Strangled by the Red String

Liu Kang: My heart belongs to another.
The Nostalgia Critic: Your heart belongs to another? Who? Kitana? That chick you've known for less than an hour? How does she own your heart? True, you just met this other woman, but give her a few minutes and you'll have known her just as long.
The Nostalgia Critic reviewing Mortal Kombat: Annihilationnote 

Deus ex Machina as the flop of a Romance Arc. "Smooch Ex Machina", if you will.

Not every Romance Arc gets the luxury of being played out fully to the last detail. Sometimes the writers just don't care, or they decide that the important part is getting those two characters in a relationship, and the rest will somehow sort itself out. The result is that the two characters go through a leap of characterization all the way to a Relationship Upgrade without any of the usual in-betweens; apparently Cupid forgot to tie the Red String of Fate on the lovers' pinkies at birth, and in a desperate attempt to save face he ended up garroting them with it in a back alley while he thought the audience wasn't paying attention.

Possibly the two characters have had little to no interaction prior to their sudden onset of romantic involvement; or they had, and even plenty, but it was never romantic in nature, and seems to have spontaneously transformed into such without any apparent reason. In more borderline cases, this can happen even when the two characters have shown interest in each other, in some form or another; it's the placement, pacing and timing that are off. An audience tends to know the kind of emotional process a person goes through when entering a romantic relationship, and will not be happy past a certain line of too little of this process and too much conveniently dramatic payoff.

Remember, Tropes Are Tools: By itself a relationship that doesn't get painstakingly detailed development is not automatically bad, and like any other plot development, there are cases where it just needs to be done with and make place for more important things. Sadly, the case is often the opposite - the romance is the important thing, and, in spite of that, the author just didn't figure the "how it comes to happen" part was very important. The subsequent lack of "volume" in the Romance Arc, in turn, begs for compensation: having characters fall for each other out of nowhere can make any romance come across as a Token Romance, and hence what often happens is that the writers start firing every possible drama cannon so as to impress upon the viewers that this is important and they should care. The characters don't merely start dating nor just fall in Love at First Sight; they are thrown into a state of immense amorous passion, starry eyed, Intertwined Fingers, kissing passionately, and promising each other an eternity of happiness simply Because Destiny Says So.

Characters may be derailed, and competing love interests particularly so; Narmy moments and Relationship Sue transformations may become a frequent sighting; chemistry and interaction is prone to be reduced to the Sickeningly Sweethearts sort, if there was any to begin with. In more degenerate cases, the relationship may undergo a malignant mutation into a Romantic Plot Tumor, taking the focus off the more important aspects of the story. Cue one part of the audience sighing happily, since those two were obviously made for each other, and it's about time. Cue the other part of the audience scratching their heads in bewilderment and disdain, since this "development" just asked for too much Willing Suspension of Disbelief and feels suspiciously like the writers just pulled it straight out of their hindquarters. Arguments may break out regarding how well-foreshadowed and well-handled the whole thing was.

A Last Minute Hookup can result in this trope, or serve as damage control. The potential problems are all still there, but at least they're not going to grow out of control throughout the rest of the plot since there's no rest of the plot left. Still, this can make unexpected sequels rather awkward, even assuming that the audience can stomach the original strangulation. If the work is an adaption, it may be an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole. The couple may have evolved over time at the original work, and the adaption may rush things into the romance, because it's one of the key aspects of the original work and has to be included, no matter what.

May be caused by The Dulcinea Effect. For when the build-up takes place before the series, see New Old Flame. When this happens to minor characters and is less noticeable, it's a case of Pair the Spares. Can crop up when the writers want to quickly counteract Ho Yay, Incest Subtext, or a Relationship Writing Fumble. Often results in an Audience Reaction version of I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me or What Does She See in Him?. Compare Ships That Pass in the Night for fanon couples like this. Compare and contrast Designated Love Interest.

Note: While some of the examples are universally agreed upon, this trope can get very subjective due to Ship-to-Ship Combat, Shipping Goggles, or plain disagreements. Keep a few points in mind when editing;
  1. Refrain from using this trope to whine about a pairing that you personally don't like.
  2. If you add an example, be sure to explain why you feel the couple fits this trope. Make sure it fulfills both requirements; it fits the description of ways development can be "off" and leads to at least one of the consequences listed above.
  3. If you feel a certain pairing is badly handled, that doesn't mean it's this trope. If the pairing took a long time to build up and execute, it does not belong here, no matter how badly written the actual romance is. That's more likely a Romantic Plot Tumor.
  4. Most importantly, a couple falling into this trope does not automatically mean they are a bad couple, so there is no need to go ballistic and start an Edit War if you see your favorite couple on here. A couple can fall under this trope and still be a very great couple, just like a Deus ex Machina does not automatically make a plot twist a bad one.

Warning: Potential Spoilers Abound


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Aya and Toya from Ayashi no Ceres. From the first moment they meet it's obvious that they would be the Official Couple (others wish that weren't the case), but the whole thing happens too fast and very awkwardly. Basically, they've had at least five minutes of interaction in different scenarios until Toya takes Aya to his apartment where she suddenly declares that she loves him. Slightly justified by the fact that he's an evolved life form made out of a divine energy ball and was basically wired to serve and protect his family, hence the instant love for application of this instinct. His dad being an old hermit didn't help his relationship skills.
  • Kagura and Zessica from Aquarion EVOL. Both spent all the story chasing after their respective love interest, and never had any single interaction in the entire show. Come the final episode, both of them get rejected (in Kagura's case is more of a Character Derailment to make him give up Mikono) and suddenly they are interested in each other. It all looked very forced, starting with Kagura suddenly saying he thinks Mikono and Amata make a lovely couple, when one episode ago he was fighting Amata over her and screaming about never giving her up to anyone. It was obvious they did this to get them out of the Official Couple's way, but for it to make sense you'd have to forget everything about Kagura and Zessica's whole character and everything that happened before.
    • Mikono and Amata count too. The entire show is about how their pure love magically solves everything away, but their relationship looks anything but romantic. Mikono spends most of the show being indecisive whether she wants Kagura or Amata, without ever giving a thought about how her indecisiveness causes Amata pain and makes Kagura all the more dangerous. She is also much kinder and understanding to Kagura than with Amata himself too, who has to apologize to Mikono over her jealousy streaks and constantly has to spy on her to know what she thinks, because she refuses to explain him why is she defending the person that is trying to kill him. This is all more jarring when you take in account Zessica, who does worry over Amata's well being and spends the entire show trying to catch his attention, all in vain. In the end, it feels Amata and Mikono are a couple by the writers' demand, and not because they have any real relationship going on.
  • At the very end of Boku no Futatsu no Tsubasa the long series of romantic arcs end with Mako and Hiromi ending up together which had never been hinted at all and Hiromi is the very reason Mako comes back to Earth — instead of going down the cousin/sister relationship route that had been developing since the start.
  • Ohgi and Villetta of Code Geass, hoo boy. The former falls in love with the latter even though she is a Britannian spy under amnesia. Even after she tries to kill him after regaining her memories, all it takes for their relationship to continue is Ohgi shielding Villetta from kunais thrown by Sayoko. Not to mention that Villetta was spying on Lelouch, keeping him from going back into the rebellion full-stop for the sake of her being a Baroness, and Ohgi later takes her spotty evidence on him regarding Geass to heart in betraying him. It's not so much about it being an unbelievable romance plot as it is a serious case of Character Derailment for Ohgi, who has let his love for Villetta go to his head, and trust the latter, who isn't the most reliable source of information, over Lelouch, who while questionable himself, has still done more good than bad for the Black Knights, and never even gets the chance to explain himself.
  • The relationship between Johnny Burnett and Eida Rosso in Dancougar Nova comes out of nowhere, feels rushed and never serves much of a purpose.
  • Digimon Adventure 02:
  • Junta and Ami in DNA2 can come off as this. They are childhood friends and while Ami is quite obviously carrying a torch for Junta, he is unaware of this and simply sees her as a childhood friend. Majority of the story revolved around a romance blossoming between Junta and Karin. It was first thought to simply be an enforced romance because Karin thought she accidently shot Junta with a DMC bullet she had specifically created that would cause the one she hit with it to fall in love with her and she told Junta that, but it's eventually revealed that she did not use that bullet and their feelings are genuine. But a case of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy, Karin being from the future and making this a case of Star-Crossed Lovers and But Now I Must Go, she shoots Junta with a final DMC bullet that removes his memories of her and she returns to her proper time.
    • There were also other potential girls Junta could've ended up with, but those were taken care of rather hastily on the side. Tomoko who had dumped her jerky boyfriend Ryuuji decides to forgive him for his actions and takes him back and Kotomi is shoved onto a bus to Germany for a scholarship. This left the final decision being between Ami and Karin.
  • Any pairings in Dragon Ball and its continuities (especially Bulma/Vegeta, though many feel Gohan/Videl averts it, since the two take a while to develop their feelings). The characters marry and have kids during the series's frequent time skips with little on-screen development. To the author's credit, the reason for the lack of development is because he thought he was terrible at romance.
  • Depending on who you ask, this is what happened to Suzume and Mamura in Hirunaka No Ryuusei.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, Shinn and Lunamaria who up to then had been Just Friends get together right after he has apparently killed her previous love interest and her little sister. It can be argued that Lunamaria was suffering of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and neither she nor Shinn were thinking straight, but... even their fans dislike how they hooked up. Making this somewhat more prickly is the Word of God statement from director Mitsuo Fukuda that their relationship was the only pure one in the whole series, which fans of the other couples took as a giant middle finger. Since Kenichi Suzumura and Maaya Sakamoto (Shinn and Lunamaria's VAs, respectively) got married in real life in 2011, this became both Hilarious and Heartwarming In Hindsight.
  • The original Mobile Suit Gundam has Amuro Ray and Lalah Sune, who despite being on opposite sides of a war, instantly fall in love the first time they meet. It's justified in-universe by their Psychic Powers causing them to mindlink and thus know each other better than they know anybody else, but that doesn't make the relationship anymore real to the audience or give us a reason to care about them.
  • This is especially prevalent with Asemu Asuno and Romary Stone in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: After joining the military, they very rarely interact on-screen and neither of them seem to get past the point of "I like you but what are words" for the whole series, plus Romary has feelings for both him and Zeheart. To resolve this, there is a flashback to one conversation between them in episode 28 and then the generation ends with the wedding. It does not help either, though, that Asemu and Romary's relationship was already more of a default given than anything else right from the beginning: Their son in the Third Generation, Kio, had been leaked to have Romary's hair color even before the entire series has started airing in the first place.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam:
    • Newtype romance ended up becoming a staple of the franchise, with one of the most blatant examples being Kamille Bidan and Four Murasame. They spend about twenty minutes in each other's company and suddenly can't live without each other, despite being opposite sides, and Four at least was initially characterised as a borderline psychopath and only got Hidden Depths later (whereas Lalah at least was a Nice Girl). Many fans like the relationship despite this, not least for the Character Development it forces onto the previously unlikeable Kamille.
    • Amuro and Beltorchika are making out for the third time an episode after meeting, though this is somewhat justified in that Amuro was trying to unconsciously use Beltochika as an "excuse" to not go into space and relive the utter trauma he was into. In Amuro's next appearance he is already with Chan, another girl he barely talks to - apparently, because of Executive Meddling that didn't let the creators use Beltochika's character as Amuro's CCA girlfriend.
  • The second-to-last chapter of Naruto seems to imply that Ax-Crazy Rival Turned Evil Sasuke has finally seen the error of his ways, and will try to make amends for the horrible ways he treated his former teammate Sakura, who has gone through hell on account of her irrationally persistent love for him. The Distant Finale reveals that Sasuke and Sakura ended up married and had a daughter together. This might make dry, logical sense given the time scale, but from the viewers' perspective, one moment Sasuke was trying to kill Sakura, showing utter indifference for her well-being and openly rejecting her (even invoking What Does She See in Him? on himself), and the next moment he was married to her. Back in the beginning of the series they did have some romantic interaction, but by the later parts Sasuke had become so hostile to Sakura that this sudden turn to marriage and offspring was completely unpredictable and impossible to understand unless you were wearing Shipping Goggles. This is especially jarring when contrasted with the other Official Couple - Naruto and Hinata. Despite the similar theme of "girl likes boy, no luck there" and Naruto being Oblivious to Love, the two had always been exceedingly sympathetic to each other, were growing rather close by the later chapters (Holding Hands, Held Gazes, Everyone Can See It teases, etc...) and had an author-mandated entire movie dedicated to explain how Naruto eventually fell in love with Hinata too.
  • Adette and Gouly from Overman King Gainer are both leaders of their respective squads but do not talk much and never have a romantic moment until the final two episodes. Adette kisses Gouly to awaken him from being Brainwashed and Crazy and the next episode sees her holding him and flirting with him. The only setup is the fact that Adette loves strong men, and Gouly is a badass ninja. Apparently, the Banpresto developers did not like the handling of the Adette/Gouly pairing; in Super Robot Wars K, this ship is unceremoniously sunk when Adette gets back with her previous love interest after the Overdevil's defeat.
  • Ranma ½: Apparently the demand for Ryoga to get a happy ending led to the creation of Akari Unryu, who is so perfect for Ryoga, and shows up few times in her subsequent appearances. Mousse got some major attempts at redeeming his character, which can actually come off as rather jarring due to spending the early series trying to kill Ranma, and once boasted along the lines that he would gladly break any rules and forsake any honor to get Shampoo, though Shampoo never changed her opinion of him - while she did occasionally show him some "soft" moments, she spent most of the series outright abusing him and on one occasion was perfectly willing to go and play video games while abandoning him to what she believed would be certain death at the hands of a life-sapping demon. Ukyo got an (attempted) and very literal Last Minute Hookup in the form of an effeminate transvestite ninja master, Konatsu, who appeared less than Akari did.
  • Junji Ito wrote a short story called Red String in which this trope is played out literally and, and since it's Junji Ito, with a nice dose of body horror.
  • Tails and Cosmo's relationship in season three of Sonic X. There's really no reason why Tails fell for Cosmo so suddenly, or why Cosmo was paired up with Tails instead of any of the other (and older) males on the Blue Typhoon. And this pairing was strangled together even in-universe. In one particular episode, the Chaotix try several methods to pair the two together. They do this, uh......BECAUSE!
  • The manga version of Sorcerer Hunters does this with the Carrot/Tira pairing. While it's made clear how Tira feels about Carrot, Carrot's own feelings are rarely brought into question, and even the few moments where he does seem to notice her as more than a sister figure seem to fall short of convincing anyone this hook-up happened for any other reason other than that they were destined all along.
  • Thanks to the Time Skip, pretty much any canon couple in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann save for Simon/Nia and Kamina/Yoko.
  • Urusei Yatsura:
    • A case where this might actually be the happy ending; initially Shinobu, the Tsundere with Super Strength, seems to be the Unlucky Childhood Friend, though she legitimately falls out of love with Ataru Moroboshi due to recognizing that he is an apparently irredeemable Loveable Sex Maniac. Her next choice of crushes? Handsome Lech and Royal Brat Shuutaro Mendo, who's not only just as bad as Ataru in terms of lustfulness, but is also chasing after Cute Monster Girl Lum. Meanwhile, she's being pursued by the gonkiest character in the series, a hulking, repulsive moron who repeatedly tries to ambush her. Finally, she earns the attention of Inaba, a shy and clumsy, but sweet, innocent and genuinely romantic character, whom she grows quite fond of. And then he only shows up in about one story.
    • Ryuunosuke has a similar case happen to her at the end of the manga. Towards the end she gets betrothed by her father to Nagisa, the cross-dressing son of her father's friend. Nagisa however, only appears in two two-part storylines in the manga, and an OVA, and the big manga finale.
  • Takanashi and Inami of WORKING!!. On a series that works on Status Quo Is God, Takanashi goes from not liking being with Inami but having his nice moments with her, to blindly loving her more than anyone else in the world with zero explanation, despite Inami being the exact opposite of his tastes and, well, punching him on the face when he gets close. And no, him liking her doesn't make her stop punching him.
  • Yusei and Aki in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds. There are maybe seven or eight episodes in a 154-episode series where they have any significant interaction, and Aki spends the first four of those episodes trying to murder Yusei. Immediately after the last of those four episodes, at which point they've shared less than an hour of real time, she immediately falls in love with him and the majority of her dialogue becomes Say My Name. Even after that, Yusei has more interaction with Kiryu over the course of Crashtown's six episodes than with Aki over the entire series.
  • More or less parodied in YuYu Hakusho, where Kuwabara sees Yukina on a video tape once and decides that she is his soul mate and even provides a visual of the Red String of Fate. When he finally meets her and treats her almost like this, she seems more confused than anything and just goes along with it. Toward the end of the series, though, the relationship does seem to be on a more serious note.
  • Sorta alluded to in Zettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian, where Himeko feels that Chikane's utterly intense devotion and love for her is too rushed. Granted, this happened twice before, it shouldn't be surprising.

