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Analogy Backfire

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Dogbert: Well, you know what they say: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Dilbert: I'm allergic to citrus.
Dogbert: Well, you know what they say: when life gives you lemons, swell up and die.

One character makes an analogy comparing two things, often intending to make one of them sound positive or inspirational. Another character then deconstructs the analogy by pointing out a further fact about it, which changes or even inverts its original meaning.

A common example is someone comparing two lovers to Romeo and Juliet, unaware or forgetting that the play ends with the two lovers killing themselves.

On the other hand, clues that the original speaker might actually be aware of the real nature of the analogy are fertile breeding grounds for Alternative Character Interpretations and Fridge Logic.

A rare subversion is to have the guy providing the analogy bringing additional facts that make the original analogy still work or demolishes the other guy's attempt to make it backfire ("...just so you know, Romeo and Juliet wouldn't have ended up killing themselves if the freaking mailman had delivered on time!").

Compare Metaphorgotten, Sidetracked by the Analogy, Dissimile, What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?, Insult Backfire, Rhetorical Question Blunder, and Bad Omen Anecdote. Contrast So Was X. A wiseguy is likely to invoke this trope whenever met with a "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal.


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    Comic Strips 
  • In a Dilbert comic, the Pointy-Haired Boss used an apple to represent the company's "core values". Dilbert pointed out that the apple's core is the part you throw away and added "maybe the stem can represent our loyalty to the company".
    • Dilbert was actually very fond of this. In commentary, Scott Adams wrote that all analogies are bad.
    • Another one.
    • Yet another one has the PHB tell Asok that interns are as important to a company as minks are to a coat. Asok pointed out that minks do not enjoy the benefits of a coat.
  • FoxTrot
    • Peter once used The Metamorphosis as an example to Jason, who had been transformed into a girl (it was All Just a Dream), commenting on how well things had worked out for Gregor Samsa. Jason says that Gregor starved to death, abandoned by his family. It then transpires that Peter had never actually finished was still on the first page of the book.
    • When Jason goes off to science camp, his counselor reprimands him for doodling in his notebook and asks if Bernoulli and Da Vinci spent all their time doodling. Jason was quick to point out that Da Vinci actually doodled quite a bit. He then was reprimanded for talking back.
  • In one of the last Dykes to Watch Out For strips so far (December 2007), as the cast attends Stuart's winter solstice ritual:
    Stuart: People created solstice rituals because they were afraid the sun would never come back to the sky. And lemme tell ya, after seven years of Bush, I know how they felt... [...] ... and as the lengthening days triumph over darkness, may peace triumph over war, may...
    Sydney: Stuart? D'you really want to apply that solar model to human behavior? After all, darkness triumphs over the light in June. Unless you mean that war is inevitable, a kind of cyclical, Bataillean squandering of excess energy — a view with which I'm inclined to agree. (everybody glares at her) I'm just saying.

