Accept no substitutes!
You can't force someone to fall in love! Fairy Godmother:
I beg to differ. I do it all the time!
Ah, the Love Potion
. Not since the Eskimo Freezer was patented has there ever been such a useless invention. Not that love potions are ineffective
, mind you; it's just that they rarely ever work as intended
, to the point where one wonders why a character would even bother to use them at all. When you see someone employ a Love Potion these days, you almost expect
it to fail. It should be a Discredited Trope
by this time, but for some reason, even the most Genre Savvy
of characters continue to use Love Potions, with said potions continuing to cause far more trouble than they're worth.
The Love Potion comes in three general forms: the Love First Person Sighted
potion, the Love Only Person X
(often containing a hair or other piece of Person X) concoction, and the Get In Touch With Your Wild Side
aphrodisiac. Of course, no matter which type of potion is used, the chances that the right people will actually drink the potion are less than .00001% on average. Even if the potion is put into a drink that's placed directly
into the hands of the people it's intended for, some
kind of mix-up is always bound to occur. For instance, if the Love Potion is given to the princess in an attempt to get her to fall in love with the hero, you can bet your life savings that she'll slip and fall, causing the potion to splash up into the open mouth of the hero-hating Tsundere
. If the potion is a "drink it and fall in love with the first thing that you see" type of deal, it is virtually guaranteed
that the first face the hero will see upon sipping the mixture is that of his own horse or that of his Plucky Comic Relief
Sidekick. Even if it's only an aphrodisiac, a lot
more people than expected are going to unknowingly chug it and engage in activities that put the raunchiest teen parties
Villains don't usually have all that much luck with Love Potions either, as they're often all-too susceptible to being rendered ineffective through that annoyingly pesky "Power of True Love
" thing. No matter how strong a Love Potion
might be at first, it will almost invariably fail once the entranced heroine sees her True Love lying bleeding and battered on the floor, seconds away from doom. In most cases, this will lead to a tearful reconciliation between the hero and heroine and to the hero picking himself up and kicking a lot of ass
(as well as to the villain wondering just where he can get a refund on that stupid wonky potion). An even more chaotic backfiring is when the villain her/himself accidentally drinks said potion. Hilarity Ensues
Villains may employ other means besides potions for winning someone's love (spells, brainwashing, illusions, and the like
) but these usually have a comparable success rate (i.e: none
.) If it's particularly potent, it might cause Love Is in the Air
and affect not just the intended drinker but everyone.
Even on occasions where a love potion works exactly as intended (most often in the case of Love Only Person X), with the right target falling for the right person, the whole thing has a tendency to work a little too well
. The user will find, to their chagrin, that being obsessed over to the point of absurdity either destroys what they found attractive about the love interest in the first place or is simply too much to handle
of magically forcing someone to fall in love or have sex with another is often overlooked, but occasionally explored.
Compare Hypno Ray
, Hypno Trinket
open/close all folders
- Axe/Lynx body spray and Tag shower gel, supposedly. Prepare to be mobbed by armies of attractive members of the opposite sex wanting your bod. Far too many teenage boys hope this to be Truth in Television, and the average Western high school locker room reeks of the stuff.
- One commercial even shows women spontaneously pole-dancing around a pipe, and we pan up to a man in the shower using one of the products.
- Similarily, women showing great affection for metal items partially made from recycled cans of Axe.
- Female cops pulling over, arresting men, and then subjecting them to unreasonable search and seizure should be skyrocketing.
- One of the weirdest was one where a bug bit a guy who'd put on Axe (who of course got some at the bar, though this isn't shown); it was eaten by a frog, who promptly got to mate with the first member of the opposite sex it encountered; the frog was taken for frog legs, eaten by an older, wealthy gentlemen; who then got laid, had a heart attack, and died; who was then eaten by worms; one of which was put in a bottle of mezcal; which upon being swallowed cause the swallower to suddenly become phenomenally attractive to some women in the bar. The circle of life continues.
- And by far the weirdest of these AXE ads is the AXE: Dark Temptation ad. The man puts on the spray and turns into a chocolate golem and as he goes to do his daily business.. while all the psychotic women bite/rip off parts of his body like his nose, arm, ears and one women bites him on the ass. And he only has this terrifying grin on his face the whole time.
- A new Axe Twist commercial takes it one step further. A guy sprays on the Axe and goes on a date, which he screws up so badly that he tries to play peek-a-boo with her. She shows disinterest and the guy just looks forward in a stupor, Axe to the rescue, the guy is transformed into an intellectual. The girl gives the guy a sexy look. So guys, not only will Axe make her fall in love with you, it will make her forget you were a total douche five seconds ago.
