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->'''Spike:''' Look, if [[TropeNamer cavemen and astronauts got into a fight]], who would win?\\
'''Wes:''' You've been yelling at each other for forty minutes about this? ''([[{{Beat}} sighs]])'' Do the astronauts have weapons?\\
'''Angel & Spike:''' [[SpeakInUnison NO.]]
-->--''Series/{{Angel}}'', "A Hole in the World"

It's common, when people are having a long discussion stretching across a number of different topics, that something will come up that they disagree on. Most of the time, they'll discuss this for a little bit, then move on to talking about something else.

Not this time. No, ''this'' time the argument becomes truly heated. Voices are raised. Curses are spit out. Friends are insulted. Furniture is thrown across the room in fury. [[BloodOnTheDebateFloor Fights break out]]. No one involved is willing to back down until they convince the others that they are right ''right'' ''RIGHT'', ''DAMMIT!!''

... all over something as mundane and inconsequential as whether or not peanut butter technically counts as a sauce[[labelnote:note]]for the record, it DOESN'T, and [[SelfDemonstratingArticle if you say otherwise, I'll KILL you]].[[/labelnote]]. It's stupid, pointless, and really shouldn't be worth so much passion, but the characters ''just. Can't. Let it.'' '''''Go'''''.

Needless to say, TruthInTelevision - just see BrokenBase for a number of media-centric examples (also see UnpleasableFanbase and BaseBreaker, though we don't keep examples for those anymore). Frequently overlaps with UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny, the {{Console|Wars}} and ComputerWars, and ShipToShipCombat.

This is when a SeinfeldianConversation becomes SeriousBusiness. When it happens in RealLife, (YouTube comments in particular are full of these) it will usually be because the combatants are people with an extremely fragile sense of self worth, and they view their opinion as a source of validation. In other words, they think that if they're wrong (or if someone else disagrees with them) about whether SpiderMan's costume is made of nylon or spandex, it lessens their inherent degree of value as a human being.

Not to be confused with the 1960s Astronauts in Caveman Days comedy ''Series/ItsAboutTime'', or a [[BettyAndVeronica Ginger or MaryAnn debate]]. Not related to AncientAstronauts.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* Many, many arguments in ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable''. Whether dwarven women have beards is one that occurs multiple times, with various characters citing evidence from their favorite fantasy novels, games, etc. Sara has grabbed male characters's shirts and threatened physical violence over the issue.
* DCComics had to [[WhyFandomCantHaveNiceThings shut down comments on their blog]] due to a flame war over whether {{Superman}} or TheFlash was faster.
** The question has since been answered in "''Flash: Rebirth''" #3:
-->'''Flash:''' You can't stop me.
-->'''Superman:''' [[ContinuityNod I've raced you before]], [[FirstNameBasis Barry]]. I've even won some of those races.
-->'''Flash:''' [[IAmNotLeftHanded Those were for]] '''[[IAmNotLeftHanded charity,]]''' [[IAmNotLeftHanded Clark.]]
-->(''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Cue Flash kicking into second gear and leaving Superman in the dust]]'')
* Many issues of MarvelComics' ''Marvel Team-Up'' comics line cashed in on these kinds of arguments. Want to know if [[ComicBook/IncredibleHulk Hulk]] or {{Thor}} is stronger? There's an issue where they fight each other.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Starman}}'' #13, one of the Mist's goons has a bizarre conversation with the captive Mikaal about who the best big screen ''Literature/PhilipMarlowe'' was. He then admits that he once murdered a man for daring to claim it was George Montgomery.
** Another issue had drugrunners tensely arguing over the best Sondheim musical.
* Franchise/MarvelUniverse example from ''A+X'' #6: [[ComicBook/MsMarvel Captain Marvel]] and ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} get into a literal Caveman vs. Astronaut debate during [[HeroesGoneFishing a poker game]]. Carol, who starts the argument, even [[ShoutOut mentions]] that she first heard it on ''Series/{{Angel}}''. Made especially relevant since Carol and Logan are, more or less, an astronaut and a caveman respectively.
** A random monster then shows up and is asked about it. He picks astronauts because the question had already been answered in ''Franchise/PlanetOfTheApes''. Astronaut fought caveman and won.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/CrimsonTide'', a fight ensues when one character said that the [[Creator/JackKirby Kirby]] ComicBook/SilverSurfer was the only true Silver Surfer, and that the Moebius Silver Surfer was shit.
