Dissimile

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Boxing is a lot like ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

A Dissimile is like when you eat a banana, but, instead of peeling it you compare it to another thing that is not entirely unlike it. Also, instead of eating it, you deconstruct the comparison. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a banana, either, or any other kind of fruit for that matter. Actually, it is nothing like eating a banana. Forget the banana.

Let's try again. A Dissimile is pretty much Lampshade Hanging, except that instead of pointing out the fact that you're using a trope, you're making a comparison between two completely unlike things that don't deserve to be compared in the first place, and trying to justify it by making ridiculous exceptions that make your whole point completely moot. Also, there are no lampshades, so you can't hang them anywhere.

This can take several different forms:

  • "This is just like X, only without (an element or list of elements crucial to X)."
    • Variation: may include at least one dissimilar addition alongside the subtractions (see Jack Handey quote above) or consist entirely of them.
    • Optional postscript: "Come to think of it, it's not like X at all."
    • Or, sometimes, the opposite: "But other than that it's just like X!"
  • "This is just like X! And by 'X', I mean, 'Y'."
    • Occasionally followed up by "And by 'Y' I mean 'Z'." ...and so on.
    • May involve parallel replacements, as in "This is just like W X, and by 'W', I mean, 'Y', and by 'X', I mean 'Z'."
  • "You know what X is like? That's exactly what this isn't like."
    • Alternatively, "This is just like X, except not," or, "This is just like X, only different."
  • "It's just like X - "
  • Inverted Trope: "Besides , Y is nothing like X."

Often used as a comedy trope, but it has been known to show up in dramatic situations as well. Usually, characters will use dissimiles to make themselves look like a smartass, or because they derive amusement from raising someone else's hopes and then quickly dashing them. It may also show up as part of a pattern of Buffy-Speak.

A Dissimile is basically the same thing as a Phlebotinum Analogy, except that it isn't like a Phlebotinum Analogy at all.

Compare The Other Wiki's articles on Argument from analogy and Overwhelming exception. Except it's not always played for laughs. And the person doesn't have to realize they've made a Dissimile. But aside from that, exactly like The Other Wiki's article.

On the other hand, a Dissimile often has a lot of overlap with Metaphorgotten. Also compare with Analogy Backfire. See also Talks Like a Simile and I Would Say If I Could Say.

These examples of Dissimiles are like snowflakes, only there's probably a few that are alike, and they're not nearly as cold.

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In the Bount arc dub from Bleach, Rukia is offered a pudding-filled rice ball, and later says, "It's kinda like a cream-filled donut, only it's not cream-filled and it's not a donut." Also counts as a Take That to dub edits.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya once commented in a Haruhi-chan short that playing tug of war with Kyon reminded her of the times when two women who claimed to have the same baby would tug on the child as a test. However, while the "winner" of that game would have to let go of the baby, instead of pulling it as hard as she can, Haruhi intended to win by holding onto Kyon. Kyon then commented that the difference Haruhi pointed out renders her speech pointless.


Card Games[edit | hide]

  • From the flavor text on the Magic: The Gathering card Tin-Street Hooligan: "Rauck-Chauv's like a holiday! Only it isn't on the calendars, and instead of dancing you knock people flat, and instead of giving gifts you break stuff."


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The View Askewniverse comic Chasing Dogma features Jay describing Pittsburgh thus: "Except for the hockey arena, the zillion fucking bridges, all the buildings, and a couple of rivers, this looks exactly like the tri-town, doesn't it?"
  • Watchmen: "You know that kind of cancer you eventually get better from? That's not the type of cancer I have."
  • Nextwave is like Shakespeare but with lots more punchin'. It's like Goethe but with lots more crushing. It's like Titanic but the boat's still floating. No it's not! The mother____ing boat is exploding!
  • The French comic series Leo Loden - whose Character Title is a detective from Marseille - opens often with a visited city of France depicted as "exactly like Marseille, except..." ...many differences.
  • A partial example in a 1994 Batman comic book, when three punks are confronting Batman. Their leader points his gun and brags that in just a few seconds, Batman will look "like a plate of spilled Spaghetti-O's!" And then, after an awkward pause: " - without the plate!"


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • 30 "H"s: "Harry slammed his book shut. It wasn't really a book, because the pages were made of lasers and the words were made of headless women making godless love to dragons made of motorcycles, but it was still reading."
  • In The Moment It Began, young Snape describes his flying ability (carried over from Deathly Hallows) as "quite like flying on a broom, only without a broom".
  • Half Life: Full Life Consequences describes the evil Combines as "robot things that werent robots."


Film[edit | hide]

Snowbell: (after Stuart's car overheats) I'm telling you, Stuart, it's a sign. This is just like the Burning Bush -- except it's a carburetor, and... I'm not Moses.

