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Liu Kang: My heart belongs to another.

The Nostalgia Critic: Your heart belongs to another? Who? Kitana? That chick you've known for less than an hour? How does she own your heart? True, you just met this other woman, but give her a few minutes and you'll have known her just as long.

The romantic version of Deus Ex Machina.

Not every Romance Arc gets the luxury of being played out fully to the last detail. Sometimes the writers just don't care, or they decide that the important part is getting those two characters in a relationship, and the rest will somehow sort itself out. The result is that the two characters go through a leap of characterization all the way to a Relationship Upgrade without any of the usual in-betweens; apparently Cupid forgot to tie the Red String of Fate on the lovers' pinkies at birth, and in a desperate attempt to save face he ended up garroting them with it in a back alley while the audience wasn't paying attention.

This trope typically plays out in one of four ways, each one similar to the types of its Deus Ex Machina Sister Trope.

  1. Roy and Missy, who only recently met, fall in love with little or no explanation why. (Total)
  2. Roy and Missy have known each other for a long time, but they have had no romantic interaction or even little to no direct interaction with each other until now, and fall in love with little or no explanation why. (Cut and Paste)
  3. Roy and Missy do interact very frequently, maybe having romantic chemistry or even Unresolved Sexual Tension, but when they fall in love, it's done in a clumsy or poorly written way that doesn't make their getting together seem believable. (Illogical placement and timing)
  4. Roy and Missy don't have any on-screen romance, but after disappearing while Out of Focus or during a Time Skip, they return as a couple. (The characters have lives beyond what the audience sees, but this is dramatically unsatisfying)

With Types 1 and 2, it's the case that They Do but without a Will They or Won't They? first.

By itself this isn't bad and even has the potential to be very good by opening up new possibilities for the characters or story to go in. Sadly, this usually isn't the case. A far too common byproduct of this development is that the lack of "volume" is compensated for by overstated drama. Having characters fall for each other out of nowhere can make any romance come across as a Token Romance, so the writers start firing every possible drama cannon so as to impress upon the viewers that this is important and they should care. The characters don't merely start dating nor just fall in Love At First Sight; they are thrown into a state of immense amorous passion, starry eyed, Intertwined Fingers, kissing passionately, and promising each other an eternity of happiness simply Because Destiny Says So.

The unfortunate results of this can include; Character Derailment, Derailing Love Interests, extremely narmy moments, one half or both of the pairing being made into a Relationship Sue, a Romantic Plot Tumor taking the focus off the more important aspects of the story, the couple becoming Sickeningly Sweethearts, characters wangsting over the relationship, or another (often better) couple's ship being anchored or sunk.

Cue one part of the audience sighing happily, since those two were obviously made for each other, and it's about time (or at least, things seem that way when viewed through their Shipping Goggles). Cue the other part of the audience scratching their heads in bewilderment and disdain, since this "development" just asked for too much Willing Suspension of Disbelief and feels suspiciously like the writers just pulled it straight out of their asses. Arguments may break out regarding how well-foreshadowed and well-handled the whole thing was.

A Last-Minute Hookup can serve as damage control for this trope. The potential problems are all still there, but at least they're not going to grow out of control throughout the rest of the plot since there's no rest of the plot left. Still, this can make unexpected sequels rather awkward, even assuming that the audience can stomach the original strangulation.

May be caused by The Dulcinea Effect. For when the build-up takes place before the series, see New Old Flame. When this happens to minor characters and is less noticeable, it's a case of Pair the Spares. Can crop up when the writers want to quickly counteract Ho Yay, Incest Subtext, or a Relationship Writing Fumble. Often results in an Audience Reaction version of I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me or What Does She See in Him?.

Compare Ships That Pass in the Night for Fanon couples like this. Compare and contrast Designated Love Interest.

Important Note: While some of the examples are universally agreed upon, this trope can get very subjective due to Ship-to-Ship Combat, Shipping Goggles, or just plain disagreements. Keep a few points in mind when editing;

  1. PLEASE refrain from using this trope to whine and bitch about a pairing that you personally don't like.
  2. If you add an example, be sure to explain why you feel the couple fits this trope. Make sure it fufills both requirements; it plays out in one of the four types listed above and leads to at least one of the Unfortunate Implications listed above.
  3. If you feel a certain pairing is badly handled, that doesn't mean its this trope. If the pairing took a long time to build up and execute, it does not belong here, no matter how badly written the actual romance is. That's more likely a Romantic Plot Tumor.
  4. Most importantly; a couple falling into this trope does NOT automatically mean they are a bad couple, so there's no need to go ballistic and start an Edit War if you see your favorite couple on here. A couple can fall under this trope and still be a very great couple, just like a Deus Ex Machina does not automatically make a plot twist a bad one.

Warning: Potential Spoilers Abound

Examples of Strangled by the Red String include:


Anime

  • Rumiko Takahashi, author of Ranma ½, Inuyasha, and Urusei Yatsura, is especially guilty of introducing characters just to pair up with other characters, then forgetting about them. Usually, they make a token appearance and then are never heard from again, or perhaps two or three times at best. Her justifications have driven away many former fans; she has stated on multiples occasions that she only creates some characters to attempt to deter fans from inventing pairings she didn't intend.
    • Ranma ½... first of all, there's Akari Unryu; apparently, the demand for Ryoga to get a happy ending led to the creation of this girl, who is so perfect for Ryoga, and shows up so few times in her subsequent appearances that she has been derided as a canon Relationship Sue. Mousse got some major attempts at redeeming his character, which can actually come off as rather jarring due to the fact he spent the early series trying to kill Ranma; and once boasted along the lines that he would gladly break any rules and forsake any honor to get Shampoo, though Shampoo never changed her opinion of him- while she did occasionally show him some "soft" moments, she spent most of the series outright abusing him and, on one occasion, was perfectly willing to go and play videogames while abandoning him to what she believed would be certain death at the hands of a life-sapping demon. Ukyo got an (attempted) and very literal Last-Minute Hookup in the form of an effeminate transvestite ninja master, who appeared less than Akari did.
    • Urusei Yatsura is a case where this might actually be the happy ending; initially, Shinobu, the Tsundere with Super Strength, seems to be the Unlucky Childhood Friend, though she legitimately falls out of love with Ataru Moroboshi due to recognizing that he is an apparently irredeemable Loveable Sex Maniac... her next choice of crushes? Handsome Lech and Royal Brat Shuutaro Mendo, who's not only just as bad as Ataru in terms of lustfulness, but is also chasing after Cute Monster Girl Lum. Meanwhile, she's being pursued by the gonkiest character in the series, a hulking, repulsive moron who repeatedly tries to ambush her. Finally, she earns the attention of Inaba, a shy and clumsy, but sweet, innocent and genuinely romantic character, whom she grows quite fond of. And then he only shows up in about one story...
      • Ryuunosuke has a similar case happen to her at the end of the manga. Towards the end of the manga, she gets betrothed by her father to Nagisa, the cross-dressing son of her father's friend. Nagisa however, only appears in two two-part storylines in the manga, and an OVA, and the big manga finale.
      • To others, Takahashi granting Sesshoumaru a decided love interest in Kagura is less an act of character development and more this - likely for the purpose of deterring the fandom from pairing him with his Morality Pet, Rin.
  • In Gundam Seed Destiny, Shinn and Lunamaria who up to then had been Just Friends get together right after he has apparently killed her previous love interest and her little sister. It can be argued that Lunamaria was suffering of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and neither she nor Shinn were thinking straight, but... even their fans dislike how they hooked up. Making this somewhat more prickly is the Word of God statement from director Mitsuo Fukuda that their relationship was the only pure one in the whole series, which fans of the other couples took as a giant middle finger.
  • Sora and Yamato in Digimon Adventure 02. Up until the (in)famous Christmas Episode, Sora and Yamato didn't really have much of a connection...or even spoke much to each other, for that matter. The hook-up just...happened, without a reasonable explanation. In fact, Sora and Taichi had always seemed like the more plausible couple. Ken and Miyako don't fare much better. Yes, she expressed interest in him earlier, but for the rest of the season until the Distant Finale (where the two are married with kids) there wasn't much development between the two. And he never seemed the least bit interested in her, either.
    • Lampshaded by the Japanese voice actors for Sora and Mimi, who in the interview for the DVD of Digimon Adventure, pointed out that they had no idea why she ended up with Yamato, as they expected her to end up with Taichi.
    • Gabumon's own voice actor also stated that she should of ended up with Taichi. Go figure.
  • The manga version of Sorcerer Hunters does this with the Carrot/Tira pairing. While it's made clear how Tira feels about Carrot, Carrot's own feelings are rarely brought into question, and even the few moments where he does seem to notice her as more than a sister figure seem to fall short of convincing anyone this hook-up happened for any other reason other than that they were destined all along.
  • Adette and Gouly from Overman King Gainer are both leaders of their respective squads but do not talk much and never have a romantic moment until the final two episodes. Adette kisses Gouly to awaken him from being Brainwashed and Crazy and the next episode sees her holding him and flirting with him. The only setup is the fact that Adette loves strong men, and Gouly is a badass ninja. Apparently, the Banpresto developers did not like the handling of the Adette/Gouly pairing; in Super Robot Wars K, this ship is unceremoniously sunk when Adette gets back with her previous love interest after the Overdevil's defeat.
  • Any pairings in Dragon Ball and its continuities (especially Bulma/Vegeta, though many feel Gohan/Videl averts it, since the two take a while to develop their feelings). The characters marry and have kids during the series's frequent time skips with little on-screen development. To the author's credit, the reason for the lack of development is because he thought he was terrible at romance.
  • At the very end of Boku no Futatsu no Tsubasa the long series of romantic arcs end with Mako and Hiromi ending up together which had never been hinted at all and Hiromi is the very reason Mako comes back to Earth -- instead of going down the cousin/sister relationship route that had been developing since the start.
  • The relationship between Johnny Burnett and Eida Rosso in Dancougar Nova comes out of nowhere, feels rushed and never serves much of a purpose.
  • Aya and Toya from Ayashi no Ceres. From the first moment they meet it's obvious that they would be the Official Couple (others wish that weren't the case), but the whole thing happens too fast and very awkwardly. Basically, they've had at least five minutes of interaction in different scenarios until Toya takes Aya to his apartment where she suddenly declares that she loves him.
    • SLIGHTLY justified by the fact that he's an evolved life form made out of a divine energy ball and was basically wired to serve and protect his family, hence the instant love for application of this instinct. The fact that his dad was an old hermit didn't help his relationship skills.
  • More or less parodied in Yu Yu Hakusho, where Kuwabara sees Yukina on a video tape once and decides that she is his soul mate and even provides a visual of the Red String of Fate. When he finally meets her and treats her almost like this, she seems more confused than anything and just goes along with it. Toward the end of the series, though, the relationship does seem to be on a more serious note.
    • In the anime, it seems to run in the family, as Kuwabara's sister meets and pretty much instantly falls for Sakyo. Yes, Sakyo, who even in the anime, which tones down what a bastard he is, still doesn't seem to have any kind of heart of gold.
  • Parodied in a way in To Aru Majutsu no Index with Kuroko insisting that she and Misaka were "brought together by the red string of fate"; immediately after, Misaka usually completely destroys that statement by pointing out how many of the examples Kuroko tries to use were the result of Kuroko doing something shady or perverted.
  • Sorta alluded to in Zettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian, where Himeko feels that Chikane's utterly intense devotion and love for her is too rushed.
  • Takanashi and Inami of Working is basically a type 3. On a series that works on Status Quo Is God, Takanashi goes from not liking being with Inami but having his nice moments with her, to blindly loving her more than anyone else in the world with zero explanation, despite Inami being the exact opposite of his tastes and, well, punching him on the face when he gets close. And no, him liking her doesn't make her stop punching him.
  • One can't help but feel this way about Tails and Cosmo's relationship in season three of Sonic X. There's really no reason why Tails fell for Cosmo so suddenly, or why Cosmo was paired up with Tails instead of any of the other (and older) males on the Blue Typhoon. And this pairing was strangled together even in-universe. In one particularly unfunny episode, the Chaotix try several methods to pair the two together. They do this because...um......well, uh......BECAUSE!
  • Jil and Kaaya from Tower of Druaga. This pairing was poorly developed and poorly written enough (especially in comparison to the more natural chemistry that Jil and Fatina had) that even most Kaaya fans were Jil/Fatina supporters. But alas, the protagonist ends up with the female lead.


