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Bigot vs. Bigot

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"You get it? They did that so there'd be arguments!"
Harry Hill, reviewing an episode of Holiday Showdown in which an English, Welsh-hating family have to share their vacation with a Welsh, England-hating family

Reality TV loves to stick people with completely opposite views together. Not only that, these people will always be from the absolute extreme fringes of their respective cultures. In other words, they will be people holding the real-life equivalent of Strawman Political views.

For instance, if a liberal and conservative are paired together, the liberal will be a pansexual, peace-loving to the point of Stupid Good, vegan hippie anarchist with a penchant for wild conspiracy theories, and the conservative will be a rich, homophobic, fundamentalist Christian with a thick country accent who thinks the U.S. should blow up Iran. This ensures (hopefully) there will be lots and lots of Ham-to-Ham Combat, but also that there is no one on the show a more balanced person could relate to.

This fighting will be completely pointless, of course, since both sides will be far too narrow-minded to even consider the other side's arguments. Both sides will also be too stubborn to see this, or the fact that they're not that different (this can overlap with The Horseshoe Effect). Their issues with each other may be inexplicably resolved when the show ends with the Apology Scene. (Interesting how they only decide to apologize when the show's about to end, though Manipulative Editing might have a hand in that.)

In the more farcical fictional works, an extremely perverse showman might deliberately bring together differing factions he knows full well will try to kill each other, either for sadistic entertainment or for some other flagrantly selfish purpose.

If this is done in order to make a case for some in-between position, it's the Golden Mean Fallacy. If it's done for humor with purportedly real people, it's a Point-and-Laugh Show.

See also Rule of Drama.


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    Non-Scripted Television 
  • In recent decades, cable news shows have been increasingly hosting loudly ranting panelists with inflammatory views. They're the kind of people who would never have been allowed on the air on the major networks in the past, even during the Fairness Doctrine era, especially if these loud guests hold views opposite to most viewers or to the news program itself (if said program has a sociopolitical agenda). At its worst, this setup leads to the "discussion" devolving into a shouting match or even name-calling, giving the lie to the notion that the program is merely "being fair and allowing all views to be expressed." An arguable low point was when Michelle Malkin, guest-hosting The O'Reilly Factor, brought some loud-mouthed members of the New Black Panther Party on as guests, apparently just to see what would happen. Malkin and the Panther spokesman ended up calling each other whores.
  • Wife Swap is the king (or, rather, queen) of this trope. Their specialty is swapping the wives of families with diametrically opposite lifestyles, politics, and attitudes, for example swapping a neat-freak, controlling, urban, high-income yuppie with a messy, laid-back, low-income, rural redneck. While these change frequently, there is a frequent occurrence, usually a woman with more traditional views who believes that it's her duty to care for her family is swapped with a more modern career woman who feels that chores should be split amongst the family, or occasionally, that she should have no chores and everything is passed on to the husband and children.
  • Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy is a Wife Swap copy that forces together people with opposing background and life-styles.
  • A season of The Real World managed to make a gay racist and a black homophobe roommates.
  • A curious case happened on Gran Hermano, the Spanish version of Big Brother. They brought a white transgender person and a black Muslim as Token Minorities without knowing (or so they say) that the transgender person was racist and the Muslim transphobic.
  • Big Brother, no matter which version you're watching. One season they carried it to new heights when Big Brother US cast couples who had broken up (acrimoniously, of course).
  • Frequently seen in The Dr. Phil House, providing further evidence that Dr. Phil has morphed from a Talk Show into a Reality Show in all but name.
  • Survivor, tending instead to go for ego vs. ego, but every season will have at least two bigots of some nature. They may or may not end up on the same team.
  • Jerry Springer had an episode where the Ku Klux Klan and a group of Black Nationalists went at it for an hour.
  • A very mild version of this happens in the TLC show Four Weddings. In the show, four brides rate each others' weddings and the person who had the highest average rating gets a free honeymoon vacation. They will often have a conservative traditional bride with a normal wedding in a Christian church and a reception in a hotel with a steak dinner and at least one person who has a blended culture wedding in a warehouse and a crazy reception with Asian fusion food and people grinding on each other. Chances are there will be some Passive-Aggressive Kombat in which the conservative bride will give the unique bride a low score and complain about how inappropriate it was and the unique bride will complain about how boring the conservative bride's party was.
  • The Buckley/Vidal debates in 1968 were the Trope Makers for the modern 'talking head' political talk show. ABC didn't have the money to provide full news coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions that year, so instead, they hosted a series of debates between a pair of East Coast intellectuals and bitter ideological rivals, the conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and the leftist Gore Vidal. Among the highlights of the debates, Vidal called Buckley a 'crypto-Nazi', to which Buckley responded by calling Vidal a 'queer' and threatening to punch him in the face.

