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Clockwork Prediction

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Every day, at the exact same time
So Bob and Alice known each other for good while, and Bob knows Alice and her Cloudcuckoolander tendencies better than anyone else. One day, Alice runs off to do something silly despite Bob's warnings. Bob, knowing exactly what Alice's shenanigans are going to result in, sighs in resignation and counts down with his fingers from Three... Two... One...
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Aaaand cue the police sirens in the distance, then Alice running with her hair on fire and a small angry chihuahua with its jaws tightly clamped on her leg, and the entire neighborhood chasing after her with Torches and Pitchforks.

Essentially, this is when when a character pretty much knows something or someone well enough that they can predict what going to happen AND point at the exact time when it does, to the point that they might just look at their watch and count down the exact seconds until the inevitable happens. They're not psychic or anything, it just common situational awareness and good timing.

This trope is often played for laughs, and it doesn't always have to be between two people; sometimes a character is familiar enough with a particular situation, along with their luck, to accurately guess where it's going. Heck, characters may be so good at it they don't need to have a watch around.

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A common trait for The Anticipator. Compare Schedule Fanatic, which is someone who always does the same thing at the same time of day. The Clock King does this for everything and everyone.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Pokémon, "Island of the Giant Pokemon", Ash, Misty, Brock and Team Rocket end up on a mine cart where they're reunited with their Pokemon while dragging a few huge Pokemon (really robots) behind them. When Ash wonders what they can do, both Jesse and James, no strangers to bad luck, pretty much predict what'll happen next. Namely their cart will go off the rails, the line snagging the giant Pokemon will snap, they'll crash into something and they'll get flung into the sea. And indeed, one by one, that's what happens the moment they call it.
  • Ranma ½ visits Doctor Tofu's office for treatment of some bokuto whacks delivered by an irate Akane. During treatment, Ranma concedes that their fathers have chosen them for an Arranged Marriage, but that he loathes the idea of a violent, "un-cute" wife. Doc Tofu advises Ranma that there's a more genteel side to Akane, and cleverly smacks Ranma above the sacrum as Ranma departs. After a few minutes, Doc Tofu eyes his clock, and counts down the seconds to zero, at which point, Ranma suddenly loses the use of his legs. Akane offers to carry Ranma piggyback to the Tendō home.

    Comic Books 
  • Tintin: The page image comes from The Seven Crystal Balls. In the story, the seven Egyptologists that have been rendered comatose simultaneously regain consciousness at the exact same time every day, and scream in terror before returning to their comatose state. When Tintin visits the hospital, the doctor watching over the seven men checks his watch and accurately predicts when the waking/screaming will begin.
  • My Little Pony: Spirit of the Forest: Combined with Tempting Fate. In the second issue, the Mane Six are enjoying some downtime from the teaching duties. Rarity mentions how it's nice to have a day where nothing unexpected happens. Applejack chides her for sprouting that.
    Applejack: Everypony knows saying stuff like that causes unexpected stuff t' happen! It's a law of nature! Some creatures gonna come through th' doors with a weird problem any moment—
    Apple Bloom: (Bursting through the door with Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo) HALP!
    Applejack: (flatly) —now.

    Fan Works 
  • In Ultra Fast Pony, Twilight has a very bad tendency to tempt fate. So the episode "Purple Party Pooper" has a bystander lampshade it:
    Twilight: Oh, today has been the worst day of my life. I don't think today could get any worse than this!
    Applejack: Karma in three... two...
    [Princess Celestia suddenly arrives.]
    Princess Celestia: Twilight, you are in a lot of trouble.
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    Films — Animation 
  • In The Great Mouse Detective, Ratigan learns that Basil is on his trail, so he decides to set a trap for him. When Basil arrives, he quips that he expected him fifteen minutes earlier.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Admiral Boom from Mary Poppins always fires a cannon to mark every hour on the hour. Bert claims that "the world may get its time from Greenwich, but Greenwich, they say, gets its time from Admiral Boom."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Boy Meets World: "Hair Today Goon Tomorrow", in order to teach Cory a lesson about image, Topega cuts her hair short right in front of Shawn and Cory. But just as she heads off, she catches herself in a mirror. Shawn, figuring this was going to happen, quips to Cory "She's gonna scream now" and that's exactly what she does.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: In "To Thine Own Self Be Blue... and Gold", Will takes an intern job that Carlton passed due to it not paying. Will flaunts the perks of the jobs in Carlton's face who heads off in a huff. Once offscreen, Will predicts what Carlton is doing up until he hears Carlton's scream due to seeing the company Porsche.
  • Married... with Children: Al comes home from work and finds the house seemingly empty. He sits down and relaxes a bit, but, knowing his luck, figures it won't last and points up the stairs. Cue Kelly calling for him.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "State of Flux", Seska steals some mushrooms to make mushroom stew for Chakotay, and predicts that he'll find out about it just about...cue angry Neelix on the comm to Chakotay, demanding that Seska be punished.

    Web Animation 
  • In TF2 Analysis, "Mission Unpossible". Voice of Reason tries to get the teams to raid a robot factory to get the plans on the robot army that attacked them earlier, but things don't go as planned. When GoldenFox hears that his girlfriend, Keyframe, is in trouble, he rushes off to help her (even though he's a sniper) despite Voice telling him to come back. Voice sighs and counts down before an explosion is heard in the background and Golden is seen flying through the air.

    Western Animation 
  • Back at the Barnyard: At the beginning of "The Farmer Takes a Woman", after the animals' party is interrupted when the farmer shows up to mourn his dead wife.
    Otis: This is the third Saturday night in a row! What gives?
    Pip: Check it out, I won't even peek. First, the picture of his wife...
    (Farmer takes out a framed photo of his wife)
    Pip: Then the whittling stick...
    (Farmer takes out a stick)
    Pip: And cue the sad cowboy music.
    (Farmer turns on the radio and starts whittling and crying)
  • In the Darkwing Duck two-parter "Just Us Justice Ducks", Negaduck lures Darkwing Duck to his lair by leaving a crumb from the building's room service where Darkwing could find it. He knows Darkwing wouldn't notice the huge flag with Negaduck's face that's flying from the building. He opens the door in time for Darkwing's arrival (crumb still in DW's tweezers).
  • Johnny Test: After a scheme to win a TV through a wrestling contest goes awry that involves their mother having to save them. Johnny, Susan and Mary are later grounded and barred from TV and the lab. They decide to play some baseball instead, but Johnny hits the ball too hard and breaks a window and the new TV that was just brought. He then counts down before their parents are yelling for them.
  • In Teen Titans Go!, the other Titans have become so predictably used to Robin shouting "TITANS, GO!", that they're able to jinx him twice in the same episode.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Mars Rock for Mom", Jet keeps forgetting his things. He forgets his jacket. After he leaves, Celery counts down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and then Jet comes back to announce that he has forgot his wallet.

 
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Pokemon [Team Rocket's Minecart Prediction]

Scene from Pokemon, Ep 17 - The Island of Giant Pokemon. After getting stranded on an island, separated from their Pokemon and encountering giant sized ones, the Pokemon reunite with their owners as they ride down a mine cart. When Ash wonders what they should do, Team Rocket guesses what going to happen next.

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