%%* The "pirates vs. ninjas" debate in ''SydneyWhite''.
* In ''Film/TheRundown'', Beck gets into a debate over whether Mike Tyson could take Muhammad Ali if they were both in their prime. Beck claimed Ali could take Tyson.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* One ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' book informs us that, when they were younger, Jake and Marco would spend entire afternoons arguing about whether or not cheese tastes yellow (Marco thought it tasted sorta green). Now that they're older, they have more serious, adult debates, like Who Would Win: Comicbook/{{Spider-Man}} or Franchise/{{Batman}}?
* In Jonathan Swift's ''Literature/GulliversTravels'', there is a war waging between people who break their hard-boiled egg at the fat end (the "big-endians"), and those who break it at the narrow end. (It's a deliberate analogy to Whigs vs Tories in British party politics of Swift's time.)
%%* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'' and Cassandra Clare's ''MortalInstruments'': Dumbledore or Magnus Bane?
* Similar to the ''Gulliver's Travels'' example above, ''The Butter Battle Book'' by Creator/DrSeuss features an allegory for the UsefulNotes/ColdWar being waged over which side of the bread to butter.
* The ''Literature/GuinnessWorldRecords'' was created specifically to end pub debates about the biggest[=/=]strongest[=/=]fastest whatever.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' has a parody of this in which the guys debate who the bravest person in the Marvel Universe is. Candidates include Captain America's undocumented Mexican gardener, the doctor who gives Wolverine his prostate exam, and whoever uses the bathroom after the Thing.
* The ''Series/{{Angel}}'' episode "A Hole in the World" is the TropeNamer. Wesley walks in on Spike and Angel after they've spent 40 minutes shouting at each other about who would win in a fight between cavemen and astronauts. Pretty soon every one in the show is getting in on the act; it's all [[IronicEcho built up to]] the episode's WhamLine: [[spoiler: "[[RuleOfSymbolism cavemen win,]] ''of course'' the cavemen win", [[FamousLastWords one character's last words]]]].
** The ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "Life Serial" has The Trio arguing passionately about James Bond movies. Warren favours Sean Connery and loathes Moonraker, Jonathan prefers Roger Moore, while Andrew likes Timothy Dalton.
-->'''Andrew:''' Timothy Dalton should win an Oscar and '''BEAT SEAN CONNERY OVER THE HEAD WITH IT!!!'''
* On ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'', Ted brings a picture that could either be a rabbit or a duck to make a point about how a date might seem right for someone but turn out to be wrong, and vice versa. Then the gang disagrees over which represented the bad choice, the duck or the rabbit. According to Older Ted, it was the longest, most intense argument they've ever had. It even drags in their regular limo driver and by the end, Marshall is drenched in sweat.
** When Barney and Robin date each other, their relationship seems to be full of these sorts of arguments. Barney once dared Robin to stab a knife through his chest over a fight about which of them should clean the dishes.
** One episode had the gang argue over which food is the most common in the United States, they looked up the answer and it turned out they were all wrong.
* ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'':
** Elaine and her boyfriend of the week get into a heated argument leading to their breakup about when it's appropriate to use exclamation points.
** In another episode, George and another man try to park in the same ParallelParking spot at the same time. George insists that the other guy needs to give up the spot because he was trying to pull in front first, and the ''only'' civilized way to parallel park is by backing up. The other guy disagrees, and they spend the rest of the night with both their cars halfway in the spot, halfway in the street, arguing over the validity of front-first parking. Everyone who passes by has a strongly held opinion on the issue, even the cops who show up to make them move their cars.
-->'''Mike:''' Hey, pal, you're not getting that space. I mean, I'll sleep in my car if I have to.\\
'''George:''' I'll die out here.
** While attending the funeral of his current girlfriend's aunt in "The Implant," George ends up getting into an argument about double-dipping that quickly turns violent. It eventually gets so intense, his girlfriend angrily breaks up with him and throws him out of the house.
* Hank and Davis of ''Series/CornerGas'' apparently have a long-standing debate over who is cooler - Darth Maul or Darth Vader. Davis supports the Vader side and staunchly believes that everyone just thinks Darth Maul is cool because he has a double lightsaber.
