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Loophole Abuse / Western Animation

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  • Ain't no rule that Archer cannot win Melawan raja (one-on-one combat for the title of Pirate King) by pulling out a gun and Knee Capping his opponent.
    Archer: Suck it! Cause I'm still the king!
    Bucky: This no fair! You break the rules!
    Archer: What rules?! We're pirates!
    Bucky: Melawan raja mean hand-hand combat!
    Archer: Boo-hoo, show me! Show me where it says that! Take your time. I'm hourly.
    Bucky: [flipping through the pirate rule book] I know it in here somewhere. Damn! Okay, maybe it don't say this exact words, but everybody know —
    Archer: Noooope! Fair is — well it wasn't exactly fair, but since it wasn't expressly forbidden, tough titties!
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  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Batgirl Returns", the eponymous Batgirl agrees to help Catwoman find out who framed her for the theft of the Jade Cat statue, on the condition that she turn herself in to the police if she gets caught in a double-cross. Sure enough, when Catwoman tries to kill the real thief and take the statue for herself, Batgirl makes sure she surrenders. The cops make it to the end of the block before Catwoman slips out of her handcuffs, kicks them out of the car, and steals it.
    Catwoman: I said I'd let them take me... but I didn't say how far!
  • Batman Beyond: Despite the critical acclaim of Batman: The Animated Series, The WB head Jamie Kellner wanted a new Batman series with the eponymous character in high school, which the network could market towards younger viewers and sell toys for. However, he didn't say that had to be Bruce Wayne. Bruce Timm and Paul Dini are no stranger to loopholes, and the rest is history.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jade loves to do this when it comes to following Jackie around, often using Jackie's Exact Words against him.
    • For instance, she is once told by Jackie to stay with Uncle (the character) without thinking that he is also her uncle. Since he never specified which uncle to stay with, she stays with Jackie. Jade also uses this as an excuse to follow Jackie in one episode after being told once again to "stay with Uncle."
      Jade: Didn't say which uncle.
    • Another time, Jackie forbade her from using a jetpack, saying she shouldn't use things if she doesn't know how they work... so she promptly turns around and asks the inventor how it works as soon as Jackie leaves.
    • More examples:
      Jade: Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in. So can I—
      Jackie and Black: No. [drive off to fight the talisman-powered Dark Hand]
      Jade: Wouldn't even let me ask, and if I didn't ask, how am I supposed to know what they said "no" to?

      Jackie: Jade, maybe you should go with Uncle.
      Jade: Aw! [walks off]
      [Uncle waves goodbye as his train departs]
      Jade: I miss him already.
      Jackie: Jade! I told you to go with Uncle, not... stay... with... uncle...
      Jade: No wonder I got confused, too many uncles.
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    • Some non-Jade examples include:
      • Shendu refusing to hold up his end of the bargain of giving Valmont his treasure in exchange for the talismans and freeing him from his statue curse. Shendu's reason is because Dark Jackie was the one who brought him the talismans.
      • In the beginning of season 2, the Section 13 agents can't fight the talisman-powered Dark Hand. Captain Black orders all agents to retreat. Jackie runs after their getaway truck. Captain Black says his retreat order includes Jackie. Jackie responds with "I'm not an agent."
      • One episode had a girl cursed to turn into a monster and attack anyone who trespassed on a magic castle. However, as Jade notes, there's nothing in the curse that says the girl can't invite people in.
  • Jake and the Never Land Pirates: In "Jake Saves Bucky", according to the Never Land Pirate Code, Bucky has to race the Jolly Roger; if Bucky loses, Captain Hook will own him forever. However, Hook tears out a part of the contract that contains a loophole should Bucky lose; if Bucky's original owner finds the Great Golden Bell and brings it back before sunrise the following day, then Bucky is returned to them.
  • In Justice League, Lobo promised Superman that he would leave everyone on Earth alone if the latter rescues him, and he did. Later, he got into a brawl with other Leaguers. In orbit.
  • In the Woody Woodpecker short Ski For Two, Woody attempts to enter a lodge owned by Wally Walrus, only to be rejected due to the lodge only allowing those with reservations to stay there. So Woody promptly gives him lots of reservations...or rather, reservations Woody has made to other resorts and lodges.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Inverted and subverted in an episode where Homer enters a Robot Wars style contest as a robot. He is about to be awarded a trophy by one of the two judges. There a protest that he can't do that.
      Announcer 1: Tell me where in the rule book it says that a human can't participate in a robot fighting competition!
      Announcer 2: Right here, rule number 1.
    • A similar scenario occurs when Homer trains a horse to be a football player. He then reads the rulebook which says they can't play in the NFL.
      Homer: Great work, Duncan! You're ten-for-ten! Now let's just check the rulebook to see if horses can play in the NFL.
      [a beat as Homer looks through the rulebook]
      Homer: ...D'oh!
    • And parodied by a mock movie trailer for "Soccer Mummy". Ain't no rule that says a centuries old Egyptian mummy can't play soccer!
    • When a secret society Homer is made leader of wants to reform without him in they become the society of "No Homers". When he complains that they already let another guy named Homer in, they respond, "It says 'No Homers.' We're allowed to have one."
    • But perhaps the funniest example occurred in an early "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween episode, where Lisa dreams that she and her family purchase a magical Moroccan "monkey's paw" that grants four wishes but also finds some way to screw the wisher over while adhering to the wording of the wish. After the second and third wishes result in unmitigated disasters, Homer declares that he has thought of a completely foolproof wish: "I want a turkey sandwich....on rye bread....with mustard - and - and - I don't want any zombie-turkeys, and I don't want to turn into a turkey myself, and I don't want any other weird surprises. Got it?!" Homer's sandwich then appears as requested, and he promptly bites into it....and then throws a tantrum because the turkey is a little dry. See, he said he didn't want any WEIRD surprises.
    • Invoked by Homer in another "Treehouse of Horror" where he sells his soul for a donut. He eventually figures that if he didn't finish the donut, he wouldn't have to go to Hell. It works... until Homer sleepwalks to the kitchen later that night and eats it.
    • In the same episode, Homer is on trial for his soul. He's saved when Marge shows a picture of them on the back of which Homer wrote that his soul belongs to Marge. Apparently, this is legally-binding and, thus, supercedes the agreement between Homer and Ned the Devil.
