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Conflict Ball

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Sonic: [to Shadow] Hey, buddy! I'm so happy you're still okay! That's great! Say, we were just on our way to Eggman.
Shadow: So are we.
Sonic: Huh... Let's kill each other.
Shadow: DIE!

A character introduces or provokes conflict for reasons which are weak or which contradict previous characterization.

For example, why is Alice — The Lancerarguing with Bob — The Big Guy — about his plan to infiltrate the enemy base? Alice actually suggested similar plans before. In fact, it's her favorite kind of plan, so why is she disagreeing with Bob now? She never says. Alice's behavior is entirely plot mandated: now she can go off on her own, screw up, get captured and need rescue, and then learn a valuable lesson about teamwork. For added annoyance, Alice might forget all about it just in time to be handed the Conflict Ball again.

Conflict is the driving force of a story. Unfortunately, not all writers are good at pulling it off. So we often get conflict out of nowhere or conflict based on trite or contrived reasons, as if the characters had simply picked up a ball (hence the trope name). Much like Poor Communication Kills, this is done to keep the plot moving, or at the least to steer it along to where the author wants it to go.

This trope almost always involves a character suddenly gaining a Hair-Trigger Temper momentarily. This temper comes out of nowhere and more often than not, isn't one of the character's personality traits, so they come across as an instigator who wants to start a fight.

The Load, the Ineffectual Loner, and Commander Contrarian often carry this Ball, being belligerent and contrary for no apparent reason, or to Overcome Their Differences with the leader.

Rarely a Justified Trope, unless in a caustic satire, parody or a satirical parody, or in cases where Alice acting out of character is itself a significant plot point, raising suspicion that Alice is actually Not Herself or whatever.

When there is some actual effect or force compelling the characters to fight, that's a Hate Plague.

Compare Rule of Drama, Idiot Ball, Apple of Discord, Out-of-Character Moment and Let's You and Him Fight.

See also Designated Hero, The Troublemaker.

Now since this trope involves contrivance, this is not technically possible in real life.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece:
    • Usopp is adamant about not abandoning the Going Merry, despite admitting that he knew it couldn't be fixed, because it was a present from his sick friend, a reminder of his hometown, and he knew it was sentient. Luffy can't keep sailing with a doomed ship, but he is quite undiplomatic about his decision to let it go, going out of his way to avoid admitting that he himself had been unwilling to accept that the ship was doomed. Luffy even silences Nami when she tries to explain his point of view to Usopp, which makes it easier for Usopp to perceive Luffy as being heartless.
    • Another case is Luffy's fight with Zoro in Whiskey Peak. The people there were actually assassins who intended to take the Straw Hats' heads after they drunk themselves into a stupor partying, but Zoro had enough restraint to keep himself sober and defeat them. Luffy, who would otherwise trust his True Companions through thick and thin, refused to listen to his earliest crewmate Zoro's explanation for what was going on, and relentlessly attacked him with explicit intent for murder. The fight is at least put in a comedic light, particularly their Offhand Backhand of Mr. 5 and Miss Valentine, and slapstick from Nami ultimately stopping them.
    • Luffy and Jimbei briefly grab the ball in the Fishman Island arc when the latter insists that the former stay out of the upcoming fight against Hody so the civilians don't just see "a human beating down a Fishman for trying to stand up against them"... except the Fishman in question is the Arc Villain who is threatening to kill the King and drive out everyone who won't acquiesce to his crusade against humanity, and in the same public speech directly picked a fight with Luffy using the lives of some captured crew members. Anyone who'd be confused about Luffy's motives for fighting Hody afterwards would have to be brainless, yet Jimbei is so stubborn about this that he resorts to violence to stop Luffy from leaving. Their onlooking friends are suitably confused as to why a fight is starting.
  • Bleach: Uryu Ishida joins the Vandenreich, a Quincy Empire, during the final arc. It's clear from the start that he's just there to avenge his mother, so the Big Bad Yhwach declares him successor to the throne to keep him on a short leash from the harsh scrutiny of his subordinates. Without any real plan to fight Yhwach for most of the arc (he eventually decides on collapsing a castle that wasn't created until well over halfway into the arc, and that was sabotaged before it went anywhere), Uryu picks a fight with his friends twice just to force a subplot over bringing him out of his supposed Face–Heel Turn.
  • Project A-Ko: B-Ko's desire for C-Ko probably would have gone better if she didn't antagonize A-Ko so much. One might think that while conflict is an absolute necessity in an action story but then you realize that B-Ko wasn't exactly the main antagonist in the 1st movie.
  • Ranma ½: Mousse is almost always in conflict with the titular protagonist, which is absurd when you realize that their primary goals regarding Shampoo coincide perfectly. They have literally no reason to fight, since (aside from his massive ego) Ranma should love an opportunity to remove one unwanted love interest, and Mousse should be happy to have at least one ally who will want to see Shampoo end up with Mousse. But that would be too easy, so instead Mousse is too blind to see the reality, and Ranma just responds as usual to someone attacking him.
  • Area 88: It seems implausible to have Shin go into temporary psychosis upon learning that Kanzaki was flying a commercial plane near the base. Nor was it plausible for a frenzied Shin to attack said commercial plane, then attack Saki and Mickey once he was back on the ground.
  • Heero Yuy in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is normally The Stoic and in perfect control of his emotions, to the point where another character remarks "Everything he does is thorough and well thought-out." However, this obviously isn't the case in Episode 7, where he impulsively attacks an airplane supposedly containing The Federation's leadership (and acts quite smug while doing so), falling right into Treize's trap and actually killing the people who wanted to make peace with the space colonies, which sets up the conflict for the rest of the series.
  • A lot of the conflict in ∀ Gundam seems to happen just for the sake of it. Characters on all sides seems to have a death-grip on the conflict ball and will start fights the moment their superiors turns their backs, if not said superiors are in on it that is, and often in complete disregard for basic sanity and survival instincts. A lot of the conflicts within the series could have been avoided if not everyone was so damn tigger happy all the time. While Gundam as a whole can suffer from this trope, at times seeming like there is some kind of "one fight per episode" mandate going on, Turn A still stands out due to how often conflict just seems to happen for no reason, especially in such a laid back setting.
  • Jeremy from A Cruel God Reigns tends to do this often to Ian, picking fights with him for seemingly no reason and attempting to seduce him, although considering his Dark and Troubled Past, this could be passable.
  • In Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!, the trio of Nyarko, Cuuko, and Hasta are always being clingy and disruptive, to the annoyance of Mahiro. However, they take it even further in episode 11 of the second TV series, when Mahiro is asked by his mother to babysit a young alien girl named Guthatan. While he does his best to look after the child, the other three are acting even worse than normal, with Cuuko constantly harassing Mahiro to make her breakfast while Hasta gets extremely jealous of how much attention Guthatan is getting. Nyarko gets it even worse, acting even more jealous than Hasta and at one point jumping to the conclusion that Mahiro had sex with Guthatan. While the conflict is a plot point, only one small element (Guthatan getting a cut on her forehead during a battle where Nyarko et al. went overboard) is explained; the rest of it comes off as if the trio just woke up that morning and decided to be as selfish and annoying as possible. And this isn't even mentioning the things they did earlier, like loudly playing video games in Mahiro's room while he was trying to sleep.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: The brief conflict between Naofumi and Raphtalia after the former lost the latter as his slave. When Raphtalia was taken hostage by the other heroes and the royalty, under the assumption she is controlled by the Shield Hero, Motoyasu challenges him to duel if he wants her back. Initially, Naofumi gained the upper hand, but Malty cheated behind his back, which lead to his defeat in hands of Motoyasu. Afterwards, in a fit of grief, he hallucinates her betraying him the same way Malty did and walking out on him. This caused him to activate the Rage Shield, which clouds his mind and cause him to lose the ability to be reasoned with. When Raphtalia ditches him and calls out on his crap, she walks up to Naofumi who, despite treating her well earlier, refuses to listen to her explanation she believes in him innocence and angrily ignores her, whining that nobody believes in him at all, and blaming his shield for all his misfortunes. This stops when Raphtalia persists and brings him back to his senses.
  • In episode three of The Vision of Escaflowne Allen seems to carry one around him constantly. After hearing Hitomi's scream Van comes running to find Allen holding her unconscious in his arms. Not only does Allen refuse to explain the situation he actually threatens Van when Van starts to draw his sword. Unsurprisingly, Van attacks. By the end of the episode Allen has revealed that Van's kingdom was destroyed in a surprise attack and makes no suggestion that Allen or his country will help Van. Van gets into his titular mecha to go back to his people, only to find Allen waiting to stop him... for literally no reason.
  • Parodied in one Fairy Tail filler episode, Juvia buys a dodgy love potion that acts as this, causing truly random declarations of rivalry. Some are rather plausible, like Mirajane vs. Erza, but then you have Erza vs. wooden post (because it wouldn't move out of her way), Makarov vs. alcohol (because it got him drunk), and Gray vs. The Horizon (he ends up on Galuna Island).
  • In World's End Harem, Reito has been holding onto his virginity for Erisa's sake. But when he needs to sleep with someone as part of curing the MK-Virus, the cure will work better if it's "heartfelt sex," and Erisa's available, he suddenly starts thinking of her as a childhood friend rather than his girlfriend, which is completely at odds with his previous characterization. While this only lasts for about two minutes, when he propositions her, she rejects him with no explanation.
  • Near the end of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Josuke Higashikata and Yuya Fungami battle against Terunosuke Miyamoto, the Enigma Boy, in an effort to save Josuke's mom and Koichi Hirose, who were kidnapped by him. They prove successful, and what's Terunosuke's excuse for causing a Hostage Situation? ...Because Yoshihiro Kira* gave him his Enigma Stand and told him to kidnap the two, and Terunosuke blindly followed his orders for no reason whatsoever.