* The SpikeTV show ''Series/DeadliestWarrior'' is ALL ABOUT this trope. The premise of the show is to pit two types of "Warriors" from different time periods against each other to see who would win; it is almost ''embarrassing'' to see how seriously some of the experts think their warrior is just the best.
** Subverted from time to time, though. Occasionally ManipulativeEditing is used to make things look more hostile than they actually are, and in a few cases (SWAT vs. [=GSG9=], [=SEALs=] vs. Israeli Commandos) the teams acknowledge that they don't REALLY hate each other. Also, it's entirely possible that silly performances by the visiting experts are encouraged by the producers.
* There is an episode of ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' in which a riot breaks out amongst the members of NOMAAM over the question of who starred in the first lite beer commercial.
* In the ''Series/{{Cheers}}'' episode "The Triangle," the bar regulars (who frequently debate mundane topics) get into an intense discussion of Roadrunner-Coyote cartoons. The argument escalates from whether the coyote is obsessed or simply hungry, to whether his ability to survive falling off a cliff indicates he's the Antichrist.
** The bar is also divided over ''Series/TheMunsters'' and ''Series/TheAddamsFamily'', which they consider SeriousBusiness.
** In the pilot they had a debate over which Hollywood movie had the most sweat in it. Candidates included ''Body Heat'', ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' and ''Film/BenHur'' ("The boys in the galley were sweating like pigs.") Diane's fiance suggested ''Film/CoolHandLuke''.
* In ''Series/{{Community}}'' Jeff and Britta spend an entire evening arguing with each other over which bar is better place for Troy to have his first drink when turns twenty-one, "Red Door" or "L Street". Troy looks up to both Jeff and Britta as two different ways to be cool and mature, but becomes infuriated when they all learn that "Red Door" and "L Street" are ''the same bar'', meaning that their argument (And thus the entire competing lifestyles represented by Jeff and Britta) is meaningless since they are just slapping different terms onto the same things.
** And again when it comes out that Jeff is the only member of the study group that dislikes the band Music/BarenakedLadies. Hilariously, they're having this argument at the exact same time they're arguing over something actually important, and treating it with more gravity.
* ''Series/NightCourt'' had a case involving a riot at a Star Trek convention between fans over which was better: the Original Series or the Next Generation.
* A running joke in Ricky Gervais' ''Series/{{Extras}}''. The main character and his best friend would ask each other questions like, "what would you rather be? A penguin, where you are a bird but you can't fly, or a flying fish where you can fly but you're still a fish." Once or twice an episode.
* ''Series/{{Mythbusters}}'' addressed one of these that was going on at their own website; namely "Can a plane take off if it's on a conveyor belt running in the opposite direction?" They tested it, and concluded that yes, it can; forward motion is driven by the propeller and how the wheels interact with the ground is irrelevant.
** ''Mythbusters'' in general plays host to a lot of myths born of such subjects. Particularly trying to test the legitimacy of taking idioms literally.
** Another time, they tested what would happen if a truck was traveling at 60 miles per hour and a ball was ejected from the back of the truck at the same speed. [[spoiler: It fell vertically from the point where it was fired. The forward motion of the truck and the aft motion of the ball-launcher cancelled each other out.]]
** Yet another test involved the double-dipping claim from ''Seinfeld'' above; they ruled that double-dipping didn't add all that many mouth-germs to a dip.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Sam and Dean Winchester have their own version of this as shown in the episode "Death's Door" with Chuck Norris vs. Jet Li. They also argue over which movie snacks are the best and who was a better [[Film/TheThreeStooges stooge]], Curly vs Shemp.
* ''Series/HaveIGotNewsForYou'': Quite often Paul Merton would indulge in this; once having a (seemingly) aggressive shouting match with Arthur Smith over whether or not you should put tomato sauce on baked beans.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Ookla the Mok's "Stop Talking About Comic Books or I'll Kill You":
--> I don't care if the {{Hulk}} could defeat [[{{Superman}} the Man of Steel]]\\
I'm gonna rearrange your face if you continue to debate\\
Whether [[{{Wolverine}} Logan's]] claws could pierce [[CaptainAmerica Steve Rogers]]' shield
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology]]
%%* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eshu Eshu's hat.]]
