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A Bait and Switch Comparison is often used to deliver a Take That. The basic setup of the joke is to make a comparison between two things and imply that certain properties are associated with one thing, then assign them to the other. It goes something like this: "What's the difference between X and Y? One's [X-like]... and the other's X." The insult can be aimed at either entity, depending on whether "[X-like]" is positive or negative with regards to Y.

Related to My Friends and Zoidberg, in terms of messing with the mental categorization of items based on their description. When there's no question of which entity is being insulted but the insultee assumes it's someone else, that's Insult Misfire.

Examples of Bait and Switch Comparison include:


Comics

  • A picture going around, featuring a fight between Iron Man and Dr. Doom, summed it thus: One is a fascist with a twisted code of honor in a suit of armor. The other is Dr. Doom.
  • In Irredeemable, Modeus has managed to obtain the comatose Scylla. While thinking about Charybdis (now called Survivor) and Scylla, he notes that "one is a brain-dead moron. The other stands before me."
  • Fantastic Four: The Human Torch, Invisible Woman, and Thing are fighting horrifying monster. The following exchange occurs:

 Human Torch: It's horrible! Make it invisible! Make it invisible!

Invisible Woman: Then how's Ben[1] supposed to hit it?

Human Torch: I was talking about Ben.

Thing: Why you little...wait, that was a good one.


Film

  • The Joker in Batman, after kidnapping Vicki Vale: "As though we were made for each other... Beauty and the Beast. Of course, if anyone else calls you beast, I'll rip their lungs out."
  • Used in Igor when the king goes on a talk show.

 "Tonight we have a very special guest, someone we all love and respect. But first, King Malbert."

  • Tangled: "Rapunzel, look in that mirror. You know what I see? I see a strong, confident, beautiful young lady. *beat* Oh, look, you're here, too."
  • In Casanova, Francesca Bruni sets a trap for Casanova by inserting a line in a Bernardo Guardi pamphlet about how a pig is the best pet for a man who actually respects women. When Casanova promptly shows up at Francesca's house with a pig, the maid meets him at the door, and says:

  "My mistress says the pig may not come in. The animal, however, she'll take." [takes the pig, and slams the door]


Fan Fic

  • In one The Lord of the Rings fanfic, a Mary Sue has joined the Fellowship, and the journey is told entirely through journal entries (where they wonder various things, such as her real hair colour, past, and name). Galadriel makes an entry when they leave Lothlórien:

 Today, the Fellowship moves on. A great evil passes from my domain, and a vast dank shadow lifts from the hearts of my people.

Oh, and the One Ring is leaving, too.

 They arrive at HALLOWEEN TOWN, which looks similar Camden, New Jersey. The only difference is that one is a terrifying land made up of nightmares and horrors beyond imagination, and the other is HALLOWEEN TOWN.


Literature

  • From The Discworld Companion entry on The Fools' Guild:

 It is strange but instructive to contrast the Guild with the Assassins' Guild next door. One is a pleasant, airy building, whose corridors echo with the laughter of students and hum with quiet activity of people working hard in a job they love - the other is gaunt, forbidding and silent except for the occasional muffled sob. One leaves its gates open most of the time and its graduates are considered to brighten up any party - the other operates its wretched craft behind locked doors and its members are regarded with disdain by right-thinking people. One turns out people who, admittedly, must in the course of their duties, sometimes stab, poison or otherwise inhume their patients - but at least they never ask them to believe that pouring whitewash down someone's trousers is funny.

  • John Rogers, "Kung Fu Monkey" blog:

 "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

    • Actually this quote is from Raj Patel, from his book The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy


Live Action TV

 "It'll be great, there'll be a woman who is qualified to be President... and Sarah Palin will be there too."

  • Firefly had Simon and Kaylee in a room observing an "alien" (actually a mutated cow fetus) in a jar as part of a sideshow. When Kaylee storms off, Wash enters and remarks "Oh my God, it's grotesque! Oh, and there's something in a jar."
  • Jon Stewart:
    • During her acceptance speech, Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential nominee, asked, "You know they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?" Stewart responded, "One is unfairly maligned despite evidence showing they're no worse than any other dogs, while the other is an artificial demographic no better or worse than any other kind of mom." Her actual answer was "lipstick".
    • And again, during the ANCHOR WAR! between Stewart and Mad Money host Jim Cramer:

 Jon Stewart: A battle between a man who makes people laugh for a living, and whatever people think I do.

    • At one point, he tried to help Republicans come up with some better zingers:

 Jon Stewart: What's the difference between President Obama and the New York Times? One's black and white and full of lies, and the other's a publication I've never read.

    • Talking about the Tea Party Republican debate:

 Jon Stewart: A fringe, often derided, incompetent bunch of yahoos was finally granted legitimacy by pairing with the Tea Party.

    • Talking about a fundraiser with George Clooney and Barack Obama:

 Jon Stewart: The most powerful man in the free world, having Barack Obama over to his house for a fundraiser.

  • Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson loves this trope, and uses it at least once a week (usually more, actually) in his monologues. He Lampshaded this himself on the September 7th, 2009 show. He also does a variant in the beginning of most of his monologues as he's "welcoming" the viewers:

 Craig: Welcome, welcome. Sit back, let down your long, luscious blond locks... You too, ladies!

    • "James Cameron, who directed Avatar, is in a feud with Glenn Beck, because Cameron called him a madman. The two are very different. One makes millions creating fictional stories, and the other is James Cameron."
  • Conan O'Brien also makes frequent use of this trope:

 Conan: Well, Paris Hilton is visiting Venice this week. The crumbling, polluted system of canals that has been used by everyone... is visiting Venice.

    • He also pulled a rare lighthearted variant when it was revealed that Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey would meet, cracking that the most influential and most powerful black person in the world was going to meet Barack Obama.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has an exchange where Derek asks John why the two women (Cameron and Sarah) were sent into a dangerous situation instead of the men. John responds, "...and one of the girls is harder than nuclear nails." Derek adds, "...and the other is a cyborg."
  • In Knightmare, Cedric, a monk, is trading insults with Folly, a jester, and his final one is:

 Cedric: When the joker is no longer funny, when his jokes can't earn him any money, when wit deserts the stupid clod-- I'll send HIM here, to do YOUR job!

 Duane: You know what they say about love and war.

Tim: Yes, one involves a lot of physical and psychological pain, and the other one's war.

 Will: I feel good about this, leaving our puppy with Cruella De Vil... and Karen.

  • Wings: Helen, regarding Roy's Russian mail order bride.

 Helen: Could you imagine your only two choices in life being Roy and Siberia? One is cold, vast, and depressing, and the other is way the hell in Russia.

    • In another episode, several of the group have tried out for a local play, and Antonio is telling the others what their roles will be.

 Antonio: Roy, you are an overbearing, pompous windbag.

Roy: Sounds like a great character! (he walks away)

Antonio [to the others]: That isn't his character. I've just always wanted to say that to him.

  • On 50 to 01: Greatest Movie Quotes, Bert Newton introduces the line "At my signal, unleash Hell," by saying "Russell Crowe is a violent barbarian looking for a fight. Also, he's in Gladiator."
  • The American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway has a variation that's become a running gag. Example, taken from a Weird Newscasters game:

 Drew: Ryan Stiles, you're the weatherman, and you're desperately trying to convince everyone that you're not gay.

Ryan: Yeah, but what am I in this sketch?

    • Or another example:

 Drew: Wayne, you're a Jamaican love god.

Wayne: I know that. What's my actual role?

    • One more:

 Drew: Greg, you're the co-anchor. You're going to do "a goofy white guy desperately trying to act 'street'."

Greg: But I need a character!

  • From Friends, Chandler is afraid he will end up like his parents:

 Chandler: ...I could grow up to be a middle-aged divorcee chasing around twenty-year old boys... or I could become my mom.

  • From the opening monologue of the 2010 Academy Awards:

 Steve Martin: Over here, we have the Inglourious Basterds section.

Alec Baldwin: And over here, we have the people who made the movie.

 Narrator: So the guys want to train goldfish to swim through a maze! If they do it, they'll prove they're smarter than we think. The goldfish will look clever, too!

