Overly Narrow Superlative

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Duff: Aye, but now they call me Roboduff! The world's deadliest golfing cyborg!
Kim: Wow, now that's a mouthful.

Ron: And really, how many other golfing cyborgs are there? It cannot be a crowded field.

This trope covers situations where something seems to be highly praised, but the praise is only relative to an extremely small—or intrinsically awful—group (often a group of one), rendering it meaningless. Sometimes the intent is for the praise to be taken seriously (in which case it becomes a version of the Sharpshooter Fallacy), but the more frequent implication is that there isn't any larger category relative to which it can apply, making it a Stealth Insult of sorts. Sometimes the joke is that, even in such an incredibly narrow category, the thing being discussed still isn't first.

This is commonly used for humorous Self-Deprecation; it can also be a way to imply that a work, while bad, at least has a unique premise—it's better than any other because there is no other. Sometimes it derives additional humor from the recipient taking it as a genuine compliment, either because they're dumb or because we the audience know something they do not.

The stock piece of dialogue that fits this trope goes something like:

Alice: You're the best janitor around here.
Bob: But I'm the only janitor around here

Contrast Mathematician's Answer, which is equally meaningless but for the opposite reason. Compare Trivially Obvious and Medal of Dishonor, which may be given out in cases like these. Compare Damned By Faint Praise when this is given by someone else

Examples of Overly Narrow Superlative include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • A Fox Sports Detroit commercial heard one year in May: "Winner of more Emmys than any mid-Michigan sports network this year".
  • Used all the time in commercials promoting TV shows. They seem to try to find some way to refer to the show as #1 somehow. They'll mention usually the genre (#1 new comedy), time (#1 new show of the year), location (#1 show on cable), and any combination of these getting more and more specific as you go.
  • Used in an advert for ITV Digital. Monkey tells Johny Vegas that he's 'the funniest person sitting in that chair'.
  • A TV ad for a game based on Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer proclaimed the game to be "Probably the greatest action game based on a movie based on a superhero comic of the year." Seriously.
  • Tentacle Grape: The most delicious hentai soda on the market!
    • Calling it a "unique glass collector's bottle" in this case is probably another example of this trope.
    • As an aside, cracked.com has named tentacle grape the 4th most horrifying soda in the world. A claim the proudly proclaim on their about page.
  • A Fall 2011 commercial for the X-Men film series on Time Warner On Demand advertised the "Top 5 X-Men Movies." At the time, there were only five X-Men movies (unless you count Generation X).
  • Played for laughs with the iOS version of You Don't Know Jack, which Jellyvision flaunts as "the #1 game in the world that contains both fart noises and trivia about Shakespeare."
  • Advertising for Dexter frequently cites the title character as "America's Favourite Serial Killer".


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Lampshaded in Y the Last Man: Hero compares "the highest ranking woman in the Catholic church" to being "the leggiest guy in the Rockettes".
  • Golden Lad issue No.1: Golden Lad's Most Astounding Adventure!
  • Detective Chimp sometimes refers to himself as the world's greatest chimp detective.
    • He's also called Batman the world's second greatest detective.


Film -- Animated[edit | hide]


Film -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • The DVD cover of Happy Gilmore has a quote referring to it as "the best golf comedy since Caddyshack!" So that means it's better than Caddyshack II, I suppose.
  • In Mr Baseball, Tom Selleck's baseball has-been, Jack Eliot, resorts to one of these to try to avoid being traded.

Jack Eliot: I'm a World Series MVP!
Skip: That was four years ago, Jack. Last season, you hit .235.
Jack Eliot: Last season, I led this team in ninth-inning doubles in the month of August!

Lureen: You're the best combine salesman we got. You're the ONLY combine salesman, in fact...