Comic Books

  • Some X-Men fans think this way about Scott dating Emma Frost. Joe Quesada decided no married character could ever be interesting, and so forced Grant Morrison to drop a bridge on Jean Grey. What's really bad is the excuse given for why they're dating so soon after that is "not" a rebound relationship (they did not even have a relationship or even an affair before, just Emma taking advantage of him when he was vulnerable). As proof it was contrived, there is this Bad Future that Jean needed to avert. Going back in time, like every other such future, somehow wasn't an option. Instead the only options were: 1. Scott and Emma didn't get together, the X-Men would fall apart and things go all to holy hell. 2. Jean brainwashes her husband into forgetting his feelings for Jean and giving in to his attraction to Emma.
  • Most X-Men fans regard the recent Black Panther/Storm nuptials as something akin to this. Many of those who were interested in the idea were annoyed at Reginald Hudlin's hamfisted railroading of the relationship from casual acquaintance to Wedding Of Perfect Couple as soon as possible.
  • Subverted in the Infinite Crisis storyline "One Year Later". It had Diana suddenly involved in a relationship with Nemesis (Tom Tresser), a new co-worker and long-time minor DC character. Many fans felt this new hookup was rushed at best, especially since Tom was considerably more boorish than in previous appearances. Eventually, in Wonder Woman #32, It's revealed that Diana never had romantic feelings towards Tom at all; she was just exploiting his feelings towards her to get him to father her daughters and replenish the Amazon population.
  • Tim Drake (3rd Robin) and Cassie Sandsmark (Wondergirl) from Teen Titans. Given the fact that they had a very platonic interaction before the hookup, that Wondergirl was the girlfriend of Robin's dead best friend Superboy, and the reason they kissed in the first place was due to mutual mourning of said Superboy... Yeah, it was definitely a trainwreck. Fans of both Wondergirl and Robin sighed a collective breath of relief when the pairing ended.
    • It seems like DC is planning to push for another Superboy/Wondergirl/Red Robin triangle in the new reboot though...
  • Antoine and Bunnie Rabbot in Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic were thrown together in one story with almost no build-up beyond the same issue they got together revealing that Antoine had once saved Bunnie's life. Thankfully, the relationship was well handled after that point, and it was easier to accept than most examples because neither of them had any romantic chemistry with other characters.
    • Worse off is the Echidna race - according to Word of God, echidnas have what is called "the Soultouch" - a Sixth Sense that also acts as a literal Red String for them and that once they've found their soul mate, they pretty much stay together, although there are some exceptions. This is why Knuckles and Julie-Su hooked up only after 24 issues and why he hasn't been broken up with her.
  • Colossus' instant infatuation with Zsaji in Secret Wars counts -- despite his long-established relationship with Kitty Pryde, he falls head over heels for the alien after she heals his injuries. Possibly justified by Be Careful What You Wish For, as some theorize that Zsaji was the Battleworld granting Colossus' wish for "the perfect girlfriend".
    • It was also implied that Zsaji's healing powers also created some degree of emotional bond between her and the recipient.
  • 9 Chickweed Lane: Gran/Edna's flashback arc ends with a subversion: She chooses to stay with Bill (whom she hadn't seen in over a decade and only days earlier thought was dead), rather than Peter Kiesl, whom she was days away from marrying at that point. The subversion is that this is portrayed as a massive mistake by all parties. Edna for choosing to honor a promise made a decade ago rather than stay with her true love, Peter for letting said love go without a fight (then spending half a decade pining for her), and Bill for accepting her choice - even after they find out she's pregnant with Peter's child - rather than send her back to the man she truly loved.
  • Following the much-loathed Spider-Man comic One More Day, (an event which nullified Peter Parker's 15 year marriage to Mary-Jane) editor in chief of Marvel Joe Quesada's first order of business was to establish a new Love Interest for Peter, who just happened to be named after Quesada's own daughter. Despite how much the readers hated "Carlie," Quesada was so hellbent on setting her up to be Spidey's true love that even Mary-Jane herself was supporting her on Quesada's behalf.
  • For another X-Men example, Bobby Drake/Iceman and Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat seem to be falling into this trope. As of the seventh issue of the Wolverine and the X-Men comic, Bobby and Kitty have shared two kisses, despite the fact that they've spent years as distant acquaintances at best.

