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Giving Up on Logic

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Goku: [Referring to a giant tree sucking all the energy out of Earth] I think the only course of action left... is to reason with it!
Yamcha: Uh, Goku...
Goku: Big tree! If you don't leave right now, I'm gonna have to beat you up!
Yamcha: Goku, trees can't ta—
Offscreen Voice: Why don't you come up here and try it?
Yamcha: ... you know what, f**k it, I don't even care anymore.
Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Christmas Tree of Might

Let's face it, life is not kind to the Only Sane Man. They live in a World Gone Mad that constantly attempts to break them. Their advice and attempts to put some order and reason to things is cheerfully ignored at best, cruelly put down at worst. It's like the whole universe is out to make them the butt of jokes and a laughing stock!

Then there comes a final straw, and they give up on trying to make any logical sense of the world/situation they find themselves in, usually accompanied by a line like "I give up", or "Why do I even bother?"

This trope tends to be especially common in various Abridged Series, where it is used to point out how nonsensical and absurd the plot point from the original work is.

Although this is usually played for laughs, when it's being done seriously it can lead to things such as a Sanity Slippage, Stopped Caring, or even a Freak Out in extreme cases, and the person who is giving up may become convinced that they are The Chew Toy or a Cosmic Plaything due to their experience. The Cuckoolander Was Right is a situation particularly likely to cause this reaction. Characters who go through this will often feel they have Seen It All afterward.

While this is generally a one time response to a specific event, a more gradual version may show the Character Development of a Flat-Earth Atheist, Straw Vulcan, or Agent Scully as they become someone more willing and able to accept the unknown or supernatural around them.

Compare the Godzilla Threshold, Reality Is Out to Lunch.


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    Comic Books 
  • The Transformers Megaseries: Shockwave is unable to logically comprehend why the Dynobots (Not Dinobots, not yet anyway) have followed him all the way to Earth for the sake of revenge, and nearly seizes up in the process, which the Dynobots take full advantage of. So Shockwave decides to temporarily shut down his reasoning and see what happens. The results are scarily effective.
  • In Polish comic book Emilka Sza when a character finally explains that the titular Emilka isn't playing a mime but is in fact literally born a mime, being a mime is her species (showing mimes among fantasy creatures in a creature guide) and that she is such a skilled mime that even the hospital where she was born was mimed by her, Eric - the series only sane man - takes a moment of silence, imagines himself kicking a box that say "logic" into a fireplace and decides to roll with it and never questions anything around Emilka's nature for the rest of the book.

    Fan Works 
  • By about the halfway point of The Detective and the Diplomat, Sherlock Holmes has been in Ankh-Morpork for about a day with no sleep, encountering wizards, werewolves, trolls, dwarves, and a man transformed into a gold statue. Then he is told that his only witness to the incident that led to the gold statue is a talking dog named Gaspode. After grinding his mental gears between This Shouldn't Be Happening and I Trust My Senses No Matter What for a few seconds, he apparently drop-kicks conventional logic off the Tower of Art and interviews the goddamn dog.
  • Concept Road: A common theme:
    "Here we go again. I'm with an alien psychic and a gun-spawning magical girl, and people are calling me amazing. Maybe logic has become a thing of the past."
  • Rise of the Minisukas: When Asuka arrives in Tokyo-3, she finds the place invaded by countless miniature versions of herself. One of her teammates is creepily obsessed with getting revenge on the Minisuka who pranked her. Said Prankster was captured by a giant swallow, saved by a purple-haired hermit samurai, and then abducted by a fox, a bear, a gang of beatboxing rabbits, and a monkey on a unicycle as making her way out of a forest infested by murderous clowns. Her professor is locked in a mental loop, repeating the same drivel about the Second Impact over and again. And hardly someone seems to find so much nonsense noteworthy. After the incident with the man punching a tiger which prowled into an ice cream parlor, Asuka finally gives up on trying to make sense out of Tokyo-3.
  • In Second Wind, Coby does this with most of Luffy’s actions in their brief time together, including his conversations with Zoro. When Luffy gorges himself in Shells Town, eating an impossible amount of food and then suddenly digesting it and reforming his proportions nicely, everyone who had been watching him chooses that point to give up trying to make sense of anything they see.
  • In The Sanctuary Telepath, as Janine puts it:
    Janine: As long as she's [Helen Magnus] here... Just go with it.
  • In This Bites!:
    • Cross takes very little time to do this after he's dropped into One Piece, remembering how much It Runs on Nonsensoleum.
    • Wiper does the same thing after he and the Shandians are absorbed into the madness that is a Straw Hat party.
    • Vivi finally succumbs to the insanity of the Grand Line when Boss negotiates with Franky in a Pec Flexing duel, shattering his shell in the process. And later somehow getting a new one, moments later, with no warning.
  • Vigilante Tendency: Tsuna gives up on trying to make sense of his life and starts going with the flow somewhere around chapter two or so. When the Vongola come knocking, he's barely fazed, and the already insane mafia world quickly find themselves...discombobulated when it comes to him and his friends.
  • A Gem in the Rough: Upon entering the Grand Line, Peridot began to see just how illogical the Davy Back Fight was. Robin offered her this valuable piece of advice:
    Nico Robin: The first thing you need to know about the Straw Hats is to throw logic out of the window.
    Peridot: ...oh... that is more logical than it has any right being.
  • Practically a Running Gag in Ashes of the Past in response to Ash being involved in or doing something considered crazy. A lot of minor characters end up resorting to this to preserve what remains of sanity they have.
  • White Sheep (RWBY):
    • Blake is an ex-member of the White Fang, a Faunus-supremacy terrorist organization, and tries to infiltrate them to figure out what they're up to. Everyone immediately finds her extremely suspicious. She is bailed out by her partner Nora, who isn't even a Faunus, leading the recruits in song, bluntly asking what the organization's evil plans are, and telling everyone she's a cow Faunus. When Nora reveals that she now has contacts in the White Fang and is able to get information on an in-progress terrorist attack, Blake gives up.
    • Jaune explains to his team that his parents met while "working for competing companies," and that his mom caught his dad doing "corporate espionage." Weiss assumes that his dad stopped working for the competition when they got together, and throws up her hands when Jaune explains that they're still working at cross-purposes. And the truth is even worse.
    • During the Battle of Haven, when a new group of White Fang members attack another group, Weiss officially gives up and admits she has no idea what's going on.
    • After the Battle of Haven, which ended with Weiss using a giant Grimm dragon to threaten everyone into surrender, the news reports are extremely polite, apologize for giving Weiss a bad review on her singing a while back, and beg her not to destroy them. Weiss' father Jacques throws aside his phone, grabs a bottle of wine, and goes off to find his wife, who he's barely spoken to in years.
      Whitley: B-but you said mother was just a drunk who ignores reality!
      Jacques: Exactly.
  • Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Seeker of Darkness: In Land of Oblivion, after Kairi fills Aqua in on the details of Xehanort's plan with the Organization.
    Aqua: I miss when things made sense.
    Kairi: (laughing) I'm one of seven people in existence with a negligible amount of darkness in my heart, I fight shadow monsters with a magic key-shaped sword or possibly a sword-sized key, and I’m Sharing a Body with my own two-year-old identical twin. Things stopped making sense a loooong time ago; you learn to roll with it.
  • In Case, the Simurgh shows up on Lisa/Tattletale's doorstep, with a Paper-Thin Disguise - insisting that her name is Sam. And that she's not the Simurgh. And that she wants to be a private investigator (and work with Lisa). Tattletale decides by the start of the next chapter that she's just going to roll with it.
    Lisa was determined to descend into this madness with style.
  • In Super Mario World (Max Landis), this is essentially a requirement for life in the Mushroom Kingdom, as Mario points out how many things don't make sense using human-world logic. Luigi comes to agree with him after seeing several fantastic feats firsthand, such as the 30-foot jumps, floating blocks with power-ups inside, and the inhabitants all knowing English.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • After spending hours trying to convince the White House cabinet that crops can't grow if they're watered with an energy drink, Joe of Idiocracy only pulls it off after he finally gives up on reasoning and just claims that he can talk to plants, and they told him they wanted water.
  • Riverworld: This is presumably why in both film versions no one's particularly fazed for very long upon discovering they're back from the dead, young again in some cases, or that the world was destroyed by aliens. Also, they have a lot to deal with before too long, giving them little time for much thought about it

