Voodoo Shark

Zoidberg: (underwater) My home, it burned down! How did this happen!?
Hermes: That's a very good question!
Bender: (picking up his still-lit cigar from the underwater ruins) So that's where I left my cigar. (puffs on it, blows a smoke ring)
Hermes: That just raises further questions!

The writers catch a particularly bad Plot Hole, but they leave it in because it is still critical to the story. The Voodoo Shark is an attempt to Handwave it rather than disrupt the story — except the Hand Wave itself is a Plot Hole. It might even make the initial Plot Hole bigger.

Coined by Chuck Sonnenberg, the term refers to the novelization of Jaws: The Revenge where the eponymous shark seeks out and attacks the living relatives and friends of Martin Brody, following them all the way to the Bahamas. A voodoo curse had been placed on Martin and his family to explain how a shark understands the concept of revenge and how it's able to keep finding these people. What makes it the trope namer is that the writer doesn't bother to answer the question of why the voodoo curse was made in the first place, or any of the other countless questions that come to mind.

Similar to Dork Age but specific to an episode's plot device. Compare to Author's Saving Throw in that not only is it on a plot device level, and that the creative staff is able to catch it before the final product ever leaves for production, but also in that it tends to fail miserably. Compare also to Justified Trope, except a Voodoo Shark moment requires the justification to fall flat, inadequately justify, or otherwise simply fail so that suspension of disbelief remains lost. Also compare to It Runs on Nonsensoleum, in which an explanation like this is played for laughs instead of presented straight. Dan Browned can be considered similar, in that specific knowledge about the subject at hand causes the hand wave or attempt to justify the trope to fall apart.

Not necessarily related to Jumping the Shark or Hollywood Voodoo. Compare Scully Syndrome, where a character in-universe will concoct ridiculous explanations for things, and Unscientific Science, which similarly attempts to spackle over questionable science and technology the same way the Voodoo Shark does for plot points.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The protagonist of Arachnid wields a knife attached to a pistol with spider thread that never runs out and that she can control with her mind. About six chapters before the end of the series, a flashback half-explains that it can do all that because it is a Living Weapon. No word of how it even got made or where it came from, it just exists. This is after several other instances of flimsy explained sci-fi, paranormal and mutant quirks on everyone else ("steel-plated heart", for one), though, so readers were long under the MST3K Mantra by then.
    • In the beginning Alice's master, Kumo, forced her into a Duel to the Death. She wins, but is left homeless and with assassins targetting her after she refuses to work for them. Midway through the series, it is shown Kumo had actually hired a fellow assassin, Kabutomushi, to take care of Alice after his death. Despite being a selfish woman, she made a point of honoring his request due to how he genuinely trusted her. The problem here is that Kabutomushi takes several weeks to go meet Alice, for no explained reasons. The author actually jokes about this plot hole in one omake.
  • Mai-Otome attempts to Handwave the Virgin Power of Otome by explaining that a chemical in sperm destroys the nanomachines that are injected into an Otome's body to give her her powers. This raises a couple problems:
    • What about prophylactics? Has no one in this universe ever heard of a condom? Especially since the series is implied to have occurred in a Lost Colony of Earth, meaning that they somehow retained knowledge of advanced robotics, but not birth control, which real life people have used for hundreds if not thousands of years before modern technology? Even though condoms can break if used improperly, it's better than nothing!
    • Why does no one seem to think to weaponize this weakness? While rape is an obvious drawback to any Virgin Power (which the series itself references) it would be easier to isolate the chemical, slip it into food or drink and neutralize an enemy's Otome, but no one even discusses this.
    • The chemical can't possibly stick around in the body that long. Even if Otome are sworn to chastity while active, a lot of the stress caused by the premise could be solved if non-virgins were allowed to become Otome in the first place.
      • Hell, for that matter, why not just re-dose the nanomachines if they get knocked out?
    • There are several openly lesbian Otome seen during the series and no one seems to care about their presence since several are openly flirtatious with other women and Situational Sexuality is considered perfectly normal among the trainee Otome. In fact, two of the heads of the school are obviously an item and make no attempt to hide it. This raises the question: Why not exclusively recruit gay or asexual women which would solve two of the above problems?
  • In Death Note's second rewrite special, the mafia are cut and Mikami and Takada kill the SPK in their place, with Light's meetings with them moved to earlier than occurred in the manga. This fixes a plothole present in the original anime, wherein SPK member Ill Ratt is never revealed as a spy for Mello (providing no explanation for Mello's crew knowing their names and thus being able to kill them with the Death Note), but with the mafia plot's removal, another is created: Soichiro Yagami making the trade for Shinigami Eyes and his subsequent death are also omitted, leaving his absence and Light's knowledge of Mello's true name unexplained.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, the out-of-story reason why the main characters of Digimon Adventure are no longer able to digivolve to ultimate or mega is that they can't upstage the new kids. This was weakly patched by the kids claiming halfway through the season that they'd gone back to the Digital World at some point and released their inner crest powers, claiming it was necessary to create a barrier or shield to maintain the world's balance. And the other problem is that the series had already introduced a 9th crest, still with full power, so they didn't even have the power of all the crests. And the other other problem is that the world was already reborn with restored balance at the end of the first season. And the kid's crests were already destroyed....
    • It goes far deeper than that though, when this explanation didn't go over well, the writers tried for a different one: the crest powers were used to awaken and free the Harmonious Ones that were sealed away by the Dark Masters. Not only does this explanation have the same problems as the first one, it has a whole host of new ones. To wit: the Harmonious Ones were resealed almost immediately after they were freed, making the sacrifice of the crests essentially pointless. And once one Harmonious Ones is freed again, he does exactly two things (besides exposition): Creates more destiny stones (which wouldn't have been needed if the original kids could still evolve past champion, as they would have never been destroyed), and give the older kids the ability to evolve again (which is basically fixing a problem he created). In addition, they never mention seeking out the other three, nor do they ever mention them again. And despite being a supposedly super powerful god, he never attempts to actually help the kids fight anyone. And one would have to wonder how Physical God-tier digimon were all bested by the Dark Masters, who last season were thoroughly beaten by the Digidestined.
  • In Katanagatari, the magic swords that form the basis of the plot are eventually explained away as technology from the future, which a soothsayer imported using his (magical!) gift of foresight. A character explicitly says that this is the logical conclusion, because magic is impossible.
  • Dragonball GT: The Shadow Dragons were supposed to have been generated by overuse of the Dragonballs. They absorbed negative energy with every wish granted, but would release that energy gradually over time, something they couldn't do once Bulma's Dragon Radar made them easy to find and events of the show necessitated use far more frequent than intended. But then it's made clear this specifically applied to the use of Earth's Dragonballs. Earth's original Dragonballs went inert when Piccolo and Kami re-fused and the current ones were recreated by Dende from the originals, yet Dende didn't notice the negative energy when he remade them? Then there's the Neglectful Precursor factor of keeping such a major drawback to the Dragonballs' use a secret. For that matter, how did the Kais know about the Shadow Dragons, but the Namekians - the race who created the Dragonballs - apparently didn't?
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the manga villain "The Ventriloquist of the Dead" is replaced with "The Imatator of Death", who disguises himself as Seto Kaiba's ghost. In the uncut version, it's left ambiguous whether or not he's a Shape Shifter, or just a Master of Disguise. In the English dub by 4Kids Entertainment, this is explained by him actually being Kaiba, or rather, his evil side Pegasus freed from the Shadow Realm (while given the name of Ghost Kaiba). This raises several questions: Why was he sent to the Shadow Realm if he isn't even alive? How did he come to life? If Pegasus could just free him, Why couldn't he free Cecilia, since in this version she is also trapped in Shadow Realm? Why does his real form look nothing like Kaiba? Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series Parodied this by claiming the "Gay Clown" didn't really know who he was.

    Comic Books 
  • The leadup to DC's Infinite Crisis revealed that the pocket paradise which Alexander Luthor had created for himself, Superman-2 and Superboy-Prime at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths was actually more of a Phantom Zone, sealed off from the rest of reality by a crystal wall which showed all the DCU's events in real time. The crisis proper started when Superboy-Prime, disgusted by recent events, punched the wall in frustration, shattering it and freeing himself and the others to try creating a Merged Reality, whether it wanted remaking or not. This would have worked eminently well as an allegorical image, but Word of God stated that the wall was an actual physical representation of the DCU's timeline, and used the damage caused by Superboy's punch as a catch-all Handwave to explain away some of the event's less explainable facts, most notably "dead Robin" Jason Todd suddenly waking up in his grave and Maxwell Lord's completely-out-of-nowhere Face–Heel Turn. The fans were neither convinced nor amused, and "SUPERBOY PUNCHED TIME!" became something of a rallying cry.
    • Since then, the editorial staff seems to have realized its mistake, and has been at pains to re-retcon some of it. For example, lines from the Batman & Robin title strongly suggest that Todd's body was actually rejuvenated in a Lazarus Pit, which makes for a far more palatable explanation.
      • The single comic book issue devoted to explaining this stated that Jason Todd's mind was rejuvenated by a Lazarus Pit... after Superboy-Prime punched him back to life. Of course everything has since been retconned due to Flashpoint...or it was at least thought to be, until the announcement of "Convergence", suggesting the New 52 is it's own alternate timeline entirely.
  • The biggest Voodoo Sharks in The DCU might be some of the explanations of Clark Kenting. For a brief while in the Bronze Age, it was canon that Superman's nearly Paper-Thin Disguise worked despite all the close calls because he also had a "super-hypnosis" power that prevented anyone from noticing Clark Kent's resemblance to Superman. This depended on his glasses, which were made out of pieces of his Kryptonian spaceship; in one comic Lois Lane saw Clark Kent in a suit and no glasses and assumed it was Superman trying futilely to disguise himself as Clark. Fine, fair enough, Superman does lots of things superhumanly well due to his speed and intellect and they're all called separate superpowers. But this just raises more questions, like why does a wig work as a disguise for Supergirl? Or, why does this disguise work over television? Or, there are many stories where Batman and Superman dress as each other. Does Batman have Bat-hypnosis?
    • The current (and much more rational) explanation is that when he is Clark Kent, Superman acts completely differently; timid, slumped, and so completely unlike Superman no one would ever relate the two, writing off any similarities in appearance as a coincidence and nothing more. This also makes Batman disguising himself as Clark easier to accept. Bruce Wayne is a master of disguise and he and Clark already look a lot alike. With a little makeup, Bruce could easily make himself look like Kent. There's also the later post-Crisis component of the explanation: Why does anyone assume that Superman has a secret identity?
    • Also, everyone has figured out that Superman and Clark Kent look alike, because (thanks to shape-shifting friends, robotic duplicates, etc), they've seen them together a few times. This isn't treated as anything more than a joke that pathetic Clark Kent has almost the same face as Superman.
    • In All-Star Superman, Lex Luthor makes a few (surprisingly friendly and playful—he likes Clark Kent, ironically enough, even as he despises Superman) jabs at Clark's weight, suggesting he also makes his muscular barrel build look more like just plain fat.
      • In JLA #50, Clark and Bruce both revealed their secret identities to the League as a sign of trust. Kyle's response:
        "He doesn't... wear a mask. I never even... thought he had a... day job."
  • When talking about What Could Have Been with his run on the Sonic the Hedgehog comic, several of former writer Ken Penders' explanations for the events in "Mobius: 25 Years Later" come off as this. A few examples:
    • Locke's sickness and death was due to cancer he developed from a bad interaction with this self-experimentation (to create Knuckles) and the Master Emerald. (If that's so, why isn't Knuckles affected, even though he resulted from those same experiments?)
    • Rotor's Word of Gay reveal would not have impacted his modern-day depiction, because he would've only realized it five years prior to the events of "M:25YL", after he was married to a female. (Ignoring the fact that having him only be gay in the future means nothing to the readers, while it is possible for people to realize they're gay after they're in a heterosexual relationship, having him find out that late after what's implied to be a long and fulfilling marriage strains credibility.)
    • "M:25YL" is supposed to be the "true" future, and the one where NICOLE came from. (First of all, the story was built around time needing to be "fixed" to prevent The End of the World as We Know It, and Ken's run ended with Sonic going back in time to do just that. No way you can claim it to be the one true future, in that case. Second, unless Past!Nicole was destroyed before the story happened (which Word of God claims is not the case), both Nicoles should exist at the same time, and thus they should have the info they need from Past!Nicole to figure out what happened and how to fix it, something the story claims they don't. Or maybe it's a case of Never the Selves Shall Meet, but still. It was later Retconed that Nicoles comes from the same Zone Eggman came from, but that is neither here nor there.
