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Contrived Coincidence / Western Animation

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Contrived Coincidences in western animation TV shows.


  • In the "Happy Anniversary" episode of Arthur, Arthur and D.W. are locked inside a food storage room, and when Arthur mentions missing the Bionic Bunny special that he planned to watch with Buster where they planned to find out the origin of Bionic and Dark Bunny, D.W. imagines that Bionic and Dark Bunny were twins separated at birth with one of them stolen by an evil witch while the other is taken by a robot. Arthur dismisses this as highly unlikely, until the next day at school where he asks Buster what happened:
    Arthur: So, what happened in the special? I've been dying to know!
    Buster: Well, first of all: Bionic Bunny and Dark Bunny are — get this — brothers, and...
    Arthur: Wait, don't tell me: Were they separated at birth by an evil witch?
    Buster: Yeah, and a robot! How did you guess? [Arthur groans at the realization that D.W.'s story was actually true]
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
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    • Azula's conquest of Ba Sing Se has elements of this. It's an amazing coincidence that everyone who knows who she is just so happens to be conveniently absent the moment she sets foot in Ba Sing Se. Sokka especially could have waited a mere hour before leaving to greet the Kyoshi Warriors when they arrived, which would have derailed everything.
    • Katara was pretty lucky Pakku was sweet on her Gran-Gran and he just happened to see the necklace.
    • Much more appropriately, in the final battle, Fire Lord Ozai uses a fire blast to push Aang out of the rock he was used to protect himself. It works, but it also pushes Aang directly into a rock spire, with a single rock conveniently jutting into the small of Aang's back, that both unblock's Aang's season-long blocked chakra and pushes him directly into the Avatar State, which he then proceeds to use to win the fight.
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    • Commander Zhao received word of a promotion to Admiral in the middle of asking for help, allowing him to change his request for the special troops he needed into an order. This was mocked by turning it into a Gambit Roulette in Avatar: The Abridged Series.
    • Heck the series starts with one: The Avatar who had been frozen in an iceberg wakes up in the Southern Water Tribe after hundred years the very same day Prince Zuko was looking for him there.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Clock King", the opening of Gotham Central Station is exactly seven years after the Clock King's Start of Darkness, in a desolated subway.
  • Retroactively, in the pilot of Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis, a random teenager that accidently found Bruce's secret cave which later allowed him to become the new Batman happens to be Bruce Wayne's biological son, a scenario contrived by Amanda Waller so that there will be a successor to Batman.
    • Astoundingly, that wasn't the biggest coincidence involved. Waller knew that Bruce's DNA wasn't enough—Terry had to lose his parents just like the original Wayne did to gain the impetus needed to fight crime. In a Call-Back, she hired Andrea Beaumont, aka the Phantasm, to murder Terry's mother and father...but Beaumont couldn't bring herself to do it, and chewed Waller out for resorting to such tactics. She reluctantly agreed—only for Terry's father to be killed by criminals anyway, giving Terry the motivation he needed after all. It's lampshaded by Waller, who remarks that even Fate seems to demand that Batman exist.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse:
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    • In For A Few Brains More, Kevin and Gwen just happen to be orbiting around Earth for an astronimy assignment right when Ben, Max and Rook are calling for help against Albedo.
    • In Catfight, Ben accidentally turns into Rath, a humanoid tiger, against the one villain whose sole power is to control felines, even though at this point Ben has around sixty aliens available.
    • In Bengeance is Mine, a human named Bill Gacks just happens to closely resemble Vilgax and a hologram of Vilgax just happens to keep showing up whenever Bill Gacks is out of sight.
    • In Cough It Up, Jimmy Jones and Spanner are never around at the same time, making Ben suspect they're the same person. In Fight at the Museum, it's revealed they are different people.
