"What's wrong with policemen on television these days? They're always complete opposites. One's of them fat and poor, the other one's thin and posh. One of them's a woman, the other one's a Martian. One of them has four heads, one of them's
allergic to heads."
Mr Neat/Tidy/Law-Abiding/By-The-Book forced to work/live with Mr Messy/Slob/Zany/Risk-Taker/Plays-By-His-Own-Rules. Despite the name, they're usually not a romantic couple (though this depends on the show in question).
The couple might be cops
The original Odd Couple
were The Odd Couple,
based on a movie based on a play of the same title, about two divorcees, Neat Freak
Felix Unger and his sloppy
friend Oscar Madison, having to live together.
If the pair lives in a High Fantasy
realm, a Hidden World of Awesome, or an Absurdist World of Awesome, you may be watching a Psychedelic Comedy Bromance
See also: Salt and Pepper
, Polar Opposite Twins
, Tomboy and Girly Girl
, Sensitive Guy and Manly Man
, Red Oni, Blue Oni
, Opposites Attract
, Two Gamers on a Couch
, Badass and Child Duo
. Compare Heterosexual Life-Partners
. May be part of a Wunza Plot
If it's not the two main characters, it's an Odd Friendship
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Anime And Manga
- Two anime play on the Robot Detective motif (see Literature): Armitage III (Armitage is secretly a robot, Sylibus is an Earth transfer with anti-robot leanings) and Metropolis (Robot and Human detective, based on the book).
- It's implied that before Shinji Ikari's arrival in his class at school in Neon Genesis Evangelion, that Kensuke Aida (nerd) and Touji Suzuhara (jock) were this.
- Tenchi Muyo! - The space-cop pair "Miho-Kiyo" — Born Lucky Brainless Beauty Mihoshi and Cosmic Plaything By-the-Book Cop Kiyone. They're the same in whatever series they appear (though Kiyone does not appear in the first OVA series).
- Nana - Nana and Hachi, who is also really named Nana.
- Futari wa Pretty Cure - Part of the premise; two unlikely partners are a sports-loving tomboy and a brainy class rep.
- Bleach has a whole lot of these.
- The Shinigami, most notably in the 13 squad divisions with many of its captain and lieutenant sets:
- 1st Division: Subverted in the case of Captain Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto and Lieutenant Chōjirō Sakisabe. Yamamoto enjoys Japanese culture but dislikes European, and holds Japanese tea sessions for his squad, while Chōjirō is obsessed with European culture and dislikes Japanese to the point of growing his own tea leaves. However, this is the only area in which they differ. They're very well matched aside from this.
- 2nd Division: Captain Shaolin "Soifon" Fon (Les Yay Tsundere Ice Queen Jerkass Façade) and Lieutenant Marechiyo Omaeda (Dumb Muscle Butt Monkey Gonk).
- 3rd Division: Smug Snake Trickster Mentor Captain Gin Ichimaru and melancholic Warrior Poet Izuru Kira. Averted with Rose and Kira who have bonded through their shared artistic natures.
- 6th Division: Subverted with Aloof Big Brother Captain Byakuya Kuchiki and Hot-Blooded Lieutenant Renji Abarai. Clarified as being an in-universe belief that's not true in reality due to Byakuya being Hot-Blooded Beneath the Mask making the pair Not So Different. However, a lot of characters don't know this.
- 7th Division: Calm and collected Captain Sajin Komamura and Hot-Blooded Lieutenant Tetsuzaimon Iba
- 8th Division: Captain Shunsui Kyōraku (Brilliant, but Lazy and The Dandy) and Lieutenant Nanao Ise (stiff and formal with a Prim and Proper Bun to show it).
- 10th Divison: Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya (an extremely serious, focused Workaholic Child Prodigy) and Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto, who is easy-going, easily distracted and Brilliant, but Lazy, not to mention significantly older, taller, and bustier, subverting the usual image of the seasoned captain and the raw lieutenant.
- 11th Division: Subverted with Sociopathic Hero Kenpachi Zaraki and Rose-Haired Sweetie Yachiru Kusajishi. Yachiru is as blood-thirsty as he is.
- 12th Division: Mad Scientist Mayuri Kurotsuchi who will fly off the handle very easily and Extreme Doormat Nemu Kurotsuchi who barely reacts to anything unless ordered to. Mayuri created her to be like that.
- 13th Division: Ukitake is a tall, peaceful, calm individual who tries to negotiate conflict between friends and allies with smooth-talking, friendly soothing words. Rukia's short, Hot-Blooded, and prefers to either beat sense into friends and allies or passionately yell at them.
- In the "Turn Back The Pendulum'' arc, we have:
- Even the ex-captain traitor trio qualifies: Kaname Tōsen is a mostly stoic Blind Justice Knight Templar, Gin Ichimaru is an Ax-Crazy Faux Affably Evil Enigmatic Minion, and Sōsuke Aizen is an Affably Evil Magnificent Bastard Hero Killer Villain Sue. Enjoyable Teeth-Clenched Teamwork ensues.
- Naruto - Akatsuki offers two examples:
- Hidan (dedicated priest who despises the greedy) and Kakuzu (bounty hunter who covets money and despises religions). The only reason they haven't killed each other yet is they're both immortal.
- Sasori (strict artist who values the ageless quality of his puppets) and Deidara (relaxed artist who values the transient beauty of his explosions). Despite their constant arguing about art, they respect one another and work well together.
- Arguably, 'Odd Couple' applies to virtually everyone in the entire show. Naruto is a loud, hot-blooded idiot that depends on sheer determination to be great vs Sasuke who is a quiet genius that can become great through sheer intelligence — now how well does that description fit Lee/Neji, Kiba/Shino, Kakashi/Gai, Orochimaru/Jiraiya, and much more? Even side characters have examples with Tsunade being an alcoholic gambler who just happens to be an incredibly talented ninja vs Shizune who is a strait-laced type but nowhere near as good of a ninja.
- Azumanga Daioh
- The stern, mature, bookworm Yomi and goofy, brash, hyperactive Tomo.
- The same applies for the sensible, caring Nyamo, and the playful, irresponsible Yukari.
- Shy, quiet cute-obsessed Sakaki and outgoing, impulsive Kagura's growing friendship might also count; particularly later in the season; although it seems a little more one-sided (on Kagura's part) than the other pairings.
- Mai-Otome - Country Mouse Arika Yumemiya and strait-laced #1-ranked student Nina Wang. Can also be applied to Arika and snobby Rebellious Princess Mashiro Blan de Windbloom.
- Hidamari Sketch - Yuno and Miyako have very different personalities, which doesn't prevent them from being very close. Miyako's often energetic efforts to show her feelings for Yuno are especially endearing at times.
- Scrapped Princess - The "Beast Princess" Seness Giat and Yamato Nadeshiko Eirote Borchard.
- Toradora!: Ryuuji and Taiga. He's tall, gentle, is an expert at housekeeping, likes to cook, and generally does his best to avoid conflict—unfortunately, the hereditary angry glare he got from his father makes everyone think Ryuuji's going to kill them, or worse. She's short, brutish, never bothers cleaning up after herself, burns salads, and has the temperament of a raging tiger—unfortunately, her pretty face and delicate figure makes strangers think she's just a cute little girl.
- Soul Eater
- Maka and Soul from are a pretty good example of this trope.
- Tsubaki and Black Star are even stronger examples.
- The groups are put together with this in mind. Opposites can resonate their souls better.
- The meister/Weapon groups such as Harvar and Ox. Shinigami has a contrasting group in his named area heads, but he and scythe Spirit are not actually that dissimilar. Though it depends on how far Shinigami's obfuscating stupidity.
- That being noted, Shinigami is Spirit's third partner. His first was Franken Stein, and his second Maka's mother, who has, as of writing, yet to be shown, but said to be much like her daughter.
- Light Yagami and L in Death Note. Light is an occasionally amnesiac mass-murderer who kills criminals in order to make a 'better world' with himself as God. L is the detective who's trying to catch him. And they were HANDCUFFED TOGETHER for several episodes/chapters! Not to mention that Light is neatly dressed and charismatic, while L is a sloppy Bunny-Ears Lawyer with No Social Skills.
- Chiaki from Nodame Cantabile is a perfectionistic neat-freak who prefers good manners, yet he spends much of his time with Nodame, who is eccentric, ill-mannered, chaotic and an immense slob.
- Kanade (serious, somewhat Tsundere) and Yukino (ditzy) from Candy Boy. As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that the two are more alike than they initially appeared.
- Darker Than Black- The two Contractors, November 11 and April have this dynamic, especially in the dub. He is cool and kind of fastidious (at least in respect to smoking) and always wears a suit. She is a Hard-Drinking Party Girl who dresses the part and has dyed hair. They kill people.
They are also Salt and Pepper; November is currently the page picture for Phenotype Stereotype while April is black, albeit with blue hair and yellow eyes. On the other hand, they're both rather attached to July.
- Subaru and Teana in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS and all related releases where they serve as main characters. The former's too energetic for her own good while the other tries to keep professional in the face of that energy.
- Niea and Mayuko from Niea7, the latter being a serious cram-school student in contrast with the boisterous, freeloading and food-stealing alien girl who lives in her cloest. Still, their relationship shows signs of a sisterly bond, which gets especially prevalent when Niea goes missing.
- A central theme in Noir; Kirika and Mirielle's curious relationship is key to the plot.
- Not just Noir, but all the Girls with Guns anime from Koichi Mashimo and Bee Train feature this Odd Couple relationship with at least one of the protagonists. If it isn't Kirika and Mirielle, it's Madlax and Margaret...or Nadie and Ellis.
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya - Haruhi and Kyon, He's a down to earth, Ordinary Highschool Student, and Deadpan Snarker and she's a hyperactive Genki Girl, who is also God.
- Gakuen Alice has a Mikan, Hotari, Natsumi, and Luka. Any way you mix and match you get an Odd Couple.
- Gon and Killua in Hunter × Hunter probably count, because it's been pointed out that even their Nen types are complete opposites of each other. Gon's a naive, strong-willed boy from the country and Killua is a devious ex-Assassin who also happens to be very, very rich. Kurapika and Leorio probably count, too.
- And how could we forget the ultimate example. Goku and Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z are complete opposites that are repeatedly forced to team up, no matter how much they don't like it. It starts out as a still fairly tense Enemy Mine, but by the Buu Saga we get whole episodes of them bickering and snarking at each other while wandering Buu's innards.
- In The Secret Agreement, Yuuichi is down to earth and realistic while Iori is impractical, otherworldly, and has very scattered attachments to actual things. On top of this there is a large wealth and class gap between them. They aren't quite a case of Opposites Attract, but in-story Yuuichi remarks to himself how they are an unlikely couple.
- The title characters of Tiger & Bunny. Kotetsu (Wild Tiger) is impulsive, emotional, compassionate and prone to poking his nose into other people's business. His partner Barnaby ("Bunny") is asocial, aloof, relentlessly formal and generally unconcerned about anything other than avenging his parents' deaths.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Definitely Germany and Italy. Denmark and Norway, to some extent. And maybe Canada and America.
- Detectives Ryo MacLean and Dee Laytner in Buddy Cop Show manga FAKE, who are partners with almost opposite personalities yet attracted to each other.
