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Insane Troll Logic / Live-Action TV

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Insane Troll Logic in live-action TV.

  • 7th Heaven:
    • In "Tunes", when Eric sees Simon sagging his pants, this is along the lines of what he says: "Do you know where that particular fashion trend started? Prison. Do you know where you're going if you keep sagging your pants like that? Prison!"
    • In "Just You Wait and See", Julie remains adamant at not wanting to have a baby with her husband, from whom she separated, despite the fact she's eight months pregnant, and also implies that her brother is to blame for her marriage and pregnancy because she thinks she does the opposite of what he wants.
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    • In-universe example: Lucy's friend Rod speculates that the reason why the girls' basketball coach cancelled the season was that the team hired trained Russian girls to be on the team to ensure wins, which he justifies by stating that the economic collapse of the Soviet Union (which fell in 1991, a full eight years before the episode aired) would make this possible. Lucy calls him out on it and states the real reason being that the girls' grades slipped.
    • Annie blames her father and his new girlfriend for her daughter Mary having been hit by a car. Nevermind that she is the one who stormed out of church in a snit because she was enraged that they dared to attend, or that Mary followed her to see if she if she was okay and didn't stop to check for traffic (no doubt because she was concerned about her), or that the driver didn't stop (to be fair, he probably didn't have the chance to).
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  • As detailed in this spectacular takedown, the History Channel series Ancient Aliens might as well be entitled Insane Troll Logic: The Series.
  • The 1960s Batman (1966) show used a lot of this in Batman's free association logic, especially in Riddler episodes. Even if the actual answers to the riddles were straightforward, Batman had to employ a lot of Insane Troll Logic to figure out how they related to anything relevant. Penguin actually used to this to his advantage in one episode by leaving behind a purposefully cryptic (and bugged) umbrella for Batman to find, knowing he'd assume it was a clue. Penguin himself had no plans for a crime. He simply listened to Batman and Robin guess at what his next heist would be and make their plan to stop him. Armed with the knowledge of both how to commit his crime and how Batman would try to stop it, Penguin then successfully pulled off the heist.
    • The Penguin turns Guilt By Association on its head in a debate with Batman:
      Penguin: Whenever you've seen Batman, who's he with? Criminals! That's who. Look in the old newspapers. Every picture of Batman shows him with thugs, and with thieves, hob-nobbing with crooks... Whereas my pictures always show me surrounded by whom? By the police!
    • Thinking he's killed Batman and Robin, the Mad Hatter is about to do a huge heist. His assistant, Polly, is unsure of this.
      Hatter: Who made Batman and Robin famous crime-fighters? Criminals, that's who! If you want to honor their memories, stay crooked! It's the least you can do for them!
      Polly: I guess you're right. In a is sort of like putting flowers on their grave.
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  • This A Bit of Fry and Laurie sketch uses it brilliantly. During the interrogation, when the woman accused of being a lesbian points out that she's married to a Bishop of the Church of England, the Prosecutor points out that the Church owns land. Land upon which houses have been built. Houses in which it is statistically probable that private acts of lesboid love have been committed.
  • In Blackadder The Witchsmeller Pursuivant's Kangaroo Court to accuse Edmund of being a witch is built on this. Edmund named his cat Bubbles? It's short for Beelzebubbles. He was giving it "Milk! Bloody milk!"? He was feeding his cat milk, then blood. He feeds his horse carrots? Carrots are the fruit of Satan. Percy and Baldrick act as Edmund's defense? They are also witches. And the reason the Witchsmeller Pursuivant does all this? Edmund made a minor insult towards his methods.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • The Trope Namer, using this phrase as a miniature Running Gag, appearing in three episodes. Ironically, it's uses aren't really examples as two of them refer to literal trolls. In "Triangle", Xander's original comment when asked to choose between Willow and Anya, by Olaf the Troll: "I... I'm not choosing between my girlfriend and my best friend! You're insane. That's insane troll logic!" In a flashback, Anya's then-boyfriend Olaf, whom she later turns into the aforementioned Troll, says to her "Your logic is insane, like that of a Troll!" While Buffy is talking to a recently-risen vampire about her failed relationships, he asks her whose fault her parents' divorce was, to which she responds, "Okay, y'know what? This is beyond evil; this is insane troll logic. What do my parents have to do with this?"
