"Strange extremes meet in love's pathway."Strong relationships, in both TV and real life, thrive on how each member compensates for the otherís weaknesses with his/her own strengths, and vice versa. A Motormouth just isnít as funny if he doesnít have the Straight Man to torment. Similarly, only when a sweet, shy person is paired up with an equally jerkish one is their kindness and timidness made all the more noticeable. It is all but guaranteed that the charactersí differences will cause more friction than harmony between them. Thatís what gives the Odd Couple its fuel for Slap-Slap-Kiss, Will They or Won't They?, and Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other situations. Bickering and mushiness in one package. Whatís not to like? The Odd Friendship also has elements of this, but tends to focus on how the differences make them see each other, and maybe the world, through new eyes. Perhaps the serious one is Not So Above It All, or the Shrinking Violet has an inner strength she never knew she had. A Moe Couplet also does something similar to this, focusing on how each half of the couplet brings out the other's endearing or nurturing traits. Opposites attract has become so widespread in buddy cop shows, in the form of Serious White Guy meets Loud Black Guy, that it branched off into its own subtrope. About the biggest challenge in creating a day-and-night dynamic is to keep the attract and repel cases relatively balanced. When the pendulum swings too far toward the repel side and the characters seem more interested in torturing each other than helping out, itís no longer cute to watch; itís just masochistic. The key (both in fiction and in Real Life) is to watch the pair's goals. If they want the same thing but use completely different methods to achieve it, it's this trope. If they want different things entirely, it's a divorce waiting to happen. If you add a third-party mediator for balance, you get a Power Trio. Contrast Birds of a Feather. Compare Too Much Alike.
Popular Opposites Attract dynamics:
- The Hero + The Lancer (see the latter's entry)
- Odd Couple
- Tomboy and Girly Girl
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man
- Ordinary High-School Student + Extraordinarily Empowered Girl
- Onee-sama + Moe Cute Clumsy Girl
- Red Oni, Blue Oni
- Plucky Comic Relief + The Quiet One
- Magical Girlfriend + Ridiculously Average Guy
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl
- Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl
- Strong Girl, Smart Guy
- All Work vs. All Play
- Female Flatfoot and Snarky Guy
- Pitbull Dates Puppy
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife
- Uptight Loves Wild
- Uptown Girl
open/close all foldersIMPORTANT: Please, no ships, just Canon portrayal of attraction. If you see an example that hasn't been portrayed in canon as this type of attraction (or hasn't been portrayed in canon at all), please delete it. This also means examples will tend to be spoilery, so read on at your own risk.
Anime & Manga
- 7 Seeds has tough-as-nails and super-stubborn Hana dating the sweet, good-natured Arashi.
- Early in Ah! My Goddess run, Keiichi was a Chivalrous Pervert wondering what anyone would see in him, and Belldandy was something of an Ingenue. Characterization Marched On, and the two began develop some of the other's persona, so that after the "Lord of Terror" arc, and in the OVA, K1 became a Covert Pervert, and Bell began pouring on the affection nice and thick, frequently expressing her love for Keiichi. About two years after The Movie, sadly, the two were Flanderized to the point where he was afraid to make a move, and she rarely acknowledged their love.
- Ai no Kusabi has this as a plot point of why the highest of the high would want to be with the lowest of the low.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- Revy and Rock of Black Lagoon. She's an Axe Crazy Broken Bird and Trigger Happy Nietzsche Wannabe, among other things. He's a Non-Action Guy, a Wide-Eyed Idealist (he never gets completely disillusioned, and he has every right to), and he's the closest a series this cynical will allow to an All-Loving Hero. The sparks flying could power a medium-sized country.
- In Blue Seed, military-minded heavy weapons expert Koume Sawaguchi falls for computer expert and nerd extraordinaire Yoshiki Yaegashi after his character growth throughout the series culminates in him privately demonstrating a great strength that she herself always lacked - internal strength in self. They get engaged two years later in the OAV.
- Several of the main couples in Cool-Kyou Shinsha's manga are like this:
- Kaoru in I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying is a normal Workaholic who can't cook. Hajime is an otaku with no desire to work and knows his way around the kitchen. And yet they're Happily Married.
- RaButa is a story about the most beautiful, smart, and popular girl at school falling in love with a Gonk Book Dumb boy after he saved her from a boy she turned down. They eventually got married, according to a cameo in I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying.
- Haru from Ojojojo is a tall stereotypical Rich Bitch (at first) who loves the sound of her own voice, and she's going out with Tsurezure, who's short, quiet, and reserved. They also got married, according to a cameo in Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!.
- Eyeshield 21: Energetic and outgoing Suzuna with Shrinking Violet Sena. More obviously, foul-mouthed Sociopathic Hero Hiruma with Mamori the Proper Lady.
- Fairy Tail: Gajeel and Levy are complete opposites of each other but they are the closest thing to being a couple among the main cast, since Erza and Jellal's situation is complicated.
- The BL series FAKE is a Buddy Cop Show about Odd Couple Detectives Ryo and Dee.
- Fruits Basket: Kyo, a hot-headed, tough, no manners, always wants to fight boy, and Tohru, a girl who's very sweet and kind.
- We can assume this happened in the backstory of Galilei Donna: The Ferrari parents are the stern, orderly Sylvia and the kind hippie-like Geshio. Of course, they're seperated by the time the story starts...
- Kamisama Kiss has Tomoe and Nanami. Their relationship includes Red Oni, Blue Oni (Nanami is red and Tomoe is blue), Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl, and Nanami is an Ordinary High-School Student while Tomoe is a Little Bit Beastly Kitsune.