    • In Ian Flynn's follow-up, it was mandated that Shadow be the Big Bad, having conquered the world in Sonic's absence. The reason Shadow was able to do this already confused many, since we never got any explanation on Sonics disappearance or subsequent reappearance other than time travel, but they were mostly wondering why a darker yet still heroic rival to the hero was suddenly a tyrant who united Mobius under the Acorn flag. The explanation was given in the OTHER follow-up, Mobius: 30 years later, that he was doing it for Maria. This made just as little if not less sense. How would he consider "protect all life on earth" as "conquer and rule as king"? At least SA2 established that he had Fake Memories.
    • Speaking of which, it was established that Sally married Shadow in this universe too. When he is defeated, it is revealed that she still loved Sonic, and only married Shadow to try and tame him. Why she would consider giving the tyrant a connection to the royal family and how she thought taming him would work is anyone's guess.
    • When the BEM De-robictized everyone, they left a select few untouched. Most of them made sense (Jules would die if he was to do that, the Dragons weren't on the surface when it happened) Bunnie's explanation on the other hand... didn't. The repeat the same 'She replaced her old limbs' Handwave from way back, but before all this they undid Eggman and Sniveley's roboticization, and they had new bodies.
      • Speaking of the BEM, the location of Tails's parents? They were abducted by them. Yes, it's random. No, they had little reason too. And before you ask, all the impact it had on them? They nearly cause a civil war and they certainly reform the kingdom, but they never mention it again besides that.
      • Hell, the deroboticization itself is this. How are the BEM able to do that in such a way that it not only immunizes everyone affected from rerobiticizaion, it also immunizes people who weren't affected in the first place?
  • The Spider-Man franchise has had its share of Voodoo Sharks, and the explanation given for Aunt May's return from the dead in late 1998's "The Gathering of Five/The Final Chapter" storyline deserves a mention here. For easier reading, we'll list the sequence of events leading up to the Voodoo Shark moment in numbered order.
    1. Aunt May was in a coma. She awoke, eventually, and shared many anecdotes and heartwarming moments with Peter and Mary Jane, and congratulated Mary Jane on her pregnancy. She even admitted that she had known that Peter was Spider-Man for some time, because Peter couldn't have lived under her roof for so long without her at least seeing the signs. She was in denial for quite a while.
    2. In Amazing Spider-Man #400, Aunt May suffered a relapse, and passed away peacefully in bed. Peter held her hand as she passed away, reciting their favorite passage from Peter Pan. To many fans, this was an exceptionally well-done Tear Jerker moment.
    3. All was well until Marvel Editor in Chief Bob Harras insisted that Aunt May be brought back from the dead. It didn't matter that Aunt May's death was handled (in the eyes of many) beautifully and realistically, it didn't matter how much of a Tear Jerker it was. And it didn't matter that there was a funeral, and the characters and the books had moved on. Harras was the boss, and his word was law.
    4. So here we come to the Voodoo Shark moment. In 1998's "The Final Chapter", Spider-Man enters Norman Osborn's house in search of his missing child, only to find Aunt May alive and well waiting for him. Norman Osborn explains that he switched Aunt May with an actress engineered to be identical to Aunt May, who spent a long time practicing her mannerisms until they were identical. And that it was THIS actress who died in ASM #400, meaning Peter (and the readers) cried over a complete stranger.
    5. This leads to several questions. For one, how could this actress be SO good as to fool Peter Parker? Aunt May was practically his mother. They lived under the same roof together, and Peter would have KNOWN something was wrong even if his spider-sense didn't give anything away. Secondly, just WHEN was this "switch" made? How could this actress have practiced Aunt May's mannerisms, and become so good, when the real Aunt May was in a coma? Third, why in the world would this actress stay in character even on her deathbed! It makes absolutely no sense! The books, of course, never provided any answers for these and just moved on from there without addressing it any further, forcing any dissatisfied readers to pick up the slack themselves.
    • Also in One Moment in Time, Quesada claims that One More Day was retconned out of continuity and Mephisto never made a deal with the Parkers — so he never saved Aunt May; she got better thanks to Peter's love and determination. Really, Joe? After everyone up to God himself told Pete that she's as good as passed on, no more, ceased to be, pining for the fjords...
      • Similarly, when Aunt May gets shot, the comic decides to fill the plot hole of Peter having doctor friends (and enemies who like making deals) that could heal Aunt May by having Doctor Strange give Peter the power to be in all places at once, allowing Peter to ask everyone for help, but is unable to get any assistance. This leads to an insane plot hole: how can NO ONE IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE fix a bullet wound other than Mephisto when Doctor Strange can grant Peter omnipresence?!
    • Mention must also be made of the return of the clones to kick off The Clone Saga:
      1. In 1992, during the Evolutionary War Crisis Crossover, The High Evolutionary kidnapped the Gwen Stacy clone, hoping to figure out how her creator, an otherwise ordinary college biology professor, could pull off a scientific miracle like making virtually-instant, viable, fully-grown clones.
      2. He discovered that Prof. Warren didn't, in fact, clone Stacy or Spider-Man: He used a retro-virus on two innocents with similar phenotypes to Peter and Gwen and used it to overwrite their DNA and turn them into virtual clones. This is pretty much confirmed when one of the Young Gods (an obscure group of uplifted humans from different cultures and time periods Marvel attempted to resurrect) removed the virus from the Stacy clone, turning her back into the woman she used to be. No more Gwen Stacy.note  A later issue of Web of Spider Man explains that recurring villain Carrion was the result of a variant of the virus that went bad, becoming The Virus.
      3. Along comes the Clone Saga, where all that gets tossed out the window. Not only are the clones back (including the presumed dead Spider-Clone), but the Gwen Stacy clone has reverted to being Stacy again, and complaining about how that Young God tried to turn her into someone else. How? The High Evolutionary lied about the retro-virus out of jealousy. Turns out he and Miles Warren (AKA The Jackal) were colleagues, once upon a time, and he couldn't stand the fact that Warren figured out the holy grail of biology when he, with all his other accomplishments, couldn't.
      4. So... Why didn't he just admit defeat at first? He'd never shown that kind of Dr. Doom-like ego before. Or why didn't he study Gwen longer to try cracking the code? And why would the Young Gods go along with the lie? And how could she revert to the Stacy clone if there were no virus? Oh, and to muddy the waters further, the "Carrion as The Virus" retcon was kept, explaining that the retro-virus was real, just a side project of Warren's.
    • Speaking of the Clone Saga, it turns out that Peter was the clone and Ben the original. A ballsy move, and one the writers eventually decided to undo by explaining that the genetic tests had been rigged... somehow... even though Peter and Ben did the tests themselves. The rigging was done by a friend of Peter's, who turned out to be, with no plausible motive, working for the long-dead Norman Osborn, who was alive with no satisfactory explanation given. The whole thing just degenerated into a mess of Voodoo Sharks. Of course ignoring the obvious solution is that the labels just got mixed up.
  • In IDW's Transformers reboot comics, Simon Furman felt that there should be some kind of explanation as to how the whole gender thing worked for the Transformers. The explanation given (Arcee was formerly "male", until Jhiaxus genetically modified her to have female gender) comes off as a little strange, raises massive Fridge Logic issues concerning the Transformers portrayal as living beings, and inadvertently causes some serious Unfortunate Implications. Ultimately it seems that the only impact this explanation had on the IDW-verse as a whole was preventing all the female Transformers other than Arcee from appearing, leading to later writers more or less providing an "out" to excuse natural female Transformers and than quietly ignoring the Arcee explanation. Not to mention it didn't delve into how reproduction works for Transformers, something that is directly linked to the whole gender issue, forcing a later writer to work it out.
  • The Mickey Mouse comic "Topolino e il mostro di Micetown". Basically: near the end of the story, the villain has used his transformation machine to turn into a duplicate of Mickey. Due to the way the transformation process works, the villain will change back within a few seconds, at which point the original Mickey will be disintegrated. However, the transformation machine then simply explodes for no reason, which saves Mickey. He later tries to explain that the machine became "confused" because he and the villain looked exactly alike, which is an explanation that makes no sense in any way (for one, the machine's express purpose is to make two things look exactly alike, so why doesn't it explode with every use?).
  • Captain America:
    • Captain America's shield is described as being made of Vibranium, a material that's said to absorb all kinetic energy from impacts. If that were the case, it raises a host of physics problems: bullets should stop dead rather than ricochet off it, it shouldn't be able to actually hurt people by bashing them with it, and most damningly, it shouldn't be able to be moved at all, since moving an object imparts kinetic energy to it. That's fine; they've retconned the shield to be a vibranium/adamantium alloy rather than pure vibranium (the alloy being created via an unrepeatable accident). But then, how was the shield crafted in the first place, if the alloy would absorb and/or deflect any energies directed towards it?
    • Captain America's shield, after being broken to pieces in Fear Itself, is repaired by Tony Stark, adding the Asgardian metal Uru. This doesn't explain why a broken and repaired shield, with the addition of a metal known for its heaviness, would function just as well aerodynamically as before, not showing any change in weight when carried or thrown, especially if this is unenchanted Uru. If the Uru is enchanted, because Tony Stark just knows how to work enchantments into it, then why leave the shield as it is without adding flying and laser beams?
    • Captain America was famously frozen near the end of World War 2 after falling into the Atlantic Ocean, and was found decades later after Namor accidentally freed his body from a block of ice. This falls under Artistic License – Biology, with the Handwaved explanation that the Super Serum in Cap's veins prevented him from freezing to death or drowning. John Ney Reiber and Chuck Austen apparently thought this was too unbelievable, and instead came up with a story revealing that Cap never fell into the ocean, and that he'd actually been put into cryogenic stasis by the government after being given Fake Memories from a virtual reality helmet. Rather than being found when the Sub-Mariner came across an Inuit tribe that was worshiping his body, he was instead found when Namor stumbled upon the abandoned lab where his stasis tube was being held. So apparently, the science behind the Super Serum allowing Cap to survive freezing temperatures was too far fetched, but the government having access to the advanced virtual technology required to recreate realistic fake memories in 1945 somehow wasn't? It also raises the question of why the government left Cap to rot in a derelict lab somewhere to begin with, when they clearly thought he was a valuable enough asset to warrant being kept alive and frozen in the first place.
  • Marvel again: The retcon that adamantium caused lead-like blood poisoning. Given adamantium's stated properties, its allergenic properties should be more like surgical steel than lead (i.e. should not cause a universal reaction). It was stated that Wolverine and Sabretooth's healing factors could deal with the blood poisoning. It was assumed that adamantium-bearing bad guys Lady Deathstrike and Cyber, being cyborgs, had some sort of artificial mojo to deal with it. Which left the otherwise normal Bullseye, who had adamantium-laced bones, and had neither a healing factor nor cyborg parts to explain why he hadn't keeled over with blood poisoning. Rather than answer the question, they eventually stripped the adamantium from Bullseye.
    • According to Daredevil #197, the process that was performed on Wolverine was done using incomplete notes, hence forcing a need for Wolverine's healing factor to keep him alive, while Bullseye's process was done by the originator of the method, which did it 'properly' and hence Bullseye does not need a healing factor. What keeps this in Voodoo Shark territory is that the process was performed to let Bullseye move again after he suffered a severe spinal injury that paralyzed him, and if they removed the adamanium, HOW DID BULLSEYE SUDDENLY MAGICALLY HEAL HIS BROKEN BACK?
    • Secondary VS: Adamantium is very heavy (Wolverine is 5' 2" and 300+ lbs with adamantium attached.) How was the otherwise un-enhanced Bullseye able to move at his normal speed after receiving the treatment?
  • JLA: Act of God: Every explanation or handwave as to why this group of heroes was affected by The Black Wave or where this group went just generated more questions (without really answering the first one). The technological heroes are still active, so why did Kyle Rayner's Green Lantern ring and Ray Palmer's Atom shrinking rig stop working? Why did the Black Wave effect heroes of extra-normal origin (like Superman, Aquaman or Martian Manhunter), since they had no metagene to neutralize? The magic heroes suddenly vanished. So why is Wonder Woman still around, since she's basically animated by the power of the Greek Gods?
  • There was a time where writers kept trying to explain the famously fan-service laden Power Girl costume. The resultant explanations were almost invariably absurd, the most infamous being the claim that she left the "boob window" on her outfit with the intention of putting a Superman logo there once she got his permission (if it was such a big deal, why not just put some normal cloth there and patch the logo over it later?). The worst part about is the completely unnecessary nature of the answer; Power Girl could just like the costume design.

    Fan Fiction 
  • My Immortal's author's notes often "explain" plot holes with bizarre nonsense. Particularly amusing is Tara apparently being under the impression that Snape hating Harry is a deviation from canon and explaining it thus: "da reson snap dosent lik harry now is coz hes christian and vampire is a satanist". Of course, Snape does hate Harry in the actual series and there was already a canon (and completely reasonable) explanation.
  • In The Prayer Warriors, Jerry suddenly learns about the presence of a traitor in the Prayer Warriors during his first fight with Percy Jackson, but doesn't know who it is. It is later revealed that God told Jerry this in a parenthetical note, but not only is it said to have taken place before Percy's attack, God never mentioned the identity of the traitor.