Film

  • Star Wars: In the prequel trilogy the audience already knows from the original trilogy that Anakin and Padme are supposed to end up together to have Luke and Leia. Apparently George Lucas thought this was enough and that their relationship didn't actually need to be convincing. Without the original trilogy, they fall headfirst into this trope. In The Phantom Menace, the two do interact on Tattoine, but the only sign dropped that Anakin has any attraction to her is the scene where he asks if she's an angel, and given that he's nine years old, it comes off as a Precocious Crush. After leaving Tattoine, the only interaction the two are shown having is a brief scene on Coruscant where they exchange a few lines of dialogue, and he doesn't even know it's her. Then, immediately upon his introduction in Attack of the Clones, despite having not seen or talked to Padme for the past ten years, he's showing near stalker-esque levels of attraction to her, saying how he's dreamed about her every night for the past ten years and how "just being around her again is intoxicating". Their romance dominating the movie and distracting from the more important war and political aspects, as well as Anakin's excessive wangsting definitely don't help.
  • Enchanted paired up the Official Couple awkwardly enough, but the inevitable Pair the Spares that followed was completely out of the blue. Not to mention the Broken Aesop: It seems that true love does come as fast as fairy tales suggest it does, after all -- if you live in a Disney movie. (Notice that the live action Giselle and Robert appears to spend weeks or even months together building their relationship and her career, while animated Nancy and Edward are getting married before her cell phone has completely run out of charge).
  • In the Wing Commander series of games, the relationship between Blair and Angel is built up slowly and believably. In the film... it wasn't.
  • The 2003 Australian film Japanese Story was a rather Egregious example of this. Sandy goes from hating Hiromitsu to sleeping with him in the next scene with absolutely no explanation whatsoever. Soon after, he dies because of a diving accident and the rest of the movie is about Sandy being in deep mourning over a one-night stand.
  • In The Whole Nine Yards, protagonist Oz meets Cynthia for about five minutes, she later comes to his hotel room, and after spending the evening together sharing stories, Coitus Ensues. The next day Oz flies home, several days later Cynthia arrives, and later that night he's proclaiming he loves her, to her ex-husband no less, played by Bruce Willis. The relationship between Willis' character and Jill is a bit better--those several days between Oz flying home and Cynthia arriving, the two of them also swap stories and he trains her, and she's a fan of his who idolizes him and has followed his work for years. By the end of the film it's just attraction they share, though years later in the sequel they're married.
  • Parodied viciously in the ending of The Pirate Movie, when Mabel arbitrarily grabs Pirates and Daughters and throws them together, with even the last two male pirates getting stuck together with suitably shocked expressions.
  • In the first Terminator, Reese claims to have been in love with Sarah ever since seeing her picture. Sarah is suspicious of him at first, but comes to trust him. Then, thanks to the fast pacing of the movie, they suddenly have sex, followed by them being too busy fighting the Terminator to develop their relationship for the rest of the movie. At the end, Sarah says in a recording she's making for her son that she and Reese "loved a lifetime's worth". Additionally in the second movie John comments that Sarah often has Sand in My Eyes, and he says it's in regards to Kyle. There's also a deleted scene in which Sarah sees a vision of Reese and tells him how much she loves and misses him. Justified, however, as they are being chased by a killer robot built in the shape of Arnold FUCKING Schwarzenegger. Traumatic incidents have a way of throwing the two together quickly regardless of how compatible they are. It's like the relationships built in war; they aren't built upon compatibility, but upon the traumatic experience you're sharing, as well as reminding you of your mortality.
  • The Matrix films do this with Neo and Trinity. They know each other for a few days and barely interact. When they do interact, they talk about kung-fu and machines. Then at the very end of the first movie, she spontaneously declares her love for Neo despite no build-up, other than a Type 3 Deus Ex Machina, earlier in the movie about the Oracle's prediction. Oh, and it's the power of Trinity's love that brings Neo back from the dead. The sequels do nothing to portray them as believable lovers either, due to the monotone nature of their actors. A completely unnecessary portion of the second film focuses on their relationship, and includes them intensely making out as soon as the elevator doors close, Neo telling her "I missed you" after a whole few hours apart, and the completely random sex scene.
  • V for Vendetta: despite the fact that the original graphic novel had V as asexual or possibly homosexual, the film has him spontaneously declare his love for Evey in the last act. Even if one were to take the movie on its own merit, there would be no real reason why V would be in love with her. What's worse is that Evey had a very interesting love subplot in the graphic novel but it was taken away in the movie, making her would-be-lover into a homosexual. The resulting platonic relationship between the two took away a lot of character development from Evey.
  • In-Universe example. This is pretty much the point of the movie Timer. Once you meet your soulmate via Timer, you know you're going to end up with them eventually. Even if you love someone else right now, or are fourteen years old.
  • Bram Stokers Dracula (1992) has this between the Big Bad Dracula and the female lead Mina. Despite the fact that they don't know each other at all and in spite of the fact that Mina was engaged with the main character Jonathan, Mina continued to pine over Dracula, continued to calling Dracula "My Prince" even after she got married and seemed to try to foil the heroes' plan to destroy him at times. All this is because Mina happened to look like Dracula's old love who committed suicide. Or is it that Mina was a reincarnation of said love?. Which wouldn't make sense since the reason that Dracula became the Dracula is because he renounced God at the thought that his beloved will go to hell for committing suicide. But then the ending showed that Dracula and his old love went to heaven. ARRRGHHH!!!!
  • The Lord of the Rings The Return Of The King (the theater release, anyway) has this between Faramir and Eowyn. It's elaborated on in the book, but in the unextended movie version it's all rather sudden...
    • Somewhat justifiable in that their marriage can be construed as an alliance of intense political importance, i.e. not primarily a love match, depending on how close you think Aragorn and Eomer are. Eowyn's uncle was clearly thinking in marry-her-off directions that would mend some fences between the two countries; Faramir is just being a good steward and stepping up to take one for the team since Aragorn is unavailable. Also, Eowyn seems to ping on Faramir's Mommy Issues (see: the cloak), but that's beside the point.
  • Zardoz has Zed hooking up with Consuella, instead of May, in the end, even having a son with her, despite the fact that she literally spends the entire movie demanding that Zed gets eliminated.
  • Speed: Jack (Keanu Reeves) and Annie (Sandra Bullock). After knowing each other for all of a few hours, they're making out and about to have sex in a wrecked subway car in the middle of a street with a crowd of people watching. Justified and Truth in Television; people bond over traumatic experiences quickly. They both Lampshade Hanging this.

 Jack: I have to warn you, I've heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.

Annie: OK. We'll have to base it on sex then.

    • In the sequel, they're broken up.
  • Back to The Future Part III discusses this in regards to Doc and Clara's relationship. After going back to 1885, Marty shows Doc a picture of his future tombstone, which contains a mention of "his beloved Clara", though Doc doesn't know who she is, even though he's supposed to be killed in three days. After finding out who Clara is and that he's supposed to be meeting her Doc and Marty discuss it. Marty believes it's possible, but Doc, being a man of science, refuses.

 Marty: Well, Doc, now we know who Clara is.

Doc: Marty. It's impossible. The idea that I could fall in Love At First Sight? It's romantic nonsense. There's no scientific rationale to that.

Marty: (Laughing) C'mon, Doc, it's not science. You meet the right girl, it just hits ya; it's like lightning.

  • In I Am Number Four, it's explained that the alien race works like this, with your first love being for life. The main character falls in love with his Shallow Love Interest within two days and apparently permanently. (Major Fridge Logic there: has he never known a girl for two days before? And what if she doesn't like you if the whole race works like this? Maybe the bad guys had an easy time annihilating that population because it was never higher than two digits!) There's a long scene of overly-flowery declarations of love delivered in a manner that would make Padme and Anakin cringe.
  • Slumdog Millionaire: Jamal is in love with Latika and literally risks his life to find her because... they were friends as kids? Granted, they went through some very rough stuff together, but it's entirely possible for two kids to go through a bad time and not fall in love. The presence of the trope is only confirmed by the movie's explanation for their ending up together: "It is written". They're together because they HAVE TO BE, OK?
  • Closer kinda does this a lot, because it was mainly concerned with the drama of meetings and breakups rather than the bits in between. The viewer is informed that years have passed, but you don't really know what happened. It gets jarring.
  • In Thor, this seems to be a widely held opinion on the romance between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), which really only serves to give Thor a reason to want to get back to Earth. Some have even labeled it a Romantic Plot Tumor, which is kind of ironic considering that the same thing was said about Portman's character in the Star Wars prequels.
  • Indochine: Camille falls in love with a French Navy officer right after he shot a runaway prisoner right in front of her. No tension or buildup whatsoever.
  • The Breakfast Club: The end of the movie hookups between Andy and Allison, Bender and Claire. While the characters have clear moments of bonding and all of them growing closer to each other is the whole point of the movie, it's made a little tough to believe due to how much of the film they all spend abusing each other, and no, abuse in this case does not mean Unresolved Sexual Tension; it means abuse.
    • Being fair, the predominantly abusive character is Bender to Claire, who does everything from shoving his head between her legs to verbally abusing her. Andy clearly is interested in Allison from the second they get dispatched to go get some drinks, and whilst she's primarily, naturally on the defensive toward him (and anyone), they do connect more than Claire and Bender do, whose kiss seems genuinely out of left field at the film's end.
  • Underworld (2003): There is never any indication that Selene feels any real emotion toward Michael; they don't actually have any sort of conversation with each other about anything apart from vampires and werewolves, and they have known each other for a total of about two days. Word of God says this was the way it was supposed to be; special Features on the DVD reveal that the two characters were not supposed to actually be "in love," but rather attracted to each other based on lust, confused feelings, and being forced together.


