravity Falls, Mabel draws an example here. Though to be fair, she says "part" instead of "half."
- In the Arthur episode "Tales from the Crib", when the mischievous Tibble twins invent a monster to frighten DW from moving out of her crib.
Tibbles: Aracnar, Lord of the Spider People. He's half-man, half-spider, and he eats children. He can't get his tentacles through the bars of the crib, but kids in beds are easy picking! He climbs up the side, and crawls under the sheet!
DW: Wait a second! If he's half-man, half-spider, why does he have tentacles?
- One standard email forward of student errors contains:
Handel was half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large.
- The "ninety-ninety rule" of computer programming, which is due to Tom Cargill of Bell Labs:
"The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time."
- This quote from Yogi Berra:
Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.
- Milton Jones has a variation on this trope: he makes a joke about his granddad, and then about his other granddad, and then about his other granddad, continuing through about eight different granddads. He then later calls back to this by complaining about family reunions. "Too many granddads."
- The granddad jokes usually end with "My grandmother... was confused."
- A non-comedic example; an old post on Fundies Say the Darndest Things had a poster who claimed Barack Obama was 50% white, 44% Muslim, and 12% black.