Created By: 32_Footsteps on February 9, 2012 Last Edited By: DAN004 on February 8, 2015
Troped

Enmity With An Object

A person has a deep-seated rivalry with an object.

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Trope
DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft

Alt title: Inanimate Enemy, Enmity with an Object


Edward Elric: Picking fights with milk since 2003.

If Cargo Ship is the love someone will have for an inanimate object, this is the other side of that coin - a deep-seated, irrational hatred a person has with an object.

The person half of the rivalry will even see it as a legitimate rivalry on par with any they might have with a human. All that's required is that the human has an inordinate animosity towards the object, seeming almost like they believe the object somehow has volition, and that the object would actually lack said volition (although may be justified if said object annoys/harms him/her somehow). For example, a human harboring a suspicion that a Ridiculously Human Robot is out to get them would not qualify, but if they felt the same way about an ordinary brick, it would.

Often Played for Laughs.

Inherently, a subtrope of Unknown Rival (in that there's no way an inanimate object even know someone has a grudge on it). May be justified with a Job-Stealing Robot or Vengeful Vending Machine. Sister trope of Cargo Envy where a person is envious on something that another, attractive person is showing some affection onto, which may or may not lead of said person having a rivalry with said object.

Compare Does Not Like Spam. Compare also Companion Cube (where the inanimate object is the focus of inordinate affection) and Animal Nemesis (where the foe is at least alive, if not capable of reason).

Careful when your object is/turns out to be an Animate Inanimate Object - the object must not be sentient/sapient, or at least the person with the enmity must not know that said object is sentient/sapient. Otherwise it doesn't fall here.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In episode 50 of Fairy Tail, a misused potion cause Makarov to see alcohol as his rival, Ezra sees a pillar as hers, and at the end, Grey sees the horizon as his rival.
  • Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist really dislikes milk, because it is "an opaque, white liquid secreted by a cow". This is played as part of the gag on Edward's diminutive stature, supposedly being the cause of it.
    • In an interesting bit of trivia related to this, it seems that the creator, Hiromu Arakawa, grew up on a dairy farm.

Comic Books
  • Luke Cage. Power Man vs. the coffee vending machine at police headquarters was a Running Gag.
  • In the 1950s, the Martian Manhunter spent several years tracking down the Diabolu Idol-Head, an Artifact of Doom that regularly spawned monsters he was forced to deal with. J'onn eventually destroyed the Idol-Head, which has yet to return.

Film
  • In Battle Creek (aka The Big Brawl), Jerry maintains a venomous relationship with the practice dummy.
  • The dad from A Christmas Story was "one of the most feared furnace fighters in Northern Indiana." He attacks the thing offscreen while swearing so loudly at it, the whole house can hear.
  • In Office Space, the main characters have a very antagonistic relationship with a fax/copy machine. They end up finishing it of in an abandoned field with a baseball bat.
  • When King Neptune walks smack into a pole in The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie, he orders the pole executed.
  • A 1967 Mustang GT500 has tantalized Memphis Raines in Gone in Sixty Seconds throughout his career as car thief. It's mentioned that he was arrested and imprisoned while trying to steal one, and at one point, Raines refers to this car as "unicorn:" something fantastic and wonderful that he can never, ever have.

Let's Play
  • Pewdiepie with barrels, and to a lesser extent statues.

Literature
  • From If Chins Could Kill, Bruce Campbell's autobiography, "The Classic," Sam Raimi's 1973 Delta 88 Oldsmobile. Raimi in particular is convinced that Campbell is out to destroy it in jealousy.
  • In Death. Eve Dallas has an irrational fear and hatred of all vending machines. If at all possible she refuses to use them directly, preferring to hand her money to someone else and have them buy the candy bar or whatever for her.
  • Cribbins in Making Money stole the spring-powered dentures from a man he'd killed. It's possible they were haunted by the ghost of their former owner, because the springs tend to malfunction at the worst times, and he has to gnash them back into position at the most awkward times. He's eventually killed when the spirngs go off inside his mouth and into his brain.

Live-Action TV
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Chief O'Brien hated the station's computer so much he called it his archenemy. Eventually an alien AI made a home in it that made it better disposed to him.
  • In an episode of CHiPs a big man in a tiny car gets pulled over for speeding and he beats up his car in retaliation, tearing it to pieces right there on the highway. His name in the credits is "car killer."
  • The villain Annorax from the Star Trek: Voyager two-parter "Year of Hell" considers the time to be his archenemy. And no, it's not meant in a mundane way like worrying too much about punctuality or about one's age or something.
  • The original Twilight Zone episode "A Thing About Machines" revolves around a man who hates all the machines around him. In true Twilight Zone fashion, the feeling is mutual.
  • An episode of Seinfeld had George express anger towards a watch with "I hate you, you time piece from Hades!"
  • The Star Trek episode "The Ultimate Computer" had Kirk worried about being replaced with an AI. His worries are laid to rest when it's revealed that the AI has no moral code.

