Tropes that defy possibility (or probability) in some glaringly unexplained ways that may at least momentarily disrupt some viewers Willing Suspension of Disbelief (if you were even trying), but may also be an Acceptable Breaks from Reality. Sometimes Played for Laughs with some Lampshade Hanging.
This is a subindex of Probability Tropes, which deal with probability issues in general. This index specifically deals with the improbable.
Note that this index is not for tropes that are intentionally magical, supernatural, rooted in common superstition, or have some other form of directly Hand Waved Applied Phlebotinum that would make them perfectly explainable in-universe in such a way that would preserve Willing Suspension of Disbelief intact. In fact, these tropes are often funnier or more effective when they're not explained.
This index is also not for occurrences that are merely rare, but only due to wildly complex human factors that involve the net results of the unpredictable actions of multiple people (economics, elections, popularity, sports, strategy, etc.). In such circumstances, a certain minimum amount of unforeseeable uncertainty is a given, and unexpected results are not unexpectednote . Odds should have to be truly astronomical to be in this index.
Some entries in this index are also examples of bad writing if played straight. But not all Bad Writing is necessarily unrealistic. Some devices of Bad Writing can derail a story in that they are boring, annoying or frustrating, but that doesn't make them inherently unlikely.
The index namer is from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Cause and Effect", where Data deals cards at a poker game and everyone at the table correctly predicts which cards they'll receive. In-universe, the characters observed how impossibly unlikely their predictions were turning out. Ultimately, it had a cause, but they did not realize that for most of the times they ended up getting blown up.
- Absurd Cutting Power: Somehow being able to cut through any substance.
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The student council has more power than they would in real life.
- Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: A sewer system is somehow more spacious than it would be in real life.
- Apocalyptic Logistics
- Ass Pull: An explanation or solution that comes abruptly and completely disregards what the story has already established. The name comes from the idea that the writer just pulled an answer from their ass in desperation for a quick and convenient solution to the conflict.
- Bamboo Technology: Advanced technology made using primitive materials.
- Bat Deduction: A character manages to figure out the solution to the mystery in spite of their limited knowledge about it.
- Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics
- Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game
- Bullet Hole Spelling
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Every single misdeed you attempt will result in you swiftly receiving punishment for it.
- Cast Full of Gay
- Character Derailment: A character's behavior starts to drastically differ from how they originally acted.
- Container Cling
- Contrived Coincidence
- Convenient Eclipse: An eclipse occurs just in time to help the heroes in some way.
- Cut the Fuse
- Deus Angst Machina
- Elevator Gag
- Fridge Logic
- Generation Xerox: The characters' children are exact copies of them.
- Gun Fu
- Hamster-Wheel Power
- Hellistics: Unrelated events turn out to be connected with each other just to screw over the character(s).
- Implausible Fencing Powers
- Impossible Shadow Puppets: Shadow puppetry enables people to make shadows shaped in ways that are impossible to make with just your hands.
- Improbable Accessory Effect
- Improbable Aiming Skills
- Improbable Chopsticks Skill
- Improbable Piloting Skills
- Improbable Parking Skills
- Improbable Sports Skills
- Improbable Taxonomy Skills: The ability to fully classify an organism with just a cursory examination.
- Improbable Use of a Weapon
- Improbably Cool Car
- Improbably Female Cast
- Improbably High I.Q.
- Improbably Low I.Q.
- Inexplicable Language Fluency
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals
- Inexplicably Speaks Fluent Alien
- Lampshade Hanging: Characters point out when a trope is occurring or address the tendency for the trope to be present.
- The Magic Poker Equation
- Million to One Chance
- Miraculous Malfunction
- Missed Him by That Much: A character or group doesn't realize how close they got to a character they're looking for.
- One Dose Fits All
- Origami Gag: Doing improbable things with paper.
- Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Someone eavesdrops on a person talking and comes to the wrong conclusion due to not hearing every part of the conversation.
- Plot Hole: The story doesn't make complete sense because of an inconsistency with the plot.
- Precision Crash
- Ridiculously Alive Undead: When The Undead have bodily functions like sleeping or using the bathroom.
- See the Whites of Their Eyes
- Series Continuity Error: A series makes a blatant continuity error.
- STD Immunity: A character never contracts a venereal disease in spite of how many people they have sex with.
- Stuck on Band-Aid Brand
- Tiny-Headed Behemoth: A huge being with a very small head.
- Unlikely Hero
- Vacuum Mouth
- Vicious Vac: A vacuum cleaner's suction range and strength is improbably larger than any real life vacuum cleaner's, as well as being able to to suck up items far larger than could fit down their nozzles.
- Voodoo Shark: An attempt at fixing a Plot Hole that only results in creating an even bigger Plot Hole.