Not only more popular with the ladies, but better at being evil.
Troi hologram: Cast aside your masks and let me slip into your mind.
A character encounters an "alternate" version of themselves that they greatly dislike. The alternate can be a work of fiction
existing only on a written page or Show Within a Show
, or a Doppelgänger
of some sort (Clone
, Time Travel
, Alternate Universe
, etc). The alternate version may be a thinly veiled caricature
negative qualities or emphasizes neutral or even positive traits in ways the original dislikes, or invents traits whole cloth that are highly out of character.
The original is likely to become very
angry at the author or the alternate for the real (or perceived) insult.
The "original" may find that For Want of a Nail
their alternate version is really annoying, and (if not a fictional creation) the alternate may likewise find the original embarrassing. On the other hand, the alternate may be a much more successful or well developed individual who angers the original by outshining them. Expect at least one of them to say "I Resemble That Remark
" and/or "Why didn't anyone tell me this makes me look fat?
Compare Future Me Scares Me
and I Hate Past Me
- In Hero Squared the "normal" Milo is quite annoyed with the Superhero version of himself from another universe (Captain Valor), and vice versa. Valor is less-than-impressed with Milo's selfishness and complete failure to make anything of his life, whilst Milo resents Valor's smug self-righteousness and over-simplified view of the world and how it works.
- The Authority: while crossing over to a Gender Flipped Alternate Universe to talk to their counterparts, Jack Hawksmoor's equivalent is visibly pregnant. When asked about how he feels to see himself female and pregnant, he responds that he doesn't want to find out who the father is.
- Marvel Comics: In the Identity Wars miniseries Deadpool, Spider-Man and The Hulk cross over into an alternate dimension. Spider-Man's alternate version is a Well-Intentioned Extremist, which annoys Spidey. Deadpool gets along famously with his alternate until he discovers that alt-Deadpool isn't Wade Wilson, it's Victor Von Doom. Alt-Wade Wilson is a Big Bad who Deadpool takes down. Bruce Banner discovers that he can't turn into the Hulk in this dimension and is overjoyed, until that gets reversed. Then alt-Hulk and Hulk duke it out.
- One nice example involving Deadpool has him inventing an imaginary version of himself (aka, he willed himself into having a split personality) while trapped inside a room for over 800 years (long story). Why did he do this? To have someone to play hangman with of course. His plan fails when the imaginary Deadpool turns out to be a genius and starts totally kicking Deadpool's ass in the game.
- In one Disney comic, Donald Duck's friends and family force him to spend 24 hours with a duplicate of himself, to show him how annoying he is.
- It is discussed in Peggy Sue Neon Genesis Evangelion fic The Second Try. Asuka thinks her younger self would hate her if she saw what she has become. Shinji argues she is being too hard on herself, and he mentions his younger self would surely be shocked.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic I Forgot I Was There plays this for serious drama: Twilight accidentally brings her reflection to life, and both Twilights severely resent each other from the very beginning. Their petty competition is the main focus of the fic.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has an episode wherein The Prankster Socrates is cloned, and he quickly finds his clone to be very irritating.
- Trunks' New Look has the titular character babysit his past self, who proceeds to make life hell for him...self.
- Happens with Maya and Miho meet in The Dimensionhoppers (technically they are counterparts of each other)
- The movie Deconstructing Harry, where fictionalized characters closely resemble real people but with negative characterization. Anger ensues.
- Animorphs "The Seperation". Mean Rachel is totally annoyed by Nice Rachel.
- A Chronicles of Echo episode narrated by Max had a mention that in a less pleasant stage of his life he was ready to choke the version of "Sir Max" living in the city rumours.
- The first half of Robert A. Heinlein's By His Bootstraps consists of the interaction between the protagonist Bob Wilson and some of his past and future selves, due to a very convoluted Time Travel plot. The scene is retold several times, each from the point of view of a different version of Bob — who consistently thinks his past selves are idiots and his future selves are arrogant pricks. It comes to blows eventually. And this would be the man who rules the Earth in the future? Diktor, the future dictator Bob considers a jerk and tries to double-cross, is Bob himself.
- Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor: There is a great deal of in-universe material about Luke Skywalker, who after all is Famed in Story. He hates all of it, particularly the portrayal of him, which is often infallible and leads to some people he meets assuming he should be just listened to - he wants them to argue sometimes, point out things he hasn't seen, and so on.
- In The Tin Woodman of Oz, the Tin Woodman returns to the (now empty) tinworker's house and finds his original, flesh-and-blood head. They have a conversation and find they don't like each other.
- Vamp Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She thought the regular Willow was too wimpy, and regular Willow thought Vamp Willow was too skanky and evil.
It's horrible. That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil, and skanky... and I think I'm kinda gay. Buffy:
Willow, just remember, a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was. Angel:
Well, actually—(Buffy glares at him)
...that's a good point.
- In "The Replacement," the Xander who seems to the audience to be regular Xander is annoyed at the suave, confident Xander, but it is ultimately revealed that they are both the "real" Xander, just split into two distinct forms. One Xander is assertive, self-confident and suave, the other is panicky and self-critical.
- When Angelus returns on Angel we eventually discover how annoying the vampire with a soul is to his alter ego. The fact Angelus had to endure rescuing puppies and listening to Barry Manilow completely drives him up the wall, much to Faith's amusement.
- Fringe - Walter and Olivia do not like their counterparts in the alternate universe. Walter doesn't like Walternate, because basically, Walternate was hellbent on destroying our universe (and also reminds Walter of how succesful Walter could have been, had he not been institutionalized). Walternate doesn't like Walter because Walter kidnapped his son and caused significant damage to the alternate universe. Olivia doesn't like Fauxlivia because Fauxlivia basically took over her life, committed several murders and slept with Peter, while she was forcibly implanted with Fauxlivia's memories and thought she was her, and Fauxlivia is annoyed with Olivia because Olivia's general demeanor is not as upbeat as Fauxlivia's.
- Both versions of Agent Lincoln Lee, on the other hand, really get along. The main difference between their personalities is that "main" universe Lee is an introvert and a bit nerdy while "alternate" Lee is an extrovert and more confident. They have fun trying to compare their early lives to see what made them turn out so different.
- There is a lot of variations on this on Fringe due to characters meeting their counterparts. One episode involved hunting down a serial killer with the help of his alternate counterpart (who happened to be an expert criminal profiler). The episode hinged on the For Want of a Nail divergence between the two men.
- McGee, of NCIS, wrote a novel somewhat based on people he knew. As each member of the team learned about how their counterpart was portrayed, they took offense at the idea. Tim made it very clear that the fictional versions weren't the same, but almost everyone said methinks thou doth protest too much.
- Except Gibbs, who didn't mind.
- Which might be because "Special Agent Tibbs" was awesomeness incarnate, did not have sex with cadavers, and was not shipped with the counterpart of another agent because Mcgee thought they'd make a nice couple.
- Red Dwarf: Cat is pretty excited to meet his alternate dimension counterpart as he thinks it will be a female cat person - it turns out to be a dog person.
- Earlier, there is an episode where Rimmer is copied, they annoy each other, and eventually Lister just deletes one.
- Rimmer's For Want of a Nail alternate self, Ace Rimmer.
- In one episode of Stargate Atlantis, an alternate universe version of Rodney McKay appears. This version is charming, extroverted and socially skilled. The regular Rodney ends up disliking him because everyone seems to like him better.
- At the end of the episode Teyla, Sheppard, and Ronan reveal that they weren't terribly fond of the alt-universe Rodney, either.
