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Crazy Enough to Work

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Ramping a PT boat off a derelict tanker in order to torpedo a helicopter. Who would see that coming?

"While most agree that the financial theory behind the scheme is 'crazy,' others counter that the idea of flying a hot-air balloon filled with dry ice over Wall Street is so outside the realm of conventional thinking that, paradoxically, it just might work."

In real life, when someone is in serious trouble, they, even on the fly, have to think of a logical, sensible, and reasonable strategy that can get them out of it with as little loss as possible and in the best conditions possible.

In movies, the characters can make the most irrational, nonsensical, or plain dumb decisions, and it works!


Because it's Crazy Enough To Work, that's why. Sometimes characters will even credit it to it being crazy (enough to work). A possible example would be something along the lines of "What about patching up the nuclear reactor with a pack of gum and peeing on the fire from the top of the reactor? That's so crazy, it just might work!"

Although heroes of every genre will come up with these, expect a lot of them from Badass Unintentionals, since they lack the knowledge, strength, and sometimes even the courage to come up with a better idea.

Lampshaded frequently enough that it's become a Stock Phrase (especially if one of the characters is Genre Savvy — it's not uncommon for In-Universe media to have a love for this kind of thing).

Routinely pulled off by Cloud Cuckoolander characters and may be cited as a reason why Humanity Is Insane. Compare Million to One Chance; the less probable a plan is to work, the more likely it will succeed in Hollywood conditions. See also It Runs on Nonsensoleum and Refuge in Audacity (which run on a similar premise) and It Will Never Catch On (which is a specific type of joke that invokes a similar reaction in the audience). See also Actually a Good Idea when people acknowledge its effectiveness and Confusion Fu for people who weaponize this trope.

Example subpages

Other examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Millennium Snow, Chiyuki suggests Satsuki should carry his grandmother to the hospital in his werewolf form. Toya thinks the plan is crazy, but Chiyuki says "CRAZY just might work!"
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • If smashing a small robot into a big robot's head, almost impaling the pilot of the big robot (who, by the way, was the one who thought of this) in the process is not Crazy Enough To Work, then nothing is. Oh, and they also run a walking, nonflying battleship up a mountain and jump through the air for a good half a mile just to get a chance to kick an Airborne Aircraft Carrier. This universe runs on Rule of Cool, so it was destined to succeed.
    • And when the flying kick only scratches the side of the Airborne Aircraft Carrier? They at once make the captain fling the wheel over in the most exaggerated way possible, turning the flying kick into a flying roundhouse kick that of course succeeds.
    • Everything that happens in Gurren-Lagann is too crazy to work. And yet it does... Their universe operates in these rules, seen as at some point there are literal giant robots piloted by giant robots!
  • Bleach: In episode 135, we see Matsumoto, with Kon by her side, saving the life of a girl that was about to drown when falling in the water after her plushie. How? By removing Kon from his plushie body and tossing him in the mouth of her plushie, to get Kon—as the plushie—to go save the girl instead of, say, going in there herself. She offered a weak rationale ex post facto, and simply let the hilarity ensue.
  • Black Lagoon:
    • In the first arc, when the title ship is cornered by an attack chopper, the two badasses and the tech nerd onboard were getting ready to kiss their asses goodbye when the timid loser businessman they had taken hostage comes up with a plan to charge the copter head-on and use a shipwreck as a ramp to launch them high enough that they can hit it with a torpedo. Not only does it work, but it works with flying colors, and the businessman soon joins the crew afterward.
    • Rock (the businessman in question) repeats it in the Abu Sayyaf arc. Abu Sayyaf intercepts them in a hijacked freighter on the way to the Philippines. Rock suggests torpedoing the freighter only for Dutch to tell them he removed the torpedoes. So Rock has Revy attach all their explosives to a grappling gun and fire it into the freighter's waterline at close range for remote detonation, sinking the freighter.
  • In Eyeshield 21,
  • Isaac and Miria in Baccano! usually get away with their crimes because they are so absurd that no-one can take them seriously, or believe that they could pull something like that off. For example, they robbed a Mafia money delivery dressed up as Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, and knocked out the wise guys with baseball bats in the middle of the day on an open street only a few yards from their office.
  • Mazinger Z: Kouji's plans CAN be carefully and thoughtfully planned strategies, but many times his plans are an Indy Ploy or... this. One example happened in episode 32: Mazinger Z got the crap beaten out of it by Gelbros J3, a flying, three-headed dragon-looking Mechanical Beast. Mazinger could not fly -yet-, so Kouji could not fight back. His plan was... equipping Aphrodite A with even bigger Torpedo Tits. During the battle Sayaka shot them, Mazinger latched on the giant missiles and was propelled it skywards, where he was capable to reach the Robeast and shooting it down.
  • In the Dragon Ball anime-only ending, Goku and Chi-Chi have to scavenge to find the magic Bansho Fan when the couple and the master's Turtle come across a book by Kame Sen'nin detailing the instructions on how to build one. Although the master later berates the Turtle because he was drunk when he wrote it, the scavenge does lead them to the Fan and its original purpose (to fan the Furnace of Eight Divisions). The scattered elements of Kame Sen'nin's instructions were actually on the right track, but their ultimate purpose was misguided.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • After a completely even fight, Goku gives up on fighting Cell and makes Gohan take his place in the fight. Everyone reproaches Goku for making his own son do such a thing and it takes Piccolo's admonishment to make him realize that Gohan is not driven to fight as Goku is and that he was mistaken in doing such a thing. Albeit it does work, as Gohan ends up being strong enough to overtake Cell ultimately (twice), it ends up costing Goku his life in an effort to defeat him.
    • In the Buu arc, much of the behavior and actions of Goten and Trunks (and Gotenks for that matter) are fueled by this.
  • Getter Robo: Practically the Getter team lives -and survives- on it! Ryoma usually comes up with some absolutely crazy maneouver and his teammates simply go along it. And it works! One example (from Getter Robo G) was when they trapped a flying Mecha Oni by allowing it to impale their Humongous Mecha.
  • Several of Misato's plans in Neon Genesis Evangelion, particularly her idea to deal with Sahaquiel, the butterfly-like Angel going for a suicide drop from orbit, by using Evas to catch it on its descent.
    Asuka: What are you basing this off of?
    Misato: Woman's intuition.
    Shinji (aside): She plays the lottery all the time and she never wins.
  • Sound of the Sky: When the Epic Hail signaling the war's end fails to stop two armies from charging at each other and re-igniting the war, Kanata Sorami tries The Power of Rock. It works long enough for The Cavalry to show up.
  • In High School D×D Issei is the one most prone to coming up with these kinds of schemes. Devils gain power from their desires, and sacred gears evolve in accordance with their wielder's desires, and what Issei desires is usually something perverse. This leads him to develop powers like a Clothing Damage spell that can also destroy magical bindings, or using his girlfriend's boobs as a power battery, but it also shows through by less perverse means. His plan to defeat Raiser Phenex, for example, involved sacrificing his arm to gain a power-up from his sacred gear and then attacking Raiser with a cross and holy water, which would normally be extremely painful for a devil to touch except that he used his sacrificed arm like an oven mitt.
  • Girls und Panzer:
    • A lot of Miho's plans count, as she's generally taking on teams with both numerical advantages and superior equipment, but the crowning moment comes when the Ooarai girls Tankery team runs into a gigantic Maus tank. It promptly knocks out two of their tanks with little effort and forces them to retreat. Saori reads up on it, then laments that it's like a tank on top of a tank. Which gives Miho a crazy idea based on what her friend just said. They have one tank go underneath it to prevent it from moving its tracks, then a smaller tank on top to prevent them from turning their turret, then Miho's tank knocks it out by shooting at one of its exposed grills.
    • Der Film includes many more crazy plans, and not all of them from Miho. Things like catapulting a Hetzer off an L3 Tankette in order to shoot down the barrel of a Morser-Karl, having a tank ride a rollercoaster track to act as a lookout, disguising tanks with inflatable duck heads as camouflage, or blasting a Ferris Wheel of Doom off its supports to break up the enemy formation.
    • The pinnacle of crazy plans from Miho comes in the form of having her sister's Tiger I shoot a blank shell directly behind Miho's Panzer IV to give it a speed boost so it can ram the Final Boss' Centurion tank and deliver a point-blank killshot. It succeeds spectacularly.
  • The "Daedalus Attack" in Super Dimension Fortress Macross. It involved the titular ship covering its right arm (which was a submersible troop transport ship named the Daedalus; long story) with Deflector Shields, then ramming it through an enemy ship's hull, opening ports once inside and firing missiles all over the place. In other words, the giant mecha spaceship punches an enemy ship and then makes it explode from the inside. It was basically a desperate, last-ditch tactic thought up when the Wave-Motion Gun was down, but it was so effective that they end up re-using it several times throughout the show, and it even makes appearances in later Macross seriesnote  on occasion.
  • Attack on Titan: Armin devises two in Episode 8, and a third one in Episode 11.
    • The first is to help lure the Rogue Titan towards the supply base, so it can help them relieve the siege. It works, as the Titan rushes towards the area when it sees how many there are congregated there.
    • The second is when he develops a plan to kill the remaining Titans in the supply base so they can restock their gas canisters. He has many of the remaining soldiers all inside a lift elevator, whose goal is to fire their guns into the eyes of the seven Titans, blinding them in the process. Then, a group of seven of their best soldiers hidden nearby would strike and take them down. It works, but Sasha and Connie miss the neck, so they don't quite finish off their targets. Fortunately, Mikasa and Annie finish them off.
    • While attempting to go over the plan to seal the gate of Trost, Armin mentions that Titans seem to be drawn most towards large groups of people. So he advises that they have a large group of soldiers stand up on the Wall and try to lure most of the Titans towards them, and have a small group of elite soldiers guard the attempt to seal the gate.
  • All over the place in Code Geass. Zero's plans often seem so impossible or amazing (and are always assisted with use of his geass) that he earns the name "Miracle Worker" for pulling off so many insane stunts. In fact, early on Zero has a hard time recruiting people since his plans sound so insane, most people aren't willing to risk their lives on what looks like suicide missions.
    • Rescue a political scapegoat in the middle of a massive military escort to his trial with only two men and a van? Use psychic powers, blackmail and false threats to win.
    • Save a hotel full of hostages from terrorists who are also Japanese resistance forces? Waltz right past the princess's blockade to make diplomatic talks with the hostage-takers, then have your men rescue them while you personally keep the commander distracted!
    • Take out an entire battalion of Knightmares and kidnap the princess? After putting himself in a position where he's surrounded by the enemy and cannot simply retreat? Start a landslide.
    • Launch a full-scale invasion of occupied Tokyo after a peace treaty gone horribly wrong forces his small army to fight unexpectedly with no plan? Sabotage the city's anti-earthquake system so that entire buildings collapse at his command.
    • Recently retrieve his memories while surrounded in an empty casino under siege, deep in enemy territory, with only a handful of Knightmares? Knock the building over to build a bridge to the Chinese embassy and make an alliance there, under diplomatic protection.
  • Similar to Lelouch, as he is in many ways, L-elf of Valvrave the Liberator tends to use these. The best is when he is up against X-eins, a former teammate of his who is a master of these in his own right. The only thing that can stop X-eins' crazy plan is an even crazier plan from L-elf.
  • Panzer World Galient: In chapter 6, the main characters are trying to come up with a way to prevent the Marder's army from attacking White Valley. Hilmuka suggests that they raid Marder's weapons factories to draw the enemy's attention to them. What is the catch? She wants to assault a vast, heavily guarded fortress with two adult soldiers, two teenagers, and a Humongous Mecha. Windu protested that her plan was crazy, but Jordy decided to try Hilmuka's idea anyway.
  • In Private Actress, Shiho Kobayakawa is such a good actress that she manages to pull off ridiculously great private acting gigs that no actresses her age would be able to do. i.e., once she's hired by a young woman whose sister was murdered as a little girl, with the plan of having Shiho play the role of said dead sister's reincarnation to help the client's mentally unstable father deal with the immense pain coming from such a loss... and not only does it work perfectly, but they manage to find and help apprehend the original girl's murderer.
  • The Saga Prefecture needs help, and Kotaro Tatsumi has a plan: Make a regional idol group to boost Saga's popularity. Seems reasonable enough, so how is he going to get seven talented women to sing for him? Why, he'll just raise them from the dead of course! And so Zombie Land Saga sets its tone...
    • It's later revealed that there is logic behind this plan, but it's still pretty crazy. Saga is literally cursed to fade away into obscurity, and to ensure that comes to pass, anyone who would bring Saga fame is fated before their time. Franchouchou were all victims of the curse, and were all resurrected under the Loophole Abuse that as zombies, they can't be killed again.
  • Rebuild World: Akira setting his gun on an automated firing pattern and spinning it through the air, shooting everyone inside the room of the enemy unit including himself in the hopes of creating an opening when he throws his second, actually broken gun. This Batman Gambit is actually the pay off to a subplot where his opponent's main weakness was discovered and told to Akira. That being Sheryl using a Honey Trap on Katsuya and finding his Fatal Flaw of Chronic Hero Syndrome.
  • In Kaiji's second arc, one of the ways the pachinko machine known as "the Bog" is rigged is by being subtly tilted so that the ball won't be able to quite reach the jackpot hole in the back of the third plate. Kaiji's plan to counter this is to rent out a room in the same building, fill it with many water tanks, and then fill up those tanks with a total of 20 tons of water, which will cause the entire casino to tilt in the opposite direction. Sakazaki calls this plan ridiculous, but still thinks it could work, and helps out with it.

