Like an Old Married Couple

Penny: It's kind of nice. Look at us, I'm reading, you're reading. We're like an old married couple.
Sheldon: If we were an old married couple, the wife would serve iced tea and snickerdoodles.
Penny: I don't have iced tea and snickerdoodles.
Sheldon: A good wife would go to the store.
Penny: I want a divorce...
Sheldon: Good, on the way to the lawyers pick up some tea and cookies.

Two characters who seem very comfortable with each other to the point that it seems like they have been married for a long time, though obviously it doesn't apply to couples who actually have been together for a long time. Usually it is done through constant arguments with each other, as only people who are so closely bonded can have such open communication between them (whether they will admit it or not). Someone is apt to comment that they behave just like a married couple.

Typically the argument will be a back and forth of opinions, such as a Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate. It is likely to get heated but neither of them are willing to just leave. In extreme cases it might start getting ugly with insults about personal issues being flung about. If not an argument based, it is often tied with Heterosexual Life-Partners where domestic issues are a common topic.

Often applied to those with Belligerent Sexual Tension and UST. Compare Slap-Slap-Kiss. See also She Is Not My Girlfriend. For the Just Friends version, see Vitriolic Best Buds. Can be a staple of having characters be Mistaken for Gay by way of adding to the Ho Yay-derived humor.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mazinger Z: Kouji and Sayaka were like this. Once while they are arguing -and fighting- in the background, Shiro is fortune-telling. He notes the cards tell his brother and Sayaka are destined to be together forever.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water: From the moment Jean and Nadia find Marie, they become an almost familial unit - with the two of them essentially acting as her guardians. Though Jean and Nadia's relationship takes time, between spats and misunderstandings, to where they become comfortable with each other.
  • Shinji and Asuka in Neon Genesis Evangelion. The above running gag about Nadia and Jean was parodied by Toji about them.
    Toji: Uh oh, look out! The newlyweds are fighting!
    • Shinji and Asuka double on this score in the Lighter and Softer manga spinoffs. There, Asuka's rage level and Shinji's Extreme Doormat level are both turned down, so there's more arguing and more friendship at the same time. They're always together, care for each other deeply, and... never stop griping at each other. (Add to that Asuka crushing on Shinji, Shinji not noticing, and that being the cause of Asuka's more canon-Asuka-ish moments.) It's still Toji who jokes about it; he refers to them as "the newlyweds" more often than he actually uses their names.
    • Ritsuko once said that Misato and Kaji act like a married couple
  • Ranma ½: This observation is what gets Ranma and Akane engaged.
    • Even their classmates notice.
      "Ooo! A lovers' quarrel!"
      "Practically married already."
    • After the end of the manga, they almost are, if not for the wedding being interrupted.
  • Bulma and Vegeta in Dragon Ball do this infrequently in some episodes and the movies too. It's pretty funny watching them snip at each other.
    • Goku and Vegeta also get a good share of bickering in, mostly while exploring Buu's body in Z and during the battle against Omega Shenron in GT.
  • In episode 2 of Digimon Savers, Marcus is trying to tell Yoshi to leave, but she refuses, so they get into an argument. Then Kristy walks past:
    Kristy: (to Marcus and Yoshi) Stop arguing like an old married couple.
    Marcus and Yoshi: We're not a couple!
  • Mentioned about Yusuke and Kuwabara in YuYu Hakusho. Botan even has an Imagine Spot dedicated to it.
  • Another Ho Yay example has Doumeki and Watanuki of Xxx HO Li C behave like this around each other, much to the amusement of Yuuko (and the readers).
  • Konata and Kagami from Lucky Star are pretty good examples of this. Much of their dialogue consists of verbal jousting, and the barbs get quite vicious on occasion. You just know that both would happily give every organ in their body to the other if they had to.
  • Negi and Asuna of Mahou Sensei Negima! have gotten this at least once.
    • Kotaro and Natsumi sometimes act similarly too. They eventually do get married.
    • Chisame sometimes acts this way towards Negi as well, possibly lampshading it during the Magic World arc when she appoints herself Asuna's proxy.
  • Gilbert and Alice of Pandora Hearts have the tendency to act like this. All the time. they can hardly have a serious conversation without making some sarcastic retort to the other. Oscar even made the comment that "They get along well enough to bicker".
    • Elliot and Leo also have the tendency to bicker over various things, and some of these bickerings may escalate to an outright fight with a lot of fighting and throwing of various nearby objects. Despite this (more like because of), they're still best friends.
  • Heiji and Kazuha from Detective Conan, they are Childhood Friends who bicker with each other, but do love each other, even if they have a very hard time confessing to each other.
    • The same goes to Shinichi in Ran; when Conan was reverted to Shinichi for a day in Desperate Revival, their classmates just referred to them as married.
  • In the Love Hina manga, when Keitaro decides to get a job, he suits up and all the girls laugh at him. Naru however, does up his tie, leading Kitsune to make this exact comment about them. Denials follow.
  • Not lampshaded in the animanga itself, but Yamamoto and Gokudera from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! do act like this
  • Lovely Complex: Koizumi and Otani are accused of acting like this - after they're already together, surprisingly, but they still both get embarrassed.
  • Beyblade (the dub, at least): Max and Rey describe Tyson and Kai this way. The amount of Slash Fic those two inspired back in the day makes this about ten times funnier.
  • Kyo and Yuki are called out on this (word for word) by Shigure in Fruits Basket. They're both displeased with the comment.
  • Oh my god England and America from Axis Powers Hetalia, whose arguments have warranted a comment from France about their UST... and their UST... and their UST.
    • And with that, there's France and England, who've known each other since the very beginning of time and probably have a thousand romance tropes under their belt.
