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Just make the whole thing, you know, cooler. It needs to be about 20% cooler.


Ah, statistics... The ally of mathematics, business and hard science. How infallible. There seems to be a problem here though... What instrument can you use to measure "awesome", for example? How do you calculate a 14% drop in sadness? And then there are the units, often measured using an Abstract Scale -- how many millisobs do you need to get one kilocry? [1]

This trope is for when a character cites a statistic for something which is incapable of being measured. It's almost always done for comedy, though it may appear in more serious works as a sarcastic rejoinder.

See also Thing-O-Meter, where the value is actually somehow measurable. Compare/contrast Artistic License Statistics, which is also about misusing statistics, but with material that actually can be measured. Compare Applied Mathematics.

Often seen in the form of "giving 110%."

Examples of 20% More Awesome include:


Advertising

  • A commercial for Bear Swamp Recovery on was true TV says that they're the best in the repo business pound per pound.
    • Burlier repo men do have a distinct advantage over shorter, scrawnier ones.
  • Recent ads for the Nicoderm patch (which delivers a small amount of nicotine through the skin to help ease withdrawal for people quitting smoking) show people with a Suck-O-Meter, which shows how much "quitting sucks" from moment to moment. When the needle gets too high, they use Nicoderm and it goes back down.

Anime And Manga

  • In Death Note, L occasionally gives statistics about how right he is. The official guide claims that he makes these up to sound more credible.
    • Another Word of God claimed that whenever he mentions a statistic at all, he's always 99% sure. So all that "5%" or "47%" or whatever meant he was almost totally sure every time.
  • In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon declares that Haruhi's ponytail makes her "36% more charming."
  • Ai from Yatterman uses made up percentages to display her reactions to everything.
  • Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato)-- I.Q.-9: "That's Doctor Sane. He's a little eccentric. About five degrees."
    • Especially silly because it could be an angle or a temperature, and either positive or negative, but in any case, it's still meaningless.
      • Or maybe he has five doctorates?
      • Probably an angle. You know, "mad north by northwest"? (Although NNW is actually still a good 22.5 degrees away from due north.)
  • In Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?, the main character, a zombie, uses percentages to reference how much power he's using in his attacks relative to the maximum power a normal human can exert (apparently, since he's a zombie, he's allowed to go many times over the maximum since he's already dead and doesn't have to worry about his body).
  • On one occasion in Keroro Gunsou, the A.R.M.P.I.T. platoon's deep sea expedition takes a surprising turn when their submarine is surrounded by mysterious, unseen shapes that command them to leave. Keroro reaches for the intercom button, but accidentally launches the torpedos instead and hits one of the entities dead-on. The whole crew understandably panics, especially when the sub's sensors reveal that the entity was completely unharmed.

 Giroro: But how?! Our missiles are 500% more lethal than necessary!


Fan Fic


Film

  • Bedazzled (2000): "Ah... well, you know, you go out there and you give a 110%, and you wanna play good, and, you know, you hope you play good... I think we played pretty good tonight!"


Literature

 "Running any given route in the rain makes you feel 50 percent more hard-core than covering the same route on a sunny day."

  • Ridcully declares the Unseen University football team will give it 110% in Unseen Academicals. It's left to the Literal Minded Ponder Stibbons to explain that no, they won't, although their 100% may be greater than previously thought.
  • One of Jeremy Clarkson's collections of car reviews described a car as "exactly one million times better looking" than a rival model. We're not sure what units you use for this purpose (millizondas? Microjaguarcx16s?).
  • In Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch, a graphic novel set in an Orthodox Jewish community, the narrator declares,

 "Naps on Shabbos afternoon are twelve times as refreshing as naps taken any other day! It's a scientific fact!"


Live Action TV

  • How I Met Your Mother episode "Not a Father's Day" (2008): "Lily, no part of Barney Stinson does anything less than 110%. If one my little Michael Phelps has got loose, he is swimming for a gold."
  • Monk (2002 TV Series), Episode: Mr. Monk and the Big Game (2006)

 "But Coach Hayden said we should give 110%."

"Well, I'm going to give 110%."