- In Kanamemo, no chance is spared to show the loving bond between sparkly Yume and quiet Yuuki.
- In Kimagure Orange Road, the relationship between Kyousuke and Madoka hits several notes for this trope. He is from the middle class while Madoka is a Yamanote Girl. Madoka is incredibly talented in many respects; artistic, scholastic and athletic while Kyosuke is a Ridiculously Average Guy. Their relationship inverts the gender dynamic in the Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl with Madoka having the dark moods. Also they gender invert the Magical Girlfriend trope; its Kyosuke who has supernatural powers but keeps Madoka in the dark about them.
- Kyouran Kazoku Nikki has this in its love triangle. The serious and stoic Ouka is made to marry the lively and energetic Kyouka. This is contrasted with his other love interest, Shinigami, who is a Blood Knight compared to Ouka's Consummate Professional.
- Lyrical Nanoha has The Stoic officer Chrono and his Victorious Childhood Friend, the bubbly Bridge Bunny Amy.
- Medaka Box: Zenkichi, a Ordinary High-School Student with some determination but with a realistic perspective, and Medaka, The Ace who takes every action Up to Eleven but mainly For Happiness.
- Boisterous Bruiser Colonel Kilgore Ramba Ral and quiet Lady of War Crowley Hamon in Mobile Suit Gundam. They're effectively a boyfriend/girlfriend varient on Brains and Brawn.
- The Official Couple of Monkey High! — Haruna is The Ojou and used to dealing with high-class folks (her father is a now-disgraced politician), while Macharu is The Fool and very much from working-class roots (his parents run a grocery store).
- Hinata is attracted to Naruto even though she's an overly polite, stuttering Shrinking Violet with nil self-confidence and he's a complete rude, loud, overly-optimistic Idiot Hero. Naruto eventually falls for her too.
- Minato and Kushina, the former being very a nice and polite man and the latter being a hot-blooded tomboy.
- Shikamaru and Temari; he's lazy, calm and prone to doubting himself, she's an aggressive Action Girl.
- In the Rock Lee spin-off, possessive, ill-tempered Neji is more than once implied to have some sort of romantic affection for his cousin sweet, calm Hinata, this being a case of Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl.
- The entire point of Negative-kun to Postive-kun: Jun is pessimistic and somewhat cold, Shin is optimistic and cheerful, yet the two are a very happy couple.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion subverts this trope with Asuka and Shinji's relationship. Superficially they seem to be complete opposites; he's a severe Shrinking Violet and she's a extreme Tsundere. But in the later episodes of the series it's revealed that they're ultimately two sides of the same coin; their behaviors both stem from their fears of being hurt by other people, although they deal with it in completely different ways. While he runs away from others, she actively pushes them away. Ultimately, these differences in dealing with the same problem are what prevents them from bonding with each other, when they logically should've easily been able to connect with each other over their shared issues. This conflict is what leads to much of the drama in both the series and especially The Movie.
- Ouran High School Host Club's canon couple Haruhi and Tamaki. Haruhi is a Deadpan Snarker, and generally calm and collected when it comes to most things. Tamaki on the other hand is a Keet, exaggerated, and easily excitable.
- Sailor Moon:
- Parodied in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. The first episode plays romantic music when Nozomu first meets Kafuka, and text scrawls across the screen, "A man who is negative about everything; a girl who is positive about everything; a meeting that never should have happened." This gets further parody in a later episode showing Nami's first meeting with Kiri, playing the same music and displaying the message "A girl who refuses to come to school; a girl who refuses to leave school; a meeting that never should have happened."
- The series end with Nozomu and Kafuka pairing becomes canon because of this particular reason, even though Kafuka is six feet under before the series even started.
- Soul Eater:
- While not officially a couple, Maka and Soul are considered this. Maka is a Badass Bookworm who always follows the rules and feels the need to do everything right in order to get by. Soul, on the other hand, is a Deadpan Snarker who would rather do things his own way and tends to go against orders that anyone bothers to give him.
- Stein and Marie definitely fit this trope. Stein is an eccentric, sadistic and twisted Mad Scientist, while Marie is a sweet, calm and gentle teacher. In the final chapter, it's revealed Marie is pregnant with Stein's child, but she's worried because Stein is already planning to turn their child into his new guinea pig.
- In Stellvia of the Universe, the aloof and stoic Akira eventually starts dating the laid-back Plucky Comic Relief Joey.
- Considering they form a manzai duo this is inherent to the eventual romantic relationship between Koganei and Amasawa of The Weatherman Is My Lover.
- The cynical, reserved Kousei and the optimist, energetic wild Kaori are Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl example from Your Lie in April.
- The Authority has gruff, brooding, cynical Midnighter Happily Married to kind, cheerful, optimistic Apollo. Even their costumes emphasize this trope: Apollo's is white with a gold sun emblem, while Midnighter's is black with a silver crescent moon.
- Batman and Catwoman: One is a stolid, no-nonsense upholder of the law, the other is a mischievous (but never malicious) lawbreaker. They Fight Crime! (sometimes, when she's not causing it herself).
- Peanuts features Peppermint Patty and Marcy. Peppermint Patty is extroverted and athletic but Book Dumb. Marcie is introverted and intellectual and not at all into sports. They develop a symbiotic relationship, with Peppermint Patty protecting Marcie from bullies and Marcie helping Peppermint Patty with her studies.
- Persepolis: Subverted. When Marjane returns to Iran in her late teens, she starts a relationship with Reza, who's her polar opposite in terms of personality, Marjane being outspoken and extroverted and Reza collected and introverted. Marjane initially thinks that this is why they complement each other so well, but after they get married their personalities increasingly clash until they decide to avoid each other.