Jovie: Thanks, but I don't sing.
Buddy: Oh, well, it's just like talking, except longer and louder, and you move your voice up and down!

    • Actually, this might be Truth in Television. One school of singing advocates treating singing as "artistic yelling", and keeping the voice "on the speaking level".
    • Another example:

Buddy (describing the mail room at his dad's office): It's just like Santa's workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms... ...and everyone looks like they want to hurt me.

  • Three Amigos has Lucky's speech to the villagers of Santo Poco:

Lucky Day: In a way, each of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous guy who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be the actual El Guapo!

Kumar: How were Katie Holmes's tits?
Goldstein: You know the Holocaust?
Kumar: Yeah.
Goldstein: Picture the exact opposite of that.

    • If I recall correctly, they're discussing a scene from The Gift; the loveliness of Katie's breasts is offset slightly by the fact that it's piggybacked onto the same scene where she's brutally murdered.
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan

Bill the Frog: How about this? Ocean Breeze Soap: It's just like taking an ocean cruise, only there's no boat and you don't actually go anywhere.

  • In UHF, George tries to convince his friend Bob to help him run the UHF station he recently became manager of.

George: "It's just like working in the fish market, except you don't have to clean and gut fish all day."

  • The commentary tracks for some of the Saw movies involve a running gag among the crew, wherein when someone describes something that isn't true or foolishly naive, they will remark, "That's a great idea. If by 'great', you mean 'the stupidest fucking thing ever', then yeah, it's 'great'." Or some variation thereof.
  • From Down Periscope:

Nitro: Radio's working like a Swiss ... car.

Castor Troy: It's just like looking in a mirror, only... not.

    • Given that they were wearing each others faces at the time, it really was like looking in a mirror, only not.
      • Only that instead of showing a reversed image, instead they were seeing their faces exactly as they look, and the "reflection" wasn't mimicking what the person was doing...you know, it really is nothing like a mirror.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: "This is just like what the Greeks done at Troy,... only they was in a horse instead of dresses."
  • In The Other Guys, Allen tells Terry how he met his wife and adds that it's like that Meg Ryan movie. Terry can't think of any movies where Meg Ryan met a guy with poison ivy on his rectum.
    • Later, Allen and his wife remember the movie: You've Got Mail, and both are certain that Tom Hanks had poison ivy in it.
  • In Scary Movie 2, Cindy and Buddy find a painting of the wife who had lived in the house.

Buddy: Whoa, check this out. She looks like you.
Cindy: Wow, she's beautiful. You really think she looks like me?
Buddy: Her hair doesn't have as many split ends at yours. Her skin isn't as oily as yours, either. Also, sometimes your eyes get kinda squinty and they look like you might have Down's Syndrome or something. Otherwise the resemblance is uncanny. Oh yeah... another difference is she looks more sophisticated and classy. More feminine. And her tits are perfect. Not pointy and funny looking, or spaced too far apart...
Cindy: Alright!

Theo: Wow! She looks just like you... except she doesn't have as many split ends as you and her skin isn't as oily.
Ray: Yeah, and sometimes your eyes get all squinty and it looks like you got Down's Syndrome.
Brenda: Yeah, girl, damn near twins... except she's more sophisticated and classy. You got that cute, trailer park look.
Shorty: No doubt... and her tits are perfect, not at all pointy or funny looking. You got them National Geographic orangutan titties.
Cindy: Okay, I get the point.

  • In The Jerk, Navin describes his girlfriend in a letter to his mom. "She looks just like you, mom, only she's thin and white."
  • Mars Needs Moms: "Relax, it's just like a waterslide. Without the water! Or the slide."
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000, when one movie shows the hero being tailed by a private helicopter.

Crow: It's one of those UN black helicopters, except...white and orange.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy has quite a few of these.
    • Perhaps the most famous is: "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." Although, far from being a moot comparison, it perfectly and succinctly conveys the surreal sight of what appear to be giant, brick-like structures, hovering high in the sky in direct defiance of the known laws of physics.
    • Another contender is the description of the Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer's output as "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea".
    • Another example would be Ford Prefect's explanation of the origin of the universe, describing a situation where one would fill a conical ebony bathtub with sand, pull the plug and film the sand falling down the drain, then watching this film in reverse... which, he then states, has nothing at all to do with the origin of the universe, but is really fun to watch.
  • Common in Discworld.
    • In Thief of Time, Lobsang describes repairing history after the Glass Clock is activated as basically "Imagine a thousand invisible puzzle pieces scattered all throughout time and none of them fit together right. Got that? Okay, it's nothing like that, that was just a vague analogy that might give you an inkling."
    • "No, but it's a lie you can understand," gets used occasionally.
      • Ponder Stibbons' version is when he describes an analogy as being very helpful in getting people to understand complicated magic while being, in every meaningful sense, wrong.
    • This quote from The Light Fantastic:

Sunlight poured like molten gold across the sleeping landscape.[1]

    • Also in The Light Fantastic, it's noted that an ancient ruler outlawed simile and metaphors, and any writer or casual speaker not careful with his phrasing would rapidly find himself a good deal shorter. About a head's worth, really (so someone describing a woman as having a face that launched a thousand ships had better have empirical evidence that the object of desire did indeed resemble a wine bottle, or appropriate documentation from shipyards).
    • Sourcery:

Have you ever been bitten by a snake?
No.
Then you know exactly what it felt like, it wasn't like a snake bite at all.