  • This comes up fairly often in the Thursday Next books. One example would be the family conspiracy in First Among Sequels, where Thursday's daughter Jenny is often mentioned, but never seen. It turns out that Aornis Hades planted a mindworm, so Thursday thinks she has a second daughter and becomes distraught when she notices she never sees her. Thursday periodically figures it out, only to forget again due to the mindworm's effects. After some failed efforts to convince Thursday once and for all of the truth about Jenny, her husband and other kids give up and play along, acting as if Jenny exists and distracting Thursday when she seems likely to notice (again!) that the girl is missing.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Mat and two friends travel to the world of The Fair Folk in Towers of Midnight. Mat quickly realizes that logic as it works in the human world doesn't apply there, since things like walking in a straight line only to wind up right back where you started is common. Mat quickly urges the others to stop using human logic and instead rely on his luck to make their way. Since Mat is both Born Lucky and more or less a Reality Warper, it works.
  • In Life, the Universe and Everything, Arthur Dent is fed up with being stuck in a cave on prehistoric earth one day so he wakes up, sticks a rabbit bone in his beard, and announces to the world "I will go mad!". Ford Prefect shows up in time to witness this and highly recommends temporary madness as a coping mechanism; he himself spent a while thinking he was a lemon and jumping in and out of a lake that thought it was a gin and tonic (though he may have imagined that). An hour later Arthur finds himself chasing a Chesterfield sofa around the ancient landscape and reflects that the going mad thing appears to be right on schedule.
    • Later on, in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, we're introduced to Wonko the Sane who, after he found detailed instructions on how to use toothpicks note , concluded that mankind in general needed to be locked up, redecorated his house so it was inside-out and named it "the Outside of the Asylum" (the rest of the world is "Inside the Asylum").
  • In Wintersmith, Rob Anybody wonders how his brother Daft Wullie learned that the sentient cheese that followed them into the Underworld is named Horace. Wullie claims that Horace told him, and Rob shrugs it off with "I wouldna argue with a cheese."
  • In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel All-Consuming Fire, having found himself travelling through a portal to an alien world, where winged crustaceans are preparing to invade Earth on behalf of humans who worship a wannabe Eldritch Abomination, Sherlock Holmes hesitantly suggests that a light in the distance could be a settlement, then shrugs and says it could also be an incandescent chicken the size of the North Riding.
  • Flashman at the Charge. A British officer tries to stop his Blood Knight superior ordering the men to charge uphill against a superior Russian force bayonet-charging down on them, then decides to hell with it when he realises that it's too late to countermand the order. Fortunately their action turns out to be Crazy Enough to Work.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • In the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode "A Piece of the Action," Spock says of the gangster planet, "Logic and practical information do not seem to apply here." Dr. McCoy is stunned, asking "You admit that?" to which Spock calmly replies, "To deny the facts would be illogical."
      • The movies show the more gradual and long-term version of this trope happening with Spock. As he tells Lieutenant Valeris in The Undiscovered Country, "Logic is just the beginning of wisdom, not the end."
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Up The Long Ladder", Picard tries to ponder how to deal with the Bringloidi when he starts laughing, telling Riker "Sometimes, Number One, you just have to... bow to the absurd.". Patrick Stewart was actually laughing, and he ad-libbed that line to preserve the take.
    • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Twisted", a strange energy field appears to warp and reshape the interior layout of Voyager. Tuvok attempts to search for crew members using a logical search pattern but is stymied by the alterations. Chakotay, on the other hand, decides to wander aimlessly, because there seems to be no logic behind what's happened. He actually goes so far as to chide Tuvok for attempting to solve the issue logically. That said, Tuvok does successfully use logic at the end of the episode: since nothing the crew does seems to have an effect on the field, and it hasn't actually hurt anyone, he says the logical thing to do is simply ride out the effects and hope it doesn't harm them. He's right, and the crew later comes to the conclusion that the energy field was alive and attempting to interact/communicate with them.
  • Agent Scully of The X-Files remains a staunch skeptic through much of the show, although she does show moments of considering the unlikely. Late in the show's run after David Duchovny left, Scully wound up getting a new partner and becoming the one who was more likely to leap to supernatural and other unlikely explanations.
  • In one episode of Doom Patrol (2019), the team is approached by a Blue-Collar Warlock named Kipling and a talking blue horse head named Baphomet. Larry expresses distrust in the former, but says he believes in the latter, to which Cliff responds with "I just don't understand anything anymore."

