One of the most basic and oldest plots. It simply goes: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again. Details to be added in later.
To give an example, from one of the most archetypical boy-meets-girl stories, Romeo and Juliet: boy (Romeo) meets girl (Juliet). Boy loses girl (due to both their crazy families). Boy finds girl again (at her death bed, though, so he kills himself, but it turns out she was Not Quite Dead and kills herself when she sees he's dead and...you know what, you already know the ending).
In fact, there are so many examples of this trope (the massive quantities of romantic comedies, for instance) that this page is merely going to list interesting variations, subversions, and inversions.
Despite the trope title, Boy Meets Girl also includes homosexual couples.
Meet Cute is a subtrope of this. Not related to X Meets Y. See also Boy Meets Ghoul.
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Anime and Manga
There was an episode of Blood+ actually titled "A Boy Meets a Girl" which had a slight variation of this plot. Well, Riku and Diva's entire relationship, really: Boy meets girl. Girl rapes boy. Boy impregnates girl. Girl kills boy. This also works on a slightly more conventional level with Saya and Haji. Boy meets girl. Girl goes crazy, cuts boy's arm off, and disappears. Boy finds girl and makes her drink his blood. ...Okay, maybe not so conventional.
Suzumiya Haruhi can be boiled down to: boy meets girl. Girl turns out to be a Reality Warper. It's even lampshaded in the anime. In the first chronological episode as Kyon says "and so we met" in his narration the scene zooms in on the male sign in the boys' bathroom, followed by zooming in on the female sign of the girls' bathroom.
Like most romance tropes, it gets played with as its: boy meets girl, boy loses girl(Disappearance), boy finds girl again....nothing changes. Haruhi not remembering it probably has something to do with this
A rather gruesome variation occurs in Tsukihime: boy meets cute vampire girl. Boy goes nuts and carves girl into seventeen pieces (she gets better).
Played straighter than the title would suggest, as the main character met both potential love interests when s/he was still a boy.
Within Ghost Hound: Boy meets girl. Boy accuses girl of being his sister. Boy saves girl from an evil cult.
Rumiko Takahashi became one of the richest women in Japan on the back of this trope (Takahashi Couple). The final arc of Urusei Yatsura (which became movie #5) is titled Boy Meets Girl in the Manga. (Well actually it's titled Boi mitsu gahru but you know..)
The title of the first episode of Inuyasha is "The Girl Who Overcame Time... and the Boy Who Was Just Overcome," which is kinda a reference to this, I guess.
In fact, if we're following this trope to a T: Inuyasha meets Kagome. Kagome goes back to her own time later on in the same arc. Inuyasha goes to find her in her own time. Also works overall for the series, as he loses her in the final volume, until they are reunited.
Legend of the Overfiend: Boy meets girl. Boy masturbates whenever he sees girl. Girl gets raped by monsters. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy turns into demon king and destroys the universe.
Ranma ½. Boy meets Girl except Boy turns into Girl.
School Rumble's Harima is one lucky boy. Boy meets Girl 1 (Tenma) but she thinks he was taking advantage of her. Boy meets Girl 2 (Eri) by confessing his love for Girl 1. Boy meets Girl 3 (Tae) and lets him stay overnight. Boy meets Girl 4 (Yakumo) because he needed her help.
The French film Les Jeux Sont Faits had the two main characters meeting and falling in love...after they were both dead. They got better, but died again anyway.
In Sleepless In Seattle, the protagonists are perfect for each other - but they've never met. The entire movie is about them not finding each other. They don't meet until the very end, when boy finally meets girl, after the girl believes she has lost him.
(500) Days of Summer. Like it says in the opening credits: It's a story of boy-meets-girl. It is not a love story.
Folklore and Mythology
The myth of Pygmalion and Galatea from Ovid (which makes this Older Than Feudalism) goes as follows: boy meets girl. Girl is statue. Boy falls in love with girl and prays to Aphrodite to bring her to life. Aphrodite does and they live Happily Ever After.
Actually, he prays to Aphrodite to turn him into stone so he can be with her forever. In a rare act of compassion, she turns her to flesh instead.