  • The Norwegian nazi-zombie movie Dead Snow has been called "The best Norwegian nazi-zombie movie ever made".
  • The tagline of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is "He's the best there is! (Actually, he's the only one there is.)".
  • On MST3K, Mike Nelson once described Road House as "The finest American movie ever made by Rowdy Harrington."
    • Though he would later avert this by referring to Road House as "the single finest American film" in Mike Nelson's Mega Moviecheese
  • James Cameron is known for describing his directorial debut Piranha 2: The Spawning as "the finest flying piranha movie ever made".
  • One tagline for the cult classic Jean Reno movie Wasabi is "Quite possibly the greatest French-language, English-subtitled, Japanese action-comedy of all time."
  • One May 2010 review described Saturday Night Live movie MacGruber as "the funniest SNL movie since Waynes World". Most SNL movies range in quality; calling a movie the funniest since Wayne's World isn't saying much.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World does this a few times.
    • Ramona tells Scott that he's the nicest guy she's dated yet. Considering that her dating history consists of the Seven Evil Exes...
    • Earlier in the movie, Knives Chau gushes over Scott, telling him she's never dated anyone so talented. Scott correctly surmises that she hasn't dated that many people in general.
  • Saved opens with the protagonist's mother being named "the number one Christian interior decorator for the entire region."
  • In Travis Betz's Lo the waiter assures the protagonist that he is the best bartender in that room. Said room currently contains them and a demon rat.
  • Eight Legged Freaks was advertised as "the biggest, nastiest mutant spider movie of all time".
  • In Demolition Man, upon learning he's eating a rat hamburger, John Spartan shrugs and states this is the best hamburger he had in years. Considering the current society is vegetarian, and he spent a few decades as a Human Popsicle...
  • The protagonist of Mel Brooks' remake of To Be or Not to Be is frequently described as "World famous in Poland."
  • Destroy All Movies describes Love Bites as "The best shot-on-video gay vampire comedy of 1988."
  • Apogee of Fear has been called "the best science fiction film ever made in space".


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The New Yorker reviewed Jeff Lindsay's "Dexter" novels by saying "Dexter Morgan is one of the most likable vigilante serial killers in recent literature." This is weird on many levels. First, "in recent literature," as if that statement would be any less valid if they just said "in literature" given how few characters fit that crazily specific criteria. Then they complicate things even further by saying he's just "one of" the most likable, as if to cover their tracks in case there are other characters that fit his exact description who are more likable. This description is kind of like saying "George W. Bush is the best president whose father was also president and also likes Dr. Pepper."
  • In When You Are Engulfed in Flames, David Sedaris ponders how sometimes the sins we haven't committed can be all we have to cling to, and some people really need to reach to find sins they haven't committed: At least I never killed anyone with a hammer.
  • In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy tries to cheer up a guilt ridden Tumnus by saying he's "the nicest faun I've ever met." She kindly neglects to mention that he's the only faun she's ever met. He even suspects she hasn't met many.
  • Inverted in the blurb on the back of The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket: "Is there a more charming holiday tale to behold? Probably, but Lemony Snicket has not written one."
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events has Esmé Squalor, the city's sixth most important financial advisor.
  • From one of two reviews of the novel KKXG: KING KONG VS GIGANTOSAURUS-

Anyone who'd like a good, suspenseful adventure novel about a giant lizard and a big gorilla who fight at the end will get enjoyment from it.

  • As Ephraim Kishon wrote, because a state Israel didn't exist for 2000 years, they had for some time the first anything in Israel for 2000 years. The first driving school, the first broom factory, and he himself wrote the first collection of humorist short stories for 2000 years.
  • From PG Wodehouse's first Jeeves and Wooster story, "Extricating Young Gussie":

Take him for all in all, dear old Uncle Cuthbert was as willing a spender as ever called the family lawyer a bloodsucking vampire because he wouldn't let Uncle Cuthbert cut down the timber to raise another thousand.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

But that was my favorite Egyptian mortuary based nutritional diagram

Saul: Why are you so obsessed with my social life?
Nora: Not obsessed. You're my favorite brother.
Saul: Only brother.
Nora: In this family, you never know.

  • Home Improvement during a special episode of Tool Time, Tim thanked the audience for making it "Michigan's fourth-highest-rated cable tool show".
  • Web Soup includes a segment called The Greatest Web Video Ever ...This Week.
  • In That '70s Show, after losing her virginity to Eric, Donna says that the sex was "the best I've ever had."
    • In the Wonderful Life episode, Eric "brags" to Donna about how he's the assistant manager of the second-largest mattress retailer in the tri-county area.
  • On Scrubs:
    • The Janitor tries this and fails.

Janitor: We're the best hospital employee a capella band around.
The Worthless Peons: Oh really?

    • Ted unintentionally does this when he's talking to Gooch:

I mean you're the most beautiful, perfect ukulele player I've ever seen! I know that's not saying much because they're usually fat Hawaiians...

