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"Not So Different" Remark

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Short-tempered, insecure original meets her short-tempered, insecure Bizarro clone.

"It's funny. Every crook I meet wants to tell me how much I'm just like them."
Edward Elric to Psiren, Fullmetal Alchemist
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When a pair or groups of characters — who'd otherwise be different and/or unrelated — discover that they actually have some things in common, after all.

This is usually the resolution of an Enemy Mine or Locked in a Freezer plot: two clashing individuals learn that there is more that unites them than divides them.

On the darker side, this trope can also be used to lampshade the fact that our hero is really just a hair's breadth away from villainy. In these specific cases, it's almost always the villain who is the first to notice: our hero has him cornered and even seems to relish the prospect of finally ridding himself of his nemesis, and the villain deftly points out, "We're not so different after all", commonly as a way to guilt-trip the hero. This may also be used to try to sway the hero to join his side. The hero realizes how close he is to crossing the line, and spares the villain (though every once in a great while, he'll decide that it's worth crossing the line, off the villain anyway, and then have several episodes of moral anguish over the darkness in his soul: see Shoot the Dog). Especially common when the villain is the hero's Evil Counterpart.

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In lighter cases not involving a hero and villain situation, expect the other side to protest strongly with something like, "I'm not like you! I'll never be like you!" when the person they are feuding with points it out. Another common rebuttal is when one side acknowledges that they do share some similarities with the other, but are sufficiently different where it matters.

Please note: for this trope to apply the similarity between the two or more opposing characters needs to be acknowledged in-universe either by the characters realizing it themselves or by a third party. It isn't limited to only two characters and those involved don't necessarily have to be sworn enemies to qualify; any clashing characters count as long as their similarities are explicitly mentioned, hence the "remark" part. Mere implied, subtextual similarities, no matter how obvious they are, or observations made by the audience are NOT examples unless they are also lampshaded within the work itself.

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Closely related to Foil, which is a literary term that describes a character who highlights and accentuates the traits of another character by contrast, and Mirror Character, which describes characters highlighted by similarities. However, in these cases, lampshading isn't required.

The Horseshoe Effect is when two people claim to be ideologically opposed to one another, but nevertheless have many beliefs in common.

Contrast with Not So Similar. Also compare Shared Family Quirks (when two seemingly different family members have something in common behavior-wise), Hitler Ate Sugar (when this trope is stretched to the point of becoming a fallacy) and Too Much Alike (when two characters don't get along because of their similarities). See also Mirroring Factions.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

    Podcasts 
Sick Sad World: In "Missing And Murdered", Mari and Jasmine point out that for all Canada's ragging on the USA, the former is just as bad when it comes to treatment of indigenous people.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Jimmy Jacobs has repeatedly tried to pull this on Jon Moxley. This once lead to the two being chained together in Insanity Pro Wrestling, for a dog collar match after Jacobs cost Moxley the promotion's top championship belt and said that when he looked at Moxley he stared at himself in a mirror.
  • Raven, after deciding that he was insane while in Impact Wrestling and could not be cured, decided that Abyss was the same way and to make Abyss admit it.
  • Bray Wyatt said this to Dean Ambrose on the 10/27/14 episode of WWE Raw. Wyatt said that looking at Ambrose was like seeing "a deranged reflection" of himself.
  • Kevin Kelly frequently does this, where appropriate, when addressing feuding members of the Ring of Honor roster. For example, when Kenny King returned from TNA and went on a rant about why he couldn't stand ACH, Kevin asked if The All Night Express, King's Tag Team, weren't a pair of ACHs a few years ago.
  • Mentioned by name in Hallowicked's promo before his CHIKARA Grand Championship title defense against Dasher Hatfield at CHIKARA The Immaculate Election, July 26, 2015. He said that Dasher has a "certain nobility about him" that neither he nor Nazmaldun can understand, but that when the Grand Championship is on the line he wants to see how far Dasher is willing to go. At Babylon Springs on November 8th, The Nightmare Warriors (Hallowicked and Frightmare) defeated The Throwbacks (Dasher and 'Mr. Touchdown' Mark Angelosetti), The Osirian Portal and Hermit Crab and Cajun Crawdad in a four-way tag after Dasher abandoned the match when a piece of metal fell out of the elbow pad he'd been using, proving Angelosetti was still cheating. Dasher surrendered the points Dasher's Dugout (Throwbacks/Icarus/Heidi Lovelace) had accumulated in the Challenge of the Immortals tournament, confirming his nobility. However, his shocking heel turn as Grand Champion proved Wicked right, even though his turn was pure selfishness, as opposed to being put under a spell like Wicked was.note 

    Radio 
  • How Green Was My Cactus: "Boris and Gorby go to McDonald's" is about Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin opening up to western capitalism. Their experience with fast food gives them the following revelation:
    "Is not so different! We stand for ages in queue to get served by pimply little people who work like hell for rotten veggies, and the food is terrible!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Amusingly subverted in storyline when murderous minotaur Angrath tells Technical Pacifist Huatli that they're the same. She defiantly yells that she'll never be like him. But he meant purely in the sense that they're both planeswalkers, and wasn't trying to draw any kind of moral comparison.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Corax comes to this realisation regarding Conrad Kurze during the Heresy — if Corax had been left to his own devices like Kurze, instead of being raised by well-meaning people, Corax could easily have degenerated into a sadistic whackjob like Kurze, and it could have been the Raven Guard betraying the Night Lords on Isstvan V instead of the other way around.
    • Kurze attempts to prove this to the other Primarchs by capturing and torturing Vulkan. It doesn't work.

