"One of the great things about people is that if you put them on TV, they'll do anything to win. Sometimes they're not even sure if they're on a show with prizes, or what the prize is—they will debase themselves and taunt their own god to win. For proof, three different groups of women have competed to let Flavor Flav inside them, and he looks like something that crawls out of bogs to replace our babies with changelings."
A character who has an extremely aggressive treatment of competitive events, ranging from important goals to even light-hearted pastimes
. "It's just a game" will always go over this person's head as he or she insists on being the best at any minor challenge placed in front of them. They are a Sore Loser
and not a humble winner, rubbing it in with Unsportsmanlike Gloating
While the trope is often Played for Laughs
, serious interpretations can exist. In most cases, expect them to have an Inferiority Superiority Complex
or Freudian Excuse
as to why they constantly insist on proving themselves or being the best at everything they do.
is often a case issued against a single competitor. See also Blood Knight
and "Stop Having Fun" Guys
. If you really want to crank up the annoyance factor, combine with Scrub
. May also overlap into X Must Not Win
or Nobody Calls Me Chicken
The ultimate extreme of this (comedic or
serious) is the character who makes such Serious Business
competitions out of things that would not ordinarily be competitions at all. (Being the first to go down a flight of stairs or open a door for someone, etc.)
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Anime and Manga
- Black Star from Soul Eater. Particularly if someone else is getting more attention than he.
- Ranma of Ranma ½ has a bad case of this, including at least one battle where he must prove he has better feminine sex appeal. Often lampshaded by bystanders.
- Tomo from Azumanga Daioh, though mainly in her first appearance. She's kind of terrible at everything she tries...
- Batman has Damian Wayne, who constantly seeks to prove himself as better than any previous Robin to his father, especially against Tim Drake, who he constantly demeans whenever Tim slips up for Damian manages something slightly better than him. This came to a head in the storyline War of the Robins where Damian went after Tim, Jason, and Dick individually to beat them and claim a prize from each as proof he was the superior Robin in an entirely-self-imposed challenge. He beat Tim and Jason, but Dick just gave him a prize and pointed out "you're the one with the R on his chest now".
- Multiple competitors become this in the Touhou M-1 Grand Prix and even a guest judge who gave bad marks because they didn't want a contestant to beat them in a contest they weren't even competing in.
- In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Violet Beauregarde takes her gum-chewing seriously, achieving a record by chewing a single piece of gum "for over three months solid." She took an interest in the Golden Ticket search for the glory she'd get if she found one more than a desire for the actual prize. Due to Values Dissonance over the habit of gum-chewing as a vice, the 2005 film adaptation plays up this trait to make her punishment less disproportionate to her behavior; at her mother's urging she is highly competitive in all sorts of activities and thus looks down her nose at her fellow Golden Ticket finders, even calling poor Charlie a "loser" at one point when he innocently asks her why she sticks with chewing one piece of gum at length. In the 2013 stage musical, this trope is crossbred with Shameless Self-Promoter and Small Name, Big Ego to turn her into a parody of vapid celebrity.
Live Action Television
- Monica Geller in Friends often becomes extremely intense and controlling over any minor game the gang take part in.
Monica: I made this game what it is.
Chandler: Not fun anymore?
- Barney from How I Met Your Mother will often take an innocent remark as a challenge and respond with "Challenge accepted!". Hilarity Ensues.
- Jane from Happy Endings feels the compulsive need to win at all costs. Highlighted to great effect in the episode 'She Got Game Night', Max says they don't do couples' game nights anymore because of how crazy she gets. Also shown when she and Max compete over who has better Zombie Apocalypse survival skills, or who deserves to keep a sweater they both claim.
- In Wilfred, the neighbor's boyfriend is shown to be uber-competitive. This was used in an episode where Ryan challenges the boyfriend to a game of table tennis, hoping that he could beat the boyfriend in front of the neighbor. However, the boyfriend ends up beating Ryan. All is well though, because the neighbor is turned off by the boyfriend's gloating.
- Zeke of Zeke and Luther is so competitive he'll even get into "Are not!" "Am too!" arguments just to win them through sheer refusal to quit.
- The Office: Both Andy Bernard and Dwight Schrute from the U.S. version have this as one of their defining traits.
- The Better Off Ted episode "Win Some, Dose Some" is all about how the entire cast (except Linda) fits this trope. Ted goes meta with it in the opening narration when he proudly asserts, "No one's more competitive than me and Veronica."
