Follow TV Tropes

Following

Competition Freak

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/loud_house_lynn_versus_family.png

"One of the great things about people is that if you put them on TV, they'll do anything to win. Sometimes they're not even sure if they're on a show with prizes, or what the prize is — they will debase themselves and taunt their own god to win. For proof, three different groups of women have competed to let Flavor Flav inside them, and he looks like something that crawls out of bogs to replace our babies with changelings."
Advertisement:

A character who has an extremely aggressive treatment of competitive events, ranging from important goals to even light-hearted pastimes. "It's just a game" will always go over this person's head as he or she insists on being the best at any minor challenge placed in front of them. As far as they're concerned, Second Place Is for Losers. They are a Sore Loser and not a humble winner, rubbing it in with Unsportsmanlike Gloating.

While the trope is often Played for Laughs, serious interpretations can exist. In most cases, expect them to have an Inferiority Superiority Complex or Freudian Excuse as to why they constantly insist on proving themselves or being the best at everything they do.

The Rival is often a case issued against a single competitor. See also Blood Knight and Stop Having Fun, Guys. If you really want to crank up the annoyance factor, combine with Scrub. May also overlap into X Must Not Win or Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!.

Advertisement:

The ultimate extreme of this (comedic or serious) is the character who makes such Serious Business competitions out of things that would not ordinarily be competitions at all. (Being the first to go down a flight of stairs or open a door for someone, etc.)


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" ads had one saluting "Mr. Overly-Competitive-Touch-Football-Game-Player."
    Announcer: A little friendly competition never hurt anybody, unless that anybody happens to be the person you're covering.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Star from Soul Eater. Particularly if someone else is getting more attention than he.
  • Ranma of Ranma ½ has a bad case of this, including at least one battle where he must prove he has better feminine sex appeal. Often lampshaded by bystanders.
  • Tomo from Azumanga Daioh, though mainly in her first appearance. She's kind of terrible at everything she tries...
  • A number of characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! exhibit an extreme competitiveness, but Yami Yugi and Seto Kaiba especially, making them natural rivals. Kaiba is willing to do terrible things to get a hold of rare/powerful cards, while Yami Yugi will do almost anything to win, even if it means his opponent dies, until Character Development kicks in that is.
    • Kaiba's level of this gets taken to the ridiculous extremes in "Dark Side Of Dimensions". Wanting to defeat the Pharaoh once and for all, he first develops an AI based on the Pharaoh. When that turns out to be too easy to beat, he excavates the Pharaoh's tomb seeking to assemble the Millennium Puzzle and defeat him for real that way. This is one of the main parts of the movie's plot. In the end, when Yugi puts in the final two pieces of the puzzle, the Pharaoh is still not returning, because his soul is at rest. Kaiba then decides to travel 5000 years back in time to Ancient Egypt, just to duel the Pharaoh. To reiterate, the guy is such a sore power that he invents time travel for the sole purpose of fighting his rival one more time.
  • Arima's mother is like this in High School Ninja Girl, Otonashi-san. When Otonashi's brother Yoichi visits, they perform various activities and she gets angry when he goes easy on her (arm wrestling) or when he actually wins (she angrily unplugs the video game they were playing).
  • Kashima Yuu of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun will start very hotblooded competitions for some of the most minor things, including pillow fights, telling ghost stories, and crossdressing. Unlike most examples though, her friendly, positive nature prevents her from falling too hard into either the sore-winner or sore-loser camps.
Advertisement:

    Comic Books 
  • Batman has Damian Wayne, who constantly seeks to prove himself as better than any previous Robin to his father, especially against Tim Drake, who he constantly demeans whenever Tim slips up and Damian manages something slightly better than him. This came to a head in the storyline War of the Robins where Damian went after Tim, Jason, and Dick individually to beat them and claim a prize from each as proof he was the superior Robin in an entirely-self-imposed challenge. He beat Tim and Jason, but Dick just gave him a prize and pointed out "you're the one with the R on his chest now".