  • Bob's Burgers - in the first episode, Hugo the health inspector, hearing rumors (started by Louise) that Bob’s restaurant is serving human flesh from the mortuary next door, slaps a big violation poster in the window – mostly out of spite because he had been engaged to Linda, who dumped him for Bob. Linda has him over to try talking him out of the action and is getting through to him; meanwhile, next door at the mortuary, Gene is playing with electrical controls and accidentally sends a custom coffin for a candy manufacturer, made to look like a gift box, up to street level where it rolls to the restaurant door. Linda, who has been expecting Bob to spring an anniversary surprise on her, thinks this is it and pulls it inside, opens the lid, and reveals the corpse, which horrifies Hugo.
  • Captain Flamingo uses this a lot in the workings of the eponymous character's Bird Brain — his "super power" to misinterpret his sidekick's suggestions in such a way that his actions end up solving everything. One of the most extreme examples is Lampshaded and handwaved by Lizbeth (the aforementioned sidekick) and the Captain. "Isn't it awfully convenient that the book you checked out just happened to be on the exact subject you needed to return it?" "My Bird Brain works in mysterious ways. I don't question it, and neither should you. *Aside Glance* And neither should anyone else."
  • Lampshaded with a heavy dose of meta-humor in the Family Guy episode "I Never Met the Dead Man": Peter has given up TV and Lois tries to entice him back by talking about the broadly-drawn characters, cliché storylines, and convenient coincidences that bring the plot around just in time. Immediately after she says this, William Shatner enters the house, his car having broken down outside on his way to give a speech on how TV keeps families together. (And yes, Shatner's appearance does resolve the plot and get things back to status quo.)
    • In another episode, Peter goes for a physical with his doctor and gets told that he's severely fat. Incensed, he decides to start a "fat guy coalition" to support larger men like himself. Meanwhile, Lois finds out about her long-lost brother Patrick, who's been in a mental hospital for years. Why? As a child, he walked in on Jackie Gleason having sex with his mother, giving him a murderous hatred of...fat guys. Even better, Lois only finds out about Patrick because Peter just so happens to force a hula hoop over his large gut while near a photo of Lois as a little girl, knocking it over and prompting her to discover that the picture's been folded over to cover up her brother.
      • In the same episode, Lois tries to invoke this trope to convince herself that Patrick isn't a murderer: "So he has a bunch of pictures of himself strangling fat guys. That doesn't mean he's the Fat Guy Strangler!"
  • This is part of Freakazoid!'s origin story; a defect in a newly released computer chip would draw the user into the internet if they typed a specific set of keysnote  followed by delete while connected to the internet. Our hero installs said chip, leaves his computer connected to the internet unattended for a second, his cat happens to walk over the keyboard and type out that exact sequence of keys, then his reaction to the mess on screen is to try and delete it. Thus the Freakazoid is born.
    • It's played for laughs with Sergeant Cosgrove, Freakazoid's cop friend. Somehow, no matter where Freakazoid is or what he's doing, Cosgrove always manages to find him, invite him to a weird attraction ("Wanna go watch a bear ride a motorcycle?"), and, while at the attraction, tell the hero about whatever evil plot a villain has cooked up. It's never explained how Cosgrove does all of this—he's just that good.
  • Futurama:
    • There was a Lampshade Hanging on one episode, where Bender, after having spent quite some time hurtling through space at the speed of light and encountering all sorts of circumstances along the way, gets thrown back to his worried friends, Leela and Fry, while they just happened to have started giving up on ever actually finding him. When he lands in front of them with a parachute to somehow slow his descent, Leela in incredible disbelief states, "This is, by a wide margin, the least likely thing that has ever happened." Justified because the literal God, or a close facsimile, was involved. The real coincidence there is when Fry smacks the radio telescope equipment in frustration, sending it spinning around in a random direction. As he does so, he laments that he just wants Bender back, within range of the microphone. The equipment just happens to end up pointing in the exact right spot for his message to reach God, allowing him to send Bender in the right direction to get home. They joke about it on the commentary, when one of the writers says "And that's how we wrote our way out of that one".
    • In the first Xmas special: Leela and Fry are saved from Santa's TOW missile when the parrot Fry bought earlier flies into the way.
    • Into The Wild Green Yonder ended with the crew disappearing into a mysterious vortex, unsure where it would take them or if they would survive. Cue the first episode of the Uncancelled season and it turns out it's the "Panama Wormhole," Earth's central shipping channel, which deposits them right back at Earth.
