Monday, April 13, 2009

The Rivalry List

I have a file on my laptop simply titled 'Posts' that contains most of my blog entries, ideas for future entries, and nude pictures of Emily Post. You've seen my blog entries, you'll see the Emily Post pictures next February (as part of my annual "Spending Valentine's Day Masturbating To Pictures Of Famous Etiquette Authors" post), but for today I'd like to concentrate on one random entry that I never got around to completing.

Simply put, it's a list of rivalries. I think the idea was a Listamania concerning the top rivalries of all time, in all avenues of human life and pop culture. The sum total of my preparation towards this post was to list all the rivalries I could off the top of my head, and then....uh, well, nothing, since I completely abandoned the project. I mean, honestly, ranking EVERY rivalry ever? That's a lot of work. And it would've required a closer definition of the word 'rivalry,' since some of these cross over into blood-feud territory. A rivalry, in my mind, is a battle that is based partially in mutual respect and perhaps deep down a bit of enjoyment that you even have such a rival to compete with. In a blood feud, there's legitimate spit-on-your-grave hatred, whereas in a rivalry, you'd miss it a bit if you ever actually achieved permanent victory over the opposition.

I think what finally broke me was the sports category, specifically when I realized that I could devote about 30 entries alone just to college football rivalries. Ergo, the time commitment that I usually have allotted for my half-ass lists just wouldn't be enough for sch an all-encompassing topic. But since I'm loath to put that 15 minutes' worth of work I put in last year to waste, here's the rough draft of the rivalry list. There's no order involved, and I've split things up into categories to make navigation a bit easier. I've also highlighted a few of the more notable entries that deserve a bit of comment.


TV
Frasier Crane vs. Niles Crane
Frasier Crane vs. Cam Winston
.....This storyline was undoubtedly the highlight of the last few years of Frasier. Cam Winston was a snobby guy (basically exactly like Frasier) who moved into the condo above the Cranes, and he and Frasier were at each other's throats about every little thing. It was hilarious. The apex of the feud was when Winston hung a giant American flag off his balcony after 9-11, ostensibly to express his love of his country, but really just because it blocked Frasier's view. And, of course, Frasier couldn't complain since then he'd look unpatriotic. Just a great character that I wish a bit more had been done with. He was played by Brian Stokes Mitchell, who I also saw starring in 'Ragtime' in Toronto in 1996.
J.R. Ewing vs. Cliff Barnes (Dallas)
Michael Scott vs. Toby Flenderson (The Office)
Jerry Seinfeld vs. Newman
Elaine Benes vs. Sue Ellen Mishke, the braless O Henry bar heiress
.....Fun fact: Brenda Strong, who played Sue Ellen, went on to greater vocal fame as the narrator on Desperate Housewives
Jack Bauer vs. Nina Myers
Andy Millman vs. Greg Lindley-Jones (Extras)
.....You know, that's one thing that bugged me about the otherwise excellent Extras finale. Greg never got his comeuppance. I mean, it would be one thing if he was just such a notable jerk that the joke was that Andy could never top him, but he was written and presented in such a way that you figured Andy would get the last laugh eventually. But, nada. Disappointing.
Cheers vs. Gary's Old Towne Tavern
Bobby Jon Drinkard vs. Jamie Newton (Survivor)
.....My pal Mario wrote a full entry about this rivalry during a countdown of Survivor's funniest moments, and it was a very worthy candidate. For those of you who aren't Survivor fans, these two went from just the natural competitiveness that goes between two tribes to going out of each other's way to show up the other. It culminated with the two of them getting in each other's faces and screaming incoherently following a ball-rolling challenge. Just to make things funnier, outside of challenges, they were both generally mild-mannered Southerners. They both just had a habit of letting their competitiveness turn them into the Hulk.
David Letterman vs. Jay Leno
James T. Kirk vs. Khan Noonien Singh
Dr. Richard Kimble vs. Lt. Phillip Gerard