    Comic Books 
  • Civil War (2006): Many characters are fighting over the issue of a Super Registration Act, but insist on Let's You and Him Fight with some of their best friends rather than getting their act together to prove their case (pro or anti) and finding a solution that doesn't result in very necessary heroes being hunted down like dogs, or more battles as the pro and anti sides fight and invariably give villains free rein in the chaos. In the end, the Pro side got Designated Villains to simplify the debate. Also, one of the leading advocates of the new Super Registration Act, Reed Richards, had previously singlehandedly thwarted an attempt at what was apparently the exact same thing.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men: The main conflict comes from the Phoenix coming back to Earth to find a new host, which most likely will be Hope Summers. The Avengers decide that they must stop it, since the Phoenix is killing people on its way back, and they want to take Hope off-world. The X-Men want Hope to stay on Earth so that she can repopulate the mutant race. Instead of Cap suggesting Cyclops to have Hope meet the Phoenix in space, which would lower the risk, Cap shows up on Utopia and demands that Cyclops hand over his granddaughter. Cyclops then blasts Cap, Cap then calls in back up, Cyclops does the same, Hope runs away, and loads and loads of fighting ensues. The rest of the plot consists of the Avengers antagonizing the X-Men who possess the Phoenix, which was split thanks to Iron Man. The plot might have been averted if both sides had sat down and talked this over like actual adults.
  • In a Black Panther comic, T'Challa is explaining his plan to take out a vampire infested city to Luke Cage, Brother Voodoo and Blade. Blade tells T'Challa that just because he runs a country doesn't mean he can tell him what to do. Cage says Blade is being difficult for no reason since he doesn't have a plan. Blade admits to it and says he just doesn't want to be part of a team. So T'Challa tells Blade to go off on his own and this immediately puts him in a good mood, so good he gives Luke Cage one of his guns before leaving. Blade and John Blaze also traded the conflict ball around in the various Midnight Sons series. One notable example was after Blade had a possession exorcised and returned with information vital to the team but Blaze wouldn't hear any of it and threatened to shoot him.
  • The Lehrigen arc in ElfQuest pushed this to pretty extreme levels: Scouter's rebellion against Ember was not only extremely out of character (although he has been flanderized into a complete asshole over time), but pretty much against everything the elves stand for.
  • Birds of Prey series, Huntress is a conflict source between Batman and Barbara Gordon. Batman is always suspicious of Helena thanks to her past (she killed mobsters in her campaign to avenge her parents — who were also mobsters), and Babs is always willing to give her a chance.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) have had some infamous problems under Ian Flynn:
    • Issue 178-179, the House of Acorn imprisons Tails' dad for wanting to reform the government, invoking the Prowers to become hostile with the heroes, especially Sonic, who runs his bad mouth and supports the monarch. Tails suddenly becomes unfriendly to his otherwise big brother, however, over a whole different reason: he holds a grudge against Sonic for stealing his Love Interest despite Fiona Fox always treating him like dirt and despite being on very friendly terms with him on Antoine's wedding, only a few episodes prior.
    • Prior to Ian joining there was Sally's infamous yelling at Sonic for calling off their wedding to keep his active role in the Freedom Fighters. Problem #1: This isn't Sonic's first attempt to ditch a wedding, and back then it was treated as a joke. Problem #2: Sally pulling her happiness over her subjects and angsting over it are huge out of character moments. Problem #3: There's no real consequences following the slap then heightened tension of their romance, since apparently they soon go back to the healthy boss-subordinate relationship afterward.
  • Batman and Green Lantern Hal Jordan were not always at odds. The rationale for Batman disliking Green Lantern was initially because Batman did not trust Hal after he was possessed by Parallax. Green Lantern: Rebirth stated that they never liked each other from the start, with John Stewart claiming that it was because Batman's main schtick is instilling fear, and Hal, having the ability to "overcome great fear", never "bought what he was selling". But that doesn't explain why Batman doesn't dislike Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, or any number of other superheroes who also don't seem to be afraid of him. Justice League (2011) seems to suggest that Batman doesn't like Green Lantern because he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Spider-Man: Mary Jane Watson went from supporting, loving partner to Peter who understood his need to be a hero, to someone who all of a sudden couldn't handle the pressure and questioned his accomplishments, even belittling the "With Great Power..." mantra. She finally left Spider-Man being threatened by an average thug (despite being attacked by villains such as Venom, the Green Goblin and Spider-Slayers) with the argument that she couldn't deal with the notion that her life could be in danger. She's recently realized that she does love Peter, but for some reason has yet to actually tell him this. And when she does, Peter's not entirely home. It gets worse once Peter DOES get back: once Peter explains everything, Mary Jane reveals she kinda figured that and reaffirms that being with him and being in danger is ridiculous and goes off with her boyfriend. Even more, Carlie Cooper decides to wander off as well, deciding that living away from Peter and this sort of crap is a good thing.
  • As a general rule, this occurs more often than not when two heroes encounter each other while working different ends of the same case. No matter how many times they've teamed up before, something will cause the two to brawl for five minutes before realizing they should team up.
  • Tortuous Convolvulus of Asterix and the Roman Agent is a living example. He can cause people go at each other's throats just by standing in front of them and doing nothing. After seeing his ability to cause discord in action, Caesar hires him to destroy Asterix's village, something he comes very close to accomplishing.
  • H'el on Earth: Supergirl catches the ball and flies away with it. She cannot accept the fact that she's been in stasis for twenty years and that her formerly baby cousin (Superman) has grown up in that time. As such she refuses to listen to anything he says. This came back to bite her in the ass when she ended up in a relationship with H'El despite everyone else telling her that it was a bad idea. Although Superman and the Justice League aren't exactly faultless here either, ignoring several opportunities to explain why she shouldn't trust H'El and letting her go on believing that they're trying to stop the two of them from going back in time and saving their home planet from destruction just because.
  • In the Runaways arc "Homeschooling", Victor, in a stupid attempt to impress Nico, causes an accident that kills Old Lace and causes Klara to lose control of her powers, burying the Runaways' house in vines. Naturally, Chase is pissed off, but because nobody realizes that the accident was Victor's fault, he blames Klara. Inexplicably, Victor takes his side in the ensuing debate about what to do to bring Klara's powers under control, going so far as to suggest that they "take the kid gloves off" (which presumably means "beat the crap out of her until she retracts the vines".) It's inexplicable because 1) There's no indication that he's aware that he caused the accident, and thus he has no real incentive to support scapegoating her, and 2) Assuming that he still wants Nico to take him back, advocating the beating of a badly-traumatized eleven-year-old girl is probably not going to win him any points.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift features the Gaang constantly at each other's throats over minor disagreements, though thankfully this isn't actually the main story and they all apologize by the end of issue 1 as the real conflict arrives.
  • In Swordquest: Fireworld, twin orphans Torr and Tarra have an argument shortly after arriving and go their separate ways. There is no rhyme or reason for this other than to separate them for the sake of the plot, and it's even lampshaded when they wonder why they were suddenly short-tempered.
  • In Teen Titans (Rebirth), the Titans sans Damian catch this after Jon's powers go haywire and level Titans Tower. Raven and Beast Boy support Savior (a Bad Future counterpart of Tim Drake) in capturing and neutralizing Jon or his powers. They continue to support Savior even after he admitted to their faces that he plans on killing Jon, a very confused and emotionally distraught ten-year-old, and is fully willing to murder the rest of the Titans if they get in his way. Aqualad, Starfire, and Kid Flash race to find Jon and Damian first before Savior's plans come to fruition.

