Follow TV Tropes


Beta Couple

Go To

Rachel: You were our Fred and Ethel Mertz!
Katie: Funny, I thought you were our Fred and Ethel Mertz.
The Story Of Us, referring to I Love Lucy

The Beta Couple is present in the backdrop of many Romantic Comedies and Dramas with The Hero of the story looking at wooing their Love Interest, to provide a Foil to his/her efforts you will see one of their closest friends have a remarkably easier time getting together. This "simpler" pairing is the Beta Couple.

The Beta Couple is always a secondary pairing (and foil) to the primary relationship. Often they are friends or confidants of one or both of them, it's not uncommon for The Hero and his wingman to simultaneously try to hook up with the heroine and her maid of honor.

Usually, they serve as a barometer for how well or poorly the main (alpha) couple is doing and offer possible solutions to any problems. Hit a Poor Communication Kills? The Beta Couple had that but worked it out. Caught cheating? Losing "the spark" for your Love Interest? The Beta Couple had that, and here's how they got through it. In addition to all of that, if there is sexual tension that the Official Couple is oblivious about, the Beta Couple is all the more aware of it and will try to help them embrace it.


For these reasons, things tend to go more smoothly for them, letting them work as catalysts for the alpha couple's romance. That said, the Beta Couple is usually a source of comedy, and as such have more freedom to be unconventional and kinky and less problem (or at least conflict) prone than the alpha couple.

While the Beta Couple usually consists of secondary characters, sometimes the author(s) will decide that the main character has enough crap to deal with, make his relationship the Beta Couple, and make the bulk of the romantic conflict in the story concern the sidekick's relationship.

Because having multiple couples is convenient for writing musical numbers in contrasting styles, adapted musicals often develop characters absent or barely present in the source material into Beta Couples. Musicals traditionally assign the Alpha Couple better singing voices than the Beta Couple, who get more opportunities to dance (especially if they're the juvenile type) and/or crack jokes.


Compare Token Romance. See also Hooked Up Afterwards. Totally not related to Beta Test Baddie, but sometimes related to Pair the Spares or Romantic False Lead. Compare Alone Among the Couples, another foil to the main character's romantic life.

Has absolutely nothing to do with The Alpha Couple, surprisingly.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Surprisingly, Agito and Yayoi from Air Gear, who by the half-way mark of the series had already reached a level of intimacy that took the main couple thirty-five volumes of story to reach.
  • Chitaru and Hitsugi in Akuma no Riddle. They don't end well.
  • Yuuji and Shouko in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts, though their relationship isn't all that different from the main's, lack of a Love Triangle aside. Voyeur and Aiko are probably a more "normal" example.
  • In Bakuman。, Akito Takagi and Kaya Miyoshi are the Beta Couple. Their down-to-earth approach to love and marriage and their frequent bickering is a nice contrast to the romantic idealism of the Alpha Couple, Moritaka Mashiro and Miho Azuki. The contrast between the two couples is not lost on any of the people involved, as Mashiro wonders if he and Azuki should be more like Takagi and Miyoshi (who have gotten married despite confessing their feelings later than Mashiro and Azuki), before resolving to keep his promise.
  • Bleach: Everything but the Rain is Isshin and Masaki's Meet Cute story, featuring Uryuu Ishida's parents Kanae and Ryuuken as the Beta Couple. Ryuuken and Kanae provide a quiet, dignified, and very intense contrast to Isshin and Masaki's wild, crazy, and unconventional romance. However, the beta couple's fate is even more tragic than the alpha's, setting up vitally important plot points.
  • Bloom Into You is about the budding romance between Yuu and Touko, but there's also a secondary couple- Miyako Kodama, the manager of a small cafe, and Riko Hakozaki, Yuu's homeroom teacher and assistant advisor for the student council(Touko is the Student Council President and Yuu is an officer). Riko and Miyako have been together since college, and while they keep their relationship secret, Sayaka eventually finds out.
  • In Blue Comet SPT Layzner, David Rutherford and Simone Reflane eventually become this (and a Battle Couple) towards Eiji Asuka and Anna Stephanie. It's also an interesting example since Simone started as the Veronica in a Betty and Veronica triangle with Anna and Eiji, but David's Anguished Declaration of Love and a three-years Time Skip eventually began to change things quite a bit...
  • Boarding School Juliet has two of them, and both are more out in the open than the Official Couple (who spend most of the series as a Secret Relationship). Aby Ssinia and Somali Longhaired, and Cait Sith and Ann Sieber. By the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, Aby and Somali have already married and have two children, while Cait and Sieber are mainly in a working relationship (pediatrician and nurse, respectively), and Sieber turned down Cait's on-the-spot proposal. However, she later tells Cait that she rejected him only because she wanted him to propose more properly and seriously.
  • Yuki and Sojiroh to a varying extent in the manga and J-Drama of Boys over Flowers.
  • Yamazaki and Chiharu from Cardcaptor Sakura... even though they're both fourth-graders, they have been together for years, contrasting Sakura's and Syaoran's uncertainty about how they feel about each other. Touya and Yukito are similar, in that they're much more low-key and self-assured than Sakura and Syaoran. They might not be sure about how the other feels yet, but they're both pretty sure where they stand, and there's no real drama in their story.
  • Case Closed has Heiji/Kazuha, as well as Makoto/Sonoko and Takagi/Miwako. The three couples have their own quirks (Belligerent Sexual Tension in Heiji and Kazuha's case, a Long-Distance Relationship in Makoto and Sonoko's, and Will They or Won't They? in Miwako and Takagi's), but they all share one huge trait: running in parallel with Ran and Shinichi's borderline Star-Crossed Lovers deals.
  • Souichi and Morinaga (the first wants to keep it Just Friends, the second is hoping for a Relationship Upgrade) in Challengers. The mangaka enjoyed writing about them enough to eventually give them their own spin-off series, The Tyrant Falls in Love.
  • Though there are several couples in Clover the only seemingly happy pairing in which both members are still alive at the present time are the Yaoi Guys Gingetsu and Ran and even they are probably doomed in about five years.
  • Code Geass:
    • Suzaku and Euphemia could be this... if there was an alpha to begin with. The typical beta couple is the couple involving the most important people after the couple involving the protagonist. But here, the protagonist is a Celibate Hero, so Suzaku and Euphemia were the only couple displayed in some openings.
    • Ougi and Villetta, kind of beta for Suzaku/Euphie, but actually the only couple which ends well (not that Suzaku stopped loving Euphie: she dies).
  • Nanami and Yuzuru in Dance in the Vampire Bund.
  • Lots of couples in Eureka Seven. Namely Holland x Talho, Ray x Charles, Sakuya x Norb. Dominic x Anemone is probably the most popular. Subverted by Dominic x Anemone. They face loads of troubles in their relationship throughout the series (mostly for Dominic, who spends almost the entire anime trying to get Anemone to notice him), and thus their relationship is more of a parallel to the main pair than a mere Beta Couple. The same may also be said for Holland x Talho. A true Beta Couple from the series would be Moondoggie x Gidget or, as suggested above, Norb x Sakuya.
  • Montmorency and Guiche from The Familiar of Zero. Of course, they're only slightly less dysfunctional than Louise and Saito.
  • Maria and Mamoru in From the New World.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula has Shinjyo/Miki, Osamu/Clair, and Shiba/Rena, if you're going to take them to account.
  • Austria and Hungary (despite being "divorced"... it's complicated) are this to Germany and North Italy in the Valentines strip of Hetalia: Axis Powers.
  • Akane and Subaru provide some much-needed sweet romance in the midst of Hatsumi and Ryoki's twisted relationship in Hot Gimmick.
  • Hyper Police uses this trope later on in the series when Tommy and Poe hook up. Tommy is already Banten's wingman, and Poe takes Natsuki under her wing (And her slippers, yeouch!) to try and save her relationship.
  • I'm Gonna Be an Angel!: Raphael and Mikael are somewhat an inverted Ho Yay Beta Couple to Noelle and Yuusuke as it's implied that they have been in a relationship long before the series actually started and their relationship is...a lot less innocent than Noelle and Yuusuke's.
  • Watanuki and Karuta in Inu × Boku SS. Being longtime friends who know each other very well, they have an easier time than Ririchiyo and Soushi, who have a hard time even acting as a normal couple since Soushi thinks of himself as Ririchiyo's servant. This becomes even more obvious in the second part of the series, where the cast gets killed off and reincarnated several years later and both Ririchiyo/Soushi and Karuta/Watanuki have to rebuild their relationships from the ground up due to past life amnesia issues. While the things with the new Ririchiyo and Soushi don't turn out well, the relationship between the new Karuta and Watanuki goes just fine, their only issue is that now she is six years older than him.
  • Miroku and Sango from Inuyasha are a slightly more mature couple who contrast with their companions Kagome and Inuyasha.
  • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Diamond Is Unbreakable: Koichi and Yukako, the former being a major character but not the main protagonist and the latter being a supporting character, get together in a side-plot.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love is War:
    • Kashiwagi and her boyfriend. While they have their issues and come to the Student Council for help; they are dating and openly communicate with each other. Meanwhile, Kaguya and Shirogane refused to admit their feelings and are stuck in a constant war to make the other confess. Chapter 48 even implies that they did something intimate over summer break, which was outright confirmed in chapter 138.
    • Among the student Council, Ishigami and Miko Iino serve as the heavily teased foil to Shirogane/Kaguya. They are equally as stubborn to each other as Kaguya and Shirogane were in the beginning, but where the latter two tried to hide their feelings through little tricks, the former two are always unknowingly helping each other out.
  • Akane Higurashi and Kazuya Kurauchi act as a Beta Couple to the Love Triangle in the My-HiME manga. And also to an extent in the anime: the scene where both Akane and Mai use their CHILDS makes it clear they are very similar. Akane is then defeated by someone she thought was a friend (Miyu), resulting in Kazuya's demise. Same thing happens to Mai (she gets attacked by Shiho, with whom she was friends before Shiho found out she was a contender for Yuuichi's heart, then Shiho's child gets destroyed by a brainwashed Mikoto, killing Yuuichi).
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto/Hinata serve as this to Sasuke/Sakura in Sakura Hiden.
    • Sai/Ino serve as this to Shikamaru/Temari in Shikamaru Hiden, and Sasuke/Sakura in Sakura Hiden.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Konoka and Setsuna. They have their complications, mostly on Setsuna's part, but they still have it easier than Negi and his massive Unwanted Harem. At the end of the manga, while there is No Romantic Resolution for Negi, the epilogue states Konoka and Setsuna both married in the same year, it just doesn't say to each other (though it is implied).
    • While Negi has to deal with a large Unwanted Harem that only keeps growing, his rival Kotaro only has a mildly dysfunctional relationship with his roommate Natsumi. As of the conclusion of the manga, in contrast with the couples mentioned above, Natsumi/Kotaro are set in stone, given that they are explicitly stated to have married in the epilogue.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Has both Kaji/Misato and Toji/Hikari in addition to the primary love triangle involving Shinji, Asuka, and Rei. Toji/Hikari develops in a more straightforward and stable manner than the others, while Kaji/Misato meets a tragic ending.
  • Phantom Dream ends with Hideri and Eiji getting together and having a child together. On a lesser note, Migiri and Tokiwa get together with an unknown man and woman.
  • Rosalie and Bernard in The Rose of Versailles, who are the only couple to survive at the end.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Haruka/Sailor Uranus and Michiru/Sailor Neptune. Interestingly, they are probably more stable and certainly more mature than the Alpha Couple consisting of Usagi/Sailor Moon and Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen.
    • Usagi's friends Naru and Umino in The '90s anime, once they got their Relationship Upgrade.
    • Makoto and Motoki become one in the live-action series only, even getting engaged in the finale special.
  • Ogata Matake (Oga-chan) and Tanaka Eita in Shakugan no Shana serve as a Beta Couple to the Love Triangle of Yoshida, Shana, and Yuji (although adding Ike in sort of makes it a Love Dodecahedron).
  • In Slam Dunk, Ryota and Ayako are this to Hanamichi and Haruko to an extent. Ryota makes his affection for Ayako very clear and Ayako generally doesn't mind it (unless it interferes with basketball or gets him in trouble). Sakuragi even shows some distress when he notices Ryota's made more progress with Ayako then he has with Haruko.
  • Princess Amelia of Slayers definitely has feelings for Zelgadis but, due to his quest to recover his human body and being the only serious guy of the group, for the most part, he doesn't remark on it or doesn't care. However, she does make him blush a lot, and there are many hints that he cares for her quite deeply, especially in the second season. And the fact that we see that one of Amelia's wristbands is tied to Zel's canteen in the credits of the last episode of the third season.
  • It's kinda... complicated in Yandere Kanojo, since the supposed first couple (Reina and Manabu) is went out without hitch. The secondary couple (Hijiri and Shiratori) is the one who shown the growth. A better example might be The Manager/Hiromichi and Mayami, who get together quite late in the story, but never really face any major obstacles, and even get the Tanaka family's approval quite easily. There are other, less significant Beta Couples as well, like Reina's parents, and The Principal and his wife.
  • Vampire Knight: Ruka and Kain, Rima and Shiki. In a bonus chapter released after the ending, Aidou and Yori are revealed to have been a couple.

