Oldest idiotic arguments on TV/movies

What is the oldest idiotic arguments you’ve seen on TV/movies?

The earliest I remember was on All in the Family. Archie and Mike had a disagreement about putting on footwear, whether you should put on both socks, then both shoes, or put the sock and shoe on the left foot, then the sock and shoe of the right foot.

By definition, ALL ABOUT EVE.

“Oh, waiter!”
“That is not a waiter, my dear; that is a butler.”
“Well, I can’t yell Oh, Butler, can I? Maybe somebody’s name is Butler!”
“You have a point. [beat] An idiotic one, but a point.”

From City Slickers II:

Glen: All right, now the sun sets in the East, right?

Mitch: No! The sun sets in the West.

Glen: That’s if your in the East, but we are way out West now, so we are past where the sun sets.

Mitch: You can’t be passed where the sun sets, and if you think you can, then I am directly South of an idiot!

Phil: Which is down!

Mitch: Right!

Hardly old and not even the best/earliest example in the franchise. The first movie had a great bit over recording on a VCR not needing a TV.

I think the 3 Stooges used to do some inane arguments, but my Google-fu isn’t giving me any specific examples.

Or Abbott and Costello -

Who’s on first?

Side note: Rob Reiner says that the shoes and socks argument on All in the Family was based on an actual argument between him and Carrol O’Connor about the subject.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT is pretty much made of this, because Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert flirt by bickering over trifles: how best to dunk a donut; the comparative merits of hitchhiking with a smile or a long face, or showing some leg instead of just sticking out a thumb; whether what he’s doing for her counts as a piggyback ride; and so on.

Rabbit season!
Duck season!
Rabbit season!
Duck season!

The first name on this subject: Mr. Preston Sturges

In a different sphere (and not exactly argument, but certainly an admonishment):
Felix: “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar.”
or (while wagging a finger) “Oscar…let it be on your head!”

Lampshaded by [reference left to the cognoscenti] “Button first, or zip first?”

Which, as viewers may recall, ended with “Wanna talk about socks?”

Not an idiotic argument, but I loved this exchange between Charles Bronson and Jason Robards in Once Upon a Time in the West:
Cheyenne: Harmonica, a town built around a railroad. [laughs] You could make a fortune. Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hey, more than that. Thousands of thousands.

Harmonica: They call them “millions.”

Cheyenne: “Millions.” Hmm.

The Three Stooges were making beer.

Curly: I put the yeast in.
Larry: No, I put the yeast in.
Moe: You’re both wrong I put the yeast in.

They all look at the boiling pot of wort on the stove, which proceeds to explode.

(which wouldn’t really happen; yeast multiplies anyway, but this is the Stooge-iverse after all)

Not the oldest, but…

Vern: Do you think Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman?
Teddy: What are you, cracked?
Vern: Why not? I saw the other day he was carrying five elephants in one hand!
Teddy: Boy, you don’t know nothing! Mighty Mouse is a cartoon. Superman’s a real guy. There’s no way a cartoon could beat up a real guy.
Vern: Yeah, maybe you’re right. It’d be a good fight, though.

(from Stand By Me)

The oldest I’ve heard is from 1726 in Gulliver’s Travels as to whether to open an egg the from the big end or the little end. Of course, the answer’s obvious… :smiley:

I’m not having this conversation.


I remember the movie. Gulliver suggests to the Brobdignagian king that he break the egg in the middle. The king does so, and is disgusted with the result.

Another argument: Barney Fife trying to reform Otis Campbell, the town drunk.
Or the pompous Frank Barone arguing with his sons about what constitutes “macho.”
Or (The Lucy Show): Lucy vs. Mr. Mooney on the subject of decorum.
Or Fred and Wilma Flintstone arguing about practically anything.
Or the stuck - up snob Veronica vs. the laid-back Jughead.

[spoiler] VASQUEZ
All right, we can’t blow the fuck
out of them…why not roll some
canisters of CN-20 down there.
Nerve gas the whole nest?

               Look, man, let's just bug out and
               call it even, okay?

                      (to Vasquez)
               No good.  How do we know it'll
               effect their biochemistry?  I say
               we take off and nuke the entire
               site from orbit.  It's the only
               way to be sure.

               Now hold on a second.  I'm not
               authorizing that action.

               Why not?

    Burke senses the challenge in her tone and backpedals
    flawlessly into conciliatory mode.

               Well, I mean...I know this is an
               emotional moment, but let's not
               make snap judgments.  Let's move
               cautiously.  First, this physical
               installation had a substantial
               dollar value attached to it --

               They can bill me.  I got a tab
               running.  What's second?

               This is clearly an important
               species we're dealing with here.
               We can't just arbitrarily
               exterminate them --


               Yeah, bullshit.  Watch us.

               Maybe you haven't been keeping up
               on current events, but we just got
               out asses kicked, pal!

    Ripley faces Burke squarely and she's not pleased.

               Look, Burke.  We had an agreement.

    Burke moves in, lowering his voice.  He takes her aside
    from the others.

               I know, I know, but we're dealing
               with changing scenarios here.  This
               thing is major, Ripley.  I mean
               really major.  You gotta go with
               its energy.  Since you are the
               representative of the company who
               discovered this species your
               percentage will naturally be
               some serious, serious money.

    Ripley stares at his like he's a particularly
    disagreeable fungus.

               You son of a bitch.

               Don't make me pull rank, Ripley.

               What rank?  I believe Corporal Hicks
               has authority here.

               Corporal Hicks!?

               This operation is under military
               jurisdiction and Hicks is next in
               chain of command.  Right?

               Looks that way.

    Burke starts to lose it and it's not a pretty sight.

               Look, this is a multimillion
               dollar operation.  He can't make
               that kind of decision.  He's just
               a grunt!
                      (glances at Hicks)
               No offense.

               None taken.
                      (into mike)
               Ferro, you copying?

                      (voice over; static)
               Standing by.

               Prep for dust-off.  We're gonna
               need an immediate evac.
                      (to Burke)
               I think we'll take off and nuke
               the site from orbit.  It's the
               only way to be sure.[/spoiler]

Sonja: “I mean I’m out hustling tricks all day, teaching your illegitimate daughter the ropes and all you can think about is your stomach!”

Ramon: “What am I supposed to think about? Your stomach?”

Sonja: (who’s preggers): “Fuck you, you Romanian scumbag!”

From the “Ramon and Sonja Show”

No, no. The time they were arguing about whether you eat your vegetables or meat first on a plate. Or all together. They were both on an enforced diet at the time. Dreaming of food. Mike wants it one way. Archie, showing his extreme mastery of any situation, argues for the sandwich. A perfect blend of meat, cheese, lettuce, dressing all in your mouth at the same time… excuse me, I gotta go make a sandwich. Which is what they did at that point.

I’m sorry. That wasn’t idiotic at all.