troperville

tools

toys

Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Uptight Loves Wild
Fry: What the hell's going on? I thought you were anti-dirty not pro-dirty.
Morgan: I'm surrounded by neat freaks everyday. There's nothing kinkier to me than a filthy slop-jock like you.
He's an uptight actuary.
She has a ferret.

He's stuffy. She's untamed. It's true love.

Mr. Stuffy is in a rut: Life is boring because he plays by the rules. Along comes this wild and crazy woman to show him how to live life to its fullest, and she just might learn a few things along the way, too.

Though the most common form of this trope is from male creators who idealize femininity as a saving force, it could be Gender Flipped. Mr. Stuffy could be Ms. Stuffy and the wild angel could be male and help the little wallflower come out of her shell and blossom gloriously into a beautiful rose! Also, compare Well, Excuse Me, Princess!Loveable Rogue meets Defrosting Ice Queen.

Often seen in 2/3 of a love triangle, especially if the triangle includes two male nerds and their dream girl.

Because Opposites Attract, they'll live Happily Ever After unless Uptight and/or Wild are dying (Nicholas Sparks, we're looking at you.), in which case they'll live what remains of their lives to the fullest. Or unless there's a sequel, in which case Stuffy will surely develop Aesop Amnesia.

The defining trope of Screwball Comedy. Extremely common in Romantic Comedy.

Compare Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl. Not to be confused with Manic Pixie Dream Girl as the "Wild" part of this trope doesn't need to be Manic, a Pixie, a Dream, or a Girl.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • Ruby and Sapphire from Pokémon Special fit this perfectly. One other character even calls Sapphire "Wild Girl".
    • Though in this case, the uptight one is in complete denial of the wild one's feelings for no real reason, preventing the relationship from going anywhere
  • Hinata Hyuga is not particularly uptight, but is certainly not wild. Her crush Naruto, on the other hand...really, really is.
  • Most of the weapon and meister pairings are this way. Maka is very much by-the-rules, studies copiously for tests, and is very modest; her partner, Soul, is very lazy and laid back, often falls asleep during class, and agrees to "piss on [Sid's] grave" with Black*Star. Tsubaki is very kind, a good cook, and doesn't even try to fight without Black*Star; Black*Star, on the other hand, frequently picks fights for no other reason than because he can, and is loud and obnoxious. Kid is the son of the Shinigami, completely OCD to the point of having panic attacks in the middle of battles and is dressed impeccably; Liz is hinted to be a bit of a flirt and Patti blows off an entire test by turning it into an arts-and-crafts giraffe.
  • The Weatherman Is My Lover features an uptight newscaster falling for the program's eccentric cosplaying weatherman.
  • In Kanga Na Spoon, the main character opens by talking about how perfect, glamorous and orderly his life is before introducing to his lover, an obnoxious, flamboyant, freeloading fashion designer with no life skills.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
  • Ranma and Akane from Ranma ˝. It's referenced multiple times throughout the series... Such as one of the opening themes about Ranma and Akane being titled "Dont Make Me Wild Like You" and Ranma's name essentially meaning "wild horse." While (in the manga, at least) Ranma thrives on manipulation, Akane often gets upset with his antics and reveals his identity when he doesn't want her to. He enjoys playing pranks on people, even when Akane gets mad at him for it. He's also comfortable with being half-naked or nude around other people. Akane, on the other hand, will have none of that. She always tries to keep him covered up and maintains her own modesty at all times. True to the trope, Akane eventually becomes more relaxed about these traits and starts helping him out in his schemes and even starts coming up with some herself. (Strangely enough, although they're opposites in this sense, they're alike in many other ways.)
  • FAKE: Ryo towards Dee which he will deny.
  • Armitage III: Ross and Armitage are somewhere between this and Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, though Armitage is no dummy.
  • Invoked and averted in Death Note, where the wild and energetic Perky Goth Misa is deeply in love with the uptight Broken Ace Light, and expects him to fall for her goofy Genki Girl demeanor over time; instead, he takes advantage of her scatterbrained personality and Mad Love to enlist her as a weapon against L.
  • Mahiro and Nyarko from Haiyore! Nyarko-san combine this with a Gender Flip on the normal Tsundere anime romance, with Nyarko's wildness annoying Mahiro to the point of slapstick punishment. It's obvious that he has feelings for her, but won't admit to them for a number of reasons, not the least of which is she's Nyarlathotep, and the idea of romancing a Cosmic Horror scares the SAN Points out of him.
  • Gundam 00: gender-flipped variation with Kati Mannequin and Patrick Colasour. Kati is an older, no-nonsense workaholic, Patrick is a carefree, loveable idiot. At the end of the series, they get married.
    Patrick: Still working? Don't you need to take a break?
    Kati: Now of all times? Do you realize what will happen if I don't get through this data?
    Patrick: The eeeeevviiilll space aliens will come and get us?
    Kati: *smiling* ...somehow I can never continue to take things seriously with you around.

