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Just One Extra Ticket

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Janine: I can't believe all the teachers get to go see the Sixers together. [All the teachers cheer.]
Ava: Yeah! It's only two tickets, though. You know what? I buried the lede. That's on me.
Abbott Elementary, "Teacher Appreciation"

A certain kind of Sadistic Choice handed down by fate. Bob just got access to the best event EVER! His friends Alice and George have heard of the event and are dying to go so they ask Bob if they can come along. The problem is, Bob only has two tickets...

Enter the dilemma, where Bob has to choose which of his friends to take. If he takes one, the other one might feel betrayed and their friendship might be strained. Even if Bob Takes A Third Option and gives both invitations away, poor Bob would himself be left out for his trouble. That, and if Greta also gets wind of the tickets due to them being a poorly kept secret, then there really is no way out for poor Bob. To add insult to injury, the longer he takes to decide, the more alienated his friends become.

Milder than your average Sadistic Choice, but a great plot to cause friction amongst friends as they duke it out for that precious ticket. It is also certainly not limited to tickets, as any kind of desirable goods and services when there aren't enough to go around can suffice. Taking a Third Option or a Deus ex Machina might be needed to escape the problem without anyone getting hurt. Often a way to test the Power of Friendship.


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  • In the Viennetta advert's guide to sharing a boyfriend wins a spare ticket to New York but to his girlfriend's dismay "took his mother". For just deserts she rewards him with a smaller slice of Viennetta.

    Anime and Manga 
  • A variant happens in episode 22 of Osomatsu-san; Todomatsu has to choose one out of his five brothers to take to a mixer with him. After a series of unsuccessful mixer simulations (with Totty crossdressing), he ends up going with Atsushi instead. Totty is unhappy.

    Asian Animation 
  • Upin & Ipin: This is the plot of "Kawan Baik Upin & Ipin". Tok Dalang gives Upin and Ipin four tickets (two for their friends) to watch a football match they and their friends really want to watch. The problem is they have six friends and can't choose between them. In the end, Upin gets injured the day before the match so Upin and Ipin give all four of their tickets to their male friends (the two females choose to watch at home too). And after some guilt-tripping from Tok Dalang, all of their friends choose to watch the match with Upin and Ipin at their home (the tickets go to their teachers).

    Films — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, Mei and her three friends are briefly put into this situation when they successfully raise enough money for three tickets for the 4*Town concert but Mei is uncomfortable with going through with what is necessary to earn enough money for the fourth ticket. Mei ultimately decides to go through with it only to discover that she has a schedule conflict preventing her from going. Later, she abandons her commitment and gets in without a ticket.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Growing Pains, the dad subtly tried to get his son to resolve the dilemma by giving his parents both tickets. (it failed and the son took his sister who was having self image problems in the same episode.)
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, Francis got his hands on two tickets to a wrestling match, and made Reese and Malcolm compete for it. He ended up taking a girl he met, so his brothers took rather ingenious revenge.
  • Becker: Reggie got two tickets to a hockey game, and couldn't decide whether to take Becker or Jake. Eventually, she left one between them and told them to decide. They sent Bob.
  • One episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air did this with a Game Show Appearance — Will didn't want to choose between two of his friends (one of whom was Jazz) to accompany him on a teams-of-two quiz show, so he instead chose Carlton, as he was smarter than them. Somehow, both friends managed to be their opponents in the end.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Leonard gets invited to a conference at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland and is allowed to take a guest. He's going to take Penny for Valentine's Day, which infuriates Sheldon as they had a clause in their roommate agreement that says Leonard should have taken him instead. The night before, Penny and Sheldon both get sick, and Leonard ends up going with Raj.
  • An episode of Everybody Loves Raymond takes the "ripping up the ticket" to its logical extreme — faced with choosing between his wife and his best friend to take to the Super Bowl, Raymond rips up both tickets. Meaning no one gets to go.
  • The first half of the Victorious episode "Brain Squeezers" revolves around Tori having to choose three of her friends to be her team on the titular game show, with everyone giving them reasons why she should pick them or pretending not to care. Eventually Tori chooses Beck, Andre, and Robbie, but when she arrives to compete, Jade impersonates her so she can be on the team instead, though somehow, Tori and the rest of her friends still get to compete as opponents.
  • In Henry Danger, Henry wins two tickets to an exclusive steak house, and pretty much everyone in Swellview tries to convince Henry to take them. But Henry already decides to take Ray since he has always wanted to go, until his girlfriend pressures him to take her instead.
  • In one episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche wins three tickets to a party with several celebrities, among them Burt Reynolds. Of course, there are four girls, so Sophia gets left out... until the other three are mistakenly arrested when some police officers break up a prostitution ring while they're out to dinner before the party. Sophia will only pay the bail money if one of the others gives up her ticket, which they are unwilling to do — so Sophia leaves them all in jail and goes to the party alone. The others think she's lying until Burt Reynolds arrives the next day to take his new friend to lunch.
  • On Full House, DJ wins tickets for herself and one guest to enjoy a VIP experience with The Beach Boys. Naturally, everyone else in the family starts bending over backwards to try to curry favor. She plans to take Uncle Jesse, since he's a musician and she reasons it will mean the most to him, but everyone else is so disappointed that she's ready to just give up the passes entirely. Then the limo arrives — with the Beach Boys inside. When they hear the dilemma, the Boys huddle up for a moment before deciding that they'll just have to bring the entire Tanner family to the concert.
  • In an episode of That '70s Show, Donna rigs a call in contest to get Led Zeppelin tickets. She wants to take Eric but he has to work. As such, Hyde, Kelso and Jackie hound her for the other ticket. Donna becomes so fed up she gives both tickets to Fez and his crush Caroline.
  • Abbott Elementary: Ava wins their underfunded public school courtside tickets to the local NBA game... except she only won two. All the school's teachers want to go to the game, so they all turn on each other in an attempt to get the tickets.

