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Everyone Must Be Paired

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Marge: It's about time Mr. Burns found a woman. I can't stand to see a man single.
Lisa: Some people enjoy being alone, Mom.
Marge: No, everyone should be paired up.

Romance is one of the most common elements of storytelling, so it's pretty much a given that the main protagonist would have at least one Love Interest over the course of the story. Some works, however, don't stop at pairing up the main hero/heroine. They don't even stop with having just one other Beta Couple in the mix. No — every major and minor character in the setting must have a love interest by the end of the story, no matter how little interaction the pair had before they get together. Basically, this is a Canon version of Gotta Ship 'Em All.

This is related to (and often overlaps with) Pair the Spares, where the romantic rivals of an Official Couple are paired up specifically to get them out of the main couple's way because the work just can't leave the heartbroken suitors single, even if they have no chemistry with their new Love Interest. This insistence of pairing up every single characters together can also lead to the introduction of Satellite Love Interest (where a character exists just to become someone else's love interest) and Last-Minute Hookup (where a couple hooks-up just before the show ends despite the lack of prior romantic interactions).

Sister trope to Weddings for Everyone, where the story ends with multiple couples getting married, but despite the name, doesn't necessarily involve all, or even most, of the major characters.

Compare No Loves Intersect, if all the characters involved manage to get paired up without the relationships being caught up in a Love Triangle or Love Dodecahedron. Contrast Everybody Is Single and/or All Love Is Unrequited.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Happens at the end of After War Gundam X: Garrod gets together with Tifa, then Sara and Jamil become an item... while Toniya and Witz get married, and Roybea and Ennil hook up. And while it may have been an Ass Pull, it was an awesome Ass Pull, as it was surprisingly well-written and kept up with the series's optimistic tone.
  • Animal Land features 5 human characters who are gifted with the ability to communicate with animals, although one of them is evil. After he is defeated and killed, the remaining 4 gets paired up together—even though only one of the couple has any chemistry, while the other two characters never actually interact on-screen.
  • The Fruits Basket manga does a pretty amazing job at this - two dozen characters all get paired off before the end. Of the two that remained, Momiji and Kagura, only the former was able to get a confirmed spouse in the sequel manga Fruits Basket another.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, there are obvious Ship Tease between the main characters Edward/Winry, Roy/Hawkeye, and Ling/Lan Fan, but then we also see May getting a crush on Al, Olivier and Buccaneer have a talk on the rooftop, Bradley actually cares about his wife... And in the epilogue, May's presence in Elric family photos implies that she really did hook up with Al.
  • In The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer, out of the 9 surviving Beast Knights, and lead female Samidare, only two of them didn't pair up. While Mikazuki/Subaru, Taiyo/Yukimachi, and of course, Yuuhi/Samidare were all foreshadowed and had ship tease, Hyou/Yayoi has a Last-Minute Hookup as the former didn't show romantic interest in anyone for the main story, while the latter was in love with lead male Yuuhi.
  • Naruto: At the end of the series, we see that all members of Team 7 and Team 10 got married and have children. With Team 7 having the obvious pairings (Naruto and Hinata, Sasuke and Sakura), Team 10 had only one obvious pairing (Shikamaru and Temari). Ino got paired with Sai, which at the very least made sense, as Ino did show an attraction to Sai. But the most fitting example of this trope is Chouji being paired with Karui, a character from another village like Temari, but unlike with Shikamaru and Temari, Chouji and Karui never interacted with each other nor did they seem to even know of the other's existence prior to the revelation. Their two contrasting personalities also made it difficult for the audience to see how the pairing could even work, since there were no opportunities to show their dynamic in contrast to Shikamaru and Temari's interactions. It also doesn't help that Karui is a very minor character whose biggest impact was beating up Naruto.
    • Similarly, Kiba got a girlfriend, Tamaki—a cat lover, who was also a very minor character up to this point (even more minor than Karui). Unlike with Chouji and Karui, this pairing is more obvious because of Kiba's love for dogs.
    • Among the remaining members of the Konoha 12, Shino and apparently Tenten don't hook up with anyone and Lee has married an unknown woman. And from Sunagakure/Hidden Sand, Temari's brothers, Kankuro and Gaara also apparently remain single, although Gaara ended up adopting a son and the side story novels give Gaara an Implied Love Interest.
  • The last volume of the Shugo Chara! manga is literally an After Show focused on pairing together all the remaining main characters: Chapter 1: Utau/Kuukai. Chapter 2: Rima/Nagihiko. Chapter 3: Yaya/Kairi.

