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Stop Copying Me

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Need a hand with that copying shtick, Patrick?

Delkin: Remember that parrot game, the one in which I'd repeat everything you say? I've invented a new version!
Delkin: Remember that parrot game, the one in which I'd repeat everything you say? I've invented a new version!
Delkin: Remember that parrot game, the one in which I'd repeat everything you say? I've invented a new version!

Remember when, as a kid, you used to copy everything a friend said? Well, you're not alone. Everyone played it, including the creators of fiction. It gets old very fast and, in some circumstances, is not even a game: it's just a way to get on someone's nerves. Obviously, this is exploited in comedy, with the end result "stop copying me!"... "I mean it!" Sometimes the victim will turn the table and force the perpetrator to either quit the game or say embarrassing things. This may still mean that the joke is on the victim, if the purpose of the game was to make them say embarrassing things:

Victim: I'm an idiot!
Perpetrator: Well, at least you admit it!

That said, in horror, there is a niche for the game. The Doctor Who episode "Midnight" went down that road spectacularly. Compare Copycat Mockery, Baby See, Baby Do, Annoyingly Repetitive Child, and Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery.


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  • An Amazon commercial that has a Call And Response song.
    ''Amazon dot com
    Amazon dot com
    Makes me feel like a kid
    Makes me feel like a kid
    Stop copying me
    Stop copying me''
  • In the current ad campaign for Cheez-It, the narrator explains that they allow the cheese to mature before putting it in their snacks, and then show a clip where a scientist is speaking to a wheel of cheese that hasn't quite matured yet, and then usually cut to the next day, where the cheese has matured. In one commercial the immature cheese copies everything the scientist says, including the sound effects to the scientist clicking his pen, checking the box labeled "NOT READY", and clicking the pen again.
  • This Cocoa Puffs commercial features Sonny calling a friend of his (a parrot) to keep himself from going cuckoo. It backfires as the parrot repeats everything he says about cocoa puffs.
    Parrot: Cocoa Puffs.
    Sonny: Mmm... Cocoa Puffs.
    Parrot: Hey! Stop copying me.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Duel Masters: Mikuni throws Shobu off his game and defeats him by copying both his words and his moves until Shobu gets confused and makes a mistake. During their rematch, Shobu does the same thing to him and throws him off his game.
  • Tiger & Bunny episode 2 had Tiger do this to Barnaby when the latter protested against the former's "Bunny" nickname for him.
  • Zombie Land Saga has Tae Yamada, the only one of the zombie idols who hasn't awakened. She copies her friends movements, facial expressions, and speech in an attempt to learn how to be human, though her speech comes out a garbled groany mess. This is the way she can do the complex idol dances alongside other girls, despite her lack of higher brain functions.

    Comic Books 
  • Le Petit Spirou had this on several occasions: once when Spirou does it to get his grandfather to buy him ice cream, only for the grandfather to start copying him. In another he does the "copy voice and movements" to one of his friends, until said friend punches himself in the jaw. Spirou declares that the curse that forced him to copy other people has been lifted thanks to his friend's sacrifice.
  • Molly Danger: In one story, while he's being hauled off to jail, Medula swears revenge on Molly, who just apes him in response.
Medula: I will have my revenge, Molly Danger.
Molly: I will have my revenge, Molly Danger.
Medula: Stop that.
Molly: Stop that.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Calvin once does this to Hobbes. Hobbes trumps him by quoting a long, complex passage from a philosophy book.
    • Hobbes, like most victims of this game, learned the hard way. The first time Calvin tried this, Hobbes reacted by insulting himself, which was exactly what Calvin was trying to trick him into doing. Calvin's dad falls into the same trap by daring Calvin to repeat that "I forfeit all my desserts for a week." (Calvin then asks if he can have them instead). But unlike Hobbes, Calvin's dad is not clever enough to get Calvin his just desserts later.