- Star Trek: Voyager has this happen to every character when they see the Doctor's holoplay "Photons Be Free", since he portrays them as anti-holographic racists. He relents and changes the characters to not be so obviously stand-ins for his real life friends after Tom "revises" the program to paint the Doctor as an arrogant and unethical Jerk Ass so he sees how offensive his first draft was.
- And when Voyager gets duplicated, you can count on the Janeways to start arguing with each other in very short order.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Hollow Pursuits", the main characters are offended by Lt. Barclay's versions of them in his fantasy holodeck adventure. Troi tells them to relax and just take them as amusing homages, until she happens upon her alternate self - a Distressed Damsel in love with Barclay. Riker immediately seizes the opportunity for an Ironic Echo.
- In the episode "Galaxy's Child", Geordi is excited to finally meet Dr. Leah Brahms, the designer of the Galaxy class engineering systems seen as a hologram in the earlier episode "Booby Trap", as she's here for an inspection. During her visit, she encounters her hologram self, repeating that episode's closing lines "Every time you look at this engine, you're looking at me. Every time you touch it, it's me." It goes without saying that she's extremely angry with Geordi.
- Second Chances is basically an entire episode of this trope. Riker discovers that a transporter accident duplicated him seven or eight years ago, he got out, the other him was stranded on a planet they were surveying and there's no telling which of them is the original. Riker is annoyed by the youthful attitudes and social difficulties of the other. The other Riker chafes at seeing the man who had the career he should have had and who gave up the woman he still loves (Troi). Deep Space Nine will eventually reveal that this other Riker went on to join the Maquis terrorist organization to get out from under his own shadow.
- On Friends, Rachel dates Russ, a guy who's remarkably like Ross. Ross finds him completely annoying, being totally unaware that he's basically criticizing himself.
- This is referenced in Murder, She Wrote where fictionalized characters closely resemble real people but with negative characterization. Anger ensues.
- In an episode of Stargate Universe, Doctor Rush gets sent back in time through "a freak of physics" and warns everyone that the very risky plan they were about to attempt was going to fail miserably. The non-time-travelling Rush (who's been very vocal about the risks inherent in the plan) is very smug about this, to the point of completely disregarding time-travelling Rush's ordeal. Time-travelling Rush is not impressed.
- Kaamelott: A minor example, where Perceval somehow manages to clone himself with Merlin's magic. The Stinger has him introduce the clone to Arthur saying "But for some reason, he's a real dumbass."
- Babylon 5: When Dr. Franklin takes a leave of absence to work out his addiction to stims, he embarks on a spiritual exercise inspired by Australian Aboriginals called a "walkabout", where on the premise that he has lost "himself", he wanders until he runs into himself, and can have a lengthy conversation working out their differences and subsequently reunite with himself again. A few episodes later, he gets stabbed in Downbelow, and as he lies bleeding on the verge of death he literally sees "himself"—and that self gives him a Reason You Suck Speech chastising him sternly for always running away from his problems, with this "walkabout" being one more example of that. He later remarks to Garibaldi that he did indeed "run into himself", and found he didn't like him very much.
- On Dollhouse, Topher imprints his personality onto Victor. The two bond a bit fanboying over how hot Bennett is, but when they actually meet the two quickly get on each other's nerves, talking over each other.
- Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes has had this problem, because he takes It's All About Me so far that it becomes "it's all about this me."
- In one story arc, Calvin makes a clone of himself to do his chores for him, but the clone blows him off and goes to play instead. When Hobbes comments that "he's a clone of you all right", Calvin responds "What do you mean? This guy's a total jerk!"
- When he makes a copy of only his good side, it works out at first because this one is willing to do all the work, but eventually they come to blows over whether they should be nice to Susie, whom the good side openly admits to having a crush on.
- And when Calvin travels to the future to get his done homework from his future self, three different versions of him end up fighting over which of them should have done the homework. Totally averted with Hobbes in the same story, as his egotism is of a sort that gets along with itself. "You're right, as always, Hobbes."