  • The intro to The Lonely Island's "I'm On a Boat!" (most of song NSFW)
    Andy: Whoa, free boat ride for three! Now who should I take? Kiv. And....T-Pain.

    Video Games 
  • Team Fortress 2 invokes this in one of the Demoman's taunts, which he may use after killing an enemy Soldier:
    Just bought two tickets to the gun show, an' I'm not givin' them to ya! I'm goin' with YOUR tickets!

    Visual Novels 
  • Averted in Rachel's epilogue in Double Homework. When Rachel gets to take two guests to the Olympics with her and chooses her mom and the protagonist, her boyfriend asks her why she's not bringing her dad instead of him. Rachel replies that it was an easy choice, since her dad never really supported her Olympic aspirations.

    Web Video 
  • The SuperMarioLogan episode, "2 Tickets!" deals with Junior having to decide on whether to give Joseph or Cody his extra ticket to Punch in the Face-a-thon. He winds up having to Take a Third Option and give it to Bowser, since he forgot it was Father's Day and did not get him a present.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Weekenders, Tino wins two passes to a concert and can only take one of his three friends. In the end, he picks Carver for a deliberately arbitrary reason, and it's implied that the four friends will get over it... except, as it turns out, each of Tino's passes is redeemable for two tickets, and they all get to go anyway.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "With Friends Like These", Rocko wins two tickets to a wrestling event, and Heffer and Filburt compete over who will get the second ticket. They take things too far by handcuffing themselves to Rocko as he is on his way to the arena. Brought to the edge of madness, Rocko tears the tickets into little pieces, ranting "A ticket for you, and a ticket for you, and tickets for everybody! Now we can all go!!"
  • In Cooper's first appearance on Ben 10, he claims to have two passes to the premiere of a movie Ben and and Gwen want to go to. They each spend their time trying to impress him so he will give them the extra pass. It turns out he doesn't actually have any passes; he just made it up so they would talk to him.
  • In one episode of The Mighty B!, "B Plus 1", Bessie wins two tickets to a sold-out boy-band concert. Fellow Bee Scouts, Portia and Gwen, fight for her extra ticket by buttering Bessie up with favors, breaking off their friendship in the process. Bessie's dog Happy is a closet fan of the boy-band attending and went as far as stealing the tickets. Mistaking Happy for wanting attention, she gives up both tickets to Portia and Gwen, who became friends again instantly afterward. In the end, they both enjoy the concert... until it was canceled when the boy-band suffers a case of puberty.
  • The Aqua Teen Hunger Force short "Super Bowl" saw Meatwad win two tickets to, you guessed it, the Super Bowl. Master Shake and Carl both try to win over Meatwad's favor and get the second ticket. In the end, Meatwad ends up taking Boxy Brown, but Meatwad doesn't even know what the Super Bowl is and ends up going to a petting zoo.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle is invited to the "Grand Galloping Gala", an extremely popular exclusive event, and is given two tickets by Princess Celestia. The problem is she has five other friends who want to go, all with their own reasons and all of them start trying to butter up to Twilight for that extra slot. (The second ticket was all but stated to be for Spike, and he's not interested.) Eventually she breaks down from the stress and the others realize how hard they've pushed her and apologize. Twilight eventually decides to return both tickets in order to not have to pick favorites among her friends — fortunately, Princess Celestia makes everything better in the end and sends six tickets.
