Operation: Jealousy

An Only Sane Man demonstrates the correct counter-move.

Hermione: I've just escaped — I mean, I've just left Cormac under the mistletoe.
Harry: Serves you right for coming with him!
Hermione: I thought he'd annoy Ron most.

A specific type of Zany Scheme: Two characters, Alice and Bob, are an Official Couple... or they would be, if Bob wasn't so mired in the river of denial that he insists that the water flowing all around him is solid ground. Alice, who is not in denial and very aware of Bob's feelings, gets fed up with his refusal to spit them out and takes matters into her own hands. Confronting him directly with the evidence might cause him to run for the hills, so Alice gets into a faked or temporary relationship with Convenient Charlie, to make Bob insanely jealous enough to come clean first.

Hopefully, the operation succeeds. Hopefully, Charlie isn't too insufferable or bland and doesn't drive Alice insane first. Hopefully, he won't be heartbroken and furious when he finds out Alice was just using him. Hopefully, Bob doesn't take this as a sign that he doesn't have a chance with Alice. Hopefully, Bob doesn't just want his beloved to be happy. Hopefully, Bob doesn't fail to notice because he has the awareness of a brick. Hopefully, Bob doesn't fall for it so thoroughly that he pulls a Counter Zany that Alice thoroughly falls for! And hopefully, Alice doesn't actually fall for Charlie…

Yeah, right…

See Green-Eyed Epiphany for when Alice is in denial too and her relationship with Charlie is only part of that. Be a Whore to Get Your Man is related.