  • In The Lonely Island song Jack Sparrow, Michael Bolton goes to collaborate with The Lonely Island boys on your standard hip-hop, going to the club type song. However, Bolton has just come from watching a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon, so when it comes time for Bolton to do the chorus, all he can sing about is Jack Sparrow and Pirates related stuff. At first the guys try to soldier on, but when Bolton keeps bringing the subject back to Pirates and then goes into other movies like Forrest Gump, Erin Brockovich and finally Scarface (1983), they give up trying to deal with Bolton's nuttiness or get the song back on track, and instead sit back with the occasional comment like "Turns out Michael Bolton is a major cinephile."
  • The same joke is used in the Axis Of Awesome song "Harry Potter and the Drunk Teenage Animals Escaping from Zoos," only with Jordan inserting references to Harry Potter to Benny's serious song about teenage drinking. Partway through, Benny just gives up and joins her.

    Video Games 
  • After all the things that Nick sees over the course of Lollipop Chainsaw, (the least of which is the fact that he is somehow surviving as a disembodied head while watching his girlfriend kill zombies with a chainsaw, which for some reason makes them burst into rainbows) he starts getting used to things that would normally be considered unusual.
    Sure. Giant robot elephant. Doesn't even faze me anymore.
  • BlazBlue cues this during Makoto's gag reel when a hat used to draw names for a dramatic re-enactment of her family life decided Bang should play the role of her soft-spoken, math-smart younger sister. This was after said hat chose Noel to play the daddy and Hazama the mommy.
  • Dead Space: Isaac Clarke finally gives up at the beginning of the Awakening DLC for Dead Space 3, after he and Carver wake up unharmed after falling out of the sky with a giant living moon landing on top of them. The two Lampshade how utterly ridiculous it is that they're alive, swap a few highly implausible theories about how that happened, and Isaac responds "Honestly, I've stopped thinking too hard about things ever since the Ishimura."
  • Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Phoenix tries to use forensic evidence like fingerprinting to prove who touched a Talea Magica. Unfortunately, he's arguing this in a Medieval Stasis whose residents strongly believe in witchcraft. Layton eventually says that they just need to go along with it and argue the defence's case taking the available magic spells into account.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Recurring Element throughout the Hildibrand storylines is an ally who gets dragged into the adventure and quickly comes to the conclusion that trying to apply logic to the things that happen to and around Hildibrand is futile.
    • One of the less-reasonable examples happens at the tail end of the A Realm Reborn questline, where Briardien reacts this way to Gilgamesh having summoned the primal Enkidu. This is in spite of the fact that the summoning in and of itself follows all of the established rules for primal invocation.note 
    • Early in the Heavensward questline, Inquisitor Cyr comes to the conclusion that he's been transported into an alternate dimension where the laws of logic and reason no longer apply. Considering he's working alongside Hildibrand Manderville and the Warrior of Light, this is perfectly reasonable.
    • This extends to the Warrior of Light themselves - over the course of the series as a whole, they go from "Trying and failing to make sense of things" to "Accepting that it doesn't make sense and going along with it" to "actively participating in the ensuing hilarity" - that last one leading to things like performing a ridiculous dance to lure out an amnesiac man deluded into thinking he is a monster, and then throwing a bomb at him to jog his memory.