    Comic Books 
  • When the Justice League uses a crazy superhero to predict the actions of completely crazy bad guys, at least you have the "crazy" part covered.
  • Deconstructed, discussed, and ultimately played straight in Hitman. Tommy suggests that they "do something completely and totally crazy" to escape the SAS at the end of #24. The cover of #25 is Tommy hung upside down and bleeding and Nat unconscious on the floor with the SAS soldiers behind them holding automatic weapons.
    Nat: We keep hittin' Louie's places 'til we got him so pissed his ass goes nuclear. Then, when the dudes got Sean call us an' arrange a meet, we lead Louie's boys onto 'em an' start the mutha of all firefights. In the confusion we get Sean out an' slip away while the S.A.S. an' the mob shoot the hell outta each other. We go home. That about it? [Well] You know how in movies when some dude says "in the confusion"— Like, "In the confusion we gonna rescue the princess, pop a cap in lord Vader an' do a bunch of stuff to mess up his scary-ass death star"— you know why it always works out just like the dude says? 'Cause it's a movie, Tommy. We got two sets of badasses trynna kill us. We bring 'em both together with us in the middle — what's gonna be so confusin' about that?
  • In the finale of Superior Spider Man, Spidey attempts to reconcile with Miguel during the finale, telling him the honest to goodness truth, that "It was Doc Ock hijacking my body" along with everything else. Miguel points out that it's so stupid that it has to be true and all is forgiven.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: In his first superhero fight, the Green Goblin took Spider-Man, flies with him to a high altitude, and then throws him to his death. What can he possibly do? Create a net of webs below? That's so crazy... of course it worked!
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe examples:
    • According to his nephews, Donald Duck's sane ideas never work, but the crazy ones do. He demonstrates again and again that his crazy ideas do indeed work. For example, the above statement was a comment on Donald taking an angry mouse and bug spray to go after an armored man armed with swords, muskets, and a cannon... And it ended with his foe completely unarmed and unarmored while Donald is training his own cannon on him.
      • In "Donald and Reginella's Wedding" his goal was to save Reginella from a forced wedding, and to do so he had to face an entire army with medieval weapons, when all he had was a double-barreled shotgun with plenty of rock salt shells and a boombox... Playing a song so horrible it was painful. By the time he was finished, the entire enemy army was willing to melt their weapons into agricoltural implements and turn into farmers for fear he'd cripple them all, because he wasn't going to kill them.
    • In some Italian stories, Scrooge reached the conclusion that if money moves people and goods in the desire to obtain it, then fuels and propellants obtained from it would be incredibly powerful, and started making Dollarite from his own money to power spaceships. Dollarite is just as powerful as Scrooge thought, much to his nephews' confusion... And that was before he came up with the Super Dollarite.
  • The plan of the villain in Watchmen is simple enough (unite the world against a common enemy, so humanity won't kill itself) but his method is... odd, to say the least. It involves a genetically engineered giant squid with the cloned brain of a human savant, capable of transmitting nightmarish images directly to any brain within a large radius. The idea is that when teleported to New York, this thing dies instantly, but explodes with enough force to kill millions, causing the world to unite against the threat of an alien invasion. It works, although not necessarily perfectly. Averted in the film adaptation, as while the plan is still the same, it's done in a much more realistic way, by destroying several cities with nuke-level explosions that mimic Dr. Manhattan's energy signature, framing him instead of an alien race.
  • This, alongside never-ending wisecracks and his entire existence being pain, is one-third of Deadpool's entire thing. Some of the plans and tactics he comes up with are sheer lunacy, but he makes them work. During the Dark Avengers era, Bullseye (dressed as Hawkeye) fires a rocket launcher at Deadpool, who is in a moving vehicle, so what does Deadpool do? He pulls the brakes, turns the car sideways and rolls down the windows, which allows the missile to fly through the windows past the driver's seat and harmlessly explode against a hillside. Bullseye even laughs at this and says no one else could have pulled that off.

    Comic Strips 
  • Subverted in a The Far Side comic where two scientists are running away from an explosion, one scientist remarking "I guess it wasn't crazy enough to work after all."
  • One Zits storyline started off with Jeremy volunteering to work as a receptionist at his Dad's office for a bit. Walt says it's just crazy enough to work while Connie only agreed with the first three words of that line. It did ultimately work out.

