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Complaining About Complaining

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McKenzie: And now you're complaining about me complaining!
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.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Sailor Moon, Morga complains about Sailor Moon's complaining throughout the first episode.
  • Matt says this about Joe in a part of the first Digimon Adventure
    Hey Joe, is there anything you don't complain about?

    Comic Strips 
  • 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.)

    Fan Works 
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.)

    Web Comics 
  • In one The Hero of Three Faces strip, the Shalka-Doctor rants to the Master that the people of 21st century Earth are always complaining about things. When asked why he doesn't bring it up with the people themselves he says "Because then I'll be one of them!"

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Recursive Complaining