Literature

  • The Wheel of Time took this trope and beat it to death. Probably the most notable example of this trope is Rand's relationship with Elayne. The characters themselves feel pretty manipulated, but hey, prophecy can do that to you! Note that Wheel of Time has a canonical expression of "weird stuff happens because the plot says so".
    • Ta'ver'en just means "main character" in the Old Tongue. Egwene/Gawain suffers from similar failings.
  • The vast majority of characters in Xanth, particularly in the latter books, are paired up within days--if not hours--of meeting each other. This manifests in-universe as the land itself being a Genius Loci Shipper on Deck: There's natural love springs that can send any zoological Crack Pairing off to start making some rather interesting hybrids.
  • S.L. Viehl seems to love this. The StarDoc series has Cherijo and Duncan, Dhreen and Ilona, and Squilyp and Garphawayn; Blade Dancer has Jory and Kol.
  • Maximum Ride started out with just the gentlest of implied romance between the two main characters, focusing mainly on an intricate plot revolving around the mad scientists who created them. Then book four hit, the plot disappeared, and suddenly they were all over each other, all the time. The fandom was thrilled for the most part... except for those who realized that these two characters were, for all intents and purposes, brother and sister...
  • Dagny and John from Atlas Shrugged. Ms. Rand spends literally hundreds of pages carefully and painstakingly building up the relationship between Dagny and Hank, only to have her casually toss him aside when she meets John, who is her One True Love.
  • Done quite intentionally in the Night World series. Everyone has a soulmate, and you are meant for each other, no debate. The first book actually gives us two characters who have been friends for a while and been mutually building a relationship, but later books give us characters who Deconstructed Trope and Reconstruction the idea of soulmates: Ash and Mary-Lynette, for example, act completely out of character around each other... because the feelings are entirely new and spontaneous towards a stranger. They get over it, mostly. And Ash becomes The Atoner so he can deserve her.
  • Zayn and what's-his-name's relationship in Katharine Kerr's Snare. The other, presumably main, relationship Zayn had got pages and pages of mutual attraction and affection before they hooked up, spread over several weeks. This one had a bare paragraph explaining (not showing, explaining) that they were now friends. Next thing you know someone suggests that they're in love. Zayn is initially horrified, and is rather surprised at the whole concept of homosexuality. A few days later, yep, confirmed, they're in love.
  • Warrior Cats has Half-Moon or Stoneteller and Jayfeather/Jay's Wing. They've only met twice, once in Long Shadows and again in Sign of the Moon, and bam, Jayfeather has feelings for her. It's no help that he acts a little too out of character; not being as confused as would be expected; because of his usually grumpy,jerkass personality, never thinking about how he's a medicine cat and he can't love, and he does seem to be a bit of a hypocrite, because he's angry at his mother Leafpool, for falling in love as a medicine cat. Plus, their relationship had that feeling of being too rushed to get to the plot, and all we really know about Half-Moon is that she digs Jayfeather. Watch the Broken Base fandom get up in arms over whether they're a super cute pairing and brought tears to their eyes, or whether their love is more shallow than a puddle and Half-Moon is a Shallow Love Interest, and cue the Jayfeather/Cinderheart, Jayfeather/Willowshine, Jayfeather/Briarlight, Jayfeather/Stick, Jayfeather/Anyone but Half-Moon shippers bashing Half-Moon six ways to Sunday.
  • Twilight has this both In-Universe with the concept of "imprinting", which means this can be done to werewolves as soon as the plot demands (arguably, all the examples in book 3 were only to prepare the reader for the last one) and just in general with Bella and Edward's relationship. Edward acts surly and moody toward Bella for the first half of the book, and yet Bella decides that she's "unconditionally and irrevocably in love with [Edward]" right after she realizes that he's a vampire who thirsts after her blood, and is completely devoted to him from that point on, even in the face of Edward's own warnings about how he could kill her. Just how devoted is she? She's willing to give up her human life without any second thoughts to be with him forever after what can't be any more than a month of knowing him, and instantly leaps back into his arms after he renders her practically comatose by leaving her without explanation. And her interactions with Edward after the vampire "reveal" consist almost entirely of them repeatedly professing their love to one another and her even more repeatedly being "dazzled" by Edward's glorious beauty.
    • Likewise, in the The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner, with Bree and Diego and, later, Freddie. Bree and Diego interact for one night, she spends most of it afraid that he's going to kill her, and by morning they seemingly are madly in love with each other. The same goes for Freddie. Since it's from Bree's point of view and the "relationships" between her and the guys are so muted, it's possible that we're supposed to see it as her mistaking simple friendship for love (which would fit with her background of being abused and neglected), except that nothing ever indicates this and she acts almost exactly the same way Bella does, including being perfectly alright to die when she finds out he's gone, because life without him isn't worth living.
  • Deconstructed in Barbara Hambly's Sun Wolf And Starhawk novel The Ladies of Mandrigyn. Fawn, after taking off with Starhawk to try to find Sun Wolf, cuts out to marry Orris Farstep. She makes it clear that it's still Sun Wolf, not Orris, she loves; it's just that she knows that it wouldn't work out with Sun Wolf, while it could with Orris.
  • In the Harry Potter series:
    • Did Harry and Ginny suffer the effects of this trope in Harry Potter? We had better not try to sort out that question here for fear of backdraft. Maybe they did, and maybe they didn't, and there's no need to have an Edit War about it. It is worth mentioning that this is by far the most common complaint against that pairing among its Hatedom, and even some of the pairing's Fandom will reluctantly admit there's a bit of truth to it. Comparing the way the pairing was developed to the Romance Arc layout suggests that this is probably due to a virtually nonexistent Will They or Won't They? phase.
      • The films pushed this even further, mainly due to their being a Compressed Adaptation and thus leaving out a great deal of information. The two barely interact, sharing the screen for about seven minutes combined in the last three movies. Whenever they are on screen together, they barely talk, instead just sharing a kiss and an awkward look before Harry rushes off to do something and Ginny sits down to be irrelevant to the plot.
    • Lupin and Tonks. The two were literally Ships That Pass in the Night. In Half Blood Prince, Harry sees Tonks upset several times and thinks it's over Sirius dying, and that maybe she was even in love with him. Then the climax reveals that Tonks is deeply in love with and wants to marry Lupin. They proceed to do so despite having no interaction on camera before this. As the books are primarily written from Harry's perspective, it's somewhat understandable that plenty of major events can happen off-camera simply because Harry can't be present for every single storyline. At the same time, the reader can still feel left out as the key parts of the Romance Arc never actually happen in front of them either. This is also not related to the actual Die for Our Ship Hatedom that simply hates the pairing for interfering with Sirius/Remus shipping.
  • At the end of Thief of Time, Susan Sto Helit and Lobsang Ludd begin to talk as though they have mutual feelings for each other, and (it's implied) begin a romantic relationship. However, there has been nothing vaguely romantic in their interactions up to that point -- which is odd, because there was a blossoming awkward romance between Jeremy and Myria/Unity, and Susan was quite taken with the idea of "someone like her" throughout the book. Obviously Sir Terry had a romance in mind from the start, but didn't put in any kind of hints when the two actually met face to face.
  • Patch and Nora from Hush, Hush, full stop. Nora is warned by people who care about her to stay away from him, because he's clearly not a good person in any way, shape, or form. Patch stalks Nora, intentionally scares her, sexually harasses her, mind rapes her, and possesses her body[1]. On top of that, his original plan was to murder her in cold blood, which he flat out tells her -- and, when she asks if he's going to do it, he admits that it's "tempting". Not in the dubiously-understandable Edward Cullen resisting-physical-temptation way, either. Patch is tempted to murder Nora simply because he feels like it. Nora even says, more than once, that she sees absolutely nothing good about Patch. Wait, why does she fall in love with him again?
  • Ted Dekker does this in all of his recent books, and some of his older ones. Immanuel's Veins was a vampire romance novel, which was depressing when you compare it to some of his original works like the Circle series and Thr 3 e. Obsessed was from the very start a man ferociously in love with some girl he had never met or seen. Even in some of his books that give relationships more time to build up, it's less talking about why his main character loves a woman, and more about how Intense his love is.
  • Beka and Farmer from The Provost's Dog are a Type 3, and possibly a Type 2 as well, depending on one's interpretation. About 400 pages of no romantic hints... and then suddenly she notices what broad shoulders he has. And then they're declaring their love for each other and promising marriage while they're in a jail cell, after being tortured, and at a time when Beka still doesn't know for sure who the group traitor is.

-And this, after all the build-up and none too subtle hints about the Rogue Rosto from the first book

  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, there's an In-Universe mechanism for this with lifebonds; magical (or else divinely-caused) compulsions that cause the lifebonded individuals to fall in love and also to share a mental link. These happen where they need to happen, mostly Because Destiny Says So; however, in this universe, destiny is being shepherded by active deities and powerful mages. Lifebonds, thus, either occur to individuals who are mentally fragile and need something to keep them sane, or to people who need to marry because the gods have plans for them.