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventure "The Shadow of the Scourge" the Doctor states that inside of his mind sometimes other regenerations (both future and past) show up in "dire times" but all they can do is turn up their noses at the way he runs things. This is presumably true of all Doctors.
- In Portal 2's Perpetual Testing Initative DLC, Cave Johnson is annoyed by most of his alt-universe counterparts, calling them 'backwater universe yokels' and developing a rivalry with Dark Cave.
- In Fate/stay night, Even though he is unaware of his true identity, Shirou has enormous problems getting along with his future self, Archer, on a purely instinctual level (although the great personality differences may have something to do with it too). The future version, on the other hand, has some very well thought-out reasons for despising the other.
- In the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games, Nanoha and Fate are shown to get along really well with Stern and Levi, their Material duplicates, despite the fact that their copies have completely opposite personalities from them. Hayate and Lord Dearche on the other hand... hoo-boy. Before becoming allies, Hayate considered her Card-Carrying Villain of a twin to be an utter pest while Lord Dearche completely despises Hayate's very being. After becoming allies however, Hayate tries to connect with her duplicate much like Nanoha and Fate did, while Lord Dearche... still hates everything related to Hayate, so Hayate alternates between trying to become friends with her and outright Trolling her.
- In Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant normal Watson is displeased to learn of Stupid!Watson, the Flanderized version of himself that Sherlock Holmes is now partners with.
- In The Order of the Stick, Haley's mental representations argue amongst each other during her time with aphasia.
- In Schlock Mercenary amorphs ran into a problem with the TV version of them:
Schlock: The TV-me is putting me-me out of a job. [...] Maybe we can kill another TV network. Is there still money in that?
- Sluggy Freelance features an access to a potentially infinite number of alternative dimensions, so there are opportunities for this.
- Inverted in "Torg Goes to Hell": Zoë and Riff accidentally rescue the wrong Torg from another dimension — one who speaks only Portuguese. When their Torg returns, he tries to communicate with this alternative version of himself using a phrase book, but only comes up with sentences in the lines of (according to Babelfish) "For the Mondays, I am a shoe." Eventually, the "Portuguese" Torg swipes the phrasebook from his hands and tries himself:
Portuguese Torg: "Are.... you... a... a... embezzle?"
Torg: "Embezzle? Embezzle means to steal from a company or boss! I'm a freelance web designer, so I don't have a boss! Why?"
Bun-bun: "The word is pronounced "Imbecile.""
Portuguese Torg: "Ahh!"
- In "That Which Redeems", Torg encounters another version of himself who turns out to be a complete jerk, to the point of not going to his girlfriend's, or possibly wife's, funeral, on the basis that he can get any woman now that he's a big "hero"- as well as that he was brought as a Replacement Goldfish for that universe's Torg. In response to this, "our" Torg clubs him over the head with a serving-tray.
- In "4U City Red", Riff meets an old grumpy alternative-dimension-version of himself that's basically the same as he, except older and grumpier. They really annoy each other, especially the young one the old one, though there is some grudging respect by the end at least.
- Dirk of Homestuck later grows to really hate the AR, an artificial intelligence cloned from his own brain and which has in the meantime developed in his own weird way. (Into a Troll, mostly.) Though unusually, what Dirk hates about him isn't that he's so different to him, but rather that AR is really an exaggerated version of himself, putting all of his personality flaws into perfect view.
- Defied in the case of Davesprite. Considering how much the rest of the cast tend to get smacked in the face with irony whenever they try to change the timeline for the better, it's notable that the future Dave's motivation for prototyping himself with the present Dave's sprite - to give himself a sprite "that doesn't make me want to flog myself with my own brainstem" (as opposed to Calsprite) - was an unmitigated success.
- ...and then played 100% straight with Jadesprite upon her prototyping.
- Though each is only slightly "alternate," Karkat hates versions of himself from different points of his own timeline.
- Red vs. Blue: while exploring Caboose's mind as a ghost, Church encounters Caboose's mental image of Church and is incredibly annoyed by him.