The Recognition of Shakuntala, an episode from the AncientSanskrit epic Mahabharata that was later Expanded into a theatrical drama by the Indian playwright Kalidasa around the 1st century BCE, is probably the Ur Example of this trope, though it's actually more of a Subversion, since it's a Girl Meets Boy story. It revolves around a woman named Shakuntala who meets Dushyanta and they get married him, only for him to get cursed with Amnesia and completely forget her. The only way to lift the curse is to show him the ring that he gave her, but she loses the ring in a river. She eventually finds the ring by the end of the story, makes him remember, and then they live Happily Ever After.
Timothy Zahn, in a panel summarized here, is aware of this trope but believes that there are three basic treatments of that plot: The American novel, wherein boy meets girl and then loses girl; the French novel wherein boy meets girl, gets girl, and then boy and girl decide that they don't want each other after all; and the Russian novel wherein boy meets girl, never gets girl, and broods about it for 800 pages.
The Foreword to Neil T. Stacey's Trespassers will be Prostituted describes the book as "a simple story following the age-old pattern of Boy meets Girl, Girl praises Satan, Boy drowns in Filth". There is no romantic plot-line in the book.
Gender-flipped in Memoirs of a Geisha. Sayuri meets the Chairman when she was just twelve years old, falling in love with him when he showed kindness to her. After that, she trains hard to become a geisha so she could meet him again. And she does eventually.
1632: the story of Jeff Higgins and Gretchen Richter. Boy meets girl, boy protects girl from army (with only a shotgun and his three best friends to back him up), boy helps girl murder her rapist, boy proposes to girl using a bilingual dictionary.
In The Kingdom And The Crown, boy saves girl from getting raped, girl warns boy of Roman ambush, girl is sent to Rome and boy follows to sneak her out and bring her home.
"It's the old, old story - droid meets droid, droid becomes chameleon, droid loses chameleon, chameleon turns into blob, droid gets blob back again. Blob meets blob, blob goes off with blob and droid loses blob, chameleon and droid. How many times have we seen that story?"
EUReKA: A variation comes from Tess as she watches Henry and an AI/organic computer/clone of his dead wife talking and looking sweet together. "It's the oldest one in the book. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy meets computer."
The Russell T Davies series Bob And Rose: Boy meets girl. Boy is gay and girl has a boyfriend, but they fall in love anyway. Everyone else thinks they're crazy.
Every single time there is a TV series with nerds and guns, the following happens: Boy meets girl on team (spies, alien hunters, whatever). one or other is a nerd, and quite likes the other one. About the last episode of the series, they finally get round to doing something about it. By the end of the episode, one or both of them is (or are) bleeding to death on the floor.
Pushing Daisies: Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy brings girl back from the dead. If boy touches girl ever again, she immediately dies. They try to work around this.
Hilariously lampshaded by Wilson in an episode of House:
Wilson: It's the story of life. Boy meets girl. Boy gets stupid. Boy and girl live stupidly ever after.
Played in The Vampire Diaries with Stefan and Elena. Stefan meets Elena, Elena meets Stefan, they fall in love and the rest is history.
The song "Miracle" by Cascada essentially begins this way. In fact, the first sentence in the lyrics is "Boy meets girl."
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Lin comments on Will and Isabella's relationship, saying "Boy meets girl. Boy gives girl flower. Boy names girl. What's this world coming to?"
The Metal Gear Solid series has an interesting one between Johnny/Meryl. Boy meets girl falls in love with her then she promptly kicks his ass and takes his clothing. Boy meets girl 10 years later and cheats the army's system to get into the same unit as her. Boy sucks at being a soldier and gets ass kicked by girl often. Boy saves girl using CPR, but Girl still doesn't care much for him. Girl gets mind controlled, different guy saves her while Boy gets knocked out and becomes useless. Girl gets into fight to help different guy, and runs out of ammo. Boy suddenly becomes a badass and saves girl. Epic fight ensues. Boy and Girl fall in love and get married.
EarthBound has Ness and Paula. Oh, by the way... The song that plays in Twoson is also called Boy Meets Girl, and it kinda foreshadows Paula's disappearance.
The romance story in the Neverwinter Nights mod The Bastard of Kosigan: boy meets girl, boy looses girl, girl finds another boy and has a nasty time of it, boy finds girl again, girl goes on rampant killing spree against boy's evil family, boy stabs girl.