- In a first-season episode of Will and Grace, Grace is shown to be a competition freak, to the point that neighbors won't even play charades with her anymore.
- Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson. He must win at everything, not just car related competitions, but every competition on the show even if it really shouldn't be something to get competitive over (eg, finding edible roadkill, Clarkson finds a cow because it's biggest). Played for Laughs naturally as Clarkson's over the top approach brings disaster as often as victory.
- Full House. Danny often gets like this, notably in the Series Finale.
- Jay from My Wife and Kids is this to a T. This is because she was once her school's star soccer goalie who got thrown off the team because someone else wanted a turn. She insisted on winning every competition since.
- Moze from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide might count.
- The Competitive Dad from The Fast Show, who spends every game and activity with his young sons proving that he can outperform them. We eventually find out that his own father was the same.
- The Eradicator from The Kids in the Hall, a masked man who refuses to tell anyone his real name and is extremely serious about "climbing the squash ladder" at a gym, to the other players' bemusement. He turns out to be terrible at squash.
"Do you want to unmask me? It's your right."
- In an episode of Seinfeld, three generations of Mandelbaums throw out their back trying to show up Morty and Jerry Seinfeld in weightlifting. Anything Jerry says to diffuse this is met with accusations that he thinks they're better than them.
- Dark Sun half-elves like this. They even got a personal XP award for besting a human or elf in some or other traditional activity. Just because they want to be accepted and it always involves one way or another showing that they "aren't worse at this".
- In the Ace Attorney series a lot of the more evil prosecutors (and some attorneys) seem to only care for their win-loss records, not for actually seeing justice done. There's even a Prosecutor of the Year award they can for having a better record!. Snapping out of this mentality was key to Miles Edgeworth's character growth, and the fact that Klavier Gavin never did this in the first place makes him standout as unusual among the game's rivals.
- The most extreme example is Manfred Von Karma, who took pride in never losing a case in 40 years but was infuriated at a tiny blemish on his "perfect" win record from taking a penalty against Gregory Edgeworth in court.
- Stinkoman from Homestar Runner is this to a T: "...did somebody say — challenge?"
- Sponge Bob Square Pants: A recurring plot line for many characters. Sandy and SpongeBob himself are perhaps the most notable examples.
- Recess: Vince is extremely egotistical about winning any game he takes part in. The others become irritated by this and dare him to last a day without winning once, at which point he becomes drunk on losing at every game he plays.
- South Park: Used to parody U2's Bono, having won a ridiculous number of achievements and becoming ridiculously protective of his "Biggest Crap Award" (to the point of cheating to reclaim it from Randy). The reason for this is revealed that Bono is the original Biggest Crap, constantly trying to be Number One in everything, but never managing to shake off he is actually a "Number Two".
Stan: Dude, don't you have enough? I mean, you got tons of money, a jet, and the biggest rock band in the world, a hot wife, and, you've been knighted. I mean, at some point, can't you just kind of... fuck off?
- Rainbow Dash in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is this trope, The Great And Powerful Trixie is Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better.
- Stan Smith of American Dad! insists on winning at every sport and game he does, the first instance he lost, he attempted suicide.
Steve: Don't you think that's a bit of an overreaction. So you lost. Nobody cares.
Stam: I care! I know I lost, and I couldn't bear to carry that shame around for the rest of my life.
- Parodied in the Family Guy episode "Running Mates" after Peter becomes obsessed with beating Lois in an election for school board president.
Brian: Peter, are you sure you wanna run against Lois. You know how competitive you get.
I've seen how competitive you get. You can't even handle losing a game of checkers. (cue Cutaway Gag)
- Joe is implied to be this as well, to a somewhat violent extent.
Joe: Ah, I remember the first time my son beat me at something. I gave him a congratulatory punch on the arm. And then I gave him another. And another. And then things got kinda hazy and he had to go live with a foster family for a while...
- Rather unsurprisingly, Princess Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender . Her reaction to winning a beach volleyball match:
Yes, we defeated you for all time! You will never rise from the ashes of your shame and humiliation! (Beat
) Well, that was fun.
- Otto from Rocket Power is this in spades. In one episode he went too far trying to prove to his sister Reggie that he is the better snowboarder and broke his leg in the process, and in another episode he tried to become a professional surfer just after his 11th birthday, only to wipe out miserably, just to name a couple of examples.