      • The Sadistic Choice example is particularly interesting in that, from Olaf's point of view, he was really impressed with Xander and doing him a favor. He was going kill both Anya and Willow, but Xander impressed him with his bravery, so he let Xander choose one to save. And then, when Xander refused, Oglaf complimented him for his loyalty (and broke his arm to make sure he meant it) before agreeing to let him die in their place. When you say it that way, it almost makes sense...
    • Principal Snyder (who employs such logic to pin blame on Buffy and her allies for anything and everything) is referred to as the troll by several Scoobies... Of course, as it turns out, he's actually under orders from The Mayor to find excuses to make things difficult for them. He also says that the previous principal had "the kind of wooly headed liberal thinking that leads to getting eaten."
    • Xander gets his own moment — although not by name — in "Lovers Walk", when after Cordelia and Oz discover him and Willow making out and Cordelia is injured while running away, he tries to make the situation their fault because they found them out.
      Buffy: Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic.
      Xander: Mine is much more advanced.
  • Charmed (1998): An episode opened with Billie coming up with a completely logical plan to find her sister, Christy, who'd been abducted as a child: the demonic forces who likely abducted her would need a powerful agent to move through in the mortal world, and who's more powerful than corporate America? So, she found a guy who was abducted as a kid — just like Christy — and now works for "corporate America" (which part? GlaxoSmithKline? WalMart? Vivid Video?), and she's meeting with him for lunch to see if there's any trace of demonic residue. It says a lot about the general quality of the episode that this plan actually scores results. Also keep in mind that in Charmed demons can teleport at their leisure, making their "powerful agent" completely unnecessary in the first place. Thus this is a case of Poe's Law, since it's not meant to be a parody but is taken seriously. Now you understand why in certain circles Charmed writers were known as "Crack Monkeys".
  • Cheers: Carla becomes utterly convinced her second husband Eddie LeBec is cheating on her, and nothing can persuade her otherwise, so she becomes determined to wring a confession out of him, regardless of the irrational logic used to get there, until Eddie straight up tells her the reason he'd never cheat on her with the woman she thinks he's doing it with. Then it later turns out he was cheating on her after all.
  • This is done repeatedly in The Colbert Report. One of the most absurd examples is the Da Colbert Code, where Stephen Colbert makes predictions using free association, starting with actors' names and titles of movies.
    • ...Which in 2006 produced correct Oscar picks, including controversial surprise winner Crash. "I CALLED IT!"
    • ...and again in 2009, without error. (Da Colbert Code actually spat out the right answer twice in a row when he didn't like the answer and tried again until he finally blatantly picked the one he "wanted" to win.)
    • He also used the Da Colbert Code to predict the outcome of the 2008 election through free-associations intended to link to John McCain but kept coming up with Barack Obama, much to his dismay.
  • Community has an actual troll-related case in "Remedial Chaos Theory", where Troy tries to defeat a flaming troll by eating it. "Clearly you don't know anything about defeating trolls."
  • In an episode of Corner Gas, someone asks, "What are the chances that we have a riot in Dog River?" Karen answers in all seriousness, "I'd say 50-50: either we get a riot, or we don't."
  • In the premiere of Coupling, Susan breaks up with Patrick, and tells him that she had not been faithful to him. When he reveals that he had also been seeing someone else, she gets very upset, accusing him of cheating. When he calls her on her hypocrisy, she "explains" that "I wasn't cheating! I wasn't being faithful. You were being faithful, and that means you were cheating. And I thought I knew you."
  • The Daily Show:
    • Played for laughs when interviewing the main "The LHC will kill us all!" proponent, whose logic on giving it a 50/50 chance of destroying the world was "It'll either happen or it won't, thus there are two possibilities, and since it can be either one, it has to be 50/50."
      John Oliver: I don't think that's how probability works.
    • Then beautifully parodied when John Oliver pretends to believe it is a 50/50 chance and offers that when the world ends he and the (male) proponent of the LHC-myth should try and repopulate the earth. After all, even if they're both males, there's still a 50/50 chance of them being able to successfully reproduce (it either will happen or it won't).
