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A trope most common in the Romantic Comedy genre. Alice and Bob, by complete random coincidence, keep ending up in the same places at the same time, usually while pursuing a mutually shared objective. The basic chain of coincidence goes as follows-
- Meeting the First: I find you very annoying, yet also charming in a vaguely erotic way. Oh well, not like I'm ever going to see you again.
- Meeting the Second: OK, seriously? Are you stalking me? Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Perfectly logical explanation you describe? OK, let's just chalk this up to weird coincidence.
- Meeting the Third: According to the book of tropology, we are now legally obligated to make out.
In narrative this is a specific variant of Meet Cute. It differs from the standard largely in that characters who meet via this method will feel compelled to give each other a chance, even though in other circumstances they probably would not consider it. Often uses a Double Subversion in that the third time they seem to meet, it will actually turn out to be a different guy- and then Bob strolls into the shot a few seconds afterward.
Note that while this trope is most commonly used for the sake of romance, it can also be invoked to set up the meeting of a band of True Companions, particularly characters who may not have much in common otherwise.
Anime and Manga
- A decidely unfunny, sinister example occurs in The Secret Agreement. Yuuichi's uncle explains that the reason Iori has such an intense connection to Yuuichi that keeps driving them together is not because he loves him but because Yuuichi is built to steal Iori's life energy and Iori exists only to be consumed.
- The Back-up Plan uses this trope. It was in the trailer.
- The first half of When Harry Met Sally. Comes off as more plausible than most because Harry and Sally meet each other randomly twice over the course of several years rather than several days.
- Lalita and Darcy keep running into each other in Bride and Prejudice.
- In The Adjustment Bureau, fate literally exists in the form of a "plan" handed down by the Powers That Be for the titular Celestial Bureaucracy to carry out, and previous drafts of this plan are what keep driving David and Elise together.
Live Action Television
- In one episode of Thirty Rock, Liz Lemon meets Wesley Snipes (no, not that Wesley Snipes. Seriously, is that name not so much more logical for a British guy to have?) at the dentist's office while she was under novocaine, and puts him in her cell phone as "future husband". After a disastrous first date, they go on a second when they meet by complete coincidence at a store buying tickets for Hot Tub Time Machine. This date goes even worse. When they meet a third time at a taxi cab, all Wesley can stammer is "you...witch!", before catching up with Liz and suggesting maybe they're "settling soulmates" and proceeds to try and convince her every time they meet that they should get married, despite increasing evidence that they are not just ill-suited but hate each other.
- This is how Carrie meets Mr. Big in Sex and the City.
- There's an episode of Friends where Phoebe comments on having run into this guy everywhere she goes, including the laundromat, coffee shop, and adult bookstore. She eventually decides to give him a chance after she reads her tea leaves and interprets them to mean she's about to meet a guy. He ends up being a total jerk, who makes inappropriate comments about her breasts over dinner.
- Subverted in an episode of Mysterious Ways. Peggy keeps running into an engaged man who asked for a sign that he was marrying the right woman right before he saved Peggy's life. He thinks it's fate; she disagrees. Eventually they figure out that the man's fiancee was also in all those places, but Peggy kept getting in the way. When Peggy wonders why she was even there, Miranda points out that maybe she needed to realize there might be another soul mate out there for her, too.
- Noah's Arc: How Noah and Wade happen to run into each other in the bar (as well as other times).
- The Simpsons uses this in a future episode dated in the far-off year of 2008. College-age Lisa is constantly being inconvenienced by a rude British student, first at the drinking fountain, then a vending machine, then when it turns out he's checked out the same library reserve book that she needs. Naturally they make out. The librarian questions the logic of this, since they spent most of the day hating each other. The janitor points out that of course she doesn't understand love, since she's a robot. The librarian then explodes when she cries in response.