    Scripted Television 
  • In All in the Family, bigoted white guy Archie Bunker got a new neighbor in the form of George Jefferson (who would later star in the Spin-Off The Jeffersons) who is a bigoted black guy who couldn't stand whitey. Both men had the same repulsed reaction upon meeting the interracial (white man, black woman) parents of Jenny, George's soon-to-be daughter-in-law, leading them to commiserate "What's the world coming to?"
    • One early episode had George's brother Henry (who appeared on the show for the first couple of seasons while George was relegated to an unseen character) arguing with Archie when it was believed another black family was moving onto the street and Archie was helping circulate a petition to keep the newcomers out of the neighborhood. Then it was discovered the family was actually Puerto Rican... and Henry signed the petition himself.
    • Archie and his son-in-law Mike "Meathead" Stivic sometimes fell into this pattern when Mike got self-righteous or hypocritical about his liberal views.
  • The meeting of the very segregationist Lester Maddox and the very Black Power Jim Brown on a 1970 episode of The Dick Cavett Show. Throw Camp Gay Truman Capote into the mix and you have a hell of a night of television.
  • American Dad! has Hayley and Stan. Sometimes resolutions will come when it's time to toss out a moral (or Broken Aesop, whichever is closer to plot).
  • The Daily Show, once upon a time, had Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell as correspondents. They did a segment called "Even Stevphen" that had them basically take polar opposite views on everything. "Yes!" — "No!" — "Yeeeeeeessss!"
  • Bizarre had a bigoted family of racial/sexual/national stereotypes making bigoted racial/sexual/national jokes at each others' expense.
  • 60 Minutes had a segment called 'Point/Counterpoint' in which Jane Alexander and Jack Kirkpatrick would give their different 'takes' on an issue. He got so grumpy and she got so shrill that it veered into self-parody.
  • The two mayoral candidates featured in the Will & Grace episode "Star-Spangled Banter". The female candidate supported by Grace opens by announcing how nice it is to see so many white faces attending her fundraiser, while the gay candidate favored by Will ranted about things like driving all of the homeless out of the city and keeping women in the home.
  • A BBC drama dealing with far-right skinheads saw a British ultra-rightist joining a like-minded German group for a time. The English stormtrooper had no problems with beating up Turks as, hey, they're like, Asians, right? But things came unstuck when the Englishman had issues about beating up Poles. To him, they're white men just like him. To his hosts, who saw a Slavonic untermensch, this was heresy, and argument ensued as to whose bigotry was the correct one.

  • Saturday Night Live:
    • Brilliantly spoofed in a memorable parody sketch, where they depicted The Real World cast as including an Oklahoman who hated the Irish, an Irishman who hated black Londoners, a black Londoner who hated American black women, a black American woman who hated Italians, an Italian who hated white trash, a white trash girl who hated Eskimos, an Eskimo who hated lesbians, and a lesbian.
      Adam Sandler: Shut up, you whale-eating moron!
    • SNL had a sketch called "The Blame Game" which pitted a white racist and a black racist against each other in a game show. To top it off, it turned into "Straw Feminist vs. Sexist" when the game show girl angrily demanded that the host not patronize her by calling her "honey", prompting him and the other two men to snark, "Jeez, what a bitch. What's her problem?", "She's probably not getting any", "Either that, or PMS".
    • "Count/Pointercount": SNL's parody of the above-mentioned "Point/Counterpoint". Jane Curtin would usually go first, with Dan Aykroyd leading off his rebuttal with "Jane, you ignorant slut!"
  • Angus in Questionable Content mentions he works as a strawman (he's paid by the opposition to go act like a ridiculous caricature of a group, convincing voters to look elsewhere) and that he at one point got into a very heated argument at a rally before figuring out the other guy was a hired strawman as well.
  • Spinnerette has Nazi Sorceror Kugelbitz getting into a fight with Roberta Lee, white supremacist descendant of General Lee (who, despite her beliefs is a practitioner of Hollywood Voodoo).
  • Parodied quite often by Horrible Histories with a segment Historical Wife Swap, where each woman goes to live with a family that is the opposite of hers (Spartan vs. Athenian, Anglican vs. Puritan, Rich Upper-class Victorian vs. Poor Working-class Victorian etc.).
  • Spoofed in the South Park episode "Goobacks", where a "pissed-off white trash conservative redneck" and an "aging hippie liberal douchebag" appear on The O'Reilly Factor to discuss the issue of immigration from the distant future. The hippie spouts feel-good platitudes like "America was founded on immigration", with the redneck countering with slogans like "they took our jobs!"

  • Shin Megami Tensei: A very, very not-funny variant in God and Lucifer's endless, world-spanning war with each other. God's a rigid control freak who believes the only path to peace is blind worship of him, while Lucifer stands for absolute, unrestrained freedom with no rules or security whatsoever. What pushes it into Nightmare Fuel is their nasty habit of picking the Human World as their battleground, and between their shared Lack of Empathy, their willingness to do virtually anything to win, and their mind-shattering levels of power, their feud has left more than one apocalypse in its wake.
  • Used by Anansi the spider in an African folktale. Anansi owed debts to all the other animals in the jungle, so he secretly arranged to meet with them one at a time. But this was a lie: while one animal was seated in his parlor waiting for the debt settlement to begin, Anansi would keep bringing in an animal that was the natural predator of the one already there, knowing full well that the former would kill and eat the latter. He kept doing this, working his way up through the food chain, until only two of his creditors were left - a lion and a leopard who were equally matched as carnivores. So Anansi ambushed and killed them both while they were fighting each other, and in this way managed to cancel out all his debts with relatively little blood on his own hands.
  • A real life example happened in 2011 when the Westboro Baptist Church, known for their anti-homosexuality protests aimed at pretty much everything decided to picket outside Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day. The counter-protestors they faced? The Ku Klux Klan (who were offended at the show of disrespect to the US military).
  • Surprisingly enough, this trope is often subverted when two racial segregationists of different kinds cross paths. Then again, considering that they do have a mutual goal of keeping the races separate—as well as a common nemesis with racial integrationists—is it really that surprising?
    • Another subversion: misandrist radical feminists and misogynist "family values" Christians sometimes work together when trying to oppose pornography, sex work, and the transgender community.