  • After consummating their love for one another Guts and Casca from Berserk begin acting like this toward one another throughout the entire Griffith rescue operation, with them both getting miffed and jealous toward one another, but are clearly seen being very caring and sentimental toward each other (with some Slap-Slap-Kiss action in-between, especially from Casca). Judeau and Pippin take this as a good thing and play it for the laughs. Griffith, judging from they way he is staring at the couple from underneath his helmet and seeing that he had been through the hideous ordeal of being tortured for a year only to come back to see a change in authority, power, and affection between Guts, Casca, and himself doesn't seem very pleased with this...
  • Naruto has one with the villains; both Deidara and Sasori and Kakuzu with Hidan bicker to one another like, as fans put, this trope. However, they take it in two different ways; Deidara and Sasori, being artists, bicker about their type of art (apparently often), even when the situation at hand has NOTHING to do with it. Kakuzu and Hidan, on the other hand, already hate each other, so all they need is one reason, and they're very likely to go off on one another and spend a pointless amount of time doing so.
  • Black☆Star and Tsubaki from Soul Eater are all but Happily Married. They are even raising a kid together!
    • Maka and Soul too. They are very comfortable around each other (like the above two, they live together), have the occasional lover's spat and Snark-to-Snark Combat and can read each other well. Arachne even comments on of the fights they had as entertaining.
  • Free has Haruka and Makoto. The latter is frequently seen taking care of Haru, saying exactly what he thinks and knowing just how to convince him of something. The occasional bickering, while quite mild, is also present. In recent episodes though their relationship starts to show signs of slipping into other territories.
  • Levi and Hanji from Attack on Titan seem to have this going on. They're implied to have known each other for quite some time and they're almost always teasing one another. (Something most people would get roundhouse kicked for if they tried that with Levi.)
  • Sayaka and Kyouko, of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, evolved from bitter rivals to this by the time of the Drama CDs and The Movie. They could be argued as Vitriolic Best Buds, but that's certainly not how the fandom sees it.
  • Hotsuma and Shusei of UraBoku are super harmonic and gentle with each other but they do bicker quite often and Luka (yes, that Luka) calls them out on it at one point. They're not amused.
  • Patlabor: While the relationship between Captains Gotoh and Shinobu is strictly professional, they fit the trope to a tee. Their bickering rarely goes beyond snarking, and they relate as if they've known each other their entire lives. This is best seen in "The SVU's Longest Day" in the OVA continuity, and the entirety of the "Two in Karuizawa" episode in The Mobile Police/New Files continuity.
  • Highschool of the Dead: It takes awhile for them to get there, but it's clear that Hirano and Saya are made for each other. By chapter 29, it's gone beyond the point where everyone can see it, to the two of them practically being Alice's foster parents.
  • Lelouch and C.C. from Code Geass have a constant back and forth going on, usually involving C.C. stealing his credit cards to order ridiculous amounts of pizza among other things. In addition, they share Lelouch's room, possibly his bed, and C.C. is constantly seen wearing his clothes.
  • In Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san has an adorable "rivalry" with his cute classmate, with them each trying to get the other to react or blush. They aren't quite at the point of being an official couple, but the rest of their class thinks of them as such.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America and Iron Man, throughout almost all of their friendship.
  • On a totally different note, Lewis Trondheim's Kaput & Zosky.
  • Booster Gold used the phrase (in #36 of his ongoing title) to describe his own relationship with Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), after Brainiac 2 assumed they were lovers. (This was rather a broad-minded assumption on Brainy's part, but only because Ted had been transformed into a chipmunk at the time).
  • Wolverine and Nightcrawler act as a married couple and parents, sometimes for Kitty and Piotr (with Dad!Wolverine being hard when Piotr hurts Kitty or 's wishing that his "daughter" remains on the team)
  • Bone gives us the Two Stupid Rat Creatures. Pretty much every time they appear they spend most of their panel time bickering with each other like idiots. The fact that one of them is hopelessly determined to eat a quiche dosen't help.
    Purple Rat: If we keep him for ourselves we can do whatever we want with him.
    Brown Rat: Does that include baking him into a quiche?
  • In their neverending quest to include as many Ho Yay tropes as they possibly can without kissing on-panel, Professor X and Magneto spend seemingly more time doing this than they do actually battling.
    Magneto: I generated a pocket wormhole.
    Professor X: I don't believe this. I leave you alone for barely a night...

    Fan Works 
  • Evangelion 303: As soon as they met Shinji and Asuka bickered. They were attracted each other, argued constantly, opened up each other and talked about personal issues... and as soon as Shinji moved in the base Asuka started to spend her whole free time in his home, sleeping in his bed, using his shower... and Shinji cooked for her. When he left for a week Asuka stayed the whole time in his home... and that was BEFORE they got together and long before they got engaged.

    Films - Animated 

    Films - Live Action 
  • This is the relationship between Maleficent and Diaval, helped by the fact they've been Parental Substitutes for Aurora ever since she was a baby.
    Diaval: How could you do that to me?
    Maleficent: You said anything I need.
    Diaval: Yeah, but not a dog! Dogs are nasty and vicious and they eat birds!
    Maleficent: Fine. Next time I'll turn you into a mealy worm.
    Diaval: I'll be a mealy worm, gladly!
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Snape enters the Shrieking Shack and remarks to Sirius and Lupin, "Listen to you two, quarreling like an old married couple."
  • This is how Robert Downey, Jr. described the relationship between his character and Watson in Sherlock Holmes.
  • Grapevine. To Susan Crawford and Matt Brewer:
    Thumper Klein: Why don't you two just get married right now? You already argue like an old married couple.
  • Lampshaded by Word of God in his commentary of Red Eye when Lisa reminds Jackson of his promise that he would call off the gunman in front of her father's house:
    Jackson: What?
    Lisa: You know what. My dad. Make the call. Your part of the deal.