  • Alan Partridge frequently boasts of hosting "the fourth-highest-rated show on Radio Norwich"
  • Perhaps lampshading the station's creaky financial status, one of WKRP in Cincinnati's more prominent advertisers is recognizable by their spots' catchy slogan, "Red Wigglers: the Cadillac of Worms."
  • The Office:

Jim: Dwight was the top salesman of the year at our company. He wins a little prize money and gets honored at some convention. It is literally the highest possible honor that a northeastern-Pennsylvania-based mid-size paper company regional salesman can attain.

Kendra: That's me favorite shirt! That's me only shirt!

News Announcer: It's been a quiet day over most of the country, as people went back to work after the warmest July weekend in nearly a year.

  • In one episode of Due South, Ray Kowalski claims that his current boxing protégé is the best fighter he's ever trained. Francesca forces him to admit that he's the only fighter he's ever trained.
  • Television Without Pity does this occasionally.
    • They described The Vampire Diaries as "probably the best vampire show on now", though that's not as narrow as it sounds these days..
    • They also described Top Chef: Just Desserts as "everyone's favourite competitive pastry reality show".
  • From Have I Got News for You:

BRIAN BLESSED: This is Gordon Brown's worst week in politics since last week.

  • In the first 2010 episode of the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ellen proclaims to her audience, "you are the best audience of the year", and adds "no, you are the best audience of the DECADE!" The audience starts off laughing at the joke, and then cheers for themselves.
  • There was a History Channel documentary on the Black Plague where one analyst referred to it as "Surely one of the most important events in European history where over fifty percent of the population died in such a short time." (Yeah, there's probably supposed to be a comma after history...)
  • On M*A*S*H:
    • In the 11th-season episode "Who Knew?":

Col. Potter: The best damn cartoon strip in the world is 'Li'l Abner.'
Charles Emerson Winchester, III: That is roughly comparable to being the finest ballerina in all of Galveston.

    • In the 9th-season episode "The Best of Enemies":

Col. Potter: We're the best mixed-doubles bridge team in the entire Show-Me State.
Charles Emerson Winchester, III: That is roughly the equivalent of being the finest hockey player in all of Ecuador.

  • iCarly: The iCarly Awards Show episode includes awards for things like, "The Most Interesting and Yet Frightening Tongue Video" and "Best Milk Squirting from Eye Video"
  • In an early episode of Psych, Shawn says the following about Lassiter: "... he is an exemplary public servant, and arguably the finest detective mind in the lower western Santa Barbara county area... over the age of 35."
  • In an episode of Reno 911!, Junior honors the Sheriff's memory by calling him the "best Pollack sheriff" they've ever had. He goes on to say that he isn't deprecating the Polish, he just wasn't a particularly good at his job.
  • Syfy advertises Ghost Hunters as "Television's #1 Paranormal Reality Series."
  • Top Gear:
    • Host Jeremy Clarkson usually gives a guest that isn't near the top of the time chart bragging rights by declaring them "The fastest blank to go around our track," with blank replaced with things like Welshman or person with a senior citizen's bus pass.
    • Also all the antics of Top Gear Stunt Man. Everything he does is really just a huge failure that everyone had seen coming right from the beginning, but they always try to make it into some type of success. He successfully created a new record for the longest car jump in reverse gear, since nobody ever claimed that title before.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, Lois refers to her favorite baseball player as "the first Polish-American from the tri-county area to play three complete seasons in the majors".
  • The pilot episode of Extras has Ben Stiller play up his own career with "I mean, yeah, I make Along Came Polly, it opens to $32 million, one of the biggest Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday holiday opening weekends ever"
  • Jeeves and Wooster: When Bertie calls Pauline Stoker "one of the nicest girls I've ever been engaged to", it sure sounds like an example of this trope. Given his tendency to get engaged at the drop of a hat, though...
  • In Friends, Rachel claims that Ross is, like, the toughest palaeontologist she knows.
  • Inverted in Arrested Development when Lucille calls Michael her "third least favorite child". Though, since she has four children, that's still kind of an insult.
  • Fan-tweet read out on America's Test Kitchen: @cpkimball is the sexiest man in a bow-tie with a cooking show on public television."
  • NCIS had an undercover set up blown apart by the FBI. Fornell and Gibbs start in on each other about it before heading off to Gibbs' "office". The FBI agents worriedly mentioned to the NCIS team that they hadn't seen Fornell this mad since... (other FBI agent finishes) the last time they saw him.

