• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

I want you,

I need you,

But there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you.

Now don't be sad,

'Cause two out of three ain't bad.
Meat Loaf, Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

 During World War III, we were able to save Russia and China, but we couldn't save the United States. Oh well, two out of three ain't bad!


There are three things you should know about this page:

  1. This is a Stock Phrase often used in comedy.
  2. It is used for when there are three things that a character wanted and one or two of them didn't turn out the way they expected.
  3. This is All The Tropes' Millionth Trope! Congratulations! You've won one gazillion dollars!


Okay, well, two out of three ain't bad.

Also, usually the one that went wrong was the most important one, i.e. "Well, he's Made of Iron all right, and he doesn't give up, but the controllable part... well, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."

Two Out of Three Examples Ain't Bad


  • A community college course list once had an English course called "Writing For Fun And Profit ... Or One Out Of Two Isn't Bad".

Anime and Manga

  • Played with in the English Dub of Martian Successor Nadesico, when Ryoko reports that two members of her three-woman squad are accounted for, and even says the line. She is immediately countered by the missing Izumi (who ended up in the giant toolbox Ryoko was towing), who chimes in: "It is if you're the third!"



  She wanted a sperm donor who was tall, black, and handsome. One out of three ain't bad. (She got Ted Danson.)



  • Good Omens: the main female character finds out that the man she was fated to fall in love with, whom she hoped would be the proverbial "tall, dark and handsome" guy, is in fact only tall and dark. She tells herself, "Two out of three isn't bad."
  • Soul Music had the gag about Sex, Drugs and Music with Rocks In. "I haven't had sex." "My dad would kill me if I did drugs." "Well, one out of three ain't bad."

Live Action TV

  • In The George Lopez Show, this is used when George finds out that Benny lied to him, and his dad is actually alive.

 George "I just want a muffin, some coffee, to know why you never told me my dad was alive."

Benny [tosses him a muffin] "Here. One outta three ain't bad."

  • Darren Stevens from Bewitched once said this after noting that while his mother-in-law hates him, his wife and daughter love him very much.
  • Subverted in Queer as Folk, when Lindsay tells the others that her childhood dream was to fall in love, get married and have a baby. When Michael says that two out of three isn't bad, Lindsay says that three out of three is even better, since she and Melanie have decided to get married.



  • NPR's This American Life once followed a Jewish advertiser who was working with a Muslim client. The client, in idle political conversation with the ad-man, quoted a prophecy that said "there will never be peace within Islam until Islam rules over the three holy cities of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem". The advertiser responded "Two out of three ain't bad".


  • In 2003, Australian Rules Football team the Brisbane Lions were going for their third consecutive premiership. At the Grand Final Breakfast, when Lions coach Leigh Matthews was introduced, they played Meat Loaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad". The Lions won.
  • In 2011, FC Barcelona lost the Copa del Rey to arch-rival Real Madrid, but then they won both the Spanish League and the UEFA Champions League, defeating Real in both competitions. Needless to say, Barcelona's fans were very satisfied by these results.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • A witch tried to turn Scooby Doo, Scrappy and Shaggy into frogs. Shaggy was the only one she hit and the witch invoked the trope to show how satisfied she was for having at least one frog.
  • A Garfield and Friends episode had Jon complaining about food prices. Garfield stated Jon would rant about how life at farm used to be cheaper on that aspect because his family cultivated their own food there. Jon proved him right. Garfield then said Jon would suggest doing it at their yard and Jon (again) proved him right. Garfield stated Jon would then forget it all. One Gilligan Cut later revealed them working at the yard and Garfield stating two out of three wasn't bad.