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Strange Minds Think Alike

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Bob makes a totally random, out-of-the-blue statement. Later on, Alice, who never heard him make the original statement, repeats it or makes reference to it. How did she know it? Apparently, they somehow managed to follow the same, bizarre line of "logic".

Compare Ironic Echo, Ironic Echo Cut, Brick Joke, Phrase Catcher, Gag Echo, It's Been Done, Who Would Be Stupid Enough?, Badass Minds Think Alike. When the reality itself agrees with the dumbass, it's Achievements in Ignorance or The Cuckoolander Was Right.

Not quite related to Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering? and Improbably Predictable.

Example subpages:

Other examples

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  • Microsoft's ads for Windows 7 had people talking about how it was "their idea," showing them coming up with an idea Microsoft had incorporated (the same idea which Microsoft had independently come up with). When the people have an Imagine Spot coming up with "their idea", they're played by supermodels and are impeccably handsome.
  • In a This is SportsCenter commercial, Tim Lincecum tries to record his voicemail greeting, starting by calling himself several nicknames, including "Big Time Timmy Jim"...which he immediately rejects, saying "Who even calls me that?" His last try just has him saying his own name...and then Karl Ravech ruins it by calling him "Big Time Timmy Jim."

    Comic Strips 

  • Red vs. Blue:
    • In Episode 2, the Red Team receives a new Jeep from Command that Grif likens to a puma to contest the name and comparison that Sarge gave it (the Warthog). Blue Team members Church and Tucker are spying on the Reds during the exchange without being able to hear what's being said, but come to the same conclusion as Grif about the Jeep.
    • Sarge makes fun of Grif for giving him mouth-to-mouth to cure a shot to the head, sarcastically quipping, "What would you do if I got shot in the foot, rub Aloe Vera on my neck?" In a later episode, Doc treats Caboose's gunshot-wounded foot by rubbing Aloe Vera on his neck.
    • In the final episodes of Reconstruction, Washington explains that he's going to activate an EMP device to kill the Meta, but the Reds correct him, calling it an "emp," much to Washington's annoyance. When he does activate it, the machine says something to the effect of "Activating emp." Washington's last words are pure indignation.
    • In the prequel episode "Fifty Shades of Red", we see that Sarge competed against other potential commanding officers for the Blood Gulch position. Every other sergeant candidate had the exact same mindset as him, to the point where they all started saying the same thing in unison.
    • In on of the gaiden episodes of Season 14, one of the FUNHAUS Reds makes the suggestion of doing a "desert dance" to distract the Blood Gulch Blues, before demonstrating. A minute later, Caboose appears, summoned by the desert dance as it turns out.

  • Dice Funk:
    Danion the Priest: What do you know about vampires?
    Rinaldo: Oh, I love pie!
    [A short time later]
    Rinaldo: We got vampires.
    Anne: You brought pie?
  • In their review of the Doctor Who episode "The Enemy of the World", Who Back When hosts Ponken and Nikulele realize via their notes that they both gave Salamander, the episode's Big Bad, the nickname "Scaramanga."
  • In episode three of Mystery Show, both Chef Rene and Bob Bland describe Hans Jordi as a "typical Swiss" when Starlee asks. Though given that the three of them were old friends, it's possible that it was an inside joke.
  • In the Pride episode of The Bald and The Beautiful, Trixie brings up rainbow washing at Pride, a phenomenon where corporations and businesses invoke diversity in order to attract queer customers. At first, Katya is unclear about the term, until both of them simultaneously utter "Hi, gay!", a quote from Meg Stalter's butter shop comedy skit. It's a quick instance of the trope, but the fact that both of them are thinking of the same exact quote from a specific video makes it effective.