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     Anime & Manga 
  • This is the plot of a oneshot side story to Aishiteruze Baby. Kokoro's friend Aki has lived next to classmate Shin for her whole life and doesn't even see him as a man, and thus continues to trust him after a flasher convinces her men are all perverts. Then a new girl joins the class and Shin deliberately gets close to her because he's tired of Aki not realizing just how much she cares about him (and because he finds the face she makes when jealous to be adorable).
  • Ginta and Arimi from Marmalade Boy attempted to pu this on Yuu and Miki. Considering the series that they're in, the results were inevitable.
  • It was done in Sailor Moon Abridged:
    Serena: Hey, Melvin. If I go on a date with you, Darian will get jealous… well, maybe not "jealous"…
  • It is revealed later in the manga series Otaku no Musume-san that Nozomi Yukimura only hung around Kouta Morisaki in an attempt to get her long time crush and childhood friend Chihiro Nitta jealous, even going as far as to have sex with Kouta as Chihiro watched. This only ended in failure as Chihiro was a hardcore lolicon and couldn't find her attractive. She later reveals, a bit quite coldly, to Kouta that she never loved him.
  • Akira tries this with Kei in Special A, and it backfires in the worst way. Not only can Tadashi see all the little clues (like Kei doing all he can to avoid physical contact with Akira) that show that the two are barely tolerating the other, he and Hikari end up ignoring their feeble attempts and just have a good time, making Akira and Kei the ones growing jealous.
  • Ranma ½: During her more manipulative moments in the manga, Akane has used Ryoga in order to make her fiancée jealous. Be it accepting a date or clinging to Ryoga's side, if it will ignite a fire in Ranma's eyes, she's probably done it. Ironic, since a lot of people consider Akane to be the more Tsundere of the two when it comes to accepting their feelings for each other.
    • Sometimes, Ranma realizes what she's trying to do, but refuses to take the bait out of stubbornness.
      Ranma: Akane, you idiot. You're doing this just to torture me, aren't you?
    • When Shampoo starts acting like she despises him, an upset Ranma acts cozy with Akane to make Shampoo jealous.
  • Itazura Na Kiss:
    • In the manga Mrs. Irie pushes Kotoko to date Nice Guy Taketo to make Naoki jealous. Naoki, being Naoki, doesn't look bothered at all.
      • Though one could wonder why Naoki shows up with Matsumoto in the very same place where Kotoko is, perfectly knowing that she would be there. And then shows up again to stop a Cock Fight between Taketo and Kinnosuke claiming that since they all know Kotoko loves him there's no sense in their fighting.
    • Another very subtle manga example is from Naoki. When there's the (very unfounded) rumour that Kotoko is dating Sudou, he suspiciously goes on date with Matsumoto and then dumps her to go for a walk with Kotoko, sarcastically saying that for a while he believed she and Sudou were going out together, but that's impossible since she they were actually respectively following him and Matsumoto.
  • In Oreimo, Kirino does this to her brother Kyousuke by bringing home a boy she claims to be dating in volume 7 of the light novels and episode 6 of season 2. It turns out that he's not actually dating her, and was just going along with her plan. She wanted to make her brother experience what she feels whenever he's hanging out with his female friends, such as Manami, and later Kuroneko.
  • Inverted in FAKE, where Diana and Berkeley tag team to separate Dee and Ryo this way instead of bringing them together. This backfires, however, as it only serves to strengthen their bond as Ryo realizes that he really doesn't like Dee smooching on anyone else but him.
  • In The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, while Sorata and Mashiro aren't really lovers, it's heavy implied that this was why Jin and Mashiro had a pretend date in Episode 3. Mashiro claimed it was research for her manga, but it's very likely that it was to promote jealousy in Sorata in order to show him why he should stay at Sakura Hall.
  • In one case of Detective Conan, the culprit turned out to be a woman trying to murder her friend for getting engaged to her previous boyfriend but saying she really never loved him in the first place. After the murder attempted turned out to fail and Conan prevents the attacker from killing herself, it turns out the engagement was just one huge Operation: Jealousy for the boyfriend Gone Horribly Right. The friend, however, forgave her and gave deliberately wrong eye witness report so her friend wouldn't be arrested.
  • In Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, in order to get Kashima to understand the role of a prince suffering from unrequited love, Nozaki invokes this in chapter 60 by asking her to imagine that he and Hori (her beloved senpai) are dating. It works on Sakura, much to her crush Nozaki's confusion. This is repeated in a similar fashion later on when Nozaki says he and Hori are going to eat lunch together — and again Sakura is affected instead of Kashima.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Insecticomics, Thrust tries to talk Dreadmoon into dating someone else to make Starscream jealous. When Thrust suggests he be the Convenient Clancey, it becomes rather obvious that the Zany Scheme is at least half a plot to hook up with Dreadmoon himself.
  • In Spider-Man Betty Brant originally started dating Ned Leeds to make Peter jealous, he was too busy notice and eventually she fell in love with Ned for real.
  • Played with in Spider-Girl. May's best friend, Davida, started to date Wess, because May was the only person in the school unaware that Wess was in love with her and Davida wanted to give him a chance to get her attention.
  • Numerous people, ranging from Jimmy's fan club to Supergirl herself, pulled this trick on Lucy Lane in "Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen". Lucy, being a dog-in-the-manger, would fall for it... and then go directly back to resenting Jimmy's attentions as soon as the story was over.
  • In one DiDi Glitz comic, a lesbian is doing this with the main character, successfully.
    Butch Lesbian to DiDi: Hey, blondie — take your paws off my girl or I'll kick your ass!
  • In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch story "Double Dummy", Sabrina's boyfriend Harvey refuses to pay to see a movie with her, so Sabrina goes out with Reggie Mantle instead. Harvey gets upset, saying, "I'll bet she wouldn't act that way if I told her I was going with another girl to a drive-in!" This inspires him to buy an inflatable doll and dress it up in his mother's clothes and wig. At the drive-in, Sabrina sees Harvey with the doll and gets upset. She slings her purse at him, but hits the doll instead, causing its head to explode. As Harvey's punishment for deceiving her, Sabrina brings the doll to life and makes it chase after him.
    Reggie: Tell me I'm not seeing what I think I see!
    Sabrina: I don't know what you're talking about!

    Fan Works 
  • Played with in the Firefly/Doctor Who crossover The Man with No Name. Kaylee pretends to like the Doctor in order to make Simon jealous, but it's only to screw with his head. Well, that and she's quite happy to stare at his butt on general principles.
  • Atlas Strongest Tournament: Ran Biao seduces Spike just to hurt Rarity who she used to, and still-sorta-does, have feelings for.
  • Yahiko in A Growing Affection tries to do this for Nagato and Konan. He fails because Nagato is willing to step out of the way for Yahiko, and Konan is too afraid of breaking up the group to reject Yahiko.
  • Children of an Elder God: In chapter 4 Asuka sees her crush Kaji flirting with Misato and clung to Shinji to make Kaji jealous. Kaji did not even notice her antics, goading her to try harder. Her ploy failed and anyway she eventually fell for Shinji.
  • In Fallout: Equestria, after having a fight with Calamity, Velvet Remedy flirted with Littlepip to get back at him. However, Littlepip was wise to her plan and put a stop to it.
  • In the Legend of Korra fanfic Chaos Theories, Ghazan and P'li try to do this to make Zaheer jealous. It works, eventually, but Zaheer is convinced that Ghazan is doing it to make Ming-Hua jealous.
  • A Night to Remember has Starfire attempting to make Robin jealous by dating someone she met during a social event. The problem is; the other guy is Richard Grayson.