  • Alpha and Omega, protagonists Humphrey and Kate are in love. So naturally, Lilly (Kate's younger sister and Humphrey's friend) and Garth (Kate's arranged husband), who are the only other major characters of similar age, are also paired up.
  • In Ice Age: Collision Course, Sid laments that he is the only member of the original trio who doesn't have a mate. Naturally, he does get one at the end named Brooke. Unfortunately, she's a Satellite Love Interest who doesn't appear until the final act who literally asks him to marry her after spending only fourteen minutes together. (In-Universe! They barely have any development at all.)

  • Done for laughs at the end of Baseketball. Coop ends up with his love interest Jenna, and Squeak embraces the possible trans person he has been sharing looks with. Remer on the other hand looks despondent until he meets gazes with Yvette, a character he has had no interaction with throughout the movie. They immediately begin making out.
  • Every character in Bridesmaids ends up in a relationship or is in one from the beginning: Helen, Becca, and Rita are all married. Lillian gets married to Doug, Annie ends up with Rhodes, and the happily-single Megan is revealed to have hooked up with the Air Marshal, with whom she shared a single (admittedly flirty) scene, and he accompanies her to the wedding. Even Annie's divorced mom is heavily implied to hook up with the guy from roadside assistance at the very end.
  • Towards the end of the Harry Potter movie franchise, Harry gets together with Ginny. Other thirds of the Golden Trio Ron and Hermione are paired as well. The eighth movie also includes a scene which implies Neville and Luna are developing a romance. It all ends with a 19 Years Later epilogue, in which both main couples are given children, as well as Draco and his wife.
  • In High School Musical 3, all of the main cast is paired except for Ryan, who is Ambiguously Gay, and Kelsi, who has been the source of a heated debate over whether or not Disney also put a lesbian in the film. So, naturally, Disney covers their butts from the many people who would have objected to having homosexual characters in a Disney film by pairing them up.
  • In the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, this is the premise from the beginning; six of the titular brothers, unhappy that the oldest of them is wed, kidnap six girls they like from the nearby town and try to Stockholm-seduce them over the winter.