    • In the Discworld spin-off books The Science of Discworld, the phrase "Lies to Children" is used to refer to analogies or descriptions that are completely wrong, but prepare the listener for the real truth.
    • Soul Music takes the (real) simile that a guitar is shaped like a woman, and adds that this is a woman with a very long neck, no arms or legs, and six ears.
    • Pratchett is very fond of this one. Nation has one man describing a horse thusly:

"Well, you know hogs? ...well, they are not like hogs. But if you took a hog and made it bigger and longer, with a longer nose and a tail, that's a horse. Oh, and much more handsome. and much longer legs."
"So a horse is not really like a pig at all?"
"Well yes, I suppose so. But it's got the same number of legs."

    • In Guards Guards, the description of Where the Dragons Went is "It would put you in mind of a can of sardines, if you thought sardines were huge and scaly and proud and arrogant."
  • Humor columnist Dave Barry used this often.
    • From his home repair book The Taming of the Screw:

"A plumbing system is very much like your electrical system, except that instead of electricity, it has water, and instead of wires, it has pipes, and instead of radios and waffle irons, it has faucets and toilets. So the truth is that your plumbing system is nothing at all like your electrical system, which is good, because electricity can kill you."

Stephen: Welcome to QI, the closest modern equivalent to lions versus Christians.

Stephen: I love the way your mind works, Alan Davies … and I use the word "works" quite wrongly.

Stephen (in response to Rory McGrath's Incredibly Lame Pun): When I said "eye", I meant E-Y-E, and you thought...possibly for comic effect, but if so, disastrously, er, that I was saying "I"...It was one of these laughable misunderstandings, and I use the word "laughable" quite wrongly.

  • In Wraith Squadron, Former Child Star Face Lorran talks about how, after acting in a very successful propagandist holodrama, he was taken to meet the Emperor, but the Emperor wasn't available, so he was instead taken to meet Madame Director Ysanne Isard, who sat him in her lap and told him what a good boy he was. He said it was

"Something like being stroked by a poisonous reptile wearing a human suit, only not quite so comforting."

  • On the first page of Men are Better than Women:

Women are like Febreze Fabric Refresher, except instead of getting out your toughest odors, they accidentally call their ex-boyfriend drunk and then won't stop crying for the rest of the night.

  • Paradise Lost uses this a lot as a way to emphasize how utterly beyond human comprehension the events are.
  • In Jon Stewart's America (The Book) chapter on the American Revolution, the section of "Would You Mind If I Told You How We Do It In Canada?" by Samantha Bee describes how Canada has also earned its independence similar to the US, then proceeds to list all the differences and finishes off with "All in all, a small price to pay for an independence achieved without bloodshed, violence, glory or independence."
  • H.P. Lovecraft played this for horror in "The Festival".

They were not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats, nor decomposed human beings; but something I cannot and must not recall.

"Ephraim, please, leave me alone!" my wife murmured. Except that she wasn't murmuring, but talking quite loudly. In fact, she was shouting.

  • Quoth Mack, in The Automatic Detective, it was just like the scene in the movies: "some dumb mug finds himself sitting in a tiny room with a cop standing over him, reading him the riot act. That's pretty much what happened to me." Except, he clarifies, he was standing, the room was quite large, and the cop was sitting and smoking a cigarette. But other than that, exactly like the scene in the movies.
  • Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography is riddled with them.

Today was a very cold and bitter day, as cold and bitter as a cup of hot chocolate, if the cup of hot chocolate had vinegar added to it and were placed in a refrigerator for several hours.

"You know, I met your uncle under similar circumstances. Well, kind of similar. But he was drunk. And we were in a bar. And he had vomited on my shoes. So I suppose the actual circumstances aren't overly similar, but both events include a meeting, so..."

I've found, as a general rule in life, that the things that you think are going to be the scaliest nearly always turn out to be not so bad after all; but it wasn't that way with Bingo's tea party.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Happens to the Doctor on Doctor Who when trying to convey concepts far beyond the understanding of his companions.
    • Occurs in The End of Time when the Doctor attempts to explain the nature of a Time Lock.

Doctor: They're sealed inside of a bubble. It's not a bubble, but just think of a bubble.

