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Disposable Love Interest

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"It never could be love
That's how it hadda be
Her name reminds me of
Female anatomy."

The mysterious vanishing of a hero's established love interest between the first movie and the sequel. Related to the Cartwright Curse, but this is where what happened to her isn't mentioned, and is never referenced again. They can't have the hero settle down because Status Quo Is God. On the other hand, they can't make the hero look like a heel by spelling out why their relationships always fail, so the situation becomes the Elephant in the Living Room.

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Basically, the girls aren't put into the movies to be characters or interesting, but merely so that the main character can go through the motions of a fresh Token Romance in every single sequel.

Related to Girl of the Week. Compare the Temporary Love Interest, who is taken far more seriously and gets the dignity of being written out, but again because adding a lasting romance would upset the status quo. See also Disposable Woman, Disposable Fiancé, and Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Very common in a Sequel Reset. Written-In Absence and Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome are similarly related.


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • The inexplicable (in-story) disappearance of Fenchurch toward the beginning of Mostly Harmless.
  • Robert Langdon has Vittoria Vetra in his first book, Sophie Neveu in his second, and Vittoria a COMPLETELY different hot science chick in his third. There's a brief Hand Wave towards the fact that he's no longer with Vittoria in The Da Vinci Code, but nothing else. Although that's the least of the series' logic problems, to be honest.
  • While perhaps not the oldest example, the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope did this on occasion. In The Chronicles of Barsetshire, the husband of the female protagonist of The Warden is dead by the beginning of Barchester Towers so that she is open for marriage again. The wife of the protagonist of Phineas Finn has died in childbirth by the beginning of the sequel, Phineas Redux.
  • Amy and Kayra in the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman books by Brian Jacques.
  • Name one of Luke Skywalker's girlfriends. Mara Jade is the only one that doesn't qualify for this trope.
  • Monica Figuerola is introduced in the third book of the Millennium Series and quickly strikes up a relationship with protagonist Mikael Blomkvist. Towards the end of the book, each separately confess to his on-again/off-again lover, "I think I'm in love with him/her", but she's disappeared by the next book with nary a mention nor explanation of her absence.
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    Live Action Television 

    Video Game 
  • In the Leisure Suit Larry series, Larry's love interest from the previous game typically breaks up with Larry in the beginning of the next game.
  • Stretched almost to the point of Deconstruction by Metal Gear Solid and its sequel. Snake ends up happily with the girl, Meryl, but by the time of the second game their relationship has not only failed without explanation but Snake's now actually living with a man, who seems more compatible with him than she was. It's straighter than it sounds...but not much.
  • Iris, the defendant from last case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations is very clearly supposed to be Phoenix's love interest and yet she completely dissapeard without as much as a mention after the original trilogy.
  • In Ultima VII, The Avatar can start a relationship with Nastassia, who goes unmentioned in later games.

    Western Animation 
  • In An Extremely Goofy Movie, Roxanne, Max's love interest from the first movie, is never seen or heard from again, and Bobby's love interest Stacey is gone.
  • Subverted in an episode of Futurama. Bender and the disembodied head of Lucy Liu fall in love at the end of one episode and vow they'll marry. This relationship is never mentioned again... except in one episode that reveals she's been living in his chest cavity all along.
  • Looney Tunes has generally no continuity at all and the characters relationships are no exception. Which means that a love interest can disappear for a good while and then reappear and get re-introduced to the main character in a totally different way.
    • Bugs Bunny was married to Mrs. Bugs Bunny in Hold the Lion, Please who liked to wear the trousers in their home. Bugs dates Daisy Lou Rabbit in Hare Splitter. Lola Bunny, introduced in Space Jam, has become Bugs' official girlfriend in The Looney Tunes Show, the only one to become an iconic name.
    • Daffy Duck was married to Daphne Duck, was married to Honeybunch Duck in Quackodile Tears, was married to a different, more abusive wife in His Bitter Half, and may have married Fowl Fattale in The Super Snooper. Daffy's most recurring and recognisable girlfriend was Melissa Duck however. Daffy dated another duck in Daffy's Meet Market. As of The Looney Tunes Show, Tina Russo is Daffy's girlfriend.
    • The Tasmanian Devil was once married to the Tasmanian She-Devil, but she didn't appear in any further shorts after she twice fulfilled her role of dragging her husband away from Bugs. Its only in the comics and in a couple of videogames that she got to do anything more than being a match for a Devil made in heaven.
    • Tweety's girlfriend Aoogah has not been seen since Tweety's High Flying Adventure, which makes perfect sense since she existed as a tailor-plot stand-in to the Indian princess Aoudah in order to keep Tweety from being a lonely Phileas Fogg in his trip around the world.
    • Porky Pig's girlfriend Petunia is in far fewer cartoons than Porky himself.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Bart's Girlfriend", Bart's girlfriend is Jessica Lovejoy. In "Moonshine River", it is revealed their relationship was short term only.
    • Colin, Lisa's love interest from The Simpsons Movie, appears in art class in "Lisa the Drama Queen", and in the opening of "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs". Colin does not appear regularly enough in the series to establish if their relationship is still ongoing.
  • Family Guy: In the episode “Baby Got Black”, Chris fell for Jerome’s daughter Pam and spent the episode trying to get her father to let them date. In the end, Jerome sees that Chris is a good fit and lets them be together. One episode later, Chris is seen dating a six-foot-tall German girl as a one-shot gag.

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