Surprisingly Functional Couple
Messed up romance, that still works


(permanent link) added: 2011-04-21 14:41:54 sponsor: EternalSeptember (last reply: 2011-06-12 04:59:33)

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A couple, whose romantic backstory sounds like a horrible Destructive Romance on paper, but somehow, in practice, it works. Maybe it's not clear if both participants are truly happy, but they accept it, and manage to produce at least the appearance of a functional couple, instead of getting hurt by it and breaking down in despair.

Unlike The Masochism Tango, it isn't Played for Laughs, the writer doesn't try to handwave the couple's very real problems by pretending that it's all just a joke, but still takes a somehow idealistic approach by stating that even if they have issues, and their relationship isn't a perfect, or even a good one, at least it's acceptable in a certain sense.

The more extreme situations (like the ones related to abuse, rape, stalking, or Stockholm Syndrome), might try to teach An Aesop to the audience about learning to look past Values Dissonance (e.g.: "Ok, so they are a horrible, sick couple, by our standards. But if they are happy that way, why would it be so wrong?")

The more mundane situations, (like infidelity, arguments, bad sex life, mistrust, etc), might want to teach something about our own Real Life relationships, how sometimess forgiveness, patience, and love can show the values behind the muddy surface.


Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In Baccano!, the very sadistic Ax-Crazy murderer Ladd Russo is together with Lua Klein, who takes pleasure in hearing that he plans to kill her one day. Otherwise, they are madly in love with each other.
    • Also, Chane and Vino, two assassins with differing agendas (one's devoted to her father, the other suffers from A God Am I delusions) They met on the top of a train roof with Vino covered in blood from killing a lot of people, and Vino proposed to her after just meeting her. they end up Happily Married.
  • In Durarara!!, Seiji and Mika. The girl is the boy's crazy stalker. The boy fell in love at first sight with a decapitated head. The girl pretended that this head was operated onto her neck. After the boy figured it out, he accepted to stay together with her, because at least she looks like that head. The girl knows it, and that's good enough for her.
    • Also, Celty and Shinra. She's an immortal, headless fairy ( who also happens to be the source of the head that the aforementioned Seji obsesses over), and he's a human who's been in love with her since he was four and has explicitly stated that he will do anything for her, and he does mean anything; They're probably one of the least crazy pairing in the series. Ryohgo Narita seems to really like this trope.

Literature
  • Eugenides and Attolia in The Queen's Thief. She has him tortured, cuts off his hand, and generally thoroughly breaks him, but it's all for politics, and despite this rocky start (and some lingering trust issues on both sides) they're fairly Happily Married by the third book.
  • In Game of Thrones Jaime and Cersei Lannister. Okay, so they're brother and sister, but they love each other, and somehow seem to get along better than most people in that Crapsack World
  • Played with in the second book in Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series, in which the couple is Punch and Judy. This trope is, of course, pretty much the entire point of their relationship.

Live-Action TV

Webcomics
  • Luca and Phe from The Meek. They have frequent, screaming fights, sometimes culminating in violence. The author even acknowledges that their relationship is unhealthy in many ways. And yet, there's enough Pet the Dog moments and genuine affection that it somehow works.

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