  • X Play on G4 uses concepts in place of stars in a ratings system during their video game reviews.
  • Andrew in Angel boasts that he's become "82% more manly" since he saw Spike last.
  • In The Apprentice (UK), candidates would frequently promise to "give 110%" (or, in extreme cases, 150% or 200%). Lord Sugar eventually got so tired of this that he banned the use of the phrase.
  • Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock is dating two women that he loves equally, so he decides to use his HEART:Hard Equations And Rational Thinking, to decide which one is better for him. It doesn't work.
  • In the old American Gladiators show, competitor Wesley "Two Scoops" Berry gave an ever-increasing percentage of effort for every show he won, topping out at six digits for the championship.
  • Square One TV had a skit with a man singing about how he was giving "Eight Percent of my Love" to his girlfriend, with a breakdown for where the other 92% was going.

Music

  • The song "Remember The Name" by Fort Minor uses this trope heavily. The chorus of the song goes:

 "This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill

Fifteen percent concentrated power of will

Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain

And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!"

  • Occurs on the Reel Big Fish live album, Our Live Album is better than Your Live Album, on the track "Suburban Rhythm." The RBF perform many versions of the song, one of which is a blues version. Before this version is played, the lead singer says they need to "bluesify it, by like 20%."
  • The Ken Ashcorp song "20 Percent Cooler" which includes references to all of the "Mane 6" and a shout out to Ferris Bueller.

New Media

  • A common source of comedy in Cracked, especially the articles that center on charts and graphs.
  • In the online review circle, some reviewers (occasionally Jesu Otaku or others) will use a star system with the star replaced by concepts.
    • Said concepts are often some aspect of the subject being reviewed; said star system is not really being replaced, just merely being made 20% cooler.
  • This funny chart is intended to measure the "furriness" of something.
    • It's a heavily abridged version of a less comical and lesser-known image that does much the same thing -- depicting what different "percentages" of cat traits look like, from fully human to fully cat. The full version has many more examples of different percentages.

Newspaper Comics

  • Beetle Bailey: Plato gives an interpretation of what a demand of "giving 110%" is going to mean: The rest of them give 100%, Beetle gives 10%.

Video Games

 "All right, everybody, you're giving 110 percent!"

"Just do it! Okay, all right, now that's 110%, 100%, 100% 115%, 75%."

  • In Borderlands one of the slogans Marcus' vending machines gives for "Torgue" brand guns is:

  "Four hundred percent more awesome! Also, Torgue doesn't make their guns out of freaking wood!"

  "__% more Zen!" or "Maximum Zen Achieved!"

  • Pretty much everything Fi says in Skyward Sword uses this trope
    • Potentially justified in that Fi is basically a computer, and she may very well have a concrete, well-defined measuring system for different emotions based on certain criterion.
  • The Tower of Goo Memorial Park and Recreation Center advertises itself as being "20% more infinite in all directions."
  • The trailer for the Halloween update for The Binding of Isaac stated that the update had made the game "20% more evil".

Webcomics

  • Xkcd has done this a few times. In cartoon 523, a character has made a graph showing the decline of a relationship.
  • In The Order of the Stick, an angel shows Roy a graph of Belkar's evil against time. Note that since it is a fantasy world, it could very well be that it is not a "subjective quality" at all but that evil can be really measured objectively there (Kilonazis is the term of measurement used, by the way).
  • VG Cats not only uses this trope- it uses it very nearly by name. (Probably a direct Shout-Out to the Trope Namer.)
  • 1930 Nightmare Theater does this here with a spell promising to make you "Look 80% cooler at all times."
  • One El Goonish Shive strip has Grace inventing a measure of sadness called the Seymour.
  • Similarly, in Questionable Content happiness can be quantified in Fournier-Goldman Happiness Units. A tremendous amount of difficult algebra seems to be involved, and the scale apparently defines a lethal threshold of happiness.

Web Original

  • A banner ad for some kind of game project: "DrMcNinja's Radical Adventures. Now 20% more radical."


Western Animation

  • The Invincible Iron Man: "Wonderful news, Tony, Howard. We'll support you both 110%."
  • The Simpsons: one member of the committee creating Poochie says, "I feel we should rastafy him by ... 10 percent or so."
    • Also, in an earlier episode where Mr. Burns' company softball team is playing against their Shelbyville analogues, Burns hires a hypnotherapist who attempts to invoke this:

 Hypnotherapist: You are all very good players.

Entire Team [in monotoned unison]: We are all very good players.

Hypnotherapist: You will beat Shelbyville.

Entire Team [in monotoned unison]: We will beat Shelbyville.

Hypnotherapist: You will give 110%.

Entire Team [in monotoned unison]: That's impossible. No one can give more than 100%; by definition, that is the most one can give.

  • In Adventure Time, there's apparently a Party God who lives in the clouds in the sky, who seems to use the term "party" as a unit of measurement when possessing Jake to the extent that he "parties forever"!
  • The (partial) Trope Namer[2] is the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Suited for Success", where Rarity asks Rainbow Dash how to improve Dash's dress. Dash simply replies that it needs to be "cooler." When Rarity asks Dash to be more specific, Dash says "it needs to be about 20% cooler." This of course drives Rarity up the wall at such maddening vagueness. The phrase immediately went memetic.
    • Rarity also wants her friends to be 110% satisfied with their dresses.
    • Princess Luna is taught what the concept of "fun" is. After the second game, she expresses her approval with: "HAHA! THE FUN HAS BEEN DOUBLED!"
  • Futurama: When the Planet Express crew see The Beastie Boys (or their heads) in concert, Leela marvels, "They're bustin' mad rhymes with an 80 percent success rate."

  Bender: I believe that qualifies as 'Ill', at least from a technical standpoint.

    • In the episode "Reincarnation", during the 8-bit segment, a sadness meter appears on the top left of the screen keeping track of the Professor's deteriorating esteem.
    • The Professor also has a "Coolometer" which measures the popularity of the subject in units of megafonzies.
    • Also, in "Bender's Big Score", he has an instrument for measuring how "doomed" someone is. The unit is "milliDooms".
    • In a DVD commentary, the writers insisted the word "underpants" is 20% funnier than "underwear", attributing the observation to Ken Keeler.
  • One episode of Samurai Jack featured Jack aiding a group of spacemen return to their home planet. One of them was constantly calculating the probability of random events, from the probability of successfully launching a rocket, to whether or not Jack was having a good time at the moment.
  • Subverted with Cyborg in the Teen Titans episode "Only Human". Since Cyborg is, well, a cyborg, the machine part of him can measure how much effort he is actually putting in.
  • In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command Zurg's Hyper Death Ray causes a fate 20% worse than death, Hyper Death (not to be confused with a Fate Worse Than Death; it's a kids show after all).


Real Life

  • The concept of utility in economics. Two utils are not seen as twice as liked as one util, they just indicate something that is liked more than one util but not as much as three.
    • Money itself is essentially approximating desire for a good or service relative to the desire to produce the good or service and the desire for alternative goods or services. Part of the reason our economy goes through cycles is this metric is an approximation and can be skewed by various factors (government subsidies and corporate malfeasance for example.)
  • Probably the most common use of this in real life is the Helen, a measure of beauty. A Helen is defined as the beauty required to launch a thousand ships, in reference to the Greek myth. Thus, a milliHelen is the beauty required to launch a single ship. Amusingly, this manages to be the rare example of this trope that has a defined value, but in a bit of a Voodoo Shark moment, its definition is just as vague as standard for this trope. A negative amount of milliHelens indicates how many ships would be launched away from the "beauty" in question.
  • Likewise, the "Winger" and "milliWinger", terms coined by the Furry Fandom during its earlier days (but which have fallen out of use by now) as a way of quantifying Squick. According to WikiFur, "One Winger is equal to the amount of mental disturbance caused by viewing a typical Doug Winger drawing."
  • Utility in Utilitarianism, which is subtly different from economics. For example, it can be aggregated between people. It's measured in QALYs and DALYs. Basically, a QALY is the net happiness a healthy person feels in an average year, and a DALY is negative one QALYs, i.e. the net pain felt in a year.
  • Script author William Goldman once was told by a producer that a script had to be made "forty percent funnier", in the next month. Two weeks later Goldman was asked about the progress. He said: "I only managed to make it fifteen percent funnier, so I'll have to make it twenty-seven percent funnier in the next two weeks." The producer, after a Beat: "Yeah, should work out."

Notes

  1. It would be one million times the conversion factor between sob and cry, because "kilo" refers by definition to "thousands of" and "milli" refers by definition to "thousandths of."
  2. It would've been the Trope Namer outright, but "20% cooler" could refer to temperature, which CAN be measured, and didn't fit this trope
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