    • The factory inspector who approved Bender despite a fatal design flaw? Hermes Conrad. Bender has no idea, and Hermes presumably didn't figure it out until they had been coworkers for a full decade.
  • Generator Rex: in the episode "Breach", Rex is trapped in Breach's crazytown private dimension breaking things so that Breach ejects them into random locations in normal space, while Six and Bobo are in reality being hard-pressed by giant mutant scorpions. By some freakish stroke of luck Breach drops the ice-cream trucks Rex had just finished smashing directly on top of the scorpions.
  • There was an episode of G.I. Joe in the eighties in which the Joes repeatedly received menacing telephone calls throughout the episode warning them that "the viper is coming," which they naturally assumed referred to their archenemy Cobra. They were able to interpret apparent clues in the calls to upcoming Cobra attacks, and so anticipate and thwart the attacks, and so throughout the episode enjoyed great success against Cobra, but the calls keep coming. Then, at the end of the episode, an old man shows up with cleaning equipment and announces that he is "the viper," and that he was there "to vipe the vindows." Cue laughter. So there just happened to be critical clues to upcoming Cobra attacks in a series of unrelated phone calls. Sure, why not?
  • The "haunting" episodes of Hey Arnold! often relied on this trope, although they usually ended by showing evidence that the supposedly fake events were true.
    • In "The Headless Cabbie", Arnold tells a scary story about the titular horse-drawn buggy driver who was out driving in the park one cold night when a woman asked for a ride to help look for her lost Scottish terrier, gifting him with a scarf as thanks. As they traveled, they encountered a man with a golden hook for an arm and heard the dog barking; the woman forced the cabbie to go faster and faster, and the scarf caught on a low-hanging branch, which decapitated him and sent her into insane laughter. Later, when the kids travel through the park to get ice cream, bizarre coincidences pop up that make them think they're in the story. Hoofbeats are heard on the cobblestones... it's just Eugene, practicing his clog dancing. A man with a golden hook-arm appears... it's a guy selling watches. The headless cabbie and laughing woman themselves suddenly arrive... but it's actually Ernie, who's taken to driving the carriage for some extra money and is hiding his head in his coat to keep warm, and Mr. Hyunh, who's riding in the cab and laughing insanely... well, for absolutely no reason ("WHO WANTS TO HEAR MY CREEPY LAUGH?").
    • In "Wheezin' Ed", Gerald shares the legend of the title character, a gangster who supposedly hid his fortune in a cave on Elk Island. Meanwhile, two small-time crooks have taken to counterfeiting pennies and are using that very cave as a hideout for their scheme. Naturally, the kids go exploring and find the hoard.
    • In "Haunted Train", Grandpa relates the tale of a mad engineer and the ghostly train he still drives, detailing the process that draws in lost souls: an empty train pulls into a station and flashes a white light that hypnotizes people into boarding. They then go through the countryside, smelling brimstone and hearing devilish sounds, only to end up in Hell itself. Helga doesn't buy it, and challenges Arnold and Gerald to prove that the tale is true. All three go to the train station that night...and sure enough, an empty train appears that draws them on with a bright light. Later, the smell of brimstone rises, horrific screeching is heard, and the train ends up in a fiery pit guarded by a giant shadowy figure...who promptly reveals himself as a steelworker. It turns out that the "haunted" train is actually a little-used line for night-shift employees at the local mill; the "brimstone" was the smell of sulfur from the chemicals, and the "screeching" was just the worker practicing his accordion. However at the end, the ghost train is revealed to be real. This makes it an even bigger coincidence that they didn't run into the real one.
  • Johnny Bravo:
    • Played for Laughs in the episode "The Day the Earth Didn't Move Around Very Much". A power outage causes Johnny's alarm clock to freeze, and upon waking up, he assumes that time has stopped for everyone in the world but him. As luck would have it, everyone he encounters that day just so happens to have some reason to stand perfectly still whenever Johnny gets close. It starts out relatively possible—little Suzy, for example, is trying to balance an egg on her nose and doesn't want to jostle it—but it quickly moves into ludicrous territory, such as an entire traffic jam deciding to stop honking their horns (because it doesn't do anything) or a group of chefs playing charades and requiring a moment of "perfect, unmoving stillness" to figure out a solution.