    • He also once used Insane Entertainer Logic to prove that Bert from Sesame Street is Hitler in a brilliant parody of Glenn Beck.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Forest of the Dead": River Song comes out with this while frustrated with the Doctor:
      "And if he dies, I'll kill him!"note 
    • "Midnight": One of the things the passengers latch onto to justify their fear of the Doctor is that he was talking with Sky, the woman possessed by the entity, before the trouble started. What they're all forgetting is that the Doctor talked with everyone, simply being social. This is justified, as by this point most of the people on the bus are well past the point of paranoia, and the Doctor's attempts at diffusing the situation only make matters worse.
  • This is pretty much Waldo's go-to thought process on Family Matters.
    • Weasel gets Eddie to bet huge on football games as he has a "foolproof system". After they lose over a thousand dollars, Steve asks Weasel what his "system" is.
      Weasel: We bet on the teams whose cities have the ugliest women!
      Steve: I'm going to hate myself for asking this...but why?
      Weasel: Wouldn't you be meaner if you came from a city full of ugly women?
      Steve: I was right. I hate myself.
  • Liam Foyle in The Escape Artist claims that he doesn't deserve to be judged for being the way he is, comparing his place in society to a lion among sheep. The thing is, he's a murderous necrophiliac who is petty enough to murder the wife of his defence barrister just because the barrister elected not to shake his hand after getting him acquitted of the murder he really did commit.
  • Friends: Phoebe thrives on this. For example, in "The One With The Cat", Phoebe tries to justify her belief that a stray cat is the reincarnated spirit of her mother by explaining that her guitar case is lined with orange felt. Her mom's favorite fish, meanwhile, was orange roughy. Cats like fish. Soooooooooooo...
  • Game of Thrones: Long after the War of Five Kings is over, Balon is still sending his men to try and conquer land on the North even though they repeatedly get repelled. When Yara points out how fruitless his endeavors have been, Balon shuts her down reasoning by arguing that since he is technically the last remaining King of the war, it's by his rights that the land should be his for the taking...
  • Used infrequently in If I Ruled The World, in the "I Couldn't Disagree More" round. For example:
    Jeremy Hardy: We'd like to thank Britain's pensioners for helping to win the War.
    Graeme Garden: Well, no, you see, it was the young people who fought in the War. The pensioners were too old, and they've done nothing but moan about it since.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has a generous helping of this, given that all its characters are Jerkass idiots. For example, this is Charlie's explanation of why burning trash in the bar's furnace is environmentally sound: If he threw it away, it would just be packed into a landfill, but burning it saves heating money and converts the trash to warmth and also gives the bar the nice, smokey burning trash smell. Also, instead of just rotting away on the earth, the burned trash turns to smoke and eventually goes into the air where it turns into stars.
    Mac: That doesn't sound right, but I don't know enough about stars to dispute it.
  • Chris Morris' sketch show Jam features a sketch in which stupid people are employed to engage in arguments, the idea being that they are so incompetent at logic that their opponents will simply give up in frustration.
  • This crops up in just about every speech given by Roderick Spode, who is meant to be a parody of Sir Oswald Mosley, in Jeeves and Wooster. Some of his ideas include creating a giant collapsible channel bridge to drown anyone who tries to cross and wants to replace 27,000 miles of railway track in order to widen their spacing by eight inches to facilitate the transportation of livestock, paid for by the fact that sheep will be able to stand sideways.
  • In Keeping Up Appearances, Hyacinth's social-climbing attempts and rationales can sometimes take on this edge. She once asked Richard to smile while doing the gardening so that if any people she was trying to impress happened to drop by they'd assume that they could afford a gardener but choose not to because Richard enjoyed it so much.
  • In the BBC sitcom Lab Rats, after Minty (the secretary) has embarrassed the gathered scientists by suggesting the obvious solution to their problem, Dr. Beenyman attempts to put her down (she is holding a watering can over a pot plant):
    Beenyman: That plant's plastic you know.
    Minty: Yeah well there's no water in this!
  • Done intentionally by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to satirize Conspiracy Theories, thus 'proving' that Cadbury Creme eggs are the tools of the Illuminati, who are secretly controlled by Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
  • Used in a very twisted way by a Villain of the Week on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit who kidnaps and rapes virgins, and then says he had to because his wife wasn't a virgin when they tried to consummate their marriage.