Music[edit | hide]

  • When Flight of the Conchords are performing for an audience that's unfamiliar with them, they'll usually bill themselves as some variation of "formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo". The third most popular is a Flight of the Conchords cover band. They play all the same songs, but they're just slightly better.

"And when you're on the street, depending on the street, I bet you are definitely in the top three..."

  • Asthmatic Kitty's press release for Sufjan Stevens' 2006 release Songs For Christmas:

"Wow! It's the stocking stuffer of the century! Which isn't saying much, considering the century is still so young!"

  • Sammy Davis Jr used to describe himself as "the world's greatest one-eyed, black, Jewish entertainer".
  • In one memorable TV interview, Jimi Hendrix responded to being called "one of the best guitarists in the world" by saying he was "one of the best guitarists sitting in this chair."
  • In an interview, John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants responded to the fact that TMBG was at the time the most successful independent band in America by saying "Well, that's kind of like being the world's tallest midget."
  • The CAKE song "World of Two" has the line "...you are/ two of the most/perfectly/ beautiful/people in your world."
  • Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, a music/variety act at Disneyland, often describe one of their members as "the fastest speed fiddler in the entire... Frontierland area".
  • The comedy group Pig With The Face Of A Boy describe themselves as "[The] world's best neo-post-post-music hall anti-folk band."
  • On TV Tropes someone defended the group The Lonely Island as being "probably the most successful comedy rap group currently performing".
  • Flogging Molly has a song called "The Worst Day Since Yesterday".
  • The Housemartins claimed they were only the "fourth best band in Hull" (the three other bands they thought were better than them? Everything But the Girl, The Gargoyles and Red Guitars). This is referenced in the name of their 1986 debut album London 0 Hull 4 (as in Hull has four great bands, as opposed to London's zero).
  • The introduction to The Blanks' live show includes referring to the band as something along the lines of "The best a cappella group ever to sing in the halls of a fictional hospital".
  • Alice in Chains' MTV Unplugged concert has this exchange between Layne and Jerry:

Layne: I would have to say that this is the best show we've done in 3 years.
Jerry: Layne, it's the only one we've done in 3 years.
Layne: Well, it's still the best.

  • Inverted in a John Lennon quip, who, when asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world, replied, "He's not even the best drummer in The Beatles!"


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • In Dilbert, Dogbert is acting as a shady, bribe-collecting movie critic, and a customer wants to know how much the review "Best movie so far this year" will cost for a film released on New Year's Day.
    • Inverted in another strip where Dilbert's company manages to claim that their engineers are paid above the median salary for their industry by defining their industry more and more vaguely until the average salary drops below what they're paying their employees. Dilbert's company is officially in the industry of "High technology, textile workers, teenagers and dead people."
  • In Garfield, Garfield says: "Jon! My favorite person! In this room... at the moment."
  • The Boondocks: Caesar brags about being "the freestyle rhyme champion in Woodcrest!!", which Huey points out is not that hard to be.

Radio[edit | hide]

  • Christian radio host Bob Larson often called his audience "America's #1 live radio prayer family." Quick—name another live radio prayer family.
    • KCMS, that is Spirit 105.3, which broadcasts in the Seattle area has segments in the evening which can be considered a "live radio prayer family." quick—name a third.
  • A running bit on Dan Cole's radio show on KFAN is to state that a given show is "one of the top five shows on the station." There are only 5 shows on the station.
  • Just a Minute: "Very good chairman, very good chairman! Best chairman we've got, best chairman we've got!"


Stand Up Comedy[edit | hide]

  • Milton Jones is often introduced as "Britain's funniest Milton".
  • Tim Minchin's So Live DVD describes him as "without a doubt one of the top 7 pianist-singer-songwriter-comedian-actort-pervert-wannabe-rockstars born in Western Australia in the mid-seventies."
  • Drag performer Cashetta calls herself "The world's most fabulous drag magician." And follows with, "And the genius of that is that you've got nothing to compare me to!"


Theater[edit | hide]

  • From the opening of Ragtime The Musical: "And although the newspapers called the shooting the Crime of the Century, Goldman knew it was only 1906...and there were ninety-four years to go!"
  • In 1776 : Martha Jefferson, upon meeting Adams and Franklin, says that she is honored to meet "The two greatest men in America." Franklin replies, "Certainly the two greatest in earshot."
  • After the "wall" has finished his speech in A Midsummer Nights Dream:

Demetrius: It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard discourse, my lord.