- Grenadier has this in the form of the level-headed, gun-hating Samurai warrior Yajiro, and the off-beat, innocent gun-slinging busty blonde Rushuna.
- Guardians of Death in Yami No Matsuei always work in pairs; the manga focuses on the the goofy, playful and hyperactive Tsuzuki and the serious, down-to-earth and short-tempered Hisoka.
- Takeo and Sunahara from Ore Monogatari. Sunahara is the typical Bishōnen high schooler you hear about and see in all sorts of manga, Takeo is a big, squarely built guy whose appearance would usually be used as gonk in other manga. And those two have been friends for over 10 years.
- Tintin - gracile hyper-saintly jack-of-all-trades journalist meets chubby choleric, eccentric alcoholic — who could this possibly be? Tintin and the Captain, of course.
- Cable & Deadpool - One: a muscle-bound, angsty psychic mutant from the future trying to make the world a better place. His buddy: a fourth-wall-breaking motormouth mercenary who is made of cancer and loves pop-culture riffs. They Fight Crime, sort of.
- Blacksad has intellectual tough guy John Blacksad paired with precocious pervert Weekly. They get along surprisingly well.
- Sehven and Leeka in Feather. Sehv is the last dragon slayer. Leeka is the last full blooded dragon. You can see where the conflict comes from.
- Lenore and Ragamuffin in Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl.
- Superman and Batman. Superman is an alien with almost godlike powers. He can fly, lift hundreds of tons, and fire heat beams from his eyes. He was raised under generally modest circumstances and was inspired by the strong morals taught to him by his parents, and believes in setting a good example for all of mankind. He's also happily married.
Batman is a human, albeit an incredibly badass one. He trained his mind and body for years to gain his genius for gadgets, his mastery of combat skills, and his understanding of the mind. He is a tycoon who was inspired to be a hero by the murder of his parents, and believes in creating a nightmare image to scare criminals straight. Oh, and he's got relationship issues out the wazoo. They're practically the superhero Good Cop/Bad Cop scenario, and yet they still acknowledge the other as their best friend.
- Quantum and Woody, with Eric (Quantum) as the by-the-books superhero and Woody as the slapdash slob. Though Woody repeatedly insists they're "not a couple."
- Sin City has Dwight and Miho. Dwight is a down-to-Earth guy who tries to use his head while Miho is the Ax-Crazy assassin who never says a word. They get into conflicts a lot but Miho usually listens to him.
- There was a two issue arc in Spider-Man where he was forced to team up with Loki to save the world and Loki's mostly-mortal kid, who the person trying to destroy the world was possessing. It involved a lot of wordplay between the two masters of I Shall Taunt You and despite being a hero and a villain-just-doing-something-good, it was so well-written that a lot of fans remember and like it (and post it all over the web, particularly the "chili dog scene").
- It also introduced an as-of-yet unfired (and since it was written in 2003-04, probably forgotten) Chekhov's Gun of Loki owing Spider-Man a favor.
- Power Man and Iron Fist headlined a comic together in the early '80s and this trope was invoked often in the advertising. Iron Fist comes from another world where he has mastered martial arts to an almost superhuman level. His is a life of discipline and dedication. He's also rich, but his lack of experience in the real world leaves him naive at times. Power Man, in contrast, grew up poor on the streets and knows entirely too much about how the world works, and completely lacks training and discipline, but gets by on the virtue of being super strong and nearly indestructible. Together, they're a nightmare for criminals of all sorts.
- The New 52 All-Star Western pairs the ruthless, hard-as-nails, disfigured Bounty Hunter Jonah Hex with prissy Easterner Dr. Amadeus Arkham, who is one of the world's first criminal psychologists and a firm believer in the law and order and the humane treatment of criminals.
- Most of the characters in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series fit this one way or another. You've got Calvin and Hobbes themselves, as well as Andy and Sherman. Even Dr. Brainstorm and Jack follow this!
- The ever popular pairing (sometimes romantic, sometimes just friendly) in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanon; Vinyl Scratch and Octavia. One's a partying, disco pumping DJ that goes by the stage name DJ PON 3. The other is a refined and distinguished cellist. They are placed together to do everything from share a radio studio to fighting crime.
- Lyra and Bon Bon get a similar pairing with the former's strange and/or fun loving personality being a constant foil to the latter's more straight-laced and grumpy persona. They're also portrayed as a romantic couple so often it's considered strange when that isn't the case.
- In the "Pink Personal Hell" line of Pink Personal Hell And Altering Fate, we have an odd couple of Pinkie Pie, and Dominic. While they get closer together, it becomes quite obvious that Pinkie moves a little too fast and is a little too hyperactive for Dominic.
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- In the Heat of the Night - Virgil Tibbs (black and Northern) and Bill Gillespie (redneck).
- Turner and Hooch (1989) with Tom Hanks as the obsessive Neat Freak bachelor cop Scott Turner having to share his pristine apartment with... Hooch, a large slobbering Dogue de Bordeaux he-dog, the only witness in a murder case.
- Ken and Ray in In Bruges. Ken being the warmhearted, wiser man and Ray being the impertinent, non-PC young one. Ken likes Bruges for the scenery; Ray hates it for being so boring.
- Tallahassee and Columbus in Zombieland. Columbus is a nervous, twitchy college student who's scared of clowns and addicted to World of Warcraft. Tallahassee is a Crazy Awesome Badass who's constantly on the hunt for Twinkies and creative new ways to kill zombies. The two get along surprisingly well.
- The Avengers (1998). Mrs. Peel doesn't play by the rules, Steed does.
- The Lethal Weapon franchise. Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs. Murtaugh is the family man detective who just wants to remodel his house in peace, while Riggs is the crazy loner cop who tends to have a Heroic BSOD every movie.
