My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad
Q. What did the 5th-grade firecracker say to the 4th-grade firecracker?
This Stock Phrase
and its variants (my dad is stronger/faster/smarter/richer/better than yours) are a common Badass Boast
between schoolyard kids. The implication is, of course, that Badass
is In the Blood
. (Or that their Dads will get involved in any fight between them.) Any argument can lead to this, and actual physical violence may break out over it as well. A variation replaces "father" with other older male relatives like siblings or cousins for matter of availability (fathers would be thought to be working but older siblings or brothers may be available in school). Female relatives are rarely cited, ignoring Action Girls
and Action Moms
, but even with a whole Badass Family
, male examples are far more common.
Occasionally, grownups will do it too, especially those who have had daddy issues
, though they're more likely to compare their kids, if they have any.
Another variation is combining this with My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours
, resulting in "my teacher has greater skills than your teacher", which can be applied to any art or skill, but is very prominent in martial art shows.
Truth in Television
, of course.
See also My Grandma Can Do Better Than You
and You Fight Like a Cow
for similar insults. Could be considered the Spear Counterpart
of Your Mom
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Anime & Manga
- A "my sensei can beat your sensei" variation appears in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, when Kenichi fights with Sho Kano.
- In Dragon Ball Z, when Goten's father is coming Back from the Dead to compete in the Tenkaichi Budokai, he and Trunks get into an argument over whose dad is stronger.
- Inverted by Trunks himself when he brought the Dragonradar to his mother and, with sparkling eyes, he stated in amazement to Goku how much stronger he is than his own father. Goku, of course, took in stride.
- Also inverted (My Son Can Beat Up Your Son?) with Vegeta's glee over Trunks defeating Goten on the Tenkaichi Budokai. "Now we know whose blood is stronger, Kakarot!"
- And the competition of Goku and Vegeta continues even with the wives in Dragon Ball GT. After Vegeta's (Bulma assisted) transformation to Super Saiyan 4 Bulma adamantly asserts to Chi Chi that "my husband is hotter than your husband".
- In the Transformers Victory manga, it's "my adoptive transforming-robot-alien father can beat up your adoptive transforming-robot-alien father" whenever Jean Minakaze, adopted son of Autobot leader Star Saber, and manga-exclusive Solon Kitakaze, adopted son of Decepticon leader Deathsaurus, run into each other in the early chapters.
- In Rush Hour, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker's characters get into an argument about their deceased fathers, culminating with Jackie claiming this: "My daddy once caught a bullet with his bare hands!"
- One of the few humorous moments in Unbreakable is when Joseph (David's son) is sitting next to another kid outside the principal's office. Said kid asks,"Is that your dad? [pause] I bet my dad could beat up your dad.". Considering what we saw him do earlier, he really couldn't.
- One of the characters in the movie The Wrath of God observes that religious conflicts tend to boil down to this: "My Father in Heaven can lick your Father in Heaven."
- Harry Potter: Draco Malfoy lives and breathes this trope in the first few books.
- The book Fifth Business, at the very beginning, with an envious Percy telling this to Dunny.
- Older Than Radio: Variation from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer:
"You're a coward and a pup. I'll tell my big brother on you, and he can thrash you with his little finger, and I'll make him do it, too."
"What do I care for your big brother? I've got a brother that's bigger than he is, and what's more, he can throw him over that fence, too."
(Both brothers were imaginary.)
- In the BattleTech novel series Warriors of Kerensky, Kai Allard-Liao tells the story of how he got into a contest with a boy about this. Kai ended it by saying that his dad could kill the boy's dad. Since Justin Allard (Kai's dad) is one of the finest Mech Warriors in the Inner Sphere, a respected war hero, a deep-cover spy, an all-around Badass, and has killed men in an arena for sport on TV, this causes the boy to go home crying. Justin has a talk with his son after this.
Live Action TV
- In The Now Show, in a sketch illustrating what the House of Commons would be like were it a school playground, had David Cameron claiming that his dad was bigger than Tony Blair's.
- Frankie Boyle of Mock the Week expounds the virtues of having a gay father: "'My dad could batter your dad, my dad'll beat up your dad.' Yeah? Listen! My dad will shag your dad!"
- "And your dad will enjoy it!"
- Variations in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- "What is this, a 'my sire can beat up your sire' kind of thing?"
- Harmony also threatened that her boyfriend would beat them up. Since her boyfriend was Spike, Buffy would in fact beat him up many many times before and since she made this claim.
- The NBC show My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad.
- The Office has a "My Boyfriend" variant in one episode, which has a sub-plot revolving around Kelly gloating to Pam about how Darryl is better than Jim at ping-pong. Finally at the end, Pam challenges Kelly to ping-pong herself; they're both absolutely miserable at the game.
- The Wizard Rock song "My Dad is Rich and Your Dad is Dead".
- Terrorizer magazine's review of Napalm Death's fourteenth album Time Waits for No Slave essentially argued that, in spite of all the members being in their forties and being lefty pacifists, "Shane Embury [bass] can still take your dad".
- Inverted in the Paul Petersen song "My Dad" (also recorded by Ray Stevens). He sings about how his dad has never done anything boast-worthy, but he loves his his kids and is overall a cool guy, and that's all that matters ("My dad could beat up your dad, but he wouldn't").
- In the Tripod song "Maryanne" we have the deliberately awkward exchange: "I reckon my Mum could beat your Mum in a fight. You know that?" "My Dad could beat your Mum in a fight"
- A 2004 song from ex-Styx bandleader Dennis DeYoung about holy wars is called "My God Can Beat Up Your God".
