Created By: FerdinandtheBull on October 18, 2011 Last Edited By: FerdinandtheBull on September 4, 2012

Too Much Alike

When you have too much in common with someone, rather than not enough.

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Two characters have a difficult relationship not because of their differences, but because of their similarities. This is most commonly seen between parents and children or romantic couples, but there's plenty of room for it in other relationships.

This can be a sign of latent (or not-so-latent) self-loathing; the character hates himself, so he also hates people who remind him of himself. Or it can be a matter of certain traits' needing to be complemented rather than mirrored in a relationship: someone who talks all the time and someone who would rather listen are obviously better off with each other than with partners like themselves.

See You Remind Me of X, Hypocritical Humor, You Are What You Hate, Turn Out Like His Father, Evil Parents Want Good Kids, Your Approval Fills Me with Shame, Doppelgänger Dating.


  • Jo and Laurie from Little Women are one of the most famous examples, although when Jo turns down his proposal she also points out the things that are too different about them (she wouldn't like high society, and he wouldn't like her writing).
  • On Seinfeld, Jerry (being a narcissist) falls in love with a woman, played by Janeane Garofalo, because they have so much in common; he gradually realizes (being a self-loathing narcissist) what a mistake this is. He tells Elaine how it ended: they were sitting across from each other at Monk's when they both blurted out, "I hate you," and just like that they went their separate ways, still marveling over how they were always on the same page.
  • In Road to Perdition, Michael Sullivan, Jr., feels like The Unfavorite and eventually asks his father straight out if he liked Michael's murdered brother better. His father says that he didn't, and that if he treated them differently, it was because Michael reminded him of himself, and he didn't want his own son to Turn Out Like His Father.
  • In the Tortall Universe, Alanna's relationship with Liam doesn't work out because they're such similar people: stubborn and temperamental warriors with Chronic Hero Syndrome who aren't willing to adjust for each other, or for anything. George, the man she marries, is a much more laid-back, humorous type.
  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie takes after her mother, Katie -- striking her as ordinary -- while her younger brother Neeley takes after their father, a handsome and loving but unreliable alcoholic. Katie devotes herself to making sure Neeley grows up to be like the man she fell in love with, but without his flaws, leaving Francie to fend for herself. She tries to hide her Parental Favoritism, but Francie understands her mother's motives instinctively.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • October 18, 2011
    • The ultimate example would probably be the Red Dwarf episode "Me^2", in which Rimmer's self-loathing means that two copies of him end up unable to talk to each other, with one of them openly desiring the other's death.
  • October 18, 2011
    • A key element of the novel The Stone Angel is that Hagar Shipley insists that her younger son John is just like her while his older brother Marvin is like their father. In reality the opposite is true and Hagar is simply deceiving herself. The stodgy, proper Marvin is just like his mother which is probably why she dislikes him so much.
  • October 18, 2011
    Contrast with Birds Of A Feather.
  • October 19, 2011
    • Taken to an extreme in Calvin And Hobbes when Calvin completely clashes with his duplicate.
      Hobbes: He's a duplicate of you, all right.
      Calvin: What do you mean? This guy is a total jerk!
  • October 19, 2011
  • October 19, 2011
    see also NotSoDifferent ... mhmm, in fact the name makes me think about it , maybe it needs another name to diferentiate if from that
  • October 21, 2011
    Oh hey, I forgot this was here. Any ideas on a different name, then? I think this one is fine, but it's true that it isn't very distinctive.
  • February 22, 2012
    Just reread The Lord Of The Rings and was reminded that I'd made this YKTTW, because Denethor and Faramir are another example.
  • February 25, 2012
  • February 25, 2012
    See also Foil
  • February 26, 2012
  • February 26, 2012
    I think Too Much Alike is sufficiently distinct from Not So Different.
  • February 26, 2012
    Definition, yes. Title, no.
  • February 27, 2012
    • House provides a non-romantic example. House gets rid of one of his candidates because they think too much alike; the purpose of House's team is to challenge him and provide avenues of investigation he wouldn't have thought of alone.
  • February 27, 2012
  • March 1, 2012
    Bump. Any more thoughts on a title? Any other ideas if you think this isn't distinct enough? It's pretty much the most straightforward possible way of putting it, so whatever other approach people have in mind is probably beyond me to come up with.
  • May 17, 2012
    GOOD NEWS EVERYONE, another example. Liz and Carol from Thirty Rock. I have fond if obviously infrequent hopes of launching this sometime before I die, so, input?
  • September 4, 2012
    Yet another example from Red Dwarf: In "Parallel Universe", Lister and Rimmer meet their female versions. Dave Lister thinks Deb Lister is gross for a girl, but they avert the trope as they actually get on very well. However, Arnold Rimmer is completely disgusted by Arlene Rimmer.

  • September 4, 2012
    Art Spiegelman, the author/narrator of Maus mentions this off-hand to his fiance, as he once had a girlfriend who was also Jewish and Middle-Class, but Art then mentions that because they were so similar that it was weird to get erotic with the girl.
  • September 4, 2012
    May be a good idea to mention people from a friend group can qualify. For an example :
    • In Noob, aside from Omega Zell being a misogynist and Gaea being a woman who doesn't like being demeaned, the two don't get along simply from both being self-centered and somewhat superficial people that can't deal with a world view other then their own, especially the one held by the other. Their similarity has even enabled one of them to second guess the other's intentions at least once.