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  • In the Swedish version of Survivor, there was once a contest of sack racing. The production crew had bound coconuts in the water to the bottom of the sea close to the beach, and the presenter told the participants that they had to sack race to closest coconut, round it, and then return and the first to return should win. One participant reacted by rounding a coconut that laid under the closest palm tree and wasn't prepared by the crew. He got a special prize for creativity.
  • From the American version of Survivor:
    • Aint No Rule stating you couldn't look at another contestant's board during certain puzzle challenges.
    • Aint No Rule stating you couldn't bribe other contestants.
    • Aint No Rule stating you can't accidentally wander into another tribe's camp
    • Aint No Rule stating you can't use somebody's eyeglasses and water to start fire.
    • Early in the show, someone had apparently broke a pair of binoculars they brought as their luxury item and used them to start fire. Then another time, someone apparently smuggled a granola bar into the game through their luxury item. Another time, someone brought a flag that was used as a tarp (That was confiscated) Rules have been put up for Luxury items since.
    • Aint No Rule stating you can't use the other camp's fire to start your own.
    • A few seasons of Survivor have started off with a "Grab supplies as fast as you can"-portion. There Aint No Rule stating you can't steal the other tribe's stuff when they're not looking.
    • Aint No Rule stating you can't offer up items as a trade for fire with the other tribe.
  • Mythbusters competitions sometimes feature Loophole Abuse.
    • Jamie's egg drop from the roof of M5 is a classic. He converted his materials to a line to lower the egg with.
    • Adam justifying going over-budget on his hovercraft was also good (his finished product was within budget, but his total spending wasn't).
    • In another episode they had to use salsa (the dressing, not the music) to cut through the bar of a jail cell. As part of the myth they were allowed to speed up the electrolysis by running the current from a lightbulb through it. Jamie used a small radio (a device commonly used by the interns of many Mexican prisons) to change the current from AC to DC on the wire. His excuse being he got the radio for "good behavior."
      • This escalated to Adam "stealing" a prison vacuum engine and building a makeshift drill that ultimately failed.
    • For a ninja myth, Kari, Tory, and Grant competed to make the most accurate blowgun using "natural" materials such as bamboo. Since copper is a "naturally"-occuring element, Kari chose to put a length of copper pipe down the center of her bamboo tube. Needless to say, she won.
    • "I'm not doing anything <X> wouldn't have done, if <X> had had power tools!"
    • It should be noted that for every time they do abuse loopholes, they'll just as equally acknowledge and then subvert them by ignoring them, claiming what they call "the spirit of the myth". For example, during the myth that a piece of paper couldn't be folded more than 7 times, Grant got 8 folds by folding lengthwise as much as he could, then widthwise. Tory then took it one step beyond, since the myth didn't say in half. When it came time to do the myth for real though, they all agreed that the spirit was folding in half lengthwise, then widthwise, and repeating.
  • In Lost's fifth season finale, two mysterious characters are revealed to be pulling the strings behind certain events, effectively a battle of the Chessmasters. In the opening scene (set in the 1800s) one tells the other that he will one day find a loophole [1] that will "allow me to kill you." In 2007, the Man in Black, aka the Smoke Monster succeeds in killing (or rather, convincing Ben to kill)Jacob, the leader of the Island and prior to his death, Jacob remarks that "I see you found your loophole."
  • In the pilot episode for White Collar, Neal breaks his house arrest restrictions and flees to a criminal's hideout, knowing full well that the FBI can track him with GPS. When the FBI arrives to "arrest" Neal, they arrest the other criminals as well due to a clause in search and seizure law that states law enforcement has the power to confiscate evidence of criminal activity while pursuing a fugitive, even if said crimes are completely unrelated.
  • Firefly: When the resident minister shows up for a fight toting a rifle, he states that while the Good Book has some quite specific things to say about killing, it's a mite fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles Cameron is specifically ordered by Sarah not to kill two people who may be a lead to Skynet. When they're later murdered by gangsters, within earshot of Cameron, she nonchalantly points out to Sarah that saving them wasn't an order.