    Comic Books 
  • Nine Chickweed Lane: Gran/Edna's flashback arc ends with a subversion: She chooses to stay with Bill (whom she hadn't seen in over a decade and only days earlier thought was dead), rather than Peter Kiesl, whom she was days away from marrying at that point. This is portrayed as a massive mistake by all parties, Edna for choosing to honor a promise made a decade ago rather than stay with her true love, Peter for letting said love go without a fight (then spending half a century pining for her), and Bill for accepting her choice - even after they find out she's pregnant with Peter's child - rather than send her back to the man she truly loved.
  • Fantastic Four: Torch and Crystal barely even speak three sentences to each other before declaring themselves lovers-for-life, and the Torch spends the next several arcs pining over Crystal. Still, Johnny was awfully young in those days, but it's not as if he and Crystal stayed together for very long after they were reunited. Subverted in Ultimate Fantastic Four, where he quotes the 'Lovers-for-life' verbatim... then shrugs and admits "I just thought we might get a good thing going." Sue proceeds to voice what pretty much everyone is thinking with "For God's sake Johnny, you've known her for an hour!"
  • Elizabeth and Anthony in For Better or for Worse. It was bad enough that Elizabeth dumped two other boyfriends that she had better chemistry with for Anthony. It was worse that Anthony was still married when they got together for good. It was even worse when Anthony's ex-wife was villainized as a horrible woman for daring to avert Stay in the Kitchen and suspecting that Anthony was cheating on her (Even though he was, and even though he promised he'd be a House Husband when he convinced Therese to get pregnant, then went back on his word.) What probably puts it in this trope the most is how everyone talked up this pairing, from Elizabeth's parents to their mutual friends to the author, with the only person with reservations being The Unfavorite of Elizabeth's family. And don't even mention the "going after" if you want to avoid a Flame War.
  • Subverted in the Infinite Crisis storyline "One Year Later". It had Diana suddenly involved in a relationship with Nemesis (Tom Tresser), a new co-worker and long-time minor DC character. Many fans felt this new hookup was rushed at best, especially since Tom was considerably more boorish than in previous appearances. Eventually, in Wonder Woman #32, It's revealed that Diana never had romantic feelings towards Tom at all; she was just exploiting his feelings towards her to get him to father her daughters and replenish the Amazon population. So, instead of her loving a jerk, she's a borderline sexual predator taking advantage of his feelings! What an impro-wait, what?
  • In an oddly well done example, Mockingbird and Hawkeye, who got married literally a fortnight after meeting. The two realized they had chemistry after knowing each other for about a day (during which the spent most of bickering, though in an old married couple kind of way), and decided to get married as soon as possible. However, since they do have great chemistry, have similar personalities, and fighting styles which compliment the other, they work well together despite the questionable introduction and, while they're currently broken up and have had several falling outs and breakups, they remain one of Marvel's most popular pairs. Still, Captain America telling Clint that getting married to a girl he just met is the most responsible thing he ever did makes for a narmy moment.
  • Runaways:
    • Karolina Dean and Xavin. The entire basis for their relationship was that she was a lonely, depressed teenage lesbian, and he was able to become female, and also, they had an Arranged Marriage that had to be consummated or else three different worlds would be destroyed, the result of Karolina's evil parents' machinations. That Karolina had a history of suicidal tendencies gave their relationship some Unfortunate Implications that Brian K Vaughn apparently had no interest in averting (instead of softening Xavin over time, he made him more boorish, arrogant, and masculine, and even had him point-blank refuse to assume a feminine form unless he and Karolina were alone, which of course meant that we never saw it). Even Joss Whedon seemed to struggle to make their relationship look good before finally just making Xavin female. Later on, Terry Moore put Xavin on a bus.
    • Victor Mancha completely falling for a girl named Lillie the very same day he met her, even going so far to start having wet dreams about her, and cheating on his current girlfriend Nico the very next day. The fact that Nico herself pushed Victor to cheat on her and later justified it as they having discovered "true love" was way too much to swallow. Especially considering that original creator, Brian K. Vaughan, took a long time to develop Victor and Nico's relationship, from a mistake to a real bond of love, before leaving. What's worse, the girl doesn't even stay with him in the end, so the thing just ended up looking like a messy plan to break up Victor and Nico. Makes you wonder if Josh Whedon hated poor Victor or something.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Antoine and Bunnie Rabbot were thrown together in one story with almost no build-up beyond the same issue they got together revealing that Antoine had once saved Bunnie's life. Thankfully, the relationship was well handled after that point, and it was easier to accept than most examples because neither of them had any romantic chemistry with other characters.
    • Worse off is the Echidna race - according to Word of God, echidnas have what is called "the Soultouch" - a Sixth Sense that also acts as a literal Red String for them and that once they've found their soul mate, they pretty much stay together, although there are some exceptions. This is why Knuckles and Julie-Su hooked up only after 24 issues and why he hasn't been broken up with her.
  • Following the much-loathed Spider-Man comic One More Day, (an event which nullified Peter Parker's 20-year marriage to Mary Jane) editor in chief of Marvel Joe Quesada's first order of business was to establish a new Love Interest for Peter, who just happened to be named after Quesada's own daughter. Despite how much the readers hated Carlie, Quesada was so hellbent on setting her up to be Spidey's true love that even Mary Jane herself was supporting her on Quesada's behalf.
    • It happens again in the prelude to the Spider-Verse event, when Spider-Man starts a relationship with newcomer Silk. Thing is, their relationship only happens because of a pheromone that makes them crazy for one another. That means Spider-Man is being strangled, and Silk is the one pulling on the red string.
  • Tim Drake (Robin III) and Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl II) from Teen Titans. Given the fact that they had a very platonic interaction before the hookup, that Wonder Girl was the girlfriend of Robin's dead best friend Superboy, and the reason they kissed in the first place was due to mutual mourning of said person... yeah, it was definitely a trainwreck. Fans of both Wonder Girl and Robin sighed a collective breath of relief when the pairing ended.
  • X-Men:
    • Colossus' instant infatuation with Zsaji in Secret Wars counts — despite his long-established relationship with Kitty Pryde, he falls head over heels for the alien after she heals his injuries. Possibly justified by Be Careful What You Wish For, as some theorize that Zsaji was the Battleworld granting Colossus' wish for "the perfect girlfriend". It was also implied that Zsaji's healing powers also created some degree of emotional bond between her and the recipient. In Real Life, the reason for the instant romance was Executive MeddlingJim Shooter, who wrote the story, was becoming increasingly concerned and alarmed at Chris Claremont's romantic pairing of Colossus, who was 19-20 at the time, and Kitty Pryde, who was 14, especially after scenes where Kitty had offered herself out of despair sexually to Colossus (he refused) and where the two shared a kiss. He took the opportunity of Secret Wars to completely and (he thought) irrevocably sink the Kitty/Colossus ship. It would not be raised until decades later, and both characters were of legal age.
    • Scott dating Emma Frost. What's really bad is the excuse given for why they're dating so soon after Jean's death is "not" a rebound relationship (Grant Morrison had them have an adulterous psychic affair before Jean's death, but realistically that was Emma - his supposed therapist - unethically taking advantage of him when he was vulnerable). As proof it was contrived, there is this Bad Future that Jean needed to avert. Going back in time, like every other such future, somehow wasn't an option. Instead the only options were: 1. Scott and Emma didn't get together, the X-Men would fall apart and things go all to holy hell. 2. Jean brainwashes her husband into forgetting his feelings for Jean and giving in to his attraction to Emma.
    • Black Panther and Storm's marriage resulted from Reginald Hudlin's hamfisted railroading of the relationship from casual acquaintance to Wedding Of Perfect Couple as soon as possible, and were made out as some kind of First Couple of Black Superheroes. Subsequent writers were not subtle about their distaste for the pairing, and found any possible reason to have Storm go on missions with the X-Men or for T'Challa to have solo adventures. After the events of the X-Men vs Avengers, where the two fought, their marriage has been annulled.
    • Bobby Drake/Iceman and Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat. As of the seventh issue of the Wolverine and the X-Men comic, Bobby and Kitty have shared two kisses, despite how they've spent years as distant acquaintances at best. They had a decent relationship arc in the Ultimate Marvel universe, and writers have been known to mix the two up before. It comes completely out of nowhere in the main Marvel Universe. However, this, too, was crashed into the ground, this time by the events of Battle of the Atom after Kitty gets fed up with Wolverine's Holier Than Thou attitude and, after chewing out Iceman for not trying to stand up for himself and leaning towards Wolverine's way of thinking, breaks it off and goes to join Cyclops' team.

  • The Gossip Girl story "An Affair to Remember". It follows follows Nate and Jenny's storyline from season, but rather than develop it for a season like the show did, Nate is suddenly in love with Jenny to the point where Jenny is confused by it.
  • Happens in the Inheritance Cycle fanfic From the darkest of Shadow, a Light is born between the main protagonist and Elva. They go from just meeting each other for the first time in 11 years in one chapter, to attending a party together in the next, before then diving full into a relationship in the same chapter as the party. The relationship equally quickly took a turn for the worse with a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, quickly followed by the male protagonist. The use of a Time Skip means there's 9 years of Innocent Cohabitation between the first reunion and the time when the relationship became romantic, and 12 years between the start of the relationship and the lovers' spat.
  • In Knowledge is Power Harry and Hermione have a soul bond that comes with dire consequences for anyone who messes with it, but aside from that we're not shown why they're so good for each other.
  • Link and Jenna's relationship in My Inner Life. Indeed the first words out of Link in the entire story are him calling Jenna beautiful and he asks her out on a date immediately after. Aside from some sex and a few mentions of being sad about Jenna having to leave there is absolutely nothing else between the two between their first date and Link proposing to her. Though the story frequently harps on how perfect the pair are for each other, there's pretty much no actual examples of why they are.
  • Lightning Dawn and Starla Shine from My Little Unicorn, who fall in love immediately for no reason besides that the main character needs a love interest. Ditto for Rhymey and Fluttershy, and The Grand Ruler and Princess Celestia.
  • Pretty much all the couples in The Prayer Warriors. Perhaps the most notable is Jerry and Mary, who are introduced as a couple like this. ("We are not dating, in case you Satanic scum think there is something Satanic going on. We are dating, but...") Worse, the author apparently forgets who's paired with whom from time to time. For example, late in Battle with the Witches, Draco and Ebonynote  get married and consummate their relationship, but by the end, three chapters later, Draco is abruptly married to Hermione.
  • In this Sherlock Holmes and The Sentinel crossover, Holmes is a Sentinel, a type of human with superior strength and enhanced senses that needs to "bond" with an empathic Guide, such as Watson, to survive for any extended length of time, or else the sensory overload will drive him mad. While most of the time, a bonded pair knows each other for a while before they actually bond, there are instances where spontaneous bonds occur, such as theirs.