  • In Our Miss Brooks, the cinematic finale to the series of the same name, one of these finally prompts Phillip Boynton to propose to Connie Brooks.
  • The film version of Grease:
    • Sandy begins seeing Tom to provoke Danny, and dumps him as soon as Danny asks her to the big dance.
    • Kenickie brings Cha-Cha to the dance after a fight with Rizzo, while Rizzo brings the leader of the rival street gang in a counter-effort to provoke Kenickie.
    • Cha-Cha, for her part, cuts into Danny and Sandy's dance, which causes Sandy to storm out—after Rizzo has already done so due to seeing Kenickie with Cha-Cha.
  • Love Before Breakfast 's two main characters, Kay and Scott, both do this to each other.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett marries a random man to make Ashley jealous. It doesn't work, mainly because Ashley was never actually interested in her in the first place and was actually already in love with a woman named Melanie.
  • In Sky High (2005), Layla started a fake relationship with Jerk with a Heart of Gold Warren Peace in order to annoy Will. Warren, who thought Will was a prick, was happy to oblige, but ended up getting sick of Layla clinging to him and talking Will into asking her out.
    Warren: Dude, you are so stupid. She's totally into you.
    Will: Not after tonight. I wouldn't be surprised if Layla or any of the other guys never talked to me again.
    Warren: You must've been a real jerk, because no matter what I do, I can't get them to stop talking to me.
  • In The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), Thomas the Gentleman Thief likes Catherine the Hot Detective, but he doesn't know if he can trust her. So, he lets photos leak of him dating a supermodel to see if he gets a rise out of Catherine. It does. They hook up.
  • The main characters of Drive Me Crazy form a fake relationship to make the people who dumped them jealous. Predictably, by the end of the film they can both have their respective love interest, but they no longer want them and have fallen for each other.
    "So who are we making jealous this time?"
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Leia kisses Luke on the mouth to invoke jealousy on Han's part. Squick ensues in Return of the Jedi.
  • The female protagonist of Two Can Play That Game institutes her "Ten Day Plan" involving this trope to bring her man "back in line". Meanwhile, her man's best friend urges him to do the same. Naturally, both plans backfire, and they have to have an honest conversation in order to get back together.
  • In Sgt Bilko, After Bilko ditches his fiancee at the altar for the second time, she gives him one chance to marry her within a month, after which she's done with him. Deciding to mess with Bilko in every way, Major Thorne starts hitting on her and takes her out a few times. Discovering this, Bilko has one of his soldiers dress as a woman and go to the same restaurant where Thorne and his fiancee are at. Naturally, she isn't stupid and recognizes it for what it is (not to mention only a blind man would think that the soldier was really a woman) and reveals that she was doing the exact same thing to Thorne.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, after Scott dumps Knives for Ramona, Knives puts blue highlights into her hair (since Ramona subscribes to the You Gotta Have Blue Hair philosophy), starts dressing more like Ramona, and begins to date Young Neil, all to be close to Scott and make him jealous. It doesn't work, although Scott does freak out when Todd punches Knives so hard her highlights fall off. In the end, though, she pulls an I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy, so that Scott can be with Ramona (in an alternate scene, he stays with Knives).