  • On Martin, the title character's CD player has gone missing and he spends the whole episode trying to figure out who took it. It turns that Martin's upstairs neighbor, Brotha Man, borrowed it without Martin's knowledge. Brotha Man explains that he left a note for Martin underneath his bathroom sink, figuring that Martin would eventually look there because Brotha Man had used up all the toilet paper. Everyone in the room, including Martin, is rendered speechless as Brotha Man casually shuffles out the window.
  • M*A*S*H: While in temporary command, Burns bans gambling. Hearing the kitchen guy lost $300, he claims it must have been stolen. When told the money was lost at gambling, Burns' reasoning is that since he banned gambling, then there isn't any gambling, so the money couldn't have been lost at gambling, so it must've been stolen.
    • In a rare non-humorous example, one episode has Hawkeye beg a chopper pilot to stop making pickups because the choppers go out empty and come back loaded with wounded soldiers, so that must mean that the choppers are the cause of wounded soldiers. In his defense, he would usually know better, but when he makes the comment, he's half out of his mind thanks to the effects of severe sleep deprivation and it's clearly messing with his reasoning abilities.
  • Both Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute on The Office have an issue with logic, but not normally for the same reasons, although Dwight is guilty of going along with whatever Michael says. Both characters seem to lack any sense of logic whatsoever, although Dwight seems to rationalize a bit better than Michael.
  • The Nostradamus Explanation of Why Bush is Mabus, from Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Flip the M upside down, drop the A, and add the "silent latin H" on the end, and you get Wbush, or W. Bush. Which is clearly what Nostradamus meant when he called the guy Mabus.
    • The Nostradamus Explanations of Why either Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden was Mabus was just as random. And now there's also the little problem of both being dead...
    • A documentary about Nostradamus on The History Channel used similar logic, combining the last two letters of Osama's first name, with the first three letters of Bush's surname, to "prove" that Bush and Bin Laden were both Mabus.
  • A favored tactic of Kelly Bensimon on The Real Housewives of New York City. She likes to start arguments with outrageously flawed statements as their centerpiece. For example, she once explained that the reason that she and another woman saw things so differently was because "I'm a blonde, you're a brunette". Even if that mattered, it's not true: Kelly's hair is dark auburn, not even close to blond. It's possible that she knows that this gives her an advantage, in the sense that there's no possible comeback when someone's gone and played the cray-cray card; but it's more likely that she's just an angry Cloudcuckoolander speaking her honest mind.
  • In an early moment of infamy from The Real World, Kevin Powell from season 1 declares to Julie: "Race plus power equals racism!"
  • Red Dwarf:
    Kryten: But it seemed to me that if humanoids eat chicken then obviously they'd eat their own species; otherwise they'd just be picking on the chickens.
  • On Riverdale Polly Cooper and Jason Blossom had an affair with Polly pregnant with twins. She stays with the Blossoms who have long hated the Coopers. Polly's father, Hal, reveals to his wife and daughters the truth that the Blossoms and Coopers are actually the same family who broke apart a few generations back, meaning Polly and Jason were related. The Coopers rush to the Blossoms only to realize that the Blossoms knew. Jason's mother, Penelope, claims that this is a great thing as it means the twins are "as purely Blossom" as possible. Hal speaks for everyone by yelling "what is wrong with you people?!"
  • A 2018 sketch on Saturday Night Live has Donald Glover as a lawyer trying to defend the owners of Jurassic Park on being responsible for the deaths of guests. He seriously argues that the guest agreement that the park "is not responsible for the loss of any personal items" extends to living people in his company.
    Defendent: I don't consider my family and friends "items".
    Lawyer: But the law does.
    Judge: Let the record show that the law does not.
  • In Seinfeld, Elaine is left in charge of coats at a party and takes advantage of the situation to get rid of her boyfriend's embarrassing fur by throwing it out a window, only to discover that she accidentally threw out the host's identical coat. When the host, with no idea what really happened to his coat, nonetheless tries to get her to replace it on the premise that she was in charge of it, she's outraged. Even Jerry and George can't quite follow this one.
    Elaine: It's insane!
    Jerry: But you did actually throw his coat out the window?
    Elaine: But he doesn't know that! As far as he knows, someone stole it, and that's the person who should be held responsible!
    Jerry: ...But that's you!