  • Played with in an episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, when Ed receives two limited edition Slovak jawbreakers in the mail. After Edd’s attempt to break them into equal portions causes the Eds to lose one to Johnny, Rolf sets up a foot race to decide who gets the last one. Unfortunately, shenanigans caused by all three cheating results in the jawbreaker getting launched into the creek.
  • In an episode of Hey Arnold!, Arnold has to choose between two out of three of his boarding house neighbors to be his honorary family members on a game show. Oscar, Mr. Hyunh and Ernie start showing off as much as possible to prove themselves worthy to go. Arnold ends up stiffing Oscar, who isn't happy about it.
  • In Make Way for Noddy, Noddy wins two tickets to the seaside, and both Mr. Jumbo and Martha Monkey try to get him to take one of them with him. In the end, he takes Skippy Skittle, who didn't get to go with his family due to having a bad leg.
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: In the episode "Two For The Show", Lucky scores a ticket to compete in his favorite game show, and needs to choose one of his friends to be his teammate. However, he ends up annoying them all with his tests and attitude, that none of them want to go with him.
  • In Arthur, "Just the Ticket" has Arthur get two front-row tickets to a concert all his friends want to attend. After multiple attempts to just get rid of the tickets, he invites his friends over to pull straws for the spare tickets. The winner is George, and when the two go to the concert, they realize the stage is so tall they can't even see the band from their front-row seats.
  • In The Casagrandes episode "An Udder Mess", Ronnie Anne wins two free tickets to Dairyland, and can't choose between Sid and Lincoln. She gives them both her tickets and tries to sneak into Dairyland using the cow costume, but ends up getting caught. After explaining to Lincoln and Sid that she didn't want to have to choose between her two best friends, Sid explains that she wouldn't have minded giving the ticket to Lincoln, and Lincoln reveals that Rusty actually won two tickets and, had he known, he would've come with Rusty.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "Ticket to Rod", Frankie wins two tickets for Rod Tango's latest movie, Out of Ammo II: Miami's Nights when she wins a Radio Contest that Bloo has been trying to win. Both Mac and Bloo try to get Frankie to take either of them with her, but when Bloo disses Rod in front of Frankie, she chooses Mac. When Mr. Herriman makes Frankie work on the night of the premiere, he gives her tickets away to Boomer, a radio imaginary friend who helped Frankie win the contest, and he goes with Madame Foster because she can drive.
  • At the end of the Chaotic episode "Rockwave and Roll", Peyton reveals he only won two backstage concert passes. Tom and Kaz (who had been looking forward to going all episode) immediately start fighting, only for Peyton to immediately reveal that he's giving the extra ticket to neither of them. It turns out he invited Sarah, who enjoys the music the least out of anyone.
  • PB&J Otter: In "I'll Be Your Best Friend", Peanut wins two tickets for a Bucky Space Beaver live show from a Radio Contest. When his two best friends, Flick and Munchy find out, each of them tries to prove who can be Peanut's best friend to get the extra ticket. However, Peanut has a hard time deciding because he doesn't want to hurt either one's feelings. He ends up taking a third option and giving his tickets to Cap'n and Connie Crane so they can go to the show while he, Flick, and Munchy watch the show from their lookout tower.
  • The Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "The Competition" has Jimmy snagging two tickets for an upcoming Runny and the Nosebleeds concert. Unable to decide whether he should bring Beezy or Heloise (who had been even more combative towards each other than usual), he makes a bet that whoever's nicer to the other will get the extra ticket, which just results in the two trying to injure and even kill each other in comedic ways.