    Fan Works 
  • There was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic wherein it is maintained that Angel is in no way responsible for Angelus' Season 2 actions, just as Dr. Jekyll is not responsible for the actions of Mr. Hyde — when the entire point of the original story is that Jekyll was responsible for Hyde as he deliberately created him so he could indulge his sadistic urges, and his refusal to take responsibility is a failing as a person.
  • Very prevalent in the fanfic, Equestria: A History Revealed, in which the narrator's poor analogies end up backfiring in her face and ruining the points she was trying to make.
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: Clover tries to use the "you only live once" saying, only to keep backspacing because of the mechanics of the afterlife and reincarnation. Pinkie even lampshades that it doesn't really fit.
  • Eyrie Productions introduced "Hopelessly Lost" with the line "Eyrie is back... and this time, we're not using condiments." As one MSTing group was quick to point out, if you don't use condiments, the result tends to be bland and tasteless.
  • This exchange happens while Merlin is busy turning the family car into a time machine in In Love and War:
    Merlin: Something on your mind?
    Hobbes: Oh, it just occurred to me that it's the eighties and I'm watching an eccentric old man convert a car into a time machine – all that's missing is for you to shout 'Great Scott!'
    Merlin: Bah. I have seen the Scots. They are not so great.
  • The Judgement of the World (5Ds): Witch of the Black Rose asks Aki why the latter is suddenly being so humble in her email to Lord Kaiba asking him to forgive Yusei for hacking Kaiba Corporation's computer systems. Aki responds with the standard "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar," to which the Duel Spirit counters that apple cider vinegar is actually very effective at attracting fruit flies.
  • In "The Universe Doesn't Cheat", Captain Sivuk (the man responsible for handling the heroes' "Kobayashi Maru" test) throws the old "it's a no-win scenario and the universe is not fair" argument regarding the "Kobayashi Maru" when he defends the heroes' bad grading. T'Var calls that logic fallacious. The computer went so far in playing Killer Game-Master and adjusting to Eleya's tactics that it manufactured perils that are utterly impossible in reality In-Universe (Klingon vessels that behave way beyond their known spec limits, for example) and demolished the tested students' Willing Suspension of Disbelief, which they say puts the effectiveness of the test in question; as Eleya says the universe doesn't cheat.
  • Advice and Trust: Rei's suggestion to Kaworu on how to respond to the influx of girls that are bound to come after him is to be more like Kensuke (i.e. act like a gentleman and don't let it go to your head). Given that Kaworu has No Social Skills, he misinterprets it.
    Kaworu: I should... date as many girls as possible, then select two?
    Rei: No!
  • Overlapping with Insult Backfire, a sidestory of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines centered on Twenty Gyarados Bill shows that he began as a simple crewman in a fishing boat, and his crewmates gave him a Magikarp as a mock gift, calling Bill "the Magikarp of all humans" (weak and useless). Of course, these men forgot that with enough training, Magikarp can become one of the strongest and more destructive Pokémon, Gyarados. So Bill took this comparison to heart and eventually rose to become the terror of coastal Johto.
  • Bequeathed from Pale Estates: King Robert Baratheon becomes an Abhorrent Admirer to Princess Lyarra Martell, the wife of Prince Oberyn Martell, due to her Strong Family Resemblance to her aunt/mother Lyanna Stark (Robert's deceased betrothed). In trying to justify his behavior to his best friend and Lyarra's father, Ned Stark, Robert compares himself to Aemon the Dragonknight, dutifully ensuring the comfort and happiness of a beautiful lady married to a man utterly unworthy of her hand. This is completely ignoring the fact that, unlike Naerys, Lyarra very much loves her husband and is disgusted with being the object of Robert's "affections".
  • Agreement and Disputation: Holmes expresses doubt about whether Shakespeare's comparison of his loved one to a summer's day quite works as a compliment, given the unpleasantness of the stifling heat.
  • YuGiOh! Soul of Silicon: Daala presents herself as Yumi's Evil Counterpart, at one point calling herself, "The Hyde to your Jekyll." Yumi retorts that Jekyll created Hyde, while they have never met before, so Yumi has nothing to do with her rise to evil. Daala admits she never actually read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Snape's Vocation:
    Snape: It seemed important at the time. To ensure my son's safety.
    Fudge: Safety? You and Dumbledore are singing the same tune it seems. Talking about the boy as if he has enemies behind every tree. Harry Potter is as safe in this world as a babe in its mother's... arms...
  • A Frozen Flower has this exchange occur between Olive and Oprah regarding Orchid and her training. It starts off strong, but the two girls eventually get sidetracked and get into a spat with each other.
    Oprah: Her power — it's like someone blowing up a balloon, but at the same time someone's trying to stuff the balloon in a bag that was too small for it to begin with. Does that make sense?
    Olive: Well, if you want to keep going with this, if the person suppressing the balloon cares at all about the balloon's well-being, she'll stop trying to get it in the bag. Otherwise the balloon will just...pop.
    Oprah: Are you accusing me of trying to shell out Orchid?
    Olive: I'm not accusing you of trying to shell her out. I'm accusing you of trying to break her before she can get strong enough to resist that balloon bag.
    Oprah: Forget the balloon bag! Having no power is certainly better than being cursed!
  • WORLD BEYOND: When debating on killing Hawkmoth to get the stolen Miraculous back, Chat Noir tells Ladybug about how Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender had to face the decision of killing or sparing Fire Lord Ozai to stop the Fire Nation. It doesn't work as Aang used Energy-Bending to take Ozai's Bending away, though Chat has better luck using Dark Disciple and how the Jedi had to decide to assassinate Count Dooku to end the Clone Wars.
  • Academy of Discontent
    • When Junko helps Shuichi investigate after Hifumi's death, she says that every handsome detective needs a sexy female sidekick, comparing Shuichi to James Bond. But, Shuichi points out James Bond wasn't a detective, he was a spy.
    • Gundam proclaims that the Necronomicon given to them by Monokuma is as legitimate as the souls of the damn. Miu takes this to mean that it is a fake.
  • In the Lucifer (2016) AU fic "A Darker Beginning", when Chloe learns that Adam and Eve actually raped Lucifer in the Garden of Eden, she comments that Eve's not the first rapist to blame the victim but then has to correct herself since Eve actually was the first rapist in this context.
  • While at an island's flea market in And Nothing But The Truth, Usopp takes interest in a gold ball when the woman selling it, Martel, tells him that there's a legend of it making people speak the truth while testifying in court. She describes it as a mere fable to get children to be honest like the Liar Noland story in the North Blue. Unlike Martel, the Straw Hats not only know that Noland was a real person, but that he did find a city of gold only for the part of Jaya with the city to be shot up into the White Sea up in the sky, leading the greedy king to execute Noland and frame him as a liar for generations to come. Luffy wants to correct her, but Usopp stops him, figuring it's best not to get started on that crazy and long story of Skypiea. Much later, it turns out that while Noland was real but actually honest, the stories of the gold sphere are as real as they were told.
  • Downplayed example in Ambition of the Red Princess, where Naofumi is giving a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech to Motoyasu and says that even fictional heroes like Superman can't be everywhere at once and save people. This initially confuses Motoyasu because in his universe Superman is the evil Mirror Universe counterpart of Ultraman. Thankfully, this only distracted the two briefly and they were able to get back to the main subject of Naofumi's speech immediately.
  • In this Miraculous Ladybug, Plagg tries to explain Adrien's feelings to the latter by describing the girls in his life as cheese, with both Ladybug and Marinette as a slice of camembert. Adrien realizes that the two slices are actually from the same box, making him believe that both girls are the actually same camembert.