Video Games[edit | hide]


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Nukees won the Spleen award (best comic named Nukees).
  • Touhou Nekokayou: "You are the guiltiest HELL-RAVEN with the power of a CROW with the power of THE SUN in the entire UNDERGROUND!"
  • According to its about page, "Spatula Drama is is a constrained comic that tells the tale of two lovers, Vincent Bruno and Trish, who are drama-prone spatulas. It is probably the world’s best example of this premise."
  • Order of the Stick #831: Oh man! I haven't seen him this mad since the last time I saw him!
  • Shortpacked: The Avengers: the best movie Jesus Christ has ever seen.[3]
  • As Wondermark blogged about Cathy being called "the first widely syndicated humor strip by a female cartoonist" --

...being the first at something is a powerful branding tool, and with enough qualifiers, anyone can be the first at something.

  • Head Trip had a case of Mal appreciating her appliance, who made mistake of talking about this before she had her morning coffee. Then again, that's Mal - she could know more than ten coffee makers possessed by dead guys' spirits. And/or personally deprive them of their previous bodies. 'Tis best not to ask.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Averted when Diamanda Hagan described Zombeak as "the world's worst zombie chicken movie," because another one actually does exist. And it is amazing.
  • Cute with Chris often calls his site/show, "The number one cat website on the internet today... With the word "Chris" in the title. So proud."
  • Homestar Runner uses this gag a fair few times:
    • In the Strong Bad Email "record book", Strong Mad gets into the book for the record "Most Macaronis Nailed To A Paper Towel Tube By Strong Mad", with one piece of macaroni nailed to the tube.
    • In "kids' show", Strong Bad describes Homsar as "everyone's favorite blue midget Homestar".
    • In 8-Bit Is Enough, Homestar remarks that Strong Bad is the "eleventh best friend a guy can have". Which is a lot less impressive when the series has twelve main characters, and Homestar is presumably not counting himself as one of his friends. Although, with Homestar, one can never be certain.
  • One of Beatnik Turtle's Songs of the Day is titled "This Is The Best Song That I've Written Today."
  • The Onion News Network released a clip posing as a North Korean propaganda piece about bringing the Moon down to North Korea as a trophy to put on display for the glory of the nation. What to put it on, though?

Reporter (subtitled): The People's Great and Harmonious Moon Hand of Kim Jong-Il will be the largest moon-hand pedestal ever constructed.

    • One horoscope listing also lampshaded this trope: "You're not sure how to react when people refer to you as 'The John Sherwood of Sailor Moon fanfiction'."
  • In The Very Secret Diaries, Legolas dangles Pippin over a cliff until he'll admit that Legolas is the prettiest elf in the Fellowship. Pippin diplomatically doesn't point out that he's the only elf in the Fellowship.
  • The Nostalgia Chick describes Bratz as "the worst, most racist movie that stars Jon Voight, came out in the summer of 2007 and was based on a line of toys". And she still managed to make it an insult to Michael Bay's Transformers movies.
  • The Agony Booth's description of Degrassi Junior High:

- ...the most beloved teen drama ever made! ...In Canada. Between the years of 1987 and 1989. Of all time!

While no one will ever accuse him of being one of the greatest technicians of the instrument, Moon understood both his strengths and limitations and rightly proclaimed himself "The greatest Keith Moon-style drummer in the world."

  • In the Spanish Más respeto, que soy tu madre, one of the characters is the World's champion of a sport invented by himself.
  • Dread Central reviewer Scott Foy has repeatedly stated in regards to director Ulli Lommel that "Uwe Boll is not the worst director in the world. In fact, he's not even the worst German director whose name begins with the letter 'U'."
  • In the MSF High Forum, Lily mentions that May is the 'most interesting half-breed she can remember seeing.' She's amnesiac, and just arrived at school today.
  • The Saturday Morning Glory review of Mister T calls the show "the greatest cartoon to star Mr. T ever made."
  • In the Facebook game "The Smurfs and Co", if you talk to Timber Smurf, he'll call himself the best lumberjack in all of Smurf Village. You'll respond by saying he's the only lumberjack in Smurf Village.
  • The conclusion of Cleolinda Jones' Twilight recaps : "it was the best series starting with a teenage girl in love with a mysterious boy in her class that ended up with a teenage girl defending her growth-accelerated mutant hybrid baby from an ancient clan of evil vampires with her magical psychic shield that I ever read."
  • Tobuscus got invited to livestream a playthrough of the Xbox Live Arcade game Bloodforge on its release date. He brought his mom along to the show and invited her to play for a few minutes. Shortly thereafter he called her, "The best mom who ever played Bloodforge in the first hour of its release."
  • From CatsTheLookLikeHitler.com: "I think your site is one of the funniest sites about cats that look like Hitler that I've seen this week."
  • Sally Kohn, a lawyer, former contributor at Fox News and now an "expert" on everything, bills herself as "America's second favorite cable news lesbian" (according to her Twitter profile).