    (Another awkward silence.)
    George: Well, I'm satisfied!
  • In the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Jerome Squalor suggests giving the proceeds of an auction to the poor. His wife's response is this trope.
    Starving people can't eat money. Plus, if we give money to the poor, then they won't be poor anymore, and then we won't have anyone to feel sorry for.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "I, Mudd", the crew uses this trope as a weapon against the androids by overloading them with nonsense.
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Garak is attracted to Ziyal, who's the daughter of his arch-enemy Gul Dukat. When she invites him on a date, Garak is suspicious that she's setting him up to be killed to win favor with her father. Kira shows up at the shop and threatens Garak to stay away from Ziyal and never hurt her. Her anger convinces Garak that the date is for real and he can enjoy it. But then Quark suggests that maybe Kira wants Garak to go into a trap to get himself killed and is playing being angered because that will goad him into a date-murder. And Garak actually thinks this makes sense. Garak is usually Properly Paranoid, but clearly he has some misfires. (Although what Quark suggests is along the lines something Garak himself might do, so that may be informing his reasoning.)
  • In John Cleese's The Strange Case Of The End Of Civilization As We Know It, the CIA representative asks the Best Minds of the Police of Five Continents what they should do about Moriarty's plot to destroy civilization, etc., noting that "this fiend will stop at nothing." The Best Mind of the Police of Africa proposes that they do nothing, since if Moriarty will stop at nothing if they do nothing he will stop. The CIA man tries to find the flaw in this, but only ends up muttering "If we do anything, he won't stop, so...."
    • Earlier, havoc ensues when the CIA man reporting to the President of the United States (who is not Gerald Ford, honest) insists on responding to a question with "Negative".
      "You found a negative?"
      "No, I was speaking IN the negative."
      "HE found a negative?"
      "He was speaking in the negative too."
      "You mean... there was a photograph of you speaking to me... and the negative was in Groppinger's diary?
  • The majority of Michael Kelso's thought processes on That '70s Show are this. Some examples:
    Point A: Kelso needs a new vehicle for Brooke and their soon-to-be-born child after his van is destroyed.
    Point B: The two-seater mini-convertible is frickin' sweet, always a good thing in a vehicle.
    Path A-B: Babies are tiny, the mini-convertible is tiny, therefore the mini-convertible is better for the baby than a sedan or van.
    Point A: You cannot steer a canoe on land (tied to a car or sliding down a mountain).
    Point B: You can use a paddle to steer a canoe.
    Path A-B: It does not matter if you are on land, because you can steer a canoe with a paddle, duh.
  • In The Twilight Zone (1959) episode, "A Penny for Your Thoughts", Hector Poole (Dick York) can hear the thoughts of others. When he tries to convince his boss, Mr. Bagby, that the accountant, Mr. Smithers, is going to rob the bank, Bagby isn't convinced when Poole tells him Smithers' plan. Instead, Bagby reasons that Smithers is the bank's most trusted employee and that's who always robs the bank, the most trusted employee. Smithers is trusted, therefore, he's going to rob the bank.
  • Young Blades: In "The Chameleon," the young King Louis XIV reads part of a book from India saying that the Master of Changing Light, after years of intense study and training, can make himself look like other people. He tries concentrating for a few seconds and then gives up. Leads to this scene later in the episode:
    D'Artagnan: What if I told you there is an impostor in Paris who can look like anyone?...
    Louis: You've been reading that book of fairy tales, haven't you? The Master of Changing Light?... Pure fantastical nonsense! I mean, I tried it myself, and if the King of France can't bend his appearance to the force of his will, I ask you, who can?
    D'Artagnan & Duval: (Stunned Silence)
  • On the Dutch late night show Zondag Met Lubach:
    • The host Arjen Lubach is doing a story on Russian hackers. Showing a photo taken of the hackers walking through an airport with an employee of the Russian embassy, he makes the following comment regarding the censorship of the man's face:
      Lubach: That employee didn't get a small black bar for his eyes, but a whole square! This can mean only one thing: Spongebob is also part of the conspiracy!
    • He also mocked the party DENK after their leader accused a reporter of "secretly" observing him doing a press conference, depicting said leader as a Conspiracy Theorist who strings together a vast plot that includes ducks implanted with microchips sent to spy on him.


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