Created By: johnnye on February 21, 2010
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Mediation Backfire

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Everyone knows when you see two dogs tearing into each other, the last thing you should do is try to get between them. What some don't realise is that the same can be true of people, too.

Two characters in the middle of a bitter argument make up their differences over a common love of abusing someone else - usually, but not always, the person who tries to get them to make up in the first place.

Compare Enemy Mine, when something similar happens to mortal enemies. Subtrope of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. Quasi-inversion of Apple of Discord, when a third party makes two allies start arguing - this is about making two arguers temporarily join forces against the intruder.


Examples.

  • Family Guy when Peter discovers that beating up Lois is the perfect way to bond with Stewie. Crosses the Line Twice when they lock her in the boot of a car and sink it in a lake.
  • Black Books when Bernard and Mannie take time out from an argument to insult Fran.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • July 2, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Yeah, "row" as a synonym for argument is a little obscure.
  • July 2, 2009
    johnnye
    Seriously? I'm guessing that's a SBACL thing, it's pretty common in the UK. Anyway, it's only a placeholder for something that sums up the trope better.
  • July 2, 2009
    Duckay
    In the Robert Asprin book The Sweet Myth-tery of Life, Guido describes this as an inevitable result of getting involved in a domestic dispute.
  • July 2, 2009
    Iron Salticus
    Happens a fair bit between The Hero and The Rival if villains show up and they're forced to co-operate. Team Rocket made Ash and Gary do so on several occasions.
  • July 3, 2009
    NickBensema
    In Seinfeld, when George and Elaine are alone without Jerry, the only thing they can talk about is Jerry gossip.
  • July 4, 2009
    johnnye
    I'm not sure if there's already a trope for feuding characters on the same side putting their differences aside to fight a genuine threat (if not, there should be...) but the idea for this was that it's the person calling for them to reconcile that gets turned on. Which I suppose would make it a subtrope of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
  • July 4, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Is this sort of the evil twin or inverse of Apple Of Discord?
  • July 9, 2009
    johnnye
    Not quite an inversion, but looks related to Apple Of Discord. Also related to Enemy Mine, the trope I was trying to think of before.
  • July 10, 2009
    Tannhaeuser
    There is a short story about this by Saki called "Excepting Mrs. Penberthy".
  • July 17, 2009
    johnnye
    Can't believe I didn't think of Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, of which this trope is the entire point. George and Martha attack each other at every turn, but take more delight in ganging up to tear apart the innocent young couple they invite round for drinks (lots and lots of drinks). It's heavily implied they do this all the time to keep them from killing each other.
  • July 28, 2009
    johnnye
    What about Two Dogs Fighting for a title? Based on the idea that the last thing to do when you see the fight is to try to get between them...
  • July 28, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    As Revy and Roberta are beating the nine hells out of each other in Black Lagoon, Rock gets the bright idea to try to get them to talk about their problems. Being as both of them are in full-on violent mode, the response from the two is unsurprising:
    Revy and Roberta: (simultaneously) STAY THE FUCK OUT OF THIS!
  • February 12, 2010
    DomaDoma
    Flame Warriors' typically verbose descriptions of forum users has this to say about the archetype they call Diplomat:
    Diplomat butts into hot disputes, presuming that the combatants will welcome and appreciate his even-handed and eminently reasonable mediation. Frankly, he gets what he deserves.
  • February 12, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    On The Simpsons when Marge went after Itchy and Scratchy, the series staff did an episode where a squirrel character based on Marge tries to stop a fight, but the duo decids to knock her head off instead.
  • February 12, 2010
    Bisected8
    From Scrubs after JD intervenes in an argument between Dr. Cox and Jordon;
    JD: And just like that all the hatred they had for each other was instantly directed at me.
  • February 12, 2010
    johnnye
    Ooh, that Scrubs line could be a page quote.
  • February 21, 2010
    Aminatep
    And this is why you should never ever interfere in a catfight. Taking pictures is a lot safer.
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