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Jon: Doc Boy, how's my favorite brother?
Doc Boy: Don't call me Doc Boy. You've probably forgotten I'm your ONLY brother.

  • All Grown Up! has Chucky described as "The fastest braces-wearing, red-headed, nearsighted, kid on Earth!"
  • In The Simpsons:
    • She probably doesn't intend it as an insult, but at one point Lisa says Yertle the Turtle is "possibly the best book ever written on turtle stacking".
    • In the same episode, one of the successful female Simpson relatives describes herself as the "regional manager of the third-largest distributor of bunk and trundle beds".
    • In the "138th Episode Spectacular", Troy McClure describes the Simpsons as "America's favourite non-prehistoric cartoon family". Although that's not as narrow as the alternative.
    • Abe Simpson describes the Flying Hellfish as "the fightingest squad of the fightingest company of the third-fightingest battalion in the army".
    • Another episode has Lisa awarded the Student of the Millennium Prize. She admits it's not as big a deal as it sounds, as we're only about a decade into the new millennium...but still, they picked HER!
  • Futurama:
    • One of the DVDs has a list of unused opening captions for episodes as an Easter Egg. These include "The best show you're watching right now".
    • One ad campaign run for the show on Adult Swim described it as "The action-comedy-scifi-drama that redefined action-comedy-scifi-dramas."
    • Dr. Zoidberg has been known to refer to himself as "the most important doctor at the delivery company where I work".
    • In "Bendin' In The Wind": "Bender, that was the best forty-minute washboard solo I've ever heard. The parts where I was awake blew my mind."
  • In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic (unsurprisingly) fails to lift Tails' spirits when he's down in the dumps on one occasion by saying that he's the fastest, coolest two tailed fox he knows.
  • Reversed in an episode of Animaniacs. Yakko Warner describes an overly Avant-Garde black and white French film as "The worst French film I've ever seen! It's also the only French film I've ever seen."
  • The Tick (animation) episode 'Grandpa Wore Tights' includes "Zee largest secret army of atomic robot zombie men... in zhe vorld!" [4]
  • Jay Sherman of The Critic is described as "New York's third most popular early-morning cable-TV film critic."
  • An episode of The Weekenders focuses on yearbook superlatives. The yearbook has a space for "Best Tino" - and main character Tino failed to even get that.
  • In an episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold, Kite-man boasts "I'll be the most famous kite-related person in history!" Given that the only other famous kite-related person in history is Ben Franklin, and that Franklin is a household name not just in America, but the world over, that is actually aiming quite high for a third-tier gimmicky villain.
  • Reversed in Phineas and Ferb, where a young Doofenshmirtz isn't particularly fond of the song "What Do It Do?", even after putting it in one of these:

Doofenshmirtz: Eh, it's in my top seven, eight favorite songs about reverse engineering.

  • On Beavis and Butthead, the boys are watching the Salt N Peppa video "What A Man". Butt-Head responds to the line "He is the cutest brother in here!" with "He's the only brother in here!"
  • The KaBlammy for best acting while impersonating an egg went to Loopy from "Life with Loopy" and the award for best supporting monkey went to "Prometheus and Bob."
  • In one episode of Scooby Doo, this is Velma's excuse for stealing a pair of skates.

Velma: I'm the best figure-skater in my country! *trip* ...It's a very small country?