- Apparently they also make your girlfriend want to do odd things to your father. Bow Chicka Wah wah
- To be fair, TAG will make your Girlfriend's mom want to do odd things to you. 
- In real life, expect to be made fun of.
- A '70s ad, for a cologne called "Bacchus", pretended this was the real secret of the Roman army's victories: they arranged to splash the stuff on the men of enemy towns, who were then mobbed by their own (all very beautiful) womenfolk. "Because when a man is irresistible to women, he has more interesting things to do than fight a war."
- And of course, there were the ads for Impulse, a woman's body spray. Any woman wearing the product would become irresistable because "Men Can't Help Acting On Impulse." They even played with this concept in a '90s ad, where a woman wearing Impulse fails to score with a guy she bumps into ... because she is in the middle of a gay district.
- Consider also the subtext of the ads for BOD Man fragance spray. Wherein a youth applies the spray and proceedes to play shirtless basketball with his male compatriots, while women look on longingly from behind a chain link fence.
- Parodied by a Specsavers ad where legions of woman run towards a man spraying himself.. and then stop dead when they see his deeply unfashionable glasses.
- Parodied again in this video, where we find out what happens to the poor men after they're mobbed by a bunch of women.
Anime and Manga
- In Fushigi Yuugi the fallen heroine Yui tries using a magical drug to get Tamahome to fall in love with her. It works at first, with Tamahome even going so far as to nearly kill Miaka, his former beloved, but naturally The Power of Love (and a near-fatal wounding) soon set everything right.
- Ranma ½, being a Love Dodecahedron played for comedy, featured a lot of Applied Phlebotinum that had some kind of effect equating to love magic. None of these ever solved anything, but they did make for good excuses for slapstick zaniness. We start with pills that cause whoever swallows one to fall for the first person of the opposite sex, with a duration of either one instant, one day, or the ingester's entire life. Then comes an actual Red String of Fate. An umbrella that enthralls whoever is sharing it. A bandaid impregnated with a potent potion that makes the wearer chase after girls/guys when it gets warm. Mushrooms that, when stewed, act as a love potion. And those are just a few examples- and we're still not even getting into all of the Mind-Control Device items.
- Urd of Ah! My Goddess is well-known for her love concoctions that always backfire spectactularly - in at least one instance, they work too well. Peorth once tried to meddle with one of Urd's potions and through crazy technobabble (apparently divine medicine does not react well when placed in cola), makes Keiichi irresistible to any woman who looks at him. This unfortunately included his own sister, but eventually it was all sorted out and Urd slipped Peorth a perfectly functional love potion in revenge that had her fall in love with a Tanuki statue. It should be noted that Peorth was aiming to alter a "first person you see" variety of love potion to "love only Peorth" potion.
- Part of the reason why it failed was because Peorth altered the 'Drop of koi' (affectionate, romantic love) potion to the 'Drop of ai' (passionate love) potion. As Urd explained, it didn't work on Belldandy because it 'was not crude enough' to affect people already in love with each other - i.e. Belldandy and Keiichi.
- As far as the love overeffect goes, Urd's analysis was simply "Potions are not something amateurs ought to mess with"
- That said, Belldandy did get hit by a potion early in the manga that had her all but jump Keiichi right then and there. (un)Fortunately (depending on how you want to look at it), Keiichi was able to talk her down out of it (he did it because he realized she was acting very out of character).
- A love potion figures into episodes 2 and 3 of Mahou Sensei Negima!. This one works a bit differently, however: it makes the person who consumes it irresistible to the opposite sex. Negi brews it to give to Asuna as an apology for embarassing her in front of Mr. Takahata, but because she's angry at him she pours it down Negi's throat before he can explain how it works, with predictable results.
- Later, in volume 7 of the manga, Asuna finds herself fighting off her uncontrollably growing feelings for Negi as she helps him deal with some business. Just as she's all but ready to give in (or kill herself), though, he innocently warns her about the fact that the chocolates on his desk, one of which she stole at the beginning of the chapter without him looking, was in fact a love potion of the "Fall in love with the first person you see" variety.