    Film - Animated 
  • This is the case with earlier Disney Animated Canon movies, particularly ones like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. It can be chalked up to Disney trying to keep to the source material, which in those cases were mostly fairy tales meant to teach morality and not build a believable love story. Later movies fix this, by giving the couples more interaction and personalities beyond "She's the girl of my dreams!"
    • Simba and Nala from The Lion King. As cubs they don't really show any romantic interest in each other and are rather disgusted by their Arranged Marriage. When they find each other again as adults they goof around for a little bit, Nala licks Simba, and they fall in love within a matter of a few minutes.
  • In the rather forgettable The Invincible Iron Man the romance between Tony and Li Mei suffers from this. Tony and Li Mei are supposed to be madly in love in spite of the fact they never have an actual conversation or ever really have any time together.
  • Strange Magic: While the romance Marianne and the Bog King happens in a course of a few hours, there's at least an attempt to explain how that happens. The really bad case of this is Dawn, who is broken out of the effects of a Love Potion when she has a Love Epiphany that she loves Sunny, even though she's showed no interest in him at all the entire film except as a friend.
  • Done painfully in both Titanic: The Legend Goes On and The Legend of the Titanic. The former involves the hero and heroine deciding they were made for each other... after sharing about three sentences. It becomes hilarious when we're shown flashbacks to their meetings... one of which was accidentally bumping into each other. The latter plays this even worse, as the heroine's love interest realizes they are meant to be after sniffing her glove.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Peter and Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man start off not knowing each other personally and yet hook up in the second scene of extended interaction together, and stay a smooth couple for the rest of the movie. This is fixed in the sequel, though, and thank goodness, as otherwise the inevitable result of their relationship wouldn't have been as effective.
  • Back to the Future Part III discusses this in regards to Doc and Clara's relationship. After going back to 1885, Marty shows Doc a picture of his future tombstone, which contains a mention of "his beloved Clara", though Doc doesn't know who she is, even though he's supposed to be killed in three days. After finding out who Clara is and that he's supposed to be meeting her Doc and Marty discuss it; Marty believes it's possible, but Doc, being a man of science, refuses.
    Marty: Well, Doc, now we know who Clara is.
    Doc: Marty. It's impossible. The idea that I could fall in Love at First Sight? It's romantic nonsense. There's no scientific rationale to that.
    Marty: (laughing) C'mon, Doc, it's not science. You meet the right girl, it just hits ya; it's like lightning.
  • Adam Sandler movies are very fond of this trope. For example, Billy Madison, where Veronica quite clearly finds Billy to be both obnoxious and a burden on her as a teacher. But then, during a field trip, she has a random Mood Dissonance and is madly in love with him for the rest of the movie. All it took was Billy faking his own pants incident to rescue another student from being shamed by his classmates. Nevermind that, just a few scenes back, Billy himself shamed another classmate by mocking him for struggling with a reading assignment.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) has this between Dracula and Mina. Despite how they don't know each other at all and Mina was engaged with the main character Jonathan, Mina continued to pine over Dracula, continued to calling Dracula "My Prince" even after she got married and seemed to try to foil the heroes' plan to destroy him at times. Hypnotize the Princess is pretty much implied to be involved, since Dracula had already started biting her, and thus could easily have her under his spell. On Dracula's end, this is because Mina happened to look like Dracula's old love who committed suicide. Or is it that Mina was a reincarnation of said love?. Which wouldn't make sense since the reason that Dracula became the Dracula is because he renounced God at the thought that his beloved will go to hell for committing suicide. But then the ending showed that Dracula and his old love went to heaven. ARRRGHHH!!!!
  • Closer kinda does this a lot, because it was mainly concerned with the drama of meetings and breakups rather than the bits in between. The viewer is informed that years have passed, but you don't really know what happened. It gets jarring.
  • Enchanted The Pair the Spares is worse than other examples because it's a Broken Aesop. After mocking Love At First Sight for the whole movie, Nancy runs off with Edward to the animated world the same night that she meets him. It seems that true love does come as fast as fairy tales suggest it does, after all — if you live in a Disney movie. It's more understandabale if you see a deleted scene that paints Nancy as a jaded romantist whose given up on meeting Prince Charming but it's still jarring. Notice that the live action Giselle and Robert appears to spend weeks or even months together building their relationship and her career, while animated Nancy and Edward are getting married before her cell phone has completely run out of charge.
  • The Harry Potter films, mainly due to their being Compressed Adaptations, definitely lean towards the asphyxiatory side of things in regards to Harry and Ginny. The two barely interact, sharing the screen for about seven minutes combined in the last three movies. In the fifth book, Ginny being able to speak to Harry was a big deal; in the fifth movie, Bonnie Wright barely has any lines. Whenever they are on screen together, they barely talk, instead just sharing a kiss and an awkward look before Harry rushes off to do something and Ginny sits down to be irrelevant to the plot.
  • In the film adaptation of I Am Number Four, it's explained that the alien race works like this, with your first love being for life. Number Four falls in love with Sarah within two days and apparently permanently.There's a long scene of overly-flowery declarations of love delivered in a manner that would make Padme and Anakin cringe.
  • On top of Immortals ahem, inaccuracies, we have the "relationship" between Theseus and the oracle. Summary? Oracle predicts Theseus's actions. She fawns over him pointlessly. They do it. End.
  • Indochine: Camille falls in love with a French Navy officer right after he shot a runaway prisoner right in front of her. No tension or buildup whatsoever.
  • Nearly every James Bond film has Bond and the Bond Girl barely interact before they become a couple, and even in the cases where they do get some interaction (for example Pussy Galore and Wai Lin) none of it is romantic, with the only real exception being On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In the novels this makes much more sense, as Bond is a philanderer and pretty misogynistic on top of it, rarely feeling much for the women he has sex with; the problem is that the films keep trying to present meaningless flings as genuine romances.
  • In the 2003 Australian film Japanese Story Sandy goes from hating Hiromitsu to sleeping with him in the next scene with absolutely no explanation whatsoever. Soon after, he dies because of a diving accident and the rest of the movie is about Sandy being in deep mourning over a one-night stand.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King (the theater release, anyway) has this between Faramir and Éowyn. It's elaborated on in the book, but in the unextended movie version it's all rather sudden...
  • The Matrix films do this with Neo and Trinity. They know each other for a few days and barely interact. When they do interact, they talk about kung-fu and machines. Then at the very end of the first movie, she spontaneously declares her love for Neo despite no build-up, other than a Deus ex Machina, earlier in the movie about the Oracle's prediction.
  • Brian and Judith in Monty Python's Life of Brian. Brian finds her attractive, and Judith is upset when he is captured by the Romans, but not in a way that implies that she sees him as something more than a fellow rebel. Then they meet in the desert, and the next shot is them waking up in bed together.
  • Oscar and Theodora in Oz: The Great and Powerful. A major part of the movie's plot revolves around her falling in love with him, and then turning evil after she thinks he's betrayed her. But this falls short when you realize that Oscar and Theodora have only known each other for a day or two before he leaves the Emerald City and they don't see each other again until after her Face-Heel Turn. Despite this, she's already talking about how she'll be his queen and they'll rule Oz together, and completely breaks down when she thinks he's cheating on her. It's also not entirely clear how far their relationship went to begin with and whether they actually slept together or not, which can make Theodora come off as a Clingy Jealous Girl or a Stalker with a Crush.
  • Parodied in the ending of The Pirate Movie, when Mabel arbitrarily grabs Pirates and Daughters and throws them together, with even the last two male pirates getting stuck together with suitably shocked expressions.
  • In the film adaptation of Prince Caspian, Caspian and Susan become a couple. For five minutes at the end of the movie because he rescued her once from some soldiers. Suddenly at the end the two are snogging in front of a crowd, only for their relationship to end five seconds later after Susan and her siblings return through the portal to England, meaning she and Caspian will never see each other again. Thus, there was no reason to include their romance in the first place because it was doomed to end anyway.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Dastan and Tamina have the whole movie to slowly bond with each other, get into playful arguments and display plenty of Belligerent Sexual Tension. This seems to be one of the good things as their chemistry and the build up feels natural... But their First Kiss comes at the worst possible time. Right after violently dispatching the Big Bad's dragon.
  • Slumdog Millionaire: Jamal is in love with Latika and literally risks his life to find her because... they were friends as kids? Granted, they went through some very rough stuff together, but it's entirely possible for two kids to go through a bad time and not fall in love. The presence of the trope is only confirmed by the movie's explanation for their ending up together: "It is written". They're together because they HAVE TO BE, OK?
  • Speed: Jack (Keanu Reeves) and Annie (Sandra Bullock). After knowing each other for all of a few hours, they're making out and about to have sex in a wrecked subway car in the middle of a street with a crowd of people watching. Justified and Truth in Television; people bond over traumatic experiences quickly. Amusingly enough, thanks to Keanu Reeves refusing to do the sequel it turns out they really didn't last long. They both lampshade this.
    Jack: I have to warn you, I've heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.
    Annie: OK. We'll have to base it on sex then.
  • In 2009's Star Trek the romance between Spock and Uhura has no development prior to the reveal following the destruction of Vulcan. Spock, being Vulcan, has MAJOR issues with emotional expression as a part of his character that are never addressed.
  • Star Wars: In the prequel trilogy the audience already knows from the original trilogy that Anakin and Padme are supposed to end up together to have Luke and Leia. Apparently George Lucas thought this was enough and that their relationship didn't actually need to be convincing. Without the original trilogy, they fall headfirst into this trope.
    • In The Phantom Menace, the two do interact on Tatooine, and it's made clear that Anakin is attracted to her when he asks if she's an angel, but given that he's nine years old it comes off as a Precocious Crush. After leaving Tattoine the only interaction the two are shown having is a brief scene on Coruscant where they exchange a few lines of dialogue, and he doesn't even know it's her.
    • Immediately upon his introduction in Attack of the Clones, despite having not seen or talked to Padme for the past ten years, he's showing near stalker-esque levels of attraction to her, saying how he's dreamed about her every night for the past ten years and how "just being around her again is intoxicating". Their romance dominates the movie and distracts from the more important war and political aspects due to the completely unnecessary decision for it to be a Forbidden Love story (despite the original trilogy and Episode I making no mention of it being forbidden for Jedi to be in relationships). And Padme does a complete 180 from "We can't be together" to "Let's be together", with the only important conversation they had in the interim being Anakin confessing that he murdered children.
    • In Revenge of the Sith their relationship is confined to the two declaring how much their love each other in the most cringe-worthy ways, and Anakin deciding that Padme is worth turning to The Dark Side, killing Jedi Padawans (the guy just likes killing children), and bringing about the collapse of the Republic and replace it with an oppressive dictatorship. The novelization handles this a lot better, presenting Anakin as obsessive and possessive, his actions less about his feelings towards Padme and more his own desires. As The Distressed Watcher put it;
    His single-minded objective is to prevent his dream from occurring, no matter what the cost. For this weak motivation, he betrays the Jedi, slaughters children, tries to kill his friend and mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, ends democracy so that Palpatine can begin a galactic empire... all of this because of a couple of nightmares. All of this to save someone for whom his love is not even very convincing.
  • In The Terminator, Reese claims to have been in love with Sarah ever since seeing her picture. Sarah is suspicious of him at first, but comes to trust him. Then, thanks to the fast pacing of the movie, they suddenly have sex, followed by them being too busy fighting the Terminator to develop their relationship for the rest of the movie. At the end, Sarah says in a recording she's making for her son that she and Reese "loved a lifetime's worth".
  • In Thor, this seems to be a widely held opinion on the romance between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), which really only serves to give Thor a reason to want to get back to Earth. Some have even labeled it a Romantic Plot Tumor, which is kind of funny considering that the same thing was said about Portman's character in the Star Wars prequels. Kenneth Branagh must have realized this and says in the DVD commentary that their relationship wasn't meant to be true love, but more a mutual crush and respect.
    • Worse in Thor: The Dark World. They've been pining for each other for the two whole years since. Once reunited, this movie proceeds to pretend they were madly in love throughout the last and their Sickeningly Sweethearts interaction is incredibly jarring when they've never been anything like that before. Part of one of The Stingers at the end even starts with Jane looking all miserable again as if two days without him is hell on earth.
  • In-Universe example. This is pretty the point of the movie Timer. Once you meet your soulmate via Timer, you know you're going to end up with them eventually. Even if you love someone else right now, or are fourteen years old.
  • Underworld (2003): There is never any indication that Selene feels any real emotion toward Michael; they don't actually have any sort of conversation with each other about anything apart from vampires and werewolves, and they have known each other for a total of about two days. Word of God says this was the way it was supposed to be; special Features on the DVD reveal that the two characters were not supposed to actually be "in love," but rather attracted to each other based on lust, confused feelings, and being forced together.
  • In The Whole Nine Yards, protagonist Oz meets Cynthia for about five minutes, she later comes to his hotel room, and after spending the evening together sharing stories, Coitus Ensues. The next day Oz flies home, several days later Cynthia arrives, and later that night he's proclaiming he loves her, to her ex-husband no less. The relationship between the ex-husband and Jill is a bit better—those several days between Oz flying home and Cynthia arriving, the two of them also swap stories and he trains her, and she's a fan of his who idolizes him and has followed his work for years. By the end of the film it's just attraction they share, though years later in the sequel they're married.
  • In the Wing Commander series of games, the relationship between Blair and Angel is built up slowly and believably. In the film... it wasn't.
  • In The Wolverine, Logan constantly dreams about Jean Grey and wishes to be with her again yet he shares a few intimate moments with Mariko, who already engaged to another man at the time and only knew him for a few days. The film noir setting could justify this relationship as a form of comfort for Logan.
    • It's worth noting that Wolverine also only knew Jean Grey for a few days at most note  and, more importantly, they weren't actually in a relationship. And that one's played as a romance for the ages.
  • Zardoz has Zed hooking up with Consuella, instead of May, in the end, even having a son with her, despite the fact that she literally spends the entire movie demanding that Zed gets eliminated.

  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin's romance with Lylia ensues quite suddenly. Justified in that she's a Hormone-Addled Teenager, and as he falls in love with all the five eldest brides there would be no time to develop all those relationships in detail. And the narration doesn't claim it's true love, it is just portrayed as a mutual attraction.
  • Dagny and John from Atlas Shrugged. Ms. Rand spends literally hundreds of pages carefully and painstakingly building up the relationship between Dagny and Hank, only to have her casually toss him aside when she meets John, who is her One True Love.
  • At the end of Discworld: Thief of Time, Susan Sto Helit and Lobsang Ludd begin to talk as though they have mutual feelings for each other, and (it's implied) begin a romantic relationship. However, there has been nothing vaguely romantic in their interactions up to that point — which is odd, because there was a blossoming awkward romance between Jeremy and Myria/Unity, and Susan was quite taken with the idea of "someone like her" throughout the book.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In the short story "Love Hurts", Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy (who are good friends) investigate a double murder where the victim and perpetrators had this trope happen due to mind control magic. Later in the story, they also find this happening to themselves.
    • More subtly, the main novels have a brief story arc where Anastasia Luccio falls in love with and starts dating Harry. At the end of "Turn Coat", we find this trope applies to poor Harry's love with that woman, because of a conspiracy to weaken the White Council through mind control so it makes perfect sense. So the Red String had a good an in-universe reason. They break off the relationship simply because fate/magic was part of it, and trying to figure out how much was giving them both headaches and kind of freaking them out.
  • The Ascended Fanfic Fifty Shades of Grey follows the same path as Twilight. Anastasia and Christian barely like each other and can hardly have a civil conversation, yet we're supposed to buy that they can't live without each other.
  • Nearly every romance in Gaunt's Ghosts has no buildup or development whatsoever; the only exception is Caffran/Criid, and their buildup largely consisted of the two almost killing each other. Probably intentional, as it's implied that the characters don't have particularly strong feelings for each other and are just finding comfort where they can because they know they could die soon.
  • The romantic storyline between Karigan and Zachary in Green Rider can come off a bit like this. Most of the first book is made up of Karigan just trying to reach the capital city. They interact a fair bit in the rest of the book and sporadically over the course of the series, but with the exception of maybe one conversation, all their talk is business rather than conversational or personal. Though an attraction between them is understandable (they're both rather impressive), it's easy not to see a 'chemistry' (let alone a relationship) when they only ever talk to each other like business colleagues, and spend far more time thinking about how much they love each other than they do in each others' actual company.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Whether or not the books also did this with the Harry/Ginny pairing is a major point of debate for fans of the series. And that's all that should be said about that.
    • Lupin and Tonks. In Half-Blood Prince, Harry sees Tonks upset several times and thinks it's over Sirius dying, and that maybe she was even in love with him. Then the climax reveals that Tonks is deeply in love with and wants to marry Lupin. They proceed to do so despite having no interaction on camera before this. As the books are primarily written from Harry's perspective, it's somewhat understandable that plenty of major events can happen off-camera simply because Harry can't be present for every single storyline. At the same time, the reader can still feel left out as the key parts of the Romance Arc never actually happen in front of them either.
    • Happens In-Universe in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Ron consumes a love potion from Romilda Vane, who he has never met, that was intended for Harry.
  • In the second Hell's Gate book, two secondary characters are thrown together by their psionic powers the first time they meet. Literally the first words either says to the other are "Oh dear. This is an unexpected complication."
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, there's an In-Universe mechanism for this with lifebonds; magical (or else divinely-caused) compulsions that cause the lifebonded individuals to fall in love and also to share a mental link. These happen where they need to happen, mostly Because Destiny Says So; however, in this universe, destiny is being shepherded by active deities and powerful mages. Lifebonds, thus, either occur to individuals who are mentally fragile and need something to keep them sane, or to people who need to marry because the gods have plans for them. Slightly subverted in that it's discussed at length in-universe that lifebonding is something most people do not want to happen to them; numerous characters shudder at the idea of having so little choice in the matter, instead wanting to either remain single or just fall in love normally. Similarly, some characters become obsessed with the idea of lifebonding, to the point where it's rightfully presented as unhealthy and makes other characters uncomfortable. Lifebonding generally only happens between two people who have a powerful, measurable need to have the unconditional love of another person in order to feel confident in themselves, and the bond is understood in-universe as being rare and special—but also that those people tend to be incredibly broken and that their dramatic self-esteem issues generally lead to an angsty, intense relationship that the vast majority of people are quite fine without, thank you.
  • Hush, Hush:
    • Patch and Nora. Nora is warned by people who care about her to stay away from him, because he's clearly not a good person in any way, shape, or form. Patch stalks Nora, intentionally scares her, sexually harasses her, mind rapes her, and possesses her body note . On top of that, his original plan was to murder her in cold blood, which he flat out tells her — and, when she asks if he's going to do it, he admits that it's "tempting". Nora says, more than once, that she sees absolutely nothing good about Patch. Wait, why does she fall in love with him again?
    • Vee gets this when she hooks up with Rixon in Crescendo. The two are hardly shown together and for all Vee fawns over him as the "perfect" boyfriend, there's precious little on them actually having anything in common. Vee repeatedly states that she thinks that Patch is a jerk and a potential murderer but isn't the least bit concerned about the fact that he introduced her to Rixon (and that Rixon is Patch's best and possibly only friend). Vee seems quite certain that he's a "boyscout", despite that he more or less lives in a very nasty bar and is not exactly shy about dropping crude innuendos towards Nora. That could be chalked up to Vee being a Horrible Judge of Character, except that Nora also thinks that Rixon is "cool" and sees no problem with them dating, even though she knows that Rixon is a fallen angel who possesses a Nephilim for two weeks out of every year for sex (with said Nephilim being conscious for it all). The fact that Patch hooked Rixon up with Vee as a response to suspecting that Rixon was murderous just raises even more eyebrows.
  • Deconstructed in Barbara Hambly's novel The Ladies of Mandrigyn. Fawn, after taking off with Starhawk to try to find Sun Wolf, cuts out to marry Orris Farstep. She makes it clear that it's still Sun Wolf, not Orris, she loves; it's just that she knows that it wouldn't work out with Sun Wolf, while it could with Orris.
  • The Magicians and Mrs Quent — Ivy's marriage to Mr. Quent is a textbook example. The first half of the book is taken up by a Romantic Plot Tumour between Ivy and Mr. Rafferdy, which took time to develop their characters; then, Ivy meets Mr. Quent, hates him, argues with him, and all of a sudden they decide they love each other and get married. Apparently he's "right for her" in a way that Rafferdy never was, for reasons completely lost on the reader.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen is quite bad at this. Characters will be madly in love after having only known each other for a few days, or after only a few brief meetings. It's often played as a shining moment of hope and goodness in an otherwise grimdark setting, but it always happens so suddenly that it just comes off as unbelievable. A pime example of this is Trull Sengar and Seren Pedac. They meet about twice, for a few minutes each time, and then Trull does the Tiste Edur equivalent of proposing to her. She accepts, despite the fact that they know almost nothing about each other and have barely had a conversation between them. Another example happens in Dust of Dreams/The Crippled God: Lostara and Vyrgulf are instantly in love after their first meeting. So in love in fact that Lostara does a Shadow Dance to protect Vyrgulf when his in danger. A damn god even comments about how much in love they are. It's especially jarring since, by their own admissions, they know almost nothing about each other.
  • Maximum Ride started out with just the gentlest of implied romance between the two main characters, focusing mainly on an intricate plot revolving around the mad scientists who created them. Then book four hit, the plot disappeared, and suddenly they were all over each other, all the time. The fandom was thrilled for the most part... except for those who realized that these two characters were, for all intents and purposes, brother and sister...
  • Done quite intentionally in the Night World series. Everyone has a soulmate, and you are meant for each other, no debate. The first book actually gives us two characters who have been friends for a while and been mutually building a relationship, but later books give us characters who deconstruct and reconstruct the idea of soulmates: Ash and Mary-Lynette, for example, act completely out of character around each other... because the feelings are entirely new and spontaneous towards a stranger. They get over it, mostly. And Ash becomes The Atoner so he can deserve her.
  • Beka and Farmer from Provost's Dog. About 400 pages of no romantic hints... and then suddenly she notices what broad shoulders he has. And then they're declaring their love for each other and promising marriage while they're in a jail cell, after being tortured, and at a time when Beka still doesn't know for sure who the group traitor is.
  • Played with in-universe for The Raven Cycle heroine Blue. Growing up in a family full of psychics, she's been told the same prophecy about her true love for years. She gets pretty sick of it to the point that when she does meet the person who's supposedly her true love, she basically says Screw Destiny and decides to pursue the boy she actually likes instead. Not that this works out entirely, but she gets points for trying.
  • Edward and Elinor in Sense and Sensibility. They fall in love because the writer says so early on, so we can focus more on Marianne's relationships with Willoughby and Colonel Brandon. Emma Thompson was particularly proud of developing the relationship more believably in her film adaptation.
  • Zayn second relationship in Katharine Kerr's Snare. The other, presumably main, relationship Zayn had got pages and pages of mutual attraction and affection before they hooked up, spread over several weeks. This one had a bare paragraph explaining (not showing, explaining) that they were now friends. Next thing you know someone suggests that they're in love. Zayn is initially horrified, and is rather surprised at the whole concept of homosexuality. A few days later, yep, confirmed, they're in love.
  • Moon and BZ Guindhalinu in The Snow Queen Series. In The Snow Queen, Moon goes through a lot of travails to find and rescue her childhood sweetheart Sparks. During her journey, she is captured and imprisoned with another man, BZ, who comes to fall in love with her. After they escape, Moon and BZ sleep with each other once, which cements BZ's love for her, but her heart still belongs to Sparks. At book's end, Sparks is rescued and BZ leaves the planet, believing he can never return to his true love ever again. Then, come the sequel The Summer Queen, Moon is shown pining after BZ based on their single moment of sleeping together. The vast majority of the 950-page book is spent showing BZ and Moon pining, reuniting, and forming a romantic relationship that, as far as readers can tell, exists solely because they are good in bed. Other characters over the course of the series fall in love at the drop of a hat because of good looks and/or good sex, but to watch the main characters fall in love without any good rationalization outside of "We once had hot passionate sex 18+ years ago" is infuriating.
  • The Stardoc series has Cherijo and Duncan, Dhreen and Ilona, and Squilyp and Garphawayn; Blade Dancer has Jory and Kol.
  • Sweet Valley High:
    • In spin-off Sweet Valley Confidential, Elizabeth is estranged from her family after discovering that Jessica and Todd were having an affair behind her back. In the original books, what was considered canon varied due to changes between different ghost writers, but generally Jessica found Todd boring and he thought of her as irresponsible and childish. Confidential retconned past events so that Jessica and Todd had been seeing each other secretly ever since college, where they became madly attracted to each other after Jessica agreed to pose as Elizabeth and go as Todd's date to a party. They spend the book trying to reconcile with Elizabeth and regretful at what they've done to her, yet agreeing that their love is so strong it can't be denied. There's no real explanation as to what they see in each other (beyond Jessica thinking while drunk that Todd is better than her many failed past relationships), nor why their bond is supposed to be so strong. By the follow-up series The Sweet Life they are having problems in their marriage and their two-year-old son is torn between them, yet we're again told their love is strong enough to make it through the odds.
    • Also in Sweet Valley Confidential, Steven Wakefield comes out as gay and leaves his wife for Aaron Dallas. Like Jessica and Todd, they fight against the odds for their love and we're told they are soul mates, yet there's no explanation of the relationship, with the book suggesting that they're attracted to each other just because they are the two designated queer characters (going so far as to claim Aaron "became" gay by moving to San Francisco).
  • Ted Dekker does this in all of his later books, and some of his earlier ones. Immanuel's Veins was a vampire romance novel, which was depressing when you compare it to some of his original works like the Circle series and Thr3e. Obsessed was from the very start a man ferociously in love with some girl he had never met or seen. Even in some of his books that give relationships more time to build up, it's less talking about why his main character loves a woman, and more about how intense his love is.
  • Twilight has this both In-Universe with the concept of "imprinting", which means this can be done to werewolves as soon as the plot demands (arguably, all the examples in book 3 were only to prepare the reader for the last one), and out-of-universe with Bella and Edward's relationship. Edward acts surly and moody toward Bella for the first half of the book, and yet Bella decides that she's "unconditionally and irrevocably in love with [Edward]" right after she realizes that he's a vampire who thirsts after her blood, and is completely devoted to him from that point on, even in the face of Edward's own warnings about how he could kill her. Just how devoted is she? She's willing to give up her human life without any second thoughts to be with him forever after what can't be any more than a month of knowing him, and instantly leaps back into his arms after he renders her practically comatose by leaving her without explanation. And her interactions with Edward after the vampire "reveal" consist almost entirely of them repeatedly professing their love to one another and her even more repeatedly being "dazzled" by Edward's glorious beauty.
  • Likewise, in the The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner, with Bree and Diego and, later, Freddie. Bree and Diego interact for one night, she spends most of it afraid that he's going to kill her, and by morning they seemingly are madly in love with each other. The same goes for Freddie. Since it's from Bree's point of view and the "relationships" between her and the guys are so muted, it's possible that we're supposed to see it as her mistaking simple friendship for love (which would fit with her background of being abused and neglected), except that nothing ever indicates this and she acts almost exactly the same way Bella does, including being perfectly alright to die when she finds out he's gone, because life without him isn't worth living.
  • The Thursday Next series does this intentionally: Thursday and Landen get a small subplot of how they get together in the first book but were already basically in love before the series starts without much ado. Jasper Fforde admitted to doing this to get all the romantic stuff out of the way and be able to concentrate on the real story.
  • Warrior Cats
    • Half Moon or Stoneteller and Jayfeather/Jay's Wing. They've only met twice, once in Long Shadows and again in Sign of the Moon, and bam, Jayfeather has feelings for her. It's a bit of a jarring change, especially since it implies a bit of hypocrisy because he was angry at his mother Leafpool, for falling in love as a medicine cat. Watch the Broken Base fandom get up in arms over whether they're a super cute pairing that brought tears to their eyes or whether their love is too cheesy and Half Moon is a Satellite Love Interest, and cue the Jayfeather/Cinderheart, Jayfeather/Willowshine, Jayfeather/Briarlight, Jayfeather/Stick, Jayfeather/Anyone but Half Moon shippers bashing Half-Moon six ways to Sunday.
    • Bluestar and Oakheart have similar problems. They hardly meet at all up until he is suddenly begging Bluestar (then Bluefur) to meet at Fourtrees. Up until this point, Bluestar hated Oakheart for months (though this was clearly intended to be Belligerent Sexual Tension) and had only recently developed a crush on him. They then spend one night together, which ends with Bluestar getting pregnant. And all this is later painted as a great tragic love story.
    • It's a running problem with cross-Clan relationships in Warriors. In addition to the above example, Crowfeather and Leafpool really get this as well. They jump from acquaintances to in love before you could say 'mouse'. Next thing you know, they're running away together, and just like Bluestar and Oakheart they get pregnant from a one-night stand.
  • The Wheel of Time took this trope and beat it to death, with a canonical expression of "weird stuff happens because the plot says so". Probably the most notable example of this trope is Rand's relationship with Elayne. The characters themselves feel pretty manipulated, but hey, prophecy can do that to you! Lan and Nynaeve is also pretty bad. The period during which they fall in love in book one is completely off-page, yet we're supposed to buy that it's strong enough that in the very next book, Nynaeve is shoving thorns through her palms at the thought of not being with him.
  • The vast majority of characters in Xanth, particularly in the latter books, are paired up within days—if not hours—of meeting each other. This manifests in-universe as the land itself being a Genius Loci Shipper on Deck: There's natural love springs that can send any zoological Crack Pairing off to start making some rather interesting hybrids.
  • The 39 Clues—most of the canon pairings introduced from the second series onward involve Love at First Sight (which wouldn't be so problematic if it didn't occur with every single pairing), and readers are supposed to immediately accept that these two characters who just met are madly in love. For example: Ian Kabra and Cara Pierce. Even the Anguished Declaration of Love between Amy and Jake in Day of Doom, after the two have had several books' worth of Unresolved Sexual Tension, seems awkward and forced because the scene is executed poorly, with both characters coming across as overly sappy and out of character, especially since Amy was still in a relationship with Evan Tolliver at the time and is not the type of person who would cheat.