    [Jackson takes the phone and puts it on the receiver]
    Jackson: I still need you.
    Lisa: You promised.
    Jackson: And I'll keep that promise...
  • In The Naked Gun 33 1/3, Frank Drebin is infiltrating a family gang hired to blow up the Academy Awards. Then his wife Jane shows up, thinking that he is cheating on her. Playing his role, he suggests they keep her as a hostage. Then they start arguing (even though they supposedly don't know each other), causing the head of the gang to get suspicious and claim that they sound like they're married.
  • High Anxiety the Mel Brooks character and Arthur Brisbane's daughter use this to get through airport security undetected by being a loud old arguing married (Jewish) couple.
  • Detective Spooner and Doctor Calvin in I Robot.
  • Scientists Dr. Newton Geiszler and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb in Pacific Rim, which may be the most popular pairing in the fandom despite a couple of canonical pairings. Though they almost never stop fighting over their approaches to the kaiju, they really do seem to care about each other:

  • Shasta and Aravis in The Horse and His Boy. They end up getting married "so as to do it more conveniently."
  • Tonker and Lofty in Monstrous Regiment. Jackrum blurts out 'What are you, married?' at them in the middle of the book, though it's quite likely that he already knew they were an item.
  • In Boundary the two linguists are described as this by several characters. They end up getting a Relationship Upgrade at the end making then the Gamma Couple
  • Monk and Ham in the Doc Savage novels.
  • It's more subtle than usual, but in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ron and Hermione's bickering strongly reminds Harry of Molly and Arthur Weasley's bickering at one point. Molly and Arthur are an old married couple. Pretty damn cool method of foreshadowing.
  • In one of the Bunnicula books, "Return to Howliday Inn", the ghost (actually Hamlet the dog pulling some ventriloquism) comments that Harold and Chester argue like an old married couple.
  • Toward the beginning of Redwall, as Matthias and Cornflower take care of the Churchmouse twins, Colin Vole comments knowingly that they're like an old wedded couple. He's instantly told off, since Matthias is in line to become a brother in the Redwall order, but sure enough, they're married by the end of the book.
  • Asher and Eliza in Someone Else's War. Respectively sixteen and fourteen.
  • The relationship of Christine Taylor and her brother Lee's high school friend Dayton Nickles when she comes back to the Indian reservation when she contracts a terminal illness in Michael Dorris' A Yellow Raft In Blue Water.
  • British statesman Lord Chesterfield in Letters to His Son: "the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Pitt jog on like man and wife; that is, seldom agreeing, often quarreling; but by mutual interest, upon the whole, not parting." (letter 221)
  • The bickering between Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin can take on this edge since their working relationship specifically revolves around the latter being hired to nag, provoke and irritate the former into working when he is determined not to.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Smallville, Lois and Clark are all over this for years before they actually even admit having feelings for one another.
  • Boston Legal has Denny Crane and Alan Shore, who make more jokes about their own Ho Yay than the rest of the cast put together. When Denny catches Alan doing their Once an Episode balcony routine with another man, he reacts as though Alan were cheating on him. In the finale, they actually do get married and literally become an old married couple, which is to say they are 'old' (Denny is 75) and married.
  • Cheers. Three words: Sam and Diane.
    Sam: You know—while we're talking about problems, you wanna know what really, REALLY bugs me about you?
    Diane: Fine!
    Sam: The way you eat pretzels! (Beat)
    Diane: Pretzels!
    Sam: Yeah, that's right—three bites! Not two, not one like the rest of us—but THREE BITES!
    Diane: Do you want to know what "bugs" me about YOU?!
    Sam: Oh, I'd love to. What?
  • Frasier.
    • In the episode "Bla-Z-Boy", Frasier becomes upset that he's been living with his father for 8 years, and 26 if his childhood is included. Things come to a boil when Daphne mentions that the two could be considered common law spouses. After Frasier snarks at Martin an umpteenth time, Roz muses, "Just like an old married couple!", which makes Frasier absolutely fume. This ends up causing a bit of friction over the episode, since Frasier isn't particularly thrilled with the implication that the most significant relationship he's ever had or is likely to have is with his father.
    • Also, Martin and Daphne on a constant basis. While their relationship is strictly father-daughter/doctor-patient, whenever they argue they really do sound exactly like an old married couple. Beautifully played with in the episode "Three Valentines". When Daphne and Martin find themselves having dinner together on Valentines Day, Daphne starts talking about their relationship, and how she enjoys looking after him, and it's almost like Martin is her ... then breaks off. It eventually turns out that she was thinking "It's sort of like you're my pet". Cue them arguing ... like an old married couple.
    • And Frasier and Niles, of course, do this constantly, what with the nitpicking, unwarranted commentary, and the barrage of swiftly and pitch-perfectly thrown insults so easy and practiced that it's almost a reflex. Whenever they don't sound like Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, they sound like Fred and Ethel Mertz, to the point of Does This Remind You of Anything?.
  • The Adventures Of Sinbad (1996). Sinbad and Maeve are arguing.
    Caipra: Alright you two, that's enough. Stop acting like an old married couple.
  • Dr. House and and his bromantic best friend Dr. Wilson in House. They even live together for the better part of season 6 and for a few episodes in season 2.
    House: Please have an answer to this question: what's for dinner?
    Wilson: You STILL haven't done the dishes?!
  • Lily and Marshall in How I Met Your Mother. In one episode, where the couple remains in the bathroom after their friend Ted and girlfriend Victoria don't realize they are home after staving of their anniversary vacation, Lily says that her and Marshall seem like an old married couple...
    Lily: And we're not even married yet!
  • A memorable scene in Babylon 5 had Londo and G'Karnote  arguing, to which a newcomer to the station remarks, "I wonder how long they've been married."
    • Of course, jokes about G'Kar and Londo being a married couple go all the way back to the first season, in a weird form of Everyone Can See It.