    Films — Animated 
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • Has it like this:
      Astrid: What are you going to do now?
      Hiccup: Something stupid.
      Astrid: Okay,'ve already done that.
      Hiccup: Then something crazy.
      Astrid: That's more like it.
    • Shortly after that, when the other kid Vikings figure out Hiccup's plan to have them train their own dragons:
      Ruffnut: You're crazy! (leans in closer) I like that.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Harrison Ford's Air Force One, when the generals are scrambling to get the President out of Air Force One before it eventually crashes into the sea, one does come up with a plan that even he thinks it's crazy: Basically, have an Air Force aircraft set up a zip line between the plane and Air Force One all the while in mid-air. And this is while the latter plane is losing altitude.
  • Argo: Lampshaded In-Universe by one of the hostages after hearing about the plan to pretend they're Canadian filmmakers to sneak them over the border. "Is this the part where we're supposed to say this is so crazy it might work?" (and given it's a true story...)
    • As the main character points out, these types of operations run on this type of trope. Getting people out of countries is not something to ever be taken lightly as the stakes are so high that you have to be above reproach in your operation. The fact that he tore apart the problems with the initial plans (give the Americans fake teacher coversnote , give the Americans fake humanitarian coversnote  give the Americans fake reporter coversnote  and bike through a very mountainous country during winter for 300 milesnote ) results in the following conversation:
      "You don't have a better bad idea than this?"
      "This is the best bad idea we have, sir... by far."
    • It's not much better from the Hollywood side either as the first crazy thing in the very long list of crazy needed to pull this off is discussed:
      Chambers: If you're gonna do a 20 million dollar Star Wars ripoff, you need somebody who's a somebody to put their name on it. Somebody respectable. (beat) With credits. (beat) Who you can trust with classified information. (beat) Who will produce a fake movie. (beat) For free.
  • Batman: The Movie: Catwoman says this phrase almost word for word about the Penguin's Unspoken Plan.
    Catwoman: I say it's crazy. But I also say let's try it.
  • The Crossing depicts the Battle of Trenton as such a plan. George Washington is at the end of his rope; after a year of defeats, the Continental Army will dissolve at the end of December unless he can give the men a good reason to reenlist. There is a garrison of the dreaded Hessians just across the Delaware, in Trenton. So with nothing left to lose, Washington decides to throw his whole force of dispirited militiamen against 1200 highly disciplined soldiers in the hopes that the Hessians will just never expect such an outlandish attempt. None of Washington's officers, the loyal ones or his rivals, really think it will work... but the Continentals win with almost no causalties.
  • The comedy Down Periscope centered around an officer being tasked to test the abilities of the US Navy to adapt to unconventional warfare because he had a tendency to think this way.
    Seaman Sylvesterson: Actually, sir, I think we prefer to go with the bizarre and risky. Worked for us so far
  • Most of the attempts to figure out the question in Exam are subverted; the plans are crazy, but they just don't work.
  • Ghostbusters (1984) had this when Egon suggested that they cross the streams to defeat Gozer. When Peter reminds Egon that he previously warned them not to do that, Egon points out there's definitely a very slim chance they'll survive.
    Peter Venkman: I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it! Let's do it!
  • Glass Onion: Defied in the denouement. After a whole film of Miles Bron being Beneath Suspicion because he looks clever enough to not do the crime that began the whole plot (the murder of Cassandra 'Andi' Brand) because after a very public court battle over creator rights he would be at the very top of the suspect list, Benoit Blanc is incredibly pissed that Bron is nothing but a tremendously impulsive Know-Nothing Know-It-All with massive Creative Sterility who did do it at the drop of a hat. Furthermore, the one who brings up the "crazy enough to work" analogy is one of Bron's "Disruptors", who is still trying to kiss Bron's ass in spite of it all.
    Benoit: It's so dumb...
    Birdie: It's so dumb it's brilliant!
    Benoit: NO! It's just DUMB!
  • Godzilla:
  • In The Great Escape, this is Mac's analysis of Hilts and Ives' first breakout plannote .
    Mac: Why didn't anybody think of that before? It's so stupid it's positively brilliant!
  • In Hostile Waters, the proposed solution to a buildup of toxic and highly flammable gas is to burn it off before it reaches explosive levels. This idea is rejected, but when the gas catches fire anyway, another crazy idea - diving with hatches open to flood the missile bay and put out the fire - is tried... and it works.
  • Indiana Jones cutting the rope bridge in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and many other Indy Ploys fall under this category.
    Willie Scott: (sees Indy raising his sword) Oh my GOD! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my GOD, is he nuts?!
    Short Round: He no nuts, he's crazy.
  • Lawrence of Arabia invokes this when planning his raid on Aqaba. The Turks at Aqaba are operating under the assumption that they're in no danger of a ground attack, as they've paid off the one local Arab tribe and the impassable Nefud desert stands between them and any other tribe, so they haven't bothered to set up any defenses against that possibility. Lawrence realizes that if they can do the supposedly impossible, they can mount an ambush where the Turks won't be prepared for it.
    Ali: [Aqaba] cannot be approached from the landward side.
    Lawrence: Certainly the Turks don't dream of it.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: They're about to suicidally attack Sauron's far superior army to distract him while Sam and Frodo try to complete their insane plan of attempting to simply walk into Mordor, somehow bypass the tens of thousands of bloodthirsty orcs, climb up an active volcano barefoot, and destroy a telepathic Artifact of Doom before it takes over their minds and/or gets stolen from them and handed to Sauron, which would grant him godlike power. Not only does it work, but all the heroes survive, except for Gollum and a bit of Frodo.
    Gimli: Certainty of death, small chance of success... What are we waiting for?
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man: Okay, so you're a rich playboy snarker who's out for a relaxing afternoon drive in the deserts of Afghanistan, when a bunch of psycho terrorists blast the crap out of your armored truck, fill your chest with shrapnel, hook you up to a car battery, toss you in a cave, and then tell you that if you don't make a missile for them, they're gonna feed you to the hyenas. Sounds like you're screwed, don't it? Here's what you do: build a tiny chestplate that puts out more energy than the warp core of a Federation starship, forge some iron and heavy metal by hand, and design a badass suit that's capable of kicking doors off hinges, bitch-slapping terrorists by the dozen, equipped with a rocket launcher, a pair of flame-throwers and has a rocket pack so that you can blast off after wreaking havoc. Oh, and you have to do this while trapped in a terrorist bunker being monitored 24/7 on camera, meaning you have to build a convincing replica of the missile at the same time. Most people don't have the audacity to attempt something so brazenly outrageous. But then, Tony Stark ain't most people!
    • From Guardians of the Galaxy: Big Bad Ronan The Accuser is about to use the most powerful weapon in the galaxy to destroy a planet. So what does Star-Lord do? Challenge him to a dance-off, completely bemusing Ronan and distracting him for long enough for Rocket to MacGyvering a gun, knocking said weapon (an infinity stone) away.
    Ronan: What are you doing?... What are you doing?
    Star-Lord: I'm distracting you, ya big turdblossom!
    • This film also gets a meta-version. Think about it: it's a movie about a gang of superheroes even a number of Marvel fans had never heard of beforehand. Honest Trailers lampshaded this and more: "We'll take that chubby guy from Parks and Recreation and turn him into a ripped sexy action hero! You like Vin Diesel and his awesome voice? We'll have him repeat the same line over and over the whole movie!" Despite all that, GOTG not only received 92% on Rotten Tomatoes from 227 viewers but became the highest-grossing MCU movie of 2014, beating Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    • Avengers: Endgame has the attack on Thanos (lampshaded by Captain America, who replies to "This is gonna work" with "I know it is. 'Cause I don't know what I'm gonna do if it doesn't."), which ends up working too well because to the heroes' surprise, Thanos is completely alone and much weaker due to destroying the Infinity Stones having cost the majority of his strength. And in a bigger level, the plan to "Time Heist" the Infinity Stones from the past, which everyone goes along with because no matter how bizarre, it's their only chance to return things to normal.
  • Parodied in the Dana Carvey film The Master of Disguise. The line is repeatedly used for the most simple and straightforward plans. Dramatically.
  • The basis behind the plan to rescue Morpheus in The Matrix. Complete with call out.
    Trinity: Nobody has ever tried anything like this before.
    Neo: That's why it's going to work.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: The Black Pearl is closing down on our heroes. Since they've already thrown the ammunition overboard in an attempt to lighten the ship, Will orders the crew to make a stand and fight, loading the cannons with anything they can find. Then, when it becomes clear that the Pearl will catch them before they can even try to fire on it, Elizabeth tells Anamaria to club-haul the ship, an extremely risky nautical move.
      Anamaria: You're daft, lady! You both are!
      Gibbs: Aye, daft like Jack!
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: When Jack Sparrow uses the recoil of a cannon to toss him from one ship to another, it prompts this exchange between him and Lord Beckett:
      Lord Beckett: You're mad!
      Jack Sparrow: Thank goodness for that, 'cause if I wasn't this would probably never work.
      • And upon landing in front of his bewildered crew:
        Jack Sparrow: And that was without even a single drop of rum!
      • And then the full scale of the insanity hits:
        Lord Beckett: How soon before we can follow the Pearl?
        (Then Beckett's mainmast breaks and falls over, having been hit by the cannon shot from Jack. Beckett stands absolutely stone-faced.)
        Beckett's captain: (admiringly) Do you think he plans it all out, or just makes it up as he goes along?
  • During Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves this is invoked by Will Scarlett (Christian Slater) after he launches Robin (Kevin Costner) over the castle wall with a catapult... "Fuck me, he cleared it!"
  • Sahara (2005): Pulling a Panama? Okay, believable, considering gas is just as flammable today as 2005. But using a box of tools to convert a one-winged, at-least-as-old-as-you airplane into a windsurfing desert-crosser? Really? That's actually pretty standard for Dirk Pitt.
    • And that's not counting taking on a modern military with a 19th century cannon. And winning!
  • Parodied in the film adaptation of Sgt Bilko when Steve Martin's title character utters a variation of the Trope Name upon learning the new recruit to his motorpool division actually is a trained mechanic. "A real live wrench-turner in the motorpool? It's so crazy it just might work!"
  • Snakes on a Plane: The titular plan to have some motherfucking snakes run amok on a motherfucking plane and (hopefully) kill the federal witness within is lampshaded by The Hero Agent Flynn as something so insane that no security check would have been able to see coming. It's even pointed out that the Animal Assassin horde doesn't need to physically get to the witness in order for him (and all other passengers) to die — they could just as easily damage the plane's sensitive avionics by slithering around rough-shod and make it crash (and this almost happens).
  • Star Trek:
    • James T. Kirk is the living embodiment of this trope. This exchange from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
      McCoy: So you're saying you want to go backwards in time, find some of these whales, bring them forward in time, drop 'em off and hope to hell that they tell this probe what to go do with itself?!
      Kirk: That's the general idea.
      McCoy: But that's crazy!
      Kirk: You've got a better idea? Now's the time.
    • Star Trek (2009): Kirk from the "Kelvin Timeline" still shares the same audacity. Ordinarily, when a mining ship from the future commanded by an Ax-Crazy Romulan shows up and starts laying waste to ships and planets, most folks would decide to steer clear of the damn thing. Kirk, however, decides that the best course of action is to take them head-on.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Empire Strikes Back:
      • Han and the Millennium Falcon are having a tough time outrunning the huge Star Destroyers chasing them, so...
        Leia You're not actually going INTO an asteroid field?!
        Han: They'd be crazy to follow us, wouldn't they?
      • And then he pulls another crazy stunt by going into a strafing run against another Star Destroyer. This confuses and distracts everyone long enough for Han to hide the Falcon on the back of the Star Destroyer's hull. When the Imperial fleet prepares to jump to hyperspace, thinking the Falcon had somehow already escaped, it dumps its garbage as per standard procedure and the Falcon with powered-down engines floats away in the middle of the trash field. Too bad Boba Fett stuck around long enough to see them when they powered up their engines again.
    • Return of the Jedi: Lando has one when he commandx the Rebel fleet to attack the Imperial Star Destroyers at point-blank range, guessing that A. The Death Star wouldn't fire on them for fear of taking out the Imperial ships in the process, B. The Empire would actually think the Rebels knew what they were doing more than they let on (this was elaborated on further in the novelization), and C. Even if it didn't work they could at least take some of the Imperial fleet down with them.
    • Deconstructed in The Last Jedi: Poe and company, being pursued by the First Order with no way to shake their tracking - even by hyperspeed - come up with a plan to track down a famous hacker, sneak onto the enemy vessel, and disable their tracker; it's just crazy enough to work! It ''doesn't''. Not only do they fail to find the hacker, but their replacement sells them out at the last second; if Leia and Holdo hadn't stepped in, Finn and Rose would've been executed on the spot. To be fair, Leia and Holdo's far more reasonable plan - hole up in an abandoned Rebel hideout and call for reinforcements - also fails when no one is willing to answer. Reconstructed in the final act when Luke saves them with an even crazier plan: create an illusion of himself from across the galaxy, the strain of which proves fatal, to distract the First Order long enough for Rey to evacuate everyone on the Millenium Falcon, banking on Kylo Ren's overwhelming hatred for him to give him tunnel vision. Ultimately, its a Decon-Recon Switch.

    Game Shows 
  • This happens a lot in Taskmaster, where often the most insane and ludicrous methods of performing a task end up being the most effective. One episode had contestants challenged with measuring a long piece of string, with Tim Vine spontaneously deciding to "do it in lobsters." He wrapped the string around a toy lobster 308 times and left it at that. Turns out the lobster was exactly one foot long, and so his measurement of 308 lobsters ended up being off by only ten feet as the string was 318 feet. Unsurprisingly, this was the first time Tim Vine won a task in five episodes but, very amazingly so, this victory wins him the entire episode.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • What do you do when some of your enemies have survived your flaming deathtrap and are beginning to storm up towards your capital city from your shores - oh, and the leader of your men refuses to go near them, as he's suffering severe post-traumatic stress disorder from being set on fire himself in the past? Oh, and you're a dwarf who can't even walk properly? Say "to hell with this" and lead the charge yourself, shaming nearly everyone else into following you. What happens when your enemies on land are all vanquished, but some of the ones from the flaming ships are leaping across the wreckage, swords at the ready? Meet them on the wreckage in single combat, getting your face horribly scarred in the process while you nearly drown.
    • Also, any desperate plan Daenerys ever makes, especially the ones involving dragons or their eggs. Copycats aren't so lucky.
  • Animorphs invoked this frequently — pretty much every time Rachel came up with a plan it was this. Marco says it word for word more than once. What to do when one of your friends has been kidnapped, held prisoner in a ridiculously well-guarded underground base, and you have less than two hours to rescue them, all while your leader isn't even around? Impersonate a jet pilot, steal a jet, fly it straight down into the ground through a building, then bail out and jump into battle. Even then, it only worked because they made the Big Bad's day when they killed a political rival in the process, and he didn't bother to stop them from leaving the mess. Rachel, folks.
  • Discworld: 'It's a commonly known fact that million-to-one chances happen nine times out of ten.' It has to be exactly a million-to-one chance though.
    Sergeant Colon looked wretched. "Weeell, what if it's not a million-to-one chance?" he said.
    Nobby stared at him.
    "What d'you mean?" he said.
    "Well, all right, last desperate million-to-one chances always work, right, no problem, but...well, it's pretty wossname, specific. I mean, isn't it?"
    "You tell me," said Nobby.
    "What if it's just a thousand-to-one chance?" said Colon agonizedly.
    "Anyone ever heard of a thousand-to-one shot coming up?"
    Carrot looked up. "Don't be daft, Sergeant," he said. "No one ever saw a thousand-to-one chance come up. The odds against it are—" his lips moved—"millions to one."
    "Yeah. Millions," agreed Nobby.
    "So it'd only work if it's your actual million-to-one chance," said the sergeant.
    "I suppose that's right," said Nobby.
    "So 999,943-to-one, for example—" Colon began.
    Carrot shook his head. "Wouldn't have a hope. No one ever said, 'It's a 999,943-to-one chance but it just might work.'"
  • In Redwall's Martin the Warrior, Feldoh says this after hearing the Rambling Rosehip Players's plan.
  • In Hammer of the Witches, the covert operations team's boss says that the proposed plan to hunt down a target is so crazy his superiors might just approve it.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Tybalt's suggestion to escape the Calvarian navy via a passage inhabited by a sea monster in Reynard the Fox is finally accepted using this sort of logic.
  • The majority of plans crafted by Codex Alera's hero, Tavi of Calderon, hinge on this. So much so, in fact, that his lover is able to correctly reason Tavi's chosen location for the series Final Battle by thinking of a place that only a lunatic would willingly enter.
    • You want examples? Of course you do! Take, for instance, his role in the defense of the Elinarch. Due to a lot of things going wrong at once, he ended up in command of a single, inexperienced legion (about 7,000 soldiers) who had to hold a bridge against an army of more than 50,000 Canim: centuries-old, enormous, and incredibly dangerous wolfmen. First, to stop them from crossing the river anywhere else, he had all the butchers in the camp and the towns at either end of the Elinarch throw buckets of blood into the river to attract sharks. Any Canim trying to swim across quickly learned the error of their ways. He also went out to try to negotiate with the leaders. By himself. He proceeded to use his knowledge of their culture to laugh in the face of an Evil Sorcerer and exploit a division in their leadership. Then he sat for an hour and played chess with Nasaug during a truce to let them remove their dead from the fieldnote , in order to buy time for his men to set up his next tactic: sawdust and fire furies planted in every building on the Canim side of the bridge, which he then had his only Knight Ignus blow up while the Canim were trying to move through them. He'd made sure they were all in the buildings by having everyone in the legion hold tiny firecraftings over the main square so the stones were superheated and anyone trying to step on them would get fried. And the battle ended when he had his Knights Aeris bend the air to form a quarter-mile-wide magnifying glass, concentrating the sunlight into a Death Ray. The general consensus among the characters seems to be that Tavi is completely insane.
      Ehren: "This plan is insane....You are insane....*looks around* I'm going to need some pants.
    • And that thing mentioned above about going into the most suicidal place he could think of? His plan was to piss off the Eldritch Abomination-like Great Furies Garados and Thana and use them against the Vord Queen. It only really works when she tries to claim the furies and he has the even crazier idea of cutting her connection and letting them go free to wreak random destruction. They are very pissed about the attempt to control them, and Thana, an enormous, sentient thunderstorm, pretty much literally chews the Vord Queen up and spits her out.
  • Harry's plans in The Dresden Files are often of this variety. Since they are written by the same man as Codex Alera, this is far from surprising.
    • Zombie Tyrannosaur, anyone?
    • "Challenge everyone (White Council, White Court, Shagnasty) who shows up in one place at the same time, just to try to draw out a single baddy who won't be able to miss the opportunity". Particularly since the thing that worked in the end was hiring a plain old vanilla mortal private investigator to take pictures of everyone going through the Ways to the island. And then presenting his dog (a magic temple dog at least as smart as a person, admittedly, but still a dog and not capable of speech) to corroborate the photo evidence.
    • Possibly the craziest - or at least the riskiest - was in the third book when one of his plans hinged on deliberately ingesting lethally poisonous mushrooms.
      Thomas: I thought you were lying. Bluffing.
      Harry: I don't bluff if I can help it. I'm not too good at it.
    • In Cold Days:
      Karrin: You want me to drive into the lake.
      Harry: You have to admit, it isn't the craziest thing I've ever asked you to do. It isn't even the craziest thing I've asked you to do tonight.
      Karrin: You're right. Let's go.
    • Ghost Story hangs a giant lampshade on this. There's a rule in the series that only insane ghosts can manifest physically. Ghost Harry realizes he can pull this off precisely because he's pulled off so many utterly batshit plans!
  • John Dies at the End has this come up a lot, usually for John's plans. About a third of the way through the book, after the heroes decide to fight a ballroom full of monsters with The Power of Rock, he even speaks a variation of the Stock Phrase:
    John: I'm lead, Jim is rhythm, Jen sings backup. Jen, just repeat everything Dave sings, only like one second behind. The sound system will be on the stage. We duck out there and plug in and wail. Okay? Guys, this is just retarded enough to work.
  • X-Wing Series. Wraith Squadron specializes in these plans. Just during their first active mission, they fake the Millennium Falcon to decoy a Star Destroyer away from an evacuating Rebel base, then proceed to capture (and utilize in a False Flag Operation) a Corellian Corvette pocket carrier with an X-wing's laser cannon carried by the squadron's resident Gamorrean - who they got onto the corvette by ripping the smuggling compartment out of a shuttle and attaching the rockets from an X-Wing's ejector seat to it to turn it into a makeshift boarding pod.
  • Kelsier of Mistborn pretty much can't go a single chapter without someone saying he's nuts, usually because of the sheer, ludicrous Refuge in Audacity. His plans usually work for exactly that reason.
  • In A Hymn Before Battle, during the events of the defense of Diess, Lt. O'Neal had acquired a reputation for plans that sounded crazy but were thought to possibly work, due to the successes of his unconventional campaign against the Posleen.
  • The Flight Engineer: Early in The Rising, Commander Peter Raeder drives a Space Pirate fighter away from a damaged freighter by landing a repair scooter on it and bashing its sensor arrays to pieces with a hammer and a set of tin snips. As he runs the heck away, the pirate radios its buddies that the Merchant Marines have developed a new weapon of some sort. (Raeder had a fun time explaining that line to Intelligence.) This sets the stage for ever more ridiculous plans by Raeder, such as nuking a Fibian fleet by having fighters shoot up ice asteroids with their cannons until the hydrogen in them undergoes fusion.
  • In Small Gods, inhabitants of Ephebe believe that crossing the desert is impossible, so they keep all their military forces focused on the sea. Vorbis sends several caravans to leave supplies along the way, which lets Omnian soldiers cross the desert and take Ephebe completely by surprise.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth elaborates on Gandalf's role in arranging the journey of The Hobbit in "The Quest of Erebor". He talks Thorin out of a military expedition against the dragon and proposes a mission of stealth and burglary instead. When the dwarves grouse about the unlikeness of success, Gandalf admits it, but says that he's done them a huge favor by changing their task from impossibly difficult to absurdly difficult.
    • The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf´s gambit of sending Frodo into Mordor straight under Sauron´s nose is pretty far out. Denethor lampshades it prominently:
      Denethor: At this hour, to send it in the hands of a witless halfling into the land of the Enemy itself, as you have done, and this son of mine, that is madness.
      • Gandalf himself admits it's a crazy idea when proposing it, and argues that because it's such a mad idea Sauron will never see it coming.
      Gandalf: You say this is folly. Then let folly be our cloak; a veil before the eyes of the Enemy!
  • In Romeo and/or Juliet, Juliet's nurse has the option of jamming really firm sticks into the mouths of several ferocious dogs and a lion. Both the narrator and gatekeeper are shocked that she managed to even get the sticks in the animals' mouths, let alone avoid getting killed by them.
  • Troy Rising. As an underdog on the galactic scene, almost every single one of humanity's schemes ends up like this, by necessity. Using a solar-powered mining laser to drive off alien invaders? Inflating a nickel-iron asteroid into a battlestation 10km across? Making that battlestation mobile with an ORION drive? Lampshaded in one conversation between a human and an alien-based AI:
    Tyler Vernon: If it's crazy and it works...
    Granadica:'s not crazy. You humans are only sophonts in this galactic region to have that saying. Most people just go with "that's crazy."
  • In Lawrence Block's The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian Bernie asks Denise to forge a Mondrian so he can cut it out of the frame and then swap the frame for an actual Mondrian.
    Denise: This whole business is crazy, Bernie. You know that, don't you?
    Bernie: Yeah.
    Denise: All the same, it just might work.
  • Subverted in The Disaster Artist. Just before filming on The Room (2003) begins, Tommy Wiseau makes it clear that he'd much rather see his best friend and line producer Greg Sestero in the role of Mark, rather than Don, the actor who was cast. His plan is to avoid making waves by simply never telling Don he's been replaced, not rolling film when Don is performing and then reshooting every scene with Greg in his place, claiming it's a demo reel for the producers to look at. Greg calls the plan "just crazy enough not to work at all", and indeed, Don realizes what's going on by the end of the first day on set.
  • In Rich Man's War by Elliott Kay, the good guys are facing 2-to-1 odds just on numbers, and their ships are smaller and weaker than the invaders, making it more like 20-to-1 or more on firepower. What does the defending admiral do? She personally leads most of her ships in a desperate Hold the Line to tie them down while a few other ships strip escorts off the enemy's big guns, and has her corvettes (tiny ships) circle around and make a mass run in. Initially, the attacking admiral on the battleship thinks they are trying to kamikaze, but instead they are getting in close to drop off boarding parties. It turns what was supposed to be a Curb-Stomp Battle into a victory when they manage to take control of key places like fire control and start shooting up the invading fleet with their own battleship. However, the corvettes lose ~2/3 of their number, and judging by descriptions of the action, the boarding parties probably suffer more than 50% dead. It's explicitly described in a later book as overturning a century of tactical dogma.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel. The plan to capture Angelus has to qualify. It involved Faith doping up during a fight, allowing herself to be fed on, then Angelus getting high off the drugs she took.
  • The A-Team. Period. Consider this quote from the Movie.
    Lt. Templeton "Face" Peck: This is nuts, boss.
    Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith: It gets better! (starts laughing)
  • This happens a lot in Blackadder, always prefaced by the words "I have a cunning plan". Subverted as these plans usually fail, or are so stupid that is no way to actually enact the plan. "Pathetic! Absolutely pathetic! Contemptible! Worth a try!"