Live Action TV

  • Many Bones fans were let down by Booth and Brennan's anticlimactic They Do, in the form of their single night of cuddling that magically became a serious relationship in the season gap, especially since pregnancy was the cause. Emily Deschanel's real-life pregnancy had to be dealt with somehow, and fans wanted to see them together, but the time lapse felt like a cop-out.
  • In the 2000s Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, Apollo was in a forced and loveless marriage with Dualla. TWoP even coined a term for it: "The Love That All of a Sudden". In fact, there were scenes in several previous episodes that showed them growing closer to each other, all of which ended up being cut. Eventually the writers just said "screw it" and threw them together without any buildup.
    • It also didn't help that they hooked up in the very next episode after Dualla's boyfriend Billy was tragically killed, with the writing not being as clear as it could have been that at least a couple months had passed, making it look like they practically started making out over Billy's corpse.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Invasion of Time": companion Leela decides to stay on Gallifrey and marry the guard Andred. There's been nothing romantic between them. While the actors tried to suggest attraction in the story with their acting, the script didn't give them much to work with. It was basically, Doctor: "Come on, Leela, let's go." Leela: "No, I'm going to stay here and marry Andred." Doctor: "Okay, bye." This happened because the actress told the producer she was leaving at the end of the season, and he kept trying to change her mind. The Big Finish audio drama series Gallifrey ends up subverting this relationship in a fairly satisfying way.
    • The posthumous pairing of Peri with King Yrcanos at the end of 'Trial of a Time Lord'. Apparently, Colin Baker was distressed by Peri's death at the end of the 'Mindwarp' portion of the Trial story arc and mentioned this to producer John Nathan-Turner. JNT, in his usual subtle way, fixed the problem by giving the Inquisitor a quick line stating that Peri is living happily with Yrcanos as a warrior queen, despite the fact that nothing in the story, apart from the brief clip of his putting his hand on her shoulder that is shown after that line, supports that romance, and doing a Retcon of it makes a hash of the entire end of the story.
    • Martha Jones and Mickey Smith, two characters who before "Journey's End" had never even met, and had only been onscreen together in the scene where everybody from the new series ever flies the TARDIS, are shown in their "happy ending" vignette in The End of Time as a married couple, freelancers and fighting a Sontaran. On the other hand, the two had clearly departed the Doctor's company together, so it's not entirely out of the blue for them to have stuck together and then shipped off-screen.
  • In Torchwood, Ianto accused Captain Jack of being a Complete Monster after the Captain killed Ianto's Cyberman-girlfriend in defense (long story). However, Ianto goes back to shagging Jack by a few episodes with no significant on-screen development.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation In S7 Ep 11, "Paralells" Worf is sent multiverse-hopping, and he briefly winds up in a world where he and Troi are very Happily Married. While he had never considered this before he decided to give it a try when he got back. This was the starting point of the writers developing a bizarre obsession with hooking them up despite the two never having any kind of romantic chemistry before despite Troi serving as a mother figure to Worf's son, Alexander, as well as Troi having a long standing Will They or Won't They? with Riker. In what's probably a an ~Author's Saving Throw~, none of the TNG films have any mention of the relationship, despite the Series' finale including a possible future where Worf and Riker are at odds over Troi even after her death.
    • Johnathan Frakes (Riker) and Marina Sirtis (Troi) apparently disliked the idea as well, and were quite happy to have their characters get married in their last film. Michael Dorn (Worf), on the other hand, refused to forget it, and, when given a line about how Riker and Troi were always made for each other, subtexted it like mad.
  • Foreman and Thirteen on House, who went from "awkward conversations in the locker room" to "awkward kiss in a conference room" to "willing to commit career suicide for this person" in the span of about two weeks. Which, in fairness, is lampshaded by Thirteen herself at one point.
  • Kevin and Molly's affair from Coronation Street really seemed like just an excuse to have an affair storyline because they hadn't had one in a while. The attraction suddenly developed when the two of them started going running and after about three weeks they were ready to hop in the sack. Bear in mind Kevin was Happily Married with two kids and Molly was also Happily Married and a key part of her character was how much she valued trust in a relationship. Also there was about a 15 year age gap between them and it apparently developed into true love so much that when Kevin called off the affair because his wife had Cancer Molly couldn't understand why...
  • Some fans (Chloe fans in particular) feel that the Clark/Lois romance in Smallville suffered from this for rather peculiar reasons. They felt that they two had been written Like Brother and Sister up until Season 8, and -- seemingly because of her future status -- the writers didn't seem to care about actually writing their relationship changing. Thus it was somewhat startling to see Lois give a declaration of love five episodes into Season 8, which meant she fell hard and fast. To others, the romantic potential had been there since Lois's debut in Season 4 -- from their first meeting, and Lois dunking Clark during the school fair -- and the UST between them had been simmering for six seasons, from high school to college and all the way to the Daily Planet, meaning there had been a buildup . . . plus them not even saying "I love you" to each other (for real, unlike the first time with them being held at electrocution-point) until the final season, and after dating for a year and a half before hand.
    • Oliver/Chloe is just as bad, (if not worse): coming out of nowhere and unnervingly soon after Chloe's love interest Jimmy Olsen (who wasn't THE Jimmy Olsen) died (and died because of a situation that Chloe caused.) Just a few episodes before they first hooked-up Oliver was still pining over Lois and was wanting/trying to hook back up with her; and that Oliver is a playboy who showed Chloe the same affection he shows any girl doesn't help matters either. (Especially with them saying they loved each other only a year - at most - after Jimmy's death.)
  • Hannah Montana: Lilly and Oliver have been friends since kindergarten. They've seen the best and worst of each other, the best and worst of times, and have been there for each other through all of it. Let's not forget that they have numerous common interests. Do the writers use any of these perfectly legitimate story elements as a basis for their Relationship Upgrade? Please, this is the Disney Channel! Instead, we get some contrived story about how her head fit into his neck and how she smelled like apples. And they go from being good friends to all PDA all the time. Even Miley gets sick of the Romantic Plot Tumor.
    • Especially odd since the writers seemed to be slowly setting Oliver up with Miley in prior episodes, including one in the same season.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Ben and Amy. They had an ok relationship for the first few episodes (if you ignore the facts that a. Ben only originally asked her out because he was hoping to get some sexual experience before going after the real object of his affections, Grace and b. Amy wasn't upfront either, since she didn't tell him she was pregnant). For the most part, they were believable as two earnest, awkward teens in their first relationship. Then Ben proposed to Amy after they'd been dating a few weeks, upon discovering she was pregnant with Ricky's baby. Now the audience was supposed to accept that Amy and Ben had a deep and true love to last their whole lives and they and the other characters wouldn't shut up about how right they were for each other. It's not too surprising that the majority of the fan base quickly became very irritated with the couple.
  • Popular Home and Away pairing Aden and Belle was considered random by a number of fans. Having never interacted prior to the 2008 season, they started working together and established a relationship based purely on insults, which half the audience interpreted as "secretly wanting to rip each other's clothes off" and the other half interpreted as "genuinely not liking each other" until one episode when she insults him, he looks like he's going to cry and her best friend declares that he likes her. A few weeks later, when the closest they've come to a meaningful conversation is her sitting silent while he chats to his surrogate father, he drunkenly climbs through her bedroom window and gets into bed with her, which apparently means they're now a couple.
  • Veronica and Piz on Veronica Mars, which was a particularly Egregious offense because the cancellation of the show left them together after.
  • Degrassi abuses this to an infuriating amount. Probably the worst example is in the movie Degrassi Takes Manhattan. Fan-favorite couple, Jane and Spinner, end up splitting up. And who does Spinner turn to? Not any of his many exes (all of whom he's turned to comfort before) or even some random one-shot hook up character. The morning after drunken festivities with his pals, he awakes to find himself married to Emma. Yes, that Emma; the one who spoke to him a grand total of one time before the movie, and that one time was her telling him off at the very, very beginning of the show when Spinner bullied Innocent!Manny. Instead of getting the marriage annulled, they say 'what the hell?' and see if the romance roulette will actually work. To say the least, it was a Base Breaker.
  • Zoey 101 Logan and Quinn are an example that proves this trope does not make a couple bad. The two have little interaction for the first 3 and a half seasons, and the interaction they do have isn't friendly, and that does not mean Belligerent Sexual Tension. It just means unfriendly. Then midway through the final season, her boyfriend, Mark, leaves her for another girl. While she's sulking, Logan happens to be riding by and sees her looking sad and comes to talk to her. While she initially resists his attempts to cheer her up and even asks why he's doing so, he showers her with compliments and then puts her glasses back on her and says, "There's Quinn." before they share their First Kiss. Then in the episodes after this they are all over each other; making out very frequently, being intimate, slow dancing. However, these two are actually very good together, give off a great Opposites Attract vibe, and have a lot of chemistry to the point where a viewer might wonder why the writers didn't start building them up earlier, especially since Quinn's former "boyfriend", Mark, is a total Designated Love Interest. He's an emotionless Flat Character, only appears in a handful of episodes, and in those few episodes, the two have no chemistry when together.
    • This one is also helped by the fact that even though the relationship has no buildup, Quinn and Logan both lampshade how weird it is that they are together. They even admit to each other that they are embarrassed to be dating and hide it from the other characters and when they tell Michael about their relationship, he thinks they're joking.
    • Zoey and James. In the episode that introduces him everyone instantly loves him, except Micheal and Logan, who still miss Chase. So after everyone thought they were dating because they interacted, the the episode ends with them getting together despite having no chemistry. Sort of Deconstructed as she later realizes she doesn't actually love him. It was still terribly executed and lead to the series' Seasonal Rot.
  • Lost has Sayid with Shannon, which made him forget the love of his life (which almost borders this trope, since they were childhood friends, but reconnected during the month she was a prisoner of the army he was serving). Doesn't last very much.