  • In Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, Dave the laug is the "red-herring" Of Georgia ( for make jealous Robbie) in the book "It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers"
  • L. M. Montgomery loved to use this trope.
    • Anne of Green Gables has the idea of hurrying along a couple by having the woman pretend to be dating somebody else. This forces the guy to propose. This is made all the better by the fact that the patsy brought in to pretend to court the woman hints that he fell in love with her, too.
    • She then attempts this strategy with another couple. It backfires because she didn't know that the guy was trapped by a promise not to marry anybody.
    • She even used it herself. She has rejected Gilbert, who is now seeing Christine Stuart. She's not really in the mood to go to a party, and acts rather distant on the walk there, but the very minute she enters the room she starts pretending to be the most fascinating and wonderful girl present, drawing all attention (including Gilbert's) to herself.
  • Jane Eyre:
    • Mr. Rochester pretends to be in love with Rich Bitch Miss Ingram because he knows that Jane is emotionless and placid on the outside but fiery on the inside, and that jealousy will be the best way to bring her feelings for him to the surface.
    • Jane later snaps Rochester out of his melancholy self-pity by arousing his jealousy of St John Rivers. It enables him to finally spit out that he still loves her and wants to marry her.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Hermione dates Cormac McLaggen in Half-Blood Prince solely to make Ron jealous. She later tells Harry that she purposely chose the person who would annoy Ron the most.
    • In Pottermore, Tonks made some casual remarks to Lupin about Siriusnote  being not-so-bad-looking. Lupin got annoyed that she seemingly fancied Sirius, and she replied that he knew perfectly well that it wasn't Sirius whom she actually fancied.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse' books, Bertie Wooster would often use this technique to speed up marriages, although they were never meant to be his own. He himself would play The Beard, usually without asking anyone's permission first.
  • Tom and Becky try to overdo each other in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. They got engaged, but Becky breaks it over when Tom blabbled about having been engaged before. When he returns from the island as the hero, Becky refuses to reconciliate. Tom flirts with Amy and Becky suffers, but strikes back and flirts with Tom's mortal enemy Alfred Temple.
    "Tom fled home at noon. His conscience could not endure any more of Amy's grateful happiness, and his jealousy could bear no more of the other distress. Becky resumed her picture inspections with Alfred, but as the minutes dragged along and no Tom came to suffer, her triumph began to cloud and she lost interest; gravity and absentmindedness followed, and then melancholy; two or three times she pricked up her ear at a footstep, but it was a false hope; no Tom came."
  • Kitty tries this on Jack in Georgette Heyer's Cotillion. A subversion, in fact, since it works, to a point, but by that point Kitty's in love with Freddy.
  • Daisy Miller: An Alternate Character Interpretation that Daisy was using Giovanelli all along to make Winterbourne jealous after she felt he let her down in Vevey, or that she decided to mess with Winterbourne's head when she saw how much her flirting with Giovanelli annoyed him, started such a heated FanWar that Henry James had to write his friend and assure her that Daisy was never planning anything of the sort; she was too clueless in the politics of romance to plan such a thing. Not that it matters, anyway...
  • In The Sword of Truth, Richard's former girlfriend didn't like their relationship developing too slowly. So, she let him catch her screwing his brother and invited him to join. Got a blank stare, and that was it.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett attempts to use other men's interest in her (Charles's, specifically) to get Ashley to break off his engagement to Melanie and propose to her instead. It doesn't work.
  • The Agatha Christie character Mr. Parker Pyne, who runs a business which advertises with the simple question "Are you happy?" and aims to solve any problem this might bring to him, has a male and female employee on staff who are experts at this. However, the trope never gets played quite straight in the published stories; the closest is "The Case of the Discontented Husband", where it goes horribly wrong.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Simon hangs around Isabelle to make Clary jealous when it seems like she's not interested in him, although this develops into something more genuine.
  • Thoroughly deconstructed in Chronicles of the Kencyrath. Timmon likes Jame, and Jame kind of likes Timmon too. But she likes someone else more, and Timmon can be a dick sometimes, so she's not really interested in getting together with him. So Timmon launches Operation Jealousy and gets with Narsa. It actually does work—Jame, much to her annoyance, is a little jealous. But she's not jealous enough to actually do anything about it, and she's annoyed at Timmon for pulling this. Meanwhile, it turns out Narsa is a Clingy Jealous Girl, and furious and heartbroken over her role in all of this. She tries to kill Jame, and later, after Timmon gets her pregnant, kills herself.