  • Boy Meets World has an episode where Shawn tries to escape Cory's house through his bedroom window which leads out to the backyard. The problem is, the parents are out there. After freaking out for a minute, Shawn is reminded by Cory that he could just go out the front door. Shawn questions this for a second and then states that it's crazy enough to actually work. It does of course.
  • Lampshaded in Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    Cordelia: I personally don't think it's possible to come up with a crazier plan.
    Oz: We attack the mayor with hummus!
    Cordelia: I stand corrected.
    Oz: Just gettin' things in perspective.
  • Breaking Bad: Mike and Jesse are on stakeout in front of a crack den after a tipoff that the people inside are selling their blue meth, despite them not working for Gus. Mike's plan is just to wait in the car until eventually a dealer walks out the door, but Jesse's not patient enough for that. After a failed attempt at forced entry, he decides on a more unconventional strategy to get into the house based on his firsthand knowledge that methheads tend to be irrational. He gets a shovel and starts digging a hole in the front yard; the house's guard gets curious and comes out to watch Jesse dig. Jesse then asks if he can take over for him, which he does without question, then asks if he can use the house's washroom and just walks in. Even Mike is impressed.
  • Some of the stuff that Chuck Bartowski comes up tests the very limits of sanity. But somehow, it works. There are reasons why it works.
  • Corner Gas. Many of the schemes tried by Brent LeRoy and Hank Yarbo (and a pretty significant chunk of the schemes everyone else in the main cast try) fit into this trope. Most of the time the plans fail miserably, but even when they work, the success just creates another problem they hadn't anticipated.
  • On The Daily Show, when John Hodgman (Resident Deranged Millionaire - no, really, it's his actual title) suggests that America fake its own death to avoid debt, Jon Stewart said "Wow, that's so crazy... it just might be fucking crazy."
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Time Crash" (though it happens more than you might imagine):
      Fifth Doctor: You'll blow up the TARDIS!
      Tenth Doctor: Only way out.
      Fifth Doctor: Who told you that?!
    • Doctor Who runs on Crazy Enough to Work, but even they outdid themselves with the grand plan to save Gallifrey in "The Day of the Doctor". The Doctor(s) plan(s) to use the TARDIS(es) to trap Gallifrey in a single instant in time and store it in a pocket universe, hiding from the rest of the universe and allowing the Daleks who have the planet surrounded to blast themselves to smithereens. The Time Lord General's reaction to this is priceless: "I'm sorry... WHAT!!??"
  • Extraordinary Attorney Woo: Attorney Woo comes up with a plan to engage a man with a severe form of autism by performing "This is Pengsoo" as the man is hyperfocused on Pengsoo. It doesn't quite work at the beginning, but she does get him to sing a little.
  • A rare serious version occurs in the season 3 premiere of Falling Skies:
    Pope: So you think we can just sneak in from behind and take the Espheni by surprise. Well, that's insane.
    Weaver: Which is exactly what the enemy thinks. Which is why they have left the back end of the plant undefended.
  • Mentioned by Steve Harvey sometimes on Family Feud. Once all the reasonable answers have been found, the last one or two are the "ignant" ones which, at best, are based on some kind of Moon Logic. So the only way to guess those is to be just as crazy as the people originally answering the survey.
  • Farscape: See John. See John have a fight with a large empire. See John strap a nuclear bomb to his chest and walk into their headquarters as a diversion. See John Win.
  • Firefly: The crew of Serenity practically does this for a living. The maneuver "Crazy Ivan" is called that for a reasonnote , jumping onto a moving train is risky enough when it's not a hyper-fast futuristic train, injecting yourself with adrenaline to stay conscious long enough to call for help can be suicide, fighting off about thirty seasoned fighters with a bunch of prostitutes needs no explanation, and even Jayne didn't think it was possible to get Mal out of Niska's skyplex.
  • Also pretty much every episode of Hogan's Heroes.
    Hogan: Well, we've got to stop Williams, but use him as a diversion so we can knock out that gun.
    Newkirk: With all due respect, sir, you're dreaming.
    Hogan: If you've got a better dream, I want to hear it.
  • The Knick:
    • Dr. John Thackery needs to perform surgery on a man with bronchitis, meaning that he can't be given ether. His solution? Inject cocaine into the man's spine. In-universe, this procedure has only ever been tried once, on a dog. And the dog died. His colleagues think he's insane but, obviously, it works perfectly.
    • This is deconstructed in the season one finale. Thackery once again performs a revolutionary new procedure on a patient but this time he kills the patient. He drew incorrect conclusions from his research and he was too stubborn and paranoid to consult with other experts in the field. In addition, the patient's life was in no immediate danger so there were no extenuating circumstances to justify him performing such a risky experiment on a patient without her consent.
  • Diamondback in Luke Cage (2016) is generally crazy and unstable, but damn if his plans do work out. When Luke is framed for cop-killing by Diamondback, the latter takes an opportunity to pin him inside a club full of civilians and hold a couple of people hostage until they can take him out. This strategy is heavily criticized by his Dragon Shades because they are risking themselves getting directly exposed by the police and his boss is just making things up as they go along. Against his expectations this plan works: after enough stalling, the police storms in, arrests Luke and Diamondback escapes, though he loses a couple of mooks in the process, Shades included ironically enough, who didn't have enough faith in his plan. Even though Luke also manages to escape the police again in the following episode, it was due to circumstances beyond Diamondback's control, whose plan worked out in his favor.
  • Every single episode of MacGyver, of course. Crazy Enough to Work is the driving principle behind MacGyvering.
  • This seemed to be Dino's preferred method in the U.S. Season 8 of MasterChef. His cooking was often wildly inventive and often went in directions that had never been done before and theoretically just should not have worked. When he failed, it could be spectacular, but his success was enough to carry him to the finale and win in the end.
  • Many of the myths tested on Mythbusters turn out to be this. For example, if a car goes fast enough, can it skip right over the surface of a 120-foot lake and keep driving when it gets to the other side? The Build Team didn't think so either. Then they tested it. Can you fool a highly-sensitive sonar motion detector by holding up a bedsheet in front of you to absorb the sound waves? Guess what...
  • NUMB3RS: Some people's reaction to the general premise of the series: an FBI agent working with his genius brother using Math of all things to solve crimes. Many of them come around to it by the end with Don's Bureau mandated therapist actually telling him the reason he's the head of his own unit is because he's the type of person to do something so unconventional and make it work spectacularly.
  • Discussed and parodied in an episode of The Office (US), when Michael badly wants to know what is going on in a meeting he is not allowed in.
    Michael: You know the plans people say are "just crazy enough to work"? Well, I don't believe in doing those plans when you can go with a "sure thing" instead. That's why I'm having him wheel me into the meeting inside of this cheese cart.
  • Any and all prison escapes by Michael Scofield of Prison Break. Features of his plans include structural engineering know-how, coded phrases, and last-minute improvisations due to being failed and/or betrayed by other people. Over the course of the series, he has broken the safety railing off a prison infirmary window by having an elevator pull it down with a fire hose, broken into a courthouse and threaten an FBI Agent with a painted squirt gun while knowing there was a trap waiting for him and his brother there, botched an associate's helicopter escape attempt by weighing him down and hoping the sharpshooter couldn't get a clear shot at him from above, lured one of the most powerful and dangerous men in the world down to the hiding spot of his most prized and protected possession and tattooed his worst enemy's face on his hands to fool the guy's facial scanner.
    • Special mention goes to the time he bought a would-be Sex Slave from a group of human traffickers, offered to marry her so she could get a green card (which she accepted), and helped her start a relatively decent life in America all in exchange for her sneaking a prison key card disguised as a credit card into the conjugal visit room.
    • As crazy as Michael's plans get, they are nothing compared to the schemes T-Bag comes up with. Escaping from prison and suspecting that one of your teammates will kill you the moment you get out but don't have any leverage? Handcuff yourself to the guy who HAS leverage! That Brilliant Idea led to your hand getting chopped off? Threaten the first doctor you find into surgically reattaching it without anaesthesia. Want to leave the country but you're a wanted fugitive with your face plastered all over the place? Find someone who looks slightly like you, say, that therapist from the ads, kill him, steal his glasses and money and identification and board a plane like it's nobody's business. Your teammate double crossed you and now you're left back inside the Hellhole Prison with an injured drug lord as your only hope? Convince him that the new general in charge is corrupt enough that money can buy anyone a way out so the drug lord reveals the location of his secret money stash, then kill the drug lord and splash a big portion of the cash around to the prisoners and eventually start a riot and set the place on fire so that you can escape with help from the prostitute who occasionally comes in disguised as a nun.
  • Pick any (and we do mean any) of the plans hatched by the folks on Stargate SG-1.
    • Blowing up a sun; using every Stargate simultaneously to propagate a wave capable of disintegrating matter across the whole galaxy; sneaking into a conference where all your major enemies are gathered; storming an enemy mothership with just four people. Believe it or not, these aren't the craziest ones.
    • One later season episode lampshades the escalating ridiculousness:
      Col. O'Neill: All I'm saying... just for the record... this is the wackiest plan we've ever come up with. [He turns and starts to leave the room]
      Maj. Carter: Wackier than strapping an active Stargate to the bottom of the X-302?
      Col. O'Neill: [As he walks out the door] Oh, yeah.
      Maj. Carter: [Calling after O'Neill] Wackier than blowing up a sun?
      Col. O'Neill: [From the corridor, unseen] Yep!
      Maj. Carter: [to Jonas and Daniel] ...He's probably right.
    • Invoked by the Asgard Thor, who will occasionally "borrow" SG-1 to deal with an Asgard problem when they are totally stumped. Because as a highly advanced and logical race, he feels the Asgard lack the capacity for "stupid ideas" that end up being extremely effective, which SG-1 has a history of coming up with on the fly.
  • A fair number of Star Trek adventures feature somebody coming up with plans that are Crazy Enough To Work.
    • In Star Trek: The Original Series, Scotty especially had a habit of making stuff work that simply defied the laws of physics, though he admitted to Geordi La Forge in his cameo appearance in the Next Generation episode "Relics" that, like any smart engineer, he always left a decent safety margin that he could exceed in a pinch.
    • As mentioned above, James T. Kirk is the patron saint of Crazy Enough To Work. From corbomite to fizzbin, most of his plans are completely insane when viewed from a distance (and pretty often he's so damn lucky that they work for him and only for him—the infamous Bamboo Technology cannon from "Arena", for example, has exploded in the face of everybody else who has tried to create it and use it in a similar way on training exercises afterwards (they have gotten a bit luckier using it as a pipe bomb)).
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation has its fair share of these as well. A particularly notable one happens in "Best of Both Worlds": the Borg have kidnapped and assimilated Picard, along with all of his knowledge and experience. This leaves Riker facing an opponent who has superior technology and the ability to anticipate his tactics. The only solution is to come up with a plan so risky and unorthodox that even Picard wouldn't see it coming.
    • Played with in Star Trek: Voyager. Former Maquis, who made up a lot of the crew, had to make do with next to nothing a lot, so they came up with ways to do the mission that'd make regular Federation officers protest like mad. Janeway was smart enough to let her Maquis people do their thing when needed, but even then it didn't always work.
    • Subverted in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Valiant". The Red Squad cadets cook up such a plan to destroy a Dominion battleship, but since they're all a bunch of stressed out, inexperienced newbies and not the highly trained professionals of other Starfleet vessels, the plan fails miserably and they all end up dying for their troubles.
  • Major Bunny Colvin comes up with a pretty interesting plan in season 3 of The Wire. Faced with the drug trade sprawling over more and more of his streets, as well as an increasing pressure to get crime rates down, what plan does he come up with? Legalize drugs. More specifically, he sets up three "safe zones" in his district and makes a deal with the dealers: if they move all their trade there, the police won't touch them. And it works. Dangerous street corners are cleared for ordinary people and his men can focus on fighting crime more concretely, as opposed to making endless futile drug raids. Crime goes down 14%. But in the end, The Wire is too naturalistic for such a Zany Scheme to be workable: once his superiors find out about the whole thing, "Hamsterdam" is shut down, Colvin is disgraced and the streets return to normal. Major Rawls even comments that his plan was brilliant - insane and illegal, but brilliant.