    Live Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • Apollo was in a forced and loveless marriage with Dualla. TWoP even coined a term for it: "The Love That All of a Sudden". There were scenes in several previous episodes that showed them growing closer to each other, all of which ended up being cut. Eventually the writers just said "screw it" and threw them together without any buildup. It also didn't help that they hooked up in the very next episode after Dualla's boyfriend Billy was tragically killed, with the writing not being as clear as it could have been that at least a couple months had passed, making it look like they practically started making out over Billy's corpse.
    • Chief and Cally. After a Time Skip of one year they go from being friends and co-workers to married. The last time they were seen interacting was when Chief smashed Cally's face in after she woke him from a suicidal dream. This one at least had some hints prior to the time skip, as Cally was clearly seen crushing on the Chief on several occassions prior to the beatdown.
  • Kevin and Molly's affair from Coronation Street really seemed like just an excuse to have an affair storyline because they hadn't had one in a while. The attraction suddenly developed when the two of them started going running and after about three weeks they were ready to hop in the sack. Bear in mind Kevin was Happily Married with two kids and Molly was also Happily Married, and a key part of her character was how much she valued trust in a relationship. Also there was about a 15 year age gap between them and it apparently developed into true love so much that when Kevin called off the affair because his wife had Cancer Molly couldn't understand why...
  • Degrassi abuses this to an infuriating amount. Probably the worst example is in the movie Degrassi Takes Manhattan. Fan-favorite couple, Jane and Spinner, end up splitting up. And who does Spinner turn to? Not any of his many exes (all of whom he's turned to comfort before) or even some random one-shot hook up character. The morning after drunken festivities with his pals, he awakes to find himself married to Emma. Yes, that Emma; the one who spoke to him a grand total of one time before the movie, and that one time was her telling him off at the very, very beginning of the show when Spinner bullied Innocent!Manny. Instead of getting the marriage annulled, they say 'what the hell?' and see if the romance roulette will actually work. To say the least, it was a Base Breaker.
  • Dexter:
    • The fourth season's opening episode features a brand-new relationship between Lt. LaGuerta and Sgt. Batista, which apparently developed entirely in the gap between seasons, despite no previous chemistry other than a standard-for-the-precinct friendship. Batista was even involved in an entirely different (and more developed) relationship as of the last episode of the previous season which vanished without a trace sometime in the meanwhile. Overstated drama immediately ensues over everything from policies against office romances necessitating secrecy to overblown arguments over shared bank accounts and Batista fighting in bars to defend LaGuerta's honor. Meanwhile, neither the show's primary nor secondary storyline is even remotely affected by any of this, and the rest of the cast largely ignores it. It just takes a lot of screen time in Seasons 4 and 5. Then in Season 6 they are suddenly divorced.
    • Season 7 had Dexter and Hannah McKay. They have little chemistry and hook up very suddenly, and pretty much the only thing they have in common is they're both serial killers. It's obviously meant to set up an emotional moment when Deb is forced to arrest Hannah; after all, she was "the only person who'd ever accepted Dexter"...except that the writers apparently forgot about Lila West and Lumen Pierce, both of whom had been perfectly willing to accept Dexter's killing, the latter even helping him out in the exact same way that Hannah did. The whole thing just felt rather forced. It's back in full swing in Season 8. Hannah shows up again out of nowhere, and she and Dexter are back together within two episodes. Even Dr. Vogel, an expert on psychology and human behavior, can't stop gushing about how utterly perfect they are for each other.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Invasion of Time": companion Leela decides to stay on Gallifrey and marry the guard Andred. There's been nothing romantic between them. While the actors tried to suggest attraction in the story with their acting, the script didn't give them much to work with. It was basically, Doctor: "Come on, Leela, let's go." Leela: "No, I'm going to stay here and marry Andred." Doctor: "Okay, bye." This happened because the actress told the producer she was leaving at the end of the season, and he kept trying to change her mind. The Big Finish audio drama series Gallifrey ends up subverting this relationship in a fairly satisfying way.
    • The posthumous pairing of Peri with King Yrcanos at the end of "Trial of a Time Lord". Apparently, Colin Baker was distressed by Peri's death at the end of the "Mindwarp" portion of the Trial story arc and mentioned this to producer John Nathan-Turner. JNT, in his usual subtle way, fixed the problem by giving the Inquisitor a quick line stating that Peri is living happily with Yrcanos as a warrior queen, despite how nothing in the story, apart from the brief clip of his putting his hand on her shoulder that is shown after that line, supports that romance, and doing a Retcon of it makes a hash of the entire end of the story.
    • Susan, Vicki, and Jo are three other female companions who were wrote out of the show by perfunctorily marrying them off, though while the relationships had very rapid development they weren't as completely out-of-nowhere as the two above.
    • Vicki and Troilus. As soon as Vicki is gratuitously renamed "Cressida" by Agamemnon simply because he doesn't like her real name, it should be quite clear to the viewers where this is going.
    • Martha Jones and Mickey Smith, two characters who before "Journey's End" had never even met, and had only been onscreen together in the scene where everybody from the new series ever flies the TARDIS, are shown in their "happy ending" vignette in The End of Time as a married couple, freelancers and fighting a Sontaran. This is despite the fact that Martha had been shown to be engaged in a previous appearance (though her fiance never showed up). It ends up looking like a bad case of Pair the Spares, and an even worse case of the Token Minority Couple.
    • In their early days, River and Eleven fell into this trope for some fans due to the main gimmick of their relationship being that they meet in the wrong order and therefore one tends to gain affection as the other loses it. Post-"The Wedding of River Song" they seem to be on the same wavelength, alleviating this aspect of their relationship.
  • In Ellen, Paige and Spence, who at first hated each other, become passionate lovers after the course of season three.
  • Friends:
    • The infamous Joey and Rachel romance. Season 8 has Joey developing feelings for Rachel, which was kind of unbelievable but, thanks to Matt's acting skill, pretty emotive. Rachel gently turned him down and the incident was barely mentioned again until Season 9 when Joey got a new girlfriend and all of a sudden, Rachel gets a crush on Joey! They hooked up in the finale, stayed together for maybe 3 episodes...and then broke up because, they uh, couldn't do it 'sexually'. What? Made worse as Rachel had exactly the same problem with Ross in S2 but made it through and the writers always planned to get Ross and Rachel together in the end, making the whole thing a Shaggy Dog Story. About the only thing it achieved was making Rachel look unnecessarily shallow and fickle.
    • In season six, Ross dates one of his students, after she calls him the "hottie of the paleontology department" in her student evaluation. The show never really explains what he sees in her or why he should date her. In fact, the show gives us a very legitimate reason for why he shouldn't date her (it's illegal for university faculty to become romantically involved with students).
  • Robb and Talisa in Game of Thrones. The show's Four Lines, All Waiting structure meant there wasn't nearly enough time to develop a proper romance between them, yet we're still supposed to accept that after just a few conversations, Robb is so in love that he's willing to risk his entire war campaign falling apart to marry her. It doesn't help that in the source material, the equivalent of this relationship was indeed very shallow and portrayed as not nearly worth the problems it caused.
  • Glee:
    • Tina and Mike Chang, who never interacted in S1 (Mike only spoke one line), and were basically put together for Asian jokes. Since then they have at least gotten some relationship development, although much of it was offscreen.
    • Mercedes and Sam. Enforced as Sam's actor temporarily left the series due to contract disputes right after Mercedes and Sam got together. When he returned, the writers treated their relationship like some tragic love story. Because it had next to no development, it was hard for most viewers to buy into that and get invested in the relationship.
    • Brittany and Artie started off this way.
    • One that carries some Unfortunate Implications: Sam was originally created to be a love interest for Kurt, but was changed to be straight when Ryan Murphy apparently noticed chemistry between him and Quinn so strong that it just couldn't be denied (and which many fans have been quick to point out doesn't seem to come across onscreen). To his credit, he did also create another character as a love interest for Kurt afterwards.
    • While the show had teased Kurt and Blaine for a while after Blaine's introduction "Never Been Kissed," after the mid-season break the show seemed to be heading in the exact opposite direction, trying to convince the viewers that the two were Better as Friends by having Blaine fall for other people and turn down Kurt's advances while excelling in a mentor-like role. However, in "Original Song," Kurt's rendition of "Blackbird" causes Blaine to suddenly reverse his feelings and he and Kurt are sucking face just a few minutes later.
  • Hannah Montana: Lilly and Oliver have been friends since kindergarten. They've seen the best and worst of each other, the best and worst of times, and have been there for each other through all of it. Let's not forget that they have numerous common interests. Do the writers use any of these perfectly legitimate story elements as a basis for their Relationship Upgrade? Please, this is the Disney Channel! Instead, we get some contrived story about how her head fit into his neck and how she smelled like apples. And they go from being good friends to all PDA all the time. Even Miley gets sick of the Romantic Plot Tumor, and its especially odd since the writers seemed to be slowly setting Oliver up with Miley in prior episodes, including one in the same season.
  • Heroes had Matt Parkman and Daphne in Volume 3, because Matt saw a future vision of himself married to her, and started going after her Because Destiny Says So. She even asked what they had in common. Despite this, people prefer Daphne to Janice, Matt's wife/exwife/wife. Them getting back together is kind of an example because she reveals the baby is his and despite her cheating on him with his best friend, he immediately forgives her.
  • Popular Home and Away pairing Aden and Belle was considered random by a number of fans. Having never interacted prior to the 2008 season, they started working together and established a relationship based purely on insults, which half the audience interpreted as "secretly wanting to rip each other's clothes off" and the other half interpreted as "genuinely not liking each other" until one episode when she insults him, he looks like he's going to cry and her best friend declares that he likes her. A few weeks later, when the closest they've come to a meaningful conversation is her sitting silent while he chats to his surrogate father, he drunkenly climbs through her bedroom window and gets into bed with her, which apparently means they're now a couple.
  • Foreman and Thirteen on House, who went from "awkward conversations in the locker room" to "awkward kiss in a conference room" to "willing to commit career suicide for this person" in the span of about two weeks. Which is lampshaded by Thirteen herself at one point.
  • House of Anubis:
    • Fabian and Mara. For most of the show, they had only about four lines of dialogue together, and then suddenly started showing signs of romance in the last minute of the season 3 finale. In The Touchstone Of Ra, they suddenly ended up kissing. While it's very true that they are very much alike, it's still very jarring, and has only helped fuel Mara's Scrappy status.
    • Alfie and Willow fit this to a lesser extent. On one episode, out of nowhere, Alfie decided he had feelings for Willow. However, this does not make the pairing bad, as many fans have become attached to this pairing for their relatively drama-free attitude (which is rare for this show), their similarities, and their funny scenes together.
    • Alfie has this with Piper, which makes sense because Piper was only on the show for three episodes. It's downplayed, in that he had originally believed she was Patricia, her twin, who he knew for years, and they had a few scenes together that showed them growing closer, which makes their short lived relationship more believable.
  • How I Met Your Mother had this with Ted and Robin getting together in the final episode. While they were the Official Couple for most of the show, the previous season had made a whole plotline out of Ted letting go of Robin and accepting that they just weren't meant to be together, opening up room for him to meet The Mother. Who was then killed off, and Robin and Barney got divorced, then Ted and Robin got together, despite it being established that Robin at that point had not spoken to the group for years due to just not fitting in anymore, presumably including Ted.
  • iCarly does this with Sam and Freddie for their brief hook up in season 4. Regardless of whether you are a Seddie or Creddie shipper, and while Sam and Freddie's fighting could be (and definitely was by their shippers) interpreted as Belligerent Sexual Tension, the actual hook up comes off like this. Rather than a convincing Slap-Slap-Kiss, as most BST couples get, all the audience gets is Freddie using his very strange mood app (which receives no explanation) to read Sam's mood, which reveals it as "in love", which Freddie thinks applies to Brad, and when he confronts Sam about it, she suddenly kisses him.
  • LOST:
    • Sayid with Shannon, which made him forget the love of his life (which almost borders this trope, since they were childhood friends, but reconnected during the month she was a prisoner of the army he was serving). Doesn't last much, and in the series finale, he hooks up with Shannon again in the afterlife, establishing her instead of Nadia as the love of his life and his soulmate. What.
    • Sawyer and Juliet hooked up in season five while they barely even spoke to each other for the previous two seasons. However, it works: the show skips ahead in time and use their relationship as a surprisingly effective reveal.
  • Merlin:
    • Arthur/Guinevere, one that has led to something of a Broken Base among the fandom. Neither Arthur nor Guinevere interacted very much in season one, although the scenes that they did share had a strong emotional punch to them (Arthur comforts Gwen after her father's death, Gwen tends Arthur on his sick-bed, etc), but come the second episode of season two, Arthur stays at Gwen's house for a short period of time and impulsively kisses her when the time comes to leave. From this point, there are several rather overwrought declarations ("I care about her more than anyone!" and "Anyone who spends five minutes with you can see how you feel about each other!") that don't feel particularly earned, as well as violins, slow-motion, and dramatic back-lighting whenever they're together (and at least one True Love's Kiss). Things improved a bit in the third season when Arthur/Gwen were given more of a chance to flirt and have actual conversations.
    • Merlin/Freya, a Rescue Romance that begins with Merlin saving Freya from a Bounty Hunter, suddenly having the young warlock willing to give up his entire life in Camelot to run away with a girl he’s had exactly three short conversations with. The only reason he doesn’t go through with it is because Freya didn’t survive the episode.
  • In The Originals Hayley and Elijah interacted once before he's daggared and she's reading his journals and missing him badly, and Elijah has barely been back for one scene before he's chasing after her like a lost puppy.
  • Robin Hood:
    • Much falls instantly in love with Kate, because...well, the writers never got that far. She treats him like crap, but he never stops mooning over her and eventually goes so far as to (temporarily) abandon the outlaws when he realizes that she has a crush on Robin.
    • And what about Robin going from “my-true-love-died-in-my-arms-and-I-will-never-love-again” to “Wow, okay, Isabella’s hot, I’ll just go…romp in the bushes with her” thing in season 3? Maybe there was some Evil Is Sexy sexual tension, but romance? This makes Robin look like an unfaithful jerk after the huge balloon of suicidal angst that was the season opener. There was no explanation as to why Robin suddenly abandoned his angst over his true love for this woman who, incidentally, is the sister of his archnemesis and possibly trying to kill him.
  • A straight example in the final season of Sabrina the Teenage Witch that ultimately evolves into a Deconstruction. Sabrina falls for Aaron in his debut episode so much that she uses magic to find out what his flaws are. They hook up at the end of the episode and for the rest of the season simply act as a couple that's been together for years, rather than developing slowly. It's never explained why Sabrina literally makes room for him in her heart. However cracks start to appear as Sabrina initially thinks his proposal is a trick caused by the Monster of the Week and accepts reluctantly. The rest of her actions during their engagement come across as straight-up denial more than anything else. Finally when her wedding day comes, she gets cold feet and dithers between that and denial. She and Aaron ultimately agree to call off the wedding.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager:
    • Ben and Amy. They had an ok relationship for the first few episodes (if you ignore that a. Ben only originally asked her out because he was hoping to get some sexual experience before going after the real object of his affections, Grace and b. Amy wasn't upfront either, since she didn't tell him she was pregnant). For the most part, they were believable as two earnest, awkward teens in their first relationship. Then Ben proposed to Amy after they'd been dating a few weeks, upon discovering she was pregnant with Ricky's baby. Now the audience was supposed to accept that Amy and Ben had a deep and true love to last their whole lives and they and the other characters wouldn't shut up about how right they were for each other.
    • In season four, Ben got a new love interest named Dylan and this happened again. They were inseparable almost instantly, which included Dylan showing up unexpectedly at Ben's house and school within the first week or so of their relationship.
  • Smallville's one example that's almost-universally agreed upon is the Clana (Clark and Lana) ship, which was arguably kept on way past the point of its usefulness to the plot, interfered with other plotlines that fans wanted to see, and seemed to slow down Clark's growth.
  • Stargate Atlantis does throw in a few moments that make it clear Keller and McKay are interested in each other, but they go from eating lunch together once (while he was in the infirmary) to him professing his love when he thinks he's going to die. A couple of episodes later, with no intermediate interaction, she says she loves him, too.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation S7 Ep 11 "Parallels", Worf is sent multiverse-hopping, and he briefly winds up in a world where he and Troi are very Happily Married. While he had never considered this before he decided to give it a try when he got back. This was the starting point of the writers developing a bizarre obsession with hooking them up despite the two never having any kind of romantic chemistry before, as well as Troi having a long standing Will They or Won't They? with Riker. Jonathan Frakes (Riker) and Marina Sirtis (Troi) apparently disliked the idea as well, and were quite happy to have their characters get married in their last film. Michael Dorn (Worf), on the other hand, refused to forget it, and, when given a line about how Riker and Troi's feelings for each other had never gone away, subtexted it like mad. Then Worf went aboard DS9, fell for Jadzia Dax, and acted as if he never even liked Deanna.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Nerys and Shakaar. Nerys even Lampshades how sudden the beginning of the relationship was while talking to Odo, solely to make the audience feel sorry for Odo because he just realized he's in love with Nerys.
    • Considering the above, it's funny how Worf and Jadzia have no romantic chemistry and no common interests besides the Dax symbiont's experiences with the Klingons.
  • Star Trek: Voyager has Seven of Nine/Chakotay. After three and a half seasons of them having only a professional relationship and almost no interaction outside of business, Seven suddenly develops an unrequited attraction to Chakotay in the second half of the final season. In the finale the two have become romantically involved, with Chakotay having fallen completely head over heels for her in the span of... well, the theme song. Particularly sloppy in that in between the episode in which Seven explores romantic interactions with a holodeck-Chakotay and the finale was an episode in which the two of them are trapped together on an alien world. The actors specifically asked if there would be any follow-up to the holodeck romance that they should incorporate into their performances and were given a firm "No" in response.
  • Super Sentai:
    • At the end of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger after he returns from what was assumed by the rest of the cast to be a suicide mission, Daigo (Kyoryu Red) gets together with Amy (Kyoryu Pink). The problem with this is that both characters were depicted as Chaste Heroes who had no real relationship chemistry and no romantic interactions prior to their pairing up. The aftereffects of this little twist was foreseeable, not only because it came out of left field, but also because there were two other characters who actually did have romantic character development with Daigo. Of course, considering many fans' opinion on him, this doesn't seem so surprising.
    • In the same series, it's a running gag that Souji Rippukan never notices that Rin, his kendo team manager, has a huge crush on him (despite his friends' efforts to set him up with her.) The sequel movie 100 Years After retcons events so that Souji had begun dating Rin by the end of the TV series; but he still shows little interest in her and even completely forgets a date they had planned. However, it's revealed that they married shortly afterwards and were deeply in love until Rin died some time before Souji (who lives to be 116 years old.) There is no explanation for the sudden change in Souji's feelings.
    • A third example from Kyoryuger: in episode 41, Nossan is thrown with Candelira during an arranged marriage interview (where she was posing as a human to harvest emotion from lovelorn men) and they almost instantly fall in love, which is used to spur her into a Heel-Face Turn and leaving Deboss. This is made out to be very important to the plot and their characters, yet the only foreshadowing was a single line of dialogue in an early episode when Candelira said that she could fall for him if they weren't enemies.
    • In Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger, Emiri and Yukito are suddenly in a relationship at the end of the last episode, with no prior romantic interaction between them. When they return for a team-up with the following year's series Emiri is completely devoted to Yukito and has begun to dress and talk differently to fit in with his upper-class background, becoming very unlike the carefree schoolgirl she was during the show. They reappear for a guest appearance in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger where they are now married and Emiri is working as Yukito's secretary, but still completely in love with him and with no explanation as to how they got together in the first place or the change in Emiri's character.
    • A similar example to the above is Sen and Umeko in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. They have a close friendship, but no romantic interaction until episode 41 when Sen suddenly becomes jealous at Umeko getting engaged to another man. He proves that her boyfriend is an evil Alienizer, and Umeko suddenly realizes Sen has been the guy for her all along. Because it was close to the end of the show, there was no further time to focus on their relationship, so it doesn't really come up again until the crossover with Mahou Sentai Magiranger where other characters can't stop gushing about how perfect Sen and Umeko are for each other and how they are obviously in love. However, almost none of their relationship is ever shown to the audience to make this believable.
  • This happens In-Universe in Supernatural: The Angels (with the help of Cupid) arranged for Mary and John to meet and fall in love, even though they didn't get along at first, because they needed Sam and Dean to be born.
  • That '70s Show played this for laughs with Jackie and Hyde's hookup in Season 5. The two initially don't like each other at all, and it was only through their common friends that they're even in the same vicinity. They become better friends in Season 2 after he shows her how to deal with Laurie stealing Kelso from her. In Season 3, she becomes attracted to him and develops a clingy infatuation with him, which he's annoyed by, but he eventually caves and takes her out on a date. The two share a kiss, but Jackie says it didn't do anything for her and finally realizes Hyde isn't the guy for her. At this point they seem to have effectively been sunk, and it's not brought up again until the Season 5 premier, when the others leave the room, and the two suddenly start making out and continue to do so. In the next episode, a flashback reveals they were watching TV and complaining about how bored they were, when they look at each other for a few seconds and spontaneously started making out. Yet, their relationship comes off as much more believable due because they give off a ton of chemistry together and by the fact that they initially spend a lot of time lampshading how strange it is.
    • Sadly, the show also plays very straight in Season 8, with not one, not two, but three pairings.
    • The first is Hyde and Sam. In the last episodes of the previous season, Jackie and Hyde had encountered issues with their relationship resulting in Hyde taking a trip to Las Vegas to clear his head. In the first episode of Season 8, he returns, and his and Jackie's great relationship is completely tossed out the window when Sam shows up completely out of the blue and reveals that Hyde got drunk and married her. Jackie spends a total of one episode afterward angsting over this before moving on, and while Sam isn't a bad character, she and Hyde have absolutely no chemistry together.
    • The second is caused by the first; Jackie and Fez. While Fez had a crush on Jackie since the start of the show, Jackie had never returned his feelings, not to mention Fez is a total horndog who was willing to nail Anything That Moves. She had even continuously ruled him out. She did kiss him once and go out on a date with him, but after each of those events she had straight up said it was impossible for anything to happen between them. Then after losing Hyde and getting over him, she makes up a list of qualities she needs in a man, and Fez miraculously turns out to fit it perfectly, and they end up a couple.
    • The third is Donna and Randy. Eric and Kelso are Put on a Bus for the final season, and both are given a Suspiciously Similar Substitute in the form of Randy. While Eric is in Africa for the final season, there's never any major indication that Eric and Donna's relationship is having issues. (The best the writers could come up with is Eric not talking to her on the phone.) Then, out of the blue again, Donna reveals that off-screen Eric broke up with her. After a Will They or Won't They? tease, she ends up dating Randy. Making this worse is that Donna was clearly attracted to Randy before Eric's break-up. This one gets an Author's Saving Throw twice over, however - most likely once it was known the show wouldn't be coming back for a ninth season. The two ultimately break-up rather quickly. Later, Eric returns in the finale, where he admits he's not sure why they broke up in the first place. It's left up to viewers to decide if Eric and Donna get back together officially, which unsurprisingly, many prefer.
  • Torchwood:
    • Ianto accuses Captain Jack of being a monster for killing Ianto's Cyberman-girlfriend (long story) but starts shagging him a few episodes later with no significant on-screen development. Mellows somewhat in Season 3 when the two have more frequent conversations and develop a more emotional relationship.
    • Owen going bananas over Diane after knowing her for all of a week.
    • The overly romantic light that Jack and his relationship with the real Jack Harkness was painted in, given they only know each other for a couple of hours.
    • A curious case with Tosh and Tommy: Tommy has been in suspended animation since the First World War, but is let out for a day once a year to ensure that all is well. This means that he and Tosh have known each other for years, in a way, but in another way, they've known each other for about a week.
  • True Blood:
    • Eric and Sookie. When she and Bill split, it's been set up for the viewer to expect this, but doing it by completely changing Eric's personality due to memory loss?
    • Sookie and Bill. The two of them never talk about anything except about how much they are in love with one another or what's currently going on in the plot. In the books Sookie flat-out ADMITS that their love is shallow and that she got into a relationship with him because A.) she couldn't read his thoughts and B.) has never actually been in a relationship with him before. She even breaks up with him far earlier than TV Sookie and barely angsts about it at all; the love is SUPPOSED to be shallow but the people making the TV show didn't know that. Later episodes also point out that, for most, drinking a vampire's blood makes you addicted, and if drunk "from the tap" you're also addicted to the vampire. Given that Sookie only starts properly falling for Eric after having his blood (since vampire blood speeds human healing), it's speculated in-universe and out that that's the REAL reason he's on her mind.
  • Veronica and Piz on Veronica Mars, which was a particularly egregious offense because the cancellation of the show left them together after. God bless Word of God; "It was always Logan and Veronica."
  • Warehouse 13's six episode final season, after several seasons avoiding the cliche, lazily shoehorned in a romantic subplot for Platonic Life Partners Myka and Pete.
  • Zoey 101:
    • Logan and Quinn are an example that proves this trope does not make a couple bad. The two have little interaction for the first 3 and a half seasons, and the interaction they do have isn't friendly, and that does not mean Belligerent Sexual Tension. It just means unfriendly. Then midway through the final season, her boyfriend, Mark, leaves her for another girl. While she's sulking, Logan happens to be riding by and sees her looking sad and comes to talk to her. While she initially resists his attempts to cheer her up and even asks why he's doing so, he showers her with compliments and then puts her glasses back on her and says, "There's Quinn." before they share their First Kiss. Then in the episodes after this they are all over each other; making out very frequently, being intimate, slow dancing. However, these two are actually very good together, give off a great Opposites Attract vibe, and have a lot of chemistry to the point where a viewer might wonder why the writers didn't start building them up earlier. Quinn and Logan both lampshade how weird it is that they are together, and admit that they are embarrassed to be dating and hide it from the other characters and when they tell Michael about their relationship, he thinks they're joking.
    • Zoey and James. In the episode that introduces him everyone instantly loves him, except Micheal and Logan, who still miss Chase. So after everyone thought they were dating because they interacted, the the episode ends with them getting together despite having no chemistry. Sort of Deconstructed as she later realizes she doesn't actually love him. It was still terribly executed and lead to the series' Seasonal Rot.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Invoked in Changeling: The Lost; one of the more powerful breeds of Hobgoblins is a race known as the Crimson Weavers, faeries of the Moirae breed who appear as diminutive ancient Asian women and men with strands of red string dangling from their fingers. As their name implies, they are born from the aspect of Fate that gives rise to the Red String of Fate, and they have both the power to connect others with that self-same Red String and the drive to do so. The thing is, this being the World of Darkness, they are not infallible and, indeed, often tend to completely screw things up by forcing people to be together, just because they "looked so right" through their permanent Shipping Goggles. Thus leading to the trope in question... sometimes literally; couples arranged by Crimson Weavers have been known to end in suicide and/or murder, or complete insanity. Crimson Weavers never take responsibility, see themselves as responsible or consider it their fault; they merely gave each person a guaranteed soul mate, it's the people involved who refused to accept that.