* Any attempt to establish the identity of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampo the Sampo]] from ''Literature/TheKalevala'' becomes this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault'' Agnes and Edea start going at it in an epic argument about which dessert is the best. Tiz and Ringabel are naturally exasperated at this.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'', Rose reflects on her first meeting with Raiden in New York City. Rose was misdirecting some tourists to the Chrysler Building, thinking it was the centerpiece of ''Film/KingKong''. Raiden, a movie buff, overheard this and the pair got into a shouting match until the tourists fled.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/SurvivingTheWorld'' has a convenient [[http://survivingtheworld.net/Lesson38.html guide]] to these arguments.
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' has Torg and Riff debating [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20081021 what's the axiom of flavor]]: Garlic Butter or Breaded & Deep Fat Fried. [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20081022 Zoe acts as referee]], and the debate reaches the point of physical violence when the Minion Master [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20081027 throws in Salt as a contender]].
* Subverted in [[http://www.joyceandwalky.com/d/20100109.html this Joyce and Walky strip]], where Sal assumes the argument going on is about a stupid subject but it's really about serious philosophical questions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
%%* ''SpaceBattles'' has an entire discussion forum dedicated to precisely this issue.
* This trope is pretty much the whole reason ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'' exists. They use science to calculate who would win, with a hefty dose of how the characters in question normally fight. Wonder Woman hitting Rogue in the face is normal fighting style for her, while Spider-Man's spider-sense negates Batman's favored "sneak up on them" technique. There are still those who argue the results.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "Why Must I Be A Crustacean In Love?", Zoidberg discusses "[[GladiatorGames the ceremony of Claw-Plach]], where my species [[DuelToTheDeath fight to the death]] over matters of honor. Also whether abbreviations count in Scrabble. ''They don't!''"
** In "I Dated a Robot", the gang is walking through {{cyberspace}} and pass a ''Franchise/StarTrek'' forum, where two nerds are in the midst of a heated "Kirk vs. Picard" debate.
* In an episode of ''GIJoe'', the Dreadnoks can be seen in the background having come to blows over whether a certain product was a breath mint or a candy mint.
* In Drakken's origin episode of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'', he is shocked to find out that Kim is Dr. Possible's daughter, [[spoiler: Dr. Possible having been someone he knew in high school and one of the people he is attempting to take revenge upon]]. When Ron (who is currently Drakken's prisoner) makes fun of him for not making the connection, Drakken defends himself on the basis that "Possible is a very common last name." Drakken ends up leaving the room in order to get a phone book just to back up his argument, causing him to miss the fact that rescuers are breaking into the building.
* In one episode of ''{{Sealab 2021}}'', the entire crew of Sealab get caught up in an argument about the hypothetical possibility of transferring their minds into robot bodies. So caught up that they don't notice that all of Sealab's safety systems are catastrophically failing.
** Who cares, Pod 6 was full of jerks anyway.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Homer at the Bat", Wade Boggs is knocked out cold by Barney after the two argue over who's the best British Prime Minister of all time.
-->'''Barney:''' And I say England's greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston!\\
'''Wade Boggs:''' Pitt the Elder!\\
'''Barney:''' LORD PALMERSTON!\\
'''Boggs: ''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis PITT! THE! ELDER!]]'''''\\
'''Barney:''' Okay, you asked for it, Boggs!\\
''[punches out Boggs]''\\
'''Moe:''' Yeah, that's showin' 'im, Barn! ''[mockingly]'' "Pitt the Elder"...\\
'''Barney: [[DoesNotUnderstandSarcasm LORD PALMERSTON!]]'''\\
''[punches out Moe]''
** Another episode has Ned Flanders say that his denomination of Christianity (The Northwest Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism) split off from the Catholic Church several centuries ago over the right of worshippers to come to church with wet hair. He then sheepishly admits that his denomination has since abolished that right.
** Similarly, the founders of Springfield and Shelbyville were originally one group which fragmented over whether or not [[KissingCousins people could marry their cousins]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'': WhoWouldWin in a fight, Lizzie Borden or Anne Frank?
** Henchmen #21 and #24 seem to have these debates a lot. Another episode showed them arguing over whether or not [[Franchise/TheSmurfs Smurfs]] lay eggs.