    Film — Animated 
  • Pocahontas has Powhatan exhort Pocahontas to be like the steady river. When he leaves, Pocahontas notes that the river, in a sense, isn't steady; the water continually changes.
    Pocahontas: What I love most about rivers is you can't step in the same river twice/ The water's always changing, always flowing.
  • Fender ends up doing this to himself in Robots. When the two arrive at Robot City, Fender reassures Rodney by telling him he knows the city like the back of his hand, then shows he actually doesn't know it very well when he suddenly notices something new about the back of his hand, which distracts him from one of the city's many hazards that hits him in the back.
  • Shrek:
    • The titular character tries to illustrate how ogres have hidden depths by telling Donkey that "ogres are like onions," only for Donkey to latch onto various aspects of onions that, while valid, aren't what Shrek was going for, as well as several foods with layers that otherwise have very little in common with either onions or ogres. Shrek also completely misses the point in that onions don't have hidden depths at all - every layer is the same right down to the core, which is also just more onion—making it work better as a metaphor for Jerk with a Heart of Jerk than Jerk with a Heart of Gold. The onion metaphor originated in the play Peer Gynt, where it stood for the irredeemable Villain Protagonist's soul. In-universe he used the analogy because he just happened to have an onion in his hand at the time; when Donkey grasps his meaning he suggests cake and parfait as better analogies.
    • Later in the film, when Shrek is rescuing Fiona, she learns that he didn't slay the dragon yet. She starts chastising him for it and stated that the previous knights had attempted to do it, in which Shrek points out that they all got killed, and even pass by their charred remains.
      Fiona: But this isn't right! You're meant to charge in, sword drawn, banner flying! That's what all the other knights did!
      Shrek: (Looking at a burned skeleton) Yeah, right before they burst into flame!
  • From the Disney version of The Jungle Book, when discussing the idea of letting Mowgli stay in the jungle...
    Bagheera: The jungle is not the place for him.
    Baloo: I grew up in the jungle. Take a look at me!
    Bagheera: Yes, just look at yourself! Look at that [black] eye!
  • Done in Rio:
    Rafael: Come back! You're like Juliet and he's your Romeo. Well, they both die at the end, but still!
  • This conversation between Po and Lord Shen near the end of Kung Fu Panda 2 after Po has destroyed Shen's largest cannon is an interesting example as correcting the bad analogy arguably makes it a stronger and more relevant analogy:
    Shen: H— how did you... how did you do it?
    Po: You know, you just gotta keep your elbows up and keep the shoulders loose—
    Shen: Not that! How did you find peace? I took away your parents, everything! I-I— I scarred you for life!
    Po: See, that's the thing, Shen. Scars heal.
    Shen: No, they don't. Wounds heal.
    Po: Oh yeah. What do scars do? They fade, I guess?
  • In The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie, upon hearing that SpongeBob was past over being the manager of the Krusty Krab 2 in favor of Squidward because Mr. Krabs thought SpongeBob was a kid, Patrick called it insane:
    Patrick: Saying you're a kid is like saying I'm a kid!
    Waiter: (Placing a tray in front of Patrick) Here's your Goober Meal, Sir.
    Patrick: Uh, I'm supposed to get a toy with this.
  • There was a Cut Song in Frozen (2013) called "More Than Just a Spare" where Anna compared herself to an extra button on a coat. She sang about how the button wants to fly until she realized buttons can't fly and it doesn't make any sense.

  • An old joke combines this with Insult Backfire:
    Alice: I'd tell you a joke about your penis, but it's too short.
    Bob: You're right, that is a joke.
  • Another joke involves a young man from a Christian family (some versions have him being a preacher's son) with long hair who has recently gotten his driver's license. The father dislikes his son's hair, so he tells the kid he won't buy him a car until he cuts his hair. The kid protests, "Come on, Dad! Jesus had long hair!" The father replies, "That's true. But he also walked everywhere he went."

  • Hello Cheeky had this, which isn't so much 'exposing another fact about the analogy' as 'exposing the way the analogy couldn't possibly work':
    Tim: Did you know that if the entire population of China started marching past your window right now, due to the immensely high birth rate in China, the procession would never end?
    Barry: ...But how could they if they were mar—
    Tim: Shut up.
    Barry: They're marching! They can't—
    Tim: No. Shut up, Barry.
  • Inverted in this exchange from How Green Was My Cactus:
    Dr. John: The polls are saying we're a viable alternative government
    Wilson: You're a genius, Dr. John!
    Dr. John: Not really. The polls are saying a bucket of bait is a viable alternative government.
    Wilson: That's what I mean! It's been years since we were on a par with a bucket of bait!
  • In the What Does the K Stand For? episode "Working for a Living", Stephen's mum reacts to him quitting school to get a job at a supermarket by charging him rent. "In this house working men pay their way. I am not running a hotel!" Adult-Stephen's narration points out that charging people for room and board is exactly how hotels work.
  • The Men from the Ministry: Invoked by Sir Gregory in the Finnish version of the episode "Flushed with Success". After Lamb presents him with a petition by the civil servants to fix the Ministry's plumbing, Sir Gregory asks if Lamb believes himself to be a new Spartacus leading a slave uprising. When Lamb reluctantly answers yes, Sir Gregory devilishly points out that Spartacus was executed.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Mitch Hedberg was once told to stop loitering as he was blocking a fire exit. Mitch was utterly baffled at the request, since it came with the implicit assumption that, in the event of a fire, Mitch would willingly choose to stand still and burn to death instead of leaving through the fire exit and getting himself to safety, which makes absolutely no sense. He says, "If you are flammable and have legs, you are never 'blocking' a fire exit!" Then, after a Beat, he adds, "...Unless you're a table!"