    • The episode "Karma Krisis" also plays this for a joke. After Johnny tears up a chain letter, horrible things start happening to him, including having an entire circus trample him multiple times, getting banned from the local gym, or being assaulted by a busload of women who know his reputation. After some helpful advice from Dionne Warwick (who's playing herself), Johnny realizes that the bad luck was all a combination of coincidence and lacking faith in himself.
    • In "Quo Doofus," Johnny travels back in time to the days of the Roman Empire, where he runs afoul of Julius Caesar and ends up in an arena fighting a lion. Just as it looks as if he's about to be eaten alive, a nearby volcano starts erupting. It's promptly lampshaded by a centurion:
      Centurion: MOUNT VESUVIUS IS EXPLODING!...what are the odds.
  • Jonny Quest episode "Mystery of the Lizard Men". Out of all of the wrecked ships in the Sargasso Sea, the one that Jonny wants to explore is the one the villain is using as his base.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Contrived Coincidences happen frequently in the series, usually neatly lampshaded, but the episode "Rewriting History" is the most blatant and over the top example: Kim and Ron discover that Ron's great-grandfather Jon Stoppable was a police constable with the same kind of relationship to Mr. Barkin's ancestor, the chief of police. Most of Jon's success in police work is down to ace reporter Miriam "Mim" Possible, Kim's great-grandmother. Professor Dementor's ancestor is demonstrating his device at the World's Fair, and is just like his modern equivalent. Chasing this up, Wade discovers that his ten-year-old ancestor was there too. Ron finds this pile-up of coincidences unlikely, and when Drakken's great-grandfather enters the picture (with a sidekick resembling Shego), Ron declares the whole thing ludicrous. Having just discovered all this, it turns out that after a hundred years, the device is due to go off that day. With sixty seconds left on the clock and no idea how to disable it, Drakken and Shego burst in to steal it. Their craft takes the device far enough to go off harmlessly. Ron notes that the villains arriving in the nick of time is so unlikely, it's like a dream - and it was (though according to Word of God all the persons were real).
    • The episode ended with a statue of Ron's ancestor in Rome, who was the enemy of Dr. Drakken's ancestor. His victories may really be due to a mysterious masked Amazon who resembles Kim...
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The episode "The Best Night Ever" has everything go horribly wrong at the Galloping Gala in an unlikely way. True, Princess Celestia claimed the Gala was always horrible, but most egregious are the forest animals who are scared of Fluttershy. The guests at the Gala can't control what the animals think, and it seems unlikely there would just happen to be animals who are scared of Fluttershy at a place where everything else is horrible. Then again, maybe the guests at the Gala can control what the Animals think — because what they think is: "All Gala guests are horrible." A time-tested truism.
    • In "Castle Mane-ia" the ponies (either alone or in pairs) all decide to visit the old castle for different reasons at the same time. Becomes a mass of coincidences once all the ponies are in the castle, for example Rarity reaching through a hole to accidentally grab Rainbow Dash.
    • Each of the key episodes in Season 4 hinges on a series of coincidences that have a mane character initially faltering, but ultimately living up to the Element of Harmony she represents and helping somepony else learn a related lesson. Any break in the chain would result in either a very short story or no lesson, and the mane mare wouldn't receive her Plot Coupon. In most of these episodes, the first coincidence seems to be blind luck, such as a dislodged leaf or a poorly timed cheer. By the season finale Twilight has become Genre Savvy enough that her final desperate plan against the villain actually relies on this happening again to get the last Plot Coupon after her apparent defeat.