    Theatre 
  • In The Complete History Of America Abridged, Rock Fury, Super GI, confronts Adolf Hitler:
    Rock: Your jig-dancing days are over, little man.
    Adolph: But vy? Vy?!
    Rock: In its greed and lust for power, Germany has tried to take over an entire continent.
    Eva: But isn't zat vut ze US did in Norze America?
    Rock: Wash your mouth with soap, little lady! Why, the US stopped land-grabbing over forty years ago. And there's a big difference between your land-grabbing and ours.
    Adolph: Vut's zat?
    Rock: We succeeded. Besides, we didn't try to wipe out an entire race of people!
    Eva: Vut about ze Indians?
    Rock: Well, we don't lock people away in concentration camps.
    Eva: Vut about ze Japanese-Americans on ze Vest Coast?
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Throught Act I and II, Jerkass Woobie, Renaissance Man Cyrano seemed radically different from Giftedly Bad, Butt-Monkey Raguenau. But after Raguenau’s Establishing Character Moment at Act II Scene IV, when he reveals he is perfectly conscientious of being a White Knight with his friends, the poets, but doesn’t care of the consequences because he is getting what he wants of them, Cyrano (whom in Act I has spent all his monthly pension paying for the tickets of the play he interrupted) recognizes an equal:
    Cyrano (clapping him on the shoulder): Friend, I like you right well!...
  • The interactive murder mystery Killing Mr. Withers has the villain singing to the Savings and Loan mogul he's trying to murder that they are really not so different from each other. Both of them make a living by ruining other people.
  • Trifles: As Mrs. Peters put it, "I know how things can be for women. We all go through the same thing, it's just a different kind of the same thing.", which is to say, though Mrs. Peters or Martha's (Mrs. Hale) husbands aren't as cruel as Minnie's husband (that we know), they are are all equally isolated, dismissed, and oppressed by society and their husbands.
  • This song, performed by comedian Greg Davies when he hosted the 2018 Royal Variety Performance, was both inspired by an example of this trope and subverts it. As the performance is attended by members of the Royal Family, he confessed to his mother about some nerves he was having, only to be told by her that he shouldn't worry because "the Queen is just Prince Harry's nan". This inspired him to write the song, which is about all the ways in which this isn't true:
    My nan likes to potter in the garden
    Though she will concede that the cold rather gets to her knees
    My nan likes doing cryptic crosswords
    And the kettle's always on 'cause she drinks endless cups of tea
    And your nan, your nan's the actual Queen.