    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek does it to Donkey in Shrek 2 after Donkey annoys him by asking "Are We There Yet?" too many times, but backfires when Fiona tells them that they've arrived in Far Far Away.
  • Steven Universe: The Movie: The Crystal Gems are hit with a weapon that gives them Identity Amnesia. Amethyst becomes a Blank Slate who mimics everything done in front of her, even shapeshifting into Steven and Greg's forms. This disturbs both of them.
  • Vanellope Von Schweetz does this to Ralph when they first meet in Wreck-It Ralph.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Done by Seann William Scott's character in Cop Out.
  • Juni uses this twice in Spy Kids. With voices to match, as well.
  • Briefly shows up at the climax of Dude, Where's My Car?
  • Big Daddy explains the real method to break off the game, by forcing the other player to say the woodchuck Tongue Twister.
  • Young Tom Canboro has to deal with his brother Calvin copying his words in the Apocalypse series film Tribulation.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: After meeting Thor, Quill imitates his accent and low voice but denies that he does it.
    Quill: This is my voice.
    Thor: Are you mocking me?
    Quill: Are you mocking me?
    Thor: Stop it. You did it again.
    Quill: He's trying to copy me.
  • Goodbye Again: Kenneth manages to get Elizabeth and Arthur, who are greatly annoying him, to clear out by the simple device of repeating back everything they say.
    Arthur: That's a child's game!
    Kenneth: That's a child's game!

  • Vice Principal Nero in The Austere Academy of A Series of Unfortunate Events, who always copied the Baudelaires.
  • Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell. One of the protagonists is stuck in a retirement village for spies with the Big Bad and does this to Mind Screw him (any attempt to use physical violence would lead to his execution, so he's trying to drive the Big Bad out through continued harassment).
  • Zuriaa played with this trope with The Fleur-de-mal in the second book of The Meq Trilogy.
  • In Starfighters of Adumar, documentarian Hallis Saper uses a 3PO protocol droid's head (which she calls Whitecap) to house her recording gear. Partway through the novel, Whitecap is damaged, and begins repeating everything it hears within earshot.
  • The children's picture book Stephanie's Ponytail is about the eponymous character wanting to wear her hair in a ponytail but getting increasingly annoyed when her classmates (and eventually even the teachers) copy every variation of the ponytail she tries out. She eventually puts a stop to this by angrily declaring to her class that she'll shave her head next...and then strolling into a classroom now full of bald heads with her hair back in its original ponytail.
  • The Trials of Apollo: In the companion book Camp Half-Blood Confidential, the chapter "Training Grounds" consists entirely of Apollo leading campers in a military cadence. Partway through, he's accidentally fallen down and hurt himself (and still singing about it), and the campers keep repeating his words until he threatens them all with death.
  • In the second Fudge book, "Superfudge", Fudge develops a habit of doing this to Peter, much to his annoyance. He doesn't stop until he gets so amused with himself that he nearly chokes from laughter. Their dad takes this chance to step in and get him to stop once and for all.
    • Uncle Feather, Fudge's myna bird, also does this when he's not saying his favourite catchphrase. Peter reflects that they only just got Fudge to stop copying him, and now they have a bird who copies what people say.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Chaser's 2007 election special, The Chaser Decides has a parody ad based on the Get a Mac campaign, with Andrew representing the Liberal Party and Chris as Labor. Andrew quickly gets annoyed with Chris saying "Me too," to each of his promises.
    Andrew: Well I like eating babies' heads.
    Chris: Happy to give it a try.
    Andrew: And I hate people who say me too.
    Chris: Yeah, me too, that really shits me.
  • Jeff's reaction in The Tag at the end of an episode of Community when Abed and Troy both spoke in unison with and dressed the same as Jeff.
  • Doctor Who: Played for Drama in "Midnight". An unknown alien thing invades the body of a passenger on a Bus Full of Innocents. It copies people's words. After a while, it starts talking in sync with the people... and eventually, it talks before they talk, leaving the person they're copying paralyzed and unable to stop repeating what the monster says.
  • Friends called it The Shadow Game.
  • On Full House, Michelle annoyed Stephanie by shadowing her. Steph eventually got Michelle to shadow Kimmy instead.
  • One episode of Roseanne had D.J. doing this to Darlene, much to her irritation. Eventually:
    Rosanne: What's going on in here?
    Dan: Darlene is repeating everything D.J. says a second before he says it.
    Roseanne: [to Darlene] Don't be so childish!
  • In one episode of Eureeka's Castle there was a skit where Bogge ended up copying everything Quagmire said, because she told him to copy her once while trying to teach him some dance moves. Eventually Eureeka had to settle their argument, only to get Bogge copying her.
  • Happens in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, where a bully attempts to wind Malcolm up by mimicking him. Malcolm gets the better of him of by rattling off a Latin phrase too quickly for the bully to remember and repeat.
  • This happened in a Morecambe and Wise sketch where Eric played the echo for the song "I'm Wishing" but, while Ernie was still talking to him, he kept repeating his instructions in his "singing" voice.
  • During the second season of Reba, Reba and her friend go to a Speed Dating meeting. One of the men Reba and her friend meet claims to "like making people laugh"... by copying what the woman he meets says in a mocking tone. Neither Reba nor her friend, whom he meets separately, is amused.
  • Sesame Street: This Ernie and Bert sketch has Bert unintentionally get caught in one of Ernie's copycat games.
  • Supernatural: In "Mystery Spot", Sam does this to Dean to prove they're in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, except he can do it simultaneously, being all too familiar with everything Dean is going to do and say.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Little Green Men", Quark and his family crashland in Roswell in 1947, but their universal translators aren't working, so they can't explain their situation. They try slapping their heads to get them working again. The assembled military and scientists decide to copy them in an attempt to communicate and proceed to Dope Slap themselves, much to Quark's amusement.