    • Later on, Grover's multiple deaths and returns (he is killed three times in "The Evil Gods Part I" alone) are said to be because he is often being cloned. No such explanation is given for all the other characters who died and came back multiple times.
  • According to Word of God, The Conversion Bureau was written not because of any misanthropy on the author's part, but merely to explain why there are no humans in Equestria. However, the first chapter explains that Equestria only appeared on Earth shortly before the story began, meaning that Equestria was originally located in a parallel universe, meaning that there is already a perfectly good explanation for the lack of humans, thus making the entire story pointless.
  • For an In-Universe example, the Lemony Narrator of Equestria: A History Revealed often heavily relies on this trope to justify her insane conspiracy theories. Given that they often rely on tremendous leaps in logic, it is very frequently used to explain things. She even has some kind of self-awareness, often pointing out the glaring plot holes before handwaving it off with something even more questionable.
    • In one of the chapters, to explain the question of Starswirl's place in the timeline, as he was recorded to live in two different time periods centuries apart, she says that Starswirl had a son, also named Starswirl the Bearded. But then this is complicated by the fact that she brings up that Starswirl specifically said he was infertile. So instead, through complex time travel maneuvers, the narrator handwaves the problem away by saying Starswirl traveled back in time to create a time clone of himself who he then adopted as his son. She then ends the chapter by saying that this is a totally reasonable explanation and not to question it before moving on.
  • Many FiM fanfictions, dissatisfied with the apparently geocentric model of Equestria, try to explain Celestia and Luna's powers with "more realistic" scenarios, such as them actually rotating the planet with their powers rather than moving the sun and moon. Invariably this causes epic levels of Fridge Logic to kick in as the reader realizes that it would involve ridiculous levels of God Mode power, cause epic worldwide catastrophes every time the sun was raised, or violates show canon all up and down the line— and usually all three.
  • The Nuptialverse has a self-admitted example: In a flashback, Twilight explains to Spike that it's impossible for ponies to shape shift anything. This was meant to explain away why it never occurred to Twilight that the Cadence who didn't recognize her was an impostor and why the shape shifting was a uniquely changeling trait. However, it was pointed out that Twilight has shape shifted several things in the show proper. The author has since rewritten it to state that shape shifting one sapient being to another takes a load of magic, more than many can use, making it impractical for a pony to disguise herself as such.
  • In Boys Und Senshado, it is stated that sensha-do uses simuniton (which comes up as the reason why Miho survived getting directly hit by a round), since it's dangerous enough without live ammunition, but this does not match some of the effects the tank rounds have when striking things other than tanks.
  • While the rewrite of Sonic X: Dark Chaos does a great job of filling the numerous plot holes in the original, a few explanations do fit this trope.
    • If Tsali is so powerful, why didn't he just kill Sonic and his friends in the very first chapter? It's because Maledict was monitoring him and ordering him not to. But this turns into a plot hole because Tsali can still resist and defy Maledict - which exactly what he does later as they animosity between them grows. Downplayed later on, as it's revealed that Tsali is terrified of pissing off Satan (and for good reason) and when he ignores Maledict and decides to attack the Blue Typhoon in Episode 73, he fully expects to be harshly punished for it... but he decides killing Cosmo and Sonic is worth it and doesn't care anymore.
    • Exposure to Dark Chaos Energy is established to be able to rapidly evolve Shroud parasites. Despite this, during his fight with Dark Tails in Episode 69, Tails does not lose control and mutate into Shroud Tails. This is explained later on - Tails has to directly absorb Dark Chaos Energy to mutate. However, this doesn't explain his first mutation in Episode 67... when he wasn't exposed to any energy at all. This is handwaved later on that the transformation in Episode 67 was an angry "spasm" rather than a full evolution, but it's not much better.
  • In Transplanted Character Fic Tales of Attornia, chapter 8, Phoenix gets attacked by a dragon and Maya enters Super Mode to protect Phoenix and effortlesly kills the dragon. When asked why she didn't use it earlier when Phoenix was trying to hunt her down she claims that overusing her Super Mode can kill her. What makes this Handwave fail is that in battle in questione Maya was completely screwed and she knew it. Phoenix had her already defeated, ready to kill her, and the only reason she's alive was that she accidentally mentioned Mia, who was her sister and Phoenix's mentor, and because of that Phoenix changed his plans to take her alive instead. until that point it was basically a choice between certain death and possible death, and Maya chosing the former comes across as Too Dumb to Live.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Felix the Cat: The Movie, The Duke of Zill, the ruler of an alternate dimension Felix travels into, based his giant Master Cylinder off of the one in Felix's dimension to serve as his ultimate weapon and the source of power for his mass produced cylinder army. The movies tries to Hand Wave it by showing the Duke's blueprints, which have a comparison chart between the main universe Master Cylinder and Zill's take on him, but this opens up a big Plot Hole—the Duke didn't have access to the Dimensporter technology that allowed Felix to travel into the dimension, so how could he have possibly known about or seen the Master Cylinder in Felix's universe?
  • In The Care Bears Movie, despite none of the Care Bears showing interest in exploring the local river, they still had a fully-operational boat on standby. The sequel gives the boat a proper backstory... but said scene brings up so many plot holes and retcons that it seems like an entirely accidental use of this trope, the sequel possibly intended to be a reboot.
  • The Nostalgia Critic complains in his Quest for Camelot review about trees and plants in a forest becoming animate during a musical number. During one of his "Fuck-Ups" videos, he says that a frequent user response was that the forest was enchanted. He points out that this just raises more questions. He also points out that some of the movie's other "explanations" (like Ruber getting the potion from some unseen witches who are only mentioned once) fall into this trope.
  • The Unshaved Mouse refers to Pocahontas suddenly being able to communicate in English with John Smith after listening to the wind with this exact term linked to this very page. He did it again in his Atlantis: The Lost Empire review, when he called out on the movie's explanation of the Atlanteans' ability to speak surface languages as Atlantean is the root of every modern language, which means they can automatically speak English. If you don't know why this is complete bullshit, consider the fact that even Old English is nothing like the modern language, and knowing one will not help you understand the other.
  • Despicable Me heavily implies (but never outright states) that Gru created the Minions, since we see a "blueprint" of a Minion in the background of a shot of Gru's lab. However, when it came time to do a spinoff featuring the Minions, that was understandably too restrictive, so the Minions instead became creatures that existed since the dawn of time to serve evil. Of course, that leads to some very awkward questions - not least, did Hitler have Minions? So instead, the Minions became depressed after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and hid in a cave for 150 years, conveniently avoiding the horrors of the 19th and 20th centuries until they pop out... er, at the height of the Cold War. An awkward handwave to deal with an awkward handwave, but probably better than the alternative.
    • Another Voodoo Shark is that the Minions movie mentions the minions always follow the most evil creature they can. As Gru suffers heavy In-Universe Villain Decay starting from the first movie and only getting exacerbated in the second (at least in the first movie he was trying to commit an act of supervillainy; in the second he's actively working against villains), it makes one wonder why the minions bother to keep following him at all instead of changing their allegiance to another, more competent villain.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Trope Namer is the infamously-horrible sequel Jaws: The Revenge, or more specifically, the novelization. That book claims the repeated shark attacks are a result of Michael being cursed by a voodoo priest, who apparently had a "score to settle". It really doesn't help to make the events of the film any less confusing.
  • Star Wars: The prequels created one in the form of force ghosts. With the original trilogy, it was assumed that all Jedi (or at least sufficiently powerful ones) became "one with The Force" when they died. Then along comes Revenge of the Sith saying the Force Ghost thing was a technique Qui-Gon Jin discovered and taught to Yoda, who taught it to Obi-Wan. So then... How did Vader/Anakin learn it? (The obvious answer, that Obi-Wan taught it to him, runs into the problem that by the time he'd learned about it himself, Anakin was already his enemy.) And why didn't Qui-Gon or Yoda teach this technique to any other Master? For that matter why wouldn't Qui-Gon appear before his friend and Padawan, Obi-Wan?note  Various supplemental attempts at an Author's Saving Throw have been contradictory: A cut scene from Revenge of the Sith says it takes dying in a selfless act to reach the other side, but then how does that explain Yoda, who died of natural causes? Lucas himself said that Obi-Wan and Yoda helped Vader/Anakin to become a ghost and that becoming a force ghost was a lost art used by ancient Jedi. So where were the ancient force ghosts? The EU had assumed Force Ghosts were pretty standard, so when this revelation appeared, this caused a lot of confusion.
    • The Thrawn Trilogy explains this in the opening chapters, that force ghosts are not eternal. Early in the first book, Obi-wan contacts Luke in his sleep, saying that he's drifted too far to the Other Side, and that he cannot help Luke anymore. He then moves on to whatever the Star Wars afterlife is, leaving Luke on his own. It still doesn't explain how Sith became force ghosts, or why other force ghosts got to stick around for thousands of years where as Obi-wan only got a decade or so. At the very least, it's easy to imagine an explanation for such things. (The amount of influence a ghost exerts on the mortal world might be a factor, as some suggest. Obi-wan guided Luke often and even possessed him at one point; but long-dead Sith like Exar Kun and Naga Sadow were dormant in their tombs for millennia.)
      • Other SWEU material makes it clear that Sith don't use the true Force Ghost ability, but a Dark Side ability know as "Transfer Essence". The Sith spirits you see are bound to places or items (Freedon Nadd's tomb, the Muur Talisman, the Massassi temples for Exar Kun) and cannot roam freely as Force Ghosts could.
  • In the film serial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, the heroes befriend a tribe of rock creatures on the planet Mongo. Professor Zarkoff happens to know their language. How? Because the aliens colonized part of Earth, but died out there, while their counterparts who stayed on Mongo degenerated into superstitious primitives. But before the rock creatures died out on Earth, a tribe in Central America adopted their language. That tribe also died out, but Zarkoff happened to study their written records (we can only guess how the pronunciations are known, and how it could be translated at all). After the professor gives this explanation, no aspect of it is ever mentioned again.
  • The visions in Final Destination, that mess with Death's plans, are caused by Death. Death screws with his own plans and has to correct them, because of what he did. That's not You Can't Fight Fate. That's fate being an idiot, or a Jerkass that likes screwing with people for no reason. Either way, it makes the plot of the movies seem kind of pointless. This was later retconned at the end of Final Destination 4, which reveals that it was all part of the plan. And yes, probably with some For the Evulz thrown in for good measure.
  • The Room ends with a character "dramatically" shooting himself. However, the film decides we need to know where the gun came from, so to explain this, an earlier scene is added where an armed dealer known as Chris-R confronts young orphan Denny about some sort of drug deal, and gets tackled by Johnny and Mark. The logical problems with this?
    1. Apart from this never being mentioned again, and the sheer convenience that the entire group decided to go to the roof at just the right time, Denny claims he needed the money. He has a millionaire banker paying for his every whim and still he needed to go to a petty thug for money?
    2. Then when asked about this man, Denny says "Calm down, he's going to jail!" So... the police arrested him but didn't take his gun for evidence?
    3. Mark is the one who takes the gun. Even if we accept the not using the gun as evidence, are we supposed to believe that Mark simply gave the gun to Johnny?
    4. And to make it even worse, the gun Johnny has at the end of the movie isn't even the same kind Mark took from Chris.
    5. To make things even more confusing, The Disaster Artist reveals that Wiseau had originally intended Chris-R's gun to go flying off the roof. So where the hell did he intend for it to go then?
    6. The whole explanation is totally unnecessary. After all, couldn't there just have been a scene showing Johnny buying the gun or using the gun in some way, given Johnny's presumed legal right to own one?
  • Highlander:
    • Highlander II: The Quickening decided that the Immortals were actually a race of alien political exiles, which raises the question: when Christopher Lambert asked Sean Connery why certain people are immortal, what was all that "why does the sun rise in the east" crap? And this even goes back to the holy ground thing. Why would aliens care about human religions? Also, if the Big Bad is worried about being overthrown, why doesn't he move his base of operations to Earth where he would be immortal while banishing any upstarts to places where they wouldn't be? Or better yet, why would you give political exiles the chance to obtain the "Prize," I.E. the chance to become a GOD? The alien explanation was quickly retconned. The retcon still raises the question of why the villain, being able to see into the future, wouldn't realize that Connor posed no threat to him (but that realization would prevent the entire movie from happening in the first place). Later installments just ignore the movie outright.