    • In a flashback episode showing Marge pregnant with Maggie, Marge was afraid of Homer's reaction to the pregnancy so she asked her sisters to promise not to tell him about it and they agreed. Since they promised not to tell Homer about the pregnancy, they call up the two biggest gossips in Springfield, and in a matter of hours everyone in town except Homer knows, which means he finds out anyway thanks to someone other than Patty and Selma.
    • That's how Cletus Spuckler could get so many pretzels (for everyone of his many children) from Marge, who was giving coupons valid for a free sample. She forgot to state that she would accept only one coupon per customer. At least this helped her to know the name of every Cletus' child...
      Marge: Hrm... I knew I should have have put "Limit One Per Customer" on those.
      Cletus: Shoulda, but did'na.
    • In the episode where the Simpsons are visiting a Bland Name Pinkberry Homer is asked to choose his mixed in topping. In a rare moment of brilliance Homer chooses the tip jar(!), which is located right next to the toppings, and the acne teen behind the counter has no choice but to comply.
    • Also comes up in the episode in which Lisa has to babysit Bart (which really offends him, since he's two years older than she). Once he's pushed her too far with all his pranks and dumb stunts, she orders him to go to bed - and he continues to disobey her, coming up with various excuses for doing so. For example, going into her room and jumping on her bed ("You didn't say which bed!"). He also comes up with a much lamer excuse when he goes into the kitchen and makes a sandwich, "explaining" that he thought she'd told him to "go to bread."
    • A commercial for Nabisco's Ritz Bits S'mores sandwiches has Comic Book Guy offer to trade Bart a mint condition chocolate statue of Radioactive Man and the first Radioactive Man comic book for the box. Bart agrees and hands him the box. Comic Book Guy finds out the box is empty. Bart responds "You said 'the box'".. The commercial can be viewed here.
  • South Park:
    • Jimbo & Ned claim that the wild animals they hunt are "coming right for us!" in order to justify killing them in self-defense. Later that loophole is closed so they use another: they have to thin out the numbers of the wild animals so they don't overpopulate. "See, we have to kill animals, or else they'll die."
    • There also ain't no rule that a peewee hockey team can't stand in for the Colorado Avalanche against the Detroit Red Wings.
    • How they got away with Muhammad in episodes 200 and 201 by using various costumed and concealing methods in script, all Played for Laughs. Then they just censored his name and the entire "I learned something" speech. Cue several episodes of retribution.
    • There's also "Christian Rock Hard," where Cartman makes a bet with Kyle that the first to make an album that sells 1,000,000 copies and goes Platinum has to pay the other money. Cartman forms a Christian Rock band and manages to sell 1,000,000 copies first and it seems like he's won... until he learns that Christian Rock doesn't give out Platinum albums and gives out myrrh instead. Since the bet specified Platinum, Cartman is dejected to learn that he won't be able to win it.
    • "The Red Badge of Gayness" has Cartman make a bet with Kyle and Stan that in their re-enactment of the Civil War the Confederacy (whose side Cartman is on) can actually beat the Union (whose side Stan and Kyle are on), and the loser has to be the other's slave(s). After a lot of trouble, Stan and Kyle are eventually able to thwart him and make him lose... however, Cartman then reminds them that since the Union won, slavery is abolished, so he can't be Stan and Kyle's slave.
    • The "Imaginationland" 3-parter is practically made up of this trope when it involves Cartman and Kyle's subplot. Kyle and Cartman make a bet about whether a leprechaun from Imaginationland that they encountered is real or not, and if it is then Kyle has to suck Cartman's balls. Part of the story involves proving to the United States Government whether Imaginary characters are real or not, and if so then Kyle would have to live up to the wager. Ultimately, Cartman creates Imaginary versions of himself and Kyle, who proceeds to happily start sucking the balls of the former. Cartman states that Kyle still had to suck his balls, but Kyle states that he isn't really doing it so it doesn't count. Cartman proceeds to counter that since Kyle won the petition that Imaginary characters are real, their counterparts are just as real as anyone else, so Kyle technically really is sucking his balls.
  • The Bots Master had a robot playing children's baseball since each team was allowed one robot. (for carrying equipment but the rule didn't specify)
  • Kim Possible, there is no rule that Ron can't try out for the Cheer Squad...and there really is no such rule. This episode struck a sore spot with many fans since male cheerleaders are not just common, but actually required in many cheer-squads. Apart from providing support for physically taxing performances, many school districts in the United States have rules requiring at least one male cheerleader on the squad for legal and ethical reasons. Anti-discrimination clauses in many state statues stipulate that if a school does not make available gender-segregated options for both genders for each school activity then existing programs must be made available to both genders. Ron wasn't coming on necessarily as a male cheerleader, but as the mascot. (He initially wanted to be a cheerleader but Kim discouraged him from it.) Their issue? They think Ron's routine looks dumb.
  • Similar to the above example, in an episode of The Proud Family, Penny wants to try out for the football team. Subverted, when she tells the coach there's no rule saying she can't play, he still refuses due to his "girl's can't play sports" viewpoint, despite the fact she is clearly better than any of the guys on the team. Double subverted when her friend's mother is a lawyer who forces the coach to let her on the team. And shockingly triple subverted when the Couch allows her on the team, but states there was no rule that made him have to let her actually participate in the game.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Ain't No Rule that says a 45-year-old high school dropout can't come back and play the last game of the season for his old team, just for the sake of tying a record.note 
    • You need Haz-Mat certification to drive a Haz-Mat vehicle, but you don't need one to drive a tow truck carrying a Haz-mat vehicle.note 
    • Dale wants a guard tower built on his property, but always gets rejected by the zoning board. He finds a loophole by building the tower below mimimum zoning standards making it shorter and narrower than the minimum height for zoning takes effect, and does not build a foundation. The inspector notices this and calls Dale a complete imbecile. The tower soon collapses.
    • The episode "Junkie Business" deals with Strickland Propane taking on a new hire, Leon, who turns out to be an incompetent drug addict - but since he goes into rehab before they fire him, now they legally can't because with him added on the company is big enough to be covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, which essentially gives Leon free rein over the entire company.note  The day is saved when Hank eventually quits over this, making the company small enough that the AWDA no longer applies, and as such Strickland is able to fire Leon on the spot and then immediately re-hire Hank.
