Created By: SomeSortOfTroper on September 12, 2009
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Meet The Suspiciously Similar Substitute

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A character will meet another character who could almost be their own Suspiciously Similar Substitute. They have similar attitudes, mannerism and characteristics and sometimes they will actually be used as a substitute for the character. Often it's an ex who's dating someone incredibly similar to the original character, sometimes in a very similar manner it will be someone trying to get a new friend after they've lost an old one and the new friend is suspiciously similar to the old one.

A common complication is the original not seeing this resemblance and growing to dislike the copy, especially for the characteristics that they most obviously share.

Up for Grabs.

Examples:

  • Occurred classically in Frasier, Season 4, Episode 6: "Mixed Doubles." No sooner has Frasier talked Niles out of asking Daphne out when Daphne shows up with her new beau, a virtual Niles clone. Niles condescendingly mocks him until suddenly the similarity dawns on him thanks to Frasier's and Martin's prodding.
  • Russ of Friends who Rachel dates just after breaking up with Ross. The only people who don't see the resemblance are Rachel, Ross and Phoebee (who think he looks like Bob Saget). This leads to a feedback loop of Ross and Russ arguing in exactly the same way saying the same thing over and over again before the whole think clicks in Rachel's mind.
  • When Bart and Milhouse's friendship hit the rocks in one episode of The Simpsons, Bart got himself a suspiciously similar substitute who had even less of a spine than Millhouse.
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • September 12, 2009
    random surfer
  • September 12, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Similar Squad. It's just been launched.
  • September 12, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    I think it should be a separate trope when it's a single character. It plays differently. For one thing, part of the gag when it's a single person is that someone doesn't recognize the resemblance even though it's obvious to the others.
  • September 12, 2009
    Magus
    "A common complication is the original not seeing this resemblance and growing to dislike the copy, especially for the characteristics that they most obviously share."

    This once happened on Everybody Loves Raymond when he's visited by Cousin Gerard. They both have the same nasally voice. Raymond hates him.

    Can be compared to The Bizarro (someone trope this now!), in which a character meets an uncannily similar-looking--yet opposite in manner--version of themselves. This happened in the 137th episode of Seinfeld, "The Bizarro Jerry," where this happened to Jerry, Kramer, and George.
  • September 12, 2009
    SomeSortOfTroper
    Not Identical Stranger because they are absolutely identical-swap they're clothes and be unable to tell the difference identical. The sort of identical you get in "covering up important persons death plot" like in Dave or The Prisoner Of Zenda
  • September 12, 2009
    random surfer
    Guise Will Be Guise mentions both Dave and Zenda. Things like on Friends and Fraiser wouldn't fit there - but they are on Identical Stranger.
  • September 12, 2009
    Ryusui
  • September 12, 2009
    JAF1970
    • Frasier episode "Mixed Doubles", in which Daphne goes to a singles bar and picks up a man named Rodney who has the exact same fussiness, mannerisms and general appearance as Niles.
      Rodney: I have an inner-ear curvature that makes me prone to motion sickness. But there's a charming bistro there that serves the most exquisite...
      (cell phone rings)
      Niles: Not me.
      Rodney: Not me.
      Martin: (on phone, disturbed) Hello? Oh, I can't talk right now, Duke. I'm in the Twilight Zone.
      • Later in the episode:
        Frasier and Martin: What the hell was that?!
        Frasier: I think maybe we should put a little red mark on the real Niles so we can tell them apart!
  • September 12, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Split some examples from Similar Squad and call it Expy Encounter.
  • September 13, 2009
    SomeSortOfTroper
    Right, random surfer, because Guise Will Be Guise is a subtrope but it's a subtrope because the supertrope is about people who are practically twins. They don't necessarily dress the same, act the same nor generate the sort of plots and events that this trope would. They are just identical strangers, two people who could be twins. Two people who are both played by David Hasselhoff but one has a beard level of identical.

    In this trope, these people don't even have to be identical.
  • September 13, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    • The Bizzarro Jerry episode from Seinfeld. Elaine meets three men similar to Jerry, George, and Kramer. Averted somewhat in that the character's personalities were opposites, but also played straight because the appearance and structure of the two groups is similar.
  • September 13, 2009
    SomeSortOfTroper
  • May 19, 2010
    SomeSortOfTroper
    With the examples here already being in Identical Stranger which may have in the mean time been expanded a little, it doesn't seem worth splitting.
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