  • In the Firefly game of Cool Kids Table, Mickey's plan to slingshot the Reaver ship into the Hands of Blue ship and beat them to the Zelda is dubbed "just stupid enough for Firefly".
  • In The Adventure Zone: Balance, most of Taako's plans are like this.
    • One sequence had the players needing to get into the caboose of the moving train they were on while unable to simply walk through to the back due to magic. Word of God has confirmed that Griffin had planned (and expected) them to climb on top of the train, but Magnus' unexpected solution was to rappel sideways down the cars using rope and the power of wind, reaching the caboose, swinging around to the inside, and distracting the caster long enough to allow the spell to break and the rest of the party to enter. This was such an unrealistic plan that Griffin confirmed Magnus would be Killed Off for Real if he failed his roll. Of course, he didn't, and the rest was history.
  • In episode one of Mystery Show, Starlee uses some questionable logic to choose a children's clothing store to go into and question the clerk about the mysterious video store she's looking for.
    Clerk: I was their first customer.
    Starlee: [voiceover] I can't believe that worked.

  • Destroy the Godmodder:
    • Lots and lots and lots of these. Enemy not taking damage from guns and swords? Hit him with a chair. The godmodder deflects nukes? Throw a nuclear snowball. Giant universe eating demon with infinite health? Burn his overcoat.
    • TT2000, who happens to be the original creator, whose inherent effectiveness stems entirely from the total lack of effectiveness that his actions inherently possess.
  • In Cartesio: Need to compare suspect footprints while stuck in the trial room? Get Bolin to earthbend the mud off everyone in the room and make a pile so that they can check their footprints in it.
  • The Ballad of Edgardo: Edgardo from the self-titled story. He wanders into a forum full of violent, edgy jerks playing an idealistic shonen anime brawler and, upon immediately arousing the anger of the rest of the players there, attacks them despite being massively under-level and stuck with cripplingly bad stats. Then when in the process of trying to take his revenge, he discovers that his supposedly useless ability is actually the strongest build in the entire forum and uses it to kill every high-powered magic user and godlike warlord who threatens him by punching them really hard in the face. To reiterate: Edgardo's player managed to turn a build that everyone thought was functionally useless into an unstoppably powerful attack that no one can resist — by accident.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey: One side-quest has the main character faced with a jealous suitor having rendered a rival bald via a "love potion", gloating about how she's gotten away with it all. The player has three choices: Try and kill the woman herself (not a sensible idea at a crowded party), decide the insanity isn't worth it and leave, or... tell the guards that the woman's a witch, and have them get her. This actually works (and her decidedly ex-husband just goes "you know, that explains a lot...").
  • Baldur's Gate II: to defeat Irenicus during your first confrontation at Spellhold, you are told that only an army could manage to give you a chance. And you are also told that there is such an army available: all the inmates of the asylum, mad sorcerers and wizards that in other circumstances would be unwise to unleash. The plan works, although Irenicus manages to escape.
  • In Crysis 3, Psycho says that going straight through the front door into the Liberty Dome will work because it's so crazy that CELL will never see it coming.
  • Daughter for Dessert:
    • The protagonist breaks into Mortelli’s office to find out what his friend isn’t telling him.
    • Also, Lainie had a scheme, with the protagonist as an accomplice, to get startup capital for the diner from her family, even though her lawyer had previously denied her request.
  • Destroy All Humans! 2: Trying to sabotage the alliance between the Russian cosmonauts and their Obviously Evil alien partners, Crypto tries every possible option, but nothing works until at the end of his rope he yells that the aliens are going to take away their vodka. This so outrages the cosmonauts they go ballistic, and turn on the aliens then and there.
  • Double Homework:
    • The protagonist evacuates his summer school class to safety from an avalanche on skis. Bonus points for taking place only a few months after another avalanche on the same mountain claimed the lives of all but the best skiers (himself and Tamara), giving both of them PTSD, and the presence of three rookie skiers in the group, one of whom goes down the mountain without a partner guiding her.
    • Double subverted with the break-in of Dennis’s apartment to find his storage device. The protagonist, Henry, and all the girls masterfully plan the caper, only to find no sign of said device. Then, Dennis suddenly comes home in a huff, carelessly throwing aside a portable hard drive. The protagonist, realizing that this must be the device they were looking for, takes it before they all sneak out.
  • This trope sums up Laguna Loire's plan to defeat the Big Bad of Final Fantasy VIII, an Evil Sorceress from the future whose consciousness possesses people in the present and is trying to compress time into a singularity in which only she can exist. Since they can't touch her in the present, what is Laguna's plan? Give her what she wants, so that a team of combat specialists can get to her through compressed time and kill her, then rely on the Power of Friendship to get them back to the right time when the timeline decompresses. Squall, the leader of the team, tells Laguna up-front that the plan is ridiculous, but goes along with it anyway because it's still their best shot.
  • Subverted in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. Ephraim, along with his 3 bodyguards, plans to raids the enemy castle and take it over, on the basis that "If the enemy thinks the same [that the plan is insane], there's our opening." While he does seize the castle, it turns out that one of the aforementioned 3 bodyguards was The Mole, and therefore the enemy was completely prepared for the siege.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening
    • Justified in the second act: facing an invasion from the neighboring continent of Valm by Walhart the Conqueror, still convalescing from a recent war, the chief strategist Robin of the Ylissean Halidom builds his/her whole strategy upon the reasoning that careful planning will merely delay the final defeat and decide to mobilize every force he/she can muster (including the naval fleet of the neighboring kingdom of Plegia against which his/her country just fought two devastating wars) and head straight into the enemy's home turf with an army hopelessly outnumbered directly helmed by him/herself and the Halidom's ruler Chrom.
    • For a specific example during said act, the heroes' fleet ends up coming into contact with Valm's own invasion fleet during the crossing. There's no way they can avoid a fight if they don't want to let Walhart raze their own continent to the ground, but they're outnumbered and outgunned; the coalition fleet may have a comparable number of ships, but each is only half-full compared to the Valmese navy being filled to the brim with dangerous combatants. Robin decides to transfer all of their troops to half of the ships in their fleet, and, once they launch a Decapitation Strike right at the Valmese fleet's admiral to sow confusion in the ranks, they direct the other half of their fleet which is now on fire straight into the still-confused-and-leaderless Valmese fleet, decimating them.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has an example in Chapter 7 of the Scarlet Blaze route. Edelgard and the Black Eagles come to bail Count Bergliez out of a seige. Towards the end of the mission, you can defeat one of two enemy units to help secure an escape route for Bergliez and his men. However, if you activate the Bergliez Onslaught strategy, Count Bergliez will instead make his own path by punching through the mountain behind him. Several characters are utterly shocked that this works, and Hubert notes that the count is the only person who could pull something like that off.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved: Flying a Pelican dropship through a network of underground tunnels to get the Master Chief to the map room.
      Cortana: Look on the bright side, Foehammer. The last thing the Covenant will expect is an aerial insertion... from underground.
    • In Halo 2, the Master Chief dives out of Cairo Station with a bomb larger than himself and falls into the engine of a Covenant Carrier, detonates the bomb, and falls again to land on a UNSC ship that is minuscule by comparison.
      Cortana: I know what you're thinking, and it's crazy.
      Master Chief: So? Stay here.
      Cortana: Unfortunately for us both, I like crazy.
      Sarge: For a brick, he flew pretty good!
    • In Halo: Reach, Kat proposes a way to take out a Covenant supercarrier that involves "the single most expensive piece of equipment made by man".
      Carter: Even for you, Kat, that's...
      Kat: ...inspired?
      Carter: Not the word I would use.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend Holiday Star, the villainous Tohri Nishikikouji is using Anghel's power of bringing people into a shared mass hallucination to power a laser to destroy St Pidgeonation's. This could qualify on its own. The heroes then realise that it might be possible to use those same powers to repel the laser. They do so by having Anghel bring them into a hallucination where they are "Pretty Coore" magical girls, able to use the power of love and friendship to save the school. It works.
  • The Henry Stickmin Series frequently zigzags this trope with its choices. Sometimes, the one choice that lets you progress is the least flashy one, while other times, the weirdest option gives you the best outcome by virtue of this trope.
  • What the player fleet has to do in the first Homeworld in a nutshell. The Kushan homeworld of Kharak has been wiped out by a fringe fleet of the Taiidan Empire, the galaxy's strongest military power with far more advanced technology the Kushan have, the Mothership with the last survivors is practically unarmed and is being hunted down by Space Pirates, the largest and most powerful warship the Kushan have access to is the assault frigate copied from a Taiidan one they captured through surprise, and the final destination of the Kushan voyage, their ancestral homeworld of Hiigara, is somewhere deep in Taiidan space, so what do they do? They destroy the pirates and the fleet that wiped out Kharak taking advantage of the fact they suffered losses in the attack and don't expect to be hunted down, then they make a beeline for Hiigara - whose exact location the Kushan don't know - while reverse-engineering as much Taiidan technology they can and destroying any Taiidan ship they find. It works, partly because the Taiidan are utterly dumbfounded until after the Kushan have already entered their space and partly because the Taiidan have made various enemies that find a common cause with the Kushan.
  • Most of the escape from Peragus in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Pointed out once or twice by Atton.
  • Played with in Left 4 Dead 2. Coach comes up with an idea to start up a band's pyrotechnics in order to call for a helicopter. After hearing this, Nick drops this line.
    Nick: Coach, that has got to be the stupidest idea I have ever agreed with.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II has Rean who is crazy enough to escape the Pantagruel, carrying the princess who was abducted by the Noble Alliance despite the overwhelming odds. Everyone on the ship lampshades at how crazy the kid is and praises his guts for it. He's also crazy enough to jump from a tall building and be caught by Valimar and his own friends lampshade it as well.
  • In Minecraft, it’s definitely possible for the player, out of all things, to pull off crazy contraptions and ideas that seem so inexplicably stupid, yet they work anyways. This is due to plenty of Good Bad Bugs that aren’t patched yet. Same thing goes for Kerbal Space Program, too.
  • In Namco × Capcom, the party needs to escape from the exploding Balrog ship. A dragon powered lens piloted by Zuhl is nearby but he can't get in closer because of the interference from the Psychopower. Hiryu's suggestion? Get to the dragon using the catapult and toss themselves towards the dragon. This stunt is repeated in Project × Zone 2: Brave New World where Hiryu suggests the same thing again with the newcomers utterly baffled at the idea while the ones who already did it before just gave up arguing about it and just did it with Chun-Li remarking that this one's easier because the other side of the ship can pull in the characters.
  • In The New Order Last Days Of Europe, Kemerovo is a bizarre neo-Muscovite kingdom run by an ex-Soviet colonel who believes he is the reincarnation of Rurik, the Viking chieftain who unified Russia in ancient times. Despite "Rurik II"'s obvious eccentricities, Kemerovo is a strong contender for unifying the fractured post-Soviet Russia and taking the war to Nazi Germany, between its large industrial base and its ability to form a very competent staff room from taking Four-Star Badass generals from other regional unifiers. Given that Rurik II's insanity is eventually revealed to (maybe) be an act...
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous: Azata PCs can recruit all manner of non-stereotypical allies to the Crusade, from halfling and gnome knights to treants and mimics—the latter of which causes even your azata observer Early Sunset to comment that he must be going insane. Not to mention solving all kinds of problems by spontaneously singing the Song of Elysium. A lot of what they do works at least in part because the demons are used to asymmetric warfare against the nominally Lawful Good Mendevian Crusaders (who fight in very disciplined and therefore fairly predictable ways), but have no idea whatsoever how to handle a Chaotic Good army that barely knows what they themselves are going to try to do half the time.invoked
  • In the fourth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Prosecutor von Karma jokingly suggests that Phoenix cross-examine a suspect's pet parrot because he has no other options besides throwing the case. Guess what causes von Karma to lose the case.
  • Normally, the Noble Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus would be calmed down by having their respective wardens present offerings of their favorite foods to them. However, the Nobles' frenzied states make them too dangerous to approach, thus making the offerings useless. Professor Laventon's solution? Turn the offerings into balms and throw them at the Nobles. It catches the Diamond and Pearl Clans off-guard, but it works.
  • In Sunrider Mask of Arcadius, Kayto Shields holds this opinion of the plan Ava proposes to take down the Pact flagship Legion. Since their target is too heavily armored and shielded to take down conventionally, the plan entails firing a point-blank shot from the Sunrider’s Vanguard Cannon straight down the barrel of the Legion’s own Wave-Motion Gun. This will start up a chain reaction within the Legion’s power generator and destroy the ship from the inside out. The plan’s success depends on whether or not Kayto lets Ava go down to a compromised section of the ship in order to fire the Vanguard Cannon manually after a direct hit from the Legion’s laser batteries knocks out the bridge firing controls.
    Kayto: So in other words, the only way to kill that thing is to fly right in front of its primary weapon and shove a Vanguard down its maw, huh. Absolutely insane. I approve of this plan.
  • In Tales of Vesperia this is intentionally invoked when Brave Vesperia formulates the best way to destroy the Adephagos by using Spirits and the removal of blastia from the world, something that would be all but impossible. However, it works, and the world is saved.
  • This is how the UberCharge system in Team Fortress 2 came to life, as revealed in "Meet the Medic".
    Heavy: Doctor! Are you sure this will work?!
    Medic: HA HA! I have no idea!!!*
  • At the end of Tomb Raider (2013), Lara's plan to escape Yamatai involves incinerating the corpse of the last Sun Queen so that her spirit can finally pass on and stop causing the bad weather that keeps trashing all ships that try to leave. She admits that it sounds crazy. Reyes agrees that the plan is crazy, but then concedes that they'd run out of sane plans, so they might as well give it a shot.
  • Lieutenant Welkin Gunther, the effective Player Character of Valkyria Chronicles, has a knack for this. In the battle in chapter four, Operation Cloudburst, the Militia is ordered to take an enemy bridgehead on the far bank, and everyone expects the result to look rather like Burnside's Bridge. Welkin decides to mount an amphibious assault under cover of fog instead. With his hastily waterproofed tank driving along the river bottom. His own squad, who don't really like him yet, basically call him nuts.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Nines Rodriguez has been framed for killing the Malkavian Primogen and a Blood Hunt has been called on his head as a result. Where does he, a highly recognizable figure within the Anarchs, decide to hide? Griffith Park, which is werewolf territory. In this setting, werewolves kill vampires on sight, and a single werewolf is enough to wipe out a score of vampires, so no vampire would be crazy enough to hide even in the fringe of a forest full of werewolves. But that's exactly what Nines does, and it works until the player character is tricked into finding him, which gives their enemies the opportunity to kill them via forest fire or werewolf.
  • World of Warcraft: In Uldum, Budd's plan to escape from the Neferset (the cat equivalent of centaurs) is to dress the captives up in a few pieces of Neferset armor with two of them carrying the third person between them so that their shapes are vaguely similar to the Neferset, and then walk out the front door hoping nobody notices. The sheer stupidity of this plan is lampshaded by the other party members, with himself Budd actually going as far as to say nothing can possibly go wrong. Nothing does.

