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Danny: Does he make you laugh?

Tess: He doesn't make me cry.

Alice and Bob are friends, or Bob has a crush on Alice. They go on a date and kiss, and Alice finds that she does not feel anything for Bob, as much as she tries. He is a great guy, but that special something is just not there.

This tends to come up with Test Kiss, but can happen in any situation where two people try out a relationship but find they have no chemistry. This is often the fate of the Dogged Nice Guy, and always the fate of the Unlucky Childhood Friend and the Romantic Runner-Up. It will also happen if they are Better as Friends or Platonic Life Partners.

A more explicit version of this trope is when someone is unhappy in a current relationship, and we see them having unfulfilling sex or no sex. Kisses with the soon-to-be-dumped significant other are perfunctory and short.

It is only No Sparks if the character in question has never felt a true spark towards his or her attempted significant other. If there used to be chemistry but it's gone, that's Dead Sparks.

This trope sometimes occurs in romantic comedies during the sad period when the hero and heroine are estranged. One or both of them try to date someone else, but it does not work because there are No Sparks. This is taken as an indication that the lost guy or girl is The One and should be won back at any cost.

Sometimes No Sparks happens when the wrong guy comes first. The lack of sparks discredits the bad relationship, often retrospectively.

This can be a method of Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends. Or creating them.

Related Tropes: Better as Friends, Platonic Life Partners, Like Brother and Sister, Romantic Runner-Up.

Examples of No Sparks include:


Film

  • In 27 Dresses, Katherine Heigls character kisses her boss, who she has crushed on for years, and finds she does not feel anything for him.
  • In Back to The Future, Lorraine pursues Marty with a passion, to the point where his attempt to turn her off by coming on too strong fails because she jumps him first. But when she kisses him, she suddenly feels like she's kissing her brother. Understandable of course, given that Marty happens to be her son from the Future.
  • In Enchanted, the failed kiss from Prince Edward might count.
  • This has to come up in The Notebook at some point.
  • In Ocean's Eleven, Danny strongly suspects his ex-wife Tess doesn't love her current boyfriend Terry Benedict (the guy whose casino he's trying to rob). So he asks her if he makes her laugh, and Tess points out that at least he doesn't make her cry, basically admitting that she doesn't love Terry, but shutting down Danny's criticism through a cutting reminder of why she and Danny broke up.
  • In The Princess Diaries movie, the failure to foot-pop while kissing is shown as an indication of a lack of sparks.
    • This trope is resurrected in the sequel when Mia's fiance fails to get her going.
  • In Spider-Man 2, Mary Jane asks her fiance to kiss her upside down, reenacting her awesome kiss with Spider-Man. He feels it; she does not.
  • In The Wedding Singer, Julia's lack of chemistry with her fiancee is played up, most hilariously in the scene where she's trying out her wedded name-to-be ("Julia Guglia") and finding it... less than satisfactory.
  • Nicely played in Bringing Up Baby when Cary Grant's character is engaged to his coworker who basically says that she will not have sex with him when they are married and their marriage's purpose is to solidify their working relationship. The next few scenes include Cary Grant experiencing Meet Cute with Katharine Hepburn, so when Cary's fiance is shown again the lack of sparks becomes even more apparent.

Comic Books

  • This is pretty much how the Superman/Wonder Woman ship got torpedoed (and a major reason it stays that way outside of Elseworlds): there was really nothing there to make them stay more than friends.

Live Action TV

  • The Adventures of Pete and Pete: Pete and Ellen try going out after all of the UST between them... only for it to go horribly. However not long after that they kiss again and it apparently goes well. It's as frustratingly vauge as it sounds.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Leslie decide to skip all that pointless date business and proceed directly to the goodnight kiss--no sparks fly.
  • This happened at least twice on Boy Meets World.
    • Topanga and Corey had broken up. She was dating another guy, and when he kissed her she felt nothing and realized Corey was her soulmate.
    • Shawn and Topanga kissed for a film project and Corey was extremely jealous. Angela (Shawn's girlfriend) tried to convince him it didn't mean anything, but ended up having to throw him down on the bed and lay one on him to show him that it's different with someone other than your one true love.
  • Cordelia and Wesley in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It takes them the latter half of the third season to work their way up to a Test Kiss, and it turns out incredibly awkward for both of them.
  • Clarissa Explains It All had one episode in which Clarissa's quirky best pal Sam crushes on her, having noticed she was a girl for perhaps the first time ever. She consents to a date, and he kisses her at the end of it; the kiss makes them both realize that their love for one another is strictly platonic.
  • It happens twice on The Secret Life of the American Teenager with Ricky and Adrian. The first time it happens, she blames it on pregnancy hormones (pregnant by another man, Ben, to be specific), while he sees it as affirmation that they should just be friends, an idea he was already mulling over. The following season, she feels sparks with another guy, but thinks she needs to kiss Ricky one last time to be sure that they're really over. He reluctantly obliges, and neither of them feel anything.
  • Mal and Zoe at the end of the Firefly episode "War Stories," when Mal proposes that they sleep together due to the argument that he and her husband Wash had during Niska's torture. Zoe's deadpan response: "Take me, sir. Take me hard." The utter lack of chemistry between them is enough to unnerve Jayne, who is normally the most lecherous of the crew. It doesn't get too far due to Wash intervening and dragging off Zoe to their bunk.
  • In Friends, Joey and Rachel almost have sex, but it turns out Joey is completely unable to unhook Rachel's bra. This qualifies as "not feeling it" for Joey, who once made a girl's bra come off just by looking at it. (And as we find out later, said girl was Monica.)
    • Also, the reason why Monica didn't immediately fall for billionaire Pete. They eventually do after a Test Kiss.
  • A chronic version of the trope could be Pam and Roy in early seasons of The Office.
    • Also implied later on with Jim and Karen.
  • Gossip Girl: Chuck tells Blair that she has no sparks with Lord Marcus, and also says the same about Nate twice. Much later, to test whether she has sparks with Dan, she does a Test Kiss and concludes (though slightly doubtfully) that there's nothing there. He disagrees.
  • Zack and Jessie kiss on Saved by the Bell and have no attraction to each other.
  • In the Bay of Married Pigs episode of Sex and the City, Miranda Hobbes played by a lesbian Cynthia Nixon, is thought to be a lesbian by her boss, kisses a lesbian she's been accidentally paired with to prove to herself she's not a lesbian.
  • Occurs between Eddie and Raven in an episode of That's So Raven.
    • Actually, there were sparks, they just denied it to eachother.
  • In That 70s Show, Jackie and Hyde went on a date in the third season, and kissed, but Jackie felt nothing (this is indicated with a sudden break in the romantic music). Hyde's face and demeanor implied that he did, however -- Jackie's blithe demeanor prevented him from stating so. They eventually got together in the fifth season.
  • In an episode of Reba, Reba is trying to get back into the dating game and goes out with her old college boyfriend. She enjoys the date up until the goodbye kiss, in which she feels nothing. This causes her to remember why she left him for Brock.
  • The following exchange comes from an episode of The Golden Girls involving a man from the senior center persuing Sophia.

 Sophia: "There's no spark."

Dorothy: "He's 90. You're 80. Sparks are dangerous."

Blanche: "Oh I know what you mean Sophia. I would never date a man without that spark."

Dorothy: "Fortunately you carry flints in your bra."

  • In Robin Hood, Robin begins a relationship with Kate for no real reason beyond the fact that she has a crush on him. After he's fatally poisoned, he notably can't bring himself to kiss Kate goodbye, despite her obvious attempt to get a Last Kiss.
  • This is a Running Gag on Ned's Declassified, when Moze gets with the hot foreign exchange student Faymen for a long time, and only feels sparks kissing her best friend Ned.
  • On The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary and Lou Grant always had a undercurrent of sexual attraction running through their relationship, but only at the very end of the series do they actually attempt to kiss one another.. and break into helpless giggles.

Webcomics

Western Animation

  • In American Dragon Jake Long "Homecoming," Spud and Trixie meet this fate as well, despite various hints at shipping throughout the season.
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