Nice Job Breaking It, Rivals
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero. May be seen as poetic justice. Usually implies a moral about how fighting is bad. A frequent variation is to have two Genre Blind characters try to wrest a piece of paper from each other, only for it to split. If the thing that is "broken" is a contest that either would normally win, this may lead to a Dark Horse Victory. Compare No Macguffin No Winner. The rivals may try to save face by claiming "We Win Because You Didn't".
Examples:Anime and Manga
- In the original Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, when Nanoha and Fate fight over one of the Jewel Seeds, they accidentally activate it, almost causing an explosion. Fate then risks her life to contain it and therefore ends up claiming it.
- In the Death Note AU My Stupid Reality Mello and Matt get into a fight over who is the bigger screw-up when they lose Light Yagami's trail that results in both of them accidentally destroying all of the data L had accumulated on Light. Subverted in that L already had the data committed to memory and when he finds out about this he is able to use it as the excuse he needs to justify his continued pursuit of Light to Watari.
- In the movie The War, two groups of kids fight a battle over a treehouse. The treehouse is pretty much wrecked in the fighting.
- This is how the Ring is destroyed in the Lord of the Rings movie (though not the book). After Gollum wrests the ring from Frodo, Frodo tries to take it back. The result is that Gollum falls into Mt. Doom, still clutching the ring.
- Inverted in a short story from Tales of Ravenloft. A young bride's sorcerer husband fights another wizard. Each begs for her help, warning her that the other is evil and intends to destroy her using a cursed portal she's discovered. Repelled by how each cares more about beating the other than about her, she uses the portal herself to kill both men, becoming a nastier villain than either.
- By the beginning of the first Thursday Next novel The Eyre Affair, the armies of Great Britain and Russia have between them reduced the Crimean peninsula to a barren wasteland.
- Averting this is the reason that the Gods of both Light and Dark use champions in David Weber's The War Gods series. It's not that The Gods Must Be Lazy, it's that they know that if they fight directly, they'll only end up destroying the world that they're both trying to claim.
- A particularly tragic example happens in the first season of Heroes. Peter and Isaac get into a fight that is at least partly over a girl they both like. Guess who gets shot.
- In the iCarly episode "iPie", Freddy and Sam are trying to hack into a dead guy's computer for a pie recipe. It's a slow computer, and Sam tries to take over. They fight over the keyboard and end up knocking the CPU over and smashing it... which turns out to be OK, because the recipe is written on sheets of paper hidden in the box.
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Requiem for Methuselah": Flint created the Robot Girl Rayna Kapec to be a companion for him. He guided her and James T. Kirk into falling in love with each other to awaken her emotions, then planned to take over. He and Kirk end up in a fight over her, and during the fight she is so stressed out over having to choose between them that she malfunctions and dies.
- Yeralash has an episode where two boys are laying out presents for girls in their class. They take a large, beautiful doll out of the box, and start arguing which girl should receive that. In the end, they tear the doll in half... and then finally agree which girl should get it now.
- Friends: Chandler and Rachel fight over a gourmet cheesecake accidentally delivered to them (it was meant for a neighbor who was away on a trip). It ends up being knocked on the floor as they both gaze at it, heartbroken. Later, Joey nonchalantly joins them in eating it off the floor.
Joey (As he takes a fork from his pocket): What are we having?
- In on episode of M*A*S*H, Hawkeye was planning to go to Tokyo with a date, but events conspired against him. When he packed his luggage, BJ argued that the pajamas were his. Their tug-of-war over them ended up tearing them and BJ decided to let Hawk have them anyway.
- In the 4th-season L.A. Law episode "Bounds for Glory," Stuart is trying to help Benny resolve a dispute between himself and two other baseball-card collectors. At a highly contentious conference, Stuart picks up one of Benny's priceless cards, saying "You're all nuts! These things come five to a pack with a stick of gum!" Another litigant tries to take the card from him. Guess what happens.
- In a Peanuts strip, Lucy fights with "Royanne," the girl who claimed to be Roy Hobbs's great-granddaughter, over a baseball bat. Snoopy solves the dispute by sawing the bat in half.
- A Sesame Street sketch involves the Two-Headed Monster building a two-headed snowman. Only one carrot is available, so the two heads argue over the carrot. The carrot snaps in two, so each head of the snowman can have a carrot nose.
- Occurs in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Two men battle over a girl, and she's the one who ends up getting shot.
- The Simpsons: Bart, Milhouse and Martin go in on buying the first issue of Radioactive Man for $100 and end up destroying it during their squabble.
- TMNT Back to the Sewer: Raph and Mikey manage to rip the Green Mantle in half while fighting over it, splitting its power between the pieces.
- The short film A Gentleman's Duel is a good example. Two gentleman duel (in steampunk Mechas) for the affection of a beutiful lady... but the battle causes much damage to her property and risks her life. after seeing one of her boots crashed by a large piece of stone, the duelists presume she's dead, end flee the scene. But she's Not Quite Dead, she had stripped out her boots (and most of her clothes) to enjoy the intimate company of her butler behind the bushes of her garden.
- Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century: The image used as an example was from a story where Duck Dodgers was assigned to find and claim Planet X for Earth because of Planet X's supply of an ingredient needed to make shaving cream. Martian Commander X-2 (Marvin) was trying to claim it for Mars for unspecified reasons. Their efforts to destroy each other reduced the planet to the rock Dodgers was standing on.
- Again in Duck Dodgers, when he and the Martian were fighting over a device used by a pirate crew to disappear from crime scenes to avoid capture.
- This was also the punchline ending to the classic 1952 Looney Tunes short of the same name.
- In the Beast Wars episode Transmutate, the titular character is introduced as a powerful but sickly Cybertronian. Because of this, s/he is seen as dangerous to the Maximals, and useless to the Predicons. Only Silverbolt and Rampage from the different factions befriended Transmutate but they started fighting to get him/her to join with their respective side. Guess who tries to stop them from fighting by jumping into the crossfire only to get killed.
- One episode of Celebrity Deathmatch features a fight between Bruce Springsteen and James Gandolfini, where the two are fighting for ownership of a New Jersey rest-stop that's opening soon. Said fight also features Steve Van Zandt as both guest referee and future employee for whoever wins the fight. Guess who becomes the first fatality of the episode.
- Needless to say, it happens in real life all the time - from kids fighting over a toy and breaking it to governments fighting over a province and reducing it to a wasteland.