loves to stick people with completely opposite views together. Not only that, these people will always be from the absolute extreme fringes of their respective cultures. In other words, they will be people holding the real-life equivalent of Strawman Political
For instance, if a liberal and conservative are paired together, the liberal will be a pansexual
, peace-loving to the point of Stupid Good
, vegan hippie anarchist with a penchant for wild conspiracy theories, and the conservative will be a rich, homophobic, Fundamentalist
Christian with a thick country accent who thinks the U.S. should blow up Iran
. This ensures (hopefully) there will be lots and lots of Ham-to-Ham Combat
, but also that there is no one on the show a more balanced person could relate to.
This fighting will be completely pointless, of course, since both sides will be far too narrow-minded to even consider the other side's arguments. Both sides will also be too stubborn to see this, or the fact that they're Not So Different
. Their issues with each other may be inexplicably resolved when the show ends with the Apology Scene. (Interesting how they only decide to apologize when the show's about to end, though Manipulative Editing
might have a hand in that)
If this is done in order to make a case for some in-between position, it's the Golden Mean Fallacy
See also Rule of Drama
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- Wife Swap is the king (or, rather, queen) of this trope. Their specialty is swapping the wives of families with diametrically opposite lifestyles, politics, and attitudes, for example swapping a neat-freak, controlling, urban, high-income yuppie with a messy, laid-back, low-income, rural redneck. While these change frequently, there is a frequent occurrence, usually a woman with more traditional views who believes that it's her duty to care for her family is swapped with a more modern career woman who feels that chores should be split amongst the family, or occasionally, that she should have no chores and everything is passed on to the husband and children.
- Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy is a Wife Swap copy forces together people with opposing background and life-styles.
- A season of The Real World managed to make a gay racist and a black homophobe roommates.
- A curious case happened on Gran Hermano, the spanish version of Big Brother. They brought a white transsexual and a black Muslim as Token Minorities without knowing (or so they say) that the transsexual was racist and the Muslim was transphobic.
- Big Brother, no matter which version you're watching. One season they carried it to new heights when Big Brother US cast couples who had broken up (acrimoniously, of course).
- Frequently seen in The Dr. Phil House, providing further evidence that Dr. Phil has morphed from a Talk Show into a Reality Show in all but name.
- Survivor, tending instead to go for ego vs. ego, but every season will have at least two bigots of some nature. They may or may not end up on the same team.
- Jerry Springer had an episode where the Ku Klux Klan and a group of Black Nationalists went at it for an hour.
- A very mild version of this happens in the TLC show Four Weddings. In the show, four brides rate each others' weddings and the person who had the highest average rating gets a free honeymoon vacation. They will often have a conservative traditional bride with a normal wedding in a Christian church and a reception in a hotel with a steak dinner and at least one person who has a blended culture wedding in a warehouse and a crazy reception with Asian fusion food and people grinding on each other. Chances are the conservative bride will give the unique bride a low score and complain about how inappropriate it was and the unique bride will complain about how boring the conservative bride's party was.
- In All in the Family, bigoted white guy Archie Bunker got a new neighbor in the form of George Jefferson from The Jeffersons who is a bigoted black guy who couldn't stand Whitey. They had the same repulsed reaction upon meeting the interracial (white man, black woman) parents of Jenny, George's soon-to-be daughter-in-law, leading them to commiserate "What's the world coming to?"
- The meeting of the very segregationist Lester Maddox and the very Black Power Jim Brown on a 1970 episode of The Dick Cavett Show. Throw Camp Gay Truman Capote into the mix and you have a hell of a night of television.
- American Dad! has Hayley and Stan. Sometimes resolutions will come when it's time to toss out a moral (or Broken Moral, whichever is closer to plot).
- The Daily Show, once upon a time, had Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell as correspondents. They did a segment called "Even Stevphen" that had them basically take polar opposite views on everything. "Yes!" — "No!" — "Yeeeeeeessss!"
- Bizarre had a bigoted family of racial/sexual/national stereotypes making bigoted racial/sexual/national jokes at each others' expense.
- 60 Minutes had a segment called 'Point/Counterpoint' in which Jane Alexander and Jack Kirkpatrick would give their different 'takes' on an issue. He got so grumpy and she got so shrill that it veered into self-parody.
- The two mayoral candidates featured in the Will and Grace episode "Star-Spangled Banter". One of them opens by announcing how nice it is to see so many white faces attending her fundraiser, while the other goes on a rant about things like driving all of the homeless out of the city, and keeping women in the home.
- Saturday Night Live:
- Bill Murray says to Jane Alexander, "Jane, you ignorant slut!" in their parody of Sixty Minutes' Point/Counterpoint.
- Angus in Questionable Content mentions he works as a strawman (he's paid by the opposition to go act like a ridiculous caricature of a group, convincing voters to look elsewhere) and that he at one point got into a very heated argument at a rally before figuring out the other guy was a hired strawman as well.
- Spinnerette has Nazi Sorceror Kugelbitz getting into a fight with Roberta Lee, white supremacist descendant of General Lee (who, despite her beliefs is a practitioner of Hollywood Voodoo).
- Parodied quite often by Horrible Histories with a segment Historical Wife Swap, where each woman goes to live with a family that is the opposite of hers (Spartan vs. Athenian, Anglican vs. Puritan, Rich Upper-class Victorian vs. Poor Working-class Victorian etc.).