- Cherrybomb - Malachy (Rupert Grint) and Luke (Robert Sheehan). Malachy is a steady, dependable straight-A student with a doting middle-class family, and Luke is a loud, flamboyant drug-dealer with a taste for vandalism and violence, whose family abuse and neglect him.
- The Great Race - The Great Leslie is a charming male chauvinist. Maggie Dubois is a militant female chauvinist. Naturally, they fall in love and get married.
- Red Heat. Moscow's toughest detective, who happens to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Chicago's craziest cop, Jim Belushi. There's only one thing worse than making them mad. Making them partners.
- Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman's characters in The Change Up.
- The Heat An FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) (not that one (probably)) who teams up with a short, slobby, crass, overweight detective (Melissa McCarthy); the only thing they have in common is that no one in their respective departments wants to work with them.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Roger and Jessica Rabbit. Not the least reason is the fact that she's drawn as a human (an overly-sexy woman complete with Peek-a-Bangs) and he's a rabbit (a stereotypically-slapstick cartoon rabbit). They're married, and most Toons say Jessica got the better end of the deal.
- Laurel and Hardy
- Isaac Asimov's "Robot Detective" trilogy (The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn), where the couple is an intelligent robot detective and a robot-hating human policeman. They Fight Crime together.
- Conventional, polite nice guy John Watson and eccentric, sarcastic freelancer Sherlock Holmes, who were originally forced to live together because neither of them could afford the Baker Street flat on his own.
- Miron and Joshua from Dora Wilk Series. One is outgoing, social, rebellious devil who drowns checks from his father as a matter of principle. Another is Shrinking Violet, compassionate angel who's under constant pressure from his father (Archangel Gabriel) and must live in Miron's house, as he can't afford his own. They met in Garden of Eden when they were seven and kept together ever since.
- Deconstructed in John Dies at the End, with the relationship between John and Dave. For most of the book, Dave is seen as pretty normal, with John being the weirdo. However, as the book progresses, we discover that John is Dave's only friend, and the reason Dave still hangs around with him is because he's a codependent sociopath, and John's the 'normal' one.
- Aziraphale and Crowley from Good Omens are, in theory, about as different as it's possible to get: they met in the Garden of Eden, where Aziraphale was the angel at the eastern gate and Crowley was the snake. (They've both since been demoted.) Having worked opposite each other on Earth for countless centuries, they've realised that they have more in common with each other than they think and become best friends, still nominally working for good and evil but not interfering with each other's projects and occasionally having lunch together. Aziraphale is the neat, picky one while Crowley is wilder and always wears sunglasses.
- In The Westing Game, the sixteen main characters are paired with each other in order to solve a mystery. Most of the pairs seemingly have nothing in common with each other.
- Pettersson & Bendel - A Con Men Odd Couple. Pettersson is a dashing but rather naive homeless man whom most people take to straight away; Bendel is a scrawny illegal immigrant and financial genius who must have a Charisma score of about -10.
- Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, to an extent. While they do fit the bill of nutty-goofball and sophistication-incarnate, respectively, their living situation is due to a professional, master-servant relationship.
- Discworld - Esme Weatherwax (uptight, virginal, constantly testing herself and others), and Gytha Ogg (easy-going, mother of fifteen, gets on well with everyone).
- Agnes Nitt and Perdita Dream. Bonus points for being the same person.
- The City Watch books have Fred Colon, a simple, down-to-earth sergeant who's not as smart as he thinks he is and Nobby Nobbs, a shifty, "certified human" corporal who's smarter than he looks (which, granted, isn't hard).
- Shadowleague - Zavahl, former head of the Corrupt Church and a dour man at best, and sunny Ailie in Maggie Furey's books.
- The Princess Series - Snow White and Talia (Sleeping Beauty) were this back before Danielle (Cinderella) joined the team making it a trio. Snow is intelligent, immature, outgoing, wields magic, and is younger than she looks due to magic. Talia is reserved, stoic, cynical, a high level warrior, and is older than she looks due to magic.
- In Kidnapped David Balfour is a respectable(and rather priggish) lowlander and a firm Hanoverian. Alan Breck Stewart is a wild Highlander and a well committed Jacobite.
- Nita and Nailer of Ship Breaker. She's an upperclass Rich Bitch with a good case of Silk Hiding Steel. He's a ship breaker and the son of a world class monster. They somehow become Fire-Forged Friends.
- The John Varley novel Mammoth featured an antagonist trio of a young far-left militant and a geriatric far-right evangelical and his son. United in their opposition to cloning - the militant because he thinks cloning is a violation of animal rights and the evangelical because he thinks cloning is sacrilegious - they become terrorists.
- Noah Landau and Viktor Borovsky in Greg Rucka's A Gentleman's Game. Landau is stoical, taciturn, phlegmatic, cynical, world-weary, patient, and polite; his family was almost certainly fifth aliyah or earlier. Borovsky is passionate, mirthful, profane, lustful, playful, optimistic, and earthy; he himself was born in Russia back when it was still the Soviet Union. The two of them work together at the Mossad, and somehow manage to make a very good team, even though Borovsky seems to drive Landau up the wall.
Borovsky: I love her, I want to send her flowers....I adore her, and I want to show her my affection....What is her name again? Her real name, not the work name, not that Italian name.
Landau: She's head of their special section. I'm sure you have it on file.
Borovsky: I looked. Her name is Chace, Tara Chace.
Landau: Then why are you asking me?
Borovsky: It's more fun this way. There was no picture of her, I think it was removed. Did you remove it?
Landau: To keep you from drooling over it.
Borovsky: Is she beautiful? Is she beautiful, this woman who assassinates Saudi princes?