    Fan Works 
  • In My Immortal, everything everyone does seems to be a bit arbitrary and stupid, but the conflicts bear special mention. Dumbledore appears to be portrayed as a prep because he's not goffik enough, and therefore he must hate all goffs and act cruel and mean to them, just because. Voldemort also appears to be the story's seeker in terms of conflict balls.
  • Touken Danshi and The Order Of The Phoenix: The fic and its characters' needless arguing would have come to a screeching halt if the Japanese side, affiliated with the Imperial family no less, acted a bit less insufferable and more respectful and diplomatic, or the British side just threw in the towel on the obnoxious foreigners bullying and assaulting them and booted them out of Hogwarts and their country.
  • Much to the dismay of the four in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, the entire world seems to be holding a Conflict Ball. Even their attempts to avoid conflict often result in conflict. For example, the first day they're there, just by walking around and doing nothing even the slightest bit confrontational, they're attacked five times. (Six if you count the quasi- Noodle Incident when George describes how he was carrying Ringo back from the mesa and they were set upon by flying lizards that Ringo chased off).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In A Woman of Paris, both Marie and Jean's fathers are violently opposed to them getting married. There's no clue why, as they both seem perfectly nice and are much in love.
  • In The Cossacks, no one respects Lukashka, the chief's son, because he won't go with them on raids against the Turks. This creates a lot of tension and problems for Lukashka both with his dad and with his girlfriend. However, the film never explains why Lukashka won't go fight the Turks. When he finally does, he really likes it and he's really good at it.
  • Team America: World Police spoofed this. One of the guys had a problem with the new guy, and he eventually told the new guy his improbable reason he had a problem with actors, although that traumatic event should have made him hate furries instead.
  • George A. Romero just loved tossing this one onto the court in Night of the Living Dead (1968). It wasn't guaranteed to get everyone killed, but it never helped their situation to stand around and quibble.
  • In the Star Wars movies, the Jedi Council are more or less good people. Sticklers for the rules perhaps, and maybe they should have kept a closer eye on their Chosen One, but at the end of the day, they tried to do the right thing. In much of the Expanded Universe however, they don't just carry the Conflict Ball, they play intense games of Volley Conflict Ball at a moment's notice.
    • Example: In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the Exile has to visit three hidden Jedi and convince them to band together and help fight the Sith. Individually they all agree with you that the Sith need to be fought. Once you get them together, however, they come to the conclusion that because the Exile's nature as a void in the Force might bring about the death of the Force itself, they turn their attention towards the Exile. Their rationalizations are fair enough but are jarring given how much the Sith have them backed into a corner.
    • The Ruusan Reformations. This is where you see the movies' Order come to be from the KOTOR-era Order. Much stricter, less flexible, and a bunch of new rules that make conflict virtually impossible to avoid. (No love on pain of expulsion? Really?) This is where the Jedi stopped growing and became static/stagnant.
    • The post-ROTJ EU runs off this trope, particularly Legacy of the Force. It doesn't matter how many Aesops the Galaxy has learned. It doesn't matter how many planets are devastated, how many populations eradicated, or how many governments toppled. There will always be one planet that feels the need to wage war for absolutely asinine reasons.
    • The Council during the Fate of the Jedi series. Internal politics and hypocritical bickering between members, rash judgments and plans that are enacted without considering the obvious, sensible alternatives, aggressive approaches to undo plots of a villain who could be handled without the need to lift a lightsaber. It gets pretty bad.
    • In The Last Jedi, Poe Dameron and Amilyn Holdo spend most of their storyline tossing the Conflict Ball back and forth, with Holdo refusing to accept Poe's help or even let him in on their plan, which leads to Poe becoming convinced she's just running scared and has no plan, and culminates in the two needlessly antagonizing each other and making the situation worse until it escalates to a full-blown mutiny that indirectly gets the majority of the Resistance killed. This is despite the fact that both are trusted allies of Leia, both are responsible for significant victories for the Resistance, and that Poe actually thought her plan was brilliant once Leia told him: they'd have worked together great if Holdo hadn't gone out of her way to treat him like garbage, made worse by how Holdo ends up admitting that she likes Poe after her idiocy and his mutiny ends up getting most of them killed and severely cripples the Resistance.
  • Bride Wars has the two protagonists have their weddings for the same date and the same place. The two have been best friends for years, but they now suddenly don't want their identical dream weddings to be combined in what would be an awesome double wedding.
  • The Odd Life of Timothy Green: Timothy makes friends with Joni, the girl he has a crush on, and the two have a great deal of fun together. But Tim's parents quickly turn against her upon seeing them be friends because... they don't want their son to have friends, maybe? It makes even less sense considering that they were afraid Joni would bully him because Timothy had accidentally kicked her in the face, so why would they still be hostile to her when they see she's forgiven him?
  • Lost in Space had the father go from merely being neglectful of his son Will to outright dismissing anything he has to say, even when he should at least address some of those things.
  • Wild Wild West. Sure it was their first assignment, but Jim West and Artemus Gordon's fighting came across as petty instead of natural differences in their characters.
  • Apollo 13 has astronauts Jack Swigert and Fred Haise argue over what may have caused their mission's accident. In real life, no such arguments occurred at all, and was added because Word of God thought it didn't seem right that they were completely together through the rest of the mission. It is ultimately justified afterwards, when they discover their CO2 levels have gone up considerably and it's affecting their judgment.
  • In A Knight's Tale William picks a fight with Jocelyn for no good reason, presumably so he can spend the next half-hour trying to win her back via a beautiful love letter.
  • In The Avengers, Loki's spear seems to act as a literal, physical conflict ball, escalating trivial disagreements and dislikes into full-fledged hostility. While it fails to permanently turn the team against each other, it does occupy them for a good while, distracts them from the incoming reinforcements, and makes Banner more vulnerable to Hulking out during the attack. Given that it contains the Mind Stone, this is likely justified and invoked.
  • The Lord of the Rings has several examples making several important supporting characters in direct conflict with the main protagonists. Among the victims are Faramir, Théoden, Elrond, and Treebeard, all of whom become road-blocks to the main characters to a greater or lesser extent. Justified for some examples, as the One Ring acts as a conflict ball in order to sow dissent amongst its enemies in hopes of either being reunited with its master or finding a new master to serve.
  • Becky in Little Giants comes up with the idea to form a new football team out of spite of her uncle not choosing her for his team, despite her incredible skills, simply because she's a girl. She also decides that her dad Danny needs to be the coach of this team, and has to talk him into it because he's not enthusiastic about doing it. But towards the latter half of the movie, Becky abruptly quits the Little Giants and gives Danny a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech, accusing him of caring more about the team than her. This conflict really only served to create tension leading up to the big game, but considering that forming the team had been Becky's idea and Becky, not Daniel had decided that Daniel should be the coach of the team, her tirade against him seems illogical.
  • In the cheesy sci-fi movie R.O.T.O.R., the snarling Commander Bugler exists entirely for this purpose. He orders Barrett Coldyron to finish R.O.T.O.R. within sixty days, although the project is not slated to be complete for four years.
  • Sidewalk Stories: The hoods who murdered a man early in the film show up again towards the end, and kidnap the man's toddler daughter from the street artist who's been looking after her. It's not really clear why they do this.
  • Done for laughs in Monty Python's Life of Brian. Brian's revolutionary group tries to kidnap Pontius Pilate's wife to coerce the Romans into withdrawing from Judea, only to run into a second revolutionary group with the same plan after they break into the palace. Despite Brian's efforts to get them to remember that the real enemy here is the Romans, they quickly come to blows over which group gets to fight the Romans, and by the time the Romans even realize that there were any revolutionaries in the palace, all of them except for Brian had killed each other. Emphasized by the fact that the revolutionary groups' salutes are all varieties of punching themselves in the head.

