Shipping Goggles is when a viewer interprets the smallest, most ambiguous canonical evidence in favor of their ship of choice, even if said "evidence" is insignificant relative to other evidence, or outright nonexistent. Maybe that glance lasted just a little too long, or that remark in that conversation could be interpreted as innuendo. The ship in question can range from one that seems entirely plausible but doesn't yet have clear canon evidence, right up to a Crack Pairing between characters who are bitter enemies, live in different universes, have never met, or whose sexuality or circumstances makes any relationship between them extremely unlikely. Reasons for putting on Shipping Goggles vary; sometimes it's just wishful thinking, sometimes it's to defend the ship against other competing ships, and sometimes it's Just for Fun. Merely being an implausible pairing doesn't automatically mean that Shipping Goggles are in play however, as often a ship's supporters will admit that their support for a particular pairing has nothing to do with the source material.
Note that as with everything Tropes Are Tools, although this canbe badin somesituations. Many shippers would admit to doing this to some extent; in fact, having your own interpretation of Canon is part of the fun of Shipping. However, it can become Fan Dumb when people try to force their ships on others. Not to mention what happens when such fans are Running the Asylum...
A subtrope of Epileptic Trees. Creators aware of their fans' Shipping Goggles can play to it with a Ship Tease; this can be interpreted as Fanservice or just cruelty in suggesting a relationship that isn't going to materialize. Sometimes, the shipper turns out to be right. Other times...
Caution should be used not to confuse every case of LGBT FanbaseGaydar as Shipping Goggles — if fans believe a character is gay, it is not necessarily because fans want to ship them them.
Examples should generally go on one of the other Shipping Tropes pages, like Crack Pairing — particularly dubious interpretations may be listed here though.
Has nothing to do whatsoever with theGoggle Five (shipping them to each other, however, is another story).
Shipping Goggles™ are available on Trope Co.™.
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Anime and Manga
Axis Powers Hetalia fans love doing this and in fact, part of the fun of being in the fandom is to put on the Shipping Goggles while reading about real-life history and seeing pairings there, even ones that would be considered crack or have never been hinted at in Hetalia canon.
Some militant Turkey/Greece fans say that there's definite proof that Turkey and Greece desire each other in the anime episodes where they interact. Even though most, if not all, of their interaction in these episodes revolves around getting Japan's attention. But according to these fans, Turkey shouting things at Greece like "You don't know how well Japan and I get along!" and asking Japan which one of them he likes more means that he just views Japan as a friend, whereas Turkey glaring at Greece for a while means that he secretly lusts after him (and definitely not that he's mad at Greece for taking up the attentions of the one he greeted cheerfully at the beginning of the episode, or anything like that).
By far the most prominent example of this in Hetalia fandom is the PruCan ship. The ship went from an obscure Crack Pairing to one of the fandom's most popular pairings almost overnight, even though the only canon interaction Prussia and Canada have is a single panel during Prussia's April Fools blog where Prussia accepted a bottle of maple syrup from Canada, which almost certainly was not meant to be anything other than two characters briefly interacting together considering that Prussia interacted with many other characters during the same blog to a similar degree. Many PruCan fans take the crackiness of their ship in stride and ship them for reasons unrelated to canon, but some others are convinced that PruCan is canon and leap on the tiniest bits of "evidence" for them, such as claiming that Prussia and Canada both being on the fourth manga volume cover (along with seven other characters) meant that the manga was going to show them together (which didn't happen) or that one of Prussia's songs was addressed to Canada even though Canada is not mentioned anywhere in the lyrics.
Many Canada ships make use of this trope to some extent, because notoriously-invisible-to-others Canada is about the only character you can say "X looked at him = X must care a lot about him to not ignore him" and not have it sound completely ridiculous. Additionally, many France/Canada shippers say that the webcomic where France recognizes Canada and points him out to other characters indicates that France is the only nation that recognizes and respects Canada all the time, even though there's a manga strip where France is included among the nations who don't notice Canada's presence during a meeting, pretty much borking the "all the time" claim.