    Live Action TV 
  • Used by Connie a few times on Phillip Boynton in Our Miss Brooks, to varying effect.
  • In Smallville, Chloe does this a few times to Clark with a few Temporary Love Interests. The straightest example is in Heat (an episode after they broke up) when she talked about this cute guy from Metropolis who she lost her virginity to but was disappointed, thanks to Clark's, to quote the trope description, "awareness of a brick". She is later involved again with Jimmy and ends up marrying him, but sometime in the middle she admitted to Jor-El that she still loves Clark. Despite that Clark's constant refrain of She Is Not My Girlfriend, he always had the knack of looking mightily jealous whether Chloe is involved with another guy. And a priceless expression whenever she actually kisses them (happened at least three times, with Justin, Ian and Jimmy; although for the last occasion it turned out to be Bizarro). Lana with Lex Luthor too.
  • Drake & Josh:
    Drake: I hate your girlfriend, but her idea to make Tori jealous was really smart.
    Josh: Not that smart. They've done it on every sitcom since the 1950s.
  • On Chef!, Savannah tried to attract Gareth by inventing a boyfriend. She sent herself flowers in the mail and everything. It was almost sad, but mostly hilarious.
  • Miss Piggy tries this on the Avery Schreiber episode of The Muppet Show. It seems to work, except that Scooter spills the beans.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • April convinces Andy that if she puts several hickeys on his neck, it will make Ann jealous and want to get back together with him. Which totally has nothing to do with any feelings April has for him...
    • April tries to use Operation Jealousy AGAINST Andy too, by flirting with Jean-Ralphio, and later with her new boyfriend Eduardo. The first fails because Jean-Ralphio is a douche, the second because Eduardo and Andy actually get along really well.
  • In Seacht, after Eithne slept with Mã­cheãl, his girlfriend, Paddy, came to the show and shagged Pete, who was Eithne's boyfriend at the time. Drama ensued. Oh, and to make matters worse, Eithne and Paddy are sisters.
  • On an episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche tries this to make her boyfriend Floyd (who just stood her up) jealous, The Beard being Rose's foreign cousin Sven. At first, it seems like Sven is taking this wrong and falling for Blanche (being rather naïve) but as it turns out, he knew what she was up to - he himself wanted to scare his fiancé away. (It's an Arranged Marriage, and he's very nervous about it.)
  • On an episode of Gilligan's Island, Mr. Howell and Lovey split up, and they both attempted this plan to make the other jealous; Mr. Howell with Ginger and Lovey with The Professor.
  • On Gossip Girl Blair brings home a British lord from her vacation in Europe to make Chuck jealous. Later on Chuck and Vanessa team up to make Blair and Nate jealous.
  • Maddie on Jonathan Creek tried this to make Jonathan jealous; unfortunately, she was going on a blind date based on a photo which did not entirely match the goods, so to speak, and the guy ended up being several decades older than his photo and, personality-wise, "the bastard son of Forrest Gump." Needless to say, Jonathan not only clocked exactly what she was doing (and that it had gone badly wrong) but enjoyed himself enormously at her expense.
  • In Hannah Montana, Miley attempts this on Jake to get him to break up with his girlfriend. It later turns out that the "girlfriend" was just Jake using an Operation Jealousy on Miley (and succeeding).
  • A complicated version in Friends: Monica and Chandler have a Friends with Benefits relationship that's clearly bordering on more, but Monica get's asked out. She intended to get out of it but Chandler misunderstands and claims they were just 'goofying' around to protect himself. This prompts a hurt Monica to say yes to the date and and flaunt the guy in front of him. Thankfully Chandler talks to her, explains his feelings and she calls the scheme off.
  • Been done a couple of times on Glee:
    • Rachel said the main reason she agreed to date Puck was in the hopes that it would make his best friend Finn jealous - it worked a bit, to go by Finn's facial expressions during Puck's song performance to her.
    • After being spurned by Santana, Brittany recruited Artie to be her new duet partner/boyfriend in the hopes of making Santana jealous - this also worked, though not quite in the way Brittany hoped.
    • Artie only got with Brittany originally to make Tina jealous after she left him for Mike.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • After Marshall confesses that a coworker jumped him at work, Lily thinks he's just trying to invoke this trope and doesn't believe him. However, when the coworker drops by to apologize to Lily and confirms that it did happen, Lily beats the snot out of her in a jealous fury.
    • Barney takes this to rather spectacular levels in his proposal to Robin. He asks Patrice to pretend to be his girlfriend to make Robin realize how she feels, even spreading the rumor that he was going to propose to her.
  • Herman's Head. Herman asks a girl to play along with this; she rightly describes the trope as "pathetic". It doesn't help that the ex-girlfriend Herman's after realises what he's doing and starts saying loudly to the man she's with things like, "Yes, I'm not wearing any underwear!" Eventually Herman and his ex start arguing directly and after a Slap-Slap-Kiss go off together, while the man and women they'd been using strike up their own conversation.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the first of her Took a Level in Jerkass moments, Buffy does the Mating Dance with Xander while Angel is watching (as well as Willow, who was attracted to Xander at the time). After getting Xander worked up, she then walks out on him too.
    • Spike on a couple of occasions when Buffy rejects his advances. Played for Laughs when the girl Spike chats up turns out to be a Robot Girl who responds by throwing Spike through a window. Played straight in "Hell's Bells" when Spike brings a Goth girlfriend to Anya's wedding after Buffy dumps him. Buffy acknowledges that she is hurt and Spike, no longer angry at her, just leaves quietly.
    • Lampshaded in "First Date". Xander has been invited out by a girl who as usual turns out to be a demon eager to do something nasty to Xander. This doesn't stop his former fiancee from venting over the situation.
      Anya: I think this is part of a plan to make me jealous.
      Buffy: Well, it's not working.
      Anya: Are you nuts? Of course it's working! Observe my bitter ranting! Hear the shrill edge of hysteria in my voice!
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon tries to ask Penny out in an attempt to make Amy jealous. Penny sees right through it and convinces him to just go tell Amy how he feels.
  • Played for Drama on Switched at Birth: Daphne flirts and makes plans with Travis, who she knows has a thing for her, but she only does it in order to attract her much older boss.
  • Happens three times on House of Anubis.
    • Mara and Jerome (Who of course, had an insane crush on Mara) started to fake date to make Mara's ex jealous. This ex happened to have moved to Australia and was wrongly quoted to have had a new girlfriend, and of course he did not and was actually talking about Mara. In the end Mara claimed she was just dating Jerome because people were teasing him for not having a girlfriend, leading to Jerome's confusion and annoyance.
    • The second time is when Eddie started to get really close to Mara to make Patricia, who was still his girlfriend, jealous until she explained why she had been mad at him that whole time. He later admitted he was glad when she got jealous because it proved she liked him back.
    • Patricia does it back when she wants to know if Eddie still likes her. To do this, she ends up asking out Jerome. Hilarity Ensues, as it turns out that everyone in the House, except for Eddie, understood her goals- even Jerome, to where he ended up messing with her on the date just to get a little fun of his own. It worked however, and Eddie got jealous and they soon got back together.
  • Cracker. Fitz finally convinces DS Penhaligon to go out with him, only to take her to the same restaurant his estranged wife has taken her date in order to show her up. While the two are arguing, Penhaligon can be heard asking the waiter for a jug of water, which she calmly pours over Fitz's head before walking out.
    Fitz: (dripping wet) Anglo-Saxon foreplay.
  • On Chef!, Savannah makes up an imaginary boyfriend to try to get Gareth's attention, but he quickly realizes that the bills for all the bouquets she's receiving are made out to her.
  • The Office (US): In the episode "Pool Party", Erin flirts with Dwight to try and make Andy jealous. Dwight doesn't reciprocate until Erin explains the scheme, at which point they both throw themselves into the roles of an over-the-top lovey-dovey couple.
  • Community: Jeff and Britta want to break up Annie and Vaughn because Annie is a vulnerable cutie and Vaughn is a lame douchebag (they think). They know that Annie has been in love with Troy, so they tell Vaughn that Annie is only dating him to make Troy jealous. He believes them but it's not actually true as Annie's interest in him is sincere.
  • Person of Interest. In "Bury the Lede", Reese goes on a date with a workaholic Intrepid Reporter as a means of secretly protecting her. Finch is Playing Cyrano back in Mission Control, so when Reese is stuffing up he goes to Plan B and has Zoe Morgan come up and flirt with him, in the belief that Reese appearing to be attractive to other women makes him more desirable. It seems to work (it doesn't hurt that Zoe is Famed In-Story) despite Zoe using the opportunity to pat Reese's behind. At the end of the episode though the reporter decides to break up with Reese, assuming from their UST that Reese is still pining over his "ex-girlfriend".
  • On My Name Is Earl, Joy goes on a date with a lonely and depressed man named Milo who had been on Earl's list. She did it because after a fight concerning Darnell's Porn Stash, Darnell claimed that he doesn't get jealous and that he takes it as a compliment when other men hit on Joy. However, Joy's gambit works, and she and Darnell make up.
    • In another episode there's an inversion of this trope. Earl is trying to make up for Faking the Dead to get out of a relationship with a clingy girlfriend. Her current boyfriend gets the idea to do the same thing from Earl, and Earl doesn't want to say anything because he's afraid that the idea that two different men have faked their deaths to break up with her would be too much for her. He tries to get her out of the house and doing fun things...which causes her to think they're getting back together. He tries the Please Dump Me Gambit, which culminates in pretending to have sex with Catalina. Natalie's response?
    Natalie: Well, just have fun, and call me when you're done!
Earl then calls her out for not getting jealous or upset when she really should have.
  • One episode of The Andy Griffith Show has Barney accidentally getting himself and Andy stuck with two 'fun girls' from out of town just before a big dance. Thelma Lou and Helen get jealous and decide to go to the dance with Gomer and Goober instead. By the end of the night, the couples are back together and Gomer and Goober are dancing with the fun girls.
  • During the Supergirl series, Cat Grant at one point gives this advice to Kara regarding her love interest James, describing it as the "Lighthouse" technique. Not specifically to induce jealousy with a given individual but to seem unattainable in order to garner his interest. Later, while unintentional, she notices it seems to be working when Barry Allen enters the picture and unintentionally does cause James to become jealous of the quick bond Kara and he strike up.