- Louie, a timid mama's mouse and Dan, a brash slob, from The Porcupine Mouse. They're brothers.
- In James Patterson's NYPD Red as the two partners meet, they have As You Know Bob dialog which describes him as the by-the-book straight arrow and her as the loose cannon maverick. Appropriately for a book about investigating murders of movie people, it's virtually a pitch for the movie adaptation.
- A less common version of this can be found in The Vampire Chronicles. Melancholic arsonist Louis and adventurous snarker Lestat. They couldn't be any more different but they still love each other.
- Garrett, P.I.: title character and his best friend. Garrett muses that Morley stands for everything he hates, but somehow he still likes Morley.
Live Action TV
- Austin & Ally - Austin and Ally are quite opposites
- Two and a Half Men - Charlie and Alan.
- Hawaii Five-0 - McGarrett and Danno are this trope right from the very beginning.
- Simon And Simon - Rick and A.J. Simon are brothers so different in temperament that they had to be brothers for anyone to believe they'd voluntarily work together.
- Michael and Joey from My Two Dads.
- Larry and Balki from Perfect Strangers.
- Scully and Mulder from The X-Files (at least until Scully began to believe). And when that happened, it became Scully and Doggett.
- The Professionals - Hot-tempered and caring Doyle and cool Bodie.
- Bones - Logical, scientific Brennan and intuitive, religious Booth.
- Full House had an Odd Trio.
- Sherlock: Sherlock and John.
- Alien Nation - Francisco (Newcomer) and Sikes (who doesn't like Newcomers) in both the movie and the television version.
- House - Gregory House and James Wilson define this trope.
- Mythbusters - When the producers of what would eventually become Mythbusters first approached Jamie Hyneman regarding hosting his own show, he objected on the grounds that he is... not exactly an extrovert ("Do you actually have moods?" "No."). He suggested importing a much more outgoing colleague, Adam Savage, as co-host. The result has developed into one of the funniest, most charismatic Odd Couple pairings going.
They more or less intentionally created a Double Act/ Comedy Duo/ Manzai, which given how often it shows up on this list, is probably a sub-trope.
- Top Gear - Jeremy Clarkson (loud, brash, and confident) and James May (quiet, pragmatic, and orderly), whose on-screen bickering has frequently been compared to an unhappy marriage. They're good friends, however. And when you add Richard "Hamster" Hammond to Jezza and Captain Slow on the UK version of Top Gear you have one of the greatest Odd Trios ...in the world.
- Oz And James - James May co-presented with Oz Clarke: May plays the ignorant scruff to Clarke's long-winded pedantry. Early episodes feature May complaining about how Clarke would rather talk about alcohol than drink it. They eventually came to the point where they enjoyed each other's company, especially once May picked up enough wine knowledge to carry on an informed conversation with Oz.
- Life On Mars - DI Sam Tyler and DCI Gene Hunt: an uptight, by-the-book, and slightly crazy cop trained in the modern and forensics-heavy methods of policing, and a reckless, bastardly, and semi-alcoholic cop trained in the 1970s Cowboy Cop method of breaking down doors and having people arrested for cattle-rustling because he needed an excuse to get them off the streets. At one point in the show, they beat each other up in a hospital room and the camera cuts to them sitting down together having a smoke and talking about their job.
- Clark Kent and Lex Luthor from Smallville.
- The Mighty Boosh revolves around the relationship between Vince Noir (super-trendy, cheerful, fey social butterfly with big eyes) and Howard Moon (curmudgeony, misanthropic, mustachioed jazz-aficionado with tiny eyes). Vince is often mistaken for Howard's wife/lady friend, and Howard is often mistaken for Vince's father or geography teacher. The Odd Couple dynamic has an additional level to it, as it both mirrors and contrasts the real-life dynamic between actors Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt.
- Red Dwarf - Arnold Rimmer and Dave Lister. Rimmer is the uptight, regulation-following kind of person who will insist that the red-alert bulb be switched on when all of the crew members are in the same small room and are all undoubtedly already alerted and delights in quoting "Space Corps Directives". Lister, on the other hand, is described as "toffed up to the nines" when wearing a t-shirt with only one curry stain on it and pants with a hole in them that he's spray-painted himself to cover up. Though initially antagonistic, their relationship eventually becomes far more friendly.
- Invoked Trope: Red Dwarf's AI could only generate one hologram at a time, and thought Rimmer's totally opposite personality would help Lister stay sane due to the arguments and antagonism between the two.
- Rome - Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, with Vorenus as the uptight, honourable, stoic, by-the-book guy (with occasional cold-blooded murderous rage), and Pullo as the cheerfully hedonistic thug who never thinks beyond the next fight or fuck. Played with in that over the course of the series, Vorenus gets broken down into a crazed nihilist while Pullo matures into a thoughtful, responsible, father and leader.
- Sam and Dean Winchester of Supernatural.
- Angel and Spike in the fifth season of Angel. Earlier seasons had Wes and Gunn in this role.
- The Naked Trucker and T-Bones:
Trucker: "...That's why I do the drivin'-"
T-Bones: "And I do the drinkin'."
Trucker: "You do the talkin'."
T-Bones: "You do the thinkin'."
- Vince and Errol from 15 Storeys High. Vince is a mildly eccentric misanthrope (not to the extent of being wacky, but he gets his decorating ideas from pornographic magazines), whereas Errol is naive, trusting, friendly and helpful.
- Mark and Jeremy from Peep Show are a classic example... at first glance. However, given the show's hook of giving us an insight into their thought processes, it quickly becomes clear that they're both quite equally neurotic, insecure and introverted, and in many ways Jeremy is even more socially uptight than Mark; Jeremy is desperate to be thought of as cool, edgy and sophisticated (often appearing smug, foolish and pretentious in the process) where Mark, whilst very socially inept, has fewer pretentions or illusions about himself or exactly how cool he is, and rarely bothers to put on airs as a result.
