- The Reveal: The sweet, homely Betty is actually Cute and Psycho, and the haughty, fascinating Veronica is actually a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Archie was a Horrible Judge of Character all along, and really should run before his "wholesome", "soft-headed" girlfriend smashes his brain out with a spoon.
- Character Development (see Hourglass Plot): Through character development, the inaccessible, Tall, Dark and Snarky love interest becomes a sweet pile of cuteness, and the viewers discover that the Boy Next Door and the Nice Girl Took a Level in Badass and possibly in meanness.
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Anime and Manga
- In anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Meiko/Menma and Naruko/Anaru seem to play the trope straight for Jintan — Menma is dressed in white and looks like a very sweet and cute kid, while Anaru's looks are heavily based on the gyaru subculture (painted nails, miniskirts, bleached hair). Personality wise, though, they're the opposite: Menma is free-spirited and kinda thoughtless, while Anaru is very Adorkable.
- In Full Metal Panic!, Chidori, the Ordinary High-School Student seems to be the Betty, while Tessa, who is a captain in a covert paramilitary organization and has command of a submarine and several hundred troops, Sousuke included, appears to be the Veronica. However, Chidori is a hot-tempered Tsundere, which gives her more of a Veronica personality compared to Tessa, whose sweet and ditzy nature makes her the Betty personality-wise.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion there's a huge debate about who's Betty and who's Veronica since Rei and Asuka present traits of both sides. Rei has a gentle disposition and reserved nature, but she's also bizarre, cold, and strangely unsettling. Fiery Redheaded foreigner Asuka has a forceful and aggressive personality, but is also seen as the more outgoing and human one.
- In the Princess Tutu anime, Fakir appears at first as a male Tsundere, and Mytho the Prince has a case of Chronic Hero Syndrome. They were respectively the Veronica and Betty to Ahiru's Archie, then Mytho's heart shard is tainted with the Crow's blood and he becomes evil and potentially violent, and Fakir is seen as the friend and confident who does everything he can to protect Ahiru. And this is settled when Rue performs an Heroic Sacrifice to bring Mytho back to the side of good... and then Mytho stays with her instead.
- Ranma One Half: Akane and Shampoo have traits of both sides. Akane is an extremely violent Tsundere, rather popular at school and despite her efforts has very few traditionally feminine traits; Shampoo is a Supreme Chef, works full-time in her grandma's restaurant, can be almost kittenish when she's happy (pun intended), she comes from a lower-class setting than Akane, is a lot smarter than she looks, and is also multi-talented. However, Akane is very kind-hearted and nice when she's not being upset, and often stands up for others and even for Ranma despite the risks, and while Shampoo can cook and can be very demure around Ranma, most of the time she's Tsundere bordering on Yandere and can be very manipulative and cruel either to Mousse or to Ranma himself. Shampoo also has an exotic quality, and her sexiness is sometimes played up too, especially compared to Akane who is a tomboy who desperately attempts to be more feminine.
- The anime adaptation of The Familiar of Zero has Louise and Siesta switch roles for the third season. As Saito grows more used to Louise's habits, his relationship with her normalizes somewhat culminating with their marriage at the end of the second season. Shortly thereafter the writers force Siesta to crank up the sex appeal to compensate because Status Quo Is God.
- In the Archie Comics, the Betty becomes a Veronica when she tries to murder Archie out of spite. For Veronica, despite having mistaken herself for a romantic novel heroine after a knock on the head, she never did such a thing, and thus gets the title of Betty in the trope namer for this kind of triangles.
- Lois Lane and Lana Lang have switched the roles of Betty and Veronica to Superman over the years.
- In Spider-Man (Seemingly) carefree party girl and Fiery Red Head Mary Jane was the Veronica to sweet, Girl Next Door Gwen Stacy. Gwen was actually victim of Characterization Marches On, and her earlier, less remembered appearances had her as something of a headstrong popular girl type; she would have been a Veronica had this remained. After Gwen became victim to a certain trope she named MJ became closer to Peter and went through some Character Development, showing the audience there was more to her than she let on. A few years down the line when sultry cat burglar Black Cat enters the scene intent on playing the Dating Catwoman card with Spidey, MJ becomes the Betty as an old friend of Peter's. What's interesting is that the headstrong popular girl Gwen was when Steve Ditko was drawing and plotting the comics. During his run Mary-Jane was pretty much The Ghost only being mentioned by Aunt May; she only appears twice during his run and both times her face is obscured and she leaves before Peter gets to meet her. However she's dressed very ladylike (certainly not the party girl she ended up being) and we do know Aunt May thought she was housewife material. It's very likely that if Steve Ditko had stayed on, Mary-Jane would have been the Betty and Gwen the Veronica.