In an odd twist, this is actually used to bash another character. In the Gakuen Hetalia PSP game, the more believable way to have the "invisible" Canada appear in the game at all due to the Visual Novel game mechanics was to have the "lead female", Seychelles, notice his presence once or twice and talking to him. Naturally, rabid fangirls jumped at this to use it as "evidence" that Seychelles as a "total Relationship Sue who whores herself around to all the males and so she must diiiiie for getting in between our ships"... nevermind that she doesn't seem to notice him that much either, or that she also interacts with females like Liechtenstein or Hungary, or (more importantly) that Canada would not be seen in-game if she didn't ever see him.
Bleach: Some fans do this, most knowingly, but some not. Most often, it appears under an argument like this: "X/Y's panel is bigger than X/Z's! That means X/Y is canon!"
CLAMP fandom is practically handed a pair of Shipping Goggles during initiation. Not at all helped by how often they deliberately tease the fansfor the lulz, or by the fact that a lot of the canon couples aren't any more physically or verbally affectionate with one another than most of the fanon ships.
The Digimon fandom had a truly bizarre case of this in Mimi and Matt/Yamato - as they didn't do any of those things, or even interact at all. They weren't too friendly or too deliciously antagonistic or even bizarre enough of a pair to be interesting. They didn't avoid each other - seven kids and sevenMons means one kid just never wound up talking to that one other; it happens. Didn't stop fans from being extremely rabid, to the "pair one with someone else in a fanfic, I dare you" level. No one's sure why. note One possible explanation is Pair the Spares: in many a series, fans will latch onto the lead male and lead female in a series unless there's overwhelming evidence for another appealing pairing with one of the two, and that happened with Tai(chi) and Sora. The next-most-leading guy and girl are the Matt and Mimi.
K-On! fandom does this a lot. So does Tsumugi for that matter, particularly to Mio and Ritsu.
Lucky Star: Hiyori Tamura is a satire of a chronic Shipping Goggles wearer who just can't stop shipping people in her own universe, even she feels guilty about that.
Naruto shippers, rather notoriously. You pretty much have to do this to seriously ship any of the three most popular ships, because otherwise there isn't a whole lot that strongly suggests any of the feelings are reciprocated. Many, many, many lengthy essays have been written from all sides about how so-and-so is subtly hinted at secretly being in love with someone, flabbergasting anyone who reads manga more casually/normally. Honestly, it's kind of heartbreaking considering how Masashi Kishimoto is widely criticised for depicting young women as single-mindedly love-obsessed, and yet so many female fans get so caught up in the romance they seem to forget the more prominent themes and relationships.
Shippers often break apart unimportant details in color spreads and the storyline to "prove" that Oda is trying to hint at their OTP. Never mind that Word of God is that No Hugging, No Kissing is enforced, and Oda has trolled the shippers before. The anti-shippers probably have a right to be annoyed.
Many Zoro/Robin shippers squee over how during Enies Lobby, it was the key Zoro retrieved that got Robin from her shackles, and hence use this as evidence that they are meant to be... despite how he would've done the same for any of his other friends, the two have barely interacted since then, and Robin has had way more important character development with Luffy and with Franky, which was what was really at the forefront of the story at the time, and hence it's unlikely Oda wanted that bit to be remotely important.
Lots of Soul Eater shippers will insist that there is some form of connection with Crona and Kid, to the point where this only seconds the main couple of the series: Soul and Maka. In general, the coupling is so strong, even though in canon both Anime and Manga versions Crona and Kid have virtually no dialogue, and barely speak to each other, often not in the same scene altogether, or on opposite sides of the good guy bad guy spectrum.