David Mitchell and Robert Webb generally play an Odd Couple in their various collaborations, and may even be one themselves.
- Averted by Bottom: Richie and Eddie are forever playing catch with the Idiot Ball; there's always one stupid guy and one angry guy, but which is which is never constant, even within a single episode or a single scene.
- Hardison and Eliot from Leverage. The snarky, socially awkward genius and the angry, charming badass.
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody - Zack and Cody. Maddie and London count as well.
- Mork and Mindy.
- Star Trek - And Cool, logical Spock and cranky, passionate Bones, with Kirk as intermediary. Id, ego, and superego... IN SPACE!!
- A game in Whose Line Is It Anyway? called Title Sequence takes suggestions from the audience of "two unlikely roommates/coworkers/etc." Thoroughly crowned in one episode where the (unfortunately nixed) suggestion was "Bill Cosby and Hitler".
- The Thin Blue Line: Ironically, despite Fowler's page quote above, he has his own Odd Couple-style relationship with Grimm, the CID inspector. Fowler is the By-the-Book Cop Parody who acts like he's in Dixon Of Dock Green, Grimm is the Wannabe Cowboy Cop who thinks he's in The Sweeney.
- The two lead characters of Route 66, Tod and Buz. Tod came from a wealthy family and attended Yale, and when drunk he has the tendency to reveal what a toffee-nosed snob he really could be if he weren't so nice. That is, he tells 'hilarious' stories about free tickets to the opera and being on the fencing team, while Buz sits stone-faced because he is an orphan from Hell's Kitchen.
- The two survivalists of Discovery Channel's Dual Survival, an ex-military guy and a hippie (imagine Sarge and Fillmore being forced to play Survivor Man together) who also have differing views on nature: the ex-military guy sees it as something to fight with while the hippie tries to live in harmony with it, to the point of always going barefoot even in 10-degree weather (which really freaks his partner out).
- Ray (either one) and Fraser of Due South.
- Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel from At the Movies. The hardly even knew each other before going on TV, aside from working at rival Chicago newspapers, but eventually became close friends. Their review dynamic, with Gene being more intellectual and nitpicky and Roger being more emotional and jokey made them the most popular and respected film critics in the country.
- In White Collar, Peter Burke is an honest, upstanding, serious FBI agent and Neal Caffrey is a charming, romantic, and tricky con artist on work release as a consultant for the FBI.
- They also clash in tidiness where the serious FBI man is messy and the con artist is the clean freak.
- The Good Guys gives us Jack, the by-the-book cop, and Dan, the Chaotic Good cop.
- The Adventures Of Shirley Holmes: Book-smart, logical, no-nonsense, daughter-of-a-diplomat Shirley Holmes, who doesn't mind doing somehing that might get her in trouble in order to solve a mystery, and street-smart, emotion-driven, former gang member, parents-own-a-fish-market Bo Sawchuck, who is legitimately trying to get his life straight and nonetheless gets dragged into Shirley's adventures solely out of loyalty and friendship.
- Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth Earl of Asherton, and his partner, cranky, working-class Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers. There's very little they do not clash on at some point. Naturally, there is also nothing they would not do for each other.
- Murdock and B. A. on The A-Team.
- Face and Murdock also qualify to some extent, although theirs is more of an Odd Friendship. They're the handsome con man and the crazy pilot who just happen to be best friends. Together they pull off some of the most improbable scams with ease.
- Last of the Summer Wine, Compo and whichever
great long dollop third man they have at the time.
- Richard Castle and Kate Beckett. He's a flippant, playboy Man Child mystery writer, she's a no-nonsense workaholic NYPD homicide detective with an unhappy past. They Fight Crime And Have UST. Played with, however, in that they're gradually revealed to have a bit more in common than they first let on, something which only helps with the UST.
- On the same show, Those Two Guys Detectives Ryan and Esposito also have a more subtle Odd Couple vibe going; Esposito's a bit of a suave, sophisticated ladies man where Ryan's more of a clutzy-yet-lovable geek. This is played with in an episode where Ryan has to once again to assume the persona he used when he did undercover work some years ago. He transforms into a suave, charming Irish criminal with nerves of steel who has women swooning over him. Essentially, Ryan is quite capable acting just like Esposito but chooses not to.
- Dharma and Greg: The two main characters form an Odd Couple.
- Trick gives us the crime-solving duo of Ueda Jiro, physics professor, and Naoko Yamada, stage magician.
- NUMB3RS pairs Don, head of a team of FBI investigators with his mathematical prodigy of a brother Charlie. They Fight Crime.
- In an episode of NCIS, Tony is handcuffed to the criminal, White, and also plays a criminal himself, hoping that the suspect will lead the team to his partner. Tony plays the part of a tough, down-to-earth guy who has fallen on hard times. White doesn't like getting his hands dirty, is nervous, and clearly not the brains of the operation he and his partner are involved in. On the other hand, though, it turns out that White is also playing a part. He actually is the brains of the operation and is a very dangerous killer. So the fake pairing, a tough guy and a wuss, is much less odd than the real pairing, a federal agent and a psychopathic murderer. Despite all of this, though, at the end of the episode both admit to really coming to like the other, even after learning the other's true identity.
- Parodied on Community in the episode The Science of Illusion, when Annie and Shirley become temporary campus security guards: She's a seriously cute recovering teen drug addict. She's a newly-single, single-mindedly Christian housewife and mother. They Fight Misdemeanours! Further parodied in that neither of them can agree on which of them gets the Good Cop/Bad Cop role in their little partnership.