    Comics 
Comic books
  • Death: The High Cost Of Living - A Perky Goth called Didinote  guides a teen guy named Sexton on a journey of self discovery and teaches him to respect life and live it to the fullest, and etcetera. A good example of the difference between Wild and Manic Pixie Dream Girl, as Didi, while unconventional, spontaneous, and extremely outgoing, is at the same time calm, collected, and thoughful.
Comic strips
  • Blondie: Dagwood was the heir to a vast fortune and Blondie was a flighty flapper... They have been married since 1933.
  • Garfield: Gender-flipped between stolid veterinarian Liz and goofy Cloud Cuckoo Lander Jon.

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • In Ball of Fire a burlesque dancer (Barbara Stanwyck) who needs to hide out from the law winds up staying with a bunch of professors (it's a long story). When the younger, handsome professor (Gary Cooper) decides that it's time for her to leave, she pretends to be in love with him. Naturally, it happens for real.
  • Ben Stiller is usually typecast as "Mr. Stuffy" whenever he is in a Romantic Comedy:
    • The trope image is from Along Came Polly, in which his character who works in the insurance industry tries a second chance at love with his free-spirited junior high classmate Polly (played by Jennifer Aniston).
    • In The Heartbreak Kid, he impulsively marries an extremely impulsive woman. It does not end well.
  • A tragic example comes up in The Blue Angel: A man (Emil Jannings) who has dedicated life and limb to education suddenly falls for a cabaret singer (Marlene Dietrich).
  • Bright Star - John Keats is man back in the 1800s who is hidebound by convention, emotionally closed-off, undaring, and believes himself to be a failed poet. But along comes his muse, Fanny Brawne. She's a young, vibrant, fashionable, fiery, flirty, independent-minded, outspoken, strong-willed party girl who inspires him to write a sonnet that shares a name with the film's title. Will she challenge him and motivate him to new heights and help him achieve success that lasts until the 21st century? Well, it is based on a true story, so take a wild guess.
  • Bringing Up Baby — although in something of a variation, it's Wild who falls for Uptight first, Uptight for many reasons wanting nothing to do with her for a large part of the movie. Wild doesn't so much teach Uptight to loosen up as she does drag him kicking and screaming into it.
  • Enchanted: Stuffy, cynical divorce lawyer Robert meets literal fairytale princess Giselle.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind quite thoroughly deconstructs this. A relationship like this doesn't always work and after the falling-in-love part, it causes more pain than joy; so much so that both parties opt to have their memories removed of each other. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is also far more complicated: "I'm not a concept, I'm just a fucked-up girl looking for a peace of mind".
  • A Fish Called Wanda, at least for Archie and Wanda.
  • 'Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives'': Everyone thinks that Tommy is crazy, but he's very sane and stuffy and goal-oriented. His love interest, Megan, is very wild. Megan cracks wise, disobeys her father, breaks Tommy out of prison at gun point, crams his face into her lap for a police chase... um, balances her chair on two legs, and is very lucky to have hooked up with the Final Guy for a 50/50 chance of survival.
  • Enid and Seymore from Ghost World
  • The Golden Child - Sassy jokester Chandler Jarrell breaks all the rules while trying to save children, and teaches stoic, bookish, disciplined Kee Nang how to literally let down her hair.
  • Grumpy Old Men - John Gustafson and Max Goldman are fairly uptight and stuck in a rut, finding pleasure only in ice fishing, bickering, and tolerating their children. That is until wild and crazy Californian, Ariel Truax, rolls into town, racing a snowmobile up and down the street, turning their lives upside down, and causing a love triangle between the two.
    • This trope is showcased chiefly in a scene between John and Ariel, where she gleefully admits to stealing John's mail, claims to be able to tell his fortune by spending 30 seconds in his bathroom, and asks him if he's homosexual or heterosexual, all to his chagrin (but ultimately for his own good). Almost lampshaded with...
    Ariel: "Well, it's a perfectly legitimate question."
    John: "Well, maybe in California, but here in Minnesota... Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!"
    They get married
  • An unremarkable short film called Headlong. As the reviewer at Something Awful puts it:
    This is just a retelling of one of the most classic stories known to man. Unfortunately, it is a story which man has always found irritating, cliched, and thoroughly useless. It's the tale of an uptight man who meets free-spirited female who teaches him how to cut loose, despite being an intolerable bitch. Simon Raby reinvents this timeless story by giving it a fresh, exciting new angle - he puts it inside a car! How does he come up with this stuff?
