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Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?

Polonius: By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.

Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.

Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.

Hamlet: Or like a whale?

Polonius: Very like a whale.
Hamlet, III.ii

Bob decides the way to curry favor with Alice is to agree with her, even when it means getting entangled in absurd contradiction. Sometimes Alice decides to feed Bob rope; sometimes she's just oblivious.

This is common with fictional depictions of royalty - particularly when the character doing the fawning is deviously scheming their way into power. It also shows up a lot when Bob is attracted to Alice.

Sometimes a character like this gets handed down an Anvilicious Be Yourself message. A typical dialog runs like this:

 Character A: Okay, I don't really like X.

Character B: Why would you say that you like X if you don't?

Character A: (abashed) I guess I just wanted you to like me.

Character B: You don't have to impress me, I already like you.

Character A: Really?

Character B: Of course! Just Be Yourself.

A Yes-Man is an assistant (in a business or political capacity) whose job is to be Like a Weasel. Favouritism Flip Flop is a subtrope where Bob openly says he hates something until Alice says she likes it.

Examples of Like a Weasel include:


Comic Books

  • The wife of Orthopedix in Asterix and Caesar's Gift. (She wants him to be elected new chief of the village, and caters to everyone's whims like a politician would do it.)

 Orthopedix' wife (to Unhygienix the fishmonger): "Orthopedix says that there should be days when you can eat only fish."

Random guy: "I prefer to eat meat."

Orthopedix' wife: "Exactly. That's why he thinks that we should also reach meat on fish days and the other way round."

Film

 Garth: Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and played a girl bunny?

Wayne: No. [laughs hysterically] No.

Garth: Me neither. I was just asking...

  • In the first Spider-Man movie, Mary Jane comments on how gross the spiders are. Harry tries to agree with her, saying he hates them. She then says that she loves them, and he immediately agrees.
  • In Life of Brian, a huge mob has decided that Brian is the Messiah. He tries to convince them otherwise, with less than spectacular results:

 Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!

Crowd: [in unison] Yes! We're all individuals!

Brian: You're all different!

Crowd: [in unison] Yes, we are all different!

Crowd Member: [mumbled] I'm not...

Second Crowd Member: Shh!

Brian: You've all got to work it out for yourselves!

Crowd: [in unison] Yes, we've got to work it out for ourselves!

Brian: That's it!

Crowd: [in unison] Tell us more!

 Lindsey: I got a job offer for a a big law firm, and I think I'm gonna take it.

Jerry: Good, get out of that public defender's office! What do you want with all the crackheads?

Lindsey: ...It's in Seattle.

Jerry: So you're just gonna turn your back on your clients?

  • In the Eddie Murphy film Coming to America, the Prince seeks a different wife after the one betrothed to him had been trained from birth to agree with everything he says.
  • In Tron: Legacy, Clu's right-hand-man Jarvis cowers before Sam Flynn as he walks into the command center to recover the stolen disc, declaring "Long live the Users!" When Clu arrives a bit later and finds the disc missing, Jarvis starts to say "Death to the Users!" but is decapitated mid-sentence.
  • The first Austin Powers movie shows us Austin's unbreakable loyalty to capitalism when he is first thawed.

 Basil Exposition: A lot's happened since you were frozen. The Cold War is over!

Austin Powers: Finally those capitalist pigs will pay for their crimes, eh? Eh comrades? Eh?

Basil Exposition: Austin... we won.

(Pause)

Austin Powers: Oh, smashing, groovy, yay capitalism!

Film: Western Animation

  • Comes up in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, when Flint describes the FLDSMDFR to Sam, whom he has a crush on. She starts listing possible foods it could make, ending with:

 Sam: How about Jell-O?

Flint: Do you like Jell-O?

Sam: I. Love. Jell-O.

Flint: I love Jell-O, too! And peanut butter, right?

Sam: Oh no no, I am severely allergic to peanuts.

Flint: Eh, me, too.

    • It comes up again much later in the movie: while in the meateroid, Sam and Flint come across a pit lined with shards of peanut brittle. Sam comments that "If either one of us touches it, we'll go into anaphylactic shock." .

 Flint: Actually, I'm not entirely allergic to peanuts. I... might have just said that to get you to like me.

Sam: So you really thought that having allergies would make you more attractive?

Literature

 Tiffany: I live on the Chalk.