  • A variation from the Doctor Who episode "The Doctor Dances", when Captain Jack Harkness first enters the TARDIS:

 Jack Harkness: Hmm, Bigger on the Inside.

Doctor: Yeah, you'd better be.

    • And done the usual way in the 2010 Christmas special:

 Amy Pond, to the Doctor standing next to a snowman he made: You know, that could almost be mistaken for a real person... snowman isn't bad, either.

    • Part of the description for series 6, part 2:

  Venturing across centuries and galaxies, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory will encounter the greatest war criminal in all of history - and Hitler.

    • In the God Complex, the Minotaur's final words.

 The Doctor: (translating) An ancient creature, drenched in the blood of the innocent. Drifting in space through an endless shifting maze. To such a creature, death would be a gift.

The Doctor: Then accept it.

The Doctor: (translating) I wasn't talking about myself.

    • Another serious example from "A Good Man Goes to War":

 The Doctor: (at the end of a rage-filled speech) Look, I'm angry. That's new. I'm really not sure what's going to happen now.

Madam Kovarian: The anger of a good man is not a problem. Good men have too many rules.

The Doctor: Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.

  • During a "Things A Rugby Commentator Would Never Say" round of Mock the Week

  Hugh Dennis: And it's England vs. Samoa. A team of rank amateurs, against Samoa.

  • In That 70s Show when Jackie's father tells her that if she doesn't break up with Kelso, he will cut her allowance:

 Jackie: (to Kelso) How do I choose between something that makes my whole life complete... and you?

    • For the record, she chooses him.
  • Incredibly common on Have I Got News for You, though how funny it is can vary with how well the guest presenter actually reads it. Often the audience will figure it out before the presenter gets to the punchline.
  • The reaction of the bullies in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide to having to play dodgeball against Ned and Moze: "One of them's a girl!" "And one of them's Mosely!"
  • On The King of Queens, the trope is lampshaded often in the episode "Awed Couple";

 To Friends! Not the show, but that too!

To Us! Not the magazine, but that too!

    • And in a deleted scene:

  To Pedophiles! Not the blog, but that too!

 Sean Connery: "What's the difference between you and a mallard with a cold? One's a sick duck... I can't remember how it ends but your mother's a whore."


Magazines

  • In the Mad Magazine parody of Constantine, Constantine tells his love interest, a cop, that a romance between them would never work out. It goes something like: "We come from different worlds! One is full of sin and corruption, and in the other, I'm busy fighting Satan!"


Music

  • "Greg! The Stop Sign!" by TISM contains the lines:

 The rich kid becomes a junkie,

The poor kid an advertiser.

What a tragic waste of potential...

And being a junkie's not so good, either.

 Stacy of Louisville, Ky asks: Do you like Barenaked Ladies?

Yes, very much. And I'm a big fan of the band, too.

 "I'm just tired of people comparing Tom Waits with the Devil. I mean, he is a bad ass but he is not Tom Waits."


Professional Wrestling

  • In the WWE, during a feud with Stephanie McMahon, Chris Jericho said to her and Rhyno that he was going take care of that "Filthy, disgusting animal," then saying "And I'm gonna get you too, Rhyno!"
  • The Rock did this when it was announced that he'd be facing Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 15.

  "In one corner, you'll have the toughest S.O.B. ever to lace up a pair of boots and get into the squared circle. And in the other, you'll have...StoneColdSteveAustin."


Radio

  • In a 2011 episode of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Jack Dee mentioned that both The Goodies and Radio 4's consumer show You And Yours celebrated their 40th aniversary in 2010. "One bringing mirth and hilarity to the nation, the other being about three blokes on a bike." (Both Graeme and Tim from The Goodies are Clue regulars).
    • And a few episodes later he introduced the letter-writing round with "David Cameron recently wrote a letter to the president of the Ivory Coast. He refuses to admit he didn't win the election, is clinging desperately to power, and is rapidly losing touch with reality. And now he's writing letters to African presidents."
    • A popular gag on the show; a much earlier one that isn't really a Take That at either entity, but is just amusingly surreal:

 Humphrey Lyttelton: In the 19th century the docks became central to Bristol's industrialisation, and two great momuments to this period remain today: Clifton Suspension Bridge, and the SS Great Britain. With its mighty stone-block towers and steel-rope construction, it's little wonder the ship sank on her maiden voyage. After she was hit by a huge paddlewheel which fell off the bridge.