    • The episode "Square Footed Monster" introduces Edgar Hornsby, an aged but crafty city bureaucrat and Cool Old Guy who specializes in finding loopholes to win cases. After Ted Wasanasong's commissioned, poorly built, McMansion threatened to fall and crush the surrounding homes of Hank and co., the neighbors got together and tore it down before a storm could. Ted sued them for destruction of private property, but Hornsby convinced the judge that according to the ruling of an older case, Hank and friends' actions were legitimated under state law. Ted then leased his property to the city to put an electric relay station, Hornsby agreed to represent them to petition the government to camouflage the eyesore under the condition they name it after him.
  • Animaniacs: Ain't no rule that a chicken can't have whatever job he wants. No matter how well Chicken Boo does, he'll still get run out of town once he's found out.
  • In an episode of Noddy In Toytown, Noddy is attempting to tow a giant jelly with his car, only for it to become unhitched as he is going up a hill, so it rolls back down it. The jelly rolls into Toytown where Noddy is finally able to stop it. An amused Mr. Plod (the policeman) sees the jelly and consults his rule book, and while there is a section on jelly there is nothing against the law over speeding jellies.
  • Gargoyles: Puck loves this trope, and utilizes it mutliple times in his opening episode alone. Bound in iron chains and thus beholden to his jailer's commands, he interprets all of Demona's wishes in whatever way he chooses and not in any way compliant with what she was actually asking for ("Did you say, 'that human,' or 'that human?' Oh, never mind, I'll figure it.") This ultimately results in every human in Manhatten briefly and unknowlingly transformed into a gargoyle, and vice versa, as Demona never learns to be careful with her wording.
    • Another example from Puck: Oberon strips him forever of all his magical powers except when he is training or protecting young Alexander - but Oberon doesn't impose any restrictions on the timing, frequency or nature of the lessons, and Puck is quick to exploit this.
    • Elisa herself used this trope to free Goliath from a mind-control spell, which had rendered him an unthinking servant to whomever held the scroll which the spell was inscribed on. Picking up the scroll, Elisa ordered Goliath to behave, for the rest of his life, exactly as he would if he weren't under a spell. It's unclear if this actually ended the spell or not, but Goliath immediately revived and told her that it worked.
    • A major plot point of human magic is that spells are easier to cast if there is an escape clause, though the conditions for the escape clause do not need to be feasibly practical. The main spell book in the series was written some time before 970 AD, so many of the clauses are only infeasible for that time. Modern Technology tends to make things like "the castle rising above the clouds" and "the sky burns" much easier to render, though the funds to do so are still vast. The spell causing much of the trouble in the four part "City of Stone" not only included the "until the sky" burns, but an additional loophole. For the spell to work, the victim must both see and hear the spell cast. Several characters escape being turned to stone by realizing that both conditions must be true (A blind man is spared because he cannot see the spell cast on his TV. Xanatos avoids becoming a victim as he sees it on TV but mutes the audio. The quick thinking of Hudson spares the Gargoyles themselves as he turns the TV off before the spell is completed, though he seems to imply that this is a property of all human magic, not just this one spell.).
  • The Fairly OddParents.
    • Timmy and his friends are stuck in a horrible military school and his godparents are trapped, in a vulnerable state at the end. With missiles pointed at them. They simply go around the last obstacle.
    • In "Wish Fixers", HP puts shock collars on Cosmo and Wanda that will electrify them if Timmy makes a wish that's not approved, and the only wish approved is that he hands control of Fairy World to the pixies. Timmy wishes Cosmo and Wanda were made of rubber, a material that doesn't conduct electricity, and the contract stated that Timmy would be let loose if he broke his bad wish habit, which he technically did by making a very smart wish that directly benefited his fairies. It also fulfilled the contract's obligation of being a wish that was "both responsible and irresponsible", since on the one hand, rubber doesn't conduct electricity, but on the other hand, Cosmo and Wanda are now fairy-sized superballs, with all the destructive potential that entails.
    • In the episode where Timmy ran away from home, Cosmo and Wanda took him to a carnival-themed park instead of a circus. Circuses are bound by certain child labor laws carnivals don't have to obey ("they barely obey the laws of physics!") or so Cosmo told Timmy when he explained it was not a circus.
    • In "Chin-Up", fairies can go to a comic book convention without getting discovered since so many people turn up to them in costume.
      • Similarly, in "Scary Godparents", fairies can be out on the street on Halloween night without being discovered because the kids are all in costumes trick-or-treating and will simply assume the fairies are costumed kids as well. In general, this is hardly a problem, considering the general populace is dismissive of the existence of fairies.
      • Oddly enough, fairies don't have to worry about being seen by non-human, non-magical races.
    • There's also "Kung Timmy", in which Timmy wishes for "amazing kung-fu powers". The "rules of kung-fu" state that it must only be use for self-defence, never for vengeance"...which Timmy completely ignores in an attempt to beat the crap out of Francis, who'd stolen the Turners' home. Because he's using his kung-fu for vengeance, which is against the rules, his powers won't work...until Tootie arrives to help and Francis threatens to beat her up as well. Since Timmy is now fighting to defend Tootie and not just hurt Francis, his powers start working again.
      Cosmo: Yeah! Loopholes rock!
    • In "The Crimson Chin Meets Mighty Mom and Dyno Dad", when Timmy accidentally wishes the Nega-Chin out of his comic book, the Nega-Chin makes several wishes, including "immunity from being wished back into the book". The solution? Get the Nega-Chin to wish himself back into the book by summoning Crimson Chins from every comic book era to team up and beat the crap out of him until he does so.
    • In his second appearance ("The Big Superhero Wish"), the Nega-Chin uses it in his favor by tricking Timmy into wishing for a world "without superheroes or supervillains", then covering his mouth before he can say "supervillains".
      Nega-Chin: You heard him! He wished for a world without superheroes! You must grant it!
      [Cosmo and Wanda reluctantly raise their wands]
      Wanda: These loopholes are so annoying.