    It works partly because your character, the best fighter in the group, went along slaughtering guards and setting the city on fire just a few minutes ago. In the smoke and chaos, no one looks closely enough at your party to realize they're groups of three humans playing Neferset horsie ride. You'll notice that the next time your character canonically enters the city, they've stepped up the guard patrols quite a bit.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: This is Robo's reasoning for trying to pull off a Game-Breaking Bug in the game he and Balloon are playing in 'VRcade'.
  • bill wurtz's video history of the entire world, i guess paints Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance against the British Empire's occupation of India as such a crazy plan that even he didn't expect it to pan out.
  • In Lackadaisy, The Scrounger Rocky leads his crew of booze-runners to a quarry in an attempt to gain a defensive advantage over their pursuers, the rival Marigold Gang's Hired Guns. He commandeers a steam shovel, puts a sack full of dynamite into the bucket, jams the controls, then climbs up in the bucket and begins a Construction Vehicle Rampage, randomly lobbing lit sticks onto the ground below while maniacally screaming an impromptu poem about a circus train and its Fighting Clown. He indirectly saves his compatriots Ivy and Freckle from their respective demises by being so grand and distracting that the Marigolds immediately turn their attention toward him, allowing Ivy and Freckle to repair their car in (relative) peace. Heck, if not for accidentally blowing up a water tower, Rocky could've killed - or at least routed - the Marigold trio. As it happens, the flooding still provides cover for their escape.

  • Annyseed uses a love potion in order to deter someone from her, rather than attract someone to her. Winston, you're a genius! Mmwa! Page 61.
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Most of Red Mage's plans; constantly lampshaded. A most notable example is when he explains his plan has to work because it has no logical basis whatsoever on which it could fail, explicitly because it has no logical basis in reality.
    • Also frequently subverted on the frequent occasions when these plans spectacularly fail to work.
    • This.
  • So many things in Sluggy Freelance. One of the best examples is the Ferret Bazooka, where hyperactivity is weaponized by putting a hyperactive ferret in a cardboard tube, pouring in a pixie stick, then pointing the tube at whatever you want destroyed. If all goes as planned, a ferret on a serious sugar rush will shoot out of the tube at supersonic speeds.
  • Parodied in xkcd. When Nathan Fillion wants to try the Crazy Ivan maneuver from Firefly on his electric skateboard, he insists it's so crazy it has to work. Jewel Staite replies "No, that's the opposite of true." She was right.
    Alt Text: "Things are rarely just crazy enough to work, but they're frequently just crazy enough to fail hilariously."
  • Also parodied in Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire when Buck is dropped out of the sky.
  • A lot of the inventions the Sparks come up with in Girl Genius fall under this trope. Granted, they probably make perfect sense to the Spark making them, but to everyone else...
    Agatha: This has a small, but fascinating, chance of actually working! Let's do it!
  • Darths & Droids:
    • The "party" of (and quite a few actual Tabletop RPG parties) runs on these kinds of ideas. In this comic Pete points out that Jim is their group's resident master of this trope.
      Pete/R2-D2: Everything's already totally screwed. This is exactly the time when his ideas work best. Everyone, think like Jim!
      Ben/Obi-Wan: My brain just broke.
      Pete/R2-D2: That's the spirit!
    • When they try to mimic what Jim would do, Annie keeps doing things to try to slow half of a spaceship's fiery descent from orbit. Each time, Pete responds with "Not crazy enough!" Finally, her plan is to fire all of the ship's missiles at the ground just before landing, using the explosion to cushion the fall. Pete's response? "Too crazy!" It works.
    • This starts to become a problem with Jim later on. He subscribes to this so much he only uses plans crazy enough to work, sabotaging many perfectly sensible plans in the process.
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: Parodied in "Pie a la MURDER", where the initial suggestion is crazy overkill, and the "just crazy enough to work" alternative is hilariously mundane. Killroy is bent on destroying the whole universe simply because he has an apple pie that he can't finish by himself. Wonderella says she has an idea... and the final panel is her and Killroy sharing the pie.
  • Mal from Cthulhu Slippers straps the Necronomicon to his chest in this comic reasoning that since the book is indestructible it makes for a pretty good bulletproof vest. He is yet to be proven wrong.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: U17 Cell rips off his own head to avoid U11 Dabura's stone spit.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Subverted with Maxim 43. "If it's stupid and it works, it's still stupid and you're lucky."
    • On that same vein, subverted with Petey's worldforge, and how he's going to create a non-sentient Eldritch Abomination to power it.
      Elf: That sounds like a terrible idea.
      Kevyn: If my time clone is on the job, it might just work.
      Schlock: If your time clone is on the job, it's definitely going to work, and it's still a terrible idea.
      Kevyn: It might save the galaxy, though.
      Schlock: You gotta figure out how to do that using good ideas.
  • Ganondorf of Zelda Comic thinks this of the idea to invert the Sorting Algorithm of Evil and simply send his strongest minions after Link while he's still at his weakest. His advisor has to point out that it really isn't that crazy of a plan.