- Mai is the Betty and Katara is the Veronica with their traits switched around in The Stalking Zuko Series. Mai is Zuko's childhood friend, the "safe" choice, and a lady of the court, but with Veronica traits like being different from what he's used to (after his banishment and traveling), is very wealthy, used to commanding servants, and is an Ice Queen. Katara is the Veronica in that she's exotic, seemingly unattainable due to their past history and possible futures, is outside of his world (the Fire Nation), and seemingly unaware of Zuko's affections. However, Katara has Betty traits such as being emotionally reliable, Zuko's best friend, and part of Zuko's past lifestyle of banishment, chasing the Avatar, traveling, and re-banishment.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, it happens between Selina Kyle and Miranda Tate, Bruce Wayne's other Love Interest. Miranda is a sweet clean energy champion, Selina is a burglar. The latter saves him despite having been The Mole, the other is The Man Behind the Man.
- The twist in Jim Carrey's The Mask. The mousy coworker is actually a spy for the villain, the seemingly exotic dame he met at a club is actually much more centered than she first appeared.
- Basic Instinct: Good girl Dr. Beth Garner (whose name is eerily similar to Betty) is strongly implied to be just as murderous as the evil Catherine (Veronica).
- In Blood And Chocolate the sweet human boyfriend, Aiden, has a case of Fantastic Racism and does a Face–Heel Turn which leaves only the other Love Interest as a worthy pretendant for the heroine. Of course, it turns out that the remaining Love Interest (thanks to personal experience) can understand what the heroine is going through far more than she or the audience ever gave him credit for.
- Daniel Deronda: Mirah is Jewish, an outcast with an artistic and melancholy disposition, Gwendolene is charming, well-liked and christian. Gwendolene is also too self-involved, though in an understandable and harmful way, while Mirah is sweet and innocent.
- In Harry Potter, this happens with Severus Snape (initially Lily's unpopular best friend on the verge of becoming a Victorious Childhood Friend) and James Potter (initially a Jerk Jock whom she disapproves). She then not only discovers that James became a Lovable Jock because he Took a Level in Kindness, but painfully realizes that Severus is affected with Fantastic Racism. Made worse by how the second situation played out. Lily tried to help Severus after an almost Deadly Prank (in which the still-not-developed James did have a part), and not only he snaps at her, but he calls her racist epithets to her very face. It's implied that Lily was aware of Severus's racism but attempted to make him change his mind, but once he crossed the line like that, she decided to cut off the friendship for her own sake.
- Older Than Radio: Jane Austen loved writing novels where this occurs :
- In Pride and Prejudice, this happens to Elizabeth's love interests, subjectively. The Charmer Princely Young Man member of the military is actually a Manipulative Bastard Gold Digger. The Tall, Dark and Snarky Love Interest has No Social Skills, and has a Good Is Not Nice Big Brother Instinct approach to life while being a member of The Proud Elite.
- Mansfield Park has an interesting unmentioned objective variation for the heroine and antiheroine, respectively a quietly depressed, meek and forgiving Love Martyr Woobie and a manipulative, charming-but-dangerous Gold Digger. Turns out the first becomes an Iron Woobie who won't let the others' mean preoccupations go against her morals and knows perfectly well that the treatment borne by her gender is unfair, while the other falls in love, wangsts, and considers abandoning her ambitions and also losing integrity. The hero chooses the new Veronica, who throws a proto-feminist speech in his face, making the work Fair for Its Day.
- Moonlight has Kayla with Mason and Lucas. She sees Mason as a Nice Guy and Lucas as a less kind and harmless person. However, the readers can see from early on that Mason is a Manipulative Bastard who is insulting to his rival and tries to make Kayla drunk, while Lucas ignores him and is simply kind to her, but has intimidating manners. It must be acknowledged once Mason does a Face Heel Turn.
