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A Magic 8-Ball is, in general, any tool that is used in order to gain advice or try to predict the future. It must be a prop or other physical object, since any characters would fall under Mentors or some other advice dispenser instead. It must be able to accept questions, and respond in turn.

In reality, a magic 8 ball is a classic toy. You would shake it and ask it a question, and a random response would come up in the window built into it. As a result, there are various uses of the possible responses involved, as well as of the 8 ball itself. The details and phrases involved can be found on The Other Wiki.

See also Ouija Board.

Examples

Film

Literature

  • Lord of the Rings parody Bored of the Rings. The mallomar (its version of the palantir) acts like one of these, including giving the answer "Reply Hazy, Ask Again Later".
  • The Spell of the Eighth Sphere in the Ethshar series: A literally magical 8-Ball.
  • In the John Bellairs novel The House With a Clock In Its Walls, the protagonists use a Magic 8-Ball to find the titular clock. Wizard Jonathan and Witch Mrs. Zimmerman both try to use the 8-Ball without success. Eventually, Jonathan's nephew Lewis is able to get the 8-Ball to display the message "Basement." (Like any magical object, the 8-Ball only works for its owner).
  • In George Alec Effinger's short story "The Great God Quay" from the Star Wars anthology Tales From Jabbas Palace, the Weequay all carry totems resembling the Magic 8-Ball, and firmly believe that their god Quay can communicate with them through it. They don't always get an answer, but assume that Quay must be busy with someone else's totem, and will happily keep shaking the thing until they get a response.

Internet Puppetshows

  • Inspired by the then current Miss Cleo infotainment ads, The Funday Pawpet Show's Herbie started having interview guests "Ask a question of Magic 8-Ball" at the end of interviews.

Live Action TV

  • In an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called "The Money", Hitch has a giant 8 Ball as a prop in the intro.
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, Patrick Warburton's character, Puddy, buys a jacket with a giant 8-Ball logo on the back.

 Elaine: Are you going to wear that all the time?

Puddy:' [points at the back of his jacket] All signs point to yes.

  • On Friends when Ross is faced with either divorce or cutting Rachel out of his life he resorts to consulting an 8-ball. His friends think the idea is ludicrous (except for Phoebe), but they can't come up with anything better. It keeps displaying the "ask again later" message.
  • In an episode of ICarly, Spencer relies on a "magic meatball" for all of his decisions.
  • An episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has Ned using a magic pyramid to figure out if he's going to fail a test or not. It gets smashed by the abrasive school counselor.
  • In The Pretender episode "Past Sim", Jarod learns about the Magic 8-Ball, and near the end of the episode he leaves one for his pursuers, displaying the message "Don't count on it".
  • In a Scrubs episode, J.D. has an Imagine Spot where Kelso uses Ted as a "human magic 8 ball"; he holds Ted's head between his hands, shakes it, then asks him a question.
  • After The Big Bang Theory cast builds a battle robot, Raj suggests using it to cut open a magic eight ball to discover what is inside it.
  • On The King of Queens, the Mentalo toy from Doug's childhood (as well as its knockoff, Mental-Man) was a pull-string fortune-teller in a turban (or fez, respectively), but the character of its answers qualifies it as a variant of the eight-ball.
  • Referenced in Big Wave Dave's. Dave has an important decision to make and he asks Richie about what he should do because Marshall (his usual go-to guy for this sort of thing) is out of town.

 Richie: In that case why don't you ask your magic 8 ball?

Dave: I did, it always came back "ask again later."

Tabletop Games

Web Comics

  • Magic 8-Balls are in Homestuck, but there's a more powerful variant in the Magic Cue Ball, which gives perfect answers but has no window through which to see them.
    • Vriska has an addiction to breaking actual Magic 8 Balls.
  • An arc of Precocious parodied this with the "On Cue Ball," which didn't so much give advice as it ridiculed everything and everyone.
  • The Foolamancer from Erfworld, Jack, wields a staff topped by a Magic 8-Ball, and occasionally consults it. He has also referenced the lines used by it when asked a question.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table #170 had an ad on page 74 for "ThinkGeek's Magic d20 of Destiny". It's shaped like a 20-sided die the size of your fist, and the messages it gives are appropriate for an RPG like Dungeons and Dragons; e.g., "Run! It's a trap!"
  • In this strip of Adventurers, Karn obtains and consults a "Magic Eight Squall."
  • Penny Arcade has an interesting subversion in the Magic Hate Ball. See it here.

Western Animation

  • SpongeBob SquarePants had the Magic Conch Shell.
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, Ed Bighead rises through the ranks at Conglom-O by following the advice of the Magic Meatball. Then it breaks and he ends up back where he started.
  • The Simpsons: Milhouse gets a Magic 8-Ball for his birthday.

 Bart: Cool! An oversized novelty billiard ball!

Milhouse: Yeah, you shake it up and it tells the future![1]

Bart: Really?

Milhouse: Uh huh.

Bart: [takes it] Will I pass my English test? [shakes it, reads] "Outlook not so good." Wow, it does work!

  • There's a minor background character on The Venture Brothers named Manic 8-Ball, with this as his power. He's an underling of Baron Underbheit.

Notes

  1. Shaking the Magic 8-Ball is actually not recommended, as air bubbles can distort the answer that is displayed.
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