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If two characters that don't like each other, or who happen to be angry with each other at the moment, live in one house or apartment, one of them will be eventually seen painting a white line in the middle of the residence, explaining: "This is my side; this is yours. Don't go on my part!" Naturally, it's Serious Business.
Eventually complications will begin to show up, like how long the line is expected to be maintained, guests being forced to follow those rules, or necessities like the fridge or bathroom being available only on one side.
Related to This Is My Chair, which is usually a throwaway gag. See also Property Line, which is the same plot on a larger scale. Truth in Television, as those who have ever had an argument with a sibling, roommate, or Soviet Bloc can attest to.
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Anime and Manga
Mai-HiME, less because of any dislike between the characters than because Akira has a secret to keep from Takumi. Thus, Akira uses a curtain to separate the room, rather than a line.
Suiseiseki in Rozen Maiden, who initially dislikes Jun, draws an obviously biased one in his room.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: While there was no actual line drawn, Asuka tells Shinji that the door between two rooms is "the impenetrable wall of Jericho, Third Child. Take one step over this line and you'll be a dead man." Given that in the story from the Bible, the wall of Jericho fell at the sound of a trumpet, many fans perceived this as a come on. This is helped by the fact that Asuka herself breaks the line after a bathroom trip, lying next to Shinji instead of returning to her room. Whether she did it on purpose or unconsciously is up to debate.
In the Read or Die TV series, Anita's side of the room is divided from the others' by a curtain. "Nobody crosses!" One wonders what she's hiding.
In Cherry Juice a Not Blood Siblings brother and sister have to share a room when their grandmother moves into the house after suffering a hip injury.
Black Butler: William does this in the manga to Sebastian when forced to share a room during the Circus arc. Enforces it with gusto when Ciel encroaches on his space by 3 cm.
Happened once in "Pokémon" where Jessie and Misty fell onto a small rock ledge on a cliff together. Misty draws a line on the rock to give each of them a side while they wait for rescue. Her side is much larger than Jessie's.
On Bill Cosby's record To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With, the title track is a twenty-minute long narrative describing what happened when a young Cosby decided to pull this trope on his baby brother with the bed they shared.
A story in What If?: Planet Hulk had a one-man version; Hulk lands on the planet the Illuminati wanted him to land on in the first place. Bruce Banner cobbles together a radio to try and get off the planet, but Hulk decided he likes it there so he smashes the radio, which leads to a back-and-forth war of Bruce and Hulk screwing each other over. Eventually Hulk wakes up and sees that Bruce pulled this trope.
In one story on The Smurfs, the village is divided over linguistic issues (they can't agree on the use of "smurf") and one enterprising Smurf paints a line along the middle. Unfortunately, it runs right through one poor Smurf's home, creating confusion as to which side he belongs to. The whole story must've been an allegory on the French / Dutch language struggle in Belgium (where the Smurfs' creator is from).
Asuka uses her infamous "Wall of Jericho" line on two separate occasions in Shinji and Warhammer 40k... once to Shinji, and once to Rei.
Asuka (to Shinji): "This is the unbreakable wall of Jericho! Cross this line and I'll scream rape!"
Asuka (to Rei): "This is the unbreakable wall of Jericho! You -will not- cross it!"
Rei: "That wall... was broken."
Asuka: "Fine! An even bigger wall! The Great Wall!"
Rei: "That too, is broken."
Asuka: "...this here is my Absolute Territory (as in AT-field)! You -will not- cross it!"
In C'est La Vie an alternate universe's Harry Potter turned out to be such a jerkwad that the Gryffindor boys' dorm was split down the middle "on the first night of the first week of the first month of our first year here," as Neville Longbottom (aka that universe's Boy-Who-Lived) put it.
On Madagascar, Alex draws a line on the beach to divide the island between Marty, who likes being out in the wild, and the others, who want to go back to New York. Marty calls his side the "fun side", to which Alex responds, "You're in the Jersey side of this cesspool!"
Pacific Rim has rival scientists Dr. Newton Geiszler and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb sharing a room, with a faded yellow line down the middle. Gottlieb is very adamant about this unspoken contract, to the point where if a sliver of a Kaiju crosses the line, he'll kick it back over.
Gottlieb: No Kaiju entrails over my side of the room! You know the rules! Every bloody day, it's incessant!
The UST couple in It Happened One Night spend the movie hanging a blanket (the Wall of Jericho) between the beds in their hotel/motel rooms for privacy.
In the novel Going Postal, the basement room where Junior Postmen Toliver Groat and Stanley Howler live has a line going down the middle of the floor and across the top of the dining table, with a little "neutral zone" circle for the salt. A scrap of paper which has fallen partially on the fanatically neat Stanley's side has had the protruding edge removed, and the rest left. The two don't appear to dislike each other, they're just very private people. (Although Moist gets the definite feeling that the reason they don't dislike each other is because there's a line, which to him seems to say: "This is my side, this is your side. As long as we both remember that, there won't be any more ... trouble". And he gets this feeling before he learns about Stanley's "Little Moments".)
The novel Jingo refers obliquely to the trope a few times, during scenes in which a group of Ankh-Morporkian and Klatchian fishermen are stranded on Leshp, as microcosms of the much bigger territorial dispute in the main plot.
Terraced houses in Morpork have a tendency to have very precise property lines, to the extent that each home-owner paints their own half of the drainpipe and no further. Although Vimes is of the opinion that this is just because Morporkians are too tight-fisted to buy paint for a whole drainpipe if only half of it is theirs.
The Gordon Korman young adult novel The Toilet Paper Tigers. The bratty older brother has laid tape down the middle of the room, and penalizes any (real or imagined) affront with moving the tape to shrink the younger brother's side.
In The War with Mr. Wizzle by the same author: After Bruno and Boots have a fight, Bruno divvies up the room and refuses to talk to Boots. (He does permit him to use the bathroom, though.)
Boots: "How come the bathroom and the closet are in your half? Not to mention the door."
Bruno: "First come, first served. You can use all three. Especially the door."
In The Disappearance Of Sister Perfect, the title character divides her and her sister's bedroom in two by gluing a line of hair ribbons to the floor.
There's a children's Star Trek book where Worf and his roommate at the Academy do this.
In My Sister's Keeper, Kate and Anna did this at one point as children. Kate graciously allowed Anna to choose the side with all of her favorite toys on it, then smiled smugly as she left, since hers was the only side with a door.
In Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, one of the older students tells Janet that last year she and her roommate had to set up a clothesline with sheets in the middle of the room, and the roommate would go out through the window because the door wasn't on her side.
The episode "Men Are Messy", in which Lucy — fed up with cleaning up after a careless Ricky — divides their apartment with masking tape and tells him to look after his own half.
Another episode finds the Ricardos and Mertzes running a diner together. When an argument erupts over which couple should greet guests and which should work in the kitchen, a dividing line of this sort is placed in the middle of the establishment (and across the middle counter stool). It gets more interesting when their sole customer decides to sit on that middle stool, and both couples outdo themselves trying to serve him.
Variant: in WKRP in Cincinnati, Les Nessman, believing that he deserved an office of his own, used masking tape to mark off an area on the floor of the newsroom around his desk which he claimed to be his "office", and demanded that people "knock on the door" and request entry before crossing the taped line to approach his desk.
The Brady Bunch: In at least one episode, a line was painted or taped, and possibly in several episodes.
In Married... with Children, Al Bundy took a vacation without leaving home, by cordoning off the couch area, ignoring everything going on in the rest of the house, and faking it. "I'm sorry, the captain's turned on the 'No Peg' sign."
In Happy Days, Ralph and Potsie acted on the bad advice secretly written by Richie in an advice column about dividing their apartment. This creates a war of sides where each has the entirety of a necessary part of the apartment (Ralph=kitchen, Potsie=bathroom). Eventually, the resulting fight gets so bad that when Richie tries to resolve the situation, he has to make them all stand on the line itself as neutral territory like tightrope walkers, only to have Fonz come and note to the bizarre sight, "And you're doing it without a net."
In Farscape Stark split his and Crichton's shared prison cell in this way, with some slightly creepy ranting, which became something of a feature of his character. "My side, your side" was his catch phrase, used in a number of contexts.
House: House and Cuddy do this when Cuddy is forced to temporarily share House's office. This includes dividing the desk into two sides.
In the "Milky Jo" episode of The Mighty Boosh Howard and Vince end up washed up on a desert island and divide it up this way.
An episode of The Munsters had Grampa and Herman split the house down the middle after an argument about who actually owned the place heats up. This includes a painted white line (with some effort being put toward an actual stone wall), and the vindictive act of cutting in half any item halfway across both lines. The whole thing is put to rest when Lilly uses some awkward food placement at the dinner table to get them to rethink the logistics of the layout.
In one episode of Drop the Dead Donkey, Henry and Sally have to share a desk and get into an argument about each keeping to their own side. As the episode goes on the argument takes an increasingly militaristic tone with disputes about how one of them has made excursions into the agreed-upon neutral zone in the middle of the desk. In the end, Helen removes their desk entirely and puts two kiddie tables in its place.
The X-Files. In "Never Again" Scully complains that she has to share Mulder's desk. Mulder responds that there's no room in their cramped basement for two desks anyway. Scully is pissed off at this (and because Mulder is acting like a patronizing Jerk Ass) and continues to remain so throughout the episode, engaging in a number of Out of Character behaviors like getting a tattoo and engaging in a one night stand. At the end of the episode Mulder says, "I don't understand...all this over a desk?" Scully just replies: "Not everything is about you, Mulder." The truth is Scully had just discovered she had cancer.
In the Steptoe And Son episode "Divided we Stand", Harold and Albert divide the house in two. Even the TV gets divided between them.
A four-way version happened on The Monkees when the four boys were fighting over a girl. The show played with it, noting that each would have access to only one particular vital part of the apartment. Davy's side had the front door, implying he was the only one with the ability to come and go; however, he "would gladly trade Mike for the bathroom right away". Moments later, the whole arrangement is quickly forgotten when a show comes on TV that they want to see and everyone rushes to Peter's side (which contains the television set).
The M*A*S*H episode "The Billfold Syndrome" has Charles section off the Swamp between himself and Hawkeye and BJ.
My Talk Show: Guest William Shatner takes over one section of the house/set and declares it Canadian territory.
The Benny Hill Show: In a sketch, Russian and American sides of an unnamed European Countrynote pretty obviously Germany are decided after years of negotiation — down the center of the bedroom of a pair of newlyweds. A painter paints a line down the wall and on the floor. Suddenly the husband (on the American side) needs a passport to visit his wife (on the Russian side).
Official: Is the purpose of your visit business or pleasure?
In an episode of Dad's Army Hodges and Mainwaring have to share and office and Hodges attempts to draw a line down the middle of the desk in chalk, which Mainwaring keeps rubbing off.
Alexia does this in the Pixelface episode "High Spirits" when the others get angry at her for taking their stuff with permission. She divides the console in half, with her on one side and everyone else on the other.
In Life With Derek, when Derek and Casey's family went on a road trip, Casey divided the house with pink and blue tape so that she and Derek can avoid each other.
Full House, D.J. divided the room she shared with her younger sister Stephanie. Too bad Stphanie's half didn't have access to the door.
A Nickelodeon Magazine issue had listed several annoying songs to sing in the car. One of them was to the tune of Oh My Darling, Clementine, and was all about this trope.
In the back seat, down the middle, is a line no one can see. It divides this side from that side and this side belongs to me. Don't you cross it, don't you cross it, the imaginary line. Stay on your side, stay off my side, that is yours and this is mine.
Parodied in one Bloom County comic strip, when some of the characters start arbitrarily painting lines across the local meadow, cutting off one person each time: "This is our 'state'! Stay out of our 'county'/'town'/'house'!" Then only two of them are left and they're standing on a hilltop - with no room left for further lines. "You're violating my personal space." Cue the shoving match.
One arc has Calvin deciding to become a tiger, then finding out that tigers are territorial. He uses a boulder to define the boundary between his and Hobbes' territory, then brags about how much better his side is. Hobbes then rolls the boulder over toward Calvin and declares that "your side is smaller."
Calvil and Hobbes bickered in the back seat of Calvin's parent's car once.
They once had divided parts in Calvin's bed, with a demilitarized zone in the middle.
In For Better or for Worse, Mike and Dee's downstairs neighbours complain that there are toys all over the entrance hall, so Mike puts down a line of tape and says they'll keep their stroller, tricycles, etc. on one side and the Kelpfroths can keep their side as tidy as they like.
Parodied in a Garfield strip where he instead just paints a circle around Jon's feet. "If you need me, I'll be in my kitchen."
The first argument in Bill Cosby's routine "To My Brother Russell, Whom I Slept With" between a young Bill and Russell is over what constitutes Bill's side of the bed that they're sharing. It becomes a Brick Joke when, after their father forces them to stand up all night instead of sleeping, Bill tries to claim part of the floor.
Shrek The Musical has a good one, at around the same time as Donkey's example above... but it's not Donkey saying it this time.
Shrek: I'm gonna build me a wall. A perfect place to hide. Hey, world, stay on your side!
Was supposed to be referenced in Portal, in the final battle, before the line may have been Dummied Out: An increasingly desperate GLaDOS offers to take a laser and inscribe a line right down the side of the entire research facility, and each of you can have a half, if that'll get you to stop hitting her with rockets.
Final Fantasy XIII: Early on, when Vanille and Sazh stop for the night, she grabs a stick and draws a circle around her blanket, and orders him not to cross the line, to much eye-rolling on his part. It then cuts to her distinctly on the wrong side of the line, huddled against his back and sniffling.
The cherubs do this in Homestuck. Not with a line, because since they're a Split Personality there's no way to ensure the other respects it, but with leg irons that stretch a bit over half way across the room, and that only the personality that puts them on can unlock. The zone reached by both chains is neutral territory.
Episode 11 of Freeman's Mind references this. After he hops over a laser tripwire, a Vortigaunt spawns on the other side of it. After killing it, he shouts:
Gordon': "Stay on your side of the line! My roommate in college used to do the same thing. Your side is the one where everyone is dead and there are no exits. My side is the one filled with hope, love and submachine guns."
Clerks the Animated Series has a pseudo-Flash Back to just such a situation during its second-episode Clip Show, parodying it when the third roommate indignantly reminds Dante and Randal that he lives there, too.
Subverted when Homer begins to draw a line across the house "ŕ la I Love Lucy" after a fight with Marge, but instead draws himself into a tiny corner of the bedroom.
Mentioned in passing by Principal Skinner, when he says that his mother put cardboard over her half of the TV screen.
In one episode, Lisa and Bart are fighting over being able to sit on a certain part of the carpet.
Bart: Hey, I was sitting there! Lisa: I don't see your name on it. Bart: It's right there! (The camera pans down to Bart's name scrawled on the carpet.) Marge: Bart, don't write on the carpet!
Parodied in Clone High: Joan and Cleo are forced to share a room, so Joan paints a line dividing it in half — a horizontal line (bunk beds, you see). Cleo gets the lower half, and Joan gradually becomes "like a monkey in every way."
In Arthur, a babysitter did this to try to stop Arthur and D.W. from fighting. It didn't work, as the two soon begin fighting over a jacket draped over the tape line.
Darkwing Duck: Appears in "Bad Tidings", where the perpetually feuding Darkwing and Grizlikoff paint a line on the desert island they're trapped on. Taken to the logical extreme at the end of the episode, where they do the same thing to the moon. (It makes sense in context..sorta.)
The first episode of Bonkers has Lucky trying to divide up his and Bonkers' office this way.
In an episode of The Emperor's New School, Kuzco does this with the room he has to share with Pacha's kids. But being the Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist that he is, his half takes up 90% of the room, and the dividing line actually goes on Tipo as well ("Which half of me is mine?")
In one episode, the townsfolk enter a huge argument with themselves over the Iraq war. They eventually decide to split the town into what Skeeter calls the "Pro-War side" and the "Unpatriotic side" (to which Randy responds they should call the Anti-War side the "Rational side" and the Pro-War side the "Redneck side"). Very quickly they realize the flaw in their plan as the town only has one school, post office, grocery store, etc. Eventually, they make a realization that they're behaving foolishly:
Skeeter: Hey everybody, this is never going to work. Don't you see? All this dividin' up the town, it's just ridiculous. What we really should be doing, is just beatin' the hell out of each other like we were.
Randy: He's right. Boy, do I feel like a fool.
(both sides instantly revert to their usual behaviour and begin a mass brawl)
An episode uses a sinister variation of the trope. Two visitors from out of town come across South Park, but find it devoid of adults because the kids had the vast majority falsely arrested for "molestering" them and the remaining adults moved away for fear of being arrested. Run by kids, the town has fractured into two units; the area now known as Treasure Cove is apparently led by Stan and occupies the poor side of town, whereas Cartman has seized control of the wealthy side of town and renamed it Smiley Town. Aside from the fact Cartman as dictator is scary enough (add to that the fact only one phone has survived in the entirety of South Park, effectively cutting off communication with the outside world), both sides have an agreement where they essentially play Capture the Flag with a book from the opposing side- whichever side doesn't have a book by 8:00pm must sacrifice one of its number to "The Provider" (in reality, the town's statue of John Elway with a faulty electrical cord nearby rendering it a Death Trap). It's only through the outsiders' interference that the kids are prevented from killing everyone in town and the adults are allowed to return.
In Tigger and Pooh and a Musical Too, a movie from My Friends Tigger & Pooh, Tigger and Rabbit did this with the entire Hundred Acre Wood, drawing up a big white line across the entire Wood and declaring themselves mayors of their respective sides.
Happened in an episode of KaBlam!! where June is laughing at Henry for getting his shirt caught in his pants zipper. Henry is angered by this, and makes June stay on her side of the (comic) panel, and he'll stay on his. Unfortunately for Henry, June throws a huge party on her side.
The Penguins of Madagascar, "All King, No Kingdom": King Julien divides the lemur habitat in half, one side for Maurice and Mort, the other for himself. Naturally, Julien's "half" occupies most of the habitat. Maurice and Mort then throw a party and invite all the animals in the zoo, except for Julien, who starts going crazy with loneliness.
On Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Lucius and Jimmy are trapped on a "Far Side" Island, Lucius does this, trapping Jimmy on a very small "half". Being Jimmy, he's flattered that Lucius gives him half.
In Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps, Angelina and Marco did this with a poster after they were assigned to work together. Marco didn't want frills and a tutu on his poster, while Angelina couldn't abide by the idea of having soccer balls in the poster. It didn't work work out, and they went through a couple of other hangups, before finally hitting on a working idea.
On CatDog, Cat and Dog once took this to the extreme by physically sawing all their possessions in half, including their house.
On American Dad!, Stan and Francine draw a line across the house after a fight over remodeling the kitchen. It's an Invoked Trope, as Stan comments he saw it on The Brady Bunch. Eventually they build a wall across the middle of the house and a Time Passes Montage shows the family celebrating holidays on Stan's and Francine's side. (It turns out they celebrated all those holidays in one week to make each other feel bad.)
In The Smurfs episode "Romeo and Smurfette," Papa Smurf has Brainy divide the village like this when Gargamel starts a dangerous Smurfette/Handy vs. Smurfette/Hefty Ship War. Seriously.
In the animated Back to the Future, the kids' room is divided by a red line with "KEEP OUT!" written on each side. Note that unlike most other examples, this is the default state, rather than a one-time thing.
Seen during the pageant in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearth's Warming Eve". After the three bickering rulers of the earth pony, pegasus, and unicorn tribes get stranded in a cave during a blizzard, the rulers start arguing over who gets what part of the cave, with the pegasus leader eventually starting them on drawing lines in the dirt.
Happened in a Time Squad episode when Tuddrussel and Larry were extra angry at each other: they divide the satellite in two, declare their own side off limits to the other and decide to take a trip to the gun range and kitchen respectively...then they realize that the former is on Larry's side in the latter on Tuddrussel's side. Not wanting to switch, they up trying the other's hobby out of boredom, then make up with an added appreciation for each other...until the end of the episode.
In The Tick, Thrakkorzog, ruler of dimensio-err... Apartment 14-B, has this relationship with his (perfectly normal human) room-mate.
Taz-Mania: In "Unhappy Together", an argument between the Platypus Brothers ends with them cutting their house in half.
In the DC NationTeen Titans short "Taped Before A Live Studio Audience", Robin and Cyborg get into a major escalating war of this after the two want to do something different on TV, taping everything in half - the tower, a donut, the Titans themselves, The Brain... before they get to another roll of tape and...
Caillou, in a fifth season episode of Caillou with his and Rosie's playroom, when Rosie accidentally scratches his bike and he decides that she can't be trusted with any of his stuff.
In the Littlest Pet Shop (2012) episode "Frenemies," Pepper and Zoe divide the day camp room with a thick red line down the middle to keep each other's parties separate.
Legendary bar Cafe Lautrec in Adams Morgan, Washington DC closed after its two owners, who came from competing tribes in Eritrea, went to war against one another, War of the Roses-style. They divided everything in the bar down the middle, staffing alternate shifts, keeping separate books, and brown-bagging liquor, even going so far as to visit the bar on alternate nights to tell customers not to patronize the place, submitting bomb-threats and ABC violations against their own establishment when the other owner was on-duty.
Nation-states can arise from this trope writ large. Especially if a country is internally divided later on. Especially when one considers how language, culture, and all the meaningful aspects of individuals and collectives fade one into the other without as clear-cut barriers as those imposed by the current multi-governmental system, and within a single government many idiolects, microcultures and such co-exist without barriers.
East and West Germany, with the most visible part being the Berlin Wall. This was taken to such an extreme that when the Berlin U-Bahn was divided, a couple of ghost stations existed where the trains passed through on the wrong side of the wall.
North and South Korea.
North and South Vietnam.
North and South Cyprus. The line also cuts the capital, Nicosia, in half.
Averted and eventually inverted by North and South Yemen, who were not part of the same country before their independence, and joined each other in 1990.
The Peace Lines in Belfast, Northern Ireland
This trope was played extremely straight by Mitford sisters Unity and Jessica. Unity was an ardent Nazi; her sister Jessica, three years younger, was a similarly-ardent communist. They shared a room. In the '30s. They very quickly took a piece of chalk to the floor, dividing the room in two. On Unity's side were innumerable swastikas and pictures of Adolf Hitler. On Jessica's were similarly innumerable hammers and sickles and pictures of Vladimir Lenin. The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry, indeed.