    • Actually, in the series finale, he hooks up with Shannon again in the afterlife, establishing her instead of Nadia as the love of his life and his soulmate. What.
    • This could also be applied to Sawyer and Juliet, since they hooked up in season five while they barely even spoke to each other for the previous two seasons. However, it works: the show skips ahead in time and use their relationship as a surprisingly effective reveal.
  • Heroes had Matt Parkman and Daphne in Volume 3, because Matt saw a future vision of himself married to her, and started going after her Because Destiny Says So. She even asked what they had in common.
  • Much from Robin Hood falls instantly in love with Kate, because...well, the writers never got that far. She treats him like crap, but he never stops mooning over her and eventually goes so far as to (temporarily) abandon the outlaws when he realizes that she has a crush on Robin.
  • Arthur/Guinevere on Merlin, one that has led to something of a Broken Base among the fandom. Basically, neither Arthur nor Guinevere interacted very much in season one, although the scenes that they did share had a strong emotional punch to them (Arthur comforts Gwen after her father's death, Gwen tends Arthur on his sick-bed, etc), but come the second episode of season two, Arthur stays at Gwen's house for a short period of time and impulsively kisses her when the time comes to leave. From this point, there are several rather overwrought declarations ("I care about her more than anyone!" and "Anyone who spends five minutes with you can see how you feel about each other!") that don't feel particularly earned, as well as violins, slow-motion, and dramatic back-lighting whenever they're together (and at least one True Love's Kiss). The level of chemistry between the actors is entirely a matter of opinion, but because there are at least two opposing ships on the show, it's difficult to separate what could fairly be described as Strangled by the Red String from the Die for Our Ship attitudes of some fans who are just looking for an excuse to dismiss the romance. In any case, things calmed down a bit in the third season when Arthur/Gwen were given more of a chance to flirt and have actual conversations, and no one could doubt the talent of the actors involved, arguably making this a case of Strangled by the Red String that is nevertheless pulled off by the sheer effort of the actors.
    • It also happened to some extent with Merlin/Freya. A Rescue Romance that begins with Merlin saving Freya from a Bounty Hunter suddenly has the young warlock willing to give up his entire life in Camelot to run away with a girl he’s had exactly three short conversations with. The only reason he doesn’t go through with it is because Freya didn’t survive the episode. Lancelot and Guinevere could easily fall under this trope as well.
      • Worth noting however, is that this type of “strangulation” is a staple part of pretty much ALL the relationships in Merlin, even the ones that aren’t strictly romantic. No sooner than the fifth episode Gaius declares to Merlin that: “I would give up my life for you without a thought,” and Lancelot and Gwaine are willing to put their lives on the line for Merlin within days of meeting him, as is Morgana for Mordred who passes off her immediate devotion to the boy as “nothing I’ve ever felt before.” Even Arthur/Merlin involves Merlin happily chugging back a goblet full of poison for Arthur’s sake in the fourth episode, simply because a talking dragon told him it was his destiny. Basically, if you take away the Romance Arc, this trope is applicable to nearly every single relationship on Merlin that doesn’t predate the start of the show, which puts the likes of Arthur/Gwen and Merlin/Freya into perspective. Everyone bonds quickly on this show, romantically or otherwise.
  • Glee's second season boiled down to this and love triangles. Some notable examples include:
    • Tina and Mike Chang, who never interacted in S1 (Mike only spoke one line), and were basically put together for Asian jokes. Since then they have at least gotten some relationship development, although much of it was offscreen.
    • Mercedes and Sam. To be fair though, that was partially caused by Sam's actor temporarily leeaving the series due to contract disputes right after Mercedes and Sam got together. When he returned, the writers treated their relationship like some tragic love story. Because it had next to no development, it was hard for most viewers to buy into that and get invested in the relationship.
    • Brittany and Artie started off this way. Your Mileage May Vary on whether they stayed there.
    • One that carries some Unfortunate Implications: Sam was originally created to be a love interest for Kurt, but was changed to be straight when Ryan Murphy apparently noticed chemistry between him and Quinn so strong that it just couldn't be denied (and which many fans have been quick to point out doesn't seem to come across onscreen). To his credit, he did also create another character as a love interest for Kurt afterwards.
      • Some would even put the way Kurt and Blaine got together into this category. While the show had teased them for a while after Blaine's introduction "Never Been Kissed," after the mid-season break the show seemed to be heading in the exact opposite direction, trying to convince the viewers that the two were Better as Friends by having Blaine fall for other people and turn down Kurt's advances while excelling in a mentor-like role. However, in "Original Song," Kurt's rendition of "Blackbird" causes Blaine to suddenly reverse his feelings and he and Kurt are sucking face just a few minutes later. Of course, your mileage will probably vary on this one.
  • In Ellen, Paige and Spence, who at first hated each other, become passionate lovers after the course of season three.
  • ICarly does this with Sam and Freddie for their brief hook up in season 4. Regardless of whether you are a Seddie or Creddie shipper, and while Sam and Freddie's fighting could be (and definitely was by their shippers) interpreted as Belligerent Sexual Tension, the actual hook up comes off like this. Rather than a convincing Slap Slap Kiss, as most BST couples get, all the audience gets is Freddie using his very strange mood app (which receives no explanation) to read Sam's mood, which reveals it as "in love", which Freddie thinks applies to Brad, and when he confronts Sam about it, she suddenly kisses him. While the next episode (aptly titled iLostMyMind) addresses how odd this is for her, she acts completely out of character in the episodes they're together with the normally tough girl ladette Sam, acting ridiculously lovey dovey with Freddie.
  • That 70s Show played this for laughs with Jackie and Hyde's hookup in Season 5. The two initially don't like each other at all, and it was only through their common friends that they're even in the same vicinity. They become better friends in Season 2 after he shows her how to deal with Laurie stealing Kelso from her. In Season 3, she becomes attracted to him and develops a clingy infatuation with him, which he's annoyed by, but he eventually caves and takes her out on a date. The two share a kiss, but Jackie says it didn't do anything for her and finally realizes Hyde isn't the guy for her. At this point they seem to have effectively been sunk, and it's not brought up again until the Season 5 premier, when the others leave the room, and the two suddenly start making out and continue to do so. In the next episode, a flashback reveals they were watching TV and complaining about how bored they were, when they look at each other for a few seconds and spontaneously started making out. Yet, their relationship comes off as much more believable due because they give off a ton of chemistry together and by the fact that they initially spend a lot of time lampshading how strange it is.
    • Sadly, the show also plays very straight in Season 8, with not one, not two, but three pairings.
      • The first is Hyde and Sam. In the last episodes of the previous season, Jackie and Hyde had encountered issues with their relationship resulting in Hyde taking a trip to Las Vegas to clear his head. In the first episode of Season 8, he returns, and his and Jackie's great relationship is completely tossed out the window when Sam shows up completely out of the blue and reveals that Hyde got drunk and married her. Jackie spends a total of one episode afterward angsting over this before moving on, and while Sam isn't a bad character, she and Hyde have absolutely no chemistry together.
      • The second is caused by the first; Jackie and Fez. While Fez had a crush on Jackie since the start of the show, Jackie had never returned his feelings, not to mention Fez is a total horndog who never was willing to nail Anything That Moves. She had even continuously ruled him out. She did kiss him once and go out on a date with him, but after each of those events she had straight up said it was impossible for anything to happen between them. Then after losing Hyde and getting over him, she makes up a list of qualities she needs in a man, and Fez miraculously turns out to fit it perfectly, and they end up a couple.
      • The third is Donna and Randy. Eric and Kelso are Put on a Bus for the final season, and both are given a Suspiciously Similar Substitute in the form of Randy. While Eric is in Africa for the final season, there's never any major indication that Eric and Donna's relationship is having issues. (The best the writers could come up with his is Eric not talking to her on the phone.) Then, out of the blue again, Donna reveals that off-screen Eric broke up with her. After a Will They or Won't They? tease, she ends up dating Randy. Making this worse is that Donna was clearly attracted to Randy before Eric's break-up. This one gets an Author's Saving Throw twice over, however - most likely once it was known the show wouldn't be coming back for a ninth season. The two ultimately break-up rather quickly. Later, Eric returns in the finale, where he admits he's not sure why they broke up in the first place. It's left up to viewers to decide if Eric and Donna get back together officially, which unsurprisingly, many prefer.
  • True Blood's Eric and Sookie in season 4 are definitely a Type 3. When she and Bill split, it's been set up for the viewer to expect this, but doing it by completely changing Eric's personality due to memory loss? Come on.
    • Later episodes also point out that, for most, drinking a vampire's blood makes you addicted, and if drunk "from the tap" you're also addicted to the vampire. Given that Sookie only starts properly falling for Eric after having his blood (since vampire blood speeds human healing), it's speculated in-universe and out that that's the REAL reason he's on her mind.
      • Sookie and Bill. The two of them never talk about anything except about how much they are in love with one another or what's currently going on in the plot. Interestingly, in the books Sookie flat-out ADMITS that they're love is shallow and that she got into a relationship with him because A.) she couldn't read his thoughts and B.) has never actually been in a relationship with him before. She even breaks up with him far earlier than TV Sookie and barely angsts about it at all. In other words the love is SUPPOSED to be shallow but the people making the TV show didn't know that.
  • Dexter's fourth season's opening episode features a brand-new relationship between Lt. LaGuerta and Sgt. Batista, which apparently developed entirely in the gap between seasons, despite no previous chemistry other than a standard-for-the-precinct friendship. Batista was even involved in an entirely different (and more developed) relationship as of the last episode of the previous season which vanished without a trace sometime in the meanwhile. Overstated drama immediately ensues over everything from policies against office romances necessitating secrecy to overblown arguments over shared bank accounts and Batista fighting in bars to defend LaGuerta's honor. Meanwhile, neither the show's primary nor secondary storyline is even remotely affected by any of this, and the rest of the cast largely ignores it.


