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Sincerest Form of Flattery

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"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
Attributed to Charles Caleb Colton (although he probably stole it from someone else)

The above quote is an axiom that holds especially true with Follow the Leader. After all, why follow something that you don't think has enough merit to follow?

So this is a Sub-Trope, where the creator of a Follow the Leader work has explicitly stated they are taking something as inspiration for their work.

Just the inspiration being obvious is not enough. There has to be a direct admission that this is so. Admitting in the form of a Take That! might still count, as it's just denying that they are following this trope, even when we know better. For this kind of thing in fiction, see Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery.

Also compare What Would X Do?

Note: We don't require citations like The Other Wiki does, however, since this trope is about comments made by a creator about a work of media, it is highly recommended that citations be provided.


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    Comic Books 
  • The creator of Batman admitted the main character to be based on Zorro. This is the reason Batman watches a Zorro movie the night his parents are killed.

    Fan Works 

  • Supposedly, when the Wachowskis were peddling the script for The Matrix, they brought with them a comic book and told prospective buyers that, basically they wanted to do something like that as a movie. The comic in question? Ghost in the Shell.
    • Not just the comic, too. Watch the GITS movie's scene of Kusanagi going invisible. Then watch the Trinity scene. They specifically showed the movie to Joel Silver to give him an idea how they wanted The Matrix to look.
    • Also The Invisibles.
  • The writers of MAD admitted that their movie Up the Academy was heavily inspired by Animal House, another movie based on a comedy magazine (National Lampoon). They ended up disowning the film.
  • La La Land was marketed as a "love letter" to The Golden Age of Hollywood, particularly musicals.
  • Donkey Xote's cover art straight up says: "From the producers who saw Shrek". No, we're not kidding.


    Live Action TV 
  • The producers of Tallafornia openly stated that they were trying to make Jersey Shore in Tallaght.
  • In the first episode of Sze U Tonight, Johnson mentions that he is inspired by American talk shows, and that he wants to re-create it for Hong Kong audiences. That said, the show has since developed its own quirks and style.

  • Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt admits "Ending Credits" is "totally a Camel ripoff". He's also acknowledged that "Slither" is his attempt to rewrite Rainbow's "Kill the King", which is fitting for a song intended as a Ronnie James Dio tribute.
  • Nobuo Uematsu acknowledged lifting the intro riff of Jimi Hendrix' "Purple Haze" for "One-Winged Angel".
  • David Bowie admitted that the chorus of "Starman" is basically a rip-off of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
  • Tony Banks has described playing back a recording of Genesis' "Afterglow" and realising to his horror that he had just rewritten "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". From the same band, Phil Collins admitted to stealing the Evil Laugh in "Mama" from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
  • Tears for Fears have done this a lot:
    • Word of God admits that "Sowing the Seeds of Love" and "Schrödinger's Cat" are both pastiches of "I Am the Walrus" (main songwriter Roland Orzabal also notes that the piano break on "Schrödinger" is "reminiscent of [Thunderclap Newman's] 'Something in the Air'"). These were far from the only Beatles pastiches the group recorded; large parts of The Seeds of Love and Everybody Loves a Happy Ending bear clear Beatles influence (although maybe not quite this clear). "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending" and "Who Killed Tangerine?" could almost be lost Beatles tracks, for example.
    • "Brian Wilson Said", as might be expected from the title, is a The Beach Boys pastiche (it also alludes to Van Morrison's track "Jackie Wilson Said", which appears on Saint Dominic's Preview, though if there is any other Morrison influence on the track, it's oblique at most).
    • With "Lord of Karma", Orzabal says the group were "trying to get somewhere between the Happy Mondays and Jimi Hendrix's 'Crosstown Traffic'".
    • "I Believe" is such a clear Robert Wyatt homage that the band covered his track "Sea Song" for the B-side. The album's liner notes further lampshaded it by stating "Dedicated to Robert Wyatt (if he's listening)", referencing the song "Dedicated to You But You Weren't Listening" by Soft Machine, which Wyatt was previously a member of.
    • Orzabal admitted that he was listening to "too much Art of Noise" when "Empire Building" was recorded.
  • Eminem:
    • Eminem stated in a 2009 interview that Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger" was 'the original version of "Lose Yourself"'.
    • Averted with "Untouchable", which was widely interpreted as an attempt to rewrite Joyner Lucas's "I'm Not Racist", but Eminem had in fact written it before he heard "I'm Not Racist".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ring of Honor and Chikara are completely open about the ideas they lifted from Mexican and Japanese promotions like Lucha Libre Internacional, All Japan and New Japan.
  • SHIMMER was setup to increase the respect for women's pro wrestling on an international level. In 2011, a promotion calling itself GLAMOUR started up in Australia using the same style of font in their logo as SHIMMERnote 

  • Dorf Quest has stated from the beginning that it was inspired by Ruby Quest and was an attempt at another sort of "quest".

    Video Games 


  • Radio comedian Fred Allen paraphrased the above quote as "Imitation is the sincerest form of television." Mighty Mouse invokes it in the Bakshi-produced episode "Don't Touch That Dial."
  • The team behind the French Video Review Show Joueur du Grenier never shied away from admitting their biggest inspiration originally was Angry Video Game Nerd, they even put it in the description of the first episode.