- An episode of Monk had Stottlemeyer bunk with Monk after an argument with his wife. Hilarity ensues as Monk drives Stottlemeyer crazy with his antics. Considering Monk's various issues he should have seen this coming. In the end a close to a nervous breakdown Stottlemeyer declares that he is going to beg his wife on his knees to take him back.
- Home Improvement: Manly Man Tim and Sensitive Guy Al. They are united in their fondness for tools and craftsmanship.
- Stephen Fry and Alan Davies effectively function as this on QI.
- Andrew and Bert on How to Be a Gentleman.
- Lazy, extroverted, manipulative, boho-girl fashionable, borderline-anarchic Alex Russo is best friends with introverted, eccentrically dressed, somewhat nerdy Morality Pet Harper Finkle in Wizards of Waverly Place.
- Bert and Ernie, right down to the stripes on their sweaters.
- In Starsky & Hutch, the titular characters are also a good example, though in a lesser extent. They do have different tastes in cars, food and vacation spots; for example, Hutch is a health nut while Starsky is more into junk food.
- Deadwood features nebbishy Jewish businessman Sol Star and the two-fisted ex-lawman Seth Bullock.
- Psych: Zany, always joking Shawn has been best friends with straight-laced pharmaceutical salesman Gus for pretty much their entire lives.
- Welcome To Room 305: Jung Hyun (a regular college student) ends up living with Hom, an eccentric, slobby and extremely camp.
- Odd couple tag teams are a staple in WWE.
- Daniel Bryan and Kane
- The Rock and Mankind
- Santino Marella and Vladmir Kozlov
- Nicky and Rod from Avenue Q. Their dynamic is very similar to the original Odd Couple...and thus to Sesame Street's Bert & Ernie (mentioned above) on whose personalities they were more directly based.
- Older Than Steam: Much Ado About Nothing - Benedick and Beatrice.
- Blatantly used in A Very Potter Musical, in which Professor Quirrel observes that he and Voldemort are "An odd couple". Their dynamic is explained in an ensuing musical number.
- Subverted by satirists Bob & Ray, who were almost exact opposites as per this trope (slight, precise and soft-spoken vs. burly, extroverted and baritone) but could intuit each other's thoughts to the point where they could turn a chance word or phrase into a full-blown comedy skit without skipping a beat. Their character types did tend to reflect their personalities...except that big burly Ray ended up playing all the females.
- Sid and Tony in Hancock's Half Hour.
- Radio presenter Simon Mayo's blue to film critic Mark Kermode's red. Kermode tends to go off into wild rants while Mayo is much more composed and cool-headed; the banter is frequently hilarious.
Role Playing Games
- The Shadowrun sourcebook Shadowbeat mentions a trideo show very popular in the Cyber Punk world, a remake of The Odd Couple with a student hermetic magician in the role of Felix Unger and a student shaman in the role of his sloppy flatmate Madison.
- Carefully set up in Snatcher, where Gillian's partner, Metal, is a Robot Buddy specifically designed to have a contrasting but complimentary personality to him, to help provide a different perspective and help him concentrate on his duties.
- Can occur in many RPGs. Especially blatant in ones where your character is given a childhood friend, such as evil player character/Dawn Star in Jade Empire.
- Quite well-done in Knights of the Old Republic with overly-serious and very dedicated Jedi Bastila mindlinked to a wisecracking amnesiac Sith with an inability to take anything seriously.
- Drakengard - Caim and the dragon. Caim hates all dragons because a dragon killed his parents, and the dragon hates all of humanity.
- Rico from Killzone is a Helghast-hating jerk and Hakha is a half-Helghast Deadpan Snarker. Much of the fun comes from watching these two talk to each other.
- In Riviera: The Promised Land, Fia and Lina are roommates. Fia is quiet, wise, intelligent, a good homemaker and cautious. Lina is outgoing, emotional, klutzy, messy and constantly runs head-first into danger.
- Tsukihime - Shiki and... everyone he meets, really. They're all really weird, except Satsuki. Don't worry, Roa fixed that. But bonus points for being a vampire killer and dating the strongest non cosmic horror vampire alive, and technically being the head of a demon killing clan yet having a tsundere ojou part demon for a sister.
- Final Fantasy VIII - The quirky pair of Fujin and Raijin fit this trope. They both have weird speech mannerisms and are highly eccentric.
- Vivi and Steiner in Final Fantasy IX. Steiner is a knight captain, and he's very loud, very chivalrous, hilariously misguided, and prone to making an utter fool of himself. Vivi is a black mage, and he's quiet, introspective, under-confident at times, and pretty much universally agreed to be the most adorable thing in the series. They're insta-bros from the start of the game to its very end, and they have an awesome team-up attack they can only perform when they're both in the party. (Vivi enchants Steiner's sword, basically adding an element and a little extra oomph to Steiner's already devastating physical attacks.)
- The World Ends with You - Neku and... well, all of his partners. But especially Shiki. Neku is an extreme introvert who seems to utterly despise people, whereas Shiki (at first) is your typical outgoing, fashion-obsessed teenage girl.
- Link and Midna from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. He's a helpful, caring ranch hand; she's a scheming, Manipulative Bitch (Or at least starts out that way). They actually work quite well together.
- Touhou has a fair share of these, such as laidback and naturally talented Reimu vs. hot-headed, hard-working Marisa, or straight-laced Youmu vs. goofball Yuyuko.
- Resident Evil 0: Billy Coen and Rebecca Chambers. He's a cynical, bitter, thuggish escaped convict and ex-Marine in his late twenties. She's a naive eighteen year old prodigy on her first day of work as a cop. Forced to team up together to kill zombies, they develop into a highly effective team as the game progresses.