  • Doctor Who: In the Fourth Doctor episode "The Deadly Assassin", The Doctor is accused of killing the Lord President of Gallifrey, the punishment for which is execution. However, the president had not named a successor before he was killed so an election must be held. So to put off his execution long enough to figure out what's really going on, the Doctor invokes some obscure law that lets him submit himself as a candidate so the Time Lords can't execute him until after the election.
  • On Family Matters, Steve Urkel challenges Laura's Guy of the Week to a contest to see who can climb to the top of a rope faster. The loser has to stay away from Laura forever. Steve is absolutely terrible at rope climbing, but he wins because there Ain't No Rule that says he can't use a rocket pack to fly to the top instead of climbing in the usual way. This is quite ridiculous as a way of winning a rope-climbing contest, because, well, it's not rope climbing! The guy in question never appears again, but a generous interpretation would claim that he just faded into the background like every other girl/guy of the week, and didn't stay away because he actually honored Steve Urkel's beating him in the contest. On the other hand, as a result of the jetpack, Urkel ended up in a Step by Step Crossover, a fate far worse than being dumped.
  • In Babylon 5, Ivanova becomes the Green Drazi leader by grabbing the former leader's ceremonial sash:

 Ivanova: You're saying just because I'm holding this right now, I'm Green leader? But I'm human!

Green Drazi: Rules of combat older than contact with other races. Did not mention aliens. (looks embarrassed) Rules change... caught up in committee. Not come through yet.

    • Also, Sinclair's abuse of the Rush Act, which authorizes him to use any and all military assets to end a strike by the station's dockworkers. He uses those "assets"—namely, funds earmarked for the military budget—to pay for the safety upgrades which the workers demanded.
  • On The Brady Bunch, Marcia joins Greg's Boy Scout troop because there Ain't No Rule that says a girl can't be a Boy Scout. Greg tries to retaliate by joining Marcia's Sunflower Girls Group, but he is prevented because in his case, there is a rule—not against boys joining the group, but because there is an age limit which he is too old for. Instead, he gets younger brother Peter to join.
    • At the time, there most definitely was a rule that said a girl can't be a Boy Scout. They were allowed to be Explorers starting in the early 1970s, so it's possible that Marcia joined Greg's Explorer post, but technically she couldn't have joined his Boy Scout Troop.
  • Similarly, on My Three Sons, Chip once joined the girls' field hockey team (in retaliation for a girl attempting to join the track team.) There Wasn't No Rule preventing this, but there was a rule about uniforms, which forced Chip to play wearing a skirt, at which point Hilarity Ensued. The conflict was ultimately resolved by Chip unexpectedly turning out to be a lousy field hockey player compared to the more experienced girls, and Learning a Valuable Lesson.
  • One episode of The Twilight Zone has a coach putting a robot on his baseball team as the pitcher - ain't no rule against that. But then the team doctor informs him that the rules do say a baseball team consists of "nine men". Trying to correct this by giving the robot a heart ruins it.
  • Strangers with Candy: Ain't no rule that says a participant in the father-student sack race can't be the cremated remains of the student's father in an urn. There * is* a rule that states "50% or more of the daddy must pass the finish line;" unfortunately for Jerri, at least 75% of her father's ashes had spilled out while she raced.
  • On ICarly There's no rule that specifically states that a full-grown adult can't wrestle in a community wrestling league. The pamphlet only recommended the activity to boys 6-10.
    • This also doesn't stop Sam from challenging the Jerkass doing so and beating him.
    • Another incident has Gibby show there wasn't any rule requiring him to wear a shirt at school. Funnily enough, they do have one against wearing turtleneck sweaters.
    • Having gone to law school (for three days), Spencer is an expert at finding loopholes:
      • After Nevel trapped iCarly in being forced to get him a new car they couldn't afford, Spencer finds a loophole in the FCC's definition of a new car as a 'unique vehicle that's never been state registered and can go up to 25 miles per hour under its own power'. He modifies the replica star cruiser he got off the internet to be able to move under its own power. Because its unique (one of the kind), has never been state registered, and can go up to 25 miles an hour (proven when Nevel tries to drive it and destroys a flower shop), it technically counts as a new car.
      • When Sam gets them in legal trouble for getting money off children online, Spencer discovers they can legally keep the money if they give a product or service in return, and he just so happens to be selling fudgeballs for the Sunshine Girls.
      • When the gang is forced to talk about a terrible (and dangerous) line of shoes in a positive way which is enraging their fanbase, Spencer finds a loophole, they have to be talking about them in a positive way, doesn't say they can't reveal the faults of the shoe so long as they do it in a 'positive way'.
  • In one episode of My Name Is Earl, Joy enters a mother-daughter beauty pageant. Ain't no rule that her mother has to be alive.
  • Classic Professional Wrestling trope. The most obvious is the loophole that a title (usually) can't change hands unless the victory is 'clean'; if a heel were to, say, disqualify himself by hitting an opponent (restrained by his allies) in the groin with a foreign object while outside the ring over ten seconds (are there any other rules I'm forgetting?), he'd retain it. And then there's the classic No Holds Barred/Street Fight/Hardcore match, where there Ain't No Rules. Aside from 'win via pinfall or submission', of course.
    • As with so many other things, Eddie Guerrero was the master of this. While the ref was distracted, he would grab a chair, hit it against something to make a noise, throw it to his opponent, and then lay down. The ref would reach the logical conclusion, and DQ his opponent. Ain't no rule against giving your opponent a weapon.
  • Michael Larson managed to take home $110,000 in winnings on Press Your Luck by finding and exploiting a flaw in the way in the game worked. By freeze-framing videotapes of the show and memorizing the patterns in which the light moved around the board, Larson was able to time his buzzer presses so that they always stopped on the most advantageous squares. CBS protested, but in the end, they were forced to give Larson the money because even though his win was far from kosher, nothing he did was technically against the rules. However, they promptly reprogrammed the board to make this stunt significantly harder to replicate.
  • The Colbert Report: In a segment of Formidable Opponent where Stephen debates himself one of the Stephens argue that torture is constitutional. The constitution might forbid cruel and unusual punishment but that's not a problem according to Stephen if torture is used so often it is no longer unusual.
  • BBC proto-Reality TV show Now Get Out of That featured this as part of the challenges themselves, which were sometimes worded very specifically to allow this.
  • One Saturday Night Live parody of lawyer commercials featuring Dana Carvey was base on this trope:

 Carvey: (wearing enormous, obvious hearing aids) "Attorney Dave Miller got me ten million dollars after he told me to ram this piece of spaghetti through my ear drums. The box didn't say not to! Thanks, Dave Miller!"

  • On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the dress code at the prep school Will and Carlton attend says that students must wear the school blazer and a tie tied in a double Windsor knot. However, the rule does not state that the tie cannot be worn on one's head. It also says nothing about sewing bright red lining into the blazer and wearing it inside out. Will does both.
    • The lining was already in the blazer, he merely turned said blazer inside out. Getting away with it caused several other students to follow suit.
  • Lampshaded in the ESPN Sports Science episode about hockey goalies: while there Ain't No Rule about what size the goalie can be, even the fattest man in the world wouldn't be able to take up enough space to block the entire goal, and even average hockey players can get pucks into the spaces that he leaves open.
    • There is actually a rule that would prevent such a player from being a goalie: the rule about how large a jersey can be (and that you must wear one).
  • The detectives of Law and Order Special Victims Unit once raided a place selling mail-order "used Homecoming Queen undergarments". The Homecoming Queens in question were senior citizens, and making a bundle. They didn't say that the undergarments belonged to young girls, after all.
  • Apparently, in Glee there Ain't No Rule against a wheelchair user being bowled down the field like a human cannonball in football. This may well not actually be true in Real Life.
  • In the Grand Finale of The Shield, the immunity deal Vic secured at ICE sees this played straight on their end and averted on his. Since the agreement didn't specify in what capacity the Feds were required to employ him for that three-year period, he got put at a desk job that made all his strong suits useless and put all his weak suits into play (especially their dress code). Unless he obeys all of the terms to the letter, without any deviation or mistake, he goes straight to prosecution. They, on the other hand, are completely free to do whatever it takes to trick him into violating those very terms.
  • In Supernatural, angels must get permission to inhabit a person's body. Unfortunately, there's no rule against torturing people and their loved ones in order to get permission.
  • In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Witches Council rules seem to be made for this. They even have a rule that says "There's always a loophole."
  • The Drew Carey Show had an episode where the four protagonists were arrested and forced by the court to stay away from each other starting from when they left the courthouse. Oswald then decided that they should just stay in the courthouse. This trope was then subverted when the judge changed their wording to "immediately.
  • In the prologue of a Malcolm in the Middle episode, Malcolm and Reese were playing football in the house until their mother told them not to. They then started throwing the football "through" the house until she told them not to. The boys kept looking for loopholes through their orders until it ended with Malcolm and Reese in their respective bedrooms, sitting at their windows, and still throwing the football at each other. Malcolm told Reese it wasn't fun anymore and Reese replied that no longer was the idea.
    • In another story, Malcolm was in charge of the school paper and was forbidden from posting a certain article. In retaliation, he started his own independent paper and distributed it as close to school as possible without being within its jurisdiction so they'd have no say to whatever he publishes in his paper.
  • In the final season of Benson, Gov. Gatling used a loop hole in the state constitution's term limit language to run for a third term, since it stated that only affiliated party members were barred. It didn't say anything about someone running as an independent.
  • In The Great Food Truck Race 2, the teams were told to take some meat from a certain storage and make an original sausage to be judged. Whoever won would be given something to help out in their actual challenge. Korilla BBQ figured they had no chance against the other teams and considering they only had a hundred dollars to start their challenge, they opted to simply take ingredients from the storage to be used in the actual challenge and didn't bother making a sausage. The judge admitted that this was smart.
    • Korilla BBQ seems to be fond of this. When the contestants were given 5 dollars each and told that they could spend no more to make a single dish to be judged, Korilla BBQ raided the condiment stand.
  • This appears to be Kirk's policy with the Prime Directive in Star Trek: The Original Series: the Prime Directive mentions healthy and/or natural development, depending on the quote in question... which of course means a captain is free to argue about what constitutes natural and healthy development for a culture.[2]
  • On Boy Meets World, Cory and Shawn somehow move Rachel's car into her dorm room as part of an Escalating War and Rachel tries to get them in trouble with Mr. Feeny but he refuses to punish them because there aren't any rules against parking a car in a dorm room.
  • Used by Klinger in Series/Mash when Col. Potter took command. The Colonel ordered Klinger to wear nothing but U.S. military uniforms. After enduring some issues with his regular issue uniform, he wears a female sailor's uniform from his Shirley Temple Collection.
  • In earlier seasons of The Amazing Race, it was common to see teams like Rob & Amber (Seasons 7 & 11) and Charla & Mirna (Seasons 5 & 11) convince locals to go along with them on legs, helping them navigate past the other teams. Luckily, this loophole was closed after All-Stars.
  • On the game show Lingo, the object is to guess a five-letter word and spell it. Host Chuck Woolery often mentioned "it's not what you say, it's what you spell". This has led to people occasionally abusing this rule upon realizing they've accidentally guessed a six-letter word ("Breath. B-R-E-A...D", which is ruled as a guess for "Bread"). One team said one word and spelled another on the fly four times in the course of two rounds, to their advantage and Chuck's amusement.
  • In season 8 of French version of Peking Express, the teams must gather 5 people named Kim before being allowed to leave Jeonju. Ain't no rule stating two teams can't go to the checkpoint with the same people. Cécilia & Joel's and Gérard & Cédric's teams having found each two people named Kim work together to find a fifth and go to the checkpoint one after the other with those 5.
  • On How I Met Your Mother Barney is at a casino and tries to ride off on a motorcycle that was the jackpot prize for a slot machine he hadn't won. Casino security stops him, but they find they can't punish him because there isn't a rule saying you can't ride a motorcycle on the casino floor. Barney gets off scott-free, and from that day forward the casino has a "No motorcycles on the casino floor" sign prominently displayed.
  • Teen Angel: Troublemakers are generally sent to hell if they died as adults. If someone who hasn’t made it to adulthood at the time of their death, they’re sent to heaven regardless of their deeds in life. They are just assigned as guardian angels, like what happened to Marty.
  1. The two's adopted mother set a rule that states that neither can kill the other
  2. In his defence, this seems to be an extension of that era's Starfleet policy, given The Paradise Syndrome, and so may not be quite so much blatant cheating as it'd seem in light of the policies of later eras