Created By: DorianMode on August 8, 2011 Last Edited By: DorianMode on December 10, 2014

The Support Group Is Crazier

A visit to a support group makes a character realize he doesn't have it that bad.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Real simple. Character has problem; upon talking to others with the same problem, he thinks it could be a lot worse.

Examples:
  • On Married... with Children, Al Bundy and his neighbor are obsessing over their hair loss. They go to a meeting of Bald American Dudes, and depart not long after, with Al saying: "Seeing you...human flashlights...has made me realize two things: one, I really miss playing pool. And two, I'm not bald; he's not bald; you guys are bald.
  • An episode of The Venture Bros. featured Dr. Venture attending a support group for former child mystery-solvers/child adventurers and deciding that, on the whole, he was comparatively well-adjusted.
  • The live-action version of The Tick had Arthur being taken to meet a group of other sidekicks. He decides compared to the others (one was apparently kidnapped and taken across state lines), his relationship with the Tick is fairly healthy.
  • Zig-Zagged on King of the Hill: In the episode "Texas Skillsaw Massacre", a misunderstanding results in Hank Hill attending a court ordered anger management class, where he befriends a fellow student named Big Jim. At first, they share the belief that their anger is natural and healthy. Later, Big Jim dies of a stroke possibly brought on by rage. This convinces Hank he needs to change, and he decides to cooperate with the lessons. However, when his friends nearly die doing something stupid it turns out that losing his temper and yelling at them was the only way to save their lives.
    Hank:...Big Jim had an anger problem. This is different. I have an idiot problem.
  • Half Baked has the famous scene where Dave Chappelle goes to a drug addiction support group, only to have his addiction to cannabis laughed down. In the immortal words of Bob Saget:
    "Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck dick for coke."
  • A doctor specifically tells the insomniac protagonist of Fight Club to check out some support groups for various diseases, just for perspective.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • August 8, 2011
    Topazan
    • Zig Zagged in King Of The Hill. In the episode Texas Skillsaw Massacre a misunderstanding results in Hank Hill attending a court ordered anger management class, where he befriends a fellow student named Big Jim. At first, they share the belief that their anger is natural and healthy. Later, Big Jim dies of a stroke possibly brought on by rage. This convinces Hank he needs to change, and he decides to cooperate with the lessons. However, when his friends nearly die doing something stupid it turns out that losing his temper and yelling at them was the only way to save their lives.
      Hank:...Big Jim had an anger problem. This is different. I have an idiot problem.

    Don't know that much about this strip or the characters, but I vaguely remember this scene. Someone else can correct or add details if necessary.

    • Subverted in Funky Winkerbean. The titular character goes to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, where he meets an old acquaintance. Funky says that his drinking isn't as bad as that of his acquaintance, who responds:
      I guess that puts you at step minus one. "Admitting other people have a problem".
  • August 8, 2011
    peccantis
    Just dropping by to remind that Fast Eddie is highly likely to speedcut any titles that sound more like pieces of dialogue than names for things.
  • August 8, 2011
    captainbrass2
  • August 8, 2011
    KingZeal
  • August 8, 2011
    Loyal2NES
    I don't suppose there's any room for the Arson Murder And Jaywalking variation in which a guy's actually minor issue ("I play World Of Warcraft") is treated as horrifying by the established support group members with serious psychoses?
  • August 8, 2011
    AFP
    Needs A Better Name.

  • August 9, 2011
    AriHasNoLife
    ^^^ Seconding Always Someone Crazier
  • August 9, 2011
    Arivne
    Always Someone Worse Off, so it isn't limited to mental problems?
  • August 9, 2011
    KingZeal
    Well, the point is that the character is dealing with a support group, so that implies some sort of mental or emotional deficiency.
  • August 9, 2011
    DorianMode
    I'm putting Always Someone Crazier up for now (I don't know what "speedcut"-ing is, but I don't think I'd like it), I think there's something better, though. Like "These People Have Real Problems" or "Could Be Way Worse"...hmm. How about just The Support Group Has It Worse?
  • August 9, 2011
    KingZeal
    The Support Group Is Crazier might be perfect.
  • August 10, 2011
    nogard8910
    How about Always A Bigger Nut as a take on Always A Bigger Fish?
  • August 10, 2011
    DorianMode
    @King Zeal: The Support Group Is Even Crazier? I do prefer shorter to longer; I think we're getting close to the crux of it...
  • Film
    • Fatso has Dom DiNapoli reluctantly joining the Chubby Checkers support group, in one of his many attempts to lose weight and become healthier; the Checkers, similar to AA, will drop by to help you anytime day or night. But after Dom has an episode of Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere, his two personal Checkers drop by to help him get through his problem... only for the three of them to start reminiscing about the foods they love to eat, causing them all to go crazy and pig out on an all-night food party.
  • March 12, 2013
    DorianMode
    Hmmm...that seems more like the Support group has it just as bad; I wonder if that should be included. I was going for times when the members of the support group are so bad the character starts to feel like his situation isn't so bad; if they're only AS bad as him, it seems like a There Are No Therapists Double Averted: There are therapy options, but they don't work. Thoughts?
  • March 12, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    I like The Support Group Has It Worse.

    Mainly because it will be quite a nuisance keeping it off of Madness Tropes otherwise.
  • November 12, 2014
    ElectricalLass
    We should resurrect this.
  • November 12, 2014
    DAN004
    Crowner for name, maybe?
  • November 12, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Dig "The support group is crazier", unless we're going for a more broad "therapy options exist (including support groups) but they don't work-probably because the ones applying them are more maladjusted than the character that needs them" category like Dorianmode suggested.

    Expanding a bit on the Fight Club example: the support groups worked, except that 1) Maria arrived and the narrator got irked (and then back to being unable to sleep) because she was also a "faker" and 2) several members of the groups ended up becoming members of Project Mayhem (like Robert Paulson).
  • November 13, 2014
    DAN004
    Now I'm confused: What is "support group" supposed to be?
  • November 14, 2014
    Arivne
  • November 14, 2014
    DAN004
    Do we have a trope for that, btw?
  • November 14, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    For plain support groups? We have Tropaholics Anonymous and The Sponsor, but they are mostly about a Weird Trade Union as a support group and about that one guy that tries to keep you on the straight and narrow and clean living.

    This trope is about how, in fiction, support groups don't seem to work as more than some way to collect weirdos under one same roof and how the protagonist being part of it has about a spread chance of not working, making things worse, or working but doing so by having the protagonist wanting to do something, anything, to not go to a meeting ever again.
  • November 14, 2014
    DaibhidC
    Comic Books
    • This is Boomerang's reaction to Supervillains Anonymous in Superior Foes Of Spider Man. Mostly because they're a bunch of absurd D-Listers like Dr Bong and the Hippo, whereas he's merely a slightly ridiculous C-Lister.
  • December 10, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In the film Crazy People an adman goes nuts and is committed to a mental institution, but compared to the other people in his assigned therapy group he's pretty normal.
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