A Stock Phrase used to compare the difference between the way the speaker and a third character are treated. This is often used to imply that the speaker is not valued as much by the subject in question and can become a source of angst in the relationship.
This can be shown in a number of different situations, including:
- Someone complaining their (ex) significant other is willing to go farther for a current or former lover than they would for the speaker.
- A child lamenting that their parent treats a sibling more favorably.
- A friend feels that they are the odd-man-out amongst their group.
When this phrase is used in the context of an ongoing romantic relationship, this could indicate the moment in which the speaker realizes that their feelings are not fully reciprocated, and lead to a Make Up or Break Up dilemma. If it is instead used by an ex-lover, it can serve to show the audience that the current pairing is True Love after all.
Note that while this is often shown in a dramatic sense, it's also commonly Played for Laughs as one friend uses this phrase on another in a joking way (usually with an "I'm joking" added in.)
Compare What's He Got That I Ain't Got?!.
- In a Yuban Coffee commercial from the late 1970s, a man and wife are at a party. The man asks for a second cup of coffee while the wife laments that he never asks for a second cup of her coffee. (It's also implied that he may be thinking of dumping her for the hot blond party-thrower with the superior coffee-making skills — she'd better go buy some Yuban now for the sake of her marriage!).
- Parodied in the movie Airplane! (see below).
- Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Tohru gets annoyed when Kobayashi offers to let Kanna stay with them since she had initially been turned away when she showed up. Kobayashi's response is "Once you have one, two's nothing."
- One story of the gag manga Neon Genesis Evangelion Comic Party involves Misato and Ritsuko trying to see who's sexier by trying to attract Shinji. When the two try wearing sexy outfits, Kaji and Maya run into them in the process. Kaji notes that Misato never wore an outfit like that for him. Maya then gets upset that Ritsuko never wore an outfit like that for her.
- Ranma ½: When Ranma offers to give Ukyo a piggyback ride, Akane becomes jealous and irritable.
Akane: He never does anything that nice for me!
- Parasyte: Kana believes she's Shinichi's soulmate, due to having a psychic connection to people like him, and her being the first/only person he opened up about The Masquerade to. But she also sees him grow affectionate to his actual girlfriend in a way he never did to her and internally pleads for him to notice her romantically.
- Loki: Agent of Asgard: Odin's quiet admission that, yes, he does actually love Thor and Loki, gets Old!Loki screaming as they watch since apparently Odin never said that to them.
- Dead Air: Used by Lucy when she overhears her ex, Logan, promise to pick up his current wife's brother from the airport.
Lucy: You never picked up my brother from the airport!Logan: But, you never asked me to!Lucy: ... that's because I knew you'd say no.
- The Matrix: Trinity has just brought Neo his dinner and Cypher decides to tease her about her obvious attraction to him.
Cypher: I don't remember you ever bringing me dinner.
- Played for Laughs in Airplane!: When her husband has a second cup of coffee, the wife (listed in the credits as "Mrs. Hammen") says, "That's funny, Jim never has a second cup of coffee at home." (Later, when he's sick and hurling into the barf bag, she says, "Jim never vomits at home...")
- This was a parody of a Yuban Coffee commercial from the late 1970s that played this trope straight (see "Advertising", above).
- Madea Goes to Jail: This feeling between a couple drives the primary (or secondary, depending on how you view it) plot.
- Played with early in The Belgariad, before Garion gets his big reveal. Garion and Ce'Nedra are talking about the girl Garion probably would have married had things gone another way, and Garion says it's for the best because she's not someone you can ask to sleep on the ground. Ce'Nedra points out that the group never hesitated to ask her to sleep on the ground, to which he replies, "I guess you're stronger."
- In The Lord of the Rings, Legolas recounts how the forest elves tried to rehabilitate Gollum, allowing him fresh air and exercise. Glóin comments "You were less tender to me" — he'd been imprisoned by the same elves in The Hobbit, and confined to a dungeon.
- Imperial Radch: Radchaai spaceship AIs aren't considered "people" and are under built-in Restraining Bolts, but have a thousand small ways to make life more or less pleasant for captains they like or dislike. When Breq, the last surviving Wetware Body of one such AI, is reminiscing with her old captain Seivarden about the little favours she'd do for her favourite Lieutenant Awn, Seivarden struggles with the growing realization that Breq didn't like her at all.