    • He does it again in "The Pandorica Opens" while explaining what the Cybermen do to people. "It's just like being an organ donor, except you're alive and sort of...screaming."
    • In "A Christmas Carol", when trying to convince Young Kazran that he's an appropriate 'babysitter':

The Doctor: Have you ever seen Mary Poppins?
Young Kazran: No...
The Doctor: Good. Because that comparison would have been rubbish.

    • And again in the 2011 Comic Relief short "Space". Eleven is apparently prone to this.

The Doctor: "Yeah, it's fine, we're just entering conceptual space. Imagine a banana, or anything curved; actually don't, because it's not curved or like a banana. Forget the banana!"

    • Really prone for it - twice in "The Curse of the Black Spot":
      • Trying to describe the monster of the week:

Pirate: Like a shark, a shark can smell blood.
The Doctor: Okay. just like a shark. In a dress. Singing. In green! A green, singing shark in a evening gown!

      • Him explaining how the space ship and the pirate ship can be in the same place:

The Doctor: A space ship, trapped in a temporal rift.
Amy: How can two ships be in the same place?
The Doctor: Not the same. Two planes; two worlds. Two cars parked in the same space. There are a lot of different universes, nested inside each other. Now and again they collide, and you can step through from one to the other.
Amy: Okay, I think I can understand.
The Doctor: Good, because it isn't like that at all - but if it helps...

    • By "The Doctor's Wife", he's stopped even feeling bad about it.

The Doctor: You know when you get a great big bubble and a little bubble on the outside? Not like that.

    • Let's face it, it's Eleven's new Catch Phrase.
    • In the Eleventh Doctor novel Touched By An Angel, the Doctor says the Weeping Angels are attracted to Mark like a moth to a flame, and is then shocked to realise that this makes sense. "My analogies never make sense! I must write it down. Rory, write it down for me!"
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 is also fond of these, usually something to the effect of: "Many people compare this scene to the chariot race in Ben-Hur. They'll say, 'Ben Hur was a great film. This film totally sucks.'"
  • In the first episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted chickens out of dating a local news reporter. Then, when he sees her reporting on a guy who was about to jump off a building, but also chickened out, Ted gets his courage back and says:

Ted: I'm going to do what that guy was too scared to do and take the plunge! Okay, it's not a perfect metaphor, because for me taking the plunge means getting married and having kids, while for him it's ... death.
Barney: Actually, it's a perfect metaphor.

  • Space Cases: In the Personality Swap episode, android!Suzee says, "Don't worry. Inside, I am still the same Suzee... except, extremely different."
  • MythBusters has a couple quotes, usually done for humor:

Grant Imahara: It's like sewing on a button, except this button is tongue-shaped and made out of meat.
Jamie Hyneman: It's kind of like watching the grass grow, except there's an explosion at the end of it.

Frank Perconte: Hey, George.
George Luz: Yeah?
Frank Perconte: This kind of remind you of Bastogne?
[comedic pause, including bemused look]
George Luz: Yeah... now that you mention it. Except, of course, there's no snow, we got warm grub in our bellies, and the trees aren't fucking exploding from Kraut artillery, but yeah... Frank... other than that, it's a lot like Bastogne.
Frank Perconte: Right?
George Luz: Bull, smack him for me please?
{{[[[Dope Slap]] thump}}]
George Luz: Thank you.

  • Alexei Sayle's Drive, a series made by a comedian to promote safe driving, includes an explanation of how it's often hard to realise how fast you're driving because cars are so comfortable these days, more like your lounge than a car, except smaller and without a television and you can't get up to make a drink and the decor's not as nice and can I stop now this is a shit comparison.
  • Corner Gas: When Wanda is rejected for a credit card after being told she was pre-approved, Hank attempts to console her.

Hank: It's okay, Wanda. I got one of those "pre-approved" letters in the mail too.
Wanda: And they rejected you too?
Hank: No, they gave me a credit card. But other than that, same sad story.

  • Half-used, half-subverted on The West Wing when Donna opines that "a dry wit, like a fine martini, is best enjoyed..." and then realizes she's got nothing.
    • Another time Josh asked therapist Stanley Keyworth why his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder worked the way it did (music, inexplicably, made him relive getting shot).

Stanley: Well, I'll tell you, but it's gonna sound like I'm saying two plus two equals a bushel of potatoes...