- Peanuts has a few of these show up:
- Violet is very prone to this, but tends to get put in her place.
- The page image is one prime example. (5's father also legally changed his family’s name to numbers.)
- In one Father's Day strip, Violet brags about her dad to Charlie Brown, who takes her to his dad's barber shop and points out that his dad will stop work to say hello to him just because Charlie Brown is his son, which shuts Violet up.
- In another strip, Violet boasts to Lucy about her father's excellent bowling average in three different weeknight leagues. Lucy replies, "My father stays home nights."
- In a very early strip, Charlie Brown and Shermy agree that neither of their dads could beat up the other's, or anyone else (though they're still "pretty good guys").
- Subverted in Scott and Kirkman's Baby Blues comic, when Zoe was in preschool. Bogart, their neighbor, was going on and about how his mommy had more money than Zoe's mommy, and how his mommy was prettier than her mommy. Zoe's comeback was "Well 'my mommy has a bigger bottom than your mommy!" At which Bogart runs off crying to his mommy. Nice one, Zoe.
- Joke in Hollywood: "My dad can beat up your dad!" "Your dad is my dad!"
Stand Up Comedy
- Bill Hicks' take on this: "My Dad can beat up your (Hicks') Dad!" "When? He mows the lawn on Saturdays - get him then."
- Another comedian, relating schoolyard memories at Just For Laughs, delivered as the punchline "Really? How much would that cost me?"
- During the Knaaren's Cave area of Rayman 3, one can hear two off-screen voices arguing over who has the toughest dad, until a third voice tells them both to shut up.
- In BioShock, Gatherer's Garden uses this trope to prey on adult insecurities in order to sell plasmids: "My daddy's smarter than Einstein, stronger than Hercules and can light a fire with a snap of his fingers! Are you as good as my daddy, Mister? Not if you don't visit the Gatherer's Garden, you aren't!"
- In Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Gym Leaders Falkner and Janine can be found arguing in the Celadon Department Store about this. If you take Falkner's side, he'll give you his number so you can call for rematches against him.
- In SimCity 2000, the in-game newspaper will occasionally run fluff pieces about peace talks in foreign countries that invariably degenerate into "the really big country that backs me can beat up the really big country that backs you", referred to in-game as the "my dad can beat up your dad" strategy.
- One of the side-missions in Dynasty Warriors 4 is "Husbands and Wives", in which various Battle Couples team up and fight it out. Their taunts toward each other include variants on "my honey can trounce yours".
- On That Guy with the Glasses, The Nostalgia Critic and Phelous at one point had a crossover to review Childs Play. To poke fun at how creepy the doll was even before becoming possessed, the two had a brief skit where they were two kids arguing over whose doll could inspire the worst nightmares, and both immediately going to sleep(and subsequently wake up screaming) to prove who's right.
- An episode of Dexters Laboratory had this between Dexter and Mandark. It lead to a a fight between Dexter's Salary Man father and Mandark's Hippie father. The result was a draw. Which then leads them to argue over, "My mom can beat up your mom.".
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jade and Paco are always arguing over whether Jackie (Jade's uncle) or El Toro (Paco's role model) is the greatest.
- Referenced in the Futurama episode "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles". When Leela, made younger again in a Fountain of Youth accident, goes to live with her parents in the sewers and describes to her mom how life would be like, she says, "And if some kid picks on me, my dad can beat up his dad." Her dad replies, "Can't I just beat up the kid?"
- On South Park, when the town's male population is going through a "metrosexual" phase, Stan and Clyde get into an argument over whose dad dresses better. The dads come over and say that that's a silly thing to fight about...and then start arguing over their outfits, naturally.
- The Simpsons has a variant in one of its non-canon Halloween Episodes: Homer dies and becomes a ghost. On the bus to school, Nelson mocks Bart by singing "Your dad is dead, mine's just in jail!"
- In the "Oh Brother" episode of Taz-Mania Taz's little brother confronts a small gorilla, both of them threatening to sic their big tough brothers against one another. The older gorilla, who'd been bragging about his many manly (simianly?) exploits, is not allowed to let his sudden cold feet get him out of the pledged battle, while Taz is only too ready to begin pounding away.
- Inverted in the tongue-in-cheek bumper sticker: "My child beat up your honor student."
- And taken a step further with "My Golden Retriever is smarter than your honor student."
- When Jesse 'The Body' Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota, it wasn't long before the appearance of bumper stickers reading 'My Governor can beat up Your Governor.'
- Upon Schwarzenegger assuming the post of governator, the fantasy of a debate between the two became a common joke.
- There's also The Running Man, which features the two of them before either was elected into office.
- When Sarah Palin became governor of Alaska, a common bumper sticker was "My governor is hotter than your governor."
- A Finnish TV commercial for Saarioinen's convenience foods used a variant of this. Kids at the sandbox: "Our Mom makes better food than yours!" "No, our Mom makes the best!" "Our Mom makes better food than all your mothers combined!" Then, the camera pans to a little girl... "Our Mom makes your Moms' foods!" *smiles broadly* The ad ends with Saarioinen's logo and the slogan "Food made by mothers". The punchline became quite a Memetic Mutation in Finland for a time.
- For owners of mixed-breed dogs there was a t-shirt reading "My mutt can beat up your purebred".
- Then there was the well nasty "My priest had your altar boy".