In regards to the main popular couple, Ash/Misty. The original official AAML website had a very long hint list that consisted of just about every interaction between the characters in the whole show, no matter how small, as well as some hints invented by the dub (like the US only Misty's Song). It got so bad that Pokeshippers actually split into two designations, with fans wearing full on goggles referred to as "gakishippers", with the other Pokeshippers considering themselves more sophisticated and intelligent for being able to recognize the "true" hints.
Ash/Gary, or Palletshipping, which is Pokemon's main slash pairing. The hints shippers see ranges from kind of believable, to just plain Farfetch'd
The InuYasha fandom struggles with outright militancy from portions of the Sesshoumaru/Rin and Sesshoumaru/Kagome ships which suffer from adherants that will aggressively reinterpret and rewrite the story to suit their preferences. Meanwhile, portions of the Sesshoumaru/Inuyasha ship cause their own kind of mayhem as well.
The die-hard Harry/Hermione shippers are fairly infamous for this — even after the series finished they kept on writing essays on the supposed Subtext between the two and how JK Rowling had ruined the series by not hooking them up. This isn't helped by the films turning Ron into the Plucky Comic ReliefSidekick (well, moreso than he initially was in the books) and giving Harry and Hermione plenty of shiptastic scenes, until Half Blood Prince (due apparently to screenwriter Steve Kloves thinking that Rowling meant for them to get together).
The "Symbolic Flight" theory stated that because Harry and Hermione flew together on Buckbeak's back during the climax of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - without Ron - that they were destined to be together. In its heydey, this was a high-profile theory, both widely acclaimed by proponents and derided by naysayers.
In response to the infamous Mugglenet interview where Rowling commented on "anvil-sized hints" supporting Ron and Hermione, many Harry/Hermione shippers started claiming there were shipping crate/warehouse/other objects larger than an anvil sized hints for Harry and Hermione, yet rarely offer up examples other than ridiculous things like "The Symbolic Flight" or that "Hermione's Patronus is an OTTER".
And then years after the series had finished Rowling said she made a mistake having Hermione hook up with Ron and saying she really should have been with Harry at the end, and the shipping debacle just gets worse.
Snape/Lily shippers are also prone to this, extrapolating from even less - Lily gets no appearances in the present as a living person, and few in flashbacks, yet they still insist that James, who died for his family, forced Lily into marriage and denied her the right to her beloved Severus, while simultaneously ignoring his vast flaws.
Some fans who ship Sherlock/Watson can take it to bizarre levels. It's gotten to the stage where the term "I'd be lost without my Boswell" has been so charged with Ho Yay overtones that you forget that the real Boswell was Dr Johnston's biographer, and it's not just a weird nickname Holmes came up with.
iCarly: Shippers of the Sam/Freddie pairing are well known for their 'secret Seddie', where they consider any form of interaction, chatting, talking, Sam hitting Freddie, fighting, both having the colors red and blue OR purple on, mentioning the other or just being in the same room together as blatant evidence that they are going to become a canon couple. Which, granted, they did.
Law & Order: Oh, wow, Law and Order. The winner has to be SVU, which, while supporting numerous popular ships, has never had anyone together, ever.
Merlin: The slashers of Merlin/Arthur are eager to point to every single interaction between them as evidence that the two of them are attracted to each other/in love/sleeping together/destined soulmates. In this two-second clip (slowed down so you can see it properly), the act of Merlin catching Arthur's head as he falls over becomes Merlin "definitely stroking Arthur's hair."
Robin Hood: An interesting case is Guy and Marian from the BBC series. Naturally there was plenty of Ship Tease between them despite the Foregone Conclusion of the Official Couple, though some Guy/Marian shippers took their desired pairing to ludicrous extremes, all of which is based on a misinterpreted scene. At the end of the first season Guy and Marian’s wedding is aborted after Marian realizes that Guy has lied to her about the circumstances of the king’s return and her father’s safety. Having already been physically prevented from leaving, she uses her wedding ring as a knuckle-buster to punch him out and facilitate her escape. However, the shippers argue that according to 12th century law, the very act of Marian putting on a wedding ring in front of a clergyman meant that she was legally married to Guy. This is not true, and entirely the invention of a G/M shipper, and in the following season neither Guy nor Marian act as though they have any marital obligation to one another. The relationship is never consummated, Marian gets engaged to Robin Hood, and the fact that Guy and Marian are not married is so obvious that no one even bothers to mention it. However, the hardcore shippers watch the rest of the show insisting that Guy and Marian are legally married, discussing all their interactions under the assumption that they are husband and wife, and refering to Marian as "Guy's wife".