    • Heck, the Mane Six's entire friendship is predicated on this, although that may be a case of fate intervening. Specifically, a young Fluttershy began falling down from Cloudsdale, prompting Rainbow Dash to rush to rescue her. Dash's speed became so great that she activated a "sonic rainboom," which creates a massive rainbow that streaks across all of Equestria. At that precise moment, every other member of the Mane Six just so happened to be looking up at the sky while feeling particularly discouraged about themselves, and seeing the rainbow prompted them to discover the Element of Harmony that they embody (for instance, Pinkie Pie, the Element of Laughter, was working on her family's rock farm at the time; she sees the sonic rainboom and is so overcome with delight that she rushes home to make her parents and siblings laugh, teaching her the power of joy).
  • Phineas and Ferb is a show that runs on this type of thing:
    • In every episode, the eponymous young boys build a spectacular creation and Heinz Doofenshmirtz builds an invention of evil. Whenever Doofenshmirtz loses control of his invention, no matter how far away it is, it will inevitably destroy, directly or indirectly, any evidence of what Phineas and Ferb built that day before their mother can see it (much to the bafflement of their sister Candace). Less often, Phineas and Ferb will do something that seems inconsequential at the time but actually helps their pet platypus Perry (who's a secret agent) defeat Doofenshmirtz later on. One or the other (or both) happens Once per Episode. Perry the Platypus is the only one who's aware how much the characters affect each other's lives on a daily basis.
    • In addition, the two subplots are always near each other. Phineas and Ferb are on a trip to see Mr. Rushmore? Doofenshmirtz's base is in Mt. Rushmore! Phineas and Ferb are visiting their grandparents in England? Doofenshmirtz is attending an evil convention in England! Phineas and Ferb are in space... (That one got semi-lampshaded.)
    • When they build a super computer it takes advantage of the coincidences to let them do the nicest thing possible for their mother, fixing her hair after a horrible hair day. The computer even gets a Literal Genie moment but it is Made of Explodium, all things it anticipated.
    • Then there are the even less likely moments where Perry's two dual lives meet, such as when Dr. Doofenshmirtz takes his girlfriend to the restaurant Phineas and Ferb built in their backyard, or when Candace delivered girl scout cookies to Doof's apartment, while Perry was still there. Jeremy once went to Doof's home to teach him how to play the guitar. Doof once dated Linda. He once went to a garage sale at the Flynn-Fletcher household. (It's not known if he knows Linda lives there.) It goes to the point where every character has interacted with the doctor at some point, bar Phineas and Ferb themselves, and they have gotten close at points.
    • Averted in Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, where the boys land in Doof's building, destroy the machine (an "Other-Dimension-Inator"), and then cheerfully help him fix it. And then Perry busts in, freezes when he sees them, and attempts to stop the doctor in 'mindless pet mode'. He fails. They travel to another dimension, and then gets outed as a secret agent, but then Laser-Guided Amnesia (literally, they get zapped with a laser that erases memories) allows the characters to press the Reset Button and forget all about it.
    • The same Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension has both Perry and Candace invoke the coincidence to save the day. Perry knows the boys can build incredible things, and has been saving all of their disappeared inventions for use by the boys, along with their friends and allies, to defeat Alternate-Doof's invasion. When it's still not going well, Candace forces their mom out to see what's happening, reasoning the "Mysterious Force" preventing her from busting her brothers, now that they are involved due to their saved inventions, will clean up the entire city. She was right.
    • In "A Real Boy", Candace finally gets Mom to see Phineas and Ferb in the middle of their big project for the day. As luck would have it, Doofenshmirtz accidentally hits himself with his "Forget-about-it-inator" (it makes you forget about whatever you're thinking about at that moment), then pulls a "What Does This Button Do??" and erases Linda witnessing the project...several times in a row, no less.
    • In the episode "Don't Even Blink", the characters decide to watch the boys' latest invention to see where it goes. On the day where Doofenshmirtz has built an invisibility ray. Every time Linda comes to look it goes invisible, and it turns visible again when she leaves... and when Candace realises you can still feel it, her attempt to cover it in paint is thwarted by Doof deciding to screw the whole thing, and convert the machine to a disintegrator ray.
    • Many of the patches that the Fireside Girls earn are conveniently linked to Phineas and Ferb's project of the day, but this is justified. They have Merit Badges for Everything, and the local troop leader has such a crush on Phineas that she's earned the "help your neighbor" patch alone dozens of times just to spend more time with him.
    • This unfortunately doesn't apply when it comes to Candace's own projects. In situations where the boys are protected by random chance, Candace is not and will be caught every time.
    • In "Rollercoaster: The Musical!", Phineas and Ferb make a new rollercoaster just like the original from the series' first episode and Doofenshmirtz tries to revert Earth's rotation the same way he tried back then.
    • In the crossover episode with Milo Murphy's Law, it's revealed that they have a power that is basically the opposite of Murphy's Law.
  • Lampshaded at least once in Pinky and the Brain. It was in "Brain's Bogie" where Brain needed to steal a golf club from a famous golfer to take over the world and Pinky points out that he's doing a celebrity golf tournament soon.
    Brain: There's only one word to describe such an amazing stroke of luck.
    Pinky: Contrived?
    Brain: Exactly.
    Pinky: I got one right!
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In "Meet The Beat-Alls", this is how the titular villainous super-team was formed. Mojo Jojo, HIM, Fuzzy Lumpkins and Princess Morbucks each went to the Powerpuff Girls' house to kill them, and by sheer luck they all decided to do so on the same night.
  • Parodied in Road Rovers where the character of Hunter had the catchphrase "yet another unexpected twist", even if the twist is completely expected or just a wild coincidence.
  • So many in Rugrats. The babies often misinterpret things or believe something to be different from reality, only for something to happen to support their theories. Sometimes, the lies Angelica tells to scare or manipulate them come true as well, and she's surprised to find that she was "right." In other instances, the babies will inadvertently stumble upon and expose secrets or fraud because they just so happen to be in the right place in the right time.
    • In "Family Reunion," Angelica tells the babies that the title events are for parents to trade their children. When it seems that this is actually happening, she cries "I thought I was making it up!"
    • In more than one episode, the babies messing around in Stu's basement workshop will either fix his latest broken invention or inspire him to create something new.
    • In "The Bank Trick", while wandering the bank for M&Ms (after mishearing "ATMs"), they unintentionally set off a burglary alarm, and when the police show up, it turns out that the "bank examiners" currently visiting are actually crooks the police had been after for years.
    • In one episode, the pilot light of the house goes out, and the babies mishear this as "pirate light." Wouldn't you know that the man Didi hires to repair it is wearing a spotted bandana and single hoop earring?
    • When Stu plans to buy a new car, Lou warns him that used car salesman are always "sharks." Not only does the guy who Stu meets literally have a hairstyle that resembles a shark fin, but his crooked business practices are exposed by the babies, too.
    • One episode sees Stu falling off the roof after installing a duck-shaped antenna; he develops Easy Amnesia and mistakenly thinks he is a baby named Stuie, granting him the power to talk to the other kids. Tommy is thrilled to have a giant baby as a friend, but eventually realizes that nothing can replace his dad. The other babies tell Stuie that he has to climb back to the roof and "fight the duck" to figure out a solution—and of course Stuie just so happens to fall in such a way that he undoes the brain damage and reverts back to his true self.
  • The fifth season of Samurai Jack is full of these:
    • The mysterious horseman just happens to appear to Jack every time he is feeling depressed.
    • Jack's hallucinations just happen to appear every time Jack is facing a dilemma.
    • In the aftermath of Jack's battle against the Daughters of Aku in "Episode XCV", Ashi inexplicably survived the fall off the abyss along with Jack as opposed to the other six Daughters being confirmed dead. At that same moment, a giant worm-like creature just happens to emerge from underneath the snowy ground where Jack and Ashi were standing and swallowed them both whole.
    • In "Episode XCVI", while Jack was showing Ashi how much Aku is evil, the two just happened to be nearby as a blue-furred alien warned them of the Dominator and how he is imprisoning and brainwashing the alien's children in his factory, which also happens to be close to them.
    • In "Episode XCVII", while Ashi is on her way to find Jack before he commits Seppuku, she just happened to run into many of Jack's allies whom he had helped in previous episodes. And out of nowhere, a mysterious bunny-like creature appeared in the dark and directed Ashi to the cemetery where the seppuku ritual is. And even though it took the entire episode for Ashi to find Jack, she just happened to have shown up on time to stop him. Had Ashi been distracted meeting more of Jack's allies, she possibly might have been too late to save Jack from suicide and the series would have ended just like this.