Theater

  • Romeo and Juliet is the Trope Codifier and possibly the Trope Maker. While it's considered one of Shakespeare's best plays as well as one of the greatest written works ever, let's face it; the title characters are the textbook definition of Type 1. They fall in Love At First Sight and are immediately making out at the Capulet's party. Okay, not so bad. However, Romeo goes from wangsting over breaking up with Rosaline earlier that afternoon to being engaged to marry Juliet later that night, and Juliet is so in love with him that she's willing to fake her own death to keep from marrying Paris. Lampshaded by Friar Lawrence when he says "Young men's love lies not in their hearts but in their eyes."
  • Measure for Measure is (or could be, depending on how you read it) a particularly bad example of this: Duke Vincentio proposes to Isabella at the end even though they've known each other for about two days and the entire plot revolved around Isabella not wanting to give up her chastity and monastic life. Of course, she never explicitly says yes, so a director can play this any way he wants.
  • Played for laughs in The Pirates of Penzance, with Frederick and Mabel's ridiculously quick romance. Not quite Love At First Sight, but still.
  • In Les Miserables, Marius and Cosette fall in love having only met once in the street. The next time they meet they're declaring undying love for each other (A Heart Full Of Love), much to the despair of poor Eponine who's fancied Marius for ages. This wasn't the case in the original book where, while Marius fell in love with Cosette just as quickly, it takes some time and complications before he can get into a relationship with her.

Video Games

  • One of the endings of Silent Hill 2 shows James Sunderland suddenly deciding that he had strong feelings for Maria and wants to be with her. This comes out of nowhere because, even though Maria flirts with James constantly throughout the game, James always responds to this behavior with confusion and irritation. There's no sign, until then, that he ever reciprocates.
    • It makes more sense when you realise that she is just a version of his wife that Silent Hill created.
  • The hero of Mad Paradox ends up married and raising a family with a completely nondescript girl he's rescued from the Big Bad. She only appears once in the beginning (in the background of a vision) and once at the end (after you've defeated the Big Bad). And they treat this as some sort of grand romantic ending. Meanwhile, the hot green-haired Nakama girl who's accompanied you for most of the game through good and bad, battling evil and putting it on the line for you...just sorta wanders off with a pithy "It was fun, bye-bye". Most unsatisfying ending ever.
  • Done in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, which came from a lineage which has previously handled relationships very well. The relationship between Otacon and Naomi basically came out of nowhere.
    • Somewhat justifiable, as it's later revealed that Naomi was basically throwing herself at him in order to advance her and Ocelot's goal of reviving Big Boss. But then it's implied she did legitimately have feelings for him...post-mortem. Go figure.
  • Wild Arms 2 has a ridiculous example of this. If you pick up optional character Marivel, she suddenly effectively shacks up with Tony when everyone else is having romantic scenes that make sense. Tony is a minor NPC, and they didn't even share a single line of dialogue before suddenly being set up as a couple.
  • In Fahrenheit (2005 video game), Carla is an NYPD police officer pursuing Lucas Kane, who she believes to be a psychotic murderer. Some developments in the case eventually lead her to doubt his guilt, but she remains suitably skeptical and logical. She finally meets Lucas at the grave of his long-time girlfriend Tiffany, who had died two days before. Within about a month, Carla has risked her job and her life to help Lucas, begun to trust him implicitly without her previous intelligent questioning, declared her love for him, and gotten herself knocked up with his zombie child, all entirely offscreen. And this happens on all three endings, including the good one. Not to mention you can actually get back together with Tiffany without averting any of this.
    • Also (potentially) done very egregiously in Heavy Rain from the same developers which mostly takes place over four days or so. Let's see, a serial killer of children has kidnapped your son and forced you to go through several painful trials leaving you injured and exhausted, you have had to cut off the tip of your finger not long ago, you JUST murdered a father of two out of necessity and feel absolutely terrible, and your only child is drowning in rainwater AT THIS VERY MOMENT and has been there for days by now. Meanwhile this woman you met a couple of days ago who patched you up and maybe helped you escape the police once has just returned from performing a forced striptease at gunpoint in a nightclub she found out about from a card received from the home of an insane doctor who almost cut her open with a drill and who she killed with that very same drill. The logical thing to do when time is of the essence because very soon rainfall will drown your no doubt starving and hypothermic child? Make out, have sex and instantly fall in love. And all of these are the "best" and very likely choices.
  • In Shining Force II, at the very end of the game, it's revealed that the Princess can only be awakened from her magical sleep by a kiss from her true love. An NPC then informs the main character that they're talking about him, which is good, because until that moment, there's been no indication that the Princess would have been able to pick him out of a line-up, let alone been in love with him.
  • In the last act of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of Underdark, there is a sleeping angel who awaits his true love. When you later find the Knower of Names, you can pay an extravagant sum to find out who his true love is - if you're female, there's a chance it's you. If you go along with it, the epilogue will talk a bit about your subsequent passionate romance, none of which will ever happen during play.
    • Turns out quite silly if the Sleeping Man's true love is Evil!Aribeth.
    • Another example in the original campaign is Aarin Gend, the spymaster. If you're female, you can talk to him on multiple occasions in act 2, and he'll talk about his troubled and criminal past, how Nasher took him in, and the woman he fell in love with but lost. You get a tacky heirloom amulet after one conversation and it gets upgraded a bit in a later one (nothing you'll have much use for, though). Then your journal outright states that you're Aarin's lover. Sorry, did I miss something?
  • The romance between the male Spirit Eater and Safiya in Neverwinter Nights 2 Mask of the Betrayer is slightly better-done than most examples, but the whole Reincarnation Romance element pushes it into this territory. Very little build-up, minor and completely optional flirtatious remarks, and just like that...instant romance.
  • Grand Theft Auto San Andreas has this as a plot element. Meet the right circumstances and the gal will fall head over heels with you. At least with the first one it's rescuing her from a house fire (that you started). With others it's simply that you have six pack abs or she has a chubby fetish.
  • Though Francis has seen Rochelle for a grand total of three seconds, they want each other (although in a snarky way). Ellis and Zoey could be an example, but Zoey won't always return the sentiment.
  • Radiant Historia has a couple that goes through one via Romance Sidequest.
  • Played with in later Generations of Pokémon. An item players can obtain is the Destiny Knot, "a long, thin, bright-red string". If an opposing Pokémon succeeds in using Attract on the player's Pokémon while they're holding this item, the foe will also become infatuated.
  • Final Fantasy VIII Squall and Rinoa's romance can come off this way based on the player's actions; not taking Rinoa along as a party member and/or missing certain plot events (which provide Character Development for the pair) can make Squall's sudden attachment to her come out of nowhere.
    • A similar example can happen in Final Fantasy X, which clearly intends to ship Tidus/Yuna, but inexplicably includes a relationship system that includes Yuna, Lulu, and Rikku. Thus a number of scenes can take place implying Tidus' attraction with one of the other two girls before the game takes over and pushes him back to Yuna instead. While not nearly as extreme as the Rinoa example, as Yuna and Tidus have plenty of mandatory scenes throughout the story that build them as a couple and Yuna is always in the party when the game needs her to be, it can feel a bit ham-fisted if the player chased one of the other two women and yet Tidus always ends up with Yuna, Lulu always ends up with Wakka, and Rikku always ends up in the sequel single and refusing to talk about her relationship with Gippel.
    • This can occur in Final Fantasy VII as well. The climax of the first act/disc of the game focuses on Cloud's relationship with Aeris/Aerith. Just like with FFX, there's a relationship system which allows Cloud to share shiptease moments with Aeris, Tifa, Yuffie, and Barrett. If the player chooses any of the latter three, what eventually occurs with Aerith also appears out of no where. It's worth noting that Aerith is the easiest to get and in the game you must first alienate her to get any of the others.
  • Similar to the above example, Kidd and Serge in Chrono Cross. Kidd is a unique example in that the player isn't initially forced to take her into the party. It's entirely possible to refuse her at several points and opt not to come to her rescue, but she shows up at all the major plot points anyway. The story justifies it by saying that she just follows you around because you're tough and can clear the way for her, but it mostly means she shows up at exactly the right time to make a dramatic speech and run ahead of you, only to end up imperiled and need to be rescued-- at the player's discretion. If you don't take her in your party from the beginning, the sheer amount of attention the game gives her can make her seem suspiciously similar to a common element of bad fanfiction.
  • Maxim and Selan from Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals, thanks to a Foregone Conclusion in the first game's intro. Selan's only ordered to follow around Maxim by her king, and is even ditched by the man when he and his fellow men are going after Gades. To be fair, more of their developments come after their marriage, and the DS remake partly improve their romance before their wedding.
  • Monster Rancher 4 is the same deal as Final Fantasy X above: There's a relationship system with the various female shopkeepers which also lets you get discounts, but at the end you end with your aide no matter what.
  • LA Noire has Cole's sudden romance with Elsa, the german singer from the Blue Room club. This romance comes out of nowhere considering that, up to this point, all we know of his lovelife is that he's married and has children, with no indication that the marriage is somehow unhappy for him until he suddenly cheats on his wife with Elsa. The only thing that even remotely resembles foreshadowing for this romance is that Cole went to see her perform at the club, once. What makes it worse is that this affair costs him his position as a vice detective, his progress on the Stolen morphine case, which he was about to crack wide open and his name gets dragged through the mud in every paper in L.A.
  • Played for laughs in Fire Emblem Awakening with Chrom and Olivia's romance. She's one of his five playable bride choices, but she joins at the very beginning of the chapter just before the time skip, so there's no time to build their C-S support chain. But if you get their support level high enough and Chrom's other brides are already married, he'll hook up with Olivia and the flashback to his proposal will be shown as a funny, cute, awkward whirlwind romance. Lissa even lampshades this in the cutscene: "Turn my back one minute and you're married. The next minute? A baby!"


