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Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

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"Anything you can do,
I can do better.
I can do anything
Better than you."

They haven't been everywhere or done everything or met everyone. No. They've just been in more places, done more things, and met more people than you. Whenever you make a statement, they'll be right on your tail with something they've done twice as much. Played for Laughs.

Sister Trope to The Münchausen (if the claims of being better are Blatant Lies), Always Someone Better (who may or may not feel the need to invoke this trope by telling you so), and Better Partner Assertion (when "anything you can do" is specifically about being a better Love Interest). Misery Poker is this trope with the "anything" being "telling people how bad you've got it". See Superior Species if the character is an alien.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: The Series originally had Gary Oak constantly upstaging the main character, Ash.
  • An episode of Azumanga Daioh has Tomo trying to outdo Chiyo-chan in academics and Sakaki-san in athletics. She fails miserably.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers America is always trying to one-up Russia during strips set during the Cold War.
  • There is a Hentai called this trope, but replace Anything with Anyone. Three guesses what it is about.
  • Mazinger Z: Prof. Kabuto was this to Dr. Hell. Hell had ALWAYS felt upstaged by Yuuzo Kabuto since they were in the same college and his rival was more popular, a bigger genius and was loved by the woman Hell was in love with. When Mazinger-Z destroyed his first Mechanical Beasts, Hell had a break-down because he knew Kabuto had managed to create a Humongous Mecha that could beat anything he could build.
  • Ranma ½: Ranma insists on invoking this. Even if the "anything" in question is femininity. Or ludicrous Martial Arts and Crafts. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Urusei Yatsura: Ryuunosuke is involuntarily this to Shutaro. Every time Shutaro brags about how many girls are in love with him and how many love letters he gets every day, Ryuunosuke shows she has gotten a lot more love letters, and Shutaro gets depressed.
  • One villain in Yu-Gi-Oh! R had a card that used this trope, it took the form of the strongest monster on the field, copying its ATK and DEF... +1. If there's no monster on the field, it copies the appearance of the opponent and has 1 ATK and DEF.
  • Itachi is this to Sasuke in Naruto in the backstory, throughout part 1, and up until his death in part 2. In the backstory, Itachi started out as a Big Brother Mentor but shifted into an Aloof Big Brother when he became bogged down in responsibilities to the Village and their Clan. It was their father who really rubs this trope in Sasuke's face by consistently dismissing his notable accomplishments because they aren't as impressive as Itachi's were at his age.
  • In Pretty Rhythm: Dear My Future, Mia Ageha's goal is to upstage Aira Harune, even going as far as to call herself "number one".
  • In Food Wars!, whatever recipe you've got lined up for your Cooking Duel against Subaru Mimasaka, he can make it better than you: his strategy is to study his opponent and copy the dish they're going to make, then add his own improvement to it to win the judges' votes.
  • How the Anti-Spiral in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann operate. By sending units just one step stronger than the victim race, he has them under constant pressure, and if they are able to achieve victory even stronger opponents show up until they give up. This culminates in Granzeboma, an Evil Knockoff mecha to Gurren Lagann with the same abilities and then some, the fact of which he uses for taunts.

    Audio Plays 

    Card Games 
  • The "Real Men, Real Roleplayers, Loonies and Munchkins" list has this as Munchkins' theme song.