    • Doctor Franklin and Marcus Cole tended towards this when working together, most particularly when they were undercover in a Smithical Marriage.note 
    • Also Captain John Sheridan and his exec Commander Susan Ivanova, who had worked together even before he was stationed at Babylon 5. Because she's his Number Two (and also his best friend), they go back and forth like this a lot, especially when she's playing Commander Contrarian. Unlike many examples of this trope, however, there is no risk of this relationship turning romantic; Sheridan is desperately in love with Delenn, and in any case he and Susan acknowledge openly and comfortably that there's absolutely nothing of that sort between them anyway (in the middle of a bickering match that could easily make new viewers think they actually are siblings). This doesn't stop them from interacting like they've been married for decades, though.
  • Friends: Chandler and Monica at times. A hilarious scene has them seriously discussing how to organize their CD's while Rachel, who has actual romantic problems, almost explodes with frustration.
    Chandler: Well, if we’re gonna do that we should come up with some kind of order. Y’know alphabetically or by genre?
    Monica: Hmm, I don’t know. We really have to talk this through.
    Rachel: Oh my God!! You guys have such problems!! I feel so terrible for you
  • Doctor Who
    • In the episode "Forest of the Dead", one of several arguments between the Doctor and River Song is interrupted by a character remarking that they're "squabbling like an old married couple". Naturally, they are, in fact, married.
    • The like-an-old-married-couple-factor is taken to the next level in "The Big Bang". When the Doctor saves River from a constant time-loop, he teleports into the TARDIS and saves her life that way. The following dialogue occurs:
      The Eleventh Doctor: "Honey, I'm home!"
      River: "And what sort of time do you call this?"
    • "The Pandorica Opens." Christ.
      The Eleventh Doctor: You graffitied the oldest cliff face in the universe!
      River: You wouldn't answer your phone!
    • The first time Amy Pond met River, she eventually asked if River and the Doctor were married.
    • The Fourth Doctor and Romana in the Classic series. True for both of her, as Romana I's book-smart personality clashes with the Doctor's street-wise nature and Romana II... well... yeah.
    • The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble. There had to be a reason why everyone kept mistaking them for married. Ironic, since Donna is the only long-term female companion in New Who who isn't hot for the Doctor.
    • The Sixth Doctor and Peri seemed to do this a lot. Every episode with them has them exchanging insults and arguing about the stupidest things.
    • And now added onto the list of girls who argue provocatively with the Doctor, we have the old girl herself, in "The Doctor's Wife".
      The Eleventh Doctor: You are not my mother!
      TARDIS-Idris:' And you are not my child!
    • The Android Invasion gives us Kraal Mad Scientist Styggron and his colleague Chedaki, who do nothing but snark and snip at one another throughout the story.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series seemed to have an old married threesome:
  • Lenni from Ghostwriter gets pissed off at her dad after he remarks that she and the boy she's working on a school project with are acting "like an old married couple."
  • The Not That There's Anything Wrong with That Trope Namer episode of Seinfeld has the reporter who thinks Jerry and George are a gay couple include the line "The two bicker about the cleanliness of a piece of fruit like an old married couple." in her article about Jerry.
  • NCIS. ("One Shot One Kill"). Kate is bickering with DiNozzo about his driving.
    Gibbs: Brings back memories.
    Kate: Memories of what?
    Gibbs: Marriage.
    • Tony and McGee, in "Guilty Pleasure".
      Ziva: You know what, you two? I have actually heard of this. You two are having a seven year bitch.
      Tony: Itch, and yes we are.
      Ziva: You two are like a married couple.
    • Tony and Ziva themselves can be like this.
    • Gibbs and Jenny Shepard often resembled this too. She stole his coffee, he used her glasses, and they generally acted comfortable around each other, though they also had amazing arguments.
      Gibbs: No they're not - they're still speaking.
    • Oddly, Gibbs and FBI's Tobias Fornell also qualified as this sometimes.
  • iCarly: Freddie and Carly act like this, but more the "familiar and comfortable with one another" side than the bickering one.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Daniel Jackson and Jack O'Neill. This does help in at least three cases to help prove the identity of one of them:
      • In "Holiday", an old alien scientist switches bodies with Daniel, so Daniel has to convince the others that he really is trapped in an old man's body. O'Neill asks what color Daniel's sister's dress was when they went out last time. Daniel retorts that he doesn't have a sister, and if he did, he'd never let her date Jack.
      • In "Crystal Skull", Daniel is stuck out-of-phase and cannot be heard or seen except by his grandfather Nick. Daniel has Nick repeat everything he says exactly. Jack is being his usual smart-ass self and comments on how Daniel has "lost a lot of weight". Daniel absently comments "Jack, don't be an ass." Nick, of course, repeats the phrase verbatim, prompting O'Neill to realize that only Daniel would say that.
      • In "Fragile Balance", a teenager claiming to be Jack O'Neill (actually, a clone) arrives to the SGC and tries to prove he is who he says he is. Then arrives Daniel, prompting this exchange.
        O'Neill Clone: Daniel! Will you tell them who I am? Please?
        Daniel Jackson: Okay. Love to. Who are you?
        General Hammond: This boy claims he's Colonel O'Neill.
        Daniel Jackson: This is a joke right?
        O'Neill Clone: Daniel!
        Daniel Jackson: Sounds like him, at least the loud grating part.
    • Daniel and Vala. When those two get started, it's best to just sit back and get ready to laugh, a lot.
  • Stargate Atlantis: Sheppard and Weir. Their bickering about intergalactic space vampires and a mythological city comes across like arguing about washing up duty.
  • Siskel & Ebert
    • While not nearly as often, there were a few times where Ebert and Richard Roeper had this (though the generational gap made it seem more like a father/son disagreement). Also happened a few times after Roger left with Roeper and Michael Phillips.