  • Older Than Steam: At the beginning of Act V of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, recently married lovers Lorenzo and Jessica recite to each other a poem comparing themselves to other famous lovers. However, the stories of all the other lovers they mention end in deception, death, or both. It may not be obvious to modern audiences and, as Shakespeare never has anyone call Lorenzo and Jessica on this, it may not have been caught by the audience of his day. Still, it counts.
  • In Reefer Madness: The Musical, Jimmy and Mary compare themselves to Romeo and Juliet, not having read the ending. Mary dies because of Jimmy, and Jimmy is arrested for her murder. It's surprisingly tragic for such a funny movie.
    • Mary unintentionally makes the comparison more apt as she's dying: "We are just like Romeo and Juliet; we're happy, young, and ? (cough) ? hemorrhaging blood..."
  • The Drowsy Chaperone has the song "Love Is Always Lovely in the End", in which the singer, Mrs. Tottendale, is blissfully oblivious to the fact that every couple she mentions in the song (Romeo and Juliet, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, (Samson and Delilah) had an unhappy ending. Her butler tries to point this out to her, to no avail.
  • Bye Bye Birdie:
    Kim: Miss Alvarez, I'm coming with you!
    Rosie: Kim, don't be ridiculous! You're only fifteen!
    Kim: Juliet was fourteen when she left home.
    Rosie: And look what happened to her!
  • Dream Girl:
    Georgina: Well, what do you think I am, some kind of a jellyfish that's just going to sit and let you—
    Clark: If you'd ever tangled with a jellyfish, you'd know they're anything but submissive creatures.
  • In the musical adaptation of Frankenstein, Victor sings a song where he proudly and excitedly calls himself "the modern Prometheus" (the subtitle of the source material novel). Henry Clerval quickly points out he should neither want nor strive to end up like Prometheus and that if he proceeds with his insane plans, "Your fate will be the same as his!" The myth of Prometheus has been interpreted throughout ages either as going against divine plan and suffering the price, or as fighting against all odds for the betterment of all mankind, regardless of the risks to oneself; Mary Shelley's original story sided wholly with the former, and was not complimenting Frankenstein by comparing his exploits to the fire thief's.
  • Cactus Flower:
    Julian: You're afraid of life, afraid of intimacy, afraid to let yourself go. You're as scared as that cocker spaniel of yours.
    Stephanie: Frieda has had twenty-two puppies!
  • In the first scene of the P.D.Q. Bach opera The Abduction of Figaro, the doctor is applying leeches to the ailing Figaro, and tries to defend himself against the generally Squicked-out ensemble:
    Doctor: It is the recommended treatment—it was even used on General George Washington.
    Ensemble: Did he live?
    Doctor: Well, no... but he was old.
    Ensemble: How old was he then?
    Doctor: Well... he must have been... about as old as Figaro!

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
      • In the very first case, Larry Butz insists he and his late ex-girlfriend were like "Romeo and Juliet, Cleopatra and Marc Anthony!", and Phoenix thinks, "Didn't they all die?"
      • In the bonus case of the first game, Angel Starr compares a certain detective to a fresh white cheese (just go with it), and the judge says that then he himself must be "hard, yellowed, and sharp as a tack". Ema cheerfully pipes up, "I bet you stink, too."
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All:
      • In the third case, Moe the Clown insists that he saw clearly the defendant that night as he has eyes like a hawk, and Phoenix thinks "Umm... Don't birds have terrible night vision?".
      • The final case includes a defendant with an image "refreshing as a spring breeze". When Edgeworth gets, er, wind of this, he wonders aloud "What's so refreshing about a spring breeze?!", leading Phoenix to think to himself that perhaps the spring allergies weren't kind to Edgeworth. The defendant in question turns out to be an extraordinarily evil person, so perhaps the analogy wasn't so poor after all.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations: In the final case, Godot says that "a cornered fox is more dangerous than a jackal". Phoenix counters that a cornered fox is "scared and petrified", which catches the prosecutor off guard for a moment before he can recover.
    • In the Special Episode "Turnabout Reclaimed" in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, the prosecutor Simon Blackquill compares the seemingly open-and-shut case against the defendant like signing a contract after a fellow inmate told him that it requires a document and a witness, like a witness and evidence needed to convict a culprit. Phoenix correctly guesses that said inmate was convicted of contract fraud. Simon doesn't admit this.
  • May occur in a flirtatious exchange between Commander Shepard and Ash Williams in the original Mass Effect. The latter quotes Whitman's "O captain! My captain!" line, and the former is quick to point out that the captain is "fallen cold and dead" in the poem. Which is kind of Harsher in Hindsight when the sequel came out, due to Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: During Liam's loyalty mission, he tries comparing his plan of infiltrating a raider ship to the Trojan Horse. Near every other squadmate's reaction is to point out how this doesn't work, except Jaal, who doesn't know what a horse is.
  • In the final part of Ghost Trick, Sissel is prompted to possess a fountain and spray "as if your life depended on it!"
    Sissel: Uh, I'm dead, though...
  • Grim Fandango features Manny's rival, Domino Hurley, giving Manny a minor "The Reason You Suck" Speech, all while ranting that Manny should act more like him. This culminates in Domino shouting, "If you just adopt the proper attitude, just look what could happen to you!" He's then immediately ground into powder by the pair of crushers he didn't notice advancing towards him.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, the end of chapter 3. As the culprit is about to be executed...
    Celestia: If I am to be reborn, I would surely be Marie Antoinette.
    Yasuhiro: ... You'll still get executed in the end, though...
  • This nice little quip from Kid Icarus: Uprising when Pit defeats Phosphora.
    Pit: Did you see that thunder!
    Phosphora: No, because you can't see thunder.
  • In Project Wingman, during Hitman team’s third encounter with Crimson squadron, Crimson 1 brings up how there are three types of people in the world, the sheep, the wolves, and the sheepdogs, with him calling Hitman the wolves to his squadron’s sheepdogs. Comic fires back by telling him that sheepdogs herd lambs to the slaughter.
  • In Persona 5, when Eiko Takao meets Student Council President Makoto Niijima, she's so shocked by seeing that Makoto has a Buchimaru-kun pencil case that she says her impression of Makoto as an overly serious "robot" did "a complete 360 today." Makoto then points out that it's a full circle, the opposite of the usual expression, a 180 (or in other words, turning to the opposite direction).