- The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han revolves around the heroine Belly's romances with the sons of her mother's best friend. In the beginning, Conrad was the aloof bad boy while Jeremiah was the Nice Guy. In the last book, Jeremiah has become a somewhat obnoxious frat boy who cheats on Belly. Meanwhile, Conrad is mature and studious (and also gets the girl at the end.) Belly only saw them on family vacations in the summer so she's unsure if they (especially Jeremiah) were always like that and she never saw it or if they actually changed.
- Twilight has Jacob and Edward, reaching It Was His Sled status. In book 1, they are respectively the kind younger friend and someone who was Maddened Into Misanthropy by his Dark and Troubled Past and may and may not be a case of "I Am A Humanitarian". But in book 2, Jacob becomes a violent and confident muscular hunk who has Hair-Trigger Temper and Crazy Jealous Guy tendancies, and Edward is the reliable boyfriend who ends up leaving her for what he summarizes in the end as I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
- In The Age of Innocence, May is Newland's conventional blonde "good girl" fiancee, while Ellen is the exotic and individualistic dark-haired family reprobate. May, however, is revealed to have a highly manipulative side, while Ellen honestly loves him, and is more suited to him in terms of tastes and personality. Possibly a deconstruction of the Betty and Veronica trope.
- The versions of the legend of the knight Pelleas (from the Arthurian legend) sometimes feature this. Pelleas falls in love with the lady Ettarde. She then pretends to reciprocate in order to have him win something for her in a tournament. She pushes him away when she has it, but he thinks it is all a test and comes to visit her every day. Growing annoyed, she puts him in her gaol and frees him every day. Pelleas then meets Gawain, who decides to help him by visiting Ettarde and later opening the gates, but Gawain falls in love with her, she reciprocates, and he does not follow his vow and Pelleas discovers it. Then, the different versions of the myth diverge:
- Either Pelleas goes in his tent, becomes depressed, and is saved by a sweet, ethereal-looking Lady of the Lake, Elaine, who reveals that she has very powerful magical powers (and a lot of Hidden Depths when she curses who she believes to be her rival, while Pelleas has fallen in love with her himself and forgotten Ettarde), Ettarde finds out Gawain's original plan and, furious with him, regrets Pelleas.
- ... or Pelleas grows mad with rage, and becomes the Red Knight, devoted to prove the hypocrisy of Arthur's court.
- The Hercule Poirot novel The Murder on the Links features one of these. Jack Renaud is engaged to Marthe Daubreuil (Betty), but had a brief fling with the vaudeville performer Bella Duveen (Veronica), who has been acting like a Stalker with a Crush ever since. However, it turns out that Bella really just wants Jack to be happy and is willing to confess to murder to protect him, even after she learns about Marthe. Marthe, on the on the other hand is a Gold Digger and murderer who would have been willing to let Jack be executed for the crimes she committed.
- One could say this happened early in The Hunger Games. Gale is introduced as Katniss's closest friend and like her brother, while Peeta is the mysterious boy with the bread that she's never actually spoken too. They reverse roles very quickly after the audience finds how rebellious Gale is and how sweet and smitten Peeta is.
Live Action TV
- The show apparently has Rachel as Betty and Quinn as Veronica to Finn's Archie. This is subverted in the episode "Original Songs," when Quinn explains to Rachel that, however things might appear, she, Quinn, is actually the girl-next-door whom Finn will end up settling for, and Rachel is really the unattainable fantasy dream-girl.
- Happens to Santana. She's usually the Veronica in a love triangle, but whenever Brittany is concerned, she instantly becomes the Betty.
- The BBC's Robin Hood series
- Marian had the choice between Robin and Guy, who were quickly revealed to be more than they first appeared. Guy is conservative and law-abiding (Betty) but also dangerous and a torturer (Veronica), whereas Robin was an outlaw and a thief (Veronica) but also Marian's childhood sweetheart, Robin Hood, and much more in love than he first appeared (Betty).
- It can also be argued to happen between Isabella and Kate for Robin. The first may be the seductive artistocratic and morally ambiguous antagonist and Angry Sheriff's Beautiful Sister and Kate the Farm Girl who joined the outlaws, but Isabella is a Tragic Villain who tries to get rid of her rival by diminishing Robin's trust in her... while the Farm Girl simply tries to kill the noble-born rival. Unlike Isabella, Kate didn't have the excuse of growing paranoid due to years of abuse by a sadistic husband, so the line is at least blurred.