  • On The X-Files, Mulder and Scully are frequently like this. In the beginning, it was bickering over scientific versus paranormal, but after awhile it was just... married couple bickering. They are often mistaken for a married couple by non-recurring characters. And to put this in perspective, Mulder's nickname at the FBI is "Spooky". Scully's? "Mrs. Spooky".
    • From "Syzygy":
      Mulder: Eh, Scully, if I'm not mistaken, we're gonna be taking a left up here. Eh, there's an intersection up here, you're gonna wanna... Scully! You're gonna, wanna... You just ran a stop sign back there, Scully.
      Scully: Shut up, Mulder.
      Mulder: Sure, fine, whatever.
    • Nowhere does it get more obvious than the season 6 episode "Arcadia", in which they go undercover as a married couple. The Fridge Brilliance of that episode is that it wasn't originally an X-File, it was simply a missing-person case in a creepy neighborhood. Which means out of all the male/female FBI pairs, whoever headed this case felt that Mulder and Scully would be most believable as a married couple.
    • From "Bad Blood": Mulder and Scully are waiting for a meeting and both are very nervous and anxious because Mulder stuck a stake through a teenager's chest, and the Bureau might face a major law suit and obviously he might end up in prison. Scully tries to adjust Mulder's tie and he just angrily pushes her hands away. She then pesters him to keep reminding their supervisor that he was drugged, which he refuses, convinced that he has killed a vampire. When AD Skinner appears, the very first thing Mulder very eagerly says? "I was drugged!"
  • All three presenters on Top Gear, but particularly Jeremy Clarkson and James May.
  • Psych
    • Shawn and Gus. Fangirls will tell you, "THEY ARE SO MARRIED!!!" Though, they are legally domestic partners.
    • Shawn and Lassiter.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Raj and Howard are called out on this multiple times, most notably by Leonard's incredibly blunt scientist mother who asserts that Raj is afraid of women and Howard has unresolved Oedipal issues, so it's not surprising they've formed "an ersatz homosexual marriage."
    • When Leonard wanted time alone to Skype with his girlfriend, Sheldon patiently waited at Penny's apartment. They were both doing their own things, reading on the couch and chair and Penny mentioned how it feels like they are an old married couple (they are friends but no one can annoy each other the way the other can). They get into a mock fight where Sheldon demanded she get a treat, Penny asked for a divorce and Sheldon said to get the treat on the way to the lawyers office. They both briefly laugh over their "argument."
    • Leonard and Penny tried to hang out as merely friends and found that they had a lot of unresolved issues between them that caused them to argue. It really surfaced when they went to a bar and both of them tried to chat up other people, leading to embarassing secrets being discussed openly.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Will invoked this about his bickering with Jazz. Jazz's response, naturally, "Oh, now I'm 'old'?!"
  • The Goodies had an episode in which Tim and Bill bickered about dinner in this fashion, complete with snarky hissing and turning their backs on one another. Context: Tim was giving a gourmet meal to a guinea pig. (It Makes Sense In...uh...further...contexty...things...)
    Tim: ...Ruddy 'ell!
    Bill: Surely you're not resentful toward a little kindness for one of our dumb friends?
    Tim: The only dumb friend I've got is you!
    Bill: Well, thank you, after I make supper for you—
    Tim: Look, we can hardly afford to feed ourselves, and you start giving four-course meals to flaming guinea pigs!
    Bill: [turns his back] Temper, temper...
    Tim: Well, since when have we eaten that well!
    Bill: Since when indeed, yes...what did we get last time you cooked supper, eh? [Tim turns his back as well] A bowl of corn flakes! Yes, and they were burnt...
    Tim: Well, better than your soggy lettuce and potato peelings...
    Bill: [turns back around, snapping] On the money you give me you're very lucky to get anything at all, I can tell you! [turning his back, hands on hips] Oh, I've a good urge to go back to mother's...
    Tim: Well go.
    Bill: I shall.
    Graeme: Now listen!
    Bill and Tim: AND YOU KEEP OUT OF THIS!
    Graeme: Tim, you are being very, very silly!
    Tim: Oh, you always take sides with him, don't you...
  • Royal Pains has Divya and Evan set up on a "kiss and make up date" by Hank.
    Divya: Here's an idea—let's have dinner, but absolutely no conversation.
    Evan: Yeah, like we're married.
  • Fargo: the hitman pair of Mr Numbers and Mr Wrench. Their actors were specifically told to interact like an old married couple, and the arguments witnessed between them (coupled with their obvious ease around each other) certainly give off that impression.
  • Bones and Booth argue about everything, but no-one doubts that they love each other.
    • They are aware of it too, but they're just terrible at timing. Booth first confesses his feelings at the end of Season 5, but Bones is not ready. This causes them to break up the team and leave (Bones to a dig, and Booth to Afghanistan). After 7 months, they come back, but Booth has already found someone else. Then Bones has a revelation and realizes she missed her once chance with Booth. Then Booth has a bad break-up with his girlfriend but warns Bones that his heart was broken one too many times, and they can only stay friends and colleagues, nothing more. But then, they had sex and now they're having a baby.
  • In the Gilmore Girls episode "Happy Birthday, Baby", Lane witnesses one of Rory and Jess's arguments and even says as much. Jess is noticeably pleased.
    Jess: Hey.
    Rory: Hey.
    Jess: I got the video for tonight.
    Rory: What’d you get?
    Jess: Almost Famous.
    Rory: No, not again.
    Jess: I can’t help it, I’m addicted.
    Rory: Fine, but if I’m going to spend two hours sitting there watching Kate Hudson commit suicide again, then we are ordering Indian food.
    Jess: Oh, come on.
    Rory: Hey, last night when we watched Ed Wood we got burgers like you wanted to.
    Jess: Okay, fine – tonight, Indian food, but tomorrow, Saturday Night Fever and Thai food.
    Lane: That’s so cute. You’re like a really sweet old agoraphobic couple.
    Jess: Thank you very much.
    • Ironically Jess's uncle Luke and Rory's mother Lorelai have the same dynamic, much to the amusement of the other characters.
  • During the Ashes to Ashes Grand Finale, Shaz mentions that she's amazed Chris and Ray never tied the knot.
  • J.D. and Turk on Scrubs. For instance, when Dr Cox sees J.D. welcoming Turk and Carla back from their honeymoon:
    Dr Cox: Ghandi, Mrs Ghandi ... Carla.
    • They even do it to themselves:
      Turk: When Sam gets older I teach him about sports and stuff, and you're in charge of Izzy's emotional crap. We agreed, that's how we'd raise our kids.
      J.D.: "Our kids"? Turk, we're not married.
      Turk: Dude, we're a little married.
      J.D.: I know, I love it.
    • This hasn't escaped Carla's notice either, for that matter.
      Carla: Tell me my husband loves me more than he loves you.
      J.D.: It's about the same.
      Carla: (sighs, smiling) I'll take it.
  • It has been noted by several observers that the frequently-bickering-yet-intensely-close friendship that Castle's Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett have become embroiled in is like, well, they're already married (or at least in a relationship). In one notable example, a suggestion that they brainstorm from the perspective of a married couple ended up with the two of them arguing like a married couple about being a married couple.
  • In Seven Days, Frank and Olga needed to infiltrate a cult holed up in a country house. Their superiors suggest they go in as husband and wife. Some arguments ensue, and we get...
    "Sounds married to me"
  • Glitch and Cain of SyFy's Tin Man, starting pretty much immediately after they meet. And that's not where the Ho Yay ends, either.
  • A Law & Order/Homicide Life On The Street crossover has one of the Baltimore detectives theorizing that Briscoe and Munch were "married in a former life."
  • In the new Hawaii Five-0 Steve and Danny have this in spades. They spend nearly every minute of screentime bickering and it has been lampshaded by other characters several times "How long have you two been married?" and "Are you talking to your wife?" They even managed to bicker whilst confronting a serial killer who had a hostage on a clifftop (though the argument is partially staged as a ploy to distract the criminal.)
    Danny: *talking to the criminal* Listen to me, I know what’s it like to have someone you love walk away from you.
    Steve: *to Danny* What are you doing?
    Danny: What?
    Steve: What are you doing, the guy’s clearly a psychopath, you’re trying to make friends with him? You’re trying to connect?
    Danny: He’s standing right here in front of us!
    Steve: Danny you’re a cop, not a therapist.
    Danny: Hey, hey I’ve been trained for this kind of thing okay!
    Steve: What, to bore people into submission?
    Danny: *to the criminal* Don’t listen to him okay, he’s idea of communication is he drops a witty one liner and shoots you in the face!
    Steve: You know what maybe I should just shoot this guy so he doesn’t have to listen to you talk!
    • Also notable is the 'Sexy Eyes' cargument:
      *Steve turns on the radio; Sexy Eyes is playing*
      * pause, in which Danny's face is a CMOF all on its own*
      Danny: Are you serious?
      Steve: What?
      Danny: You’re not going to change this?
      Steve: What’s wrong with this?
      Danny: You're going to leave this, you’re not going to do something about this?
      Steve: Its okay.
      Danny: It's okay?! Alright, listen. I know you have been trained to endure torture, okay, but this is unbearable! This is not right, songs this bad make stable people wanna kill other people, understand?
      (Danny turns the radio off)
      Steve: I think it's kind of catchy… *turns it back on*
    • In the season four episode "Kupu'eu", Danny tries to start an argument with Joe White about the shocks on his car (the two traveling down a dirt road at the time). Joe invokes the trope by name while asking if that's all Danny and Steve do in the car.
    • In the season five premiere, Steve and Danny go to therapy. It was technically part of the mandatory psych evaluation, but ends up looking more like marriage counseling.
  • Inspector Lynley: The eponymous Inspector Lynley and his partner Sergeant Barbara Havers, at least once they've got comfortable with each other. By the end of the programme, they practically are married — it's just not sexual. Yet.
  • John and Sherlock of Sherlock fit this trope perfectly. Their constant bickering over silly things, like whose turn it is to buy the milk and where Sherlock puts his experiments, comes off very much like a married couple — especially because they're flatmates, partners-in-crime-solving and Heterosexual Life-Partners. It's one of the reasons they're constantly Mistaken for Gay. Mrs. Hudson even refers to one of their quarrels as "a little domestic."
  • Starsky & Hutch tend to bicker like this a lot.
  • During the "Rashomon"-Style episode of Supernatural, Bobby calls Sam and Dean out on this as they try to paint each other in the worst possible light.
    Dean: No, see, married couples can get divorced. Me and him? We're like, uh, Siamese twins.
    Sam: It's conjoined twins!
    Dean: See what I mean?
    • Done again in the episode "Pac-Man Fever"
    Dean: Sounds like something you should read about. In a book. At home.
    Sam: I'm not leaving until we find out whatever is doing this.
    Dean: Whatever. [stalks off]
    Charlie: You guys fight like an old married couple.
  • Josh and Donna on The West Wing. At one point they spend an entire episode arguing over whether their anniversary is in February or in April (the anniversary of when she came to work for him, that is).
    • POTUS and Leo also act like this on occasion. (Both actors admitted to this in interviews, but each claimed that the other was the wife.)
      Bartlet: Honey, if we're gonna have this fight, can we not do it in front of the Joint Chiefs? It just scares the hell out of them.