    • In School's Out! The Musical, Flappy Bob signs a contract with the Pixies that transforms Earth based on Flappy Bob's definition of "safe and fun" (read: boring, educational and covered in six inches of foam padding). After his Heel–Face Turn, he uses his law experience to point out the obvious loophole: Earth is safe and fun as defined by Flappy Bob. His definition now? "Everything the way it's supposed to be!"
    • "The Big Fairy Share Scare": Timmy agrees to share his fairies with Chloe where Chloe gets them on Fridays. Immediately after he wishes for no more Fridays.
    • In its Live-Action Adaptation, A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!, Timmy is 23, and, according to "Da Rules", he was supposed to have lost his godparents when growing up, but he manages to keep them by living like a child (still living with parents, going to school...), that is, until The Power of Love begged to differ.
    • Norm the genie employs this multiple times. First, he took advantage of the fact that his lamp sucks in the next best source of magical energy, arranging matters so that Cosmo and Wanda would be sucked in. Aside from also often playing on people's Exact Words with their wishes, in "Fairy Idol" he manipulated events to cause Cosmo and Wanda to quit their jobs, as the position would then be open to any magical creature, including him.
    • In one episode, Timmy finds out Da Rules forbid helping him win a skating contest. However, he realizes there's nothing stopping him from making wishes to help him practice, and uses it to travel the world and get to ideal practice spots.
    • Poof owes his existence to this trope. Since Cosmo proved to be very dangerously unpredictable when he was born, Fairies were forbidden from breeding ever again. Timmy decided that if they can't breed a baby, he'll just wish that Cosmo and Wanda have a baby and Da Rules say nothing about this. Well, there was going to be a rule against it, but Jorgen forgot to add it to the book.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: At the end of the Zygerria arc, Obi-Wan and Rex corner slavedriver Agruss. While Obi-Wan clearly wants the bastard dead, Agruss points out that despite the atrocities he's committed, killing him when he's unable to defend himself so would be against the Jedi Code. Obi-Wan silently agrees... and then simply stands by and does nothing to stop Rex from killing Agruss instead.
    Agruss: Come now, master Kenobi. I know a Jedi won't kill an unarmed man.
    Rex: I'm no Jedi.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown:
    • The monks in training are faced with a circular obstacle course that they must complete by taking a small statue off a pedestal at the end. All of them compete for the best time until Clay looks at the obstacle course for a few moments and then turns around and takes the statue, setting an unbreakable record. In Zen (sorta) tradition this is the correct result, and their master confirms this.
    • Later in the episode, Clay and Jack had a showdown to catch a bird. While Jack tried (and failed) to chase it with his heli-pack, Clay simply filled his hat with seeds from a nearby sunflower field and let the bird come to him.
    • Similarly Jack and Omi had a showdown in which they had to get to the end of an obstacle course with a glass of water "Without spilling a single drop". Jack had the Monkey Staff, which gave him perfect balance and a prehensile tail, but Omi was having trouble...until held the water in his mouth for the last leg of the course and ran.
    • Master Fung uses this concept to teach the monks, by challenging to steal a small idol from him. When they get too close to victory, Master Fung decides to smash the idol, preventing the monks from being physically able to win the challenge, Master Fung pointed out that, while they had a victory condition, he did not. Omi later uses the concept against Katnappe, preventing her from abusing the Golden Tiger Claws by sending them to center of the Earth. He can't use them any more, but neither can she.
  • Hey Arnold! had the 4th-grade against the 5th-grade in a football game. To accommodate the 5th graders being much larger than them, Arnold and Gerald convince Torvald, who is a fourth grader, but was held back and... well, let's just say they had to bring the class picture to prove it, to play. It backfires when he trips and twists his ankle thirty seconds after the game starts.
  • Garfield and Friends:
    • In one "U.S. Acres" segment, Roy Rooster goes on the Buddy Bears show as "Big Bad Buddy Bird". He becomes the victim of a twisted version of The Complainer Is Always Wrong, getting a sixteen ton safe dropped on his head for having even the slightest disagreement with the group. Getting fed up, he refuses to do anymore acting until the bears promise not to drop a sixteen ton safe on him. They promise, only to drop two sixteen ton safes on him. A later episode has him rejoin them, after having made sure they won't drop any permutation of 16-ton safes on him. Instead they drop other objects, including a much heavier type of safe on him.
    • In "U.S. Acres" episode "Rooster Revenge", Roy's prank victims decided they should play some prank on him, and Orson decided the worst thing he could do was "absolutely nothing". By not pranking Roy, Orson turned Roy's paranoia against him. In the end, Roy was visited by an inspector who looked like Orson with a fake mustache. By the time Orson appeared, making Roy realize the inspector wasn't him, Roy had already thrown the inspector into a mud waller. Enraged, the inspector threatened to transfer Roy to the South Pole, and the very idea frightened Roy into running away. The inspector was revealed to be Lanolin playing a prank. Just because Orson said he wouldn't do anything, that didn't mean she wouldn't.
  • Laff-A-Lympics:
    • The Really Rottens were usually penalized for cheating. But in the free-form pole-vaulting event, they were allowed to participate as a several-story-tall human tower. As the Rottens made their run, the announcer reminded us that "This is free-form vaulting. That means anything goes! So, as ridiculous as this looks, it is not considered cheating!" Cue the Rottens' usual villainous cheering.
    • In another episode, there was a kangaroo race and the Really Rottens used a mechanical kangaroo instead of a real one. It wasn't considered cheating because "a kangaroo is a kangaroo". They won, but when Snagglepuss revealed that Dirty and Dastardly Dalton were with Mumbly in the kangaroo, they were disqualified anyway because they couldn't have more than one athlete riding their kangaroo.
    • In yet another episode, there was a three-legged race and the Really Rottens were running on a treadmill attached to a vehicle driven by Dread Baron, who tried to pass it as a legit strategy because all the rules required was that they ran on three legs over the race course. However, they were disqualified and lost 25 points for it and another 25 points for forging the rule book Dread Baron presented to trick the judges into thinking the trick was legal.
  • In an episode of Angela Anaconda, Angela is forced into a pogo competition for charity. Despite her lack of skill, she manages to beat Nannette (in fundraising, even though she fails to break her jump record) by using two sticks at once - there was no rule against "double sticking".
