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[[quoteright:350:[[Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wild-card-excuse_TWGOK_4043.png]]]]

->'''Dad:''' Say! Where'd you get the nice tank, son?\\
'''Timmy:''' Uhh... internet?\\
'''Chester:''' Killer Crash suit, dude!\\
'''A.J:''' Yeah - wherever did you get it?\\
'''Timmy:''' ...internet?\\
'''Dad:''' Where did you get heat vision?\\
'''Timmy:''' Internet?\\
'''Cosmo:''' Oh, he's ''good''.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents''

The Wild Card Excuse is a Subtrope of BlatantLies. It often consists of a {{Blatant Lie|s}} or a LameExcuse that is elevated to a RunningGag in the series.

In a game of cards, a wild card can be played in any situation. The wild card excuse is the same way. Late for class? You hit your head. Acting strange? You hit your head. You were seen lighting things on fire with your mind? You hit your... Okay, you get the point. What matters is that the same excuse is always used, no matter how implausible it is in the given situation.

Compare BlatantLies, GlobalIgnorance, BadLiar, ItsForABook, IHaveThisFriend. WeirdnessCoupon relates to how people react to the perceived wildcard.

Contrast LameExcuse, HurricaneOfExcuses, SuspiciouslySpecificDenial. See also ExcusePlot, and the actual WildCard.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows'' is the TropeNamer, where Elsie frequently tries to excuse Keima's weird behavior by saying he's been playing too many video games, and a caption in chapter 83 "christens" it as it is now.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'': The Mages HandWave things like people flying, shooting fireballs, or giant demon mecha with "It's CGI." This one actually makes a little sense: The original Japanese phrase means "special effects," which includes CGI, but also fireworks and other stagecraft. But somebody translated it as CGI by accident, and [[GoodBadTranslation the other translators thought it was funny enough to keep]].
* ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis'': Ryoma's excuse for being late: "I was helping a pregnant woman to the hospital." Called back later when Oishi is late because he actually was helping a pregnant woman to the hospital.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': The usual explanation anytime one of the main characters shows up at school injured is "I fell down the stairs", which everyone immediately sees through.
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'', Happy's answer to questions such as "Why are you blue?", "Why can you fly?", or "How come you can talk?" is always "Because I'm a cat!" cheerfully and likely intentionally ignoring the fact that these questions are due to the fact that he ''is'' a cat.
* ''Manga/SchoolRumble'': "... cause this is the Tea club, after all."
* In ''Manga/DetectiveConan'':
** Conan often blurts out smart observations in a crime scene in front of the grownups. His excuse of knowing this? [[IKnowMortalKombat He watches a lot of television]] hiding the fact he's a 17-year-old TeenGenius inside a 7-year-old body.
** Due to the movies being more action packed then the television series, Shinichi has to come up with an excuse for how a seven-year-old child is able to pull off extreme stunts like piloting a helicopter or using a jet-ski. The answer? His dad taught him in Hawaii.
* In one of the omakes for ''Manga/TheDisastrousLifeOfSaikiK'', the author via the titular Saiki tries to HandWave his drawing errors as a result of Saiki's MindControl ability going [[RealityWarper out of hand]], but eventually admitted the truth at the end.
* ''Manga/OnePunchMan'': King's standard excuse for not being somewhere is that he was fighting monsters/raiding monster lairs. [[spoiler:He's telling the truth, in a way - he's a hardcore video gamer, and said monsters/lairs were in an RPG.]]
* In a yonkoma omake in ''Manga/TouhouSuzunaanForbiddenScrollery'', [[{{Lilliputians}} Shinmyoumaru Sukuna]] uses the excuse "It's an effect of the Miracle Mallet" to explain away any weird occurance. A believable enough explanation when inanimate objects begin to move of their own accord, not so very believable when there are tiny bite marks in Reimu's food and Shinmyoumaru's mouth is stuffed.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Shirou of ''Fanfic/InFlight'', every time someone calls him on anything strange about him. Eventually his flock start completing the sentence for him.
-->'''Shirou:''' Legacy of a misspent youth.
* In ''Fanfic/OhGodNotAgain'', anytime a character asks Harry how he knows seemingly impossible things.
-->'''Harry:''' My psychic scar told me.

