That's enough flirting with Frey's sister, young man!
"Never...you and Naruto...doing things like that...it's...AN INFAMY!"
Charlie is attracted to Alice, and she shares his feelings. Unfortunately, Alice is Bob's sister, and Bob and Charlie are the closest of friends. As such, Charlie feels it's wrong for him to date Alice, no matter how much he wants to.
A major Truth in Television
trope, as most any guy can tell you. If you've known someone for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits. Forever. Some reasons behind this are:
- Whenever Charlie sees Alice, he can only think of Bob.
- If Charlie and Alice do break up, his friendship with Bob may be over as well.
- Bob is actually okay with it, but has delivered an epic If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... speech, and Charlie doesn't want to take that risk.
- Charlie (and in some cases, Bob) may have a history of being, shall we say, "less than respectful" of their... "conquests" and Bob doesn't want his sister getting the same treatment.
- Bob is overprotective of Alice and doesn't want anyone dating her, and Charlie doesn't want to antagonize his friend.
- Bob is creepily jealous of any guy who gets close to his sister.
This may also be a symptom of a character having a Big Brother Instinct
, if Bob is angry at Charlie for dating Alice, but Bob and Alice aren't actually related, or are just friends.
Could lead to a Knight Templar Big Brother
Note that while the title says 'sister', this includes mothers
, brothers, cousins, and even more extended family. Except daughters, because Overprotective Dad
already covers that. Exes fall under The Bro Code
Contrast Best Friends In Law
, where the guy is all too happy for his good friend to end up with his sister.
Not to be confused
with Brother-Sister Incest
. Unless that's why
they don't want anyone dating her.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In the second episode of Kimagure Orange Road, Kyosuke and his pals (Those Two Guys) are ogling a leotard-clad aerobics class from a nearby restaurant. They soon see that Kyosuke's younger sisters are in the class, and sure enough, Kyosuke almost immediately covers the other boys' leering eyes.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, if you come out and tell Romano you're interested in his little brother he will flip the fuck out. Hell, even so much as barely indicate attraction.
- Death Note: When Touta Matsuda shows interest in Light's sister Sayu, who has grown into quite the cutie, no one is thrilled. Specially, Matsuda's boss Soichirou... her Overprotective Dad.
- In the manga, L once wonders if Sayu could be the serial killer they're hunting. Light screams at that.
- Frey in Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is like this when Freya is around Loki. What he doesn't realize is Freya is doing all the flirting.
- Komui Lee in D. Gray-Man has this bad regarding his little sister, exorcist Action Girl Lenalee Lee. At one point Inspector Link actually blackmails Allen by threatening to tell Komui that he is alone in a locked room with Lenalee. Allen immediately apologizes and opens the door. And when someone was ogling Lenalee, Komui's coworkers gave us this wonderful quote:
- Neji Hyuga from Naruto has this in crazy spades over Hinata. It's really turned into Up to Eleven in Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth, because he constantly kicks and sends Naruto flying every time he comes near Hinata. He also furiously tells her that he would never accept her and Naruto together, because it's an infamy to him. When Tenten and Lee suggest that Gaara might have a crush on Hinata, he viciously replies with "over my dead body!". Still, it may not be just the Big Brother Instinct here, since, in this mini-series, Neji is more than once implied to have some sort of romantic affection for Hinata.
- In Rave Master, Haru does this trope when he learns of the relationship between his sister Cattleya and Shuda.
- He did this earlier when, another guy was dating Cattleya and broke up her heart. So naturally, when he saw said guy again, he made every effort to punch him out again. Not to mention Shuda himself when finding out about that guy, he wanted to chop him up to pieces also.
- The Yu-Gi-Oh! anime has type four, or maybe type five with Joey and his sister, Serenity. This mostly affects Joey's best friend, Tristan, who is nuts about Serenity (while Serenity herself sees Tristan as a friend).
- In Yu Gi Oh Zexal, Shark is type five as far as Rio is concerned. (Rio, however, isn't always happy about it.)
- YuYu Hakusho combines 3 and 4 with Yukina and his brother Hiei. Everyone who touches Yukina, especially Kuwabara, will get disemboweled and burned alive by Hiei.
- The only redeeming feature of Dallas Genoard in Baccano is his violent reaction to his friends (who, like Dallas himself, are two-bit thugs) ever mentioning his little sister Eve.
- A reversed example in Infinite Stratos: Chifuyu Orimura is very much aware about the Unwanted Harem that pines for her younger brother, but she makes it clear she's not simply letting them just have their way with him.
- DO NOT get any ideas of dating Noa's brother in Oniichan Control SHE WILL KILL YOU. This isn't because she wants to protect him of course but because she wants him for herself. (Okay, maybe a little of both, but mostly the latter.)
- Played straight in Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai. Both Kyousuke and his friend Kouhei more or less tell each other they're not okay with anyone dating their respective sisters. In Kyousuke's case, it's likely because he feels Kirino's not old enough to date yet (she's 14), and in Kouhei's case, he's got hints of Brother-Sister Incest with his sister Sena.
- Inverted example with Kyousuke's sister Kirino, who gets extremely jealous anytime she sees him hangiing out with a woman other than herself, especially his Childhood Friend Manami. It gets to the point where she brings home a boyfriend in volume 7 of the light novel, and lets him experience how she feels whenever she sees him with his female friends. It turns out that the boyfriend was just faking it along with her to go along with her plan.
- Not surprisingly, Lelouch feels this way toward his little sister Nunnally. It's not really so apparent in the Code Geass series proper, but made much clearer in the Storybook Episode OVA Nunnally In Wonderland. The only exception to this rule is Suzaku.
- The Black Butler manga has a Type-3/Type-4 variant in Elizabeth Midford's elder brother Edward: he's not that much in favor of his sister's fiance at first, but has slowly mellowed out in latter chapters...
- Scarface does this to a tragic level. Tony is protective of his sister Gina. When he finds out that his friend Manny had been seeing her, he shoots Manny dead without a word. Gina then reveals that the two of them had just been married. Gina later lampshades the somewhat Freudian motivations behind Tony's overly sensitive Big Brother Instinct, coming on to him (mockingly) just before trying to shoot him.
- The brothers in Fools Rush In seem to be like this, at least that's what Alex fears.
- In Face Off, this is the source of Dubov's anger at Troy. Later inverted when Archer as Troy recruits Dubov to help him escape by telling him he didn't actually do it.
- A minor example of this trope from Groundhog Day, when old classmate of cynical Phil Connors bumps into him in Punxsutawney, PA, and is trying to get him to remember him:
Ned: Ned... Ryerson! "Needlenose Ned"? "Ned the Head"? C'mon, buddy. Case Western High. Ned Ryerson: I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show? Bing! Ned Ryerson: got the shingles real bad senior year, almost didn't graduate? Bing, again. Ned Ryerson: I dated your sister Mary Pat a couple times until you told me not to anymore? Well?
Phil: Ned Ryerson?
- The Unforgiven although they become romantically involved later in the movie This is the spirit of the thing in the scene where Johnny Portugal rides up to Ben Zachary's step sister Rachael.
Johnny: You have a burr in your pretty hair
(Ben proceeds to rip Johnny off his horse, punch him and they stop short before brawling. After things cool down, Ben shouts to everyone present)
Ben: Anybody else see a burr in my sister's hair?
- A Film Noir called Sweet Smell of Success takes this to a dark extent, in which a reporter ruins the boyfriend's life in order to get him away from his sister.
- An all-female and probably non-romantic (despite a storm of Les Yay) variation takes place in Sucker Punch: Rocket is obviously fascinated with Baby Doll and would follow her into a reckless escape attempt. Rocket's Cool Big Sis Sweet Pea (who has a bad case of Big Sister Instinct towards her) is very opposed to them doing anything together and only lets them carry on with her keeping an eye on them. Turns out, she was right: Baby Doll's plan does get Rocket killed.