  • In Robert Merle's Malevil, the conflict ball is given to Catie. A shameless tease, frequently undermining discipline, arguing against Emmanuel, and causing problems for her husband Thomas, Emmanuel's second in command.
  • In The Wheel of Time, it is often averted or played straight, depending upon your point of view. Despite the obvious rise and return of the Dark One, the many factions in the world bicker and fight each other rather than teaming up. Could be viewed as an aversion, as the entire series seems to be a response to classic fantasy series like LOTR, where political and philosophical differences are just too great to easily set everything aside and band together against the approaching evil. However, a straight example of this trope is Egwene's opposition to Rand's plan to destroy the remaining seals. Although it's a curious plan that's a bit outside the box, it never shows her even considering why Rand wants to do it or to try communicating with him to discuss the matter. She just immediately dismisses it as a horrible idea and sets about trying to turn everyone against him, all for the sake of conflict. This was finally (and thankfully!) averted and eventually deliberately invoked (in-universe) towards the end of the series with Rand sending Perrin on mission and hiding it by publicly getting into a petty argument with him and concealing the fact that he was Elayne's children's father by publicly avoiding her.
  • James Corvidae, in Pact, has using this as his explicit superpower. A spirit who is speculated to have been created by the First Nations as vengeance against intruding Europeans, he has the ability to magically reassign the connections between people and objects — a treasured heirloom will somehow find its way, quite legally and (on the surface) fairly, into the hand of another (often surprised) party... while still being much sought after by the original owner. Or a lover will suddenly break it off to go be with someone else for no apparent reason for those involved in the relationships. In the story, he convinces a fire elemental belonging to a group of elementalists to take up shop in the skywriting equipment of one of their allies, leading to conflict over who gets to keep the equipment and the elemental.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, part of Petyr Baelish's MO is to find potential points of contention nobody else is currently paying attention to... and supply, distort or withhold a little information; maybe some much-needed capital will show up or get diverted; he'll capture, supply or deny an object (or person or contract or position) of desire, depending; he'll threaten to withhold or promise some debt relief... or some other little push in the direction he'd prefer the various parties to go in will happen. From outside perspectives, he's supplying a real need and acting as an intermediary, all while doing his job. However, he's also stoking small, emotionally-charged fires in other people's backyards, so they turn around and act counter their own long term interests on what looks like a dime and for little known reason to outsiders — completely through their own choices, of course. Totally.
  • A case could be made for just about every single Cape in Worm. Capes feel a need to use their powers. Aside from cases like Parian, who has powers specifically made to work on thread and other light materials, Capes don't exactly have powers suitable for many uses besides conflict.
  • Princess Elspeth goes for the ball in Winds of Fate. After the Companions themselves have pressured the Heraldic Circle into letting her lead a team to find mages to defend Valdemar, she suddenly digs in her heels and decides she wants to go off the map entirely, for no other reason except a sense that things have been 'too easy.' While her chosen path does get Valdemar new magical allies, there was no apparent reason for her to rebel against something which had been, up until then, exactly what she wanted.
  • Fengshen Yanyi: while the dukedome of Xiqi is already involved in a war with the cruel and decadent King Zhou of Zhaoge, many opponents are Immortals unrelated to Zhaoge but tricked by the petty Shen Gongbao and riled up to fight the taoist heroes fighting alongside Xiqi. This extends to the point that Tongtian Jiaozhu, head founder of the Jie Taoism, is tricked by his jelous disciples into opening a full-blown war with the Chan Taoists supporting Xiqi and this fact is quoted by his master as a proof that he still needs to improve himself.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “You Have No Friends, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys’s friends, even Maker who’s his best friend, avoid him for just over a week, just because he flicks his boogers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The West Wing episode "Isaac and Ishmael", the normally calm, moral and - of course - liberal Leo McGarry character has to turn into a ranting strawman of a right-wing ideologue for plot purposes. It should be pointed out that the actors give a small speech at the beginning that openly states that it doesn't fit into the regular continuity.
  • In an episode of Clarissa Explains It All, she wanted a job, but the parents kept saying no. They gave no reason, even when asked, and they eventually relented for no stated reason either. That might have been justified, as the show was largely seen through her Point of View.
  • Ray Kowalski of Due South in "Mounty on the Bounty," when he seemed to pick a fight with Fraser out of nowhere. The conflict just wasn't convincing.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Most of the shows from Kamen Rider Agito to Kamen Rider Decade feature secondary Riders who are at least nominally on the same side as the main Rider, but hate them and will fight them at least once, often multiple times. This happens for reasons ranging from justified fear of the Hero's Evil Predecessor to needing to fight because There Can Be Only One to no particular reason at all. The trend became less endemic beginning with Kamen Rider Double, although it still crops up sometimes.
    • Kamen Rider Fourze: Yuki Jojima is normally an outer space Otaku who, despite being quite genki, is knowledgeable enough about space to impress even the school principal, himself a former astronaut. This all goes out the window in the Aquarius arc, where she suddenly becomes a screeching, annoying lunatic who has to pray to "rocket gods" in order to pass a basic intelligence test, seemingly just to make her exactly the kind of person Erin Suda despises. It's made even more blatant since Erin would probably get along with "normal Yuki" just fine — as illustrated at the end of the arc, where they actually do become friends after the villains mind-wipe Erin following her defeat at the hands of Fourze.
    • A massive example of this happens in the movie Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen feat. Super Sentai, where the old-school Kamen Riders abruptly show up and start attacking their modern successors while declaring that they're failures who have no right to call themselves Kamen Riders, not even bothering to explain anything beyond that. We eventually find out that the Heisei Riders' attachments to their dead friends are empowering Badan (here recast as an Calvalry Of The Dead), but the Showa Riders don't explain this until after Badan is defeated, and they still insist on fighting the Heisei Riders even afterwards. Notably, the film's treatment of the Showa Riders bothered Hiroshi Fujioka (star of the original Kamen Rider) so much that he co-wrote another movie in which his character is back to being a noble hero who has plenty of respect for those who followed in his footsteps.
    • Kamen Rider Zero-One: The final villain, Azu, is a total noncombatant and can only advance her plans by leveraging this trope. Through a combination of Horobi's refusal to take culpability for how his actions as a terrorist have affected human-HumaGear relations and Aruto's excessive dependence on Izu, she's able to turn Aruto into a Fallen Hero and nearly stir up a robot revolution that Azu specifically intends to use in order to get both sides to accept her offers of The Power of Hate so they can slaughter each other.
    • Kamen Rider Saber: The trope is again deliberately invoked, this time during the middle of the show when the title character is branded a traitor to the Sword of Logos in order to turn everyone else against him. Despite the operative declaring Touma to be a traitor being Obviously Evil, the other knights are too loyal to the organization to disobey until they clash swords with Touma at least a few times and realize that something's up.
    • Kamen Rider Revice: The final arc sees George go off the deep end because of his unresolved personal traumas coming to a head, leading him to become the villainous Kamen Rider Juuga in an effort to kill all of the other Riders. The other Riders offer to give up their belts instead of fighting him, but George refuses because his motives are more about lashing out than any rational goals.
    • Kamen Rider Geats: The trope is deliberately invoked when the Immoral Reality Show the series is built around gets a new Game Master to replace the first, and he proves to be a Pointy-Haired Boss whose ideas to make the show more exciting for the audience all center around producing as much inter-party tension as possible. Among other changes, he introduces a new saboteur role that exists purely to make the Riders distrust and bicker with one another.
  • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Tommy and Jason suddenly stopped being able to work as a team for one episode, implying that they NEVER were able to work well together, so they could learn a valuable lesson of teamwork. It didn't use the Ineffectual Loner path, but instead used a new variant of All Your Powers Combined for the two of them to beat a monster without their mecha.
    • Another version of this happens several years down the line in Power Rangers S.P.D., when after learning to work together as a team, some episode plot would revolve around the teammates disliking each other. This reached a new high in the SWAT two-parter when the bickering that occurred during the first part of the episode was pretty much unprecedented, even considering the fact that three of the Rangers were openly enemies of the other two in the beginning of the series brought together by an Enemy Mine situation.
      • Part of Power Rangers' problem is that a lot of these incidents is due to a case of converting Super Sentai to Power Rangers. For instance, in MMPR, Tommy and Jason were friends after Tommy joined the team, yet in Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, their counterparts, Burai and Geki respectively, were brothers who had a falling out. Thus, a plot that worked for the Super Sentai version feels like this for Power Rangers.
  • The character Steven Caldwell of Stargate Atlantis was, according to the actor, supposed to be more of a jerk in the original script. However, the actor subtly nicened him up a bit. Unfortunately the trade off was that whenever the script called for him to truly be a jerk, it often looked a little forced. One notable example is the episode Sateda, in which Shepard claims that Caldwell doesn't value alien team members such as Ronin as much as earth members, a point that had never been hinted at before. Later subverted in a very clever way when the audience learned that Caldwell was a Goa'uld spy; normal Caldwell's personality was much more balanced.
  • Subverted in Stargate SG-1, where Jack O'Neill suddenly starts acting like an uncaring, greedy jerk, and leaves the Stargate Program when reprimanded to join a group who steal alien technology. However, it later turns out that the whole thing is a trick to unearth said group.