  • In the Stōked episode "Boards of Glory", Reef and Broseph compete in the tandem surf competition after Lo discovers that there is nothing in the rules that specifies that the pair must be male and female.
  • In the Kids From Room 402 episode "Mrs. McCoy's Baby Boy", Nancy learned that Jordan is wealthy but doesn't want anyone to find out out of fear they'll think she's some kind of Rich Bitch. Nancy promised not to expose Jordan's secret. However, she started bragging to her friends about having a rich friend.
  • In the Futurama episode "A Head in the Polls", Richard Nixon's head ran for President of the Earth. When a reporter pointed out to him that nobody could run for President more than twice, Nixon revealed that he had a new robotic body.
    Both the rule and the loophole are kind of nonsensical anyway, seeing as the 22nd Amendment actually says "no person", and that was the United States Constitution and presumably the Earthican Constitution wouldn't apply.
  • One episode of The Secret Show featured a clown who ran for the title of "World Leader". His strategy consisted of renaming himself after the ballot's instruction of where to insert the X and count on confused voters. Not only the strategy was declared legal, but it WORKED!
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: In the episode "Broodwich", Master Shake receives a demonic sandwich; while it supposedly tastes amazing, if he finishes it he'll get sent to a Hell dimension where a guy with an axe will chop him up. Shake gets around this by removing the sun-dried tomatoes before he finishes the Broodwich, despite the demonic voice that's been trying to get him saying it's impossible to take it apart. They get him anyway by giving him a lobotomy, then telling him to eat the tomatoes — which he does.
  • In one episode of Rugrats, Angelica's mother told her not to be mean to the other kids or she wouldn't get the new doll accessory she wanted. When she heard about people hiring assistants to do for people things they can't do themselves, she decided to pick a kid to be her assistant and be mean to the others on her behalf because she couldn't be mean herself. Her mother caught her showing her "assistant" how to be mean, and the plan backfired.
  • Phineas and Ferb are kids, and thus don't have driver's licenses and aren't allowed to drive. Thus, they simply drive vehicles via remote controls.
    • In episode "Agent Doof", Doofenshmirtz decided to become an agent of O.W.C.A. Because of the time he was raised by ocelots, he technically meets the basic requirement for the job (being an animal).
      • This probably applies to how Vanessa was able to get an internship with the organization in the series finale.
      • Fridge Logic though; humans are animals scientifically speaking by virtue of being part of the Animalia Kingdom.
    • Another O.W.C.A. one, Stacy is able to get away with knowing Perry's secret because she's not part of his host family.
    • Candace and Linda once signed an agreement regarding Candace busting her brothers. One of the terms was that Candace couldn't try to bust them more than once per day. Cue to midnight, and Linda was considering adding a new clause to their agreement.
    • On New Year's Eve, Candace is having a relapse over a resolution to stop her busting obsession; upon learning someone else doesn't have to fulfill their resolution until midnight, this inspires her to resume her obsession until then.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • In an example similar to the Xiaolin Showdown example above. Rolf held a no-rules race to see who would get a jawbreaker to solve an argument while carrying an egg. Eddy cheated, as per usual, Double D made a 2X4 go-kart, Ed just hobbled (Eddy had tied his shoes together at the start) to the finish, which was right by the start, and won (Ed's egg broke, but Rolf never said the egg had to make it).
    • In "Rambling Ed", Rolf tires of the Eds interfering with his work and tells them not to leave his shed. Afterward, they carry the shed from the inside to enter Rolf's house and raid his fridge.
  • The Disney short The Art of Self Defense has Goofy attempting to exploit the "No hitting below the belt" rule twice in a row against his opponent by hitching his pants up to his armpits (which gets him punched in the face) and eventually up to where only the top of his head is exposed (his opponent merely pounds him there).
  • The Looney Tunes Baseball Episode "Gone Batty" features a rather unfair matchup between a team of big, muscular bullies called the Greenvile Goons, and a team of much smaller, weaker guys called the Sweetwater Shnooks. After the Goons gain an overwhelming lead of 157 to nothing, the Shnooks decide to have their mascot, a baby elephant named Bobo, act as relief pitcher. The Goons complain to the umpire, but he angrily shouts at them, "There's nothing in the rule book that says an elephant can't pitch!" and tells them to play ball. (And that's very bad news for the Goons, because after getting over an initial bout of stage fright, Bobo is seriously able to turn the game around.)
  • In an episode of The Looney Tunes Show, the doctor cuts Bugs off his caffeine. In The Stinger it's revealed that the doctor told him "One cup of coffee a day can't hurt"... so he just bought a really gigantic coffee cup.
  • Averted in The Legend of Korra. Judging from the response when Korra earthbends during a probending game after joining as a waterbender ("Foul! ...I think."), it doesn't sound like there are any actual rules about bending an element other than your own (since only one person in the world actually can). The judges insist that Korra limit herself to waterbending anyway.
    • Early in the episode, Korra noted to her master she was only banned from watching a match, not listening to one on the radio. Didn't keep Tenzin from getting angry at her.
  • In the first episode of Johnny Test, the title character is using his dad's new camera as part of a get-rich-quick scheme to uncover a conspiracy of Mole Men stealing things from underground (it later turns out he was right). Dukey points out that his dad told him, "Touch [the camera] and die," to which Johnny retorts that he's not touching it physically (he was using a stick to operate it).
  • The Zeta Project: When Zeta and Ro took refuge within a "No-Tech" village, the Agents couldn't go there without a court order. As Bennet went to the nearest town to get one, he told the other Agents to keep watching and not to set foot inside the village. Agent West then took a flying module to enter the village without setting foot inside it. To his misfortune, the villagers had catapults and rocks to defend themselves.
  • Secret Squirrel:
    • In the original 1960's cartoon, one episode had Secret Squirrel's boss Double Q threaten to fire him if he doesn't enter his office using a door. When Secret enters by creating a door that goes through the ceiling, Double Q states that Secret is fired for not using the front door, but is forced to call it off when Morocco Mole points out to Double Q that he said "a door" without specifying that he meant the front door.