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "My Baby's in Love With Eddie Vedder":
    Well, I don't wear Doc Martens and I don't wear flannel
    And I don't boycott the music video channel
    And I just can't compete with all that money and fame
    But I know two can play at this kinda game
    So let's just see how jealous she'll get
    When I start stalking Alanis Morissette!
  • "Hot Dog, That Made Him Mad" by Wanda Jackson:
    I've got a guy, I like him fine
    But he takes me granted all of the time
    To teach him a lesson and make him mad
    I went out on a date with the best friend he had
    That made him mad, boy
    Hot dog, that made him mad
    And he hugged me and he kissed me
    And he asked me not to do it again

     Video Games 
  • Part of BioWare's trimming of Amy's flanderized desire for Sonic involves this. In Sonic Chronicles Dexter is an imaginary boyfriend she invented to inspire jealousy in Sonic, but deep down she still cares about the Blue Blur - if Sonic is nice to her throughout the game, she tells all before the Nocturne invasion. If you're paying a fair amount of attention (and selecting the right conversation options), you can see this coming from fairly early on.
  • In Star Fox Command this is the main reason why Krystal joined with Star Wolf and began a relationship with Panther, after Fox kicked her off Star Fox (out of concern for her safety). Judging from his reactions to her in the story... it worked.

     Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Shion openly and shamelessly flirts with Keiichi in front of Mion, to try and goad the latter into admitting her feelings for Keiichi (to the boy himself). In some arcs, however, it's implied she uses this tactic to hurt Mion's feelings, rather than help her along with admitting them.
  • In Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na, this is what the Natsuki Bonus Scenario "Mary's Love" turned to be about: Tatsuya and Natsuki are now in a love relationship, but haven't told it to their classmates yet, due to Natsuki being locked into Cannot Spit It Out mode. So Tatsuya and Midori played along to trigger Natsuki's jealousy to the point she would inadvertantly blurt out her feelings in front of the whole class. It works.

     Web comics 
  • In this strip from Loserz, Carla thinks this is what's going on.
  • In Ménage à 3, Peggy executes one of these schemes on behalf of Sonya, with a degree of skill and judgement that's unusual for both the trope and this comic, under the name Operation "Hey, Jealous Zii." Unfortunately, she's running on flawed prior intelligence, but her plan works incredibly well even so, especially from her point of view. Funnily enough, she mostly just wants to improve Sonya's love life enough that Sonya stops having loud soap-operatic dreams, because they're currently platonically sharing a bed, and Sonya is keeping Peggy awake. Switching Sonya's bass guitar for a snow shovel, pulling off a Naked Apron show, and baking high-quality cupcakes, are all far less zany elements of the scheme than they sound. The story starts here; note that some of the strips are somewhat NSFW. Phase 1 culminates in a Crowning Moment of Awesome here.
  • Misfile:
    • James and Cassiel use this tactic to try and break up their exes, Ash and Rumisel and reclaim them. Thanks to the main plot of the comic (Ash is a boy who was Gender Bender'd by cosmic screw-up and Rumisel's just pretending to date "her" to keep other guys away), it was never likely to succeed.
    • For extra fun, Ash did want to break the pair up, but only because Cassiel quite literally a devilnote  and Ash is concerned about James' well-being. But then Eponine, a mutual friend, convinced Ash to let it be because it seemed to be making Cassiel happy. Of course, she's not happy about Ash's indifference:
  • Employed by johnson in PreTeena when he gets tired of Jeri Keene brushing him off. He holds out his platonic friend Candy as Schmuck Bait to get Jeri interested in fighting a rival for him. It works.
  • Deeply subverted in Shortpacked! by Ken's attempt to get Malaya jealous at him by asking out the drop-dead gorgeous Conquest. Not only does Malaya have no positive feelings for her Dogged Nice Guy, but Conquest accepts and intends to take the date all the way. In the end, Ken starts looking at other girls, and while she doesn't develop feelings for him, Malaya does get a little bummed at the lack of ego-reinforcing attention.
  • In Sticky Dilly Buns, Angel attempts to provoke Jerzy to jealousy here. Jerzy demonstrates how an Only Sane Man counters the move. Incidentally, this takes place during a crossover with Ménage à 3, during which the Operation Jealousy plotline from that comic (see above) is also still running; so the trope is active twice, simultaneously, in the same club.
  • In Treading Ground, Wrong Genre Savvy Rose attempts this sort of thing before her friend can explain why it was a mistake. It sinks her wrecked relationship even deeper.

