Griffin: You just complained about me complaining about you complaining.
After hearing Bob complain for so long, Alice will begin to complain about his complaining.
Complaining about complaining is an interesting phenomenon that happens when one group becomes fed up with the complaints of another group and begin to gripe about the latter griping. While it tends to be used mainly for humorous purposes because of the cycle, it may also show the cycle that comes with it while also showing how the characters react in certain situations. Everyone has limits to what they can tolerate and hearing someone complain about something so long can cause them to complain.
This of course can be played more seriously if the complaints are legitimately something the audience and or most characters would be concerned about, only to be shut down by the other party. This could showcase declining relations or growing apathy.
See also Hypocritical Humor.
- Calvin and Hobbes:
- Calvin complains about people who can't let one of their pet peeves go... in a rant that lasts for three whole panels
- In another strip, Calvin complains about his grandfather's complaints that the art in newspaper comics isn't what it used to be and has been reduced to "a bunch of Xeroxed talking heads"... in a strip that is exactly that. (It stands out because the art in Calvin and Hobbes, even in the black-and-white, limited-space weekday strips, is always lush and unique. In the color Sunday strips it's downright painterly and genre-busting.)
- A Diplomatic Visit: In the first chapter of the fourth story, The Diplomat's Life, Princess Celestia mentions that one of their prisoners (namely, Chrysalis) had recently asked that the other prisoner in the dungeon (Cozy Glow) be moved to a different cell further away, because said second prisoner has been constantly ranting and complaining, and the first prisoner can't stand listening to it anymore. Because said first prisoner had been very well-behaved since going to jail, her request was granted.
- Community often points out the group's dysfunction:
Annie: We fight about fighting about fighting!
- Monty Python's Flying Circus seemed to like this one:
- "I think all right thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I'm certainly not, and I'm sick and tired of being told that I am."
- "I'd like to complain about people who hold things up by complaining about people complaining. It's about time something was done about it." (Cue 16-ton weight.)
- The Onion article "Clinton Blasts Obama For Slamming Edwards Jab" parodies a perceived tendency of Democrats to criticize each other's criticisms more than their actual actions by presenting Hillary Clinton as not just complaining about complaining, but complaining about complaining about complaining.
- In The Rugrats Movie, Tommy and his friends are all complaining about Dil complaining about not getting his way throughout the film.
- In a Family Guy Flashback Twist, a slave on a ship heading for America keeps whining to the captain, "Are we there yet?"
Captain: Damn it! I swear to God I will turn this ship around.
Slaves: That works. Okay. That'll teach us a lesson. Yeah, that's even better.
Captain: All right, if that's what you... waaait a minute!
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "A Dog and Pony Show", the antagonistic Diamond Dogs complain about Rarity's "whining" over labour conditions. Her response: