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The Romantic Comedy is ending, and the Alpha Couple has finally hooked up. But what's this? It seems there's a Beta Couple in the wings! During the closing musical number/reception dance two characters who may or may not have interacted prior to this point are getting down and dirty, or even just looking at each suggestively as to imply they'll start dating.
This is essentially adding a cherry to the top of this Happy Ending, saying that after all the struggling and misunderstandings, the alpha couple's success has helped create love even between different people, implying they at least start dating and might even marry. It also serves as an abbreviated form of Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends, so that the viewer can walk away happy knowing that the Romantic Runner-Up fiancé isn't left out in the cold but rather hooked up with the maid of honor who thought she'd never walk the aisle.
A thorny use of this trope comes when Gay friends of the main couple are implied to hook up this way. It might be to avoid the "dilemma" of showing on-screen gay couples which could alienate audiences, but implies they'll both hook up just because they're gay.
See also Sexual Karma and Maybe Ever After, where the implied hookup may involve main characters or characters who do have a Romance Arc of sorts, and Pair the Spares, where the romantic rivals of the main plot hook up with each other. May be followed up on in a Distant Finale.
Anime and Manga
- Speculated to have happened with Hiwatari and Risa in the end of D.N.Angel
- Minori and Ami from Toradora! probably go that route. It's only hinted though, what with them both being girls and all.
- Oujirou and Tamayo in the Angelic Layer manga. In the anime, where Tamayo and Misaki switch love interests, both couples get equal amounts of time and the last-minute hookup is between Icchan and Shuuko... which is also implied in the manga, but certainly causes problems when one wonders how the series relates to Chobits.
- At the end of Chrono Crusade, Azmaria and Joshua are shown holding hands at Rosette's funeral.
- In Digimon Adventure 02, Ken and Miyako are married with kids, as are Yamato and Sora.
- In Mai-HiME, Natsuki and Shizuru's relationship is left as ambiguous as humanly possible at the end of the series, fueled by the question of whether Natsuki's "love" was meant in a friendly or romantic way, giving fuel to thousands of shippers to resolve it in Fanfic. The supplemental material released later makes things a lot clearer, with the artbook implying a hook-up after Shizuru's graduation.
- Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper ends with the princess marrying her particular teacher, the pauper marrying the Prince who was supposed to marry the princess instead. But that's not just it, since the little cutesy Princess's pet cat end up with the pauper's stray cat who believes he's a dog. Actually, pretty much everyone in the movie fits this trope. except for the villiains. Hell, even the horse ends paired up!!!
- In Beauty and the Beast, Belle's father and Mrs. Potts share a look in the final ballroom scene.
- Toy Story 3 ends with Rex and Trixie, another dinosaur toy, playing video games together.
- At the end of A Goofy Movie, Max's Pauly Shore-voiced friend Bobby has such a hook-up with Roxanne's valley-girl best friend Stacey, when they both reach for Bobby's can of cheez whiz that he dropped. Bobby lifts his dark sunglasses and smiles at her, and Stacey gives him a brace-filled smile back. It's a cute/quirky moment, but there is absolutely no lead-up to it whatsoever. Not that anything came of either relationship in the sequel.
Film (Live Action)
- Bring It On has this when the gay cheerleader of the team talks to another male cheerleader of another team.
- At the end of Down With Love the Beta Couple is on the phone getting together with a hilarious synchronized chorus.
- Four Weddings and a Funeral. Almost all the main cast are shown to be hooked up with someone at the end.
- High School Musical: After the credits, we see Sharpay run toward Zeke (who has been crushing on her the whole movie) and jump on him because he makes the most awesome cookies ever. Of course the implied post movie hookup was kind of killed by HSM2 (but then HSM3 had them dance together at the prom... mixed signals, Disney!).
- The Lord of the Rings movies did this with Faramir and Eowyn (who were a canon couple in the book as well). However, since they had to cut the scenes showing them growing closer in the theatrical version, it ended up looking like a random hook up to resolve the Love Triangle between Eowyn, Arwen and Aragorn.
- Occurs at the end of the 1998 version of The Parent Trap when, during the parent's wedding, Martin proposes to Chessy.
- At the end of Sweet Home Alabama, the protagonist's gay friend from NY and gay friend in Alabama share a look.
- Subverted in I Love You, Man; the gay groomsman played by Thomas Lennon unsuccesfully hits on the protagonist's gay brother while at the wedding. "Sorry. You're not my type. I only date straight guys."
- At the end of the movie Stardust Captain Shakespeare (a closet Flamboyant Gay) and Humphrey (himself getting married to Victoria, and not having been implied to be gay) share a look, with Victoria looking rather confused.
