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Voodoo Shark

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Zoidberg: [underwater] My home, it burned down! How did this happen!?
Hermes: That's a very good question!
Bender: [picking up his still-lit cigar from the underwater ruins] So that's where I left my cigar. [puffs on it, blows a smoke ring]
Hermes: That just raises further questions!

The writers catch a particularly bad Plot Hole, but they have to leave it in because it's a critical part of the story. So the writers make an attempt to Handwave this plot hole away, except the handwave itself is a Plot Hole. It might even make the initial Plot Hole even bigger. This plot hole in a plot hole is what we call a Voodoo Shark.

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Coined by Chuck Sonnenberg, the term refers to the novelization of Jaws: The Revenge where the eponymous shark seeks out and attacks the living relatives and friends of Martin Brody, following them all the way to the Bahamas. A voodoo curse had been placed on Martin and his family to explain how a shark understands the concept of revenge and how it's able to keep finding these people. What makes it the trope namer is that the writer doesn't bother to answer the question of why the voodoo curse was made in the first place, or any of the other countless questions that come to mind.

Similar to Dork Age but specific to an episode's plot device. Compare to Author's Saving Throw in that not only is it on a plot device level, and that the creative staff is able to catch it before the final product ever leaves for production, but also in that it tends to fail miserably. Compare also to Justified Trope, except a Voodoo Shark moment requires the justification to fall flat, inadequately justify, or otherwise simply fail so that suspension of disbelief remains lost. Also compare to It Runs on Nonsensoleum, in which an explanation like this is played for laughs instead of presented straight. Dan Browned can be considered similar, in that specific knowledge about the subject at hand causes the hand wave or attempt to justify the trope to fall apart.

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Not necessarily related to Jumping the Shark or Hollywood Voodoo. Compare Scully Syndrome, where a character in-universe will concoct ridiculous explanations for things, and Unscientific Science, which similarly attempts to spackle over questionable science and technology the same way the Voodoo Shark does for plot points.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The protagonist of Arachnid wields a knife attached to a pistol with spider thread that never runs out and that she can control with her mind. About six chapters before the end of the series, a flashback half-explains that it can do all that because it is a Living Weapon. No word of how it even got made or where it came from, it just exists. This is after several other instances of flimsy explained sci-fi, paranormal and mutant quirks on everyone else ("steel-plated heart", for one), though, so readers were long under the MST3K Mantra by then.
    • In the beginning Alice's master, Kumo, forced her into a Duel to the Death. She wins, but is left homeless and with assassins targetting her after she refuses to work for them. Midway through the series, it is shown Kumo had actually hired a fellow assassin, Kabutomushi, to take care of Alice after his death. Despite being a selfish woman, she made a point of honoring his request due to how he genuinely trusted her. The problem here is that Kabutomushi takes several weeks to go meet Alice, for no explained reasons. The author actually jokes about this plot hole in one omake.
  • Mai-Otome attempts to Handwave the Virgin Power of Otome by explaining that a chemical in sperm destroys the nanomachines that are injected into an Otome's body to give her her powers. This raises a couple problems:
    • What about prophylactics? Has no one in this universe ever heard of a condom? Especially since the series is implied to have occurred in a Lost Colony of Earth, meaning that they somehow retained knowledge of advanced robotics, but not birth control, which real life humans have used for thousands of years before modern technology. Even though condoms can break if used improperly, they're better than nothing.
    • Why does no one seem to think to weaponize this weakness? While rape is an obvious drawback to any Virgin Power (which the series itself references) it would be easier to isolate the chemical, slip it into food or drink and neutralize an enemy's Otome, but no one even discusses this.
    • The chemical can't possibly stick around in the body that long. Even if Otome are sworn to chastity while active, a lot of the stress caused by the premise could be solved if non-virgins were allowed to become Otome in the first place. Hell, for that matter, why not just re-dose the nanomachines if they get knocked out?
    • Has nobody tried to work on some way to counter the chemical? One would think that if they are willing and able to consider the Otome as walking weapons of Mass Destruction to the point that there's a version of SALT for them (SOLT: Strategic Otome Limitation Talks/Treaty), then someone would have figured out that finding a way to counter this chemical would provide some kind of superiority.
  • In Death Note's second rewrite special, the mafia are cut and Mikami and Takada kill the SPK in their place, with Light's meetings with them moved to earlier than occurred in the manga. This fixes a plothole present in the original anime, wherein SPK member Ill Ratt is never revealed as a spy for Mello (providing no explanation for Mello's crew knowing their names and thus being able to kill them with the Death Note), but with the mafia plot's removal, another is created: Soichiro Yagami making the trade for Shinigami Eyes and his subsequent death are also omitted, leaving his absence and Light's knowledge of Mello's true name unexplained.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, the out-of-story reason why the main characters of Digimon Adventure are no longer able to digivolve to ultimate or mega is that they can't upstage the new kids. This was weakly patched by the kids claiming halfway through the season that they'd gone back to the Digital World at some point and released their inner crest powers, claiming it was necessary to create a barrier or shield to maintain the world's balance. And the other problem is that the series had already introduced a 9th crest, still with full power, so they didn't even have the power of all the crests. And the other other problem is that the world was already reborn with restored balance at the end of the first season. And the kid's crests were already destroyed....
    • It goes far deeper than that though, when this explanation didn't go over well, the writers tried for a different one: the crest powers were used to awaken and free the Harmonious Ones that were sealed away by the Dark Masters. Not only does this explanation have the same problems as the first one, it has a whole host of new ones. To wit: the Harmonious Ones were resealed almost immediately after they were freed, making the sacrifice of the crests essentially pointless. And once one Harmonious Ones is freed again, he does exactly two things (besides exposition): Creates more destiny stones (which wouldn't have been needed if the original kids could still evolve past champion, as they would have never been destroyed), and give the older kids the ability to evolve again (which is basically fixing a problem he created). In addition, they never mention seeking out the other three, nor do they ever mention them again. And despite being a supposedly super powerful god, he never attempts to actually help the kids fight anyone. And one would have to wonder how Physical God-tier digimon were all bested by the Dark Masters, who last season were thoroughly beaten by the Digidestined.
  • In Katanagatari, the magic swords that form the basis of the plot are eventually explained away as technology from the future, which a soothsayer imported using his (magical!) gift of foresight. A character explicitly says that this is the logical conclusion, because magic is impossible.
  • Dragonball GT: The Shadow Dragons were supposed to have been generated by overuse of the Dragonballs. They absorbed negative energy with every wish granted, but would release that energy gradually over time, something they couldn't do once Bulma's Dragon Radar made them easy to find and events of the show necessitated use far more frequent than intended. But then it's made clear this specifically applied to the use of Earth's Dragonballs. Earth's original Dragonballs went inert when Piccolo and Kami re-fused and the current ones were recreated by Dende from the originals, yet Dende didn't notice the negative energy when he remade them? Then there's the Neglectful Precursor factor of keeping such a major drawback to the Dragonballs' use a secret. For that matter, how did the Kais know about the Shadow Dragons, but the Namekians - the race who created the Dragonballs - apparently didn't? For that matter, if the Kais did know, why didn't they give Dende a heads up to perhaps create a longer recharge time or devise a way to deal with the negative energy before restoring Earth's Dragonballs?
    • The Non-Serial Movie Wrath of the Dragon gives a possible origin for Future Trunks's sword, by having Canon Foreigner Tapion give the present Trunks his sword at the end of the movie. It's a touching scene... that makes basically no sense with what we know about Future Trunks. For one, Tapion's sword was an indestructible magic sword, but Future Trunks's sword was explicitly shown to be a completely normal sword, and outright broke in at least one fight prior to then. It also implies that Future Trunks had a similar encounter with his version of Tapion and the film's villain, Hirudegarn, prior to showing up in the series, but Future Trunks was far weaker than Hirudegarn and would have been squished like a bug by it, and it raises the question of why he didn't tell the Z-Warriors about it. The only way to make it jibe with canon is to say that Tapion and Future Trunks's swords are different swords, and they just look identical by complete coincidence, which makes the entire thing pointless.
    • In the series, Freeza suffered notoriously heavy Uniqueness Decay, with pretty much every arc introducing stronger villains than him. To a lot of fans, this raised the question of why he was considered "the strongest in the universe" when, among other things, a group of cyborgs built by a random Earth scientist could be stronger than him, and Freeza himself personally knew the infinitely stronger Beerus. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ attempts to avert this by claiming that Freeza was Unskilled, but Strong, and when he actually trains, he quickly ascends to a level of power above Goku, who at the time was comparable to Beerus. Okay, fair enough, Freeza's a lazy guy, but... why is a simple alien mutant able to get strength equal to an actual Physical God? If Freeza hasn't trained at all, how come he can use things like specialized ki techniques? If all it takes is just four months of workout to hit Goku's level, why was he worried about Super Saiyans at all? If he never trained a day in his life before coming Back from the Dead, why did he think he could take on Goku again as a cyborg after losing to him on Namek, even though Goku had a full year to train? How did he even train himself, for that matter? "Four months of training" has become something of a fandom joke for exactly this reason.
    • Early in the series, Oolong tries to deal with the impending Saiyan attack by using the Dragon Balls to just wish the Saiyans dead. Shenlong explains that he can't do anything outside his creator Kami's power, and since the Saiyans are stronger than Kami, he can't touch them. The characters abandon the idea after this, but fans (and Dragon Ball Z Abridged) were left wondering why they couldn't just use the wish to, for example, make the Saiyans' pods explode while they were still out in deep space.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the manga villain "The Ventriloquist of the Dead" is replaced with "The Imitator of Death", who disguises himself as Seto Kaiba's ghost. In the Japanese, it's never really stated whether or not he's a Shapeshifter, or just a Master of Disguise. In the English dub by 4Kids Entertainment, this is explained by him actually being Kaiba, more specifically, his evil side Pegasus freed from the Shadow Realm. This raises several questions: Why was he sent to the Shadow Realm if he isn't even alive? How did he come to life in the first place? Why does his real form look nothing like Kaiba?
    • Most Yu-Gi-Oh! shows use either the excuse of friendly competition or ancient dark magic to explain why people feel the need to partake in the franchise's local Absurdly High-Stakes Game, but Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's takes place in a Cyber Punk future, and for its first few arcs, mostly had neither. To facilitate the traditional "hero evades the Dirty Cop on a motorbike" situations, they came up with the idea that the protagonists and cops ride D-Wheels, the series's infamous motorcycles, and that if a person begins a Duel, the D-Wheel locks itself to a given speed depending on the state of the Duel, and losing causes the D-Wheel to forcibly come to a stop. This means the cops can catch a person by challenging them to a Duel and beating them, and the person can escape by beating them... and in the process, raises a massive pile of questions. Just for starters, "Wouldn't a motorbike that pulls the brakes whenever it loses a game be incredibly unsafe?", "Why don't criminals just remove the D-Wheel's ability to play the game and make themselves uncatchable?", "Why do the cops design their own motorbikes to stop; do they just want to play fair?", "If winning the game lets cops catch criminals, why don't they make cards for cops that just instantly win the game?", "If they can reduce the speed of a criminal's motorcycle, why can't they make it stop dead?", and "Have none of these cops ever heard of guns?" For the most part, fans just shrug it off with Rule of Cool.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL ran into a similar problem with its AR Vision concept. The idea was that instead of the projected hard-light holograms of earlier shows, the monsters were shown on an eyepiece worn by the characters that was linked to an Augmented Reality network, for something more realistic than the earlier approach. Unfortunately, this one raised even more questions than the old holograms, largely because the writers treated them the same way - among them being "if the monsters are immaterial, then why do people still flinch when they get hit?" and "If the AR projections are only visible to people linked to a wireless network, then why is it visible to people like the Barians or the Number Guardians, who have no possible way they could be linked to it?" It also raises the question of why seemingly everyone in the world (even Roku, whose whole personality is being old-school) has switched to a new system that's much less technologically impressive than the old one - and if you consider later shows to be in the same canon as ZEXAL, why everyone in the whole world then switched back.
  • The explanation for why the Witches in Strike Witches spend all their time bottomless except for a pair of panties (or maybe a School Swimsuit) is that using the Striker Units that attach to their legs requires contact with bare skin to function, and the Witches need to be combat ready at a moment's notice (and from there it simply became fashionable). None of this explains why A) wearing shorts or short skirts wasn't considered, since the Striker Units only go up as far as a pair of stockings normally would, or B) why two Witches can operate their Striker Units while wearing pantyhose.
    • This was kind of defused in the Big Damn Movie: basically the explanation now is that witches in the setting's history have always worn their clothes like this, even in the past when they fought with more regular human soldiers, and it did in fact become a long-lasting fashion trend. Essentially the Striker Units were later designed around this, instead of the other way around, to keep the visual image intact. This also implies the whole "absolutely must be bottomless for it to work" deal is actually not true, but is only a ploy to convince witches who may not have heard of it (like Yoshika, originally) to insist less on modesty in case they'd demand such. Witches who apparently do insist on modesty regardless, like Perrine or Sanya, can therefore wear pantyhose as it's "good enough" while the others learned to be okay with it, and everyone is happy. Of course, this then raises the question of how running around in your panties on the battlefield became a fashion trend to begin with, especially while the witches were hanging around a bunch of horny male soldiers. Naturally, there's never gonna be a good answer because the real one is just that Strike Witches is an Ecchi.
  • In the relatively obscure OVA Virgin Fleet, one of the key plot points is that the main character and his girlfriend cannot get married due to her being a part of the titular Virgin Fleet, which relies upon Virgin Power. This is in spite of:
    • It is possible for one to be married and still be a virgin, as virginity is connected to sex, not marriage - while it's true that it's relatively common for couples to have sex on their wedding night to consummate their relationship, the MC had not explicitly expressed a desire to have sex, only wanting to get married.
    • The MC's girlfriend herself states that Virgin Energy is just a myth, despite the fact that in story, said Virgin Energy is what allowed Japan to force Russia into a ceasefire in the Sino-Japanese War.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Amata Kihara being able to punch Accelerator despite the latter's Attack Reflector ability. Supposedly, because Amata helped develop Accelerator's power, he knows a way to bypass it. This involves him starting to punch Accelerator, then reversing the direction of his punch when it's just close enough for Accelerator's power to affect it, causing Accelerator to unconsciously reverse the direction of the punch and cause it to hit him. The problem is that Accelerator can reflect things travelling at much higher speeds than a punch, including bullets, lightning and UV rays. It should be impossible for a human to move fast enough to actually pull this off.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time manga has a scene explaining that "Sheik" is a separate persona from Zelda because Zelda's mind was locked away for seven years. Outside of this explanation, nothing in the manga supports this. Zelda is still foreshadowed as a Tomboy Princess (even more than in the games) and the manga otherwise treats Zelda as if she did everything herself.
  • Sonic X:
    • Unlike the contemporary games which took place on Earth, Sonic X has Sonic's World as a separate dimension/planet from Earth, explaining why no plot-relevant Funny Animals appear in the games. This was fine until Shadow was introduced. It's never explained how 50 years ago humans were able to create an anthropomorphic hedgehog, that just so happens to look like Sonic's species at that, without knowing that Sonic's World existed.
    • A similar and arguably even worse example is that, in order to explain why Eggman was the Token Human on Sonic's World and allow the Robotnik's to still exist in Shadow's backstory, they reveal he was actually born on Earth and lost his memory after coming to Sonic's. How this happened, when this happened and why this happened is never remotely explained.