    Web Animation 
  • In Lackadaisy, when The Drag-Along Freckle grouses about the presumed sacrilege of a graveyard run digging up Coffin Contraband whiskey, his cousin Rocky tries to reassure him by comparing their antics to the murders committed by William Burke and William Hare a century past. Freckle points out a flaw in this example.
    Rocky: Hundred years past, Burke and Hare got up to much worse, and things turned out just fine for them.
    Freckle: D- didn't they ge- hang 'em?
    Rocky: Details, Freckle. Details.

  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
    • In "Extra Sausage", an educated pizza boy refuses to be seduced by a lady who ordered extra sausage because the kind of sausage they use on pizza isn't remotely phallic.note 
    • Subverted in "Backdoors". "We make it so that all of your clothes are see-thru all the time, but only for a small group of distant people whose motives and identity are secret to you." That analogy only makes governments having backdoors to all software sound worse, only it wasn't an analogy but another literal truth.
    • "Hamster":
      Worn-out employee: You ever just feel like a hamster on a wheel in this office?
      Enthusiastic employee: Performing the same behavior over and over, thus growing happier and healthier with each passing day?
    • Subverted in "Blind", as paraphrased below, this time by the analogy working after all:note 
      Coiffed Person: [...]'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.'
      Mohawked Person: What? No it doesn't. Consider two people. A stabs B in the eye. B stabs A in the eye. Iterate twice more and you have zero eyes available for the purpose of revenge. The only way you could blind the whole world would be if A stabs B, so B responds by stabbing C, so C responds by stabbing D and so on. In what context would you ever meet that condition?
      Coiffed Person: Foreign policy.
      Mohawked Person: I stand corrected.
  • Happens in xkcd:
    • Parodied in "Aeris Dies". A guy is sad that his girl is "gone". Another guy tries to say he has to move on like in Final Fantasy VII, where the player has to move on after Aerith dies, only for his friend to say he downloaded a mod that let him replace other characters with Aerith to let her stay in the party. The analogy further backfires when the guy decides he can just use his friend as a Replacement Goldfish and act like she never left.
    • Pictured above, "SkiFree": A girl using the Abominable Snow Monster's Super-Persistent Predator behavior as a metaphor for death falls appart by a single key.
    • "Bridge" illustrates the problem with asking "if all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you do it?" (If all your friends are jumping off a bridge at the same time, there's probably a good reason for it).
  • Used straight in this Casey and Andy strip.
  • Used doubly in this Misfile. Explaining a female-figured suit of armor as "you're my Joan of Arc" runs into the problem that not only was Joan of Arc killed, but she dressed as a man. (Emily points out both in one sentence.)
  • Darths & Droids author-comment:
    "Most roleplayers have little to no practical experience in military strategy and tactics. So when it comes to playing massed combat situations, one way to decide what to do is to take guidance from historical military campaigns. Emulating the victor is the easy way. If attempting to defend an impossible position with bowmen and knights on foot against Genoese crossbowmen and tens of thousands of armoured, mounted knights, make sure you are heavily outnumbered. If attempting to repel a force of cavalry and men-at-arms with longbowmen on St Crispin's Day, make sure you are vastly outnumbered. If defending a hospital stockade against Zulus, make sure you are enormously outnumbered.
    You can choose a different, and more creative, path by doing the opposite of what the losers did. If you field an overwhelming force against a paltry number of defenders, whatever you do, make sure the defenders are not English!"
  • Life (2012) has the conversation between Felicia and Madison following Felicia's complaint that her webcomic hasn't had any hits.
  • Brilliantly subverted in one Life With Kurami strip:
    Bree: 'Ey, Anabelle! How was your night?
    Ana: Great! I slept like a baby!
    Bree: But Anabelle, babies hardly sleep through thuh night.
    Ana: EXACTLY.
  • Discussed in Leftover Soup 501, moreso in The Rant.
  • Played straight in this strip of Goblins when Thaco and Complains are being slowly hoisted up to the nest of a parasitic plant that has snared them in its tendrils and Thaco tries mixing metaphors:
    Thaco: I don't mind dying, but having to wait for it like this is torture. It's like watching paint dry in hell.
    Complains: <2 Beat Panels> Wouldn't paint dry really fast in hell?
  • In an early Schlock Mercenary strip:
    Targon: Kevyn, I have a hard time trusting a starship drive that is the size of my fist.
    Kevyn: Why? Mini-nuke grenades and collapsar bombs are about this size.
    Targon: Those comparisons completely fail to reassure me.
  • In Champions of Far'aus, when the goddess Leilusa tries to comfort her head priestess Wila who is freaking out over becoming the guardian of a young Will after his parents deaths, Leilusa compares it to a flower Wila was taking care of. Wila then points out that the flower died.
  • Cracked took this view of political comic Diversity Lane, noting that its analogies were so elaborate and overblown they tended to undermine the message. For instance, one comic attempted to analogize the North Korea situation by showing the main character preparing to fight a giant snake while her parents tell her to not aggravate it and create a bad atmosphere for negotiation. The problem is, the main character is a little girl and she's wielding a golf club. Not provoking the giant snake is a pretty good idea.
  • Paranatural: When Johnny's defending his collection of golfer trading cards and the money they'll be worth in the future:
    Johnny: Use yer brain, Stephen. Ya don't sell yer chickens before they hatch.
    Ollie: That's...You that. It's a's a big thing.