Even if you are not a slash fan, thanks to the fans it is a little hard to watch it now without seeing some of the accidental gayness of Kirk and Spock's relationship, even if you believe this was not what the writers intended. And even that whole "not what the writers intended" thing takes a battering when Gene Roddenberry himself says that "We certainly believe the affection was sufficient for [a romantic relationship], if that were the particular style of the 23rd century."
A specific example is in "Shore Leave", which opens with Kirk having a sore back while sitting in the Captain's chair, and Yeoman Barrows (a crew woman) giving him a massage. For a moment Kirk thinks Spock is behind him doing it, and he offers Spock several words of approval. Only when he sees Spock walk around in front of him while the massage is still going on does he realize that Yeoman Barrows is doing it, and at that moment everything turns a little awkward. The fact that Kirk reacted badly when he discovered Spock wasn't rubbing his back is often held up as incontrovertible evidence that Kirk and Spock had a thing for each other.
"Day of the Dove" has a mind-whammied Chekov going into a fury because he believes the Klingons killed his brother. Sulu's the only person who knows Chekov well enough to know he has no siblings. As far as shippers are concerned, case closed.
Community lampshades this in "Paradigms of Human Memory" with the Jeff/Annie ship. Annie is wearing shipping goggles and sees them as having UST, followed by a "tribute" video, mainly consisting of them looking at each other— but in slow motion. Jeff thinks this is ridiculous and says one could make a video like that of, say, Pierce and Abed. Cue tribute of Pierce and Abed looking at each other— in slow motion. At the very end, this is done once again between Chang and a monkey.
Once Upon a Time has a lot of shippers who tend use Shipping Goggles, especially some Swan Queen and Sleeping Warrior shippers. Despite Regina having a true love in the form of Robin Hood, and Aurora's true love being Prince Philip, these shippers continue to deny the 'ships written into canon by the writers in favor of their own logic. Though Word of God has confirmed a person can have more than one true love, all known instances have occurred after someone's previous true love has died; or, in Mulan's case, have unrequited feelings for someone that is mistaken by shippers to be true love.
This was also even more the case in Torchwood, where Jack/Ianto was a very popular fan pairing beginning very early on ("Looks good in a suit!") but which evolved into canon later on.
People who support Sheldon/Penny from The Big Bang Theory despite the fact that 1. Word of God says it ain't gonna happen (as has Kayley Cuoco herself) 2. Sheldon basically being simply not interested in romance of any sort 3. All of his crazy quirks making a relationship basically impossible. However, since he's sometimes regarded as the Breakout Character and Leonard is likewise considered an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, so this will not stop ever.
Despite How I Met Your Mother explicitly torpedoing the ship in the pilot episode of the show, hardcore Ted/Robin shippers can blow the aforementioned Guy/Marian fangirls out of the water with their ability to completely rearrange the entire context of the show and reinterpret every vastly important and meaningful plot point that has had a hand in leading Ted to the eponymous mother in order to find a loophole that would allow Robin to be the mother, even if it completely destroys the entire purpose and meaning of the story. Some even believe that the only possible ending to the story is that Ted meets the mother, has kids, divorces her, and gets with Robin. This mainly comes from a weird contingent of fans who keep comparing Ted/Robin to Ross/Rachel from Friends (even though the two couples and the four characters are more different in more ways than it is possible to articulate, never mind that they're from completely different shows). Their entire argument consists of "Ted and Robin have to get together in the end, or else it will be as though Ross and Rachel didn't get together at the end." Just check out the last half of the comment thread at the end of this article. The March 2014 finale of the show caused lots of controversy when this is essentially how it ended, although Ted did not divorce the mother - she died.
