Created By: PaulA on May 29, 2011

Lead Shipping

If the two lead characters are male and female, people will ship them just because they're the leads.

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Trope
If the two lead characters are male and female, some people will ship them just because they're the leads, regardless of whether there's any indication of attraction between them, or how inappropriate it might be.

Long-running works may end up being influenced by this, either by attempting a blatant Ship Sinking or by giving up and making the leads an Official Couple.

I can see this could have potential to becoming Complaining About Shows You Don't Like and/or Fandoms You Don't Like, so Should We Have This?? Perhaps examples could be limited to well-known and -documented historical cases, such as:

  • George Bernard Shaw was so annoyed by people shipping Higgins/Eliza, the two central characters of Pygmalion, that he wrote an essay for inclusion with the published script pointing out in detail why Higgins wouldn't want to marry Eliza, Eliza wouldn't want to marry Higgins, and it would all end if tears if they did.
  • In the early years of The X-Files, there was a famous dispute in the fandom about whether Mulder and Scully should have a relationship, which popularized the term "shipping".

Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • May 30, 2011
    hevendor717
    kind of People Sit On Chairs ish.
  • May 30, 2011
    TripleElation
    Actual thing worth putting a name on, too ubiquitous to bother with examples. If launched, should be with pre-emptive Example Sectionectomy.
  • June 1, 2011
    TBeholder
    Flagshipping? =)
  • February 18, 2012
    TripleElation
    God, no. We have enough shipping puns.
  • February 18, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Oh my god, but could this be part of the reason for the Kirk/Spock shipping?
  • February 19, 2012
    pawsplay
    I'm going to say no on this one. People will also ship a lead with The Lancer, just because it's The Lancer. This may be the lowest point of gravity for shipping, but is basically just shipping.
  • February 19, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    Probably one of the reasons where has been so much Olivia/Eliot shipping in Law And Order SVU, even though the writers decided that they would never be together from the beginning, mostly because they were named after Dick Wolf's children.
  • February 20, 2012
    TheChainMan
    Just because it's an Omnipresent Trope, it doesn't stop being a trope.
  • February 20, 2012
    pawsplay
    My objection is that's entirely and sufficently covered by a description of shipping in general. Is there more to say than that it happens?
  • February 20, 2012
    MorganWick
    One word: Harmonians.
  • February 20, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^^Nope. Shipping is a supertrope, it has many subtropes such as Actor Shipping etc.
  • February 20, 2012
    Catbert
    I'm not convinced that we need any more Shipping Tropes. We have almost 60 already. What could possibly be covered by this that isn't already on one of those pages?
  • February 20, 2012
    Dcoetzee
    I think this is a legit trope. We do have many tropes on shipping already, but this one seems to cover distinct ground and have its own collection of (possibly even unique) examples. Several have come up already. And besides, we have tons of indexes with well over 60 tropes in them, such as Love Tropes, Sex Tropes, Queer As Tropes, Settings, Meta Concepts, and so on - I don't see that shipping is any less worthy of having many. This one also has the fortuitous advantage of being limited by design to just one example per work.
  • February 20, 2012
    X2X
    Yeah, I'm with Dcoetzee on this one.
  • February 20, 2012
    pawsplay
  • February 20, 2012
    Routerie
    I don't see why this has to be a shipping trope. Why not just Leads Always Get Together? Believe it or not, I don't think we have that. I thought we had something called Designated Couple, but I can't find it.
  • February 20, 2012
    chicagomel
    Are we taking examples? I'm wondering if this concept is behind at least some of the Catherine/Grissom shipping on CSI. Although it may extend to all 3...there's also Mac/Jo plus Mac/Stella on NY and Horatio/Calleigh on Miami.
  • February 20, 2012
    pawsplay
  • February 20, 2012
    chicagomel
    If you mean mine, those aren't official, none of them happened onscreen.
  • February 20, 2012
    pawsplay
    I was responding to some above posts, wondering if we had one for the conventional pairing of the two leads.
  • February 20, 2012
    Waterlily
    How can you tell if people really do ship the characters just because they're the two leads or if it's for another reason that you don't understand?
  • February 20, 2012
    pawsplay
    For instance, Spock and Kirk are leads, but they're also emotion and reason, gallant captain and exotic foreigner, Kirk and alien space babe, etc.
  • February 21, 2012
    Tambov333
    ^Kirk and alien space guy.
  • March 2, 2012
    TBeholder
    @ TripleElation: What's point to have shipping tropes if not for fun. And anyway, "Lead Shipping" already...
  • March 21, 2012
    TripleElation
    We've had a TRS thread that almost went to special efforts just to deal with the shipping puns because they got so out of hand.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=65ozt3a7477poqqkg28nohbn