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If I Wanted X, I Would Y

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"If I wanted a joke, I'd follow you into the john and watch you take a leak."

If I wanted to describe If I Wanted X I Would Y here, I would go to TV Tropes... wait a minute.

A common put-down of a work/activity/food/etc., by naming a prominent aspect of that thing, and claiming that aspect is better in another thing, usually in the form of "If I wanted (aspect), I would (other thing with that aspect)."

This will almost always be said in a snarky manner, and often has a Take That! on either side of the line (or both).

A Sister Trope with Better by a Different Name.

Compare X Called; They Want Their Y Back, I Like My X Like I Like My Y, I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder.

Not to be confused with If I Wanted You Dead....

In-Universe Examples Only

    open/close all folders 

  • Lewis Black on the tax code:
    "If I wanted to be bored by 6,000 pages of unreadable dreck, I'd read War and Peace four times."
  • Doug Stanhope mocked Moral Guardians this way:
    "If God had intended women to prostitute themselves, he would have given them a free will and a vagina." [Beat]

    Comic Books 
  • One Red Dwarf comic strip has them listening to an Apocalyptic Log In the Style of The Canterbury Tales. Rimmer's criticism sounds like it's going to be one of these, but subverts it.
    Rimmer: I don't want to sound like a wet blanket, Lister, but if I wanted to attend an amateur poetry reading, I'd be mad.
  • Preacher: Herr Starr, forced to 'socialize' at a Grail meeting, snarks at the Prime Minister of Australia in this fashion.
    Starr: If I wanted to visit a bunch of sheepshaggers, I'd go to Wales. It's closer.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes, where Calvin explains why he does not like organized sports:
    "I hate all the rules and organization and teams and ranks in sports. Somebody's always yelling at you, telling you where to be, what to do, and when to do it. I figure when I want that, I'll join the Army and at least get paid."

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Jewel of the Nile: Omar wants romance writer Joan Wilder to write a puff piece on him. When she discovers his plan of conquest and says she's going to tell the truth, he scoffs: "If I wanted the truth, I'd have hired 60 Minutes!"
  • From Planes, Trains and Automobiles:
    Cab Dispatcher: Where are you going?
    Neal: Chicago.
    Cab Dispatcher: Chicago?
    Neal: Yeah, Chicago.
    Cab Dispatcher: You know you're in St. Louis?
    Neal: Yes I do.
    Cab Dispatcher: Why don't you try the airlines? It's faster and you get a free meal.
    Neal: If I wanted a joke, I'd follow you into the john and watch you take a leak. Now are you gonna help me or are you gonna stand there like a slab of meat with mittens?
    (the cab dispatcher punches him in the face)
  • Goldeneye:
    Bill Tanner: Seems your hunch was right, 007. It's too bad the Evil Queen of Numbers wouldn't let you play it...
    (M walks in)
    M: You were saying?
    Bill Tanner: No, no, I was just... just um...
    M: Good. Because if I want sarcasm, Mr Tanner, I'll talk to my children, thank you very much.
  • From Dragonheart, after Draco wonders about the ethics of their scam:
    Bowen: If I wanted my conscience pricked, I would've stayed with the priest!
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: In a deleted scene, after Eddie Valiant is caught snooping in the Ink and Paint Club, and Jessica Rabbit assumes he was staging a solo panty raid:
    Eddie Valiant: Look, doll, if I'd've wanted underwear, I'd've broken into Frederick's of Hollywood!
  • What's the Worst That Could Happen?: While having a one-sided conversation with his bartender:
    Uncle Jack: If I wanted to hear myself talk, I'd leave myself a voicemail message!


    Live-Action TV 
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
    "Technology businesses must cut the baby talk. It's 2007. You're a rapacious, multi-billion-dollar corporation, not a stuffed animal. This week, Yahoo! announced a deal with Bebo, which will help it compete with Google. I had to Wiki Bebo to find out it's kind of like Friendster and Woofy. Gosh, I hope they can all band together and save Fuzzleton Village from the evil Snorgs! Grow up! If I want to see uncaring money-making machines with cutesy names, I'd go to a strip club."
    • Bill does this a lot in his book, New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer.
  • Firefly
    • From "Objects in Space":
      Mal: If I want medical jargon, I'll talk to a doctor.
      Simon: You are talking to a doctor.
    • Also, quoth Jayne; "Hell, if I had wanted schooling, I would have gone to school!"
  • Friends. Phoebe is dating two men at once — a teacher and a fireman. She's out with the teacher when they see a car catch fire, and he's confused when her response to the sound of sirens is to run away (so he doesn't find out about the fireman).
    Phoebe: If I wanted to see a fireman I would date one!
  • Sherlock. When Irene Adler shows up naked to meet Sherlock, Sherlock merely says "If I wanted to look at naked women, I would borrow John's laptop."
    John: You do borrow my laptop.
    Sherlock: I confiscate it.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In "Out of My Mind", Riley thinks Buffy won't want to be with him if he's just a normal man, and she responds with, "Do you think that I spent the last year with you because you had super powers? If that's what I wanted, then I'd be dating Spike." (This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight about a year later.)
    • Subverted rather cruelly by Giles against Spike in "Once More With Feeling"
      "If I want your opinion, Spike, I'll I'll never want your opinion."
  • Parodied in Fist of Fun: During a discussion about water pollution Stuart Lee asks Richard Herring if he wants to swim in raw sewage. Herring replies "Stuart, if I wanted to swim in raw sewage I'd..." and then details a highly developed plan to break into the local sewage works. Lee quickly realises that yes, he really does.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "That Which Survives", after major seismic tremors and loss of contact with the Enterprise:
    Sulu: Could it be the Enterprise hit the planet? Once in Siberia, a meteor flattened whole forests
    Kirk: If I wanted a Russian history lesson, I'd have brought along Mr. Chekov.
  • Dr. Kelso pulls this one out a lot on Scrubs, along with the similar; "I'll tell you the same thing I told X, '[related pun]'."
  • The Golden Girls when Dorothy is working on a kids' show.
    Director: If I wanted this kind of abuse,I'd be directing the Roseanne Barr show.
  • 30 Rock:
    Liz: Don't you know the Postmaster General?
    Jack: I do, but we had a falling out over the Jerry Garcia stamp. If I wanted to lick a hippie I'd just return Joan Baez's phone calls.
  • In one episode of Who's the Boss?, Jonathan decides he wants to be a stand-up comedian. His routine consists of a lot of unfunny and, at times, nonsensical "what is the deal with that?" style jokes. When talking about sushi, he says "If I wanted to eat raw fish, I'd bite a river".
  • Some of Als pearls of wisdom on Married... with Children are based on this format.
    If God had wanted women to bowl, he would have put their breasts on their backs so we would have something to watch while waiting.
  • Malcolm in the Middle In the episode "Cynthia's Back":
    Dabney: If I wanted this kind of abuse, I'd have a conversation with my oboe teacher.

  • From Just Hold Me by Maria Mena
    But if I wanted silence I would whisper
    And if I wanted loneliness I'd choose to go
    And if I liked rejection I'd audition
    And if I didn't love you, you would know

  • In an episode of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, there was a round of Closed Quotes which specialized on comebacks. Among these comebacks was the lovely "If I wanted to hear from an arse, I would have farted."

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Magic: The Gathering card Stifle has flavour text:
    "If I wanted your opinion, I'd have told you what it was."
    — Pemmin, Riptide survivor

    Video Games 
  • An example from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time:
    (Present Toadsworth is freaking out)
    Past Toadsworth: (...) Really, if I wished to witness myself embarrassing myself, I'd belch in front of a mirror.
  • During a Zerg mission in Brood War, we have this exchange when Fenix, Jim Raynor, and Arcturus Mengsk are discussing an eventual betrayal by Kerrigan.
    Arcturus: If you ask me, she's completely untrustworthy. But so long as she'll help me retake Korhal, I'll work with her.
    Raynor: If I wanted your opinion, Arcturus, I would've beaten it out of you! And in case you forgot, you're the reason she became what she is in the first place!

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Toothpaste For Dinner, on foreign films: "If I wanted to read while people were speaking another language, I'd bring a book to the Chinese restaurant"
  • Schlock Mercenary: When I want your opinion I'll mind-rip it out of your shattered skull, thank you.
  • Questionable Content: Hannelore opposes Station's idea of orbital railgun strikes against Corpse Witch, for blackmailing Bubbles with encrypted memories because "If I wanted to live in a crater I would have moved to the moon."

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • A Mad Libs Catch Phrase of The Cinema Snob. Subverted once when he realized he didn't like even the other thing.
  • The Nostalgia Critic, in his review of Theodore Rex:
    Nostalgia Critic: Oh please, if I wanted to watch Whoopi Goldberg interact with dinosaurs, I'd watch "The View".
  • Pops up quite a few times as lines in Epic Rap Battles of History as one battler disses another. Some examples:
    • From "Julius Caesar vs. Shaka Zulu":
      Caesar: So don't go rattling your sticks at me — if I wanted to shake spears, I'd waggle my biography.
    • From "Ragnar Lodbrok vs Richard the Lionheart":
      Richard I: If I wanted to fight loser Vikings, I'd go to Minnesota.
    • From "Harry Potter vs Luke Skywalker":
      Luke Skywalker: If I wanted teenage wizardry, I'd call Selena Gomez!
    • From "James Bond vs Austin Powers":
      Connery!Bond: Your performance doesn't stir me, and I'm certainly not shaken.
      If I wanted shitty acting in my action film, I'd go and watch Taken.
    • From "Mansa Musa vs Jeff Bezos":
      Jeff Bezos: If I wanted to waste my life on desert spice, I'd watch Dune.
  • Sanders Sides has a rather sad variant of this:
    Anxiety: If I wanted to stand around being insulted, I would show up in person, like I normally do.
  • This series of vines, Oh, you're not Jeffrey!
  • Freshy Kanal: In the unfinished, audio-only rap battle "Ferris Bueller vs. Nagisa Shiota", Ferris disses Nagisa's fighting skill by saying, "If I wanted to fight a weeb Hitman, Id go and see Ayano."

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • From one exchange between Steve and Stan:
      Steve: Dad, can we go to Graceland?
      Stan: Steve, if you want to pay your respects to a fat man who died on the toilet, we can visit your Aunt Mary's grave.
    • A variant on "Not Particularly Desperate Housewives": When Francine wants to adopt Fussy the dog, Stan says, "Forget it! We already have something girly and annoying in this house. It's called Roger."
  • This was a frequent trope in Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the early 1960s. For instance, in one episode of The Flintstones, Fred says, "If I want laughs, I'll call Yogi Bear."
  • Archer:
    • From one exchange between Archer and Malory:
      Archer: Don't you want a grandkid?
      Malory: Well, if I did, I'd just scrape all your previous mishaps into a big pile and knit a onesie for it.
      Archer: Jesus Christ!
    • And another:
      Archer: If I wanted to look at your bare feet, I'd sneak in and do it when you were asleep.
    • One more:
      Malory to her chauffeur: If I wanted to sit around all day going nowhere, I'd become a teacher!
  • The Simpsons: After Bart is caught shoplifting at Try 'N' Save, the security guard dismisses his offer to pay for the stolen video game with, "If I wanted smoke blown up my ass, I'd be at home with a pack of cigarettes and a short length of hose!"
  • Beavis and Butt-Head respond to music videos involving text with "If I wanted to read, I'd go to school!"
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Where No Duck Has Gone Before", when Launchpad inadvertently dumps himself into outer space and sees the Earth far below him, he exclaims, "If I wanted to see the world, I would have joined the Navy!"
  • Help! I'm a Fish: "When I want your opinion I'll give it to you!"
  • The Mr. Men Show: Often done by Mr. Grumpy.
    Mr. Grumpy: If I wanted to wear my dinner, I'd have gone to Mr. Messy's.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "Tiff of the Titans", Drake Mallard shuts off the TV when a news report about Gizmoduck is playing, remarking that he'd have tuned into a congressional hearing if he wanted to listen to a clown.
  • Brickleberry: Malloy's response after Ethel is cast in a porno movie but refuses to do a sex scene:
    Malloy: If I wanted a shitty actor who refuses to show their tits, I would've cast Kevin James.

    Real Life 
  • Used in a pro-choice slogan: If I wanted the government in my uterus, I'd fuck a senator!
  • Computer scientist Dennis Ritchie responded to comments for improvements to the C programming language with "If you want PL/I, you know where to find it."
  • Popular joke saying often seen on T-shirts and bumper stickers: "If I wanted to hear from an asshole, I'd fart!"
  • Joke aimed at websites that start playing sound on being loaded, rather than waiting for you to hit a control indicating you want to hear the sound: "If I had wanted your website to make noise, I would have licked my finger and rubbed it across the monitor."