     Western Animation 
  • In Danny Phantom, Kitty possesses Paulina and dates the main hero who has a crush on her, all in order to make her on/off boyfriend Johnny 13 jealous.
  • An episode of Adventure Time had Jake attempting this when Finn and Lady Ranicorn started hanging out. It works better on Finn than on Ranicorn.
  • Johnny Bravo was the victim of this twice in the first season. Once by an antelope.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes:
    • An episode has Beezy using Butt Monkey Samy as a pet in order to get his real pet Rocky away from Jimmy.
    • Episode "Heloise's Secret Admirer" has Heloise date Peep to make Jimmy jealous.
  • In American Dad! episode "The Magnificent Steven", Roger enlists Hayley to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to make the girl at the liquor store, who he has a crush on, jealous. It horribly backfires when he falls in love with Hayley instead. In the end, it all turns out to be an elaborate plot to win a T-shirt.
  • Parodied on Family Guy:
    • The first time Stewie fell in love with a girl at day care and then held hands with another girl when he thought she was seeing someone else.
      Stewie: Was it one? No, two. Yes. She's two weeks younger than you!
    • The second time Brian wanted Jillian to notice him and Lauren Conrad suggests that he remind his ex how much she misses him. Stewie says the best way is by going on a date with a beautiful woman.
      Brian: What is this gonna do?
      Stewie: It's gonna make her jealous. You, out on the town with a hot date.
      Brian: How are you a hot date?
      Stewie: Whoa! You're angry at her, not me. No wonder you're alone.
  • In Total Drama World Tour, Courtney attempts to make her former love interest Duncan jealous by flirting with Tyler, then Alejandro. It doesn't work.
  • Done twice in Hey Arnold!. One of these instances is when Helga attempts to rouse Arnold's jealousy by dating Stinky (she gets this idea by viewing an in-universe film that uses this very trope). The other instance is when Helga convinces Arnold to 'date' her in order to capture Lila's attention (who is dating Arnold's cousin, Arnie, at the time).
  • The reason Pepper is dating Happy in Iron Man: Armored Adventures to get Tony's attention. For once it actually seems to work, as Tony seems to not like them together despite seeing it as an Operation Jealousy tactic, but never seems to act on it.
  • In Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, Marie attempts this with Eddy after seeing Double D dancing with Nazz. Of course, she has to get his attention first, so she slams Eddy into Nazz like a mace.
    Marie: Quick, he's looking! Make like an octopus and suck face!
  • Done in The Proud Family with Dijonay dating Duke to make Sticky feel jealous after he refused to kiss her on "Hip Hop Helicopter." It was all Penny's idea so she'd stop chasing Sticky and not embarrass herself.
  • In My Life as a Teenage Robot, Sheldon Lee pays Pteresa to date him in a ploy to make Jenny jealous. And it actually works, as Jenny starts to miss his company and even considers a Relationship Upgrade. Unfortunately, her hearing is busted throughout the episode, and at the end she misinterprets an Anguished Declaration of Love from Sheldon as him saying he's too good for her, and she flies off in a huff.
  • In the Daria episode "Daria Dance Party," Kevin and Brittany have a temporary break-up and each want to date another cheerleader/football player to make the other jealous. The Bro Code (and its female counterpart) prevents this, until Brittany asks out Robert, a football player who was out of town and doesn't know what's going on.
  • In one episode of Stoked, Lo bribes Reef into entering a fake relationship with her in order to make an old ex-boyfriend (who is currently dating Fin) jealous and want her back. It turns out about as well as you’d expect. However, true to trope, Lo and Reef start dating a few episodes later.
    • As a twist at the end of said episode, it turns out that Lo's ex was just dating Fin to make Lo jealous all along and get revenge on her for dumping him.
  • In Angry Beavers, Treeflower starts dating Truckee, and Norbert attempts to win her back by making her jealous with another girlfriend, using a puppet Daggett makes for him out of a bunch of junk.

  • A pair of Golden Lion Tamarins (a very endangered species of primate from South America) at a zoo had ceased mating. The Zookeepers felt it was because the the male of the pair had ceased making mating calls to the female. The zookeepers rigged a stereo near their enclosure to play pre-recorded mating calls of other male tamarins. The male of the pair, upon hearing other males, started making mating calls himself to warn them off and the two tamarins started mating again.