Newspaper Comics

Video Games

Web Comics

Web Video
  • In Naruto The Abridged Series, Sasuke's eternal rival is The Log. Sasuke even notes how he keeps mistaking logs for people, causing him to mess up his aim. All because he hates the Log.

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons
    • Sideshow Bob and rakes, after the extended "rake tripping" scene from the "Cape Feare" episode. Bart even lampshades how Bob apparently equates that rivalry with the one between the two (mind you, Bart at that point got Bob sent to jail multiple times).
    • In the episode "Deep Space Homer," Homer has an intense hatred for an inanimate carbon rods (or, possibly, all such rods).
    • And there's the meme-worthy picture of Abe with the headline "Old man yells at cloud."
  • In one episode of Phineas and Ferb, when Perry fails to show up, Doofenschmirtz uses a potted plant as a stand in for Perry as he rants about his evil plans, and even ties him up. Due to a series of accidents, the potted plant ends up thwarting Doofenshmirtz and is even awarded a medal at the end for his heroic efforts.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. "My old enemy — stairs."
  • Code Lyoko. Odd vs. Vending Machine. Nicholas has struggled with it as well, and later, in "XANA Awakens", it was used by XANA to electrocute Jeremie.
  • Family Guy: Stewie Griffin and the toilet. Brian has a few bones to pick with it, too.
    Stewie: So they DO make bigger diapers! That deceitful woman told me I had to learn to use the toilet! Well fah on the toilet! It's made slaves of you all! I've seen it sitting in there, lazy, slothful porcelain layabout...feeding on other people's doo-doos while contributing nothing of its own to society! (runs to bathroom) You get a job!
  • In The Angry Beavers it is used repeatedly with Beavers friend, The Stump. Also it is implied that it can move somehow, it does it offscreen and is, more or less, an imaginative friend to all of the forest inhabitants. Dagget has a great rivalry with The Stump, especially in it's first appearance episode.
  • The police officer in Clone High played by Andy Dick addresses a plastic cup of beer as though it were a Worthy Opponent.
    Well, well, well. If it isn't my old friend, Underage Drinking. So, we meet again. How are you, Underage Drinking? Besides illegal!

Real Life
  • As any pet owner can attest, animals, and dogs in particular, hate loud appliances. Even the most mellow puppy goes nuts when a vacuum cleaner is turned on.
Community Feedback Replies: 84
  • February 10, 2012
    WackyMeetsPractical
    • In one episode of Phineas And Ferb, when Perry fails to show up, Doofenschmirtz uses a potted plant as a stand in for Perry as he rants about his evil plans, and even ties him up. Due to a series of accidents, the potted plant ends up thwarting Doofenshmirtz and is even awarded a medal at the end for his heroic efforts.
  • February 10, 2012
    Maklodes
    Folklore?: In American folklore, the Tale of John Henry: John Henry beats the steam-powered railroad spike-driving machine, but has to make a Heroic Sacrifice to pull it off, I think.
  • February 10, 2012
    Kellor
    On Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Chief O'Brien hated the station's computer so much he called it his archenemy. Eventually an alien AI made a home in it that made it better disposed to him.
  • February 10, 2012
    lu127
    I'd say add a line on how "This is often Played For Laughs."

    In Naruto The Abridged Series Sasuke's eternal rival is The Log. Sasuke even notes how he keeps mistaking logs for people, causing him to mess up his aim. All because he hates the Log. Seriously.
  • February 10, 2012
    Nocturna
    Calvin And Hobbes: Calvin's bicycle is out to get him. Really.
  • February 10, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
  • February 10, 2012
    32_Footsteps
    The tale of John Henry wouldn't count - Henry didn't go against the steam-powered spike hammer because of a deep-seated hatred. He was trying to preserve his (and his co-workers') jobs.