  • In Les Misérables, Marius and Cosette fall in love having only seen each other once, for a few seconds, in the street. The next time they meet they're declaring undying love for each other (A Heart Full Of Love), much to the despair of poor Eponine who's fancied Marius for ages. This is made worse by the Adaptation Distillation: in the book, they know each other for much longer before either shows any romantic inclination.
  • Measure for Measure is (or could be, depending on how it's read) a particularly bad example of this: Duke Vincentio proposes to Isabella at the end even though they've known each other for about two days and the entire plot revolved around Isabella not wanting to give up her chastity and monastic life. Of course, she never explicitly says yes, so a director can play this any way he wants. This is one of the many clues that make people think this play is problematic on purpose — that Shakespeare was trying to make his viewers uncomfortable. It's technically a comedy (it has a wedding at the end), but it's a damn squicky and creepy comedy.
  • Played for laughs in The Pirates of Penzance, with Frederick and Mabel's ridiculously quick romance. Not quite Love at First Sight, but still.
  • Romeo and Juliet is the Trope Codifier and possibly the Trope Maker. While it's considered one of Shakespeare's best plays as well as one of the greatest written works ever, let's face it; the title characters are the textbook definition of this. They fall in Love at First Sight and are immediately making out at the Capulet's party. Okay, not so bad. However, Romeo goes from wangsting over breaking up with Rosaline earlier that afternoon to being engaged to marry Juliet later that night, and Juliet is so in love with him that she's willing to fake her own death to keep from marrying Paris. Lampshaded by Friar Lawrence when he says "Young men's love lies not in their hearts but in their eyes." A popular interpretation is that part of the tragedy is these two kids mistaking their shallow youthful lust for true love.
    • The poem on which Romeo and Juliet is based, Arthur Brooke's "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet," had its action occurring over the course of nine months—Shakespeare cut it down to five days. Brooke's poem isn't very good, but at least it has a believable timeline for falling in love.

