Annie: This is really important to me, Abed. Could you please go as my friend? My really good friend?A series is shown to have an ensemble cast with a Limited Social Circle group of friends as its main characters. Naturally an ensemble cast allows for several different smaller pairings within the larger grouping. This mixing and matching allows for the audience to see the interconnectivity of each of the characters' lives on one another. It also allows for different storylines to showcase how one character may relate to another by giving them their own subplot, even if it's just for an episode or two. But then there are those two characters within the same group of friends who almost never seem to hang out. When the group is all sitting around on The Couch in their Social Semi-Circle, these two friends will converse and talk with one another, and may even talk about funny things they've done in the past together, revealing how well they actually know each other, but on-screen, to the actual audience, they never have plots together or seem to do anything with each other. This is usually due to the writers being stumped on what to do with the two characters when they're alone together because they lack a certain chemistry. Maybe it's because of the way that the two characters are crafted in that they are too dissimilar from each other to be plausible Those Two Guys, Heterosexual Life-Partners, or Love Interest, but not so different that they could make an interesting Odd Couple, Vitriolic Best Buds, or just Foils in general. This trope seems particularly relevant for early seasons of a TV show, whereas by later seasons the writers are more willing to try (and exhaust) all combinations of characters. For the most part it's only in TV-land that people with full-time jobs (be it as a professional or as a housewife) can hang out together all the time. In real life, you have to actively make time for that. Instances of this trope can be especially detrimental if one of more characters become a Spotlight-Stealing Squad, and as a result only the cast members they usually interact with are utilized as foils while those they failed to gain chemistry with are ultimately Demoted to Extra due to not having enough relation to the usual recurring cast. See also Satellite Character, for when a character is designed to interact with only one cast member or fraction in particular.
Abed: Well, I didn't realize we were really good friends. I figured we were more like Chandler and Phoebe; they never really had stories together. ...Sure, I'll do it, Chandler.
Abed: Well, I didn't realize we were really good friends. I figured we were more like Chandler and Phoebe; they never really had stories together. ...Sure, I'll do it, Chandler.
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Anime and Manga
- Rei and Minako in the Sailor Moon anime barely interact, aside from Rei occasionally getting exasperated with Minako. This is in stark contrast with the manga and live action, as Rei and Minako in those versions are Vitriolic Best Buds and rivals.
- Subtly implied with the title character in Naruto. According to some supplemental material for "Road to Ninja," Naruto is often alone when not on a mission and is overjoyed when Lee convinces the other guys to invite him to simply hang out. Granted, it's implied he's often on other missions with his colleagues between arcs, and between the end of the great ninja war and the last chapter of the manga (The novels and various omake), Naruto is seen hanging out with many of the other members of the Konoha 12 (Sai, Hinata, Lee, and Shikamaru in particular) often, meaning he greaw out of this.
- Almost half the crew in Azumanga Daioh never interact. Tomo, Yomi and the teachers hardly interact with Sakaki, Kagura, or Kaorin, among other pairings. Despite that, they're all still friends that spend their days off together.
- Serena and Clemont in the XY series of Pokémon. While all the members of the group talk to each other, these two interact with each other the least and never have plots together. To a lesser extent, Ash and Bonnie don't interact much, either. All other dynamics get much more spotlight.
- This changes during the XY and Z arc, where Ash becomes more of a Big Brother Mentor to Bonnie and Clemont and Serena have a few more moments together. Most of this is restricted to their mutual concern for Bonnie, but during a dancing ball episode they do dance with eachother.
- Dawn and Brock in Diamond and Pearl. Whereas Brock and Ash had a decade-long bond, and a lot of focus was put into Ash and Dawn due to them being co-leads, the interactions with Brock and Dawn were mostly contained to a few episodes and never really brought up.
- Among the Pokémon themselves, this trope is surprisingly common. Aside from group lunches and the occasional "all the Pokémon get separated from their trainers" episode, they have historically had very few stories, recurring or otherwise, showcasing their friendships with each other. However, this been averted more and more in later sagas, especially notable from Unova onward. Before then, notable aversions included the friendship between Pikachu and Togepi, and much later Piplup. Another early subversion is the friendship between Ash's Bulbasaur and Squirtle. The XY series also averts this with Ash's team, which has a good number of episodes dedicated to the individual Pokémon bonding. For example: Ash's Froakie and Hawlucha spend an episode learning how to work together, Fletchinder and especially Hawlucha both become a Big Brother Mentor to baby Noibat, and Frogadier and Talonflame team up for a Gym Battle.
- Yamato/Matt and Mimi in Digimon Adventure are the most infamous case, since they never had a plot together, nor do they ever speak to each other. It stands out because they do have some shared interests (Mimi has a beautiful singing voice and Yamato sings and plays bass in a band) and they get shipped quite a bit.
- The Sentry from Marvel comics was often stated to be best friends with nearly every hero especially Reed Richards and the Hulk going so far as being the best man at the wedding of the former. Yet The Sentry never displays any real friendship with any of them and it is all talk.
- Similarly, Hal Jordan counted both Barry Allen and Oliver Queen as his best friends, yet the Flash and Green Arrow rarely team up. Justified, since Barry really doesn't like Oliver, what with considering him a bad influence on Hal, with his anti-authoritarian views, not to mention all the times Oliver has made Hal doubt himself. Likewise, Oliver dislikes Barry for being a police officer, as he considers cops "blue fascists." Never mind that Barry is a CSI, not a beat cop, Oliver still hates him.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us rectifies this somewhat, as they share a few scenes together. The last scene of the Regime!Flash has him nodding towards Green Arrow of the main universe as he is being led away.
- Hilarious in Hindsight when you consider how well Arrow and The Flash (2014) are doing and how close Oliver and Barry are in that shared universe.
- Batman and Aquaman within the Justice League. Batman has some kind of bond with everyone else in the league:
- Superman is his best friend and they are very similar yet different
- Wonder Woman and he have a Will They or Won't They? thing and strategy
- The Flash (Barry Allen) and Batman are both into forensics and talk about it and criminal psychology long into the night
- Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Batman have a mutual respect for the other and are Fire-Forged Friends, also bonding over how screwed up theyboth are psychologically as a result of their parents' deaths
- He and Martian Manhunter were both on the Justice League International where Bruce was able to relax much more and let his guard down
- Aquaman and Batman? Not only have we never had any mention of a friendship between the two, but we've actually never seen them hangout.
- In the Harry Potter fanfic, On The Way To Greatness, Harry befriends students from various houses (from his own house: Millicent and Blaise Zabini; from Ravenclaw: Padma Patil, Terry Boot, Luna Lovegood and a couple others from his Arithmancy class; from Hufflepuff: Cedric; from Gryffindor: Hermione, Neville and the Weasley twins). But apart from Harry, none of the aforementioned group really hang out with other houses.
- Ask The Main Four shows Kyle and Cartman watching a musical together in the same night Stan and Kenny play video games in the former's house. Interactions between Kyle and Kenny are very brief.
- In Boys Und Senshado, Anglerfish Team is this, in stark contrast to the way they are in canon. Miho doesn't spend much time with her friends from the team outside of tankery matches, and when they're in port after the match with Saunders, no one, not even Yukari, invites her along.
- Some of the relationships in The Breakfast Club are focused on much more than others. Alison suffers the most from this since she doesn't speak until halfway through the film. Most of her time is spent developing her romance with Andrew and aside from a last minute makeover/bonding moment with Claire, doesn't interact one-on-one with anyone else very much.
- St. Elmo's Fire is about a group of True Companions, but some of the friends don't seem to interact one-on-one very much. Kirby, for example, doesn't seem to spend much time with Wendy or Jules.
Live Action TV
- Boy Meets World:
- In season 5, when Shawn, Jack, and Eric become roommates in the Pennbrook apartment, there are very few scenes with Shawn and Eric together. This gets lampshaded in a late season 6 episode when they do have a conversation and bring up their time living together. (Ironically, this is because Rider Strong and Will Friedle were such good friends off-camera, they'd have trouble getting through any takes together without corpsing. Even in the aforementioned scene, it's pretty obvious that both actors are struggling not to corpse.)
- Invoked by Cory in Season 6 with regards to Angela. He makes a deliberate attempt to get to know Angela better, which she initially rebuffs (for a few reasons, the least of which being that Cory is Shawn's best friend). She eventually relents, and the two characters share quite a few one-on-one scenes throughout the season.
- Other one-on-one interactions almost never seen during the show: Cory/Jack, Cory/Rachel, Shawn/Rachel, Topanga/Jack, Angela/Jack and Angela/Eric. Note that all of these relationships involve a character introduced late in the show's run - there simply wasn't as much time to explore potential relationships, especially since a lot of time had to be devoted to establishing the ones that did happen (primarily Eric/Jack, Shawn/Angela, Eric/Rachel, Jack/Rachel, Topanga/Angela, and Angela/Rachel). The gulf between the "old guard" characters and the newer characters actually became a plot point in "The War" and "Seven the Hard Way" in the seventh season - notably, the rift is healed by Eric, who functions as a "bridge" between the two camps - a member of the old guard who mostly interacts with the newer characters.
- In a variant on this trope, Angela is the only character in the core group of students who never has any one-on-one interactions with Mr. Feeny. This is made all the more jarring when her father visits Pennbrook in one episode and immediately makes a beeline to him, asking for advice about his daughter.
- The page quote is from Season 1's Social Psychology. Abed lampshades the lack of plotlines between him and Annie using Phoebe and Chandler as an example. This becomes less true as they become something like Platonic Life Partners later in the show.
- Shirley and Troy didn't have a B-Plot together until the fourth season. Yvette-Nicole Brown (Shirley's actress) noted this in the DVD commmentary for a season three episode where Troy gave a heartfelt goodbye to Shirley, although the two never spent time together on-screen. They also rarely spoke to one another directly even when the group was all together around the study room.
- Shirley and Jeff intentionally invoke this because it was established in their first episode together that they were really toxic to one another. This is brought to light again in season 2 where the two almost conspired to get Chang imprisoned for the rest of his life. The third season episode "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" had a Jeff and Shirley pairing that seemed to resolve their issues and later in the season the two spend an episode together without resulting in them becoming horrible people.
- Abed and Pierce haven't spent too much time together, but this seems to be at least partially intentional on Abed's end because, as Abed puts it, he doesn't find Pierce all that compelling as a character.
- In season 2 Jeff tries to throw Abed a Pulp Fiction themed party for his birthday but is derailed by a special "My Dinner with Andre" dinner that Abed set up for just the two of them. Abed's reasoning for the dinner was that it seemed that he and Jeff hadn't spent much time together in their second year as opposed to their first year when they had more shenanigans with each other.
- You never see much of Abed and Britta together until Season 3, after Britta decides to be Abed's therapist.
- One episode in Season 5 points out that Jeff and Duncan, despite being the two characters that have known each other for the longest, don't really act like friends. The episode ends with them making a more concerted effort in their friendship.
- Joey and Monica, which is ironic since they were meant to be the shows Official Couple.
- Chandler is most subject to this trope, having few stories with Phoebe for the entire series (they spent more time hanging out before he started dating Monica, then they didn't seem to like each other so much), and Rachel from Season 5 onwards, with the cheesecake episode in season 7 being the only exception. Early seasons have him almost exclusively paired with Joey and sometimes Ross. From Season 5 he's has storylines with Monica or is back with Joey. Somewhat explained in the commentary when the writers talk about the three most iconic relationships of the show (Ross/Rachel, Chandler/Monica and Chandler/Joey) and Chandler is tied up in two of them. Being part of two such significant dynamics meant Chandler's stories were more exclusive.
- Despite being brother and sister, Ross and Monica rarely had stories with just the two of them after Monica begins dating Chandler. They grew up together, so there wasn't much new territory for their relationship.
- In early seasons Joey and Rachel played it straight but in the second half of the show they developed a much more significant relationship. Again makes sense as it coincided with the Chandler/Monica relationship and before then Joey/Chandler and Rachel/Monica were the two most common storyline pairs. The Chandler/Monica pairing up opened a obvious niche for them.
- Ross and Phoebe is also an example, especially in early seasons. Later in the series they hang out more often, especially in season 9, while still being kind of Vitriolic Best Buds. She does genuinely try to console him with a hug in the finale when Rachel decides to board the plane to Paris.
- Full House: Kimmy Gibbler is a downplayed example, mostly because she is DJ's friend while everyone else in the house hates her. She also has some significant interaction with Jesse and Stephanie, but rarely interacts with Danny, Michelle, or Rebecca, and you could count the number of times she interacts with Joey over the course of the series on one hand. Aside from one babysitting side plot, she also never has any real interaction with the twins.
- Joey and Rebecca interact occasionally, but never really have stories together.
- The George Lopez Show: While the Lopez family do tend to interact a fair amount with each other, Carmen and Benny don't seem to interact much. Same goes for Carmen and Vic. I guess she's not very good with her grandparents.
- Glee: The Glee club consider eachother family, however with up to and sometimes over 12 kids in the Glee club at any given time, it would be downright impossible to develop strong friendships between all the characters.
- Blaine Anderson never seemed to hang out with anybody in the club upon his arrival in Season 3. He mainly hung around with boyfriend Kurt at the start of the year, only expanding his relationships with others in the last half of the season. By Season 4, he becomes very good friends with Sam & Tina as well as having friendly moments with Artie, Brittany, Ryder, Jake and Marley.
- Considerng they're meant to be in the Unholy Trinity together with Santana, the characters of Brittany and Quinn never really hung out
- Rachel and Puck become this in Season 3, which seemed strange as the first two seasons had developed an odd but charming friendship between the pair
- Invoked in How I Met Your Mother that had an episode where Robin and Marshall hung out solely because they realized that they had never hung out one-on-one together.
- Happy Endings had an episode in which siblings-in-law Brad and Alex have the exact same problem as Robin and Marshall; in this instance their interaction is encouraged by Jane, Brad's wife/Alex's sister.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Dennis and Charlie rarely have storylines together without Mac or Frank acting as an intermediary between the two. In the show's storyline, Mac and Charlie were childhood friends and only met Dennis in high school. Mac spends more time with Dennis than Charlie does because Mac and Dennis are roommates, while Charlie lives in a hovel with Frank. Equally rare are storylines with Mac and Dee, as the latter tends to have most of her storylines with Dennis, her twin brother, or Charlie.
- In the Seinfeld episode "The Dog" from Season 3, for one of the first times George and Elaine have to interact without Jerry as a buffer, and they realize that they have nothing in common. They manage to overcome their awkwardness only by gossipping about Jerry, but that quickly grows old. (In later seasons George and Elaine have a number of storylines featuring just the two of them.)
- On the The Dick Van Dyke Show Laura and Richie have very little contact with each other despite being mother and son. It's so bad that there's a joke that the two never talk, although they do... on occasion.
- Rimmer and the Cat almost never interacted in the early seasons of Red Dwarf: Rimmer didn't think of the Cat as a person, and the Cat, before he got more domesticated later on, had no interest in a man who couldn't feed him.
- The O.C. has Ryan and Summer, and Seth and Marissa. Their personalities clash, and they mostly have scenes with other people. Interestingly enough, the friendship of Seth/Summer/Ryan/Marissa works out pretty well.
- Eric and Jackie barely had any storylines with only the two of them in That '70s Show. While Jackie started out as The Friend Nobody Likes, eventually the entire gang warmed up to her, and she eventually shared storylines with pretty much all of them... except for Eric, who kept wanting to have nothing to do with her throughout the series.
- On Rules of Engagement Russell and Jennifer don't have a plot with just the two of them until the seventh and final season.
- There was an earlier episode in which this was lampshaded between Jeff and Jennifer who realized they never hung out until they go shopping for Megyn (in fact, Jeff does not even know Jennifer's last name). This is further lampshaded by Russell who admitted he rarely hung out with her too, mostly because he would always end up looking at her chest.
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer Anya and Tara had barely any close personal interaction despite hanging out together for years in the Scooby Gang and their love interests being best friends with each other, possibly due to their vividly contrasting personalities.
- Star Trek: The Original Series probably intended Sulu and Chekov to be buddies. These two characters weren't too dissimilar in age and attitudes. However, both seem to be grouped together because they both suffer from being the original series' most prominent satellite characters. In most cases, either got paired up with Uhura instead of together. The fact that they both have the same job doesn't help, as one frequently fills in for the other, meaning they frequently appear without the other.
- Expanded Universe rectifies this somewhat. Chekov eventually becomes Sulu's first officer. Also, in Star Trek: Generations, Chekov is shown to know more of Sulu in his private life as he's the one to introduce Demora Sulu (Hikaru's daughter) to Kirk, who was surprised to learn that Sulu had a family, and at the beginning of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Sulu and Chekov are shown to have been hiking in Yosemite together. They also don't seem to have been a part of Kirk, Spock, and Bones's campsite.
- The portrayal of Sulu and Chekov as friends was initially inhibited by the fact that during the second season (Chekov's first season on the show), due to George Takei simultaneously acting in The Green Berets, they often appeared only in alternate episodes.
- Parks and Recreation:
- There was Ann and April. Which turned out to be consistently premeditated by April, who hated Ann for being Andy's ex. When Ann tried some forced "bonding time" with April, it didn't turn out particularly well.
- Also an aversion. They have a surprising amount of interaction, when April's sick with the flu, Ann's her nurse. Ann also tries to bond with her and Ron, takes April to her vet school tour, has a moment with her in her goodbye episode and several other interactions. They just don't like each other
- Donna has this with Leslie of all people: of all the Parks and Rec staff, they have the least interactions total, and the least amount of scenes (although there was one episode focused on the Leslie-Donna relationship).
- Outside of Ben's first few appearances in Season 2, we see very little of Ben and Ron together. Which is surprising, considering they're both close to Andy, April and Leslie, and Ron loves cutting expenses, which is Ben's main job as Assistant City Manager
- There was Ann and April. Which turned out to be consistently premeditated by April, who hated Ann for being Andy's ex. When Ann tried some forced "bonding time" with April, it didn't turn out particularly well.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- When Howard and Amy are paired together on a scavenger hunt, they point out that they had never been alone together before. Amy also rarely interacts with Leonard or Raj.
- Likewise Bernadette rarely interacts with anyone other than Howard and the other two girls.
- In general, any girl/guy pairing on the show qualifies, except the three couples (Leonard/Penny, Sheldon/Amy, Howard/Bernadette) and the Odd Friendship Sheldon/Penny.
- After season one of Merlin, Arthur and Morgana had barely any scenes with each other. This was partly due to the constraints of the plot, in which Morgana grows ever more isolated, but even once the reveal that Arthur and Morgana were half-siblings occurred, there was never much effort to capitalize on their new relationship.
- On Living Single, while everyone works well collectively as a group and with Khadijah (given she's the main character), certain members of the group don't seem to have much screen time with one another. This is the case of Overton and any woman not Synclaire and Khadijah, who are his wife and his wife's cousin, respectively, but in particular with Regine. note Then there's also Kyle and Synclaire who didn't have much interaction as well as her and Max, too. That being said, it seems that the aforementioned males have something of a level of contempt for the females and vice versa, even if it only pops up on rare occasions (one episode had Kyle annoyed that Synclaire was invading his shared apartment with Overton once she and the latter began dating, though her eccentricities would annoy any normal person, like using an iron to make a grilled cheese sandwich.)
- This occasionally happens on The Walking Dead, due to the large cast. For the same reason, they can also be hard to notice.
- The most notable example is probably Michonne and Carol. Despite being main characters, they almost never interact with each other. In fact, the only two times where they've ever been seen together are in "No Sanctuary," when Michonne thanks Carol for saving them all from Terminus, and in "Them," where they are shown hugging in the background, both of which are very minor instances.
- Daryl and Merle are brothers, but they never appear onscreen together in Season 1. Aside from Merle appearing to Daryl as a hallucination in Season 2's "Chupacabra," they never even see each other until halfway through Season 3 in "Made to Suffer."
- Glenn has almost no interactions with his sister-in-law Beth.
- On Series/Girlfriends, Joan, Maya and Lynn all get significant one on one time with male friend William throughout the series, but Toni very rarely interacts with William outside of a group. Later, in Season 7 when Monica permanently joins the group (after several guest appearances over several seasons), both Joan and Lynn take several episodes to bury the bad blood between themselves and Monica, leading to quite a few one-on-one interactions between Monica and Joan/Lynn. That did not happen with Maya, despite hating Monica as much as the other two.
- In all of the novels of Jane Austen, there is no scene where two male characters are alone together without a woman present. Austen didn't want to speculate on how men behaved on their own. Mansfield Park is the exception, which scenes between Sir Thomas and his son Tom where they discuss Tom's debts, Sir Thomas and his younger son Edmund talking about the theatre, Edmund's arguments with Tom over said theatre, etc.
- Despite being in the Fellowship of the Ring together, Legolas is never seen interacting with any of the Hobbits very much, even though two of them are very fond of Elves. Boromir has less interaction with Sam than the rest.
- The Heroes of Olympus follows the journey of seven separate POV characters, plus their occasional Sixth Ranger (mostly Nico). This trope was bound to happen, and it does: while most of the demigods develop significant friendships and/or romantic relationships with each other, Frank and Piper have the least interaction. Hazel and Jason are a close second. Piper and Hazel would count if not for their last-minute bonding in House of Hades.
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, there's only really one scene where Ford and Trillian directly interact one-on-one (when they're in the Magrathean catalog with an unconscious Zaphod). Perhaps it's because they both tend to be more competent and less quirky than the other characters, and therefore can pretty much happily ignore each other.
- In Tales of Symphonia, while most pairs of main characters receive at least a few Z-skits of dialogue with each other, there is precious little interaction between Raine and Presea. Colette and Regal don't interact very much, either.
- Mostly averted in Dragon Age II, where various characters can be seen hanging out at each other's places, and there are even moments indicating that they have interactions with lesser characters (for instance, if you save the little elf girl from the serial killer in Act 1, she ends up joining the city guard under Aveline in Act 3.)
- With a cast of nine main characters (sorta, depending on how you consider team colors) who seem to fairly friendly with each other within their teams, Team Fortress 2 tends to pretty fair with its cast in terms of screen time, but a clear pattern of groups has formed after seven years, with some serious neglect to non-traditional arrangements. The comics and animated shorts show that they clearly have time off and sometimes do things not involving killing everyone. In spite of this, the limited overlap between the nine of them is surprising in the supplemental material.
- Scout is often seen opposite Spy or Soldier, and sometimes Heavy.
- Soldier gets the most coverage, playing off Scout, Heavy, Demoman, Pyro, and Spy. This is probably because he's a complete nutjob and they're great foils for his idiocy.
- Pyro only seems to get screen time with Engineer, and a bit with Soldier.
- Demoman seems to only hang out with Soldier.
- Heavy is usually seen with Medic, of course, but he also shows up alongside Scout and Soldier as a Comic Trio.
- Engineer's only meaningful interactions so far seem to be with Pyro and perhaps Medic.
- Medic gets screentime with Heavy, naturally, but also a bit with Engineer.
- Sniper doesn't seem to get a lot in the way of 'hanging out' with any of the others, fittingly enough.
- Spy gets Scout and Soldier as his major costars.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog series Tails and Cream barely ever communicate with each other. It's rather odd considering Sonic and Knuckles interact with their female counterparts quite often.
- Final Fantasy:
- Kain and Rydia of Final Fantasy IV are not only major characters in the final party, but are two of the biggest ensemble darkhorses and breakout characters of the Final Fantasy series in general, gaining them more time and attention in the sequel. They've pretty much never interacted.
- Due to the heavy focus on Cloud in Final Fantasy VII, a lot of party members never get interactions with one another outside of him. Barret does best of all, getting juicy scripted interactions with Tifa, Cait Sith, Cid, Yuffie and Red XIII as well as with Cloud; Aeris and Tifa get several scenes together, although most of them are about Tifa getting jealous of Aeris' relationship with Cloud; Red XIII gets a brief scene with Tifa; Yuffie shows up to argue with Barret during his brief time as party leader; and Vincent at one point tells Cid "let's go back to our rooms". Everything else is only implied at best or entirely absent. At least in both Yuffie's and Vincent's case it comes across as a deliberate character choice (Yuffie seems affectionate towards Cloud but antagonistic towards everyone else; Vincent rarely feels the need to talk).
- Aeris and Barret don't interact very much considering Aeris got caught up in AVALANCHE by saving the life of Barret's daughter, and they were two of the game's three party members during development for a while. Their main interaction is the scene in the Gold Saucer where Aeris deliberately antagonises Barret even though he's already in a bad mood and refuses to apologise when Tifa calls her out on it, implying that Aeris doesn't actually like him very much.
- In Metal Gear Solid, Meryl and Otacon never interact, despite being characters so similar that Otacon will play Meryl's role in the ending if she doesn't survive, and despite Meryl's ultimate love interest being a character very similar to Otacon. The original game (not the remake) contains a brief scene where Otacon remarks on how cute Meryl's "behind" is to Snake, meaning he has at least seen her in person; the one time Meryl mentions him, she's apparently really worried about him (again suggesting that they know each other), but since his name hadn't come up in her script at all before, the voice actress mispronounces it. They don't interact in Metal Gear Solid 4, where Meryl gets into a romance with Akiba, a character with similar nomenclature and personality to Otacon - Otacon is invited to her wedding but spends it lurking around in the corner, chatting to the uninvited Drebin.
- Steins;Gate is interesting that apart from the main foursome of Okabe, Kurisu, Mayuri, and Daru, pretty much every other character is a Satellite Character. Despite being Lab Members, Ruka, Moeka, Suzuha, and Faris/Rumiho have little to no interaction with each other. In fact, the only time any of these characters share lines, Suzuha is pointing a gun at Moeka, who just shot Mayuri.
- Piro and Largo from Megatokyo, while initially they were together most of the time, as the time went on , their storylines started do diverge greatly, with Largo's focusing more on Being "The Great Teacher Largo", random shenanigans, fighitng zombies a building f34rb0ts, piro's went to the exploration of relationships, comparing the reality of it when compared to fiction, dealing with his emotional baggage and previous relationship with Miho, and just dealing with everyday's life, to the point they rarely talked to each other, and when they did they were basically having two different conversations on two diferent worlds, however recently seems like this trend is getting reversed as recent strips are basically HAMMERING Largo's world existance right into Piro's face, basically forcing him to deal(and interact) with Largo's side of the plot.
- In Homestuck, Rose and Jade are seen interacting far less than any other pair of beta kids. This is probably because they are the only two who a) aren't a server-client pair, and b) neither one of them is John (who as the protagonist gets the most screen time — especially in the earlier acts — and gets to talk a lot to everybody regardless of server/client status).
- Since there are 12 trolls, there are numerous pairs of trolls who never or rarely interacted. The B2 kids avoided this trope within their group.
- There's also the "meteor crew", the group that spent 3 years on the trolls' meteor during Act 6. Dave lampshades this trope regarding himself and Kanaya at one point. Also, Karkat and Rose never talked much.
- The 12 Beforan trolls are even worse, as they're all introduced three to four at a time in Flash game segments, where the others get cameo appearances if at all. For example, Aranea has only ever interacted with Meenah, and Mituna has never been portrayed speaking to Kurloz nor Latula, who are respectively his best friend and girlfriend.
- Game Grumps has a few examples, but since all of the players hang out regularly off-camera, they're all simply informed attributes until fleshed out farther.
- The first few episodes of Steam Rolled team up Ross and Barry less out of actual chemistry and more out of the fact that Ross's regular partner Danny was too busy being Arin's partner. It didn't help that Barry had been an entirely off-camera presence up until that point, and the only person to have established chemistry with him was no longer on the channel.
- Danny and Suzy have had almost no interaction within the channel itself, as Steam Rolled has a 4-player maximum and Danny is at the lowest priority of attendance due to being the host of two other shows on the channel. The only episode where they're both playing at the same time was only half the length of a normal episode.
- Barry and Suzy are the hosts of Table Flip entirely because of fan demands, and even the fan demands were entirely because they were the only two players without their own show to host.
- Valentine's Day 2014 was dedicated to this, with the Game Grumps episodes of the day starring Arin and Suzy and the Steam Train episode starring Danny and Barry. This is less significant, as these pairs have had a lot of on-camera interactions and are married/roommates respectively, but these were the first episodes to have the pairs on their own without being distracted by other groups.
- The Ultimate Sidemen have Olajide "JJ" Olatunji and Harry Lewis, who both do not frequent with the Sidemen much in any non-FIFA videos, especially videos of their Grand Theft Auto V sessions. What makes it worse is that they are the two most popular members of the group (Harry has over 4.5 million subscribers while JJ as more than twice that amount), and Harry in particular is also their newest member.
- For JJ though, he has recently returned to full-time participation with the Sidemen, as he's recording many videos with the Sidemen (reappearing in sessions for Grand Theft Auto V Funny Moments, for example) and has even brought his second channel back after being abandoned for many months. Harry, on the other hand, is still rarely joining the Sidemen, with Cards Against Humanity videos being his only participation in the Sidemen's non-FIFA videos as of now.
- RWBY's titular team has a downplayed example with Ruby and Blake. Each other pair seems to have a unique bond with one another outside of combat tactics (Ruby and Weiss are official partners and Vitriolic Best Buds, Blake and Yang are also partners and had a heart-to-heart in Volume 2 which resulted in becoming Fire-Forged Friends, Blake and Weiss had to reconcile their differences regarding Faunus and the White Fang, Ruby and Yang are sisters who love each other very much, and Weiss an Yang took part in the doubles round of the Vytal Festival Tournament where Weiss sacrificed herself for Yang), or have taken part in an important event together. However, they get along quite well.
- Teen Titans has episodes that pair in some way each of the Titans with another member, with the exception of Beast Boy and Robin.
- Family Guy:
- In the episode "Eight Simple Rules For Buying My Teenage Daughter", while Meg is babysitting Stewie, he lampshades that the two generally don't interact much in an awkward attempt at making conversation.
- Lampshaded again in "And Then There Were Fewer" the party of guests divide into couples to search the mansion. Peter makes groups, among them choosing Dr Hartman and Seamus since they may be interesting as a new chemistry.
- Brian often has storylines with everyone in the main cast, except for Chris (although the crossover "The Simpsons Guy" has a Brian/Chris subplot). This is mainly because Chris is generally the most Out of Focus of the main cast, so plots that focus on him at all are generally not very common. The only subplots he really commonly gets with other characters are with Peter, and maybe a few with Meg.
- Finally somewhat subverted in the episode when Peter asks Brian to tutor Chris and to be a good role model.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph lampshades the fact she never got to go on a 'life changing field trip' with Zuko, unlike everyone else.
- In South Park, the relationship between Cartman and Stan and between Kyle and Kenny is never really developed as compared to relationships between Cartman and Kyle or Kyle and Stan. Honestly, though, Kenny doesn't have too many plots tying him too closely with any of the other boys in the group.
- Played With: Cartman and Kenny generally don't interact much, but in one surprisingly poignant episode, Cartman admits that since Stan and Kyle were best friends, he always considered Kenny his best friend. Another episode reveals that they had declared themselves "Best Friends Forever" years before, although Kenny claims that he did this out of pity because Cartman alienates everyone else.
- Cartman and Stan have a storyline in "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow." Cartman enjoys hanging out with just Stan without "stupid Kyle" around, but they don't seem to do it much.
- While there have at least been a few exceptions between the four boys, Kenny and Butters barely interact at all. This amusingly came into play in the episode "Going Native", where it is revealed Kenny is actually Butters' favorite friend and the two finally share an entire plot together.
- Sonic SatAM has a case affecting the Spotlight-Stealing Squad in that Sonic rarely interacted with Bunnie, while Sally replaced Rotor as his confidant and foil, making them more this. As such the two ended up Demoted to Extra in Season Two. This is also evident in the Archie comic series, albeit to a lesser degree.
- Most of the "Steam Team" in Thomas the Tank Engine have had an episode together within the long run. Edward and Emily have had very little interaction however. Edward also rarely interacts with Toby, likely due to similarities in character (and even being Flanderized in a similar manner).
- Par some of the feature length specials, Sandy is rarely involved in the antics going on at the Krusty Krab in Spongebob Squarepants, so is not seen interacting with Mr Krabs or Squidward much individually, and is rarely placed against Plankton.
- Pildit and Spildit in The Dreamstone, to the point they are never even in a scene together, something that can seem somewhat odd given they are supposedly cousins.
- Looney Tunes: Most of the cast have had a short together, sometimes leading to unique dynamics, however, due to some being director specific, a few key stars have not interacted. Special "all star" projects such as the live action movies and The Bugs Bunny Show remedied a few of these.
- Notably, Bugs and Porky had little to no interaction in the original shorts.The Looney Tunes Show changed this, and we see them interact with each other much more.
- In The Looney Tunes Show, Bugs and Tina barely interacted in the show and when they do interact it was brief. There hasn't been an episode where it focuses on them together although their Distaff Counterparts, Daffy and Lola, do.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
Pinkie Pie: You and Fluttershy write each other letters?Discord (Genuinely shocked at the surprise): Well of course we do! We're friends.
- Pinkie Pie and Rarity rarely interact outside of their larger group. Out of the first 109 episodes, there are only four scenes (in the episodes "The Last Roundup," "Putting Your Hoof Down," "Canterlot Boutique," and "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows") where it's just the two of them together without the rest of the cast. It's not until the sixth season that they get an episode focusing on the two of them together.
- The same sometimes applies for Applejack and Fluttershy. And to a lesser extent, Rainbow Dash and Rarity, though the latter two eventually got an episode dedicated to their hanging out and subsequently working together while the former pair finally got an episode dedicated to the two of them in the sixth season.
- Interestingly, the first season acted as something of a positive Deconstruction of this, since the six ponies were implied to be acquaintances before but were only brought together due to their new found friendship with Twilight Sparkle, thus leading to many of them being put into situations together and gaining new bonds (eg. Applejack and Rarity in "Look Before You Sleep"). Compare the way Pinkie Pie asks to hang out with Rainbow Dash in "Griffon The Brush Off" with how she asks in "Too Many Pinkies".
- Invoked with Fluttershy and Discord's friendship quite regularly for laughs. We never actually see the two just hanging out (in fact Discord has more screen time getting uncomfortably close with Twilight), and apparently neither do the other ponies since they're usually pretty surprised when they find out those two indeed are quite close off-screen:
- This is no longer true as of seasons 5 and 6, which gave him and Fluttershy several scenes of them hanging out together.
- After season 3, the Evolving Credits added a lot of side characters to the photo of Twilight with all of her friends, even though she rarely if ever hangs out with most of them onscreen. Snips and Snails are one example, having the honor of appearing with Twilight in the photo, yet they still haven't had any real interactions with her since their debut in season 1's Boast Busters, which portrayed them as acquaintances at best. And it's worth noting that, ironically, Discord is ABSENT from the photo.
- Spike rarely interacts directly with any of the main cast other than Twilight and Rarity.
- Starlight is even worse than Spike, who still occasionally gets an unimportant background role. She's supposed to be learning about friendship as Twilight's pupil and roommate, so it would make a lot of sense for her to be making more of an effort to bond with the mane six, but... well, she's not. Instead, she generally only appears in any given episode if she's important to the plot and even then her only real established relationships are with Twilight, Spike, Trixie, and Sunburst (the latter two only having guest star status).
- In Scooby-Doo, the usual way the group divides is Fred and Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby, and Velma with either. This is lampshaded in one episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo?, where the group decides to split in a different way for once, with Fred splitting off with Shaggy, only to find they have absolutely no chemistry as a pair.
Fred: So... did you see the game last night?Shaggy: Uh, I'm not really into sports.Fred: Oh, right...Shaggy: Wanna go get something to eat?Fred: No thanks, I'm not hungry.Shaggy: Oh...Fred: From now on let's split up like we normally do.Shaggy: Agreed.
- Also brought up in the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo film, in which Velma complains about the usual pairings, leaving her the odd man out. Fred volunteers to be her partner on their current quest, but struggles to carry normal conversation with her.
- Other than "The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo", Shaggy and Daphne never have much one-on-one time, due to Fred and Daphne's dynamic. However, recently there's been a brief ship tease in "Mystery Incorporated", and the newest incarnation of the show has the first time Fred splits the gang up and pairs Daphne with Shaggy and Scooby. Additionally, some scenes in the new movies involve their dynamic.
- On Recess, Gus and Vince hardly interact with each other, compared to them with the other members of the Recess Gang. The same goes with Mikey and Gretchen.
- With the exception of the Mickey/Donald/Goofy teamup, the stars of the Classic Disney Shorts barely interact with each other and characters like Chip N Dale and Humphrey the Bear are exclusively seen with Donald. Shorts on House of Mouse remedy this a bit by having Mickey share the screen with characters like Huey, Dewey and Louie ("Mickey's Remedy"), Chip 'n' Dale ("Mickey's Mixed Nuts") and Jose Carioca ("Mickey Tries to Cook").
- Minnie and Daisy were also more or less Satellite Characters to Mickey and Donald respectively until later revivals gave them more individual roles (the two in particular now spend several roles alongside each other).
- Word of God acknowledged this trope in Futurama and would occasionally find ways to remedy it, be it hilariously awkward, like Kif trying to make small talk with Fry while facing certain doom in "The Beast With a Billion Backs", or genuine like Hermes and Bender in "Lethal Inspection".
- X-Men: Evolution:
- Among the main cast, Jean and Kurt and Scott and Kitty probably had the least interaction among the characters, which becomes oddly noticeable thanks to the fact that Scott and Jean and Scott and Kurt were close relationships, as was Kurt and Kitty and, to a down-played extreme, Kitty and Jean. The first few episodes teased the idea of Jean and Kurt flirting a bit and Kitty gushing over how attractive Scott is, but after that, neither interact one-on-one much (especially notable given Scott's big-brother like protectiveness over his team, Kitty's status as everyone's little sister, and Kitty briefly dating his rival Avalanche, meaning they had potential for him to play a few older brother tropes that he never touched upon with Kitty).
- Averted with Rogue and everyone, as Scott, Jean, Kitty, and Kurt all have unique dynamics with Rogue, and played straight with Evan and everyone, to the point he borders on being The Friend Nobody Likes before being written out.
- It's been pointed out on The Simpsons Headscratchers page that Bart and Maggie have very little interaction.