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Roger: Your smile reminded me of...
—"Light My Candle," Rent
Old and often used stock phrase with several different variations.
Variant 1: "You remind me of me"
The first and most commonly used variant is someone telling another person that the other person reminds them of themselves, especially if they add "When I was younger" onto the end of it. In particular The Hero may say it to a character like a Sidekick, a Hero Worshipper or a Non-Action Guy who just showed some pluck and Got Dangerous, an Innocent Bystander who actually helped out, etc. Most commonly used to show that even if a character is outside the Competence Zone currently, they have potential they may yet fulfill, or that they may grow up to be just like the hero and take up the call.
If said by an Anti-Villain, Worthy Opponent, Fallen Hero or Noble Demon, it may be a sign of respect, or wistfulness, since the character saying it may find themselves longing to be that way again. A great way of setting up a Not So Different moment or the possibility for redemption.
It's worth noting that this variant often tends to be parodied or subverted. For example an Anti-Hero or Deadpan Snarker may wind up telling someone that it's the bad parts of themselves or the bits about themselves that they loathe that the person is bringing to mind. There are also times when it's said with the implication that the person they're saying it to is a Naive Newcomer who is overly idealistic just like they were at that age, but will have to learn cynicism, just like the person speaking. Many a Broken Pedestal has said it this way.
Variant 2: "You remind me of him"
The other variant is the speaker saying that someone reminds them of X, with X possibly being anything from their father or mother, their mentor, a legendary hero, etc. A frequently response to Tell Me About My Father, which is practically guaranteed to provoke a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. A nastier, more villainish version may include pushing the Relative Button with this.
Variant 3: "You remind me of her"
A character with a deceased Love Interest runs into someone who causes a Flashback Echo of his/her former love. The character will often look startled, then say "Sorry, for a moment you reminded me of someone I once knew". The two easily form a connection, foreshadowing a possible future relationship, though one haunted by the tragic end of the previous romance.
In the last two variants, you get extra points if you do a Wrong Name Outburst.
- Miranda Priestly tells this to Andy at the end of The Devil Wears Prada, which only reinforces Andy's decision to quit.
- Michael implies this to a teenage client he helped on an episode of Burn Notice, complete with the show ending with the two of them leaning against his car in the exact same pose.
- Doc Holiday did the Anti-Hero version in Tombstone, saying that Johnny Ringo reminds me him of him, which just means that now Doc really hates Ringo.
- Parodied/subverted in an episode of I'm a Marvel And I'm a DC, when Wolverine tells the Comedian how the Comedian reminds him of himself, then immediately remembers all the things that are different about them.
Wolverine: Maybe you ain't so bad after all, Blake. In fact, you kinda remind me of myself at your age. Except, y'know, I'm a mutant. And I've got ethics. And I'm not a psychopath... (or a rapist...) You know what, maybe you remind me of someone else...
- Sarevok in Baldur's Gate:
Sarevok: You remind me of myself...before I was slaughtered and cast into the Abyss.
- When Green Lantern, Black Canary and Arsenal teamed up in the events leading to the post-Infinite Crisis. pre-New 52 JLA, Green Lantern thinks how Black Canary thinks it's because Arsenal reminds him of a younger Green Arrow — and that, the reality of it is, that Arsenal reminds him of his own younger self.
- Real Genius:
Chris: You see, Mitch, I used to be you. And lately I've been missing me, so I asked Dr. Hathaway if I could room with me again and he said sure.
- An inversion of the trope shows up in Road to Perdition, when Sullivan admits to one of his sons that it was the son that didn't remind him of himself that he loved more.
- In Chris Roberson's Warhammer 40000 Blood Ravens novel Dawn of War II, the two boys they find in the hive remind Thaddeus of himself at that age — partly because he came from the same sort of hive, and partly because they fit the aspirant profile. (When he suggests that they might become Blood Ravens and kill xenos such as killed their mother, they are quite eager to be like him.)
- In the Ciaphas Cain novel Cain's Last Stand, one of Cain's students reminds him of himself. Amusingly (and not at all surprisingly, given his own character), this leads him to view absolutely everything Donal says and does with considerable suspicion.
