Created By: NoirGrimoir on August 19, 2011 Last Edited By: HeroGal2347 on December 2, 2014

Spotlight Friendship

A story\'s premise is the relationship between the protagonist and their Heterosexual Life Partner

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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.

Live-Action TV
  • 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.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • August 19, 2011
    What separates this from friendship? Screen time? Sexual tension? Platonic-ness?

    Would Daria and Jane be an example?

    Ciel and Sabastian?
  • August 19, 2011
  • August 19, 2011
    ^^This trope isn't about any special kind of friendship, it's basically when a shows main premise is the relationship between two friends. By default, any romance in the story with be secondary in importance to the friendship in the show or story. Basically if it is like a Buddy Cop Show, minus the cop aspect, and for buddies that might be female, it's this.

    Ciel And Sabastian would probably count. I don't think Daria would (haven't actually seen the show) because I don't think the shows main focus is on her and the other character, they are just friends.
  • August 19, 2011
    ^ Gotchya.

    And, an example to redeem myself, the anime Nana is this. So very much.
  • August 19, 2011
    If House/Wilson is a serious example, then any friendship on any show could count. Too broad.
  • August 19, 2011
    ^ The trope as written isn't too broad. I could take that example off though if it bothers you. My personal opinion was just that the show is practically House messes himself up, Wilson picks up the pieces to the point that it might as well be about them, but YMMV, hence 'arguably'.
  • August 19, 2011
    • 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.

    I lolled when you copied my soverymuch comment. Here's a more workable version. :p
  • August 19, 2011
    Platonic samesex duo relationships are arguably second to the overall plots, but remains omnipresent throughout Hercules The Legendary Journeys, and spinoff series Xena Warrior Princess. Whether they count is your call.
  • March 4, 2012
    Sherlock counts, since I read this as focussing on male Heterosexual Life Partners relationships.
  • March 4, 2012
    • Superbad is built around this. Two young men are graduating high school and moving on to different colleges. Such sweet sorrow and all that.
  • December 2, 2014