    • In one episode Josh claims the scene he, Sam and Toby are currently in is similar to the one in The Godfather when Michael first proposes that he kill Sollozzo and McCluskey: "It's a lot like that scene, only not really." Then a minute later he decides it is like that scene after all. Nobody else really cares.
  • The Daily Show:
    • When news companies were discussing the BP oil spill, one newscaster described the plan to fix it something like "it's like conducting open-heart surgery, but underwater, in the dark, with submarines".
    • Senior British Correspondent John Oliver became quite upset with grassroots movements comparing their struggle against the government to that of the Colonial Revolutionaries against the British Empire. After all, the British had been real bastards at the time; by comparison, the modern American government were a bunch of pansies.
    • Lewis Black compared Glenn Beck's constant comparisons of people/things he doesn't like to Hitler and Nazi Germany to the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon". Except there's only one degree and Kevin Bacon is Hitler.
  • Charlie Brooker's Gameswipe describes Sonic the Hedgehog as "rolling at high speed through a jolly cartoon world just like real hedgehogs don't".
  • On The Colbert Report, curling is described to be like horseshoes, but your horse died and you're trying to get over your sorrow by playing curling.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, explaining darts to Worf (who would commonly play Poker during his time on the Enterprise). 'It's like Poker, with pointed tips.'
  • On Skithouse, when Scod tried to explain Charades to Yon.

Yon: It's basically Celebrity Head, right?
Scod: Yeah, except you know the thing and everyone else doesn't.
Yon: Rock Paper Scissors?
Scod: Okay, Yon. Like Rock Paper Scissors except there's no rock, no paper and instead of scissors there's this whole new game called Charades.

  • On I Love Lucy, the way Ethel described poker to Lucy: "It's a lot like hearts, only you bet, and there isn't any old maid."
  • In Friends, Chandler describes Joey's latest date:

Chandler: You remember Kathy Bates in Misery?
Monica and Rachel: Yeah...
Chandler: Well, she looks the exact opposite of that.

  • Jeremy Clarkson has been known to use them on Top Gear.

Clarkson: Unfortunately, James May couldn't be here today, so we've found someone who looks exactly like him... except in every single detail.

I often say that Castle is Moonlighting meets Murder, She Wrote having not really remembered Moonlighting and never having actually seen Murder She Wrote.

  • Dexter manages to loop it back into itself. After having spent the evening planning a murder with his new sidekick:

[Narrating] I feel like I am dropping off my prom date. Except this is my house and my wife is dead and I have no idea where Lumen fits into my world. And this is all so weird... exactly like my prom.

  • Seinfeld broke up with his girlfriend of the week:

Jerry: I tell you... the sex. I was like an animal. I was just completely uninhibited.
George: It's like going to the bathroom in front of a lot of people and not caring!
Jerry: (Beat) ...It's not like that at all!

  • A minor running gag in QI: sometimes when Stephen Fry goes off on a tangent, he'll end the tangent by using a word to describe something. For example, calling something a "laughable misunderstanding". He'll then finish with:

Stephen: ...And I use the word 'laughable' quite wrongly.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Musician-comedian Bill Bailey's jokes often turn out this way. For example, in "Tinselworm", he mentions his meteoric rise to fame over the past 22 years, "... if that meteor was being dragged by an elderly arthritic donkey across the Mojave Desert."
  • Menomena's song "Tithe": "Spending the best years of a childhood/Horizontal on the floor/Like a bobsled minus the teamwork/And the televised support."
  • Comedian Bo Burnham's song "Men & Women" contains gems like "Women are like puzzles, because before 1920 neither could vote. Puzzles still can't."
  • The Midnight Beast's song "Ninjas": "And my hands are like samurai swords, except not metal, so nothing like swords- they're just hands!"
  • Hot Chelle Rae's single "Tonight, Tonight" features the line: "I woke up with a strange tattoo/Not sure how I got it, not a dollar in my pocket/And it kind of looks just like you/Mixed with Zach Galifianakis."
  • The comedy a cappella group Moosebutter has said about themselves: "Moosebutter is just like a cutting-edge, hard-core hip-hop group, except moosebutter is from Utah, all white, not interested in controversy, and also doesn't perform hip-hop."
  • "Factually Accurate Love Song" by Flat 29 has many examples of this, starting with "Girl your eyes shine like the moon. Well like two moons specifically, positioned unnaturally close together, but without the gravitational and tidal problems that would occur if this was not a simile."


New Media[edit | hide]

  • The most popular definition Play-Doh on Urban Dictionary. There used to be a corresponding entry for "fire", but it seems to have vanished into the ether.
  • This Cracked.com article offers, as a possible empirically derived scientific definition of "love", "[the exact opposite of] that feeling you get when you've been locked in a tiny dark space alone for a year."
    • Also, from this article: "Holmes was the Ron Jeremy of his time, only not as fat, hairy and horrifying. So not really like Ron Jeremy at all."
  • The Nostalgia Critic":
    • In his Top 11 Nostalgic Shows countdown, he says the Ghostbusters were like firefighters, "except instead of putting out fires, you were chasing ghosts."
    • Or in his review of Drop Dead Fred concerning the titular character's performance:

You know, there is a thin line between funny and god-awfully horrendous. Luckily, he comes nowhere near that line, he is just god-awfully horrendous.

