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"Take That!" Tit-for-Tat

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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.
On a more lighthearted note, sometimes this can take the form of lighthearted ribbing/jabbing between two works akin to Vitriolic Best Buds.

See also Take That!

Common in Dueling Series, Dueling Movies, and Dueling Games. Not to be confused with Laurel and Hardy short film Tit for Tat. Oh, and the laconic version's terrible.


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  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • After the artwork of Dilbert was criticized in Zippy the Pinhead as simplistic, Scott Adams retaliated by having Dogbert create a comic strip called "Pippy the Ziphead" about "a clown with a small head who says random things" which nobody liked, not even Dogbert.
  • 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 that he could use his lawyer experience to claim the time length as billable hours.
  • Li'l Abner once had a parody of Mary Worth take a vacation from her strip to meddle in Abner and Daisy Mae's affairs. Mary Worth reciprocated with an unflattering caricature of Li'l Abner creator Al Capp as a drunken lout.
  • After America (The Book) included a parody of Mallard Fillmore where the title character went on a political rant that ended with "oops, I forgot to tell a joke", the strip responded with an installment where the book's author, Jon Stewart, is implied to be a child molester.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.)

    Film - Animated 

    Film - Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Wes Craven and Sam Raimi had a history of taking lighthearted jabs at each other in their horror movies, as chronicled here by Justin Whang. It started when Raimi put a ripped-up The Hills Have Eyes poster in the background of a shot from The Evil Dead, in response to a similar shot of a torn Jaws poster in that film. Craven fired back with a scene of Nancy falling asleep to Evil Dead in A Nightmare on Elm Street, to which Raimi had Freddy's clawed glove hung up on a wall like a trophy in Evil Dead 2. Scream then had characters arguing over whether to watch Hellraiser or Evil Dead at a party. After Wes Craven passed away in 2015, however, Raimi would bring it all full circle and wrap things up by putting an intact, framed Hills Have Eyes poster in Ash vs. Evil Dead as a post-mortem tribute.

  • Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" was written in response to Thomas Dunn English's "1844" AKA "The Power of the S.F.". Originally friends, both men had a very nasty public fallout that eventually evolved into a bitter feud. From here on, both Poe and English engaged in several confrontations, usually centered around literary caricatures of one another. One of English's letters which was published in the July 23, 1846, issue of the New York Mirror caused Poe to successfully sue the editors of the Mirror for libel. That same year, English published his previously mentioned novel that featured a character called Marmaduke Hammerhead, author of The Black Crow. He was portrayed as a drunken liar and wife-beater. Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" contains several allusions to English's novel and taking into account the nature of the tale: a wronged protagonist who successfully exacts revenge unto his former friend with total impunity... One can see the parallels.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer would swap jabs while they were both on air. (Both series were created by the same person, Joss Whedon.)
  • 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 stealing ideas from In-Universe. 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 mocking Nick's All That. iCarly then countered again with an episode dedicated to criticising 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, 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 had yet to do at the time.[note]The Bachelor wouldn't have an African-American bachelor until Matt James in 2021.[/note]
  • 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."
  • After Ronnie Barker criticised Not the Nine O'Clock News for its "adult" tone, the NTNOCN team unleashed a lengthy sketch called The Two Ninnies, which lampshaded the Double Entendre that was the basis of a lot of The Two Ronnies sketches. Sources vary as to whether Ronnie Corbett found this Actually Pretty Funny, but seem unanimous that Barker didn't.

  • 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.
  • The Pet Shop Boys song "The Night I Fell in Love" depicts a homosexual encounter between the narrator of the song and a rapper heavily implied to be Eminem after a concert, which was widely interpreted as a shot at Eminem's homophobia accusations. Eminem responded with the answer song "Can-I-Bitch", wherein he and Dr. Dre run the Pet Shop Boys over.
  • 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". Fortunately, the feud ended in mid-2018 when the two reconciled and Perry appeared in Swift's music video for "You Need to Calm Down".
  • 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 at 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.
  • A rumoured, never confirmed case was the titles of the albums by Van Halen and David Lee Roth when Sammy Hagar replaced the latter. Roth released Crazy from the Heat, VH had 5150, the police code for a crazy person. Roth released Eat 'Em and Smile, VH had OU812 ("Oh, you ate one too?"). Finally, VH released For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Roth had Your Filthy Little Mouth.
  • In 2018, Machine Gun Kelly dissed Eminem on TechN9ne's "No Reason (The Mosh Pit Song)", which resulted in Eminem dissing MGK on his song "Not Alike", before Kelly dissed Eminem again with "Rap Devil" and Eminem would hit back with "Killshot".
  • John Fahey wrote "The Assassination of Stephen Grossman", referencing fellow guitarist Stefen Grossman. It's completely instrumental, and Grossman always took it as a joke—his only complaint being that Fahey misspelled his first name. Grossman replied with a song of his own, "The Assassination of Blind Joe Death", referencing the stage name Fahey had used earlier in his career. Fahey and Grossman wanted to continue the joke by playing together on what would have been called the Assassination Tour, but health problems prevented that.
  • There was a playful back-and-forth between Steely Dan and the Eagles. In the former's "Everything You Did," one lyric sarcastically states, "Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening". The latter's "Hotel California" returned the favor with the lyric "They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast".

  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • An example that sits between this trope and Shout-Out can be found in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. 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 

    Video Games 
  • 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!".
  • An interesting case of this (that sits between Shout-Out and Take That!) is 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. In fact depending on how one sees it, it's less of a Take That! and more like different games constantly referencing and one-upping each other.
  • 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 DmC: Devil May Cry, had a clear disdain for the original continuity that manifested in DmC Dante ending up with a "wig" resembling the original Dante's hairstyle falling 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 few light-hearted jabs that reference DmC:
    • Dr. Faust, a cowboy hat weapon used by Dante that causes him to strike flamboyant poses while using it, referencing an infamous GDC presentation by Ninja Theory which included an image of the original Dante edited into the background of Brokeback Mountain.
    • Nero's hair being cut short to resemble DmC Dante, then shouting the phrase "Fuck you!", which that Dante said a lot.
    • The classic Dante outright saying "Not in a million years" when Vergil summons a Doppelganger during their fight in an attempt to gain an advantage in numbers.

    Web Original 
  • When TwoSet Violin made a snarky video arguing that the violin was superior to the recorder because more elaborate techniques are possible, a professional recorder player responded with her own video demonstrating how she could execute all those techniques and then some. TwoSet were good sports and acknowledged they had been properly roasted.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Take That Back And Forth, Take That Retaliation