Ralph: Go fish!
Bart: See, here's the problem, Ralph. You have several threes.
Ralph: Go fish!
In many shows, we will see several recurring menaces relaxing at a table playing a friendly card game. And what is the card game of choice for these dastardly figures?
This is handily answered for the viewers when the largest and most visually imposing player rumbles, "Got any threes?"
This is a common way to make light of the villains. Games used for this purpose are relatively non-competitive, requiring little player skill, and rarely gambled upon (though it can happen). With no skill or importance, The Magic Poker Equation is a firm zero — anything can happen, and no one is worried about what will.
Children's card games get taught early, so any children who want to act out the scene in question can. For slightly older viewers, these games look like poker if you can't see the table.
Sometimes, it will turn out that the game is poker (or maybe gin rummy), and that the villain who just asked for threes is so clueless that he thought it was.
Western shows often use Go Fish because of the distinctive calls. In Japan, the game of choice is Old Maid. In Russia, it is Durak.
- A famous M&M's ad: "These cards are marked." "They're a mess." "Yeah...a chocolate mess." "Yeah, a chocolate mess" was actually a pretty popular catchphrase for a while. The rough and tough card players pull guns on the dealer, but Plain and Peanut calm things down ("The dirty dealer meant no harm...") and at the end, they're revealed to have been playing Go Fish, with one of the baddies downcast when his request for threes is rejected.
- Averted by the villainous Genei Ryodan in Hunter × Hunter; they play a cardgame fittingly known as 'Cheat' while one of their number is fighting first a small army, then four superpowered enemies at once to show how insignificant the threat is to them. Neon also plays this with her bodyguards.
- The Great Lakes Avengers are constantly playing poker, mostly because there's nothing to do in Wisconsin. During the GLA miniseries, their enemies, Batroc's Brigade, also take up cards to stave off the boredom of being supervillains in Wisconsin. They prefer Go Fish (possibly a Visual Pun as well, as they were in an underwater lair at the time).
- There's also a long-running floating poker game between the Avengers, X-Men and other Marvel heroes, which was turned into a massive tournament for the Thing's Bar Mitzvah.
- In one Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) strip, Shadow and the rest of Team Dark are shown playing cards. When asked if he has any threes, E-123 Omega responds, "pursue aquatic life."
- Meanwhile, Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) features a generic poker game between the heroes as a one-off gag. Tangle jokingly accuses Silver of using his Psychic Powers to cheat, then uses her Prehensile Tail to steal one of his cards when he isn't looking.
- This musical number from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- This is how VeggieTales depicted the sailors "drawing lots" to determine who had made God mad in their retelling of the story of Jonah. "Loser takes a swim!" Bonus points for being the kind that uses a novelty deck with actual pictures of different fish instead of numbered cards. And the game-ending play was a pair of whales.
- In UHF, the bad guys guarding Stanley Spadowski spend their time playing jacks and making string figures.
- The 10th Kingdom: it wasn't villains but the casino plays some rather unusual card games, Anthony starts by playing Happy Families then moves to the high rollers table and proceeds to play Snap against stereotypically dressed aristocrats.
- Farscape. One of John Crichton's Imagine Spots with Harvey, an Imaginary Friend version of the Big Bad Scorpius, involves them playing chess on a battlefield. Just when you think the scene is going to riff on the Chess with Death trope, they've suddenly changed to checkers and then Go Fish.
- In the Scrubs episode "My Lucky Charm", J.D. and Turk play Go Fish in a bar when told to go out and start living life.
- In the final episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "What You Leave Behind", Quark and Vic Fontaine play Go Fish while waiting to hear news of the outcome of The Second Battle for Cardassia.
- This has to be related: in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the various demons and vampires are known to play kitten poker. Yes, it's just like poker, but with tiny tabbies instead of chips.
- Kamen Rider Double has an episode in which the MOTW is the owner of a casino. In order to win back the people who went bankrupt at the casino, whom the MOTW can turn into coins, Shotaro and Philip play a bunch of roulette, and when Shotaro gets sick of Philip doing all the work (Philip's mind is fast enough to calculate where the ball will land) he challenges the casino owner to a game of Old Maid. The game ends up finishing via Shotaro throwing the Joker at the casino owner's head. Doubles as a pun, since Shotaro himself is considered the Joker of the series and his base left-hand form is Joker.
- In Doctor Who, in the James Bond-inspired two parter Spyfall, the Thirteenth Doctor thinks she's playing "snap" in a casino Poker table.
- The epilogue to the PlayStation game Spider-Man ends with both the good guys (Spider-Man, the Punisher, Daredevil and Captain America) and the villains (Scorpion, Rhino, Mysterio and a member of the Jade Syndicate) playing cards, in Spidey's apartment and in prison respectively. It's nearly averted in the second game; Shocker and Hammerhead are playing poker, but resort to asking the original villains if they know the rules of Go Fish.
