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Just For Fun / Come for the X, Stay for the Y

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You'll come for the X. You'll stay for the Y.
"John Cena may put asses in seats, but Charlie Haas will make them sit on the edge."

You're browsing around, and you find out about something that looks neat. A new TV show, a new movie, a new book, maybe a video game. You don't know anything about it, but it looks neat. Something about it jumps out at you. Could be the humor, could be the action, could be the eye-candy. So you decide to try it out.

And it turns out the show is pretty good, too, and you like it. But over time, you start to like it for a completely different reason. This show with the cute lead character actually has an interesting side character with an in-depth story that you're really getting into. Or this movie might be very funny, but it also has some great undercurrents of drama that you weren't expecting, and that really jump out at you. Either way, you end up really liking the show/movie/book/game/etc for a reason completely different from why you started to check it out.

This is an example of Come for the X Stay for the Y. You originally start to get into something for reason X, but in the end, it's reason Y that causes you to get hooked and stick around. Or, you may have initially been Just Here for Godzilla (and still want that) but ultimately took a shine to another element. The x reason for coming is something clearly visible in the first episode you see or earlier, and is interesting enough to tune in, but not to regularly follow a show with devotion. The Y reason for staying is something that it takes time to learn about the show, but is sufficient reason to continue to follow it. For example, viewers tuned into Stargate SG-1 because they enjoyed the movie, liked Richard Dean Anderson in McGyver, liked science fiction, or just had a showtime subscription. Those things got them in the door, but would not be reasons to continue watching for years. The show actually gained viewership over the next 7 years because, while new people tuned in, long-time viewers continued to be interested due to other factors such as the story arcs, the relationships and interaction, the humor, and other factors worth tuning in for. The action, the amazing sets, the attractive stars, and other good aspects of SG-1 might be nice pluses, are not really a Y. A Y is something unique and special about a show that makes it worthy to continue watching over time.

A note when adding examples: if you believe the X and Y can be flipped, the example doesn't fit here. If your X for coming to see the show, read the book or whatever is reason to keep reading or watching, then you came for X and stayed for X and this doesn't belong here. So, for example for the Bible one shouldn't write come for the Word of God, stay for the entertaining stories because most people who start reading for religious reasons might find it more enjoyable because of stories and like many non religious things about the Bible, but ultimately would read it purely for religious reasons alone. Likewise, a comedy show doesn't a Y of being funny as viewers tune in already for the reason of humor. In no situation is fan service ever a Y, especially for a show rated MA for nudity. This also is not simply a place to list shows you enjoy and what you like about them, it is for things where interest was originally for one things, but people stayed for another. Stargate SG-1 is a perfect example because it is very different from the Stargate Movie or McGyver, but had many people tune in for those reasons, but who stayed because of unexpected aspects of the show such as the humor (something not present in the original movie). Playboy is another great example as many people originally subscribed for the nudity, but continued to read it even after nudity was removed because they valued the articles. In an era of free porn, Playboy would not have survived as people subscribing and paying money for naked pictures.

The Trope Namer is believed to be a New York tourism campaign from 1985:

You'll come for the foliage. You'll stay for the fairs.
You'll come for the mountains. You'll stay for the music.
You'll come for the great falls. You'll stay for the great wine.
You'll come for the country air. You'll stay for the country inns.

See also Sex Sells, which is probably the largest sub-trope of this. Watch It for the Meme may lead to this. Compare I Read It for the Articles and contrast Just Here for Godzilla (where the X is all that counts).

Not to be confused with X Meets Y where a work or character is described as a fusion of other works or characters. Also not to be confused with Come for the Game, Stay for the Mods.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Asian Animation 


    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 

  • In-universe example of a sort - MAD's parody of the United States Army's "Army Strong" ad campaign, called "Army Stuck," included the jab "Come for the dough. Stay for the quagmire."


    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible: Come for Jesus; stay for the other 62/69 Books.
  • Journey to the West: Come for Sun Wukong's legendary badassery, stay for the clever dialogue and entertaining banter between the characters.
  • Neopaganism: Come because you were the kid who loved Classical Mythology and/or Norse Mythology, stay for the genuinely modernized and relevant take on spirituality.
  • Shinto: Come because references to it in Japanese media made you curious, stay for the interesting metaphysics and substantial Values Resonance.
  • Unitarian Universalism: Come because you aren't sure about this "hell" thing, stay for the positive community and in-depth discussion of theology.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In general: Come for the Faces, stay for the Heels.
  • ECW: Come for the bloodshed and Garbage Wrestling, stay for the incredibly well-done matches, surprisingly deep characterization, brilliant promos, and awesome commentary from Joey Styles. This is as opposed to the WWE-backed ECW Revival, where you come for the name, and stay for Matt Striker's awesome commentary.
  • WCW: Come for the nWo, stay for the cruiserweights and all the tales of the backstage drama.
  • TNA: Come for Kurt Angle and Sting, stay for the X-Division.
  • CHIKARA. Come for the Funny Animals, stay for the brilliant wrestling and intricate storylines.
  • WWE: Come for John Cena, stay for the talent in (post-2013) NXT.
    • For NXT: Come for the new talent and the popular independents stars. Stay because the women there can actually wrestle.
  • Lucha Underground: Come for the Lucha, stay for the amazingly athletic matches, entertaining storylines and colorful characters.
  • Defiant Wrestling (as WCPW): Come for Whatculture, stay for the high-quality booking and matches from both top-level stars and some of the hottest english indie talent.

  • Beach Volleyball: Come for the Fanservice, stay because it's actually an exciting sport.
  • Cycling: Come for the workout. Stay because it's saving you $100/wk in gas and meds.
  • Super Bowl: Come for the football, stay for the commercials (sometimes the main reason people are watching the Superbowl, except maybe hopes for another Wardrobe Malfunction; the halftime show can be either the X or the Y).
  • Swimming: Come for the sexy girls/guys in skimpy clothes. Stay for the exercise, competition, and even more hot people in little clothing.
  • Tactical shooting: Come because it looks badass. Stay because you really are having a great time becoming a badass.
  • Ice Hockey: Come for the players, stay for the spectacle of the world's fastest team sport (including the fights).
  • The Olympics: Come for the sport, stay for the backstage drama and/or the athletes' back stories.
  • Sailing: Come for the pretty boats and ocean views, stay for the competition, Technology Porn, and backstage drama. And more pretty boats and ocean views.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Come to see what the fuss is about, stay for the adventures you will have and the stories you will share.
    • Or, come for the funny-shaped dice, stay for the funny faces your DM will make when he hears your character's latest in-game plan.
    • Come for the fun, stay to break the game over your knee.
      • For the Dungeon Master in you, come for the excuse to build your impassable dungeon to crush your friends, stay for the moments when you let the same friends win anyway, because their solution was just that COOL!
  • Pathfinder: Come because you didn't like 4th Edition, stay for the main setting's worldbuilding, alternate interpretations of classic creatures, and delightfully obscure and/or crazy new creatures.
  • Exalted: Come because your D&D friend said it was worth a shot, stay for the ability to punch gods' faces in.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Come to build an army of all different kinds of monsters and spells, stay for the surprisingly in-depth and realistic color/alignment system.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Come because you watched one of the many different anime, stay for the surprisingly fun to play and complex card game with many, MANY different cards and archetypes.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Come for the Grimdark, Imperium and the Space Marines, stay for incredibly rich backstory and variety of different factions.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Come for the tense drama, mystery, and horror set in Lovecraft's universe, stay for the gallows humor you and your friends end up using to deal with your characters going insane and dying horribly. Or, come for the monsters, stay because you're too insane now to care!
  • Delta Green: Come for the spy thriller meets Cthulhu Mythos, stay for the hijinx and the kick-assery.
  • Dominion: Come because you're interested in deckbuilding, stay to try out your latest insane combo.


    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: Come for the ridiculous premise, stay for the addictive mysteries, quirky characters, and World of Ham.
  • Choices: Stories You Play: Come for the romance, stay for the intriguing stories that leave you wanting more.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club!: Come for the waifus, stay for the horror. Or come for the dark subversion that you can't help hearing about and stay for the surprisingly endearing (if deeply flawed) waifus.
  • DRAMAtical Murder: Come for the yaoi, stay for the lovable characters, engaging story and hilarious fandom. And Akushima.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Come for the bara furry Fanservice, stay for the endearing realistic characters and exceptional writing.
  • Fate/stay night: Come for the swords, stay for the Character Development and unbreakable main characters.
    • Alternatively; come for the Servants and the series' interpretation of them, stay for the batshit insane-level intricacy of world-building that spans the entire Nasuverse.
    • For Unlimited Blade Works specifically, come for GARcher, stay for GAR Lancer.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend: Come for the wacky pigeon dating, stay for the surprisingly good writing and compelling (pigeon) characters.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Come for the scenes left out from the anime and TIPS, stay for the same reasons you stayed for the anime and more.
  • Kana: Little Sister: Come for one kind of jerker, stay for the other.
  • Katawa Shoujo: Come for hot cripple sex, stay for the well written and lovable characters, the witty dialogues, and the fantastic soundtrack, not to mention the intelligent and mature observations of some very difficult themes.
  • School Days: When the game first came out, many came for the many good endings and adorable wooable characters, and stayed for the many Bad Ends. Once it became notorious for these bad endings and especially with the animated adaptation going this route, it has come to be the other way round for many newcomers.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: Come for the magic, stay for the mystery.
  • Danganronpa: Come for the goofy looking bear, stay for the unique characters, witty dialogue, elaborate murders and dark themes of despair and sadness.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Came For The X Stayed For The Y