- Later, Epsilon-Church remarks that Alpha-Church and the Director are each "kind of a dick". This, despite literally being a copy of them.
- There was a battle between Courtney Love's 2 twitter feeds. The first one was the official feed managed by a ghost writer, the other was a private feed under a Nom De Plume. Courtney got enraged when the official feed started publishing polite things, and she published not-so-polite things about the official feed on her private feed.
- How It Should Have Ended had the title character of The Amazing Spider-Man get irritated with the whiny Spidey from the 2000s Spider-Man Trilogy.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Gaang attend a play about themselves only to find that everyone except Toph hates their theatric counterparts.
- And Sokka, once he helps the actor "improve" the show's humor.
- One episode in The Flintstones had Fred wrongfully take the credit for a heroic act, only to have Wilma find out the truth and confront him with her disgust, ending with "I just hope you can live with yourself!" Whereupon Fred has to do just that, arguing with a ghostly copy of himself for several hours. The copy proves to be a complete jerk simply by playing up Fred's more obnoxious side, causing the real Fred to realize the truth about himself.
- In Batman Beyond, Terry takes Bruce to see Batman: The Musical for his birthday. Terry finds the jolly, musical Batman to be great fun. Bruce is...not impressed.
- Code Lyoko, oh so many times.
- The most notable is in Triple Trouble, when Odd is split into three. They fight over who gets to go to lunch, and who has to go to PE class. They also ruin a joke by inadvertently repeating it.
- Another example is in X.A.N.A.'s Kiss. Odd complains to the clone he's fighting, telling it that if it's going to keep changing form, it should turn into a wimp next time. Its next form: Odd. In Revelation, another Polymorphic clone pulls a similar move on Ulrich, this time for strategy rather than mockery.
- Futurama has the main characters travel to an alternate dimension where the characters meet their counterparts and find them annoying despite being almost identical. Except for Bender, who being an egomaniac gets along with his counterpart just fine. The others eventually warm up to their duplicates, too.
- Then there was that time they went to the end of the universe and looked across to see their alternate, cowboy hat-wearing selves. Bender got tired of his alternate self flaunting the hat and decided to leave.
- Fry hating Lars in Benders Big Score is this trope even if Fry fails to realize Lars is an alternate version of himself.
- In Turtles Forever, this is the 2003!Turtles's (Especially Raphael and except for Michelangelo) reaction towards the 80s!Turtles, who are much sillier and less serious in comparison. This is taken Up to Eleven with the Mirage!Turtles, whose immediate reaction to seeing both versions is Kill-On-Sight.
- 2003!Shredder also views his 80s counterpart to be a bumbling fool who isn't worth dealing with. On the flip side, 80s!Shredder was initially overjoyed to have found a competent counterpart who could help to finally rid him of his hated enemies.
- Weird variation in South Park: a giant dragon summoned by overuse of the word "shit" has Cartman's voice - when it's defeated, Cartman says "What a lame voice..."
- In Teen Titans, a character named nosyarG kciD, (an Expy of Bat Mite, a Great Gazoo from the comic books who idolizes Batman), who is Robin from an alternate dimension, comes to try to help Robin heal his broken arm, but Robin doesn't quite enjoy this encounter. His double is massively incompetent, which doesn't help smooth things over.
- In an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Pinkie Pie makes copies of herself. Her duplicates are obliviously and single-mindedly focused on having fun, to the exclusion of all else — an accusation frequently leveled at Pinkie herself — and it turns out to annoy Pinkie just as much as it does everyone else.
- Phineas and Ferb: The whole premise of the made-for-TV movie is that the main cast travels to another dimension. While Doofenshmirtz is initially on good terms with his alternate dimension counterpart, it doesn't take long for Doof-2 to realize that Doof-1 is absolutely clueless and after having the Otherdimensionator built decides he wants nothing to do with him.