  • Occurs in "Moonlight Special" by Ray Stevens, a parody of The Midnight Special. The first parody is a parody of Gladys Knight & the Pips called "Mildred Queen & the Dips", all of whom are voiced by Ray himself. Halfway through their song, this trope occurs:
    Mildred: Wait a minute!
    Backing vocalists: ♪Wait a minute♪
    Mildred: How come you're singing everything I sing?
    Backing vocalists: ♪How come you're singing everything I sing?♪
    Mildred: Now cut that out!
    Backing vocalists: ♪Now cut that out♪
    Mildred: Stop that!
    Backing vocalists: ♪Stop that♪
    Mildred: Now I know why I call you guys the Dips!
    Backing vocalists: ♪Now I know why I call you guys the Dips♪
    Mildred: You're dippy!
    Backing vocalists: ♪You're dippy♪
    Mildred: [screams]
    Backing vocalists: ♪Aaaaaahhhh~♪

    Tabletop Games 
  • Common in Chess among woodpushers—this usually ends with the copier's queen captured or the like.

  • In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom continues copying his aunt's words after he tells him to "repeat after her" that he will not play hooky that day.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • In the Map Men episode about map copying and copyright traps (errors added to maps to detect copying), Mark demonstrates how annoying copying is by copying Jay. After telling him to stop, Jay tries to trick Mark into saying "I'm an idiot", but Mark was paying attention and says "you're an idiot" instead.