    As for the Played For Laughs note - yeah, that makes sense. That said, I have to imagine that there's something, probably a Police Procedural, where it was Played For Drama instead.
  • February 10, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of C Hi Ps a big man in a tiny car gets pulled over for speeding and he beats up his car in retaliation, tearing it to pieces right there on the highway. His name in the credits is "car killer."
  • February 10, 2012
    Sailor11sedna
    Code Lyoko: Odd vs. Vending Machine. YMMV, since Nicholas has struggled with it as well, and in XANA Awakens it was used by XANA to electrocute Jeremie. It may be more of a running gag.
  • February 10, 2012
    MasterHand
    Pewdiepie with barrels, and to a lesser extent statues.
  • February 10, 2012
    KingZeal
    • Family Guy: Stewie Griffin and the toilet. Brian has a few bones to pick with it, too.
      Stewie: So they DO make bigger diapers! That deceitful woman told me I had to learn to use the toilet! Well fah on the toilet! It's made slaves of you all! I've seen it sitting in there, lazy, slothful porcelain layabout...feeding on other people's doo-doos while contributing nothing of its own to society! (runs to bathroom) You get a job!!!

  • February 10, 2012
    LobsterMagnus
    • The villain Annorax from the Star Trek Voyager two-parter Year of Hell considers the time to be his archenemy. And no, it's not meant in a mundane way like worrying too much about punctuality or about one's age or something.
  • February 10, 2012
    SKJAM
    • Luke Cage, Power Man vs. the coffee vending machine at police headquarters was a Running Gag.
    • Beerkada: One young woman gets into an argument with a car's talking proximity alarm, which only reveals its true sentience to her. She dates the car's owner later, still trading barbs with the alarm when the boyfriend is out of earshot. Later on, she has a similar issue with an answering machine.
  • February 10, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    The original Twilight Zone episode "A Thing About Machines" revolves around a man who hates all the machines around him. In true TZone fashion, the feeling is mutual.
  • February 10, 2012
    JoeG
    • In Death: Eve Dallas has an irrational fear and hatred of all vending machines. If at all possible she refuses to use them directly, preferring to hand her money to someone else and have them buy the candy bar or whatever for her.
  • February 11, 2012
    KingZeal
    Ummm question. I published an erotic short-story in which this is a subplot. Should it be listed as an example? Especially since it deals with very explicit themes and is NSFW in any way?
  • February 12, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ @King Zeal: The Family Friendliness page has some guidance in this area.
  • February 13, 2012
    32_Footsteps
    Updated the description. I left off the Beerdaka example because actual sentience and volition on behalf of the object disqualifies it. It has to be without any sort of AI.
  • February 18, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    I'd hat this (no pun intended!), but the sentence, "Thus, a Ridiculously Human Robot that's out to kill someone would not qualify, but said someone believing that it's actually due to the nefarious interference of a normal brick would." might confuse some readers IMHO. Perhaps consider changing it to something like "For example, a human harboring a suspicion that a Ridiculously Human Robot is out to get them would not qualify, but if they felt the same way about an ordinary brick, it would."?

    Possible examples: Webcomics:
  • February 18, 2012
    troacctid
    So this is a Subtrope of Companion Cube, right?

  • February 19, 2012
    pawsplay
    In Battle Creek (aka The Big Brawl), Jerry maintains a venomous relationship with the practice dummy.
  • February 21, 2012
    LouieW
    Compare the slightly more reasonable Animal Nemesis scenario.
  • February 21, 2012
    StevenT
    In "Deep Space Homer" there's a Running Gag with Homer being upstaged by an inanimate carbon rod.
  • February 22, 2012
    32_Footsteps
    @Frodo - Good point, definition updated.

    @troacctid - No. This would be a sister trope, since this deals with the opposite emotion of Companion Cube.
  • September 14, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    Bump.
  • September 14, 2014
    DAN004
    How would this relate to Cargo Envy?
  • September 15, 2014
    littlemissmuffet
    • An episode of Seinfeld had George express anger towards a watch with "I hate you, you time piece from Hades!"
    • The Star Trek episode "The Ultimate Computer" had Kirk worried about being replaced with an AI. His worries are laid to rest when it's revealed that the AI has no moral code.
  • September 15, 2014
    f1shst1x
    In Office Space, the main characters have a very antagonistic relationship with a fax/copy machine. They end up finishing it of in an abandoned field with a baseball bat.
  • September 15, 2014
    K.Kloga
    • In The Angry Beavers it is used repeatedly with Beavers friend, The Stump. Also it is implied that it can move somehow, it does it offscreen and is, more or less, an imaginative friend to all of the forest inhabitants. Dagget has a great rivalry with The Stump, especially in it's first appearance episode.
  • September 16, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    4x ^ Cargo Envy is when a person wishes to be an inanimate object so he can be close to the object of his affections. This is when a person has a rivalry with an inanimate object.
  • September 16, 2014
    bitemytail
    Possible image? Text looks a bit small, but I can still read it.