    • In Highlander: Endgame a group of Immortals live in voluntary stasis in the "Sanctuary," which is located in a large cathedral, but they are murdered by an immortal named Kell. In the original theatrical version, the Sanctuary is referred to as being holy ground, but this annoyed fans of the series since it had been established that Immortals are not allowed to kill one another on holy ground. This rule was even followed by every villain, no matter how evil. So the line was excised from the DVD version. But putting aside the fact that it's in a cathedral, the Sanctuary not being holy ground is just as nonsensical when you stop and wonder why a bunch of Immortals opted to be put into voluntary stasis in a place where they'd be vulnerable. Or why the renegade Watchers would establish the Sanctuary on a place that was not Holy Ground. Their goal was to prevent The Prize from being won, ergo they didn't want the immortals there losing their heads any more than the immortals themselves...
  • While this trope almost always creates a schism between creators and their fans, the famous "watermelon scene" from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is a rare case of it playing out in total good humor. The scene is never mentioned again, and was actually only put in as a Writer Revolt against some of the restrictions placed on the production by its studio liaison, who vocally hated the project. When fans pressed for the promised explanation, Word of God said that the Banzai Institute was developing products that could be airdropped fresh into African villages or other such impoverished, politically volatile areas. It was soon pointed out that any fruit or vegetable that could survive impact would have to be so dense that it would be rendered inedible, Word of God responded (in mock exasperation), "Look, what do you want from me?!"
  • In Halloween: Resurrection, we find out a man Laurie decapitated at the end of Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later wasn't Michael, but a paramedic he switched clothes with. That doesn't explain why Michael would want to switch clothes in the first place or why "the paramedic" was clearly trying to attack Laurie.
  • The Transformers Film Series has its justification for still having a Masquerade in the second movie: military combat robots went rogue and trashed a major city. Why the government would think "Yes, we not only spent trillions of dollars building giant robots with sophisticated combat AI, concealing this information from taxpayers, but we are so staggeringly incompetent that they not only malfunctioned and started killing people, but when they did we had no way to stop them but to send in more giant robots to fight them" is somehow better than admitting it's aliens is anyone's guess.
  • In Spider-Man 3, Harry Osborn undergoes his Heel–Face Turn and runs off to help Peter fight Sandman and Venom when his butler tells him that he examined Norman's corpse and noticed the wound came from his glider meaning he died by his own hand and thus Spider-Man didn't kill him. Of course, several fans have wondered why didn't the butler tell him this one or two movies ago instead of watching him go on his destructive vendetta against Spider-Man. Word of God then claimed that the butler was actually a hallucination representing Harry's "good side" meaning Harry knew all along but couldn't face the facts. Kind of nonsensical, but Harry's under the effects of a Psycho Serum. But there's a scene earlier in the movie where Harry talks to the butler in Peter's presence, and Peter doesn't react as if his friend was talking to a wall. Which indicates the butler was real, but he wasn't there to tell Harry what his father did. Maybe you can fit it in by assuming that Harry's hallucination took the form of the pre-existing butler.
    • The deal with the butler not telling the truth before overshadows another plot hole created by that explanation. Namely, the fact that Norman's wound coming from its glider doesn't preclude by any means that Spider-Man was to blame, as he could have simply impaled Norman with it using his super strength. Of course, Harry, who has been irrationally blaming Spider-Man for everything up to that point, doesn't even bother to point that out.
  • Godzilla (1998) ran into some problems when trying to justify the drastic changes made to Godzilla's design. The reason behind the horizontal, raptor-like design for the monster was in order to make it more "realistic." We'll ignore the improbability of such a lanky, precarious and front-heavy design being better suited for giant size than the heavy, pillar-legged, mountain-shaped original. They decided to continue making it more realistic by making it a mutated iguana instead of a dinosaur, thereby completely negating the entire point behind the raptor-shape in the first place. And the Square/Cube Law is being completely ignored either way.
  • In The Neverending Story 3, Bastian's supporting cast gets wished out of Fantasia into the real world in an attempt to justify why he can't just wish Fantasia back to normal. However, Bastian himself questions why he can't just wish the supporting cast back into Fantasia first, then wish Fantasia back to normal. He's never really given an answer.
  • Used in eXistenZ to hint at the unreality of events. An organic port at the base of the spine hooks directly into the nervous system with an opening to the outside world that connects to organic computers. One character asks why they never get infected when they open right up to the outside world. The response is for another character to say that's ridiculous and open her mouth, as if the digestive tract, mouth, and airway never get infected.
  • Snakes on a Plane tried to justify the snakes' unusually aggressive behavior towards the passengers by claiming that the leis the passengers had been given (the flight was leaving Hawaii) had been treated with pheromones to make the snakes go crazy. None of that explains how the snakes were able to get from the cargo hold to the cabin to get close to those leis in the first place, to say nothing about how that is not how pheromones usually work.
  • The 2005 film of A Sound of Thunder needlessly handwaves why Time Safari exists by stating in a throwaway scene (that is promptly never brought up again, of course) that by 2055 all wild animals are dead (in the novel, it is simply so bored big game hunters can feel the thrill of hunting extinct beasts like the T-Rex). Not even touching the movie's other bizarrely glaring problems, as The Agony Booth points out, this only works to make the humans of the near future seem like utterly bloodthirsty assholes. Once the last wild animal died (in 2017, apparently, only 12 years after the film was made), poachers raided zoos, and as soon as time travel was invented, during a time many people never saw a live animal, it instantly defaulted into being a dinosaur killing venture, instead of being for sightseeing past animals, cloning them, stealing them, anything really.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: How do anthropomorphic turtles that hide in the sewers order pizza? Well, they order it by having it delivered to an address that does not exist, so the delivery person will end up in that spot between two buildings, hear a voice from a sewer grate, and pass the pizza box between the sewer grate while not paying attention to the oversized green, three fingered hand grabbing the box, or the turtle person which the hand belongs to, attempting to disguise themself with a fedora and trenchcoat. Are the pizza deliverers really so okay with this to be doing it regularly without telling anyone else? And wouldn't they be more likely to be looking for the missing address on the other side of the street? Wouldn't it just be easier to find an unused door in an alley (Such as an emergency exit of a non-open business), or an empty house, or something, direct the pizza guy there, and leave an envelope of money for him taped to it with the explanation they had to step out for a moment and to just leave the pizza there? It's weird, but it's not 'Hey, there are deformed people living in the sewers' insane like what they came up with.
  • Pixels has a big one. During the real-life game of Pac-Man, Fireblaster's car is stated to be going faster than it should be able to. It's later revealed that Fireblaster was using the cheat codes for super-speed in Pac-Man, and he also used cheat codes to beat Sam in the tournament at the start of the movie. There are numerous problems with this:
    1. How the hell did Fireblaster get away with using a cheat code in a tournament, with thousands of people watching his every move?
    2. IF there was a cheat code for super-speed in Pac-Man (there isn't), wouldn't it give Pac-Man super speed, not his enemies?note 
    3. Why did the scientists who built the cars program them with cheat codes?
    4. How did Fireblaster enter a cheat code into a car?
    5. Most egregiously, how exactly do the cheat codes for super-speed in a video game make a real car go faster?
  • The Jungle Book (2016) decided to give the character King Louie an Adaptation Species Change from the 1967 original, turning him from an orangutan into a Gigantopithecus (a extinct genus of ape that lived in Southeast Asia during the Pleistocene). According to Word of God, the change was done to correct a bit of Artistic License – Biology from the original, as Gigantopitheci are actually native to India, while orangutans aren't. Fair enough...but that still doesn't explain why the hell the movie has a Gigantopithecus casually interacting with a modern human boy, considering Gigantopitheci went extinct around 100,000 years before the story is supposed to be set.
    • Considering that a simpler alternative would have been the orangautans could bave been brought to India by the English and escaped into the wild would have been a simpler answer.
  • The extended version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice addressed one of the original cut's most nagging plot holes: How did Superman not detect the bomb that blew up the Congressional hearing? Answer: The bomb was hidden with lead, which Superman's x-ray vision can't penetrate. Setting aside how Luthor knew that (presumably he's smart enough to have puzzled it out), how did the weight of the bomb (one that could kill hundreds) and its shielding not tip off Wallace Keefe, who's wheelchair it was hidden under? Not to mention, lead has a distinctive smell, which should have made the bomb more detectable to Superman's Super Senses. Plus the comics have frequently made the point that not being able to see through lead doesn't make the substance "invisible" to x-ray vision; quite the reverse.
  • In X-Men: Apocalypse, Moira suggests Apocalypse was not just inspired by the four horsemen from the Bible, but was the inspiration for them. The X-Men comic doesn't go out of its way to explain why an ancient Egyptian would adopt Biblical theme naming, but Apocalypse being the inspiration for them doesn't explain much of anything either.
  • The Time Machine (2002) attempts to explain why people 800,000 years in the future still speak English by saying that they learned the ancient language from debris that was lying around, which just changes the question into how they can read English. Another issue is that they still wouldn't have learned how English grammar works just from picking up vocabulary. In the original book this question was addressed by making the people speak English in the first place, which although improbable, at least makes more sense.

  • In Inanna's Descent to the Netherworld, Ereshkigal's first husband, Gugalana, has been killed off by Gilgamesh and Enkidu in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Ereshkigal is mourning for him and gets to keep Inanna's husband Dumuzi for six months of the year, as Laser-Guided Karma for her trying to steal Gugalana and getting him killed in the first place. OK...but Ereshkigal is the goddess of death and the underworld; shouldn't Gugalana be down there with her? One theory among people who've studied the myths is that Ereshkigal is merely the gatekeeper and cannot go into death itself to find him, though not enough of the original myth survives to confirm this.

  • Twilight has quite a few, usually concerning Stephenie Meyer's explanations about how a vampire's body works. According to Meyer, when a human becomes a vampire all of their bodily fluids are replaced with a type of venom. To explain how a vampire can father a child, then, she says that the venom takes over "some of the functions" of the fluid it replaced.
    • In fact, this one is especially terrible because it contradicts major points in the previous books. After all, weren't some of Edward's siblings jealous of Bella's ability to have children? What prevented them from having their own children if their fluids were never hindered?
      • Apparently, vampires don't have enough blood in their body for the females to menstruate. This was why, early on, Meyer said that vampires couldn't have kids. When Bella got pregnant (admittedly before her change to a vampire), Meyer retconned this so that only female vampires couldn't have children because they couldn't menstruate.
      • This is one of those explanations that was better left alone. An earlier book explained that a woman's fertility is based on the constant changes of her body. Vampires, specifically Meyer's vampires, are frozen in time; unless changed on the date of an ovulation, conception should be impossible.
    • In the first book Bella is immune to Edward's mystic vampire mind reading power, but Jasper is still able to use his emotion control to calm her down. It seems that it wasn't until the later books that Meyer decided to make Bella immune to all other vampire powers as well. It is explained that her immunity only protects her against mental powers and that Jasper was able to affect her because he was physically altering her body chemistry, but this just raises the question of why none of the other powers in the series seem to affect her at all, even those that would appear to have a physical effect like causing electric shocks. It also doesn't make any sense that Jasper's power affects the body chemistry, given that it can affect vampires, which have venom instead of bodily fluids, as well as humans.
  • Animorphs
    • Morphing heals you, since it's based on DNA—so why didn't Elfangor just morph and demorph to heal his injuries? In The Andalite Chronicles he claims he was "too weak to morph," but he had enough strength to Info Dump and give Visser Three a token fight before he died—the Animorphs have frequently managed to morph under more dire conditions. This is chalked up to Early Installment Weirdness as K. A. Applegate freely admitted that she forgot about or changed aspects from the earlier books and this provides a case in point: in Megamorphs #2: In the Time of the Dinosaurs Tobias gets his wing broken. He tries morphing and demorphing, but his wing is still broken, so apparently only your morphs heal that way and not your regular body. Except that in Megamorphs #1, Rachel specifically mentions how the scratches and scrapes on her human body are healed after she de-morphed.
    • It is also explained that as matter cannot be created or destroyed morphing into something smaller causes the excess mass to be temporarily stored in a different universe. No explanation is given as to where the extra mass comes from when the characters morph into something larger and the universe the matter is stored in is stated to be otherwise pretty much empty.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events has the Great Unknown, a mysterious question-mark shaped thing that prowls the oceans. Half of the characters are utterly terrified by it, to the point where Count Olaf is willing to abandon the sugar bowl to escape from it, the other half have no idea what it is. The closest thing to an explanation in the series comes from the Kit Snicket at the end of the last book, where she implies it's a metaphor for death. Fair enough. Then along comes the sort-of prequel series, All the Wrong Questions, where it's revealed that the Great Unknown is actually a sea monster called the Bombinating Beast with no particular connections to anything. Which makes no sense at all. Why would the Quagmires and the Widdershins be willing to give themselves up to such a thing, particularly the Captain, who claims to know its nature? And why does Lemony continue to let his sister believe in something he knows isn't true, when he places such an emphasis on not deceiving people?