In Smallville fandom, there was a very vocal group of Clark/Chloe shippers who would interpret any detail as a sign that Chloe was Clark's one true love, and sometimes even that she would "become" the Lois Lane we all know and love from the comics... even after the actual Lois Lane joined the show in Season 4.
In Game of Thrones fans will pick any excuse to ship Arya with Gendry, even though she's twelve and he's around seventeen or eighteen, as when she looks at him while he's shirtless and working a forge.
Practically every frame gets interpreted as a Sherlock/John moment, and some weird things are used to justify/prove it. Shippers swear the fact that John repeatedly insists that he's not gay in the face of people mistaking their relationship is somehow proof that he is: "Me thinks the doctor dost protest too much". This is either ignoring that Sherlock doesn't care when people make that mistake, or using his apathy as some kind of paradoxical proof that Sherlock is also gay: "Notice how he doesn't correct them or anything?" Also, thanks to the creators being savvy enough to know how these two would come off in a modern setting, practically everyone who meets them tends to mistake them for a couple. To shippers, this is somehow also proof: "Everyone can see it but them!"
This taken to the next level with the pairing of Mycroft/Lestrade, the two characters have interacted a total of a minute on screen.
It's impossible to mention this trope without talking about the Glee fandom. The very fact that some people think Faberry is "canon" is enough proof of it.
The Teen Wolf fandom is occasionally guilty of this, especially among Sterek fans. One particularly bad example was when the season 3A premier was held up as incontrovertible proof that they'd had a summer fling... because they stood next to each other and made minimal eye contact, Derek put his hand on Stiles' torso to keep him from leaving, and Stiles didn't know Scott was studying for the PSAT.
A few lines between a woman who will do anything to win a case offering emotional support after the trial, and a woman who is so incredibly co-dependent that she needs someone to guide her in being able to do ANYTHING at that point, led to the huge following of Franziska/Adrian.
Despite deliberate Ho Yay between Phoenix and Edgeworth, neither character shows romantic feelings for the other at any point. There's a certain level of respect and trust, but they're shown to not socialize and often go months without talking to each other.
The same can be said for Phoenix X Maya and Edgeworth X Franziska, as in both pairings, the characters involved act like brother and sister (Franziska even refers to Edgeworth as her brother) and have no romantic feelings for each other, but some fans ship them together anyway.
Parodied by Maya's cousin Pearl, who ships Phoenix and Maya, treats anything that Phoenix does for Maya as a great symbol of his love for her (despite that he would do the same for most people he knows) and gets mad at any girl (or at Phoenix himself) that gets any attention from Phoenix.
Shippers are notorious for seeing romance in everything any character does, but this is especially so in the case of Organization XIII, ignoring the whole "no hearts" thing that forms the entire basis of the Organization's motivation. Even Roxas clearly has no idea about romance in his interactions with Axel in 358/2 Days, and Axel's obsessive and questionable behavior toward him later actually drives him and Roxas apart rather than give them any shot at being together.
Sora/Riku shippers are similar. Some have even claimed that the inside artwork of an audio CD released only in Japan featuring Sora and Riku standing on a heart meant they loved each other, completely ignoring that the heart is Kingdom Hearts' symbol and shows up everywhere (and that the game uses the heart to represents one's emotions and soul than romantic love). They also keep on bringing up the reunion scene where Sora expressed more emotion at seeing Riku than Kairi, as if this one scene alone somehow outweighs all of the less-than-subtle Ship Tease Sora and Kairi have received. Not to mention that Riku's clearly interested in Kairi.
