We fight, we break up
We kiss, we make up
The heroes share an incredible adventure that helps them develop strong feelings, as friends, lovers or family. Then, there is a breaking point, a moment where they split. It may be an argument, a misunderstanding, a choice one of them makes… whatever the reason, their relation seems to be broken forever.
But we all know what’s going to happen next, don’t we?
Yes, they meet again, make up, forgive and forget about everything. The point of a Break Up Make Up Scenario
is to test the strength of the heroes' feelings, and to make the audience wonder whether they’ll come back together
and have a Happy Ending
Here’s the classic story: 1) at about three quarters of the story, the protagonists leave each other after a dramatic scene (usually an argument). 2) They spend a time away from each other, even though they miss the other’s company. 3) Some events or simply fate brings them back together, they reconcile, admit their feelings and share a happy end.
When done well, the breakup is an effective Tear Jerker
, so the make-up will be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming
. Problem is, this scenario is used so often in fiction that it would be easy to expect it whenever a story focuses on the relation of the protagonists. Over years, it went from a major plot twist to a convention, or even a cliché.
This trope applies not only to love stories (in which case it ends on a Last Minute Hookup
), but also to buddy movies. And it is used A LOT in animated films. One of the main issues is that, since the breakup usually happens some time before the end, the time the heroes spend apart is therefore very short, and the makeup is fast to come. In long-running series, this can be avoided by making the split last several episodes, to let you wonder if the characters stay apart. Most of the time, however
, it is used for one episode only.
In this case, it is Feud Episode
, which centers around a Break Up Make Up Scenario
. So this trope is very common in Soap Opera
Compare Will They or Won't They?
when the audience is left in doubt on wether a couple will form or not. Contrast No Romantic Resolution
. The Second Act Breakup
is this trope applied to a movie or a play.
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Anime and Manga
- In One Piece, Robin runs away from the crew, and does everything to dissuade them to come after her, even yelling at Luffy to let her die. Then they prove their friendship to her by declaring war to the whole world, and give her the will to live.
- Earlier in the CP9 arc, Usopp leaves the crew when he fights Luffy over what should be done with the crippled Merry Go. It was a brutal fight with Usopp losing. Later at the end of the arc, after spending much of the time fighting with the crew under a pseudonym, he hopes to be Easily Forgiven with him saying nothing about his actions, but Zoro puts his foot down to stop it as unlike what Robin went through, it was his choice. Until he apologizes, he shouldn't be allowed back in the crew.
- Love Hina
- Some episodes in Ranma ½, mostly when Ranma truly hurts Akane.
- In Berserk, when Gutts leave the Hawk Band, and comes back a long time later.
- Naruto: Sasuke and Itachi may quite possibly break the record for the longest breakup/makeup scenario ever. In-universe, it was nine years before they reconciled. In actual time, it took over twelve years (retroactively—the series began with Sasuke hating Itachi, but flashbacks showed that they were closer than almost any other characters in the series). Far more dramatic than most examples, considering that Sasuke made it his lifelong obsession to kill Itachi. And succeeded.
- In the second Ice Age film, between Manny and Elie.
- Rio, between Blu and Jewel.
- About all Pixar films (except The Incredibles) follow this trope:
- A Bug's Life: Flick is banished by Atta for lying, but that doesn’t stop him from opposing Hopper.
- In all Toy Story films, Woody has an argument and a make up with other toys (Buzz and Jessie), though the second movie is the only where it happens near the climax.
- In Monsters, Inc., Mike lets Sully go alone, blaming him for ruining his life, but changes his mind. Also, Boo becomes afraid of Sully after he accidently roars at her.
- In Finding Nemo, Marlin believes Nemo to be dead, and leaves Dory to mourn his son alone, even though she begs him to not let her forget their adventure.
- In Up, Carl's determination to go the falls leads to abandon Kevin, which makes Russell feel betrayed.
- In Ratatouille, Linguini loses all his cooks after telling the truth about Remy. Colette is the only one to come back.
- Oh, so many Disney Films.
- The Lion King: between Simba and Nala. In the second, Kovu and Kiara don’t really breakup, but he is banished from Pride land. In the third, it is Timon and Pumbaa.
- Lady and the Tramp
- Brother Bear: when Kenai tells Koda the truth.
- The Emperor's New Groove
- Aladdin: between Aladdin and Jasmine, and also with the Genie.
- The Little Mermaid: Even though Eric didn't actually want to break up...
- Beauty and the Beast
- Beast yells at Belle to get out, then saves her from wolves, which bring them to become friends afterwards.
