WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

A Stock Phrase that is commonly used as a Lampshade Hanging of those occasions when the laws of physics (and other scientific laws) are blatantly defied. This is sometimes caused by Achievements in Ignorance, when the impossible thing only occurs because the person involved has no idea that what they are doing is supposed to be impossible.

Often Played for Laughs, this phrase can be used to tell the audience that the strange or unusual occurrences going on aren't the norm for the world in which the story is taking place. It can also be used as part of the Rule of Scary for the same reason.

On occasion, this trope will be accompanied by an explanation of how the strange occurrence is impossible. The creators will do use this to avert the Did Not Do the Research trope and demonstrate that they did their homework.

Compare and contrast with Fridge Logic.

Examples of How Is That Even Possible? include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books


 Uhura: Admiral, I have a signal closing on the whales. Bearing 328 degrees.

Kirk: On screen.

Gillian: How can you do... that...

Uhura: On screen.

  • In The Matrix, this is a beat cop's reaction to not only witnessing Trinity leap over a six-lane street, plus sidewalks, to go from rooftop to rooftop, but seeing Agent Brown follow her.


  • In Contact (the book, not the movie), while the characters are moving through the wormhole, one of them, a theoretical physicist, does some calculations and says (paraphrase): "I can almost prove mathematically this can't be happening".

Live Action TV

  • In an early Sesame Street sketch, Ernie poured himself a glass of milk while hanging upside down, ignoring Bert's warnings that the milk would spill.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Spectre of the Gun". When Spock and McCoy test their Knockout Gas on Scott it doesn't work.

 Spock: Captain, you don't seem to understand. It did not function, but it must function.

McCoy: Nothing could go wrong, Captain. It should work.

Spock: A scientific fact. But if the tranquillizer does not function, which is clearly impossible, then a radical alteration of our thought patterns must be in order.

Newspaper Comics


 "What I hate about my life... Part of what I hate about my life is that it is working."

    • Sarda also invokes this (using a Flat What) when Ranger dual-wields his dual-wield [1].
  • Happens to the word in this Questionable Content strip, when an AI appears to be drunk. [2]

Web Original

 Church: Poor Jimmy was the last one to go. Tex walked up to him, pulled Jimmy's skull right out of his head and beat him to death with it.

Tucker: Wait a second... how do you beat someone to death with their own skull? That doesn't seem physically possible.

Church: That's exactly what Jimmy kept screaming.

(cut to Tex, in black armor, beating Jimmy to death with his own skull)

Jimmy: This doesn't seem physically possible!

  • Dragonball Z Abridged, Goku obtained a muffin and the ability to read minds by pressing the muffin button of the spaceship... except there is no muffin button.
    • King Kai says this directly when Goku pretends to hang up on him while they were communicating telepathically.

 Goku: "Oh, all right. I promise I will absolutely not click-brrrrrrr *long inhale* rrrrrrrrr"

King Kai: "He hung up on me! How did he even do that?"

  • This phrase being said verbatum is a running gag in the College Humor point-of-view sketches.
  • Danbooru has an image pool with this name.

Western Animation

 Zoidberg: My home, it burned down! How could this have happened?

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!

Hermes: That just raises further questions!

 Kuzco: No, it's impossible! How did you get back here before us?

Yzma: "Ah..." [looks confused] How did we, Kronk?

Kronk: Well, ya got me. [pulls down a chart displaying the progress of the previous chase] By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.

  • During the Justice League episode "Hereafter", the Flash is almost fried by enemy lightning. Wonder Woman saves him by deflecting the lightning with her metal bracelets. Flash's response? "There are so many reasons why that shouldn't have worked."
  • In a Road Runner cartoon, Wile E. Coyote runs off a cliff while in pursuit of the Road Runner who, it turns out, is standing just off the edge of the cliff in mid-air. The bedraggled Coyote looks up from the bottom of the canyon at the Road Runner and holds up a sign commenting that what the Road Runner is doing defies the laws of gravity. The Road Runner responds by holding up his own sign saying it doesn't matter because he's never studied law.
  • In "The PTA Disbands" episode of The Simpsons, Homer gets upset at Lisa for making a working perpetual motion machine because it violates the laws of physics. ("In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!")
  • 1973-74 Superfriends episode "The Watermen". The title characters are trying to refuel their starship by extracting silicon from sea water. This causes the sea water to immediately turn into red tide, which is impossible: red tide is caused by microorganisms. An oceanographer named Professor Matey points out several times that the red tide is not acting normally.
  • From Rugrats this like that is funny  This one I STILL don't understand! October 3: Change the Refrigerator Lightbulb: 9 stitches and a case of pink eye to even say why this on this page after
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.