- Parodied in Good Luck Charlie, Teddy goes to Ivy's house to study for a really important test and Ivy's mother offers to give her a relaxing spot and a cup of tea. Ivy asks why she never does that for her. Her mom counters that she would if she studied. Ivy decides it's still not worth it.
- In Smallville, Jimmy has this attitude towards Chloe, who has done more for Clark than he would ever know.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: While Xander and Cordelia's relationship was still a secret to the rest of the scoobies, Cordelia protested as Xander declared that he was off to help Buffy out of yet another sticky situation.
Cordelia: "You were too busy rushing off to die for your beloved Buffy. You'd never die for me."
- They run into this issue a lot in their relationship, with Cordelia complaining about how much Xander would do for both Buffy and Willow.
- Played for Laughs in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager where Janeway, upon learning that her best friend Tuvok used to make tea for then-Captain Sulu, jokingly complains that he never made her any tea.
Janeway: *mock indignant* You never brought ME tea!
- One of Janeway's defining traits is that she a big coffee-drinker, and in the episode's novelization, Tuvok points out that she prefers coffee, and that Vulcan coffee, unlike Vulcan tea, isn't fit for human consumption.
- Done for comical effect when Q's surprise at Sisko's behavior, in comparison to Captain Picard's, gets Played for Laughs in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
Q: "You hit me! Picard never hit me!"
- Which leads to Sisko's blunt, but awesome rebuttal. "I'm not Picard." Though Q laughs it off and is amused by how much easier to provoke Sisko is compared to the more stoic Picard.
- In the episode of Monk where Sharona and Natalie meet, Sharona finds out that Monk pays Natalie a lot more than he paid her. Thus she complains that Monk never paid her that much.
- In How I Met Your Mother, in the episode where Barney puts together the super-date in order to bang J-Lo, Robin laments that he never went to similar lengths for her, even though they had been in a relationship together.
- When Barney meets his Disappeared Dad, and sees that he has another son for whom he acts as a typical boring, suburban dad, Barney is extremely hurt because, if he was just going to be normal and regular, why couldn't he have been normal with Barney?
- HIMYM likes this one. This is played for drama with Ted and Stella, where she refused to even consider moving into NYC with Ted, but did so almost immediately with her ex after leaving Ted at the altar. It's what prompts his attempt at an angry confrontation with her.
- Though the exact stock phrase isn't used, the concept appears several times in Coupling. Jane's reaction to this trope feeds her story arc in the "Inferno" episode.
- Subverted in the episode "The Cupboard of Patrick's Love" when Steve is watching what he believes to be Patrick's sex tape with Susan, and loudly exclaims "She's never done that with me!" to Patrick, before realising that Susan is in the room. It turns out to not be her.
- In Get Smart, 99 tells a man her name, inciting her ignorant partner Max's jealousy. She matter-of-factly replies, "You never asked me." It's actually a Code Name. Viewers never learn her real name, and we doubt Max did either.
- In an episode of Two and a Half Men, Charlie spends most of the episode teaching Jake how to behave at his first "boy-girl party". Eventually, Alan complains about how Charlie never taught him anything, and basically left him on his own, and suffered socially for it. Charlie does seem remorseful for this but mentions how he was just a stupid teenager at the time and didn't want to hang out with his little brother.
- The first season of Boardwalk Empire has an example. Jimmy is like a son to Villain Protagonist and Corrupt Politician Nucky Thompson. When Jimmy gets in trouble with the law in a way that could potentially blow Nucky's interest in the illegal alcohol trade, Nucky doesn't directly help Jimmy but he doesn't cut him loose either, instead offering Jimmy a little cash and a chance to jump town. After Jimmy leaves, Nucky's brother/Dragon Eli rhetorically wonders if he would get the same slack. Later in the season Eli is seriously wounded and publicly exposed as a Dirty Cop. Nucky fires Eli from his position as Sheriff... at least until after the election is over when he immediately hires Eli back. Too bad Eli has already become The Starscream and joined a conspiracy against Nucky by then.
- Played With on Roseanne: Jackie divorces Fred for never wanting to try new things or do anything exciting, and afterward he starts taking up hobbies like skydiving. There's no other woman involved, but it still irks her.
- In Scrubs this is the reason why Danni breaks up with JD, realizing he still has feelings for Elliot. He goes out of his way to make Elliot feel better when she's having a crappy day after he (thinks he) has just hung on Dani, saying he was too busy with work to speak to her.
