Created By: HiddenFacedMatt on October 9, 2011 Last Edited By: ArcadesSabboth on August 15, 2013
Troped

Mutual Envy

Each side of a difference in circumstance sees the other as better off.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Scamp: I'd do anything to have what you have!
Angel: And I'd do anything to have what you have.

One character, or group, sees another character or group as better off... but they and/or the audience discover that those they envy are almost as jealous as them, or perhaps even more so. Basically, this is for when envy is portrayed as a two-way street.

This at times is needed to give some perspective to characters who need it.

Often the setup for a "Freaky Friday" Flip, or the context of The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry. Compare Be Careful What You Wish For, which is often found in the same works as Mutual Envy.

Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
  • In Lucky Star, the Huge Schoolgirl Minori envies her best friend Yutaka for being small and cute, all the while Yutaka envies Minori for being tall and cool.
  • In Fruits Basket, both Yuki and Kyo envy each others circunstances and personalities, Kyo wants to be acknolowged by the main house of Sohma and as part of the Zodiac so he envies Yuki who being the mouse, gets a privileged place over Kyo and even the other members of the zodiac, Yuki on the other hand has always been in a Gilded Cage, due to turning into a mouse if a girls hug him, he maintains distance and doesn' t have any real friends, nor does he know how to make them, he envies Kyo's personality, outgoing nature, and ability to bond so easily with others.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • The Spider-Man/Human Torch Trade Paperback "I'm With Stupid shows their relationship through the years, with the last story, "I'm With Stupid" pointing out the good things they have: Spidey gets to be near all the hot women and also be able to follow Reed without needing a translation into "normal," Johnny gets to have the trappings of fame and go to various universes Spidey would do anything to go to. Or the perks of power "with NONE of the responsibility."
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film -- Animated]]
  • In Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp's Adventure, Scamp wishes he had the street smarts and free lifestyle of Angel, whereas Angel never really wanted to be a stray dog, and wishes she had a family like Scamp.
  • Aladdin involves Aladdin jealous that Jasmine lives in wealth, while Jasmine is jealous that Aladdin's life isn't as controlled as hers.
    Aladdin: I wonder what it'd be like to [live in the palace]; have servants, valets...
    Jasmine: ... oh, sure, people who tell you where to go and how to dress...
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Chiyo-chan wishes she was tall and cool like Sakaki, whereas Sakaki wishes she were small and cute like Chiyo-chan.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • Both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn put each other on pedastals, thinking the other the smartest person they know and wishing that they had the other's life.
  • Animorphs: In The Ellimist Chronicles, two Ketran flying crystal cities meet. One Ketran blurts out that the others are building a hydrofoil (which means the crystal requires less manpower to stay airborne) just as his counterpart exclaims that they're building a spacecraft.
  • In Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Goloshes of Fortune", the titular goloshes cause wishes to come true (although no one who wears them is aware of this property). A watchman puts them on and, looking up into a lieutenant's window, wishes he was the lieutenant. He enters the consciousness of the lieutenant -- and the lieutenant, looking down enviously, wishes he was the watchman, which restores the watchman to himself.
  • The Prince and the Pauper: This is why the prince and the pauper decide to switch places inMark Twain's novel and its retellings.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth legendarium, Elves and Humans envy each other. Humans are mortal and die after a comparatively short time, and our souls have to leave the World after we die, so we envy the Elves' "immortality." The Ageless Elves, who very slowly get tired of living but can't die of old age and certainly can't leave the World dead or alive, know that they're all going to be here when it comes to an end. They envy Humans for being able to leave when we get "weary," and for having the option to keep existing after the end of Time. Elves call death a "Gift," which can rub mortals the wrong way.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon and Leonard, both brilliant scientists, envy each other their childhood. Sheldon's mum is too much of a religious nut for his taste (he still loves her), but he envies that Leonard's mother is rational, logical and a brilliant scientist herself. Leonard's mother is however extremely cold and emotionally abusive, and Leonard loves and envies how Sheldon's mother is sweet, caring and understanding.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
  • The song "Wouldn't It Be Good?" by Nik Kershaw is about this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
  • The Musical Woman of the Year had a song called "The Grass is Always Greener" which is a duet between famous TV news personality Tess Harding and her ex-husband's second wife. They both extol the virtues of the other's life, with the wife excited about discos and celebrities, while Tess would love to make a pot roast or sew a button.
    • One version had Kathie Lee Gifford sing with her partner:
    You know Regis Philbin! That's So Wonderful!
    What's So Wonderful? First you take two asprin!
    • One version with Raquel Welch (while Bill Clinton was President) used:
    Dinner with the President! That's So Wonderful!
    What's So Wonderful? Jogging to Mc Donald's!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • In Persona 4, Chie's shadow reveals that she's secretly jealous of her friend Yukiko's looks while Yukiko's jealous of Chie's independance. Of course, what actually lets their respective shadows get under their skin is the fact that Chie feels better when Yukiko has to depend on her and Yukiko was relying on Chie (or someone) to help her go somewhere in life.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • DCAU:
    • The Batman/Superman Adventures episode "Girls' Night Out" dealt with Livewire escaping to Gotham City and Supergirl helping Batgirl when Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn join Livewire. Kara likes the energy and excitement of Gotham, while Barbara thinks the fresh air of Smallville with none of the night work or Gotham's big-city congestion is fine for her. This leads them to being Fire Forged Friends, which carries over into Justice League, where "Comfort And Joy" have it where Barbara invited Kara to go skiing with her.
    • In the Series/Justice League episode "Metamorphosis" has John Stewart see his former Marine buddy, Rex Mason, has it nice:
      John Stewart: I've never thought much about the choices I've made. Maybe if I'd taken the other road, I'd be where Mason is now. Rich, successful...
      Hawkgirl: (wryly) And engaged to a beautiful woman?
    After John promises Sapphire Stagg he'll bring Rex home safe, we get this:
    Sapphire Stagg: No wonder he always looked up to you.
    John Stewart: (puzzled) Me? He's the one who had it made.
    Sapphire Stagg: No. He watches you on the news all the time. He still misses it being in action, saving people's lives. I think he'd trade places with you in a minute.
    John Stewart: Guess it's true about what they say about "the grass always being greener."
[[/folder]]


Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • October 9, 2011
    WackyMeetsPractical
  • October 10, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Not quite. Grass Is Greener, judging by the description, is a one-directional "A sees B as better off," as opposed to the "A sees B as better off while B sees A as better off" implied from this trope.
  • October 2, 2012
    SneakySquirrel
  • October 3, 2012
    Koveras
    • In Lucky Star, the Huge Schoolgirl Minori envies her best friend Yutaka for being small and cute, all the while Yutaka envies Minori for being tall and cool.

    Similar setups are actually quite common in Girls Love mangas.
  • January 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn put each other on pedastals, thinking the other the smartest person they know and wishing that they had the other's life.
  • January 28, 2013
    Duncan
    The Musical Woman of the Year had a song called "The Grass is Always Greener" which is a duet between famous TV news personality Tess Harding and her ex-husband's second wife. They both extol the virtues of the other's life, with the wife excited about discos and celebrities, while Tess would love to make a pot roast or sew a button.
  • January 28, 2013
    Bisected8
    • In Persona 4, Chie's shadow reveals that she's secretly jealous of her friend Yukiko's looks while Yukiko's jealous of Chie's independance. Of course, what actually lets their respective shadows get under their skin is the fact that Chie feels better when Yukiko has to depend on her and Yukiko was relying on Chie (or someone) to help her go somewhere in life.
  • January 28, 2013
    Chabal2
    In the Ellimist Chronicles, two Ketran flying crystal cities meet. One Ketran blurts out that the others are building a hydrofoil (which means the crystal requires less manpower to stay airborne) just as his counterpart exclaims that they're building a spacecraft.
  • February 27, 2013
    grenekni3t
    • In Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Goloshes of Fortune", the titular goloshes cause wishes to come true (although no one who wears them is aware of this property). A watchman puts them on and, looking up into a lieutenant's window, wishes he was the lieutenant. He enters the consciousness of the lieutenant--and the lieutenant, looking down enviously, wishes he was the watchman, which restores the watchman to himself.
  • February 28, 2013
    XFllo
    Live Action TV
    • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon and Leonard, both brilliant scientists, envy each other their childhood. Sheldon's mum is too much of a religious nut for his taste (he still loves her), but he envies that Leonard's mother is rational, logical and a brilliant scientist herself. Leonard's mother is however extremely cold and emotionally abusive, and Leonard loves and envies how Sheldon's mother is sweet, caring and understanding.
  • March 10, 2013
    Scalondragon
    Western Animation:

    • The Batman/Superman Adventures episode "Girls' Night Out" dealt with Livewire escaping to Gotham City and Supergirl helping Batgirl when Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn join Livewire. Kara likes the energy and excitement of Gotham, while Barbara thinks the fresh air of Smallville with none of the night work or Gotham's big-city congestion is fine for her.
    • This leads them to being Fire Forged Friends, which carries over into Justice League, where "Comfort And Joy" have it where Barbara invited Kara to go skiing with her.

    Comics:

    The Spider Man / Human Torch Trade Paperback "I'm With Stupid" shows their relationship through the years, with the last story, "I'm With Stupid" having both point out the good things they have: Spidey gets to be near all the hot women and also be able to follow Reed without needing a translation into "normal," Johnny gets to have the trappings of fame and go to various universes Spidey would do anything to go to. Or the perks of power "with NONE of the responsibility."
    • Speaking of Justice League, "Metamorphosis" has John Stewart see his former Marine buddy, Rex Mason, has it nice:
      John Stewart: I've never thought much about the choices I've made. Maybe if I'd taken the other road, I'd be where Mason is now. Rich, successful...
      Hawkgirl: (wryly) And engaged to a beautiful woman?
    After John promises Sapphire Stagg he'll bring Rex home safe, we get this:
    Sapphire Stagg: No wonder he always looked up to you.
    John Stewart: (puzzled) Me? He's the one who had it made.
    Sapphire Stagg: No. He watches you on the news all the time. He still misses it—being in action, saving people's lives. I think he'd trade places with you in a minute.
    John Stewart: Guess it's true about what they say about "the grass always being greener."

    The "Woman of the Year" example had two other cases: 1) When one version had Kathie Lee Gifford sing with her partner: You know Regis Philbin! That's So Wonderful! What's So Wonderful? First you take two asprin! 2) One version with Raquel Welch (while Bill Clinton was President) used: Dinner with the President! That's So Wonderful! What's So Wonderful? Jogging to Mc Donald's!

    One introduction to this might go:

    Alice is having a bad time of things, and Bob comes to visit.

    She admits to Bob she's envious of him and gives him a list of reasons why: 1) he might have things she wants, or 2) she's got problems that Bob doesn't have.

    Either way things are better for him than her, and she'd love to have them.

    Bob hears her out and then tells her, "You're not exactly in a bowl of pits yourself." HE then proceeds to tell how good SHE in turn has it, and how his life isn't the peaches-and-cream Alice thought it was.

    Likewise, these might be good things Alice might not have known about or appreciated as much as Bob might have, or problems Bob might have he thinks Alice should be glad NOT to have (which could be related to the good things of his she wanted).

    This at times is needed to give some perspective to a character needing it.

    Can be a subtrope to The City Vs The Country where it's shown BOTH The City Mouse and The Country Mouse EACH have things the other wants or things the other's better off NOT having.
  • March 10, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Can't remember the name of it, but there was this Chinese legend where a poor stone cutter wished he could be greater and so became a prince. Then the sun ruined his crops so he wished he could be the sun. Then a storm covered him so he wished to be the storm. But he couldn't wash away the mountain so he wished to be one too. Low and behold, he found a mere stone cutter could chip him away, and so he wished himself back to his old job and consequently was happy with his life. It's sort of one person mutual envy, if that counts.
  • March 11, 2013
    XFllo
    The wiki would have issues with your current description. Example As Thesis and Alice and Bob scenario are not allowed. It's not that hard to re-write it. :-)

    Also, you had better list the examples by media. It's much reader-friendlier that way.
  • March 12, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ I'll sort them when I'm about to launch them. Right now I'm trying to balance TV Tropes with schoolwork I'm a little behind on.

    EDIT: In hindsight, though, yeah I should probably drop the Example As Thesis approach. I impulsively switched to Scalondragon's description because it seemed better than my old one.
  • March 12, 2013
    McKathlin
    Literature
  • March 13, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^^^^That chinese legend comes up in an episode of Kung Fu where Caine is helping a young Chinese boy, complete with shadow puppets.
  • March 13, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    That's... pushing the limits of what does or doesn't count as an example. I'm a little hesitant to add it. @ Tuckerscreator

    I'll add McKathlin's example though.
  • March 15, 2013
    Folamh3
    Strongly recommend making this No Real Life Examples Please.
  • March 21, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ I'm a little hesitant to add that, because sometimes real life examples can be fairly interesting without getting too heated. I'll keep it in mind if things seem to get confrontational, though. It can always be added after being launched anyway.
  • March 21, 2013
    SKJAM
    Often the setup for a Freaky Friday Flip or other role reversal plot.
  • March 22, 2013
    RoseBride
    In Fruits Basket both Yuki and Kyo envy each others circunstances and personalities, Kyo wants to be acknolowged by the main house of Sohma and as part of the Zodiac so he envies Yuki who being the mouse, gets a privileged place over Kyo and even the other members of the zodiac, Yuki on the other hand has always been in a Gilded Cage, due to turning into a mouse if a girls hug him, he maintains distance and doesn' t have any real friends, nor does he know how to make them, he envies Kyo personality and how he can bond so easily with others and his outgoing nature
  • March 25, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    I'm going to sort the examples because right now there are no media categories.

    My example to add:

    • In JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth legendarium, Elves and Humans envy each other. Humans are mortal and die after a comparatively short time, and our souls have to leave the World after we die, so we envy the Elves' "immortality." The Ageless Elves, who very slowly get tired of living but can't die of old age and certainly can't leave the World dead or alive, know that they're all going to be here when it comes to an end. They envy Humans for being able to leave when we get "weary," and for having the option to keep existing after the end of Time. Elves call death a "Gift," which can rub mortals the wrong way.
  • March 26, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Thanks @ Arcades Sabboth
  • March 29, 2013
    JoeG
    This is often a subtext in The Glorious War Of Sisterly Rivalry,
  • March 30, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    ^ I added that to the "see other" section.
  • August 15, 2013
    XFllo
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=fdqznw7117py9difbbeq5se4