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Ship Tease
"Hold on, I have to appease the shippers now."
Tommy Oliver, Truncated Power Rangers

Many fans 'ship. These fans often do it all the time (context or no) especially in certain demographics. Producers, especially those who keep their finger on the pulse of the audience, not to mention their eye on the fan fora, know this. So, they decide to tease the fans with hints about possible romantic entanglements, and thereby build that emotional attachment between the show and the audience as much as they can. If the writers are particularly impish, they'll tease a relationship that either never comes up or takes a hard right just as it gets going. Like a sudden death.

See also: Will They or Won't They?, Subtext, Fanservice, Never Trust a Trailer, Tonight Someone Kisses, Literally Falling In Love, Implied Love Interest. Probably the cruelest method of Ship Tease is the Moment Killer. Contrast Ship Sinking.

Not to be confused with Striptease.


Examples with sub-pages


Examples without sub-pages

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • The final page of the final story in Volume 5 of Empowered shows the scantily-clad eponymous character giving the likewise scantily-clad Sister Spooky a big hug. She also appears to be stroking Spooky's hair.
  • Usagi Yojimbo:
  • Nico and Karolina from Runaways, especially in the first issue after Terry Moore's run ended. After a game of "truth or dare" leads to Karolina stealing a magic staff from a bunch of white supremacists. Nico tells her "You pretty much always amaze me" with the two of them staring at each other. When pressed on whether Karolina, Victor or Chase is the better kisser, she eventually snaps and admits "Karolina". This is despite that they never actually got beyond Almost Kiss... as far as we know. Oh, and it ends with her chiding the boys for being "such 'phobes" while she and K have Intertwined Fingers.
  • Runaways and Young Avengers both do this pretty often, but their Civil War crossover really went crazy with it. Tommy calls Nico hot, Nico calls Eli cute, and Victor calls Cassie an angel after she saves his life (he didn't think people actually did that). On top of that, the Tommy/Kate/Eli Love Triangle and the Vision's crush on Cassie are more apparent than ever.
  • The title character and Michelle in Cerebus the Aardvark. They get along reasonably well, and there are mild implications that something intimate may have happened, but nothing comes of it and they eventually part on cool-but-not-completely-unfriendly terms.
  • Demon Knights does this relentlessly with Exoristos and Shining Knight.
  • Not even going over the amount of Ho Yay in Sam And Max, the titular duo is constantly a: being "mistaken" for a couple, or b: having a character trying to get them dating, or c: being told that they are destined to be together.
  • Batgirl 2009:
    • Damian comments that he was "really hoping to meet Cassandra. She sounds wonderful." Steph immediately worries what will happen when Damian hits puberty. (One wonders if the writer remembered that Damian and Cassandra are technically siblings.)
    • In a Streets of Gotham, Damian asks Dick if Katana is seeing anyone. When Dick points out that Katana is a grown woman while Damian is only a child, he shrugs it off.
  • My Little Pony Micro Series:
    • In Issue #3 Rarity brought a picture of Spike with her to sleep with... and of Applejack as well, leading to this interesting Twitter conversation with Price and Cook, unaware of the fandom's fascination with shipping.
    • The Nightmare Arc might as well be called "Secret of My Excess, Part 2" for all the Spike X Rarity moments. For one thing, Spike brings the Fire Ruby, plus Spike is one of the only two characters who could cause a reaction on Nightmare Rarity (the other is her sister Sweetie Belle) and it's Spike who delivers the final line that releases Rarity from the Nightmare's grip. The last panel of the arc's final page also speaks volumes.
    • In Issue 9, Big Macintosh practically has to fend off all of his female admirers— Sweetcream Scoops (who has been stalking him for several issues), Bon Bon, Fleetfoot (who gets an entire splash page and an alternate cover featuring her marriage fantasy about him), and even Princess Luna practically throw themselves at him. Zecora also follows him around, although if she's actually interested in him, she's at least more subtle about it than the other girls.
  • In Kick-Ass, for better or for worse, a lot of the scenes between Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl are framed from an odd angle where it looks like one is kissing the other (the dialogue bubbles dispel the notion, but the imagery is there), in addition to the two being about as close as anyone in the comic can be. The very large age difference may put it into No Yay territory, but Hit-Girl being both more mature and more experienced may not, so it's a YMMV/perception thing.
  • In Paperinik New Adventures despite Donald Duck supposedly being in a relationship with Daisy (not that she ever appears) but he has several seemingly romantic moments with Xadhoom and Lyla. In the sequel Pk2, he has this with co-worker Tempest Gale.

    Fanfiction 

    Film - Animated 
  • Secret of the Wings Periwinkle asks Tinkerbell (speaking of Terrence) "So is he your boyfriend?" "Uuuuhhhhh", cut to next scene without finishing sentence.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Po and Tigress. It is said in the commentary for the first movie that Tigress is Po's favorite of the Furious Five, even though throughout most of the first film she's the one in the group who is the most vocal about her disdain for him. It takes until the end of the movie for her to respect him. In the sequel while not romantic, the two share a lot of moments. When Po describes how confused he is about his past, and how Tigress wouldn't get something like that, she suddenly hugs him, much to the shock of the other Furious Five, and tells him she does understand. She then tells him that she can't watch her friend die, and to stay with Masters Storming Ox and Croc for his own protection. She also seems to be the most distraught out of the Five when Po is hit by Shen's cannon. Later, when Po returns and is about to get hit by Lord Shen's cannon, she pushes him out of the way. In the wreckage of the cannon-burst Po finds Tigress drifting and holds her hand briefly before pushing her out of harms way. After Po defeats Shen, he hugs her, with Tigress initially frozen in shock before a smile grows on her face, while everyone else looks on in shock.
    • To a lesser extent, Crane and Mei Ling in Secrets of the Furious Five, where the feline Action Girl is so nice and loyal to the bird in the All of the Other Reindeer situation that many fans like to imagine them having a romantic relationship while they are at it.
  • Rise of the Guardians teases plenty of Jack x Tooth - especially their hug at the end, and the little bit where they just stare at each other before Baby Tooth interrupts.
  • In 9, the title character appears to have a Love at First Sight moment when he first meets 7.
  • There were a few moments teased between Dory and Marlin in Finding Nemo.
  • In the ending of Wreck-It Ralph Rancis Fluggerbutter is seen checking out Vanellope von Schweetz with interest several times after his memories, along with the other racers, have been restored and it's revealed that Vanellope was the true and real ruler of Sugar Rush. The animators went so far to write a book about it, called One Sweet Race, where Rancis, sick of losing and never winning a Sugar Rush cup, gets Vanellope to help him build a kart to win a race for once.
  • In The Secret Of NIMH heroine Mrs. Brisby and the Captain of the Guard, Justin, flirt a few times, but both have more important things on their minds (not to mention that Mrs. Brisby is the widow of one of Justin's old friends).
    Mrs. Brisby: [looking directly at Justin] Beautiful!
    Justin: [blushes] Oh?
    Mrs. Brisby: [giggling] The lights!

    Professional Wrestling 
  • NXT season 3 had two sets of male pros with female rookies. The first set Goldust and Aksana were given a storyline involving a Citizenship Marriage while the second set AJ Lee and Primo got a more subtle tease. One episode had them trying to find a private place for an unrevealed reason, AJ loved to celebrate winning matches by jumping on Primo's shoulders, when she was eliminated from NXT she broke down crying in his arms and they finally kissed on the last episode.
    • Similarly from the second season there was Layla and Kaval who also had an onscreen kiss.
  • Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo teased a gay relationship with each other, going so far as to declare each other "life partners" and showering each other with affection.
  • Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle were involved as Just Friends in a love triangle with Stephanie's husband Triple H. Steph was originally planned to leave Triple H for Angle, but Trips used his creative control to stop it.
  • Stephanie McMahon and Eric Bischoff initially were duelling General Managers of Raw and SmackDown in 2002 and got an onscreen kiss during a Big Lipped Alligator Moment of a Halloween party. There had always been a bit of friendly Foe Yay between them.
  • Trish Stratus got this a lot. She had it with Jeff Hardy twice, another time with her bodyguard Tyson Tomko, during a Stalker with a Crush storyline with Mickie James (that one she did kiss) and then there's Viscera.
  • Trish and Lita were involved in some teasing with Christian & Chris Jericho that was ultimately revealed to be an example of The Bet. This lead to an 'intergender' feud between the two pairs, followed by a Heel-Face Turn for Jericho when Trish made her own Face-Heel Turn as Christian betrayed Jericho with her help.
  • Melina and John Morrison got a little tease during a backstage segment in 2010 obviously meant as a Mythology Gag to echo their off screen relationship. They had been an actual on screen couple years before but had been separated onto different brands and this quietly disappeared. So the segment was this trope at the time.
  • Alberto Del Rio and Rosa Mendes got one during a segment at the TLC PPV.
  • Melina and Alicia Fox actually kissed on TV. Ditto for William Regal and Zack Ryder, although that was meant as comedy.
  • Kaitlyn and Derrick Bateman's "friendship" on NXT was this at first but they quickly became an Official Couple.
  • Kaitlyn's done this quite a bit. She's had Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes and Hornswoggle. Funnily enough, her BFF AJ locked lips with the last two as well, and AJ is with Dolph Ziggler as of December 2012.
  • LayCool were a lesbian couple for as much as PG television would allow. Getting each other matching necklaces, always hugging each other and attending Couples' Therapy. Then Michelle had to blow it all by saying they weren't a couple.
  • Billy Gunn and Chyna had this going on when the former returned in 2000 to console her after her break-up with Eddie Guerrero. In Kayfabe interviews he would describe Chyna as "absolutely gorgeous" and they were shown to be very close. However whenever asked they would insist they were Just Friends. It never amounted to anything other than a friendship, though the 2001 Royal Rumble did have a very couple-y moment between them when Chyna was getting wheeled out on a stretcher.
  • Maryse and The Miz frequently throughout 2009. Maryse however was clearly just being The Tease, hoping to manipulate him into helping her. Miz sunk the ship at Night of Champions and pretty much told her to go to hell. However in real life the ship is sailing just fine for both of them.

    Theater 
  • Avenue Q teases Rod and Nicky from as early as the fourth song ("If You Were Gay"). Unfortunately for Rod, Nicky doesn't return his feelings.
  • Wicked teases both Fiyero/Elphaba and Glinda/Elphaba from their first encounters - what with "What is this Feeling?" sounding like a love song (loathe and love aren't too far off), and Fiyero being just as much of a Deadpan Snarker to Elphaba as she is to him (that, and his lack of shock, disgust, or caring at the colour of her skin).
  • Twice Charmed has this between Lady Tremaine and Franco.
    Franco: You're so wicked!
    Lady Tremaine: And you are a shameless flatterer.
  • Pokémon Live! teases Ash and Misty, Delia and Professor Oak, and there used to be a relationship between Delia and Giovanni.


Romantic False LeadRomance ArcCaught in the Rain
She Is Not My GirlfriendThis Index Is Not My GirlfriendStrictly Professional Relationship
Hypocritical HumorOverdosed TropesHey, It's That Voice!
Ship SinkingShipping TropesShip-to-Ship Combat
Ship MatesJust for PunThe Ship Yard

alternative title(s): Ship Teasing; Shipping Fuel
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