The point within a series where an existing couple goes from merely being implied (or Subtext
) to being firmly entrenched in canon proving that they've actually been together for some time.
Shouldn't be confused with Relationship Upgrade
, where the relationship is beginning just as the audience becomes aware of it; this is when the relationship started before the audience knew, but was hidden from the audience. A similar but different trope for a homosexual couple getting outed outside of a series run by the author is Word of Gay
As this is a Plot Twist
trope, all spoilers from here on will be unmarked. You have been warned.
Anime and Manga
- Naruto: It had long been hinted that Kurenai and Asuma were a couple and finally confirmed when Kurenai was revealed to be pregnant.
- In Stray Little Devil Aregna and Lizyerra are hinted at then revealed to have a pre-existing relationship in volume five of the manga.
- Sonsaku and Shuuyu, the ruler and strategist from the Son kingdom in Koihime†Musou show a lot of unspoken intimacy towards each other which hint at them being lovers. It's in season 3: episode 7, that the two characters are explicitly shown to be long term lovers.
- Jenny Doolittle and Lynn Lambretta of Bodacious Space Pirates get a few Subtext-y scenes together. They're the President and Vice-President of their yachting club, and they're also a Tomboy and Girly Girl duo in an all-girls school setting. The subtext is pushed even further when Jenny becomes a Damsel in Distress in a wedding gown, and the girls attempt to rescue her with Lynn dressed as a Prince Charming. Subverting all the Hide Your Lesbians that similar works would resort to, the two run into a hug and kiss when they finally meet back up again.
- Wiccan (Billy Kaplan) and Hulkling (Teddy Altman) in the Young Avengers. Fans suspected that they were a couple from the first issue, but it wasn't made canon until the end of the first arc. It was originally going to be a bigger reveal, but so many people caught on that the writer didn't bother. Kate simply mentions that Billy, then going by "Asgardian", needs to change his codename to something that "won't become a national joke when the press find out about you and Teddy". Billy suddenly realizes he really needs a new codename.
- In an issue of X-Factor, long-time Heterosexual Life-Partners Rictor and Shatterstar put an end to a decade's worth of innuendo and editorial wank with an in-panel kiss. Shatterstar's co-creator Rob Liefeld was not pleased and declared his intention to undo it as soon as he can. The chances of him actually getting his hands on the characters by this point are fairly remote.
- X-Men: Although Destiny is long gone, whenever she's mentioned, there's no ambivalence to the fact that she and Mystique were indeed lovers. It could be argued that this started as early as the Shadow King using an obsolete word for "lover" back in 1989, but by the 2001 Retool, it was done.
Live Action TV
- In the Dragon Age tie-in novel The Calling, Julien and Nicolas are a pair of Grey Warden warriors with an intense friendship. They spend most of their time together, one is never mentioned without the other, etc. When Julien dies, Nicolas flies into a rage and is distraught. He picks himself up and keeps going, but when a Lotus-Eater Machine brings Julien back to him, he opts to stay in the dream rather than return to reality.
- In the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow and Tara were only implied to be a couple for a fair while before it was finally revealed that they were actually a couple.
- Claire Kincaid and Jack McCoy on Law & Order
- Grissom and Sara on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
- Beecher and Keller of Oz - what started out as merely slashy turned canon and stayed that way.
- A minor example happens in Angel's penultimate episode, with Spike's line: "Me and Angel have never been intimate. Except that once."
- The X-Files: Mulder and Scully get this in the last episode of season 8, where they kiss while holding their son. (Amazingly, some fans still tried to insist that was a friendly kiss. With the release of the 2008 movie, where they're sleeping in bed together and saying things like "that's why I fell in love with you," the last holdouts seem to have conceded.) However, exactly when their Relationship Upgrade was is anyone's guess, mostly due to the angst of season 8. It's a leading theory in the fandom that they started a relationship after season 7's "all things" (in which they finally sleep together) and simply hid it.
- In The Sopranos, Christopher has a new girlfriend, Kaisha; he tells his boss Tony that he's never brought her around because he doesn't want to deal with the racism of the other mafiosi. A couple scenes later, we realize he was lying; his girlfriend is actually Julianna, the hot realtor that Tony has been unsuccessfully trying to hook up with.
- In Bones, Bones spends the night at Booth's house, but the audience doesn't find out if they slept together in the figurative sense or just the literal one until the season finale, when Bones reveals that she's pregnant with Booth's baby.
- Glee has Santana and Brittany.
- In Farscape, D'Argo and Chiana were shown to have growing feelings for each other and are implied to become intimate at the end of "Out of Their Minds", but it isn't until Crichton walks in on them having sex in "Look at the Princess Part 1" that it's confirmed.
- In the first season finale of Torchwood, Jack and Ianto publicly kiss for the first time. Arguably a Relationship Upgrade but considering the stopwatch, it seems this is a relationship that's been going on very quietly for some time.
- In Game of Thrones, Renly and Loras are revealed to be lovers in a scene where Loras is shaving Renly's chest.
- Hill Street Blues uses a variant; the audience are made aware of precinct captain Frank Furillo and Public Defender Joyce Davenport's relationship at the end of the pilot episode, but it's not until some way into the series that it becomes common knowledge among the rest of the main characters... when Joyce, sick and tired of hiding it, grabs Frank by the lapels and gives him a Big Damn Kiss in the middle of the main office.
- Doctor Who:
- One that had a very long time to pay off is the Doctor and Sarah Jane, which had some UST and flirting between her and the Fourth Doctor but nothing more, and Sarah Jane was Put on a Bus. It was eventually confirmed six Doctors and thirty years later when the Tenth Doctor told Sarah he was still in love with her.
- Barbara's fling with the Thal Alydon in "The Daleks" is only canonised with his goodbye kiss to her.
- Barbara and Ian's Ship Tease is again only confirmed romantic long later in The Sarah Jane Adventures in which they are said to be married.
- A very weird example with the Doctor and River Song, as the gimmick of their relationship is that they're both time travellers who keep meeting in (roughly) reverse order. Therefore, the reveal that they were married only happened when the Doctor chose to marry her, before which she'd already been seeing him as her husband, but he had not been married to her yet.
- Another weird example is "The Doctor's Wife", in which the TARDIS is temporarily put into a human body and she and the Doctor get very romantic, with her even choosing to go by the name 'Sexy' as that was apparently the Doctor's pet name for her. None of this comes as a mystery to her or the Doctor, but due to the fact that she is a spaceship she normally isn't anthropormophised enough for a relationship to apply, let alone be obvious (we also never saw him call her 'Sexy' prior to this episode). There'd been a bit of Ship Tease about it in "School Reunion", where both Sarah Jane and Rose gossip about the apparently very sexual way their respective Doctors (Fourth and Tenth) "stroked" the TARDIS, but that's it.
- Used in Flipside regarding Maytag and Bernadette's relationship.
- Occurs in Drowtales with regard to Mel'arnach and Snadhya'rune, who had been implied before to be a couple and were later confirmed. Mel presents them as Star-Crossed Lovers because of their rival families, but knowing Snadhya (who killed her own mother) it may be more complicated than that...
- Theo and Sleipnir from Girl Genius are almost always together, but it was unclear whether they were an item or Like Brother and Sister...until this strip.
- The novelization of the first three volumes makes an early joke about their relationship, hinting that this might be a very minor retcon.
- In Homestuck's Act 6 Act 3 Intermission first walkaround flash, Meenah asked Kanaya whether Rose was her girlfriend and Kanaya replied coyly 'maybe'. And the shippers rejoiced.
- A decidedly more joyless example occurs during the same intermission - Jade/Davesprite was revealed as canon and then sunk when Jade informs John that the two have just broken up.
- And then in the third Act 6 Intermission 3 flash, Terezi<3<Gamzee, of all ships, was revealed to be canon.
- Though they're technically different series, Ren/Stimpy became canon in Adult Party Cartoon.