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A friend or someone else who knows a character well will tell another person how the first character will react to some piece of news. Often, he will quote the character's reaction directly. Later on, when the first character receives the news, he or she will react exactly, down to the letter, how the friend said he would. Similarly, this trope can often involve one character preemptively pantomiming a character's response as they stand behind them, showing off exactly how predictable their friend is (or how well they know him or her). This trope could also involve a predictable character's friend finishing his sentences for him. If they're really showing off, they will have the response written beforehand to show them. Finally, this trope is illustrated when a person counts down "three...two...one..." to the other character having a reaction about something. Basically, any time that a character knows, with perfect accuracy, how another is going to act, that's this trope.

Compare The Tape Knew You Would Say That. Also compare Strange Minds Think Alike. This trope is often utilized for a Batman Gambit. It absolutely is used for a Xanatos Roulette.

Examples of Improbably Predictable include:


Advertising Edit

  • A 2011 radio ad for Verizon's high speed network has a woman talking about how fast her connection is. She goes on to say " [my friend] will forget about that ticket soon. Because 52 seconds ago, her boyfriend just changed his relationship status to single." She goes on to talk some more about the network, and then returns to count down "Three, two, one" at which point there is the sound of shattering glass and a scream.
    • Another one tries for this and falls a bit flat, when the friend without Verizon says "Oh yeah? You don't know what I'm going to say next" which is (apparently) disproven by Verizon customer by... revealing he had videotaped him when he said that and posted it online already.

Newspaper Comics Edit

  • In a Zits strip, Jeremy comes down for breakfast with a stack of cards, and answers each of his mother's questions ("Orange juice? Eggs?") with the next card. Finally she insists, "I am not that predictable!" and he reveals the card which reads, "Wanna bet?"
  • In a Peanuts Sunday Strip, Linus and Lucy drew pictures for their grandmother. Linus had Lucy take the drawings and ask which one Grandma liked better. He successfully predicted that Grandma would like both drawings equally.


Literature Edit

  • In Harry Potter, Harry predicts how Ron and Hermione will react to his dream about Voldemort, and they both react more-or-less exactly as he thought they would.


Live-Action TV Edit

  • Turned Up to Eleven on Thirty Rock: Jack makes a joke, and Liz hands him an envelope predicting that joke. Then Jack hands her an envelope, predicting her prediction of his joke. By later seasons, this is simply an accepted character trait, that Jack knows absolutely everything about Lemon. For example, he uses this to describe precisely how Liz's holiday went (down to the tree ornaments), and not only the movie that she's going to, but when/where/how/why. Then it's revealed she has a boyfriend. Who he knew nothing about, and never saw coming.
  • The Big Bang Theory, "The Lunar Excitation":

 Sheldon: Please. Even assuming you could answer any question the way I would, the algorithms used by matchmaking sites are complete hokum.

Howard: And that's exactly the answer we gave to the question, "What is your attitude towards online dating?"

Raj: Howard wanted to write mumbo jumbo, but I said no, our Sheldon would say hokum.

  • In one episode of Bones, Booth reveals that he knows Brennan's computer password, because he knows how she thinks. He also knows what she changes the password to -- twice.

 Booth: I know your password too. It's daffodil.

Brennan: I never told you that!

Booth: What? I got eyes. I mean, you guys aren't exactly CIA material.

Hodgins: Daffodil?

Brennan: What? They're pretty. And I'm changing my password.

Booth: Daisy.

Brennan: How did you know?

Booth: It's your second favorite flower. I know you, Bones. Try a planet!

Brennan: (entering password)

Booth: Jupiter!

  • Abed on Community is so good at predicting his friends' responses that he can mimic them while they're talking and his videos foretell the future.
  • In one sketch on Dave Allen At Large, Dave is playing Sherlock Holmes. He is with Watson

 Holmes: At exactly midnight, the light will go out for three seconds and a man will be shot. He will say exactly five words, then die.

Watson: Now, Holmes, nobody respects your methods more than me, but isn't that a bit too much?

The clock strikes midnight, the lights go out, and we hear several gunshots. When the lights come back on, we see Holmes holding a smoking gun, pointed at a dying Watson:

Watson: My God, Holmes, you're incredible!