- In volume 9 of the manga, there's another love potion-class effect, "confessing under a world tree". In this case, the problem is treated seriously, and we even get some sort of explanation why things like these are bad - this has a chance to become a one-sided love. A very strong one-sided love where the other side is magically unable to refuse. All of the magic population were dispatched to prevent such a confession from happening. Nevertheless, once again Negi ends up on the wrong end of it, with a simple request for a kiss turning him into an unstoppable Determinator with Mind-Control Eyes who only comes to his senses after he French-kisses at least one of his targets, nearly suffocating her in the process.
- At least, once snapped out of it, he has no memories of how far he went, which prevents further grief and awkwardness.
- Also, at the beginning of the same arc, Kamo reveals to Negi that love potions are indeed illegal (but not as serious as the tree spell because they are temporary).
- The most recent mention of love potions was when the group arrived in the magical world. Haruna asked their guide if she'd be able to buy love potions somewhere, the guide reiterated that they are illegal.
- When Nagasumi takes one in Seto no Hanayome, he gets every girl in the show, including the assassin and his mother falling in love with him. It has the unfortunate side effect of all men hating him, though.
- Not that most of the men in the series don't hate him anyway...
- This is the main plot of Magical Pokémon Journey. Hazel has repeatedly been trying to use love potions to get Almond to fall in love with her. The story opens with Hazel attempting to administer such a love potion, accidentally blowing him up in the process. The rest of the series is about Hazel catching Pokémon for "mad scientist" Grandpa, in exchange for a love potion that actually works.
- Later on, Coconut manages to invent a love potion that will cause whoever drinks it to fall madly in love with her. Instead, it turns out that it will make whoever drinks it fall in love with the first person he or she sees - and it didn't even go to the right person. So, while Coconut was trying to make Almond fall in love with her, she accidentally caused a Primeape to fall in love with Eevee.
- In a tie-in Pokémon book for kids, Ash has to deal with the chaos resulting from a Love Potion making two Pokémon fall in love. The inventor says Ash should use it to catch Pokémon. He turns it down.
- One episode has this happen with Pikachu and Piplup. Both of them are male.
- This inadvertently happens to Louise towards her familiar in Zero No Tsukaima. It's unnerving for Saito, since she's usually firmly on the 'tsun' side of Tsundere.
- Happens again in the third season as well, except this time the effect is more widespread, though mostly restricted to the female cast. Much Fanservice occurs before the effects are reversed.
- And in a side-story in the manga adaptation, where Louise is dosed with two different kinds of love potion simultaneously, and their interaction causes her to become irresistably attracted... to girls. All girls. Saito still finds this unnerving, although now it's because he can't get her to so much as glance in his direction.
- Played for laughs in InuYasha when a mind-bending fog caused Sango, in a drunken stupor, to blatantly come on to Inu Yasha. She was just about to kiss him when the fog caused Kagome use the "sit" command on him as a Spam Attack.
- In the Kanokon anime, Chizuru's mother passes out some love-at-first-sight drink to her guests. Kouta is affected as intended and temporarily falls in love with Nozomu. Two other girls drink it, but subversively, their talk of "doing it" turns out to be just feeding each other with chopsticks. Tayura finds out about the drink and gives some to Asahina, but instead of making her fall in love with him, she gets angrily drunk for some reason and then falls in love with the drink.
- In episode 5 of Ninin Ga Shinobuden, the ninjas make a Love Potion for Miyabi. Before she can use it, Onsokumaru drinks it, thinking it'll make him into a Chick Magnet. Unfortunately for him, it's the much more common "fall-in-love-with-the-first-person-you-see" type. As soon as he realizes this, he covers his eyes and tries to locate Shinobu. They get around the problem by getting him to open his eyes in front of a mirror. Naturally, this changes nothing.
- There's a Tsukiyomi Moon Phase H-doujin where Hazuki tries to make the main guy into her love-slave with a love potion she stole from his grandfather. Unfortunately for her, the potion turns out to be a powerful aphrosidiac, and since this is a H-doujin, the predictable happens.
- In the Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~ Baker's Dozen episode, a powerful love potion turns Rinka, Yukari and Chisa — the three girls not heavily involved in the main series plotline — into obsessive, saucy ladies after Haruhiko. It doesn't help that a supposed "antidote" only makes the potion's effect stronger.
- The final Urusei Yatsura film revolves around a love potion that can only be acquired by the most lecherous person in the universe... who happens to be Ataru.
- One of the Hokuto Ryuuken pressure points does the "wipe out your affection and then make you fall in love with the first person you see when you awaken" type of effect—making it a sort of literal love tap. Grown-up Lin finds out about this point the hard way.
- Kogarashi makes a lover potion in episode 3 of Kamen No Maid Guy to help Naeka get over her love issues. It works flawlessly, other than the fact that it caused her to fall in love with Fubuki.
- An episode of the Fairy Tail anime has Juvia buy a Love First Person Sighted type love potion to use on Gray. Not only does Gray look at the wrong person, and not only does Juvia accidentally give the potion to about a half-dozen other guild members, it turns out the potion isn't even a Love Potion but instead a Rivalry Potion causing the affected person to declare the first thing they see to be their eternal rival.
- The potion also seems to affect chacter-to-object relationships, causing Makarov to declare rivalry with a barrel of alcohol and Erza to go to war with a poor pillar blocking her path.
- In To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, Kuroko tried to feed Mikoto an aphrodisiac, but accidentally drank it herself, which just made her hit on Mikoto more.
- Fujiko Etou of Ichiban Ushiro No Daimaou homebrews her own love potions and they are actually quite effective. Whether or not she gets the desired result from her plan is up for debate.
- This is one of the witch powers in Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo. It can be used to build a group of flunkies to do your bidding because they worship you. It's been suggested you could build a harem with it. But we have also seen the potential for the power to teach people the power of love. To make them feel what it is like to actually love someone, providing them with loyalty and a sense of purpose.
- One of these, accidentally administered, has unintended consequences in the XXXenophile story "Overly Familiar".
- In Squadron Supreme, the Squadron's "Utopia Project" developed a brainwashing device to eradicate criminal tendencies. Golden Archer misused it to make Lady Lark fall in love with him. Even the knowledge that it was the product of brainwashing was unable to shake her love, and the Squadron had specifically designed it to be uneradicatable.
- Helga tries to rekindle the love of Hägar the Horrible to her twice. Once, she puts a love potion in his soup, and he immediately shouts how he loves - the soup. Another time, she puts an amulet of love under his pillow. Which he falls in love with.
- A variant shows up in, of all places, Crisis on Infinite Earths. In order to get the Ax Crazy Killer Frost to work with her archfoe Firestorm, Psycho-Pirate used his emotion powers to make her fall in love with Firestorm. By the time Firestorm has gotten used to her acting like a Clingy Jealous Girl, she's reverted back to her crazy self.
- A psychological take occurs in The Sandman: Endless Nights story "What I've Tasted of Desire." When the protagonist tells a witch she doesn't believe her love potions work, the witch replies that "they don't not work," in that they give the user the confidence to make the first move instead of shyly pining away.
- In X-Men, Nightcrawler broke up with Amanda Sefton, a sorceress (and his adopted sister), the first time because he asked if her magic made him fall in love with her, and she couldn't directly say no.
- Black Panther foe Nakia aka Malice uses a forbidden herb called Jufeiro to make men fall madly in love with her to the point of slavish devotion. She doesn't have too many qualms about using the herb on T'Challa, the target of her obsession, either.
- Jughead Jones has a special button he can put on his crown that makes him irresistible to women. Considering his lack of interest in romance, however, he doesn't really have any use for it.
- Raven's empathic powers functioned this way a couple times. Once was deliberate (she got Kid Flash to join the Titans by making him fall in love with her and then erasing his memory of it), and once was by accident (she made Nightwing have feelings for her despite being in a committed relationship with Starfire). Neither scenario ended up lasting.
- Brox's Kiss, the hot pink short sword in With Strings Attached, causes people of the opposite sex of the wielder to fall in love with and obey the wielder. Works perfectly—until the wielder loses control of the sword for more than a few minutes. Wisely, she runs off.
- In the appropriate named Bleach slash fanfic Love Potion is all about type two attempted by Ichigo at Urahara's suggestion, which predictably goes wrong as the target doesn't eat the cookies...but everyone else does.
- Everybody Loves Cloud thanks to Hojo and a couple of accidents.
- In Run Ichigo Run, Mayuri sends Nemu to drug Ishida but she accidentally hits Ichigo. Since the drug was calibrated for Ishida, it has a different effect on Ichigo: every female he encounters, including lesbians and his own sisters, falls in love with him. Even Nemu is affected, despite the fact that she knows what's happening. As the title suggests, Ichigo spends most of the fic running to preserve his chastity while trying to find a way to remove the drug's effects.
- In the movie (later, the MST3K episode) Hercules Unchained, the "Waters of Forgetfulness" are used by an evil queen to enslave Hercules and make him think she is his wife. He catches on to the ruse later, thanks to his trusty sidekick Ulysses, who manages to secretly spill the magical water anytime someone tries giving it to Hercules.
