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Americans who do not happen to have enough money to spare for a cup or even a ribbon to present to someone horn into the award business by composing lists of the ten best this and that. There are currently so many of such annual lists of ten bests that the only one thus far missing seems to be a list of the ten best makers of lists of ten bests. There are lists of the ten best plays, the ten best novels, the ten best dressed women, the ten best dressed men, the ten most beautiful women, the ten best short stories, the ten best restaurants, the ten best hostesses, the ten greatest gourmets, the ten best actors, the ten best actresses, the ten best movies, the ten best movie directors, the ten fastest automobile drivers, the ten best radio acts, the ten best radio announcers, the ten best northwestern apple growers, the ten best shaped girls in Miami, the ten best typographical works, the ten best bartenders, and the eleven best football players. If anyone hasn't been voted the best something or other by this time, he may just as well consider himself a rank failure in life.
George Jean Nathan

We love to have lists, and having the list as a top ten seems to be one of the most popular forms.

Seen It a Million Times when it comes to things like sales, box office, critical favorites, popular favorites, etc.

The Top 10 Examples Of This Trope:

  • #10: In the "Weird Al" Yankovic parody "Living With A Hernia", the bridge section names several forms of the ailment. In the video, a top ten list accompanies it, despite the list having only nine elements.
  • #9: Wayne's World did a top ten list once in a while. One was the Trope Namer for Why We're Bummed Communism Fell, with such gems as: having to memorize new maps, never going to "find out what that thing on Gorby's head is", and the worry that "spy stuff" is gonna suck".
  • #8: In a Futurama episode, Bender was rigged with a bomb that would go off when he said his favorite word. This was explained by revealing a list of his top ten most common words (presented in the same style as Letterman's), although he has only actually said a few of them.
    • He said every word on the list in that specific episode, resulting in a few odd lines like "hot diggity daffodil", although the majority of the list has only been said in that episode. Also, 4 of the words appear in his Catch Phrase.
  • #7: Cracked is pretty much all Top N Lists. In fact they have claimed to be the world's leading producer of list based humor.
  • #6: Game FAQs posts a new user-created top ten list on the homepage every day.
  • #5: has an occasional top ten list of things about gaming.
    • ScrewAttack, which is hosted on, has its own Top Ten List section, but they generally like to mix things up a bit, for instance having Best and Worst of... (5 each). And then there is the Top 10 PS3 exclusives... which doesn't start until number 7 because there just weren't enough titles around that qualified.
      • Two years later they redid the list with a full 10.
      • Screwattack also has a couple of top-20s
  • #4: In one episode of Mr. Deity, Mr. Deity, Jesus and Larry are coming up with a "Top Ten List" that turns out to be the Ten Commandments. Does that count?
  • #3: Christian and Scott's Interactive Top Ten List is long-running example on the internet. (Twice-weekly for ten or so years now..)
  • #2: One episode of Garfield and Friends revolved around Garfield interrupting the action repeatedly to present a top ten list relevant to the episode's events.
  • And the #1 example of a Top Ten List: David Letterman's top ten lists. Started as a Deconstructive Parody.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Nostalgia Critic has the market cornered on Top 11 lists, because he likes to go one step beyond.
    • His Distaff Counterpart, The Nostalgia Chick, brought it back down to 10 for one of her own countdowns, "because you guys need to watch Spinal Tap".
    • During his review of North, the line "Here, loosen his pants" prompted him to create a list of the top ten jokes he could make about that scene.
    • He did bump it up to 12 for the Top Christmas Specials and Next Best Christmas Specials. Why? BECAUSE IT'S CHRISTMAS!
    • Other sites, such as Mr. Coat and Friends, will do top eleven lists as well as just plain top ten.
  • One Strong Bad e-mail has Strong Bad listing his Bottom 10.
  • The many, many "Top Five" lists of High Fidelity.
    • They're also the specialty of Five-O-Rama. [1]
  • The main gimmck behind the Animal Planet series The Most Extreme
  • Some I Love the Exties shows are lists.
  • BBC sitcom How Not to Live Your Life frequently interrupts the plot to enumerate "6 things not to say at a job interview", etc.
  • The Notorious B.I.G.'s Ten Crack Commandments
  • In Married... with Children, Al once made a list of top 10 ways Marcy could make herself more attractive, such as: "Hire attractive woman to stand in front of you at all times."
  • Charlie from Lost has a "Top Five" list of his favorite moments in his life in the Season 3 episode 'Greatest Hits'.
  • Countdown with Keith Olbermann is a top five list of U.S. political news stories with commentary, with a separate top-three list embedded inside it. (Used to be two top-three lists - Best Persons is dead, long live Tea Time!)
  • The Seattle sketch-comedy show Almost Live! inverted this with a sort of Bottom Ten: "The Lame List, or what's weak this week!"
  • Nat X from Saturday Night Live (played by Chris Rock) had a Top 5. The exact reason changed from episode to episode but it was always because The Man was keeping him down.

 Why Top 5? Because the man would never give me ten of anything! I'm lucky to get five!

Why five? Because ten would make the man loose sleep!

Why 5? 'Cause 10 would make the Man nervous.