    Comic Books 
  • The leadup to DC's Infinite Crisis revealed that the pocket paradise which Alexander Luthor had created for himself, Superman-2 and Superboy-Prime at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths was actually more of a Phantom Zone, sealed off from the rest of reality by a crystal wall which showed all the DCU's events in real time. The crisis proper started when Superboy-Prime, disgusted by recent events, punched the wall in frustration, shattering it and freeing himself and the others to try creating a Merged Reality, whether it wanted remaking or not. This would have worked eminently well as an allegorical image, but Word of God stated that the wall was an actual physical representation of the DCU's timeline, and used the damage caused by Superboy's punch as a catch-all Handwave to explain away some of the event's less explainable facts, most notably "dead Robin" Jason Todd suddenly waking up in his grave and Maxwell Lord's completely-out-of-nowhere Face–Heel Turn. The fans were neither convinced nor amused, and "SUPERBOY PUNCHED TIME!" became something of a rallying cry.
    Since then, the editorial staff seems to have realized its mistake, and has been at pains to re-retcon some of it. For example, lines from the Batman & Robin title strongly suggest that Todd's body was actually rejuvenated in a Lazarus Pit, which makes for a far more palatable explanation. The single comic book issue devoted to explaining this stated that Jason Todd's mind was rejuvenated by a Lazarus Pit... after Superboy-Prime punched him back to life. Of course everything has since been retconned due to Flashpoint...or it was at least thought to be, until the announcement of "Convergence", suggesting the New 52 is its own alternate timeline entirely.
  • The biggest Voodoo Sharks in The DCU might be some of the explanations of Clark Kenting. For a brief while in the Bronze Age, it was canon that Superman's nearly Paper-Thin Disguise worked despite all the close calls because he also had a "super-hypnosis" power that prevented anyone from noticing Clark Kent's resemblance to Superman. This depended on his glasses, which were made out of pieces of his Kryptonian spaceship; in one comic Lois Lane saw Clark Kent in a suit and no glasses and assumed it was Superman trying futilely to disguise himself as Clark. Fine, fair enough, Superman does lots of things superhumanly well due to his speed and intellect and they're all called separate superpowers. But this just raises more questions, like why does a wig work as a disguise for Supergirl? Or, why does this disguise work over television? Or, there are many stories where Batman and Superman dress as each other. Does Batman have Bat-hypnosis?
    The current (and much more rational) explanation is that when he is Clark Kent, Superman acts completely differently; timid, slumped, and so completely unlike Superman that no one would ever relate the two, writing off any similarities in appearance as a coincidence and nothing more. This also makes Batman disguising himself as Clark easier to accept. Bruce Wayne is a master of disguise and he and Clark already look a lot alike. With a little makeup, Bruce could easily make himself look like Kent.
    There's also the later post-Crisis component of the explanation: Why does anyone assume that Superman has a secret identity? It's been hinted at a few times is the members of the Daily Planet, even with all of their ribbing, know that Clark is Superman, and it's something of an Open Secret among the staff. They just pretend to not notice because they don't want him to worry, and he's earned their respect enough that they're willing to play along. Also, everyone has figured out that Superman and Clark Kent look alike, because (thanks to shape-shifting friends, robotic duplicates, etc), they've seen them together a few times. This isn't treated as anything more than a joke that pathetic Clark Kent has almost the same face as Superman.
    • In All-Star Superman, Lex Luthor makes a few (surprisingly friendly and playful—he likes Clark Kent, ironically enough, even as he despises Superman) jabs at Clark's weight, suggesting he also makes his muscular barrel build look more like just plain fat.
    • In JLA #50, Clark and Bruce both revealed their secret identities to the League as a sign of trust. Kyle's response:
      "He doesn't... wear a mask. I never even... thought he had a... day job."
    • Pretty much any explanation of the source of Superman's powers falls into this, bar maybe the original one of Evolutionary Levels. For much of the Golden Age, he was explained as a Heavy Worlder, with Krypton's high gravity being the source of his power... but that only explains maybe his Super Strength, and even then, Krypton would have to be bigger than any planet we've ever seen to explain the level that his strength is usually at. This was changed to him being powered by yellow sunlight, which explains where his other powers come from, but even then, the stuff he routinely accomplishes should require a lot more energy than any amount of solar radiation could provide. Plenty of writers combine the two explanations, which does alleviate some of their issues by combining the powerboosts, but that opens the hole of why red sun radiation totally depowers him when it should simply bring him down to being a Heavy Worlder.
  • When talking about What Could Have Been with his run on the Sonic the Hedgehog comic, several of former writer Ken Penders' explanations for the events in "Mobius: 25 Years Later" come off as only creating more plot holes than they fixed.
    • Locke's sickness and death was due to cancer he developed from a bad interaction with his self-experimentation to create Knuckles and the Master Emerald. If that's so, why doesn't Knuckles have cancer, even though he resulted from those same experiments?
    • Rotor's Word of Gay reveal would not have impacted his modern-day depiction; he would've only realized he was gay five years prior to the events of Mobius: 25 Years Later. After he was already married to a woman. Ignoring the fact that having Rotor only be gay in the future means nothing to the readers, having Rotor find out that he's gay so late in life, and during what's implied to be a long and fulfilling marriage, really strains the credibility of this reveal.
    • According to Penders' original idea: M:25YL is supposed to be the "true" future, and the one where Nicole came from, which doesn't really make that much sense. First of all, the story was built around time needing to be fixed to prevent The End of the World as We Know It, and Ken's run ended with Sonic going back in time to do just that. No way you can claim it to be the one true future, in that case. Second, unless Past Nicole was destroyed before the story started — and Word of God confirmed she wasn't — both Nicoles should exist at the same time. Thus, the two Nicoles should have the info they need to figure out what happened and how to fix it, but the story claims they don't. It was later retconned that Nicole comes from the same Alternate Universe that Eggman came from, and that the "X Years Later" Zone was a separate one from both of the others.
    • In Ian Flynn's follow-up, it was mandated that Shadow be the Big Bad, having conquered the world in Sonic's absence. The reason Shadow was able to do this already confused many, since there was never any explanation on Sonic's disappearance or subsequent reappearance other than time travel. But the fans were mostly wondering why a Shadow Archetype Byronic Hero like Shadow was suddenly a tyrant. The explanation was given in Mobius: 30 Years Later that Shadow was doing it for Maria. Unfortunately, this made just as little sense, since Maria's wish for Shadow was to give people a chance to be happy; Maria's words would really have to be contorted to justify Shadow's actions.
      • It was established that Sally married Shadow in this universe too. When Shadow is defeated, it's revealed that Sally still loved Sonic, and only married Shadow to try and tame him. How Sally thought marrying Shadow would placate his tyrannical ambition in the slightest is not explained.
    • When a World-Healing Wave de-robictized everyone, a select few roboticized characters were untouched. Most of the explanations as to why made sense — Jules would die because the process would restore his old war wounds, and the Dragons weren't on the surface when it happened, and so missed the wave entirely. However, Bunnie's explanation repeated the same 'she replaced her old limbs' Handwave from way back. Before all this, the wave undid Eggman and Sniveley's roboticization by giving them entirely new bodies. Why this happened for Eggman and Sniveley but not Bunnie goes unexplained.
  • Spider-Man: Aunt May's return from the dead in late 1998's "The Gathering of Five/The Final Chapter" storyline deserves a mention here. For easier reading, we'll list the sequence of events leading up to the Voodoo Shark moment in numbered order.
    1. Aunt May was in a coma. She awoke, eventually, and shared many anecdotes and heartwarming moments with Peter and Mary Jane, and congratulated Mary Jane on her pregnancy. She even admitted that she had known that Peter was Spider-Man for some time, because Peter couldn't have lived under her roof for so long without her at least seeing the signs. She was in denial for quite a while.
    2. In Amazing Spider-Man #400, Aunt May suffered a relapse, and passed away peacefully in bed. Peter held her hand as she passed away, reciting their favorite passage from Peter Pan: "second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning". At May's funeral, she was buried next to Uncle Ben, with her gravestone reading "SHE TAUGHT US LOVE." To many fans, this was seen as a well-done Tear Jerker moment, and a good send-off for the character.
    3. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras insisted that Aunt May be brought back from the dead. It didn't matter that Aunt May's death was handled just fine in the eyes of many, it didn't matter how much of a Tear Jerker it was, it didn't matter that there was a funeral, and it didn't matter that the characters had moved on. Harras was the boss, and his word was law.
    4. Thus, the Voodoo Shark moment. In 1998's "The Final Chapter", Spider-Man enters Norman Osborn's house, only to find Aunt May alive and well, waiting for him. Norman Osborn explains that he switched Aunt May with an actress engineered to be identical to Aunt May, who spent a long time practicing her mannerisms until they were identical. It was this actress who died in ASM #400.
    5. This lead to several questions. For one, how could this actress be so good as to fool Peter Parker? Aunt May was practically his mother. They lived under the same roof together, and Peter would have known something was wrong; even if his Spider-Sense somehow didn't activate, this actress couldn't possibly keep up the act forever. Secondly, just when was this "switch" made? How could this actress have practiced Aunt May's mannerisms, and become so good, when the real Aunt May was in a coma? Third, why in the world would this actress stay in character even when she was dying? The books never provided any answers, and just moved on from there without addressing it any further.
    • Also in One Moment in Time, Quesada claims that One More Day was retconned out of continuity and Mephisto never made a deal with the Parkers — so he never saved Aunt May; she got better thanks to Peter's love and determination. After everyone up to God himself told Peter that May was as good as dead.
      • Similarly, when Aunt May gets shot, the comic decides to fill the plot hole of Peter having people that could heal Aunt May by having Doctor Strange give Peter the power to be in all places at once, allowing Peter to ask everyone for help, but is unable to get any assistance. This is quite a plot hole: how can no one in the Marvel universe fix a bullet wound other than Mephisto? Doctor Strange can grant Peter omnipresence with a flick of his wrist, but he couldn't heal a bullet wound? Doctor Strange himself is a surgeon; is using magic to help Peter really so much less intensive than just doing surgery?
    • Mention must also be made of the return of the clones to kick off The Clone Saga:
      1. In 1992, during the Evolutionary War Crisis Crossover, The High Evolutionary kidnapped the Gwen Stacy clone, hoping to figure out how her creator, an otherwise ordinary college biology professor, could pull off a scientific miracle like making virtually-instant, viable, fully-grown clones.
      2. He discovered that Prof. Warren didn't, in fact, clone Stacy or Spider-Man: He used a retro-virus on two innocents with similar phenotypes to Peter and Gwen and used it to overwrite their DNA and turn them into virtual clones. This is pretty much confirmed when one of the Young Gods (an obscure group of uplifted humans from different cultures and time periods Marvel attempted to resurrect) removed the virus from the Stacy clone, turning her back into the woman she used to be. No more Gwen Stacy.note  A later issue of Web of Spider Man explains that recurring villain Carrion was the result of a variant of the virus that went bad, becoming The Virus.
      3. Along comes the Clone Saga, where all that gets tossed out the window. Not only are the clones back (including the presumed dead Spider-Clone), but the Gwen Stacy clone has reverted to being Stacy again, and complaining about how that Young God tried to turn her into someone else. How? The High Evolutionary lied about the retro-virus out of jealousy. Turns out he and Miles Warren (AKA The Jackal) were colleagues, once upon a time, and he couldn't stand the fact that Warren figured out the holy grail of biology when he, with all his other accomplishments, couldn't.
      4. So... Why didn't he just admit defeat at first? He'd never shown that kind of Dr. Doom-like ego before. Or why didn't he study Gwen longer to try cracking the code? And why would the Young Gods go along with the lie? And how could she revert from the Stacy clone if there were no virus (and how did she change back to Stacy)? And to muddy the waters further, the "Carrion as The Virus" retcon was kept, explaining that the retro-virus was real, just a side project of Warren's.
      • The whole mess was the result of Science Marching On: In the years after the original Clone Saga, scientific research indicated that human cloning wasn't possible and so the retro-virus retcon was meant to cover for that. But then Science Marched On again and human cloning was back in the realm of possibility, making the retcon completely unnecessary. But really, it was unnecessary to begin with—was scientific accuracy really that important in a story that stars people with radioactive spider powers?
    • Speaking of the Clone Saga, it turns out that Peter was the clone and Ben the original. A ballsy move, and one the writers eventually decided to undo by explaining that the genetic tests had been rigged... somehow... even though Peter and Ben did the tests themselves. The rigging was done by a friend of Peter's, who turned out to be, with no plausible motive, working for the long-dead Norman Osborn, who was alive with no satisfactory explanation given. The whole thing just degenerated into a mess of Voodoo Sharks. Of course ignoring the obvious solution is that the labels just got mixed up.
  • The Mickey Mouse comic "Topolino e il mostro di Micetown". Basically: near the end of the story, the villain has used his transformation machine to turn into a duplicate of Mickey. Due to the way the transformation process works, the villain will change back within a few seconds, at which point the original Mickey will be disintegrated. However, the transformation machine then simply explodes for no reason, which saves Mickey. He later tries to explain that the machine became "confused" because he and the villain looked exactly alike, which is an explanation that makes no sense in any way (for one, the machine's express purpose is to make two things look exactly alike, so why doesn't it explode with every use?).
  • Captain America:
    • Captain America's shield is described as being made of Vibranium, a material that's said to absorb all kinetic energy from impacts. If that were the case, it raises a host of physics problems: bullets should stop dead rather than ricochet off it, it shouldn't be able to actually hurt people by bashing them with it, and most damningly, it shouldn't be able to be moved at all, since moving an object imparts kinetic energy to it. That's fine; they've retconned the shield to be a vibranium/adamantium alloy rather than pure vibranium (the alloy being created via an unrepeatable accident). But then, how was the shield crafted in the first place, if the alloy would absorb and/or deflect any energies directed towards it?
    • Captain America's shield, after being broken to pieces in Fear Itself, is repaired by Tony Stark, adding the Asgardian metal Uru. This doesn't explain why a broken and repaired shield, with the addition of a metal known for its heaviness, would function just as well aerodynamically as before, not showing any change in weight when carried or thrown, especially if this is unenchanted Uru. If the Uru is enchanted, because Tony Stark just knows how to work enchantments into it, then why leave the shield as it is without adding flying and laser beams?
    • Captain America was famously frozen near the end of World War II after falling into the Atlantic Ocean, and was found decades later after Namor accidentally freed his body from a block of ice. This falls under Artistic License – Biology, with the Handwaved explanation that the Super Serum in Cap's veins prevented him from freezing to death or drowning. John Ney Reiber and Chuck Austen apparently thought this was too unbelievable, and instead came up with a story revealing that Cap never fell into the ocean, and that he'd actually been put into cryogenic stasis by the government after being given Fake Memories from a virtual reality helmet. Rather than being found when the Sub-Mariner came across an Inuit tribe that was worshiping his body, he was instead found when Namor stumbled upon the abandoned lab where his stasis tube was being held. So apparently, the science behind the Super Serum allowing Cap to survive freezing temperatures was too far fetched, but the government having access to the advanced virtual technology required to recreate realistic fake memories in 1945 somehow wasn't? It also raises the question of why the government left Cap to rot in a derelict lab somewhere to begin with, when they clearly thought he was a valuable enough asset to warrant being kept alive and frozen in the first place.
  • Marvel again: The retcon that adamantium caused lead-like blood poisoning. Given adamantium's stated properties, its allergenic properties should be more like titanium than lead (i.e. should not cause a universal reaction). It was stated that Wolverine and Sabretooth's healing factors could deal with the blood poisoning.note  It was assumed that adamantium-bearing bad guys Lady Deathstrike and Cyber, being cyborgs, had some sort of artificial mojo to deal with it. Which left the otherwise normal Bullseye, who had adamantium-laced bones, and had neither a healing factor nor cyborg parts to explain why he hadn't keeled over with blood poisoning. Rather than answer the question, they eventually stripped the adamantium from Bullseye.
    • According to Daredevil #197, the process that was performed on Wolverine was done using incomplete notes, hence forcing a need for Wolverine's healing factor to keep him alive, while Bullseye's process was done by the originator of the method, which did it 'properly' and hence Bullseye does not need a healing factor. What keeps this in Voodoo Shark territory is that the process was performed to let Bullseye move again after he suffered a severe spinal injury that paralyzed him, and if they removed the adamantium, HOW DID BULLSEYE SUDDENLY MAGICALLY HEAL HIS BROKEN BACK?
    • Secondary VS: Adamantium is very heavy (Wolverine is 5' 2" and 300+ lbs with adamantium attached.) How was the otherwise un-enhanced Bullseye able to move at his normal speed after receiving the treatment?
  • JLA: Act of God: Every explanation or handwave as to why this group of heroes was affected by The Black Wave or where this group went just generated more questions (without really answering the first one). The technological heroes are still active, so why did Kyle Rayner's Green Lantern ring, Atom's shrinking rig and Steel's armor stop working (And why did Steel's armor start working again)? Why did the Black Wave effect heroes of extra-normal origin (like Superman, Aquaman, Starfire or Martian Manhunter), since they had no metagene to neutralize? The magic heroes suddenly vanished. So how are Wonder Woman (empowered by the Greek Gods) Billy Batson (Captain Marvel is explicitly magic-powered), the Linda Danvers Supergirl (an earthborn angel) and Red Tornado (at the time was an Air Elemental) still around?
  • There was a time where writers kept trying to explain the famously fan-service laden Power Girl costume. The resultant explanations were almost invariably absurd, the most infamous being the claim that she left the "boob window" on her outfit with the intention of putting a Superman logo there once she got his permission (if it was such a big deal, why not just put some normal cloth there and patch the logo over it later?). The worst part about is the completely unnecessary nature of the answer; Power Girl could just like the costume design.
  • West Coast Avengers had an awkward storyline in which Mockingbird allowed the Phantom Rider to die because he had drugged her into loving and sleeping with him. Things became more awkward in the Mockingbird solo series, the final issue of which seemingly implied that Mockingbird and the Phantom Rider's relationship was consensual, which contradicts absolutely everything that we had been previously shown, and raises the unfortunate implication that Mockingbird had cheated on her husband with a man who she then killed for... some reason (to cover up the affair?) while lying and saying that it was because he had brainwashed and raped her.
  • Transformers:
    • In IDW's Transformers reboot comics, Simon Furman felt that there should be some kind of explanation as to how the whole gender thing worked for the Transformers. The explanation given (Arcee was formerly "male", until Jhiaxus genetically modified her to have female gender) comes off as a little strange, raises massive Fridge Logic issues concerning the Transformers portrayal as living beings, and inadvertently causes some serious Unfortunate Implications. Ultimately it seems that the only impact this explanation had on the IDW-verse as a whole was preventing all the female Transformers other than Arcee from appearing, leading to later writers more or less providing an "out" to excuse natural female Transformers and than quietly ignoring the Arcee explanation. Not to mention it didn't delve into how reproduction works for Transformers, something that is directly linked to the whole gender issue, forcing a later writer to work it out.
    • Marvel's The Transformers featured a good number of these, due to being Merchandise-Driven and advertising an increasingly gimmicky toyline, but the pinnacle would likely be the Pretenders. In the toyline, Pretenders were simple hollow action figures of armored humans and monsters that could pop open to reveal a simple Transformer. This was interpreted by the comic writer into being a fifty-foot organic shell resembling a human or a monster, which contained a regular-sized robot controlling the shell like a reverse mechsuit. But then why are they called "Pretenders"; what could they possibly pretend to be? This was explained in a storyline where Arc Villain Scorponok inexplicably decides that his army needs subterfuge (something he'd never needed before), and rather than simply scanning new vehicles, he designed the entire process and subjected six previously-unseen troops to it, believing that, under their new guises, their identities as Decepticon soldiers would remain concealed. So apparently, the Autobot and human response to an attack from fifty-foot weapon-swinging monsters wouldn't be to, you know, shoot them? Then, because there were Autobot Pretender toys made as well, the data for the process gets stolen, and before the Decepticon Pretenders have made their first attack, the Autobots have inexplicably decided to fight fire with fire, recreating the entire procedure within hours and organizing a team of Pretenders of their own never-before-seen troops. Somehow, the "disguise" aspect of Pretenders still came up two more times: once, when the Autobot team went to a planet of sixty-foot but otherwise human giants, and once when one of the Decepticons pretended to be a regular giant monster, and new Pretenders kept showing up long after the cat was out of the bag on Scorponok's scheme. Keep in mind, size-changing technology is pretty common in the series, so there was no reason to make the Pretenders giant to begin with and they could have easily just been a way to hide as humans (indeed, that was the route Transformers: Super-God Masterforce went with). Later writers used the even simpler explanation that there are advantages to a gigantic organic shell.
    • Headmasters, though not quite as silly, ran into similar problems, as the idea of Transformers whose heads turned into small organic pilots is very toy-friendly, but more than a bit inexplicable. After all, what could the robot possibly get out of it, especially since it means they're now vulnerable to losing their pilots and being turned headless? The comics and cartoon attempted to explain that, by combining their efforts and brainwaves with a partner, the Transformer in question gained enhanced coordination, timing, knowledge, and skills. This is hard to accept, when you think it'd do the opposite, especially when most Combining Mecha (who work basically the same way on a larger scale) come out incredibly stupid because it's multiple people mashing their brains together. It should also go without saying that these traits were almost never actually shown; there's a few scientists or intelligent types among the Headmasters, but just as many are slow, uncoordinated, or Dumb Muscle. Most later media go with either the robot's body being a lifeless mecha controlled by the pilot, or them being the result of one of the franchise's many Mad Scientists.
    • The Beast Wars toyline featured two characters named Prowl, one an owl and the other a lion combiner. Much later, the Beast Wars Sourcebook claimed that the lion was the same guy as G1 Prowl, since he was on a team with guys named Ironhide and Silverbolt. Okay, fair enough, but the owl Prowl was the one who had a very similar bio to G1 Prowl, looked a little similar, had the same motto and function, and even "believed himself to have been a great military strategist in a former life." To reconcile this, the Sourcebook claimed that this Prowl was actually Prowl II, a clone of Prowl who originated from the Japanese series Binaltech. Except Binaltech can't canonically lead into Beast Wars; it's explicitly an alternate timeline. And even if it could by Broad Strokes, by the end of it, Prowl II was effectively dead. The whole thing became one of the longest-running Continuity Snarls in Transformers, until it finally got a patch job in "Ask Vector Prime" as the Binaltech Prowl having hopped universes and recreated Prowl II.
  • The 2017 Runaways series insists that it's only been two years since the death of Gert, which happened over a decade ago in the real world. It might have been feasible to reconcile this with the Comic-Book Time, except that the Runaways have participated in a number of Marvel events in the years since, raising the question of if all those events, some of which destroyed whole cities, all happened within a two-year span.
  • The Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty graphic novel has to explain Liquid's repeated spiritual possession of Ocelot, which goes unexplained in the original game. The comic does some scenes from Ocelot's point of view, showing him having visions of The Sorrow, a spirit medium from the next game, and Ocelot's biological father. Readers may assume that this implies Ocelot unknowingly inherited spirit medium powers from his father, which was and still is the common fan theory... except later Snake corners Liquid to ask him how he's able to possess Ocelot and Liquid states that it's because of powers he inherited from his father, stating that Solid is not in command of the true magic built into Big Boss's soldier genes. Due to the nature of the series it perhaps should be clarified that the ability to possess things through his body parts was never, ever shown as being one of Big Boss's abilities.
  • The Legion Of Superheroes comics were fairly notorious for Monochrome Casting and Humans Are White, with the common joke being that the team had more blue people on it than black, and even crowd shots often being edited to remove black people. In the 70s, it was revealed that this was because... all the black people on Earth had become racial separatists, and now lived on an island off the African coast that occasionally vanishes entirely. On top of being staggeringly racist (Mike Grell even had a Writer Revolt over it), it raised countless questions. How did the entire black population of Earth become racial separatists, a viewpoint controversial even then? Did Earth become so racist at some point that even native Africans wanted to leave their homelands? Why are black people still the biggest prejudice target when aliens are walking around? How can this one island support a billion-plus black population? Why didn't they just colonize another planet? Pretty much every writer since has completely ignored the idea, and for good reason.
  • There was the attempt to absolve the Hulk of any major charges for his rampages by arguing that, improbably, he's never killed anyone during them. Apparently Bruce is so concerned he might and also that intelligent, he subconsciously restrains the Hulk and calculates his actions so he never kills anyone.
  • For decades one major recurring complaint about the Batman lore is why Batman never killed The Joker, when the common explanation of not breaking his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule comes off as an especially stupid case of Honor Before Reason when considering the many, many lives that are endangered by the latter continued existence. Consequently, the explanation from the mouth of Batman himself was given that The Joker has a toxin located in his heart that, once he dies, would be released and transform the person nearest into a new Joker. Few problems with this:
    • How does the Joker, who is never portrayed as anything more than a very smart and very dangerous Monster Clown, have the knowledge to create a neuro-toxin that can transform anyone into a perfect replica of himself and implement it into his heart?
    • If the Joker has the ability to create a variant of the Joker Toxin that powerful, why would he only use it as a back-up plan in case he dies? Why not mass-produce the stuff and use it for another round of Anarchy And Chaos?
    • Even with the explanation in place, what's stopping Batman from just killing him? Locking him in an air-tight chamber, lethal injection, explosions, there are plenty of methods that could allow The Joker to be killed while negating the danger of a toxin.
    • Perhaps most glaringly, how does Batman know any of this?
  • Batman fans were understandably outraged when Stephanie Brown, the fourth Robin was brutally Stuffed into the Fridge in the event War Games. Due to the backlash from fans, she was brought back several years later, with the reveal that she had faked her death and gone into hiding. This, however raised a few questions:
    • Why did she need to fake her death? It didn't seem like Black Mask cared enough to be hunting her down.
    • What reason was there to keep this hidden from everyone, including people like Tim and Cassandra who could definitely be trusted? (Well, barring certain Executive Meddling)
    • Most glaringly: Stephanie's ghost showed up twice in the pages of Batgirl (2000), and was clearly more than a hallucination, giving Cassandra advice she couldn't possibly know!
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    Fan Fiction 
  • My Immortal's author's notes often "explain" plot holes with bizarre nonsense. Particularly amusing is Tara apparently being under the impression that Snape hating Harry is a deviation from canon and explaining it thus: "da reson snap dosent lik harry now is coz hes christian and vampire is a satanist". Of course, Snape does hate Harry in the actual series and there was already a canon (and completely reasonable) explanation.
  • In The Prayer Warriors, Jerry suddenly learns about the presence of a traitor in the Prayer Warriors during his first fight with Percy Jackson, but doesn't know who it is. It is later revealed that God told Jerry this in a parenthetical note, but not only is it said to have taken place before Percy's attack, God never mentioned the identity of the traitor.
    • Later on, Grover's multiple deaths and returns (he is killed three times in "The Evil Gods Part I" alone) are said to be because he is often being cloned. No such explanation is given for all the other characters who died and came back multiple times.