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • A standard joke: "You're the best Sunday afternoon audience we've had all week!" (change date and time as appropriate).
  • Used often in movie advertisements. Your film didn't open #1 at the box office? No problem. Just say it's the #1 action-adventure/comedy/family comedy/romance/fantasy/etc of the week. The sad part? It's usually said non-ironically. A similar usage is movies in January being billed as "one of the best movies of the year".
    • One of the best of these was for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which proclaimed in large letters, The #1 Movie in America! then, in small letters, (that's a comedy written by a Canadian who's left-handed). They went even further in the trailer: "If you see one movie this summer, see Star Wars! If you see two movies, see Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me!
    • Uwe Boll's Blood Rayne II Deliverance DVD release was promoted boldly as a sequel to the "Best-selling Live-action DVD of 2006!" A claim footnoted with "for films that made less than $5 million at the box office".
    • The Lying Ape lists an unintentional example - a man was asked to review a book and completely bashed it, giving it overall an extremely negative review. This being early January, he ended the review ironically with "Best book I've read all year." Guess which single line out of his entire review they put on the back of the novel?
    • A variation/inversion on this appeared in a review for the first |Dungeons and Dragons film, which came out in December 2000; the reviewer wrote something along the lines of, "[this movie] was the worst film of this year; if they had only waited a few weeks it could have been the worst film of next year!"
  • The same thing happens with TV shows. Almost every show is number one in some way: "#1 New Show, #1 show on cable, #1 new show on cable." It just keeps getting narrower from there.
  • The Bassett Street Hounds, central New York's finest[5] mixed-sex Border morris dancing team.
  • Outside an Australian leagues club, their sign read "Watch the game on the coast's largest 102" television!" One wonders in what important way all the other 102" televisions on the coast are smaller...
  • All The Tropes:
  • A common saying: "Isn't this like being the best football (soccer) team in Greenland?"
    • Or the best-looking girl in Wales.
      • Lisa Lampanelli used something like that in the roast of Jeff Foxworthy. She praised Bill Engvall for being the best-looking comedian on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Then added on the backhanded compliment of saying, "That's not difficult, that's like being the prettiest one on The View."
  • The Rosa Parks of Rosa Parks Blogs.
  • Amazon.com does this automatically with its best-seller list, narrowing the category until it puts the product whose page you're on in the top 100. "#61 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Comedic Fiction > Talking Animals > Wombats > Southern Hairy-Nosed".
  • Often the evasive answer given by parents of multiple children when one of them asks if they're the favorite.

Parent: Well, you're definitely my favorite daughter/second son/older female middle child.

  • Technology writer Andy Ihnatko has referred to himself as "America's 42nd most beloved industry-figure and "Possibly not the least-beloved technology pundit in the land!"
  • Echoing the Beatles comment above, Penn Jillette has said, "I'm not the best magician in the world -- I'm not even the best magician at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, or the best magician in Penn & Teller."
    • Similarly, the career of Andre Agassi has been noted for not being about records; "he doesn't even have the record for the most titles in his house!" (Though the bar was set pretty high; Agassi's wife, Steffi Graf, has won 22 Grand Slam events.)
  • Records and firsts are getting increasingly specific. 'First woman to do X'. 'Fastest 100-yard dash by an Asian.' 'Biggest statue created by a left-handed Norwegian guitarist while on crack...'.
  • The standard backhanded compliment "You're the funniest person in that chair".
  • Brazilian comedian Geraldo Magela describes himself as the "best blind comedian in Brazil".
  • io9's article on Roswell dubs it "the best late 90s alien teen soap opera on The WB EVER".
  • Happens in sports all the time. Want to make that middle-tier so-so quarterback look good? Just mention that he's got the highest third-down conversion percentage when facing a defensive line comprised of Penn State alumni.
    • The Minnesota Wild have never lost a home opener in franchise history.
  • Websites like Fark.com often contain links to items such as "The most amazing picture/video of (extremely specific object or event that you aren't likely to see ever again) you'll see today."
  • This review of Waiting for Superman calls it "the second best documentary I've seen this year that ends with low-income families nervously awaiting the outcome [of] a lottery determining whether their child gets a coveted spot in a charter school." (And the reviewer is serious, going on to say that The Cartel is the best, and there's even a third film which would qualify in that category which he has not yet seen.)
  • Some of the materials run on the Oddly Specific spinoff of Failblog. Others edge into Suspiciously Specific Denial. This one, for instance.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is the best gubernatorial candidate in the cast of Predator. Some may disagree on whether he's truly better than Jesse Ventura, but the funny thing is, no matter which of them you prefer, neither of them is the worst. That distinction goes to Sonny Landham.
  • Retainer Brite - The World's #1 Daily Orthodontic appliance cleaner
  • American computer scientists like telling people that the American ENIAC, finished in 1946, was the first-ever working, fully electronic computer. European computer scientists like to point out that the "fully electronic" part makes this an Overly Narrow Superlative, only necessary so they can avoid mentioning the working electro-mechanical computers that existed in Europe five years prior, most notably the Zuse Z3.
    • Another Overly Narrow Superlative is such a big deal that it rather cancels the over-narrowness, though. ENIAC was the first computer known to be Turing Complete during its operational life. (The Z3 was Turing Complete, but this was only demonstrated in 1998, using programming techniques not available in its time.)
  • Illinois Senator Roland Burris has a huge gravestone already put in place, with a list of accomplishments carved in marble. He's particularly fond of listing personal "firsts". So his gravestone boasts, apparently seriously, that he was the first African-American to transfer from Southern Illinois University to the University of Hamburg.
  • The Guinness Book Of World Records is full of "standard" records, like world's longest beard, but it also has gems like the world record for cycling backwards with a violin.
    • They also called Silent Movie the sound film with the least spoken dialogue: A single one-syllable word. "no", spoken by French mime Marcel Marceau
  • Adolf Hitler could be described as the Most Evil Painter In History.
  • Port Washington, Wisconsin is the host of "The world's largest one-day outdoor fish fry." Which suggests that somewhere, there is a town with the world's second largest one-day outdoor fish fry.
  • Some of the more obscure scholarships out there for students can get maddeningly specific, narrowing the qualifications down to things like, "half-hispanic female student from _____ County, attending _____ University, in the Poultry Science program."
  • The bigger New Orleans crawfish festivals distinguish themselves by being both overly narrow and overly superlative—they will call themselves the "best/biggest/wildest (optional qualifier: Cajun) crawfish boil in the world", but there aren't many crawfish boils outside of New Orleans.
  • A quote by Dan Quayle (frequently attributed to George W. Bush):

