Diane Court: Nobody thinks it will work, do they?
Lloyd Dobler: No. You just described every great success story.A trope frequently seen in Sit Coms and Romantic Comedies. The hero and his love interest are obviously all wrong for each other. They have little in common as far as interests or hobbies are concerned, their personalities are built to clash, and it's obvious that once the shine has worn off the apple, they're going to break up and break up hard. Maybe he's a serious-minded businessman and she's the daughter of two aging hippies who never left The '60s behind. Maybe he's an unambitious semi-jock who has never really done anything in his life, and she's a genius bound for a life of intellectual achievement. Whatever the case, friends, family and casual acquaintances point out that "This will never work" at every opportunity, because nobody in his right mind thinks that the two belong together. Except they do. And when they live Happily Ever After, they prove everyone wrong, because True Love Is Exceptional. There is often a scene where the primary naysayers express their incredulity over the situation, or sometimes even recant their disbelief. When the story starts out with the couple married, a recurring plot is one or both spouses getting doubts or clashing, only to reconcile and learn An Aesop about True Love. Often a romantic version of the Odd Couple, though the two romantic leads don't need to literally be opposites. Also frequently involves an Uptown Girl. Compare with Star-Crossed Lovers. Also see What Does She See in Him?, where the question is how the attraction occurred at all, not whether they can make it work. Not to be confused with It Will Never Catch On.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Episode 24 of CLANNAD, which covers an alternate-universe "Tomoyo end", is essentially this trope condensed to twenty minutes.
- Everybody in Bitter Virgin expects Daisuke and Hinako to break up at some point. To be fair, the couple expects it too (both expect the other to find a better person someday).
- Fushigi Yuugi, between the Official Couple, of course! It's because she's the Priestess and he's her Seishi, she's from the real world and he's a character in the book, none of the Four Gods would ever allow it, they can't cross the erotic line... it's forbidden love at its extremity. The subversion is that it's a POV only mostly by Tamahome's mentor and by Miaka and Tamahome themselves after they've realized how difficult it is.
- Green Arrow and Black Canary, after years of relationship issues (cheating, abusive behavior, etc.), finally got married. When they sent out invitations to the wedding, the reactions from most of the superheroes was somewhere between hysterical laughter and taking bets on how long it would last.
- Howard Mackie's final Spider-Man story attempted to go this route with M.J reflecting that apparently everyone had said they would never last. Of course, anyone who's read the older stories should know that pretty much everyone was trying to hook her and Peter up, particularly Aunt May.
- Deadpool and Rogue is a recent case. It's canon they both have feelings for one another, and went on their first date after sharing their first two kisses -initiated by Rogue in Uncanny Avengers vol 3. Chapter 22. During the kiss, Rogue absorbs Deadpool's powers which weakens her, allowing Wonder Man to finally be set free. In the following chapter, Beast explains how it worked, saying that skin on skin contact made it happen. However, Beast thinks that Rogue was slapping Deadpool, rather than thinking she'd kiss him. Later, Synapse and Brother Voodoo talk about it. The latter is surprised to hear of it, and Synapse says she doesn't think it's really a thing. Quicksilver isn't surprised however, stating that it's natural the two loneliest people in the world found one another.
- The Oneiroi Series. Well, did you really think anyone would?
- Dark Heart High: Yuri's parents. For good reason - an Evil Overlord and a Magical Girl aren't supposed to get married! And never mind having a kid on top of that!
- Rules: Light Yagami and his love interest Charlie invoke this on themselves by listing all the problems a relationship between them would have: Their personalities would constantly clash, he has to go back to Japan and she'd never do a long-distance relationship, his parents would want him to have an obedient, Japanese homemaker for a wife, and she'll never give up her dream and/or pretend to be someone else just to appease them. All in all, a recipe for disaster — so it's only fitting that the epilogue indicate that they're still going strong, with Charlie even learning how to speak Japanese.
- Say Anything...: Trope Namer, Uptown Girl Hollywood Genius vs. unambitious slacker variant.
- Ben Stone and Allison Scott in Knocked Up. He's an overweight pothead layabout. She's a hot media figure. They are both the best thing to ever happen to each other.
- Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Justice is a highly intelligent, highly skilled, erudite cat burglar. Jay is an ignorant foul-mouthed semi-homeless pothead.
Justice: "What can I say? I love the little skeezoid?"
- In Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, the passionate, loud, lusty, and rather promiscuous Jack Aubrey falls deeply for Sophie Williams, a proper, virginal, and as it turns out rather undersexed young lady. His best friend wishes them well, but privately predicts woe; her cousin, Diana Villiers, doesn't bother to be private about it.
- Deltora Quest: He's the handsome, brave, heroic and renowned king of a massive country. She was raised by trees.
- Georgette Heyer's Sprig Muslin and Venetia both contain this trope.
- The Frog King by Adam Davies.
- In Vampire Academy, Rose and Dimitri do eventually get together, but their concerns set out in the first book are never resolved, and are probably more pressing by the last book.
- This is the general reaction of the Summer Court to Aislinn's relationship with Seth in Wicked Lovely.