  • Used, and severely abused, in You'll Have Had Your Tea?: The Doings Of Hamish and Dougal. In "The Shooting Party" Dougal tells Hamish (in a whisper) what the strange buzzing thing he mistook for a novelty thermos was, and Hamish mishears it as "pie-grater". Shortly thereafter the Laird appears.
    Laird: What are you doing with my Christmas present to Mrs Naughtie?
    Dougal: No, it's a novelty thermos.
    Laird: Pity. I've a pie here that badly needs grating.
    • Later still, Mrs Naughtie herself serves up grated pie at a picnic.
    • In "Inverurie Jones and the Thimble of Doom", Hamish sarcastically says "Brad bloody Pitt!" when Dougal asks who's at the door. For the rest of the episode, everyone mistakes Hamish for Brad Pitt, for no reason at all.
  • Lampshaded in a famous episode of the old Abbott and Costello show, vis-a-vis "the Feller that pitches for the Cleveland Indians."

  • Andrew Bovell's Speaking in Tongues: The first scene depicts Leon and Jane having an affair, at the same time as Leon's wife Sonja and Jane's husband Pete almost hook up, backing out at the last moment, with a lot of the dialogue overlapping. This is continued into the second scene, in which Sonja/Pete confesses her/his near-affair only to find out about Leon/Jane's affair. Toned down in the second and third acts.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In the third Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game, Gumshoe makes a comment likening the witness' seeing the murder to him (hypothetically) watching Edgeworth stab Phoenix in the middle of the courtroom. The Judge later uses a near-identical comparison involving Franziska killing Edgeworth with her whip, and Edgeworth notes the similarity.
    • In a part of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, Edgeworth examines a specific item and thinks about it in his inner monologue. Each time he finishes a thought, Gumshoe will say the same thing aloud, only in simpler words. Eventually Edgeworth is creeped out.
      Edgeworth: Detective Gumshoe, please be quiet for a moment. You're frightening me.
    • Also, the ladder/step-ladder argument shows up in I-5, between Miles and Kay, and again in I2-3 between Gregory Edgeworth and Tyrell Badd. And then Phoenix and Maya. The same conversation appears in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney between Apollo and Trucy, but it's justified here because Trucy is Phoenix's adopted daughter and he's apparently taught her the difference.
    • In the last case of the second Ace Attorney game, when Maia Fey figured out something other than the red guitar must've been in the guitar case, Phoenix's internal monologue has him Comically Missing the Point by him initially thinking that a bright WHITE guitar was in the case. When Phoenix came to present it, the Judge followed suit on Comically Missing the Point by asking if there was a bright BLACK guitar in the case, only to get interrupted by Miles Edgeworth.
  • This is a bit of a running gag in CLANNAD. Tomoya continues to insist that there is no way a normal person could look at Fuuko's carvings and believe they are anything but a star. Unfortunately, he doesn't know any normal people so everyone apparently recognizes that the carvings are actually starfish. Except Sunohara, who think that they're shurikens.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: Gundham Tanaka and Sonia Nevermind form an unlikely friendship/budding romance on the basis of this trope. Sonia's obsession with the occult and strange means that, unlike everyone else in the group, she accepts Gundham's whimsical worldview at face value and is able to enthusiastically follow along with his weird (and entirely imaginary) schemes.
  • Fate/stay night: In the prologue, when Rin reveals that she doesn't want have a wish for the Holy Grail (all she wants to do is win the war), Archer, shocked, fills in possibilities that she could try, like taking over the world. Later, in the Fate Route, when Shirou finds out what Saber's wish is, he's relieved that it's not something like what he expects Rin to try, like taking over the world. This is justifiable, as Archer is a Future Badass version of Shirou, so this arguably counts as Foreshadowing.
  • In A Profile when confronted with the declaration that there's no way Masayuki is ever going to marry his little sister Rizu, Rizu and her mother Riko both react with the exact same sequence of nonsense syllables. For Masayuki's sake, let us pray that Rizu does not grow up to be like Riko in her endings.
  • For all of the initial tension between Riley and Claude in Valkyria Chronicles 4, they sure do think alike. Case A? They somehow manage to talk about mortars using the analogy of Cinderella without even realizing they were talking to each other. Case B? Riley and Claude used a completely spontaneous code to direct fire support after their radios were jammed, all while they were still giving each other the silent treatment. That's an impressive degree of mind-meld for people who haven't said a word to each other since they were little kids.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner lives and breathes this trope across the entire series of cartoons.
    • One specific example:
      Homestar: [wearing a pair of shades covered in yellow paint] Oh, hello, Dripping Yellow Madness!
      Strong Sad: What? I'm Strong Sad! Dripping Yellow Madness moved away after fifth grade!
      Homestar:The sales representative I dealt with gave them to of charge. I believe...his name was Stan.
      Bubs: Stan?! I fired that guy after the fifth grade!
      [yet later]
      Strong Bad: Hey, The Cheat. We catch anything in the Death Hole today?
      The Cheat: *The Cheat noises*
      Strong Bad: What? There's no way he could've been in there. He moved away after fifth grade!
    • The usage of "DNA Evidence" started out like this, but eventually became Arc Words.
    • "Car Trip" and Homestar's usage of the phrase "jumbo/LARGE".
    • "Strong Bad is a Bad Guy" has this relatively ordinary example:
      Homestar: [walks up to Strong Bad, Strong Mad, and The Cheat, who were previously talking about tattoos] Hey guys! H'whatcha teekenbot?
      Strong Bad: We're talking about something cool and interesting. You wouldn't understand.
      Homestar: Oh, tattoos, huh?
    That same cartoon starts with Strong Mad saying his tattoo of choice would be "a glowy box". This is also one of Homestar's ideas once he joins in.

    Real Life 
  • The Cinderella fairy tale seems pretty widespread.
  • A myth about an otherworldly shapeshifter woman who transforms from her natural form to that of a beautiful maiden through the use of her garment exists. A young male passerby spies her bathing and (eventually or immediately) steals her garment, hiding it away and forcing her to marry him and bear his children. After many years, she discovers her garment (sometimes herself, sometimes because her husband permits her to see it, and sometimes because of her unknowing child finding it) and, taking it, departs forever, leaving husband and children. This rather specific tale is that of the Orkney and Shetland selkie, the Japanese Tennyo, the Swedish Swan Maiden, the German Three Swans, or one of several other similar stories together classified as "AaTh 400".
  • An apparent real-life example is documented here at Overheard.
  • The authors of both The Adventures of Dr. McNinja and Captain Britain and MI13 deciding, apparently independently, that Dracula should have a moon base. On the moon.
  • Newton and Leibniz both independently came up with modern calculus (and, in fact, other mathematicians were toying with the idea as well), resulting in Newton accusing Leibniz of plagiarizing his work. Though they did arrive on the theory from opposite directions (Newton started with derivatives and Leibniz started with integrals), so today we give them both credit.
  • Directors Alex Proyas and Darren Aronofsky both independently thought up the almost identical striking image of Jennifer Connelly standing at the edge of a pier for their respective movies Dark City (1998) and Requiem for a Dream (2000). House of Sand and Fog (2003) did it too only a few years later, by which time you might start to suspect that Connelly puts a "pier clause" in her movie contracts.
  • inFAMOUS and [PROTOTYPE] came out around the same time and were both Wide-Open Sandbox games with a super-powered individual as the main character. Both games came out so close together that, although they couldn't have possibly been ripping each other off, the premise and mechanics of each were startlingly similar.
    Yahtzee: Okay. Radical. Sucker Punch. I'm not angry. Just own up. Which one of you copied the other's homework? ...But then again, these are the same teams who both independently created sandbox games about superpowered assholes, so I guess it's not just GREAT minds that think alike.
    • Compounding that is when Yahtzee couldn't decide which was the better game, he challenged both developers to draw the rival game's main character "wearing women's lingerie;" the win would go to the better picture. The artists responsible for each company's entry both individually decided, for some reason, that their nominated picture should also include a rainbow, a unicorn, and creative applications of the character's powers, so the studios behind the games managed to pull this off twice.
  • Pyramids. Unless you believe the Ancient Astronauts theory (same principle as an arch: inward pressure holds them up).
  • Malekith the Witch King, cursed ruler of the Dark Elves and Malekith the Accursed, witch and king of the Dark Elves. At least, there's no acknowledged connection between the two, and they debuted about a decade apart in different countries.
  • Dennis the Menace (US) and Dennis the Menace (UK), both stories about a mischievous boy in a red-and-black striped shirt, debuted the same day. There's no evidence that they influenced each other.
  • The letters section of Car And Driver's December 2010 features two letters about the demise of Ford's Mercury division. Both letters lament that there will never be a trim level of the Marquis called the de Sade.
  • Might fit better under mythology, but a lot of the Creation myths involve the world getting flooded at some point, with very few people left to repopulate. Take that as you will. One theory is that the flood myth comes from the Hudson Bay finally emptying after the last ice age retreated far enough north. The resulting surge of water swelled the banks of the Mediterranean and Black Seas — moving the coastline possibly several hundred meters in the latter case. Thus, flood over a large area.
    • However, the much likelier (albeit considerably more boring) theory is simply that early agrarian civilizations, and indeed many early settlements in general, lived near rivers due to their fertile land and the ready available water. Thus floods are universal because everyone collectively learned why they are called floodplains.
  • Tom and Jerry and Nu, Pogodi! are often compared; the latter’s creator said he’d never heard of the former before the end of the Cold War.
  • Bows and arrows were invented in ancient times in numerous parts of the world completely independently of each other.
  • The Hero's Journey is perhaps the ultimate example: If storytelling has ever caught on in a culture, the people have at least one story that fits The Hero's Journey.
  • This is actually a fairly commonly encountered trope in many different retail positions. This Not Always Right entry aside, how many times have you run into a sales associate who just happened to share a wavelength with you when you while you were shopping, or had a friend describe just such an employee?
  • Convergent Evolution, where similar features evolve in different creatures independent of each other.
  • On July 4, 2014, the Independence Day themed Blondie and Drabble comic strips had essentially the same punchline: dogs are afraid of fireworks. Furthermore, the Blondie strip had Daisy on the couch hiding under a pillow while the Drabble strip had Wally hiding under the couch.
  • Chinese mythology, and by extension Japanese and Korean as well has a legend about a Moon Rabbit, but in a very distant civilization, the Aztecs developed a similar story.
  • False Cognates are examples of words in different languages that independently mean the same thing and sound the same. They appear to be cognates, which are words with a related heritage, but they are actually completely coincidental. An example would be how many languages have the same word for mother, "ma" (probably as a result of that being a sound babies can make easily).
    • An interesting example is the (now-extinct) Mbabaram language of Australia, in which a domestic canine companion was referred to as "dog"
  • Every single culture in the world has some variant on the pancake.
  • In The Rant for this Casey and Andy strip, Andy Weir notes that a reader linked him to a TV series that, like his webcomic, had a villain named Dr. X. While the name itself isn't exactly unusual for a villainous name, the coincidence is made even odder by the fact that the writer for the TV series (and inventor of the other Dr. X) is also named Andy Weir.
  • A scene from the movie Furious 7 has Dominic's team perform an attack on an enemy convoy using vehicles modified for off-road use. They look like they might have been inspired by Dirt or Raid spec vehicles from the video game The Crew except that the scene was shot while The Crew was still in development.
  • Axe Cop and Battle Princess Madelyn both happen to be stories conceived by the vivid imagination of two separate kids, filtered through their professionally-talented older relatives. The main big difference is that one's a webcomic and the other's a video game.
  • Pokémon Fan Fic author Cori Falls created a pair of OC Team Rocket members named “Annie” and “Oakley” about a year or so before 4Kids Entertainment would dub Pokémon Heroes and use those names for the film’s villains. This is a particularly unlikely coincidence because 1) Annie Oakley wasn’t an outlaw, so she didn’t technically fit the Theme Naming, and 2) the movie villains weren’t even affiliated with Team Rocket in the Japanese original. The major differences were that Cori’s characters were friends with the main Rocket trio (the movie’s version is antagonistic toward them) and her Oakley was male, and he and Annie were a couple — and since Cori was something of a homophobe, this caused her to complain after the movie came out and used the character names in a different context, making readers assume she had created a femmeslash pairing.
  • Unlike in fiction, it's unlikely one person "discovered" how to use fire. It's theorized that this occurred repeatedly, in several different areas, over the course of time.
  • The cartoon series The Loud House and the book series La Famille Trop'd Filles are both about a family with many daughters and only one son (albeit with slight differences in character focus and The Loud House being much wackier), and are both by creators of American origin. They would be foreign equivalents of each other, except for the fact that they were made 4 years apart. To top it off, they even have tie-in comic books.
  • The Golden Rule is rather famous for the fact that it appears in many different religious texts, many of which were written in cultures isolated from each other.
  • German has a saying Zwei Dumme, ein Gedanke.note 
  • Western and Eastern civilizations both came up with the idea of dragons.
  • As illustrated here, there are simply some jokes that are easy ones anyone can come up with and to some people they aren't even jokes. This can overlap with cryptomnesia, the phenomenon that people forget that something is not an original idea as described here. Joke thievery is still stealing, but it can be hard to determine. Even more examples are here.
  • There are too many examples to really list of people doing a subversion of It's a Wonderful Plot where everyone's life is better, to the point where it's a trope itself. In fact, Doug Walker was amazed at the sheer number of times it had been done before, thinking it was an original idea for one of his videos on The Nostalgia Critic.
  • Conan O'Brien has an entire segment called "Newscasters Agree" devoted to this, the longest being It's okay, you can admit it, if you've bought an item or two or ten for yourself, and the most redundant being Is It Time For Dogs To Have A Social Network Of Their Own?. Of course, many of these newscasters probably share writers, but still certainly an example.
  • This was taken to its logical conclusion for the making of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge; both Dotemu and Tribute Games intended to pitch a new '80s-styled TMNT game to Nickelodeon, but realized that it would be better to team up rather than compete against each other.
    • On a related note, Ludosity, the developers of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl also wanted to use the 80s version of the TMNT cast. This is made even more amusing by the fact that both this game and Shredder's Revenge would have the 80s April as a playable character, which was already done by the fangame Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rescue Palooza.
    • Similarly to the aforementioned note, Rescue-Palooza and Shredder's Revenge would both end up including Master Splinter and Casey Jones as playable characters.
    • In yet another Shredder's Revenge-related incident, Retroware's Toxic Crusaders-based video game seemed to have been developed in response to the popularity of the aforementioned title. However, the art director Xander Arnot said in a PAX East interview that development started roughly a year and a half ago so that Toxic Crusaders would be revisited in the revival of the Beat 'em Up genre and pretty much rolled with it when Retroware learned of Shredder's Revenge doing the same thing for the '87 TMNT series.
  • In the late 17th and early 18th century, a whole bunch of people seemed to realise at roughly the same time that the funny little trick of pushing things with the pressure created by boiling water, which had been known as far back as the ancient Greeks, could be used to do a lot more. This prompted Charles Fort's famous observation that you get steam engines when it's "steam engine time". (It has since been suggested, however, that they may have been directly inspired by each other's work a lot more than we realised.)

Alternative Title(s): Convergent Non Sequitur


The Four Flashes

Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj all want to be the Flash when attending a Halloween party.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

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