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Chained Heat
Lucy: You know, there's this classic film called The Defiant Ones, starring Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier. It's about two prisoners one black, the other white and they escape handcuffed together...
Brad: And while they don't like each other at first, they come to respect and care for one another by the end.
Lucy: You've seen it.
Brad: No, but I know what you're getting at. And I don't want a moral lesson in tolerance and cooperation. I just want to get through the next couple of hours without committing murder.

Two, usually diametrically opposed, characters are chained or handcuffed together for the duration. An Aesop occurs. In the right genre, may result in a forced Enemy Mine. May be employed in a symbolic manner and progress into Chains Of Love. In other genres, it will be played for laughs as both characters will then try to carry on with their (often conflicting) activities despite the handicap. Also odds are good they'll want to hide what happened, letting them make up a wild story as to why they are holding one another's hand. Hilarity Ensues.

This trope may begin with the two characters unaware of the link that binds them together, only to discover it when they try and walk away from each other.

Can overlap with Working on the Chain Gang when this trope occurs between escaping prisoners.

See also Locked in a Room, With My Hands Tied.

Unusually, the Trope Namer - the Girls Behind Bars film Chained Heat - is unrelated to this trope.


Example subpages:


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     Fanfiction 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, Magnetism, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy end up like this due to two magical bracelets meant for people in troubled relationships forcing them to touch at all times, or else they'll be slammed back together.
  • In this Glee fic, Brittany handcuffs Kurt and Mike together on Valentine's Day and promptly loses the key. At the end of the school day, Kurt finds out that she did it because she knew that Mike had a crush on Kurt and wanted to help him out.
  • The Crimson Badger contains the mouse/stoat duo of Jans and Broggen, who are a rare willing example of this trope. The backstory is that Broggen committed a crime in Urthblood's service that should've landed him a death penalty, but Jans took pity on him and saved him from the badger's wrath. Urthblood declared that the stoat would be his responsibility for the rest of his days, and to keep Broggen from getting into further trouble, they decided to chain each other together. In spite of their predicament, they're one of best warriors in the army. At the end of TCB, Jans is killed in battle, freeing Broggen from his manacle.
  • The Chained Melody Universe by Diane Bellomo are a series of Star Trek: Voyager Slash Fic's involving various beligerant crewmembers forced to work together — Ho Yay or Les Yay ensues.

    Literature 
  • An extreme example in book three of The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Bartimaeus and Nathaniel trying to take on The Legions of Hell while Sharing a Body. And mind-linked.
  • In the book Judge Benjamin: Superdog, Judge and his dachsund antagonist Henry manage to get their collars caught together. This was after Henry semi-accidentally flooded the garage and took refuge on Judge's head. They were rescued by their owners and taken to the local hardware shop to get the collars disconnected. Later that night they learned to work together when the owner of the hardware shop tried to rob the garage.
  • In the ST:TOS novel How Much for Just the Planet, by John M. Ford, Uhura and Aperokei wind up handcuffed together and have to deal with that while on the run.
  • Company Z stage this in Rapido Clint by J.T. Edson: having Alvin Fog pose as a criminal and handcuffing him to a wanted felon, then orchestrating an escape so the felon will take Alvin to his boss.

    Music 
  • The video for Michael Jackson's "Beat It" has two rival gang leaders tie their hands to each other for the world's most stylized knife fight.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • One FoxTrot storyline had Jason and Paige stuck together by bubblegum (made with industrial polymers) when their bubbles touch — which has the added awkwardness of connecting them by the faces rather than their arms. When the realization sinks in that they're going to have to sleep and shower together, they scream so loudly that it blows the gum right off.
  • Garfield, alongside first Jon, then Odie, spent several weeks stuck in a window blind together. Somehow, this gets parsed as something freaky by the woman Jon asks to try and help them get out of this...
    • They are later joined by a man, an old lady, and eventually a street light.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • A "Strap Match" is a Gimmick Match with two wrestlers tied to opposite ends of a belt, rope, steel chain, or anything similar in order to keep them in close proximity to each other. This can also be referred to as a "Dog Collar Match," when the competitors are shackled at the neck.
    • Differs from most other depictions in that the two wrestlers are not forced to cooperate. In fact, the whole point of the strap match is to force the two wrestlers to fight each other while tied together. This naturally is a great disadvantage for some wrestlers, as it takes their signature moves out of play.

    Theater 
  • In The 39 Steps, the main character is handcuffed to a woman who thinks he is a murderer. He must drag her with him as he tries to escape the villain's henchmen.

    Web Animation 
  • On Homestar Runner, Strong Bad says (and shows via a flashback) that he once glued Homsar to Marzipan and "left them for dead".
    Marzipan: Ooh, I hear wolves coming.
    Homsar: Aaaah'm the human wedgie!
  • In an episode of Happy Tree Friends Handy and Mole are chained together by Lumpy who's acting as a highway patrol officer, eventually Mole dies and Handy has to drag his corpse around with him before he's hit by a train.

    Web Comics 

    Real Life 
  • A news clip showed two prisoners in New Zealand who escaped handcuffed together. Obviously they weren't very bright, while fleeing one tried to go on one side of a lightpole and the other tried the other side. No points for guessing what happened next. (Alternate source Alternate source 2)
    • This may be to do with an urban legend that doing so will break the handcuffs. If so this is not the first time it has been debunked, two British prisoners in the 1990s even admitted that was how they broke their arms.
  • The exact same thing happened to a trio in Ontario. It's been shown in both Police Videos and Most Shocking (the latter under the "Dumbest Criminals" episode, no less). The trio were being unloaded from a paddy wagon when they decided to bolt. Two went to the left, one to the right. They hit the pole; Hilarity Ensues.
    Cop #1: "You guys are idiots."
    Cop #2: "You also have the right to be stupid."
  • Truth in Television. In the late 90s a British judge was faced with two pensioners whose feud had made nearby neighbors' lives miserable. He gave them a choice between jail or a number of hours per day handcuffed together for a month. They were smart enough to realise that settling their feud would be the least unpleasant choice.


Cardboard PrisonPrison TropesConsulting a Convicted Killer
Break Up Make Up ScenarioRule of DramaChandler's Law
Carpet-Rolled CorpseBound and GaggedChained to a Bed
Cain and AbelDiscord TropesCock Fight
Caught Up in the RaptureThis Index Is Not An ExampleA Child Shall Lead Them

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