For whatever meta reason the producers and writers desire, sometimes a work will mock another piece of work. This is usually for comedic value and is a light-hearted (if pointed) gag.
However, one little attack can always incite a war. This trope is for instances of Work A making fun of Work B, and then Work B does the same to Work A in response. Though often settled once the score is 1-1 and the statement has been made, some works may continue the war.
Alternatively, Work B may not make a joke at the expense of Work A but instead somehow prove it wrong or create a negative homage to subtly throw shade back without the maligned name-dropping.
See: Take That!
- The original Energizer Bunny commercial from 1988 was a parody of Duracell's commercials, where a row of pink battery-operated drum-playing rabbits ran down one-by-one, but the Duracell-powered one lasted the longest. Energizer's take on these commercials implied that Duracell always compared its batteries to zinc-carbon batteries and not similar alkaline batteries like Energizer by having the Energizer Bunny show up as an uninvited guest. In Canada, Duracell fired back in 1994 with a commercial parodying The Tortoise and the Hare. In this commercial, after having outlasted the other tortoises, the Duracell-powered tortoise passes by a pink rabbit sleeping under a tree, implying that by this point, Duracell did compare its batteries to those of its alkaline rivals.
- Viz, based in Newcastle, used to do many vulgar parodies of characters from the Beano and Dandy, owned by Scottish DC Thomson & Co. When DC Thomson tried to sue Viz for breach of copyright, Viz published a strip about "DC Thomson the Humourless Scottish Twat." DC retaliated by resurrecting an old strip from the Dandy called "The Jocks and the Geordies," about two gangs of warring schoolboys on either side of the England-Scotland border. The story had both sets of boys attempting to win a competition to design a comic, and the Jocks (Scottish boys) win, to the humiliation of the Geordies (from Newcastle) who tried to cheat by copying them and whose own ideas were all terrible. Viz responded in its next issue with "Korky the Twat," a parody of the iconic Dandy flagship character Korky the Cat.
- The Authority would often mock and satirize and deconstruct traditional superheroes, their brand of heroism and their tropes. Superman, the most traditional of superheroes, thus had an issue called "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, & the American Way?" (later expanded into a feature-length film called Superman vs. the Elite) that satirizes and deconstructs the Authority, their brand of heroism and their tropes.
- Marvel Comics and DC Comics superheroes have beaten up thinly-veiled versions of each other's characters too many times to count.
- FoxTrot once poked fun at Pearls Before Swine by claiming their strip compilations don't qualify as good news. A year later, Stephen Pastis got the rights to reuse the same strip and did a Remix Comic of it claiming that Bill Amend only semi-retired so he could spend all day playing MMOs. Bill then shot back that Pastis took so long so he could use his lawyer experience to claim the time length as billable hours.
- Scootertrix the Abridged, episode 9, features an argument over who the worst MLP Abridged Series director is. When Ultra Fast Pony creator Wacarb comes up in the argument, Celestia responds, "Who the hell is Wacarb?" UFP shot back in "On Your Mark", where the topic of performing tricks on a scooter comes up: "But there are no good scooter tricks!" "Yeah, Scootertrix sucks!" (It's all for laughs, because both of them are fans of the other's work in Real Life.)
- Among much of the anti-Disney humor featured in Shrek was an unflattering caricature of then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, the rival and former business partner of Dreamworks Animation founder and former Disney CCO Jeffery Katzenberg. Annoyed by Katzenberg's success with a movie that gave Disney the finger for ninety minutes, Eisner shot back by overhauling Disney's Chicken Little into a similarly snarky, self-aware broad comedy, thinking he could beat his rival at his own game. Unfortunately for Eisner, it didn't work out: the film was a critical flop and, after a string of bad investments, he resigned from the company.
- Orca: The Killer Whale featured a scene of an orca easily killing a great white shark as a Take That! towards Jaws. When Jaws 2 came about, it featured a scene of characters finding a beached corpse of an orca, which has been killed by a Great White shark. It should be noted that in real life, orcas do indeed kill great white sharks, but great white sharks are not known to kill orcas.
- There was a running series of the lighthearted version in the respective movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone throughout the 80s and early 90s. Highlights include a joke about Stallone starring in Terminator 2: Judgment Day in Last Action Hero and a reference to President Schwarzenegger in Demolition Man.
- Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer would swap jabs while they were both on air.
- Disney Channel and Nickelodeon had a minor feud going during The Noughties, mainly playing out through stories and devices in iCarly and Sonny with a Chancenote . iCarly has an episode where it takes shots at the Disney Channel (a.k.a. "Dingo" Channel), for In-Universe stealing the ideas of iCarly.com. They also claim that the original ideas of the channel are bland and unentertaining, and they make all their adult characters stupid. Sonny With a Chance got to have its own go with So Random! going to hell with new producers in a storyline that is mocking Nick's All That. iCarly then counters again with an entire episode dedicated to completely unsubtly criticise a certain network's new interpretation of kids' TV and their programming overhaul that ditched all of the 'good' children's TV shows in favor of lesser and more demeaning ones.