Web Comics

  • Almost immediately after Gabby from Namir Deiter realizes she's over her longtime crush on the main character (a straight girl), she's seduced by her never-before-seen academic partner, Jacinda, and they're joined at the hip from then on. The relationship later falls apart and Gabby hooks up with Joan, a New Old Flame.
  • The first half of Aoi House seems to build up to a will-they-or-won't-they tension between Alex and Elle, only to throw it out in favor of pairing him with fan favorite Morgan in the second half, despite Morgan's crush being infantile at best and Alex ignoring her for most of the series.
  • Pretty much every couple in Sonichu. It's made worse by the fact that Chris-Chan considers the romance to be the best part of the comic.
  • Played with in Homestuck: John and Vriska have known each other for all of six hours before she starts developing a crush on him. However, after a year's Time Skip, someone brings up the subject to John again... and he proceeds to go over all the problems that commonly accompany this trope, and concludes that ultimately, they'd have to know each other far longer before it could really mean anything. This was probably a Take That to shippers.


Web Original

  • Survival of the Fittest v4 pre-game has the "relationship" with Jonathan Jarocki and Anna Chase, which seemingly came out of nowhere when they took each other to prom and started dating afterwards. Most of their scenes were kind of awkward, despite the fact that both of them had rather dark interests. This wasn't helped by the fact that one of them (Jonathan) has actually been confirmed to be a self-insert, bringing No Yay into the picture. A lot of handlers expressed disgust at the pairing, which lead to this being fixed once v4 actually started by the two of them having an Off-Screen Breakup.


Western Animation

  • In the 1990s Fantastic Four animated series, Johnny Storm meets The Inhumans Medusa, drools over her for two and a half episodes, finds out she's married, and winds up drooling over her cousin, Crystal, for half of one. In the end, the Inhumans' city is sealed off from the rest of the world. Suddenly, Crystal, whom he's known all of a few hours, was the love of his life, and he spends every episode after this -- literally every episode -- pining for her. (He does get her back in the end, though.) Maybe heroes really do just love redheads that much.
  • Gwen and Kevin in Ben 10 Alien Force -- The ship is dropped on the viewer with absolutely no set-up, no basis, no rationality in the very first episode. Kevin almost wrecking his precious car to tell Ben not to be rude to Gwen could be attributed to his Badass Decay, but "I'll follow you anywhere"? Were the writers afraid that if they took the time for some actual development, the show might be canceled before their new favorite couple actually got together?
  • This is the case with earlier Disney Animated Canon movies, particularly ones like Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Justified, as it can be chalked up to Disney trying to keep to the source material, which in those cases were mostly fairy tales meant to teach morality and not build a believable love story. Later movies fix this, by giving the couples more interaction and personalities beyond "She's the girl of my dreams!"
  • John Stewart and Vixen in Justice League Unlimited. Vixen had previously only made a handful of silent cameo appearances, but without any buildup or reference to it, she and John are already in a serious relationship by her first speaking role.
    • That at least has the implied offscreen developments after his prior relationship ended. Supergirl and Braniac 5 found true love within minutes, despite her trying to kill him on initial contact, and she permanently abandons everyone she's ever known to stay with him.
    • The writers seem to like this trope. In Crisis on Two Worlds, new character Rose Wilson has a crush on Martian Manhunter and the Martian inadvertently discovers they're "attuned" when he accidentally reads her thoughts (something he'd never do by accident with a non attuned person.) He then Mind Melds with her so that they can get to know each other instantly and fall completely in love. Martians apparently have no need to date.
  • In season two of Stoked, the first episode involved Reef and Lo pretending to be in a relationship as a subplot in an episode, including pretending to make out. At the end of the episode, the two decided that they enjoyed making out and made out for real, leading to the two of them sucking face uncontrollably in every episode their romance is involved in, derailing the previously Spoiled Sweet Lo into a Spoiled Brat Tsundere and the previously chauvinistic Reef into someone who spends hours thinking up lyrics to love songs and poems. The vast majority of fans, unsurprisingly, hated the coupling, especially since the writers had spent most of season one teasing and building up to Reef/Fin, only to strangle Reef and Lo with the red string in the very first episode of season two. They even sunk the pairing in episode ten of the season, only to dredge it up without explanation a few episodes later, further annoying fans.
  • X-Men: Evolution: The Lance-Kitty Relationship. Your mileage will HEAVILY vary there. This is because the writers didn't seem to realize that while the two definitely had the potential to be a good pairing, mostly due to Lance's Character Development during the course of the series, it was made a little tough to believe due to Lance trying to kill Kitty and her parents in his first appearance and her forgiving him so quickly, and did so before his Character Development, which appeared to be motivated so he could get together with her.
  • On Total Drama World Tour, Duncan and Gwen. Yes, this is half of the fanbase's OTP, but let's face it--Duncan had never shown any romantic interest in Gwen before (though she obviously had a thing for him that he didn't know about), and while his relationship with Courtney was certainly rocky, he was always depicted as head-over-heels for her, even taking her back after she was derailed into a Villain Sue in season two. In season three, he had no particular reason to want to break up with her, and when he came back to the show, hadn't seen her or Gwen in months. And less than five minutes after coming back, he's making out with Gwen behind Courtney's back, after literally the first conversation they've had in ten episodes. Ship-to-Ship Combat aside, this was just lazy, lazy writing.
  • While Voltron: Legendary Defender's main romance was built up over several seasons, the relationship between Shiro and his Communications Officer Curtis was a last-minute addition that sadly, didn't have time to develop. The couple itself isn't a bad one, as they appear genuinely happy and in love at their wedding, implying that they did build a loving relationship offscreen, and Curtis is given bits of screen time that hint at him being an overall Nice Guy. The problem was the lack of time the creators had to develop the pairing, which they've gone on record saying they wish they had. The Lion Forge comics meant to take place between the finale and the epilogue were supposed to develop the relationship, but were cancelled for financial reasons. Shiro and Curtis are an example of "Tropes are not bad, but time constraints suck."

Notes

  1. Not like that, although no one's putting it past him.
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