In the first page of the webcomic Groovy Kinda, Larry Pye meets Edison Lighthouse while she's drunkenly hanging onto a lampost.
"So! Boy meets girl, girl meets new boy, old boy punches new boy, new boy goes to the police, old boy goes to prison..."
WALL-E could be considered a variation on this: Boy meets girl. Boy follows girl onto a space cruise liner. Boy and girl save humanity. Oh, and they're both robots.
Anime and Manga
The final episode of Busou Renkin was titled "Boy Meets Battle Girl". Subverted in that they met on the first episode and the eponymous Action Girl actually retires from her life of combat at this point, as does the rest of the cast.
The 1950 film Sunset Boulevard is interesting in how it subverts it: it's ostensibly a Film Noir, but a boy does meet a girl in the beginning. Except the girl is a fading film star. Then he meets another girl in the middle of the film, which might actually do the trope straight, except we know that he dies in the end. Interesting in that the first girl does love him, but he hates her.
The end? It's the opening shot!
Billy Wilder, the director of Sunset Boulevard, loved to play with and subvert this trope. Double Indemnity was a "boy meets girl and plans to kill girl's husband for money" story. The Seven Year Itch is a "boy meets girl, even though he's married, and has fantasies about her" story. A Song Is Born is a "whole group of boys meet a girl and together they sing jazz" story. Some Like It Hot is "boy meets girl while on the run from the mob and dressed up as a girl".
Let The Right One In: Boy meets girl. Boy learns girl is vampire. Boy decides he's okay with that. Girl is a castrated boy.
A reviewer's summary of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: "Boy meets alien, boy loves alien, boy loses alien". As Elliot's parting from E.T. is permanent, it's a subversion.
How I Met Your Mother, as the title suggests, is the story of how Ted meets the eponymous mother... only it's been four six seasons and he's still building up to the point where he meets her.
In George Bernard Shaw's original Pygmalion (the basis for the musical and film My Fair Lady), Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins didn't end up together. Instead, she married Freddy Eynsford-Hill. Fans kept interpreting Eliza's and Henry's relationship as romantic (even up to the point where the entire ending was changed for My Fair Lady), even when Shaw wrote an essay about why it was impossible for Eliza and Henry to end up together.
Silent Hill 2 does something to the trope with James and Maria. Boy mourns over dead wife. Boy meets girl who reminds him of wife. Boy protects girl from town full of monsters. Girl wants to get into boy's pants. Girl is actually a hallucination created from the guilt James has for Mercy Killing his wife who wants to trap him forever in his delusion. Girl then goes One-Winged Angel and boy repeatedly shoots girl.
That's in one ending. Depending on how you play the game, James had different reasons for killing Mary, from euthanasia to being exhausted from dealing with her illness so long to a little of both. There's even an ending where boy and girl leave Silent Hill together but the game hints that it won't end any better this time.
"The Disc's greatest lovers were undoubtedly Mellius and Gretelina, whose pure, passionate and soul searing affair would have scorched the pages of History if they had not, because of some unexplained quirk of fate, been born two hundred years apart on different continents."
In Connie Willis' To Say Nothing Of The Dog, Boy meets girl, but it's the wrong boy and girl, thanks to a mis-aimed time traveler.
There is the old story: boy doesn't meet girl. The British dramedy Love Soup is all about this. It has two protagonists, Alice Chenery and Gil Raymond, who the audience knows would perfect for each other were it not for the small issue that they've never met. The situation is mined for all the near-misses and coincidences it can.
The music video for Fountains of Wayne's "Someone To Love" is another boy doesn't meet girl situation.
The They Might Be Giants song "Ana Ng" is as well. The reason given is that the eponymous girl is on the other side of the world.
One could interpret The Beatles classic "Eleanor Rigby" in this light as well—although in this particular case, both parties are probably up in years. Still tragic, though...
Matt and Gilly from Dork Tower are achingly perfect for each other. Both gamers, both comic book fans, both cosplayers, both from the same town in Wisconsin. Too bad Matt keeps salvaging his relationship with his gamer-hating girlfriend and Gilly doesn't know he exists.