- Later, Beast lets Belle leave the castle so she can save her father, but is heartbroken because he believes she will never even think of coming back. She does.
- Tarzan: after his rejection by Kerchak.
- Tangled: When Gothel makes Rapunzel believe Flinn abandoned her.
- Mulan is abandoned by Shang when her gender is revealed. He later defends her after the battle.
- The Princess and the Frog
- The Jungle Book: Mowgli is angry at Baloo for trying to take him to the village. In the sequel, he hurts Shanti who came to look for him.
- Meet the Robinsons: Lewis and Wilbur.
- Peter Pan
- Oliver & Company, when Oliver is "rescued".
- Treasure Planet: near the middle, when Jimmy rejects Silver’s proposal.
- Wreck-It Ralph
- DreamWorks Animation has a good share.
- Despicable Me
- Don Bluth doesn’t shy from this trope either.
- Corpse Bride: when Victor admits to the Bride he can't marry her. Unusually, it happens in the middle of the film.
- FernGully: The Last Rainforest: When Crysta thinks Zak lied to her.
- The Sam/Diane arc in Cheers is one of the quintessential examples for television.
- Friends: Rachel and Ross go through sooooooooooooo many...
- In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina and Harvey go through two Break Up Make Up Scenario: first when Harvey sees her kissing Josh, then when he learns permanently that she is a witch. Surprisingly, each breakup lasted for more than one episode.
- Six Feet Under: David and Keith, Rico and Vanessa, Nate and Brenda, Claire and Ruth. Other breakups have a much less Happy Ending.
- How I Met Your Mother: Lily left Marshall for months to stabilize her life, and it took them time to go back together.
- Ted, Robin and Barney go through this several times, whether together or with their respective lovers (when the break up isn’t permanent).
- My Wife and Kids
- LOST: Charlie and Claire.
- In The Big Bang Theory, Bernadette almost called of the wedding after discovering Howard’s past, but they came back together when he proved through a speech how much he loves her and how much he changed thanks to her.
- Leonard and Penny repetitively split and come back together.
- Breaking Bad, with Walt and Jessie, also Walt and Skyler. The first times, that is…
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the sixth season, Willow and Tara end up broken up for much of the season, and reconcile just before the series finale. And then Tara is shot and killed on accident.
- Doctor Who does this in "Asylum of the Daleks"; the story starts with Amy and Rory signing divorce papers and getting kidnapped by the Daleks before Rory could file the papers, finalizing the split. During the episode, Amy admits to Rory that she only instigated their break-up in an ill-advised case of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy (she was incapable of having the children she knew he wanted, and chose to leave him so he could find someone who could make him a father). By the end of the episode, Amy and Rory were together again, the divorce quietly forgotten.
- In Supernatural, Sam and Dean have done this several times. They go their separate ways and realize they need each other an episode or two later. Dean and Castiel also had this sort of dynamic at the end of Season 7, when Dean tells Cas he'd rather have him cursed or not, even though their relationship had been rocky since Cas Jumped Off The Slippery Slope and became God.
- In Return of the Cartoon Man, Roy and Karen awkwardly part ways when Roy wishes to bow out of their investigation and go back to a normal life. Within a matter of hours, he races back to help her again when Simon resurfaces with a new threat. Happens again in the following movie, Journey of the Cartoon Man. While traveling through the Second Dimension, Roy and Valerie have a heated argument, and go their separate ways, but Roy almost immediately goes back to her after a Good Angel, Bad Angel debate convinces him it's the right thing to do.
- Many Disney shows have Break Up Make Up Scenario in some episodes.
- Darkwing Duck goes through some of these with his daughter Gosalyn and once his girlfriend Morgana.
- In the first episode of TaleSpin, it happens between Baloo and Kit.
- A few episodes of Aladdin center around arguments between Aladdin and Jasmine. There is also one in "Some enchanted genie" between Genie and Eden.
- In Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show, when Edd has enough of the travel and wants to leave, Eddy admits his mistakes for the first time. This is enough to make Edd stay.
- In two episodes of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Eustace and Muriel have a serious argument and eventually make up, which are the few instances he shows love to her.
- Some episodes of The Powerpuff Girls show them fighting with each other, then makeup. The best example is an episode where after arguing the whole time, Blossom and Buttercup unite to save Bubbles (after sharing a friendly smile).
- The Simpsons: many episode focusing on Homer and Marge’s relationship, or with their children.
- Futurama with Fry, Leela and Bender.
- Family Guy: occasionally with Peter and Lois, and also Brian.
- American Dad!: Any episode focusing on Stan and Francine’s marriage.