- A major factor in Living Will, with Belcher upset about Will and Krista's relationship.
- 30 Minutes or Less, among other things'', has the protagonist reveal to his best friend that he has slept with his twin sister. The friend is pissed, as he reasons that sleeping with one twin is the same as sleeping with the other.
- A lot of the Will They or Won't They? tension in the The Princess Diaries books has to do with the main character's crush being her best friend's brother. When they get together, everything's fine. But when they break up...
- In William Faulkner's The Sound And The Fury, Quentin Compson massively fails to "protect" his sister from the many, many men she's having sex with, despite the fact that he is so desperate to keep her off limits. He loved "some concept of Compson honor precariously and (he knew well) only temporarily supported by the minute fragile membrane of her maidenhead as a miniature replica of all the whole vast globy earth may be poised on the nose of a trained seal. Who loved not the idea of the incest which he would not commit, but some presbyterian concept of its eternal punishment: he, not God, could by that means cast himself and his sister both into hell, where he could guard her forever and keep her forevermore intact amid the eternal fires."
- In one Animorphs book set in another timeline, Marco wondered if his best friend Jake would mind if he dated his cousin Rachel, and concluded that she was hot enough that he didn't really care. They hook up in that reality, though in the restored timeline Marco only ever flirts with her. In either case, Jake doesn't seem to care.
- A somewhat unusual version occurs in The Outsiders. Ponyboy comments that Dally has no qualms about swearing, smoking, or talking dirty to a greaser girl; the rest of the gang even joins him sometimes. But they all—including Dally—act more polite to "the cousinly type", which includes cousins, sisters, and girls they see often at school.
- Harry Potter was really afraid that his best friend Ron would react like this when he started falling for his sister, Ginny. Instead, after their first and very public kiss, his reaction was basically "fine, if you have to."
- Arguably an inversion. In the previous book Ron finds out that Ginny is dating a Ravenclaw boy and his first reaction is "but she's supposed to have a crush on Harry!" (She had in the second book.) Later when Ginny and the Ravenclaw break up Ron suggests she choose "someone better" next time and gives Harry a look that he fails to understand.
Live Action TV
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Carlton with Ashley. With Will its more of a case of 'My Cousin is Off Limits'. Strangely neither of them care about who their older sister/cousin Hilary dates or sleeps with. In fact Carlton tried to get into university by advising the university rep how to get Hilary into bed and advised her to get out of problems with the IRS by wearing sexually provacative clothing.
- It's not that strange - Ashley's a teenager, while Hilary's the oldest. There's a reason it's called a Big Brother Instinct.
- Additionally Hilary's implied to sleep around quite a bit, so Will and Carlton probably see no point in trying to protect her.
- On Saved by the Bell, Slater gets mad at Zack for dating his younger sister, JB.
- On Growing Pains, a girl befriends Carol Seaver — just so she can get close to Carol's brother, Mike. Carol feels hurt about being used.
- In another episode, Mike's friend Boner wanted to take Carol to a dance. Mike was upset at first but later accepted the pairing.
- Yet another episode saw Mike coming home from school and explaining to his father that he beat up one of his friends. It seemed that his friend told Mike a rumor that Carol and her boyfriend were sleeping together. Mike didn't understand why he got so upset until his father explained this trope to him.
- Power Rangers in Space did this with the usually Ho Yay-tastic Andros and Zhane. Thing is, little sister Karone was the Big Bad Astronema at the time, nobody knew she was Andros' sister, and the episode where they'd dated was very crack-tastic. It was more of a humor-oriented callback to that episode than actual disapproval. The best part was that they had the argument while sneaking into the enemy base to rescue her.
Andros: Let me get this straight. You went out on a date with my sister?
Zhane: I didn't know she was your sister!
- In Power Rangers RPM, Gem seems to disapprove of the potential relationship between his twin sister, Gemma, and Flynn. Of course, this has less to do with his opinion of Flynn, and more to do with the fact that, prior to Gemma's decision to help Flynn with his work, they had been Single-Minded Twins; this romantic initiative on her part meant that he'd have to start forming independent thoughts and sentences.
- Brought up for all of five seconds after the reveal about Tenaya and Dillon (aka Karone and Andros 2.0). When Ziggy notices that Tenaya's kind of hot when she isn't trying to murder them all, Dillon is quick to cut him off.
- Sex and the City had a gender swapped My Brother Is Off Limits plot regarding Samantha and Charlotte's brother. Samantha of course blatantly disregarded this. What does that tell us?
- Gus on Psych has a Big Brother Instinct for his older sister Joy.
- In How I Met Your Mother, The Casanova Barney makes it clear * that he finds Ted's little sister attractive, and Ted tries to prevent him from meeting her. It doesn't work, but they don't sleep together.
- Barney gets his comeuppance big time in "Ring Up", when Ted actually sleeps with Barney's younger half-sister, whom he's apparently pretty protective of.
- Subverted in Full House. Danny isn't at all happy with his sister dating Joey, but finally tells Joey that it's not cause he's worried about his sister, but that he's being protective of Joey. As her job requires a lot of travel, he didn't want Joey's heart to get broken.
- Subverted exactly the same way in ER. Gallant clearly doesn't want his MS-afflicted sister becoming involved with Pratt, who is something of a player. However, when said sister gives Pratt the brush-off after their night of passion, it becomes obvious that Gallant was trying to protect Pratt from HER, not the other way around.
- In That '70s Show, Hyde is upset when Kelso sleeps with his half-sister. Eric, on the other hand, doesn't really care when Kelso and Fez sleep with his sister, since she's the town slut.
- Hermans Head. Herman doesn't like his best friend, Handsome Lech Jay, sleeping with his sister because he still thinks of her as young and innocent when she's definitely not. Lampshaded in another episode where the two are laughing over all the Wacky Hijinks Jay has gotten Herman involved in. "And (ha-ha) remember the time I slept with your sister?" Cue immediate Death Glare from Herman.
- Mentioned in Stargate SG-1. To verify Daniel's identity after a body-swap, Jack asked him what color Daniel's sister's dress was when he (Jack) took her out on a date the week before. Daniel replies that he doesn't actually have a sister, but wouldn't let Jack date her if he did.
- Coop's sister in Hannah Montana when she tries to date Jackson. Coop gives him the 'Don't make eyes at my sister' speech. Unfortunately since she's presented as a slut, it loses some of its effectiveness.
- In NCIS, Di Nozzo asks why McGee didn't tell him that he had a little sister and Ziva rolls her eyes. Naturally no one would tell Tony that they had a little sister...
- Subverted in Peep Show, in which Jez specifically begins dating Mark's sister precisely because it upsets Mark. While an act of spite to start off with, it soon backfires on Jez when it occurs to him exactly how similar Mark and his sister are — while they're having sex...
- Dexter: Without ever stating it out loud, Sergeant Batista heavily implies this to intern Louis when he starts dating Batista's little sister Jamie.
- Happened twice on Friends, both times with Chandler - first with one of Joey's sisters, and second with Monica, who is Ross's sister. In both cases the brothers approved once Chandler stated he had serious intentions, and wasn't just fooling around (he was actually lying in Joey's case).
- Subverted in The Feast Of All Saints. Richard very formally asks his best friend, Marcel, for permission to court Marcel's younger sister, Marie. Marcel bursts out laughing at the awkward formality of the situation, then immediately gives his permission since "You're a lot bigger than me, you know!"
- Played for Laughs in The Big Bang Theory: Raj tries to forbid his sister Priya from seeing Leonard, but they ignore him. Sheldon voices his disapproval of Leonard betraying a friend - not Raj, Howard, as Howard and Leonard previously made a verbal agreement not to go after Priya.
- Sheldon, however, doesn't seem to care who his own sister Missy dates. Leonard briefly convinced Sheldon to put Missy off limits, which lasted until Missy found out that Sheldon was attempting to control her sex life and expressed her disapproval.
- Actually, in the Leonard/Priya instance, it was Priya who was hitting on Leonard, and Raj, oblivious of this fact, was quite upset with Leonard.
- Subverted on Heroes. When Hiro's time travel inadvertently Set Right What Once Went Wrong, causing Ando and his sister to fall in love, Hiro is ecstatic.
- Tommy gets a nonverbal version, over Oliver's teenage sister Thea.
Have you noticed how hot
your little sister's gotten? Oliver: Death Glare Tommy:
Because I have not!
- Tommy just can't catch a break with this trope.
Tommy: Girl's pretty cute.
Diggle: She's my sister-in-law.
Tommy: Who I will never speak to... or look at... ever.
- Now pretty much becoming a Running Gag. Once more with feeling when Tommy visits Laurel and finds her father there. They're dating at the time, mind you.
Tommy: Merry Christmas. How are you?
Det. Lance (in a low voice): Proficient with firearms.
- As the third page quote indicates, Stephen Lynch's "Best Friend's Song" subverts this. Mark Teich is fine with Lynch sleeping with his sister... he just has to pay first.
- Note that She's in junior high It's that kind of song...
- In the second music video for the Black Eyed Peas song "Bebot" Apl.de.Ap does this for his sister Jasmine.
- Elton John's "Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n' Roll)," in which he brags about having had sex with a friend's sixteen-year-old sister.
- Classical Mythology: Artemis usually Does Not Like Men. But she made an exception for the great hunter Orion. Her brother Apollo was not happy about this. Concerned that his sister might give up her chastity to Orion, Apollo did what any reasonable loving brother would do. He sent a giant scorpion to chase Orion and tricked his sister into shooting him. Understandably upset, Artemis placed Orion in the sky as a constellation to honor him. This just made Apollo hate Orion even more. He placed the scorpion in the sky as another constellation so that Orion would be chased forever.
- In Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida, Pandarus, trying to find out who Troilus is in love with, promises to help him win her even if she were his sister.
- West Side Story, of course. "Get your hands OFF my sister, American scum!"
- Except that the above line is directed at an enemy, not a friend, and said sister is actually supposed to be with her brother's best friend, a coupling of which said brother implicitly approves.
- The song "Don't Tamper With My Sister" from On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, though the complaint here is just that it's in public (and the character is only pretending to be her brother).
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal did this, rather disturbingly.
: I thought we agreed to put that unpleasant jungle business behind us. Skrunch
: SQUARK! Qwark
: It was mating season! How could I have known she was your sister?! Notices Ratchet & Clank are watching Qwark
: How long have you two been standing there? Clank
: Too long
- Sweet is this to Kendel in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.
- He does eventually lighten up on Cesar, but that could change if he ever pulls a Face Heel Turn
- In Grand Theft Auto IV Packie has this to say about his sister, Kate:
Packie: "What a girl! I think she likes you. Word to the wise, though - she don't put out. Which is convenient, 'cause if she did, I'd have to kill you."
- A mild example from Tales Of The Abyss comes in the sidequest where you have to find Emperor Peony's pet rappigs. He's named all of them after people he knows, and the one named for Jade's sister Nephry has the nicest collar. Given that Peony and Nephry have a (long-past) history anyway, Jade is noticeably displeased by this discovery.
- In Golden Sun, Felix acts this way towards Jenna, even making his old friend Isaac an enemy for it.(Among other things.) They eventually make up.
- Averted in Xenoblade. Dunban quite openly ships his little sister Fiora with Shulk.
- Ryujin of Mob Ties informs Sidney Burns that if he marries Mika, Ryujin's sister, he will kill Sid, in the very first issue. This puts Sid in a bind, as Papa-san, Mika's father, will kill Sid if he doesn't marry Mika.
- Played with in Panthera, as Jason is clueless about Fletcher taking a liking to Taylor until Kira points it out to him - when he promptly goes into stunned denial of the possibility precisely because Fletcher is his best friend.
- Now that Kira told him, though, he's a completely straight example of this, with some Knight Templar Big Brother thrown in for good measure.
- In this strip of Loserz, this trope is invoked when talking about Adam's little sister.
- Gender switched in Questionable Content where Dora gets very upset about the idea of her friends dating her brother.
- Two reasons behind this. One being Sven is very anti-commitment and is likely to cheat (Which he does). Second, she reveals to Marten that a lot of girls in high school only pretended to be her friend so they could seduce Sven and she still resents it.
- In The Dreadful, nobody fucks with Kit's sister. Ever! Unless they want bullets as a last meal.
- In All Grown Up!, Chuckie takes offense when he thinks Tommy has romantic feelings for his sister, Kimi (It's later revealed that it was the other way around, and only for a few minutes, though at the very end it's implied that Tommy and Kimi may actually have a thing for each other after all).
- Inverted in another episode when Phil actually begs Tommy to ask Lil to dance so she'll leave him alone.
- Also played straight when Phil chases off a guy talking to Lil when they begin to realize their gender differences.
- The main character from Danny Phantom is absolutely livid when his older sister is dating a biker named Johnny and spends the entire episode splitting them apart. Of course, he's a ghost who plans to use her body to host his equally ghostly girlfriend, but still.
- Of course, some of his anger DID seem to come from Jazz acting OOC because of the possession plot, but it was mostly the above.
- Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow. When Francis talks with James about why he decided to join the titular team, the conversation ends with:
Francis: Besides, anything to impress a girl right?
James: Girl?... Wait, you mean Torrun? Dude, she's like my sister!
Francis: So... she's available then?
- In The Penguins of Madagascar Hans the Puffin tries to do this to anger Skipper in "Huffin And Puffin". It kind of fails...
Hans: I kissed your sister! On the lips!
Skipper: I don't have a sister, and if I did she wouldn't have lips!
Hans: Really? Then who did I kiss?
- Les to Noam in Rated A For Awesome.
"Dude! That's my sister!"
- In the Catillac Cats segment of Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats titled "Games of Love", Mongo meets a pretty Southern girl named Dixie training for track & field. The two are smitten with each other - much to the annoyance of Dixie's muscular older brother, Jake. Jake pays a visit to the junkyard later to warn Mongo to keep away from his sister. This stems more from not wanting his sister distracted from her athletic training than not liking Mongo.
- On The Simpsons episode "She of Little Faith," Jimbo attacks his friend Kearney when he finds out he's dating his mom.
Kearney: Hey, she came on to me!
- Real Life example: This is actually the story behind the band No Doubt. Gwen Stefani's brother, Eric, started the band and she liked fellow band member, and friend of the family, Tony Kanal. He thought she was off limits, but they did end up dating for a while in secret. The relationship was less than successful, as reflected in some of the group's songs like "Don't Speak". Everything turned out okay in the end, though, and she is happily married now, and he is also in a relationship. She sang about this in the song "Cool", indicating that they had closure.
- Maxim Magazine codified the 24-hour rule (mentioned in the description above) as a "Man Law."
- Another Real Life example: Zinedine Zidane's famous headbutting of Marco Materazzi in the World Cup Finals came after Materazzi said 'I'd rather have your sister' when Zidane offered to give Materazzi his shirt, which he'd been pulling on. Or something like that.
- Among some traditional people, like the Maasai in East Africa, it is common that young men of the same age form a group of warriors. They consider the others in the group their brothers and hence, dating a "brother's" sister is as unthinkable as dating your own.