If a story needs drama and interpersonal conflict, it's likely that the writer with go with the common and ever popular Romance angle, making the protagonist's romance life be the center of the story. But occasionally, they'll go with a Spotlight Friendship
In a work that uses this trope, the story's main source of drama is the protagonist's relationship with his or her Heterosexual Life Partner
(future or otherwise), sometimes to the point that the two share the protagonist role, the HLP becoming a Deuteragonist
. Almost always the two characters are the same gender, though the two can either be two males or two females. Very occasionally, the Spotlight Friendship
will involve more than a pair of friends, having a third or even fourth HLP.
Usually the two characters have a similar occupation, or work or live in the same building, so the two have more interaction time to explore. Often the two were once a case of an Odd Couple
, not initially knowing or liking each other.
The HLP or the main protagonist may also have a Love Interest
, but the amount of screen time given to this relationship will never exceed that given to the HLP, and while the HLP is a main fixture of the cast, Love Interests may come and go from season to season. Should there be romance in the story, the protagonist, Heterosexual Life Partner
and Love Interest
may form an actual Love Triangle
or a case of Friend Versus Lover
, or the two characters may have separate love interests.
Spotlight Friendships tend to be a big source of Ho Yay
and Les Yay
, especially to those wearing Shipping Goggles
. This is because in a Spotlight Friendship
, the relationship between the Protagonist and HLP tend to go through the same ups and downs as characters would in a Romance Arc
and the characters' relationship is given as much screen time as the typical Romance Arc
which can lead the audience to confuse the show or story for pushing that the friendship is, well, more than a friendship.
But then again, sometimes it is.
Notable Subtropes include the Buddy Cop Show
, and Lovely Angels
Anime and Manga
- The focus of the anime/manga Nana is on the relationship between the two titular Nanas, Nana "Hachi" Komatsu and Nana Osaki. Regardless of what else the story entails, the relationship between these two characters is always central.
- The Vampire Academy which focuses on the relationship between dhampire Rose and her HLP moiroi princess Vasilissa.
- Rizzoli & Isles, which focuses on the relationship between Police Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles.
- House, M.D. is arguably a Spotlight Friendship on Dr. Gregory House and his HLP Wilson
- White Collar, focuses on the relationship between former criminal and FBI Consultant Neil Caffrey and the FBI agent Peter Burke who caught him and is now his FBI handler.