"We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world."

Though this could be interpreted as the US coming out ahead of Canada, Mexico, and the South American states...
  • The (now long defunct) Springfield News of Springfield, Oregon had a handful of regular movie reviewers, one of whom opened every review with a variation on the line "The best {X} movie since the last one".
  • Some obscure dog breeds are guaranteed to win a "Best of Breed" ribbon at dog shows, simply because nobody else entered, say, a Peruvian Inca Orchid.
  • Mark Kermode's review of Le Quattro Volte called it "the best silent goat-herding movie of the year so far"
  • Scripps College boasts the Motley Coffeehouse, the largest all-female-run coffeehouse west of the Mississippi.
  • If you are an only child, your dad is required to call you his "favorite daughter/son."
    • It also applies if you're the only child of the specified gender. For example, if you come from a family of 4 children but 3 of them, your brothers, are male, you're your dad's "favorite daughter". And the other way around.
    • And the other other way around, too - your mom and dad are probably your favourite parents.
  • While in office, Mark Green was fond of referring to himself as "the greatest New York City comptroller in history." As he was also the first New York City comptroller in history, that was definitely true.
  • The Wright Brothers were not the first people to travel by air—they were preceded by hot-air balloons, for example. What Orville and Wilbur are credited with is "the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard." according to the Smithsonian.
  • You probably didn't know there's a meteor crater under Manson, Iowa. It's several miles across, and completely buried under glacial till. In order to maintain its superlative status (it was briefly hoped to be the impact that killed the dinosaurs, before it was found to be too small), it's described as "the largest and best preserved impact crater on the mainland United States". Others that are larger are either deformed or offshore. Never mind that Manson's crater is completely buried. That's why it's so well preserved!
  • The Other Wiki describes Billy Ocean as "the most popular British-based R&B singer-songwriter of the early to mid-1980s."
    • Likewise, its German-language chapter describes Johannes Heesters (1903-2011) as having been "the second-oldest man living in Germany", narrowing the aspects of rank (only 2nd), sex (only among males), country of residence (only in Germany) and discounting citizenship (he was Dutch, maybe an Austrian too). A much less narrow superlative on the other hand was his nature as the worldwide oldest active and longest-serving artist.

  1. Maybe that's because he keeps calling her "boluda"...
  2. For the record: John Carpenter's Starman in 1984 is the only possible competition to Tron (1982) in this category.
  3. (Out of a sample size of The Avengers, Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2).
  4. An unsubstantiated claim. If there was a larger secret army of robot zombie men... in zhe vorld, would he know?
  5. and only