Quotes / Follow the Leader

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    Anime and Manga 

That's how culture spreads. When someone has a new idea, it's immediately copied. It's only natural for this to happen. Your job as the original is to publish magazines that are of a higher quality.
U.N. Mediator, Humanity Has Declined

Lack of originality, everywhere, all over the world, from time immemorial, has always been considered the foremost quality and the recommendation of the active, efficient and practical man.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot

File off the serial numbers, change the body lines a bit, give it a new paint job, switch it over the state line, and it's yours! —that's the secret of literary success. Editors always claim to be looking for new stories but they don't buy them; they buy 'mixture as before.' Because the cash customers want to be entertained, not amazed, not instructed, not frightened.

    Live-Action TV 

Openings with lots of zeroes
All we get are superheroes!
Superman, Spider-Man, Jedi-Man
Sequelman, Prequelman, FORMULAIC SCRIPTS!
And after
Fifty Shades they'll all have LEATHER WHIPS!
In a world where our brains are becoming machines
The only screen we are watching
Jack Black, 87th Academy Awards (shortly before Anna Kendrick throws a shoe at him)

TSA Agent: NCIS? That anything like CSI?
Tony DiNozzo: Only if you're dyslexic.
NCIS, "Yankee White"

I remember feeling really pissed off with Australia, because not only the industry itself but the audience needed America or England to tell them what was good music, and we'd been basically playing the same kind of stuff.
Nick Cave, Long Way to the Top: Stories of Australian Rock & Roll

Cooper: You watched my videos yet?
The Angry Video Game Nerd: Nah. What is it, "Super Video Dude?"
Cooper: [Offended] Naw, man! It's "Super Rad Video Game Dude"!
Nerd: Ah. Rad.


"Word of mouth,
this is what everyone is talking about.
So you can tell somebody
to tell somebody
that the next big thing
is the same old thing."
John Reuben, "Word of Mouth"

"Though I'm not the first king of controversy
I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley
To do Black music so selfishly
And use it to get myself wealthy!
There's a concept that works
20 million other white rappers emerge!"
Eminem, "Without Me"

Don't send in the clones
already here!

Yeah, I got a deal and so did John Prine
Steve Forbert and Springsteen, all in a line
They were lookin' for you, signin' up others
We were "New Bob Dylans!" ...Your dumbass kid brothers
Loudon Wainwright III, "Talking New Bob Dylan"

    Video Games 

I invented the First-Person Shooter, you know. Wish I hadn't bothered now. Have you seen how many of the things there are? I expect there's even a Space Marine in this game somewhere.
The Lord of Games, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

    Web Animation 

It is an unfortunate fact of life in the world of entertainment that the unique is rarely successful, and indeed, the successful is rarely unique.

Want to make a fantasy world? Great! [...] Yet who will live in this marvelous fantasy world? Why, we need to make some fantasy races! But there's so many wonderful fantasy races in numerous stories in many different mediums. How do we stand out from the crowd? By ripping off J. R. R. Tolkien of course!

Now, some of you may think that the genre of fantasy is an excuse to free one's imagination to create truly alien and bizarre races. But that is utterly wrong! Fantasy is all about being derivative and not getting out of your comfort zone! It is very important that the genre of fantasy remains sternly under the shadow of Tolkien, and make no attempts to push the boundaries in any way!


I know they copy WoW, and I know they do it because they hope THIS time they will take a slice of WoW market and maybe make everybody there rich... I also know with so many MMORPGs doing the same thing, they will be luck[y] if instead of a slice, they get even some crumbles.

    Web Original 

What was once a weekly mini-feature film— and often one with the suggestive power of a documentary at that— all of a sudden became television. Well-conceived, well-written, well-produced television, but television nonetheless. Visionary genius producer Bob Goodwin- who referenced Caravaggio as his model for the look of the show— was replaced with Michael Watkins, who didn't have much of a track record yet seemed bent on making The X-Files look more the other dramas on television (if not more like television commercials), not something that stood apart.

Yo dog I heard you like ripping off movies, so we put a ripoff of Temple of Doom in your ripoff of The Hangover so you can rip off while you rip off.
ComicsAlliance on Smallville ("Fortune")

Every musical bitch has their knock-off version. Madonna has Lady CaCa, U2 has Coldplay, Pearl Jam has Creed, Stacey Q has literally every pop trick who came after her and MC Skat Kat has Iggy Azalea. And Aqua has Toy-Box. Just like Aqua, Toy-Box came from Denmark and burped up bubble gum Euro dance music while looking like Tank Girl cosplayers on a serious budget.

This helicopter footage is accompanied by really bad ‘operatic’ music, no doubt intending to recall Apocalypse Now. And to the extent that I find myself muttering, 'The horror…the horror…' well, mission accomplished.
Jabootu on Steven Seagal's The Patriot

The success of Marvels showed the Big Two that there was a market for stories set in the past starring characters that the audience had grown up with. That (Kurt) Busiek is a fantastic writer who can push characters into the future even while tying everything into older continuity (as he did in Avengers Forever) was largely ignored. All the Big Two saw were dollar signs in stories about the past. Naturally, they went too far in one direction, and now we're inundated with these kinds of comics. It's not Busiek's fault (hence the "unwittingly" in the title), but he definitely pointed the way.

The meanie in me says that Lucas could probably be accused of stealing the plot for that from half a dozen samurai movies, but the fan in me still doesn't care if he did. They didn't have hyperdrive in Hidden Fortress!

    Web Video 

You can pick anything to be inspired by, Charmed. Any mythology, folklore, animal or person, real or fictional...and you chose a character from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Hat's off to ya.
Allison Pregler on Charmed Season 2

In super happy video game land some things are about as sure as the sun coming up. One is, if a game is successful there will be a sequel, the other is if a game is successful, it will be copied.
Bajo, Good Game 23rd November 2009 Episode



So when Toy Story first appeared with its bright colors and child-friendly images, an innocent story about a little boy’s playthings and they’re competing for the most attention, yeah, we thought this was gonna crash and burn.

But, like any kind of great creative product, this film wasn’t changed by the industry, the industry was changed by this film.

Now everybody wants to be like Toy Story, everybody goes for the same formula, a CG animated film with bright colors, a lot of creativity, dialogue that’s very modern, almost like stuff you’d hear on The Simpsons, a simple story that actually manages to rope in some comedy and, surprisingly, even a little drama, and focusing more on the writing than the actual effects themselves.

You'll never be as popular as Five Nights at Freddy's, so stop copying it, you bellends!

    Western Animation 

Animation is built on plagiarism! If it weren't for someone plagiarizing The Honeymooners, we wouldn't have The Flintstones. If someone hadn't ripped off Sergeant Bilko, there'd be no Top Cat. Huckleberry Hound, ''Chief Wiggum, Yogi Bear? Hah! Andy Griffith, Edward G. Robinson, Art Carney.
Roger Meyers Jr., The Simpsons, "The Day the Violence Died"

    Real Life 

Good artists copy; great artists steal.
—Attributed to Pablo Picasso

Imitation is the sincerest form of television.
Fred Allen

By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. In fact, it is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent.

In the wake of its outsized success, seemingly every sitcom on television was a Friends knockoff. There was working-class Friends (The Drew Carey Show), gay Friends (Will & Grace), guy Friends (Men Behaving Badly), girl Friends (Caroline in the City), black Friends (Living Single), nerdy Friends (The Big Bang Theory), and rebooted Friends (How I Met Your Mother). Everywhere you turned on TV, there was a posse of pals sitting around a living room or a bar or a coffee shop or a science lab, trading quips and exchanging furtive glances.
Saul Austerlitz in Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes, on Friends' impact on the American sitcom

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by and they CANCELLED MY FRIKKIN' SHOW. I totally shoulda took the road that had all those people on it. Damn.
Joss Whedon throws shade on Robert Frost

There is a reason those pieces were written in a vaguely Alan Moore-ish style and it’s because I was trying to sell to companies who thought Moore was the sine qua non of the bees knees and those stories were my take on what I figured they were looking for.
Grant Morrison on Future Shocks

Find a fish tougher and more terrible than the great white.
Dino De Laurentiis to Orca: The Killer Whale's future producer Luciano Vincenzoni after seeing Jaws

A guy walks up to me and asks 'What's Punk?' So I kick over a garbage can and say 'That's punk!' So he kicks over a garbage can and says 'That's punk?', and I say 'No, that's trendy.'

The creators of the 'grim and gritty' comics that followed in Watchmen's wake are like 1960s musicians who declared, 'The Beatles have revolutionized popular music! We must copy their haircuts!'

I have all these people trying to hop aboard the Arpa express hoping that they become cool like me or earn my approval which will magically make their M.U.G.E.N video career somehow. That contest I originally held for the lulz might become the mental death of me...

Fox Publications was the poverty row of comics, their characters all completely and utterly derivative. I once asked the creator of the Blue Beetle, their most important character, what on earth possessed him to create this character named after a bug. He told me, in two words: Green Hornet. [Laughs] Well, there you go.
Jim Steranko, Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle

Something that jumps up from the crowd — only to hit its head on the ceiling — is always better in my eyes than''
the games that keep their heads down and risk nothing.

Anyway, to make the Amazon Princess a more marketable character, they decided to kill off her people and turn her into a vigilante, street fighting hero. That's right, folks. To make Wonder Woman more unique, they essentially gave her Superman's origin and Batman's MO. To solidify her place on the Big Three, they made her MORE LIKE THE OTHER TWO. It's an infinite loop of insanity so dizzying that thinking about it for too long induces fits of vomiting and the urge to just lie down and go to sleep forever.

"They were so impressed with the success of the "Age of Apocalypse" event done with the X-Men books that they thought it could easily be replicated with the Spider-Man line. The biggest difference between the two stunts was that "Age of Apocalypse" was a well planned, conceptually strong, story-driven project that was generated by the X-Men editorial staff and writers. The "Scarlet Spider" stunt, on the other hand, was something that the Spider-Man editors and writers were pressured into doing, and was agreed to with absolutely no story concept or overall theme in place."
— Editor/Writer Glenn Greenberg on The Clone Saga