    • The other example is the MacGuffin itself. The End implies that the sugar bowl is a vessel that contains the seeds of a horseradish/apple hybrid, which provides a cure to the world's most deadly poison. If that's true, and other people know it, the villains have a bit of explaining to do as to why they're willing to burn down half the planet in order to get their hands on some apple seeds. This gets even worse when you remember REGULAR HORSERADISH PLANTS are an equally-effective cure, rendering the sugar bowl almost completely worthless!
  • It's strongly implied in the later Enderverse books that the "two-children-per-couple" rule was specifically created by the founders of the One World Order as a Batman Gambit; such an obviously-oppressive measure would provoke dissatisfaction such that the OWG would dissolve almost immediately once the existential threat to humanity was dealt with. Because politicians are always intentionally sowing the seeds of failure into the systems they create, don't you know.
  • In the beginning of the novelization of Back to the Future, unlike the movie, Doc says he got the idea for the time machine by having a dream about the DeLorean many years ago. Thing is, if Doc had a dream about the DeLorean a long time ago, what was his involvement with John DeLorean & the DeLorean Motor Company? Did he give Mr. DeLorean the idea for the car? Did he ever work for the company?
  • in The Rowan It was assumed that "Prime Travel Sickness" - chronically severe vertigo caused by interplanetary teleportation - was simply part of being a Prime, the strongest level of psychic talent. The appearance of wild talent Jeff Raven - who could teleport between worlds with no ill effects - caused further investigation. It was uncovered that "Travel Sickness" was the result of Prime Siglen imprinting her own condition (an inner-ear defect that produced said severe vertigo) on her peers and proteges (every other Prime that wasn't Raven). But there was explicitly three centuries between The Rowan and its prequel Pegasus In Flight. In that time period, either no Prime-level psychic talent attempted interplanetary travel via teleportation, or no one noticed that "Travel Sickness" wasn't a big deal until Siglen made it so. Both of which is equally unlikely.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Voyager's episode "The Cloud" caused SF Debris to bring up his idea of Voodoo Sharks in the first place. The ship is stranded far from any safe port and thus the crew rations power. This gets to the point where replicator rations are handed out and they must set up a functioning galley with a live cook. Except the holodeck is kept running as much as anyone wants. The writers explain this by saying that the holodeck has its own power system that is incompatible with everything else on the ship. Why would a holodeck, or any system on the ship, be built to be incompatible with the rest of the ship it's installed on in the first place, while technology from alien races and factions can be integrated just fine?note 
    • The really stupid thing is that the holodeck, regardless of whether or not the power can be hooked to the rest of the ship, can make food. The holodeck is a system of forcefield and holographic light projectors and replicators. Most of the handheld objects are replicated and people eat and drink on the holodeck all the time. This is why people can leave the holodeck with replicated props or drenched in replicated water (it's only computer-directed things that can't leave the holodeck). We even see them do it in Voyager! There is absolutely no justification for rationing food when people can just eat on the holodeck.
    • It has been suggested that the ship's replicators also work backwards, turning matter into energy and that nothing is stopping Voyager from grabbing dirt from an uninhabited planet, converting it to energy, and replicating food. However, the Next Generation Technical Manual (which is canon unless contradicted by something on-screen) makes clear that no energy conversion takes place: replicators rearrange inert matter into food and rearrange waste back into inert matter, both operations requiring energy.
    • And even if we do stretch our logic such that a power incompatibility in the systems was there in the beginning just because of some technical reason and Starfleet figured that the holodeck power would never be needed anywhere else (see Apollo 13's troubles in sharing parts across the lunar and command capsules for a RL example) why did no one ever make a workaround to convert the power? Sure, you would lose some efficiency in the process, but it is still power to run, say, life support. There is also the problem of explaining what fuel the incompatable reactors of the holodeck use and why it can't be used in the regular engines/reactors of the ship in the first place.
    • This problem is further compounded by the fact it seems to contradict a plot point in an episode of The Next Generation. In "Booby Trap", the Enterprise is having all its power sucked out by said trap, being unable to use its warp engines to escape. Geordi was using a holodeck to help figure out how to get out, but Picard had everything but life support turned off. Geordi had to convince him to turn it back on, but the HEAD engineer of a starship he had worked on for years never brought up the argument that shutting off the holodecks won't add more power to the life support.
    • Later episodes either contradict or flat out abandon that plot point. In the episode "Fair Haven", a crisis force the bridge to reroute all power to the shields, and it's pointed out that it includes shutting down active programs on the holodeck.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Miri": We need a disease on a distant planet that largely wiped the inhabitants out, and the disease also affects the human crew, and by the way we can't afford alien makeup for the survivors because there are too many. So let's make said planet an exact duplicate of Earth, complete with human beings! Why is it exactly like Earth? Because LOOK OVER THERE! (The novelization makes this decision seem even dumber by using an obvious alternative reason: it's a lost human colony.)
    • Gene Roddenberry's original pitch included a "Parallel Worlds" theory that would allow for the show's science fiction stories to be tied in with familiar settings in order to keep the budget in check. It was later written into the series as "Hogdkin's Law of Parallel Planetary Development" in order to explain the 20th-century Roman society of planet 892-IV in "Bread and Circuses", and presumably covers the post-apocalyptic Omega IV of "The Omega Glory", whose Yangs were descended from a parallel United States of America, complete with identical Constitution and flagnote . It still doesn't explain how Miri's world could be so completely identical to Earth. Two different explanations were given in the Expanded Universe novels: the Shatnerverse novel Preserver posits that Miri's world was a duplicate of Earth created by the Preservers, while the Relaunch-era DTI novel Forgotten History explains that it was an Earth from a parallel universe that passed into "ours" through a Negative Space Wedgie, and was subsequently returned to its native universe.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation attempted in "The Chase" to finally explain why so many different sentient species from different star systems in the Star Trek universe are nearly identical apart from superficial facial features and can easily interbreed with each other. Apparently millions of years ago a species of Precursors seeded practically every inhabited system in the galaxy with microbes from their homeworld, and they developed in similar ways on every planet due to convergent evolution. This did not go down well with the audience and has never been mentioned again.
  • Near the beginning of Heroes' fourth volume: Fugitives, Noah says that Sylar survived being stabbed in the back of the head (leaving him unable to use his powers) and Left for Dead in a burning building at the climax of Villains because the glass in the back of his head melted, allowing him to use his Healing Factor. However, there's one big problem with this: the melting point of brain is lower than the melting point of glass, meaning he would've died for real long before the glass melted. And even if it wasn't, he's still got glass in his brain. Only now, it's absurdly hot, and seeps into all the cracks and can't be gotten out.
    • However, we know the problem isn't that a shard of glass is sticking in his brain, but that it is sticking into the part of the brain that gives him the immortality. (He explained he learned how to move it when he got the Shapeshifter's powers.) The glass would just need to break from that part of his brain, not mattering that it destroys other parts. Seeing how immortal the immortals are in Heroes, that part of his brain probably can't be destroyed, not even by fire.
    • The same episode gives a further instance of this at work, since Meredith Gordon was killed when injected by Adrenaline by Sylar, supercharging her power and causing her to explode. Except that it'd been previously established that Meredith was capable of generating explosions and surviving them? Likewise this seems to be similar to Ted Sprague's radiation ability, where he was shown to be capable to generate and survive minor explosions, but could potentially be killed by going nuclear. Presumably the writers intended there to be an upper limit to someone's immunity to their own power before it becomes lethal, but failed to clarify this aspect?
  • Fans of Smallville debate whether or not the explanation given for Lois Lane's employment at the Daily Planet is a Voodoo Shark. Because Lois was romantically involved with her supervisor (the guy who hired her) she briefly questions the reasons for her being hired. Her editor quells any fears she may have had by showing her the article she wrote for the Inquisitor the previous year. However, given that the editor is an accelerated-aged clone with implanted memories who didn't exist at the time of her writing the article, it raises the question of how true his claim could be. Further, when he offered her the job, he didn't know who she was (she had just walked in off the street to see her cousin) so his claim that it was on the basis of her work is even more doubtful since he couldn't have possibly made the connection.
  • Supernatural:
    • After the episodes "Taxi Driver" and "I'm No Angel" caused a backlash due to several nonsensical changes to the abilities and motivations of Reapers, CW Executive Chad Kennedy attempted to address the changes on his twitter by stating that Reapers were actually a type of angel. Not only did this fail to actually fix most of the continuity issues, it made absolutely no sense with previous canon regarding both Reapers and angels, and only served to make the issue worse. This retcon eventually did get introduced into show canon in the later episode "Stairway to Heaven", and it was just as nonsensical then.
    • The episode "Thinman" opens with several seemingly impossible murders, which makes the Winchesters think they were committed by a ghost or some other supernatural creature. At the end, they are revealed to be the work of two normal humans working together. While this does explain the monster's apparent ability to teleport, it fails to explain the first murder. What made it unusual, besides the murderer's appearance, was that the victim was found in a room locked from the inside. No matter how many killers there were, this should still be impossible to pull off unless one of them stayed hidden under the bed until the police came in and pretended to have just arrived, which no matter how you look at it should be extremely suspicious.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Doctor Who's initial explanation for how the TARDIS crew could understand the Daleks was explained in The Dalek Book as being because the Dalek "voices" are a form of electronic telepathy, so they can speak in their own language and anyone can understand them. Fine, but how can the crew understand the Thals? The eventual explanation for Aliens Speaking English, implied by the time of the Fourth Doctor's tenure and outright stated in the revival series, is the much less cumbersome Hand Wave that the TARDIS has a translation matrix which allows its passengers to understand the aliens (as well as making them unaware that it is doing this, although a few sufficiently clever companions have noticed).
    • In "The Time of the Doctor", the Doctor is under siege from Daleks on an alien planet until he tells his real name to the Time Lords, confirming to them his identity. The reason that his real name works as the shibboleth is because the planet is kept under a 'truth field' which means that no-one on it is able to lie (which we discover in an amusing sequence where both the Doctor and Clara blab embarrassing stuff about themselves while under its influence) - so he can't lie about his name and no-one can falsely claim that they are him. This makes sense, except that the Doctor, while on the planet, lies multiple times to other characters and even admits "I lied".
  • The final revelation of Samantha Mulder's fate in The X-Files: In short, she was literally taken up to heaven by angels to become a celestial spirit so that the aliens would not kill her.
  • In a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, Nina didn't come back in the third season of House of Anubis. Part of her reasoning was a revelation that The Chosen One and the Osirian could not be together or bad things will happen. However, fans quickly noticed that if the Osirian, who is the destined protector of the chosen one, cannot be around said chosen one, then there is no point in a protector at all.
  • Late in How I Met Your Mother, Ted and Robin get Barney sufficiently drunk for him to reveal all his secrets, one of which being that he occasionally hides dehydrated doves on his person only to expose them to water when others are near, allowing the doves to fly away and making it look like he created them out of nothing. Of course, dehydrating the doves would have killed them outright, but since the episode establishes that when Barney is this intoxicated, he Cannot Tell a Lie, and since he later reveals an even more personal secret (namely, what his job actually is), which is proven true, the idea that he made that explanation up just to screw with them can be dismissed out of hand. It can only make one wonder... note 
    • It's possible Barney was lying the whole time anyway, apart from the job part because he mentions the only time he split a cab as a separate incident, yet he has done this before with Robin.
  • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive has this in the very same episode the plothole comes from! When Miratrix takes one of the Poseidon scrolls, Dax just stands there, even though he could do anything to stop her. It is later revealed it was a fake, just in time for the Finishing Move. Except for the fact that he never had any reason to suspect Mira, and acted as if he lost the real thing.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: This happens with such frequency in the fluff (as well as numerous ret-cons) that Games Workshop has outright stated that if something sounds contradictory or weird, chalk it up to Imperial Propaganda. This seemingly explains why the Eldar Avatar is suppose to be a literal incarnation of the god of war, but gets it's molten ass handed to it on a silver platter every time a major character needs a Worf to Effect.
  • Deadlands: In the Hell on Earth setting, modern technology does not function in the Sioux Nations. Alright so far, but then how is Deadwood, the capital of the Sioux nations, a sky-scraping metropolis and a center for Ghost Rock Mining? The answer: the city and the highway connecting it to the rest of the country are lined with totem poles that protect technology spirits from nature spirits and allow tech to function. Where do these totem poles come from? Why don't enterprising people make more of them? It's never explained. A simpler explanation for how Devil's Tower still allows technology to function (there's an active portal to the Hunting Grounds in the middle of it) makes rather more sense.