    • It's unknown how Aku and Scaramouche found Jack and Ashi in The Guardian's lair in "Episode C".
    • But the biggest coincidence of all is that Scaramouche knew from the first episode of the season that Jack lost his sword. Yet, it took him the entire season to tell Aku just after Jack got his sword back. You can tell what happened afterwards.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • It's a good thing the gang never stopped being scared of the fake ghosts, because there's probably not a single episode in which a chase scene didn't by pure blind luck lead them to a clue they wouldn't have seen otherwise.
    • It was also good that they never bought a new van/fixed the old one, since it would stop breaking down in front of creepy old haunted buildings. Also strange, since they clearly can afford to have it shipped overseas on some of their international mysteries.
    • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated subverts: every coincidence is the Evil Entity using Mystery Inc. to free itself from its crystal sarcophagus. After the universe is reset and they create the timeline in which the original show takes place, Mystery Inc. set out to solve old mysteries like Space Kook and Miner 49er again, scattered all over the country, implying some influence of the Evil Entity's machinations still remains as a kind of Ontological Inertia. It's also subverted by their erstwhile patron, Mr. E, who does things like take the engine out of the Mystery Machine to strand them in Gatorsburg, just because he wants them to investigate.
    • 9 times out of 10 whenever the Mystery gang manages to catch the ghost, it's after they've already found enough evidence to know who the ghost is, the trap they attempt to use to catch the ghost has failed spectacularly, and the resulting chase scene has in numerous extremely unlikely occurrences that somehow don't occur in any of the chase scenes prior that end with the gang catching the ghost entirely by accident.
  • Sheep in the Big City, being a show with No Fourth Wall that lampshaded every trope it used, loved this gag.
    • In one episode, General Specific repeatedly comes up with plots to capture the titular character...but every single time he tries to implement them, Sheep just so happens to have done a cosmetic procedure that foils it: a wool-absorbing magnet doesn't work because Sheep's new haircut has piled all of his wool on top of his head, while a stink bomb fails because he's just had a nose job that prevents him from smelling the odor (something the Narrator promptly complains about).
    • In the same episode as above, Sheep is repeatedly shot out of a cannon by Lady Richington. Every time he's fired into the air, he lands directly inside a hot dog bun that a vendor is selling to a woman—and it's always the same woman. By the third occurrence, the woman promptly wonders aloud: "Why do I keep coming here for lunch?"
    • And again in that episode, Sheep chooses his makeovers based on incredibly convenient advertisements that happen to be nearby. In one instance, he's convinced that his nose is too big, largely because a mother and her daughter are walking by and make comments about "that huge nose." But as it happens, there's an enormous statue of a human nose just behind Sheep sitting in the street at that exact moment.
    • Another Running Gag features a voiceover that occurs whenever writing appears on the screen, like a billboard or business card. It's always revealed that the "voiceover" is actually the same elderly man, who just so happens to be passing by and loves reading aloud.
    • Really, the entire show is predicated on this. The Secret Military Organization needs one specific sheep to fuel a Sheep-Powered Ray Gun...and the precise sheep they need is Sheep, who grew up on the farm that is right next to their base. What are the odds that of the billions of sheep in the world, the only one that works is in that location?
  • Shimmer and Shine: As revealed via flashback in "Special Delivery", when Misha the Animal Genie was delivering pets to Shimmer and Shine, the pets fell from her flying sleigh and were found by the very same genies Misha was delivering them to.
  • The Simpsons :
    • The entire episode "Trilogy of Error". Everything that happens to each character is a direct result of something (usually stupid) that another character has done, always with no idea that their actions are influencing the rest of the family. Eventually everyone's paths have crossed and re-crossed until, at the end of the episode, everyone's in the same situation.