- In two other Hercules-based movies featured on MST3K, evil queens try slipping love potions to The Big Herc, only by this time he's become Genre Savvy enough to spill them or spit them out. He then only pretends to be affected by them.
- The 1992 Sandra Bullock movie Love Potion #9 takes a different tack from the song of the same name. The "potion" makes (temporary) changes to the voice of the person who takes it such that anyone of the opposite sex hearing them speak is attracted to them - and willing to do anything they ask (and makes members of the same sex hate them just as much). Larger doses escalate the effect dramatically, as the villainess discovers when she consumes undiluted potion (it's supposed to be diluted 1:1000 in water), inadvertently creating a Thundering Herd of men following her after she chugs it.
- The above effects are not from the eponymous #9 potion, but from #8. The gypsy woman who sells the potion to the protagonists (and has a full range of love potions from 1 - 9, with varying effects) keeps the #9 potion, the strongest, in reserve for a later date. When the two realize they might love one another, then the #9 is imbibed by both. The gypsy warns that if they truly love one another, then their love will never die; if it is not true love, then they will not be able to stand the sight of one another.
- Shrek 2 has one of these. (If you look carefully, you'll see that the bottle has "IX" written on it.) Fiona's fairy godmother orders the king to pour it into Fiona's drink so that she will fall in love with Prince Charming instead of Shrek. It doesn't work because the king decided not to give Fiona the potion-laced drink after seeing how much she loved Shrek.
- The Thief of Bagdad featured the evil Grand Vizier named (what else?) Jaffar, giving the Princess a "Blue Rose of Forgetfulness" which makes her forget all about her love for the hero. (At least until he shows up to snap her out of it.)
- In Were the World Mine, gay student Timothy finds a secret recipe in the script for A Midsummer Night's Dream for a magic flower that causes Love at First Sight with no gender restrictions and uses it to make many members of his homophobic hometown walk a mile in his shoes. Hilarity Ensues.
- Title character Pondo Sinatra in the 80's college sex romp The Party Animal eventually makes a potent love potion out of random chemicals in a science lab. After exposing himself to the potion, it works too well—with disasterous results.
- Perfume has Villain Protagonist Jean-Baptiste Grenouille long to make a perfume from the scent of beautiful women. Once he finds out how to capture their scent, he goes on a killing spree, and is captured after he completes it. The perfume has... variable results: the first time he uses it, the crowd that's gathered for an execution believes he's an angel and is driven into a passionate orgy by its scent. The second time he uses it, a crowd of bums is so taken by his beauty that they eat him alive. And he wanted that to happen, because he realized the "love" that his perfume created wasn't real.
- In Practical Magic, Sally the witch makes a love spell to avoid falling in love. The spell is supposed to ensure that she only falls in love with a guy with certain specifications. She deliberately makes a list of impossible specifications, to ensure that she can only fall in love with a non-existent guy, and thus not fall in love at all. Naturally, a guy with the right specifications shows up.
- Sally does marry before the guy she specified shows up. Her aunts see how lonely and sad she is (and that neither she or her sister are likely to be having kids soon) and cast a spell causing her and a local young man to fall in love and marry. But the ancestress' curse, the reason Sally didn't want to marry, kicks in.
- Averted in the movie Aladdin, where the Genie tells Aladdin that he cannot make anyone fall in love with anyone else.
- Alien Nation has the Newcomer drug Sardonac, which is meant to be used by existing couples who want to permanently bind themselves together. In the show, it was abused by an unstable Newcomer woman using it nonconsensually on her boyfriends, and then played for laughs when Matt is the first person one of the victims sees. (Fortunately for all involved, the effects of Sardonac go away after thirty days if there's no sex.)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Xander tries a love spell in one episode. His aim was apparently off, as every woman he encounters falls for him except for the one he actually wanted to target (though hints throughout the episode indicated it was because she did love him, but was in denial or was putting on a facade as though she wasn't).
- Later, a high school student was found to own, unknowingly, a letterman jacket that caused women to find him irresistibly attractive. This prompted the female cast to, respectively, pull off a heist, and attempt murder, suicide, and a sex-changing spell. Their competition dissolved into insane violence so fast that it makes one wonder why no one noticed a bunch of (apparently) criminally insane girls trying to win the boy's love before.
- Subverted and spoofed when Willow appears to be casting a love spell ("Send me the heart that I desire") but is actually playing poker.
- The morality of this is lampshaded in The IT Crowd, where the love potion turns out to be Rohypnol.
