The 10 Funniest Pointless Rivalries Of All Time

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Sadly, Michael Scott pushing poor Toby’s lunch tray onto the ground might be the last new episode of “The Office” we see for quite some time now. In order to draw out the Office talk as long as possible, we pose the question: Where does Michael’s irrational hatred of Toby rank in terms of the all-time greatest ridiculous rivalries? Here’s our all-time top ten:

Kimmy and Jesse10. Uncle Jessie and Kimmy Gibbler

“We can’t fire you. You quit!”

A classic sitcom rivalry – annoying neighbor versus smart-alecky, insult-dishing uncle – but with a Lolita-style sexual undercurrent tossed in. Ultimately, John Stamos managed to resist the temptation of his anorexic arch-rival, successfully burying his sexual curiosity beneath wall of cynical one-liners, not unlike the cops on “SVU”.

Trump Rosie9. Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump

“Rosie is a loser, she continues to be a loser?”

I wish for the sake of the gossip world’s integrity that this feud was an elaborate marketing campaign, but given the dreadful ratings of the last fifteen seasons of “The Apprentice” and Rosie’s belligerent, failed stint on “The View,” it’s pretty safe to say that this rivalry was just two A-hole celebrities acting like d*cks. Does something about innessentiality bring out the worst in fellow inessentials? I believe Dustin Diamond and Harvey Walden answered that question for us.

Kanye and 508. Kanye West and 50 Cent

“I am the number one human in music?”

Remember when hip-hop rivalries used to end with bullet-ridden corpses and thousands of hilarious subsequent conspiracy theories? The supposed rivalry between Kanye West and 50 Cent climaxed with the two rappers who supposedly couldn’t stand one another managing to do a whole bunch of interviews and photoshoots together on the eve of their album-release showdown. Is it an improvement? Yeah, probably. But it would be fun to hear stories about Kanye secretly imprisoned in Jamaica for drug trafficking.

Roadrunner7. Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner

The sound of falling?

One of the more one-sided rivalries in history, given that all luck, circumstance, and rules of physics go against the Coyote at all times, but the Coyote’s stubborn persistence to go after only the one specific Roadrunner, despite that Roadrunner’s ability to move at the speed of light and travel through paintings, indicates that the grudge went far beyond just food, no matter how frequently the Coyote brandished silverware and a bib. Were you trying to convince us that this wasn’t personal, Wile E., or yourself?

Uncle Phil6. Uncle Phil and Jazz

“Going out for lunch eh? Good, that means i have all the time in the world.”

While perhaps not the most prevalent rivalry on the list in terms of sheer frequency or intensity, Uncle Phil’s hatred of the Fresh Prince’s pal gave birth to the most iconic image in sitcom-rivalry history: Jazz doing something over the line, then a jump cut to the exterior of the house, and Jazz being thrown out the door and through the frame. Happened nearly every single time Jazz came over, and like everything on “Fresh Prince”, it somehow never stopped being funny.

Ahab5. Captain Ahab and Moby Dick

“If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it?”

Free of neighborly quips, adversarial respect, or rational resolution, Captain Ahab’s unflinching desire to exact revenge on the sperm whale that maimed him and the 10,000 pages of life-exploring metaphor that he causes in the process is, without question, the funniest rivalry in literary history. I don’t care if he serves as a poignant symbol for the consuming nature of revenge; he hits the whale with a harpoon and gets dragged into the ocean and dies (spoiler alert!), it’s like a frickin’ Will Ferrell movie about an incompetent ship captain. Paul Rudd is Ishmael. Also, I call dibs on this idea that began as a joke but realized midway through that it’s probably worth selling.

Al Bundy4. Al Bundy and Marcy D’Arcy

“Hey, Marcy, what’s holding the towel up?”

Most sitcoms have at least one pair of characters who trade jabs whenever they’re on the screen, but rarely is the viewer given the impression that the two characters would, given the opportunity, literally kill one another. The “Married With Children” neighbors turn the sitcom “lovable neighbor” dynamic on its head, multiply it by a million, then toss in small boobs jokes, tiny penis jokes, chicken jokes, and a genuine, directly stated desire to end one another’s lives. Kind of a throwback to Ricky and Ethel on “I Love Lucy.”

Michael and Toby3. Michael Scott and Toby

“No one asked you anything, ever.”

Steve Carell’s bumbling boss character thrives on levity, lame humor, and a complete avoidance of anything resembling a serious confrontation, and yet, the mere presence of his soft-spoken HR representative instantly yanks him into irrational anger. What makes the one-sided situation so amusing, though, is Toby’s complete lack of response to Michael’s way-over-the-line jabs, hanging his head like a hungry puppy any time Michael lashes out by, say, knocking his lunch tray on the floor after Toby tries to tell him a very personal story to cheer him up during a legal hearing in which Toby is trying to defend Michael?

Jerry and Newman2. Jerry Seinfeld and Newman


The strength of the Jerry Seinfeld / Wayne Knight rivalry is built on an earned, albeit a despised, mutual respect for one another; Jerry is fully aware of Newman’s near-magical abilities to, for example, sleep with a model-looking woman, dump her, then ruin any chance of Jerry looking that girl in the eye when they’re trying to date years later. Still, when we get to witness Jerry and Newman calling a truce, or Jerry taking over Newman’s mail route, or Elaine encountering the dislikably friendly “Vargas” character in the Bizarro world, we are reminded that Jerry and Newman, like Holmes and Moriarty, absolutely need one another.

Homer and Ned1. Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders

“I have a question – were you on my roof last night, stealing my weathervane?”

Ned Flanders is a completely selfless, moral, upstanding citizen to every fellow human he meets, free of anger and vulgarity and incapable of any action other than compassion, and yet, Homer Simpson’s unbridled hatred for Old Painty Can Ned is completely and utterly believable. No matter how many times Homer forgets the name of his third child or gets pulled over for a DUI or makes his daughter’s suitors tar his roof, every child in the world would choose his love over Ned Flanders’ locked-out satellite dish and unflavored ice milk. It’s the most unique, humorous, and impossibly relatable rivalry in contemporary history, and I would compare it to the readers’ inherent fascination with Othello’s rival Iago, but I’m just not sure Shakespeare’s quite on that level.

Any more ridiculous rivalries we’re missing? Leave ’em in the comments.

4 thoughts on “The 10 Funniest Pointless Rivalries Of All Time

  1. Adriel Gonzalez

    Don’t forget Martin and Pam!

    They had some of the funniest punch lines just cooked up and ready for each other. The best part would be when they would pretend to say something nice to each other, the recepient would look flattered, then ZING!

  2. Jackie

    number 4 stated that Ricky and Ethel used to go at it on I Love Lucy. That’s an error it should be Fred and Ethel

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