A mild example of this cropped up with Birth by Sleep, where Terra/Aqua shippers insist that the scene where Terra, Aqua, and Ven reunite in Radiant Garden is proof that Ven regards Terra and Aqua as his parents and ships them together. Never mind that when Ven says "Parents" he is notably irritable over being seen as just a little kid, and ignore how Terra and Aqua, when confronted with the notion of them as Ven's parents, they casually laugh it off. Furthermore, this is only in the Japanese version; in the English dub they're simply referred to as "grown ups".
Team Fortress 2 - To the point where there is a large section of the fanbase that doesn't even play the game, preferring to spend all their energy on pairing the characters together in every way possible. Although most of pairing supporters don't actually bother to use examples from official material, hence the lack of Ship-to-Ship Combat, the trope still applies in full force for the more fanatical contingencies of the Sniper/Spy fanbase, who do insist that things such as the Sniper-Spy dual update and "Meet the Spy" are "evidence" of its being canon.
Similarly, most Touhou shippers don't bother trying to use in-game evidence, but this trope appears occasionally despite the series' No Hugging, No Kissing status. Probably the most frequent example is how Marisa and Reimu are depicted to have accumulated massive harems because they befriend people at an astounding rate.
An in-universe example happens in Namco × Capcom where Reiji points out plenty of times that Saya is the one who killed his father. Yet the other girls in the party (Hsien-Ko/Lei-Lei, Felicia, Sakura, and Momo) insist that they were into some sort of relationship.
Many players of BioShock Infinite interpreted the relationship between the main characters Booker and Elizabeth as being that of a love story, even though that, beyond having some Relationship Writing Fumble (probably due to the many changes the story went through during development), there weren't any explicit romantic moments between the two (although they do become close).
Homestuck. The fandom is pretty nuts about shipping, and as there are very few actual canon relationships a bit of extrapolation is necessary for really every ship possible. It absolutely does not help that the author himself has posted fanart of Bro/Mom and Col. Sassacre/Lil' Cal.
The Rose/Kanaya ship in particular was treated by shippers as something obviously and indisputably canonical even before its confirmation.
Parodied in this flash, where Karkat, after reading a letter filled with Innocent Innuendo, imagines this between Rose/Kanaya and Dave/Terezi.
John/Karkat is one of the most popular ships in the fandom, and one of the most divisive. In canon, Karkat has displayed a crush on John, but seemingly got over it, whereas John has had overwhelming evidence that he's completely straight note Briefly, there's his direct statement that he wasn't a homosexual, his pretty blatant Ship Tease with Vriska (and Rose), and his alternate universe counterpart having married and fathered a child. Talking about it openly in a strongly positive or strongly negative manner is good Flame Bait.
Karkat/Nepeta shippers went crazy when the two where simply shown STANDING together in the [S]Roxy: Sleepwalk flash. Also when Karkat only specifically requested to see Nepeta (fifty fucking Nepetas, to embark on a journey though black despair known only as Nepeta Quest) during his rant about not getting to see more of his dead friends, here.
Gunnerkrigg Court. Shippers of Annie/Kat can and will interpret every glance and gesture as evidence to them being a couple, or will be in the future. It doesn't hurt that Tom does sprinkle deliberate Ship Tease here and there, so it's difficult to know whether or not the latest thing to overanalyse has some truth behind it.
Tower of God. Pretty much any interaction between Baam and another female character at all, ever, will be seen as evidence of a ship. Of particular note is Baam / Yihwa (whose interaction consists mostly of her expressing distrust for him and him saying he has no interest in her at all.)
Avatar: The Last Airbender is known for its devoted shippers, but elements of "Zutarian" (Zuko/Katara) fans are downright infamous - or, in pro-Zutara communities, encouraged - for their use of Shipping Goggles, to often unbelievable levels. Including but not limited to: claiming Zutara is proved by Oma and Shu wearing blue and red robes respectively in the storytelling scene of "The Cave of Two Lovers" (ignoring that they're wearing blue and orange); scenes in a season three trailer that show Katara backing away from Aang's attempt to kiss her and another right after where she hugs Zuko, despite that they're wearing different outfits in different settings at different times of day; the colors of the red and blue dragons that each try to tempt Zuko during a fever dream (they're supposed to be his uncle and his sister); and taking the creepy, sarcastic line where Zuko tells Katara he'll save her from the pirates in "The Waterbending Scroll" completely seriously.