- Subverted in an episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Rita gives Zedd a love potion that actually works perfectly, leading him to fall in love with and marry her. In a later episode, Goldar pressured Finster into giving Zedd the antidote, but when he does, nothing happens: it turns out that Zedd's love for Rita was real. Awwww!
- Between the two episodes, there was one where Zedd suggested Rita they should have a child. Not liking the idea, Rita ordered Finster to make a second potion to make Zedd give up the idea. The second potion was never mentioned again and Power Rangers Operation Overdrive introduced us to Rita and Zedd's son Thrax.
- In the episode where Zedd was given the antidote, Rito Revolto had previously given the Monster of the Week a sample of the love potion. Said monster, on Rito's orders, then gave the potion to several humans, including Kimberly, who fell in love with Skull. Being Genre Savvy enough to understand the dangers of messing with the balance of human emotions, Zordon opted for a wait-and-see approach in hopes the love potion would wear off. The human victims became test subjects for the antidote.
- Zedd himself is no stranger to love potions. He attempted to use a love spell on Kimberly in one episode (technically a spell to make her replace Rita as his regent), it just didn't work for unspecified reasons. The only consequences he suffered were Kimberly browbeating his minions for a while while she feigned the spell's success. Kimberly was dressed like Rita at the time.
- That example is probably one of the best ones in history. Somehow it managed to be hammier than William Shatner, and a crowning moment of awesome/funny all at once. Someone should have given that girl an award! Best scene in the whole episode!
- Used in Power Rangers Ninja Storm as well, in which Marah and Kapri attempt to drug the male rangers into falling in love with them. Things get messed up though, with the Cam and Blake lusting over Tori instead. Although there are implications that Blake's feelings are real.
- A female Monster of the Week in Power Rangers Time Force used a love spell to make the male Rangers fight among themselves for her affections.
- In the season four episode of Smallville "Devoted", a group of cheerleaders had developed a kryptonite-laced sports drink that caused the imbiber to become intensely devoted to whomever he or she had feelings for. The victims also became prone to intense jealousy. Chloë inadvertently drank some and became (overtly) obsessed with Clark. In a later episode, Lois was put under a love potion effect by lipstick laced with Red Kryptonite; when she kissed Clark, he became uninhibited, his normal reaction to red K.
- Note that because of the kryptonite in the sports drink, when Clark tried it, he puked before it had a chance to work on him. He pretended to have been affected to spy on the cheerleaders.
- A bizarre sort of subversion in the quasi-realistic Space Island One: after her advances for most of the series are rejected, one crewmember doses the object of her affections with a tailored hormone and pheromone cocktail engineered by the station's doctor, and beds him. No fallout, no backfiring, no sort of indication at all that she'd crossed into morally dicey territory. Rather, he was taken to have been in the wrong for refusing her advances thus far.
- Perhaps needless to say, this was used nigh-countless times on Star Trek, apparently for the first time in "Mudd's Women" (1966) and most recently in Star Trek: Enterprise's "Bound" (2005).
- Owen from Torchwood used a piece of Imported Alien Phlebotinum used as a sort of magnetic aftershave...for both sexes.
- One episode of The Twilight Zone, "The Chaser", based on the short story by John Collier, features a Dogged Nice Guy who buys a love potion for just $1 (!) to win over his indifferent would-be love interest. She becomes his Clingy Jealous Wife and smothers him so much that he shells out $1,000 for a vial of the euphemistically-named "glove cleaner" ...and then drops the glass containing it when she startles him with the news that she's pregnant. (It's made quite clear that the potion-seller only charged a buck for the original potion because he knew the chump would soon be back for the "antidote".)
- In "Jess-Belle", the title character buys a potion from a witch that, when she consumes it, makes her irresistable to the man she loves. Unfortunately, it also turns her into a soulless witch who becomes a leopard at night.
- Tales from the Crypt did its own version of "The Chaser" short story, which had been previously adapted for EC Comics in 1951. Re-titled "Loved to Death", it follows the same general plot, only sticking in a couple of extra knives at the end: the guy kills himself to escape, the girl commits suicide in despair, horribly disfiguring herself in the process. The chump arrives in the afterlife, where he is joined by the girl, still hopelessly in love with him and still horribly mutilated.
- Tales also had an episode in which a slimy land developer tries to win the heart of an heiress by giving her a love potion. He unfortunately gives her too much of it, and she dies... but she doesn't stop loving him. (Cue scene with the land developer running from her festering yet amorously devoted corpse.)
