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Tropes that defy possibility (or probability) in some glaringly unexplained ways that can at least momentarily disrupt Willing Suspension of Disbelief (if you were even trying), but is occasionally also employed in Acceptable Breaks From Reality. Often Played for Laughs with some Lampshade Hanging.
This is a subindex of Probability Tropes, which deal with probability issues in general. This index specifically deals with the improbable.
Note that this index is not for tropes that are intentionally magical, supernatural, rooted in common superstition, or have some other form of directly Hand Waved Applied Phlebotinum that would make them perfectly explainable in-universe in such a way that would preserve Willing Suspension of Disbelief intact. In fact, these tropes are often funnier or more effective when they're not explained.
This index is also not for occurrences that are merely rare, but only due to wildly complex human factors that involve the net results of the unpredictable actions of multiple people (economics, elections, popularity, sports, strategy, etc.). In such circumstances, a certain minimum amount of unforeseeable uncertainty is a given, and unexpected results are not unexpected. Odds should have to be truly astronomical to be in this index.
Some entries in this index are also examples of bad writing if played straight. But not all Bad Writing is necessarily unrealistic. Some devices of Bad Writing can derail a story in that they are boring, annoying or frustrating, but that doesn't make them inherently unlikely.
The index namer is from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Cause and Effect", where Data deals cards at a poker game and everyone at the table correctly predicts which cards they'll receive. In-universe, the characters observed how impossibly unlikely their predictions were turning out. Ultimately, it had a cause, but they did not realize that for most of the times they ended up getting blown up.
- ↑ And if we're talking human behavior, then there are those who would claim that it's really not that unpredictable
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