There was a pro-Zutara documentary series on Youtube whose videos were over three hours long combined; the documentary analyzed every single scene from the series featuring either character, plus every scene featuring either character's canon love interest. These scenes were then broken down to "prove" that Zutara was objectively correct, and seemed to imply that shipping Zutara was the show's main purpose. Some of the claims in the documentaries are quite astounding; for instance, there is a brief (lasts less than half a second) scene in which Zuko leans back and rests a hand on Katara's back in order to prevent her from slipping from the back of the giant shrew-creature that they're riding. The only reason she's there in the first place is because Zuko tied her up and threw her over the animal's back, but apparently this tiny act of "concern" was tantamount to true love and that the animators wouldn't have bothered putting it in unless it meant something.
Teen Titans: The fandom has a tendency to indulge in this trope, almost always with any possible combination of the Five-Man Band. Raven/Beast Boy, being the most popular Fan-Preferred Couple, receive this even greater than the others; it helps that they are lovers in the comics.
The Kim Possible fandom has the incredibly popular Kim/Shego ship, which was born entirely out of this trope.
Rowdyruff Boys/PPG, for which the Internet Backdraft reached such astronomical heights that Craig McCracken himself regretted ever introducing the RRB. The bizarre thing was that unlike the other examples on this page, there was NOTHING to cling to. The Boys were repulsive, violent, and stupid, they hated cute girls, they spend nearly the entire episode mindlessly fighting, and when the girls showed them affection, it made them explode. Ultimately, Him brought them back and they had a few episodes...where they kept on doing pretty much the same things they did in their debut before eventually just kinda fading out.
Professor Utonium/Miss Keane. On the face of it, this was never all that plausible: He was a shy intellectual who had trouble understanding women, she was a dedicated public servant with a bossy streak, and neither had much of a social life. But since the show didn't have much in the way of admirable adult role models, it was probably inevitable that the fandom would demand they give a shot at a relationship. Which they eventually did. Said "relationship" consisted of several weeks of gooey baby talk over the PPG hotline, during which the PPG's home became a total mess and they couldn't respond to any emergencies, and it ended when Utonium learned that Keane had a cat. Seriously.
Pairings within the mane six alone are enough to stir fan discussion for days. Any episode that focuses on the relationship between a particular pair ("Fall Weather Friends" for Applejack/Rainbow Dash, "Look Before You Sleep" for Applejack/Rarity, "Griffon the Brush Off" for Rainbow Dash/Pinkie Pie, "Green Isn't Your Color" for Rarity/Fluttershy, "Hurricane Fluttershy" for Rainbow Dash/Fluttershy, et cetera) is used as evidence of romance for that pair, as is pretty much every interaction they have otherwise, despite the show almost exclusively focusing on friendship, not romance.
One of the most bizarre and amazing examples on this page is Bon Bon and Lyra, two Recurring Extras often placed next to each other due to their complementing colours, who somehow became one of themost popular pairings in the fandom; indeed, pairing them with anypony else is almost considered Heresy. Even the show's staff themselves acknowledged this phenomenon, placing them together in the official Comic Con poster and giving them Funny Background Events in "Secrets of My Excess" and "Putting Your Hoof Down".
Nonromantic relationships are prevalent as well - a purplish-grey unicorn filly appearing the background was designated as Derpy Hooves' daughter solely on account of their similar colors. Note that quite a few families do not have a color theme.