  • Parodied on a 1997 episode of Wheel of Fortune where, in the final segment, host Pat Sajak and hostess Vanna White are at a table, respectively reading a newspaper and knitting. They both joke that people often interpret them as a married couple (even though in Real Life, both are happily married to different people), with Pat nodding and bluntly finishing all of Vanna's sentences.
  • Covert Affairs Annie and Auggie, definitely. It's lampshaded in the season 2 episode "Half a World Away". Auggie is in Turkey, not answering his phone, and Annie is getting very worried with good reason!. Cue the random stewardess Auggie is with at the time getting an unexpected phone call:
    Annie: *Annoyed tone of voice* Hi, can I talk to Auggie, please?
    Franka: It's for you. I think it's your wife. She sounds rather upset...
  • Damon and Elena in The Vampire Diaries. So much. He even rummages through her underwear drawer! They have a bad case of Slap-Slap-Kiss , and bicker more than they get along, but if one is in trouble, there's nothing the other wouldn't do to help them.
  • Glee has Blaine and Kurt, who, in their own words, are "like a fabulous old married couple."
  • Partners Jay Halstead and Erin Lindsay on Chicago PD, and they've only been working together for a relatively short time. She never lets him drive and he complains that he feels like a house husband, he beats up a guy who catcalls and rudely flirts with her, and they argue a lot, especially about Erin's father figure (and their boss) Voight. Heck, they even argue about their maybe-not-so-professional relationship.
    Jay: Did you see the look on his face?
    Erin: Yeah. So?
    Jay: So?
    Erin: We haven't done anything.
    Jay: Don't I know it.
    Erin: Would you just spit out whatever fit is that you're trying to spit out?
    Jay: Okay. Maybe this last month I don't wanna be the guy you use to get a rise out of your father figure.
    Erin: You wish I was using you.
    Jay: Oh, I'm serious. You have issues, you need to work them out. Work them out without me.
    Erin: I repeat, we haven't done anything. And if you wanna keep it that way-
    Jay: Hey, that'd be great.
    Erin: (annoyed) All right, perfect.
    Jay: Fantastic.
    Erin: You done?
    Jay: I was done long before this conversation started.
    Erin: Really? Then shut up.
    • and then later on...
    Erin: Dinner at The Purple Pig? It's got the dump.
    Jay: Those things suck.
    Erin: I don't think so.
    Jay: Besides, you just told me to shut up and that we're done.
    Erin: No, you told me we were done. But a girl's gotta eat.
    Jay: (annoyed) Now you're hungry.
  • Lucien and Jean in The Doctor Blake Mysteries are mistaken for husband and wife on several occasions. They don't always bother to correct this.
  • Detectives Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago in Brooklyn Nine-Nine fulfill the 'constantly bickering yet have UST' part of the trope, but it's also reinforced in more subtle ways. In particular, both frequently give off the vibe of having spent so much time together and gotten to know each other so well that they've picked up on all sorts of weird little bits of trivia and character tics about the other apparently without even realising it; Peralta, for example, knows all about Santiago's "special routine" for brushing her teeth, while Santiago is aware that Peralta's grandmother called him "pineapples".

  • During a discussion of gay marriage on The News Quiz, Alan Coren claimed to be in "a form of marriage" with his regular News Quiz and Call My Bluff sparring partner Sandi Toksvig (it may or may not be relevent that Sandi is in fact a lesbian).
    Alan: The exact form this takes is not easily defined...
    Sandi: Now, I've explained this; it'll be like any other marriage. We won't have sex, we'll just sit in bed and eat burgers.
    Alan: We did that last week.
    Sandi: That's true, actually...
  • Film critic Mark Kermode and radio presenter Simon Mayo are often compared to an old married couple - by others as well as themselves.
    Simon Mayo: (reading a listener's complaint about her husband not listening to her opinion on films anymore) "This is for the sake of marital harmony."
    Mark Kermode: What, ours?

  • In the final scene The Moon Is Blue, when Patty suddenly starts arguing with Don about spending so much money on gambling, he tells her: "Will you kindly shut up? We're not married yet." She smiles, realizing what he's just said.

    Video Games 
  • Tales Series
    • Asbel and Cheria are like this from time to time in Tales of Graces:
      Cheria: (to Sophie) Come on!
      Sophie: No.
      Asbel: What's going on guys?
      Cheria: Sophie is too picky about what she wants to eat. Come on!
      Sophie: (cowers behind Asbel) No.
      Asbel: Don't be like that Cheria. She doesn't have to eat something she doesn't want to.
      Cheria: *sigh* You coddle her too much. So what do you want for dinner?
      Asbel: Curry sounds good.
      Cheria: Mild I take it?
      Asbel: Yep.
      Cheria: *sigh* You're such a child.
      • Earlier:
        Cheria: Sophie, have you been bathing regularly?
        Sophie: (tilts head to the side before shaking her head)
        Cheria: (Death Glare at Asbel) You're supposed to be taking care of her!
        Asbel: I AM taking care of her. But I mean COME ON! There's only so much one person can do.
        Cheria: *sigh* (exasperated) I guess you're right.
    • Mary observes this of Rutee and Stahn at their very first meeting in Tales of Destiny. Not surprisingly, the pair inevitably become the Official Couple and their son even becomes the star of the sequel, TOD 2.
    • Flynn's joining the party in Tales of Vesperia PS3 gives much more opportunity to learn about his and Yuri's relationship. This trope describes their arguments quite nicely.
    • Same thing with the prequel film First Strike. Flynn squabbles with Yuri about cleaning their room and Yuri's reply is "Yes, mom."
    • This was also mention in one of the skits in Tales of Xillia 2 where Jude and Leia were arguing and one of the options that Lugder has to pick is 'Married Couple. Cue to them being shock and Leia laughed;denies about it...while hitting Ludger with her staff. Ouch.
  • Parodied by Etna in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories when Adell and Rozalin argue.
    Etna: Ah, how cute! You two have one of those kind of relationships going...
  • Mass Effect 2: when you talk to Kasumi on the Normandy, she will mention that Joker and EDI are like an old married couple. EDI claims that what they have is "a platonic symbiosis rather than hormonally induced courtship behavior".
    • The Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC has frequent spats between Liara and Shepard throughout it, especially when Shepard Drives Like Crazy and Liara plays the Backseat Driver.
      Liara: You're enjoying this, aren't you?
    • Mass Effect 3:Citadel has Shepard do this with his/her other love interests.note 
    Shepard: (preparing to shoot a door open) Stand back!
    Love Interest: Wait. (politely knocks on the window and asks) Could you open the door for us?
    (door opens)
    Love Interest: Thank you.
    Volus Skycar Manager: Please leave!
    Love Interest: (looks smug)
    Shepard: Well I could have done that.
  • Dragon Age:
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment with Squall Leon and Aerith, in which the former ask the later if she’ll be okay by herself (the whole town was currently in a crisis) while he goes out to retrieve something, and her only reply is to coldly stare at him, who decides to shut up and leave.
  • During the Portal 2 co-op speedrun at Awesome Games Done Quick 2012, the other viewers joked that there was this kind of chemistry between romscout and ShadowWraith.
    • In the bonus stream, Flicky and PJ had a similar dynamic when they played The Adventures of Cookie & Cream.
  • Lampshaded in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies , because Edgeworth and Phoenix have finally hit that stage. Bobby Fullbright even points out that they're "close enough to argue." In their brief appearance in court together they don't so much argue over facts as quibble about interrupting each other:
    Phoenix: (after Edgeworth withholds some info) Why didn't you just say so in the first place?
    Edgeworth: You're the one who screamed "HOLD IT!" and cut me off!
    • and, when Phoenix presents incorrect evidence:
    Edgeworth: Hmph.
    Phoenix: (Uh oh, I got the hmph treatment...)
  • In the Assassin's Creed series, Shaun and Rebecca are like this throughout each game they appear in.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles
    Tucker: I'm still picking up the reds' transmissions from when we broadcast that Lopez song. There's a lot of chatter.
    Church: Well, are you at least getting any useful information?
    Tucker: Nah, it's just the same two guys bickering like an old married couple. I've only been listening for like five minutes and I can already tell they're really in love. Why can't they see it?
    • Exhibit uh... 807:
      Grif: Hey, what are you doing?
      Simmons: What does it look like? I'm getting in the jeep.
      Grif: What are we, on a date? Get in the back.
      Simmons: Oh, you're so insecure.
  • Parodied, along with Ho Yay, in the Homestar Runner episode "Date Nite". Bubs goes on a date with Marzipan, and Heterosexual Life Partner Coach Z — with curlers in his hair and a rolling pin in his hand — gets angry.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Justice League episode "Hearts and Minds" opens with Hawkgirl and Green Lantern arguing in the middle of repairing the Watchtower. The Flash walks by and remarks, "Geez, you two sound like an old married couple." HG and GL are then completely silent (presumably from embarrassment).
  • In W.I.T.C.H., when Will discovers she can bring inanimate objects to life, her computer and printer react like this.
  • Code Lyoko: Everyone but, well, Yumi and Ulrich are prone to observing how Yumi and Ulrich argue like this.
  • Word of God has described Teen Titans' Beast Boy and Raven like this. It worked too well, and led to the two gaining a sizeable fanbase online. The two eventually became a canonical pairing in the regular DC comics, and ended the pre-New 52 universe together (it didnt carry over into the reboot).
  • Played with on Family Guy when Stewie (pretending to be a teenager) tells his "date" that they'll be "just like an old married couple!" He says it enthusiastically, but the ensuing Cutaway Gag shows aged-up versions of the two of them glaring at each other from opposite ends of a table.
    • Parodied again when Chris runs away form home and moves in with Herbert the pedophile. While Herbert spends the first ten minutes of his screen time going through his usual schtick of trying to get in Chris' pants (with his usual lack of success) by the end of the episode they've devolved into a sexless pseudo-marriage between a slob and a neat freak.
    Chris: Well I was only PRETENDING to be lightheaded! "Oh, this Kool-Aid tastes funny... ohhh! Ohhhh, ahhhhh" Sound familiar?!
  • Time Squad: Larry 3000 and Buck Tuddrussel act like this from the get-go, heck in one episode Larry told him that he's sleeping on the sofa!
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb Interrupted", Perry the Platypus and his nemesis Dr. Doofenshmirtz are fighting over the controls to one of Doof's evil inventions:
    Doofenshmirtz: Awww, Perry the Platypus, look at us! We're fighting over the remote like an old married couple! (Severely) It's not cute.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Despite Billy's protest (and the fact that both are in denial), Billy and Mandy's relationship is basically a cynical Deadpan Snarker wife dealing with her idiot husband's exploits. Why else would Mandy willingly hang out with Billy?
  • Shredder and Krang of the [[1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987]] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series had moments like these.

    Real Life 
  • Chris Farley and David Spade, which was endearing when the friendship didn't border on childish possessiveness. They were undoubtedly best friends, but they could get into some pretty fierce fights, both verbal and physical. On the set of Tommy Boy, they would sometimes go for hours without talking to each other, talk to each other through the director, etc. And when Rob Lowe — who said that they acted like an old married couple — got thrown into the mix... Well, let's just say that Chris's reaction to their "buddies' bar night" was of epic Yanderesque proportions. David got so fed up with Chris hounding him on the subject that he threw his Diet Coke on him, to which Chris responded by throwing David into a wall and down the stairs.
    David Spade: Chris was actually jealous of Rob Lowe. He admitted it later. That's probably why I'm not married now; my first experience didn't work out.
  • Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.