  • Yokiro, from Beyond Bloom witnesses supernatural phenomenons like dragons and magic flower humanoids. He brushes it off and happily accepts that he is dreaming or going crazy. Even after realizing it was not a dream, he is hardly fazed by the second encounter.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Sarah's overthinking loses her potential magical power. She gets another chance and advice to think about it but declares "I'm done thinking for today! It's caused me enough trouble!"
  • The webcomic Final Fantasy VII: The Sevening has a case where Cloud stops trying to make sense of other people's weird behavior and suggestions (like using a leaping dolphin as a means of getting to the top of a 50 foot tall tower) here.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic beat his brains out with a hammer after Battlefield Earth insulted his intelligence one few too many times.
    • After the Tom & Jerry movie pulled too many crazy moments, he simply announced "Welcome to the mind fuck!" and let the madness unfold while wigging out and playing "Flagpole Sitta".
  • In the hybrid webcomic/browser game Demon Thesis a group of four college students are suddenly thrust into fighting Eldritch Abominations on behalf of a manipulative entity speaking in their minds. Since two of the characters are on their school's fencing team, they borrow some swords for a fight. If they give a foil to one of the non-fencers, it'll change into a broadsword, provoking this conversation mid-battle.
    Clady: Sam, where'd you get that sword?
    Sam: Uh... you gave it to me?
    Clady: I gave you a fencing foil, not a broadsword.
    Sam: ...
    Clady: Yeah, never mind. I'm going to stop asking questions like that.
  • As quoted above, in the Dragon Ball Z Abridged version of the Dragon Ball Z movie Tree of Might, Idiot Hero Goku attempts to talk to the giant tree. When Yamcha tries to interject some reason, an offscreen voice (which is actually a member of the Big Bad's Quirky Mini Boss Squad) appears to answer for the tree. Yamcha gives up in disgust.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged, Cloud sees a large amount of smoke coming from the rocket in Rocket Town and attributes it to an engine fire; the elder he's chatting with attributes it to Captain Cid Highwind going on a smoking binge.
    Cloud: All that smoke is coming from one guy?! How's that even possible?!
    Elder: Son, we're a town full of rocket scientists and even we don't know.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Special Edition. Docfuture questions some of the more Mind Screwy aspects of the game as he LPs it, but by the final level (after arguing with a character from the game, and then surviving said character's attempts to kill him in-game) he decides to stop worrying and just "embrace the madness". Appropriately enough, logic is the Final Boss, and it goes down in a single hit.
  • In Red vs. Blue The Shisno Paradox, the guys get their hands on time machines. At first, Simmons wants to thoroughly document and analyze their travels to try and understand what the hell is going on. By Episode 5, the temporal shenanigans result in John Wayne staring in a modern movie and George Washington acting as Assistant Director, causing Simmons to decide "Science schmience."
  • Red Guy eventually just stops caring about the insanity happening in Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2.
    Red Guy: It's nine-thirty, and there's fish everywhere. (looks around and shrugs) everywhere.
  • In RWBY Volume 9, Team RWBY have fallen into a strange world with talking mice, Unnaturally Looping Location and moving vines, which leads Blake to assume they've entered a fairy tale. Weiss denies this notion, and tries to think logically. After listing the improbable events that have happened so far, she realizes Blake has a point.