    Fan Works 
  • Dark Kuyumaya of Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness tends to take sports games quite seriously. Back in Act I, during a gym class game of dodgeball, he actually hit his own teammates with the ball just to get a shot at Tsukune himself, and in Act VI chapter 52, during the big baseball game the gang rigs up for Complica, he actually tries to hit people with the ball when up at bat.
  • Multiple competitors become this in the Touhou M-1 Grand Prix and even a guest judge who gave bad marks because they didn't want a contestant to beat them in a contest they weren't even competing in.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Documentary Special When Lit has Sean Grant, a.k.a. "The Storm", a Pinball tournament player who incorporates angry screaming fits into his game.
    "What's really important when you play pinball at the tournament level is to have your mentality straight — to be sharp and to have a killer instinct."
  • The protagonists of Game Night bonded over their mutual competitiveness and eventually married before the start of the movie. At the end of the movie, they agree to have a baby as an outgrowth of this.
    Max: Think about all the dum-dums that have kids, right? And think about how much better our kid is gonna be than their kids. It's gonna beat their kids at everything.
    Annie: It's taken you this long to see that? Our baby is gonna crush every other baby.

    Literature 
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Violet Beauregarde takes her gum-chewing seriously, achieving a record by chewing a single piece of gum "for over three months solid." She took an interest in the Golden Ticket search for the glory she'd get if she found one more than a desire for the actual prize. Due to Values Dissonance over the habit of gum-chewing as a vice, the 2005 film adaptation plays up this trait to make her punishment less disproportionate to her behavior; at her mother's urging she is highly competitive in all sorts of activities and thus looks down her nose at her fellow Golden Ticket finders, even calling poor Charlie a "loser" at one point when he innocently asks her why she sticks with chewing one piece of gum at length. In the 2013 stage musical, this trope is crossbred with Shameless Self-Promoter and Small Name, Big Ego to turn her into a parody of vapid celebrity.
  • In the Chinese gaming light novel The King's Avatar a girl named Tang Rou thinks the MMORPG Glory is boring and not at all a challenge, up until the main character repeatably wipes the floor with her in PVP. At that point she becomes obsessed with learning the game just so she can beat him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Monica Geller in Friends often becomes extremely intense and controlling over any minor game the gang take part in.
    Monica: I made this game what it is.
    Chandler: Not fun anymore?
    • Ross Geller can be just as bad as Monica under the right circumstances. In "The One with... The Football" it's revealed their mother banned from playing touch football as kids after Ross ended up with a broken nose. They decide to try playing again, reasoning that now they're adults they can control themselves. The game quickly devolves into a fierce competition that ends with them wrestling over the ball long after the others have given up and gone for dinner.
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother will often take an innocent remark as a challenge and respond with "Challenge accepted!". Hilarity Ensues.
  • Jane from Happy Endings feels the compulsive need to win at all costs. Highlighted to great effect in the episode 'She Got Game Night', Max says they don't do couples' game nights anymore because of how crazy she gets. Also shown when she and Max compete over who has better Zombie Apocalypse survival skills, or who deserves to keep a sweater they both claim.
  • Never Have I Ever:
    • Devi can be "a bit of a psycho" when it comes to her rivalry with Ben Gross.
    • Ben learned a whole new language just to spite Devi.
  • In Wilfred, the neighbor's boyfriend is shown to be uber-competitive. This was used in an episode where Ryan challenges the boyfriend to a game of table tennis, hoping that he could beat the boyfriend in front of the neighbor. However, the boyfriend ends up beating Ryan. All is well though, because the neighbor is turned off by the boyfriend's gloating.
  • Zeke of Zeke and Luther is so competitive he'll even get into "Are not!" "Am too!" arguments just to win them through sheer refusal to quit.
  • The Office: Both Andy Bernard and Dwight Schrute from the U.S. version have this as one of their defining traits.
  • The Better Off Ted episode "Win Some, Dose Some" is all about how the entire cast (except Linda) fits this trope. Ted goes meta with it in the opening narration when he proudly asserts, "No one's more competitive than me and Veronica."
  • In a first-season episode of Will & Grace, Grace is shown to be a competition freak, to the point that neighbors won't even play charades with her anymore.
  • Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson. He must win at everything, not just car related competitions, but every competition on the show even if it really shouldn't be something to get competitive over (eg, finding edible roadkill, Clarkson finds a cow because it's biggest). Played for Laughs naturally as Clarkson's over the top approach brings disaster as often as victory.
  • Full House. Danny often gets like this, notably in the Series Finale.
  • Jay from My Wife and Kids is this to a T. This is because she was once her school's star soccer goalie who got thrown off the team because someone else wanted a turn. She insisted on winning every competition since.
  • The Competitive Dad from The Fast Show, who spends every game and activity with his young sons proving that he can outperform them. We eventually find out that his own father was the same.
  • The Eradicator from The Kids in the Hall, a masked man who refuses to tell anyone his real name and is extremely serious about "climbing the squash ladder" at a gym, to the other players' bemusement. He turns out to be terrible at squash.
    "Do you want to unmask me? It's your right."
    "No thanks."
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, three generations of Mandelbaums throw out their back trying to show up Morty and Jerry Seinfeld in weightlifting. Anything Jerry says to diffuse this is met with accusations that he thinks they're better than them.
  • Bernadette in The Big Bang Theory is extremely competitive. This makes it hard for people to work with her in things like scavenger hunts, as Leonard discovers.
  • Karen in Outnumbered is determined to beat her classmates at everything. Particular examples include making herself a "best in class" badge, and refusing to look at the non-WW2 parts of the museum on HMS Belfast as it won't help her with her history project competition...whose prize is a visit to HMS Belfast.
  • Rose in The Golden Girls is this despite her Cloud Cuckoo Lander personality. Regardless of event, once Rose enters it, she's obsessed with winning. For example, she once enters a contest repeatedly until she wins the prize offered in it (a honeymoon trip to Paris, despite Rose not being a newlywed), not for the prize itself, but for the thrill of winning, as she claims. Then she starts describing in detail about how she beat the odds as if she was giving a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, which alarms Dorothy enough to make her stop Rose from further description.
    Rose: I like to win, all right?

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dark Sun half-elves like this. They even got a personal XP award for besting a human or elf in some or other traditional activity. Just because they want to be accepted and it always involves one way or another showing that they "aren't worse at this".

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Ace Attorney series a lot of the more evil prosecutors (and some attorneys) seem to only care for their win-loss records, not for actually seeing justice done. There's even a Prosecutor of the Year award they can receive for having a better record! Snapping out of this mentality was key to Miles Edgeworth's character growth, and the fact that Klavier Gavin never did this in the first place makes him stand out as unusual among the game's rivals.
    • The most extreme example is Manfred von Karma, who took pride in being undefeated for the entirety of his 40-year-long career, but was infuriated at a tiny blemish on his perfect win record from taking a single penalty against Gregory Edgeworth in court. Enough to murder Gregory, adopt his son, raise little Miles to become the antithesis of everything Gregory stood for, and then finally frame Miles for murder.
  • Mr. Bandages from Halloween Otome gets quite worked up about the competition, which fuels some of the plot.
  • Azai Kanon in G-Senjou no Maou is obsessed with being the first in every figure-skating competition, she spends every waking moment thinking about skating competitions and she will not stop telling everyone that she is the best figure skater in the whole world and never loses. Except it turns out her mother conditioned her to think this way, and she's actually suffering because of it.

    Web Animation 
  • Stinkoman from Homestar Runner is this to a T: "...did somebody say — challenge?"