- Glee (as a Long Runner that's easy to mock):
- One of Neil Patrick Harris' Tony performances referred to Broadway shows as "a two-hour, live-action, barely affordable, un-lip-synched version of Glee", causing the TV show to have more songs performed live on set rather than pre-recorded and edited.
- Our Gay Wedding: The Musical claimed that its entire premise was "gayer than Glee" — the next season then contained a double gay wedding, just to make sure it kept the title.
- After Pitch Perfect trashed the show, characters began saying things like "the a cappella thing is boring, done".
- After Community characters told the glee club on their own show (an expy for the rival shows) to "write some original songs", Glee did just that. However, Glee did not respond to Community's mocking that it "got a lot of awards" for just doing "sing sing singaling", possibly because actually winning all those awards was giving the return Take That for them.
- The show also started its own little war, when in a season 4 episode one character claims that a couple she doesn't like makes her feel "dryer than the cast of Hot in Cleveland", HIC later responded with one of their characters who was played by a former star of Glee (Chris Colfer) tell his mother how he was "in the glee club for six long years" as if despairing.
- On Virtually Famous, primarily about modern internet use, Chris and Seann would mock Kevin McHale for being on Glee, so the next season of the show had the first episode ditch the computing extracurricular in favor of glee club.
- With Channing Tatum's fictional appearances: in season 2, Mike (whose actor plays perpetually-sidelined Cable in the Step Up films) asked Santa for "Channing Tatum to stop being in stuff". In 21 Jump Street, Tatum's character curses Glee for allowing the weird kids to be cool.
- The first episode of the final season reveals that Rachel's TV show was a flop, and that it was called... That's So Rachel. The show it was named for, never actually a failure, then was granted a sequel series shortly after Glee ended.
- The long-lasting, good-spirited, feud between Morecambe and Wise and Des O'Connor, the first joke and following jibes (some featuring O'Connor) appeared on The Morecambe & Wise Show.
- UnREAL (2015) features a show that is an expy of The Bachelor — the host of The Bachelor said that one difference between the shows is that people watched his. UnREAL responded by featuring an African-American bachelor, something that the other show has never done.
- When Buffy the Vampire Slayer shifted networks from WB to UPN after season 5, a WB spokesperson said that UPN stood for "Used Parts Network". In response, a UPN spokesperson said that WB stood for "Without Buffy".
- Titans (2018) responded to the dig in Deadpool 2 at the early movies of the DC Extended Universe and how dark they were with a montage of violent images of their series, ending with "Suck it, Mr. Pool. With Love, DC Universe."
- Among Russian rock music fans, the rivalry between Yuri Shevchuk (from band DDT) and Konstantin Kinchev (of Alisa fame) is the most memorable example of this.
- Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" was a dig towards her former friend Katy Perry, who she accused of taking her dancers away from her. Perry would hit back at Swift with that "Regina George" tweet and "Swish Swish". Swift hit back at her with "Look What You Made Me Do".
- In 2005 Tarja Turunen was fired from her position as lead vocalist of Nightwish due to personal disputes with the other band members, particularly keyboardist and principal songwriter Tuomas Holopainen. Nightwish subsequently devoted two songs on their 2007 album Dark Passion Play, "Bye Bye Beautiful" and "Master Passion Greed", to taking potshots at respectively Tarja and her husband Marcelo Cabuli, whom they accused of being a bad influence on her. Tarja shot back in 2009 with "Enough", which accuses Nightwish and Tuomas in particular of being egotistical prima donnas. (Things have thawed somewhat since then: Tarja is friends with current Nightwish vocalist Floor Jansen and has made live appearances with guitarist Marco Hietala.)
- Remember when Kanye West famously interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMA's? Well, she wrote him a song called "Innocent", forgiving him. He didn't seem to get the message and wrote her into his song "Famous" — "I made that bitch [Swift] famous", ouch. Swift said that she didn't approve of the lyric, and then Kim Kardashian (very good at not making friends) posted a video of a phone call with Swift where she said that Kanye could joke about having made her famous in his song, but not to be referred to as 'that bitch' and certainly not to have Kanye imply he thinks she owes him sex for it. Kardashian continued to mock her for it. Swift's Reputation album (an introspective look on her, well, reputation) includes the song "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things", with some lyrics that seem pointed at Kanye: "It was so nice being friends again / There I was giving you a second chance / But you stabbed me in the back while shaking my hand / And therein lies the issue / Friends don't try to trick you / Get you on the phone and mind-twist you".
- The Argentine band Hermética broke up in controversial circumstances. Bassist Ricardo Iorio started a new one, Almafuerte, and all the others got a new bassist and continued as Malón. Their first albums ("Mundo Guanaco" and "Espíritu Combativo") included several indirect jabs at each other.
- The infamous "feud" between Jack Benny and Fred Allen began as one of these, starting when Allen made a crack at Benny's "skills" on the violin in a 1937 episode of his show. Benny responded in kind the following week and they were off to the races.