  • In Chatoverse Conversion Bureau, Earth and Equestria are established early on as being governed by differing physics models, with Equestria and every other known alternate reality being permeated by a force which destroys any Earthly technology it effects. Early on the reason is given that Equestrian physics breaks terrestrial quantum mechanics, which underlies both biology and the advanced technologies of the world. The details are further elaborated upon in Recombinant 63: A Conversion Bureau Story, in which it is revealed that the Equestrian reality is completely and utterly divorced from that of Earth, to the point that its matter is composed of entirely different fundamental particles. Despite being intended to explain the differences between the two worlds, it actually raises questions as to how the two dimensions are able to interact at all.
  • For an In-Universe example, there's Equestria: A History Revealed. Lemony Narrator Loose Change often tries to justify her insane conspiracy theories, all of which revolve around Princess Celestia being a secret evil overlord. This is in spite of Celestia clearly being the Big Good of the setting and a benevolent monarch with a 100% Adoration Rating. The whole premise of the fic is Loose Change clearly twisting the facts to suit her own purposes, often relying on tremendous leaps in logic in order to make them fit. Loose Change even has some kind of self-awareness, often pointing out the glaring plot holes before handwaving it off with something even more questionable.
    • In one of the chapters, Loose Change tries to explain the question of Starswirl's place in the timeline, as he was recorded to live in two different time periods centuries apart. Loose Change says that Starswirl had a son, also named Starswirl the Bearded. But then this is complicated by the fact that she brings up that Starswirl specifically said he was infertile. So instead, Loose Change handwaves the problem away by saying Starswirl traveled back in time to create a time clone of himself who he then adopted as his son. She then ends the chapter by saying that this is a totally reasonable explanation, and that questioning her makes anyone who does a moron.
  • Many FiM fanfictions, dissatisfied with the apparently geocentric model of Equestria, try to explain Celestia and Luna's powers with "more realistic" scenarios, such as them actually rotating the planet with their powers rather than moving the sun and moon. Invariably this causes epic levels of Fridge Logic to kick in as the reader realizes that it would involve ridiculous levels of God Mode power, cause epic worldwide catastrophes every time the sun was raised, or violates show canon all up and down the line— and usually all three.
  • The Nuptialverse has a self-admitted example: In a flashback, Twilight explains to Spike that it's impossible for ponies to shape shift anything. This was meant to explain away why it never occurred to Twilight that the Cadence who didn't recognize her was an impostor and why the shape shifting was a uniquely changeling trait. However, it was pointed out that Twilight has shape shifted several things in the show proper. The author has since rewritten it to state that shape shifting one sapient being to another takes a load of magic, more than many can use, making it impractical for a pony to disguise herself as such.
  • In Boys und Sensha-do!, it is stated that sensha-do uses simuniton (which comes up as the reason why Miho survived getting directly hit by a round), since it's dangerous enough without live ammunition, but this does not match some of the effects the tank rounds have when striking things other than tanks.
  • While the rewrite of Sonic X: Dark Chaos does a great job of filling the numerous plot holes in the original, a few explanations do fit this trope.
    • If Tsali is so powerful, why didn't he just kill Sonic and his friends in the very first chapter? It's because Maledict was monitoring him and ordering him not to. But this turns into a plot hole because Tsali can still resist and defy Maledict - which exactly what he does later as they animosity between them grows. Downplayed later on, as it's revealed that Tsali is terrified of pissing off Satan (and for good reason) and when he ignores Maledict and decides to attack the Blue Typhoon in Episode 73, he fully expects to be harshly punished for it... but he decides killing Cosmo and Sonic is worth it and doesn't care anymore.
    • Exposure to Dark Chaos Energy is established to be able to rapidly evolve Shroud parasites. Despite this, during his fight with Dark Tails in Episode 69, Tails does not lose control and mutate into Shroud Tails. This is explained later on - Tails has to directly absorb Dark Chaos Energy to mutate. However, this doesn't explain his first mutation in Episode 67... when he wasn't exposed to any energy at all. This is handwaved later on that the transformation in Episode 67 was an angry "spasm" rather than a full evolution, but it's not much better.
  • In Transplanted Character Fic Tales of Attornia, chapter 8, Phoenix gets attacked by a dragon and Maya enters Super Mode to protect Phoenix and effortlesly kills the dragon. When asked why she didn't use it earlier when Phoenix was trying to hunt her down she claims that overusing her Super Mode can kill her. What makes this Handwave fail is that, in battle in question, Maya was completely screwed and she knew it. Phoenix had her already defeated, ready to kill her, and the only reason she's alive was that she accidentally mentioned Mia, who was her sister and Phoenix's mentor, and because of that Phoenix changed his plans to take her alive instead. Until that point it was basically a choice between certain death and possible death, and Maya choosing the former comes across as Too Dumb to Live.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Felix the Cat: The Movie, The Duke of Zill, the ruler of an alternate dimension Felix travels into, based his giant Master Cylinder off of the one in Felix's dimension to serve as his ultimate weapon and the source of power for his mass produced cylinder army. The movies tries to Hand Wave how this is possible by showing the Duke's blueprints, which have a comparison chart between the main universe Master Cylinder and Zill's take on him, but this opens up a big Plot Hole—the Duke didn't have access to the Dimensporter technology that allowed Felix to travel into the dimension, so how could he have possibly known about or seen the Master Cylinder in Felix's universe?
  • The Nostalgia Critic complains in his Quest for Camelot review about trees and plants in a forest becoming animate during a musical number. During one of his "Fuck-Ups" videos, he says that a frequent user response was that the forest was enchanted. He points out that this just raises more questions. He also points out that some of the movie's other "explanations" (like Ruber getting the potion from some unseen witches who are only mentioned once) fall into this trope.
  • The Unshaved Mouse refers to Pocahontas suddenly being able to communicate in English with John Smith after listening to the wind with this exact term linked to this very page. He did it again in his Atlantis: The Lost Empire review, when he called out on the movie's explanation of the Atlanteans' ability to speak surface languages as Atlantean is the root of every modern language, which means they can automatically speak English. If you don't know why this is complete bullshit; consider the fact that even Old English is nothing like the modern language, and knowing one will not help you understand the other.
  • Despicable Me heavily implies (although never outright states) that Gru created the Minions, since we see a "blueprint" of a Minion in the background of a shot of Gru's lab. However, when it came time to do a spinoff featuring the Minions, that was understandably too restrictive, so the Minions instead became creatures that existed since the dawn of time to serve evil. Of course, that leads to some very awkward questions - not least, did Hitler have Minions? So instead, the Minions became depressed after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and hid in a cave for 150 years, conveniently avoiding the horrors of the 19th and 20th centuries until they pop out... er, at the height of the Cold War. An awkward handwave to deal with an awkward handwave, but probably better than the alternative. Still leaves quite the Inferred Holocaust on the Minions' hands, though.
    • Another Voodoo Shark is that the Minions movie mentions the minions always follow the most evil creature they can. Seeing as Gru suffers heavy In-Universe Villain Decay starting from the first movie, which only gets exacerbated in the second (at least in the first movie he was trying to commit an act of supervillainy; in the second he's actively working against villains), it makes one wonder why the Minions bother to keep following him at all instead of changing their allegiance to another, more competent villain. However, in the third movie, the Minions finally ditch Gru because they wish to be villains again. It doesn't stick.....but in the long run, they go to work for his brother, Dru.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Trope Namer is the So Bad, It's Good Jaws sequel, Jaws: The Revenge — or more specifically, the novelization (the film's writers were prescient enough to make it ambiguous). The book claims that the repeated shark attacks are the result of Michael being cursed by a voodoo priest, who apparently had a "score to settle". It only serves to make things more confusing.
  • In the film serial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, the heroes befriend a tribe of rock creatures on the planet Mongo. Professor Zarkoff happens to know their language. How? Because the aliens colonized part of Earth, but died out there, while their counterparts who stayed on Mongo degenerated into superstitious primitives. But before the rock creatures died out on Earth, a tribe in Central America adopted their language. That tribe also died out, but Zarkoff happened to study their written records (we can only guess how the pronunciations are known, and how it could be translated at all, or why the modern rock aliens would still speak the same language as members of their species who left their planet thousands of years ago). After the professor gives this explanation, no aspect of it is ever mentioned again.
  • The visions in Final Destination that mess with Death's plans are caused by Death. Death screws with his own plans and has to correct them, because of what he did. That's not You Can't Fight Fate. That's fate being an idiot, or a Jerkass that likes screwing with people for no reason. Either way, it makes the plot of the movies seem kind of pointless. This was later retconned at the end of Final Destination 4, which reveals that it was all part of the plan. And yes, probably with some For the Evulz thrown in for good measure.
  • The Room was never good with internal consistency, but it might unintentionally suibvert this trope in the plot thread of the gun Johnny uses to "dramatically" shoot himself at the end of the movie. There's an earlier scene where an armed drug dealer known as Chris-R confronts young orphan Denny about some sort of drug deal, before Johnny and Mark show up and tackle him; many fans believe this scene exists to explain where the gun came from. This is understandable, since the scene is obviously out of place, it's never mentioned again, and it's awfully convenient for the group to come to the roof at just the right time. However, there are a number of problems with this theory:
    • When the group confronts Denny about what just happened, Denny claims he needed the money. Except he has a millionaire banker paying for his every whim already. Why does he need to go to a petty thug for money?
    • Chris-R never shows up again. They do try to ask Denny who he was, but Denny just tells them that it's all right now, he's going to jail. That implies he was arrested. So, presumably, the police took the gun as evidence. Except they obviously didn't. Why didn't they? Isn't that their job?
    • The gun winds up in Mark's hands. But it's Johnny who has it at the end of the movie. So, presumably, Mark gave it to Johnny. Why would he do that, especially given the strained nature of their relationship by the end of the movie?
    • The Disaster Artist reveals that Tommy Wiseau had originally intended for the gun to go flying off the roof in the confrontation. This ultimately suggests that the Chris-R scene was not intended to explain Johnny's gun, and it really is just that messy and incoherent a story. The fact that Chris-R's gun and the one Johnny has at the end are noticeably different props seems to confirm this.
  • Highlander:
    • Highlander II: The Quickening decided that the Immortals were actually a race of alien political exiles, which raises the following questions:
      • When Christopher Lambert asks Sean Connery why certain people are immortal and others aren't, what was all that "Why does the sun rise in the east?" crap?
      • So aliens have the power to exile people to other planets, grant immortality to them, and then make rules concerning holy ground and being "Only One"?
      • Why would aliens care about human religions to begin with?
      • If the Big Bad is worried about being overthrown, why doesn't he move his base of operations to Earth? There, he could be immortal, and he could banish any upstarts to places where they'd die of old age.
      • Why would you give political exiles the chance to obtain the "Prize" — i.e., to become a Physical God?
      • Ramirez and McCloud are exiled to Earth at the same time, but in the first film Ramirez has clearly been around a lot longer than MacLeod.
      • Were the Kurgan and the other immortals seen in the first film political exiles as well?
      • The alien explanation was quickly retconned into Canon Discontinuity, but in a way that raised further questions. Why would the villain, who can see into the future, not realize that Connor posed no threat to him (other than that there would be no movie otherwise)? One of his minions even points this out to him, only to be ignored. Later installments just gave up and ignore Highlander II outright.
    • In Highlander: Endgame, a group of Immortals lives in voluntary stasis in the "Sanctuary", which is located in a large cathedral — until they are murdered by an Immortal named Kell. In the original theatrical version, the Sanctuary is referred to as being holy ground. This annoyed fans of the series, as it had been established that Immortals are not allowed to kill one another on holy ground, and even the worst villains followed this rule. So the line was excised from the DVD version. But this didn't solve the problem; if it's not holy ground, then how can it be in a large cathedral? Why would the Immortals willingly go into stasis in an unsafe place? Why would the Watchers establish the Sanctuary in such a place?
  • While this trope almost always creates a schism between creators and their fans, the famous "watermelon scene" from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is a rare case of it playing out in total good humor. The scene is never mentioned again, and was actually only put in as a Writer Revolt against some of the restrictions placed on the production by its studio liaison, who vocally hated the project. When fans pressed for the promised explanation, Word of God said that the Banzai Institute was developing products that could be airdropped fresh into African villages or other such impoverished, politically volatile areas. When fans pointed out that any fruit or vegetable that could survive impact would have to be so dense that it would be rendered inedible, Word of God responded (in mock exasperation), "Look, what do you want from me?!"
  • In Halloween: Resurrection, we find out a man Laurie decapitated at the end of Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later wasn't Michael, but a paramedic he switched clothes with. That doesn't explain why Michael would want to switch clothes in the first place or why "the paramedic" was clearly trying to attack Laurie. It's asked at one point why the paramedic didn't just say he wasn't Michael and that's apparently because Michael crushed his throat rendering him unable to talk. That doesn't cover up why he didn't just take the mask off.
  • The Transformers Film Series has its justification for still having a Masquerade in the second movie: military combat robots went rogue and trashed a major city. Why the government would think, "Yes, we not only spent trillions of dollars building giant robots with sophisticated combat AI, concealing this information from taxpayers, but we are so staggeringly incompetent that they not only malfunctioned and started killing people, but when they did we had no way to stop them but to send in more giant robots to fight them" is somehow better than admitting they're aliens is anyone's guess.
  • In Spider-Man 3, Harry Osborn undergoes a Heel–Face Turn and runs off to help Peter fight Sandman and Venom, when his butler tells him that he examined Norman's corpse and noticed the wound came from his own glider — meaning he died by his own hand, and Spider-Man didn't kill him.note  So why didn't he tell him this in an earlier film — when he could have stopped him from pursuing his self-destructive vendetta against Spider-Man? Word of God claimed that the butler was actually a hallucination representing Harry's "good side", meaning Harry knew all along but couldn't face the facts. However, there's a scene earlier in the movie where Harry talks to the butler in Peter's presence, and Peter doesn't react as if his friend was talking to the wall. So then is the butler real and just occasionally appears to Harry as a vision? It's more complicated than it needs to be.
  • Godzilla (1998) ran into some problems when trying to justify the drastic changes made to Godzilla's design. The reason behind the horizontal, raptor-like design for the monster was in order to make it more "realistic." We'll ignore the improbability of such a lanky, precarious, and front-heavy design being better-suited for a giant lizard than the heavy, pillar-legged, mountain-shaped original. They decided to continue making it more realistic by turning it from a dinosaur to a mutated iguana, thereby completely negating the entire point behind the raptor shape in the first place. And the Square-Cube Law is being completely ignored either way.
  • In The Neverending Story 3, Bastian's supporting cast gets wished out of Fantasia into the real world in an attempt to justify why he can't just wish Fantasia back to normal. However, Bastian himself questions why he can't just wish the supporting cast back into Fantasia first, then wish Fantasia back to normal. Bastian is never really given an answer; he's just told he can't do that, with no explanation as to why he can't.
  • Snakes on a Plane tried to justify the snakes' unusually aggressive behavior towards the passengers by claiming that the leis the passengers had been given (the flight was leaving Hawaii) had been treated with pheromones to make the snakes go crazy. None of that explains how the snakes were able to get from the cargo hold to the cabin to get close to those leis in the first place, to say nothing about how that is not how pheromones usually work.
  • The 2005 film of A Sound of Thunder needlessly handwaves the Time Safari's existence by stating in a throwaway scene (that is promptly never brought up again) that by 2055, all wild animals are dead. (Compare with the novel, where it is simply a means for bored big game hunters to feel the thrill of hunting extinct beasts like the T-Rex.) Not even touching the movie's other bizarrely glaring problems, as The Agony Booth points out, this only works to make the humans of the near future seem like utterly bloodthirsty assholes. Once the last wild animal died (in 2017, apparently, only 12 years after the film was made), poachers started raiding zoos, and as soon as time travel was invented — at a time when many people had never seen a live animal — it instantly defaulted into being a dinosaur killing venture, instead of being for sightseeing past animals, cloning them, stealing them, anything really.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: How do anthropomorphic turtles that hide in the sewers order pizza? They order it by having it delivered to an address that does not exist, so the delivery person will end up in that spot between two buildings, hear a voice from a sewer grate, and pass the pizza box through there. One of the Turtles will pick it up while wearing a Conspicuous Trenchcoat and hope the delivery guy doesn't notice the weird green hand holding the box. This raises a number of questions, namely:
    • Why would anyone expect the delivery guy to just stand there when he can't find the address? What's to say he won't cross the street or just give up?
    • If this happens on a regular basis, why hasn't the pizza place picked up on this? Do the delivery guys just simply never tell anybody else that they found a colony of weird, pizza-loving mutants in the sewer? (Is New York City so full of weirdos that this is totally normal to them?)
    • Why make it so complicated? The Turtles can't just find an empty warehouse or something and leave the money in an envelope for the pizza guy? That's perhaps less likely to attract attention.
  • In Pixels, during the real-life game of Pac-Man, Fireblaster's car is stated to be going faster than it should be able to. It's later revealed that Fireblaster was using the cheat codes for super-speed in Pac-Man, and he also used cheat codes to beat Sam in the tournament at the start of the movie. There are numerous problems with this:
    • How the hell did Fireblaster get away with using a cheat code in a tournament, with thousands of people watching his every move?
    • If there was a cheat code for super-speed in Pac-Man (there isn't), wouldn't it give Pac-Man super speed, not his enemies?note 
    • Why did the scientists who built the cars program them with cheat codes? How did Fireblaster even enter a cheat code into a car? It is shown that he used the gear shift, but how this worked was never explained.
    • And most egregiously, how exactly do the cheat codes for super-speed in a video game make a real car go faster?
  • The Jungle Book (2016) decided to give the character King Louie an Adaptation Species Change from the 1967 original, turning him from an orangutan into a Gigantopithecus (a extinct genus of ape that lived in Southeast Asia during the Pleistocene). According to Word of God, the change was done to correct a bit of Misplaced Wildlife from the original, as orangutans aren't actually native to India. But the movie still features Mowgli—a modern human boy—which means that it takes place at least 100,000 years after Gigantopitheci went extinct. For some reason, the filmmakers thought having an extinct primate in the movie was less inexplicable than having a non-Indian one. Particularly glaring, since they easily could have explained Louie as an escaped captive orangutan brought to India by the English (what with the original book being written just a few decades after the rise of the British Raj). It would be much simpler to just call Rule of Cool.
  • The extended version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice causes a few problems like this:
    • It addressed one of the original cut's most nagging plot holes: How did Superman not detect the bomb that blew up the Congressional hearing? The bomb was encased in lead, which Superman's x-ray vision can't penetrate. This raises the following questions:
      • How did Luthor even know that Superman couldn't see through lead? Nobody knew the extent of his powers. Maybe Luthor's smart enough to puzzle that out, but that's a heck of a logical leap.
      • The bomb had to be hidden in Wallace Keefe's wheelchair without his knowledge. But encasing it in lead would have made it extremely heavy, especially considering this is a bomb designed to kill hundreds of people. The sheer extra weight on the wheelchair should have tipped him off.
      • Going off of the above, the Capital Hill security team - who would understandably be on high-alert due to the massive xenophobic protest right outside - apparently couldn’t detect the bomb even though that’s exactly their job.
      • Why would this even work? Superman can traditionally detect lead. In the comics he can quite explicitly see lead itself — just not what's behind it. One famous comic has a villainess gloat that Superman will never find the bombs she's hidden, because they're inside lead boxes. Instead, he finds them easily, and points out when you can see through anything, the opaque objects really stand out. He should know that there's something fishy in that wheelchair, even if he can't tell exactly what it is. (There's one Fan Wank that says Superman was too guilty to bring himself to look at Wallace Keefe, so that's taken care of, at least.)
      • Why couldn’t Superman hear the bomb’s internal mechanisms prime to go off?
    • Superman is accused of a massacre that Luthor's mercenaries staged, but:
      • All the victims were gunned down — which should exonerate Superman, who Doesn't Like Guns. The extended version shows the mercenaries piling the bodies together and torching them with a flamethrower, apparently to replicate the results of Superman's Eye Beams. But this would have done a poor job of it, as it just singed the bodies, whereas Superman would have completely annihilated them.
      • The accusations are reinforced by a witness, who testifies and then disappears from the movie. In the extended edition, it's revealed that Luthor blackmailed her into doing it, but then she has a change of heart and comes clean to a Senator. But if so, why didn't Luthor silence her right away, before she could confess? And why doesn't the Senator immediately take her into protected custody for when Luthor eventually does go after her?
  • In X-Men: Apocalypse, Moira suggests that Apocalypse and his minions "The Four Horsemen" weren't really inspired by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from The Bible; rather, he was the inspiration for them. The X-Men comics don't go out of their way to explain why an ancient Egyptian would adopt Biblical theme naming, but Apocalypse being the inspiration for them doesn't explain much of anything either. For starters, the Four Horsemen are from the Book of Revelation, which is the most recently written book of the Bible, and was probably written late in the first century AD; assuming Apocalypse was born during the reign of the New Kingdom of Egypt, he would have been sealed in his coffin well over a thousand years before that.
  • The Time Machine (2002) attempts to explain why people 800,000 years in the future still speak English by saying that they learned the ancient language from debris that was lying around. This just changes the question into how they can read English. Another issue is that they still wouldn't have learned how English grammar works just from picking up vocabulary.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, this is the rationale for the true nature of the Major Motoko Kusanagi, who turns out to be an actual young woman whowas captured by Hanka Robotics and experimented on and eventually christened as "Mira Killian". The film explicitly points out that this is still Motoko's mind in a cybernetic body, seemingly entirely to justify the Race Lift of her character. There are several problems with this:
    • Why would Hanka Robotics just kidnap someone they found on the street to experiment with? The film outright shows they're a large company with contracts with the military and the police, meaning they had access to plenty of potential candidates (not to mention a horde of dead bodies they could use to perfect their process).
    • Why would the Major be so ambivalent about finding out her entire life is a lie? This also extends to the villain Kuze, a.k.a. Hideo, who has a similar reaction despite the toll that Hanka's experiments took on him.
    • Why is Mrs. Kusanagi so accepting of being told that she no longer needs to come to her daughter's grave after the Major tells her the truth?
  • In Stargate, Ra has a human host but occasionally can be seen with a body of The Greys. Most notably in his death, in a This Was His True Form kind of way. When the series was created, the The Greys were portrayed as a benevolent species, the Asgard. Supplementary material explained Ra's appearance in that his previous host was an Asgard, and given their technological superiority, this also handily explains why he was the top Goa'uld (the new name for their species). However, this then means that those times we saw Ra's as an Asgard, we were seeing his previous host, which makes even less sense.
  • Annihilation goes through a lot of convolutions to keep the protagonists (and thus the audience) ignorant of what is on the other side of the Shimmer:
    • The government has sent over a dozen groups of people and various animals and electronic devices into the Shimmer, but none have returned to report on what's on the other side (save Kane, who is comatose). After the protagonists venture into the Shimmer for several days, experience some of its horrors, and discover the reason for the communication and physiology problems, most of them want to escape and report on what they found — but the leader shoots them down by saying without going all of the way to the end and discovering the full truth, "any information they report would just cause further confusion". Did all of the previous groups also decide that making partial reports was worthless as well? To use the film's cancer analogy, this is like every single cancer research scientist deciding never to communicate or publish any of their test findings until they discovered the cure. Every subsequent scientist would have to start from square one.
    • The outside world apparently knows nothing about the Shimmer because "the people in the area were evacuated and told there was a chemical spill". So, people have evacuated their homes in a very large area (the team takes about a week to travel to the center of the Shimmer) for three years without asking questions, and no news teams have investigated the very large visual disturbance caused by the Shimmer? This cover-up would be harder than trying to conceal Mt. Vesuvius destroying Pompeii.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017) seems to really want to explain some things that the original animated film never bothered to mention, only to raise a lot of strange questions:
    • The original never explained why the servants were punished along with the prince. Since the original was animated, they were all silly dancing household items who didn't seem to mind much, and nobody thought much about it. At most, you could say the fairy who did it was just being a bit of a jerk, as fairies in old folklore are wont to do. The film saw the need to address it by saying they did kind of deserve it — they felt guilty for not raising him better. This raises the following issues: First, this cannot apply to everyone who was cursed (such as Chip, who's just a child); second, the prince is a monarch and shouldn't be his servants' responsibility (and should in fact have other people specifically there to raise him); and third, it's even more Disproportionate Retribution, as the curse is changed to turning them into fully inanimate objects and keeping them conscious.
    • The film seems to think that audiences wouldn't get why Gaston is so popular with the townsfolk when he's such a Jerkass. So they show him paying off the townsfolk to sing with him — which is unnecessary, because he had enough genuine charisma in the original that no one questioned why he was so popular. If anything, you'd think "he has to pay people off to get them to like him" would make him unpopular, especially in a small provincial town where gossip travels fast. And they also gave him the Freudian Excuse of war trauma, but why wouldn't a war hero be popular among the townsfolk? (This also serves to make his actions later in the film look downright offensive.)
    • The time period of the original was pretty vague, but the remake decides to definitively set the story in the post-Revolution era. In that case, the return of a lost monarch to their seat of power is not something to be cheering about.
    • In the original, nobody ever tells Belle that if she doesn't fall in love with the Beast, then the curse becomes permanent. They do so in the remake, but this has the side effect of making the romance itself go from an actual genuine romance that blossomed naturally over the course of their interactions, to something Belle is effectively pressured into to save the people in the castle, raising the question of how this meets the qualification of "true love." By a similar token, the change to the nature of the curse changes the Beast letting Belle go look for her father at the start of the third act from self-sacrifice (the only person who really suffers is himself) to effectively dooming a few dozen people to death for the sake of Belle's father.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit: There is an infamous scene where Roger Rabbit is really upset upon finding out his wife Jessica was playing patty-cake with Acme Maroon. The reason why isn't really explained though the most common interpretation is that patty cake is the toon equivalent of sex. The problem with this is there are other parts of the movie which strongly imply toons can and do have the regular kind of sex (for example, Baby Herman mentions his "3-year old dinky", raising the question of why toons would even have sex organs if they can't have sex).
  • Happy Death Day 2U revealed that the Ground Hog Day Loop main character Tree experienced in Happy Death Day was the result of a failed science experiment in the lab of the college she goes to. But all that does is bring up the question of why the experiment is only affecting her, especially since she has no connection to the lab, why the loop resets upon her death, and what the experiment is suppose to do normally.

    Folklore 
  • In Inanna's Descent to the Netherworld, Ereshkigal's first husband, Gugalana, has been killed off by Gilgamesh and Enkidu in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Ereshkigal is mourning for him and gets to keep Inanna's husband Dumuzi for six months of the year, as Laser-Guided Karma for her trying to steal Gugalana and getting him killed in the first place. OK...but Ereshkigal is the goddess of death and the underworld. Shouldn't Gugalana be down there with her? One theory among people who have studied the myths is that Ereshkigal is merely the gatekeeper and cannot go into death itself to find him, though not enough of the original myth survives to confirm this.

    Literature 
  • Twilight has quite a few, usually concerning Stephenie Meyer's explanations about how a vampire's body works:
    • Meyer states that when a human becomes a vampire, all of their bodily fluids are replaced with a type of venom. This presumably means that vampires are unable to have children, as the males can no longer produce semen. In fact, in earlier books Edward's siblings occasionally expressed envy of Bella's ability to have children as a human. But then, vampire Edward impregnates human Bella. Meyer is now forced to backtrack, stating that the venom can take over "some of the functions" of the fluid it replaced, and that only female vampires can't have children because they cannot menstruate. But this still doesn't explain why the other male vampires didn't try to have children with human women if they really wanted to.
    • In the first book, Bella is immune to Edward's mystic vampire telepathy, but Jasper can still use his emotion control powers to calm her down. In later books, Meyer makes it explicit that Bella is immune to all vampire powers, but now she needs to explain how Jasper can get through to Bella. She did so by saying that her immunity only protects her against mental powers, and that Jasper's power was physical because it directly altered her brain chemistry. This doesn't explain much, because Bella can resist other vampire powers that sure seem physical (like electric shocks), and Jasper's power can affect vampires as well, who — as explained above — don't have those brain chemicals humans do because it's all been replaced with venom.
  • Animorphs:
    • Morphing heals you, since it's based on DNA. So why didn't Elfangor just morph and demorph to heal his injuries? In The Andalite Chronicles he claims he was "too weak to morph," but he had enough strength to give a multi-chapter Info Dump and a token fight before Visser Three killed him, and the Animorphs have frequently managed to morph under more dire conditions. This is chalked up to Early Installment Weirdness, as K. A. Applegate freely admitted that she forgot about or changed aspects from the earlier books.
    • This provides a case in point: in Megamorphs #2: In the Time of the Dinosaurs Tobias gets his wing broken. He tries morphing and demorphing, but his wing is still broken, so apparently only your morphs heal that way and not your regular body. Except that in Megamorphs #1, Rachel specifically mentions how the scratches and scrapes on her human body are healed after she de-morphed. Another explanation suggests that morphing can't heal them when they're Time Traveling, but there's no reason for that to be the case.
    • It is also explained that as matter cannot be created or destroyed, morphing into something smaller causes the excess mass to be temporarily stored in a different universe. No explanation is given as to where the extra mass comes from when the characters morph into something larger, and the universe the matter is stored in is stated to be otherwise pretty much empty. When asked, K. A. Applegate replied "black holes and pygmy hippos". Make of that what you will.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events:
    • The Great Unknown is a mysterious question-mark-shaped thing that prowls the oceans. Half of the characters are utterly terrified by it, to the point where Count Olaf is willing to abandon the sugar bowl to escape from it, and the other half have no idea what it is. The closest thing to an explanation in the series comes from the Kit Snicket at the end of the last book, where she implies it's a metaphor for death. Fair enough. Then along comes the sort-of prequel series, All the Wrong Questions, where it's revealed that the Great Unknown is actually a sea monster called the Bombinating Beast with no particular connections to anything. This makes no sense at all. Why would the Quagmires and the Widdershins be willing to give themselves up to such a thing, particularly the Captain, who claims to know its nature? And why does Lemony continue to let his sister believe in something he knows isn't true, when he places such an emphasis on not deceiving people? The Netflix adaptation, which confirms the Great Unknown to be a sea monster, notably removes the bit about the Quagmires and Widdershins giving themselves up to the Great Unknown, having the characters reunite under other circumstances.
    • The End implies that the sugar bowl is a vessel that contains the seeds of a horseradish/apple hybrid, which provides a cure to the world's most deadly poison. If that's true, and other people know it, the villains have a bit of explaining to do as to why they're willing to burn down half the planet in order to get their hands on some apple seeds. This gets even worse when you remember that regular horseradish plants are an equally-effective cure, rendering the sugar bowl almost completely worthless. This is another one where the Netflix adaptation ends up patching the hole: the sugar bowl contains a special type of sugar derived from a botanical hybrid, which not only cures the poison but also grants permanent immunity to it.
  • In the later Enderverse books, it's strongly implied that the "two-children-per-couple" rule was specifically created by the founders of the One World Order as a Batman Gambit; such an obviously oppressive measure would provoke dissatisfaction such that the OWG would dissolve almost immediately once the existential threat to humanity was dealt with. Except what government do you know would intentionally install a mechanism to destroy it in the future? And if the government felt it necessary to dissolve after the threat was dealt with, why would it need a Batman Gambit in the first place?
  • In the beginning of the novelization of Back to the Future, unlike the movie, Doc says he got the idea for the time machine by having a dream about the DeLorean many years ago. But then this implies that he would have inspired the DeLorean Motor Company, and not the other way around, and raises questions about how that interaction would have worked.
  • In The Rowan, it was assumed that "Prime Travel Sickness" — chronically severe vertigo caused by interplanetary teleportation — was simply part of being a Prime, the strongest level of psychic talent. The appearance of wild talent Jeff Raven, who could teleport between worlds with no ill effects, caused further investigation. It was uncovered that "Travel Sickness" was the result of Prime Siglen imprinting her own condition (an inner-ear defect that produced said severe vertigo) on her peers and protégés — i.e., every other Prime that wasn't Raven. But there was explicitly three centuries between The Rowan and its prequel Pegasus in Flight. In that time period, either Siglen and her peers are the first generation of Primes, no Prime-level psychic talent attempted interplanetary travel via teleportation, or no one noticed that "Travel Sickness" wasn't a big deal until Siglen made it so. All of these are equally unlikely.
  • The Cold Equations, to necessitate its infamous events, claims that the ship is so stripped-down and minimalistic that it only has enough fuel to carry one person and some supplies on the journey, and therefore the only option is to kill the second person. Ignoring the massive amount of No OSHA Compliance involved in this, descriptions of the ship suggest that not only is it a lot more spacious than such a statement would imply (an airlock, a closet large enough to hold one person), but it's got quite a few things that could be thrown out the airlock instead, including a chair.
  • In The Bible. Judges 1:19 talks about how Judah fought against some enemies and even though God was on his side he wasn't able to completely defeat them because they had... iron chariots. Some apologists have attempted to Hand Wave this by saying it was Judah and not God who failed. While this interpretation is viable, it only raises further questions, such as, why would something as mundane as chariots be a bigger advantage than having an omnipotent God on your side?
  • There's a minor Plot Hole in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that the Chamber's entrance is discovered to be in the plumbing of an abandoned girl's bathroom, when it was supposedly created a thousand years prior to the series, long before the invention of plumbing. Rowling attempted to answer this question in an article on Pottermore, which explained that the plumbing was added in the 1700s, and prior to that, "wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence." On top of being an incredibly baffling attempt at worldbuilding, it raises the following problems.
    • Medieval castles didn't have plumbing, but they had plenty of ways to manage waste, including chamberpots (which are mentioned in the series), privies, and outhouses. Why didn't the people of Hogwarts use those methods? (There are records of people relieving themselves on the floor in medieval castles, but this was not the norm.)
    • Vanishing spells in the world of the series are shown to be rather complicated affairs, not taught until at least the fifth year, and pulling one off was considered part of an exam. Did students fourth-year and under just sit around with soiled robes, or need to ask for help?
    • Was this a common method in the wizarding world? If so, how did kids sixteen and under, who can't use magic outside school, handle their waste? If not, why would newcomers to Hogwarts be a-OK with an environment where their teachers and classmates poop on the floor like dogs?
    • Why not just set up outhouses and then have someone else (like the house-elves) come around every day to vanish them, or invent some kind of item with a Vanishing spell built-in?
    • If wizards already had a basically functional system, why would they feel the need to incorporate something as extensive as plumbing? Keep in mind that wizards eschew Muggle technology enough that they still use quill pens and parchment paper in the 90s.
    • The only described protection for the Chamber of Secrets before the bathroom is a trapdoor, which makes it even stranger that it was somehow never discovered for centuries.
    • Apparently, the current Heir of Slytherin, Corvinus Gaunt, managed to interfere with the project enough to protect the original trapdoor and transfer its hidden-language wards to one of the sinks, which raises the question of how a teenager was able to do this, much less without anyone noticing, much less a member of the notoriously inbred and violent Gaunt family. And if Gaunt could do all this, it seems like it'd be a lot easier to just block up the original passage and make a new entrance elsewhere. A girl's bathroom sink isn't what you'd call a convenient place for your hiding spot.
    • Descriptions of the Chamber in the books imply its entrance passage is connected to the plumbing - the passage is said to branch off in several places, and the basilisk used the pipes to traverse the castle and hunt people. So either the designers of the plumbing saw this passage, shrugged, and built their pipes in and around it without bothering to investigate further, or Gaunt managed to conceal the passage to people who were building into it.
  • Goosebumps The first book Welcome To Dead House has a pretty big one the whole town consists of undead, who are destroyed by sunlight, at the end Amanda manages to push a tree down and expose them to sunlight, which destroys them. Apparently they were tormented by their existence and thank Amanda for releasing them from their torment. While it does make for a bit of a Tear Jerker it also makes you wonder why the hell they didn't just walk into the sunlight themselves a long time ago. You could Hand Wave it by saying they have some religious prohibition against suicide, however, that doesn't really fly when you consider that it's not really suicide since they're already dead.
  • World War Z goes to extensive lengths to justify why humanity changes its tactics drastically to fight the zombies: Napoleonic Era tactics (and weaponry designed to fit) are used because modern military tactics and weapons are inefficient at killing zombies, and the Redeker Plan (leaving behind some survivors as bait for zombies, to keep the zombies distracted) is used because zombies are only attracted to humans. However, the zombies featured in the book should easily go down to a modern military, the only reason they don't is because the author doesn't understand how lethal modern weapons would be to zombies and has the humans use Hollywood Tactics. It's also shown that zombies are attracted to things other than humans, including non-human animals (though admittedly to a lesser extent than humans) and any loud noise, including gunshots and music. In fact, music is used to lure zombies into a vulnerable position at the Battle of Hope, yet nobody thinks of using the same tactic elsewhere.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Voyager's episode "The Cloud" caused SF Debris to bring up his idea of Voodoo Sharks in the first place. The ship is stranded far from any safe port, and the crew has to ration power. It's so bad that there's not enough to power the replicator, and the crew has to set up a functioning galley with a live cook. Except the holodeck is kept running as much as anyone wants. The writers explain this by saying that the holodeck has its own power system that is incompatible with everything else on the ship. It caused so many problems that later episodes completely ignore this issue and have the holodecks be affected by power shortages like anything else. The problems with the original explanation are:
    • Why would a holodeck — or indeed, any system on the ship — be built to be incompatible with the rest of the ship on which it's installed? Even ignoring the question of why Starfleet would design the holodeck this way, it strains credibility that the crew couldn't rejigger the holodeck's power supply to work with the rest of the ship when even alien technology can be integrated just fine.note 
    • Shouldn't the holodeck be able to make food itself? It's a system of forcefield an holographic light projectors and replicators. The replicators create most handheld objects, and people eat and drink on the holodeck all the time. This is how people can leave the holodeck holding replicated props or drenched in replicated water — only computer-directed things can't leave the holodeck. We even see the crew doing exactly this in Voyager! Therefore, the lack of power to the regular replicators is irrelevant.
    • It's been suggested that the ship's replicators can work backwards, turning matter into energy. As such, there's seemingly nothing stopping Voyager from grabbing dirt from an uninhabited planet, converting it to energy, and replicating it back into food. It might still use up power, but it should be better than making food purely with the ship's energy.
    • Why didn't anybody try a workaround to divert power from the holodeck? You could at least use it to run essential functions, even if the incompatibility issues make it too inefficient to run the entire ship. This illustrates why it's not enough to just say the power systems are incompatible; we know enough about what powers the ship, so how would whatever powers the holodeck be any different? Then there are questions about if the holodeck has separate reactors that produce power that is incompatible with the rest of the ship, why the fuel for those reactors wouldn't work in the warp core. Even if it isn't Deuterium or some other fuel type why couldn't be used in an anti-matter powered Warp Core.
    • This appears to contradict various other episodes: for instance, a plot point in an episode of The Next Generation. In "Booby Trap", the Enterprise is losing all its power to the eponymous booby trap, and it thus cannot use its warp engines to escape. Geordi was using a holodeck to help solve the problem, but Picard switched off everything other than life support. Geordi has to convince Picard to turn it back on. So if the holodeck used a separate power source and it shouldn't matter if it's on or off, you'd figure Geordi — the head engineer, who should know better than anyone how the power system works — would have mentioned that. But he doesn't. So this implies that the holodeck uses power like everything else on the ship, and the Voyager explanation thus creates an inconsistency. It's not impossible that the Voyager's holodeck functions differently from the Enterprise's, but this is never even implied, and it's hard to imagine why this would be the case—why would Starfleet redesign their ships to require a redundant power supply that can only be used to run the entertainment system when they eliminated the need for that a decade ago?
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Miri" was about a disease on a distant planet that wiped out nearly all its inhabitants and is now threatening the Enterprise crew. The problem was that they didn't have the budget to create alien makeup for all the survivors, so they just made the planet an exact duplicate of Earth. The episode furnishes no explanation for why Earth would have an exact copy. As for other options, they all create their own issues:
    • The novelization uses an obvious alternative reason: it's a lost human colony. What was wrong with using that in the show?
    • The Shatnerverse novel Preserver posits that Miri's world was a duplicate of Earth created by the Preservers.
    • The Relaunch-era DTI novel Forgotten History explains that it was an Earth from a parallel universe that passed into "ours" through a Negative Space Wedgie, and was subsequently returned to its native universe. That seems needlessly complicated.
    • Gene Roddenberry's original pitch included a "parallel worlds" theory that would allow for the show's science fiction stories to be tied in with familiar settings in order to keep the budget in check. It was later written into the series as "Hodgkin's Law of Parallel Planetary Development". It explains the 20th-century Roman society of planet 892-IV in "Bread and Circuses", and presumably covers the post-apocalyptic Omega IV of "The Omega Glory", whose Yangs were descended from a parallel United States of America, complete with identical Constitution and flag.note  It still doesn't explain how Miri's world could be so completely identical to Earth.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation felt the need to explain why the unaging android Data appeared older. They decided that Dr. Soong had given him an "aging program" so that he would blend in more closely with the humans around him. This raises the question of why for the love of Pete would Soong do such a thing? Data is functionally immortal. What is he going to look like in, say, 500 years if he displays physical aging through that time frame? And if his goal was to help Data blend in better and he had enough time to write up such a program, why does Data still have gray skin and yellow eyes, especially since the Julia android suggests Soong wasn't far off from perfecting it?
  • Near the beginning of Heroes' fourth volume: Fugitives, Noah says that Sylar survived being stabbed in the back of the head (leaving him unable to use his powers) and Left for Dead in a burning building at the climax of Villains because the glass in the back of his head melted, allowing him to use his Healing Factor. However, there's one big problem with this: the melting point of brain is lower than the melting point of glass, meaning he would've died for real long before the glass melted. And even if it wasn't, he's still got glass in his brain. Only now, it's absurdly hot, and seeps into all the cracks and can't be gotten out.
    • However, we know the problem isn't that a shard of glass is sticking in his brain, but that it is sticking into the part of the brain that gives him the immortality. (He explained he learned how to move it when he got the Shapeshifter's powers.) The glass would just need to break from that part of his brain, not mattering that it destroys other parts. Seeing how immortal the immortals are in Heroes, that part of his brain probably can't be destroyed, not even by fire.
    • The same episode gives a further instance of this at work, since Meredith Gordon was killed when injected by Adrenaline by Sylar, supercharging her power and causing her to explode. Except that it'd been previously established that Meredith was capable of generating explosions and surviving them? Likewise this seems to be similar to Ted Sprague's radiation ability, where he was shown to be capable to generate and survive minor explosions, but could potentially be killed by going nuclear. Presumably the writers intended there to be an upper limit to someone's immunity to their own power before it becomes lethal, but failed to clarify this aspect?
  • Fans of Smallville debate whether or not the explanation given for Lois Lane's employment at the Daily Planet is a Voodoo Shark. Because Lois was romantically involved with her supervisor (the guy who hired her) she briefly questions the reasons for her being hired. Her editor quells any fears she may have had by showing her the article she wrote for the Inquisitor the previous year. However, given that the editor is an accelerated-aged clone with implanted memories who didn't exist at the time of her writing the article, it raises the question of how true his claim could be. Further, when he offered her the job, he didn't know who she was (she had just walked in off the street to see her cousin) so his claim that it was on the basis of her work is even more doubtful since he couldn't have possibly made the connection.
  • Supernatural:
    • After the episodes "Taxi Driver" and "I'm No Angel" caused a backlash due to several nonsensical changes to the abilities and motivations of Reapers, CW Executive Chad Kennedy attempted to address the changes on his twitter by stating that Reapers were actually a type of angel. Not only did this fail to actually fix most of the continuity issues, it made absolutely no sense with previous canon regarding both Reapers and angels, and only served to make the issue worse. This retcon eventually did get introduced into show canon in the later episode "Stairway to Heaven", and it was just as nonsensical then.
    • The episode "Thinman" opens with several seemingly impossible murders, which makes the Winchesters think they were committed by a ghost or some other supernatural creature. At the end, they are revealed to be the work of two normal humans working together. While this does explain the monster's apparent ability to teleport, it fails to explain the first murder. What made it unusual, besides the murderer's appearance, was that the victim was found in a room locked from the inside. No matter how many killers there were, this should still be impossible to pull off unless one of them stayed hidden under the bed until the police came in and pretended to have just arrived, which no matter how you look at it should be extremely suspicious.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Doctor Who's initial explanation for how the TARDIS crew could understand the Daleks was explained in The Dalek Book as being because the Dalek "voices" are a form of electronic telepathy, so they can speak in their own language and anyone can understand them. Fine, but how can the crew understand the Thals? The eventual explanation for Aliens Speaking English, implied by the time of the Fourth Doctor's tenure and outright stated in the revival series, is the much less cumbersome Hand Wave that the TARDIS has a translation matrix which allows its passengers to understand the aliens (as well as making them unaware that it is doing this, although a few sufficiently clever companions have noticed).
    • In "The Time of the Doctor", the Doctor is under siege from Daleks on an alien planet until he tells his real name to the Time Lords, confirming to them his identity. The reason that his real name works as the shibboleth is because the planet is kept under a 'truth field' which means that no-one on it is able to lie (which we discover in an amusing sequence where both the Doctor and Clara blab embarrassing stuff about themselves while under its influence) - so he can't lie about his name and no-one can falsely claim that they are him. This makes sense, except that the Doctor, while on the planet, lies multiple times to other characters and even admits "I lied".
    • Played for Laughs in "Last Christmas," when Santa keeps giving ridiculous explanations for all the impossible things he does. Of course it's impossible for him to fly around the entire world in one night giving out presents — that's why he has a second sleigh. And obviously reindeer can't fly — that's why he feeds them magic carrots. The elves scoffingly treat the "logical" explanation for how Clara got all those presents that appeared under the tree every Christmas (that her parents bought them) as if it were one of these.
  • The final revelation of Samantha Mulder's fate in The X-Files: In short, she was literally taken up to heaven by angels to become a celestial spirit so that the aliens would not kill her.
  • In a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, Nina didn't come back in the third season of House of Anubis. Part of her reasoning was a revelation that The Chosen One and the Osirian could not be together or bad things will happen. However, fans quickly noticed that if the Osirian, who is the destined protector of the chosen one, cannot be around said chosen one, then there is no point in a protector at all.
  • Late in How I Met Your Mother, Ted and Robin get Barney sufficiently drunk for him to reveal all his secrets, one of which being that he occasionally hides dehydrated doves on his person only to expose them to water when others are near, allowing the doves to fly away and making it look like he created them out of nothing. Of course, dehydrating the doves would have killed them outright, but since the episode establishes that when Barney is this intoxicated, he Cannot Tell a Lie, and since he later reveals an even more personal secret (namely, what his job actually is), which is proven true, the idea that he made that explanation up just to screw with them can be dismissed out of hand. It can only make one wonder... note 
  • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive has this in the very same episode the plothole comes from! When Miratrix takes one of the Poseidon scrolls, Dax just stands there, even though he could do anything to stop her. It is later revealed it was a fake, just in time for the Finishing Move. Except for the fact that he never had any reason to suspect Mira, and acted as if he lost the real thing.
  • First Wave has the prophecies of Nostradamus predicting alien experiments occurring on Earth in preparation for an all-out invasion. So far so good. It is later revealed that Nostradamus wasn't so much predicting the future... he was in fact an alien refugee from a previously conquered world and the invading aliens use the exact same experiments on each world they conquer. This dosen't explain why so many of his prophecies named specific places, people and events in previous episodes. It would be so much simpler if Nostradamus was simply a human who saw the future.
  • While the entire Law & Order franchise uses and abuses Hollywood Law for dramatic purposes, the Mothership episode "Profiteer'' pushed Hollywood Law into this trope: The murder of a CEO led to the discovery that the victim's company knowingly shipped worthless body armor to troops in Afghanistan.note  When Jack McCoy files Criminally Negligent Homicide charges against the company's next-in-command, the Army steps in and tells McCoy to cut a deal, quickly and quietly, to make the case go away. Otherwise, the Army would step in on the defendant's behalf and trash his case. Over McCoy's protests, Arthur Blank orders Jack to make the deal. The problems with this:
    1. By the time the Army showed up, McCoy had already rested his case. As this case wasn't any media restriction, any damaging info that the Army would want to keep quiet would already be in the record.
    2. At that point, there couldn't possibly be anything the Army could offer in the defendant's case that McCoy couldn't rip apart with the simple question of why they waited so long to step in.
    3. And why would the Army wait so long to step in and protect one of its major contractors? Even from a narrative standpoint, it wouldn't be the first time major chunks of an episode would feature McCoy fighting another government branch
    4. This all assumes the judge would even let anyone from the Army testify. In Real Life and in the show's history, judges don't like having last minute major witnesses sprung on them. And any argument for inclusion ran back into the "Why now" problem.
    5. And why would the Army want to continue to do business with a company that just defrauded them and who's faulty product had already cost one life that they about? It's not like there aren't plenty of companies that would leap into the space they vacated (which was the point of shipping the worthless vests: to keep their quota, thus their contract).
  • The final season of Game of Thrones had the Iron Fleet ambush. To wit: Daenerys is flying along on one of her dragons when the other is shot down and killed by a series of ballista shots from off-screen, all while Dany looks around in panicked confusion. It's only after the dragon is dead that she (and the camera) see the culprit - a dozen extremely visible ships directly in front of her. The Voodoo Shark came from David Benioff, one of the showrunners, who explained after the episode that "Dany kind of forgot about the Iron Fleet". Viewers were quick to point that Daenerys had discussed the Iron Fleet in the previous scene, that she was unlikely to forget about them after they'd already ambushed and decimated her forces multiple times, and most importantly, that this didn't actually explain how an entire fleet of ships, with no cover, in broad daylight, had snuck up on her. As a result, "X kind of forgot about Y" became a meme to highlight the perceived drop in the show's writing quality.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: This happens with such frequency in the fluff (as well as numerous ret-cons) that Games Workshop has outright stated that if something sounds contradictory or weird, chalk it up to Imperial Propaganda. This seemingly explains why the Eldar Avatar is suppose to be a literal incarnation of the god of war, but gets its molten ass handed to it on a silver platter every time a major character needs a Worf to Effect.
    • A particular one was an attempt to justify Abaddon, who was widely seen as a General Failure. His motivation is to conquer the Cadian Gate, since attacking it is the only reliable way out of the Eye of Terror, and if he destroyed it, then it means his troops can flow out uninhibited. In early editions, nearly every Black Crusade organized by Abaddon was aimed at the Cadian Gate, which made him look incompetent because he'd taken 10,000 years and he hadn't conquered one planet. It was then revealed that Abaddon's Crusades had other targets, and he's just trying to soften things up and make space unstable before he besieges Cadia as a killing stroke. Except... if Abaddon's found a way out of the Eye that lets him conduct operations on the level of Black Crusades without needing to go through Cadia, then why does Cadia matter at all? Why not aim his Black Crusades anywhere but the most fortified planet in the Imperium? The whole thing required another wave of retcons to explain why Abaddon didn't just go full-steam-ahead to Terra the moment he was out of bounds.
  • Deadlands: In the Hell on Earth setting, modern technology does not function in the Sioux Nations. Alright so far, but then how is Deadwood, the capital of the Sioux nations, a sky-scraping metropolis and a center for Ghost Rock Mining? The answer: the city and the highway connecting it to the rest of the country are lined with totem poles that protect technology spirits from nature spirits and allow tech to function. Where do these totem poles come from? Why don't enterprising people make more of them? It's never explained. A simpler explanation for how Devil's Tower still allows technology to function (there's an active portal to the Hunting Grounds in the middle of it) makes rather more sense.
  • In most editions of Dungeons & Dragons, arcane spellcasters ((i.e wizards and sorcerers and the like)) suffer a chance of their spellcasting not working when wearing armor heavier than cloth - the heavier the armor, the higher the failure chance. Most likely, this is done for game balance reasons, but the in-game explanation is that wearing armor makes it harder to do the gestures for the spells properly. The problem is that divine casters (such as clerics or druids) also require gestures for most of their spells, yet they inexplicably suffer no failure chance from wearing armor. Are cleric spells just less complicated, or something? This is compounded by the creation of several classes and prestige classes that can cast arcane spells while wearing armor without their spells failing, usually to compensate for weaker spellcasting. Generally no explanation is offered for their ability to bypass this restriction. Even the AD&D Second Edition Player's Handbook dedicates a paragraph or two to exploring reasons why Armor and Magic Don't Mix, and admits even the wizards themselves aren't entirely sure.
    • Many Dungeon Masters, and some official sources, attempt to rationalize the game's hitpoint system as being more like "luck", "skill", or just Plot Armor, to avoid invoking Charles Atlas Superpower. While "the fighter dodges that attack but he'll be in trouble if he messes up like that again" might make more sense than "the fighter takes a battleaxe right to the face and basically shrugs it off", it runs into problems when everything else in the game is based on the assumption that hit points represent the character's physical health. It's especially problematic with healing spells, which are now apparently "healing" a character's Plot Armor. Also, a character's hit points protect them just as well when they are submerged in acid, lava, or something else harmful and can't possibly dodge or avoid it.
  • The third-party adventure "World's Largest Dungeon" proudly advertises having every monster in the game, with the Excuse Plot of taking place in a massive underground prison complex built by celestials. Nonetheless, it ends up badly stretching that logic to deliver on its promise, which is nowhere more obvious than with its pseudodragon encounter: a Neutral Good creature that celestials would want to leave alone and that wouldn't make much of a prison guard. The book claims that the pseudodragon ended up there by mistake, as the celestials thought it was a baby red dragon. But while that very mistake is common for novice adventurers (it's basically the reason pseudodragons exist), it makes no sense for someone any more knowledgeable about dragons—among other things, a wyrmling red dragon is about the size of a St. Bernard, while a pseudodragon is a Shoulder-Sized Dragon. This isn't even mentioning that they're intelligent and capable of telepathic speech, so the pseudodragon should be able to point this out and ask to be released, and a simple Detect Evil spell (which nearly any celestial can cast) would verify it was telling the truth. So either the celestials running the dungeon are complete morons, or they're such paranoid jerks that they locked up the dragon anyway.
    • The explanation for the many deadly traps in the dungeon is that they were put there to keep the original prisoners contained. Fair enough—except that the prisoners are demons, devils, and undead, and many of the traps involve the use of poison. All three of these creature types are immune to poison. Furthermore, many regions make use of unbreakable walls of force (in a dungeon where teleport magic doesn't work). Why not dispense with the traps and just put up more walls?
    • A xill wizard character has the motivation that he's taken his army inside the dungeon in the hopes of freeing a pit fiend, who can use its wish-granting ability to help the xill find the location of a Sealed Evil in a Can. But why would a rather powerful wizard looking for a wish invade a notoriously inescapable dungeon, instead of just shelling out the money for a luck blade or a wish scroll? And why would he want to free a pit fiend for his wish, a creature that would be a Jackass Genie at best, assuming it didn't just kill him? The pit fiend isn't even the only thing in the dungeon capable of casting Wish, so why not just bully one of the efreeti into line? It would be much easier to just say he was there to free the Sealed Evil in a Can because it was in the dungeon to begin with.

    Theatre 

    Toys 
  • My Little Pony: The Dream Beauties look like horses, in contrast to the Shetland pony-looking designs of the other toys. Instead of being a separate type of pony, this is handwaved as the Beauties being "teenage ponies". This just makes things confusing. Horses don't age like that and most of the previous characters were already adults.

    Video Games 
  • Silent Hill 2 has a possible ending which was intended as a parody of this trope. Silent Hill 2 is a macabre Survival Horror title featuring a young man who receives a letter from his deceased wife, imploring him to meet her at "their special place", which turns out to be a weird ghost town where all his subconscious fears and guilt manifest. It's in general a Tear Jerker Mind Screw of a game. This ending's explanation of it all: The Dog Was the Mastermind. Literally.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • A rather complicated example regarding the Big Bad Lich King from Wrath of the Lich King. Many fans complained about Arthas being stuck with the Villain Ball in the expansion after the Lich King (which he was now permanently half of) being played up as a Magnificent Bastard in the previous game. In what appears to be an attempt to justify it, Blizzard gave the explanation that Arthas's spirit actually destroyed the spirit of Ner'zhul (the previously sole spirit of the Lich King, who most certainly qualified for Magnificent Bastard status, and Arthas supposedly not so much). However, that caused much more confusion considering previous interviews and scenes stating that Arthas and Ner'zhul were one being (flat out stating that neither persona existed anymore, only one Lich King), and the game itself seemed to contradict it (one quest has the Lich King stating that he used to be a shaman, which would be true for Ner'zhul but not for Arthas).
    • The final boss patch tried to lessen all the Villain Ball moments where he just threatened you then left, or told some mook to kill you, then left, etc. by explaining they were all a part of a I Need You Stronger plot, to get the most powerful warriors in Azeroth to become as strong as possible then have them confront him directly, at which point he would slaughter them and raise them as Uber-Death Knights to be his new unbeatable warriors. This was a Voodoo Shark to some players, since his plan to get "the greatest fighting force the world has ever known" involved letting them kill all his other powerful minions. And while there's the obvious "if they killed them, these guys are obviously better" counter argument, the players did that by facing them one at a time while outnumbering them 10 or 25 to one. Throw 10 players in a room with Kel'Thuzad, Anub'arak, Marrowgar, Deathwhisper, Lana'thel, Rotface, Festergut, Putricide, Saurfang and Sindragosa all at once and see how long they last, because if the players are squished in seconds, it probably wasn't worth letting all the aforementioned people and more die to get them on your side.
      • Whenever the Lich King reanimates someone of importance, they come back strong. Presumably the resurrected players would each be more powerful than the previous raid bosses in addition to being perfectly able to work as a team.
      • It gets even more annoying; the Scourge is powerful enough to wipe out all life on Azeroth. The reason they don't? The Lich King is holding them back. You know, the same Lich King that is trying to kill the player characters and resurrect them as his strongest champions in order to wipe out all life on Azeroth. His fatal flaw was that he wanted to dupe the players into a situation like the one that caused him to become a death knight. Azeroth's destruction was secondary.
      • To justify why we would keep the Lich King around after defeating him, it was revealed that "there must always be a Lich King". The current Lich King was either the first or second (depending on whether Ner'zhul was supposed to have been gone), and had only been around for a a couple of decades. The explanation for why he was suddenly necessary was that without him, his undead Scourge would go wild and ravage the planet. There are several problems with this. Firstly, that the armies of the world fought long and hard to the Lich King's very doorstep in order to slay him. In other words, there shouldn't be that many minions left out in the world, relatively speaking. Second, that it implies that despite the Lich King being portrayed as a Magnificent Bastard who wanted to take over the world, all of his plans were less effective than just letting his minions run rampant. Finally, and most contradictory, is that we had already seen what it was like when the Lich King was losing his power. The final arc of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne was that the Frozen Throne was damaged and the Lich King would die if Arthas couldn't arrive in time to merge with him. The Lich King dying this way didn't cause the Scourge to run rampant, it gave them back their minds, creating the Forsaken. The new explanation now begs the question as to how the Forsaken are even supposed to exist, and considering that they're a popular playable race, it's not a small question.
    • During Cataclysm, some quests would have the Forsaken resurrect people they just killed, with those people seemingly eager to serve Sylvanas and kill their former comrades. This raised several issues that can be summed up as "Why are they attacking their former friends?" and "Why are they so eager to serve those who just killed them?" meaning accusations of mind control went rampant, and seemingly completely discredited the Forsaken's Dark Is Not Evil theme. Blizzard's attempt to answer both of those questions ("They attack their former friends because when being resurrected, they suffer a state of frenzy that makes them lashes out and attack those nearby" and "there is no mind-control, but undeath affect emotions, and they realize they're safer serving Sylvanas, plus they're free to leave if they want") didn't help much, since it still left "Why wouldn't they attack those who raised them then?" and "Why the hell would they willingly serve someone who just made them kill their former comrades by taking advantage of their trauma of being raised?" as burning questions.
    • A controversial one came about near the end of Warlords of Draenor. Word of God explained that the Archimonde we fight at the end of the expansion is the same one we killed in Warcraft III. To explain how he's back, and why he's in an alternate timeline, we were given the explanation that demon souls regenerate in their home plane and transcend all realities. This immediately led to a huge ton of questions about how pretty much any past encounter with the demons made sense. For one, if the same demons have to move between all timelines, that implies that they go through every timeline in order to repeat their actions exactly in any timeline where those actions were not a Point of Divergence. For another, many demons, Archimonde included, were not born as such, and were corrupted, so what happens to all of the other Archimondes in any number of infinite timelines who also get corrupted into demons? Also, while this was seemingly meant to make the Legion feel like more of an insurmountable threat, it only made it seem like we'd done a good job forcing them to respawn in just a single timeline, let alone all the others out there that could theoretically become our allies. It should be noted that neither of these things have been referenced much in game (and sometimes they're seemingly contradicted, like Velen being forced to kill his demon-corrupted son being seen as a tragic end, instead of just a matter of time before he'll respawn and get another chance at redemption).
  • In Zombie Driver, The Mayor pops up early in the story to tell you that he'll pay you for killing the zombies that are destroying his city. The game neglects to mention who's giving you money when you destroy the city as well.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Possibly intentional in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which was partly a Writer Revolt against fan desire to explain Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's deliberately inexplicable events:
      • Vamp's immortality was ascribed to Nanomachines, although Naomi specifically mentions that they only work because he already has a supernatural and unexplainable regenerative ability, as if to annoy as many people as possible.
      • Liquid's supernatural possession of Ocelot is explained as Ocelot having used a combination of nanomachines and psychotherapy to convince himself he's actually Liquid. However, it's explained that Ocelot actually did this after the initial possessions we see in 2, which are apparently supernatural in nature.
    • Metal Gear Ac!d does a partial Doing In the Wizard by explaining Alice's 'remote viewing' Psychic Powers as the result of her personal familiarity with the facility (and her direct involvement in the Howard Burton murder case she solved in the backstory). However, she also has psychic powers anyway as she believed herself to be possessed by the spirit of a child she murdered.
  • Metroid:
    • In the first Metroid Prime, the Space Pirates find the titular Metroid Prime in the Impact Crater, take it to their labs for experiments, and then it escapes back to the Impact Crater in time for the final boss showdown. But this seems to ignore that the Chozo had sealed Metroid Prime in the Impact Crater with twelve Plot Coupons and that the Pirates shouldn't have been able to actually reach it without them. The Chozo Lore does state that the seal may not hold for long, but then why does Samus need the Plot Coupons to get in if the seal's already broken? In the EU and Trilogy re-releases of the game, the Pirate Logs are all retconned into things like "we've detected something huge at the center of the Impact Crater, but we can't get to it because of the seal." But Metroid Prime still has all the weapons and barriers it absorbed from the Pirates, now with no possible explanation because it was stuck in the Impact Crater. Its Enemy Scan even states that it has a host of natural and mechanical weapons, regardless of the version. It doesn't state the mechanical weapons are Space Pirate, but how it could have acquired them is still left unexplained.
    • Metroid: Other M attempted to justify the lack of Samus's arsenal with the "authorization system"; to wit, she still had all her powerups from the previous games but was only permitted to aid the military investigation so long as she only used her weapons when authorized by the commander. While this does make sense for the Power Suit's stronger weapons (the Power Bombs are said to be capable of vaporizing a person on the other side of a wall; the mission is ostensibly a search-and-rescue), it falls flat on its face for defense and mobility-based upgrades, which have no potential to be detrimental towards the mission. Even worse, Adam frequently refuses to authorize upgrades that would greatly simplify the current task that he has assigned Samus. The two worst examples occur when Samus is chasing down the lizard monster: Samus has to travel through the Pyrosphere, which damages her just by being there, but Adam waits until she confronts an enormous lava monster to authorize the Varia Suit, which protects her from the heat; once she resumes her hunt, she finds that the only way forward is a Grapple Point, and yet Adam opts not to authorize the Grapple Beam and send Samus elsewhere to check for survivors instead, seemingly under the impression that the path was simply impassible. To cap it off, Samus still starts out with far less health and missile ammo than in the last game and has to collect more by finding upgrades around the station, so it doesn't even justify the Bag of Spilling.
    • Other M also features, as a major plot point, the idea that the Federation has been engineering unfreezable Metroids. Except the game features many other Metroids that are fully freezable. It attempts to justify them as "control groups" or "too young", but it ends up casting major doubts on the idea, especially since we never actually see an unfreezable Metroid and Adam acknowledges he doesn't know if the idea is true. The only evidence is a corpse apparently left by a Metroid in a cold area. Not to mention the idea that Metroids are completely invincible when not frozen is a Retcon (they can be killed by other means in most of the games) and even contradicts the ending of Super Metroid (and by extension, Other M's opening cinematic), where a powerful Metroid was killed by Mother Brain without using ice of any kind. It ends up making Adam's fate look like something of a Stupid Sacrifice.
    • On a similar note, Other M indicates that the method by which Metroids become Queen Metroids is genetic, and that some Metroids (including the baby) are just meant to grow into Queens. Except every Metroid in that particular game had its genes derived from the baby. Why aren't they all Queens?
  • In Psychonauts, Raz's multiple lives in mental realms are justified with Raz having multiple layers of astral projection that weaken his link to the mental world, and if he runs out of lives, he gets ejected. Health drops are also explained as Raz collecting mental health from the realm. However, this raises a lot of questions when Raz has the same mechanics for mental health and extra lives in reality.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow claims that the castle the game takes place in is an exact replica of the Trope Namer for Chaos Architecture for the purpose of avoiding an Artifact Title (the game doesn't take place in Dracula's Castle, AKA Castlevania), which would merely be trivia otherwise.
  • The creators have kept schtum on the real reason but one of the many supposed ones as to why Adolf Hitler was censored in the PSP port of Persona 2: Innocent Sin was because, apparently, the Japanese video game rating system now "prevents people with a real background from appearing in fictional media". Which only raises questions as to why other games featuring historical figures like Frederick Chopin and countless Chinese heroes are O-Okay. Realistically, it probably had more to do with the fear of offending international players. By giving Hitler a pair of sunglasses and calling him "the Fuhrer". Yeah.
  • In Superman 64, the horrific draw distance is explained by "Kryptonite fog". However, this raises the question of how Superman is able to breathe, let alone fly. This might qualify as a double Voodoo Shark as it was already established that Superman is trapped in Luthor's virtual reality simulator. There was one comic where Kryptonite was released into the atmosphere and Earth itself was uninhabitable by Kryptonians (it was solved by self-replicating nanites, don't worry), and the level of Kryptonite in the atmosphere was at lethal levels for Kryptonians... and yet, you could still see through the atmosphere fine. Perhaps slightly green-tinged, but still fine. If Kryptonite fog was thick enough to not see through, Superman wouldn't just have trouble flying, there is a serious question of how he would be able to survive that much Kryptonite radiation, even from orbit.
  • Parodied in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. Swindle at one point asks why the Autobots' transport didn't just fly from the start if it can fly faster than it can be driven. Onslaught meekly says that it probably takes a lot of energon to fly it. When Swindle starts pointing out the problems with this theory, Onslaught basically tells him to shut up.
  • Master Chief's armor in Halo 4 looks very different from his armor in Halo 3, even though he has been stuck on a drifting starship for years. The canon explanation is that his AI Cortana repaired it with nanomachines, but despite completely altering its appearance the breastplate still has a gash received in Halo 3.
    • In the first cutscene, Spartans are shown fighting in Chief's upgraded armor, not the weaker variants they wore in that time. It's implied that Halsey is imagining that scene, but she's never even seen Master Chief's new armor and has shown distaste for personalized variants. Later, Word of God stated that Chief's new duds were actually made to look like an older Halsey-designed model.
  • The final DLC for Aliens: Colonial Marines, Stasis Interrupted, attempted to explain away Corporal Dwayne Hicks' survival after the events of the second film (after it was originally suggested in the base game that he was kidnapped by Weyland-Yutani soldiers and replaced with a body double in his cryotube). However, the attempt to do so created more questions than answers:
    • Hicks himself is not wearing the same clothing he wore at the end of the film (wrapped up in bandages with shorts on), and has a green shirt on while in cryosleep, while the individual who "replaces" him (Turk) is wearing bandages in the exact same places. Moreover, Turk only ends up in the cryotube when a W-Y soldier stuns him, throws him in the cryotube and activates it. It becomes a Contrived Coincidence that Turk just happens to be impaled by a safety beam when the EEV crashes, thus rendering his face unidentifiable, even though Hicks' dog tags are seen in the third film during the morgue scene.
    • While the facehugger was off of Ripley by the time she descended into the EEV in the third film, in the DLC, the facehugger is still on her as the cryopod ejects, making it highly suspicious as to why the Fury 161 prisoners never discovered it when they rescued her from her cryopod after it crashed.
    • During the firefight in the cryopod chamber, an errant round of gunfire grazes the Facehugger attached to Ripley and causes the electrical fire which eventually results in the pods being evacuated. This is despite the acid blood not being anywhere inside the pod when Ripley examines it in the film, nor corroborates with the broken (but not burnt) glass on her cryotube and the acid stain on its side.
    • Even though Weyland-Yutani infiltrated the Sulaco a short while after cleaning out the Sephora, it still takes them another two days to locate and find Ripley on Fury 161, even though they were operating in the same area and they only responded (in the film) when Ripley told them about the xenomorph specimen they had contained. Furthermore, Hicks and Stone are present just before Ripley jumps into the molten lead, and make no attempt to yell at or stop her, nor is Michael Weyland injured from Aaron's attack like he was in the film.
  • Mega Man X6 establishes that Zero didn't die at the end of X5, he "Hid myself to repair myself." Okay, the series uses a million Shōnen tropes so He's Just Hiding! and X Never Found the Body. Waaaaaaait a sec, that didn't stop X back in X2 from finding and reviving Zero. Aaaaaaaand, X was mortally wounded from the same attack at the end of X5 and he recovered! Oh wait, X's creator, Big Good Dr. Light, was able to repair him. Despite being long dead by that point. X6 also established that somehow, Dr. Light repaired Zero too. Wait, X and Zero are both Black Boxes that are notoriously hard to analyze, let alone repair. And Zero is the Anti Anti Christ created by the Greater-Scope Villain that Dr. Light should have no idea about. Wait, is Dr. Light a prerecorded message or some kind of Energy Being who learned how to analyze and repair Zero? Oh, my head hurts now.
  • The Japanese version of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn had one so bad the English localization re-wrote it entirely. Ike encounters the Black Knight and wonders how he survived the previous game despite Ike defeating him in a duel and a castle collapsing on top of him. In the Japanese version, the Black Knight explains that... his Warp Powder malfunctioned and teleported his soul and armor to the castle Ike fought him at, but not his body. This raises far too many questions: why has Warp magic never done that before, or since, in the series? What happened to the soulless body he left behind? How did the Black Knight's soul re-unite with his body? Who recovered his armor from the ruins? Why was the Black Knight completely unfazed by this and cared more about his duel with Ike than fixing a Teleporter Accident that could leave him body-less? The English localization changes this to the Black Knight letting Ike win the duel due to discovering something about Ike's father through dialogue that always existed. Presumably, he escaped the collapsing castle due to being at full strength and prepared for it.
  • In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Luigi uses E. Gadd's teleport system called The Pixelator to go from his bunker to each level, and regardless of where Luigi's at, he can always be pixelated back at the level's end. At some points, the game features Escort Missions where you need to rescue E. Gadd's Toad employees from paintings so they can be pixelated back as well. However, you still need to escort them to specific points so they can be pixelated out, a problem Luigi doesn't have to deal with. E. Gadd tries to justify it by saying he can't pixelate two characters at the same time, and you need to escort the Toad to his own Pixelator Screen before Luigi can get teleported out, and this is a Voodoo Shark in two ways. First, at no point is it explained why E. Gadd can't simply pixelate them one at a time. Second, the final escort mission has you rescuing two Toads, and they use their Pixelator Screen at the same time.
  • In Grandia III, one of the main characters is a "Communicator", a person who can speak to powerful beings called "Guardians". Since Communicators are extremely rare, the protectors of the Guardian "Drak" don't believe you actually have one and turn you away, saying that while they can't talk to Drak they can at least protect him. Ten seconds later, they let you through when Drak tells them to let you pass! So why did they say they can't talk to Drak, and if they can, why do they need a Communicator? Not to mention the fact that Drak apparently knows who you are and why you're here, when your whole reason for coming was to bring him a message that he apparently already knows by being a Guardian.
  • The Professor Layton games zig-zag this. In some games the explanation for all the weird things going on requires some thought to make sense, sometimes it works in context of the series logic and other times it is straight up ridiculous.
    • Professor Layton and the Curious Village has the reveal the entire village is populated by robots and the place is a Secret Test of Character to see who is worthy of taking care of the founder's daughter and claiming his fortune. Why a simpler solution was not used or how these robots could be so realistic is never addressed but considering the plots of the next two games, it is logical at least.
    • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, there is seemingly an eternally young vampire living in town. In actuality, he's not a vampire — it's just that hallucinogenic gas leaking from the nearby mine has caused a shared hallucination everyone in town is having that he's a youthful vampire, and that the town is unchanged from many years ago, despite the residents aging but not realizing it. So how is it possible for no one to notice they are aging while the town crumbles around them? If the residents are hallucinations as well, how can everyone have conversations with them? How can everyone have the exact same hallucinations? Finally there is the matter of the titular diabolical box. The box is rumoured to kill anyone who opens it. The reason is the hallucinogenic gas is embedded in the structure of the box and it kills anyone who opens the box believing the rumors while those who don't believe survive. How the gas is capable of doing that is anyone's guess.
    • In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, Layton appears to travel in time to London's future. In actuality, he's traveling by elevator to an exact copy of London built in a giant sinkhole and cavern directly underneath the real London, which has been built and populated in secret without anyone ever realizing it. So how does no one in future London notice they are underground (if you look closely there are hints the sky is permanently foggy or full of industrialised smoke so it is possible this is obscuring everything), are all the residents of Future London in on the act and if not how is that possible? Then there is how a second city could exist under London without anyone noticing. Oh, and the ending implies time travel really is possible.
    • Professor Layton and the Last Specter is fairly logical if thought about. The Spectre is the result of a giant machine the Big Bad is using to destroy the town and a prehistoric sea creature battling. The fog used to hide the machine's appearance means the two end up looking like one creature.
    • In Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, every strange thing happening is the result of stage magic and Lost Technology respectively.