    • Introducing Stephen Fry's first appearance, Humph said "On this week's show we have a complete novice, who knows nothing about the games we play ... Tim Brooke-Taylor."
    • Jack Dee again, describing Nottingham: "Nottingham's twin towns include Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. During a goodwill visit in July 1991 the twinning panel became trapped in a small hotel, pinned down by small arms fire. The terrified Slovenians said they wished they'd never come here."
  • When then President-elect Barack Obama visited the White House in January 2009, Peter Sagal opened that week's broadcast of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me by saying something like: "Right now, in the White House, there is a man who some people think is still not ready for the responsibilities of his position. [[[Beat]]] But he's leaving office in a couple days, so we're not worried."
  • A 1980s episode of The News Quiz describing Margaret Thatcher bringing democracy to Czechoslovakia "She told the Czech president that all that was required was to dismantle the old, lumbering bureaucracy. He agreed that Czechoslovakia had the same problem."
  • From The Unbelievable Truth:

 David Mitchell: After losing a bet to Tony Hawks, Arthur stood naked in Balham High Road and sang the national anthem of the People's Republic of Moldova. An impoverished region, the regular scene of civil unrest, Balham is in South London near Clapham.


Stand-Up

  • German comedian Dieter Nuhr about why he watched a soccer game between Cameroon and Austria

  "On one side is an exotic, foreign culture with wild rites, and on the other side: Cameroon."

  • Canadian comedian Steve Patterson had this to say about Formula 1 auto racing returning to Montreal: "Now, every year, for our foreseeable future, our streets will be filled with daredevil drivers going death-defying speeds and knocking every obstacle out of their way...and then for one week in June, there'll be an official car race."


Video Games

 Traynor: One is an unstoppable force of headbutting destruction...

Shepard: (I get it. That's me.) ...and the other doesn't have a smartass communications officer to keep him/her in line.

Traynor: Ooh, that's better than the number-of-testicles punchline.

    • In Mass Effect 2, after EDI takes over more functions in the Normandy after the Collector raid on the ship, Shepard can admonish Joker for slacking.

 Shepard: What am I looking at here, a 90/10 split? And that's being generous.

Joker: Commander, don't be unfair. She does way more than that.

  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, during a cutscene where Packie McReary's sister is talking to Niko Bellic and Packie wards her off. She says he surely knows the difference between talking and casual sex.

 Packie: Yeah, one leaves you feeling empty and alone, and the other's casual sex.

 BJ: Football and baseball aren't the same. In one of them, you get bored doing a 5-hour game, you touch yourself a lot, and start a massive brawl with players who are degenerates, ego-maniacs, and criminals. The other's football.

  • In Fire Emblem the Blazing Sword, a Support conversation between Wallace and Vaida (who rides a grey wyvern) incites a rivalry between them, where they show off to each other, prompting a disdainful comment from Wallace:

 Wallace: Well, all I saw was a big lump of grey flesh flitting about in the sky and belching on occasion! And your wyvern wasn't much better!


Webcomics

 What's the difference between a catfish and Callanian? One's a scum-sucking bottom feeder and the other's just a fish.

  • Done in this Melonpool strip, when Ralph Zinobop tried to get his comic strip published - first by the newspaper syndicate, and later by the mafia syndicate.

 Guess what I learned today? The mafia syndicate is different than the newspaper syndicate. One extorts money from people, often using entertainers for their nefarious purposes! All the grunt work is done by lackeys with no real power and somebody has to die before new people can join! And the other one's the mafia.

  • The Wotch: "I get to look forward to two fantastic monthly events now. One of which turns me into a vicious monster, and the other into a were-cat." (link)
  • At the conclusion of "Tankard of Trouble" in The Gods of Arr-Kelaan.
  • In Fans!, Rikk Oberf once described the two women in his life, Ally and (world-class martial artist) Rumi, like this: "One of them is one of the most amazing fighters I've ever seen, and the other one is Rumiko Tanaka Oberf!" Note that he's not dissing Rumy, but acknowledging the strength of Ally, a seasoned chain-fighter who succeeded in beating back a life-threatening disease and her own darker side.
  • In Hijinks Ensue, Eli replaces his Tres Feo with spoiled hollandaise sauce and antifreeze to find out who was stealing it. "That tingling sensation you feel is the corrosive chemicals liquifying your organs! Also there's antifreeze which will probably be bad too!"
  • In PHD, Tajel heads off to join the Occupy protests.


Web Original

 Terl (John Travolta). Narcissistic and incompetent. Works for a vile, money-hungry organization, bent on world domination, which is responsible for all kinds of cruelty towards innocent human beings. In this movie, however, he plays an alien named Terl.

    • And again in the Superman IV: The Quest For Peace recap:

 Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow). The greatest villain Superman has ever faced, and a terrifying being with immense powers to make the entire world tremble. Which is how I would describe Darkseid. Meanwhile, here's Nuclear Man! The most retarded supervillain ever! And by that, I mean he is literally retarded.

  • In Homestar Runner, Strong Bad refers to Homestar and Pom Pom as "the big, fat, yellow blob and Pom Pom". Homestar has to think that one over several times to decide if he should be offended (or offended on Pom Pom's behalf).
  • Arthur B of ferretbrain sums up the two main sides of the Warhammer 40000 Verse: "On one side of the conflict in the book are the murderous followers of a vast and powerful presence in the Warp which accepts mass human sacrifice on a daily basis in order to project its power across the galaxy. On the other side are the followers of Chaos."
  • "It might seem like a stretch to link My Little Pony to Hellblazer, given that one is a strange, often horrifying look at a world of constant betrayal, strange magic and a world constantly teetering on the brink of annihilation, while the other is about John Constantine, but I stand by it."
  • When Todd in the Shadows is reviewing the Hannah Montana movie, he comments on a scuffle in a shoestore between Hannah and Tyra Banks:

 "Okay, I find it really hard to believe that a seasoned, mature celebrity would lower herself to fighting publicly with a dumb, flash-in-the-pan starlet like Tyra Banks. BA-ZING!"

 Bowser: "Actually, Mario's first game was Donkey Kong. It was the story of a big, hairy ape and its battle against Donkey Kong."

  • Craig Ferguson once wrote on Twitter, "I reach the evening of each day exhausted, demoralized & covered in vomit & poop. Then I'm expected to deal with the baby."
  • this Cracked article, describing prison inmates working with endangered frogs includes the line

  Slimy, unloved, forgotten and under-appreciated. But let's talk about the frogs.

 Barfy the dog is apparently unable to distinguish between a round-headed lump with an eternal dumb grin on its face and not a single thought in its head and a snowman.

 CR: One is a strange little two dimensional creature that dances around half naked spewing baby talk and is constantly surrounded by outlandish environments and creatures, and the other one's a web cartoon.

 "For Israel to put Jonah on a coin is like if New Jersey were to put Tony Soprano on its state flag. Not that HBO’s The Sopranos and the book of Jonah are exactly the same. The one is a viciously satirical fictional story centering on a selfish brute of an anti-hero. The other is an Emmy-winning show about gangsters."

 Klavan: There are some differences between our dear saviour and Jesus.


Western Animation

  • Pinky and The Brain, episode "Your Friend: Global Domination": "This is the earth. And this is Pinky. You can tell the difference quite easily. One is a lump of inert matter hurtling blindly through the void. The other... is the earth."
    • And again when Brain creates a sentient carrot and tells him and Pinky, "You two are the perfect team: a vegetable and a carrot."
  • Total Drama Action had a challenge where the contestants were each paired with an animal friend, and Courtney chose a shark as her "buddy":

 Beth:Actually, it makes perfect sense. Those two are made for each other. The only difference is that one would eat you alive in a heartbeat... and the other's a shark.

  • From the Dan Vs. episode "The Wolf-Man":

 Dan: What wears shoes, but also has paws? The wolf-man!

Chris: So you're saying that the wolf-man's a jogger.

Dan: He's an evil beast with an unsavory blood lust. Of course he jogs!

  • Inverted in the episode of Futurama that introduced Bender's brother Flexo:

 Hermes: He's no worse than Bender.

Fry: He's much worse! He drinks and smokes, and he posts naked pictures of me on the internet!

Amy: That's Bender all right.

Fry: I'm talking about Flexo!

    • Used again in the second Xmas episode, after Santa asks Bender to help him "save" Xmas:

 Fry: Don't do it! He's evil!

Santa: I know he is, but I have no choice.

    • Also happened when Bender finds his girlfriend Angleyne having dinner with Flexo.

 Bender: You degenerate hussy! I'm disappointed in you too, Angleyne.

  • The Simpsons episode "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)", when Homer questions whether Marge is truly his soulmate because of their personality differences:

 Homer: We don't have anything in common. Look at these records: Jim Nabors, Glen Campbell, the Doodletown Pipers. Now look at her records! They stink!

    • Another example, when Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel are dating and they knock on the Simpson's door:

 Homer: Well, if it isn't the town schoolmarm... and he brought his girlfriend.


Real Life

 "So I've cut the tension by bringing a new friend to the White House. He's warm, he's cuddly, loyal, enthusiastic. You just have to keep him on a tight leash. Every once in a while he goes charging off in the wrong direction and gets himself into trouble. But enough about Joe Biden."

  • Rachel Maddow listed a few things about a certain president who supported illegal immigrant amnesty, bailed out social security, raised corporate taxes, tripled the deficit, and called for a world without nuclear weapons: Ronald Reagan.
  • A Canadian example comes from former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, who once asked: What's the difference between a politician and a catfish? One is a low-life, scum-sucking bottom feeder...and the other is a fish.
  • When he started his career, Michael Keaton couldn't use his birth name Michael Douglas because there was already a Michael Douglas and a Mike Douglas in the Actor's Equity. He later stated in an interview: "One of them is doing quite well from what I understand, the other is making cheap porn movies... like Basic Instinct."


Jokes

  • There's an amusing poster showing Alan Moore side by side with Rasputin. One is a terrifying mystic, etc. etc. etc. The other, of course, is Rasputin.
  • A common joke variant:
    • "What's the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? Well, one's a slimy, scum-sucking bottom feeder, and the other's a fish."
    • "You know the difference between a seagull and Your Mom? One of them communicates in annoying high-pitched shrieks, steals food from the trash and spreads disease. The other is a bird."
    • "What's the difference between a grocery bag and Michael Jackson? One of them is white, made of plastic and dangerous to children. The other carries your groceries."
    • "Homo homini lupus (The man is a wolf unto man) is thoroughly offensive. It shows poor taste to compare a ruthless and ignoble beast to an intelligent, compassionate and social creature with such beautiful golden eyes and silvery mane.
    • "What's the difference between an Essex girl and a walrus? One has whiskers and smells of fish, and the other's a walrus."
    • What's the difference between an orangutan and a male human? One is hairy, dirty, constantly scratches, stinks... the other is an orangutan.
    • What's the difference between The Hindenburg and Rush Limbaugh? One's a flaming Nazi gasbag, the other is a dirigible.
    • "Stop comparing Clint Eastwood to God. I mean, he's a great guy, but he's no Clint Eastwood."
  • Two men get stuck in a snowstorm in the mountains and they're waiting to be rescued, when one of them sees a St. Bernard with a barrel hanging from its neck coming towards them. He nudges the other man and says: "Look, a man's best friend." "Yeah, and look what a big dog brought it."
  • One from several years ago (although you could substitute your politician of choice and make it current): "What's the difference between Lord Voldemort and George Bush? One's an entitled tyrannical dictator bent on taking over the world - and the other's a fictional character."
  • Attributed to Groucho Marx: "I like books. I like Little Women. In fact, I like them better than books."
  • "Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right and the other person is a husband."

Notes

  1. referring to The Thing
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