    Web Original 
  • In the second season of Cobra Kai, this happens a few times to Demitri. Whenever he notices a situation that brings the Rival Dojos closer to their respective boiling points, he compares it to a Game of Thrones incident. Daniel (his sensei) is always able to counter it.
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog:
    Penny: You're not really interested in the homeless, are you?
    Billy: No, I am, but... It's a symptom. You're treating a symptom, and the disease rages on, consumes the human race. The fish rots from the head, as they say. So what I'm thinking is, why not cut off the head?
    Penny: ...Of the human race?
    Billy: It's not a perfect metaphor...
    • It's actually a very good analogy, although Penny doesn't know it — Dr. Horrible, being a supervillain, wants take over the world; that is, replace the current leadership; that is, metaphorically cut off the head.
      • She did, in fact, know that — not about the supervillain part, but about changing the system and thus, the leadership. Unfortunately, he was speaking rather quickly, and he was talking about cutting off the head of the human race, so metaphor or no metaphor, that's... a bit grim.
  • In Hells Paradise Keane reassures Jarid that they'll make it out alive because their story is crazy enough for Hollywood to make a movie about, and what movie kills off the main characters? Jarid proceeds to list several popular movies where the main characters die.
  • Oxventure: Extinction: Panniers claims that he "sleeps like a baby" inside a whale (long story). Egbert (or, more accurately, Mike, who has at least one young kid) spends a good amount of time snarking about how babies are notoriously poor sleepers.
  • Zero Punctuation has had a few, such as this one from his Assassin's Creed II review:
    "In heaven the food is Italian, the police are British, the platformers are French (with a pop-up of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time), and the shooters are Croatian and it's all run by two international software giants and an electronics corporation. In Hell the food is British the shooters are Canadian and I forget the rest..."
  • Me and My Dick:
    Joey's Heart: What do all of history's greatest lovers have in common? Romeo and Juliet! Anthony and Cleopatra! Jack Dawson and Kate Winslet's character!
    Joey: All the guys die horribly first.
    Joey's Heart: Uh eh- BAD EXAMPLE. How about Spider-Man and Mary Jane?
    Joey: Oh yeah they worked out PERFECTLY.
  • Vision of Escaflowne Abridged gives us a great set of these from Dornkirk.
    Emperor Dornkirk: Look, you can't bake a cake without breaking a few eggs!
    Hitomi: Yes, you can. My Grandma used to make me vegan cake all the time!
    Dornkirk: You can? Oi, Folken! Did you know you can bake a cake without breaking any eggs?
    Folken: Yes my lord, yes you can.
    Dornkirk: Do you think that means we should stop killing people?
    Folken: No my lord, I think you just need a better metaphor.
    Dornkirk: Right! Now listen, you can't test cosmetics without killing a few bunnies!
    Hitomi: Yes! Yes, you can!
    Dornkirk: Oi, Folken! Did you know-
    Folken: Omelet, my lord!
    Dornkirk: Folken says you can't make an omelet without killing a few bunnies.
  • This failbook post has someone asking boys to treat girls as good as their videogames, only for many to point out they don't treat videogames that good to begin with.
  • During the Two Best Friends Play video of Heavy Rain, Matt calls Heavy Rain "The God of War of video games", because of all the quick time events it has.
  • Analogy backfire is major theme of the political cartoon commentary site A Good Cartoon, whose title is actually sarcastic; it takes cartoons arguing one perspective and then discusses why its visual elements suggest it would be better used to argue the opposite perspective, and analogy backfire is one aspect of this.
  • In this video about the same woman, two years apart, 29 and 31, one says "When God closes a door, you see, He opens a window" to which the other answers "You realize that's a smaller opening right? You use to just walk on the front door and now I have to climb out and probably fall five stories to my death or something..."
  • In the Immersion episode about Mario Kart, Michael brings up some safety concerns with his real life Kart to Burnie:
    Michael: This thing's half made of plastic!
    Burnie: Nah, it's fine. In the game it's made of pixels. You'll be good.
    (Burnie walks away disconcertingly)
    Michael: (to himself) In the game they die!
  • The Nostalgia Chick notices how the examples of love conquering the impossible referenced at the start of Don Bluth's Thumbelina backfire drastically:
    Nostalgia Chick: That ended... kinda bad.
    Jaquimo: Romeo, et Juliet... oh, impossible!
    Nostalgia Chick: Al-so somewhat unfortunate...
    • The same film also subverts this precise thing during Ms. Fieldmouse's song, as the ending of Romeo and Juliet was the whole reason she brought it up.
  • In one episode of Brows Held High, when Kyle reviews the Malian fantasy film Yeelen, he makes a comment about one character gallivanting around "...from here to Timbuktu". Then he remembers that the movie takes place in it's probably not actually that far from Timbuktu.
  • The PalletTownHeroes version of Pokemon: The Abridged Series provides us with James' response to the suggestion that he should come out of the closet:
    James: If I'm gay, then Neil Patrick Harris is gay!
    Meowth: Neil Patrick Harris from How I Met Your Mother? He's incredibly gay!
  • In an episode of Freeman's Mind, Gordon is concerned about being convicted for the murder of several soldiers and ponders if there's a "Rambo clause" that might exonerate him. He then remembers that Rambo went to prison at the end of the first movie, so he's out of luck.
  • ProJared did a review of Sonic Adventure 2, which rated the game as "a bowl of Lucky Charms/10", explaining that, like how Lucky Charms has tasty marshmallow bits scattered in much blander cereal, SA2 has a number of really fun stages surrounded by slow and uninteresting ones. He concludes by noting that the game should probably have dropped the different gameplay of the weaker stages entirely and added more of the good ones, and punctuates his point by eating a handful of Lucky Charms marshmallows... and then nearly pukes, because it turns out they dilute those marshmallows for a reason.
  • Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Abridged:
    • Archer tells Shirou that his Chronic Hero Syndrome is stupid and comments Shirou would probably try to save Rider if she were about to get hit by a bus, even though she tried to kill him earlier. Shirou gets confused and asks why he would do that, as Servants cannot be harmed by non-magical attacks, so a bus would be no threat to Rider.
    • When Archer lets Caster escape instead of finishing her off, Shirou calls him Batman and asks him why he let Zatanna getaway. Archer points out that Batman doesn't kill and Zatanna is a good guy.
  • SMBC Theater has a video parodying the end of WarGames. The film used Tic-Tac-Toe as an analogy for nuclear war: Tic-Tac-Toe is a solved game where, if neither player makes a mistake, the game always results in a draw, showing WOPR that some games don't have a winning solution and nuclear war is futile. However, in the SMBC version, WOPR realizes that you can win in Tic-Tac-Toe if your opponent makes a mistake, and furthermore, the game also favors whoever goes first. It then concludes that the way to win a nuclear war is to hit your opponent first and hope they make a mistake.