Petulia: Oh, where they have all those sheep? I don't much like sheep.

Tiffany: We're very proud of our sheep.

Petulia: Oh, I don't mean I hate them. I expect some sheep are OK. Obviously we've got to have sheep. They're better than goats, anyway... I like sheep. Sheep are nice.

Tiffany is tempted to say that the sky is green, just to watch her trying to work her way around to agreement.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Sansa spends the latter part of a chapter telling how much she hates riding horses. When her betrothed shows up and says he likes to ride horses, she immediately says she loves to.
  • Gaheris, in T.H. White's The Queen Of Air And Darkness, is described as agreeing with whatever his older brothers Gawaine and Agravaine think. Since they disagree a lot, this is difficult for him.

Live Action Television

  • There was an episode of Blossom in which Joey's girlfriend idolized him so much that she agreed with everything he said, and had no will of her own other than to please him.
  • This was practically Andy Bernard's job during Season 3 of The Office (US).
  • Inverted and played straight at once on Arrested Development. Maeby is trying to go against whatever her mother wants, while George Michael is in love with Maeby and agrees with whatever she says. At first Maeby wants to save the tree that Lindsey is trying to get cut down, but then Lindsey decides to save the tree...

 George Michael: You know, I can see why your mom likes it. It is a really nice tree...

Maeby: We?ve got to get it torn down.

George Michael: ...that must die. Stupid tree.

  • The Fast Show had a recurring sketch about three friends, two of whom disagreed about nearly everything, while the third tried to agree with both of them at the same time. This usually resulted in him agreeing with whoever spoke last, and then contradicting himself after the other friend replied.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus employed this trope hilariously in episode six. Twentieth-Century Vole. It gets even funnier when the CEO begins playing games with the gathering of yes-men around the table, leading to exchanges like:

 CEO: Get out!

Fifth yes-man: Huh?

CEO: If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a yes-man! Get out! [Fifth yes-man leaves very quickly, with the CEO yelling after him] I'll see you never work again! [to sixth yes-man] ...What do you think?

Sixth yes-man: What? I--

CEO: Just because I have an idea doesn't mean it's great. It could be lousy.

Sixth yes-man: It could?

CEO: Yeah. What d'ya think?

Sixth yes-man: It...it's lousy.

CEO: There you are, you see, he spoke his mind. He said my idea was lousy. It just so happens my idea isn't lousy so get out you goddamn pinko subversive, get out! [sixth yes-man leaves; he turns toward the fourth yes-man] You...

Fourth yes-man: Well, I...I think it's an excellent idea.

CEO: Are you a yes-man?

Fourth yes-man: No, no, no, I mean, there may be things against it...

CEO: ARE YOU BEIN' INDECISIVE?!

Fourth yes-man: Yo! Nes! Perhaps! [rushes out]

  • Fraggle Rock's Wembley, to the point where he'll do this to multiple characters at the same time, even if his statements contradict things he said moments before.
  • Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister frequently does this as part of his latest attempt to flatter Hacker into doing his bidding:

 Humphrey: No man in his right mind could possibly contemplate such a proposal.

Hacker: I'm contemplating it.

Humphrey: Yes of course, Prime Minister, please, don't misunderstand me, it is quite right of course that you should contemplate all proposals that come from your government, but no sane man would ever support it.

Hacker: I'm supporting it.

Humphrey: And quite right, too.

Music

  • Musical example: Brad Paisley's "Me neither". A man approaches a woman in a bar, asks if she believes in love at first sight, then thoroughly agrees when she shoots him down. The theme continues throughout the song - words don't do it justice.
  • A comedic musical example is from The Smothers Brothers, in one of their renditions of "I Talk to the Trees" from the Broadway musical Paint Your Wagon. Tommy interrupts the song, calling it and the musical stupid, saying that anybody who loves a song from a show like that has gotta be a 'stupid dumb weirdo freak.' Dickie agrees with him, then adds that the song is about a young man very much like Tommy, to which Tommy says sheepishly "Maybe I spoke a little hastily there."

Theater

  • Polonius does this all the time in Hamlet, especially while attempting to humor the prince, who is pretending to be insane, with the following being a standard example. Hamlet shamelessly encourages/trolls him.

 Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?

Polonius: By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.

Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.

Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.

Hamlet: Or like a whale?

Polonius: Very like a whale.

