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“Screw the Rules, I have Money” is a catchphrase from the Yu-Gi-Oh! parody Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series. It is used as a sarcastic response to an argument or in an exchange where someone has broken a rule intentionally. The second half of the phrase, “I have money,” can also be used as a snowclone where “money” is changed into another word that is appropriate to the situation.
The phrase was coined in the first episode of the series (shown below, left), uploaded via YouTube in 2006. In the episode, the charactures Yami Yugi and Kaiba are shown having their first duel during which Kaiba summons three Blue-Eyed White Dragons in a single turn, ignoring the rule that only one monster can be summoned during a turn. When Yami questions him about it, Kaiba says “Screw the rules, I have money!”
In August 2006, “Screw the rules, I have money” was used in a piece of Yu-Gi-Oh fanfiction titled “Strawberry Flavored Blueberries.” The next year, it was spotted in an episode of the Ace Attorney parody Phoenix Wrong. Also in 2007, an entry for the phrase was added to TV Tropes, which found other pop culture instances from television, movies and anime of people disregarding set rules due to their wealth. A custom Yu-Gi-Oh card for the phrase was created by fans in 2008. In 2009, the phrase was first defined on Urban Dictionary and the next year, a Facebook fan page for the phrase was established, gaining 1555 likes in two years. Image macros and fan art using the phrase are posted on deviantArt and Tumblr. Additionally, the phrase continued to be used throughout the Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged series (shown below), with several variations popping up including “Screw the rules, I have green hair” and “Screw the money, I have rules.”
The pop culture reference site TV Tropes has taken derivatives of the phrase “Screw the rules, I have money” to identify similar instances of self-exceptionalism found in other areas, such as having connections in high places, having the ability to change the rules at will and using one’s good looks to get out of something.As of October 2012, the trope is listed on TV Tropes’ Tropes of Legend page, which catalogs the site’s most referenced tropes.