- SPY Fox used the trope as part of its Affectionate Parody of spy movie tropes. A potentially plot relevant mini-game involves a card game in a seedy bar with a fez wearing man (well, pig) doing a Sydney Greenstreet impersonation. But of course, rather than poker, it's Go Fish.
- In Daughter for Dessert, while waiting for customers to show up for the grand reopening of the diner, Amanda and Kathy pass the time by playing Go Fish.
- In The Order of the Stick #50, Durkon and Hilgya seem to play it.
- Go Fish has been declared the official card game of And Shine Heaven Now, in which it is occasionally used to replace combat scenes (which the artist admits she is bad at drawing).
- One time she got bored of it though. So she changed it to fish slapping.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, the Pirates of Ipecac annoy their new boss Fructose Riboflavin by thumb wrestling, when Riboflavin has no thumbs. Odd in that the Pirates themselves have triple claws that can only loosely be said to have thumbs.
- In The Mansion of E, Rosemary and the Operator play it.
- In Weregeek, Dustin despairs to see the gang playing Go Fish while there are so many real games nearby.
- In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Dan and a group of Amazons are being held prisoner and he says they have to form a plan to escape, cut to them playing Go Fish five hours later.
- Averted in Batman: The Animated Series, where the game of choice for the series' villains in the episode "Almost Got Him" was quite clearly poker, with a pot involved.
- In "Paw and Order", the Western Homage episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the "horse thieves" (who are actual horses) who have taken over the town play Go Fish at the saloon. The player who's told to "Go fish" starts a Bar Brawl over it.
- They're good guys, but this should still count: In one Aladdin episode, it looks as if Genie, Iago and Carpet are playing a game of poker, complete with chips and Iago wearing a little visor on his head. Until Genie says "Got any nines?" Especially absurd since neither poker, nor go fish, nor playing cards themselves should have been invented yet.
- Fillmore! did this.
- Amusingly they have other childish card games mentioned with the casino only offering "Go Fish" Expy "Dandy for Candy" or "Old Maid" and the owner dismissing Fillmore's request to play something else. Poker is never mentioned as a possibility by either of them.
- In an episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield is in a stereotypical Old West card game, as he and his opponent keep upping the ante to ridiculous degrees. Finally, Garfield reveals his hand: "You got the Old Maid. I win."
- In the Hamster & Gretel episode “U.F. Uh-Oh”, Hamster participates in a ridiculously high-stakes Go Fish game while in Las Vegas.
- Jaden from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: The Abridged Series has no idea what he's playing in this scene:
- An American Tail: Tiger calls "rummy" on a poker game.
- On an episode of Voyagers!, Phineas Bogg tries to play Poker, but continually gets it confused with Bridge and Gin.
- On 30 Rock: Tracy thinks he's playing Go Fish when everyone else is playing poker. But he's a Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
- Jazz falls for that in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, causing him and Will to lose all of their money.
Will: Jazz, I thought you said you knew how to play poker!Jazz: Poker? You mean this isn't Go Fish?
- Tangentially related; in Black Books, Bernard tries to cheat at poker with a card up his sleeve. When he takes it out, he notices it's a "Mr. Bun the Baker" Happy Families card.
- In Spider-Man (2000) game, Rhino calls "bingo" on a game of Go Fish, then takes about a minute to gloat how he "outsmarted" Doc Ock and Mysterio. Then he realizes he made a mistake and sits down.
- At the end of the Carnage A Trois team mission in Agents of Mayhem, Daisy tries and fails to teach former Marine Braddock and Russian super-soldier Yeti how to play Go Fish. Neither one of them seems to understand the game, so they eventually just go back to base.
- At the end of the seventh story of Cubnet, when Jack and Riley are playing cards after they lost their screen time for the weekend as a result of helping Brenda make their mother Rachel look like a fool - long story, Jack asks Riley the age-old question "got any threes?", to which she responds that they're playing Rummy; after Jack asks how it's played, Riley instead offers to teach him how to play blackjack since their older brother taught her how to play.
- Fairly OddParents, Timmy and Cosmo make a cockroach sentient and the cockroach builds an army and a nuclear missile all in the name of "WORLD DOMINATION!" while Wanda is at a spa. When Wanda gets home, Timmy and Cosmo are in Timmy's room, seemingly untouched by the apocalypse going on (and the only thing that is untouched by the apocalypse), playing Go Fish, with this line:
Timmy: Got any threes?Cosmo: What's a three?
- In the Gravity Falls episode "Fight Fighters" Dipper, Soos, Grunkle Stan and Mabel are playing Omaha poker. Mabel yells "King me!" and reveals she's got four kings. She then takes the chips as the guys groan.
Stan: It's not fair! She doesn't even know what we're playing!Mabel: Go Fish?
- One episode of The Looney Tunes Show opens with Daffy asking Bugs if he has any threes. They're playing chess.
- In the Teen Titans episode "TROQ", the Titans are playing a card game. Starfire asks "Please, explain why it is bad to be the Old Maid?"