* In ''Literature/{{Everworld}}'' the characters often pretend to be traveling minstrels as a cover for the fact that they're from an alternate dimension
* Creator/TerryPratchett parodied this one in the ''Literature/JohnnyMaxwellTrilogy''.
-->[[ItsForABook A project]]. If Saddam Hussein had said he was doing a project on Kuwait, the Gulf War might never have happened.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}:''
** In ''Discworld/InterestingTimes'', Rincewind visits [[ImperialChina the Agatean Empire]], where foreigners are routinely executed. He's advised to tell anyone who gets suspicious that he's from Bes Pelargic, an Agatean town looked down on by everyone else for being a bit weird.
** Likewise, when the Patrician, Nobby and Colon are undercover as Klatchians in ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'', Sgt Colon is explained as being from Ur, a town proverbial for stupidity. Every time someone gets suspicious about him (he doesn't know what a minaret is, he's unfamiliar with couscous, he's surprised by a flying carpet), the Patrician deftly turns it into an Ur joke, and everyone laughs and relaxes. Colon did it by accident the first time, when after claiming he spoke Klatchian he's called out on it by a couple of locals who ask where he's from, and while trying to think, he says [[RealisticDictionIsUnrealistic "Er..."]]
* In the first book of the ''{{Song of the Lioness}}'' series, Alanna always uses "I fell down" to explain her black eyes, and broken bones, and other conspicuous injuries obviously gotten from fighting. This is Justified in that this is the traditional response for brawling pages.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Sliders}}'', whenever the team lands on a new world and has to explain why they don't know what's going on, they use the excuse "We're from Canada." We've hardly ever seen it fail. Although one time they had to pretend to be illegal immigrants from Canada the entire episode, who had snuck south into Mexico for work (thanks to the non-existence of America in the middle, and Mexico ending up with California).
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' mostly averted this, our heroes generally coming up with new, individualized (if implausible) excuses each time. On the other hand, Sunnydale's police department (when not suffering from SunnydaleSyndrome) usually covered up monster attacks by explaining that it was "gangs on PCP."
* Used often in ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' during the earlier seasons, when any questions Clark Kent was asked about his interest in the caves or any Native American symbols that were related to his Kryptonian heritage were met with "It's for a term paper" -- to the point where ComicBook/LexLuthor himself actually [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] it later. What makes it doubly strange is that he had a perfectly reasonable excuse: His dead girlfriend died to protect the caves, and he is trying to honor her memory by learning as much about them as possible. He uses this excuse all of once, and Lex actually buys it.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** A variation, the question being "Who are you?" and the answer being "I'm the Doctor," rarely yielding any further questions. There are sometimes further questions (hence [[TitleDrop the show's name]]), but very rarely answers, at least none that are directly relevant.
** In the "Day of the Doctor" special, a conversation reveals that UNIT's go-to excuse for weird happenings is to say that Creator/DerrenBrown [[AWizardDidIt did it]].
* On ''Series/{{Lost}}'', mentioning Canada is always a clue that the speaker is lying. Fugitive Kate tells Ray she's Canadian. Ethan claims to be from Ontario. The Others believe Bonnie and Greta are on assignment in Canada, not jamming signals in the Looking Glass Station. In "The Other 48 Days," Nathan tells Ana-Lucia he's from Canada, which is probably true, but the audience is meant to ''think'' it's a lie because Ethan said the same thing.
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' - The Film/{{Coneheads}} handwave their weirdness by claiming to be from France.
* ''Series/FawltyTowers'' - Manuel being from Barcelona. It explains his bad English. It fails to explain anything else.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has a minor variation: The brothers have fake identities every case (FBI agents, doctors, etc), and stick with that for the entirety of the episode--which makes sense, considering they're stuck in a small town. This has led to truly ridiculous claims, such as managing to get everything for a case by being ''health inspectors''.
-->'''Naked Woman:''' Wh-what are you and that kid doing in the women's showers?\\
'''Sam:''' Don't worry, ma'am. I'm with the health department.
* One episode of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' had Jordan repeatedly justifying her {{Jerkass}} tendencies with "My parents were mean to me". Everyone immediately accepts this as a sufficient explanation. At one point she even says it out loud in response to something she was merely ''thinking''. And of course, it turns out to be a lie anyway.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'': In ''Bad Blood:'' "We were drugged."
* Kelly Kapoor in the American version of ''Series/{{The Office|US}}'' has a melodramatic wild card up her sleeve:
-->'''Michael:''' You cannot say "I was raped" and expect all your problems to go away Kelly, not again. Don't keep doing that.
* On ''Series/StargateSG1'', Jack O'Neill, who was very poor at keeping up with the show's {{Technobabble}}, tended to explain any and all unknown phenomena as simply the work of "magnets".
* ''{{Series/Chuck}}'' tends to explain away everything as the effects of a spastic colon, even if said excuse makes no sense whatsoever.
* ''{{Series/Firefly}}'': According to Officer Harkin, "Reavers did it" is a [[NeverHeardThatOneBefore popular but ineffective criminal defense.]]
* Quite often the males of ''Series/RescueSpecialOps'' use this. Jordan and Chase offer to help two women move into their new apartment in hopes of getting a date out of them, they just happen to be using the Rescue car and use the excuse that they are going to get the tyres checked out. When Vince finds out [[spoiler:he ropes the guys into helping him move his own furniture on their weekend off effectively making their plan FailureIsTheOnlyOption as they don't even get the women.]]
* ''Series/VeronicaMars'': "It's a project for health class" seems to be Veronica's go to excuse to slip all kinds of stuff past her dad.
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'': When Coulson needs to hold off the local army for long enough for May to rescue the special forces squad sent in to contain a situation, he briefly mutters to himself over whether to go with nuclear or biological, before settling on biological. "Biological always works."
-->'''Coulson:''' You can't go in there! There's been a biological weapons release! ''Bad'', flesh-eating stuff. Deal went bad with the Russians.\\
'''Commander:''' Did you say ''biological?''