Cartoons
Tom vs. Jerry
Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck
....."Rabbit season!" "Duck season!" "Rabbit season!" "Duck season!"
The Coyote vs. The Road Runner
Ralph and Sam (The Wolf and the Sheepdog)
.....Here's an old Warner Brothers gem, the wolf and sheepdog who used to carpool and then punch the time-clock before spending the day pitted against each other.
Mickey Mouse vs. Donald Duck
Jem and the Holograms vs. The Misfits
Megatron vs. Starscream
.....When you think about, Starscream was a pretty unique character for a kids' cartoon show. He was basically Iago, except also a giant robot that could turn into a fighter jet. (If only Shakespeare had lived to add this detail to 'Othello'.) Starscream spent as much time arguing with and plotting against Megatron as he did actually fighting the Autobots. It was an early lesson to children everywhere that it never hurts to be deceitful in the workplace. Since some of these kids grew up to be stockbrokers and businesspeople, I think it's safe to say that 'Transformers' is directly responsible for the economic crisis.
Itchy vs. Scratchy
Homer Simpson vs. Ned Flanders
Maggie Simpson vs. Gerald, the Baby With The One Eyebrow
Peter Griffin vs. the Chicken



Literature
Edmond Dantes vs. His Tormentors.....I wish I could be more specific, but I actually have never read 'The Count Of Monte Cristo' aside from an abridged version I read in 10th grade French class. I also never saw the recent film version starring Guy Pearce due to the stupid tagline ("Count on adventure!")
Spy vs. Spy
Batman vs. The Joker
Superman vs. Lex Luthor
.....I would never try to tell Warner Brothers how to do its business, but seriously, Jon Hamm as Superman, Terry O'Quinn as Lex Luthor, and forget about all of this teeny-booper stuff. Brandon Routh...give me a fucking break.
Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin
Charles Xavier vs. Magneto
Reed Richards vs. Dr. Doom
Captain America vs. Red Skull
Green Lantern vs. Sinestro
Slytherin vs. Gryffindor
.....The whole house structure of Hogwarts never failed to crack me up. "Hey, we've got this one house that invariably produces evil wizards who occasionally try to take over the world. Should we shut it down?" "No....let's see where this goes...." I'd question why something so innately evil is allowed to exist, but then again, in real life we have the Republican Party.
Othello vs. Iago.....I'll bet if Jon Peters had produced the original 'Othello,' he would've suggested that Iago be a transforming jet. "It needs more beats, Bill, more beats."
Montagues vs. Capulets
Edmund vs. Edgar (King Lear)
Sir Toby Belch vs. Malvolio (Twelfth Night)
.....As far as my research can tell, Alan Rickman has never played Malvolio on either the stage or screen. This is a tragedy.


International politics
Canada vs. The United States
The United States vs. Russia
England vs. Argentina
.....I honestly considered putting this into the sports section since there's probably more animosity over Maradona's hand-ball goal in the '86 World Cup than there is about the Falkland Islands.
England vs. France
England vs. Ireland
Australia vs. New Zealand
.....The 'Jemaine dates an Aussie girl' episode might be the best in Flight of the Conchords history, which is saying a lot.
Pakistan vs. India
Israel vs. Most of the rest of the Middle East
.....One of the aforementioned 'yeah, this is more of a blood feud' entries.
Brazil vs. Argentina
Japan vs. China
North Korea vs. South Korea
Sweden vs. Finland vs. Norway
Czech Republic vs. Slovakia
Spain vs. Portugal
.....Spain probably should've had more representation on this list just from the Spanish Inquisition alone. See, this is why I dropped the ball on this list --- I simply had no stomach to take the time to research the actual great historical rivalries. For shame. I should be tortured with the pillows, or even worse, the comfy chair.


Sports
Celtic vs. Rangers
Arsenal vs. Chelsea vs. Manchester United vs. Liverpool
Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona
EVERY major college football rivalry
EVERY major college basketball rivalry
.....I'm just trying to save time here.
Yankees vs. Red Sox
Cubs vs. Cardinals
Cubs vs. White Sox
Dodgers vs. Giants
.....People forget that this one is so heated, but back in 1965, Juan Marichal hit Dodger catcher John Roseboro in the head with a bat. I'll repeat that --- he HIT HIM IN THE HEAD WITH A FUCKING BASEBALL BAT. Can you imagine if this happened today? Marichal would be thrown out of the league and be the lead topic on Pardon The Interruption for a solid week. In 1965 it was just a nine-game suspension. I was kind of hoping that Manny would've signed with San Fran in the offseason just to add some more spice to this old rivalry.
Mike Piazza vs. Roger Clemens.....The 'Piazza tipped the pitches to AL hitters, thus allowing Clemens to get lit up and embarrassed in the All-Star Game' is one of my favourite baseball urban myths.
Wayne Gretzky vs. Mario Lemieux
Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby
Bobby Clarke vs. Eric Lindros
Canada vs. Russia
Canada vs. United States, women's hockey
Red Wings vs. Avalanche
.....This is only for the period spanning roughly 1996 to 2006 since right now, uh, it's a little one-sided.
Oilers vs. Flames
Bruins vs. Canadiens
Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens
Maple Leafs vs. Senators
Maple Leafs fans vs. Senators fans
.....Or, real fans vs. bandwagon jumpers. Everything Senators fans do is a joke. For instance, they bragged about the atmosphere of the 'Sens Mile' as a partying epicenter for playoff games. Um, are you kidding me? Flames fans did the exact same thing three years earlier. You losers can't even celebrate properly. Or, as Bryan Murray would say, you loo-shersh can't even shelebrate properly. Have fun missing the playoffs, jackasses. At least Leafs fans knew Toronto would be bad this year; you clowns thought your ass-backwards team were Cup contenders. Just pathetic.
Patriots vs. Jets
Patriots vs. Colts
Packers vs. Bears
.....Oh no, the Bears got Jay Cutler! Heaven forfend! How will the Pack ever deal with this neck-bearded idiot who's never had a playoff team and has already proven himself to have the temperament of a whiny eight-year-old? Have fun with another 7-9 season, Chicago.
Every AFC West team vs. Every other AFC West team
Every NFC East team vs. Every other NFC East team
Steelers vs. Browns
Steelers vs. Ravens
Lakers vs. Spurs
Lakers vs. Celtics
Knicks vs. Pacers
.....Or, Spike Lee vs. Reggie Miller.
Knicks vs. Heat.....Another sports rivalry that really only existed in the 1990's. Both of these Knicks feuds have died off given that the Knicks have been a joke for the last several years.
Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird
Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell
Shaquille O'Neal vs. Kobe Bryant
Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal
.....Best rivalry in sports today? Hell yes.
Martina Navratilova vs. Chris Evert
John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg
Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras
Steffi Graf vs. Monica Seles
Jack Nicklaus vs. Arnold Palmer vs. Gary Player
Jack Nicklaus vs. Tom Watson
Nick Faldo vs. Paul Azinger
Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson
.....Psst, Tiger is winning.
Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali.....Thomas Hauser memorably described this feud as two men not fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world, bur rather for the heavyweight championship of each other. Years later, there is still bad blood, as Joe Frazier just yesterday insinuated that God gave Ali Parkinson's disease as punishment for all of the bad deeds in his life. Classy.
Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran
Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan
Brian Boitano vs. Brian Orser



Music

Salieri vs. Mozart.....Honestly, I probably should've put this into the 'literature' section since their alleged feud has been at best exaggerated, at worst totally made up over the years. If anything, Salieri was a big supporter for Mozart. It's unfortunate that thanks to the movie, people now remember Salieri as nothing more than Mozart's bitter rival.
Tupac vs. Biggie.....Uh, call it a draw?
Oasis vs. Blur
Beatles vs. Rolling Stones
Sammy Hagar vs. David Lee Roth
Pearl Jam vs. Nirvana
.....Since we just passed the 15-year anniversary, I might as well reveal that I'm on the fence about Kurt Cobain's suicide. On the one hand, his death spared us from 15 years of terrible music. On the other hand, if he had lived, we would've been spared 15 years of idolatry surrounding a thoroughly mediocre band and this wouldn't have even been a feud since Nirvana would've gone the way of Alice in Chains, Mudhoney and all the other third-rate Seattle grunge bands, while PJ would've continued on their merry way to being awesome.
John Lennon vs. Paul McCartney


Pro wrestling (It gets its own category since really, the whole concept of pro wrestling is based on crazy rivalries)
Vince McMahon vs. Ted Turner/Eric Bischoff
Steve Austin vs. The Rock
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin, which morphed into the Hart Foundation vs. America
.....This might be my favourite wrestling feud ever. It started out with Austin the cocky heel challenging Hart the returning hero, but evolved into Hart becoming more and more frustrated with American fans cheering Austin. It led to a legendary submission match at Wrestlemania 13 when both men turned mid-match, as Austin was cheered for not giving up and Hart was heavily booed. Hart responded by uniting with his brother Owen, brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith and longtime allies Jim Neidhart and Brian Pillman into a new Hart Foundation faction. The trick to the storyline was that the Hart Foundation were hated in the USA but treated like national heroes in Canada, so the Hart group were both faces and heels at the same time. This was the storyline that really got a lot of my friends in high school back into wrestling, since it was universally agreed that Bret Hart was a god among men.
Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper
Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
.....To sum up, Savage nearly crushes Steamboat's throat with a ring bell, then Steamboat spends several months recuperating as shown through a series of unintentionally hilarious vignettes where he has to relearn how to speak. Then Steamboat gets his revenge by winning the Intercontinental title from Savage at Wrestlemania III in what was basically the best match ever.
Jerry Lawler vs. Andy Kaufman
Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA
.....An old-school feud in the NWA that ended in an 'I Quit' steel cage match, where Magnum got the submission by jamming a piece of wood into Blanchard's eye. Um, holy shit.
Ric Flair vs. Sting
Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat
Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes
Undertaker vs. Mick Foley
.....Culminating in their legendary 'Hell in the Cell' match when, for starters, Undertaker tossed Foley off of a 20-foot high cage through a table. Then, Undertaker slammed Foley through the cell ceiling down about 15 feet into the ring. And, just to top things off, Foley ended up being slammed onto a pile of thumbtacks. In case you couldn't have guessed from the Mickey Rourke movie, you've got to be pretty tough to be a pro wrestler.
Midnight Express vs. Rock and Roll Express


Miscellaneous
Hatfields vs. McCoys
Takeru Kobayashi vs. Joey Chestnut
Jets vs. Sharks
Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr
.....Remember the hubbub when Dick Cheney shot his buddy in the face during a hunting trip? Imagine if Cheney had instead shot a guy, and killed him, in a purposeful duel to the death. And then imagine if the guy he killed was a former Secretary of Treasury and the guy on the $10 bill. Yeah, this actually happened. They should totally bring back dueling, it would solve a lot of problems. Sure, there'd be a lot of needless killing, but think of the huge increase in public glove-slapping!
Austin Powers vs. Dr. Evil
Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford
Jennifer Aniston vs. Angelina Jolie
Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed
.....I stand by my claim that Carl Weathers was unfairly robbed of an Oscar for this role
Rocky Balboa vs. Clubber Lang
Pepsi vs. Coke
Apple vs. Microsoft
.....I've got to say, after two years of owning a Macbook, I'm calling it in favour of Apple. Once you go Mac, you don't go back.

2 comments:

Emmett said...

Awesome list.

I wonder if "one-sided" rivalaries really count as "rivalaries"? Specifically, Michael v. Toby (The Office) and Homer v. Flanders - where all the others seem to be based on mutual disdain, these two really seem to be based on the general disgust of one...

The Renegade Librarian said...

Great list. Amen to PJ vs. Nirvana and that Brian Murray comment was frickin' brilliant--so funny!