"Kennington can seem vaguely post-apocalyptic at the best of times, but with all the lights out it's like a proper 1980's BBC 2 dystopia. But with hoodies instead of triffids. Hoodies don't make that sinister 'tap tap tap' noise, and they have mace instead of the poison stinger thing, so the analogy breaks down there, but otherwise it's exactly the same."

'Yeah, it's just like Kill Bill. If Kill Bill was a 1984 James Cameron film called The Terminator. And who uses the word oodles?'


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • In one strip of Dilbert, Dogbert describes time: "It's like a donut shot out of a cannon and spinning at the speed of light, only without the donut and the cannon."
  • In Zits, Pierce says his family life "is like a symphony. But there aren't any musical instruments, and the musicians just yell at each other."
  • This Baby Blues comic.


Stand Up Comedy[edit | hide]

  • Larry the Cable Guy gives us this one: "I met this gal a while back, looked like Shania Twain. Only a little shorter, and, uh, the face was different. I was drunk, it looked like Shania Twain."


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Inverted in A Very Potter Musical. One person makes a comparison to two things who are very similar, but someone still says they're very unalike.

Hermione: So, it's sort of like the Tri-Wizard Tournament?
Quirrel: Yes, yes, exactly...only nothing like that!

Video Games[edit | hide]

Have you ever been out in a rose garden on a nice spring day, wearing clothes fresh from the dryer and really expensive cologne, and then you walk under a window ledge with a freshly baked apple pie cooling on it? Well, her smell is the exact opposite of that.

    • And from the description of sangria:

This is sangria. It's like blood, except instead of plasma it has wine, and instead of blood cells it has bits of cherry. But other than that, it's exactly like blood.

    • And the description for a ring setting combines this with Waxing Lyrical:

This is a ring without a jewel. It's like eyes without a face, but instead of eyes, it's a ring, and instead of a face, it's a jewel.

    • And this, from the effect soul freeze (they do quite love this trope):

You've got a frozen soul. This is like when you get a headache from eating too much ice cream, only instead of a headache, your soul is frozen, and there isn't really any ice cream involved, either, now that I think about it.

  • Whiplash, a game featuring you playing as a weasel chained to a rabbit whom you use as a mace despite his pained protests occasionally has the rabbit moan 'Ya know, this is kind of like water skiing. Except it's on concrete, I'm on my back and it's REALLY PAINFUL'.
  • Dwarf Fortress: "Like chess, only with short people that can catch on fire like rags soaked in tar, and lots of booze."
  • The instructions for Crystal Crazy describe black holes as: "Rifts in the space-time continuum that instantly transport you from one place to another. Actually the time bit isn't really correct. Neither is the continuum bit. Or the rift. But it sounded good."
  • From a section of Cortex's monologue to Crash in Crash Twinsanity:

Cortex: Three years I spent alone in the frozen Antarctic wastes! And I missed you! And so, I've organised a little gathering; like a birthday party, except... the exact opposite!

Merrill: "You remind me of Hahren Paival, Varric. Only younger. And shorter. And not as serious."
Varric: "So it's a close resemblance, then."

    • Merrill's good at these. She comments that Anders's coat (with its odd fur pauldron) is "cheerful, like a crow in anting." He replies "Thank you...?" and the player is just as puzzled as he is about whether she meant it sarcastically or as a genuine compliment.
  • Gex 3: "This city's a jungle, but a square one with no plants!"


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Bubs from Homestar Runner email virus, after shooting Strong Bad's computer with a shotgun: "It's in a better place, Strong Bad. Or rather, it's in the same place, but now it's got a big hole through it."
  • Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw likes to litter these around every once in a while, such as in his opening phrase for his review on The Witcher:

"What would you get if you took the corpse of JRR Tolkien, ground it into a fine powder and snorted it off the doughy breasts of a prostitute suffering from Tourette's syndrome? Well, first you'd get a throatful of dead writer, then the police will probably want to talk to you, and you'll no doubt make an enemy of Mrs. Tolkien. What you probably won't get is The Witcher, because it's a video game and more easily acquired from your local electronics retailer, you idiot."


Web Comics[edit | hide]

Reverend Theo Fobius: What a coincidence. That's almost exactly what I didn't have in mind.

    • As well as:

Schlock: If by 'hair' you mean 'plasma', and 'dryer' you mean 'cannon', then yes. Yes, it is.

    • And for the hat trick (amidst many, many others):

Morokweng: Ah. Will it be falling to me to sweep this under the rug, Ma'am?
Admiral Emm: Word choice, 'Kweng. Replace "sweep" with "compress," "under" with "into," and give me "neutronium" in place of that ratty old "rug."

The kettle, in this case, is not "black." It is a diffuse cloud of radioactive meat-vapor.

  • In 1/0, Barnacle describes war as "Sort of like being friends. Only, it's completely different, and with more suffering."
    • For that matter, the description of the comics states "1/0 is a paradox, in a way 0/1 isn't".
  • Here is an example from Real Life Comics.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court. After introducing a large artificial habitat room, containing a grassy field with a large cherry tree, the author notes below the page:

Tom Siddell: My school had one of these. No wait, they had a bike rack.

Frans Rayner: Why are you looking at me like that?
Gordito: You killed a lot of ninjas in the 80's, so now you've made a bunch more to kill. Your maniacal laughing is like a fat man who's just restocked his freezer with Hot Pockets.
Frans Rayner: Ooh, no no. I'm laughing like a fat man who is nearing the final steps of his lifelong journey to power. And he's actually in really good shape and not fat at all.

  • From String Theory, a talking cat compares his new owner to his prior one:

Marcus: Plus, you sorta remind me of the doc! You know, if he was a girl and didn't have a bunch of bad habits. Also, you're like, way more mentally stable. I bet your mom never pushed you down the stairs on purpose, huh?

Kara: He went crazy in the woods after he found an animal in the bushes. That's when he started mumbling about Raccoon Dot Com.
Tycho: Something like that happened to me once - except I wasn't in the woods and there were no raccoons anywhere.

    • Two in the same strip, in fact.

I'm making wheatloaf. It's like meatloaf, only with wheat.[2]

Karkat: WAIT, HOW LONG ARE YEARS SUPPOSED TO BE AGAIN?
Karkat: WAS IT LIKE TWO WEEKS OR SOMETHING?
Rose: Yes, two.
Rose: And then fifty more.

"I once played chess with a dog. Okay, it wasn’t chess, it was just checkers. And it wasn’t a dog it was me playing both sides of a single checkers board because I had no one to play with, but I had a plush dog there with me. Okay, it was actually a cat. And it wasn’t checkers, it was my breakfast…I had pancakes."

Web Original[edit | hide]

Xero: (on the subject of the opening cinematic) This is like a bad episode of Gundam.
Adam: Except even cheesier.

Slow-dancing in the water with Steff was just like a dream... only, instead of having people walking on my face and calling me filth, I was slow-dancing in the water with Steff.
...
You ever play one of those fighting games where there's always the one guy who's like seventeen tons of walking muscle, and if he manages to hit you it does massive damage but it's laughably easy to avoid his attacks because they move so slowly? That's almost exactly what getting suckerpunched by a fucking ogre isn't like.

Joey: Wow, an entire island all to ourselves! It's sorta like that book Lord of the Flies only with a lot less subtext and a lot more card games!

    • And also, "Ever since your voice changed, you've been like a totally different person! Well, actually, you've been like the same person, just with a totally different voice, but you know what I mean!"
    • "That's Kaiba's Duel Dome! You know, in my day, we didn't have Duel Domes. We had to play our card games out on the street. And our cards weren't even real cards! They were just rocks that we picked up off the ground. And then we threw them at each other! Come to think of it, it wasn't really card games at all. We just liked to throw rocks at each other--mostly at me. That's probably why I have so much self-loathing. (beat) Anyway, we should probably go over there."
    • "Just remember: you treat a Duel Disk just like a woman. You fasten it to your arm, and place trading cards inside it at regular intervals."
  • From the Let's Play of UFO Aftermath:

Booya: It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Except instead of a gun you're using dynamite. And the fish aren't particularly smart either. With a bad sense of pattern recognition. And the dynamite has some sort of fish seeking technology.
Others Present: ...

Wolverine: Maybe you ain't so bad after all, Blake. In fact, you kind of remind me of myself at your age. Except, you know, I'm a mutant. And I've got ethics. And I'm not a psychopath. Or a rapist. You know, maybe you remind me of someone else.[3]

Chester: I would make a good vampire bum! Except I wouldn't drink blood, I would drink alcohol. And I wouldn't fly, I would just do drugs. And I wouldn't be interesting, I would just be incredibly repulsive.

Hinageshi: There are five elemental sites in the human world that seals the nether world's power. And they represent earth, fire, wind, water, and heart. It's a lot like summoning Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Only instead of Captain Planet, it's the nether world. And instead of fighting pollution, it kills people!

  • wordie, a website later merged into wordnik, had the tagline "Like Flickr, but without the photos".
  • In his Let's Play of Metroid Prime 3, Slowbeef attempts to compare Admiral Dane and Adam before guest Baldurk points out he's not like Adam at all.

Slowbeef: [He is] basically like the Adam of Corruption, I suppose.
Baldurk: That bad?
Vicas: He's less intrusive.
Slowbeef: Oh, yeah, much less. This is like the second time I've seen him the whole game.
Baldurk: So he's not really like Adam at all then.
Slowbeef: (Laughing) Yeah, actually you're right.

I'm overjoyed to see Billy's comically overwrought expression of crushing despair as his mother drapes that suit jacket over his shoulders. It's as if he’s won the Masters, only instead of a green jacket he's getting a blue jacket, and instead of winning the Masters he's going to be executed wearing a blue jacket.