- In The Secret Circle, the live-action adaptation of the book series, Cassie initially appears to be a timid and shy Girl Next Door. For Diana, she is a confident and mature witch. As the series progresses, Cassie becomes more extroverted, ambitious, and willing to use her dark magic, but Diana grows more isolated and more cautious about the consequences of their actions. The point is driven home when Diana learns that she has dark magic as well. She makes it very clear that she will not be as reckless with it as Cassie is. This is in contrast to their initial characterizations, Cassie desiring to stay away from the circle, and Diana to embrace their birthright as witches. Adam's interests tend towards which girl is more The Veronica at any given time. He is initially dating Diana, (she is a Victorious Childhood Friend), they break up as the personality shift starts, and he starts dating Cassie a few episodes later.
- It happened in True Blood, after Erik's amnesia (which ended up turning him into a Man Child, and then into something closer from a Nice Guy) and Bill's acquisition of the title of King (which ended up making him a powerful authoritative villain). The first had blond hair all along, and the second has brown hair from the beginning, so they both ended up filling their new function better than before.
- Gilmore Girls has a onesided example. Jess was originally the Veronica to Dean's Betty. (The intellectual bad boy versus dependable boyfriend). But when he returned having turned his life around he was Betty to Logan's Veronica. (Old loyal boyfriend versus new, sophisticated boyfriend).
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel: Gender-flipped- Angel and Spike in their love triangle with Buffy. Angel seems to have personality of a Betty while Spike the personality of a Veronica, but as it turns out Spike is Betty since he's a self-proclaimed ("attainable") fool for love while Angel is the mysterious and "unattainable" Veronica. Buffy goes back-and-forth on them many times.
- The Vampire Diaries has the switch take place over the third and fourth seasons between Stefan and Damon, previously Betty and Veronica, respectively. Damon not only starts showing more of his humanity to his love interest but also becomes the un-judgmental, reliable friend to Elena who "like[s] her either way" after she has been turned into a vampire and murdered Connor; all the while Stefan switches off his humanity and becomes the Ripper of Monterrey once again, and later goes to the extreme of risking Jeremy's life and secretly allying with Klaus in order to make Vampire!Elena the person he wants her to be. Elena shows the tendency to prefer Betty, starting off the series being with the sweet, caring Stefan and later breaking up with him to be with Damon.
- In Merlin, Gwen's love interests are Lancelot and Arthur. Early on, Lancelot (commoner, honorable and loyal to the point of being impractical, falls for Gwen at first sight) is the Betty to Arthur's Veronica (Royal Brat prince). Then while Lancelot takes himself out of the Love Triangle, Arthur undergoes levels of Character Development and the two fall in love. When Lancelot dies and is brought back to life he becomes the Veronica, with Arthur as Betty.
- The infamous love triangle between Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace, Faith Evans and Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones, at least from the perspective of the public. In the beginning, it seemed Kim was the Betty, a sweet, spunky up-and-coming rapper and Biggie's protege vs. the glamorous Faith Evans, whom Wallace married rather spur-of-the-moment. To make a long story short, Biggie was not faithful, and the personal drama began to unfold very publicly, causing most fans to see a different picture: Evans was now the devoted, put-upon, soul-singing wife, while Kim was now the edgy, sexually promiscuous (at least according to her lyrics) hardcore-rapping mistress. The reality, anyone will tell you, was much less black-and-white.
- Dragon Age:
- Dragon Age: Origins has Leliana and Morrigan. Leliana is the sweet Chantry sister while Morrigan is the mysterious Witch of the Wilds. It is later revealed that Leliana is a former bard who took shelter in the Chantry to hide from the Orlesian military who (incorrectly) believes she sold secrets to Ferelden. Meanwhile, Morrigan is really just a young, inexperienced girl whose 'survival of the fittest' beliefs are just parroting her mother's.
- Dragon Age II has Merrill and Isabela. The former is a Cloudcuckoolander with No Social Skills with innocent-looking puppy eyes while the latter is a promiscuous pirate more open about her preference than the other companions. However, one turns out to be a Blood Mage trying to save her people via consequentialistic methods while the other is a Broken Bird trying to cope with the memory of Parental Abandonment and can be persuaded to fully commit to love.