    Western Animation 
  • Animal Behaviour: Dr. Clement tries to tell a reluctant new patient, Victor, that therapy is like peeling an onion, in that it takes time to get past the outer layers and reveal your best self. Victor objects that all you get from peeling an onion is more onion and watery eyes.
  • There's one episode of Batman Beyond that has an exchange that goes along the lines of:
    Scientist: You can't just come in here like you own the place.
    Bruce Wayne: I do own the place.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In "Cry Freedom Fighters!", Plastic Man declares that he is "as patriotic as Benedict Arnold!". Which is actually truer than was likely intended, as Benedict Arnold actually was very patriotic... right up until a severe case of Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal.
  • Played with in Beast Wars. Silverbolt compares Blackarachnia to the planet Venus, presumably intending that it be equated to beauty. It backfires because she immediately sums it up as "hot, poisonous, deadly," three traits that describe her rather well, and gets subverted when she thanks him for the compliment. Silverbolt takes a minute to realize she's completely misinterpreted his comparison, positively or not. Also an Actor Allusion, as Blackarachnia is voiced by actress Venus Terzo.
  • On The Critic, Marty is chosen for the school play.
    Marty Sherman: But I can't act!
    Drama Teacher: That's what a young Steve Guttenberg said to me, but look at him now! No, wait... look at him four years ago.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • Parodied in the episode "Torrent of Terror" where Vlad enlists the aid of Vortex, a weather controlling ghost, to make it look like he caused it to rain during a heatwave to make himself look good. Before letting him go to do as he wished, Vlad asked Vortex to stop the rain.
      Vortex: Stop the rain?! Never! The weather is my art! Did anyone ask Picasso to stop painting The Mona Lisa?!
      Vlad: That was Da Vinci, you dolt!
      Vortex: Whatever. Bottom line: THE RAIN STAYS!
      • Later on in the same episode, following the Op Center being blown off the FentonWorks roof by Vortex's high winds, Jack welds it back into place, confident it won't be going anywhere as he has it 'locked down tighter than a drum'. A second later, the Op Center breaks away from the roof and converts into the Fenton Blimp, courtesy of Sam and Tucker.
        Jack: Note to self: Never tighten any drums.
  • Daria:
    • In the movie, Is It Fall Yet, Mr. O'Neil does this when he tries to have a chat with Link, a despondent kid in his summer day-camp program.
    Mr. O'Neil: Growing up is kind of like being a kite, isn't it? We want to fly, but we don't really trust ourselves to cut the parental string and soar with the birds.
    Link: A kite doesn't fly if you cut its string. It blows around in the wind for a while and then crashes.
  • In the first Disney episode of Doug, Doug is getting frustrated with all the changes around town. Judy explains to him that life is all about change, and that's why we aren't like rocks. Doug clearly understands the analogy, but decides to mess with her and asks, "But what about erosion? But what about earthquakes?" causing her to storm off. Later on, Doug tells the same analogy to Skeeter who then asks, "But what about lava?" What's strange about this is that the analogy's inaccuracy actually enforces its meaning, as even rocks change eventually.
  • Eek! The Cat tried to cheer some people up by saying they're like a nearby campfire, but the campfire is going out.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! episode "The Gland Plan", when Cosmo needs a gland transplant from Anti-Cosmo, but Jorgen won't let him out of Fairly World Prison, Timmy decides to pull a Prison Break. Wanda comments that nobody has every busted out of the prison, to which Timmy replies the same thing was said about the Anti-Fairy Zone, but he released Anti-Cosmo from that. Wanda retorts that he did that by accident, and adds that it was the very reason Fairy World Prison was built.
  • In Freakazoid!, Lord Bravery argues with his wife and mother-in-law about his unsuccessful superhero career: "You think Superman started right at the top?" "YES!"
  • Garfield and Friends:
  • In Gargoyles, the gargoyles initially feel they have No Need for Names. After being transported to 1990s New York, the gargoyle elder tries to compare their namelessness to rivers, only to be informed that humans name rivers. It's at this point that the elder gives up and takes the river's name (Hudson) as his own.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law:
    Phil: Y'know, there's something wrong with my eyes — I can't keep them off you. That and I have this eyepatch here.
  • King of the Hill, when Bobby is trying to teach Peggy how to ride a bike:
    Peggy: Oh, just give me the freaking thing.
    Bobby: But you haven't even heard the part about balance.
    Peggy: Bobby, I'm sure riding a bike is just like swimming. You hold your breath and kick like crazy. [Tries to ride away and quickly crashes]
    Bobby: Mom, are you ok?...You don't know how to swim, do you?
    Peggy: Not so much.
  • Pepper Ann uses the Romeo And Juliet analogy as she tries to help her sister and her boyfriend see each other. Nicky points out that Romeo and Juliet ended up dead. Pepper Ann lists off other famous couples that met unfortunate ends, and Nicky shoots each one down.
  • Phineas in Phineas and Ferb decides to make a romantic boat ride around Danville Harbor for Baljeet and his friend Mishti in "That Sinking Feeling"... leading to the very obvious conclusion that he and Ferb had watched Titanic and completely overlooked the tragedy of the ending. Sure enough, the ship ends up getting damaged and sinking. Good thing they had plenty of life preservers. In the same episode, Candace wishes her relationship with Jeremy could be more romantic, like in Romeo and Juliet, but "without all the dying."
  • Pinky and the Brain did this, although the roles were switched from what you'd expect.
    Pinky: Egad Brain, brilliant! Oh, wait, no, you've never played basketball in your life.
    Brain: Pish posh. Remember when everyone told Michael Jordan he couldn't play baseball?
    Pinky: They were right, Brain.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Who's For Dinner?", this exchange occurs between George and Peter when the former finds out that the latter quit school two years before the episode's events:
    George: You're a loser! Why can't you be more like Heffer?
    Peter: What, a 600-pound cow?
    George: He's not a cow, he's a steer!
  • Rugrats:
    Didi: So when do you plan to finish this great invention?
    Stu: Did Mozart's wife ask him how long it would take to finish his requiem?
    Didi: Stu, Mozart died without finishing his requiem.
    Stu: Okay, bad example.
    Charlotte: Not only did you wreck a very expensive model and ruin an important business deal, but you disobeyed me and set a bad example for your cousin! Now, if you were the boss and one of your employees behaved like this, what would you do?
    Angelica: (sniffles) Are you gonna fire me, Mommy?
    Charlotte: No, of course not, Angel.
  • The Simpsons: Here are just a few instances:
    • "Bart the Murderer":
      Chief Wiggum: Fat Tony is a cancer on this fair city. He is the cancer, and I am the... uh... what cures cancer?
    • "Boy-Scouts 'n the Hood":
      Homer: Weaseling out of things is important! It's what separates us from the animals! (Beat) Except the weasel.
    • "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson":
      Marge: Well, I guess Macy's and Gimbels learned to live side by side.
      Agnes: Gimbels is gone, Marge. Long gone. You're Gimbels.
    • "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson":
      Lisa: Solitude never hurt anyone. Emily Dickinson lived alone, and she wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has ever known (Beat) Then went crazy as a loon.
    • "Trash of the Titans":
      Homer: It's like David and Goliath, but this time David won!
      Lisa: (in her head) Yeah, I heard it too. Here's some music. (plays "Für Elise" on piano)
    • "Mountain of Madness"
      Bart: Teamwork is overrated.
      Homer: Huh?
      Bart: Think about it. I mean, what team was Babe Ruth on? Who knows.
      Lisa and Marge: Yankees.
    • "Dog of Death"
      Smithers: People like dogs, Mr. Burns.
      Mr. Burns: Nonsense, dogs are idiots. Think about it Smithers, if I came into your house and started sniffing at your crotch and slobbering all over your face, what would you say?
      Smithers: Umm...if you did it, sir?
    • "Mommie Beerest"
      Homer: Marge, you can't go with me to Moe's. I mean, how would you like it if I came with you to your mother's?
      Marge: I would like it. You never come to my mother's.
      Homer: That's because I hate her.
  • From the Sonic Boom episode, "Multi-Tails", when Dr. Eggman discovers his lair has been trashed by Tails' clones:
    Eggman: Oh, come on! Do I come to your place and destroy stuff? Oh, wait, bad example, I do that every chance I get.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Damien", Stan is trying to convince Jesus not to give up during his boxing match with Satan.
      Stan: What would Nancy Kerrigan do? Huh? Nancy Kerrigan wouldn't give up! When things were looking their darkest, Nancy Kerrigan fought to be the BEST! She wouldn't stop until she was Number One! Nancy Kerrigan wouldn't settle for second best! She wouldn't quit until she brought home the gold!
      Kyle: Stan!
      Stan: What?
      Kyle: Nancy Kerrigan got the silver, dude. She came in second.
      Stan: Really?
      Kyle: Yeah, dude.
      Stan: Oh... Never mind, Jesus. Nancy Kerrigan sucks.
    • A version that's not really called out in-universe appears in the episode "Cartman Sucks", in which the head of the anti-gay camp tells the boys that "Just like a paperclip, God has to bend you, and shape you, and make you... straight." Isn't a straightened paperclip useless for its intended purpose?
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Mina Loveberry claims that "good ideas" tend to stick around "like a bad fart". She meant it to come out as righteously defiant, but given she's talking about racism (and genocide) against monsters being a "good idea", it's ironically an apt description.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian", after Babs's bath overflows and hits them both with a tidal wave, Buster asks Babs for a Q-tip, prompting a cutaway to a bland Q-tip lecture. Buster complains at that point that this episode's script must've been written by 13-year-olds, but Babs tells him that 13-year-olds did write it.
  • Turbo F.A.S.T.:
    Hardcase: Turbo! Say hello to your end.
    Turbo: If it's my end, wouldn't I say goodbye?
    Hardcase: No, because this is the first time you're meeting your end.
    Turbo: But you've tried to end me several times already.
    Harcase: But not with this partic- forget it!


Video Example(s):


Rio (Romeo & Juliet)

Rafael uses the common analogy of Romeo & Juliet to describe Blu and Jewel after the two had a argument. Unlike most examples Rafael himself lampshades and deconstructs the flaw of his own analogy.

How well does it match the trope?

4.95 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnalogyBackfire

Media sources: