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Sometimes, as a means of humour, or simply to argue for one possibility through ridicule of all possible alternatives, someone will frame a description or explanation as "either it was X highly unlikely set of circumstances, or it was Y straightforward apparent conclusion." (The X and Y can be reversed instead.)
Most often "Y straightforward apparent conclusion" is obviously the truth and the dichotomy is employed as means of snark or lampshading. However on occasion, this trope will be subverted to comic effect when the more bizarre conclusion turns out to be precisely correct instead, perhaps sometimes as An Aesop about not being too sure of yourself about what is possible and what is not.
If the characters decide that the mundane explanation is actually less plausible, it may be an Impossibly Mundane Explanation.
- George Carlin suggested something like this as a way to "wake people up": When someone asks you what time it is, you look at your watch and say, "Either it's 8:15 or Mickey has a hard-on!"
- Apart from the Calvin and Hobbes page image, another Calvin and Hobbes example would be Calvin saying "either mom's cooking dinner or someone got sick in the furnace duct."
- In "The Dilbert Principle", Scott Adams describes the two possible results of a career in engineering:
Risk: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent people. Reward: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame.
- At the end of a Dilbert arc, Dilbert wonders why he's sitting naked in a trash can, and Dogbert explains, "Either you were killed by wild deer and we cloned you back to life from your old garbage... or... you saved a lot of money on an aboveground pool."
- David Ramirez's prize-winning short comic, "My Little Tomoka", is protagonized by a girl who was, accidentally, named Noo. So, when her mother calls her yelling...
Noo: Has my mother just found my father's corpse inside of the microwave, or she is calling me for supper.
Film - Animated
- In Finding Nemo, when Dory is translating whale speech: "Okay, he either said, 'move to the back of the throat,' or he 'wants a root beer float'."
Film - Live-Action
- Groucho Marx in Monkey Business: Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.
"Either they're going to talk to their prince, or they're going to go and eat a cheesemonkey."
- From House, where House talks about the iPhone:
Either that costs more than 25 bucks, or I'm seriously starting to doubt Steve Jobs' business strategy.
- Penn and Teller Bullshit used this in the college episode in response to a college rally organizer who told a counter-protestor to move away from the crowd.
There's 300 of them, and 1 of us, and he's worried about their safety? He's either a pussy, or he thinks he recognizes Erin from Drunken Master 2.
- In Knights of the Old Republic, if you ask HK-47 for help understanding a Jawa, he says, "Translation: 98% probability that members of the miniature organic's tribe are being held by Sand People, master. Doubtless he wishes assistance." When asked about the other two percent, he adds, "Translation: 2% probability that the miniature organic is simply looking for trouble and needs to be blasted. That may be wishful thinking on my part, master."
- At the end of Quest for Glory IV, the hero is surrounded by the thankful people of the land after (like the past three games) completing yet another heroic quest. Cue Erasmus and Fenrus taking that moment to scry on the hero, with Fenrus commenting that "It's either an award ceremony or a lynch mob."
- Subverted in an Order of the Stick strip, when Roy (as a spirit in the Afterlife Antechamber) attempts one after his father hands him copies of Frankenstein, I Robot, Promethean: The Created and Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Your Dead Body Being Used To Make A Bone Golem (But Were Afraid To Ask) to "help [him] come to terms with the bad news".
Roy: Either you're trying to tell me that my body was used to make a golem, or ... actually, I can't think of any other possible interpretation.
- Shittiest Editorial Cartoon uses this from time to time.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- "Ask A Foolish Question":
Major Monogram: Good morning, Agent P. The entire Tri-State Area is becoming riddled with holes. Also, numerous light beams have been shot from Doofenshmirtz's building. Either he's having some sort of a rave, or he's the one behind all those holes.
- "Meatloaf Surprise":
Major Monogram: Morning, Agent P. We've recently found surveillance footage of Doofenshmirtz buying fresh produce. We've concluded that there are two possibilities: either he's up to something sinister that is food-related, or he's cooking dinner because he's got a beautiful woman coming over and he wants to imp... Never mind, it's obviously the first thing.
- Garfield and Friends episode, "Wonderful World":
Garfield: Either Jon's home or somebody put a VCR in the garbage disposal.
- From The Simpsons, when Homer stands in front of a lighthouse, causing his silhouette to be projected onto the clouds... 
Bart: Hey look! Is that Dad?
Lisa: Either that or Batman's really let himself go.
- ↑ (although this is entirely accidental on Homer's part.)