    Video Games 
  • Silent Hill 2 has a possible ending which was intended as a parody of this trope. Silent Hill 2 is a macabre Survival Horror title featuring a young man who receives a letter from his deceased wife, imploring him to meet her at "their special place", which turns out to be a weird ghost town where all his subconscious fears and guilt manifest. It's in general a Tear Jerker Mind Screw of a game. This ending's explanation of it all: The Dog Was the Mastermind. Literally.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • A rather complicated example regarding the Big Bad Lich King from Wrath of the Lich King. Many fans complained about Arthas being stuck with the Villain Ball in the expansion after the Lich King (which he was now permanently half of) being played up as a Magnificent Bastard in the previous game. In what appears to be an attempt to justify it, Blizzard gave the explanation that Arthas's spirit actually destroyed the spirit of Ner'zhul (the previously sole spirit of the Lich King, who most certainly qualified for Magnificent Bastard status, and Arthas supposedly not so much). However, that caused much more confusion considering previous interviews and scenes stating that Arthas and Ner'zhul were one being (flat out stating that neither persona existed anymore, only one Lich King), and the game itself seemed to contradict it (one quest has the Lich King stating that he used to be a shaman, which would be true for Ner'zhul but not for Arthas).
    • The final boss patch tried to lessen all the Villain Ball moments where he just threatened you then left, or told some mook to kill you, then left, etc. by explaining they were all a part of a I Need You Stronger plot, to get the most powerful warriors in Azeroth to become as strong as possible then have them confront him directly, at which point he would slaughter them and raise them as Uber-Death Knights to be his new unbeatable warriors. This was a Voodoo Shark to some players, since his plan to get "the greatest fighting force the world has ever known" involved letting them kill all his other powerful minions. And while there's the obvious "if they killed them, these guys are obviously better" counter argument, the players did that by facing them one at a time while outnumbering them 10 or 25 to one. Throw 10 players in a room with Kel'Thuzad, Anub'arak, Marrowgar, Deathwhisper, Lana'thel, Rotface, Festergut, Putricide, Saurfang and Sindragosa all at once and see how long they last, because if the players are squished in seconds, it probably wasn't worth letting all the aforementioned people and more die to get them on your side.
    • Whenever the Lich King reanimates someone of importance, they come back strong. Presumably the resurrected players would each be more powerful than the previous raid bosses in addition to being perfectly able to work as a team.
    • It gets even more annoying; the Scourge is powerful enough to wipe out all life on Azeroth. The reason they don't? The Lich King is holding them back. You know, the same Lich King that is trying to kill the player characters and resurrect them as his strongest champions in order to wipe out all life on Azeroth. His fatal flaw was that he wanted to dupe the players into a situation like the one that caused him to become a death knight. Azeroth's destruction was secondary.
  • In Zombie Driver, The Mayor pops up early in the story to tell you that he'll pay you for killing the zombies that are destroying his city. The game neglects to mention who's giving you money when you destroy the city as well.
  • Possibly intentional in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which was partly a Writer Revolt against fan desire to explain Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's deliberately inexplicable events: Vamp's immortality was ascribed to Nanomachines, although Naomi specifically mentions that they only work because he already has a supernatural and unexplainable regenerative ability, as if to annoy as many people as possible.
  • Metroid: Other M attempted to justify the lack of Samus's arsenal with the "authorization system"; to wit, she was permitted to aid the military investigation so long as she only used her weapons when authorized by the commander. So, she still had all her powerups from the previous games, and could activate them herself at any time, but would not until given the all clear. While this does make sense for the Power Suit's stronger weapons (the Power Bombs are said to be capable of vaporizing a person on the other side of a wall; the mission is ostensibly a search-and-rescue), it falls flat on its face for defense- and mobility-based upgrades, which have no potential to be detrimental towards the mission. Even worse, Adam frequently refuses to authorize upgrades that would greatly simplify the current task that he has assigned Samus. The two worst examples occur when Samus is chasing down the lizard monster that is the adolescent form of the "little birdie" and a clone of Ridley: Samus has to travel through the Pyrosphere, which damages her just by being there, but Adam waits until she confronts an enormous lava monster to authorize the Varia Suit, which protects her from the heat; once she resumes her hunt, she finds that the only way forward is a Grapple Point, and yet Adam opts not to authorize the Grapple Beam and send Samus elsewhere to check for survivors instead, seemingly under the impression that the path was simply impassible. It's fairly evident that it was heavily used to make players Follow the Plotted Line.
  • Another Metroid example: in the first Metroid Prime, the Space Pirates find Metroids in the Impact Crater, take it to their labs for experiments, and then it escapes back to the Impact Crater in time for the final boss showdown. This is all explained and built up in the Phazon Mines Pirate Logs. But this seems to ignore that the Chozo had sealed Metroid Prime in the Impact Crater with twelve Plot Coupons and that the Pirates shouldn't have been able to actually reach it without them. The Chozo Lore does state that the seal may not hold for long, and that it was basically a stopgap until Samus came along, but then why does Samus need the Plot Coupons to get in if the seal's already broken?
    • Later on, in the EU and Trilogy re-releases of the game, the Pirate Logs are all retconned into things like "we've detected something huge at the center of the Impact Crater, but we can't get to it because of the seal." This seems to fill the plot hole, but in true Voodoo Shark fashion, Metroid Prime still has all the weapons and barriers it absorbed from the Pirates, now with no possible explanation because it was stuck in the Impact Crater. Its Enemy Scan even states that it has a host of natural and mechanical weapons, regardless of the version. (It's worth noting, though, that the game doesn't state that those mechanical weapons are Space Pirate weapons, meaning it could have gotten them from elsewhere in the retconned version. Where, exactly, it would have acquired them is still left unexplained.)
  • In Psychonauts, Raz's multiple lives in mental realms are justified with Raz having multiple layers of astral projection that weaken his link to the mental world, and if he runs out of lives, he gets ejected. Health drops are also explained as Raz collecting mental health from the realm. However, this raises a lot of questions when Raz has the same mechanics for mental health and extra lives in reality.
    • It's a common Fan Theory that Raz's "reality" is actually in the head of someone else... such as game creator Tim Schafer.
    • This objection can be raised to any other game that uses simulations or other forms of unreality to explain away game mechanics, then turns around and uses the same mechanics in "reality" without justification. Depending on the hardness of the Fourth Wall, the result can range from this trope to Painting the Medium.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow claims that the castle the game takes place in is an exact replica of the Trope Namer for Chaos Architecture for the purpose of avoiding an Artifact Title (the game doesn't take place in Dracula's Castle, AKA Castlevania), which would merely be trivia otherwise.
  • The creators have kept schtum on the real reason but one of the many supposed ones as to why Adolf Hitler was censored in the PSP port of Persona 2: Innocent Sin was because, apparently, the Japanese rating system now "prevents people with a real background from appearing in fictional media". Which only raises questions as to why the millions upon millions of games, movies, comics, etc. featuring historical figures like Frederick Chopin, Sigmund Freud, Jesus and Buddha and countless Chinese heroes are all O-Okay. Realistically, it probably had more to do with the fear of offending internationals players. By giving Hitler a pair of sunglasses and calling him "the Fuhrer". Yeah.
  • In Superman 64, the horrific draw distance is explained by "Kryptonite fog". However, this raises the question of how Superman is able to breathe, let alone fly. This might qualify as a double Voodoo Shark as it was already established that Superman is trapped in Luthor's virtual reality simulator. There was one comic where Kryptonite was released into the atmosphere and Earth itself was uninhabitable by Kryptonians (it was solved by self-replicating nanites, don't worry), and the level of kryptonite in the atmosphere was at lethal levels for Kryptonians... and yet, you could still see through the atmosphere fine. Perhaps slightly green-tinged, but still fine. If Kryptonite Fog was thick enough to not see through, Superman wouldn't just have trouble flying, there is serious question how how he would be able to survive that much Kryptonite radiation, even from orbit.
  • Parodied in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. Swindle at one point asks why the Autobot's transport didn't just fly from the start if it can fly faster than it can be driven. Onslaught meekly says that it probably takes a lot of energon to fly it. When Swindle starts pointing out the problems with this theory, Onlsaught basically tells him to shut up.
  • Master Chief's armor in Halo 4 looks very different from his armor in Halo 3, even though he has been stuck on a drifting starship for years. The canon explanation is that his AI Cortana repaired it with nanomachines, but despite completely altering its appearance the breastplate still has a gash received in Halo 3.
    • In the first cutscene, Spartans are shown fighting in Chief's upgraded armor, not the weaker variants they wore in that time. It's implied that Halsey is imagining that scene, but she's never even seen Master Chief's new armor and has shown distaste for personalized variants. Later, Word of God stated that Chief's new digs were actually based in appearance off an older Halsey-designed model.
  • The final DLC for Aliens: Colonial Marines, Stasis Interrupted, attempted to explain away Corporal Dwayne Hicks' survival after the events of the second film (after it was originally suggested in the base game that he was kidnapped by Weyland-Yutani soldiers and replaced with a body double in his cryotube). However, the attempt to do so created more questions than answers:
    • Hicks himself is not wearing the same clothing he wore at the end of the film (wrapped up in bandages with shorts on), and has a green shirt on while in cryosleep, while the individual who "replaces" him (Turk) is wearing bandages in the exact same places. Moreover, Turk only ends up in the cryotube when a W-Y soldier stuns him, throws him in the cryotube and activates it. It becomes a Contrived Coincidence that Turk just happens to be impaled by a safety beam when the EEV crashes, thus rendering his face unidentifiable, even though Hicks' dog tags are seen in the third film during the morgue scene.
    • While the facehugger was off of Ripley by the time she descended into the EEV in the third film, in the DLC, the facehugger is still on her as the cryopod ejects, making it highly suspicious as to why the Fury 161 prisoners never discovered it when they rescued her from her cryopod after it crashed.
    • During the firefight in the cryopod chamber, an errant round of gunfire grazes the Facehugger attached to Ripley and causes the electrical fire which eventually results in the pods being evacuated. This is despite the acid blood not being anywhere inside the pod when Ripley examines it in the film, nor corroborates with the broken (but not burnt) glass on her cryotube and the acid stain on its side.
    • Even though Weyland-Yutani infiltrated the Sulaco a short while after cleaning out the Sephora, it still takes them another two days to locate and find Ripley on Fury 161, even though they were operating in the same area and they only responded (in the film) when Ripley told them about the xenomorph specimen they had contained. Furthermore, Hicks and Stone are present just before Ripley jumps into the molten lead, and make no attempt to yell at or stop her, nor is Michael Weyland injured from Aaron's attack like he was in the film.
  • Mega Man X6 establishes that Zero didn't die at the end of X5, he "Hid myself to repair myself." Okay, the series uses a million Shōnen tropes so He's Just Hiding and X Never Found the Body. Waaaaaaait a sec, that didn't stop X back in X2 from finding and reviving Zero. Aaaaaaaand, X was mortally wounded from the same attack at the end of X5 and he recovered! Oh wait, X's creator, Big Good Dr. Light, was able to repair him. X6 also established that somehow, Dr. Light repaired Zero too. Wait, X and Zero are both Black Boxes that are notoriously hard to analyze, let alone repair. And Zero is the Anti Anti Christ created by the Greater Scope Villain that Dr. Light should have no idea about. Wait, is Dr. Light a prerecorded message or some kind of Energy Being who learned how to analyze and repair Zero? Oh, my head hurts now.
  • In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Luigi uses E. Gadd's teleport system called The Pixelator to go from his bunker to each level, and regardless of where Luigi's at, he can always be pixelated back at the level's end. At some points, the game features Escort Missions where you need to rescue E. Gadd's Toad employees from paintings so they can be pixelated back as well. However, you still need to escort them to specific points so they can be pixelated out, a problem Luigi doesn't have to deal with. E. Gadd tries to justify it by saying he can't pixelate two characters at the same time, and you need to escort the Toad to his own Pixelator Screen before Luigi can get teleported out, and this is a Voodoo Shark in two ways. First, at no point is it explained why E. Gadd can't simply pixelate them one at a time. Second, the final escort mission has you rescuing two Toads, and they use their Pixelator Screen at the same time.
  • In Grandia III, one of the main characters is a "Communicator", a person who can speak to powerful beings called "Guardians". Since Communicators are extremely rare, the protectors of the Guardian "Drak" don't believe you actually have one and turn you away, saying that while they can't talk to Drak they can at least protect him. Ten seconds later, they let you through when Drak tells them to let you pass! So why did they say they can't talk to Drak, and if they can, why do they need a Communicator? Not to mention the fact that Drak apparently knows who you are and why you're here, when your whole reason for coming was to bring him a message that he apparently already knows by being a Guardian.
  • The Professor Layton games are practically Voodoo Shark: the Series. In almost every game, there is some strange, possibly mystical mystery that has everyone baffled. Layton then goes on to find an explanation for it — which is every bit as bizarre as the original mystery, if not more. For example:
    • Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, there is seemingly an eternally young vampire living in town. In actuality, he's not a vampire — it's just that hallucinogenic gas leaking from the nearby mine has caused a shared hallucination everyone in town is having that he's a youthful vampire, and that the town is unchanged from many years ago, despite the residents aging but not realizing it..
    • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, Layton appears to travel in time to London's future. In actuality, he's traveling by elevator to an exact copy of London built in a giant sinkhole and cavern directly underneath the real London, which has been built and populated in secret without anyone ever realizing it. Oh, and time travel is real anyway, as another major character turns out to have traveled from Layton's past.
    • Averted in the other games where the explanations sound slightly insane but do make sense.
    • In Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney it is eventually discovered that all of the magic witnessed in the town of Labyrinthia was faked by a corporation as a part of a scientific experiment. Everyone in town had been living under hypnosis thanks to a substance that made them extremely susceptible to suggestion that they were constantly exposed to. One of the effects of the hypnosis was that residents could not see material of a certain color, thus allowing the operators to make themselves and their equipment "invisible." Furthermore, a contamination in the local groundwater meant that anyone in town who heard the ringing of a silver bell would instantly pass out, making it possible to set up complicated illusions "instantly" because any witnesses would not notice the missing set-up time. Fair enough. The problem is that magic is also used outside of Labyrinthia on people who had not been hypnotized and were immune to the bells in locations that the company could not possibly have foreseen magic would be necessary, including Professor Layton's own office. One particular example is from the opening cutscene: A statue in a public park in the middle of London is brought to life and appears to punch a speeding car into a tree. What really happened? The statue was actually a robot that the company coincidentally had donated to the park, and it literally punched the car into the tree. The reveal also completely overturns an earlier case in which the culprit used a spell to create a magic portal through a wall. The best explanation given is that the company literally cut a hole in the wall and patched it up without anyone being able to tell afterwards.
  • In Sir Basil Pike Public School, the game only spans three days. Word of God is that it's the last week of school, but this doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a few reasons:
    • A Big Game subplot is introduced (and poorly resolved just as quickly). School sports seasons typically end a few weeks before the last week.
    • No one alludes to it being the last week of school, which would obviously be a pretty big deal for schoolchildren and warrant at least one mention.
    • Both Ted and Ms. Pruet teach their classes. During the last week or two of school, teachers typically allow students to use the classes as extended study halls. Additionally, Ms. Pruet gives an assignment to Tammy and Tariq on what is supposed to be the last day of school.
  • In Heavy Rain there's a Voodoo Shark that was created when they removed another Voodoo Shark. Ethan Mars has unexplained blackouts and tells his psychiatrist about dreams that very strongly imply he is the Origami Killer. In the original script, Ethan had a psychic link with the actual killer, resulting in the dreams and blackouts. This explanation for the dreams and blackouts was a Voodoo Shark all on its own; after it was removed, the dreams and blackouts which now had no reason became their own Voodoo Shark.
  • The switch in ammo mechanics between Mass Effect games. In the first game, there wasn't one: ammunition was a block of metal, from which sandgrain-sized pieces were torn off and magnetically accelerated. Instead, there was an overheat mechanic. In Mass Effect 2, however, this system was replaced by disposable heatsinks that function the same way ammunition does in every other shooter. It's explained away by it being the system the geth used, and being superior to the previous method of disposing heat, allowing More Dakka to overwhelm shields. The Voodoo Shark moment comes when you realize that this new ammo system, which it should be noted was reverse-engineered from a hostile life-form that doesn't trade or interact with the rest of the galaxy if they can help it, has completely replaced the old system all over the galaxy in two years. Apparently the entirety of galactic weapons manufacturing output was redirected to the new system, all the old guns were destroyed, and nobody seems to sell the old weapons any more despite the obvious logistics advantage to the old system. This also appears to have been applied retroactively through time too, since somehow the weapons found on derelict ships and uninhabited worlds that have lain untouched for as much as ten years use a new heat sink system only developed two years previously. (Although you can find a retrofitted M-7 Lancer that still uses the cooldown system in the Citadel DLC for 3, which just raises further questions.) In fact, when Shep wakes up in ME2, s/he can somehow instantly tell that a pistol lacks a thermal clip. A conversation with Shepard fanboy Conrad in 3 lampshades the hell out of this change, where he makes many of the above criticisms and Shepard doesn't actually have any answers to them.
    • And then there is the Extended Cut of Mass Effect 3. The writers attempt to solve the plot hole regarding the squad members of Commander Shepard somehow getting onto the Normandy. This was a plot hole since they magically somehow got onto the ship while they were involved in the ground battle in London. How did they solve that? In the scene where Harbinger uses his lasers to quickly take out ground forces like it is Omaha beach, the squad members get injured. Shepard then calls the Normandy to pick them up. The ship arrives (from space battle in orbit) onto the surface in 5 seconds while it had to pass a fleet of Reapers that were on their way to Earth. And if that wasn't bad enough, Harbinger forgets to just laser the ship out of the sky for the whole minute of two it was hanging around as a sitting duck. Overall, the sequence blatant contradicts the whole reason why the ground assault was even staged in the first place; namely that it was far too dangerous for any craft larger than a shuttle to get that close to the frontlines.
  • Each Rune Factory game has a character explain early on that you're not killing the monsters you fight, but sending them back to the Forest of Beginnings where they came from. This is credited to a magic spell on your weapons called "Retornen" (or "Tamitaya" in 4). Problems:
    • This enchantment is, supposedly, applied individually to every weapon, tool, and spell you own. While the ones you buy are easily explained, it's a little harder to believe for the ones you find lying in chests or dropped by monsters. And it's completely inexplicable when Item Crafting — in every game, you're an Amnesiac Hero, so the only way you'd know how to cast Retornen yourself is if you learned it onscreen, which you never do.
    • You can tame monsters and have them fight by your side. There's no reason to believe these monsters have Retornen, and no other explanation is offered for why their attacks send monsters home instead of killing them.
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Big Bad Lazarevic is looking for the next Plot Coupon in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Because he doesn't know the precise location, he essentially invades the place and turns it into a war zone. There's a brief line about how the Nepali army can't do anything because he riled up the local guerrillas. However, this doesn't explain why the entire Nepali army is occupied, nor why they think fighting guerrillas is more important than stopping a war criminal with an army of mercenaries from literally demolishing their capital and all of its temples. At a bit of a stretch, the damage Lazarevic inflicts to Kathmandu is so severe that it's not inconceivable that the army and guerrillas would temporarily put aside their differences just to drive him out.
  • Metal Gear Ac!d does a partial Doing In the Wizard by explaining Alice's 'remote viewing' Psychic Powers as the result of her personal familiarity with the facility (and her direct involvement in the Howard Burton murder case she solved in the backstory). However, she also has psychic powers anyway as she believed herself to be possessed by the spirit of a child she murdered.
  • A pretty infamous one happens in the Chrono Trigger universe. In Chrono Trigger the "nation" of Porre mostly consists of a humble town with an inn, a port, and a selfish mayor that you can turn into a generous one due to judicious use of time travel, but is otherwise fairly unremarkable. In Chrono Cross, suddenly Porre is a giant military nation that pretty much took over, sacked, and burned much of the rest of the world, or at least the kingdom of Guardia, a mere five years after the present era of Chrono Trigger (which is revealed in the epilogue from the PS1 port). This despite the fact that Guardia actually had a standing army, not to mention it was likely under the protection of Crono, Lucca, and Marle, who had previously single-handedly defeated Magus' army, not to mention several other armies from the past and future, including a giant space hedgehog responsible for creating and then destroying humanity as they knew it. So what's the official explanation of Porre's sudden inexplicable rise to power, according to canon? The DS release of Chrono Trigger had Dalton (the comic-relief villain from 12,000 BC whose only real technology was stolen from Belthasar and who ends up being so incompetent that he defeats himself in the final battle against him) somehow end up in the present, whereupon he used magic or something to build an army out of a tiny little town and take over the world, apparently subduing at least some of the party from the original game (you know, the party that had already defeated him several times by that point).
    • A character named Guile appears in Chrono Cross that was clearly at one point supposed to be Magus (they look almost identical save for a mask that Guile wears, they're both shadow (or black-elemental) magic users, they both have the same running animation), but that plot thread was cut for space, leaving Guile as a separate person who just happened to be similar to Magus without having any actual connection to him. Then the DS port of Chrono Trigger comes along, which implies that Guile actually is Magus, just a Magus from an alternate dimension that suffered amnesia after not being able to defeat the "Dream Devourer" and getting dumped in the present era somehow.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain introduces a character named Quiet, who is wearing quite the Stripperiffic outfit. Now, when the outfit was first revealed, it was promised that there was a good reason why she wore it, and it wasn't just Fanservice. Playing the game eventually reveals that after suffering severe burns, she received a parasite treatment to heal her, with the side effect of only being able to breathe through her skin, basically meaning she needs to have as much skin as possible exposed at all times. Problem: her outfit includes tights.
    • Even more blatantly, the parasite and the photosynthetic ability were inherited from a male character in an earlier game called The End...who dresses in a camouflage suit that covers him from head to toe.
  • Ace Attorney featured psyche-locks - red locks over a person's heart that are a visual representation of how much a person is willing to hide a secret, only visible to one who holds an explicitly magical charm. Fair enough. In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, one person had black psyche-locks over them, which could not be removed at all and no explanation was given as to what the hell was up with them. The next installment gave an explanation - the black psyche-locks hide a traumatic secret that the person is repressing - in other words, not even they know the secret and it's potentially psychologically damaging to interrogate them about it. But the secret hidden by the black psyche-locks in Apollo Justice was a motive for murder, and it was something the person spilled the beans about in court after a little prodding. How is it that that was worthy of black psyche-locks?
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there is significant Time Travel, right up until the ending. Many fans deduced that Ocarina, canonically the earliest game at the time, finishes by creating two divergent timelines. Then, speculation raged as to which games - before and since - belonged to the "Adult" and "Child" timelines, hinging on how Link defeated the evil Ganondorf, and what became of the hero afterwards. Finally, the Hyrule Historia came out, to much anticipation, hoped for as the final word to quell these debates once and for all. Except... imagine the confusion when Historia said that, in fact, Ocarina ends with three divergent timelines - "Adult," "Child," and a timeline where Link actually failed. This confused fans greatly, because since when are Link's failures taken seriously in-universe, instead of just a "Game Over" screen? Fans are also confused on how the Bad Future games are even canon (instead of being What If? games) if they're the result of Link dying.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, the Minish speak a different language than the humans, which naturally causes Link some trouble when he visits their village. Festari, a resident of the village who does speak human language, points Link to an item called the Jabber Nut, which lets Link understand the Minish language. As a side-effect, it apparently lets him talk to animals. However, this opens up a couple plot holes. First, Link's talking hat Ezlo admits that he's not very familiar with the village's dialect and thus doesn't understand most of what they say, but after Link eats the Jabber Nut, Ezlo understands everything perfectly as well, despite the game never hinting that Ezlo ate any of it. Second, Link can only understand animals while he's small; when he's full-sized, it all sounds like regular animal noises. The game never bothers to explain either issue.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, the Yoshi's Mario can ride will dissolve if submerged in water. This is done for gameplay reasons to provide a challenge in which you ride Yoshi through a series of platforms situated above water, and having to start over if you fall into it. The manual tries to justify this by explaining that the Yoshis on Delfino Isle are a different breed. This explanation raises the question: why would the Yoshis on a tropical island evolve to become deathly allergic to the water surrounding them, when traditional Yoshis are fine with it?
  • In several missions of Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty, Jim Raynor and his raiders have to steal important artifacts from a group of protoss called the Tal'Darim. Even though they were crazy fanatics, Jim still came out as the bad guy here because he was the aggressor who attacked people who were minding their own business to steal their religious relics. So in the sequel Starcraft II Heart Of The Swarm, it was revealed that the Tal'Darim were actually working for Big Bad Amon, which made it okay to attack them. However, because Jim had been (unknowingly) stealing the artifacts for Amon's Dragon Emil Narud, it now meant that the Big Bad's minions were paying Raynor to steal from themselves. It was thankfully rectified in Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void, which clarified that the Tal'Darim in Wings of Liberty had gone rogue and didn't answer directly to Amon anymore.
  • Star Trek Online had the Iconian War ending with one of the Iconians along with her personal forces still at large and intending to continue to fight, with Word of God indicating this was done to explain the Iconian War PVE queues still being up despite the war being over. The problems: 1) This was not the first arc to end with the threat you were fighting in a queue ceasing to be a threat. Prior it had been easy to keep up suspension of disbelief as the queues remaining up being simply a gameplay element, but with Cryptic having provided a story explanation for some of them (that could only apply to those specific ones)... 2) The Iconian queues still can't happen after the Iconian War, because they either outright make reference to it being ongoing or their premise (such as an invasion of Qo'noS) contradicting the premise of the next arc (peace and switching focus to exploration).

  • Parodied in Dresden Codak: "I bet it's like when you find out Santa isn't real, and it was really just Bigfoot giving you presents."
  • Frequently parodied in Darths & Droids when the players point out some of the insane lapses in logic in the Star Wars universe, particularly the GM's explanations for how Coruscant can be a planet-wide city... jokes recycled from the same author's Irregular Webcomic!, where it was eventually lampshaded with a cutaway to a pirate captain:
    Captain: Arr! Take that, you scurvy equine!
    First Mate: But captain, that horse be dead!
  • In the NSFW Mega Man gender-bender comic Rock Gal:
    • One of the villains explains to her lady friend (as they're torturing the title character) that if a female robot's breasts are smacked too hard, they lose energy in a manner similar to human lactation. All this does is raise the question of why the hell anyone would deliberately design a robot to lose energy. (In this case, "to prevent an overload" doesn't cut it)
    • Later Handwaved a second time by implying that everyone who builds these robots are massive perverts (as if that weren't obvious enough). Still doesn't explain why such a massive flaw would be included in the design.
  • MS Paint Masterpieces has one robot ask another why they have incredibly obvious power gems that just draw enemy fire, to which the second robot replies (after getting shot multiple times in said gem, to no effect) that it just looks cool.
  • Played for Laughs in Adventurers!, where Webrunner proposes a ludicrously implausible explanation for why Inexplicable Treasure Chests are lying around everywhere.
    "Why dance through caves you ask? Well that's what tiny robot pirates do."

    Web Original 
  • Lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, when the supposed ghost of Kaiba turns into a... gay clown, or something:
    Gay Clown: Actually, I'm not a clown. I'm Seto Kaiba's evil side brought back from the Shadow Realm by Pegasus
    Yami: That's even less believable than the whole ghost story! You don't even know what you are, do you?
    Gay Clown: No...
    Yami: Didn't think so. MIND CRUSH!
    • This is meant to poke fun at an edit done by 4Kids' Macekred dub; in the original version, the "clown" is simply a master of disguise hired by Pegasus to eliminate players unfortunate enough to cross with him. In the 4Kids version, he actually is Kaiba's evil side brought back from another dimension.
  • From Obscurus Lupa's review of Vampire Dog:
    "Okay, get ready for this—we actually do get an explanation for why Vampire Dog eats Jell-o. But rather than give a satisfactory answer here that clears anything up, they instead open up a whole new can of worms."

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Alien Force. Gwen's magical powers are explained as alien powers inherited from her alien grandmother. The episode in which this revelation is made clear goes on to say that there is no such thing as magic. This despite on a previous episode Gwen clearly used divination to locate their enemies and in the former series Ben 10 there were spells read from incantations, a fountain of youth, and soul-swapping. Then Word of God claims that both Hex and Charmcaster are in fact magic users.
    • They're back to calling it magic later on in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien; it's starting to feel like they don't know what to call it, either that, or Mana and Magic can be the same thing, and Ken's just a Flat-Earth Atheist.
      • Ultimate Alien gives the impression at least that Gwen has both alien superpowers and magical abilities and simply doesn't know where to draw the line between them since they're similar.
      • It seems the explanation is that magic is powered by mana. Gwen is just so adept at it because she's virtually made of mana.
      • People tend to forget the fact the ones saying magic doesn't exist were Kevin and Gwen's father, both characters who had never been in contact with magic-users at this point. Verdonna (Gwen's grandmother who explains what mana is) made no mention of magic not existing.
    • Ben 10: Omniverse is filled with this trope, on various level:
      • Several of the retcons and continuity changes were handwaved in "So Long and Thanks for the Smoothies" by the Universe having been destroyed by the Anihilarg and Ben rebuilding it as Alien X; all those little change were apparently caused by Ben's flawed memory or inability to use Alien X properly. How he re-created parts of the Universe he had never seen or heard of and how an alien whose power is to be omnipotent can make mistakes in rebuilding the Universe is left unexplained. Many fans consider this the animated equivalent of the Superboy-Prime punches time meme.
      • The Rooter story arc makes a retcon in an attempt to explain some controversial AF elements such as the change in Kevin's origin (who went from being a Mutant to a Half-Human Hybrid ascended from an alien species known as Osmosian) and the existence of various Human-Alien Hybrids. Said explanation is that Osmosians actually are a subspecies of human similar to mutants, the various hybrid kids were actually regular humans who got their alien traits by being Guinea Pigs for a Black Op, and none of them remembered this because they suffered Laser-Guided Amnesia. Problem is, that doesn't explain why nobody before questioned the fact Kevin claimed to be from an alien species that apparently didn't exist, nor does it explain why nobody ever questioned how the Plumber's Kids were the sole alien-human hybrids of their kind in existence.
      • In season 1 of Omniverse, Malware somehow manages to destroy Ben's alien form Feedback (despite the form being basically just DNA inside the Omnitrix). The reason given to explain why Ben can't just scan Conductoid DNA again to re-acquire the form is that Malware's tampering with the Omnitrix caused a failsafe glitch, leaving the Omnitrix unable to acquire this particular DNA ever again. The problem? Ben has changed Omnitrix twice since this happened, so there really is no reason for the two next Omnitrix to still suffer this glitch.
  • Winx Club 4Kids dub, "Magical Reality Check": It's already bad enough that the would-be Author's Saving Throw (where Knut comes in and says that he couldn't find the herb ingredients that the Trix wanted for a potion) is placed in the middle of the episode (and not brought up again at the end where it would be relevant; this comparison includes the throw), but it also raises the question, "Why do the Trix perform their plan to steal Bloom's powers after they're told that they lack the necessary ingredients?" (as well as "Why don't they bring that up when the plan fails?")
  • The Simpsons uses this in one of the Bizarro Halloween Episodes:
    Lisa: Wait a minute, Xena can't fly!
    Lucy Lawless: I told you, I'm not Xena -- I'm Lucy Lawless.
    Lisa: Oh.
  • Fry of Futurama often prefers this type of answer in situations where he doesn't want to think. Even when there's a perfectly logical explanation.
    Fry: It's crazy! How could they even know about a show from a thousand years ago?
    Farnsworth: Well, Omicron Persei 8 is about a thousand light years away. So the electromagnetic waves would just recently have gotten there. You see—
    Fry: Magic. Got it.
    • As you can see from the quote atop the page, this frequently popped up. Perhaps the funniest time was in the fourth movie, where Fry reads the thoughts of people in a crowd—he gets to Nixon's head in a jar, and he admits the one thing they never figured out was that they really did fake the moon landing—on Venus!
  • Invoked by Word of God for Transformers Animated. The writers announced that they would not be revealing anything about the origins of the Allspark because the explanation would risk being so bizarre that it shattered the audience's Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The Star Wars Midichlorian example was specifically cited.
  • Word of God of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy says that Plank is just a hunk of wood. While most of the strange incidents concerning Plank could be justified as the insanity of Johnny, Plank's owner, a few things just can't be explained. For example, in "Rent-A-Ed", Plank told Johnny that Eddy had messed up the kitchen. While Johnny was trapped in a tree far away from the incident. He also managed to sprout a branch in "Scrambled Ed", and drives a bus in The Movie.
  • Lampshaded in Family Guy:
    Stewie: Say, Brian, now that I think about it, how can you possibly have a thirteen-year-old son when you yourself are only seven?
    Brian: Well, those are dog years.
    Stewie: That doesn't make any sense.
    Brian: You know what, Stewie? If you don't like it, go on the Internet and complain.
  • Frequently used on American Dad!, particularly in regards to the details of Roger's many disguises. For example, in "Shallow Vows", Roger is pretending to be a wedding planner, and introduces Stan to his sons — two college-aged men who act as if Roger is actually their mother:
    Stan: How is that possible?
    Roger: I know. I look too young to have kids in college.
    Stan: No, that you have children when your persona is completely fabricated...
    Roger: We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams.
    Stan: That is an unsatisfying answer.
    • And then in a later episode:
      Steve: You... you've been married to him [a prison warden] for thirty years? Where do you find the time?!
      Roger: When you're in love, you make time.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • Word of God's explanation for what ghosts are: they're not dead people; they're beings from another dimension who have taken on the memories and appearances of dead people. Fan reaction to this proclamation was uniformly negative, especially since it seems to contradict the show itself! Most notably, Poindexter, a Deliberately Monochrome ghost stuck in The '50s. Because that's when he attended Casper High when he was alive. Makes for Fridge Horror when you realize his entire afterlife has been being brutally bullied for fifty years.
    • The explanation of Ember's death given by one of the animators. According to this explanation, Ember was stood up by her date, went home, and died in a house fire that she couldn't wake up for due to being exhausted from staying up all night. Not only does this raise more questions (Why does fire matter so much to her if it was a random act that burned down her house? How the hell does this relate to the boy standing her up? Did he burn her house down just because she was unpopular?) but it also doesn't match Ember's theme song at all (which sounds like she had a thing with the boy, he eventually started ignoring her, and after several weeks she began wanting revenge).
    • Word of God has also stated that, despite her ghost gimmick being based around teen rebellion and her explicitly being called a teenager in her first episode, Ember herself is actually in her early twenties. It's speculated that this was an attempt to discourage pairing her with the fourteen-year-old protagonist in fanfiction by making the age difference squicky.
  • Played for laughs in the South Park episode, "Korn's Groovy Pirate Mystery." At the very end, when Korn is going through the process of Doing In the Wizard to explain the presence of the pirate ghosts ala Scooby-Doo, the methods turn out to be complete nonsense. The ghosts were created using a flashlight and cotton swabs, and a Ghost Ship was made using a mirror, a candle, and two squirrels.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls the antagonist steals one of the Elements of Harmony and takes it to an alternate dimension. This causes the element to change in how it functions. For instance, it renders the other elements obsolete and causes a big hole in the ground, thus contradicting its very purpose. The element could also be altered and used for evil purposes, which Discord could not do, but a schoolgirl now can. And how do they resolve that? By letting Sunset Shimmer, the antagonist, tell Twilight Sparkle via a Handwave that taking an element to another world would cause it to change. This raises the question, how can she know that since there are no recordered instances of that happening before? There would be some tie-in comics that would help at least somewhat, with Sunset Shimmer finding books on forbidden lore and Celestia having spent a fair amount of time in alternate worlds.
    • The third and fourth movies seem to have since patched this by implying that the demon transformation Sunset went through wasn't actually the result of the Element being changed as it was a universal result of what happens when a human tries to channel too much magic at once (seeing as both Twilight and Gloriosa go through similar transformations). This is a much more sensible explanation by and large...but it also means that Sunset's mysterious statement about "what happens when you take an Element of Harmony to another world" is literally meaningless.
  • Played for Laughs in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Baby Cakes", when the Earth Ponies Mr. and Mrs. Cake have two children — one of which is a unicorn and the other one is a pegasus. When asked about this, Mr. Cake gives a convoluted genealogical explanation (including a relative who is related by marriage, not blood), then adds "That makes sense, right?" (complete with nervous Aside Glance).
    • Fanon has since assumed that the three races (earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns) can and often do intermarry, and the resulting foals are usually either of the races of the two parents. If not, that can be explained by an ancestor of one of the two parents being that race.
  • Lampshaded in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "Halloween":
    Darwin: How come we can see you every day, but we need this to see [other ghosts]?
    Carrie: Duh! Because I was born a ghost!
    Darwin: How does that work?
    Gumball: Duh! *beat* Actually, I have no idea.
    • This gets a somewhat more sensible explanation in "The Mirror", which explains that Carrie's father was a human who fell in love with a ghost. He found a spell that enabled him to touch ghosts and ended up having children with one.
  • Parodied in Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Molotov sees a dancing house and demands an explanation. Heloise replies that the house owed her a favour.
  • The Legend of Korra: The use of platinum armor to make mechs immune to metalbending. Even if you handwave wave the rarity and expense of so much platinum by saying it might not be as rare in the Avatar world, that still leaves the issue that platinum is a relatively soft metal (closest to soft iron), so would make horrible armor for any purpose other than resisting metalbending. And any sort of electroplating or platinum alloy would reduce the metal's purity, lowering its resistance to bending. Also, like gold, it's heavy, which would make it a doubly-horrible choice for armoring Kuvira's giant mech from season 4.
  • Regular Show: No one on the Party Horse homeworld knows why an education in Earth's U.S. History is now compulsory for all Party Horses, although Principal Party Horse somehow believes that partying without a clear knowledge of the history of a country on a planet very far away is somehow deficient.
  • The Lion Guard shows Scar's backstory and his Start of Darkness. He was the previous leader of the Lion Guard until the power went to his head, he killed the other members, and his powers were taken away. This leaves fans of The Lion King deeply confused why Mufasa let his murderous brother hang around.
  • Parodied in the Teen Titans Go! Island Adventures five-parter. After the Titans get stranded on a deserted island, Robin claims they can no longer use their powers just because they're stranded on a deserted island and thus can't just fly back home, even though they still use their powers several times.

Alternative Title(s): Explanation Completely Fails, Nonsensical Explanation, That Just Raises Further Questions, Closing One Plot Hole With Another, Handwaving Yourself Deeper, Explanation Plot Hole, Recursive Plot Hole