    Comic Books 
  • Post-issue #50 in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Antoine D'Coolette and Bunnie Rabbot became the beta couple to Sonic the Hedgehog and Princess Sally Acorn.
  • Druid City features the main character's homosexual brother, Mike, in an Opposites Attract relationship with Pet Homosexual Dusty Crocker. While they have their own problems, Mike and Dusty's relationship spans the entirety of the series and serves as a contrast to the far more tumultuous relationships that the main character, Hunter Hastings and female lead Becky Fink, engage in separately.
  • Taye and Marty in Circles. They remained together nearly the entirety of the story, however they are not the main focus of the story and Paulie and Douglas have been together much longer than them and way before the story took place.

    Comic Strips 
  • Mandrake the Magician: Mandrake's best friend Prince Lothar and his girlfriend Karma are this to Mandrake and Princess Narda.

    Fan Works 
  • A Codette World Tour: Izzy/Ezekiel is this to Cody/Bridgette. While they don't get a lot of focus compared to the eponymous pairing, they hook up with each other far faster and far more easily.
  • A Crown of Stars: The Alpha couple is Shinji/Asuka. One of the beta couples is Daniel/Rayana, the Happily Married God Emperors of Avalon that give much-needed advice and counseling to the alpha couple. Later show up Misato/Kaji, Toji/Hikari... and two story characters -Ching and Bir- gradually get into a relationship.
  • Advice and Trust: The alpha couple is Shinji and Asuka, and the beta one is Touji and Hikari, the former ones' best friends. Their relationship developed mainly in chapters 6 and 7.
  • Bloom: The alpha trio is Max, Chloe, and Rachel, with Kate/Dana and Victoria/Taylor as the Beta Couples. They both develop in the background of the main fic, and get their own spin-off one-shots Handle With Care and In the Night We Trust.
  • Boys und Sensha-do! is mainly about Miho and Akio, but there's also Hoshino from Leopon Team and Tsubasa. The two of them get together in Chapter 12, while Akio is still denying his feelings for Miho.
  • The Child of Love: Misato and Kaji. In the past, they faced similar troubles to Shinji and Asuka’s, and now they are slowly rekindling their relationship.
  • Children of an Elder God: Touji and Hikari developed as the same time Shinji and Asuka started out their relationship. At the end, they chose to remain among normal human beings unlike Shinji and Asuka, who could not fit in human society anymore.
  • Coby's Choice: While the main romantic pairing is Luffy/Nami, a major ongoing plot thread is Coby and Grace awkwardly developing feelings for each other over time. There's also Usopp's long-distance relationship with Kaya, and a romance gradually developing between Gin and Amy.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Hikari and Touji. Shinji, Asuka, and Rei run into them for the first time when they were about to go out. It turns out that they had got together after Touji got maimed during the war and had been dating for a while before the world ended and they were sent back to the past, too.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: The alpha couple is Ami and Jadeite, the beta is Cathy and Jered. However, there are other couples meantioned, most noteably for humor: Venna and Snyder, and Tserk and Cerasse.
  • Evangelion 303: The main couple is Shinji/Asuka. Rei/Kaworu and Hikari/Touji are the beta couples, often talking about Shinji and Asuka's troubles and even giving occasional advice.
  • From Shizune's Perspective is primarily about Shizune gradually falling in love with Emi, but there's a surprising secondary couple- Misha and Hisao.Explanation 
  • Ghosts of Evangelion:
    • Misato and Kaji are Shinji and Asuka's adult version.
    • Touji and Hikari get together and become parents before their friends did.
    • Asuka's mother and Misato's father rekindle their relationship after he returns from Instrumentality.
  • HERZ: Hikari and Touji. Whereas Shinji and Asuka have been married for five years and have a daughter, they are still engaged.
  • Taniguchi and Yanagimoto in Kyon: Big Damn Hero have officially stated that Taniguchi is trying to paint themselves as the Beta Couple to Kyon and whichever girl he's being shipped with. There's Haruhi, Mikuru, Yuki, Kanae, Tsuruya so far...
  • Sirius and Aletha in the Dangerverse—quite literally, since they live in a "Pack" and are considered the Beta male and female.
  • In Superman story Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, Lorile and Fin-El are the beta couple to Alan and Kath. They even hook up before.
  • An unorthodox case is in the Teen Titans fan books, Our Own League, as Conner and Donna become a couple some time before Damian, the main protagonist, even meets his love interest, Lian. However, as the trope prescribes, Conner and Donna are a stable and mutually supportive couple despite their differences, while Damian and Lian are Too Much Alike, and so deep in Belligerent Sexual Tension that they struggle to work together as teammates, let alone do anything constructive about the attraction.
  • The Touken Ranbu doujin Sanjō-ha to Aoe-ha no Kumiawase wa Ii zo with Mikazuki and Juzumaru as the main couple and Ishikirimaru and Nikkari as the beta couple. The former aren't even in an official relationship despite matchmaking efforts from the latter in the first half and going on a Double Date in the second half (though in one mini-comic between the halves, the two are inexplicably in love, with the author's words lampshading this).
  • Tsukasa and Miyuki in Stars Above... or rather, Tsukasa and the Demon disguised as Miyuki...
  • In the Rango fanfic Old West, the canonical Rango and Beans serve as the secondary couple with the main focus being on the developing relationship between Rattlesnake Jake and Grace Glossy.
  • Moratorium: Draco and Hermione acts as this to Tom and Harry.
  • In Once More with Feeling, Touji and Hikari and Rei and Kensuke. The same as Shinji and Asuka, Touji had a gigantic crush on Hikari, but he was too dense to notice her obvious feelings, and Hikari didn't know how to open up to him. However, Shinji helped them -and Rei and Kensuke- to get together.
  • In The Second Try, Touji and Hikari. Their relationship was pretty similar to Shinji and Asuka's: he was dense and oblivious, and Hikari berated him constantly even though she had a raging crush on him. Shinji and Asuka played matchmaker for both, and they eventually got together.
  • Hikari and Touji in Thousand Shinji. Shinji played matchmaker for them, and they often hung out with the Alpha Couple (Shinji and Asuka). Unfortunately, they became embroiled in the conflict between Shinji and Gendo, and the latter used them as cannon fodder to hurt the former. However, Shinji, Asuka, and Rei made sure that their friends had a "happily ever after" ending.
  • In a lot of Naruto fanfiction that puts Naruto and Hinata in the spotlight, Sasuke and Sakura are usually depicted as the Beta Couple. The inverse is also possible - for example, in White Rain, Sasuke and Sakura are the main pairing, with Naruto and Hinata as the Beta Couple. Finally, for those who don't particularly like the Sasuke and Sakura couple dynamic, there are a lot of other pairings that can step up to the plate.
  • In the Pokémon fandom, a popular practice among fans of "Ferriswheelshipping" (N and Hilda) or "Isshushipping" (N and Hilbert) is to make Bianca and Cheren the beta couple. Certainly helped in the sequel, which includes a subtle Ship Tease between them (Bianca is wearing glasses that suspiciously resemble Cheren's and Cheren himself is no longer wearing glasses at all).
    • For the main anime series, Ash is often paired with the girl of the author's preference. For instance, if the Alpha Couple is in PokéShipping (Ash and Misty) stories, nine times out of ten the Betas are Contest (Drew and May) and Penguin (Dawn and Kenny) or Ikari (Dawn and Paul).
  • In Le Papillon Rising, Gabriel and Bridgette don't get nearly as many scenes as Adrien and Marinette, but they're pretty much the only other couple that gets them at all, so they count.
  • In The Sanctuary Telepath the POV character, Janine's relationship with James serves as the beta for her brother's tragic love story with Helen. They're not officially together and the nature of the dynamic is somehow a mystery even to them, but despite this (or maybe because of this) they have undoubtedly fewer problems and are very close. Janine even lampshades this.
    Janine: You know it's messed up when we are the easier to explain...
  • One Year has Yu and Yukiko as the primary couple, and Kanji and Naoto as the beta couple. The former has been going out with each other since midway through the game (although they only tell the rest of the party about their relationship a year later), while the latter only hooks up a year after that, in Chapter 42 of the fic.
  • In keeping with the story's themes, Neon Metathesis Evangelion has a beta 'triad': Kensuke, Mana, and Kaworu. Their story is laid out in the canon sidestory to the fic, Life During Wartime.
  • In All Tomorrows, Jim and Spock serve as the Happily Married Foil to Nyota and T'Pring's rather more uncertain Interspecies Romance.
  • The Naruto fanfic Man Of Dreams contains an example of beta Heterosexual Life-Partners. Tobirama and Sasuke Sarutobi have a healthy and stable friendship. This contrasts with the main pair of Heterosexual Life-Partners, Hashirama and Madara, which is tainted due to the latter's distrust of the former and the former's one-sided attraction to the latter.
    People started to jokingly wonder how long it would take before Sasuke's wife realized he was cheating on her. Tobirama responded by putting on an offended expression and saying, "What are you talking about? Sasuke-san would never cheat on me."
    Hashirama always wondered how Tobirama brushed those jokes off so easily. If anyone had said the same things about himself and Madara... Hashirama supposed such jokes hurt more when you knew there was some truth to them.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Penny and OC Joe become sweethearts starting with "The Coffee Shop" and get married a year later in "The Rings," though their relationship is of secondary focus in the series. (Bolt and Mittens serve as the Official Couple.)