- An... arguable example can be found in the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons. In issue #265 of Dragon, the issue of Knights of the Dinner Table features the munchkin players challenging their GM's apparently super-lethal dungeon by buying a large variety of livestock, which they use as cheap tools to overcome various obstacles.note In the 4e sourcebook "The Dungeon Survival Handbook", a sourcebook on dungeonsnote , using herd animals in such a way is mentioned... as a "Dungeon Don't", or something you should not do, with observations as to the various flaws in driving herds of animals into the dungeon ahead of you.note
- The Grand Theft Auto series had two games in a row (3 and Vice City) where the player character has to kill someone named Tanner, as in the protagonist of the Driver series. In response, Reflections put a group of men in Driv3r named Timmy Vermicelli (a takeoff on Vice City's Tommy Vercetti) who wears a Hawaiian shirt and arm floaters (due to Tommy's inability to swim) and shoots at the player. Killing all Timmy's unlocks a bonus area. Rockstar fired back in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas by including a scene where a character is shown playing a video game and shouting "This sucks, I mean, how could Refractions mess up so bad? Tanner, you suck ass!".
- The "Zombie Genocider" achievement in Dead Rising requires the player to kill 53,594 zombies, or the equivalent of the entire population of Willamette. Left 4 Dead includes an achievement called "Zombie Genocidest", which requires you to kill 53,595 Infected. In response, Dead Rising 2 added the "Z-Genocider 2: Genocide Harder" achievement for 53,596 zombie kills. Some other games have also referenced this, like "Trail of Corpses" in [PROTOTYPE] note , a note in the credits for Bioshock 2 that claims "53,596 zombies were killed during the making of this game", and the "HOPO-cidal Maniac" achievement in Rock Band 3 for "killing" 53,596 hammer-ons and pull-offs.
- At the end of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Sonic's shoes and Earthworm Jim's gun are seen next to a trash can that says, NO HOPERS when Cranky ranks Diddy alongside Mario, Yoshi, and Link, depending on how many DK Coins they found throughout the game. This was done in response to two separate take thats; a promotional video for the Sonic & Knuckles game had the line, "Can an old gorilla beat this new team? No way!", and the Sega CD version of Earthworm Jim had the unlockable "Worm Kong" mask, which resembled Donkey Kong with an arrow through his head, in response to the original Donkey Kong Country game outselling the original Earthworm Jim game in retail sales.
- Devil May Cry managed to do this to itself. Tameem Antoniades, director of Ninja Theory's Dm C Devil May Cry, had a clear disdain for the original trilogy that manifested in DmC!Dante ending up with an original!Dante wig on his head in the middle of a fight, only to declare "Not in a million years" and rip it off. The eventual Devil May Cry 5 - developed in-house by Capcom - had a more light-hearted jab back with Dr. Faust, a cowboy hat weapon used by Dante that causes him to strike flamboyant poses while using it, referencing Tameem's infamous remark calling original!Dante a "gay cowboy".
- The Simpsons:
- The episode "Black Widower" begins with the Simpson family watching a parody of Dinosaurs, and Bart comments, "It's like they saw our lives and put it right up on screen!", a reference to the criticism Dinosaurs received at the time for being accused of being a rip-off of The Simpsons. Dinosaurs would later fire back in the episode, "Dirty Dancin'", wherein Earl complains about the TV line-up consisting of nothing but shows involving idiot fathers, following the success of "Totally Ineffectual Dad", and that the other shows are just cheap rip-offs. Baby then says, "Don't have a cow, man!", Bart's Catchphrase at the time.
- In another episode, Peter from Family Guy appeared on a Wanted poster for plagiarism. Family Guy responded in its typical way (see below).
- Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi's numerous derogatory remarks about The Simpsons resulted in a moment in "The Front" where a clip from Ren and Stimpy nominated for an award ceremony is instead a black screen reading "clip not done yet", referencing the show's infamous Troubled Production and severe Schedule Slips.
- In a more good-natured rib, South Park did the episode "Simpsons Already Did It" because it was hard for the writers to think good ideas that hadn't already shown up in Springfield. The Simpsons responded by having Bart and Milhouse watching South Park, something which Marge vehemently disapproves.
- As mentioned above, Seth MacFarlane took a "little shot back" at Matt Groening's plagiarism joke in The Simpsons by having a Cutaway Gag in Family Guy in which... Marge is brutally raped by Quagmire, who then follows her home and murders the entire family. Needless to say, Groening didn't find it funny at all and threatened never to speak to MacFarlane again if the scene wasn't pulled from reruns.
- Despite the fact that he designed the character of Sappy Stanley for the episode, "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny?", Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi did not enjoy the work he did for Tiny Toon Adventures. When he became a contributor for the "Wild Cartoon Kingdom" magazine, he gave negative reviews to the later animated works of Steven Spielberg, such as We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story and Animaniacs under the pseudonym "Tom Paine", the latter of which he bashed before he even saw the show. The Tiny Toon Adventures Spring Break Special fired back by having Rank and Stumpy, rooster and squirrel expies of Ren and Stimpy get run over by the Tiny Toons bus near the end of the special. The other victims of the bus were Beaver and Hoghead, based on the stars of a show John K notably enjoyed, adding even more fuel to the fire.