Well, it wasn't really a "hotel," except in the sense the Hotel California was a hotel. You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave. Except you can't check out. Because you're dead. Or slowly suffocating in an airtight vault, or being stretched on a rack in the basement that Holmes used to see how far the human body could stretch (Answer: not that far).

Think of how ridiculously one-sided the Space Race would have been if America had actually tapped into its 20-year advantage properly? It would be like the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, only the hare is jacked up to his eyeballs with amphetamines, and the tortoise is a garden gnome.

pipes!: Let's have a planned community with lots of shopping centers easily accessed via public transportation.
Maxwell: If by that, you mean "place things randomly until I go bankrupt", I agree completely.

  • From Zero Punctuation's review of Army of Two: "you get to wear funky skull masks like it's Halloween every day, except that it's you giving out the candy, and the candy is bullets."


Western Animation[edit | hide]

Bender: You may metaphorically have to make a Deal with the Devil. And by Devil, I mean Robot Devil. And by metaphorically, I mean get your coat.

  • On Clone High JFK talked using these all the time.

JFK: Why don't you come to my house and we'll go swimming in my pool. And by "pool" I mean "bathtub" and by "swimming" I mean "SEX"!

  • In a Robot Chicken parody of Care Bears, "Bedtime Bear" delivers the line, "You all know what time it is, it's bed-time; and by bed I mean 'ethnic' and by time, I mean 'cleansing'."
  • One episode of Tale Spin has Molly asking Wildcat to describe snow. He picks up a bowling ball and says "You see this? Well, it's nothing like that."
  • Family Guy:
    • When Peter was thought to be lost at sea, Lois married Brian. After coming home and discovering the change, Chris remarked "This is like that sitcom where there's two dads, except no one's laughing. No, wait, it's the same."
    • ""It's kind of like Bang The Drum Slowly, except the drum's a chick."
  • In American Dad, Roger describes a run-down bar as something to the effect of "filled with the most pathetic, miserable people on the Earth. It's like Applebee's, but with a bar. Oh, wait, Applebee's has a bar. It's like Applebee's.".
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Dr. Doofenshmirtz occasionally says something along the lines of, "Ah, Perry the Platypus. How un-X/not X it is to see you. And by un-X/not-X, I mean completely X!
    • Candace does this quite a bit in the Christmas Episode.
    • In "That Sinking Feeling", Candace expresses a wish that Jeremy was more romantic: "Like Romeo and Juliet romantic, but without all the dying."
    • In "Cheer Up, Candace", Doofenshmirtz introduces his army of evil robot duplicates of Perry with the following:

Doofenshmirtz: I realized what I should really be doing is fighting fire with fire. And by 'fire' I mean 'Perry the Platypus'. And by 'fire' I also mean 'Perry the Platypus'. It occurred to me while I was on fire.

Lionel Hutz: He's had it in for me ever since I kinda ran over his dog... Well, replace the word "kinda" with "repeatedly" and the word "dog" with "son."

Kim's Dad: Hon, you know how I feel about show folk.
Kim's Mom: Oh, they're just like you and me... except they're wealthy, beautiful, and live by no recognizable moral code.

    • The fact that the Possibles are themselves wealthy and beautiful is apparently not relevant here.
  • In the Strawberry Shortcake Berryfest Princess Movie, Orange Blossom's campaign speech includes, "And if you vote for me for Berryfest Princess, you'll be voting for yourself! Well, actually not yourself, but me. But you know what I mean."
  • In one episode of The Very Good Adventures of Yam Roll in Happy Kingdom, the main character starts off a story with, "It was on a day just like today...except, snowing. And...night. And a Tuesday."


TV Tropes Wiki[edit | hide]


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • There's an old joke where a wise rabbi says, "Life is like a fountain." When asked why, he thinks for a long time, and finally says, "All right, life isn't like a fountain."
    • There is also another joke that goes: "How is a duck like a bicycle? They both have handlebars. Except for the duck."
  • Real Life version by Albert Einstein:

You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.

"Dawn crept up like the panther on the gazelle, except it was light, not dark like a panther, and a panther, though quiet, could never be as silent as the light of dawn, so really the analogy doesn’t hold up well, as cool as it sounds, but it still is a great way to begin a story; just not necessarily this particular one."

  • In this video game review by Liam R Productions:

Hotel Mario sort of looks like Donkey Kong, without the princess, the monkey... the barrels and the...eight-bit graphics... so nothing like it then.

He said: "It tastes excellent, not unlike venison - only a different flavour."

  1. Not precisely, of course. Trees didn't burst into flame, people didn't suddenly become very rich and extremely dead, and the seas didn't flash into steam. A better simile, in fact, would be "not like molten gold."
  2. Kara: Isn't that just...bread?
  3. Sabertooth