  • In The Golden Girls, Stan walks out the front door. Someone is about to say something when Dorothy cuts them short and counts down. "Three...two...one..." Stan walks back in and Dorothy shouts, "Out, Stan!" This is used to contrast a later moment in the episode when she attempts the same prediction and fails, indicating that Stan has changed.
  • QI's gimmick is that it's a quiz that penalizes boring/obvious answers rather than wrong ones. When this happens, a klaxon goes off and the answer appears on the huge screens in the studio to prove that it was expected. Generally speaking, this means Common Knowledge answers, but sometimes the show predicts the panellists' jokes (specific panellists, in a few cases). The very first episode had a example of this, when the revelation that Caravaggio had cut a guy's testicles off over a game of tennis led to Danny Baker saying, "New balls, please!"
  • In So Random, in a school news sketch, one of the anchors keeps handing the other letters responding to his response to the previous letter. At one point, the other anchor asks "when did you find the time to write all these letters and how did you know what I was going to say?", which is replied to with a letter saying "Because you're very predictable".
  • In Scrubs, the Janitor tells J.D. that he is incredibly predictable, to which J.D. objects:

 Janitor: You're very predictable.

J.D. and Janitor simultaneously: No I'm not. Stop doing that! Peanut-butter-egg-dirt!

 Janitor: Listen, crash in my garage. I guarantee you there will not be another person in there.

[J.D. has an imagine spot]

J.D.: You're gonna slather jam on my face and sic a family of raccoons on me, aren't you?

Janitor: Damn it. I've become predictable.

  • During a season one episode of Babylon 5, Garibaldi (with the help of Commander Sinclair) pranks Lt. Commander Ivanova into thinking she slept through breakfast, at which point she hurriedly leaves, placing a call to the station's command-and-control center. As Sinclair moves to another part of the mess hall, Garibaldi counts down...

 Garibaldi: Three... two... one.

Ivanova: [offscreen] Ugh! Garibaldi! You're a dead man!

 Jack: Morning, boys.

Finch: Yes!

Eliot: Damn. (pays up to Finch)

Finch: (boogie dancing) I told you! He never says 'good', only 'morning'!

Jack: Ha!

Eliot: Damn! (pays up to Jack)

Finch: What?

Jack: I knew you'd dance like a jackass before noon! Come to poppa!

Eliot: Yes!

Finch: Nooo! (pays up to Eliot)

Jack: What?

Finch: Who says 'come to poppa?!

Jack: Everyone says 'come to poppa!"

Eliot: And again!

Finch: No, no, you didn't say I have to pay every time.

Jack: So are you questioning the rules?

Finch: You're freakin' right.

Jack: YES!

Eliot: DAAAAMN! (pays up again)


Webcomics Edit


Web Original Edit

  • This quote shows that it's even possible in IRC.


Western Animation Edit

  • In The Fairly Odd Parents, this takes place when Timmy wishes his parents had superpowers, then when he finds they are too busy with fighting evil that they can't take care of him, and wishes that they weren't superheroes, but Cosmo's and Wanda's wands don't work:

 Timmy: Let me guess,

Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda: They've become so superpowerful that they are now impervious to magic.

 Ned: Can you believe it? It almost seems like those folks were ... were making fun of ol' steady Neddy!

Maude: Well, you may be a bit cautious. What's wrong with that? Some people like chunky peanut butter, some like smooth!

Ned: Mmm-hmm, and some people just steer clear of that whole hornet's nest! I'll stick with just plain white bread, thank you very much, maybe with a ...

Maude, Rod & Todd: "... glass of water on the side for dippin'!"

Ned: Gosh darn it! Am I that pre-diddly-ictable? sigh I've wasted my whole dang-diddly life.

 Phineas: Somebody should make an all terrain vehicle that really goes over all terrains!

Ferb: 2...3...4...

Phineas: Ferb! I know what we're gonna do today!

Ferb: 5...6...7...

Phineas: Hey, where's Perry?

    • "Run Candace Run": The boys are watching as a nature documentary describes the Cheetah as being the fastest land animal. She looks at her watch, then up expectantly. The sound effects lampshade this with the sound of a timer going "ding!" as Phineas says "I know what we're gonna do today!"

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