    Comic Books 
  • Batgirl: One story with Cassandra Cain (Batgirl II) and Stephanie Brown (Spoiler) had them comparing backgrounds. Spoiler said that her father was a two-bit knockoff of Riddler. Batgirl said that her father was a world-class assassin. Spoiler mentioned that her dad used to lock her in the closet for misbehaving. Batgirl replied that her father used to shoot her for misbehaving. Spoiler has pretty good hand-to-hand skills, while Batgirl is one of the best martial artists in the world. Spoiler jokingly grouses over the fact that Batgirl is beating her in everything. Though, other stories show that Steph is far better than Cass in social skills - she even has a long-running on-and-off serious boyfriend, while Cass has been unable to have a relationship last longer than two issues. Though unusually for this trope, the two are very close friends despite all this.
  • At the climax of Infinite Crisis, Wonder Woman foe Doctor Psycho sings the trope naming song while approaching Martian Manhunter, claiming his Psychic Powers are superior. Seeing as how he just mind controlled and tamed Doomsday, it's not entirely a bluff.
  • In the Dark X-Men subplot of Dark Reign, during a fight between Osborn's X-Men and the real X-Men, Mimic sings the trope's name to Iceman. Iceman's response (accompanies beatdown):
  • X-Men: This is Hope Summers' power, when she's around other mutants: any power they have, she can wield to its greatest potential extent, under full control. Its sole weakness is that it depends on range. There is a reason that she is considered the Mutant Messiah, even by her father, Cable, and his half-brother, Nate Grey, both of whom have been the Mutant Messiah before - to the point where, in the latter's Age of X-Man reality, she was the (dead) Messianic Archetype. Most reactions, however, ballpark at creeped out, with one mutant saying that she literally is all of them, like someone made a Voodoo Doll of the mutant race.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: The minor character Topper.
    Dilbert: Hi, how are you?
    Topper: I can't go first. It ruins my system.
  • Shoe:
    "I had a friend who would top everything I said."
    "I had a friend just like that. Only mine was worse."

    Fan Works 
  • In The Cadanceverse, Trixie and Twilight get into this, with poor Vinyl Scratch getting caught in the middle.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Shinji thinks Asuka is better than him at anything; ironically, Asuka believes that Shinji always beats her at the important things.
  • The One I Love Is...: Rei was this to Asuka. In chapter 6 Asuka said Shinji she was terrified of losing him to Rei because Rei gets better grades, is a good cook, keeps her apartment spotless, is nearly so beautiful... whereas she barely can pass the tests because she can not read all kanji, is a slob... and in her mind, she is only good at piloting Eva and she is not even the best anymore.
  • Scar Tissue: Asuka was jealous of Shinji because he always upstaged her, even though he did not even try to or want to, because she dedicated most of her life to training. Ironically, Shinji thinks Asuka is better than him at everything.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: The initial reason Asuka becomes a superhero is so that she can upstage Wonder Girl in the headlines of the local tabloid.

    Films - Animation 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Penelope from Saturday Night Live (played by Kristen Wiig) has two shticks instead of one, so... And she launched three tropes in the same time it took to make this one, so...
  • The Late Show (1992), an Australian comedy show, had this type as one of the guests in their "Guide to Dinner Parties" sketch.
  • It's a running gag in Mythbusters about Jamie Hyneman.
  • The Four Yorkshiremen sketch, originally from At Last the 1948 Show and made famous by Monty Python.
  • The Janitor from Scrubs.
  • This happens with one-upmanship contests between Apollo and Sweetpea Sue in "I Can Do It Better" on The Pajanimals.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "Major Topper" where Winchester plays this to Hawkeye and BJ, including providing a picture to prove he once had a date with Audrey Hepburn.
    Charles: When will you boys learn that your childish fantasies can't compete with my real life?


    Pro Wrestling 
  • During his feud with AJ Styles in NWA Wildside, Jeff G. Bailey recruited Jason Cross in the belief Cross could do everything Styles could better. The Seven-Year Rule went into effect and "Southern Stomper" Luke Hawx had apparently been in pursuit of AJ for fifteen years to show AJ the "proper" way to execute his own moves (including the ones AJ invented)
  • Montel Vontavious Porter's "feud" with Matt Hardy while they were tag team partners on Smackdown basically revolved around them having contests to prove that, indeed, anything one could do the other could better. They ate pizza, they shot baskets, they got knocked around by Evander Holyfield...
  • When Abismo Negro tried to revive Los Vipers in AAA, Mr. Niebla came in from CMLL, took over, had the rest of 'Vipers Revolucion' kick Abismo Negro out, and then introduced a new luchador called "Black Abyss", who used all of Abismo Negro's moves.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Noddy Shop: The episode "The Fish Story" has a song called "I Can Do Better Than You".

  • This is the title for one of the most memorable songs from Annie Get Your Gun.
  • In "So Much Faster Than You," a song from Franklin and the Adventures of the Noble Knights (which seems to be based more on the Franklin TV show than the original books), the characters of Fox and Rabbit have a friendly rivalry about which of them is the faster the two.
    When I toss a balloon, when I jump on the moon, when I chug like a train, when I fly like a plane, when I make a birthday cake, when I swim in a lake, I am so much faster than you!

    Video Games 
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, Elidibus attempts to murder the Warrior by taking in the powers of Warriors of Light from across time and space. As a result, the Warrior of Light primal possesses enhanced versions of skills that the Warrior possesses, such as the ability to summon four Demi-Bahamuts at once, the ability to Quintuplecast magic, and utilize a Level 4 Limit Break!note 
  • Joe Chin in Parappa The Rapper.
  • Your various rivals throughout the Pokémon series, particularly Blue in Pokémon Red and Blue.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, Viridi boasts a few times about this when she temporarily takes over as Mission Control during the Chaos Kin arc, with the twist being that she's comparing herself to Palutena, Pit's patron goddess. Given that there's no loss of function between the two ladies, she's not entirely wrong.
  • Johnny and Cassie Cage have an intro with this in Mortal Kombat 11.
    Cassie: Anything you can do, I can do better.
    Johnny: I can do anything better than you!
    Cassie: Haha, no you can't.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Number One", the eponymous hero was confronted with two people with this attitude. At school, Alpha Bitch Bonnie challenged her for captainship of the cheersquad. And in the "action" part of the story, she met the "number one agent" of Global Justice, Will Do, who was constantly showing her up as well. Bonnie just about burns herself out outdoing Kim. So Kim gives up the position, mentioning that Bonnie will be expected to continue this level of work. Kim had the job back by the next episode. Will Do was never seen again.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, The Great and Powerful Trixie is a traveling magician with this as her shtick, i.e. the "Challenge Act". She continues this persona when she's off-stage. She's not all that good at it, though, with her "victories" over the ponies who try to outshow her consisting of humiliating said opponents rather than actually one-upping their feats successfully. By the end of the episode, her general incompetence in areas outside of cheap, flashy tricks and building up her own reputation is laid bare for all to see. When she returns seeking vengeance on Twilight for "humiliating [her]" (despite being the one responsible for her own troubles), she challenges her to a magic duel that works in this fashion. Having a magical Amplifier Artifact gave her a serious leg up in doing so, but Twilight still out-did Trixie by using the "Sixth Magic", i.e. The Power of Friendship to perform Trixie's kind of stage magic.
  • In The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, this is the defining trait of Bruno the ape in the episode "Monkey See, Monkey Do Better."
  • In The Flintstone Kids episode "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Betty", Betty started selling ice cream once her friends told her how much they liked her recipe and Dreamchip decided to one-up her out of spite. Dreamchip's machine impressed the customers at first but they eventually decided Betty's ice cream was better.
  • An episode of American Dad! has the Smith family go on a tropical vacation. Stan keeps getting annoyed at a Hispanic gardener who keeps one-upping him. Then again, the first time, Stan was being a jerk by trying to explain to a "native" what a camera phone was. Then the gardener pulls out an identical phone.
  • Bugs Bunny issues this to Yosemite Sam in the booby-trapped piano scene from "Ballot Box Bunny."
  • The Popeye cartoon "Axe Me Another" has Popeye one-upping lumberjack boss Bluto at every turn ("I'll do anything that you do!")
  • Danger Mouse: "Play It Again, Wufgang" had the villain Wufgang Bach stealing all the music in the world, including the episode's background music. DM and Penfold are kitted out with a tape player with assorted music which they use against Wufgang. The first piece they use is "Jingle Bells," which causes a mound of snow to fall on Wufgang.
    Wufgang: Anything you can play, I can play worse! [he plays "Cocktails for Two", causing DM and Penfold to go into slapstick]
  • AP-5 and Chopper wax lyrical to the song in one episode of Star Wars Rebels.


Video Example(s):


Anything You Can Do

Childish "Yes I can"-"No you can't" type arguing in song.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / QuarrelingSong

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