** Not only 21 and 24, but the creative minds behind the show themselves have these kind of debates all the time. In one [[WordOfGod commentary track]] Doc references a heated argument they had about what woman was hotter: Music/FionaApple or Jewel. Another time on a convention panel, a fan wanted to know their opinions on the Lizzie Borden v. Anne Frank debate but accidentally asked their opinions on a ''Helen Keller'' v. Anne Frank debate. [[http://video.adultswim.com/the-venture-bros/the-venture-bros-dragon-con-panel-2009.html The results can be seen here at 6:49]].
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' had a more or less literal example of this, when Patchy the Pirate and Potty the Parrot get into an argument of whether "Prehistory" or "The Future" is better.
** The episode "The Battle Of Bikini Bottom" begins with two war reenacters explaining to [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick the titular battle, which was apparently fought over ''washing one's hands''[[note]]Keep in mind however that it was ''Patrick'' who said this.[[/note]]. This starts the two friends discussing cleanliness ([=SpongeBob=] is pro-clean, Patrick is not), and soon engage in a battle of their own.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has an episode where two ''Star Trek'' nerds intensely debate as to whether a two-parter counted as one or two episodes, overshadowing their co-invention of a time machine.
* In the ''BeavisAndButthead'' episode "Patsies," B&B are recruited to join a teacher's "Positive Acting Teens" and help a group of dorks clean up trash beside a highway. On the way there in the van, B&B make their "this sucks" faces while a couple of the dorks argue about which would be better--[[Characters/StarTrekTheNextGeneration making Data human or curing Geordi of his blindness]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In an interview with [[Series/TheDailyShow Jon Stewart]], UsefulNotes/BillClinton discussed this essentially happening in politics. When you have two similar candidates (in this case UsefulNotes/BarackObama and UsefulNotes/HillaryRodhamClinton), the campaign becomes about stressing the minor differences between them. That can lead to them passionately stressing and arguing about a stance that the candidates don't actually find that important.
** Heck, ''any'' random, small, and otherwise irrelevant, difference in political, philosophical or religious views could turn into this. We could give examples of this, [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment but we're not going to.]]
* {{Edit War}}s are often built off of relatively minor differences in wording, phrasing, or detail.
** TheOtherWiki [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Lamest_edit_wars has these in spades]]. For example: is that city in northern Poland called "Danzig" or "Gdańsk" in English? There's even been wars about ''punctuation''!
*** Perhaps the silliest: what nationality is [[VideoGame/TeamFortress2 The Spy]]? [[note]]It's not ''entirely'' silly, as - with the exception of the Pyro - every other character has a clear national stereotype.[[/note]] The edit wars went on for ''months'' before "Meet The Spy" finally settled the issue with a canon answer: "French".
** Even this wiki isn't immune: TimeyWimeyBall once had the line, "debating which time travel theory is right is much like trying to find the best flavor of ice cream". After over fifty different edits of what the best flavor of ice cream actually was, the joke was removed.
* There was actually [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nix_v._Hedden a Supreme Court decision]] about whether the tomato should be considered a fruit or a vegetable for tax purposes.
* Similarly, the makers of Jaffa Cakes went to court in the UK to prove that they are actually cakes, which aren't taxed in the UK, rather than biscuits which are (but only if they have chocolate on them: that means that they're considered luxury items - unlike cakes, apparently). No it doesn't really make sense. The company managed to prove that Jaffa Cakes are indeed cakes by A: Showing that Jaffa Cakes, like other cakes, will go stale if left out (if they were biscuits they would go soft) and B: Making an extra large Jaffa Cake which was then served as a regular cake. That hasn't stopped debates raging up and down the country; tea and biscuits (or cakes) really are SeriousBusiness in Britain. As silly it looks for an average person, for multinational companies product classifications may translate to millions in taxes and customs. (This also lead to the [[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2305938/McVities-launches-The-Big-One-Jaffa-Cake-decades-beating-taxman-landmark-VAT-battle.html "Big One"]], a cake-sized Jaffa Cake you can buy)
* The entirety of the internet. It doesn't matter if you're on Website/YouTube, Wiki/TVTropes, Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses, or even on argument central that is Website/FourChan, you will always, somehow, somewhere for some reason find a group of people arguing over the most inane, insane and stupidest things imaginable. And for the record, while Punisher truly is superior to Batman, Batman would still beat Iron Man in a fight.
** While Superman just stands in the background,the wreckage from the brawl harmlessly bouncing off of him
[[/folder]]

----