  • In episode "Relics" of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the normally levelheaded Nice Guy Geordi La Forge gets fed up with Scotty after about ten minutes. Even though Scotty is poking around and Geordi is (of course) under the thumb of Scotty Time, it's jarring to see Geordi yell at a man who is to engineers what Kirk is to captains. But it serves the purpose of pushing Scotty into a holodeck recreation of the original bridge to ruminate with Picard on being alone in the future.
  • Star Trek: Voyager had a subversion almost identical to SG-1, showing Tom Paris having more and more problems fitting in over a long arc culminating in his leaving Voyager to infiltrate an enemy group.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sometimes conflict seems randomly shoehorned in among the characters just so the writers can meet some sort of mandatory drama quota.
    • This was particularly glaring in Season 7, when Buffy and her cohort end up sharply at odds towards the end of the season. The most infamous example is how Buffy ends up kicked out of her own house in "Empty Places": the Potentials stage a coup voting for Faith to be put in charge instead of her after a perfect storm of failures is set up for Buffy and somehow all of the Scoobies have lost faith in her so none of them back her up (leading to Dawn of all people giving her the boot, which is particularly Conflict Ball as the episode didn't give her an excuse to turn on Buffy like the other Scoobies). Faith herself seems utterly stunned by the turn of events, as she'd only raised the argument because she had a few issues with Buffy's tactics. Also Spike, Buffy's biggest supporter, is noticeably absent on a mission for the episode just so they can have everyone else turn on her (which he promptly calls them on when he returns). It's undone within two episodes, making it even more jarring.
    • It could be argued that everyone involved had been dealing with an intensely dangerous and stressful situation for months (passage of time is unclear), and there were apparently 20-30 people living in a small 3-bedroom house at this point, leading to everyones' nerves being frayed. Now, why they decided to have that many people living in a tight confined space is unclear, especially when it was shown that The Dragon had previously used explosives to destroy an entire building of their allies.....
    • Season 6 just may have been worse about this, particularly regarding Xander and Anya's failed wedding. Or how about Willow's magic addiction to try and justify her turn to the dark side after Tara is killed?
    • There's a rather aggravating example in the Season 5 episode "Tough Love" where Willow and Tara suddenly get into a fight that comes out of nowhere so Tara can conveniently go out alone to get attacked by the Big Bad.
    • Let's just say that Joyce and Buffy's friends mishandled her return from LA on a thermonuclear level in Season 3's "Dead Man's Party". Joyce was an early S1 flake; Willow and Xander were their S6/7 selves four years early.
    • Spike deliberately passes it around in the Season 4 episode "The Yoko Factor", making insinuating and subversive comments to make the Scoobies turn on each other and vent repressed feelings of anger and resentment that had been bottled up. He even lampshades the trope, pointing out that people latch onto one specific event or situation as a cause of strife, but that what really happens is that the event or situation is just an excuse to bring to the forefront issues that were there all along.
  • There's an episode of All in the Family in which Mike, the show's resident liberal, abruptly reveals a stay-in-the-kitchen attitude toward women that runs contrary to his character. The purpose of this revelation is to create conflict between him and Gloria.
  • One episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years has Slater discover he actually has Mexican heritage. He out of nowhere accuses Zack of being racist because Zack tries to set him up with a blonde girl. He actually says "why do you only think girls with blonde hair and blue eyes are attractive? I've dated girls with dark hair and dark eyes". This is completely ignoring that the love of Zack's life was brunette and that he dated girls of many ethnicities in high school, including their black friend Lisa. Slater spends the whole episode being overly sensitive and Zack is presented as the one who needs to learn the Aesop.
  • In The Addams Family, a scene in "Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor" has Morticia and Gomez pretending to be a bickering couple and then Morticia, who's usually level-headed, starts to take Gomez seriously and gets seriously peeved at him, even to the point of not letting him go to bed in their room. Even when they reconcile, it's because Gomez admitted to being a "cad", even though he never genuinely did anything caddish.
  • In The Dead Zone, Johnny holds the ball whenever Greg Stillson is involved. One particularly annoying example is when Stillson (Vice President at the time) shows up at his house to ask for his help in bringing a space shuttle home safely after it loses radio contact. Johnny reluctantly helps him, with emphasis on reluctantly. The audience can identify with Stillson's frustration at some points, when Johnny berates him for (what he sees as) using the incident to advance his career. Come on, Johnny. You're helping a team of astronauts get home safely. Does it really matter that Stillson was the one to ask it of you? Notably, this was after Johnny had stopped getting Armageddon visions from Stillson. Stillson was still a shady, ambitious politician, but in this episode it seemed like Johnny was being a jerk for apparently no reason at all.
  • Sanctuary: In Fugue, Will gets handed this big time. His girlfriend gets infected with something that slowly turns them into a violent abnormal. Magnus then suggests a cure and considering she is the foremost expert of these things, you think that Will would go along with her idea. But NO, he thinks that the idea is too risky, which doesn't make sense in the first place because the victim has a 100% chance of dying without the cure. Then he accuses her of having ulterior motive, which doesn't fit with his character and there is no way that she would do that kind of thing anyway. It gets so bad that they have to lock him away so he won't go on a violent rampage to "save" her. Classic Conflict Ball.
  • On an episode of The Practice just about all the firm's lawyers except Bobby show resistance at representing a convict on Virginia's death row, despite evidence that he's innocent as he claims, and despite him being a big teddy bear. It's especially jarring in Ellenor's case, since she'll crusade against the death penalty in later seasons.
  • In Charmed Season 5, the sisters (especially Phoebe) were distrustful of Cole and constantly expressed as much. It didn't matter that Cole was constantly trying to do good, either. The stated reason was because of Cole's turn as the Source of All Evil, but these episodes overlooked that Cole didn't choose to be the Source at all. (Instead, he had been possessed by the old Source and overtaken.) The sisters themselves were even told as much by the wizard ("He didn't die. He was reborn into a new sorry ass.") and Cole's new personal assistant/failed seductress ("You've ruined him. Made him pathetic, weak, good.") near the end of Season 4. Their distrust was rooted in a severe case of Negative Continuity.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series Season 3 had a habit of amplifying character traits until they became this trope.
    • Captain Kirk has a reputation for being a ladies' man. But would he get in a fight over a woman with the only person who can give him the cure for a plague that's about to kill the entire crew of the Enterprise? Apparently so, in "Requiem for Methuselah".
    • Spock has a tendency to have an arrogant attitude towards the human crew members. However, he goes way overboard in "That Which Survives", constantly badgering and sniping at the other crew members, including repeatedly harassing Scotty as he scrambles to prevent the ship from blowing up with seconds on the clock. Most illogical!
    • Bones has a history of engaging in light-hearted banter with Spock, and often disagrees with his decisions. But would he, in a crisis situation, keep getting right in front of Spock's face, accusing his efforts to try to save Kirk of putting the entire ship at risk, and then, once Spock finally gives up on the rescue attempt and focuses on getting the ship out of danger like Bones wanted, getting all up in Spock's face again, going so far as to accuse Spock of deliberately wanting Kirk dead so that he could steal his command position, and being incredibly cruel and accusatory the entire time? "The Tholian Web" says yes! Admittedly, the space the ship was trapped in at the moment had shown the ability to make people go nuts (Chekov goes wild and attacks his fellow bridge officers in an earlier scene).
  • Friends has consecutive episodes where Ross has a hair-trigger temper that all the other figures are wary of. This was never mentioned before and after these two episodes is dropped and never mentioned again.
  • Game of Thrones: This has been a criticism of Sansa Stark's growing resentment of her half-brother actually cousin Jon Snow in season 6 and 7. As the north rallies around Jon, Sansa begins to feel slighted as she believes rule of the North should be her inheritance, not Jon's. While this is an understandable feeling, it causes her to act in incredibly stupid ways that are harmful not just to Jon, but to Sansa herself -for instance, denying Jon knowledge of critical reinforcements from the Vale while he's planning the battle against Ramsay Bolton, who held Sansa captive for months and repeatedly raped her, and plans to do so again if he defeats Jon's army. It also requires her to listen to Manipulative Bastard Littlefinger, whom Sansa has outright acknowledged has ulterior motives in helping her and can't be trusted, over her own brother who has never shown himself to have anything other than her best interests at heart. This comes to a head in Season 8, where she relentlessly keeps antagonizing the one person who's coming to Winterfell's aid against the approaching forces of evil. Some excerpts from the script showed that it was because she was jealous of Daenerys's beauty.
  • House: while Cuddy and Wilson have messed with House before and will again, they (especially Wilson) act like complete dicks for not much reason in the start of the third season, not believing him when he says his leg is hurting again, keeping him Locked Out of the Loop about the patient being cured and digging it in with the lie that "[he's proved lately] he's not always right". All this just seems to be an excuse for House to secretly forge a prescription for Vicodin, and set up the Asshole Angst Fest of the Tritter arc.
  • The Barrier: Hugo and Julia work for a minister whose wife has her young nephew Sergio living in the family home. Julia sometimes cares for Sergio as part of her job, which at some point lets her take the boy outside of the enclave in which elites live, which leads to the discovery that Sergio was taken away from his family as a young child. After convincing the boy's biological parents and grandfather that the less troublesome route involves letting the boy back to the elite's enclave and talking to their employer about the situation, Hugo and Julia change their mind about bringing Sergio back to the enclave and have him spend the night in their appartment, this time without any sort of permission. All that ends up accomplishing is making Hugo and Julia's relationship with the minister's wife more difficult and getting them fired for just long enough to have trouble getting back into their workplace to talk to the minister.
  • Firefly: "War Stories" had Wash get jealous of his wife Zoe's bond with Mal, despite it never showing up previously. Mal uses the jealousy to goad Wash into a Cock Fight of sorts so he won't give in while being tortured.

    Tabletop Games 
  • All over the place in White Wolf's Old World of Darkness games. It seemed that every single faction was in a war, cold or hot, with every other faction; a particularly standout example would be the entirety of the Werewolf: The Apocalypse line, where the various tribes fought each other, other shapeshifters, regular humans, and sometimes the Wyrm (the entity they were supposed to be fighting), mostly for reasons that made the reader wonder how the place ever got past the stone age. Shapeshifters, simply put, can be just as bad as any humans but with infinitely more anger issues and less self-control.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Imperium of Man would have a few less problems if they decided to wait and figure out whether or not a Xenos species needs to be exterminated before doing so (most of them do need that, though). Either that or one would cause a lot of damage while they were busy deciding.

    Video Games 
  • The entire population of Azeroth was handed one of these between Warcraft III and World of Warcraft. Nearly all the civilizations of Kalimdor, which includes forces from both the Alliance and the Horde, allied to fend off the Burning Legion and the Scourge by the end of the former game, but those alliances dissolve offscreen in the years between the games. The release of Wrath of the Lich King, and the corresponding rise of the Scourge as a major threat once again, has caused a thaw in relations between the coalitions, but they still battle openly in some places. The main purpose of the war seems to be to have an excuse for the two sides to be in opposition.
    • The problem is that Blizzard can't seem to decide whether they want WoW to have the Alliance vs. Horde themes from the first two Warcraft games, or the Enemy Mine theme of the third game. Instead they've tried to do both, but the two ideas are contradictory, and the result is a plot riddled with Conflict and Idiot Balls as the two factions chronically backstab each other while neutral characters lecture them on not getting along.
    • Varian and Garrosh were walking Conflict Balls until Varian gained Character Development and Garrosh became so much of a villain that the Horde finally rebelled against him.
    • The Wrath of the Lich King area of Grizzly Hills is of special note, as its main theme is that you must help your faction to gather as much of the Hills' plentiful resources as possible, while sabotaging the rival faction's attempts to do the same. Both factions want to use said resources to help them defeat the Lich King - which is to say that in Grizzly Hills, the Lich King's two main enemies are locked in a savage war over who will get to fight the guy they both actually came there to fight. With enemies like these, the Lich King doesn't need any friends...
    • In Icecrown, the Horde and Alliance each have a flying gunship specifically built to take on the Scourge, and yet are used almost exclusively against each other. This culminates in Icecrown Citadel, where they battle over who has the right to take on the Lich King. They do this even though the respective gunship captains are otherwise very sensible sorts who are perfectly aware that every Horde and Alliance soldier who falls in battle becomes a potential recruit for the Scourge.
    • The ground forces in Icecrown are worse, and yes, there's a ground campaign simply because the Scourge would overrun anyone who just flew in to confront the Lich King. Anyway. Because of impassable mountains, the ground forces have to take a path right through a series of gates in some rather impressively defended walls. The first assault starts off with some reasonable teamwork, but then the Alliance blames the Horde for what happens next, and the Horde apparently takes that as an excuse to screw the Alliance and go it on their own. They end up sabotaging and backstabbing each other whenever it looks like one faction might take a gate, because allowing someone to take the gate would mean having to fight through the other faction - again - to progress towards the Lich King, only from a less defendable position. The aforementioned airship captains praise the ground forces when they hear about this.
    • When Garrosh Hellscream took over the Horde from Thrall, his goals were to secure the prosperity of the Horde, which he believed meant taking land and resources from the Alliance, even though the two Alliance forces closest to him are the night elves, who can magically grow forests and harvest lumber without damaging the trees, and Theramore, which actively fought for peace with anyone who wasn't evil.
    • The blood elves were chased out of the remnants of Lordaeron's Alliance by the xenophobic Garithos. They ended up joining the Horde over Stormwind's Alliance due to a contrivance for gameplay. During Garrosh's reign, they got into peace talks with the Alliance, but it had to get sabotaged thanks to the Conflict Ball. It stands out because at this point the blood elves have far more in common with the Alliance, and their closest Horde neighbors have genocidal tendencies that the blood elves openly see as a ticking time bomb.
    • Mists of Pandaria ends when an extremely blatant aesop about war being wrong and implying that the factions have finally learned that lesson... only for the next expansion to have Ashran, where most of the factions' military might is tied up competing with each other for an artifact to fight their mutual enemy. It's obviously there more for PvP gameplay than story, but Alliance NPCs even lampshade the Horde continually aggressing them after the recent truce. Also, there are orc NPCs from an alternate past (whose only exposure to the Alliance was when they arrived to rescue their people) threatening to kill Alliance characters for no apparent reason (other than the person who wrote the dialogue not realizing that the faction conflict isn't racially innate).
    • At this point, the Alliance vs. Horde conflict is really only sustained by liberal passes of the conflict ball. Everybody seems to realize that the war is counterproductive at best, and every expansion gives the two sides a common enemy. With the ridiculous amounts of Enemy Mine, taking place between them, you would think they would start to realize that there's really no justifiable reason to be fighting anymore. At least not until the writers give them one by making characters more evil. Meanwhile, villainous factions have no problem being completely multicultural, which makes it even more blatant.
    • Perhaps the most blatant example so far comes in Legion when the Horde and Alliance fight on the Broken Shore but in different areas (with the Horde up on a ridge overlooking the Alliance). The Horde get overwhelmed and have to sound a retreat but for some ridiculous reason, the archers providing covering fire for the Alliance turn and slowly walk away rather than run like they should. While all of the Alliance leaders see this, none of them seem to hear the horn calling for a retreat, and only Varian (who dies a few minutes later) sees the ridge overrun with demons and realizes the Horde didn't abandon them. Naturally, after Varian dies, the Alliance leader with the most hatred towards the Horde (Genn Greymane) becomes the new military leader of the Alliance.
    • Despite the Broken Shore, the two factions manage to mostly avoid open conflict and focus on the Legion, except for Stormheim. An Alliance airship is tasked with secretly observing a Forsaken fleet carrying Sylvannas Windrunner and intervene only if necessary. For this sensitive mission, Varian assigns Genn Greymane and Sky Admiral Rogers who openly despise the Forsaken and want to kill them all. Sure enough, the airship attacks without provocation and the Alliance continues to harry the Horde throughout the zone rather than focusing on their mission of helping the player combat the Legion.
    • Sylvannas carries leading into Battle for Azeorth when she launches the War of Thorns. The conflict already had genocidal overtones with the Forsaken slaughtering civilians and the Horde driving furbolg out of their homes, but it got worse when she ordered the burning of Teldrassil. Thousands of civilians died when the World Tree burned, uniting the Alliance against the Horde for all-out war. (It turns out she was invoking War for Fun and Profit, the profit being souls for her patron The Jailer to collect. Still, she could have had a higher chance of success if she conquered the Alliance by attrition and then sabotaged her own One World Horder into causing a worldwide apocalypse)
    • Even in-universe, characters note that this ball makes little sense for Sylvannas. She threw away the strategic advantage of capturing Darnassus in favor of an act that would only serve to make her cause more war.
    • The really jarring part of the WoW Alliance vs. Horde is the fact that members of the opposite faction can't, for all intents and purposes, have any in-game communication with the other at all. To the point that emotes are obfuscated. It gets odd that there are a lot of groups and organizations that have Alliance and Horde members which get along fine.
      • If you're a Druid, it's even stranger. You can get training and talk freely with NPC druids of species from the opposite faction (which crop up quite a bit), but can't talk to other player druids of that same opposite faction species.
      • This reaches maximum silliness with Mists of Pandaria, which gives both factions the Pandaren race. Despite all Pandaren speaking the same language, they still can't communicate with Pandaren in the other faction.
  • The "ring of conflict" in NetHack is a conflict ball... for the group of monsters you're facing.
  • Used as a joke in some of the Touhou Project games, especially fighting games. Often the fights are for improbable, ridiculous reasons. However, it's also clear that, ultimately, these people just like beating the crap out of each other! Even funnier in that it usually works. The logic is more or less "There is a problem. The problem was probably caused by someone. Keep beating people up until you happen to beat up the one causing the problem and they can no longer cause the problem"
    • The plot and background of Touhou Yumejikuu ~ Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream. (Dimensional) Dream primarily circles this trope and this trope alone. The antagonists, Yumemi and her assistant Chiyuri, set up a sort of battle royale. The winner would get to make any wish that they wanted, and the pair of scientists would do their best to make it true. This, however, was just a guise for them to attempt to capture somebody as a research subject to prove that magic existed, as part of their proposed "Grand Unified Theory". The 8 protagonists decide to go along with it, not knowing the intentions of Yumemi and Chiyuri.
    • On a more dramatic note, the conflict ball is Inherent in the System. The setting's youkai are defined as forces that conflict with mankind and their existence depend on humans fearing them. And since the setting itself is a Fantastic Nature Reserve designed to keep youkai from going extinct via Puff of Logic, youkai sometimes fill their fear quota by causing dreadful incidents for no greater reason than "well, I'm a youkai," and the resident humans who are in on the Masquerade sometimes beat up youkai for no greater reason than "well, she's a youkai," in order to fill the conflict quota.
  • During one infamous scene in Tactics Ogre, your choice directly affects your best friend's choice to put the Conflict Ball into play. Essentially one of you is going to be a Knight Templar to the other's Chaotic Good and there's nothing you can do about it.
  • Mega Man X5: Many reploids you fight want to have a piece of your character for various reasons. While there are varying degrees of justification, the fact that several not in the throes of Maverick fever insist on doing this when the giant space colony is coming crashing down is a bit incredulous.
  • The Conflict Ball is the plot to Vivisector: Beast Within. It starts out with a General Ripper hiring an Evilutionary Biologist to create an army of Half Human Hybrids, only to split into a civil war over disagreements over how the army should be utilized. Okay, that's reasonable. Then the General decides to nuke the biologist's soldiers for no good reason, and when he tricks the player character into coming to their island hideaway, he conveniently forgets to inform his own soldiers that he required your help, turning them against you for no reason other than to add more enemies for you to fight. It gets worse, though; later on, the General kills your only ally in the game for absolutely no reason but to get you to abandon him for the doctor's side, and then you learn that the beast soldiers are pre-programmed to hate humans on sight, forcing you to fight your new allies, even though there really should be no reason for that to happen. In essence, the only reason why you have to fight any enemies in the game is because But Thou Must!.
  • The AI in Galactic Civilizations II likes to lob one of these your way if it gets bored. The galaxy is prosperous, quiet, and peaceful? A Mega Event goes off in which one of your citizens assassinates the head of the Drengin Empire, plunging you into war! Which drags the Drengin's allies the Drath Legion into it, and thanks to their racial ability they convince the Yor to attack you too! But then the Altarians step in on your behalf, and use their racial ability to have the Iconians help out too, but that serves as the last straw for the Korx who team up with the Thalans...
  • Fighting games. Most of the time, characters are only fighting each other, because the players simply wanted to select those particular characters. If loving family members and True Companions are in the roster of a fighting game, they can be "forced" to fight each other. This also leads to certain characters that wouldn't hit females or children breaking their ethical codes. Admittedly, matches like that aren't invoked through the stories, but fighting game Story Mode/Arcade Mode "conflicts" are very underwhelming, because the characters often fight over trivial things.
    • Several rival cutscenes from Street Fighter IV (along with its updated sequels) fit this trope to a tee. For example, take a look at these Guile vs. Abel and Blanka vs. El Fuerte cutscenes.
    • In the General Story A Shadow Falls in Street Fighter V, there are 2 instances where characters start fights for idiotic reasons, because the instigators are very stubborn and seemingly paranoid about theft. The first is in Brazil where Ken meets Laura. He politely tells her about a MacGuffin in her possession that he needs. For no reason at all, Laura believes that he was trying to steal it from her brother Sean and wants to beat Ken into a pulp. Later, Dhalsim travels to New York to speak with Alex about another MacGuffin. Dhalsim is also very polite, but Alex jumps to conclusions, accuses him of being a mugger with no proof, then attacks him.
    • The same goes for Street Fighter X Tekken. The Lars and Alisa vs. Sakura and Blanka cutscene is by far one of the most ridiculous examples of this trope. It makes no sense considering that when it's the other way around, Sakura and Blanka happily approach Lars, confusing him for a TV Sentai hero that they love!
    • All of the rival cutscenes of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale are made out of this trope. All of them. The same goes for the DLC characters' cutscenes, as well.
    • Averted in Persona 4: Arena. None of the cast save for maybe Kanji and Elizabeth want to fight each other; they're all being manipulated to do so by both the circumstances and the antagonist.
    • Invoked in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. There's a phenomenon called Rage that increases aggression in people, seemingly at random. A character's eyes will flash yellow and they'll pick a fight with whoever is nearby, often over the flimsiest excuses.
    • Parodied in with a few Injustice: Gods Among Us clash dialogues:
      Green Arrow: Why are we fighting?
      Green Lantern: You started it.
    • Story mode in Mortal Kombat 9 has several cases of this, but the biggest one goes to Smoke. Smoke, who usually calm and collected, becomes angry at Jade since he assumes that she attacked Kitana after the latter tried to turn against Shao Kahn. Raiden clearly points out that the female Jade attacked isn't Kitana (it's actually Mileena, who wears purple while Kitana wears blue), but Smoke attacks Jade anyway. The conflict between Smoke and Jade seem to serve no purpose other than to pad out the gameplay length.
  • Puyo Puyo: While several games try to provide at least a flimsy reason for the characters choosing to fight, many conflicts are still caused by one of the protagonists grabbing the Jerkass Ball or simply feeling the need to get in the way. Most blatant in Arle's route in 20th, where Witch flat out says she has no reason to fight Arle, she just feels like blocking the road and challenging whoever comes around. This is lampshaded by Schezo.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog enjoys doing this.
    • Sonic Adventure does this with Sonic vs. Knuckles/Tails vs. Knuckles. Knuckles attacks Sonic and Tails because Eggman vaguely suggested that Sonic is after the Master Emerald shards (for no apparent reason), and after seeing Sonic and Tails carrying a Chaos Emerald (apparently the Master of the Emeralds can't tell the difference) he decides to start a fight with them without even bothering to explain why or ask why they might have an Emerald shard.
    • Sonic Heroes really suffers from this. Each of the four teams in the game will fight two of the other three teams over the course of their story - for rather flimsy reasons. Sonic fights Amy and escapes to get her to stop pestering him about marriage when he has some world-saving to do (Big and Cream do have reason to believe he's responsible for kidnapping their friends though). Rouge assumes for NO reason that the Chaotix must be after Eggman's treasure and the Chaotix assume from how aggressive she's being that Team Dark must be working against their client with Eggman (though in fairness, Shadow and Rouge did work with Eggman before, and Omega is an Eggman robot). The Chaotix try to take Cream's Chao Cheese because their client gave them a mission to collect 10 Chao...a task they already accomplished, which causes Team Amy to believe they might be responsible for kidnapping Cheese's friend Chocola and they're a bunch of bullying jerks, to which Vector is incensed at and Charmy just says "screw it, let's fight". The Team Sonic vs. Team Dark battle is even worse - Sonic's response to seeing someone who he thought died saving the world is to call him "stubborn and full of surprises", and it seems the reason the battle is being fought is because Team Dark wants to get to Eggman before anyone else for their selfish reasons, Team Sonic won't be having that, and Sonic and Shadow just want a good ol' throwdown regardless.note 
    • The two Sonic Rivals games are full of this, hence the subtitle. The four main characters (then four teams of two in the sequel) fight each other because they want to be the one to find Eggman first as opposed to working together to find him. Just about every character meeting consists of one character telling the other, "Get out of my way! Eggman is mine!"; and the other character replies with, "No! He's mine!", thus the fight begins. Another reason for characters fighting each other is due to characters insulting one another for no apparent reason. For instance, in the second game, Knuckles calls Silver crazy for thinking that Chao can save the world, which angers Silver and the two engage in battle.
    • During Sonic Lost World, Eggman and Sonic decide to work together after the hedgehog let loose of the Deadly Six. Sonic brings Eggman along because they need him to shut the machine sucking the life force of the world. Despite this, Tails gets confrontational with Eggman for no reason, throwing shade at Eggman and asking Sonic why doesn't he stop the machine. At the end, Tails does indeed shuts down the machine, making the whole conflit pointless in hindsight as Eggman wasn't really needed.
  • Gadlight Meonsam from Third Super Robot Wars Z: Jigoku-Hen is capable of taking the sleeping desire for conflict inside the hearts of humanity and reversing them], which he took advantage of to throw the combined Earth into chaos.
  • If you clear the arcade version of Double Dragon with 2 players, Billy and Jimmy will fight each other to the death for Marian's love. It's pretty jarring considering that these Bash Brothers fought an evil syndicate together on a rescue mission, then just turn on each other out of nowhere! And to top it all off, Marian's okay with it, as she simply walks over to the victor to kiss him.
  • Castle Crashers: Similar to the above, several times throughout the game, any time you rescue a princess, the players all turn on each other in a fight to the death over her favor, despite usually having more princesses left to save.
  • In The Answer episode of Persona 3, the party falls apart and turns to infighting as to whether or not they should change the past. They figure things out and make up, eventually.
  • While in Persona 5 the conflict between Ryuji and Morgana can be seen from a long way off—there's an element of nastiness to much of their banter that isn't seen with any other character—the actual blowup is considered very jarring. Morgana promptly abandons the Thieves and keeps taking an untrained Haru into the Palace and Mementos despite this being incredibly risky to her as she hasn't formed a Persona yet; the implication seems to be that he's doing it only to soothe his wounded pride over becoming less useful to the Thieves as they grow in power and experience. For his part, Ryuji refuses multiple times to back down and apologize, even as it becomes clear that his spat is seriously distracting the group from real issues.
  • Shadowverse: Despite having worked together with the rest of the main cast, Erika won't hesitate to turn her blade on them. She even opposes Arisa without explaining her allegiance to Countersolari. Also, he views fighting Nexus as a mission, and not a moment to make friends.
  • The entire plot of King Porky in Mother 3 basically boils down to this. He has no valid reason at all to screw with Tazmily or Lucas and his friends. In fact it actively hinders his ultimate goal of pulling the needles. This is brought up In-Universe and it's made very clear that he doesn't care: he's just a frustrated, self-absorbed child willing to light the world ablaze and watch it burn while innocent people run around with buckets of water because it sounds like fun. He doesn't even care if he wins or loses and even stated the only reason he's never bothered to try and be the hero because it just doesn't sound like fun to him.
  • Everyone in Rabi-Ribi holds the ball at least once, in order to justify having boss fights with every named character in the game. There's even something called the Bunny Phenomenon which causes anyone nearby to become obsessed with bunnies and try to capture Erina on sight, just to make sure people who would never in a million years fight Erina do so anyway.
  • The Mindjacker in Technobabylon has a death grip on the ball when it comes to Regis, doing things that jeopardize his own mission just to screw with him. In this case it's justified because he'd recently ripped the memories and psyche of Adam Baxter, who hated Regis with a passion, so much that his hatred infected him, and he found it so addictive that he refuses to offload it with the rest of Baxter's data.
  • Combined with Jerkass Ball, the latter half of Batman: Arkham City requires both Batman and Mr. Freeze to be distracted while Harley Quinn steals the cure for Batman & Joker's blood poisoning. Once Bruce returns with the stuff needed for a cure, Freeze creates 2 vials of the stuff, but immediately crushes the other one and demands Batman to find his wife (which Bruce had already agreed to earlier). Batman on the other hand forgets to mention he's been coughing up blood, almost succumbed to the poison once already, or that he won't be able to help Freeze unless he gets the cure. As a result, both of these highly intelligent men don't bother negotiating at all.
  • NieR: Automata:
    • Deliberately invoked by Adam, who believes that the conflict ball is the purpose of humanity; it distracts them from fulfilling their natural protocols and makes a huge, artistic mess that forces people to feel rather than do. So he disables his immortality and provokes 2B by torturing 9S, ensuring that he'll die to her Unstoppable Rage and be forced to feel death itself.
    • This is also the motivation of the masterminds of the Androids; they believe that forcing Ridiculously Human Robots into a vicious and pointless Cycle of Revenge with Machines will mirror the history of Humanity enough to develop true human sapience.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Battle at Gronder is a lot bloodier than it needs to be because Dimitri and Claude pick a fight with each other for no good reason. On Azure Moon, Claude gives some half-baked justification about how he can't tell Imperial forces from Kingdom forces before attacking everyone, while on Verdant Wind Dimitri attacks the Alliance out of sheer psychotic rage and the Kingdom forces blindly follow him to their own deaths.

  • Hardly a week goes by without something going down in Candi, and there have been perhaps three instances over the course of the comic's six-plus-year run where characters have actually, permanently learned anything from the resulting drama. Trevor, Linda, and Rebecca in particular are especially fond of The Ball.
  • In El Goonish Shive, this has been off and on with Ellen. This is demonstrated best when completely apropos of nothing she cornered Tedd and started yelling at him about wanting to help Nanase, revealing that she has seriously conflicted feelings about Tedd.
  • Homestuck has one of these in [S]: Collide. There's no reason for Spades Slick to oppose Terezi, Dave and Dirk except for the fact that he wants to be the one to kill Jack English. He not only saves Jack English twice, but spends more time fighting the heroes than him. As a result, this choice of action leads to his death.
  • Emily McArthur of Misfile does this a lot. A straighter example would be the constant, immature sparring between Emily and Missi. While Emily has generally gotten better at this and only retorts back when provoked, Missi seems to take a perverse delight in annoying her. The only reason for this, it seems, would be so that the two can clash over their feelings for Ash. Even more irritating, though, is Missi's refusal to accept that Ash isn't her girlfriend anymore. It's makes one wonder whether Chris only created her to exacerbate personal drama in the lives of the two protagonists. When you consider that Ash and Emily are steadily becoming less hostile towards Rumisiel over time - they aren't friendly with him, but they seem to trust him more than they did at the start - this theory isn't without justification.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 cartoon series, "True Colors", the Koopas spray red paint on half the townspeople, and blue paint on the other half. The Toads begin arguing over petty differences (egged on by two of the Koopa Kids) and end up dividing based on color. Naturally, this allows for a corny allegory about racism.
  • All Grown Up! is full of these, compared to the original series. In Rugrats, the babies almost always got along (with the exception of certain episodes), seeing as how they often had to band together to put up with Angelica.
    • Even Phil and Lil's occasional sibling rivalry moments (in the midst of plot) were Played for Laughs. However, The Rugrats Movie would be the first to show friction between the babies as the colicky Baby Dil would come into the world, combined with a series of events that would leave them stranded in the woods. When things get intense enough, Phil and Lil put all the blame on Tommy.
    • However, as the cast got older, Angelica would decide to mingle with the cool clique and pre-teen angst would catch up to the former babies, putting them at each other's throats each episode. Whenever some dilemma would befall the gang, Tommy would be made the designated scapegoat, with Kimi being the worst offender and Phil and Lil about as loyal as two housecats during a burglary. In fact each of the 'Rats would have their own one-on-one disputes:
      • Tommy vs. Chuckie - Tommy and Chuckie's friendship would be tested on separate occasions, up to the point where Chuckie would suspect Tommy of liking his sister and go into big brother mode.
      • While the original Kimi adored her new step-brother, as the two got older, Kimi would develop a snarky attitude and become so wrapped up in her own interests that she disregards how Chuckie (or anyone else) feels, or would often force / blackmail him to support her ideas. Chuckie on the other hand simply turns the other cheek and goes out his way for her best interest, without receiving too many thanks, let alone apologies. The one time he did fight back against Kimi was when she started a petition to ban cellphones and she roped Chuckie into campaigning on her behalf even though Chuckie didn't care either way. And even then, he only did so because Angelica got in his ear (she was running a counter petition to keep cellphones, but no one would sign because, well, it was Angelica running it. note . She thought that the more likeable Chuckie would be better suited to campaign for her cause.)
      • Phil vs. Lil - As the twins got older, their sibling rivalry would become worse, where Lil would become gender-conscious and see Phil as an immature Gasshole. Because of this, Lil would move into her own room, get into a gender dispute with Phil on their birthday, and deprive him of a romance with one of her soccer friends.
  • In episode 12 of The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, Tom and Anne both get a hold of the ball for a time when Tom refuses to believe Ms. Scarlet Avondale is the crook simply because she's female and Anne insists a woman can be a crook just as easily as a man, as if it's an accomplishment. Anne turns out to be right, but the reason for the argument is rather silly.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: Maria Hill ends up grabbing the ball and running with it in "Hail HYDRA!". Voicing support for superhuman registration is one thing; choosing to pick a fight with Iron Man and Wasp over it, thus keeping them from helping their teammates with the HYDRA/AIM war (and completely ignoring said war in the process, even though both organizations are raining devastation on New York) is something else.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Ben suddenly deciding that it's absolutely necessary to kill Kevin in the first season finale, even though he never focused on killing any previous enemies (including ones which were much more of a threat than Kevin), and Grandpa Max points out that he's acting out-of-character in the show itself.
  • The Boondocks has this trope in the form of "nigga moments", which are events where a rational male of Black descent is overcome with ignorance and will get into fights over pointless matters, like stepping on shoes or hitting cars.
  • Justice League has "Clash", a rather infamous episode amongst the fanbase. Superman, typically the most rational and open-minded of the group, suddenly becomes a stringent hard-ass towards Captain Marvel. What made this really stand out is that everyone else in the League, including Batman, liked Captain Marvel.
  • The Legend of Korra Mako had previously cheated with the titular character despite his relationship with his actual girlfriend, Asami who finds out episodes later and confronts him to straightforward ask him to just confess to his actual feelings for Korra, who he's been blatantly concerned with and doted on. However, to milk as much teen drama as possible out of this new series, Mako neither confesses/breaks up with Asami or pay any attention to her to continue focusing on Korra with Asami seethes on the sidelines until the next-to-last episode where they finally/actually break up.
  • Milly, Molly. Some of the Feud Episode's can be this.
    • In the episode where they first met, "Monday", they have several arguments over minor things like whether apples or bananas are better for no apparent reason. Exaggerated in one instance when, just because both of them drew their cat, they start arguing over who had a cat the longest and whose cat is nicer.
    • In "Cubby House", the girls argue over what game they should play in their cubby house. While it's not out of character for them to be a bit sore at each other and even try to give up their idea, they not only do that but they decide not to be friends anymore, which is going a bit far for them.
    • In "Sooty", Molly becomes jealous of Milly because Chloe, a snooty but well-meaning girl in their class, invited her to her birthday party but not Molly (because her horse Prince was at the party and at that point in the series, Molly was still afraid of horses). When Milly phones from the party and offers to come over to help care for an injured cat that Molly is looking after, one would expect Molly to be grateful as she's finally getting attention. Instead, she says angrily, "No thanks, Milly, I can look after Sooty by! My! Self!"
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses this in a number of episodes, like Rarity and Applejack's escalating tiff in "Look Before You Sleep".
    • Applejack and Rainbow Dash's competitiveness getting out of hand (or hoof?) in "Fall-Weather Friends" is this because it starts with them wanting to see who's the most athletic. While they do both have stubbornness as a flaw, it goes a bit far when Rainbow Dash thinks Applejack cheated and actually cheats, causing Applejack to cheat back and on it goes. This is particularly out of character for Applejack, who is honest enough to represent the Element of Honesty and likely believes in two wrongs not making a right.
    • Invoked by Twilight in "Lesson Zero" with the hope of being able to solve someone's problem and learn her weekly Aesop. It gets out of hand when everyone in town winds up fighting over her doll. In doing so, she ironically ended up holding the Conflict Ball herself, by dint of her sudden obsession with helping fix others' problems.
    • "Princess Spike" is an absolutely epic case. Twilight is worked to death and needs a nap. Rather than just take a nap she enlists someone to cover for her. Rather than enlisting Princess Cadance she enlists Spike. Needless to say Spike is in over his head within seconds, yet when offered help by Princess Cadance who's now apparently got nothing else on the go, he refuses for some reason. On the other end you've got people refusing to listen to who is famously known as Twilight's assistant and a hero merely because "he's just some random dragon", and a bunch of trees planted everywhere that make creatures that sneeze fire sneeze uncontrollably.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Whenever Candace actually goes along with her brothers' latest scheme, she (usually) has a great time and often gets quality time with Jeremy. Yet she is constantly trying to bust them for no apparent reason beyond sibling upmanship (pointless as they genuinely look up to her) and winning her mom's approval. Later on even she has pointed out that the urge is irrational, but often tries (and usually fails) to resist the "urge to bust" like it's an odd G-Rated Drug addiction. Sometimes, admittedly, the things the boys are doing would be dangerous if they were even a smidgen less competent (showcased in "Phineas and Ferb get Busted" where one misplaced bolt led to most of the house being wrecked), and sometimes she does seem to be in it more because she thinks what they're doing is dangerous (like the all-terrain vehicle bit) or disruptive (driving cattle through downtown).
    • A near textbook case occurs in the movie. Why does Phineas flip out at Perry despite going against his character (and the entire genre, at that)? Because it's the movie, and movies need conflict. There is a ''slight'' disagreement on this. Remember, this was when Phineas learns that Perry was a secret agent, and mad that he never told his family, so it is pretty justified.
  • In the A Pup Named Scooby-Doo episode "Night of the Living Burger" Scooby and Shaggy have a falling out for some reason and spend almost the whole episode fighting before making up at the end. We never even find out what they were fighting about. Even they forgot.
  • Lots... and lots... and lots of episodes of The Simpsons. Even characters who have genuinely liked each other for years (e.g. Bart/Lisa, Edna/Seymour, Homer/Moe, Mr. Burns/Smithers) aren't immune. At least with Lenny and Carl it's pretty much just played for laughs.
  • South Park: Every episode that has Stan and Kyle be at each other's throats. For example: in "Follow That Egg", Stan is angry with Kyle for being paired with Wendy for an Egg Sitting project because Wendy broke up with Stan in "Raisins" two seasons ago. Kyle points out that Stan got over her afterwards.
  • Total Drama Action: The cast seemed pretty cold and mean to Courtney's reappearance even before being shoe-horned in as the season's 'villain'.
    • All-Stars: In the season finale, it was specifically invoked by Chris. After Mal's defeat, things started to get all sweet and happy (not helped by the fact that Heather and Alejandro finally started dating off-screen prior to the episode). The distinct lack of drama, most of all from the two contestants who caused the most drama over the course of the series, drove him absolutely nuts, and he made it a free-for-all to make everyone, especially the aforementioned newly-made-couple, just stop.


Video Example(s):


Invasion of the Commentary

Mocking the movie's tendency to start needless conflict between its characters, the review starts with everyone being needlessly petty as soon as fog starts rolling into the studio. Jim insists that the Critic doesn't let anyone know about a monster in the studio because it would rightfully "upset them", Tamara spontaneously becomes a religious nut who makes everything about Jesus and Malcom becomes a paranoid "Angry Black Man" Stereotype.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / ConflictBall

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