South Park fandom has this in spades concerning Stan and Kyle. The show makes it pretty clear that they are Heterosexual Life-Partners and only consider one another as close as brothers, but the close friendship has led to a lot of romantic shipping. In later seasons, episodes like "Guitar Queer-O" plays like a breakup/makeup movie, and lines like Stan's drunken "But Kyle, I love you" only serve to reinforce the Shipping Goggles.
The episode "What Was Missing" caused an explosion in the number of people who ship Bubblegum and Marceline, interpreting their interactions as a former couple who had a nasty break-up, an opinion that only got stronger after "Sky Witch". Ultimately, it hasn't been revealed what their past relationship (if any) was, nor the story behind Bubblegum's animosity or Marceline's song, but support for the pairing has been strong ever since.
For the first three seasons, Finn/Bubblegum and Finn/Marceline shippers frequently bent over backwards to try and justify their chosen favourite pairing, despite the former having no signs of it being reciprocated and the latter having an entire episode devoted to sinking it. However, after the rise in popularity of Bubblegum/Marceline, then Finn's canonical relationship with Flame Princess, the two groups drastically reduced in both their size and their frequency of Goggle usage.
In The Penguins of Madagascar, up until until the montage in "Kaboom And Kabust", the only people who shipped King Julien and Rico were those who had no other pairing, mostly because they had never even talked before. After that though, those Shippers slammed on their goggles and made a big deal of it even though the only thing Rico was attracted to in that montage was blowing things up.
The fans who insist that Ulrich's and Odd's relationship is more Like an Old Married Couple than a best friend relationship, even though Odd is a KidAnova and Ulrich has obvious feelings for Yumi.
Odd trying to flirt with Aelita in the prequel and calling her "Princess" has been seen as a proof the two loved each other. Never mind that Odd flirts with every girl he met (Yumi is the only known exception) and has no problem with Jeremy dating Aelita.
Ben 10 has multiple cases where fans will see any interaction between Ben and Kevin as a proof they are in love, including scenes where they are arguing, despising or trying to kill each other. One of the worst cases is in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, with one of Ben's clones being teamed up with Kevin and suddenly trying to talk in a suspiciously flirtatious way with him; despite being played for laughs, and Kevin creeped out by the situation, fans still take this scene seriously and classify it as a Ship Tease.
Terry/Max shippers in Batman Beyond fandom sometimes claim that the two are pining for each other or in denial about their romantic feelings, ignoring the time the two were on a date (as part of a case) and Terry even noticed how good-looking Max was, only for Max to completely ignore his notice and nothing else coming of it. When Terry gives Max a chaste peck on the cheek in the comic, shippers cried Ship Tease, ignoring how neither character treated it as at all romantic.
This happens with some fans that ship Warden and Mistress, going as far as to declare it canon (or that it should be) and that it's the primary Fan-Preferred Couple. Even though Mistress is shown to barely tolerate Warden at best, and outright loathed the idea of having slept with him. The primary reasoning for shipping them is that they're both wardens, look similar, and are arch-enemies (although the Warden himself points out that they barely get to see each other). An Imagine Spot by Jared with the two married provided fuel, although the idea of the pairing was sunk in the same episode, which crushed some fans' hopes while others still insisted that they'd have to be together.
Fans of Warden/Jared were fueled by a scene in "Dream Machine" in which Jared imagines himself as a tall, strong man and the Warden as his diminutive and put-upon assistant. The two proceed to make out. This has lead to shippers debating over whether Jared has a repressed crush on the Warden or if it's some part of a power fantasy, although the Warden himself seemed disgusted by the entire idea (making it a one-sided pairing at best).
The Twins provide the shipping goggles simply by existing and being together in most of their scenes. While their dynamic is more clearly that of brothers in the later seasons, some lines and jokes involving the two seem to play with their flamboyant attitude and closeness and have sparked debates over whether there's actual Twincest implied, or if the crew was simply baiting with the jokes or didn't think much of them. "The Budding of the Warbuxx" (in which one became spontaneously impregnated and the other acted like a worried father) added to the fuel, although its disturbing ending sort of overruled any romantic implications.