    Web Original 
  • The Onion Radio News' clip "Area Idea So Crazy It Just Might Work".
  • In Dark Dream Chronicle, Hanna tends to resort to this immediately when running doesn't work.
  • About half of Generator's plans in the Whateley Universe. Of particular note is her plan to defeat the killer simulation they were given at Whateley Academy. Three words: Radioactive Condor Girl. Not only was it crazy, but it worked so well the simulation staff banned the technique. Her Hello Kitty makeup compact that is also a flying attack weapon might count too, along with her stuffed cabbit. Which she weaponized.
  • Ultra Fast Pony references it.
    Twilight: That's all you know [about Pinkie Sense]?
    Applejack: Well, if you want, you can just try asking her.
    Twilight: That idea isn't crazy enough to "just might work"!
    [14 hours later...]
    Twilight: Pinkie, can you tell me how your Pinkie Sense works?
    Pinkie: Yeah, okay.
    Twilight: I can't believe that worked!
  • AestheticGamer sometimes comes up with rather strange ideas to proceed in videogames. In his playthrough of Scratches, his immediate idea to gain access to the bricked-up room is to use the acquired rope to dangle it from the roof and climb into the room through the window. And he was absolutely correct.
  • Someone replaced Metal Scream/Harsh Vocals with hentai girl moaning sounds and applied them to fast and aggressive thrash metal riffs You might think it wouldn't work, considering the rivalry between thrash and Hair Metal... except mixing Hentai with Thrash Metal actually ended up performing very well.

    Western Animation 
  • Beast Wars. After Optimus Primal jumps, in beast mode, from a flying island that's just more or less gone nuclear, in the hopes of catching a tree branch on the way down before he and Rattrap go splat or get charred to a crisp. He does.
    Rattrap: Of course you do know that was crazy.
    Optimus Primal: Sometimes crazy works.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: Dick Dastardly will usually make this assessment on Klunk's latest invention to catch Yankee Doodle Pigeon. We all know how that turns out.
  • Parodied in Drawn Together. When Spanky fills in every blank in a mad-lib with "Penis", Wooldoor suggests using words other than penis, to which Spanky replies "That's crazy, Wooldoor! Just crazy enough to penis."
  • DuckTales (2017): In "Moonvasion", the invading Moonlanders anticipate and foil every sensible attempt at stopping their invasion, so the protagonists resort to a completely ludicrous scheme devised by Glomgold. Glomgold's plan to stop the Moonlanders - which involves sharks in parkas, Launchpad being launched by a giant slingshot while disguised as a boulder, and Scrooge dressing as Santa Claus - goes off without a hitch and almost flat-out succeeds. The main reason why the scheme works is because Lunaris is completely baffled by it, so instead of immediately reacting to it, he assumes it's too stupid to be anything but a decoy and wastes time trying to figure out what the real plan must be.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the pilot, Peter attends a stag party, and brings a porno on VHS. It turns out Chris has taped over it, and so the only stimulation they have is a documentary about the Statue of Liberty. Peter suggests they "drink 'til she's hot", and Quagmire says this exact phrase in response.
    • Peter says this before putting his hand in a waffle iron. Needless to say, that didn't solve the problem at hand. However, his second idea does. But it caused a problem at hand.
  • In an episode of Futurama, the Planet Express crew and the Globetrotters are trying to solve the problem of "time skips" that jump everyone in the Universe forward in time, leaving them with no memory of what went on in the interim. At one point, Hermes Conrad says, "Say, I'm no physicist, but I think I know how to stop the skipping. We'll just—" after which time skips, everyone but Hermes is nude and in a conga line (Hermes is in a Hawaiian shirt, playing a steel drum) and Hermes cries, "I don't know how this was supposed to work!" Of course, most of the (often successful) plans in Futurama — especially if they're by Farnsworth or Fry — are usually Crazy Enough To Work.
  • In Grojband, Corey Riffin would say that he's "got a crazy plan that just might work", amazingly they do work.
  • Used often in Hey Arnold! Usually with the phrase, "That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard. Let's do it!"
  • Although it doesn't always result in success, eponymous Invader Zim invokes this trope on numerous occasions, such as flattening a city with a water balloon, altering the past with rubber piggies, and setting a giant hamster loose in the city to create havoc.
  • Parodied in Johnny Bravo:
    Carl: Johnny, I have a plan.
    Johnny: It's just crazy enough to work!
    Carl: But you haven't heard it yet.
    Johnny: Enough talk! I need action!
  • In Kim Possible, Shego says of a plan by Dr. Drakken, "I know I'm going to regret saying this, but I think you may have finally achieved 'so dumb, it just might work.'" Ironically, Ron's plan for foiling Drakken's is the exact mirror, prompting Kim to comment, "Ron, this is so dumb it can't work."
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Wolf and the others quickly, if somewhat begrudgingly on Wolf's part, come to deem all of Kipo's plans as this after enough of her insane ploys actually manage to succeed.
  • Seen in the Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "The Asteroid":
    Jumba: That's crazy!
    Lilo: So crazy it just might work, right?
    Jumba: No, just crazy.
  • Played with in Maryoku Yummy when Maryoku and Shika are searching for Bob. Shika starts out by systematically checking every spot in Nozomu, but Maryoku suggests starting with the places they'd usually find Bob.
    Shika: Well, it sounds crazy, but—
    Maryoku: Good! Follow me!
    Shika: But I said it sounds crazy!
    Maryoku: Yet you're still going to give it a chance. That's so nice.
  • One episode of Megas XLR (itself a big parody of sci-fi and anime clichés) found the titular robot with a critical part badly damaged, so they scrounge around a junk planet for a replacement. Ultimately unsuccessful but in need of the part to win a fight, Coop goes down below. When he comes back up, Megas is back up and running and proceeds to kick butt. When Kiva asks how he fixed Megas, he replied, "When in doubt…duck it!" Kiva is uncharacteristically impressed, "Primitive…but amazing technology!"
  • Used almost word for word in an episode of the 2010 Pound Puppies:
    Strudel: An adoption fair? How crazy is that?
    Lucky: So crazy, it just might work.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer Defined": Having failed to pay attention to his training, Homer resorts to the "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe" method to press the right button to avert a reactor core meltdown, saving Springfield. After being hailed as a hero and brought in to the Shelbyville nuclear power plant to give a speech, he uses the same technique to stop a meltdown at their reactor as well (at which point it is discovered that his heroism was just dumb luck).
    • In "Lemon of Troy", Bart is trapped at the Shelbyville Zoo where he must escape or face the Shelbyville boys chasing him and tigers. Because he left during the lesson on Roman numerals, he can't find the correct door (number 7) because they're labeled in Roman numerals. He resorts to the Rocky film series, which had the numbers, and he's successful.
  • Spoofed in one episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. Patrick suggests moving Bikini Bottom to avoid an attack from a giant worm. Squidward says, "That idea may just be crazy enough... to get us all killed!" They do it anyway. And it fails. It's worthy of note that the only reason it failed is that the worm was lured over the cliff the city was pushed under.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • "Storm Over Ryloth": Anakin's entire strategy for the second attempt at the blockade, involving ramming the command ship with the damaged Defender and putting Ahsoka in charge of the only remaining cruiser (with all the remaining men bombers and fighters aboard) with the expectation she'll be able to come up with a sound plan to take out the now leaderless Sepratist frigates.
    • "Cargo of Doom": Anakin tops himself when he decides to board a Separatist frigate under the command of Bounty Hunter Cad Bane. However, the Resolute doesn't have any boarding craft equipped because they were supposed to land on Devaron… so Anakin decides that they'll use the AT-TEs as impromptu boarding vessels, something even Ahsoka and Rex, used to Anakin's crazy plans, are initially skeptical about. After the idea is suggested, Admiral Yularen is clearly thinking he must be the Only Sane Man among the high-ranking personnel on the Jedi Cruiser.
  • One Tiny Toon Adventures episode has Babs and Buster consulting a computer on how to rescue a friendly flea living on Furball from an evil, carnivorous bug. The computer reads, "Cliché #1: Shrink our heroes." After Babs says it's crazy enough to work, Buster says "That's Cliché #2!"
  • W.I.T.C.H.
    • In "A Service to the Community", the girls take a battered Mr. Collins that they beat up (long story) and try to think up a cover story to explain their teacher's Clothing Damage. They end up going with a plan that involves Collins' lizard and its lunch.
      Will: OK, we lock the door, fly out the window, have his car towed and tomorrow, we'll put the papers in his desk. He'll think he dreamed it!
      Taranee: What about his clothes?
      Cornelia: Sprinkle him with crickets and release the lizard so he thinks Mr. Scales ripped them up?
      Will: That's crazy! Do it.
    • In "The Key", Will's plan to clear Vathek of helping Caleb escape boils down to framing a highly respected guard by slipping the key into his armor and having Vathek fake being attacked... it works.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Stupid Enough To Work


Bedsheet vs Motion Detector

Kari fools a motion detector simply by holding up a bedsheet in front of, to the surprise of everyone.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / CrazyEnoughToWork

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