    • In Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney it is eventually discovered that all of the magic witnessed in the town of Labyrinthia was faked by a corporation as a part of a scientific experiment. Everyone in town had been living under hypnosis thanks to a substance that made them extremely susceptible to suggestion that they were constantly exposed to. One of the effects of the hypnosis was that residents could not see material of a certain color, thus allowing the operators to make themselves and their equipment "invisible." Furthermore, a contamination in the local groundwater meant that anyone in town who heard the ringing of a silver bell would instantly pass out, making it possible to set up complicated illusions "instantly" because any witnesses would not notice the missing set-up time. Fair enough. The problem is that magic is also used outside of Labyrinthia on people who had not been hypnotized and were immune to the bells in locations that the company could not possibly have foreseen magic would be necessary, including Professor Layton's own office. One particular example is from the opening cutscene: A statue in a public park in the middle of London is brought to life and appears to punch a speeding car into a tree. What really happened? The statue was actually a robot that the company coincidentally had donated to the park, and it literally punched the car into the tree. The reveal also completely overturns an earlier case in which the culprit used a spell to create a magic portal through a wall. The best explanation given is that the company literally cut a hole in the wall and patched it up without anyone being able to tell afterwards.
    • Parodied heavily in this video, where Layton explains that a slightly oversized dog is in fact a detailed simulation created by holograms from a satellite, shared hallucinations, dozens of paid actors, and Descole dressing up as the dog, all in the name of a man trying to impress his neighbor. The idea that it's just a regular dog is immediately dismissed.
  • In Sir Basil Pike Public School, the game only spans three days. Word of God is that it's the last week of school, but this doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a few reasons:
    • A Big Game subplot is introduced (and poorly resolved just as quickly). School sports seasons typically end a few weeks before the last week.
    • No one alludes to it being the last week of school, which would obviously be a pretty big deal for schoolchildren and warrant at least one mention.
    • Both Ted and Ms. Pruet teach their classes. During the last week or two of school, teachers typically allow students to use the classes as extended study halls. Additionally, Ms. Pruet gives an assignment to Tammy and Tariq on what is supposed to be the last day of school.
  • In Heavy Rain there's a Voodoo Shark that was created when they removed another Voodoo Shark. Ethan Mars has unexplained blackouts and tells his psychiatrist about dreams that very strongly imply he is the Origami Killer. In the original script, Ethan had a psychic link with the actual killer, resulting in the dreams and blackouts. This explanation for the dreams and blackouts was a Voodoo Shark all on its own; after it was removed, the dreams and blackouts which now had no reason became their own Voodoo Shark.
  • The switch in ammo mechanics between Mass Effect games. In the first game, there wasn't one: ammunition was a block of metal, from which sandgrain-sized pieces were torn off and magnetically accelerated. Instead, there was an overheat mechanic. In Mass Effect 2, however, this system was replaced by disposable heatsinks that function the same way ammunition does in every other shooter. It's explained away by it being the system the geth used, and being superior to the previous method of disposing heat, allowing More Dakka to overwhelm shields. The Voodoo Shark moment comes when you realize that this new ammo system, which it should be noted was reverse-engineered from a hostile life-form that doesn't trade or interact with the rest of the galaxy if they can help it, has completely replaced the old system all over the galaxy in two years. Apparently the entirety of galactic weapons manufacturing output was redirected to the new system, all the old guns were destroyed, and nobody seems to sell the old weapons any more despite the obvious logistics advantage to the old system. This also appears to have been applied retroactively through time too, since somehow the weapons found on derelict ships and uninhabited worlds that have lain untouched for as much as ten years use a new heat sink system only developed two years previously. (Although you can find a retrofitted M-7 Lancer that still uses the cooldown system in the Citadel DLC for 3, which just raises further questions.) In fact, when Shep wakes up in ME2, s/he can somehow instantly tell that a pistol lacks a thermal clip. A conversation with Shepard fanboy Conrad in 3 lampshades the hell out of this change, where he makes many of the above criticisms and Shepard doesn't actually have any answers to them.
  • Then there is the Extended Cut of Mass Effect 3. With the release of this DLC, the writers attempted to solve the plot hole regarding Commander Shepard's squad that s/he took on the Conduit Run. The squadmates somehow got onto the Normandy in the minutes between Shepard being nearly incinerated by Harbinger's beam and the ship fleeing from the Sol System as the Mass Relays transmit Shepard's choice of signal. How did they solve that? In the scene where Harbinger uses his lasers to quickly take out ground forces like it is Omaha Beach, the squad members get injured. What follows raises more questions than it answers.
    • Shepard calls the Normandy to pick the injured teammates up. The ship arrives the surface in 5 real-time seconds, seemingly ignoring the raging space battle above and the fleet of Reapers it had to get through just to make it into the atmosphere.
    • Harbinger seemingly forgets to just destroy the ship for the two or so minutes it's hovering near the Conduit. This is despite it being (a) a massive target, (b) the primary source of additional Alliance troops who are now pouring out of the back, and (c) the Alliance's flagship. Additionally, due to the way the camera is oriented, it appears as though Harbinger simply stares as the Normandy lifts off in front of it and flies off.
    • Overall, the sequence blatantly contradicts the whole reason why the ground assault was even staged in the first place; namely, that it was far too dangerous for any craft larger than a shuttle to get that close to the frontlines. Unless Harbinger was too busy killing anyone getting close to focus on one ship that wasn't even attacking.
      • It's especially glaring because the finale of the first game hinged on Joker being able to drop the Mako with pinpoint accuracy when he had a lot less room to work with.
  • Each Rune Factory game has a character explain early on that you're not killing the monsters you fight, but sending them back to the Forest of Beginnings where they came from. This is credited to a magic spell on your weapons called "Retornen" (or "Tamitaya" in 4). Problems:
    • This enchantment is, supposedly, applied individually to every weapon, tool, and spell you own. While the ones you buy are easily explained, it's a little harder to believe for the ones you find lying in chests or dropped by monsters. And it's completely inexplicable when Item Crafting — in every game, you're an Amnesiac Hero, so the only way you'd know how to cast Retornen yourself is if you learned it onscreen, which you never do.
    • You can tame monsters and have them fight by your side. There's no reason to believe these monsters have Retornen, and no other explanation is offered for why their attacks send monsters home instead of killing them.
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Big Bad Lazarevic is looking for the next Plot Coupon in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Because he doesn't know the precise location, he essentially invades the place and turns it into a war zone. There's a brief line about how the Nepali army can't do anything because he riled up the local guerrillas. However, this doesn't explain why the entire Nepali army is occupied, nor why they think fighting guerrillas is more important than stopping a war criminal with an army of mercenaries from literally demolishing their capital and all of its temples. At a bit of a stretch, the damage Lazarevic inflicts to Kathmandu is so severe that it's not inconceivable that the army and guerrillas would temporarily put aside their differences just to drive him out.
  • A pretty infamous one happens in the Chrono Trigger universe. In Chrono Trigger the "nation" of Porre mostly consists of a humble town with an inn, a port, and a selfish mayor that you can turn into a generous one due to judicious use of time travel, but is otherwise fairly unremarkable. In Chrono Cross, suddenly Porre is a giant military nation that pretty much took over, sacked, and burned much of the rest of the world, or at least the kingdom of Guardia, a mere five years after the present era of Chrono Trigger (which is revealed in the epilogue from the PS1 port). This despite the fact that Guardia actually had a standing army, not to mention it was likely under the protection of Crono, Lucca, and Marle, who had previously single-handedly defeated Magus' army, not to mention several other armies from the past and future, including a giant space hedgehog responsible for creating and then destroying humanity as they knew it. So what's the official explanation of Porre's sudden inexplicable rise to power, according to canon? The DS release of Chrono Trigger had Dalton (the comic-relief villain from 12,000 BC whose only real technology was stolen from Belthasar and who ends up being so incompetent that he defeats himself in the final battle against him) somehow end up in the present, whereupon he used magic or something to build an army out of a tiny little town and take over the world, apparently subduing at least some of the party from the original game (you know, the party that had already defeated him several times by that point). This also has the side effect of making Dalton into possibly the biggest Karma Houdini in game history, as he's not even mentioned in Cross, much less defeated.
    • A character named Guile appears in Chrono Cross that was clearly at one point supposed to be Magus (they look almost identical save for a mask that Guile wears, they're both shadow (or black-elemental) magic users, they both have the same running animation), but that plot thread was cut for space, leaving Guile as a separate person who just happened to be similar to Magus without having any actual connection to him. Then the DS port of Chrono Trigger comes along, which implies that Guile actually is Magus, just a Magus from an alternate dimension that suffered amnesia after not being able to defeat the "Dream Devourer" and getting dumped in the present era somehow. Not only is this an incredibly convoluted explanation, it makes the whole "Magus is Guile" thing basically pointless.
  • Ace Attorney featured psyche-locks - red locks over a person's heart that are a visual representation of how much a person is willing to hide a secret, only visible to one who holds an explicitly magical charm. Fair enough. In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, one person had black psyche-locks over them, which could not be removed at all and no explanation was given as to what the hell was up with them. The next installment gave an explanation - the black psyche-locks hide a traumatic secret that the person is repressing - in other words, not even they know the secret and it's potentially psychologically damaging to interrogate them about it. But the secret hidden by the black psyche-locks in Apollo Justice was a motive for murder, and it was something the person spilled the beans about in court after a little prodding (albeit possibly losing his mind as a result). The question of how exactly that was worthy of black psyche-locks has bothered the fandom ever since, and has resulted in countless amounts of Wild Mass Guessing.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there is significant Time Travel, right up until the ending. Many fans deduced that Ocarina, canonically the earliest game at the time, finishes by creating two divergent timelines. Then, speculation raged as to which games - before and since - belonged to the "Adult" and "Child" timelines, hinging on how Link defeated the evil Ganondorf, and what became of the hero afterwards. While there were several games that unquestionably belonged to the described timelines, there were several games, such as the first Zelda game, and A Link to the Past, that left fans scratching their heads when it came to timeline placement. Finally, the Hyrule Historia came out, to much anticipation, hoped for as the final word to quell these debates once and for all. So imagine the confusion when Historia said that, in fact, Ocarina ends with three divergent timelines - "Adult," "Child," and a timeline where Link actually failed, and this timeline was where all the games that didn't have an obvious timeline placement were put. This confused fans greatly, because since when are Link's failures taken seriously in-universe, instead of just being a "Game Over" screen? Fans are also confused on how the Bad Future games are even canon (instead of being What If? games) if they're the result of Link dying. And if Link died in Ocarina and that created another timeline, then why isn't there a timeline split for every game where Link could have died? (It can't just be "because time travel"; multiple other games, including the Oracle games and Majora's Mask, have involved time travel.) And if there does exist an alternate timeline for every game, then what happened in those dozens of other timelines?
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Faron the Water Dragon floods Faron Woods just in time for you to get her piece of the Song of the Hero. Her explanation for all of this? She was trying to drown all the monsters in the area, and she can't just give you the piece, so she tests you by having you collect tadtones. This explanation not only fails to point out that you saved her life, but at no other point is Faron Woods ever stated to be overflowing with monsters.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, the Minish speak a different language than the humans, which naturally causes Link some trouble when he visits their village. Festari, a resident of the village who does speak human language, points Link to an item called the Jabber Nut, which lets Link understand the Minish language. As a side-effect, it apparently lets him talk to animals. However, this opens up a couple plot holes. First, Link's talking hat Ezlo admits that he's not very familiar with the village's dialect and thus doesn't understand most of what they say, but after Link eats the Jabber Nut, Ezlo understands everything perfectly as well, despite the game never hinting that Ezlo ate any of it. Second, Link can only understand animals while he's small; when he's full-sized, it all sounds like regular animal noises. The game never bothers to explain either issue.
    • Link: The Faces of Evil attempts to Hand Wave why Link only has his sword to start with in an offhand line of "There is no time; your sword is enough!" As it turns out, both these things are completely wrong; your starting sword isn't nearly enough to handle the game's challenges, and you've got the entire game's duration to spend looking for items to make up for this. Apparently, Link has time to fight his way through poorly-designed cave levels to find fetchquest items, but not the five minutes it would take for him to go to the armory and pick up his equipment before leaving.
    • The official timeline has the Oracle games as taking place with the same Link as in A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening. Link looking younger than before can be explained as an art-style change, but this doesn't explain why Zelda has a completely different design than before and why she doesn't recognize Link.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, the Yoshis Mario can ride will dissolve if submerged in water. This is done for gameplay reasons to provide a challenge in which you ride Yoshi through a series of platforms situated above water, and having to start over if you fall into it. The manual tries to justify this by explaining that the Yoshis on Delfino Isle are a different breed. This explanation raises the question: why would the Yoshis on a tropical island evolve to become deathly allergic to the water surrounding them, when traditional Yoshis are fine with it? The claim was revisited in 2015's Encyclopedia Super Mario Bros., which explains that the Yoshis in Sunshine are not indigenous to Isle Delfino, but rather, were created from Bowser Jr's paintbrush along with most of the enemies in the game (and indeed, being harmed by water is their common link). The guide does not explain why the Yoshis are the only one of Bowser Jr's creations to not be hostile to the player, however.
  • In several missions of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Jim Raynor and his raiders have to steal important artifacts from a group of protoss called the Tal'Darim. Even though they were crazy fanatics, Jim still came out as the bad guy here because he was the aggressor who attacked people who were minding their own business to steal their religious relics. So in the sequel StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, it was revealed that the Tal'Darim were actually working for Big Bad Amon, which made it okay to attack them. However, because Jim had been (unknowingly) stealing the artifacts for Amon's Dragon Emil Narud, it now meant that the Big Bad's minions were paying Raynor to steal from themselves. It was thankfully rectified in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, which clarified that the Tal'Darim in Wings of Liberty had gone rogue and didn't answer directly to Amon anymore. Except that this in turn raises the question of why wouldn't the loyalist Tal'Darim, who are a msjor galactic power in their own right, simply wipe out their renegade bretheren and retreive the artifacts. It's not like finding them was an issue, since Narud points you at every last one. It would make sense if he wanted to avoid Tal'Darim casualties when a convinient patsy was available, but as it happens, he couldn't have possibly cared less, and Tal'Darim themselves were fanatics who would've eagerly thrown themselves at either the renegades or the Queen of Blades for their god.
  • Star Trek Online had the Iconian War ending with one of the Iconians along with her personal forces still at large and intending to continue to fight, with Word of God indicating this was done to explain the Iconian War PVE queues still being up despite the war being over. The problems: 1) This was not the first arc to end with the threat you were fighting in a queue ceasing to be a threat. Prior it had been easy to keep up suspension of disbelief as the queues remaining up being simply a gameplay element, but with Cryptic having provided a story explanation for some of them (that could only apply to those specific ones)... 2) The Iconian queues still can't happen after the Iconian War, because they either outright make reference to it being ongoing or their premise (such as an invasion of Qo'noS) contradicting the premise of the next arc (peace and switching focus to exploration).
  • The scenario writer for Shin Super Robot Wars came up with the infamous "Master Asia is an alien" idea after watching Mobile Fighter G Gundam and thinking "No way a human can do all that!" Completely glossing over how pretty much every Gundam Fighter in G is capable of super human feats, most notably Domon himself, yet he's not revealed to be a non-human.
  • The HD remake of Ducktales justifies Scrooge and his companions' ability to breathe on the Moon as the result of Fenton's "Oxychew Taffy" invention. This fails to explain how the Beagle Boys are also capable of breathing on the Moon.
  • A minor case in Far Cry 2, which, in an attempt to justify the Universal Ammunition system (wherein, for instance, you can get ammo for your primary assault rifle by walking over any other assault rifle dropped by an enemy), went out of its way to include a weapon based on the obscure and rare 7.62x51mm AR-16 rather than a regular 5.56x45mm M16, so that it would make perfect sense for you to get ammo for it from G3s and FALs that fire the same ammo in reality. The problem here is that the by far most common weapon of its class, the AK, fires an entirely different 7.62mm round than any of the other three. Not to mention as well it was inconsistent with most of the other weapon types, where the question was entirely ignored (the .45 ACP Star Model P, 9x18mm Makarovs, and .50 AE Desert Eagle all share ammo, not to mention how picking up a small can of gasoline gives you flares for the flare gun) or averted where it shouldn't have been due to game mechanics (the "Craftsman Shotgun" from the DLC, being in the sidearm slot, doesn't share ammo with any of the primary shotguns, despite them all using the same 12-gauge shells).
  • Asheron's Call attempted to make an in-universe explanation for why monsters respawn: They are actually teleporting in through portals that Asheron's spell (the titular "call") opened on their respective homeworlds. While this might make sense for Mooks and random animals, it falls completely flat in explaining why named/unique NP Cs respawn (unless we are meant to assume they have an endless supply of expendable clones they keep sending through when they die for some reason). Later they said that unique npcs actually respawned due to lifestones (In game devices used to set your respawn point), while this might make sense for intelligent creatures, it still doesn't explain how unique animals and the like can respawn, not to mention the obvious problem that in most cases theres clearly no lifestone nearby. Really, this is one of those game mechanics that should have just gone unexplained.
    • Another one from the same game: The gameplay only takes place on the island of Dereth, which, while big for a game world, is still only about as big as Ibiza, while the whole planet Auberean was about the size of Earth. The whole reason players are confined to Dereth? When the Olthoi (a race of killer insectile creatures that the Empyreans summoned by mistake, resulting in them leaving and Asheron sending out his call) invaded, most of the world was infested with a magic nullifying breed of Olthoi, making it basically uninhabitable. The Voodoo Shark comes in when you realize there's absolutely no in-game explanation for why Dereth is apparently the one place on the planet the anti-magic olthoi can't go, not even some throw-away line about how some kind of magic protects the island.
  • In Doom 2, the revenant enemy is described in the manual as being created from a demon who was brought back as an undead of some sort. The problem is if that's the case, why don't they look like undead versions of demons (none of whom bar the rather uncommon arch-vile are completely humanoid) instead of all looking like humanoid skeletons with shoulder-mounted rocket launchers? You could say they're actually reanimated zombies, but this just makes the problem worse, as the zombies (with the exception of the chaingunner) are basically The Goomba, whereas the revenant is relatively powerful (they have 300 hp, enough to survive a rocket or super-shotgun blast) and it doesn't explain how they got the rocket launchers. Not to mention the question of how you could raise a zombie again.
  • Word of God's explanation for why humans appear in some Sonic the Hedgehog games and not others is that the cast can freely jump between a World of Funny Animals and a human world. Not only is such a thing never hinted at in the games note , it flat-out contradicts multiple games and characters' backstories note . Some of the most notable examples being: Sonic Adventure (Angel Island and the ruins of an echidna temple are a short train ride away from a human populated city), Sonic Adventure 2 (Shadow was created by human scientists decades before Sonic was born, Rouge is a spy for the human military organization GUN who's high ranking enough to be in direct contact with the President of the United Federation, and Professor Gerald based the core of the ARK on the Master Emerald's shrine), Sonic Battle (Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Rouge live in or around Central City, the capital of the United Federation), Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (Silver lives in the Bad Future of the human populated Soleanna), and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (GUN is stated to be investigating rampaging security robots, which are controlled by a master computer near the ancestral home of the avian Babylon Rogues). Making matters worse there wasn't technically a Plot Hole which needed fixing. Some fans were upset by Sonic Adventure's introduction of human NPCs (other than Eggman) into what they had imagined to be a World of Funny Animals (and Eggman), or at least wanted to see some more Funny Animal NPCs mixed in, but Fanon had long since Handwaved their absence with the more palatable explanation that humans and Funny Animals communities are geographically isolated and Funny Animals living alongside humans (and vice-versa) are a minority.