    Western Animation 
  • Swisgaar and Toki get into this in Metalocalypse, made funnier by their imperfect English:
    "Stops copies me!
    Stops copies me!"
  • In the Recess episode "Copycat Kid", Mikey copies everything Vince does after Vince saved him from being hit by a baseball in the head.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Wanting to win an award like the many awards SpongeBob has, Patrick does it to SpongeBob in the episode "Big Pink Loser". The episode provides the page image. In this case, it's a case of Gone Horribly Right, as SpongeBob told Patrick to do "exactly as I do". (In context, he was talking Patrick through opening a glass jar, but Patrick took it a bit too literally.)
  • In a Rolie Polie Olie episode, the little Zowie begins to parrot Olie, much to his annoyance. He eventually exploits this to make her go to bed.
  • In an early episode of Xiaolin Showdown an enemy mime does this to Clay (after trapping the rest of the dragons) to stop him from getting past. Eventually Clay punches himself hard in the face, knocking out the mime.
  • Bugs Bunny does it to The Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Rabbit, eventually tricking the wolf into imitating him.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, this is done by the Frustrado-Bot built by Heloise, built for the sole porpuse of annoying people, especially Jimmy.
  • Robin had to deal with his mirror-created clone copying his words in an episode of The Batman. He tries to trick his copy into saying "I like to smell my feet", but his copy ends up saying, "You like to smell your feet?"
  • Daffy Duck does this to Porky Pig in The Looney Tunes Show after their argument over french fries. The look on Daffy's face can tell the audience that he's enjoying the trolling.
  • Animaniacs: If asked to "repeat after me", the Warner siblings will take this advice to heart immediately, including repeating "repeat after me", which quickly devolves into this. Oddly, the people they're imitating never get the idea to ignore this and move on to what they actually want the Warners repeating.
  • One episode of Beavis and Butt-Head has Beavis deciding to copy Butt-head. Butt-head tries to get him to stop by doing various dangerous things, such as running out into traffic and harassing Todd. Of course, everything that happens to Beavis happens to Butt-head as well. At the end, Butt-head says that he's going to copy Beavis, and Beavis says he can't because he's already copying him. They just end up repeating "No you can't".
  • In one episode of Arthur, D.W. begins imitating Arthur. Arthur initially likes it because she acts less annoying towards him this way, but grows to find it too much when she goes so far as to dress up like him and even wear fake glasses.
  • The Garfield Show special "Long Lost Lyman" had Garfield encounter a Franistan mockingbird, who annoys the orange cat by repeating what he says. When Garfield attempts to get the mockingbird to repeat a phrase praising Garfield, the mockingbird refuses because he doesn't want to lie. Garfield then gets back at the mockingbird by repeating what the mockingbird says.
  • Maggie and the Ferocious Beast: At the beginning at the episode "Guess Who I Am", Beast starts copying everything Hamilton says and do, and by the end of the episode, Hamilton gets back at Beast by starting to copy him now.
  • Occurs in the Tuca & Bertie episode "Bird Mechanics":
    Therapist: To manually reset your socially neurotic brain, repeat whatever it is your conversation partner is saying.
    Bertie: Repeat whatever it is your partner is saying.
    Therapist: Okay, stop repeating me.
    Bertie: Stop repeating me.
    Therapist: are a very handsome therapist?
    Bertie: What?
  • Rosie's Rules: In "Rosie's Twin Day," Rosie wants to be Crystal's twin, so she tries to copy everything she does.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: This is the main idea behind the the episode, appropriately titled, “The Copycats.” The Watersons discover a rival family who copies literally everything that the Watersons do, including being able to somehow copy moments that happened seconds ago. After repeatedly failing to convince them to stop copying them and to use their own ideas, the Watersons decide to intentionally endanger their lives in hopes that the other family will copy them and get terribly hurt doing so. This would hopefully discourage them to stop copying them. For the most part, it also doesn’t work, until they end up in a situation where it’s up to Anais to save them. Since the other family doesn’t have an Anais counterpart, they end up getting horribly injured.


Video Example(s):


"That's really irritating."

In the Map Men episode about map copying and copyright traps (errors added to maps to detect copying), Mark demonstrates how annoying copying is by copying Jay. After telling him to stop, Jay tries to trick Mark into saying "I'm an idiot", but Mark was paying attention and says "you're an idiot" instead.

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Main / StopCopyingMe

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