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Two out of Three Ain't Bad
I want you,
I need you,
But there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you.
Now don't be sad,
'Cause two out of three ain't bad.
-Meat Loaf, Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

During World War III, we were able to save Russia and China, but we couldn't save the United States. Oh well, two out of three ain't bad!

There are three things you should know about this page:
  1. This is a Stock Phrase often used in comedy.
  2. It is used for when there are three things that a character wanted and one or two of them didn't turn out the way they expected.
  3. This is TV Tropes Millionth Trope! Congratulations! You've won one gazillion dollars!

...

Okay, well, two out of three ain't bad.

Also, usually the one that went wrong was the most important one, e.g. "Well, he's Made of Iron all right, and he doesn't give up, but the controllable part... well, Two out of Three Ain't Bad."


Two Out of Three Examples Ain't Bad

Advertising
  • A community college course list once had an English course called "Writing For Fun And Profit ... Or One Out Of Two Isn't Bad".

Anime and Manga
  • Played with in the English Dub of Martian Successor Nadesico, when Ryoko reports that two members of her three-woman squad are accounted for, and even says the line. She is immediately countered by the missing Izumi (who ended up in the giant toolbox Ryoko was towing), who chimes in: "It is if you're the third!"

Film
  • Mars Attacks!: Shortly after Congress is blown up, the President (played by Jack Nicholson) reminds the American people that "we still got two outta three branches of the government workin' for us, and that ain't bad."
  • The tagline for the movie Made in America:
    She wanted a sperm donor who was tall, black, and handsome. One out of three ain't bad. (She got Ted Danson.)

Literature
  • Good Omens: the main female character finds out that the man she was fated to fall in love with, whom she hoped would be the proverbial "tall, dark and handsome" guy, is in fact only tall and dark. She tells herself, "Two out of three isn't bad."
  • Soul Music had the gag about Sex, Drugs and Music with Rocks In. "I haven't had sex." "My dad would kill me if I did drugs." "Well, one out of three ain't bad."
  • In Spock's World, a Vulcan asks if Kirk is ready for the referendum about secession. Kirk responds, "Ready, willing and able." McCoy comments, "At least two out of three ain't bad."

Live-Action TV
  • In The George Lopez Show, this is used when George finds out that Benny lied to him, and his dad is actually alive.
    George "I just want a muffin, some coffee, to know why you never told me my dad was alive."
    Benny [tosses him a muffin] "Here. One outta three ain't bad."
  • In the Gilligan's Island episode "The Hunter", the Castaways are trying to reassure themselves that Gilligan will escape from the eponymous character.
    Skipper: He'll never catch him. My little buddy is too fast.
    Mr. Howell: And cunning.
    Professor: And shifty.
    Skipper: And smart!
    Mr. Howell: Three out of four, that's not bad.
  • Darren Stevens from Bewitched once said this after noting that while his mother-in-law hates him, his wife and daughter love him very much.
  • Subverted in Queer as Folk, when Lindsay tells the others that her childhood dream was to fall in love, get married and have a baby. When Michael says that two out of three isn't bad, Lindsay says that three out of three is even better, since she and Melanie have decided to get married.

Music

Radio
  • NPR's This American Life once followed a Jewish advertiser who was working with a Muslim client. The client, in idle political conversation with the ad-man, quoted a prophecy that said "there will never be peace within Islam until Islam rules over the three holy cities of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem". The advertiser responded "Two out of three ain't bad".

Sport
  • In 2003, Australian Rules Football team the Brisbane Lions were going for their third consecutive premiership. At the Grand Final Breakfast, when Lions coach Leigh Matthews was introduced, they played Meat Loaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad". The Lions won.
  • In 2011, FC Barcelona lost the Copa del Rey to arch-rival Real Madrid, but then they won both the Spanish League and the UEFA Champions League, defeating Real in both competitions. Needless to say, Barcelona's fans were very satisfied by these results.

Web Animation
  • Ultra Fast Pony: "Rocks, Clocks, and Two Stupid Ponies":
    Rainbow Dash: Aw dammit! I really wish my wings weren't broken right now. [Her wings magically heal.] Like, omigosh! My wish came true! I really wish someone out there loved me! [Chirping Crickets] Eh. One out of two ain't bad.

Webcomics

Western Animation
  • A witch tried to turn Scooby-Doo, Scrappy and Shaggy into frogs. Shaggy was the only one she hit and the witch invoked the trope to show how satisfied she was for having at least one frog.
  • A Garfield and Friends episode had Jon complaining about food prices. Garfield stated Jon would rant about how life at farm used to be cheaper because his family cultivated their own food there. Jon proved him right. Garfield then said Jon would suggest growing their own food in their yard and Jon (again) proved him right. Garfield stated Jon would then forget it all. One Gilligan Cut later revealed them working at the yard and Garfield stating two out of three wasn't bad.
  • One Gumby short had Prickle and Goo getting the names of the presidents on Mt. Rushmore.
    Goo: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Bear.
    Prickle: Well, three out of four's not bad.

Other
  • "Good. Fast. Cheap. — Pick any two."
  • Another "pick any two": "Good grades. Enough sleep. A social life."
    • Although for most students, it's more like one out of two.
  • Rule of thumb for warship design: "Speed, Armor, Firepower". Notwithstanding Game Breaker tech advancements that screw up the play balancing, such as torpedoes.
    • The same thing goes for tanks.
  • An old joke (generally seen on t-shirts and bumper stickers) plays with this: "Filthy Stinking Rich? Well, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."

Duo TropesNumber TropesRule of Three
Turn Your Head and CoughStock PhrasesTwo Words: Obvious Trope
'TV Tropes"? More like "TV Quotes"!Self-Demonstrating ArticleTwo Worlds
Two Faced AsideComedy TropesTwo Rights Make A Wrong

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