    Webcomics 
  • Parodied in Dresden Codak: "I bet it's like when you find out Santa isn't real, and it was really just Bigfoot giving you presents."
  • Frequently parodied in Darths & Droids when the players point out some of the insane lapses in logic in the Star Wars universe, particularly the GM's explanations for how Coruscant can be a planet-wide city... jokes recycled from the same author's Irregular Webcomic!, where it was eventually lampshaded with a cutaway to a pirate captain:
    Captain: Arr! Take that, you scurvy equine!
    First Mate: But captain, that horse be dead!
  • In the NSFW Mega Man gender-bender comic Rock Gal:
    • One of the villains explains to her lady friend (as they're torturing the title character) that if a female robot's breasts are smacked too hard, they lose energy in a manner similar to human lactation. All this does is raise the question of why the hell anyone would deliberately design a robot to lose energy. (In this case, "to prevent an overload" doesn't cut it)
    • Later Handwaved a second time by implying that everyone who builds these robots are massive perverts (as if that weren't obvious enough). Still doesn't explain why such a massive flaw would be included in the design.
  • MS Paint Masterpieces has one robot ask another why they have incredibly obvious power gems that just draw enemy fire, to which the second robot replies (after getting shot multiple times in said gem, to no effect) that it just looks cool.
  • Played for Laughs in Adventurers!, where Webrunner proposes a ludicrously implausible explanation for why Inexplicable Treasure Chests are lying around everywhere.
    "Why dance through caves you ask? Well, that's what tiny robot pirates do."