- Interestingly enough, said student turns out to be quite the model commissar, offering to stay behind (and certainly die) in order to buy time for the others to escape. When he does survive, (but is brain washed) he prefers to commit suicide after being temporarily freed rather than lose his free will again. Should Cain's assessment be on the mark, it would seem to shine a light on Cain's own character.
- The G-Man to Adrian Shepard at the end of Half Life: Opposing Force.
I admit I have a fascination with those who adapt and survive against all odds—they rather remind me of myself.
- In Futurama, Zapp Brannigan, king of Metaphorgotten, says this of Fry: "You remind me of a younger me. Not much younger, mind you. Perhaps even a little older."
- The Three Musketeers 1993. "You, boy, are arrogant, hot-tempered, and entirely too bold. I like that, you remind me of me."
- In the first episode of Community, Pierce means it as a compliment when he tells Jeff that Jeff reminds him of younger version of himself, but since Pierce is, putting it gently, a complete tool, Jeff doesn't take it as one.
- Subverted on The Simpsons when Homer gets a job writing fortune cookie fortunes and presents his work to the other writers, one of whom is (for some reason) Woody Allen
Woody Allen: My god, he's like a young me!
- In Next to Normal, Natalie tells Henry "you remind me of me...and how fucked up I can be" to explain why their relationship is struggling.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation ("Tapestry")
Picard: [about his time as an ensign] I was a different person in those days - arrogant, undisciplined; with far too much ego, but too little wisdom. [pause] I was more like you.
- Wall Street
Gordon Gekko: You could've been one of the great ones Buddy. I looked at you and saw myself. Why?
- In Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, Flak of Black Hole says to Max of Orange Star:
Flak: You remind me of me. Except…I'm me.
Examples (Variant 2)
- Harry Potter has been told multiple times how much he reminds everyone of his father.
- And has his mother's eyes.
- Disturbingly, Harry also notes the similarities between himself and Tom Riddle.
- In Scrubs JD is told by Jordan (the ex-wife of his reluctant mentor Dr. Cox) how he kind of reminds her of Dr. Cox when Cox was that young.
- Auron from Final Fantasy X tells Tidus that he reminds him of Jecht. The latter isn't happy about the comparison.
- Wakka also initially goes out of his way to help Tidus and act as something of a big brother to him because Tidus reminds him of his Dead Little Brother.
- In the Stephen King novella Low Men in Yellow Coats (part of the Hearts in Atlantis book), Bobby gets told by a waitress how much he reminds her of his long-dead and barely remembered father. Sure enough, at one point when she's totally petrified she calls Bobby by his father's name.
- House: In the first-season episode "Poison", an 82-year-old woman goes to the clinic because she's acting unexpectedly "frisky". She flirts with House while he examines her, saying, "You remind me of [Ashton Kutcher]. Same bedroom eyes."
- Slappy Squirrel does this Once an Episode in Animaniacs, whenever another character reminds her of <insert obscure pop culture figure (or cartoon character) from more than 20 years ago here>. It is difficult to tell at times whether she is being complimentary or insulting with these comparisons.
- Negi of Mahou Sensei Negima constantly reminds people of his father. During the end of his tournament bout with Jack Rakan, Jack reminisces that it's almost like fighting with Nagi again.
- Subverted somewhat as many people who knew Nagi consider Negi to be the opposite of his father. Nagi being a totally unstoppable, totally good, self taught pure talent, Idiot Hero, and Negi being a pessimistic, ambitious Determinator who flirts with the dark side. While none the less still very much a good guy, he is a VERY different kind of good guy than his dad.
- In City of Glass, Luke tells Jace that he reminds him of someone. Jace assumes he means his father, the antagonist Valentine. However, Luke actually meant another shadowhunter, Stephen Herondale, Jace's biological father.
- "You know, you remind me of my father... I HATED my father!"
- In one episode of Stargate SG-1, Teal'c informs informs the New Guy Cameron Mitchell that he reminds him of Jack O'Neill, SG-1's former team leader who Mitchell replaced. Mitchell thinks this is a compliment. Teal'c doesn't seem so sure.