- On The Muppet Show, when Kermit informed Miss Piggy that Christopher Reeve was the guest star for the week, she exclaimed "Christopher 'Perfect Body' Reeve?!", and immediately ran off to freshen up. Then, a surprisingly jealous Kermit laments, "She never called me 'Perfect body'."
- In the special The Muppets Go to the Movies, Kermit figures that the best way to stay Piggy's jealousy is to ask Lily Tomlin to introduce the horror segment. He figures wrong: "Well! You never asked me to introduce the horror movie."
- Married... with Children: Bud and Kelly resent Seven because Peggy did good things for him that she never did for them.
- Downton Abbey: Thomas notices Carson helping new footman Alfred in learning the ropes of serving at Downton. Thomas confronts the boss:
Thomas: Youre taking a lot of trouble with Alfred. I feel quite jealous.
- Inverted in Frasier, Daphne becomes worried about her impending marriage after her parents break up. Her father points out that Niles flew to England and dragged him all the way to Seattle just to comfort her, and admits "I never did anything like that for your mother."
- A Different World: As the campus prepares for a big football game, Rich Bitch Whitley is seen buying lunches for herself and her date, revealing that she's going to attend. Ex-fiance Dwayne is shocked at this:
Dwayne: "You never wanted to go to a game with me"Whitley: "He takes the time to explain the game to me. He takes his time in other ways too."
- In Supernatural, Sam and Dean's reaction when they meet their half-brother, Adam, who recalls going to baseball games with their father. This is the same father who would leave Sam and Dean holed up in sleazy road-side motels for weeks with limited food and money and no adult supervision or outside contact. But it turns out the story was fake. While Adam is their brother, he'd already been killed and a ghoul had assumed his form. The ghoul, who wanted revenge on their deceased father, John, instead took it out on the brothers, using what he'd learned about their lonely childhood to psychologically torture them. When they finally meet the real Adam later in the season, they find out he had even less contact with John than they did.
- One episode of Modern Family opens with the aftermath of a massive fight Claire and Phil had. Phil spends some time with Gloria going over the previous day to figure out what he did to upset Claire (Gloria pins it on everything he did, forgetting to give her a message, getting broccoli instead of cauliflower, etc.), while Claire tells her dad it's this trope. It's not even in the form of a potential lover or one specific person, but whenever she gives him a suggestion- in this case, trying wedge salad- he ignores her or blows it off, but whenever someone else gives that same suggestion, he thinks it's the greatest idea in the world. Since he still doesn't know what he did wrong, he winds up suggesting she try a wedge salad, courtesy of his genius friend, which of course sets her off all over again.
- Neighbours: Soon after Paige and Mark get back together, she finds out that he chose to put his job as a police officer at risk by covering up evidence that Sonya was involved in a hit-and-run (at the time he believed she was innocent, but Sonya remembered it soon afterward and turned herself in), she gets furious that he'd do that for a platonic friend, yet a year earlier he had arrested her after she was framed for receiving stolen goods, on their wedding day.
- In The Good Place, Eleanor discovers that her mother she thought was dead is actually alive and now has a new family and another daughter. Though she's there to help make sure her mother is reformed and wants to be happy that she is so much kinder than Eleanor remembered, she can't help but feel resentful that her mother never treated her the way she treated her new child.
- Tracy Lawrence: "I See It Now"
Oh, I never saw that look in your eyesAnd I never had you hold me that tightAnd I never saw you dance with your feet off the groundOh, but I see it now
- The Bible: At the end of the parable of the Prodigal Son, the loyal son who didn't leave home and waste all his money asks why his irresponsible brother is welcomed back into the family with a huge feast when their father never did the same for him. The father replies that he would have done the same for him at any time if he'd just asked.
- Stunt Dawgs: When the ghost of Richard P. Fungus' grandfather showed up to finish his last movie, the two of them argued a lot. One of Fungus' complaints was that his grandfather never sent him Christmas cards.
- In an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender called Bitter Work, Aang calls Toph "Sifu Toph"...which leads Katara to say that he never called HER his Sifu (which is another word for mentor). Later on, though, he does call her Sifu Katara...which solves this little argument.
- In Futurama's "Jurassic Bark," Bender's jealousy of Fry's dog Seymour humorously extends to things like Fry's purchase of a dog collar and a rubber newspaper.
Bender: No one ever asks if Bender would like to live in a tiny little house! Not that I would! ...(sad) A tiny little house that says "Bender" on it!