    Web Original 
  • Lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, when the supposed ghost of Kaiba turns into a... gay clown, or something:
    Gay Clown: Actually, I'm not a clown. I'm Seto Kaiba's evil side brought back from the Shadow Realm by Pegasus
    Yami: That's even less believable than the whole ghost story! You don't even know what you are, do you?
    Gay Clown: No...
    Yami: Didn't think so. MIND CRUSH!
    • This is meant to poke fun at an edit done by 4Kids' Macekred dub; in the original version, the "clown" is simply a master of disguise hired by Pegasus to eliminate players unfortunate enough to cross with him. In the 4Kids version, he actually is Kaiba's evil side brought back from another dimension.
  • From Obscurus Lupa's review of Vampire Dog:
    "Okay, get ready for this—we actually do get an explanation for why Vampire Dog eats Jell-o. But rather than give a satisfactory answer here that clears anything up, they instead open up a whole new can of worms."
  • Subverted in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. When Bulma asks her mother why she never seems to age, she replies that Dr. Briefs won't let her, which seems to play this trope straight at first. The subversion comes later when we discover that Dr. Briefs keeps cloning his wife to keep her young.
    • When Goku randomly reads Krillin's mind, his only explanation for when he was able to do that is "Muffin Button!", the joke being that it makes about as much sense as the canon explanation. (The canon explanation being that he somehow acquired the ability while training in high gravity.)

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben 10: Alien Force has Gwen's magical powers explained as alien powers inherited from her alien grandmother. The episode in which this revelation is made clear goes on to say that there is no such thing as magic. This despite on a previous episode Gwen clearly used divination to locate their enemies, to say nothing of how the former series Ben 10 showcased were spells read from incantations, a fountain of youth, and soul-swapping. Then Word of God would go on to say that both Hex and Charmcaster are in fact magic users, with Ultimate Alien giving the impression that Gwen has both alien superpowers and magical abilities. She simply doesn't know where to draw the line between them since they're similar and come from the same source ("mana").
    • Ben 10: Omniverse is filled with this trope, on various levels:
      • Several of the retcons and continuity changes were handwaved in "So Long and Thanks for the Smoothies" by the Universe having been destroyed by the Anihilarg and Ben rebuilding it as Alien X; any little changes can be attributed to Ben's flawed memory or inability to use Alien X properly. How he re-created parts of the Universe he had never seen or heard of, and how an alien whose power is to be omnipotent can make mistakes in rebuilding the Universe, is left unexplained. Some fans consider this to be the animated equivalent of the "Superboy-Prime punches time" meme.
      • The Rooter story arc makes a retcon in an attempt to explain some controversial AF elements, such as the change in Kevin's origin (who went from being a Mutant to a Half-Human Hybrid descended from an alien species known as Osmosian) and the existence of various Human-Alien Hybrids. Said explanation is that Osmosians actually are a subspecies of human similar to mutants, the various hybrid kids were actually regular humans who got their alien traits by being Guinea Pigs for a Black Op, and none of them remembered this because they suffered Laser-Guided Amnesia. Problem is, that doesn't explain why nobody before questioned the fact Kevin claimed to be from an alien species that apparently didn't exist, nor does it explain why nobody ever questioned how the Plumber's Kids were the sole alien-human hybrids of their kind in existence.
      • In season 1 of Omniverse, Malware somehow manages to destroy Ben's alien form Feedback (despite the form being basically just DNA inside the Omnitrix). The reason given to explain why Ben can't just scan Conductoid DNA again to re-acquire the form is that Malware's tampering with the Omnitrix caused a failsafe glitch, leaving the Omnitrix unable to acquire this particular DNA ever again. The problem? Ben has changed Omnitrix twice since this happened, so there really is no reason for following models of the Omnitrix to still suffer this glitch.
  • Winx Club 4Kids dub, "Magical Reality Check": It's already bad enough that the would-be Author's Saving Throw (where Knut comes in and says that he couldn't find the herb ingredients that the Trix wanted for a potion) is placed in the middle of the episode (and not brought up again at the end where it would be relevant; this comparison includes the throw), but it also raises the question, "Why do the Trix perform their plan to steal Bloom's powers after they're told that they lack the necessary ingredients?" (as well as "Why don't they bring that up when the plan fails?")
  • Played for Laughs by The Simpsons:
    • In one of the Bizarro Halloween Episodes (which was also a Superhero Episode), after Bart and Lisa save Lucy Lawless from a supervillain, she calmly picks them up and flies them home:
      Lisa: Wait a minute, Xena can't fly!
      Lucy Lawless: I told you, I'm not Xena -- I'm Lucy Lawless.
      Lisa: Oh.
    • Also Played for Laughs in the first Halloween episode, where they encounter Kang and Kodos.
      Marge: You speak English!
      Kang: I am actually speaking Rigellian. By astonishing coincidence, both of our languages are exactly the same.
    • A straight example in "That 90's Show". The first flashback episode took place in 1974, and the second flashback episode, which supposedly took place not long after the first, took place in 1980. In this episode, Lisa asks what they were doing during the six years in between (ie: the time between when Homer and Marge first met and when Bart was born). Accordingly, this episode should have taken place in the 1970s. But guess where it actually does take place.
    • The episode featuring a guest appearance by Ray Ramano (as "Ray Magini") centers around all the other characters thinking Ray is made-up, and Homer getting increasingly defensive about the existence of his new friend. In the end, after Ray's existence is revealed to everyone, it's explained (by Stephen Hawking, no less) that one of the reasons Bart was not able to see him in an earlier scene, despite standing right beside him, was because a reality-warping wormhole had spontaneously opened up in front of Ray. The audience is clearly being trolled at this point, since that same scene featured Bart was holding a giant pile of stuff that could have easily been used as an explanation for his blocked line of sight.
  • Futurama:
    • Fry often prefers this type of answer in situations where he doesn't want to think — even when there's a perfectly logical explanation. For instance, when Earth is threatened because Omicron Persei 8 can't watch the ending of an ancient TV show:
      Fry: It's crazy! How could they even know about a show from a thousand years ago?!
      Farnsworth: Well, Omicron Persei 8 is about a thousand light years away, so electromagnetic waves would just recently have gotten there. You see—
      Fry: Magic. Got it.
    • In the fourth movie, Richard Nixon's head (through Fry's mind reading) admits that the one thing they never figured out was that they really did fake the moon landing — on Venus!
    • In "The Deep South", Zoidberg builds an underwater house, only to lose it almost as quickly:
      Zoidberg: My home! It burned down! How did this happen?!
      Hermes: That's a very good question!
      Bender: So that's where I left my cigar! (blows a smoke ring)
      Hermes: That just raises further questions!
  • Invoked by Word of God for Transformers Animated. The writers announced that they would not be revealing anything about the origins of the Allspark because the explanation would risk being so bizarre that it shattered the audience's Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The Star Wars Midichlorian example was specifically cited.
  • Word of God of Ed, Edd n Eddy says that Plank is just a hunk of wood. While most of the strange incidents concerning Plank could be the insanity of Johnny, Plank's owner, a few things just can't be explained. For example, in "Rent-A-Ed", Plank told Johnny that Eddy had messed up the kitchen — while Johnny was trapped in a tree far away from the incident. He also manages to sprout a branch in "Scrambled Ed", and drives a bus in Big Picture Show.
  • Lampshaded in Family Guy:
    Stewie: Say, Brian, now that I think about it, how can you possibly have a thirteen-year-old son when you yourself are only seven?
    Brian: Well, those are dog years.
    Stewie: That doesn't make any sense.
    Brian: You know what, Stewie? If you don't like it, go on the Internet and complain.
  • Frequently used on American Dad!, particularly in regards to the details of Roger's many disguises.
    • In "Shallow Vows", Roger is pretending to be a wedding planner, and introduces Stan to his sons — two college-aged men who act as if Roger is actually their mother:
      Stan: How is that possible?
      Roger: I know. I look too young to have kids in college.
      Stan: No, that you have children when your persona is completely fabricated—
      Roger: We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams.
      Stan: That is an unsatisfying answer.
    • In a later episode, it turns out that one of his personas is married to a prison warden:
      Steve: You... you've been married to him for thirty years? Where do you find the time?!
      Roger: When you're in love, you make time.
    • In "Don't Look a Smith Horse in the Mouth", Stan ends up going to an office for his horse. He goes with Roger who just hopes that he isn't the person in charge. When they get there, Roger is seated at the desk nearby. Stan simply looks to his side and sees Roger gone. He doesn't even question when Roger argues with himself. Like other encounters, how Roger can switch wardrobe and position while also being the active secretary for a doctor who is in his office isn't explained. All Roger is happy about is that he's the secretary and not the doctor.
      Roger: Thank God I'm just his secretary.
      Secretary Roger: I'm an associate!
  • Danny Phantom:
    • Word of God's explanation for what ghosts are: they're not dead people; they're beings from another dimension who have taken on the memories and appearances of dead people. Fan reaction to this proclamation was uniformly negative, with some believing it to be a cop-out attempt to appease the Moral Guardians, especially since it seems to contradict the show itself! Most notably, Poindexter, a Deliberately Monochrome ghost stuck in The '50s. Because that's when he attended Casper High when he was alive. Makes for Fridge Horror when you realize his entire afterlife has been being brutally bullied for fifty years.
    • Word of God has also stated that, despite her ghost gimmick being based around teen rebellion and her explicitly being called a teenager in her first episode, Ember herself is actually in her early twenties. It's speculated that this was an attempt to discourage pairing her with the fourteen-year-old protagonist in fanfiction by making the age difference squicky.
  • Played for laughs in the South Park episode, "Korn's Groovy Pirate Mystery." At the very end, when Korn is going through the process of Doing In the Wizard to explain the presence of the pirate ghosts ala Scooby-Doo, the methods turn out to be complete nonsense. The ghosts were created using a flashlight and cotton swabs, and a Ghost Ship was made using a mirror, a candle, and two squirrels.
    • In the Imaginationland three-parter, a subplot explaining how the terrorists gained access to the gateway to Imaginationland (they stole it from the russians, who planned an attack in our imagination back during the cold war) was cut because it raised more questions than it answered.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls
    • In the first movie, Big Bad Sunset Shimmer steals the Elements of Magic from Twilight Sparkle and takes it to an alternate dimension. This causes the Element to change in how it functions, such as making a big hole in the ground, and allowing Sunset Shimmer to use it, which is normally impossible since only the chosen may wield its power. The Element could also be used for evil purposes, which Physical God Discord could not do, but a schoolgirl now can. This is resolved by having Sunset Shimmer tell Twilight Sparkle via Handwave that taking the Element of Magic to another world would cause it to change. This raises a question that ultimately goes unanswered: how could Sunset possibly know the Element would change, since there are no recorded instances of it going to another world before?
    • The third and fourth movies seem to have since patched this by implying that the demon transformation Sunset went through wasn't the result of the Element being changed, instead showing it was a universal result of what happens when a human tries to channel too much Equestrian magic at once, seeing as both the human world's Twilight Sparkle and Gloriosa Daisy go through similar transformations. This is a much more sensible explanation by and large, but it also renders Sunset's statement about "an Element of Harmony changes in another world" moot, and it still doesn't explain how she knew the Element would change, one way or the other.
  • Played for Laughs in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Baby Cakes", when the Earth Ponies Mr. and Mrs. Cake have two children — one of which is a unicorn and the other one is a pegasus. When asked about this, Mr. Cake gives a convoluted genealogical explanation (including a relative who is related by marriage, not blood), then adds "That makes sense, right?" (complete with nervous Aside Glance).
    • Fanon has since assumed that the three races (earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns) can and often do intermarry, and the resulting foals are usually either of the races of the two parents. If not, that can be explained by an ancestor of one of the two parents being that race.
  • Lampshaded in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "Halloween":
    Darwin: How come we can see you every day, but we need this to see [other ghosts]?
    Carrie: Duh! Because I was born a ghost!
    Darwin: How does that work?
    Gumball: Duh! *beat* Actually, I have no idea.
    • This gets a somewhat more sensible explanation in "The Mirror", which explains that Carrie's father was a human who fell in love with a ghost. He found a spell that enabled him to touch ghosts and ended up having children with one.
  • Parodied in Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Molotov sees a dancing house and demands an explanation. Heloise replies that the house owed her a favour.
  • Regular Show: No one on the Party Horse homeworld knows why an education in Earth's U.S. History is now compulsory for all Party Horses, although Principal Party Horse somehow believes that partying without a clear knowledge of the history of a country on a planet very far away is somehow deficient.
  • Parodied in the Teen Titans Go! Island Adventures five-parter. After the Titans get stranded on a deserted island, Robin claims they can no longer use their powers just because they're stranded on a deserted island and thus can't just fly back home, even though they still use their powers several times.
  • In Gargoyles, the gargoyles' ability to turn into stone at sunrise is repeatedly said to be a simple biological trait that gargoyles evolved naturally. Yet for some reason, their clothes also turn to stone along with their bodies. Greg Weisman eventually explained this in his "Ask Greg" Q&A forum: thousands of years ago, a Roman sorcerer cast a spell on all gargoyles to make their clothing turn to stone at sunrise—all because mischievous humans used to regularly steal sleeping gargoyles' clothes, leaving them naked. So in other words: one human sorcerer changed the course of an entire species' evolution for all eternity with a single spell, and he did it because he was tired of having to look at naked gargoyles all the time. ...What?
  • Played for laughs in Phineas and Ferb. When the anti-intellectual bully Buford is revealed to be fluent in French, he waves it off as being easy to learn if you know Latin. Another episode had an acknowledged one when Dr. Doofenshmirtz's teleporter sends it's targets into his pants; he figures out that he accidentally swapped the destination wheel for his dry-cleaning wheel, but has no idea why the latter is a thing that exists.
  • Fans of Gravity Falls wanted to know what Dipper really thought of Pacifica. Gravity Falls: Journal 3 at least implies he could have developed a crush on her, but this raises more questions than it answers, namely:
    • How could Dipper have developed a crush on Pacifica when the later episode "Roadside Attraction" showed he was still obsessed with Wendy at the same time?
    • Also in "Roadside Attraction", why did Dipper flirt with all these girls because he was desperate to be with anyone when he already had a new potential love interest?
    • Why is this never addressed or alluded to during the rest of the series, even when Dipper and Pacifica depart in the last episode, when Dipper getting a girlfriend was a significant plot point in the series?
      • You could simply Hand Wave this by saying Dipper is simply in denial (he did cross those sentences out in the journal after all) and that it's more than possible to be attracted to multiple people at once (just look at his sister Mabel), but it still would have made more sense to simply not address it in Journal 3. Wouldn't it be easier to just have "Roadside Attraction" take place before "Northwest Mansion Mystery", especially as it was a Breather Episode with no plot relevance?
    • Also in Journal 3, it's said that .GIFfany survived "Soos and the Real Girl" and went into Rumble McSkirmish's game. If that's true, why didn't she appear along with him during Weirdmaggedon?
  • The Legend of Korra: The use of platinum armor to make mechs immune to metalbending. Even if you handwave wave the rarity and expense of so much platinum by saying it might not be as rare in the Avatar world, that still leaves the issue that platinum is a relatively soft metal (closest to soft iron), so would make horrible armor for any purpose other than resisting metalbendingnote  Any strong Earthbender (of the type likely to be part of any defensive force) could destroy any such mech with a single boulder. And any sort of electroplating or platinum alloy would reduce the metal's purity, lowering its resistance to bending. Also, like gold, it's heavy, which would make it a doubly-horrible choice for armoring Kuvira's giant mech from season 4. It could be argued that the platinum armor is meant specifically to counter metalbenders, who the show portrays as suffering from Crippling Overspecialization. But that makes sense for Zaofu and Republic City, not the Earth Kingdom at large. And any attempt at arguing that Avatarverse platinum might not correspond to real world platinum (might be stronger, not as heavy) means that it isn't really platinum: it's Unobtanium being called "platinum".

    Other 
  • Many conspiracy theories suffer from some version of this. To name an extremely common one: conspiracy theorists will often Hand Wave away the lack of any actual evidence for their theory by claiming all the people "in the know" were killed off by the conspirators, ignoring the obvious point that if that was true, why haven't they themselves been killed?
  • One of the explanations in mythology/folklore for vampire's Missing Reflection is that they have no souls. The problem with this is neither do all the various inanimate objects in the room which still show up in mirrors. The second (much more logical) explanation is that mirrors are made using silver and silver is considered a really "pure" metal so it won't hold the vampire's reflection, (for similar reasons as to why the Silver Bullet trope exists). Similarly, this might also explain the "Vampires don't appear in photography" concept. Early film used silver particles.


Alternative Title(s): Explanation Completely Fails, Nonsensical Explanation, That Just Raises Further Questions, Closing One Plot Hole With Another, Handwaving Yourself Deeper, Explanation Plot Hole, Recursive Plot Hole

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