    • One of the 90's revival segments on 2 Stupid Dogs had Secret told to stop a rampaging panda without hurting it, as it was an endangered species. Secret's solution: Become his "bodyguard" and play a game of "Stop Hitting Yourself" with him. More specifically, said panda is not allowed to be harmed by anyone—and that includes the panda himself, which allows the cops to arrest him.
  • Goof Troop:
    • Max uses this a couple times to aid his friend PJ. PJ's father disallowed him from playing with any of the toys in his room so Max, feeling sorry for him, looked for a way to get PJ to be able to play with his toy tank. Unfortunately, basically every ground in existence was expressly forbidden. Max eventually asked about the walls and ceiling, and the two played with the tank there using suction cups. In another episode, PJ's father said he wasn't allowed to move the VCR, but Max noticed he didn't say they couldn't plug into it.
    • PJ uses it himself when he makes contradictory promises by accident. He doesn't ever actually tell Max that Pete cheated; he just makes it impossible to draw any other conclusion by conspicuously dropping the camera from his hat.
  • Toonsylvania:
    • The Night of the Living Fred segment had this happen in the episode "In Or Out". The principal, during a yearly visit to Fred Deadman's classroom, figured out Fred is, as his surname suggests, dead and decided to expel him for that. After he was told there's no rule against dead kids attending school, the principal simply established the rule, subverting the trope.
    • In "Phil's Brain", Dr. Vic ordered Igor to take the garbage out but Igor replied that his union doesn't allow him to do it. (In fact, it's the only thing the union forbids him from doing) Dr. Vic then ordered Igor to make sure Phil takes the garbage out otherwise Igor will be punished.
    • In another Night of the Living Fred episode, "Dead Dog Day Afternoon", Fred took his dead and stuffed dog, Frisky, to a dog show. Frisky was allowed in because there was no rule against dead dogs entering. Frisky won because the last event was a "stay" and the points for it were more than any other dog had got after the other events.
  • In The Venture Bros., The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend/Dr. Mrs. The Monarch are constantly abusing loopholes within the rules of the Guild of Calamitous Intent to get what they want. A few prime examples:
    • When the Guild banned Monarch from arching Rusty Venture, they went after his brother Jonas Jr. instead. When JJ escalated his attacks into trying to outright kill the Monarch (being baited into doing so by the Monarch), this allowed Monarch to extend his arching to JJ's guild-sanctioned immediate family, including Rusty.
    • When supervillain/lawyer Monstroso attempted to double-cross the Monarch, taking control of his estate as well as Venture's, Monarch was forbidden by the Guild to do interfere, since they actually encourage the double cross. When he and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch found out that Henchman 21 was acting on his own to stop Monstroso, they didn't stop him, since a renegade henchman wasn't covered by the "no interfering with a double cross" rule since they didn't order him to do it.
    • When Rusty was captured by a group of supervillains at a Guild night club, they planned to kill him by dropping him into a vat of acid. Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch were called in and, citing their rights as Venture's primary arches, prevented the other guild members from killing him.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Arrgh!", SpongeBob and Patrick are told not to look at Mr. Krabs' treasure map, as "only the captain can lay eyes on the map". Later, when they sneak into his tent, they find the map and start poking it, as there's no rule against touching the map.
    • In "Shanghaied", the Flying Dutchman intends to eat SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward, but he first gives them three wishes. SpongeBob uses the last one to wish that the Dutchman was a vegetarian, but the latter still intends to eat them; he just turned them into fruits to blend them into a smoothie.
  • In Adventure Time, the Ice King claims that Princess Bubblegum said she'd go out with him if he was the last person in Ooo, and succeeds in removing everything else from existence. After PB points out that this is crazy, and furthermore that she's definite she never actually said that, she finds a loophole.
    Princess Bubblegum: You're not the last person in Ooo! Because I'm still here!
    • She then spends most of the remainder of the episode making out with her own hand.
  • In The Little Rascals animated episode "Science Fair and Foul", Buckwheat makes the other boys promise not to peek at his science fair project before the fair is held. But since Darla wasn't in on that promise, Spanky decides that they, Alfalfa and Porky can inspect Buckwheat's project on the sly.
  • The Lion Guard: In "Lions of the Outlands", Kion encounters the outsiders led by Zira, who convince him not to use the Roar of the Elders against them because she claims Scar lost his Roar when he used it on his own Lion Guard. Luckily, Bunga encourages him that's not true and the reason Scar lost the Roar was because he used it for evil, which includes against lions, which in turn gives Kion his confidence back.
  • Rocket Power: In "Banned on the Run", when Merv Stimpleton manages to get skateboarding and rolling skating on the boardwalk outlawed, it was only applied to there. His wife, Violet, notices that the kids were using the unused empty pool as an alternative, and she was rather quite pleased that Merv was faking his injuries to get his way. This leads to the creation of Madtown Skate Park.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • In "Bought and Scold", Princess Morbucks manages to bribe the Mayor into letting her be the new Mayor of Townsville, and her first decree is that crime is legal so that the girls can't stop her or fight crime, leaving them helpless against burglary. Luckily, the girls manage to use this to their advantage by robbing HER, making her reverse the law. On top of that, since they stole while the "crime = legal" law was in effect, they were able to bargain all her (dad's) stuff for giving Townsville back to the Mayor.
    • Ms. Keane gives the Girls this in "Schoolhouse Rocked" when the Gangreen Gang are enrolled into Pokey Oaks Kindergarten and start brutally beating up the other kids during a game of dodgeball. She tells the girls that, since she doesn't allow fighting in school, she instead tells them to go outside and join the dodgeball game as a clear excuse to beat the gang up.
    • Professor Utonium gives the Girls a curfew that they have to be in bed by 7:30 so that they don't get tired and sleep in class, even though the Girls going to bed early will leave Townsville in danger over the night. Fortunately, it turns out the clocks were set back to one hour which the Professor forgot meaning they still have an extra hour to save the day.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: While playing a game of Dodj or Daar in "The Game," Nicole cheats Anais out of six spaces ahead by pointing out that the dare she took (wear everything in the house) said to wear everything in the house, not just all of the clothes.
  • In the Sonic Boom episode "The Sidekick", Sonic fires Tails as a sidekick out of concern for his safety. He then puts out flyers looking for a new one, with the note "All qualified candidates welcome". That meant that not only could Tails go back in to get his job back, it also allowed Dr. Eggman to try to get the job (so he can try to destroy Sonic up close and personal!)
