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Chandler: Okay, on three. One... Two...

Joey: Why don't we just go on two?

Chandler: Why two?

Joey: Because it's faster.

Chandler: Yeah, I coulda counted to three like four times without all this "two" talk.
Friends, when the gang is lifting a heavy entertainment center into place.

Any time precise timing is called for, you're likely to hear the phrase "On three: One, two, THREE!"

Since this has been heard countless times before, variations are common. A common parody is: "WAIT! Do we go on three, or do we say 'One, two, three' and then go?" This usually results in an awkward conversation about how best to count or the characters becoming even more confused and going at the wrong time or missing their opportunity entirely. (Genre Savvy characters may avoid this by counting down from three instead: "Three, two, one, GO!")

Sub-Trope of Rule of Three. Not to be confused with Counting to Three, which is when you don't want the person counting to get to three.

Examples


Anime

  • The dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! has Joey and Tristan agree to try ramming a blocked door "on three", then proceed to shout "Three!" in unison immediately to ram right away. And then they shout and shove again and again until the door breaks. Well, their best friend is dying in a fire in there, what do you expect?
  • Similarly, in the Rebuild of Evangelion English dub:

 Misato: "Push on three... THREE!"

Film

  • Lethal Weapon makes a running gag out of this joke.
  • Averted in Robin Hood: Men in Tights with "On the count of 'Kick'!"
    • Later it was "On the count of 'Jump'! Wait for it..."
  • A running gag in Monty Python and The Holy Grail was that King Arthur couldn't say the word "three", substituting "five" for it until corrected by one of his subordinates. When it comes time to toss the Holy Hand Grenade, he miscounts again-fortunately the grenade didn't go off until it was thrown next to the desired target.
  • Yellow Submarine, as The Beatles are about to sing Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

 John Lennon Ok, fellows on the beat...A-one, a-two, a-three, a-four, a-five, a-six...

Ringo Starr Can't you make it three?

John Lennon Oh, alright! On the beat...A-one, a-two, a-three...

  • In Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Max has to yank an arrow out of another character's leg, says they'll do it on the count of three, and of course does it on two.

Literature

  • Played with in Feed. George and Shaun agree to activate their mandatory zombie-infection blood tests on three, as loss of speech function is an additional warning sign of infection. But they have a prior standing agreement to actually go on two, as loss of memory is also a warning sign.

Live Action TV

  • That Mitchell and Webb Look in a sketch about a hostage negotiator.
  • Friends: The cast attempts to move a heavy piece of furniture and Joey asks why it has to be a count of three instead of two.
  • In All in The Family, Gloria and Mike are fighting; Mike locks himself in the bathroom. Gloria says she's going to break the door open "on three". Mike opens the door as she says three (because he assumed it was "one, two, three, then hit")--and Gloria slams into him (she started running at "two" to hit on "three").
  • Played with in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Herc and Iolas agree to jump on three......then say three and jump.
  • Played with in the Supernatural episode "I Know What You Did Last Summer", when Sam is resetting Dean's dislocated shoulder:

 Sam: Okay, on three. One,

*CLRK*

Dean: AUGH!

Video Games

  • Portal 2 has Wheatley disengaging himself from his management rail "on three", only to chicken out thinking Chell won't grab him (he thinks she's brain damaged, after all) and back up. Then he decides to let go on "one" so as not to psyche himself out.

 Wheatley: Get ready to catch me, alright? On the off-chance that I'm not dead the moment I pop off this thing. On three. Ready? One. Two. THREE- that's high, it's too high, isn't it, really. Okay, going on three just gives you way too much time to think about it. Let's... go on one this time, okay ready?

Web Comics

 Plant AI: Ok then, ready your aim. One... Two...

Vexxarr: ...three.

Western Animation

Real Life

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