[[folder:Video Games]]
* Near the beginning of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', Tidus learns to say "I got too close to Sin's toxin" (which is known to cause confusion and memory loss) to cover for his ignorance of life in Spira.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/PrincessWaltz'', Liliana uses "I lived abroad" to explain how [[SuperStrength she was able to jump out of a second-story window with a friend on her back without injury]].
-->'''Suzuku:''' Ah, that explains it.\\
'''Nishimoto:''' That's someone who lived abroad for you.

* In ''Webcomic/{{Kubera}}'', [[GodInHumanForm Fire God Agni]], doing his best to disguise himself, tends to get critically close to revealing his secret to our IdiotHero Kubera. However, whenever something strange happens, he credits to his jacket. That includes surviving her MegatonPunch and spontaneously combusting.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' has a RunningGag in the early episodes where a character will ask Timmy where he got his wished-for stuff from and get the quick response "Internet". See also the page quote.
** In one episode, while trying to explain why he was suddenly rich, he tried both an inheritance claim, and the usual claim, before settling on "[[BreadEggsBreadedEggs I inherited the Internet!]]".
** The peak is him claiming that his Superman-esque HEAT VISION is from the Internet... ''[[TimeTravel before the Internet existed]]''.
** It finally breaks down when Timmy's Dad asks him where he got ''the Internet'' from, at which point Timmy is reduced to stammering. In this particular case, Timmy's parents were suspicious of him because he recently wished for a bunch of things that were reported stolen on the news. When Timmy tries to prove his innocence later, the usual excuse breaks down again because he hooked himself up to a lie detector and they asked where the lie detector came from. At the end of the episode, when Timmy is proven innocent, the usual excuse works again.
* ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest'': Dukey the speaking dog is always "a kid with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertrichosis a rare hair disorder]]".
* In the "Knifin' Around" episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpaceGhostCoastToCoast'' featuring Thom Yorke from Music/{{Radiohead}}, Space Ghost takes a break from the interview to discretely reveal to his director, Moltar, the fact that he has illegally copied Radiohead [=CDs=]. When Yorke appears to be listening in, Space Ghost covers by saying, "Don't look at me... we're talking about dragons!"
* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' runs through all the popular UFO denials, including GIR as a robot Man in Black claiming that Zim, a squishy green humanoid with red eyes and antennae, is an "experimental government aircraft."
-->'''UFO Cult Leader:''' That's an aircraft?\\
'''Zim:''' '''[[YouFool Fool!]]''' What else could I be?!
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'': When Krieger is caught doing one of his weird science experiments, he'll claim he's not really there and it's a hologram programmed to take his place. Although this is slightly plausible, given that his wife is a hologram.
* Subverted in a promo for the 4Kids dub of ''[[WesternAnimation/WinxClub The Winx Club]]'': The troll who starts the series as the henchman of [[BigBadDuumvirate The Trix]] is being interviewed about his many losses to the Winx girls. His excuse each time is he wasn't wearing his glasses[[note]]An excuse that he did actually use in the series, but only once[[/note]], at least until the last time when he blurts out how much better the girls are than him before switching back to the glasses excuse.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Weather balloons have bit of notoriety amongst UFO enthusiasts as it's probably the most often used explanation ever for UFO sightings, even against the testimony of people who claimed to have flown next to it.
** It doesn't help that during the Cold War there really was an Air Force project focused on what were basically highly secret weather balloons (it involved detecting hidden nuclear testing), and that the Air Force took a while getting the hang of covering up the project's existence. While the convenient public perception that they were really covering up alien contacts evidently came about by incompetence rather than planning, the result worked... and the connection stuck around.
** There's [[http://xmb.stuffucanuse.com/xmb/viewthread.php?tid=4839 a humorous picture]] floating around the internet with various aircraft profiles (some real, some imagined, and some from media) and the "official" USAF explanation for them.
* A perennial joke among archaeologists is that any artifact you can't identify is a "ritual item".
** Biologists have a similar joke, that any external characteristics you can't identify are sexual displays.