Web Comics

 Ian: Have you ever started to make pancakes, then decided you didn't really want pancakes, and then just started drinking the batter to finish it off?

JM: No.

Ian: Yeah, me neither. Boy, that sure would be weird.

 Gabe: Have you ever pooped and then smelled the smell of your own poop and thought it kinda smelled good? Like sort of wild and exotic."

*Beat Panel*

Gabe: Me either!

Web Original

  • Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog. Billy starts complaining about how boring laundry is; Penny talks about how much she likes it; he claims he was kidding. He proceeds in similar vein during the rest of the conversation, even going to so far as to buy her frozen yogurt but pretend it was an accident to avoid revealing that he's been stalking her.

 Billy: All those months, doing a stunningly boring chore.

Penny: I'm a fan of laundry.

Billy: ... Psych! I love it!

Penny: The smell of fabric softener... the feel of warm clothes in your hand...

Billy: So good.

 Bush: “Vladimir, this is Dubya. I have urgent news. General Abigor has just surrendered and defected.”

Putin: “That filthy Vlasovite bastard.”

Bush: “Sorry, Vladimir, you misunderstand, he’s a baldrick, he’s defecting to us.”

Without missing a beat, Putin carried on, “What I meant to say of course was that he is a heroic champion of freedom and liberty who has overcome his corrupt upbringing so that he can rally to the side of truth honor and justice.”

Bush: “That's right Vladimir, he’s a filthy Vlasovite bastard, but he's our filthy Vlasovite bastard.”

Western Animation

  • Family Guy has several examples.
    • There's this expert parody:

 Yes-Man: Good morning, Mr. Griffin. Nice day.

Peter: Eh, it's a little cloudy.

Yes-Man: It's absolutely cloudy, one of the worst days I've seen in years! So, good news about the Yankees.

Peter: I hate the Yankees.

Yes-Man: Pack of cheaters, that's what they are! I love your tie!

Peter: I hate this tie.

Yes-man: It's awful, it's gaudy, it's gotta go.

Peter: ...I hate myself.

Yes-Man: I hate you too, you make me sick, you fat sack of crap!

Peter: But I'm the president.

Yes-Man: The best there is!

Peter: But you just said you hated me.

Yes-Man: But... not you the... president, the you who said you hated you, you who love hate Yankees, clouds...*The Yes-man explodes*

    • This is also the method by which Brian attracts most of the women he's seen dating. Consider the episode where he pretended to be "down with the struggle" to date a black woman, or where his immediate response to a beautiful woman saying she finds magicians sexy is to blurt out "I'm a magician!"
    • There's also the episode introducing the Campbell family; in one scene, Meg and Jeff are together, apparently comparing facts about themselves by blurting them out at the same time. Meg, however, waits a split second and just says the exact same thing Jeff says, to which he responds "that's 19 things we have in common!"
  • In The Simpsons, Milhouse is like this all the time, especially when trying to flirt.

 Milhouse: Uh... That's a nice dress.

Samantha: My Dad makes me wear it. I hate it.

Milhouse: Uh, I hate it, too!

    • In another episode, he tells Lisa that going back to school sucks; then Lisa replies that she liked school, only for Milhouse to say that he likes school too.
  • Pöysti occasionally inverts this trope in Pasila; if someone agrees with him, he might state the exact opposite of his previous argument.
  • In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Spike spends a chunk of the episode "Winter Wrap-Up" convincing Twilight to use her magic in the wrap-up. When she finally breaks down and tries to use it surreptitiously, things get out of control, and Applejack calls her out on it. Spike immediately changes his position, chiding her for using magic. Seriously, what the hell Spike?

Real Life

  • Despotic rulers have a long, long history of imprisoning, exiling, torturing, or outright killing people who don't agree with them.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The second emperor of the Qín Dynasty (299-207 BCE) had something of a Treacherous Advisor, Zhao Gao, who wanted to amass power for himself. So he had a deer brought before the emperor and claimed it a horse. Any courtier who dared tell the truth was soon vacated from his post. From then on zhǐ lù wéi mǎ ("Pointing at a Deer and Calling it a Horse") became the Chinese equivalent of Blatant Lies. (Ancient China, troping for over two thousand years.)
  • There is a story about Nasreddin abruptly changing his mind about some vegetables along with the king. When the king called him on that, Nasreddin merely stated "The vegetables are not the ones paying me a salary."
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