  • In The Belgariad, the Purpose absolutely loves pairing people off, and thus most of the heroes end up in relationships by the end.
  • Orson Scott Card:
  • Agatha Christie enjoys pairing her characters, even when her stories rarely focus on romance, and several of her novels end with all the remaining, innocent suspects getting paired off with each other.
    • The Hercule Poirot novel, Appointment with Death mostly focuses on the family drama among the Boynton family, particularly between the tyrannical Mrs. Boynton and her four children. By the end of the book, all four children are Happily Married, even though Carol and Ginevra had no romantic subplot prior to the epilogue.
    • Towards Zero features a cast dealing with All Love Is Unrequited: with Ted Latrimer being in love with Kay, who is married to Nevile Strange, who is still in love with his ex-wife Audrey, who is also pursued by Thomas Royd. Once Nevile is revealed to be the murderer, it is implied that the unrequited love would be resolved with Ted being free to pursue Kay, Audrey marrying Angus MacWhirter, and Audrey herself asserting that Thomas would eventually get over her and end up with Mary Aldin.
  • The “19 Years Later” epilogue to Harry Potter pairs up almost everyone. Harry is married to Ginny with three children, while Ron and Hermione are married with two children. Draco Malfoy is also married and has a son. And in the younger generation, Lupin and Tonks’ son Teddy is paired up with Bill and Fleur’s daughter Victoire.
    • Soon after the book’s release, J. K. Rowling released more details online: Draco’s wife is Asteria (or Astoria) Greengrass; Neville is married to Hannah Abbott, while Luna is married to Rolf Scamander (grandson of author Newt Scamander) with two sons; Percy is married to someone named Audrey, while George is married to Angelina Johnson with a son named Fred. The only character who definitely remains single is Ron’s brother Charlie.
    • The unlikely pairing of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks for their happy ending in the previous book also fits this trope somewhat.
  • Everyone in The Infernal Devices, gets a fairytale romance at the age of sixteen. Sophie is paired up with Gideon after deciding she didn't really love Jem anyway, and almost from the moment she is introduced Cecily is paired off with his conveniently single brother. Meanwhile, only single characters are killed off (Jessamine, Thomas).
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, only Official Couple Percy/Annabeth gets any focus, with a couple minor side pairings like Grover/Juniper and Clarisse/Chris that are few and far between. Come the sequel series The Heroes of Olympus, and suddenly romance plays an important role in the plotlines of every single major character, and Percy/Annabeth is joined by Jason/Piper, Hazel/Frank, Leo/Calypso, and Nico/Will Solace. The only main character who doesn't end up with anyone is Reyna, who plays the Romantic Runner-Up.
  • Tara Duncan is a particularly triumphant example, as the huge cast all end up paired with somebody even if they never interacted before. It include Sparrow and Fabrice, Fafnir and Sylver, Mara and Archangel, Chem and Charm, Lisbeth and Various, Betty and a werewolf and later Jar, Jeremy and Sanhexia, just to name a few).
  • Lampshaded, but ultimately averted, in The Tomorrow Series. Ellie mentions in the first book how the eight of them are in three different romantic relationships: Lee and Ellie, Kevin and Corrie and Homer and Fi, and then goes on to comment that it was too bad there wasn't any chance of Robyn and Chris getting together ("then we really could have had Perfect Partners").
  • Romance and marriage is seen as very important in The Twilight Saga. As a result, pretty much every character in the story (except Leah) gets a Love Interest. Even the baby gets a betrothed in the form of her mom's ex!

    Live-Action TV 

  • The Confession Executive Committee franchise is adamant that anyone involved in the Romance Series needs a love interest—and if one isn't given to them, they will have one prepared for them later. Lots of couples were already set in stone, but of the cast, only Koyuki Ayase and Kodai Yamamoto (who both suffered from unrequited love with the same girl) didn't have any clear cut pairings after their years' respective arcs. In the end, Koyuki was given an upperclassman in college, Ryo Ogino; and Kodai fell in love with Juri Hattori, a girl from the following focus group who reminds him of his first crush. The token teacher figure, Saku Akechi, was also given some Ship Tease with the school nurse, with one previous HoneyWorks song ("Little Regret") being attributed to their past dynamic. He's later definitively paired up with one of his former students.