    Western Animation 
  • Although there's not a particular moment where it is shown, this happens with Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sokka calls water bending magic and laughs at the idea of a flying bison, within a few episodes he gets indifferent to both, (he's since been traveling across the world on said bison and seen his sister and Aang practice water bending) and by the end of the show he just accepts any of the weird things that happen to him, from interacting with spirits, reincarnation, etc.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Feeling Pinkie Keen" is all about Twilight Sparkle trying to find a logical reason how Pinkie Pie has the strange ability called "Pinkie Sense". By the end of the episode, Twilight gives up, with An Aesop that not all things need to be completely understood to be considered real or true.
  • The Simpsons: Frank Grimes from "Homer's Enemy" memorably went the more dramatic route when he gave up on reason and started imitating the mind-numbingly stupid antics of his coworker, Homer Simpson. Because Frank wasn't Born Lucky like Homer, he dies within minutes.
  • Futurama: In his introductory episode, "A Clone of my Own", Professor Farnsworth's clone Cubert keeps insisting that all of Farnsworth's inventions are impossible. By the end of the episode, he gives in to Farnsworth's way of thinking, and manages to figure out how one of his inventions works just in time to save everyone.
  • Happens all the time in The Venture Brothers, and is frequently Lampshaded when it does. Most of the main cast doesn't even bother to question truly absurd things anymore, and when a newer and/or more sane character tries to question something bizarre, the other characters will often mention a Continuity Nod or Noodle Incident that makes the current situation seem downright reasonable by comparison. A few specific examples:
    • In the season one episode "Midlife Chrysalis," Dr. Venture is turned into giant caterpillar. When Hank takes this situation a little too well for Doc's liking, Hank explains that they see weird stuff like this every week.
    • In the season three two-part finale, "The Family that Slays Together...," there is a final epic battle between an O.S.I. army, an army of Monarch henchmen, and an army of naked Hank and Dean clones led by Sgt. Hatred. Most of those involved don't see this as anything particularly unusual, but it proves to be the straw that breaks the camel's back for Only Sane Man and badass bodyguard Brock Sampson. He mentions some of the weird things he's seen over his years as the Venture family bodyguard and quits on the spot.
    • Discussed by Hank and Dermott in the season five episode "Momma's Boys" when Dermott questions how Rusty could possibly believe that his friend "Teddy," which is actually just a talking teddy bear the boys were using to play a prank on him, is in danger. Hank mentions some of the outlandish things that have actually happened, which make the Teddy situation seem perfectly reasonable by comparison. To paraphrase Hank, if you saw '70s-era David Bowie punching out a man with no limbs on your front lawn, you'd believe anything.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: "The Curse" has two instances of this, both featuring the Wattersons:
    • Anais, the smart one of the Watterson children, tries to dissuade her brother that he has been cursed with bad luck. She attempts to prove it by having him go through several bad luck causing events. She seems to be right, until a cloud forms and strikes Gumball with lightning indoors.
      Anais: Guess logic and reason just went out the window.
    • This comes up again where since "logic and reason went out the window," they should all put their minds to get free amusement park tickets. They were close, but it literally hit the fan.
      Darwin: Yay! I wished for snow!
  • As Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated draws towards its climax, the gang is locked in a nightmare realm where those who sought the treasure of Crystal Cove remain. It's usually Velma who trusts logic and facts to guide the gang through their mysteries, but this realm contradicts the very fabric of her beliefs. As a result, Velma breaks down crying.
    Velma: (sobbing) I want it to make sense...I need it to make sense...

    Real Life 
  • Dadaists, who believe that the things humanity does (such as war) are so nonsensical that art shouldn't make sense either.
  • Presuppositionalists, who view logic as subservient to and reliant upon special revelation.
  • Ironically, this is how science works. If old logic does not work with new data and the data is good, you have to give up the old logic, so to speak, and find something that can account for the data.
  • Subverted by John C. Wright. After having had a religious experience which he believed was far too unlikely to have a wholly naturalistic explanation to be credible, he converted to Christianity after previously having been a rather committed atheist. Due to the nature of his conversion, he briefly considered that maybe the fundamentalists were correct after all, but decided not to reject science and logic after realizing that The Fundamentalist's beliefs made no sense to him even as a Christian.