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A Stock Phrase used to compare the difference between the way the speaker and a third character are treated. This is often used to imply that the speaker is not valued as much by the subject in question, and can become a source of Angst in the relationship.
This can be shown in a number of different situations, including:
- Someone complaining their (ex) significant other is willing to go farther for a current or former lover than they would for the speaker.
- A child lamenting that their parent treats a sibling more favorably.
- A friend feels that they are the odd-man-out amongst their group.
When this phrase is used in the context of an ongoing romantic relationship, this could indicate the moment in which the speaker realizes that their feelings are not fully reciprocated, and lead to a Make Up or Break Up dilemma. If it is instead used by an ex-lover, it can serve to show the audience that the current pairing is True Love after all.
Note that while this is often shown in a dramatic sense, it's also commonly Played for Laughs as one friend uses this phrase on another in a joking way (usually with an "I'm joking" added in.)
- In How I Became Yours, Mai arrives at the Bei Fong estate to discover Katara reading a love letter and admiring a bouquet of flowers Zuko left for her. Mai coldly points out that Zuko never gave her flowers when he was married to her before she rightfully blames Katara for all her misery.
- Dead Air 2009: Used by Lucy when she overhears her ex, Logan, promise to pick up his current wife's brother from the airport.
Lucy: "You never picked up my brother from the airport!"
- The Matrix: Trinity has just brought Neo his dinner and Cypher decides to tease her about her obvious attraction to him.
Cypher: "I don't remember you ever bringing me dinner."
- Played for Laughs in Airplane!: When her husband has a second cup of coffee, the wife (listed in the credits as "Mrs. Hammen") says, "That's funny, Jim never has a second cup of coffee at home." (Later, when he's sick and hurling into the barf bag, she says, "Jim never vomits at home...")
- This was a parody of a Yuban commercial from the late 1970s that played this trope straight. The wife is pained to discover that her coffee doesn't measure up to the party-thrower's coffee, because her husband thinks it's worth having a second cup of (and perhaps is thinking of dumping her for the hot blonde party-thrower with the superior coffee-making skills -- she'd better go buy some Yuban now for the sake of her marriage!).
- Played with early in the Belgariad, before Garion gets his big reveal. Garion and Ce'Nedra are talking about the girl Garion probably would have married had things gone another way, and Garion says it's for the best because she's not someone you can ask to sleep on the ground. Ce'Nedra points out that the group had never hesitated to ask her to sleep on the ground.
- For the record, his answer is perfect: "I guess you're stronger."
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: While Xander and Cordelia's relationship was still a secret to the rest of the scoobies, Cordelia protested as Xander declared that he was off to help Buffy out of yet another sticky situation.
Cordelia: "There you go, off to save the great Buffy again... I bet you'd never do that for me..."
- which is quasi-ironic, since things threatening Buffy in Sunnydale routinely would have become huge problems for everyone else really quickly. So Xander was, in fact, saving Cordelia at the same time as Buffy.
- Played for Laughs in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager where Janeway, upon learning that her best friend Tuvok used to make tea for then-Captain Sulu, jokingly complains that he never made her any tea.
Janeway: *mock indignant* You never brought ME tea!
Q: "You hit me! Picard never hit me!"
- In the episode of Monk where Sharona and Natalie meet, Sharona finds out that Monk pays Natalie a lot more than he paid her. Thus she complains that Monk never paid her that much.
- In How I Met Your Mother, in the episode where Barney puts together the super-date in order to bang J-Lo, Robin laments that he never went to similar lengths for her, even though they had been in a relationship together. When Barney meets his father, and sees that he has another son for whom he acts as a typical boring, suburban dad to, Barney is extremely hurt because, if he was just going to be normal and regular, why couldn't he have been normal with Barney?.
- Though the exact stock phrase isn't used, the concept appears several times in Coupling. Jane's reaction to this trope feeds her story arc in the "Inferno" episode.
- Subverted in the episode "The Cupboard of Patrick's Love" when Steve is watching what he believes to be Patrick's sex tape with Susan. It turns out to not be her.
- In Get Smart, 99 tells a man her name, inciting her ignorant partner Max's jealousy. She matter-of-factly replies, "You never asked me." It's actually a Code Name. Viewers never learn her real name, and we doubt Max did either.
- In an episode of Two and A Half Men, Charlie spends most of the episode teaching Jake how to behave at his first "boy-girl party". Eventually, Alan complains about how Charlie never taught him anything, and basically left him on his own, and suffered socially for it. Charlie does seem remorseful for this, but mentions how he was just a stupid teenager at the time, and didn't want to hang out with his little brother.
- The first season of Boardwalk Empire has an example. Jimmy is like a son to Villain Protagonist and Corrupt Politician Nucky Thompson. When Jimmy gets in trouble with the law in a way that could potentially blow Nucky's interest in the illegal alcohol trade, Nucky doesn't directly help Jimmy but he doesn't cut him loose either, instead offering Jimmy a little cash and a chance to jump town. After Jimmy leaves, Nucky's brother/Dragon Eli rhetorically wonders if he would get the same slack. Later in the season Eli is seriously wounded and publicly exposed as a Dirty Cop. Nucky fires Eli from his position as Sheriff... at least until after the election is over, when he immediately hires Eli back. Too bad Eli has already become The Starscream and joined a conspiracy against Nucky by then.
- Played With on Roseanne: Jackie gets angry Fred for taking up hobbies like skiing and rock-climbing after their divorce, because he never wanted to do anything fun or exciting while they were married.. There's no other woman involved, but it still irks her.
Akane: He never does anything that nice for me!
Mythology & Religion
- The Bible: Happens at the end of the parable of The Prodigal Son, where the brother who didn't leave home and waste all his money wonders why he doesn't get a fatted calf, etc., etc.
- The actual end of the parable is the father answering with the next stock phrase, "You never asked".
- The brother doesn't exactly get hosed, though; the father will still bequeath everything he owns to the loyal son, but for now he's just rejoicing that the prodigal son came home.