Operation: Jealousy

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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 decides to invoke Green-Eyed Epiphany: She 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…

Be a Whore to Get Your Man is related.


Examples

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    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, but he was too busy to 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.

     Music 
  • "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

     Newspaper Comics 
  • 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.

     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:
      "BE ANGRY AT ME, DAMMIT!"
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OperationJealousy