  • DuckTales (1987), "Where No Duck Has Gone Before": Courage thinks he's safe from Scrooge's retribution because he has a five-year contract with the studio. But said contract doesn't determine what job Courage would have, and so Scrooge demotes him to a food vendor, and it prevents him from quitting!
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • In "The Collector", Adrien is grounded after his father discovers he took his book from his safe. Adrien gets around this by morphing into Cat Noir and escaping through a window, the reasoning being that Adrien was the one who was grounded, not Cat Noir.
    • The Butterfly Miraculous cannot be used to empower its own wielder. Twice now, Hawk Moth has managed to circumvent this restriction in different ways:
      • In "The Collector", he creates an akuma, then detransforms and renounces his ownership of the Butterfly Miraculous, and then takes the akuma. This had the additional benefit of throwing the heroes off his true identity, since they were beginning to figure it out, but his akumatization "proved" he couldn't possibly be Hawk Moth since they were aware of the "can't empower yourself" restriction but not the loophole. After he's defeated he simply reclaims ownership of the Butterfly Miraculous and resumes his usual activities as Hawk Moth.
      • In "Catalyst", he grants a willing accomplice the ability to amplify other people's powers, then has her use it on him.
    • Also, the Butterfly Miraculous' Akumatization is usually a single-target affair due to preying on a single emotion and a single object tied to that emotion, but Hawk Moth has taken advantage an emotional state shared by multiple people holding the same object to Akumatize them all at once. If it doesn't result in a Fusion Dance, each of the victims will become different villains.
      • The first case of this was the Punisher Trio, consisting of Lady Wifi (Alya Cesaire), Reflekta (Juleka Couffaine), and Princess Fragrance (Rose Lavillant). Their civillian selves were all angry at Adrien and all three just happened to be holding the same tablet.
      • The second is the Gang of Secrets, which includes all three villians from the Punisher Trio, plus Timebreaker (Alix Kubdel) and Horrificator (Mylène Haprèle). Again, their civillian selves were all angry at somebody (in this case, Marinette), but since their emotions were all tied to the same object (a friendship bracelet), it worked without physical contact this time.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "The Last Roundup": When the other ponies catch up to Applejack and want to know why she isn't returning to Ponyville, Applejack is put into a Pinkie Promise saying that she'll explain after breakfast. The next morning, she's nowhere to be seen - Applejack never made breakfast and ran for the nearest train station. Pinkie Pie was not pleased. Technically, Applejack didn't break her promise, she duck it completely.
  • In the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Run Pig Run," Spider-Man is transfigured into a pig by Loki and thus made the target of an Asgardian boar hunt. In comes Thor, but sadly, Thor doesn't have the authority to call off the hunt. As Thor tells the hunters, however, he may not be able to officially call off the hunt, there's nothing in the rules that says Thor can't interfere with the hunt and slow them down until sunset.
  • In the 1993 Biker Mice from Mars episode "The Pits", Lawrence Limburger tries to send out wanted posters promising a $50,000 reward for anyone who brings him the Biker Mice dead or alive. Unfortunately, he didn't anticipate that Throttle, Vinnie, and Modo would turn themselves in for the cash reward.
  • Sofia the First: Believing that picking either of her two best witch friends as witch of honor for her Cauldronation Day would make the other witch too upset, Lucinda picks Sofia instead. When Sofia's non-witch status is used to challenge the decision, Lucinda's mother reads the cauldronation rules and finds no rules saying the witch of honor must be a real witch.
  • In one episode of Phantom Investigators, the gang had to deal with two ghosts haunting an old fraternity house. In life, the ghosts were desperate to join the fraternity, but had to complete an unpleasant task in order to join. A demon powered by humiliation agreed to complete the task for them so long as they agreed to serve the fraternity. But only after they died, did they realize he meant forever. They were stuck as servants to the demon, humiliating themselves for eternity for the demon to feed on them both, until the gang pointed out the loophole in the deal. The fraternity had long since closed down, and they were the only remaining members. If they both chose to quit the fraternity the contract would be invalid as there would be no fraternity left. The ghosts immediately quit the fraternity, freeing both their spirits and leaving the demon to wither without a source of food.
  • Sunny Day: After her entry in a topiary contest is sabotaged, Sunny asks the judge if the rules say the topiary has to be made from a tree, and then proceeds to win the contest by sculpting a new topiary out of her own hair.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: It's revealed during the Battle For Mewni that decades ago, Moon learned the spell that could bypass Toffee's Healing Factor by making a deal with Queen Eclipsa, promising her that Eclipsa would be released from her prison when Toffee was dead. So Moon simply injured him with the spell, knowing his armies would flee when their general no-longer had his Healing Factor, and keeping Eclipsa sealed. Unfortunately, Toffee proves to be too much of a threat to live, forcing Star to kill him, and unknowingly setting Eclipsa free.
  • In one Cartoon Network short centering on Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks, Pixie and Dixie, sick of constantly being tormented by Mr. Jinks, go to court and have a restraining order on him (literally; it is pinned to his chest), ensuring that he can't come within three feet of either one of them without the cops jumping on him in a Big Ball of Violence, even if Pixie and Dixie are the ones to come near him. In the end, Jinks is able to get around it by using the Exact Words of the restraining order ("Whosoever wears this is not to come within three feet of Pixie and/or Dixie") to his advantage, simply yanking the order off of his chest and sticking it to a grandfather clock in the Wraparound Background.
  • Steven Universe: Long ago, something happened that rendered Pearl physically incapable of telling anyone what really happened to Pink Diamond. She realizes that there’s not anything preventing her from showing it to Steven indirectly, so she gets him to go into her Gem and displays her memory.
  • As Told by Ginger has an episode where Marcie overhears some girls plotting to expose Courtney while she's in the pool. The girls find Marcie and make her not tell anyone about what they are doing. Later, Marcie's friends tell her that the girls never told her she could not use charades so they can guess what the girls were plotting, under the reasoning that guessing something is not the same as telling something.