    Western Animation 
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: A recurring plot line for many characters. Sandy and SpongeBob himself are perhaps the most notable examples.
  • Recess: Vince is extremely egotistical about winning any game he takes part in. The others become irritated by this and dare him to last a day without winning once, at which point he becomes drunk on losing at every game he plays.
  • South Park: Used to parody U2's Bono, having won a ridiculous number of achievements and becoming ridiculously protective of his "Biggest Crap Award" (to the point of cheating to reclaim it from Randy). The reason for this is revealed that Bono is the original Biggest Crap, constantly trying to be Number One in everything, but never managing to shake off he is actually a "Number Two".
    Stan: Dude, don't you have enough? I mean, you got tons of money, a jet, and the biggest rock band in the world, a hot wife, and, you've been knighted. I mean, at some point, can't you just kind of... fuck off?
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • Stan Smith of American Dad! insists on winning at every sport and game he tries. The first time he lost, he attempted suicide.
    Steve: Don't you think that's a bit of an overreaction. So you lost. Nobody cares.
    Stan: I care! I know I lost, and I couldn't bear to carry that shame around for the rest of my life.
  • Parodied in the Family Guy episode "Running Mates" after Peter becomes obsessed with beating Lois in an election for school board president.
    Brian: Peter, are you sure you wanna run against Lois. You know how competitive you get.
    Peter: Hey, I can be just as noncompetitive as anyone. In fact, I am the most noncompetitive, so I win!
    Brian: I've seen how competitive you get. You can't even handle losing a game of checkers. (cue Cutaway Gag)
    • Joe is implied to be this as well, to a somewhat violent extent.
    Joe: Ah, I remember the first time my son beat me at something. I gave him a congratulatory punch on the arm. And then I gave him another. And another. And then things got kinda hazy and he had to go live with a foster family for a while...
  • Rather unsurprisingly, Princess Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Her reaction to winning a beach volleyball match:
    Azula: Yes, we defeated you for all time! You will never rise from the ashes of your shame and humiliation! (Beat) Well, that was fun.
  • Otto from Rocket Power is this in spades. In one episode he went too far trying to prove to his sister Reggie that he is the better snowboarder and broke his leg in the process, and in another episode he tried to become a professional surfer just after his 11th birthday, only to wipe out miserably, just to name a couple of examples.
    • Of course, the only one who rivals Otto for this is Twister's brother Lars, who is Otto's fiercest competitor.
  • Total Drama:
    • Courtney's Go-Getter Girl attitude makes her incredibly determined to succeed at everything and come in first no matter what it takes. However, it's deconstructed, as her perfectionistic determinator attitude tends to come at the cost of her friendships and relationships.
    • Passionate Sports Girl Sky is similar to Courtney in that she is very obsessed with coming in first due to her aspirations of becoming on Olympian athlete. While she is usually nicer than Courtney, she still faces the same consequences of this attitude that Courtney does.
  • Josee from Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race is this to such an extreme that she believes placing anywhere other than first to be totally shameful. She throws psychotic tantrums when she and her partner don't take gold and started smashing up Central Park when they eventually came third.
    • Stephanie easily lets her competitive spirit get to her head, becoming extremely aggressive and violent as the race continues. She soon starts threatening, berating, and abusing her boyfriend Ryan for his mistakes and failures whenever it costs them competition progress, causing their relationship to fall apart.
  • Teen Titans - Robin becomes this in "Winner Take All" when he and a bunch of other heroes are drafted into a tournament. When Cyborg (who beat him in a card game earlier) tries to voice his suspicions about the whole thing, he assumes it's an attempt to sabotage him. After breaking Speedy's bow in order to win their match, he gets asked if it was really worth it, and seems to realize it wasn't.
    Cyborg: (to himself) Crazy, paranoid, hyper-competitive, spiky-haired little...
  • Exploited on Teen Titans Go!, when Robin assembles a team of himself and three other Robins. The other Titans quickly realize that the Robins are all hyper-competitive, and can be tricked into doing anything just by saying it's what "the best Robin" would do.
  • In DuckTales (2017), Scrooge McDuck can be intensely competitive. This even translates to regular games. In "The Most Dangerous Game... Night!", he is absolutely eager to take up Louie's suggestion of a game night. Those who know Scrooge, however, are less than thrilled. Duckworth gets the heck out of dodge, Mrs. Beakley accepts Launchpad's offer to be her partner only because it means they lose quickly, and Donald's response to Scrooge partnering with him and threatening to take him out of the will if they lose isn't shock at the threat but surprise he was even in the will in the first place.
    Mrs. Beakley: You know how competitive he gets when he's trying to best an enemy. On Game Night, we are the enemies.
  • The Loud House: Lynn Loud pretty much embodies this trope. She will find a way to turn literally any activity into a competition, much to her family's dismay. (Especially "Lynn-er Takes All"
  • In the Thomas the Tank Engine episode, "Grudge Match", Raul the Brazilian tank engine becomes this after losing to Thomas in the Shunting Competition at the Great Railway Show. He challenges Thomas to two races and a strength competition to prove that he is better at them than Thomas is, but as a result of trying to win the strength competition, he breaks away from his train and nearly falls off the dock and into the water. He and Thomas become better friends after Thomas saves him, and Raul also becomes a better sport as a result.
  • Elena of Avalor: Elena sometimes shows shades of this. When trying to make peace with a rival neighboring kingdom, she gets caught up in trying to one-up the visiting princess, and in one of the shorts, she and Mateo get carried away with magic training when they turn a test of aim into a competition.
  • Netossa is revealed to be very competive in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, going so far as to keep score of her bot kills versus Spinnerella's. In Season 5 this actually becomes a huge advantage for The Rebellion: when several princesses fall under mind control, Netossa reveals that she keeps a detailed set of notes on the weaknesses of all her allies they can use to subdue the mind controlled princesses. Bow points out that it's a bit disconcerting that she's clearly spent a lot of time thinking about this, but it appears more that Netossa just sees battle as another game to win.
    Netossa: Contingency plans are how you win, and I always win.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

Dragon Riders

With the exception of Hiccup, all of the other dragon riders make their chores into a competition.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CompetitionFreak

Media sources:

Main / CompetitionFreak

Report