- "You remind me of the babe..."
- What babe?
- From Percy Jackson, his mother points out how much Percy is like his father.
- In Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids, the hermit Hansen recognizes Lucky when they first meet because when Lucky gets angry, he reminds Hansen of his father, Lawrence Starr. Lawrence Starr was generally a cheerful man, and the fact that Hansen vividly remembers him being angry is one clue that he is actually the pirate who murdered Lucky's parents.
- In The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Mido meets Link after his seven-year absence. He doesn't exactly recognize Link, but does say that for some reason, seeing Link makes him remember.
- In episode 4.08 of Sons of Anarchy, Piney says to Jax "I'm not going to tell you how much you just sounded like your old man."
- Tales of Symphonia draws on this trope in a slightly unexpected way, where Kratos, Lloyd's father, remarks about how Lloyd reminds him of Mithos. Not that this breaks with the trope in any way, but considering the father's more commonly the one the comparison's drawn TO, it's a neat twist for the father to be the one drawing the comparison.
- In Radiant Historia Eruca claims that Stocke reminds her of her brother. Turns out, that's because he is her brother.
- In Eternal Sonata, Frederic tells Polka she reminds him of his deceased younger sister. There may be a very good reason for that, or it could just be a coincidence.
- In the Jonathan Winters episode of The New Scooby Doo Movies, Maude Frickert tells Fred that he reminds her of her favorite country singer—Glen Campbell.
- Elemental Gelade has Ren helping a young boy named Eugene, who looks and acts almost exactly like her partner, Coud. Different from most examples on this page in that Coud is just fine, and was only apart from her for an episode or two.
- In Noein, Atori is pissed off by Yuu, who has the same defiant eyes as Karasu, who he despises. Which makes sense, considering Karasu is an older, post-apocalyptic Yuu.
- Dante in the Devil May Cry series reminds about half the bosses he fights of his father, Sparda. Oddly, Nero reminds Berial of Dante in the fourth game's novelization.
- CSI: NY Mac tells Reed that Reed reminds him (Mac) of his mother, Mac's late wife Claire. It's *mostly* two, but also has elements of 3, the only difference being he already knew who Reed was at the time, likely making it a 2.
- Miranda Hillard tells Mrs. Doubtfire that she reminds her of her ex-husband Daniel; ironically enough, Mrs. Doubtfire of course happens to be one of Daniel's fictional impersonations.
- In Death Note Naomi Misora tells Light "You remind me of L. There's something about you that's just like him."
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, Antimony anticipiates being told she resembles one of her parents. Mr. Donlan surprises her by saying that would be what to say, except that she's her own person.
Examples (Variant 3)
- Gunslinger Girl. Victor Hilshire has an immediate flashback to his former Love Interest Rachelle Belleut (the doctor who died saving Triela's life) when he meets Roberta Guellfi, a prosecutor his fratello has been assigned to bodyguard. Triela too feels a compunction to protect her, because she subconsciously reminds her of the woman in her dreams that she mistakenly assumes is her mother.
- Buckaroo Banzai. Buckaroo Banzai goes to see Penny Priddy while she's in jail.
Penny Priddy: What do you want from me?
- Abarat. Candy reminds Carion of Princess Boa. A lot.
- Happens in JAG when the main character gets a new female partner after the last one gets killed.
- Rent, as per the page quote.
- Witch Hunter Robin reminds several characters of her mother.
- Feiling's Day In The Limelight has her helping out a Jerk with a Heart of Gold old man. You later learn that he has a granddaughter who looks
similarexactly like her.
- Several characters suspect that Nagi's initial attraction to Hayate is that he reminds her of her mother, who died when she was still young.
- Konata's dad makes an, ah, disturbing comment regarding how similar she is to her mother.
Soujirou: "But you know, you feel more and more like Kanata when I hold you. It makes my heart race!"
- Vertigo (Of course, as it happens she is.)
- The only reason Oskar's grandparents got together in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is because his grandmother reminded his grandfather of Anna, her sister and his first love.
- A Night at the Opera "Everything about you reminds me of you. Except you."