  • Used in an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), when Splinter sets the turtles a training task of carrying a glass of water from one side of the room to the other without spilling a single drop. When the turtles are attacked halfway through the exercise and the glass and its contents are thrown into the air, Donnie responds by catching the water in his mouth and swallowing it, and pointing out to Splinter that even though the glass is empty, technically it didn't spill since none of the water hit the floor. Splinter approves of this interpretation of the rules and considers the test a success.
  • In Highlander: The Animated Series, most of the Immortals have taken the Oath to stop fighting one another under the pain of death. This is demonstrated in the backstory, when Connor MacLeod tried to fight the Big Bad Kortan (who hadn't taken the Oath) and lost his head. Two of the so-called Jettators (from the French jette, "to throw away") still try to find ways to fight Kortan despite the Oath. Matsuda, a cybernetics expert, builds a robot for that purpose. Cornell, a blind astronomer, changes his name to "Orion" and claims that Cornell is dead, thus he is still able to fight as Orion.
  • Arthur had an episode where Mr Ratburn sets Arthur and his class an individual assignment - if they were stranded on a desert island, what food would they bring? Arthur and his friends each pick their favourite food, only for Ratburn to tell everyone their choices are poor because if they were to eat that one food while stranded on the island, they would all become unhealthy. Ratburn sets them the task again and one of Arthur's classmates works out that rather than trying to find one healthy food, they need one piece of food from each of the five food groups, and the solution is to form a group of five and where the classmates bring a food from the five different food groups. One of the classmates points out that Ratburn never specified it was a group project, which is then countered with he never said it was not one. In fact, the group goes on to give the report as a group project, where Ratburn passes them.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • At the end of "Solar Power Rover", Jet makes some solar powered lanterns, and puts them in the background. Celery then comes and tells him its time to go to bed, since it's getting dark. But because of the lanterns, it will be bright all night.
    • In "A Visit to the Planetarium", Sydney and Sean say that Jet can't say he's from Bortron 7. Jet sings a song at the planetarium and mentions Bortron. However, he never said he was from Bortron 7.
  • Dennis the Menace (UK)'s 90s cartoon adaptation had an episode where Dennis tries to enter a painting into a Blue Peter competition. However, while Dennis is distracted, his dog Gnasher accidentally steps on some paints, and ends up defacing Dennis's canvas, so Gnasher hides this from Dennis by turning the canvas around. When the painting arrives at Blue Peter, Dennis is declared the winner, only to find out the picture that was picked was Gnasher's! When the truth comes out, one of the presenters quickly notes that Gnasher still qualifies as an entrant as he is under 12; ain't no rule saying entrants have to be human.
  • Young Justice
    • The series gets kickstarted by a loophole; While at the Hall of Justice in the first episode, the League receive two alerts: one about a nearby fire at Cadmus Laboratories, and one about the sorcerer Wotan attempting to block out the sun. Naturally, the League heads off to deal with the latter, and Batman tells Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad to stay put while they deal with it. Looking for a way to prove their worth, Robin accesses some files about Cadmus, and decides to check it out. When Aqualad reminds them they were told to stay put, Robin replies that they were told to stay put for the mission the League left for, meaning they're free to explore something completely unrelated.
    • In the episode "Quiet Conversation", Victor Stone is dying thanks to the Father Box inside him. After being told that the only way to save Vic was to get Metron's Mobius Chair, Conner goes to recruit Metron. However, when Metron is brought to Vic's side, he's instead more interested in studying the Father Box killing Vic. Jefferson points out that they were told they needed the chair, not the guy sitting on it, so Conner tosses him out of it and Jeff holds him down with lightning, while the others prop Vic on the chair so it can heal him.
  • In one episode of Dragon Tales, the characters take part in an apple-bobbing competition with Quetzal telling them that they're not allowed to use their hands to catch the apples. After the first two pairs fail to catch an apple because the apples are too slippery for them to grab by the teeth, Cassie & Emmy win by taking off their shoes and using their bare feet to catch an apple together. Feet aren't hands, after all!
  • Chowder: In "The Sleep Eater", Mung forbids Chowder from having any midnight snacks because his internal clock would go wild. Before Chowder goes to bed, he eats a whole chicken that he kept hidden, saying that it's technically not a snack, but a meal. His internal clock still goes wild, as Mung predicted, and he turns into a super-powerful monster that eats anything in sight every time he falls asleep.
  • Punky Brewster is competing with Margaux Kramer in making a float for a local civic parade. When she uses Glomer (who has grown to giant size due to a pepperoni pizza allergy) as her float, Margaux (whose float is a bust of herself) accuses Punky of cheating. Punky counters that there is nothing in the rules against using a glomley as a float. From the animated episode "Growing Pain."
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Garbage Ballet", Owen and Esposito sings "Manager to Manager" where they look through rules & regulations to explicitly find a loophole that allows the garbage sanitation company to collect the park's trash against the Mayor's orders. They both even refer to a loophole as "the best kind of hole".
  • The Gravedale High episode "Monster on Trial" has Max Schneider facing legal trouble when a woman named Miss Fresno falsely sues him for injuring her in traffic. Schneider's attempt to defend himself in court leads to himself and most of his class of monster students behind bars. Reggie Moonshroud and Frankentyke are able to avoid capture and try to follow Miss Fresno in order to prove their teacher's innocence. They need to drive, but Frankentyke is too short to reach the pedals without Mr. Schneider's platform shoes and Reggie refuses to drive because he hasn't earned his license and they need a licensed driver in the car. Frankentyke solves this problem by asking a random man if he has a license. The man gets shocked that he is talking to a young Frankenstein monster and bumps his head, getting knocked unconscious. Frankentyke then figures that having Reggie drive while a licensed driver is in the backseat is good enough.
  • This trope is what saves the day in the Grand Finale of DuckTales (2017). Bradford has Scrooge dead to rights when he forces him to sign a Magically Binding Contract stating that he can only have his family if he gives up adventuring. As the rest of Scrooge's family rushes in to defend him from Bradford's attacks, the triplets get the contract to look it over. Louie laments how airtight it was before he, his brothers and Webby realize the flaw in it — Scrooge cannot give up adventuring for his family because to him, "family is the greatest adventure of all". Bradford thinks that's the lamest thing ever and wouldn't work until the Contract disintegrates before his eyes.


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