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Life Isn't Fair
"Life is not fair. Get used to it."
— Bill Gates

"Life isn't fair. Deal with it." Fiction Isn't Fair and neither is Real Life. Another one of those Stock Phrases, usually particularly irritating to the character it's being told to. Another way of saying "deal with it". Sometimes used to respond to an accusation that the character wasn't fighting fair.


Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In Macross Plus, Isamu snaps at Myung's self-pity by telling her that sometimes life isn't fair and that she needs to deal with it, instead of feeling sorry for herself.
  • In the second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (the dub only) Sartorious' henchman X tells Jaden this, telling him that you can't always get everything you want, emphasizing it by saying that when he was Jaden's age, he used to dream of being a pastry chef. (Of course, this sort of comes off as a Broken Aesop considering the type of person X is, and considering that he seems to love his actual job a little too much, that of an Amoral Attorney who is willing to use cruel and underhanded methods to crush the will of his opponent.)

Comic Books
  • In Transmetropolitan, when Spider meets with The Beast before the election, The Beast invokes this in spirit when Spider points out how unfair some of The Beast's views are.
    Spider: That's sick.
    The Beast: That's the way it is. Life sucks. Wear a hat.
  • A suicidal woman tells this to Superman in the Grounded storyline. Much to her surprise, Superman agrees with her, but then adds that it isn't "unfair" either.

Film
  • Many times in The Princess Bride.
    "Who ever said life is fair? Where is that written? Life isn't always fair."
    "Life is pain, your highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."
  • Cozy Carlisle from Dead Again:
    Hey, thumbdick, I was a damn good shrink. Nineteen years I worked with a lot of people through a lot of shit. OK, I slept with a patient or two. It's not like I didn't care about them. I loved being a doctor. I used to not charge half my patients. Then the fucking state comes along, they send in some bitch undercover, and I'm fucked. Life isn't fair, is it?
  • Snape to Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
    "You and Black, you're two of a kind: sentimental children, forever whining about how bitterly unfair your lives have been. Well, it may have escaped your notice, but life isn't fair. Your blessed father knew that; in fact, he frequently saw to it!"
  • Davy Jones in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie:
    "Life is cruel! Why should the afterlife be any different?"
  • Labyrinth:
    Sarah: (for about the seventeenth time since the film started) That's not fair!
    Jareth: You say that so often. I wonder what your basis for comparison is.
    • She learns it after that, however. When Hoggle seems to think it's different when it's unfair in her favor, she quickly reminds him.
  • Jason feels the need to bring this up to a recently orphaned girl in Mystery Team.
    Jason: Life isn't fair. If life was fair, I'd have gotten a new bike for Christmas, instead of a stupid car.
  • Scar has this to say to a mouse he's caught:
    Scar: Life's not fair, is it? You see, I ... well, I shall never be king. And you ... shall never see the light of another day. Adieu.

Literature
  • Twilight:
    Bella: Hasn't anyone ever told you? Life isn't fair.
  • Anita Blake from Anita Blake Vampire Hunter:
    No, life isn't fair, but I try to be.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events:
    Count Olaf: (stuck in a cage, talking to the distraught Baudelaire children) Life isn't fair.
  • Many times in The Princess Bride.
    "Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something."
    "Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all."
  • In Soul Music, Crusty Caretaker Albert explains that Susan is the only eligible replacement for Death, and being a typical teenager at heart Susan eventually resorts to complaining "It's not fair!" Albert retorts, dripping with sarcasm, that she can go explain that to the universe at large and see how far it gets her.
    • This is also seen earlier in Mort when protesting the unfairness of someone's death.
      There is no fair. There is no justice. There is just me.

Live-Action TV
  • Carlton in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    Life isn't fair, Will. I mean, was it fair when Bambi's mother died?
  • In one episode of Babylon 5, Marcus the Ranger expresses a rather enlightened outlook on the subject:
    You know, I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.
  • The Central Theme of Malcolm in the Middle. Hell, it's even stated in the theme song!
  • Life in Farscape pretty much sucks, as noted by Crais.
    Crais: There is much in life that is unfair. We are all proof of that.
    • And John expresses the sentiment later when Chiana is upset that she can't see her long-lost (and presumed dead) brother.
      Chiana: (pleading) I want to go to him.
      John: I know... But since when do people like us get what we want?

Music
  • Young Jeezy in "Soul Survivor":
  • Relient K's "Be My Escape" uses the phrase to invert the message.
    And this life sentence that I’m serving
    I admit that I’m every bit deserving
    But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair
  • Papa Roach in "She Loves Me Not":
    I don't know
    If I care.
    I'm the jerk;
    Life's not fair.
  • The chorus of the Black Box Recorder song "Child Psychology" goes like this:
    Life is unfair
    Kill yourself or get over it.
  • Mitch Benn's plea to be abducted by aliens:
    People are stupid and life isn't fair,
    Doctor Who's finished and Boris is mayor!

Newspaper Comics
  • Lampshaded in Calvin and Hobbes
    Calvin's dad: The world is isn't fair, Calvin.
    Calvin: I know, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?

Stand Up Comedy
  • George Carlin had a bit in one his stand up routines wherehe not only expounded on how unfair life was, but also noted "Everyone who ever told me that life was fair died horribly before age 35."
  • A famous joke by Johnny Carson: "If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."

Theater
  • In Pokémon Live!, Giovanni says this to Ash in the climax.
    Ash: It's not fair! What kind of creature is that?
    Giovanni: Welcome to the world, Ash Ketchum!

Video Games
  • Tali's stance in Mass Effect 2 :
    Tali: I don't think life is about what you deserve.

Web Comics
  • Inverted in Something Positive when Faye died:
    Doctor: I'm so sorry. I know this is hard and she was so young. Sometimes it just doesn't seem fair.
    Fred:: Miss, I had almost forty years with the most amazin' woman in the world. If life is unfair, it was unfair in my favor.
  • Invoked and played with in this Arthur, King of Time and Space strip. To Arthur and his crew "life isn't fair" is a reason to work at making it fairer.

Western Animation
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "What is Reality?", the Riddler's final challenge to Batman before his virtual world shuts down is: "If the planet were equitable, I'd still have my old job." This actually has a double meaning; since he previously had told Batman that his criminal career was a personal matter (in the previous episode he appeared in), he's saying if life were fair, his old employer would never have cheated and fired him. But it's also a riddle that tells the hero where he is: The sentence can be rephrased to say, "If the world was fair, I'd still have my ex-position", meaning he's at the World's Fair Exposition.

Real Life
  • Used and abused to hell and back, then back to hell and back again. Trolls, Griefers, and especially The Social Darwinist, using either this or "satire" to excuse Jerk Ass behavior.
  • Commonly used by parents and authority figures... usually to excuse Jerk Ass behavior.
  • On the more positive side of things wanting life to be fair and thus striving to towards an admittedly impossible ideal is seen as a virtue of our race.
  • Almost anyone dealing with someone that is complaining about whatever is bothering them will tell the person to deal with it, much to the annoyance of the person doing the complaining.


Lie Back and Think of EnglandStock PhrasesLike an Old Married Couple
Lack of EmpathyCynicism TropesLoners Are Freaks

alternative title(s): Life Is Unfair
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