    Video Games:

    Real Life:
    • As any pet owner can attest, animals, and dogs in particular, hate loud appliances. Even the most mellow puppy goes nuts when a vacuum cleaner is turned on.
  • September 16, 2014
    Snicka
    Cool trope, but the examples should be sorted by medium.
  • September 16, 2014
    bitemytail
    Has anyone grabbed this? It's over 2 years old and I don't see the OP anywhere.

    Op's last activity was in May, FYI.
  • September 16, 2014
    DAN004
    Would somebody grab this before I do?
  • September 16, 2014
    KarjamP
    The picture would get decries of "poor image" due to the text being too small.

    BTW, you're not supposed to post images in the comments like that, bitemytail.
  • September 17, 2014
    Arivne
  • September 17, 2014
    hbi2k
    Not sure if this counts:

    Western Animation
    • It's less an inanimate object than an abstract concept, but the police officer in Clone High played by Andy Dick considers underage drinking to be his archenemy, and addresses it (in the person of a plastic cup of beer) as though it were a Worthy Opponent.
      Well, well, well. If it isn't my old friend, Underage Drinking. So, we meet again. How are you, Underage Drinking? Besides illegal!
  • September 17, 2014
    Chabal2
    Cribbins in Making Money stole the spring-powered dentures from a man he'd killed. It's possible they were haunted by the ghost of their former owner, because the springs tend to malfunction at the worst times, and he has to gnash them back into position at the most awkward times. He's eventually killed when the spirngs go off inside his mouth and into his brain.
  • September 17, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ would somebody who considers "evil" his enemy count, then?
  • September 17, 2014
    Kellor
    The dad from A Christmas Story was "one of the most feared furnace fighters in Northern Indiana." He attacks the thing offscreen while swearing so loudly at it, the whole house can hear.
  • September 24, 2014
    DAN004
    Do we have a trope for friendship with inanimate objects, btw?
  • September 24, 2014
    bitemytail
  • September 24, 2014
    Koveras
    Would this count?

    • In Pathfinder, intelligent items, particularly ones with high Ego scores, are fiercely competitive, even with their owners—especially if they have not-quite-the-same Character Alignment—so it's common for them to develop rivalries with them.
  • September 24, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ not sure. Those items are sentient right?
  • September 25, 2014
    hbi2k
    @Dan004 - If the character treats "evil" as though it were a person (in settings where it's canonically not a person and does not have an Anthropomorphic Personification or Abstract Apotheosis), maybe? It really depends on how the trope description shapes up.
  • September 25, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ maybe I'll make a new ykttw just for it. Gonna keep this about concrete things.
  • September 25, 2014
    TonyG
  • September 26, 2014
    hbi2k
    Given that the sheriff is addressing a plastic cup as though it were a person, I think the Clone High example still fits the spirit of the trope. Rewrote the example to emphasize this:

    Western Animation
    • The police officer in Clone High played by Andy Dick addresses a plastic cup of beer as though it were a Worthy Opponent.
      Well, well, well. If it isn't my old friend, Underage Drinking. So, we meet again. How are you, Underage Drinking? Besides illegal!
  • September 28, 2014
    Prfnoff
    This is a good trope, but "Cargo Nemesis" seems like a terrible name for it. (Please ignore the "needs examples" tag I accidentally added.)
  • September 28, 2014
    Someoneman
    Any name for this trope involving the word "Cargo" would fall into a snowclone of Cargo Ship. "Inanimate Enemy" is my suggestion for a better name.
  • September 28, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ at least Cargo Nemesis can be a redirect. :P
  • October 4, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    At least one of these examples suggests that this could overlap with Job Stealing Robot.
  • October 4, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Depends... if the robot is non-sentient then it would.
  • October 9, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
    There's a poem written by an African poet about how his bicycle does its best to screw him over, to the point it waits until he's in front of a lot of potential spectators to throw him off. Also, needs a pic. I suggest a dog barking at a vacuum cleaner.
  • October 10, 2014
    megahello
    In episode 50 of Fairy tail, a misused potion cause Makarov to see alcohol as his rival, Ezra sees a pillar as hers, and at the end, Grey sees the horizon as his rival.
  • October 20, 2014
    DAN004
    Hats?
  • October 20, 2014
    Arivne
    I agree that Cargo Nemesis is a Bad Snowclone of Cargo Ship (because it requires that you be familiar with the Cargo Ship trope to have any chance of understanding what it means).

    This needs a new name before launch, hopefully one that's a little more clear.
  • October 20, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
    Find a pic and I'll hat ya.
  • November 3, 2014
    DAN004
    Bump for pic suggestion.

    Might use Enmity With An Object when I launched this
  • November 3, 2014
    robinjohnson
  • November 3, 2014
    MattStriker
    Live Action TV
    • In the austrian Detective Drama parody Kottan Ermittelt ("Kottan Investigates"), the Pointy Haired Boss character Pilch is stuck in an ever-escalating feud with a coffee vending machine.
  • November 3, 2014
    AmbarSonofDeshar
    Possible example:

    • In the 1950s, the Martian Manhunter spent several years tracking down the Diabolu Idol-Head, an Artifact Of Doom that regularly spawned monsters he was forced to deal with. J'onn eventually destroyed the Idol-Head, which has yet to return.

    Would that be a legitimate example? The Idol-Head was not sentient, and possessed no will of its own. It just kept moving around at random, forcing J'onn to track it down and dispose of whatever threat it had unwittingly summoned up this week.
  • November 3, 2014
    JoeG
    ^ I don't think this counts. This trope is about an irrational fear or hatred of something that is harmless and non-sentient. The Diabolu Idol-Head was obviously dangerous and uncontrollable so it made perfect sense for Martian Manhunter to be searching for it.
  • November 3, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ as far as the examples go, the enmity seems to be personal. MM hunted the idol head out of duty/saving the day than any personal reasons.

    But let's see if we have any other examples like that.
  • November 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Final bump.

    I may not need to launch this with a pic, but just in case, would somebody suggest one?
  • November 24, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • A 1967 Mustang GT500 has tantalized Memphis Raines in Gone In Sixty Seconds throughout his career as car thief. It's mentioned that he was arrested and imprisoned while trying to steal one, and at one point, Raines refers to this car as "unicorn:" something fantastic and wonderful that he can never, ever have.
  • November 24, 2014
    DRCEQ
    I'm noticing a lot of Vending Machine related examples. List that this trope could be related to Vengeful Vending Machine.
  • November 25, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    Whoops...sorry, disregard the description tag.
  • December 30, 2014
    Espun
    For a picture, how about this??

    Anime And Manga
  • December 30, 2014
    hbi2k
    Using Demotivators for trope images is discouraged, since the large border + the wiki's image size limits tends to make them too small, and we can do captions with wiki markup instead of having them as part of the image.
  • December 30, 2014
    DAN004
    If possible we can take the actual pic out of the demotivator.
  • January 13, 2015
    DAN004
    ^^^ Please add more context...

    Anybody knowledgeable in FMA to help plz?
  • January 13, 2015
    Espun
    ^ Add context to?
  • January 13, 2015
    Espun
    Oh, right, sorry.
    • Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist really dislikes milk, because it is "an opaque, white liquid secreted by a cow". This is played as part of the gag on Edward's diminutive stature, supposedly being the cause of it.
      • In an interesting bit of trivia related to this, it seems that the creator, Hiromu Arakawa, grew up on a dairy farm.
  • January 13, 2015
    zoop
    I vote for "inanimate enemy" for a name. And for an image — if someone can find a good screencap of it — Basil Fawlty beating up his car with a tree branch in Fawlty Towers.
  • January 14, 2015
    DAN004
    Now, what's interesting is if the object is actually alive in some way...

    How would it fit here? Should I modify the description?
  • January 15, 2015
    zoop
    I was thinking about this today and realized that some people feel that the entire universe is against them. Since "the universe" is arguably an inanimate object, people may be tempted to put examples of that in here. I think that the description needs to specifically state that those examples should go under The Chew Toy.
  • January 15, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ You're thinking about it way too far.
  • January 15, 2015
    sigh824
    Maybe The Objective Rival? (I know thats not what it means, but still)
  • January 15, 2015
    zoop
    ^^ We all do, or else we wouldn't be here.
  • February 7, 2015
    zoop
    It has fully hatted! Why is it not launched?
  • February 7, 2015
    Kartoonkid95
  • February 8, 2015
    JoeG
    • In an advertisement for the Audi Quattro, a tow-truck driver in a snowy, mountainous region describes how he's towed every kind of car except the Quattro. When he speaks about the Quattro he uses phrases like "It haunts my dreams", and "Sometimes I think it it's mocking me". The commercial ends with him screaming "Quattro!!"
  • February 8, 2015
    randomsurfer
    Inverted in a sketch on The Benny Hill Show. Benny is playing a slot machine and is coming up a loser every time. A man walks up to the machine next to him and starts giving it love talk ("I love you my darling" etc.) and it pays off every time he pulls the arm. Benny is bemused at first but as the man continues to win gets the idea. After the man leaves, Benny gives his machine love talk only to continue to lose. Then he quits playing it. The other man goes up to the same machine Benny was playing a moment ago, says to it "how's the wife and kids?" and scores big again.
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