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You kids change partners more than square dancers!—Kitty, That 70s Show
The Dating Do-Si-Do is the tendency for a long running piece of fiction to recycle characters. In shows dealing with relationships especially, the tendency is that the longer the story goes on, the greater the likelihood that everyone will at some point have been in a relationship with everyone else. Well, usually not quite everyone, but still, the number of people having been in a relationship with other people is probably greater than could be expected under normal circumstances.
Usually it seems to be done to avoid introducing new characters. Unlike a Love Dodecahedron, a series that enjoys this dance does not necessarily have any of the couples being in competition with each other.
As can be noted, this is especially common in long-running series that still keeps a fairly regular cast.
Named after the Do-si-do, a figure in several dances that involve the dancers switching partners.
- Lots of comics have this to some degree, but the best example would have to be Spider-Man. All of Peter Parker's girlfriends (except Deb Whitman) have dated other members of his supporting cast at various points. Sometimes multiple members of said supporting cast. Spider-Man the Animated Series rectified this oversight by adding some Will They or Won't They? between Deb and Flash Thompson.
Live Action TV
- In your average Soap Opera it's hard enough trying to figure out the relationships happening at any given moment; you can safely assume that any character has been involved with 90% of the cast members of the appropriate sex at some point in the past.
- In the reimagined Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, most of the main characters go through a series of relationships with everyone else, sometimes at the same time. Lee and Kara stand out as particular offenders of the trope.
- Friends. Rachel dated Ross and Joey. Monica and Joey had some UST before the show started, and she married Chandler. Ross almost slept with Phoebe when his wife dumped him, then he had a VERY complicated relationship with Rachel. Then there's that whole Ross/Rachel/Julie/Russ mess. The flashback and What If episodes make it even more complicated...
- ER .
- In "Coupling", Susan dated Jeff, Patrick, and Steve; Steve dated Susan and Jane; and Patrick has been involved with Susan, Jane, AND Sally.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Name any two characters (including characters of the same sex), and they'll either have been Canon at some point or have a (sometimes very small, but still there) Fanfic following.
- Gossip Girl, complete with an actual chart on the Gossip Girl blog. Lampshaded whenever they have to explain it to someone new.
- This is mostly averted in the Noah's Arc series, but played very straight in the movie with lot of sexual crossovers between Noah, Wade, Baby Gat, Chance, Ricky, Brandon, and Eddie (basically all the main characters except Alex).
- On Sabrina the Teenage Witch Mr. Kraft dated both Hilda and Zelda at different times. Sure it's dramatic, but I'd hate to be in Sabrina's position on that one.
- Just about every low-quality daytime soap tends to have this to some degree.
- Popular, though it was a high school show and perhaps a Justified Trope. That said, boy, Josh did sure get to make out with/boink what, all the female cast short of April Tuna?
- Degrassi the Next Generation. See the picture above. Note that the prominent use of gay and bisexual characters, along with Loads and Loads of Characters and several cast herds is almost enough to make the entire thing circle in on itself. We pray they never involve Time Travel. Was originally the Trope Namer.
- The L Word fits this one quite nicely, especially "The Chart", which basically kept track of all their partner switch-ups.
- That 70s Show had a pretty tame version of this, mostly centering on how by the end of the show's run, Jackie dated three of the four young male regulars. More notable was the lampshading -- see the page quote. The What If episode makes it a little more complicated, revealing that Hyde would have started dating Donna if Eric hadn't kissed her at the end of the first episode.
- Two Guys and a Girl (not to be confused with the trope with the same name) had this to the extreme in the final few seasons. Pete had gone through 3 girlfriends, fell in love with the eponymous "girl" Sharon, and had sex with Berg's mom and ex-girlfriend. To say nothing of the cavalcade of women Berg went through.
- The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
- Glee has made impressive headway in this direction, for a show that's been on for a grand total of two seasons:
- Finn and Quinn, Finn and Rachel, Rachel and Will, Puck and Rachel, Puck and Quinn, Puck and Mercedes.
- Rachel and Jesse, Puck and Santana, Brittany and Santana, Finn and Santana, Kurt and Brittany, Terri and Will, Emma and Will, Emma and Ken.
- Will and Shelby, Quinn and Sam, Artie and Tina, Mike and Tina, Sam and Quinn, Artie and Brittany, Emma and Carl.
- Will and Holly, Rachel and Blaine, Sam and Santana Kurt and Blaine, Santana and Karofsky, Sam and Mercedes.
- The third season's pilot even lampshades it: when Kurt and Rachel come to Emma holding hands, Emma tells them, "I thought this day would come. This is the only dating combination the glee club hasn't tried!"
- Angel, like Buffy, is full of this. Cordelia was in love with Angel, slept with his son, and had some UST with Wesley back in their Buffy days. Fred had a crush on Angel, and dated Gunn and then Wesley (who had been sleeping with Lila). Darla was Angel's sire and his lover for 200 years; Lindsey was briefly infatuated with Darla (possibly as a transference of his obsession with Angel), and was later a couple with Eve, who slept with Angel. Angel and Spike were both in love with Buffy, and both had been involved with Drusilla, and then there was that one time...
- When a new person asks if they have a chart, Gunn responds "In the files. I'll get it for you later."
- Beverly Hills, 90210: Both the original and new series have many examples of this.
- Israeli suspence-action-drama series HaShminiya (The Octette in English) has this. At one point, one of the character's older sister comments, "Is there any combination in the Octette you haven’t tried yet?"
- This is the entire raison d'etre of Diesel Sweeties. Even Metal Steve, the cast virgin, got in on the action until his surprise marriage to Allie V.
- In Batman Beyond, Dana is pretty much the only recurring character with only one love interest. Even her steady boyfriend wanders from time to time. Alpha Bitches Chelsea and Blade seem to have a new boyfriend every episode, frequently each other's previous flames. Nelson Nash also bounces between girlfriends more than once.
- Total Drama World Tour: mostly consisting of Gwen, Duncan, Courtney, Alejandro, Heather, and possibly Tyler, Cody, and Sierra.
- But considering the fact that the writer for Total Drama was the original writer for Degrassi the Next Generation, this shouldn't come as a surprise.
- Archer: There are, mathematically, twenty-one ways the seven main characters (Sterling, Lana, Malory, Cyril, Cheryl/Carol, Pam, and Krieger) could pair off; of these, a third have actually happened. Lana, Cyril, and Carol/Cheryl have each had half of the other six.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man - basically all teens dated more than one person with the sole exception of Randy and Sally and Hobie Brown, who remained single.