Comically Lopsided Rivalry
Maybe it's to illustrate one of our heroes' quick wit or smarts. Maybe it's to remind the viewer that the character isn't entirely a loser. Or perhaps the writers just love them.
Whatever the reason, many shows create a one-sided rivalry
between two contrasting characters. Character A, usually part of the main cast, almost always wins. Character B may score some victories in the conflict, but by the time the credits roll, character A will have outdone B in such a way that there's no response to it.
A particular kind of interaction between Sitcom Arch-Nemeses
. Related to Curb-Stomp Battle
, but usually much less violent. If the constant loser is a recurring villain, not another main character, then this overlaps with The Good Guys Always Win
See A Taste of Defeat
(for all cases) and Team Rocket Wins
(for villainous cases) if the victorious character's winning streak is finally broken for once
- Apple Macintosh's famous series of commercials featuring a hip, trendy "Mac" and an out-of-touch, dorky "PC" always ended with Mac having outdone PC, with PC usually none the wiser.
- In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Gladstone Gander almost always comes out ahead of Donald Duck thanks to his being literally Born Lucky. However Donald Duck has won occasionally such as one of Scrooge's earliest appearances.
- Speaking of Scrooge McDuck, he, for his part, always comes out ahead of his rival Flintheart Glomgold; even if neither of them get the prize they're competing for, it's usually made clear that Scrooge is better off because he has his family and his ethics.
- Redhead Josie James from Archie Comics' Josie and the Pussycats was often the target of jealous rival Alexandra Cabot. Despite awesome wealth, including jet packs, and witchcraft powers, Alexandra rarely succeeded in humiliating Josie or in subverting her close relationship with Alan Mayberry. This dynamic extended to the Hanna-Barbera cartoon adaptation, where Alexandra plays the Token Evil Teammate among Josie's Five-Man Band.
- These were common in The Railway Series, with smart, hardworking engines such as Edward, Toby and Duck always having the last laugh on arrogant, reckless ones such as Henry, Gordon and James.
- The Big Bang Theory cranks this Up to Eleven with Sheldon's rivalries, not so much in Sheldon always winning (he loses a couple of times) but in how the show bends over backwards to ensure he gets his way the rest of the time. The rest of the smart guys don't bother getting into arguments with him and usually decide to save themselves a headache by agreeing with him from the start.
- Drake & Josh: this is the situation between the two titular step-brothers and their sister Megan. Every time she is involved with them (even if it's essentially a cameo and the story doesn't has anything to do with her), she wins in the end and mocks them. It has gotten so far (and her mocking of them has gotten so humiliating) that the audience has declared her a Villain Sue Scrappy.
- In That Mitchell and Webb Look, Simon always wins against Julie in "Numberwang," despite the incomprehensibility of the game's rules.
- The T-bone suplex seems designed for them. Take Shelton Benjamin's "feud" with Maven. Shelton immediately hits the move and pins Maven, rinse and repeat.
- Lord Voledemart's "feud" with Orlando Jordan consisted of Jordan tapping out to the crippler crossface in increasingly short intervals of time.
- Tom and Jerry has this with the rivalry between Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse; Jerry usually wins, but Tom gets the last laugh a few times.
- Bugs Bunny of Looney Tunes is almost undefeated, save for a couple of losses to Elmer Fudd and Cecil Turtle.
- Herman and Katnip has a fully one-sided rivalry where Herman always wins.
- Itchy and Scratchy parody one-sided rivalry where Scratchy the cat isn't even aware of their rivalry, and does his own thing, while Itchy the Villain Protagonist mouse conspires to kill Scratchy for no reason at all. Scratchy wins once, but Krusty is quick to comment that "they'll never let us air that again!"
- In The Simpsons itself, Bart and Lisa started off this way in the Tracey Ullman shorts, with Lisa always outsmarting Bart in banter and contests. This formula was continued for a while in the early episodes of the show itself, however Lisa's new found pompousness and neuroses soon led her to suffer her own moments as the Butt Monkey.
- Chip 'n Dale always outsmarted Donald Duck and Pluto (odd shorts ended on a happier note for the latter two, but even then the chipmunks never 'lost').
- Thomas the Tank Engine usually follows the lead of its books, but deconstructions are far more common, especially as some characters started to have an overhaul in personality.
- The Dreamstone, which based itself heavily on such slapstick rivalries, always bent things in the Noops' favor, with the Urpneys constantly at the brunt of heavy slapstick. Odd episodes ended on a less downbeat note for the Urpneys, or the Noops suffering some minor unpleasantries, but even then the Urpneys were the losers of the feud.
- Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner: A series of shorts where the coyote schemes and uses increasingly over the top gadgets (either of his own creation or mail to order) to repeatedly fail to catch the super speedy Road Runner.
- Inverted in Dexter's Laboratory. Though Dexter is the lead character and a genius, he usually loses to his comic rival. Most episodes end with Dexter getting hoisted by his own petard or having an overly dramatic reaction to his situation, and his older dumber sister Dee Dee walking away smiling. There's even an episode dedicated to the parallels between this show and Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. Dexter does tend to win against his dramatic rival Mandark however, and may even beat Mandark and lose to Dee Dee at the same time.
- Tweety Pie and Speedy Gonzales won even more consistently, especially against Sylvester. Similar to Bugs however, Speedy suffered the rare occasional loss.
- Played with in Family Guy. Peter always wins in his scrapes against Ernie the Giant Chicken, no matter how bloodied and disheveled he himself may end up in the process.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog copies Looney Tunes directly in many regards, with Sonic constantly running rings around Dr Robotnik and his cronies in a slapstick fashion.