    Video Games 
  • Beyond: Two Souls generally tries to push Jodie with her CIA handler Ryan Clayton. Most notable is how the game goes from the first time they meet, in which he's incredibly insensitive towards her and basically forces her into the CIA to a scene taking place roughly more than a year later, where Jodie states that she's in love with him. Similarly, it's possible for Jodie to end up in a romance with Jay in the ending despite only knowing him for about two days. This becomes PARTICULARLY annoying if you've shut down Ryan at every opportunity and chose to die. Jodie will STILL act like she has feelings for him.
  • Catherine actually punishes players who attempt to put this trope into practice. Throughout the game, your interactions with Catherine and Katherine will affect a meter—acting like you're in love with Katherine tips it to the Order end of the meter and the same goes for Catherine with Chaos. However, through a series of questions near the end of the game, it's possible for Vincent to choose either girl (or even neither) no matter what your position on the meter is. But, the game checks the results of your questions against the meter, and if it doesn't match up—for example your answers suggest that Vincent wants to stay with Katherine, even though the meter reflects that he's acted more in love with Catherine—you will get a bad ending. (On the opposite end of the scale, if your answers perfectly match up with Vincent's meter, you get a "true" or better-than-good ending.)
  • Similar to the Beyond: Two Souls example, Kid and Serge in Chrono Cross. Kid is a unique example in that the player isn't initially forced to take her into the party. It's entirely possible to refuse her at several points and opt not to come to her rescue, but she shows up at all the major plot points anyway. The story justifies it by saying that she just follows you around because you're tough and can clear the way for her, but it mostly means she shows up at exactly the right time to make a dramatic speech and run ahead of you, only to end up imperiled and need to be rescued— at the player's discretion.
  • In Fahrenheit, Carla is an NYPD police officer pursuing Lucas Kane, who she believes to be a psychotic murderer. Some developments in the case eventually lead her to doubt his guilt, but she remains suitably skeptical and logical. She finally meets Lucas at the grave of his long-time girlfriend Tiffany, who had died two days before. Within about a month, Carla has risked her job and her life to help Lucas, begun to trust him implicitly without her previous intelligent questioning, declared her love for him, and gotten herself knocked up with his zombie child, all entirely offscreen. And this happens on all three endings, including the good one. Not to mention you can actually get back together with Tiffany without averting any of this.
  • Final Fantasy VIII Squall and Rinoa's romance can come off this way based on the player's actions; not taking Rinoa along as a party member and/or missing certain plot events (which provide Character Development for the pair) can make Squall's sudden attachment to her come out of nowhere. Even if you did bring Rinoa with you, it can still end up for naught; Rinoa will try to get Squall out of his shell, only for Squall to choose whether or not to take the bait. Should the player never take the bait and/or screw up the musical score in Disc 2, the two won't grow any closer.
  • A similar example can happen in Final Fantasy X, which clearly intends to ship Tidus/Yuna, but inexplicably includes a relationship system that includes Yuna, Lulu, and Rikku. Thus a number of scenes can take place implying Tidus' attraction with one of the other two girls before the game takes over and pushes him back to Yuna instead. While not nearly as extreme as the Rinoa example, as Yuna and Tidus have plenty of mandatory scenes throughout the story that build them as a couple and Yuna is always in the party when the game needs her to be, it can feel a bit ham-fisted if the player chased one of the other two women and yet Tidus always ends up with Yuna, Lulu always ends up with Wakka (which comes out of nowhere in its own right), and Rikku always ends up in the sequel single and refusing to talk about her relationship with Gippel.
  • Fire Emblem Jugdral: Finn and Raquesis are nearly an Official Couple. Finn gets a conversation with Raquesis' daughter in the second generation if he's her fathernote , they're one of the pairings in the Oosawa manga adaptation. It's strongly implied that Finn and Raquesis were in love and that Finn continued to search for her in Thracia 776. The only hitch is that during the time both characters are playable in Genealogy of the Holy War, they have no conversations together, not even if they're married in Chapter 5. It's like the devs somehow forgot to put it in there.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening mostly averts it - you can only get your characters married after they spend a lot of time on the battlefield together (which can never be less than four battles, and will usually be more), watch multiple conversations that give reasons at least somewhat believable for the two falling in love (with more conversations implied), and even then you have to make the final push for the characters to get married yourself. Except Chrom. For storyline and mechanics reasons, he gets married to whichever one of his prospects he has the most support points with after Chapter 11. One character - which Chrom can marry - is made playable right at the beginning of that chapter! So if Chrom has no support points with any of his other prospects or they are already married, he can marry Olivia very shortly after meeting her with all of one support point - not even enough for a C-rank conversation! And since the game maintains the series tradition of permadeath should your characters die in a fight (though it's optional in this entry), there's a chance the player could get to the point of Chrom's marriage in the game and not have any of his potential brides still available, so he will marry a random villager the player never hears from again. This get lampshaded even:
    Lissa: "Turn my back one minute and you're married. The next minute? A baby!"
  • The Gears of War games have Marcus and Anya, who have so little chemistry it hurts. They barely interact, and when they do, there's nothing particularly romantic about it. It doesn't help that the games tend to be light on the characterisation side, making these two's romance just awkward every time it appears. In the games, Anya has very little personality beyond being a caring person, while Marcus is the typical aggressive screaming soldier (he may even be the new poster boy). While this can be justified by the fact that there is a world-ending conflict going on, it doesn't change that we're supposed to swallow that these two apparetly love each other.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has this as a plot element. Meet the right circumstances and the gal will fall head over heels with you. At least with the first one it's rescuing her from a house fire (that you started). With others it's simply that you have six pack abs or she has a chubby fetish.
  • Potentially done in Heavy Rain, which mostly takes place over four days or so. Let's see, a serial killer of children has kidnapped your son and forced you to go through several painful trials leaving you injured and exhausted, you have had to cut off the tip of your finger not long ago, you JUST murdered a father of two out of necessity and feel absolutely terrible, and your only child is drowning in rainwater AT THIS VERY MOMENT and has been there for days by now. Meanwhile this woman you met a couple of days ago who patched you up and maybe helped you escape the police once has just returned from performing a forced striptease at gunpoint in a nightclub she found out about from a card received from the home of an insane doctor who almost cut her open with a drill and who she killed with that very same drill. The logical thing to do when time is of the essence because very soon rainfall will drown your no doubt starving and hypothermic child? Make out, have sex and instantly fall in love. And all of these are the "best" and very likely choices.
  • The Last Story suffers from this. The player is supposed to believe that Zael and Calista fall in Love at First Sight and that that's a good enough reason for them to be together. While this could very well be the case, the problem is that there simply aren't enough scenes that show them interacting together. Meanwhile, the Beta Couple (Lowell and Syrenne) inverts this. They similarly don't get many scenes together but they do have a lot of in-gameplay banter which helps to affirm that there is indeed a romantic attraction there.
  • In Left 4 Dead, Francis has seen Rochelle for a grand total of three seconds, they want each other (although in a snarky way). Ellis and Zoey could be an example, but Zoey won't always return the sentiment.
  • The protagonists of Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky spend the first two chapters doing nothing but bickering over the other's lifestyle and wondering where their father has gone. Nothing about their interactions or narration indicates attraction, and yet every single NPC mistakes them for a couple or remarks that Estelle should tap that ass. It's like the writers wanted an antagonistic romance, but forgot about the part where such plots include actual desire. This gets even more blatant when Joshua declares that he fell in Love at First Sight with Estelle...despite never thinking about this 'love,' acting on it, or doing anything to foreshadow it since the game began. Also, they are adoptive siblings, so Estelle's embarrassment when the topic is brought up seems a lot more justified than in your average Will They or Won't They? plot.
  • The hero of Mad Paradox ends up married and raising a family with a completely nondescript girl he's rescued from the Big Bad. She only appears once in the beginning (in the background of a vision) and once at the end (after you've defeated the Big Bad). And they treat this as some sort of grand romantic ending. Meanwhile, the hot green-haired True Companion girl who's accompanied you for most of the game through good and bad, battling evil and putting it on the line for you...just sorta wanders off with a pithy "It was fun, bye-bye". Most unsatisfying ending ever.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear Solid Snake and Meryl have a scene where they meet, they separate, then have another scene later on that expands a bit on Meryl's character. Almost immediately after is the Psycho Mantis fight, at the end of which Mantis claims out of nowhere that Snake has a large place in Meryl's heart (ironically coming ten minutes after she herself claims to have had psychotherapy to destroy her interest in men while in training - so much for that). They have another conversation, then Meryl is shot and she's not seen again until the finale, where they're suddenly having a romantic moment and riding off into the sunset. However, in MGS4 it turns out the two broke up rather quickly afterwards.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3 has similar issues with Snake and EVA, though it's less prominent as EVA is a radio contact for most of the game so at least they have more than a few conversations. Completely justified as EVA is a spy and deliberately throwing herself at Snake to manipulate him.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4 the relationship between Otacon and Naomi came out of nowhere and was poorly handled whenever it cropped up. Somewhat justifiable, as it's later revealed that Naomi was throwing herself at him in order to advance her and Ocelot's goals. But then it's implied she did legitimately have feelings for Go figure.
  • Monster Rancher 4 is the same deal as Final Fantasy X above: There's a relationship system with the various female shopkeepers which also lets you get discounts, but at the end you end with your aide no matter what.
  • Neverwinter Nights:
    • In the last act of Hordes of Underdark, there is a sleeping angel who awaits his true love. When you later find the Knower of Names, you can pay an extravagant sum to find out who his true love is - if you're female, there's a chance it's you. If you go along with it, the epilogue will talk a bit about your subsequent passionate romance, none of which will ever happen during play. Turns out quite silly if the Sleeping Man's true love is Evil!Aribeth.
    • In the original campaign there's Aarin Gend, the spymaster. If you're female, you can talk to him on multiple occasions in act 2, and he'll talk about his troubled and criminal past, how Nasher took him in, and the woman he fell in love with but lost. You get a tacky heirloom amulet after one conversation and it gets upgraded a bit in a later one (nothing you'll have much use for, though). Then your journal outright states that you're Aarin's lover. Sorry, did I miss something?
  • Neverwinter Nights 2:
    • The romance between the male Spirit Eater and Safiya in Mask of the Betrayer is slightly better-done than most examples, but the whole Reincarnation Romance element pushes it into this territory. Very little build-up, minor and completely optional flirtatious remarks, and just like that...instant romance.
    • It happened in the original campaign, too, with the Designated Love Interest for a female Knight-Commander, Casavir. Even if you rarely spoke to him, and expressed the exact opposite of his opinion when you did, he would always want to jump your bones, regardless of your species, class, or alignment. You could be a Chaotic Evil half-orc blackguard with 6 Charisma and Intelligence who bludgeons orphans to death, and he'd still give it a shot if you were female. That last one is particularly jarring, seeing he's a paladin... is it any wonder the female fans prefer Bishop? For all her problems, Elanee will at least give up if it's clear you don't like her. This is possibly caused by cut content.note 
  • ObsCure has a few couples in the game, and most of them are standard high school and college romances, or one-sided but believable crushes. However, Stan gets one with Shannon. The two of them have no interaction with each other until Stan helps her kill a mutated Kenny. All of a sudden, they're making out.
  • Radiant Historia has a couple that goes through one via Romance Sidequest. This one has some justification on one side, since the echo effect between timelines means the time-traveling male half has unknowingly been charming the female half twice over the entire time without realizing it. His reciprocation is genuinely out of the blue, however.
  • In Shining Force II, at the very end of the game, it's revealed that the Princess can only be awakened from her magical sleep by a kiss from her true love. An NPC then informs the main character that they're talking about him, which is good, because until that moment, there's been no indication that the Princess would have been able to pick him out of a line-up, let alone been in love with him.
  • One of the endings of Silent Hill 2 shows James suddenly deciding that he had strong feelings for Maria and wants to be with her. This comes out of nowhere because, even though Maria flirts with James constantly throughout the game, James always responds to this behavior with confusion and irritation. It makes more sense when you realise that she is just a version of his wife that Silent Hill created.
  • Tales of Graces, from a series that's normally really good at averting this trope and playing romances subtly. A lot of people were kind of unhappy with the Cheria/Asbel romance for this reason, especially after Graces f. In the main game Asbel seems to be mostly ignorant of Cheria's crush on him, but then in the future arc he's suddenly blushing and stammering around her like an idiot. The extremely vague development in the original game coupled with the awkward, unprecedented and shoehorned romantic scenes in the future arc basically turned a lot of people off. It doesn't help that Sophie/Asbel and Richard/Asbel have a lot of fan support and at least a bit of subtext each. This is especially a shame because in the main story (before the future arc) Cheria finally acknowledges that, while she has feelings for Asbel, he hasn't shown any sign of reciprocating. So instead of hanging around Lhant mooning over him, she quite sensibly decides to go travel the world with the Doctors Without Borders-style organization she helped found.
  • Deconstructed in Tales of the Abyss. Legretta loves the Big Bad... A love mandated by Because Destiny Says So, and she hates it because she wants to fall in love by her free will. Thus, she wants to destroy the world's concept of destiny. Fortunately/unfortunately for her, the Big Bad wants the same thing so she has an actual reason to follow him.
  • Wild AR Ms 2 has a ridiculous example of this. If you pick up optional character Marivel, she suddenly effectively shacks up with Tony when everyone else is having romantic scenes that make sense. Tony is a minor NPC, and they didn't even share a single line of dialogue before suddenly being set up as a couple.
  • Yesterday has this with John and Pauline. Much of their romance happens off-screen, with the player sort of joining In Medias Res to their relationship. This may be mitigated a little bit with the fact that prior to John's amnesia, they were in love with each other.

    Web Comics 
  • The first half of Aoi House seems to build up to a will-they-or-won't-they tension between Alex and Elle, only to throw it out in favor of pairing him with fan favorite Morgan in the second half, despite Morgan's crush being infantile at best and Alex ignoring her for most of the series.
  • Played with in Homestuck: John and Vriska have known each other for all of six hours before she starts developing a crush on him. However, after a year's Time Skip, someone brings up the subject to John again... and he proceeds to go over all the problems that commonly accompany this trope, and concludes that ultimately, they'd have to know each other far longer before it could really mean anything. Indeed, during the Time Skip, Vriska dated an alternate version of John for a while, but since they were both dead, they had infinite time to get to know each other. And then their relationship fizzled out anyway.
  • Rhonda and Quinn in Kevin & Kell. Quinn literally showed up for a single storyline, as a threat to Lindesfarne because she was in an arranged marriage with him that she couldn't get out of. So, even though a storyline had passed very recently that revealed that Rhonda and Edgar had completely patched up their relationship problems and Edgar was now a good, attentive boyfriend willing to humiliate himself for Rhonda, for the convenience of the Lindesfarne plot, he suddenly underwent Aesop Amnesia and snapped back to nothing ever changing. This gave Rhonda an excuse to dump him and marry Quinn, as the story told us they'd been having an online relationship for years (this was the first time it ever came up). Also, the comic conveniently ignores that for all of Edgar's flaws, Rhonda was basically cheating on him the entire time they dated. The storyline was also used to put Rhonda on a bus with a massive whimper. While Rhonda made a cameo or two at Lindesfarne's wedding, Quinn the plot device never showed up again.
  • Las Lindas:
  • Almost immediately after Gabby from Namir Deiter realizes she's over her longtime crush on the main character (a straight girl), she's seduced by her never-before-seen academic partner, Jacinda, and they're joined at the hip from then on. The relationship later falls apart and Gabby hooks up with Joan, a New Old Flame.
  • In Red String, Makoto never really gives any reason why he is so obsessed with dating Miharu. The only time we are given insight to this is that he fell in love with her photograph before ever meeting her and the rest of the comic is him basically refusing to leave her alone. Miharu basically falls for him because the story implies she's supposed to, then never really spends any time on developing them as a couple. It's just Makoto doing things like freaking out about losing her and making all her decisions for her and Miharu apologizing to him when he instigates conflicts. Yet even Miharu, after a whole four months of dating him, feels they're in a "serious" relationship in spite of them doing nothing more significant as a couple than sexting and feeling each other up. The comic ends literally with Makoto quitting his job to date Miharu full time and then after she declares she truly loves him the most, he immediately proses marriage, which she accepts. The marriage proposal? Originally, it was just the words "Well?" The author got so much flack for how awful this dialog was that she stealth rewrote it, but it still doesn't consist of an actual proposal...and at no point in the entire comic, not even during his marriage proposal, does he ever tell Miharu "I love you."
  • Pretty much every couple in Sonichu. It's made worse by the fact that Chris-Chan considers the romance to be the best part of the comic. This is perhaps enforced to ensure that none of them get into a Ho Yay ship.
    • Punchy is hinted to have a crush on Angelica. Then he ends up with Layla Flaaffy.
    • Bubbles is with Blake. They hide their relationship for no clear reason.
    • When Reldnahc is about to be cured of his homosexuality, there is talk of him getting back together with Kel. There is no mention of this in earlier chapters.
    • This is especially true of any of comic!Chris's girlfriends. The most drastic example is Ivy, who is introduced mere pages before God Himself contacts her and tells her Chris is her true love, which she immediately accepts despite having never met Chris at that point. Then the next mention of her is her death, rendering the strangling pointless.
  • Kyle and the Annihilator of The Young Protectors. Before the comic even progressed past the prologue the two are all but professing their undying love for each other with Kyle insisting that he wants to have his first-ever sexual experience with the world's most notorious supervillain and has absolutely no doubts about it (in spite of being terrified for years of even having A Date with Rosie Palms due to his fire-based powers being fueled by emotion, which includes orgasm), and said notorious supervillain declaring that he wants to reform himself for Kyle even though he's never had any second thoughts about his supervillain career before. Before this they had a single kiss in a back alley and a single dinner date. Add to that Kyle being only seventeen years old and the Annihilator being fifty-eight years old, something that doesn't give either of them more than the slightest hesitation... which was entirely the point. The comic, up through half of the second chapter, was busy invoking, subverting and exploiting all things Love at First Sight, particularly of the standard Boys Love variety. Kyle, being a lonely, closeted seventeen-year-old with self-enforced celibacy, lacks much experience with adult life and any with romance, leaving him extremely susceptible to seduction from the resident Manipulative Bastard, who abandons him the moment he gets what he wants.

    Web Original 
  • There's a subgenre of Porn with Plot called "Naked In School." It combines sexual shenanigans with a side order of Character Development by positing a world where characters have to attend high school nude for a week because reasonsnote . The Extremely Short Time Span makes this trope tempting, and some stories have fallen for it; one of the worst examples involves two people meeting each other for the first time on Monday and declaring True Love by day's end.
  • Survival of the Fittest v4 pre-game has the "relationship" with Jonathan Jarocki and Anna Chase, which seemingly came out of nowhere when they took each other to prom and started dating afterwards. Most of their scenes were kind of awkward, despite the fact that both of them had rather dark interests. This wasn't helped by the fact that one of them (Jonathan) has actually been confirmed to be a self-insert, bringing No Yay into the picture. A lot of handlers expressed disgust at the pairing, which lead to this being fixed once v4 actually started by the two of them having an Offscreen Break Up.

    Western Animation 
  • Barry and Katya in Archer get together in season 3 because they're both cyborgs, overlooking Katya's love for Archer and the fact that Barry murdered her (it makes sense in context), and stay together in a relationship that is dysfunctional from the start.
  • Gwen and Kevin in Ben 10: Alien Force: The ship is dropped on the viewer with absolutely no set-up, no basis, no rationality in the very first episode. Kevin almost wrecking his precious car to tell Ben not to be rude to Gwen could be attributed to his Badass Decay, but "I'll follow you anywhere"? Were the writers afraid that if they took the time for some actual development, the show might be canceled before their new favorite couple actually got together?
    • Their sudden relationship was most likely created to avoid the shipping that Ben and Gwen received in the original show.
    • Taken to even more extremes with Ben 10: Omniverse for Ben and Kai. Much like the bellow example with Danny Phantom, they spent more time making the pairing inevitable than showing why they should be together other than one character was their son from the future.
  • Danny and Sam from Danny Phantom were obviously planned to be the Official Couple from the beginning, with almost everyone remarking on it, if not being an outright Shipper on Deck, and innumerable S/he Is Not My Girlfriend/Boyfriend moments. The problem is that the writers were so busy making the couple inevitable they never bothered to actually show why they should be together. There was nothing more romantic to their relationship other than them being friends of opposite gender, and the whole thing came off more a combination of awkward teenage hormones and defensiveness in the face of relentless teasing. Worse, Danny and Valerie got real tension and some rather sweet development before that ship was sunk, so it wasn't that the writers didn't know how to write a relationship, they apparently just didn't want to.
  • In the 1990s Fantastic Four animated series, Johnny Storm meets the Inhuman Medusa, drools over her for two and a half episodes, finds out she's married, and winds up drooling over her cousin, Crystal, for half of one. In the end, the Inhumans' city is sealed off from the rest of the world. Suddenly, Crystal, whom he's known all of a few hours, was the love of his life, and he spends every episode after this — literally every episodepining for her. (He does get her back in the end, though.) Maybe heroes really do just love redheads that much. The writing team seemingly realized how bad the whole deal was and spoofed it hilariously in a later episode where Crystal sends out her Big Friendly Dog Lockjaw to try bringing Johnny to a place where they can be reunited. They spend the whole episode going through several dimensions... and never find that spot.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • John Stewart and Vixen. Vixen had previously only made a handful of silent cameo appearances, but without any buildup or reference to it, she and John are already in a serious relationship by her first speaking role. The writers initially paired them up post-time skip just to provide an obstacle for John and Shayera getting back together, but it got pretty difficult for them once Vixen developed as a character and they began to like her (Word of God says being voiced by Gina Torres also helped).
    • Poor Supergirl - she meets a guy in the future, has a few lines with him, and is suddenly so in love that she abandons all she knows and cares about by staying in the far future. Braniac-5 is hit pretty hard by this too: he's barely spoken to her, has only known her for a few minutes and suddenly he's agreeing with Green Arrow's suggestion that he's fallen for Supergirl?
      • This is ironic as most pairings with Official Couple status would be plausible developed in the DCAU. The Supergirl/Brainiac-5 pairing fell flat due to being rushed, possibly from an attempt to cram a convincing love story into a single episode (which had another plotline to focus on] one can't help feeling that the episode would have benefitted from being a 2-part story, but sadly that format was abandoned (barring season finals) when Justice League finished and Unlimited began, to the detriment of this particular story (which itself would have worked better as a longer arc).
    • In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, new character Rose Wilson has a crush on Martian Manhunter. The Martian inadvertently discovers they're "attuned" when he accidentally reads her thoughts (something he'd never do by accident with a non attuned person). He then Mind Melds with her so that they can get to know each other instantly and fall completely in love. Martians apparently have no need to date.
  • Season 1 of The Legend of Korra was only twelve episodes, with no others originally planned, and had to introduce and conclude a complicated plot about Fantastic Racism and a war against Well Intentioned Extremists. The Korra and Mako romance would inevitably have been bereft of necessary screentime to begin with, but then the writers decided to tack on a love quadrangle seemingly just for the hell of it. The end result is that all the attractions and romances were rushed, forced, glossed over, told instead of shown, or quickly buried. The ambiguity of whether Mako and Asami broke up during the season and whether or not Bolin was over Korra didn't help matters. Subverted in Season 2, where Korra and Mako's personalities clash resulting in Mako breaking up with Korra. And by the end of the season, both accept that a romantic relationship between them won't work and end it for good. A Season 4 Breather Episode is partially devoted to mocking how poorly it went, with Mako's friends and relatives pointing out to him how badly he screwed things up as he tells the sordid story.
  • In season two of Stoked, the first episode involved Reef and Lo pretending to be in a relationship as a subplot in an episode, including pretending to make out. At the end of the episode, the two decided that they enjoyed making out and made out for real, leading to the two of them sucking face uncontrollably in every episode their romance is involved in, derailing the previously Spoiled Sweet Lo into a Spoiled Brat Tsundere and the previously chauvinistic Reef into someone who spends hours thinking up lyrics to love songs and poems. The vast majority of fans, unsurprisingly, hated the coupling, especially since the writers had spent most of season one teasing and building up to Reef/Fin, only to strangle Reef and Lo with the red string in the very first episode of season two. They even sunk the pairing in episode ten of the season, only to dredge it up without explanation a few episodes later, further annoying fans.
  • Total Drama:
    • On World Tour, Duncan and Gwen. Yes, this is half of the fanbase's OTP, but let's face it—Duncan had never shown any romantic interest in Gwen before (though she obviously had a thing for him that he didn't know about), and while his relationship with Courtney was certainly rocky, he was always depicted as head-over-heels for her, even taking her back after she was derailed into a Villain Sue in season two. In season three, he had no particular reason to want to break up with her, and when he came back to the show, hadn't seen her or Gwen in months. And less than five minutes after coming back, he's making out with Gwen behind Courtney's back, after literally the first conversation they've had in ten episodes.
    • All three become contestants again in the fifth season Total Drama All-Stars. The problems between them resurface, with Gwen being defined solely as a boyfriend stealer, Gwen trying to make things right with Courtney only to accidently hurt her numerous times, and Duncan still harboring feelings for Courtney. This all culminates in Gwen dumping Duncan because she feels he's still too interested in Courtney.
    • Subverted with Courtney and Scott. When Courtney is shuffled over to the Villains team, she starts impressing Scott by being her normal, bossy self, saying out of nowhere that, because his dad's in the army and his mom's a waitress, he's basically built to love taking orders and that he loves a bossy lady. This is completely different from his Revenge portrayal, in which he was a cheating Jerk Ass. Then in the episode "Zeke and Ye Shall Find" Scott and Courtney share an Accidental Kiss, to which they start acting as if they'll be together forever. They break up due to a misunderstanding with Cameron only hours into their relationship, then get back together the episode after, only for the relationship to be possibly sunk permanently when Courtney's need to win once again proves to be more important to her than her relationships with others and their own feelings.
  • X-Men: Evolution: The Lance-Kitty Relationship. The two definitely had the potential to be a good pairing, mostly due to Lance's Character Development during the course of the series, but Kitty forgave him so quickly for trying to kill her and her parents in his first appearance - and did so before his Character Development. Said development also appeared to be motivated so he could get together with her, and started from him saving her from a mess he caused.
  • Young Justice:
    • Robin & Wonder Girl hooking up in the series finale, who had never been seen interacting with one another before hand.
    • Miss Martian and Lagoon Boy is at least justified by the Time Skip, but from the audience's perspective we go from "Miss Martian and Superboy in a successful relationship" (which admittedly had some real groan worthy moments as well) to "Miss Martian locking lips with someone we've never seen before".
    • Kid Flash and Artemis were supposed to be in a love-hate relationship. The show did establish the hate. The two of them were petty and mean-spirited with each other literally from the moment they met. It's on the "love" part of "love-hate" that the show dropped the ball. No indication is ever given why either of these people would find the other likable or attractive (besides the fact that Artemis walks around with a bare mid-riff). They're never shown interacting with each other in a way that portrays romantic interest, and when the latter half of season one tries to convey some romantic interest between them it falls flat.

Alternative Title(s):

Informed Soulmates, Suddenly Soulmates, The Love That All Of A Sudden, Degenerate Romance Arc, Ass Pull Romance, Romance Ex Machina