  • In Hellraiser, Uncle Frank definitely helps Julia come out of her shell.
  • The relationship between Juno and Bleeker from Juno
  • Laws of Attraction She's a stuffy uptight cynical genius divorce lawyer! He's a free-spirited genius divorce lawyer who believes in true love! They Fight Crime! - uh, they're opposing counsel on a bunch of different cases! It's actually a pretty well-done, if forgettable, example of this trope, and it definitely doesn't hurt that Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore are damned good actors.
  • In Life as We Know It, it's gender flipped. Holly is an uptight bakery owner, and Messer is a free-wheeling player.
  • Love Letters is a made-for-TV film directed by Stanley Donen, starring Laura Linney as Melissa Gardner Cobb and Steven Weber as Andrew Ladd. She is a freewheeling artist with plenty of sexual partners and a love of booze and has had a bad reputation since high school. He's a stalwart, stuffy Republican politician. Their letters to each other are his sail and her anchor, but she threatens to moon his respectable peers if his letters get too uniform.
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is an odd case: while they are not romantically entangled, the relationship between wild American Delysia Lafosse and stiff British governess Miss Pettigrew follows this trope pretty closely, with each learning something from the other.
  • A (mostly) platonic example appears in Mr. Peabody & Sherman between the bookish, dorky Sherman and the fun-loving, girly Penny, although their relationship begins with the left foot (the plot essentially begins after Sherman bites Penny after she literally treated him like a dog). It is only because of Character Development for both parties (especially hers) that they begin to understand each other. However, Mr. Peabody thinks at first she may be a Toxic Friend Influence.
  • My Girl: Thomas falls for Vada despite her being everything opposite to his usual sedate existence.
  • Gender-flipped in Ninotchka (and its musical remake, Silk Stockings). A cheerful, carefree Frenchman falls in love with an Ice Queen commissar from the Soviet Union.
  • Notting Hill - William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is an unsuccessful Notting Hill bookstore owner who is depressed that his wife has dumped him. But all that will change when Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), the world's most beautiful woman and best-liked actress, enters his shop and changes his life with her glamorous Hollywood ways.
  • Ondine - Syracuse is a cynical, reclusive, recovering-alcoholic fisherman who one day brings up a selky named Ondine Romanian drug mule in his fishing net. She brings luck and can grant wishes. Can Ondine help Syracuse learn to live, love, and trust? Yes. They get married..
  • Thor has shades of this. The serious science student Jane falls for the Fish out of Water demigod who likes to smash things (He gets better, of course).
  • Up starts out with a version of this between 10-year-olds. It's very cute — and leaves a lifelong impact on them as well.
  • Lisa, Wyatt, and Gary from Weird Science
  • Whats Up Doc: Once Judy Maxwell sets her eye on Howard Bannister (Ryan O'Neal), not even his impending marriage to the controlling Eunice Burns (Madeline Kahn) is going to stand in her way. And as much as he protests, this crazy adventure is just the thing he needs to make him start thinking over the things he really wants (Eunice is not among them).
  • Yes-Man is a very obvious example of this. The stuffy Jim Carrey gets the wild Zooey Deschanel when he finally decides to start saying yes to things.
  • The Proposal - This movie tries to trick you into thinking that Bullock's character, Margaret, is the stuffy, uptight one, and Reynolds' character, Andrew, is the comic relief. However...
    Margaret: Outsider (from Canada) who breaks the rules, which, as the plot suggests, gets her threatened with deportation, and she then breaks more rules to avoid deportation. She's not the usual perky hippie new age type, though, but she's definitely Wild in the corporate drag of a smart business suit and pony tail, and acts fairly abrupt and harsh, as she delights in acting wild and crazy and keeping Ryan Reynolds on his toes and basically doing as she pleases. She will use her idealized femininity as a saving force with her zany schemes, helping Andrew with his various issues. But will they fall in love by the end? Take a guess!
    Andrew: He's in a rut. Life is boring because he plays by the rules.
    • Best summarized in the Family Guy episode Farmer Guy, when a man comes in to a video store and asks for a copy of the film, Peter, the cashier, says nobody has returned their copies, so he simply shows the man a poster of the movie on the wall...
    Peter: "I have a poster from The Proposal you can look at. You'll get most of the story."
    Customer: "Huh. They seem pretty mismatched."
    Peter: "There ya go."
  • Flakes features this as a B Plot with the uptight Bruce coming to admire the wilder Katz. However, it never goes anywhere because she's devoted to the similarly wild, if unambitious, Neal.

    Literature 
  • Loretta Chase loves this trope: Mr. Impossible (Rupert is the wild one, Daphne is the nerd), Lord Perfect and Last Night's Scandal (Olivia is the wild one, Peregrine/Lisle is less so). Benedict and Bathsheba from Lord Perfect seem to be set up to be this trope, except that Bathsheba isn't nearly as wild as her daughter/the rest of her relatives are.
  • At the end of the Khaavren trilogy, it is revealed that Tazendra has been in love with Aerich all along, and it seems to be mutual.
  • Subverted in Effi Briest where the relationship between the Prussian official Geert von Instetten and the titular "Daughter of the Air" just plain doesn't work out because of their conflicting personalities - In the end, she ends up cheating on him with a more exciting, womanizing officer, and despite of the fact that he still loves her, he sees no choice but to divorce her because his honor code says so. To be fair, him being twice her age and their marriage being arranged didn't help in the slightest.
  • Remy and Dexter in This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, a Gender Flip of Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl.
  • Shelby and Calhoun in Star Trek: New Frontier is one of two gender-flipped versions of this trope. He's Military Maverick, and she's by the book.
    • The other is Selar and Burgoyne: She's a Vulcan, s/he's from a hedonistic race of hermaphrodites.
  • Rebel pilots Braylen Stramm and Gina Moonsong in Star Wars Blade Squadron. He is a former Imperial military officer who does things by-the-book, while she is an ex-smuggler who is Mildly Military and a Fiery Redhead.

    Live Action Television 
  • Austin & Ally: He's wild and fun, while she's serious and responsible.
  • In Glue, the Secret Relationship between James and Eli is this: the former is a dutiful son and an all-around [[goody-two-shoes Nice Guy]], while the latter is basically a rentboy and a drug dealer and often in trouble with the law.
  • Both major couples in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
    • Worf and Jadzia: he's a stuffy Proud Warrior Race Guy, she's a Trill with several hundred years' worth of memories who does whatever she can to avoid boredom.
    "Worf. My love. Let me make this very clear: I do not want to spend my honeymoon climbing, hiking, sweating, bleeding or suffering in any way."
    "Alright. What do you want?"
    "Room service. I wanna be pampered. I want a staff to cater to our every whim - I wanna be embarrassed by the size of our room."
    • Odo and Kira: he's a policeman so uptight he can't stand people moving the things in his room an inch out of place, she's a Fiery Redhead ex-guerrilla fighter with little respect for any rules but her own.
  • Queer as Folk - Drew Boyd is a star quarterback who, although engaged, is a closeted homosexual. Emmett's flamboyant feminine saving force propels Drew out of the closet with a controversial on-air kiss.
  • The L Word - This show verts this trope pretty well, as most people tend to be varying degrees of wild no matter their gender or sexual preference, with the most notable exception being Tasha, uptight and in her rut, being rescued by Alice's feminine saving force, which sends quakes throughout the military and "frees" Tasha from her "oppressors."
  • Dharma and Greg as parodied on Family Guy as seen here
  • Firefly: Simon and Kaylee are attracted to each other from the first moment they meet, something that's immediately noticed by everyone. He's a properly raised, upper class gentleman who lives by the mantra of behaving courteously at all times (even when insulting people) while she's a country girl who's in love with life, freedom and fun. Their different social classes causes difficulties; he fumbles his attempts to compliment her and she has a habit of misinterpreting his respect for her honour as evidence he thinks she'd never be good enough for him under normal circumstances.
  • An episode of Cupid revolved around this. The title character had to hook the stuffy guy up with an untamed woman, despite their differences.
  • Life With Derek: Casey (stuffy) and Derek (untamed), as a result of a Relationship Writing Fumble.
  • Power Rangers RPM: As of the episode "If Venjix Won", this is Dr. K and Ziggy.
  • Flying Blind, a short-lived series from 1992, explored the difficulties faced by self-conscious and repressed Neil in dealing with the erotic antics of liberated Alicia.
  • Lisa, Wyatt, and Gary from Weird Science.
  • Kissing Cousins George Michael and Maeby in Arrested Development. George Michael was mostly a timid, dutiful son while Maeby was something of an independent delinquent.
  • Ashes to Ashes messes around slightly with Alex and Gene; at first it seems that Alex (sophisticated, intelligent career woman) is obviously the uptight one to Gene's fist-happy, racist, sexist, armed bastard of a guy. But then Alex goes and throws herself at every guy she meets whilst getting frequently smashed, and it's Gene who pulls her up on it.
  • The Big Bang Theory - Penny moves into an apartment next door to two brilliant but socially awkward physicists and shows them how little they know about life outside of the laboratory.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Angel is moody, broody, and cursed by the Roma. Can Buffy help raise his spirits and break the curse? Yes. Epicly.
    • This later happens with Angel's blossoming feelings towards Cordy.
    • Then inverted when Faith and later Spike try to get Buffy the Uptight Slayer to loosen up. It doesn't end well either.
    • Giles with the lovely Romani granola girl techno-pagan Wicca hippie Ms. Calender.
  • Lee "Apollo" Adama and Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on Battlestar Galactica. And because they somehow also manage to be Like Brother and Sister, this kind of puts them under the Sibling Yin-Yang trope as well.
  • This is gender-flipped in Gossip Girl, with Blair as an uptight, proper, virginal lady, and Chuck a hedonist who likes his hookers to come in twos. She makes him less wild and more responsible, and he makes her far more sexual and liberated.
  • As of the episode 'iOMG', this trope could be in the offing for 'Seddie' (Sam and Freddie) in iCarly.
  • Gender-flipped in Skins with Chris and Jal. Like the Gossip Girl example, Jal inspires Chris to work hard to get and keep a job, and Chris inspires Jal to let her hair down a little.
  • Free Spirit is a standard sitcom from The Eighties in which T.J. is a wise and reserved lawyer and wears sweater vests. Winnie is goofy and wacky and an immortal, magic-using witch with awesome hair. He has some kids but he and his wife got divorced. She's the live-in Magical Nanny/housekeeper. Together, they spend 14 episodes making the audience wonder Will They or Won't They? ...before it was rightfully canceled.
  • Even without the unfortunate implications that run rampant, this trope so defines Alex and Justin from Wizards of Waverly Place.
  • Friends:
    • Businessman Mark gets together with Cloud Cuckooo Lander Phoebe in the last seasons.
    • A similar example occurred between the extremely nerdy Ross and the laid-back Rachel.
  • Deconstructed on ER with Peter Benton and Elizabeth Corday. Aside from his persistent discomfort over their racial difference (he's black, she's white), his aloof, dour demeanor eventually proves too much of a contrast to her vivacious, fun-loving personality and the relationship fizzles. Though this trope does play very well in regards to their friendship, as even years later, she's one of the few people he's genuinely able to relax around. They even seem to share a quiet moment of understanding in the series finale, which aired roughly 11 years after they broke up.
    • Also with Kerry Weaver and several of her girlfriends after she comes out of the closet. Her reacting like a scared jackrabbit when encountering her coworkers while on a date, her reluctance to engage in any PDA, etc., quickly irritates and upsets them enough to end the relationship.

    Music 
  • Opposites Attract by Paula Abdul, about an uptight human who has a whirlwind love affair with a wildcat.
    "I like it quiet..."
    "And I love to shout!"
    "But when we get together..."
    "It just all works out!"

    Theater 

    Video Games 
  • This is how the player character's relationship with Bastila appears in Knights of the Old Republic. Females can also play this card with Carth (who's a bit wound up due to his trust issues), but it takes a gentle approach to win over Juhani
  • Mass Effect has several pairings that end up looking like this, especially Renegade Shepard and Miranda, and to a lesser extent Shepard and Liara.
    • There's also Consummate Professional Kaidan Alenko stating that he prefers "adventurous women," and potentially falling in love with Shepard, who makes a habit of defying authority and regularly breaks the rules when she needs to get something done.
  • Squall and Rinoa from Final Fantasy VIII could be a trope image.
  • Kyle and Lute from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. Lute is a Black Magician Girl with No Social Skills who can barely interact with people around her, whereas Kyle is a Cultured Badass Genius Bruiser who's simply fascinated with her odd personality. If they reach an A support, they can get married — and his friends are said to simply not be able to understand what he saw in such a strange girl like her.

    Western Animation 
  • The page quote comes from an episode of Futurama, which features an inversion between substitute bureaucrat Morgan Proctor and Fry. Here is the entire dialogue:
    * Morgan seductively pins Fry against a wall*
    Morgan Proctor: DIRTY BOY! Dirtydirtydirty!
    Fry: I thought you were anti-dirty, not pro-dirty!?
    Morgan Proctor: I'm surrounded by neat freaks all day. There's nothing kinkier to me than a filthy slop jockey like you!
    Fry: Oh, stop...
  • Courtney and Duncan in Total Drama Island. She's an uptight priss with high hopes for her future; he's a wild teenage delinquent.
  • Happens often in The Simpsons:
    • Gender-flipped between Marge and Homer. It gets more prominent in later seasons, such as in the episode "Jaws Wide Shut".
    • Also between the eternally uptight Principal Skinner and the free-minded Edna Krabappel. However she ends up leaving him at the altar because of his "mommy issues". Years later she ended up marrying [[spolier:Ned Flanders]], also known for his stuffiness.
    • On a later episode ("Flaming Moe" note ) Skinner falls for Juniper, a younger, freewheeling music teacher who replaces Mr. Largo. He then follows her out of town, and returns three months later.
  • Seems to be the case for Kendall on Kick Buttowski who is the residential "Fun Police", a lover of school, rules, books and opera who seems to be holding a torch for the daredevil Kick... even going so far as to flat out tell her actual boyfriend that she wishes he could be more awesome like him (ouch!).
    • Not that Kick hasn't complimented Kendall on her "elegance"...
  • Phineas and Ferb's parents: The somewhat stuffy and decidedly dorky Lawrence is married to Linda, whose hit song was titled "I'm Lindana And I Wanna Have Fun".


Unresolved Sexual TensionLove TropesUnwanted Harem
Along Came PollyImageSource/Live-Action FilmsAmerican History X

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
83464
4