Live Action TV
- The core premise of Dharma & Greg, Bewitched, and possibly I Dream of Jeannie. In Dharma and Greg they have clashing personalities which their family thinks makes them incompatible, in Bewitched, pretty much all of Samantha's relatives think she's crazy for marrying a mortal, and in I Dream of Jeannie... she lives in a goddamn bottle. The former two series have romantic tension since they start out married, and the last has them begin in a master/more-powerful-servant relationship, making a recurring plot one or both spouses/interests getting doubts or clashing, only to reconcile and learn An Aesop.
- The CSI episode "$35k OBO" begins with a couple leaving a restaurant, wishing one another happy anniversary and remarking, "And they said it would never last." Since it's CSI, it doesn't come as all that much of a surprise when the trope is almost instantly violently subverted in more ways than one: Not only are they both murdered, but it turns out they each hired the same hitwoman to kill the other.
- And they paid up front?! Morons!
- In Home Improvement, Jill has occasionally mentioned that people tried to talk her out of marrying Tim.
Jill: Our wedding was so beautiful. I am so glad that I didn't let anybody talk me out of marrying you.Tim: Who would try to talk you out of marrying me?Jill: Oh, no one, you know, just my mom, my dad, my sisters, my family, the minister, the postman, some guy down at the mailbox...
- Hal's family believed this about his marriage to Lois in Malcolm in the Middle.
- This was the general attitude, at first at least, about the pairing of Luke Spencer and Laura Webber on General Hospital. This sort of romantic pairing is actually pretty common in soap operas.
- I Love Lucy: CBS initially responded to Lucille Ball's insistence that Desi Arnaz play the husband in her TV show by saying they weren't sure if audiences could believe that a celebrity like Lucy had a mixed marriage with an obscure Cuban bandleader. In response, Lucy and Desi gave a vaudeville tour across the country. The tour became a success, proving to the networks that a TV show of the duo would be huge.
- Victorious has Beck and Jade. No one understands it, but they've been going strong for almost 3 years, and its implied they make each other better people as a result.
- Friends: Both Rachel and Phoebe look down on Monica and Chandler's as a couple, but as neither of them manage to establish a successful relationship until the end of the series, and Monica and Chandler are very happy and well-suited, they come across looking like jealous jerks rather than friends with legitimate concerns.
- Averted with Joey who thinks they're great and 'going to last forever'. He's proved right.
- Shania Twain's song "You're Still the One" is all about this trope.
- Adding to the list, "Anniversary" by Voltaire.
- As is Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract".
- And CÚline Dion's "Everybody's Talking My Baby Down."
- And touched on in Sonny and Cher's "I've Got You Babe" (They say we're young and we don't know; won't find out until we grow...) Which is Hilarious in Hindsight considering what happened to the singers, but hey.
- George Gershwin's song "They All Laughed" is about a couple who had to go through this trope. It's the Trope Namer, in fact.
- The song "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane" by Tanya Tucker.
- Chuck Berry's Never Can Tell (you may recognise it from Pulp Fiction) is titled after the refrain the old folks use to recant their naysaying while the song describes the kids going on to live happily.
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell
- Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know About Us", as covered by Tracey Ullman.
- One of two options presented by the protagonist in "Who's To Say" by Vanessa Carlton — the other being that everybody is right and it won't work, and the point being that there's only one way to find out.
- "We Weren't Crazy" by Josh Gracin is about a relationship that's stayed together even when all of the male's peers thought it was crazy.
- Similarly, "Love Like Crazy" by Lee Brice.
- Amanda Marshall's "Dark Horse" is another of these.
- In Much Ado About Nothing, Don Pedro proclaims that Beatrice and Benedick are a good match for each other. Everyone else is highly skeptical due to their constant bickering, but they still agree to help him try to set them up.
- In Family Guy, Lois, the bright, attractive daughter of a very wealthy Rhode Island family, married Peter, a not-so-bright jock, although this is more of an Odd Couple. It's revealed in one episode that when Peter and Lois first became a couple, hardly anyone that Peter and Lois would actually make a compatible couple, and that Lois's sister, Carol, was one of the few people (if not the only person) to actually support their relationship.
- Lois Duncan, author of many famous suspense stories, described her husband Don Arquette, as being an engineer and so different from her that many family members thought they would not be able to talk about anything besides the weather. Yet they have been married since 1965.
- Lord Rosebery commented that the marriage of Winston Churchill and Clementine Hozier wouldn't last more than six months. It lasted 56 years, until the former's death.
- When Ozzy Osbourne and his now-wife Sharon got married, everyone expected his hard-driving rock and roll lifestyle to destroy any chance they had of staying together. 28 plus years later, in spite of a few close calls before Ozzie cut back on the pharmaceuticals, they're still together.
- Patti and Robin Lee Graham (the sixties teenager who sailed round the world alone) were not shockingly different but they did have a marriage that no one would have bet on. She was a teenage beach girl, he was a crazy (if not really as crazy as some when you think of it) boy who wanted to sail around the world. They met at 18 and eloped and are still together.