    • In "Don't Fear the Roofer", Homer befriends a man named Ray Magini and ends up in therapy because his friends and family are convinced Ray is an imaginary friend (note the Significant Anagram) Homer made because he was feeling unappreciated. In the end it turns out Ray is real, and everyone just happened to miss seeing him for one reason or another. Turns into outright parody with Bart, who saw Homer talking to thin air because there was some kind of odd spacial phenomenon (requiring explanation by Stephen Hawking) that prevented him from seeing Ray.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "One Krab's Trash", Mr. Krabs sells SpongeBob a novelty soda-drinking hat, only to discover immediately afterward that the hat is worth millions. To get it back, the greedy Krabs pretends to be the restless ghost of "Smitty Werbenjaegermanjensen"—a name he makes up on the spot—and tells SpongeBob that the cap must be restored to his grave. Somehow, though, there is a fish named Smitty Werbenjaegarmanjensen in the local cemetery, and that hat did once belong to him.
    • In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", Squidward makes a wax sculpture of himself, then goes off to take a shower. SpongeBob and Patrick inadvertently break the statue and later cause it to melt, and are sure that they've killed Squidward... who then emerges from the bathroom wearing a white robe and facial powder that makes him look like a pale ghost. Had he not stepped out at that precise moment, the episode would have been over very quickly.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth". The Enterprise encounters an alien who was the basis for the Mayan/Aztec deity Kukulkan. He's coming to Earth to wipe out the human race because he's angry that humanity hasn't contacted him. One of the officers on duty on the bridge is Ensign Walking Bear, who just happens to be an expert on ancient Earth cultures and recognizes the shape of Kukulkan's ship. Walking Bear says the name "Kukulkan", which not only prevents Kukulkan from destroying the Enterprise but convinces him to allow several Enterprise crew members to try to solve a puzzle. If they solve the puzzle, Kukulkan will give up his plan to destroy humanity. Ensign Walking Bear didn't appear in any previous or subsequent animated episodes, just this one. What are the odds?
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Dangerous Debt", Ahsoka and the Martez sisters attempt to escape from the Pyke Syndicate on Oba Diah at exactly the same time that Bo-Katan Kryze and some of her Nite Owls are scoping out the Pykes' headquarters.
  • Star Wars Resistance:
    • "The Children from Tehar": The titular kids just so happen to be on the Colossus platform at the same time that Kaz hears about the reward for finding them. This is lampshaded by Neeku when Kaz decides to try looking for the kids, noting that he has better odds of winning the platform lottery.
    • "Station to Station" has Kaz and Neeku infiltrate the First Order supertanker fuel depot Titan to steal a part for the Colossus on the same day that Commander Pyre, General Hux, and now-First Order cadets Tam and Rucklin are all visiting. Naturally, everyone's paths inevitably collide.
  • Static Shock had the episode "Brother-Sister Act". Sharon, Virgil/Static's older sister, begins to suspect that he's the electric superhero when she notices that Static shares the same style, vocabulary, and attitudes as her brother. She spends the episode following up on her hunches and actually figures out the truth, even lampshading the fact that Virgil vanishes whenever Static appears, and vice versa. So how does Virgil get out of the situation? Well, it just so happens that the Bang Babies he battles this time include a young girl named Mirage who can manipulate light to create realistic illusions. Not only that, but she's not actually evil at all—her older brother is forcing her to help him commit crimes. Virgil befriends her and, as a "small favor," she makes an illusion of Static flying overhead while Virgil is standing next to Sharon, making her theories seem impossible. Had any other metahumans been involved during this caper, Static would have been found out.
  • In Street Sharks, Melvin just happens to stay at the same hotel that the Sharks' father is hiding in, leading to him accidentally eating mutagen popcorn and turning into a shark hybrid himself.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "Knight Time", Superman investigates Batman's disappearance. It turns out that the kidnapper—Brainiac—needed access to a WayneTech facility, so he snatched Bruce Wayne, not realizing that it would catch the attention of the villain's arch-nemesis: Superman.
  • Wat's Pig: Wat just happens to open the door to his brother's room at exactly the right time to knock him out the window. It was an accident, but his (unknown) brother didn’t know this so he immediately started to beat him up after going back.


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