- Final Fantasy VII: Serious, stoic Rude partnered up with easygoing, chatty Reno. Not only do they work very well together, but they actually are good friends.
- Golden Sun canon has the first game's villain team. Saturos is a constantly-smiling cocky trickster with a penchant for Loophole Abuse; Menardi is more vicious and direct (and not always in on the trickery). They've been partners in combat for more than three years, and are the best warriors in Prox. In canon they're a platonic Odd Couple, but in fandom they're frequently portrayed as a romantic one.
- The Pits comic strips, by John Cook (artist of Sev Trek and the other Sev cartoons), has Neat Freak Herman suffering from two annoying sloppy bachelor flatmates: dumb womanizing Lance and the messy slacker Wayne, a textbook Trash of the Titans example. Things get worse when Herman gets a girlfriend.
- Casey and Andy.
- El Goonish Shive - In the form of True Companions. Tedd and Susan are an Odd Friendship.
- Girly - Winter and Otra.
- ''Freaking Awful Puns author GIROG uses an odd couple in his strips of the comic.
- In Wapsi Square, the Bibliothiki is currently looked after by an odd couple of librarians. Nudge is a mythical trickster. Phix is a sphinx, and one of Nudge's former victims.
- The main theme of Moon Over June. Beyond being perverted lesbian nymphomaniacs who would not know monogamy if it bit them, roommates Hatsuki 'Hats' Hasegawa (twenty-something math major/porn starlet) and Dr. Summer Winters Ph.D (OB/GYN in her late thirties) do not have a great deal in common.
- Dwayne and Daniel.
- Donna and Mona. One is fastidiously neat and tidy and a non-smoker, the other is French.
- Joseph And Yusra - Almost in the form of Odd Friendship. One is a Nice Jewish Boy and the other is a Muslim girl. Also, they become friends through superpower, and they are involved in lots of troubles thanks to their power and backgrounds.
- John and Dave. One's a goofy, outgoing prankster with a love for bad movies, the other's a narcissistic ironic rapping roof ninja and the epitome of cool hiding a massive inferiority complex. Dave even comments that in any other context he'd have dismissed John as a total loser, and instead they're best friends.
- Xin Fu and Yu in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- The Simpsons
- Pinky and the Brain.
- In Justice League, Green Lantern and The Flash. Lampshaded once when after a fight, John uses his ring to tie up the group of villains and delivers the "Guess that's a wrap" line. After receiving stares from his teammates, he apologizes for the lame pun and states that he's been spending a lot of time with Flash.
- Lilo & Stitch - Boisterous evil genius Jumba and meek, kindly scholar Pleakely.
- Ren and Stimpy
- Shoehorned into Sonic the Hedgehog for one of the eleven-minute Antoine episodes when Antoine is forced to live with Sonic, who becomes conspicuously more of a comedic sociopath. The episode is actually called "The Odd Couple".
- 'The Mr. Men Show'' - Mr. Persnickety and Mr. Messy.
- The Imp and his flatmate, Bob.
- Family Guy - Stewie and Brian Griffin.
- Parodied in the episode "Lethal Weapons" where Chris and Meg are raking leaves and Chris employs this trope to two of the leaves:
"That's Randy and that's Fred. Randy's the messy one. Fred's very neat. And when you get them together, whoa! Hold onto your sides!"
- Also parodied in the episode "To Love and Die in Dixie" with the two FBI agents who watch over the Griffins' house while they stay in Bumblescum, Alabama:
Agent #1: "We’ll be watching your house together, even though he’s a slovenly liberal and I’m a fastidious conservative."
Agent #2: "I smell a sitcom!"
- The Oddball Couple with neat cat Spiffy and messy dog Fleabag.
- Chip 'n Dale.
- Phineas and Ferb — while both play The Straight Man, Phineas is the talkative, scheming brother, while Ferb is quiet and calmer.
- Unlike most other examples of this trope, however, they get along perfectly and never argue—quite an accomplishment, since they're also brothers.
- Also, from the movie Doof and Doof! Twice the Evil, Double Doofenschmirtz, Coming at you, Fridays!
- Ferb TV gives us this little sitcom staring Norm the Robot and Little Suzy Johnson;
He's a robot from space, she's a little girl
They come from totally different worlds
You think they're worlds apart, you're misinformed
Though it might seem unusual...That's the NORM!
That's the NORM!
That's the NORM!
That's the NORM!
Norm: That's me!
- Cat and Dog in CatDog.
- Robot De Fault and Monster Krumholtz in Robot and Monster.
- Buck Tuddrussell and Larry 3000 of Time Squad. This leads to constant old-married-couple-like bickering. But They Really Do Love Each Other. Or not.
- The subplot of one Jimmy Two-Shoes episode was Beezy hiding out in Heloise's house, resulting in this situation.
- The Looney Tunes Show has cool, responsible Bugs Bunny living with scatterbrained egoist Daffy Duck.
- On Rocko's Modern Life there's a Show Within a Show about the parasites living on Spunky. Specifically, Bloaty the Tick and his buddy Squirmy the Ringworm.
- Twilight Sparkle and Spike from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The former is an Adorkable bookworm obsessed with schedules and studying, and the latter is a baby dragon who can range from an innocent kid to a Deadpan Snarker Depending on the Writer. They love each other dearly, and Spike's absolute worst fear is that Twilight will stop needing him one day and send him away.
- A couple of these can be perceived within Twilight's circle of friends, most popular one being Applejack and Rarity.
- SpongeBob and Squidward from Sponge Bob Square Pants: They work together as Mr. Krabs' only two employees, and while Squidward tries to avoid seeing SpongeBob outside work, he's certainly not always successful (especially since they're also next-door neighbors).