    Films — Animation 
  • Alpha and Omega has Garth and Lilly, who were spending time together while the Western pack desperately searches for Kate before a pack war starts. While Kate and Humphrey, who were darted and trucked to Idaho and struggling to get back to Jasper, falling in love along the way, Garth and Lilly find themselves hitting it off beautifully. In fact, it gets to the point where the Western pack Alpha prince would be more than happy having Lilly substitute for Kate, even though Lilly is an Omega.
  • Vlad and Sophie in Anastasia.
  • Tulio and Linda in Rio are this to the main couple of Blu and Jewel. Their relationship mirrors that of the main couple, with them becoming a couple at the end of the first movie, and being married by the second.
  • John and Mary in WALL•E play this role to the titular robot and Eve. The parallelism between them helps reinforce the theme: Wall-E and Eve are robots, whereas John and Mary are humans whose upbringing in an impersonal consumerist dystopia has robbed them of their humanity. In both cases, they (re)discover their humanity partly through connecting with one another.
  • Though all the couples in Toy Story are on equal standing, Buzz and Jessie are this to Woody and Bo Peep, pairing up at the end of the second movie. And we cannot forget Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head. At least, they were this to Woody and Bo Peep before the couple got tragically split for good between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, anyway.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Serendipity: Dean and Courtney, according to Jonathan, though they eventually split up. Dean tries to fix things up, though.
  • Albert is the dating challenged man that "date doctor" Hitch is trying to help get together with celebrity Allegra Cole. Despite his nervousness, things go smoothly for them. While Albert and Allegra's relationship continues to progress, Hitch finds that none of his tried and tested methods are working for him, despite being a master of the art.
  • Wedding Crashers has Jeremy and Gloria, a mentally unstable nymphomaniac. Despite torturing Jeremy with/during sex, and being desperately possessive and scary, the two end up getting together while John and Claire hit a rough patch. The irony here is that John forced Jeremy to date Gloria so he would have shot with Claire, only for it not to pan out at first. It's even more ironic (and plays the trope straight) considering John and Claire didn't hook up until they were forced to be in the same room with each other during Jeremy and Gloria's wedding as the best man and maid of honor.
  • Seaweed and Penny in Hairspray.
  • Lucas Belvaux has made a trilogy of movies (a comedy, drama, and thriller) re-telling the same few days from three perspectives. Each of the three couples was the alpha couple in one of them and a beta couple in the two others.
  • Jacqueline/Capt. Laurent are this to Danielle/Prince Henry in Ever After. Jacqueline is Danielle's kind-hearted stepsister, the only member of her stepfamily to treat "Cinderella" with any decency, and Capt. Laurent is the prince's right-hand man. They meet at the ball where the romantic leads are expected to announce a betrothal and have a few other small scenes where they mostly interact silently - but there's a clear connection between them, and at the very end it's strongly implied that they are together.
  • Dianne and David in Shaun of the Dead. In the end, it turns out to be more complicated than this given that he's still hung up on his ex.
  • In the 1998 version of The Parent Trap, the plot to bring Nick and Elizabeth together is assisted by Martin (Elizabeth's butler) and Chessy (Nick's housekeeper). Martin and Chessy also end up together.
  • Rob and Carrie in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. are Joel's best friends and showcase similar relationship issues Joel has with Clementine.
  • A Kind of Loving begins with the wedding of Christine and David, and they provide a tranquil counterpoint to the stormy relationship of Vic and Ingrid throughout.
  • The 1998 made-for-television film Merlin has Frik and Morgan le Fay, whose romance ends a lot less happily than Merlin and Nimue's.
  • Balraj and Jaya in Bride and Prejudice. They hit it off immediately, without any of the misunderstandings that the main couple go through, and Will Darcy's admission that he was wrong to talk Balraj into leaving Jaya is important Character Development for him.
  • Down with Love's Vikki Hiller and Peter MacMannus's relationship revolves around Barbara Novak and Catcher Block, with one couple getting married at the end inspiring the other.
  • Enchanted's Nancy might lose her fiancée Robert to Naïve Everygirl Giselle, but at the end of the movie, she marries Giselle's ex-boyfriend Prince Edward.
  • Jacques and Lulu in the movie musical The Love Parade provide a plebeian contrast to the royal principal couple.
  • Toshi and Hanako in Wild Zero.
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice has Balthazar and Veronica as the beta to Dave and Becky's alpha. Their relationship is more relaxed and simple despite the fact that Veronica spends most of the movie as a Sealed Good in a Can.
  • In Monsoon Wedding, the romance between the day labourer and the maid Alice progresses faster than the one between the husband and wife despite the fact that those two are the ones actually getting married.
  • Going the Distance has two, Erin's sister and her husband, who provide more traditional relationship advice, and Garrett's co-worker and her boyfriend (mentioned, but never seen), who provide more long-distance related advice.
  • Pete and Debbie to Official Couple Ben and Alison in Knocked Up. In this case, the Beta Couple mirrors the Alpha couple's dynamic but turned Up to Eleven to the point where it's nearly inverted. Alison is a smart, driven, competent career woman and much of Ben's (a lazy stoner) arc is learning to take responsibility and become worthy of her. By contrast, Pete is more relaxed and laid-back than Debbie, but not to the point of being lazy or irresponsible, and Debbie is neurotic and controlling and her arc is about learning to relax and love Pete for himself instead of trying to "fix" him.
  • Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani has Aditi and Avi, at least from her end; generally expected as well, being played by the biggest names in the cast who are not Naina and Bunny. Subverted in the end, though, as Aditi gets over Avi later, and marries Taran, the man generally expected to be the Romantic False Lead.
  • D.E.B.S.. Scud is Lucy Diamond's second in command and Janet is a junior member of Amy's D.E.B.S. squad. They meet when Lucy Diamond kidnaps Amy and gradually fall in love with each other. At the end of the movie they apparently plan to start dating.
  • In the film version of Crazy Rich Asians, Colin and Araminta are happily getting married with little conflict, compared to Official Couple Nick and Rachel. They also provide a contrast to the other couples, like Eddie and his wife, Kitty and Alistair and Astrid and Michael.
  • Dance of the Dead: Although their relationship is mostly limited to mild flirting, Tina and Stevenserve as this to Lindsay and Jimmy. Jules also has some Ship Tease with the prom queen after they rescue her.
  • Game Night has Kevin and Michelle, a Happily Married couple who have been together since high school, even if they briefly broke up.

