Hermione: I've just escaped — I mean, I've just left Cormac under the mistletoe.
Harry: Serves you right for coming with him!
: I thought he'd annoy Ron most.
NO! You are to perceptive not to know that I've had a crush on you forever. You are not going to play with my emotions just to get back at Calamity. You don't get to be that evil.
News flash, Arnold, girls don't like you if they think you like them. They only like you if they think you don't like them.
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 Charley
, to make Bob insanely jealous
enough to come clean first.
Hopefully, the operation succeeds. Hopefully, Charley isn't too
insufferable or bland and doesn't drive Alice insane first. 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 Charley
See Green-Eyed Epiphany
for when Alice is in denial too and her relationship with Charley is only part of that. Be a Whore to Get Your Man
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- 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.
- In Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai!, 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 Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett marries a random man to make Ashley jealous. It doesn't work, mainly because Ashley wasn't really in love with her in the first place, and had already courted Melanie.
- In Sky High, 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, 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.
Live Action Television
- "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
- 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.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.