  • Taken to a science by Gilbert and Sullivan. They do this in nearly every one of their plays. In the final number, all the pairs are established, and the crowds pair off as well.
    • In The Sorcerer, they go so far as to pair somebody off with the local Notary, who doesn't even get a name.
    • Of particular note is Patience. Attempts to Pair the Spares are the basis of an entire musical number. No matter which way the couples are made, there is always one man left over. The final lines of the show: "Each of us will wed the other, / Nobody be Bunthorne's bride!" Given that the operetta's titled Patience, or Bunthorne's Bride, this is a pretty major subversion.
    • Parodied in The Pirate Movie, where Mabel, after being told she can't marry until her older sisters have married, freezes her dream and pairs everybody else off. Including, since there are more pirates than sisters, pairing two of the male pirates together.
    • Subverted in The Yeomen of the Guard, where everyone ends up with the wrong person, and poor Jack Point is left out to dry.
    • At the end of Ruddigore, Rose goes back to Robin, so Richard decides to marry one of the bridesmaids instead. The first act finale approaches this, where Rose decides to marry Richard for no better reason than that he's "the only one that's left"; marrying everyone off seems to be the thing to do in what is said to be "perhaps, the only village in the world that possesses an endowed corps of professional bridesmaids." Even the haunted portraits of the barons of Ruddigore get married (to more bridesmaids!) at the end.
    • In some shows the pairs aren't explicitly stated in the script, but that generally won't stop most theater companies from pairing people up anyway. There are only two pairings at the end of The Mikado: The romantic lead Yum-yum and Nanki-poo, and the plot obstacles Katisha and Ko-ko. But typical amateur productions also pair up most or all of the other leads, and the entire men's chorus of Gentlemen of Japan with the women's chorus of Schoolgirls, for the closing number.
  • For William Shakespeare, few things define his comedies more than marriage. Virtually all of his comedies end in marriage, and some even see almost every significant single entering wedlock by the final curtain.
  • Subverted in The Rivals. All the major characters either start out paired or pair up over the course of the play, except for Sir Lucius O'Trigger, one of the heroine's unsuccessful suitors, and Mrs. Malaprop, the heroine's maiden aunt. This leads another character to suggest that the two spares should pair up with each other, but Sir Lucius responds with disdain.

    Video Games 
  • 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim ends with the main cast having six ironclad relationships (Juro Kurabe/Megumi, Shu/Yuki, Nenji/Tomi, Ei/Iori, Natsuno/Miura, and Hijiyama/Okino) and one Maybe Ever After (Gouto/Shinonome). Given The Reveal that the thirteen protagonists plus Okino and Tamao Kurabe are the only flesh-and-blood humans alive outside of the simulation, that means that at the end of the main story, there is only one living person who isn't in an implicit or explicit romance of some sort.

  • Rain (2010) ends with everyone in the main cast being paired off. To wit, there's Rain and Emily, Maria and Chanel, Rudy and Ryan, Gavin and Ana, and Ky gets together with Allison in the Distant Finale.
  • Though it didn't begin this way, every recurring character in Sonichu was eventually paired with another one. Villains are the exception—one sign of a villain becoming good is becoming "sweethearts" with someone else. Magi-chan, for a long time, was the exception; as a Hermit Guru who lived in isolation from the other characters, it made sense for him to remain single. Then he was paired up with Silvana the moment she stopped being evil.
  • Pretty much all the relevant characters in Yumi's Cells get paired up with someone at the end, with the exception of Sia. Yumi marries Soonrok Shin. Of her previous love interests, Wook is shown to have a boyfriend, Woong gets some Ship Tease with Jenny, while Babi marries Da-eun. Ruby, who was Yumi's previous love rival for Wook, gets together with Control-Z, while Eda, who briefly crushed on Babi, marries an unnamed co-worker. Yumi's chief editor, who used to crush on her since college, and Lihyun, who liked Babi, fall in Love at First Sight.

    Western Animation 
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, the class of students that will make up most of Paris' superhero team in the future are all coupled up with someone, inside the class or out. There are a few early snags, like Nino thinking he likes Marinette or Kim going after Chloe, but those are all resolved in the space of an episode- usually with the help (?) of their classmates. Conveniently for this trope, Adrien would join the class after its inception to make it even-numbered.
  • The Simpsons: Discussed by Marge in "A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love". She states that she can't stand seeing someone she knows being single, and when Lisa argues that some people enjoy the single life, insists that "everyone should be paired up".
  • Winx Club has the titular Winx girls be paired with the Specialist boys, who form their own Spear Counterpart group as a parallel to the girls'. Only Flora was initially left out, as there were five Winx to four Specialists, until the second season introduced Helia. The same season had the debut of Sixth Ranger Aisha, who was also initially on her own until the season after that gave her a love interest in Nabu.