  • In Eva Ibbotson's Which Witch?, the house ghost who was brought back to life by the protagonist is paired off with one of the witches who didn't win the hand of the dark wizard. They fall in love remarkably fast, due to the machinations of the dark wizard's servants, who think they'd be a good match.
  • In A Brother's Price Cullen and The eldest Whistler sisters are this, falling in love and getting engaged without much fuss, quite contrary to the protagonist and his love.
  • In the H.I.V.E. Series we have Wing and Shelby, who are the respective roommates of the protagonist and his love interest, Otto and Laura. their ship becomes canon before the Alpha couple, and there is considerably less drama concerning their relationship. Justified in that the only real drama so far in the Otto/Laura pairing has been Laura's capture and subsequent Mind Rape at the Glasshouse, which is not a relationship problem, per se.
  • Gyltha and Mansur are this in the Mistress of the Art of Death novels.
  • In Dora Wilk Series, the main couple and romantic b-plot is Dora and Miron, but in the background, there's Leon's budding romance with young wiccan witch, which culminates in him divorcing his Jerkass wife, to Dora's immense relief and joy.
  • Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley to Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice; the Official Couple (the girl who falls for a charismatic The Casanova before discovering his true colors before growing to esteem and appreciate a worthy man) and Beta Couple (the man forbidden from proposing to the girl he loves because his family doesn't believe she is rich enough) are essentially reversed from Sense and Sensibility. Jane and Bingley are a humorous example because they're only the Beta Couple to the reader. Since Elizabeth is the protagonist, she and Darcy of course form the Alpha Couple of the story. However, in the world of the story itself, it's Elizabeth and Darcy who are the Beta Couple, since pretty much from the get-go, the people around them are waiting to see if Jane and Bingley will hook up.
  • Sparhawk and Kalten in David Eddings's The Elenium and The Tamuli series. Sparhawk marries Queen Ehlana and Kalten falls for her personal maid Alean. Also Melidere and Stragen, and Talen and Danae, and Sephrenia and Vanion.
  • It's taken to an extreme in the Belgariad/Malloreon: Hettar and Adara, Silk and Velvet, Durnik and Polgara, Mandorallen and Nerina, Lelldorin and Ariana, 'Zakath and Cyradis, Relg and Taiba, Beldin and Vella, a reunited Belgarath and Poledra... granted, for those who love happy-ever-after cliches, Eddings is made to order.
  • It's a smooth and quick hook-up for Roger and Bonnie in Jennifer Crusie's romance novel Bet Me, compared to the more rocky relationship of their respective friends Cal and Min.
  • Sonya/Nikolai/Maria are the Beta Triangle of War and Peace, with Nikolai/Maria going on to become the full-fledged Beta Couple.
  • Kitty and Levin in Anna Karenina, to the Alpha Couple of Anna and Vronsky.
  • Charisse and Gomez appear to be the Beta Couple in The Time Traveler's Wife at first, but it is later revealed that Gomez harbors strong feelings towards Clare.
  • Faramir and Éowyn in The Lord of the Rings. The relationship is much more present in the books than The Film of the Book (although there's a deleted scene which makes it clearer); they actually share the only confirmed kiss in the entire trilogy. Aragorn even makes them Prince and Princess of Ithilien, a province of Gondor.
  • From Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga:
    • There's a weird case in Barrayar. Aral and Cordelia Vorkosigan, in all other respects the book's protagonists, play Beta Couple to Koudelka and Droushnakovi in a minor subplot. (They've already had their turn as Alpha Couple in the first book of the series.)
    • Mark and Kareen in A Civil Campaign, both as secondary to Miles and Ekaterin, and due to the planet where they're attending school.
    • Miles and Ekaterin play beta couple to Taura and Roic in "Winterfair Gifts".
  • Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby. They don't really work out but compared to the mess of the main Love Dodecahedron, they are pretty normal.
  • Conaire and Caitlin are a classic Beta Couple in Jules Watson's The White Mare. He's the hero's right-hand man and she's the heroine's best friend, and their relationship is far less complicated than that of the main couple.
  • Spook and Beldre in Mistborn, though Spook was originally a Mauve Shirt that got promoted to main character in the third book.
  • The Duchesse de Nevers and Coconnas fill the spot in La Reine Margot, but they are less peaceful than Margot and La Môle.
  • The Hunger Games has Finnick and Annie. While Katniss and Peeta/Gale are never really sure where they stand, Finnick and Annie are deeply in love, with Katniss envying their certainty. Finnick helps Katniss deal with her worry over Peeta, and in the end, Finnick's death means they take the Star-Crossed Lovers title well away from Katniss and Peeta.
  • Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves has Seppo and Lars-Åke as Beta Couple to Rasmus and Benjamin's alpha.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane are this to the main couple Clary and Jace, having developed largely because of Magnus proving to be a Breakout Character. This has since become an aversion, as Alec and Magnus have become such a fan favorite One True Pairing that they not only play significant roles in the sequel series The Dark Artifices, but they are the protagonists of The Eldest Curses side series as well as appearing in multiple other stories set in this verse. Thus arguably making them the most prominent couple.
  • The Flight Engineer has Chief Petty Officer Paddy Casey and Second Lieutenant Cynthia Robbins. The fact that their relationship is against regulations prompts Casey to try and get into officer candidate school.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt:
    • Sofia and Johan in "Överenskommelser" have a much less complicated relationship than what the alphas Beatrice and Seth have.
    • Jacques and Vivienne are another beta couple from "Överenskommelser", but with a more complicated relationship.
    • Magdalena and Gabriel in "De skandalösa" also get two beta couples in the end: Beata/Ossian and Venus/Nora.
  • Older Than Print in Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach with Gâwân (Gawain) and Orgeluse.
  • Tortall Universe
    • In Song of the Lioness Eleni Cooper and Baron Myles quickly fall for each other while Alanna is sorting out what kind of romance she even wants with Jon, George, and Liam. Jon and Thayet play like this as well (despite him being king) since they pretty much fall in love at first sight.
    • Raoul and Buri start dating and soon become engaged in Protector of the Small's third book. Kel is busy dealing with her crush on Dom and wondering how far her relationship with Cleon will go given their situations. Neal and Yuki also seem to have a pretty easy relationship.
    • Beka Cooper: Ersken and Kora, a Dog and a criminal who seem to have no trouble dealing with the Dating Catwoman situation. Meanwhile Beka and Rosto have copious amounts of UST thanks to her unwillingness to bed a criminal.
  • Circleverse: Lark and Rosethorn are in a happy, stable, and open relationship. Although this isn't made explicit until the later books, those are the only books in which the protagonists start exploring romance anyway, usually with a lot of fumbling.
  • The Charlie Parker Series has Angel and Louis, who are generally content in their relationship (if not in other aspects of their lives), act as the beta couple to Parker and Rachel. however, later books reveal that there's something slightly sinister behind Angel and Louis's relationship... Also, once Parker and Rachel split up, the emphasis on Angel and Louis' relationship briefly increases, then falls away almost completely, as does their presence in the books. Between The Reapers and The Wolf in Winter, their cursory appearances always have them ask after Parker's current love interest, and their very settled relationship provides a nice contrast with Parker's slightly more turbulent love life.
  • The Rosie Project has Gene and Claudia, Don's friends. An interesting example in that the two have problems unrelated to those of Don and Rosie.
  • Kate and Elliot in Fifty Shades of Grey. Aside from a bit of tension in Fifty Shades Freed they're the happy, emotionally healthy couple in contrast to Christian and Ana's constant drama.
  • Harry Potter is a very odd example, with the main character's growing romance being second to that of his best friends. Ron and Hermione get the lion share of romantic focus whenever it arises, while Harry and Ginny's development as a couple works itself out at a faster pace without all the bickering and far less mixed messages. Because they are both main characters, perhaps Hermione and Ron have more main character credits between them than Harry and supporting character Ginny do?
  • The Wheel of Time has Perrin and Faile, Mat and Tuon, and Nynaeve and Lan serving as this to Rand and his three sisterwives in Elayne, Min, and Aviendha.
  • Paper Towns has Alpha Couple Quentin and Margo, Beta Couple Ben and Lacey, and Gamma Couple Radar and Angela. All three are very different kinds of couple: Quentin and Margo are a twisting, turning long-distance relationship between an everyman and (what he thought was) an unattainable ideal; Lacey and Ben are total opposites who ended up together by blind luck and decided they liked it that way; and Radar and Angela are the only sane couple in the room who try to stay as far away from the weirdness surrounding the other two as possible. The last of these get a bit more to do in The Film of the Book.
  • The primary romance of The Hearts We Sold is Dee/James. Dee and James love each other dearly but are held back by various circumstances, mainly Dee being a mess of emotional issues. Gremma and Riley, on the other hand, hook up late in the story, but it's nothing but smooth sailing for them.
  • Captive Prince: Each book has a couple getting together in the background that serves as a foil to Damen and Laurent.
    • In the first book, Torveld and Erasmus are an "ideal" master/slave pairing, contrasting the extreme hostility and Foe Romance Subtext between them.
    • In the second, Jord and Aimeric are a rough soldier and a pampered, pretty noble who have an easy, affectionate relationship that leads to tragedy due to Aimeric's dark secrets, underscoring Damen's fears about their own relationship.
    • In the last, Pallas and Lazar are an Akielon and Veretian who make an uncomplicated, fun couple who get together based mainly off of physical attraction, whereas Damen and Laurent's relationship is made much more complicated by their national loyalties.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: The alpha couple was Miss Brooks' slow romance with Oblivious to Love Phillip Boynton. In the background, was the often goofy teenaged romance of beta couple Walter Denton and Harriet Conklin.
  • I Love Lucy: Likely the Ur-Example for television, beta couple Fred and Ethel Mertz are older and well set in their ways. They have a dynamic that seems mildly hostile at first, but they are consistent and settled, serving as a foil to the younger Lucy and Ricky Ricardo whose relationship experiences more ups and downs.
  • The Honeymooners: The show which inspired The Flintstones has its own beta couple — Ed and Trixie Norton are effectively the Barney and Wilma to the lead Kramdens.
  • Cheers featured three beta couples in Frasier and Lilith, Carla and Eddie, and Woody and Kelly, all of whose relationships went rather more smoothly than those of alpha couples Sam and Diane and later Sam and Rebecca (though they were not without their strained moments) and ended in marriage (though in the first case, the marriage ended in separation and eventual divorce, while in the second case, the marriage ended with Eddie's death and unmasking as a bigamist).
  • On The Nanny, Niles and CC play this role after they were hooked up together. They were quite a fun Beta Couple since they hated each other as much as they were in love, so they were always attacking the other.
  • In the first season of Community Troy and Annie are presented as a Beta Couple to Jeff and Britta with Annie as a Stalker with a Crush and Troy as Oblivious to Love, but these are both eventually dropped once the show finds itself. Later seasons revel in Ship Teasing Jeff and Annie and eventually actually get Troy and Britta together for a while, making Troy and Britta the traditional "find love more easily" Beta Couple to Jeff and Annie's non-stop Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Howard and Bernardette to main couple Leonard and Penny. Later, Sheldon and Amy.
  • Hale and Kenzi in Lost Girl.
  • In That '70s Show, Kelso/Jackie and later Jackie/Hyde to Donna/Eric.
  • Fred and Ethel Mertz in I Love Lucy, television's original Beta Couple.
  • Scrubs:
    • Turk and Carla. At multiple times J.D. has mentioned that they act as a unit giving advice to others, to the point in one fantasy-based episode they were portrayed as a two-headed witch.
    • Dr. Cox and Jordan are a Beta Couple as well and in fact become way more stable than Turk and Carla once they get back together permanently in Season 2.
    • Drew and Denise were created to be this in Season 9.
  • In The Office (US), any prominent relationship outside of Pam and Jim, who get together at the end of season three and later marry, becomes this by default. Most notable are Dwight and Angela, who begin secretly dating in season two, though unlike most beta couples their relationship is very turbulent, with several other love interests coming in during their on-again-off-again relationship. They ultimately get married in the Grand Finale, by which time they have a child together.
  • In Lie to Me, Torres and Loker are now confirmed to be this, to Lightman and Foster's Alpha.
  • Friends: Monica and Chandler become this to main couple Ross and Rachel in the later seasons. However, they vary from the classic Beta couple mould as a lot of screen time is given to their developing relationship and they certainly face problems. (Rather than having it 'all figured out' from the beginning). The difference is they learn to deal with their issues while Ross and Rachel bicker and fight. Ironically this means you see more of their relationship (spanning over half the series) than Ross and Rachel who were only together for about a season.
    • Eventually Phoebe and Mike.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: At various times Willow and Xander would be in a relationship to contrast Buffy's various relationships. Willow/Oz and Xander/Cordelia in the earlier seasons, then Willow/Tara and Xander/Anya in the later seasons (and Willow/Kennedy in the last).
  • On Angel this was modified with a Love Triangle for the Beta Couple between Gunn, Fred, and Wesley, while Angel began a relationship with Cordelia. Gunn and Fred were the Beta Couple on their own during seasons 3 and 4. While Angel and Cordy were trying to figure out that they were in love with each other in the third season and god knows what happened to Cordy in the fourth, Gunn and Fred had a fairly stable relationship from the time they got together until "Supersymmetry".
  • Although there wasn't any one official couple for the show, Jed and Abby, on The West Wing are this trope to everyone else, as they were Happily Married with the ups and downs of a normal, well-adjusted couple (or as normal as possible for a President and First Lady). This was in contrast to Josh and Donna, CJ and Danny, Toby and Andi, Sam and Ainsley, CJ and Simon, Josh and Amy, Sam and Mallory, Leo and Jenny, and Charlie and Zoe, all of whose romances were constantly trampled by politics, ethics, and Dysfunction Junction. But mostly politics.
    • Except for Josh/Donna and CJ/Danny of course, who were upgraded to Official Couple and ended up together in the final season.
  • iCarly: Gibby/Tasha, to either Carly/Freddie or Sam/Freddie. Appear to have broken up when Tasha's actor went off to become a lingerie model, leaving Tasha as a victim of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome for season 4.
  • Stanley and Mimi in Jericho (2006). Oddly enough, however, their pairing became the only major romance of focus throughout most of season one and all of season two pummeling the hell out of the pretty much forgotten (by the writers) Heather/Jake/Emily triangle, which from a story-telling standpoint, should've been the romance arc of focus.
  • Helo and Athena in Battlestar Galactica, especially considering they are one of the only couples that remain steady throughout the series.
  • How I Met Your Mother has Marshall and Lily, getting engaged in the pilot episode and having been together for some 8 years prior. Besides a temporary break-up in the early second season, they act as a unit and are seen by Ted as the perfect couple that he wants to model himself after. This forms a contrast to Ted's several complicated relationships, as well as the will-they-won't-they relationship between Barney and Robin; arguably the alpha couple after season 4. Before, Ted and Robin were the alpha couple.
  • For the first two seasons of The O.C., Seth and Summer were the Beta Couple to the Official Couple of Ryan and Marissa. In the third season, Ryan and Marissa break up for good and there is no real Official Couple. In the fourth and final season, both Seth/Summer and Ryan/Taylor are given about equal weight.
  • Arthur and Morgana have a Will They or Won't They? that mirrors Merlin and Gwen's in the first Series of Merlin. But in Series 3, Arthur and Morgana are revealed to be brother and sister, so it's pretty unlikely to become canon! It should be noted, however, that it hasn't stopped the shippers.
  • D'Argo and Chiana in Farscape, though theirs is a tempestuous, mostly physical relationship that's more off than on, and is ultimately doomed. Nevertheless, both Chiana and D'Argo often dispense relationship advice to Crichton and Aeryn. A (marginally) less dysfunctional example is the tragically brief relationship between Stark and Zhaan.
  • Smithy and Nessa in Gavin & Stacey. However, in later seasons Gavin and Stacey's relationship stabilises considerably, while Smithy and Nessa's provides most of the drama, essentially making the eponymous Gavin and Stacey the Beta Couple.
  • Found on Chuck: Both Morgan/Anna (and later Morgan/ Alex) and Captain Awesome/Ellie are Beta Couples to Chuck and Sarah's alpha couple storyline.
  • Firefly has Zoe and Wash, a happily married couple, as the Beta Couple to Mal/Inara and Simon/Kaylee (Gamma couple?) though neither Mal/Inara nor Simon/Kaylee are actually a couple throughout the series.
  • Bones: Angela/Hodgins to Booth/Brennan. Granted, Angela/Hodgins are in many ways far from a stable couple, but they get married at the end of the fifth season while Booth and Brennan continue their Will They or Won't They? even after having a baby together.
  • In True Blood, Sam and Tara are an off-again, on-again Beta Couple, as well as Arlene and Terry.
  • Will and Djaq from the 2006 series of Robin Hood. Their relationship ends up being much more successful than Robin and Marian's.
  • In Mad About You, Fran and Mark (although in a "what not to do" sense), and later in the series, Debbie and Joan. Or alternatively, one could consider Paul and Jamie to be the Beta Couple to those guys, as they were more stable than Fran and Mark, and they were together for longer than Debbie and Joan.
  • Relatively speaking, Jesus and Emma are this on The Fosters. While their relationship had no shortage of drama as is to be expected from a Soap Opera (Emma getting an abortion without even telling Jesus she was pregnant, Jesus's difficulties recovering from his TBI), they stay together for most of the series, and their first appearance in the Spin-Off reveals that they're engaged.
  • In Skins, despite its numerous couples in every generation, only Grace/Rich in Generation 3 truly fit this trope, as they've had relatively smooth sailing compared to every other possible coupling in their cast. In the previous generations, both intended Beta Couples (Sid/Cassie and Naomi/Emily) proved to be far more popular than their generations' Alpha Couples (Tony/Michelle and the Freddie/Effy/Cook Triangle of Doom), and thus were promoted to Alpha status in their second series, with the attendant Conflict Balls being thrown their way. And it wasn't like they were without conflict to begin with anyway.
  • In the Venezuelan telenovela Cosita Rica (2003), although Diego Luján and Paula C were the alpha couple, their respectives siblings — Verónica and Cacique — being the beta couple, attracted a lot more attention than the alpha one, to the point the actress who played Paula C almost left the show because of this. In fact, the actors who played Verónica (Marisa Román and Cacique (Edgar Ramírez) became very famous. Ramírez even made his way into Hollywood, appearing alongside Keira Knightley in Domino and in Bourne Supremacy.
  • Victor and Sierra in Dollhouse are the beta couple to Paul and Echo. Subverted in that Paul and Echo never got beyond the UST phase, while Victor and Sierra ended up with a kid.
  • Michael and Maria on Roswell, respectively the best friends of Max and Liz and as another alien-human-hybrid/human relationship, embody this trope, in getting together first and with less angst, and typically providing more comedy with their totally different kind of relationship, but somewhat subvert it, acting more as a reverse barometer- when they were doing well, Max/Liz usually weren't, and vice versa.
  • John Doggett and Monica Reyes on The X-Files could be considered the beta couple to Mulder and Scully's alpha, though their relationship and UST started mostly after Mulder and Scully were already an established couple. Unfortunately for fans of the ship, the show didn't run long enough with them as head investigators of the X-Files for their relationship to be fully established (though there was a good dose of shippiness in season 9); it is unclear what became of them after the series finale. They did not appear in The X-Files: I Want to Believe.
  • Noah's Arc: Alex+Trey and Chance+Eddie typically play this role to Noah+his boyfriend at the time.
  • Curtis and Alisha during the first season of Misfits, despite also being the Official Couple and having a fair bit of relationship drama in their own right. Whether or not the show itself actually treats them as a beta couple is debatable, but the fandom indisputably saw Nathan and Kelly as the alpha couple, despite them not getting past the UST stage. Come the second season, things change entirely, with Alisha and Simon becoming the alpha couple (both in-universe and in the eyes of the fandom), and Nathan and Kelly's awkward almost-romance fizzling out as they decide to just be friends - although they're still a hugely popular pairing among fans, so whether this is really the end for them has yet to be seen.
  • Adam and Jennifer (engaged to be married) in Rules of Engagement to the main, married couple Audrey and Jeff.
  • In Gilmore Girls, Lorelai Gilmore's best friend Sookie has a much easier time finding a mate in Jackson than Lorelai has making it work with any of her boyfriends. Rory Gilmore's best friend Lane also has a much easier time making a permanent relationship than Rory does.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place:
    • Harper and Zeke have developed an adorable relationship. The Unfortunate Implications of their relationship stems from the fact that they are the respective sidekicks of Alex and Justin Russo.
    • Alex and whomever she is dating, and Justin and whomever he is dating. True to form, Harper and Zeke (who got together at the end of season 2) have outlasted their best friends' more passionate but more fleeting relationships.
    • At one point, even Juliet and Mason were a Beta Couple, due to the fact they had been in a romantic relationship before each one became Justin and Alex's girlfriend and boyfriend respectively.
  • Caroline and Matt were one to Stefan and Elena on The Vampire Diaries. Possibly subverted as it was always made pretty clear that Matt still had a thing for Elena. A more traditional Beta Couple would be Alaric and Jenna. Season 2 has two Beta Triangles to the main Stefan-Elena-Damon one: Tyler-Caroline-Matt and Jeremy-Bonnie-Luka.
  • As of season 3, Lanie and Esposito, Alexis and Ashley, and Ryan and Jenny count as Beta Couples to the alpha couple, Castle and Beckett.
  • Glee:
    • Artie/Tina was this for the first season, compared to the Rachel/Finn/Quinn/Puck mess and Terri/Will/Emma. In the second season, after breaking up with Artie over the summer, Tina and new boyfriend Mike became this, compared to the Rachel/Finn/Quinn/Sam mess and Holly/Will/Emma/Carl. In the second half of the season, Puck/Lauren and later Kurt/Blaine have also assumed this role.
    • After Finn died, the remaining romances on the show were bumped up in importance: Kurt/Blaine became Glee's Official Couple with Brittany/Santana and Sam/Mercedes as the Betas.
  • Leverage has Hardison and Parker to Nate and Sophie. Hardison and Parker have minor problems, but mostly as a result of Parker being emotionally troubled.
  • Once Angela was added to Boy Meets World in season five, Shawn and Angela became this to Cory and Topanga, except when they break up during season six.
  • On Parks and Recreation, Andy and April have become this to Leslie and Ben, even giving the latter couple relationship advice on a few occasions.
    • Subverted with Ann and Chris, whose relationship is not in focus as much as Leslie and Ben's, but is shown to be far more complicated than Leslie and Ben's healthy relationship. The first time they broke up Ann didn't notice.
    • Ann and Mark was possibly an attempt at one of these that led to Mark written off. Mark's only notable traitsnote  had to be dropped for his character to fit into this trope. He subsequently became too bland for the writers to bother with. Ben and Chris were introduced around the time he was written off.
  • Tristan and Isolde on Merlin serve as the catalyst for getting Arthur and Guinevere back together.
  • On Married... with Children, Marcy and Steve (or later, Marcy and Jefferson) to Al and Peggy. Played With in that Al and Peggy loathed each other (most of the time.)
    • Subverted in that, while Marcy and Steve seem much happier together than Al and Peggy, Al and Peggy stay together at least around 27 years (having their 16th anniversary in the first season and then the show running 11 seasons), while Marcy and Steve's relationship deteriorates from happy newlyweds to toxic rather quickly. After only four seasons Steve dislikes Marcy enough to leave her.
    • Marcy's relationship with her second husband, Jefferson, is quite toxic from the get-go as well, just in somewhat different ways from Al and Peggy's relationship.
  • Larry and Megan on NUMB3RS.
  • In Chinese Paladin, Tang Yu and Ah Nu are this, although they fulfill the "foil to the main couple" role only in being equally dysfunctional.
  • Toshiko and Owen to Gwen and Rhys in Torchwood. Jack and Ianto start out as the Beta Couple and become the official one in Season 3, replacing Gwen and Rhys.
  • In Tinsel, Chuks and Ene are the Beta Couple to Soji and Telema for the first three seasons.
  • In Babylon 5 Marcus and Ivanova could be considered this to Sheridan and Delenn. Subverted, since Marcus dies before Ivanova can ever reciprocate.
  • In Carrusel Susana and Rene have a smooth and stable compared to Valeria and David having so much drama!
  • Constable Crabtree and Dr Grace in Murdoch Mysteries (to Murdoch and Dr Ogden). He's a bright by-the-book police officer, she's a New Woman pathologist. He's sometimes shocked by her modernity, but usually finds she inspires him, she can get exasperated by some of his more old-fashioned values, but respects that he sticks to his principles. And yes, that's also a perfect description of William and Julia.
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Dot and Hugh take their time, but are still this to Phryne and Jack by way of being much more functional. It is notable that Dot and Hugh are engaged before Phryne and Jack are even a couple.
  • Several episodes of Doctor Who have Jenny and Vashtra filling this role for Clara and the Doctor, complete with the former two matchmaking, and later advising Clara when she and the Doctor hit a rough spot. Both are interspecies couples.
  • Daredevil (2015): Foggy Nelson and Marci Stahl have a very stable romantic relationship, compared to Matt Murdock and Karen Page, who have a rocky relationship filled with Will They or Won't They? and UST.
  • A Fine Romance: Helen and Phil are the Beta Couple to main couple Laura (Helen's sister) and Mike.
  • Nikki: In Season 1, Nikki and Dwight set up her coworker and "friend" Mary with his boss Jupiter, and they are in a committed relationship from then on. The two are a Slap-Slap-Kiss couple compared to their Happily Married friends, but they are more mature and don't suffer the same amount of pitfalls brought on by trying to dodge adult responsibilities.
  • Without a Trace's Danny and Elena were the happy stable couple, who were together for 3-4 years before marrying in the series finale. This is in stark contrast to Samantha and Jack (an affair that ended roughly a year before the show began, resumed after seven years, then ended again when she decided to make it work with her son's father) or Samantha and Martin (ended when he got fed up with her keeping him at arm's length and suspecting that she was still in love with Jack).
  • Happy Endings's Brad and Jane were this to every other couple in the show. While they had conflict, their marriage was portrayed as healthy and loving.
    • Subverted in one episode when Penny and her fiance Pete appear to be more compatible, causing Jane to doubt her marriage. However, Jane composes herself once Penny confesses that she wants to break up with Pete.
  • We Are Lady Parts: Bisma and Wasim's stable marriage contrasts Amina's Unrequited Love Switcheroo with Ahsan and Saira's Commitment Issues with Abdullah.
  • 30 Rock: While the show puts alpha characters Jack and Liz through an endless parade of romantic troubles, their subordinates get surprisingly stable relationships much more quickly, despite being "the crazy ones" in other contexts. Tracy turns out to have been happily married to Angie the whole time, and Jenna starts seeing her eventual husband Paul in the fourth of seven seasons. Both partnerships have their issues but are basically perfect matches for all of Jenna and Tracy's idiosyncrasies, contrasting with the more "normal" Jack and Liz being unable to find "the one".
  • High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has Carlos and Sebastian, and in the second season Big Red and Ashlyn, acting as more-stable counterparts to the various entanglements of Ricky/Nini/E.J./Gina.
  • The Good Place plays with this and even goes into deconstruction territory. At first, it appears that Jianyu and Tahani are the Beta Couple who exist to make Eleanor feel inadequate, as the former is a Buddhist monk and the latter is a wealthy socialite. However, Tahani finds herself frustrated by her inability to communicate with her soulmate, and it turns out that Jianyu is actually a Florida Man who was mistaken for a monk. As the series progresses, Jason starts to develop feelings for Janet, and they wind up becoming the finalized Beta Couple. While Tahani briefly has a relationship with Larry Hemsworth, it doesn't last long.
  • Psych, Lassie and Marlowe become this to Shawn and Jules. Lassie marries Marlowe and becomes a father before The Series Finale, which is when Shawn gets around to proposing to Jules.

  • The stage adaptation of Anastasia gives us Vlad and Lily, in a parallel to Dmitry and Anya. Both couples consist of a con man and an aristocratic woman, although Vlad and Lily seem to have a much easier time of rekindling their romance than Dmitry and Anya have of admitting theirs.
  • In Can-Can, the drama of Pistache and Aristide's struggle to admit their feelings for each other and then find a way to reconcile their differing worldviews is counterpointed by the comedy of Pistache's star employee Claudine and her long-time boyfriend Boris, a jealous Small Name, Big Ego artist.
  • In The Cat and the Fiddle, Alexander and Angie Sheridan are the comically bickering and dancing second couple to the piano-vocal Victor and Shirley.
  • Thanks to The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples, this is Older Than Steam:
    • Much Ado About Nothing plays with the conventions. Initially, Claudio and Hero are the happy beta couple, and Beatrice and Benedick are the bickering alphas. The rest of the cast decides to trick B&B into admitting their love for each other, with amazingly quick success—by the midpoint of the play, everyone's soppy in love. Then Claudio is led by slander into accusing and abandoning Hero, and Benedick agreeing to challenge him on Beatrice's behalf. The play ends with both couples getting married. It's almost as if Shakespeare set out to write a sappy romance with Claudio and Hero as the Alphas but got so interested in the Beta Couple that they got promoted. (The opera version drops the whole Claudio and Hero story.)
    • Officially Beatrice and Benedick are meant to be the Beta Couple to Claudio and Hero. However, B&B ended up becoming far more popular, to the point where the couples are reversed in the modern consciousness.
  • Annie Get Your Gun originally had Tommy Keeler and Winnie Tate as a juvenile secondary couple. The 1966 revival eliminated their parts, along with their two song-and-dance numbers.
  • In The Most Happy Fella, Cleo and Herman become the comic secondary couple to the principal singing couple of Tony and Rosabella.
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the two couples are Anthony and Johanna as well as Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett, but it's not straightforward which couple is which. Anthony and Johanna have the more conventional romantic arc, with Todd and Lovett helping them out, and Mrs. Lovett's courting of Todd being more in the way of comic relief. On the other hand, Sweeney Todd is the title character and lead role, and it's Mrs Lovett's doomed crush on him that brings about the tragedy of the play.
  • Many of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals include a Beta Couple:
    • Oklahoma!: Behind Curly and Laurey are the comic secondary couple of Ado Annie and Will. Whereas Laurey has trouble making her mind up, Annie cain't say no.
    • Carousel: Behind Billy and Julie are Mr. Snow and Carrie. Only Carrie is really a comedic character, but they stand out for marrying each other right away while the Billy and Julie Cannot Spit It Out. The original play Liliom had these as Wolf and Marie, though it played them far less for comedy.
    • South Pacific has Liat and Lt. Cable, a classic Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow couple meant to further the commentary on racism.
    • In The King and I, the Star-Crossed Lovers Tuptim and Lun Tha contrast with Anna and the King's non-romantic, frequently antagonistic but nevertheless strong relationship. This is an unusual case of the secondary couple having the stronger singing parts.
    • The Sound of Music: Behind the Captain and Maria are the juvenile secondary couple of Liesl and Rolf, which doesn't work out in the end. Max and the Baroness are a comic tertiary couple.
    • State Fair has Abel and Melissa, though Blueboy manages to find love as well.
  • In Show Boat, Frank Schultz and Ellie May Chipley play a dancing secondary couple to the operetta-like leading couple of Ravenal and Magnolia. Joe and Queenie are a sketchily characterized tertiary couple.
  • In The Music Man, Tommy Djilas and Zaneeta Shinn play the juvenile secondary couple. Unusually for a musical, they don't get anything to sing (Cut Songs excluded), though they dance together a few times.
  • Schultz and Schneider from Cabaret are the older-and-wiser type, only they're much older than Cliff and Sally and not much wiser.
  • Nathan and Adelaide from Guys and Dolls are an odd case: they play a typical comic secondary couple, but in stage time and importance, they are equal to the principal singing couple of Sky and Sarah. It also should be noted that they were never paired in Damon Runyon's original stories.
  • In Act One of Falsettos, Trina and Mendel are this; they're definitely not the healthiest couple in the world, but at least they don't break up over a game of chess like Whizzer and Marvin do.
    • In Act Two, Cordelia and Charlotte, the "lesbians from next door" also take on this role.
  • Jimmy and Snookie from 110 in the Shade; less so in the original non-musical play it was based on, The Rainmaker, in which Snookie does not actually appear.
  • Ruddigore has Despard and Margaret play a comic secondary couple to the central Love Triangle, once his Heel–Face Turn in the first act finale lets them get together.
  • Papageno and Papagena in The Magic Flute, a more down-to-earth sort than the heroic principal couple of Tamino and Pamina. Both couples resolve all their problems in the multi-scene second act finale.
  • Marcello and Musetta are a Masochism Tango variety of this in the opera La Bohème.
  • In StarKidPotter's Me and My Dick, the main Beta couples are the alpha couple's body parts, Dick and Miss Cooter and Joey and Sally's hearts, and Joey and Sally can only get together when they are happily paired off. There are a couple less prominent beta couples too, like The Old Snatch and Big T.
  • In the Heights has two couples but both are given equal prominence. If one had to be picked it would be Nina and Benny behind Usnavi and Vanessa since Usnavi is clearly the main character.
  • Deconstructed in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. At first, newlyweds Nick and Honey appear to be this to the severely dysfunctional marriage of George and Martha. By the end, however, it's become apparent that though George and Martha are indeed a dysfunctional couple, they also have a very strong bond holding them together. By contrast, Nick and Honey have dealt with problems by ignoring or hiding them, and are implied to be on the road to an even more miserable marriage.
  • Penny Pingleton and Seaweed J. Stubbs to Tracy Turnblad and Link Larkin in Hairspray.
  • Subverted in Thoroughly Modern Millie. As a way of Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends it seems like Miss Dorothy and Trevor are going to hook up (which they actually did do in the original movie). Instead Dorothy hooks up with one of the Those Two Guys that rescues her instead. Then in an equally funny Pair the Spares The other half of Those Two Guys becomes Trevor's new employee, replacing Millie after she leaves.
  • Subverted in Of Thee I Sing. Jenkins and Miss Benson, respectively Wintergreen and Mary's secretaries, usually appear together but have no love plot of their own.
  • All Shook Up has Dean and Lorraine, who noticeably stay out of the major Love Dodecahedron that makes up the plot.
  • Fiorello! has Dora and Floyd as a comic secondary couple. Dora is mostly content to allow Floyd to profit from the sort of municipal corruption that Thea is proud to have Fiorello crusading against.
  • The Misanthrope: Philinte and Éliante, by way of Cleaning Up The Romantic Loose Ends. They have the only honest and uncomplicated relationship in the play.
  • A standard feature of any U.S.L.E.S. pantomime - the main love interests usually have friends, advisors, or servants who fall for each other. Sometimes this doesn't happen until the very end of the show when it can also end up as a case of Pair the Spares.
  • In Waitress, Dawn and her eventual husband Ogie are this to the main couple of Jenna and Dr. Pomatter.
  • The Wedding Singer, which makes Sammy and Holly an on-again, off-again couple.
  • West Side Story: Behind Tony and Maria, there are Bernardo and Anita, to whom tragedy strikes first.

    Video Games 
  • Bubble Symphony, aka Bubble Bobble II, introduces Cororon and Kululun, both who also get cursed with Bub and Bob and turn into bubble dragons. Coro and Kulu are magenta and orange, respectively. They never appear in any other Bubble Bobble game.
    • Keep in mind that Bub and Bob are male, and Coro and Kulu are female.
    • And Pab and Peb(source) , the new Beta Couple in Bubble Bobble Plus (WiiWare). They're still magenta and orange and both female.
  • Another subversion: Contra 4 for the DS not only brought back Bill and Lance, the original Contra duo but also introduced a Beta Duo in the form of Mad Dog and Scorpion, whose names are Shout Outs to Bill's and Lance's former nicknames from the American localization of the NES games. While Bill and Lance wear blue and red (their colors from the NES games), Mad Dog and Scorpion wear green and purple, which were Bill's and Lance's colors in the arcade version of Super Contra.
  • Kyle and Jessica in Lunar: The Silver Star. However, they subvert the usual dynamics in that they're quite a bit more dysfunctional than the game's Alpha Couple of Alex and Luna, who get along really well and have little to no issues they need to work on in comparison. Nash and Mia, too.
  • Tali'Zorah vas Normandy and Garrus Vakarian at the end of Mass Effect 3, should you not romance either one of them. It's especially prevalent if your romance is Liara. Joker and EDI also become an item after the latter gains a Fembot body.
    • The Citadel DLC hints at a couple more potential relationships between non-romanced characters during the party sequence: Ashley and James can sneak into the back, while Zaeed makes a pass at Samara.
  • Dragon Age has a few:
    • Dragon Age: Origins has the odd example of Oghren and Felsi, who are a beta couple to the player character and their love interest. Oghren actually needs the Warden's help to get Felsi to resume their relationship, which had broken off before he met the Warden; but if they help him and have strong enough persuasion skills, Felsi will take him back. By the end of the game, she's pregnant and they marry.
    • Dragon Age II has Aveline and Donnic. Notable for requiring an extremely silly sidequest to bring about, and for the even sillier lines the whole thing draws from the rest of your team. It has the potential to be subverted too; completing Act 2 without doing this quest means that Aveline is still single in Act 3, and incredibly bitter about What Could Have Been. Also, Fenris and Isabela can develop a rather stable and happy Friends with Benefits relationship if Hawke doesn't romance either of them.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, if neither Dorian nor Iron Bull is romanced by the player character, the two will fall for each other - first as Friends with Benefits, then an actual relationship.
  • Lulu and Wakka from Final Fantasy X, who have a bit more of a harder time getting together than Tidus and Yuna, who were pretty much in Love at First Sight. Though understandable, as Lulu had previously been with Wakka's brother (who had died). But interestingly enough, Lulu and Wakka get married and have a kid before Tidus and Yuna, seeing how Tidus was the fayth's dream and had to leave Yuna.
  • Tales of Phantasia has Chester and Arche as the Beta to the official couple of Cress/Cless and Mint. Their relationship's somewhat more tumultuous though, given their Slap-Slap-Kiss nature and the fact that time travel means Arche will have to wait 100 years to hook-up.
  • Agarest Senki 2 has two of them. The first couple is Janus and Chloe in the first generation, and the second couple is Ignis and Cynthia in the second generation. Both couples then had a child each (Jude, and Lizerotte respectively).
  • Guy and Jessy in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals contrast Maxim and Tia, to demonstrate that they're not quite compatible. Their relationship is more prominent in Curse of the Sinistrals, which also adds another Beta Couple: Tia and Dekar.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has Largo and Eleanor. After helping Eleanor find closure with the murder of her previous boyfriend, the two hit it off and eventually get married after the game. There's also a Gamma Couple with two rank-and-file Squad 7 members, Karl and Lynn, who are lovers at the start of the game and also get married after the war ends if they're both still alive.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Lambdadelta/Bernkastel serves as this to Beatrice/Battler for some. Interestingly enough, so can Jessica/Kanon and George/Shannon. For extra Mind Screw fun, later arcs heavily imply that Beatrice, Shannon and Kanon are the same person.
  • In Heart of the Woods, Madison and Abigail are the prominently advertised couple, with the two characters appearing on the title screen, but the game soon establishes Madison's best friend Tara and Morgan, the girl who invited them to Eysenfeld, as a secondary couple. The two of them grow closer over the course of the game, and in the end, they get together in two of the three endings and are shown getting married in the "Freedom" ending, in which Madison and Abigail disappear. In the "Sacrifice" ending, Morgan dies performing a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat Evelyn, and Tara is devastated by her death.
  • Melody shows an unusual example: the lesbian couple of Sophia and Xianne are the beta couple for the protagonist and Melody (a heterosexual couple). Sophia and Xianne are in a relationship come the end of the story.

    Web Comics 
  • Dumbing of Age: Becky and Dina to most other characters. While everyone else's relationships fall through at one point or another (be it because of Incompatible Orientation, lack of communication, unbalanced relationship dynamics, or irrational behavior), Becky and Dina's relationship remains stable and kindhearted, with both of them able to speak their mind to each other, even about subjects they are usually not comfortable talking about (such as Becky's own worries about having actual sex) and helping each other grow as a person
  • A literal Beta Couple from El Goonish Shive. Okay. That was an awful pun. In-universe, though, Elliot and Sarah take this role, and maybe Susan/Catalina, although they aren't a couple. Tedd and Grace serve as the main couple, or Ellen and Nanase, as a large part of the storyline revolves around their relationships. Later on, this is reversed, as by that point Tedd/Grace and Ellen/Nanase have been happily, stably together for a while and worked out most of their issues already as Elliot's post-Sarah-breakup relationship with Ashley takes the forefront and the lion's share of drama.
  • Casey and Mary in Casey and Andy. Subverted somewhat in that Andy Weir ditches the "one for romance" part of the idea and just plays both couples (Casey/Mary and Andy/Satan) for laughs.
  • Several in Girly: Officers Policeguy and Hipbone, Chuy and Autumn, and Lucy and Yumi. A few others are heavily implied to have Hooked Up Afterwards, and there are a fair share of Heterosexual Life-Partners. Let's just say this comic has a lot of love to give.
  • Fox and Collin in Boy Meets Boy, as loving as a cheerful Handsome Lech and a stoic Deadpan Snarker can be. They become the main couple in the Spin-Off webcomic Friendly Hostility.
  • Erika and Largo in MegaTokyo are a classic case of a Beta Couple used to provide a light, humorous contrast (most of the time) to the much more dark and dramatic main couple: Piro and Kimiko.
  • Melissa and Kurt from Multiplex. Outside of Kurt's habit of pulling pranks on Melissa, they're the rock of love compared to the Jason/Jay/Becky/Angie quagmire.
  • The Law of Purple subverts this trope in an odd way; there are two clearly defined couples amongst the main characters, which take turns being the Alpha and Beta couples depending on which pair contains the character(s) who are the focus of the current arc. At the time of this writing, Blue and Lette are the designated Beta Couple. And that's not even considering what the rest of the cast is up to...
  • Subverted in Questionable Content when alpha couple Faye and Marten doesn't happen and Beta interest and Alpha character end up forming a strange mix between Alpha and Beta couple — Dora and Marten.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Roy and Celia, who are quite upfront about their mutual attraction and get together relatively smoothly. This contrasts how long it took Haley to admit to her feelings about Elan, and is in spite of the fact that Roy spends a large proportion of a plot-arc dead.
    • The role is also played by Mauve Shirt couple Kazumi and Daigo, who are happily married (and expecting) already, despite having only gotten together after Haley and Elan got together.
  • In most Heterodyne stories, while Bill is canonically paired with Lucrezia, his brother Barry is paired with whoever the "High Priestess" character happens to be this time.
  • Mell and Caliban in Narbonic are a nice, steady evil couple who provide nice contrast to the main pairing of Dave and Helen.
  • Abbey and Daisy in Bittersweet Candy Bowl. This is in stark contrast to the angst, anger, heartbreak, confusion and jealousy experienced by the (many) other characters on an almost daily basis, though Abbey certainly has some personal issues.
  • In Sinfest, Slick sees Percy's romance and wishes his life were that simple.
  • In Starfighter, although it's clear there's a whole mess of love stories happening on the background of Abel and Cain's relationship, the leads of the Sleipnir ship, Keller and Encke, seem more like this, to the point in which they seem to have the most loving and respectful relationship on the comic so far.
  • Sunstone has the happily married Cassie and Tom make the various romantic heroes look like the shambles they are.
  • Jacques and Ginger are technically this in Cobweb and Stripes, but it's an odd case. The Alpha Couple is supposed to be the two leads, who aren't actually a couple yet and won't be for some time yet (according to the artist). In all other respects, however, the Happily Married skeleton and spider duo fulfill the roles of this trope.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time's Jake the Dog has a fairly stable long-term relationship with Lady Rainicorn, contrasting Finn's difficult growing into puberty and dealing with unrequited crushes.
  • Zuko/Mai and Sokka/Suki of Avatar: The Last Airbender to Official Couple Aang/Katara, which went through a decent amount of Will They or Won't They? (plus Shipping Wars with Zuko/Katara). Where Aang's feelings for Katara begin as a Precocious Crush, while Katara is too focused on the whole war situation to actually figure out her feelings on the matter, the other pairings occur a lot more smoothly. Zuko and Mai get together with little fanfare and go through only a momentary rough patch when Zuko makes his Heel–Face Turn and breaks up with her by letter, at which point Mai quickly decides she "loves Zuko more than she fears [Azula]" and joins him. Sokka and Suki hit a bump when he has trouble getting over his First Love Yue, but after working through that, things go smoothly once Suki joins the Gaang late in the final season. Both couples even manage to sneak in some late-night trysts.
  • Code Lyoko: Jeremie and Aelita are the Beta Couple for the Yumi/Ulrich relationship and the William/Yumi/Ulrich/Sissi love square, and they in fact become an Official Couple while the love square never gets resolved.
  • There's a strange variant in Codename: Kids Next Door. For most of the series, there was some sort of inversion, with Numbuh 1 being in an official relationship with his girlfriend Lizzie; while they usually had their problems because he was usually too busy with his job as a KND operative to spend time with her, they always seemed to work it out and remain together. The primary Will They or Won't They? was instead occupied by Numbuh 4 and Numbuh 3. By the end of the series, however, Numbuh 1 and Lizzie's relationship falls apart when she finally gets fed up with competing with the Kids Next Door for his attention, while Numbuh 4 and Numbuh 3 are revealed to have ended up together in the Distant Finale.
  • Bonnie and Joe Swanson and briefly Brian and Jillian in Family Guy to Peter and Lois Griffin.
  • Barney and Betty Rubble are a classic example, playing the generally happier, conflict-free Betas to Alpha Couple Fred and Wilma Flintstone. Whenever the former pair does get into a rift, chances are it's due to Barney simply finding himself (again) pulled into one of Fred's many crazy schemes. In 1973, Charlton comics gave Barney and Betty their own book.
  • Amy Wong and Kif Kroker from Futurama to Official Couple Fry and Leela. The latter go through a lot of Will They or Won't They? before finally settling down, while the former are mostly kept apart by circumstance (Kif effectively being a military man who's often away on deployment).
  • The second season of Kaeloo introduced a new character, Eugly, who became Quack Quack's girlfriend almost instantly. Kaeloo and Mr. Cat, on the other hand, have an extremely complicated relationship with each other, though Word of God has suggested that by the end of the show they will be an Official Couple.
  • Gerald and Phoebe from Hey Arnold!; unlike Arnold and Helga, this one isn't (mostly) one-sided. Word of God mentioned that they would have been an explicit Beta Couple in The Patakis, had the series been green-lighted. They would've been the "cool couple" to contrast with the more complicated relationship of Helga and Arnold.
    • In "The Jungle Movie", both pairings get a Relationship Upgrade and at the end, we see a nigh perfect contrast that cements this status. When Arnold and Gerald are walking to school, they bump into Helga and Phoebe—at which point Gerald and Phoebe wordlessly hold hands and walk away smiling while Arnold offers to hold Helga's offer she swoons over, then rejects.
  • Beezy and Saffi, paired up by Jimmy Two-Shoes, who is himself not yet aware of Heloise's feelings for him. Unfortunately, they break up in a Season 2 episode when Beezy decides to chase after a Girl of the Week. It was Played for Laughs though.
  • In The Legend of Korra: Bolin and Opal would normally be this to the main official couples of either Mako/Asami or Mako/Korra - except both relationships failed miserably the season before. Only in the Grand Finale is there an alpha couple: Korra and Asami.
  • Alya and Nino from Miraculous Ladybug. They get together relatively quickly, and are not tangled up in the Secret Identity-induced relationship drama that ensnares Marinette and Adrien.
    • There's also Ivan/Mylene, who hooked up near the end of the Origins episode.
  • Ferb and Vanessa (Ferbessa)on Phineas and Ferb. Ferb is shown many times throughout the show to have a crush on Vanessa. In season 4, episode 47 Act Your Age, they end up together. Phinabella is P&F's Alpha Couple.
    • Stacy and Coltrane, too. Since both of them are rather laid-back, their romance is meant to be a contrast to Candace's neurotic attempts to get Jeremy's attention. However, Coltrane rarely appears.
  • In Regular Show, Mordecai's constant relationship drama with both Margaret and C.J. is frequently contrasted by Rigby and Eileen's happy and healthy relationship. It's lampshaded in Alone at the Altar, where Rigby reveals he's been hiding the fact that they've been dating from Mordecai (and the audience) for months because they didn't want to shove their happiness down his throat.
  • Ned and Maude in the early seasons of The Simpsons (before Maude's death), Apu and Manjula in later seasons.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! has an inversion. It's the main character who has a Beta Couple relationship with his Robot Girl girlfriend. While Chiro and Jinmay are shown with a solid and happy relationship since the very first episode and she's usually absent, it's Sprx and Nova the ones who get more screen time and the more dysfunctional dynamic and they don't get together until the final episode, pretty much making them the Alpha Couple of the show.
  • Total Drama:
    • Island has three pairings that get together with some amount of drama — Gwen/Trent, Duncan/Courtney and Geoff/Bridgette — while Tyler/Lindsay, Harold/Leshawna and Owen/Izzy all manage to hook up with relatively little interaction.
    • In later seasons, the original pairings' comparative dynamics and focus change only a little. Owen and Izzy break up with the same ease with which they once got together, while the other three do go through some rough patches: Geoff/Bridgette have mutual infidelity and jealousy issues, Leshawna backs out of romantic commitment with Harold, and Lindsay's lesser mental capacity means she only remembers Tyler as a concept. However, they all work through it wholesomely (while Harold and Leshawna don't officially get back together, their feelings don't diminish), with the semi-volatile Geoff/Bridgette in particular being confirmed as stable in Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race and Lindsay/Tyler stay together without any drama or arguments. Meanwhile, Gwen/Trent and Duncan/Courtney crash and burn in favor of Duncan/Gwen, which then crashes and burns too with more than a few unresolved elements.
    • The Revenge of the Island cast has the relative stability of Sam/Dakota versus all the problems that Mike/Zoey face.
    • The Spin-Off, Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race has Crimson and Ennui, who are together from the beginning and are unwaveringly devoted to each other, and casually-flirtatious Brody/MacArthur against the more dramatic couples, Noah/Emma, Ryan/Stephanie and Devin/Carrie.
  • Winx Club has at the end of season 1 two Beta Couples: Stella and Brandon, and Tecna and Timmy. By the end of season 2, Musa has hooked up with Riven, while Flora is dating Helia. At the end of season 3, there are five with Aisha and Nabu dating each other. All of the couples have gone through their rough spots and struggles, while Musa and Riven have almost as much conflict as Bloom and Sky, the main couple. At the end of season 4, there are only four due to Nabu's death. And at the end of season 6, there are only three since Musa and Riven have broken up and Riven's been Put on a Bus.
  • Rogue and Gambit in X-Men (unlike their comic counterparts) are portrayed as having a relatively stable relationship. Their romance plays backup to the much more complicated, drama-filled love triangle between Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: