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Chained Heat

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"Idiot... I got no keys for these cuffs!"

Lucy: You know, there's this classic film called The Defiant Ones, starring Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier. It's about two prisoners – one black, the other white – and they escape handcuffed together...
Brad: And while they don't like each other at first, they come to respect and care for one another by the end.
Lucy: You've seen it.
Brad: No, but I know what you're getting at. And I don't want a moral lesson in tolerance and cooperation. I just want to get through the next couple of hours without committing murder.

Two, usually diametrically opposed, characters are chained or handcuffed together for some period. An Aesop occurs. In the right genre, may result in a forced Enemy Mine. May be employed in a symbolic manner and progress into Chains of Love. In other genres, it will be played for laughs as both characters will then try to carry on with their (often conflicting) activities despite the handicap. Also odds are good they'll want to hide what happened, letting them make up a wild story as to why they are holding one another's hand. Hilarity Ensues (sometimes in the form of Toilet Humor, as at least one of these types of stories has a part where one of the characters has to go to the bathroom and the other doesn't).

This trope may begin with the two characters unaware of the link that binds them together, only to discover it when they try and walk away from each other.

Can overlap with Working on the Chain Gang when this trope occurs between escaping prisoners.

See also Bring the Anchor Along, Locked in a Room, With My Hands Tied.

Unusually, the Trope Namer — the Girls Behind Bars film Chained Heatis unrelated to this trope. Serving as the Trope Codifier is The Defiant Ones.

For a different sort of "chained-heat", go here and here.

Example subpages:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 5 episode 24, Smart S. accidentally throws an electric rope onto Careful S. and Little M., leaving them stuck together. They spend most of the episode trying to find a way to get unstuck.
  • One episode of Pucca saw Garu and Tobe get stuck together.

    Comic Books 
  • In Countdown to Final Crisis, Piper and Trickster, a pair of semi-reformed DC Comics supervillains, were handcuffed together after being arrested for complicity in the death of Flash. They escaped, but were unable to remove the handcuffs. The twist is that Piper is gay, and Trickster is, well, slightly homophobic, constantly making rather negative gay jokes. Near the end of the storyline, it seems like it's going to become Canon Ho Yay just before Trickster does a Heroic Sacrifice and jumps in front of a bullet aimed for Piper. Poor Piper then drags Trickster's body around with him for days for before giving in to necessity and cutting the corpse's hand off. Word of God claims that the storyline was intentionally based off of The Defiant Ones.
  • In Gotham Academy, Damian Wayne gets his hand stuck to Maps after she accidentally used a magic spell by writing with a magic quill.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Hammer and Anvil are two villains in Marvel Comics, one black and one white, connected with an alien device that gives them superpowers. Clearly inspired by the source material.
  • The Metal Men (except Tin) were once bound with a giant chain by evil robots. The chain is impossible to escape, even with their shapeshifting powers, as it expands and contracts with their every movement. Doc Magnus is especially unhappy to be chained to Platinum, as she's pretty much obsessed with him.
  • Used in The Simpsons comic book. After Working on the Chain Gang, Sideshow Bob and Bart escape, chained together at the ankle. And while Bob tries to kill his long-time nemesis, Bart is smart enough to point out that if Bob kills him while they're chained together, he'll have to drag Bart's body around as dead weight, and he'll be caught for sure. This forces Bob to keep Bart alive until he can break the chain.
  • Spencer Smythe was a Spider-Man villain, who was hired by J. Jonah Jameson to create robots to catch Spider-Man. When he got fatal radiation poisoning because of his work, he blamed both Jameson and Spider-Man, and handcuffed the two of them together with a bomb scheduled to detonate in 24 hours.
  • Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: The Worst Among Equals arc has Aphra and Triple-Zero implanted with bombs that'll go off if either dies, tries to remove them or get more than twenty meters from each other, and dropped in the middle of a hostile megacity with a Price on Their Head. Dr. Evazan did it to them because he felt it would be nice entertainment while he and Ponda laid low (and of course For Science!), and even hacked Triple-Zero's eyes to watch it happen.
  • In the Nintendo Comics System Super Mario Bros. comic, "The Buddy System", Mario and Bowser are chained together by Mousers, and are forced to work together to save the underground world from flooding and themselves from drowning. Their teamwork is short-lived.
  • In one Tintin story, a handcuffed Tintin steals the key from his sleeping captors (the clueless detectives Thompson and Thomson) and cuffs them to each other. When they realize he's gone, they run after him, but keep catching the cuffs on lampposts and other obstacles. Eventually they find a blacksmith and ask him to break the chain, but Tintin walks in and they chase him before the blacksmith is finished.
  • A chainless variant appeared in Thunderbolts, when Hawkeye, Plant Man, Headlok, and Cottonmouth escape from a prison truck. They're forced to stay very close to one another because of the bracelets on their arms, which will explode if they get a certain distance from one another. Cottonmouth, who is cannibalistic and part snake, tries to get around this at one point by killing the others as they slept, then chewing their arms off. Don't worry, he got caught in the act before anybody got hurt.
  • At the end of Issue #2 of WWE Superstars, John Cena and Randy Orton are seen tied together, and the first thing they say is "I hate you."

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Against her better judgement, Mittens attaches herself to the other end of Bolt's leash in "The Ski Trip," acting as the dog's de facto leash handler. When she fails to stop Bolt from skiing down a mountain trail, the cat tries to unhook her collar from the leash, but finds it won't budge. Much to her displeasure, she is dragged along on the harrowing ski run with Bolt and Rhino.
  • The Chained Melody Universe by Diane Bellomo are a series of Star Trek: Voyager Slash Fics in which B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine are bound together by Captain Janeway to force them to learn to work together. Les Yay ensues.
  • Remus and Danger Lupin from the Dangerverse are a variant on this trope. Danger's magical bond with Remus allows her to partially suppress his lycanthropy. He still transforms, but he retains his mind and doesn't suffer the usual pre- and post-transformation sickness. The bond also turns out to give Danger lupus, but the symptoms are suppressed. The problem is that if they go more than about 24 hours without skin-to-skin contact, all the suppressed symptoms of lycanthropy and lupus start coming back at once. Since they are rather spectacularly in love, they went more than a decade before discovering this fact, by which point the accumulated symptoms had already reached lethal levels. They both nearly die before someone figures out what's wrong and brings them into contact. Being, as previously mentioned, spectacularly in love, they don't particularly mind being stuck together in this manner, but it is still a problem that has to be worked around on occasion.
  • In this Glee fic, Brittany handcuffs Kurt and Mike together on Valentine's Day and promptly loses the key. At the end of the school day, Kurt finds out that she did it because she knew that Mike had a crush on Kurt and wanted to help him out.
  • The Umineko: When They Cry fanfic Lovesmith has Kyrie, Rosa and Rudolf do this to Eva and Natsuhi in an attempt to force them to get along.
  • Another Miraculous fic Operation Golden Lotus features this as one of the several schemes that Alya, Alix, Mylene, Juleka and Rose employ to try and get Marinette and Adrien together.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, Magnetism, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy end up like this due to two magical bracelets meant for people in troubled relationships forcing them to touch at all times, or else they'll be slammed back together.
  • Enforced in-arena during the 95th Hunger Games (4th Quinquennial Quell) in Tales of the Hunger Games to remind the districts that they "fought as one" against the Capitol. Each pair of tributes is chained together by their waists and are required to work together with varying results. The belts break after 6 pairs of tributes remain, ending the partnership between those linked tributes.
  • A Theory of Butterflies and Other Insects: Captain Grime cuffs himself and Marcy together in order to ensure she can't escape during the herons' assault on Toad Tower, forcing her to help him deal with the giant birds.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug fic Under Lock and Key, Manon handcuffs Adrien and Marinette together while they are watching her in the Louvre. The problem is, these are antique handcuffs, which means: 1) there is no key around, 2) the cuffs are way too valuable to break and 3) the locksmith who knows how to handle them won't be around for two days at least...
  • The Urthblood Saga: The Crimson Badger contains the mouse/stoat duo of Jans and Broggen, who are a rare willing example of this trope. The backstory is that Broggen committed a crime in Urthblood's service that should've landed him a death penalty, but Jans took pity on him and saved him from the badger's wrath. Urthblood declared that the stoat would be his responsibility for the rest of his days, and to keep Broggen from getting into further trouble, they decided to chain each other together. In spite of their predicament, they're one of best warriors in the army. At the end of TCB, Jans is killed in battle, freeing Broggen from his manacle.
  • Happens between Lily Evans and Sirius Black in White Flags, forcing Lily to spend several days in the Marauders' company. They grow on her.

  • An extreme example in book three of The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Bartimaeus and Nathaniel trying to take on The Legions of Hell while Sharing a Body. And mind-linked.
  • Done as a punishment in a Darkover short story; when two Renunciates quarrel to the point of drawing blades, their house mothers chain their hands together as a way to force them to cooperate and live together. It works, eventually, and they become life-long friends.
  • In the ST:TOS novel How Much for Just the Planet?, by John M. Ford, Uhura and Aperokei wind up handcuffed together and have to deal with that while on the run.
  • In the book Judge Benjamin: Superdog, Judge and his dachshund antagonist Henry manage to get their collars caught together. This was after Henry semi-accidentally flooded the garage and took refuge on Judge's head. They were rescued by their owners and taken to the local hardware shop to get the collars disconnected. Later that night they learned to work together when the owner of the hardware shop tried to rob the garage.
  • Company Z stage this in Rapido Clint by J.T. Edson: having Alvin Fog pose as a criminal and handcuffing him to a wanted felon, then orchestrating an escape so the felon will take Alvin to his boss.

  • The main plot for the Home Free music video of "Anywhere the Wind Blows". See it here
  • The video for Michael Jackson's "Beat It" has two rival gang leaders tie their hands to each other for the world's most stylized knife fight.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One FoxTrot storyline had Jason and Paige stuck together by bubblegum (made with industrial polymers) when their bubbles touch — which has the added awkwardness of connecting them by the faces rather than their arms. When the realization sinks in that they're going to have to sleep and shower together, they scream so loudly that it blows the gum right off.
  • Garfield, alongside first Jon, then Odie, spent several weeks stuck in a window blind together. Somehow, this gets parsed as something freaky by the woman Jon asks to try and help them get out of this... They are later joined by a man, an old lady, and eventually a street light.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • A "Strap Match" is a Gimmick Match with two wrestlers tied to opposite ends of a belt, rope, steel chain, or anything similar in order to keep them in close proximity to each other. This can also be referred to as a "Dog Collar Match," when the competitors are shackled at the neck.
    • Differs from most other depictions in that the two wrestlers are not forced to cooperate. In fact, the whole point of the strap match is to force the two wrestlers to fight each other while tied together. This naturally is a great disadvantage for some wrestlers, as it takes their signature moves out of play.
  • During the match between El Gran Armando and El Gigante Nihan on the 6-29-2019 WWC show their managers Wizard and Juan Manuel Ortega were handcuffed together. This was mainly because Wizard tends to interrupt Nihan matches by hitting him with a cane, and the cuffs didn't work. Wizard was able to get out after throwing salt in Ortega's eyes.

  • One time on The Howard Stern Show, Howard had a woman handcuffed to wack-packer, Jeff the Drunk, for FIVE DAYS for a large sum of money, and have a camera crew record the results. Hilarity Ensues when they end up going to a bar and Jeff gets so drunk he can barely walk. They make it through the five days, and had apparently grown attached, as once they're separated, they both end up getting emotional and start crying. Some time later, Howard tries this stunt again, but with High Pitch Erik instead of Jeff, but this time the woman he's handcuffed to wants out after only a couple of hours.

  • In The 39 Steps, the main character is handcuffed to a woman who thinks he is a murderer. He must drag her with him as he tries to escape the villain's henchmen.

    Video Games 
  • Crash Twinsanity: Crash and Cortex can latch on to a crystal and Crash can drag Cortex around the level, using him as a mallet and occasionally flinging him across gaps to trigger switches and whatnot.
  • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories: Rozalin is contractually bound to Adell, by the summoning ritual that kicks off the game's events, to take him to Overlord Zenon. When asked to be released, Adell outright states that if he breaks the contract, he would die. Of course, Rozalin is Zenon (though neither of them knew that at the time) so she actually could have left at any time without consequence.
  • Divine Divinity's sequel Beyond Divinity uses the trope as its premise – the protagonist becomes forced into Synchronization with a stereotypically villainous Black Knight by a demon, and they work together with the shared goal of not only separating themselves from their rather disliked counterparts, but to get back at the demon who did it to them.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Though the "chains" in this case are not physical, Bastila treats being forced to go off on a mission that would require spending time with the player character like this.
  • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon: Spyro spends the entire game chained to former nemesis Cynder. From a gameplay perspective, the main purpose of the chain is to allow co-op play without splitting the screen. However, the chain is also used to solve certain puzzles (for example, one dragon grabs onto a wall and the other dragon swings on the chain to get higher; or one dragon grabs onto a raft while the other dragon flies ahead, pulling the raft forward).
  • Power Instinct 3: Groove on Fight: Even when they're still rivals, Goketsuji sisters are chained together back-to-back fighting as one person in order to not to be defeated against the new (and considerably younger) fighters.
  • Sword and Fairy 7: Our main characters, Yue Qingshu and Xiu Wu, get spiritually bound together by accident. The latter would weaken if they were to separate, and since it would hinder his mission, the duo is forced to travel together.
  • Whiplash, where the protagonists are animals escaping from a Mega-Corp Testing Facility. The two characters, Spanx (a brain-fried weasel) and Redmond (a Deadpan Snarker rabbit who also happens to be Nigh-Invulnerable due to chemical tests) are chained together, with Spanx using Redmond as a flail.
  • The World Ends with You: Neku becomes spiritually chained to different partners throughout the game. While there is nothing physically forcing them to stay together, the Noise they encounter along the way can only be defeated by two people working together.

    Visual Novels 
  • Invoked in Akatsuki no Goei when Reika forces Kaito and Tominori to be handcuffed together for shits and giggles. Kaito could pick the lock, but she threatens to fire Tominori if he does. He'd be okay with that, but for some reason Tominori gets in his way when he tries.
  • Kamigami no Asobi: The main plot during Tsukito's route in the game has him chained to Yui via magic rings, thanks to Loki's trickster ways, and are told that they'll only come off if they become a couple and eventually fall for each other.
  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: After running afoul of Detective Ayase, the protagonist and Baba find themselves both locked in bracelets that will explode if they are more than five feet apart.
  • Metro PD: Close to You: The protagonist and Kyobashi are briefly handcuffed together by a suspect during Kyobashi's epilogue.

    Web Animation 
  • In this video from Burakku Channel, Akane, as part of her rivalry with Burakku, uses a pair of magic handcuffs that make it so they can’t be separated for about a day, with any attempts at trying resulting in the handcuffs pulling them back. Burakku doesn’t really mind this and proceeds to rile her up for the rest of the video. He later reveals that he could have used his powers to break the handcuffs the whole time, much to Akane’s rage.
  • In an episode of Happy Tree Friends Handy and Mole are chained together by Lumpy who's acting as a highway patrol officer, eventually Mole dies and Handy has to drag his corpse around with him before he's hit by a train.
  • On Homestar Runner, Strong Bad says (and shows via a flashback) that he once glued Homsar to Marzipan and "left them for dead".
    Marzipan: Ooh, I hear wolves coming.
    Homsar: Aaaah'm the human wedgie!
  • The Star Wars: Galactic Pals episode "Rodian" has Miree getting stuck to the Rodian youngling, due to forgetting about his suction fingers. Throughout the episode, Miree tries to figure out different ways to get themselves unstuck.


    Real Life 
  • A news clip showed two prisoners in New Zealand who escaped handcuffed together. Obviously they weren't very bright, while fleeing one tried to go on one side of a lightpole and the other tried the other side. No points for guessing what happened next. (Alternate source Alternate source 2)
    • This may be to do with an urban legend that doing so will break the handcuffs. If so this is not the first time it has been debunked, two British prisoners in the 1990s even admitted that was how they broke their arms.
  • The exact same thing happened to a trio in Ontario. It's been shown in both Police Videos and Most Shocking (the latter under the "Dumbest Criminals" episode, no less). The trio were being unloaded from a paddy wagon when they decided to bolt. Two went to the left, one to the right. They hit the pole; Hilarity Ensues.
    Cop 1: You guys are idiots.
    Cop 2: You also have the right to be stupid.
  • Truth in Television. In the late 90s a British judge was faced with two pensioners whose feud had made nearby neighbors' lives miserable. He gave them a choice between jail or a number of hours per day handcuffed together for a month. They were smart enough to realise that settling their feud would be the least unpleasant choice.
  • The entire point of the children's game "Three-legged race" is for a pair of contestants to run side-by-side to the finish line while having their adjacent feet bound together.
  • YouTube videos exist of young teens handcuffing themselves to their sweethearts or crushes for a day.


Video Example(s):


Blu and Jewel Chained Together

Jewel finds out at the worst possible moment when trying to escape from the smuggler's hideout that Blu cannot fly much to her dismay and anger forcing them to escape from Nigel as well as Marcel's henchmen on foot while chained together by a chain that Marcel had put on them earlier.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ChainedHeat

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