    Toys 
  • When Toa Matoro from BIONICLE found himself forced to team up with Big Bad Makuta, Makuta was amused at the way Matoro got out of a certain situation: After using his Mask of Reanimation to use sea creature corpses to fight off Pridak's army of sharks, he was convinced he should have thrown away the mask and never used it. Makuta's response?
    Makuta: Why so quiet? We have seen death and destruction today with the promise of much more to come. We have seen heroes behaving like villains. You yourself have done things even I would be reluctant to do. It is a time for celebration.
    Matoro: Shut up! I'm doing only what I have to do to save the life of Mata Nui, a life you put in jeopardy.
    Makuta: Think what you like, little Toa, and try to avoid admitting to yourself that you are one bad day, one moment of cruelty, one fit of rage away from being me.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Damon Gant accuses Miles Edgeworth of this. He says that they both have the same hatred of crime, and that eventually, Edgeworth will cross the line just to seal away someone he knows is guilty. Edgeworth, thoroughly rattled, leaves the prosecutors' office and doesn't come back until he's certain he can prosecute a case and seek the truth, not just a Guilty verdict or another "win" for his record.
    • In Justice For All Acro, in the third case, remarks that Phoenix and Franziska von Karma are remarkably similar, that they both see the world through the same rose-colored glasses. Phoenix vilifies her for manipulating evidence in her favor, telling witnesses not to discuss things that don't make sense with her theories. However, Phoenix willingly defends a client he knows to be guilty, even accusing an innocent woman and using the evidence against her, albeit under threat of his friend Maya being killed.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, Franziska comes to sympathize with Sebastian after seeing how terribly his father treats him, and in the ending, expresses concern for him, as he will have to live up to his father just like she will have to live up to hers.
  • Ikemen Sengoku has several cases: Kenshin's Romantic route has Kenshin himself acknowledge that he's not so different from Kennyo in how his hatred and desire for revenge threatened to consume the better, more moral side of him, and say that Kennyo might have been able to pull himself back from the path of destruction like he did if he had received the support and love of someone like the MC.
  • A few cases come up in Katawa Shoujo:
    • Hisao notes that, like Hanako, he has allowed his disability to define him, preventing him from opening up to others or thinking about his future.
    • Shizune and Lilly, may be at odds over how to run the Student Council, but at heart, Lilly is almost as competitive as Shizune. This is particularly evident in the fishing scene in Shizune's route, and when after they reconcile in Lilly's route, Shizune lightheartedly challenges Lilly to do better at her new school, a challenge Lilly accepts.
    Hisao: Competitive until the last. Maybe Lilly and Shizune aren't so different, after all.
  • In Fate/stay night, during their final confrontation, Shirou finally admits to himself that he and Kotomine are alike in many ways, from their inability to find happiness in themselves to viewing themselves as sinners.
  • In Kindred Spirits on the Roof, Sachi Enoki, the older of the two kindred spirits observes Miki Aihara, a third-year vice-president of the beautification committee, and observes a number of similarities between them. Both are kind-hearted young women who are more vulnerable than they let on, but gradually find the courage to be themselves through their relationships with their younger girlfriends.
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, Raiko and Momoko hit it off surprisingly well when they first speak. Raiko notices that one thing they have in common is that they don't have many people close to them; Raiko is only close with her Childhood Friend Nobara, as well as their friends Runa and Rie, while Momoko has her best friend Kamen and her new boyfriend Hiro. Late in the game, after Momoko is revealed to have killed herself and Hiro in a Murder-Suicide in order to frame Kamen as revenge for Hiro supposedly cheating on her with Kamen, Raiko once again notes their similarities, and wonders what she would do if Nobara betrayed her the way Kamen supposedly betrayed Momoko.

    Web Animation 
  • Holidaze establishes through Jingle and Jangle's friendship that Halloween and Christmas are not so different from each other. They both like candy (Jingle offers a candy cane, Jangle summons a mountain of Halloween candy with a magic trick), they both have holiday-themed drinks (Jangle enjoying a peppermint latte, Jingle having pumpkin-spice), they both have their own scary stories (Jangle taking Jingle to a monster movie, both of them later meeting Krampus) and they both think very little of Thanksgiving (both of them mocking a turkey with a pilgrim hat, presumably Thanksgiving's arbiter).
  • DarkMatter2525: "More Communist than the Communists" points out that all of the features fundamentalist Christians (rightly) denounce regarding Communist states (as a way to attack atheism by association) would be worse in the Heaven and Hell they posit.
  • RWBY:
    • When arguing about the missing Blake, Yang and Weiss end up confronting each other over their family situations while growing up. Yang assumes she and Weiss have very different family backgrounds until Weiss clarifies the nuances: Yang and Ruby lost both of their mothers at a young age leaving Yang to raise Ruby since their father was busy working. Weiss learned on her tenth birthday that her father only married her mother for the family company causing her mother to retreat into alcoholism and quit parenting. They've both had lonely childhoods, they just manifest their loneliness in different ways. Yang ends up apologizing for having made assumptions about Weiss's upbringing.
    • When Raven expresses disgust at how far Cinder's willing to go for power and calls her a monster, Cinder retorts "Look who's talking!" While it seems like little more than a Lame Comeback at the time, it's revealed in the very next episode that Raven killed the previous Spring Maiden and took her power for herself, just as Cinder killed Amber for the Fall Maiden power.
    • Oscar confronts Ironwood over the General's rapidly-slipping moral code with this accusation, claiming that Ironwood's paranoia and Control Freak tendencies are making him just as dangerous as Salem. Ironwood responds by pulling out Due Process and blasting Oscar in the chest.

    Web Videos 
  • Gameboys
    • Invoked by Terrence on Pearl. She vehemently refuses as she's long moved on from Gavreel.
    • Also invoked by Terrence on Gavreel when he was pleading with him to take him back. Terrence then later forces Cairo to admit his true feelings for Gavreel. Later we witness Gavreel forcing Wesley to admit his feelings for Cairo in much the same way.
    • Both Cairo & Gavreel tend to put other people first before their own feelings. Lampshaded by Cairo's former bestfriend Risa & Cairo respectively.
  • Screen Rant Pitch Meetings: In the pitch meeting for No Time to Die, this trope is lampshaded, when the Producer, hearing Safin about pull this trope on Bond, makes the following remark.
    Producer: Oh, man, villains love telling heroes how they're not so different from each other.


 
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Video Example(s):

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Green Goblin and Spider-Man

"You're an amazing creature, Spider-Man. You and I are not so different."

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4.88 (8 votes)

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Main / NotSoDifferentRemark

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