- Runaways paired quirky nerd Gert with dumb jock Chase, All-Loving Hero Karolina with Blood Knight Xavin, and fearless Molly with shy Klara.
- In the reboot, troublemaker Jubilee grudgingly admits that she's attracted to rule-abiding Sanna. It later turns out that the attraction is mutual, and they end up as a couple.
- Superman has Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter and Lois Lane, determined and outgoing reporter.
- Teen Titans:
- When their relationship began, Starfire and Robin (later Nightwing) were this: Robin was reserved and methodical to Starfire's passionate impulsiveness. As the trope often works in real life, they began to influence each other so that each acquired a level of the other's personality, to the point that their breakup ultimately had Nightwing making an impassioned plea for Starfire to stay and Starfire making the reasoned, logical choice to leave.
- Raven and Beast Boy. One is an emotionally-schizo daughter of a demon who has a tendency to sometimes turn evil and attack her friends quite frequently, one is a fun-loving, optimistic Man Child who can turn into just about any animal on the planet. Due to Raven's emotional issues and her desire not to harm people she cares about, the two are frequently on/off but always come back to one another due to Beast Boy refusing to take a hint. Prior to the New 52 reboot, Raven had recently made the decision not to ignore or suppress her feelings any longer and to embrace the future with Beast Boy. How they fared may never be known...
- Cyclops and Phoenix of the X-Men. He's an emotionally withdrawn introvert control freak and she's
fire and life incarnatean outgoing redhead who reads minds. He draws the attentions of at least two other hot and extrovert telepaths, which suggests there's something interesting going on behind that facade...
- Cyclops' second major love interest, Emma Frost, also qualifies (as suggested by their contrasting surnames, "Frost" and "Summers"). One's a stoic born leader who grew up in an orphanage, the other's a wealthy, snarky seductress trying to atone for her past villainous deeds.
- Morbius and his fiancée Martine are this, both in appearance and personality. Morbius himself even wonders out loud how "an out and about society girl" could fall in love with "a morose scientist who can't stand the sun", saying even he doesn't have a hypothesis for that one.
- Guardian portrays Lulu's romance with Posthumous Character Chappu as this—while she is a serious and somewhat cynical teen, he's fun and goofy and acts more his age.
- All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird has Mahanon and Cassandra, who are arguably as different as they could be. He's an elf hunter who grew up in the woods, reveres the Dalish pantheon, and usually has a snarky comeback. She's a human noblewoman who devotedly serves the Maker and is often extremely serious. They are nevertheless very well suited for each other.
- Near the end of How I Learned to Love a Wild Horse, Tomboy Biker Babe Donna hooks up with Adorkable nerd Arnold after the two bond over a love of anime.
Films — Animation
- Milo Thatch and Princess Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. She's a Tomboy Princess, he's an Adorkable nerd.
- La Muerte and Xibalba from The Book of Life. She's a kind, loving Goddess made of sweet candy and he's a cheating, gambling God who's made out of everything icky.
- Brave: King Fergus and Queen Elinor. Fergus is your typical boisterous Fiery Redhead while Elinor is the graceful, proper queen. Their dynamic is one reason why the kingdom stays together: he's the man-of-action and natural leader in wartime, she's the natural diplomat who can calm feuding factions in peacetime.
- Mulan and Shang in Mulan II. She's a rebellious, free-spirited warrior and he's a stern, no-nonsense captian. Throughout the sequel, their differences (coupled with Mushu trying to break them up) nearly ruin their engagement, but they manage to find the balance necessary to make it work.
- The Princess and the Frog has Tiana and Naveen. She's a Workaholic, no-nonsense waitress and he's a fun-loving, lazy prince.
- Tangled gives us the jaded, worldly-wise thief Flynn Rider and the spirited, innocent princess Rapunzel.
- Treasure Planet has Captain Amelia and Dr. Doppler. She's a tough-as-nails Action Girl, he's a bookish scientist, not to mention they're basically an anthropomorphic cat and dog, respectively. The two grow closer throughout the movie, and by the end they even have several kids.
- WALLēE has The Woobie WALLēE and Action Girl EVE.
- Judy and Nick from Zootopia. She's an energetic, optimistic and naive rookie police officer and he's a sarcastic, laid-back and jaded Con Artist. Not to mention they're a rabbit and a fox, respectively.
Films — Live-Action
- Odd Couple Steed and Mrs. Peel in The Avengers (1998): he follows the rules, she doesn't. He admits that she's "just my type".
- Rough and tough, working-class, Mike Hagen, and high-society, prim, Mirella Brown in the film, Designing Woman.
- No-nonsense Captain von Trapp and cheerful Maria in The Sound of Music.
- The Great Race. The Great Leslie - charming male chauvinist. Maggie DuBois - militant women's libber. How can they not fall in love?
- Enchanted: Giselle the cheery optimist, and Robert the sarcastic pessimist.
- Claire and Owen in Jurassic World. Before the events of the film, they didn't go on a second date because they were too different (he showed up in board shorts, she showed up with an itinerary).
- Performance Anxiety: Peter - the neat freak accountant - and his boyfriend, Jeff, who is a messy, hippy musician.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Roger and Jessica Rabbit. He's an energetic and goofy rabbit, she's a sexy and glamorous woman. They are married and couldn't be happier. Why? "He makes me laugh."
- Haiyore! Nyarko-san has the introverted, somewhat cynical Mahiro and the bubbly, energetic, outgoing Nyarko, fitting just about perfectly with the standard Manic Pixie Dream Girl and/or Uptight Loves Wild plots.
- The main couples of Minoru Kawakami's light novels are usually like this, due to Author Appeal:
- Mikoto Sayama and Sadagiri Shinjou from The Ending Chronicle. He's an arrogant, eccentric self-proclaimed villain who thinks he's the center of the universe and she's a sensitive, insecure and modest Nice Girl. It gets lampshaded constantly with both outright calling themselves opposites and loving each other for it.
- Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere has the overly energetic and carefree Tori and the emotionless and analytical Robot Girl Horizon Ariadust.
- Reaper has a rather extreme example: Life and Death are a married couple despite being as opposite as anyone could be. They do have some disagreements but are loving and caring couple who truly care about one another.
- Ship Tease aside, it may as well be Zelgadis the cynical, weary, brooding chimera paired with Amelia the optimistic, innocent, and plucky princess from Slayers, with hints of Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl peppered in there. In the novels, there is also the hot-headed, driven Luke with the snarky, calm Millina (in this case, this is All Love Is Unrequited).
- Percy and Annabeth in Percy Jackson and The Olympians. While Percy isn't dumb, his academic success isn't all that great. Annabeth is a child of Athena, and very intelligent. Percy is a powerhouse in battle, while Annabeth uses her intellect and magical relics. And while Percy is quite sassy, most of it is in the narration. Annabeth has no such reservations.
- Nico di Angelo and Will Solace. Death and healing, dark and light, introvert and extrovert.
- The 39 Clues. Ian is a mega-rich, an Evil Brit, and a Momma's Boy. Amy is a Shrinking Violet, pretty smart, poor, and an orphan. She apparently always found him attractive, but when he actually started flirting with her, it was, of course, a trick. And then came a whole new set of complications.
- Kenneth Oppel's Airborn series has Matt Cruse, poor cabin boy, and Kate de Vries, rich wanna-be scientist... cue angsting about how they can never be together...
- The Baby-Sitters Club:
- Mary Anne's father and Dawn's mother are a textbook example.
- Also shy and quiet Mary Anne paired with jockish and outgoing Logan.
- Alan E. Nourse's The Compleat Consummators took this to a horrifying conclusion with a couple whose differing interests and personalities meshed so well that they ended up as a sort of composite creature:
After It had jelled for awhile, It got up from the sofa and went into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.
- Ignatius J. Reilly and Myrna Minkoff of A Confederacy of Dunces. Him: fat, stentorian (if hypocritical) in his morality, obsessed with chastity, an archconservative—nay, reactionary!—who believes Western civilization took a wrong turn at the Renaissance and longs for an authoritarian king and authoritarian Catholic Church. Her: thin, stentorian in her love of sex, believing that the world in general and Ignatius in particular is perfectible through sex, an archliberal—nay, radical!—who believes in revolutionary socialism and racial (and gender) equality, and who long ago abandoned her ancestral Judaism for—something. It isn't clear what (other than sex). They engage in a fevered exchange of letters that has all readers firmly convinced that they are in fact almost exactly the same despite appearances and perfect for each other. By the end of the novel, Ignatius has agreed to go to New York with Myrna.
- Captains Carrot Ironfounderson and Angua von Uberwald are on opposite ends of the Sliding Scale of Cynicism Versus Idealism. He inspires her to fight injustice, she reminds him not to set his expectations too high.
- Similarly, in Interesting Times, it's strongly suggested that Wide-Eyed Idealist Twoflower's daughter Pretty Butterfly inherited her Rincewindian view of the world from her late mother.
- Parodied with Nobby (grotesque and cynical petty thief watchman) and Tawnee (stunningly beautiful and jawdroppingly naive exotic dancer) in Thud!. When Nobby says Tawnee thinks they're "two halves of the same soul", Sergeant Colon thinks about this for a moment and concludes "Yeah. Not the same stuff in each half, obviously. Sort of... sieved." They split up when Tawnee realises she has options and Nobby realises she can't cook.
- Razz and Sally in Don't Call Me Ishmael!. They do have some common interests (for example football), but she is down-to-earth, very studious, intelligent and calm. Razz... is not.
- Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby. He Will Not Tell a Lie; she's a Consummate Liar.
- Ron and Hermione of Harry Potter's Power Trio: She's uptight, smart, logical and Crazy-Prepared, while he's more laid back, driven by emotion and acts on instinct. This one is particularly notorious for the fierce Ship-to-Ship Combat that surrounded it, and for the author's somber look back on it years after the fact.
Rowling: "I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. Thatís how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione with Ron. [..] I know, Iím sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if Iím absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking peopleís hearts by saying this? I hope not. [..] It was a young relationship. I think the attraction itself is plausible but the combative side of itÖ Iím not sure you could have got over that in an adult relationship, there was too much fundamental incompatibility. I canít believe we are saying all of this Ė this is Potter heresy! [..] Oh, maybe she and Ron will be all right with a bit of counseling, you know. I wonder what happens at wizard marriage counseling? Theyíll probably be fine. He needs to work on his self-esteem issues and she needs to work on being a little less critical."
- The Hunger Games: Katniss and Peeta, at least by the end of Mockingjay.
- In Death: Eve has pointed out that Roarke and her have this between them, like in Divided In Death. She is a cop who is crude, rude, not interested in money, believes in the law, and has morals that are basically black and white. He is a former thief who is suave, charming, has more money than you can imagine, believe more in his conscience than in the law, and his morals are very much grey. Fortunately, one thing they do have in common is that they both were raised by bad parents and had lousy childhoods.
- Brainy ambitious women regularly find P. G. Wodehouse's Upper-Class Twit Bertie Wooster from Jeeves and Wooster romantically irresistible.
- Victor Hugo discusses this trope in Les Misťrables, in reference to Grantaire's devotion to Enjolras.
A sceptic who adheres to a believer is as simple as the law of complementary colors. That which we lack attracts us. No one loves the light like the blind man. The dwarf adores the drum-major. The toad always has his eyes fixed on heaven. Why? In order to watch the bird in its flight. Grantaire, in whom writhed doubt, loved to watch faith soar in Enjolras. He had need of Enjolras.
- Ben and Lacey in Paper Towns. Excitable geek who is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, dating a Spoiled Sweet Lovable Alpha Bitch? Believe it or not, they're not just dating, but incredibly happy together.
- This seems to be the driving force behind Zavahl's and Ailie's relationship in the Shadowleague books- he has the personality of a bad rainstorm, whereas she is never seen to frown.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe: Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade. Mara even says it, for crying out loud!
- In Michael Flynn's Up Jim River, Greystroke says that he and Bridget have this.
- From the Wheel of Time, Mat is a Farmboy turned Four-Star Badass raised in a Arcadia, Tuon is an Empress and Chessmaster who was raised in a Deadly Decadent Court. They're married.
- Discussed Trope in the novel Youth in Sexual Ecstasy, the sexual therapist actually says that for a couple to succeed in the long term, they must have opposite temperaments alongside with similar lifestyles and independent realization. The protagonist and his fiancee agree on this being the case for them.
- Penny and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory are such an extreme example as to nearly defy belief. Leonard is a bespectacled, hopeless nerd with a Ph.D in Physics and alarmingly subpar social skills (which suddenly appear impressive when compared with those of the people he hangs out with); Penny is an attractive aspiring actress who works as a waitress in the nearby Cheesecake Factory and never finished college. Lots of Lampshade Hanging on this one.
Leonard: Are you even listening to me?
Sheldon: Yes. "Blah blah, hopeless Penny delusion, blah blah."
- Bones has the coldly intelligent, scientific, atheist, hyper-rational titular character and her partner the FBI agent- religious, more emotional, more of a people person. Clearly they complement each other, but each also finds the other fascinating and attractive. Both lampshaded and subverted on the show; Sweets wrote an essay about Booth and Brennan's relationship dynamic called "Opposites Attract", which Gordon Gordon punctured by calmly stating that Booth and Brennan were complimentary, not opposites.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer is built on this. Cordelia and Xander, Willow and Oz, Faith and Xander, Giles and Jenny, Giles and Joyce, Willow and Tara, Buffy and Spike, William and Drusilia, Faith and Wood, and there's likely several others unmentioned.
- Sam and Diane of Cheers, practically archetypes of the Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast.
- CSI NY City boy Danny Messer and country girl wife Lindsay "Montana" Messer. (she's still tough in her own right, though.)
- Degrassi has done this for just about every pairing and friendship it can. It'd be faster to list the exceptions.
- The show Dharma and Greg revolves around this trope. Dharma is a free-spirited, tolerant, and ditzy flower child. While Greg is an upright, conservative, somewhat uptight lawyer. Despite the fact that they have virtually nothing in common they got married on their first date.
- Doc Martin: Martin and Louisa basically cover every trope in this section at some point.
- Ultra-conservative Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties finds himself attracted to women who are the ideological opposite of him - while his best friend, Skippy, is the intellectual opposite of him.
- Action Girl Aeryn Sun of Farscape, for some reason, finds herself falling for Plucky Comic Relief who alternates between The Kirk and The McCoy in the form of John Crichton. Though he's pretty well helpless in a real battle, she does end up training him up almost to Badass Bookworm levels. And while she does thaw a bit from her Ice Queen demeanor, he just gets more and more extroverted as he slowly goes crazier.
- Action Girl/Amazonian Beauty Zoe in Firefly is married to Non-Action Guy/Ace Pilot Wash.
- Glee has the ditzy, goofy but sweet Brittany paired with the bitchy, sarcastic Santana.
- In The Good Wife the law firm's co-owner Diane Lockhart, who would probably consider the term "liberal wacko" a compliment, is in a relationship with weapons expert Kurt McVeigh, who would likely feel the same about the phrase "right-wing nutjob". They even get engaged as of "The Wheels of Justice".
- Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham are harsh polar opposites that complement each other well. Hannibal is stylish, charismatic and severely lacking in empathy, where Will is twitchy, unsociable and overflowing with too much empathy. In the series finale, after years of fighting against and for each other, their relationship evolves into something romantic and they run away together.
- Ted and Robin in How I Met Your Mother. Ted is the Dogged Nice Guy who is a romantic, wants to settle down and have kids and Robin is The Lad-ette who is a gun nut, hates commitment and kids, focuses on her career. The show deconstructs their relationship where they did get together but by the time they talked about their goals, they want different things which resulted to their break-up and remained friends. After a few years, Ted is still in love with Robin which one of his ex-girlfriends pointed out that he's unable to move on due to his unrequited feelings for her while Robin herself did move on. In the series finale, it's implied that now-widower and single dad Ted and the divorced and single Robin got together.
- iCarly: Deconstructed with the Sam/Freddie arc. They are complete and total opposites that become physically attracted to each other, but eventually break up when the actual relationship fails. They are unable to find any common ground in their interests and actually end up sabotaging them for each other when they try being involved in each other's activities. It ends up being one of the main causes of their break up.
- Laid-back, jovial "Hawkeye" Pierce and hard-nosed Margaret Houlihan in Mash.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold Arthur and Shrinking Violet (except when she's sufficiently ticked-off) Guinevere from Merlin. Also noteworthy was their difference in class status, with him being a prince and she being a servant.
- Microsoap used and deconstructed it. As the kids describe it, "It was a case of opposites attract. Then it was a case of opposites drive each other crazy".
- Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis. Maddie (Shepherd) is a chic, smart, former supermodel who's dead serious about running the business; David (Willis) is a glib, lighthearted, and pragmatic Private Investigator.
- Parks and Recreation:
- Carnivorous libertarian man's-man Ron Swanson, meet liberal feminist vegetarian single-mother community college professor Diane Lewis.
- Cynical, apathetic April Ludgate and peppy jock Andy Dwyer spend most of Season 2 in a Will They or Won't They? situation. They begin dating at the start of Season 3 and spontaneously get hitched just a few episodes later, remaining Happily Married for the rest of the series.
- Stargate Atlantis: Elizabeth Weir and John Sheppard. She's a civilian diplomat and has a total of two relationships throughout the series; he's a Air Force pilot and military man who practically has a girl on every planet. Despite this they establish a successful co-command of Atlantis, frequently defend each other from other interfering superiors and build a close and affectionate friendship, often acting as each others' only confidantes. With lots of Unresolved Sexual Tension thrown in of course.
- Damon and Elena on The Vampire Diaries. They have vastly different personalities, values, outlooks and beliefs.
- Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from The X-Files: Skeptical, scientifically oriented redheaded Catholic meets agnostic UFO/supernatural enthusiast. And it works.
- No Tomorrow: Evie and Kareema are friends despite being almost totally opposite personalities. Evie's always bright, chipper, and wants a steady, monogamous relationship. Kareema's cynical, snarky and seems to only have casual sex (before meeting Sofia anyway).
- "You Lost My Memory" by Skyclad. This romance doesn't end well, but is described as sort of awesome anyway.
The Brownian-Motion within this love potion,ensures our opinions are always dividing.
- The Paula Abdul song "Opposites Attract" is basically all about this trope. And the music video involves her singing it as a duet with an animated rapping cat...
- The song also called "Opposites Attract" by Juris.
- "Little War" by Axxis describes a couple that are exact opposites of each other personality-wise, yet still love each other greatly.
We belong together like summer and cold ice
- Daniel Amos's "She's All Heart" (from Vox Humana) is about a couple who are "one heart" in spite of their different perspectives and disagreements.
She says I complicate things
I say she over simplifies everything
But either way, I still believe we need each other
- The driving force behind the central love story of The Misanthrope. Alceste despises anyone who is polite instead of honest, but is in love with Célimène, who by the end of the play is revealed to be about as two-faced as they come. It's Lampshaded several times.
Alceste: I see her faults, despite my ardent love
And all I see I fervently reprove
And yet I'm weak; for all her falsity,
That woman knows the art of pleasing me
And though I never cease complaining of her
I swear I cannot manage not to love her.
- BioWare has a tendency to create somewhat psychotic mad people (usually women) who can be most successfully romanced by a nicer player character.
- Jack in Mass Effect 2 is impulsive, impatient, anger-driven, and generally insane; the Paragon romance arc involves calmly and patiently listening to her issues and generally being nice.
- Morrigan in Dragon Age: Origins is a survivalist in the extreme who believes love is a weakness; she does, however, approve of some of the Warden's behavior that is rather contrary to her stated doctrine.
- Garrus in Mass Effect 2 has trouble with the rules, but is just as likely to fall for Female!Shepard if she calls him out on it and points out that the rules are there for good reasons as if she goes along with his ends justify the means ideas.
- Bastila in Knights of the Old Republic is attracted to the male player character no matter what, so if you are a silly rule-bending sort or an Ax-Crazy maniac your very straight-laced and overly serious companion will still fall for you.
- Viconia DeVir in Baldurs Gate 2 is a neutral evil drow priestess who believes that the strong are meant to dominate the weak, but that doesn't stop her from being romancable by good-aligned male player characters.
- Fenris in Dragon Age II has a real bone to pick with mages and is brooding as all hell. It still doesn't stop him from falling for a snarky mage Hawke. The irony of this is not lost on him and is noted at a few points.
- In Fire Emblem Elibe we have Fiora (serious, motherly Pegasus Knight) and Sain (Chivalrous Pervert who mouths off to authority). And if you max out their supports, they get married.
Farina: This is probably someone else's doing... Like Marcus, or Oswin... You know, Merlinus might try something like this, too...
- Also Fiora's Tsundere and Hot-Blooded middle sister Farina and Sain's Knight in Shining Armor partner Kent. Yup, they can get hitched at A support level too. They even hang a huge lampshade on this:
Kent: I don't think it is a conspiracy... I mean, what would anyone have to gain from making us fight together?
- Fire Emblem Awakening gives us Henry, a Blood Knight and Perpetual Smiler with some VERY loose screws, and two of his potential love interests: Sumia and Olivia. The first one is a klutzy Submissive Badass, the second is a cute Shrinking Violet. Also Team Dad Frederick and Tomboy Princess Lissa, if paired up.
- The Forerunners Didact and Librarian from Halo. The Librarian is a Friend to All Living Things whose favorite species was humanity. The Didact is a Four-Star Badass in a society of pacifists, who was responsible for destroying humanity's empire and sending us back to earth as cavemen. Everyone lampshades how odd this match is; however, they both love each other fiercely.
Bornstellar: Your relationship with the Lifeshaper does not seem ideal.
Didact: You don't know the half of it.
- GTA Radio has a married couple host a political talk show. One's a Democrat, the other's a Republican, both are strawmen.
- In Freefall, Florence the anthromorphic wolf is dating Winston, who has spacer genes and so no hair. Niomi thinks it's a very odd case of opposites attracting.
- In Dubious Company, Walter is an Educated, Goofy, Sky Pirate Bird Man. Tiren is a Hardened, Straight-laced, Ninja Cat Girl. Clearly, the crew knows they were made for each other. Except Mary, who insists that Tiren has eyes for Elator.
- Homestuck: This is the point of moirallegiance; two moirails are supposed to balance each other's negative traits, thus allowing their other relationships to be more successful and facilitating self-improvement.
- Vriska and John have some Ship Tease early on, but the ship sinks when John finally realizes how cruel and dangerous Vriska actually is.
- Deconstructed with Vriska and Tavros Nitram. Vriska is so revolted by her attraction to him that she ends up bullying/stalking him—unable to really love him, but too fixated on her feelings to stay away from him. They do end up together at one point, but soon break up.
- Deconstructed with Eridan and Feferi's moirallegiance which is similarly ill-fated. They're both high-blooded, given an incredible amount of power over other trolls—but that's where their similarities end. Feferi's a Hot-Blooded optimist who wants to even out Alternia's caste system; Eridan's a spoiled, pessimistic racist with genocidal ambitions. Their relationship is dysfunctional because they can't reconcile their different ideologies.
- Dirk and Jake are polar opposites in personality, and their differences ultimately lead to a messy breakup.
- Parodied in I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space when Dr. Wendy and Alice decide to try a Pair the Spares situation. They go out on a date, have a wonderful time...and Wendy decides they're too opposite of each other, and declines a second date.
- Long Exposure has the romance between The Bully Lean and Mean Mitch and his favorite victim/long time crush, the Lovable Nerd and Band Geek Jonas.
- L's Empire has Carnation and Pix who are pure evil and pure good respectively.
- In The Order of the Stick, Hayley is The Cynic and has has a bit of a selfish streak. Elan is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who loves being in a team and automatically puts the needs of others before himself. As a result of their relationship, Hayley becomes more open to others (but is still cynical) and Elan becomes less of a Quirky Bard (but is still idealistic). The opposites attract trope is Lampshaded by V, who compares them with Roy and Miko, who, despite their similarities and Roy's intial attraction to Miko, can't stand each other.
- Questionable Content: Hannelore's parents - her father is a goofy well meaning Mad Scientist, and her mother is a calculating, dispassionate Corrupt Corporate Executive supervillain.
- Discussed in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's "Uncomfortable Truthasaurus!" by Zach Weiner. Common misconception: Opposites attract or like attracts like. Somehow you get both of these. The truth is that 95% of people want someone hot. 100 % of people just want anyone with a higher social status.
- Averted in Slightly Damned. The main pairing is Kieri, a water-elemental angel, and Buwaro, a fire demon. Seems like a perfect setup for this trope...but in terms of personality, they're really very similar.
- Mille and Iriana of Ilivais X. Iriana is a Broken Bird Creepy Child who acts like an Emotionless Girl to avoid her Drive Core pushing her towards being a hyper Love Freak, and is highly logical and cynical, yet becomes surprisingly impassioned and devoted when those she cares about are in danger. Mille is essentially a blank slate Phonos Weapon in the form of a cheerful, lively, and outgoing Ethical Slut who's a little on the ditzy side and erratically emotional, but take Iriana from her and she becomes dark and sullen. They couldn't be more opposite, and they couldn't be crazier about each other.
- Exaggerated in Codename: Kids Next Door with Kuki Sanban (Numbuh Three) and Wallabee Beatles (Numbuh Four); he's an abrasive hard-boiled proto-badass with an extreme aversion to everything cutesy and sugary, while she's an upbeat Japanese girl with a kind heart and an obsession for stuffed animals. In the series Distant Finale they get married.
- Laid-back slacker Fry and responsible, reliable Leela on Futurama.
- G.I. Joe has a lot of these, most notably the silent Snake Eyes is teamed up with the loudmouthed Shipwreck. Also the stoic and by-the-books Duke teams up with the Fiery Redhead Scarlet.
- Miss Information and Mr. Smartypants on Histeria!: The Dumb Blonde and The Smart Guy.
- Warm, passionate, generally friendly, closer to Earth Wonder Woman and cold, stoic, anti-social, sometimes arrogant Batman on Justice League.
- Kaeloo: Kind, friendly, cheerful Kaeloo and cruel, violent, Mr. Cat who is almost always in a bad mood.
- Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable. Kim's always been a popular overachiever while Ron was an unpopular underachiever (at least until the final season, when he joined the football team as the new star running back).
- The Legend of Korra:
- Hotheaded, headstrong waterbender Korra and serious, collected firebender Mako, who fit several of the dynamics listed: Red Oni, Blue Oni (Korra's red, Mako's blue, despite their Chromatic Arrangement), The Hero + The Lancer, Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, and possibly Uptight Loves Wild.
- Ultimately deconstructed as their opposite natures (as well as tense situations) end up pushing them apart. They do manage to remain friends however.
- Same goes for Mako's brother, Bolin, for one of Korra's cousins, Eska. Bolin is a happy, funny guy who took a serious interest in Eska while Eska herself is a bit of an emotionless Deadpan Snarker and a Royal Brat who sees Bolin as a means to an end. They're more like Plucky Comic Relief + The Quiet One. Same as Korra and Mako, they don't work out.
- As of the finale tomboyish, technologically-stunted, Boisterous Bruiser Master-Of-All-Four-Elements Korra, and the feminine, Wrench Wench Ojou, non-bender Asami.
- Hotheaded, headstrong waterbender Korra and serious, collected firebender Mako, who fit several of the dynamics listed: Red Oni, Blue Oni (Korra's red, Mako's blue, despite their Chromatic Arrangement), The Hero + The Lancer, Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, and possibly Uptight Loves Wild.
- Steven Universe: Ruby and Sapphire could not be more different and could not be more devoted to each other. Their love makes up the strongest character in the show, Garnet.
- Robin and Starfire on Teen Titans. Robin is the serious and determined leader, and Starfire is the sensitive, sunny one.
- Deconstructed realistically in Total Drama with Academic Alpha Bitch Courtney and delinquent Duncan. The bitter arguments start up almost as quickly as the sparks fly, with her ultra-preppyness directly contrasting his harsh nature. Their relationship is unstable from the beginning, and they break up and come back together several times. Eventually, the constant arguing becomes too much and Duncan tires of her by season 3 and he cheats on her with Goth girl Gwen; leading to his and Courtney's final breakup.
- Silverbolt and Blackarachnia of Transformers Beast Wars fit this trope without Question: Femme Fatale and Knight in Shining Armor.
- Rogue's attraction to Scott in X-Men: Evolution, at least until you think about it for a while. But on the surface, he is The Stoic and she is The Snark Knight.
- Young Justice:
- Goofy, happy go lucky Wally West/Kid Flash and focused, rough and tumble Artemis Crock. Ironically, the writers paired them up because of their similarities — namely, they're both intelligent, yet insecure teenage heroes who resort to sarcasm and bravado to hide how much they care about each other, and are somewhat amused by the fandom latching on to them as part of this trope.
- From the same series, moody, emotionally stunted Superboy and perky, outgoing Miss Martian.
- In Milo Murphy's Law, Milo is a cheerful boy who inadvertently causes chaos wherever he goes. He has a crush on Amanda, a Schedule Fanatic with Super OCD. Winning her over will be an uphill battle.
- Actual science tends to show that the best predictor of compatibility is in fact similar background, interests, and attitudes. A likely reason is that we tend to only notice the ways a couple are different (since it's not that surprising when two partners are alike), at which point we feel the need to form a theory to explain why all the couples we see are so different (when they are, in fact, Not So Different). The grain of truth in it is that a partner who's exactly like you in every way would probably cause all sorts of problems, so we do seek our opposites, after a fashion—just not our total opposites.
- There is also the fact that, up to the past 100-150 years, a person's social circle was limited to their immediate community; people in the same age group, social class, and locality would (theoretically) have common experiences and, ergo, background. This similarity was overlooked because it was so ubiquitous; it wasn't until the modern era with its quick communication between communities that similar backgrounds became a qualifiable factor. Since this factor was discounted (or, rather, not known to exist), it was not accounted for; ergo, the importance of differences becoming Common Knowledge.
- SPC Kate Norley, an activist representing Vets For Freedom, a group whose "mission is to educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in [Iraq and Afghanistan]," and still an occasional guest commentator on Fox News, while attending the 2008 RNC convention to show her support for John McCain, as part of a campaign that earned her praise from right-wing bloggers up to and including Michelle Malkin, apparently fell in love with one of the correspondents there. They married in 2011. His name? John Oliver.
- Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel.
- For example, Roger Ebert hated Mars Attacks! because Tim Burton "seemed to like the aliens more than the humans" (paraphrasing); Gene Siskel loved it for the exact same reason. Even in watching old At the Movies episodes, you can tell that Siskel is more carefree and cheery, while Roger Ebert is ever-sarcastic and snarky.
- The biggest case of this is perhaps their disparate views on Blue Velvet. Ebert notoriously hated it and found the scene with Isabella Rosselini standing naked on Kyle MacLachlan's lawn to be misogynstic, while Gene Siskel loved it and compared it to Psycho.
- "Gene Siskel and I were like tuning forks. Strike one, and the other would pick up the same frequency."
- James "The Ragin' Cajun" Carville and Mary Matalin. He's a rather liberal Democrat; she's a quite conservative Republican. They were both prominent campaign managers/political operatives in their respective parties from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, facing each other occasionally in races across the country and seeing each other as rivals, being the top operatives of their day. It came to a head in the early 90s, when he was chief strategist for Bill Clinton and she was deputy manager for George H.W. Bush, in preparation for the 1992 presidential campaign. Then...they started dating. Mind you, while they were thinking of ways to beat each other (making this a case of Dating Catwoman, as well). They married in 1993, and now have two daughters. They understandably do not talk politics at home.
- Literally true (in terms of forces) for charged particles and magnetic poles. Sometimes described as a pun on this trope.
- Legendarily taciturn and introverted Calvin Coolidge and his lively, socially-adept wife, Grace. The most common reaction people had to meeting the two of them was "Why did she marry him?" Interestingly, however, they were most definitely Happily Married.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners Burt Reynolds and Dom De Luise, particularly during the height of their fame in the 70s and 80s. Reynolds was a brawny, macho ladies man, while DeLuise was an overweight, campy goofball.
- Jorge Luis Borges was a highly literate intellectual and a vocal anticommunist. Estela Canto was a "dancer for hire" and a committed socialist who was twenty years younger than him. They bonded over, among other things, a mutual love of George Bernard Shaw, who ticked both their boxes by being both a great writer and a socialist.