- In Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex tries to use a potion that makes its two drinkers love each other. It goes wrong when she accidentally drinks both halves of the potion and fall in love with herself.
- A variation occurs in Malcolm in the Middle where Ida introduces an elderly rich asian fiancee that loves her despite her heartlessness, turns out she's been drugging him. He gets out in the nick of time when she uses the remainder of the happy pills on the family so they're too content to do anything.
- In the eighth season of Red Dwarf, Rimmer deliberately infects himself with a sexual magnetism virus in order to have his way with his female shipmates. He gets caught and sent to the brig where he is reinfected in the midst of his fellow prisoners.
- A villainess in an episode of Lois and Clark used as massive amount of love potion on the workers of the Daily Planet causing everyone to fall in love with someone else, with Clark Kent being the only one immune to the effects. It also can only work if that person is at least attracted to the first person they saw. Or any person they see before the potion wears off. This also turns into the earliest episode where Lois Lane should be able to discover the identity of Superman. Under the spell, Lois says that Clark looks like Superman; she dismisses this line afterwards, but clearly remembers. However, it is unclear why Lois is not suspicious of Clark's immunity to the spell. She clearly does not accept his claim he has no feelings for her, and if she does she is totally blind to the ways of men. The claim of no feelings does not mesh with how he had interacted with her so far. She clearly remembers what she did under the spell, since she remembers his lines that amount to saying he will not give in because he will not take advantage of her, even though he has dreamed of her doing things along the lines of what she is doing. The moment she comes to is also the moment that he professes a deep desire for her. The one thing that might prevent Lois Lane from figuring out that Clark Kent is Superman is that when Superman gets exposed to the potion, in stopping the even more nefarious plans for it, he pretends to be under its power, and gives Lois the same moral dilemma of resisting or accepting the overtures of a spellbound lover. Why Clark being able to resist where Superman was overcomes does not raise more questions than it answers for the unstoppable, award winning investigative reporter Lois Lane is not at all clear.
- In one episode of The Munsters, Grandpa makes up a batch for Marilyn. This is a different variation as instead of the drinker falling love, they would be irresistible to the opposite gender. Naturally, of course, the potion doesn't go to the intended drinker and Hilarity Ensues.
- Used in an episode of Merlin to make Arthur and Lady Vivian fall in love. A much darker example was used a few seasons later in which Lancelot and Guinevere are Mind Raped and given a Hypno Trinket respectively, forcing them to cheat on Arthur.
- Stargate: Atlantis episode Irresistible has an herb that, when eaten, makes the consumer 'irresistible' by causing them to give off a pheromone that makes everyone like them. Beckett manages to make an antidote.
- In Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, a very short term version of this is the result of the Stymero Beast Battery.
- Parodied in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse." Stottlemeyer and Disher go to Reverend Jorgensen's Voodoo Boutique shop to question the owner about killer voodoo dolls that they have traced to the store. While browsing, Stottlemeyer finds an apparent love potion called Cupid's Arrow. He tries it out by dabbling a bit of it on his cheeks. After a pause, Randy tells Stottlemeyer it isn't working, and Stottlemeyer is clearly satisified that that is the case.
- The song "Love Potion #9" (recorded first by The Clovers and then The Searchers, among others) plays with this trope, illustrating why, if you ever get your hands on a love potion, you should not test it on yourself.
- In the song "Funky Cold Medina" by Tone Loc, the singer attempts to be Genre Savvy by testing the eponymous substance on his dog. If he'd paid proper attention to the results, he would have realized that it doesn't work exclusively on the opposite sex rather than having to figure that out the hard way. He continues using it anyway until he finds out that some of the people he's using a Love Potion on will react by wanting to marry him in addition to having sex with him.
- GURPS Technomancer doesn't shy away from the moral implications, outright calling the Elixir of Love (along with the Elixirs of Lechery and Drunkenness) a "date-rape potion."
- In both Vampire The Masqerade and Vampire The Requiem, the blood bond, or vinculum, has similar effects to a love potion. A human or vampire who's made to drink another vampire's blood three times becomes bound to them for a long time; as long as the bond is in effect, they can't bring a hand to harm them, even if they hate their guts. Needless to say, most vampires do not want to get caught in one of these.
- Mages sufficiently powerful with Mind magic are capable of forcing someone to fall in love (or lust) with someone else (not necessarily the mage). If potent enough, it can completely overide a person's natural inclinations or sexuality (for example, forcing a heterosexual homophobe to fall in love with a man). Its noted that many mages would consider the use of this spell to be akin to rape.
- In 7th Sea there's "Godiva's Tears", a powerful aphrodisiac used to lower a victim's inhibitions (and gives said victims a penalty towards resisting any Seduction attempts). Likewise, master practitioners of sorte magic can strengthen or even create Passion strands between two targets out of the blue, albeit temporary.
- In Genius The Transgression, players can create mind control devices; using them sexually is the second highest level of Transgression alongside rape or serial murder.
- Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 had a love potion that essentially functioned as a Charm Person spell, complete with limited duration.
- It should be noted that the Philter of Love actually had two effects: One infatuation one and one stronger Charm Person effect. The latter wore off after a relatively short time. The first effect? Not so much.
- Faerie food in Rifts may work like this, depending on which food it is. Beefcake, for instance, will cause a love-at-first-sight effect towards men by any woman who eats it. Their version of Eros also has his arrows: Gold as the classic Love Arrow, Pink Affection Arrows, (target feels generously amorous and will confess their feelings to anyone they're already in love with), and lead Anti-Love Arrows.
- One of the signature characters for Scion is Donnie Rhodes, Scion of Aphrodite. Like Aphrodite's other son, Cupid, he has Eros and Anteros, the arrows of love and hatred; unlike Cupid, these take the form of two gold-plated Berettas. At one point in the fiction, he threatens to hit a fellow Scion with Eros and leave the guy wanting him until the end of time, spurning his advances all the while.
- Donizetti's opera L'Elisir D'Amore ("The Elixir of Love") subverts this: unbeknownst to the main character, the elixir of the title turns out to be simply wine.
- William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream has, as its central plot, two pairs of lovers accidentally mis-matched when the Fairy King Oberon tries the "fall in love with the first person you see" approach to get them to fall in love with the "right" people via a magical flower. Oberon also uses the flower in a plot to get revenge on his wife - by having her fall in love with a hapless peasant man with the head of a donkey.
- And in the very odd (and possibly disturbing) case of one of these potions going right, at the end of the play, Demetrius and Lysander, who have been pursuing Hermia, have each been doused with a love potion to make them adore Helena. Lysander is given the antidote, but Demetrius (whom, it is implied, began seeing Helena first before the events of the play) awakes, still under the effect of the potion, where he will probably remain for life.
- Demetrius hated, or at least ignored Helena prior to the love potion. The point was that both couples were happy at the end, though there are definite Unfortunate Implications in that nobody has any problem with it.
- Depending on the company performing it, Demetrius's "hate" of Helena is often played as more a school-ground crush sort of thing, where he's mean to her because he likes her... And nobody has a problem with it because none of the human characters have any idea it happened. The lovers wake up and think it was a dream and accept the current state of relationship as the status quo.
- Not that this excuses it, but Demetrius was courting Helena before he met Hermia, at which point he dropped Helena like a hot rock. Back in the day, one might have considered his inconstancy a character flaw which the potion corrected.
- Sometimes a potion doesn't have to "make" someone fall in love with another, but instead just make them forget who they are and whom they may currently be in love with. In Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Siegfried is given an "Ale of Forgetfulness" by Hagen which makes him forget all about Brünnhilde, his beloved, or any other woman, and fall in love with Hagen's half-sister. The purpose of this is to ensure that: she will get married, Siegfried will retrieve a bride for his half-brother-in-law, and he will get the ring.
- This later prompts Brünnhilde to enact a terrible revenge once she learns about the potion, so nothing good really comes out of using it.
- Tristan und Isolde, on the other hand, does feature a love-potion, though it is implied that its effect is merely to fan their already smouldering passion into open flames.
- This is the plot of The Sorcerer, one of the earlier Gilbert and Sullivan operas.
- Averted in The Spider Cliff Mysteries: Katherine Sprawling's use of a love potion on Thomas Elkwood hit the correct person and resulted in a 30 year marriage. Annabelle's attempt at using a potion appears to have failed due to the intended target being forewarned about the exact mode of delivery.
- Erika's New Perfume's eponymous perfume seems to work like this, among doing other things — since it was used on them both Erika and Sarah have found someone, and Marie seems to have found a boy she likes to pick on too.
- The story thread "Lust Dust" on the Anime Addventure features a powerful aphrodisiac that makes a mess of many, many relationships.
- From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Ambrosia is a living Love Potion. She emits super-powered pheremones that cause men to just lose their cotton-picking minds, falling all over themselves to make her happy. The power has made her very, very cynical about the opposite sex.