- Ten years later after Origins, in Dragon Age: Inquisition, Leliana is serving as the left hand of Divine Justinia, doing the dirty work the Divine can't be publicly involved in while Morrigan is (potentially) married in all but name to the Warden and raising a son with him, both of whom she is completely devoted to.
- In the backstory of Digital Devil Saga, Sheffield appears to care for Sera, but in reality he's a Manipulative Bastard and regards her as little more than a tool for his own gain, while O'Brien genuinely cares for her but struggles to express his feelings and always ends up displaying a hostile exterior whenever they're together. Sheffield's murder of O'Brien causes Sera to realise the truth.
- Luca and Cloche from Ar Tonelico 2 are this. Luca starts off as a cheerful and easygoing local girlfriend while Cloche is a spoiled princess. As the game goes on, Cloche mellows down her attitudes while Luca shows more and more of her bad and selfish sides. Luca does get better, but by the end of the game, Cloche turns out more of a Betty than Luca is.
- In School Days, Sekai Saionji seems to be a straightforward Veronica (middle-class, a Genki Girl, very straightforward in her thoughts), while Kotonoha Katsura looks like quite the Betty (rich but also humble, soft-spoken and shy, very booksmart). However, depending on how you play the original game and/or the Updated Re-release, either of them can go dangerously over the edge for one or another reason, often involving quite the Break the Cutie. On one hand, Sekai can murder Makoto after a huge misunderstanding caused by something he really shouldn't have said (both games), go mad after being to broken - then push Kotonoha over a train rail right after she and Makoto get together (with different results) (re-release) or stab Kotonoha and leave her to bleed to death (re-release). On the other, Kotonoha can use her sexuality to blackmail Makoto into leaving Sekai (both), snap after being bullied into insanity by Sekai's "friends" and give Sekai a Slashed Throat in broad daylight (both), or go the Spurned Into Suicide way in front of both Sekai and Makoto via throwing herself off a flat building (both).
- For Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog, Penny has Dr. Horrible, the sweet and troubled Mad Scientist with golden hair, and Captain Hammer, the Jerkass Handsome Lech Dumb Muscle Flying Brick Heteronormative Crusader (goes into another room, cooks a sandwitch, and eats it as the insults are detailed further) Knight Templar. Dr. Horrible becomes a straight-up villain and Hammer remains his extreme and offensive but well-meaning self.
- Not a surprise given the source material, but, for Lizzie in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Wickham is The Woobie, The Charmer and a Lovable Jock with blond hair whose only bad side is being a Serial Romeo and a Temporary Love Interest who knew she never expected the romance to become serious anyway, and Darcy is the Tall, Dark and Snarky Stalker with a Crush with a terrible case of Small Name, Big Ego, Idle Rich and Card-Carrying Villain. The audience knows Wickham is a Hypocrite Manipulative Bastard who took advantage of her need of companionship in difficult times, and Darcy is a well-meaning Workaholic with a case of No Social Skills, The Proud Elite, Big Brother Instinct and Adorkable.
- The Legend of Korra:
- In season one, Korra and Asami are in a Love Triangle for Mako and a lot of the traits usually associated with each side are swapped around. Asami is sweet and gentle and Mako feels more comfortable around her, but she's the richer, more traditionally beautiful one. Korra is much more violent and tends to crash with Mako, but she is naive and from the country (well, Southern Water Tribe). Eventually Mako becomes closer to Korra and his relationship with Asami becomes sour and finally falls apart after she finds out Mako and Korra kissed behind her back.
- With this twist in mind, Mako also undergoes a "Betty and Veronica switch". He starts out as the Veronica for Korra's Archie and Bolin's Betty - the bad boy compared to his Dogged Nice Guy brother. But from Asami's point of view, in season 3 & 4 Mako becomes the Betty to her Archie and Korra's Veronica - since she's known Mako longer, and Korra as the Avatar is easily the more "unattainable" one.
- Not a literal example, but worth noting: in Archie's Weird Mysteries, Archie goes into an alternate reality where the Trope Namers, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge themselves, have switched places, leading to this hilarious line from Veronica:
"Why do boys always go for flashy, glamorous girls like Betty Cooper, instead of someone nice, and sensible, like me?"