- Done in a sequel: Hooper and Banky from Chasing Amy are shown to have hooked up afterwards at the end of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
- Sky High did this; at the end, Troubled but Cute Warren Peace is shown holding hands at the Homecoming with Freeze Girl -- even though the two never actually interacted during the movie.
- Being high school, it may just be a function of being at a dance, you pick someone to dance with but nothing will come of it the next day. Being Disney, the implications means exactly the trope implies.
- Heavily implied for Scud and Janet at the end of D.E.B.S.; up until that point, they've been a Beta Couple of sorts, but they actually shared just a scene.
- Eunice and Mr. Larrabee are implied to get together at the end of ~What's Up, Doc?~
- At the end of Big Trouble in Little China, Eddie and Margo (the Intrepid Reporter wannabee) are implied to get together when their only previous interaction in the movie was an insult.
- In the Richie Rich film, the butler Cadbury and Gloria's mother are seen kissing at the end.
- In Amanda Bynes' Twelfth Night High School AU ~She's the Man~, both of Duke's friends are shown paired up with someone. Toby got together with nerdy Eunice and Paul is seen fixing Andrew's tie, much to Andrew's confusion.
- Sebastian finally got together with the girl he fell in love with the moment he saw her, Olivia.
- And also, Viola's parents, having been divorced, are sitting together at the end and most likely mending their relationship.
- Monique and Justin are interestingly together, Monique being Sebastian's ex and Justin being Viola's ex.
- During the Spring Fling scene at the end of Mean Girls Principal Duvall and Ms. Norbury share a meaningful look while dancing. Janis and Kevin also dance at the Spring Fling and are seen kissing during the very last scene where Cady explains everyone's fate.
- Many of Adam Sandler's films end this way -- he gets the girl of his dreams, while everyone else is left with the spares.
- The thorny Gay Friends version happens at the end of Three to Tango," when Peter, the gay partner of straight-but-people-thought-he-was-gay Oscar, ends up trading innuendo with Kevin, the newbie-gay football player whose nickname is The Ponderosa, now that Oscar has finally gotten the girl.
Of the ballhog and Schlob, little was heard either, but local gossips reported that wedding bells were only centuries away.
- This happens to virtually every character in Harry Potter. For those not specifically referenced in the epilogue, Rowling tells who married who in interviews. Draco in particular smells of Last-Minute Hookup. After spending the entire series being a bully, a lout, and generally showing disdain for any kind of intimate relationships, Word of God suddenly has him married to Astoria Greengrass.
- To be entirely fair, however, Harry doesn't seem like the sort of person who would pick up romantic overtones to anything unless they were so obvious it hurt.
- At the end of Double Indemnity, at least the novel, Nino and Lola get married, but the fugitives Walter and Phyllis are implied to commit mutual suicide.
- In every single Gilbert and Sullivan musical, the quirky old man and the female baritone hook up at the end, whether they had some romantic interactions before that, were never onscreen together, or utterly reviled one another in ever scene before the last. This is seldom given any dialogue.
- Exception: HMS Pinafore, in which the relationship between Little Buttercup and Captain Corcoran is technically the one that resolves the rest of the plot.
- The musical version of Two Gentlemen of Verona pulled this with Thurio and Lucetta, who had no prior interaction in either the musical or the original play.
- Drood has the audience vote in two characters to get together and sing a romantic duet at the end, which often leads to some pretty interesting Crack Pairings.
- At the end of Super Mario RPG, Booster and Valentina get married. Though you'll never see it unless you're told about it, you can actually see Booster propose to Valentina before the ending if, after defeating her, you go all the way back up to the top of Booster's Tower and look at the balcony. As it doesn't get you anything and is easily missed, it's probably there because The Dev Team Thinks of Everything.
- Mega Man Battle Network 6. If you played the game (or any in the series for that matter) then it should be blatantly obvious. Lan and Mayl marry and have a kid who has a Navi who is a hybrid of Mega Man's and Roll's data.
- Subverted on Phineas and Ferb with Stacy and Coltrane; they play Beta Couple to Candace and Jeremy in the episode "The Baljeatles" and end the episode holding hands, but in a later episode Stacy goes out with somebody else with no mention of whether she and Coltrane ever dated.
- Hey Arnold creator Craig Bartlett said that not only would Arnold and Helga hook up if The Patakis had been made, but Gerald and Phoebe would as well (and become the main couple, sort of).
- Treated a bit oddly on Kick Buttowski where the Beta Couple Gunther/Jackie hooked up in an episode, however it has never been mentioned again (so far), but fans seem to take this as a "They will one day", more so to get Jackie off of Kick's back to fuel the fan preferred couple of Kick/Kendall.