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Grand Romantic Gesture

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"The sky is my canvas."

Beast: I want to do something for her... but what?
Cogsworth: Well, there's the usual things: Flowers... chocolates... promises you don't intend to keep...

You've got a lover. You love them so bad it hurts. You want to do something to prove your love. But what?

Well, whatever it is, it should be big. Jewelry doesn't cut it, flowers are for losers, and chocolates? Are you kidding?

Grand Romantic Gestures occur when someone gives elaborate gifts or stages outlandish events in an attempt to be romantic. Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires. The path to true love never did run smooth, after all.

Runs heavy on Rule of Romantic. In Real Life, be warned: this has appeared on lists in the lines of "stupid things movies taught us would work," particularly if you're not already in a relationship with them, and double-especially if they're not interested and the gesture is supposed to change their mind; doing something stupidly, outrageously romantic for your established significant other is very different from doing it for someone you aren't even dating, and the latter is liable to be massively awkward. (See also: stalking.)

This is also not recommended even if you are already dating the person you are doing it to, especially when proposing. The public display often pressures him or her into accepting it in front of the crowd to avoid awkwardness. Not to mention, pulling off such a public stunt meant that later on, it might strain your once-perfect relationship instead. So do not do this ever unless you are very sure that your significant other is waiting for you to make the first move.

Sub-tropes include Serenade Your Lover, Flower from the Mountaintop, Race for Your Love, Superpowered Date, Overly Long Airplane Banner Gag, Love Overrides the Law and Wacky Marriage Proposal.

Contrast The Simple Gesture Wins, and Act of True Love, where love is shown by sacrifice.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Deconstructed in Hahari Hanazono's backstory in The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You. She used IVF to become pregnant at age 13 so that she and her terminally ill boyfriend could be a family before his death. She makes it clear that while she doesn't regret doing it, she understands that it was a terrible decision made on impulse. This has led to Hahari being overprotective of her daughter in the present day, not wanting her to make the same mistakes.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, not only does Howl replicate Sophie's old room, but he brings her to, essentially, a private dimension featuring stunningly gorgeous Ghibli Hills, which he declares is his gift to her. The gesture works and Sophie even changes back into her younger self for the longest time yet in the film—until she realizes that the reason Howl is doing this is that he's about to leave.
  • The one at the end of The Princess and the Pilot stands out due to the economic Fridge Horror involved. If that really was "more gold than he could spend in a lifetime", and he threw it all into the sea just to show her that she mattered more to him, thereby removing it from the nation's economy, during a war... well. It's a movie.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War plays around with this several times over the course of the series:
    • Ishigami unwittingly gives one to Tsubame at the school festival by giving her a large heart-shaped chocolate, demonstrating his romantic intentions towards her. Thing is, he was unaware that there was undertones to giving hearts to a significant other during the festival, so he remained unaware of what he did for most of the arc. To make things worse, he also gives a heart locket to Iino, as he still hasn't quite grasped that the implications.
    • Kaguya and Shirogane's relationship takes the biggest step forward when the latter plans an elaborate scheme to distract all the supporting characters that would normally get in the way and engineer a huge romantic gesture during the culture festival by showering the school in hundreds of heart-shaped balloons. There's a big ol' kiss and everything seems great. However, afterward Kaguya makes it clear that while she appreciated the gesture, she would really prefer something much more low key, normal and honest from here on. She's just as excited to have a quiet kiss on a park bench with no one else around on a snowless Christmas Eve.
      • Ironically, the grand gesture actually backfired slightly as the couple's decision to let their actions express their feelings didn't make the nature of their relationship entirely clear. It was only the discussion afterward that really cemented their new status.
    • Inverted during the End of Secrets arc. Tsubame uses her social connections to repair Ishigami's reputation among the student body at large because she isn't in love with him and is trying to avoid breaking his heart when she ultimately turns down his love confession.
    • In the final chapter, Kaguya (knowing that Shirogane was flying back to Japan unannounced to surprise her at graduation) prepares a surprise of her own by getting the entire student body to celebrate his graduation so he wouldn't feel left out after leaving several months early to attend Stanford.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics often shows Archie pulling these off for Veronica, who is hard to please. Some examples: Making a giant Valentine card for her, building a heart out of snow and spelling "Archie Loves Veronica" in coal, buying her jewelry he can't afford...
  • Superman:
    • An issue of Superman Confidential had Superman taking Lois Lane for a picnic date on top of the Eiffel Tower.
    • In All-Star Superman, Jimmy Olsen makes a "short-term, cosmetic alteration" to the moon to get back in his girl's good graces.
  • In Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness, Todd Ingram proclaimed his love for Ramona by blowing a hole in the moon with his vegan powers. This is eventually revealed to be trivial for him since he later declares his love for Scott's ex, Envy, the same way. This ends up biting him in the ass when someone realizes he's responsible for both holes, and suddenly his Grand Romantic Gesture for Envy doesn't seem so grand or romantic. Plus, it caused about thirty pages of tidal waves and explosions.

    Fan Works 
  • The Student Prince: While Arthur doesn't come out on live TV just for Merlin's sake, his feelings for Merlin definitely plays a role in his decision and it is a major step in moving their relationship forward.
  • In The Bug Princess, BJ pulls off a massive one in the final chapter. For his beloved's birthday, he gets her a house and undermines her stepmother's attempts to plan their wedding by arranging a surprise one at their new home. And he says he loves her, instead of resorting to the usual I "Uh" You, Too.
  • Empathy: A minor version. Hiro, after realizing that he likes Riley, plans an elaborate birthday for her, starting with Go Go taking her for a day on the town (which included a motorcycle ride, getting a purple streak in her hair, and a sushi lunch with Wasabi) and ending with an ice skating party/hockey game at the ice rink. When Riley asks Honey Lemon for advice about telling Hiro how she feels, Honey uses this as evidence that Hiro likes Riley, too.
  • Advice and Trust: To celebrate Asuka's 15th birthday, Shinji composed a string trio concerto and performed it alongside Rei and Kaworu. To say she liked it would be a massive understatement.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged:
    • Happens after Kirito and Asuna's Relationship Upgrade, and it turns out these teenagers have no idea what to do after sex.
      Kirito's Left Brain: Look, just say anything!
      Kirito's Right Brain: Anything?!
      Kirito's Left Brain: Anything! Just... say it with confidence.
      Kirito's Right Brain: Eh, alright! Here goes nothing!
      Kirito: We should get married.
      Kirito's Left Brain: NOOOOOO!!!!
      Kirito's Right Brain: What?! You said "Say anything!"
      Kirito's Right Brain: I'M SORRY, I DON'T DO WELL UNDER PRESSURE!
    • And at the very end, once Asuna's agreed...
      Asuna's Right Brain: BITCH WHY THE FUCK DID YOU SAY YES!?!
      Asuna's Left Brain: I DON'T KNOOOOOW!!!
    • In the next episode, they both realize they went too fast, but agree to stay together anyway.
  • This trope is discussed in Batman: Anarchy for All, when Bruce debates if he should propose to Selina in a grandiose fashion. He goes through with one in the next book, Batman: Melody for a Mockingbird, (in no small way because he's jealous of Selina reconnecting with an old friend who's obviously carrying a torch,) when he buys a building to preserve a mural on the property that Selina's old street kid gang painted. It backfires when Selina is insulted and thinks he's trying to buy his way back into her good graces.
  • In A Thing of Vikings, not only does Hiccup turn down multiple politically advantageous marriage offers in order to marry Astrid, the girl he loves, he also gives a literal king's ransom and a captured city as the bride price to her parents. Just so that the world can know how much she means to him. In-story, it's become widely known as a Refuge in Audacity moment, "literally sending tongues to wag all the way to Rome."
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Yang's uncle Qrow tells Jaune that Yang secretly loves super formal fancy stuff, despite being a Tomboy. He's lying; because he (incorrectly) believes that Jaune is Yang's half-brother, he's trying to sabotage their relationship. Regardless, Jaune takes him seriously and calls his Uncle Watts to get him a reservation at a fancy restaurant. He forgets that Watts can be a bit... extreme. Watts gets them the most expensive reservation at the most expensive restaurant in the city, complete with a private room, private waitresses, and a private band. Everything is so over the top that Jaune and Yang's mutual embarrassment brings them closer together, and Yang enjoys being treated like a princess for once.
  • Opalescent: For Christmas, Otto, with the help of Oscar, gets Opal a teal Schwinn bike, one that she's wanted but could not afford due to being in dire financial straits for most of her life. When she receives the gift on Christmas morning, she's absolutely ecstatic, but doesn't realize whom the gift-givers are until a year later, when Otto tells her.
  • Queens of Mewni:
    • Rowan Forest would propose to Febe the Red One by winning a tournament, then crowning her with the wreath of flowers given to the champion (who traditionally crowns his wife/fiancee with it) and asking for her hand in marriage.
    • Two of the suitors of Vesper the Morning Star try using this to win her over and choose him for her husband, one of them presenting her with a grand painting of her at ease, the other giving her an extended make-out session. She rejects both of them and chooses Caspian Waterson, who presented her with evidence of corruption in the court, as he rightly interpreted what she wanted in a husband: a loyal number two to be her eyes and ears.
    • Dorian Fields would declare his love for Solaria the Monster Carver by placing the champion's wreath on her lap...which shocks the hell out of Solaria, as she thought he was gay. They would sleep together that very night and she would eventually marry him.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Beast gives Belle a library as a sign of affection. She is a major bookworm and the Beast gave her ALL the books, which meant Belle had permanent ownership of something she truly cherished.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Love Actually solidly runs on this trope.
    • The grandest ones are pulled off by Mark. In the opening, he hires a full band to hide in the chapel where his best friend is getting married. Later, he stands outside a girl's house in the snow, plays Christmas carols on a CD player, and silently delivers an elaborate love letter/goodbye to her on cue cards.note 
    • An English writer falls in love with a Portuguese woman. They overcome their Language Barrier, experiencing downplayed Language of Love. However, they both decide independently to study each other's language.
  • In A Knight's Tale, Will says he'll win a jousting tournament for his paramour. She says he'd win anyway for his own pride, and if he really loved he'd lose for her. He grudgingly goes on to do just that, sitting still and getting slammed repeatedly by his opponents' lances until she relents and informs him that, if he loves her, he won't lose another match and will win the tournament after all.
    Chaucer: There she is Will. The love of your life. Your Venus.
    Will: And how I hate her.
  • In Big Fish, the main character finds out the girl he's in love with is engaged to another man. Rather than give up, he organizes a series of grand romantic gestures, like switching out a slide in her prof's lecture to read "I love Sandra!", hiring a sky-writer to do the same, and culminating in planting thousands and thousands of her favorite flower outside her dorm room window.
    Sandra: How did you get so many?
    Edward: I phoned everywhere in five states. I told them it was the only way to get my wife to marry me.
  • At the end of Pretty Woman, Edward arrives at Vivian's apartment in a white limousine and climbs up the fire escape to try to convince her to marry him. Earlier in the movie, she had told him about her fantasy of a prince on a white horse coming to carry her off, and it was previously established that he had a fear of heights.
  • In The Great Race, the main character loses a car race around the world on purpose (stopping right before the finish line) just to prove a girl that she's more important to him.
  • In 1996's Bed Of Roses, Lewis sends Lisa bouquet after bouquet of all the thornless "sterling roses" he can get from every florist and supplier he can call after she mentions a fondness for him. Lisa is touched, but also kind of disturbed by the excessive scale of the gesture.
  • Gyeon-woo tries this in My Sassy Girl by having him and the "girl" sneak into an amusement park at night (that his friend works at) with a huge grand gesture with all the lights turning on for just the two of them. Instead, they met an AWOL soldier who holds them hostage.
  • Towards the end of Bride and Prejudice, Darcy makes a real effort for Lalita that includes drums.
  • Good Luck Chuck features this after Chuck sleeps with Cam, where he lavishes attention on her in the hopes that she won't move on after they've had sex. However, a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs when Cam gets unnerved by the change in his personality and newfound clinginess.
  • In Bruce Almighty, Bruce uses his new God Powers to literally rearrange the night sky to seduce his girlfriend Grace. Later on, after she's left him, he uses them to stage lots and lots of miraculous romantic gestures to get her to come back to him.
  • In Twins (1988), Vincent has his love interest's room fully decorated with flowers. She is floored when she enters.
  • Timothy Dalton's version of James Bond, while perhaps not especially grand compared to some on this page (he is still James Bond), had quite the knack for sweet romantic gestures towards his Bond girls compared to the previous and later versions:
    • At the end of The Living Daylights, he sneaks off a mission precisely to hear Kara's first concert after she has escaped to the west, and later sneaks into her dressing room in order to surprise her with drinks and a romantic evening;
    • At the end of Licence to Kill, after seeing Pam flee a party heartbroken after seeing Lupe begin to flirt with him again, he jumps off a balcony into a swimming pool below in order to catch up with her.
  • Invoked in 10 Things I Hate About You. When Patrick is trying to romance Kat (for corrupt reasons), he's told, at a certain point, that one of these is the only way to get her attention. So he publicly serenades her over the school's PA system with "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, bribing the marching band to accompany him, and ends up getting sent to detention. Not only does this work, but the results start him on the path to falling for her for real.
    • Parodied in Not Another Teen Movie where Jake sings "Janie's Got a Gun" over the PA system, making everyone freak out and getting Janey tasered by the school security.
  • Viciously deconstructed in Love, Simon when Martin, an insufferable loser who's convinced that he's the quirky hero of some cliched romantic comedy, hijacks a homecoming game to stage a gaudy performance (in a direct Shout-Out to the afore-mentioned scene from 10 Things I Hate About You) where he shines a spotlight on his crush Abby, gets the marching band to back him on while singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" and asks her out over the loudspeaker. Apparently, he's so convinced that this will work that he even has a flock of doves prepared to fly over the crowd when she inevitably says yes. Abby doesn't appreciate being put on the spot like this and turns down Martin's proposal as nicely as possible, and his humiliating failed stunt is subject to cruel remixes on the school's message board. Even when he outs Simon anonymously to take the heat off of himself, Martin can help but mention that that other guy's stunt "was actually kinda sweet, and romantic if you think about it".
  • In Jason's Lyric, Jason intends to win Lyric's heart by taking her on a date, borrowing a city bus for themselves and setting up a mock picnic in an abandoned bus station. Later, he takes her to a secluded bayou before eventually kissing and making love to her in the woods.
  • Noah pulls one of the most alarming possible versions of this trope in The Notebook by hanging off a ferris wheel until Allie agrees to date him. It's dangerous within the movie because, yeah, he's hanging off a damn ferris wheel. This is also a variant of the trope that represents extreme danger to the person receiving the gesture in real life; threatening self harm as a way to control or manipulate your partner is incredibly abusive, not romantic.
    • Played straighter later in the film when Allie visits Noah at the house he renovated, and she realizes he renovated it to her specifications in a one-off conversation they had years ago.
  • At Midnight (2023): After the Second-Act Breakup, Alejandro tries to make one last desperate move to apologize to Sophie by infiltrating Super Society's set while dressed up as Doctor Thunder. He meets Rachel on the way, who even lampshades it by asking him if he's "Doing the thing girls want guys to do".

  • Isaac Asimov's True Love: Joe has prepared Chastity's transfer to their department, and she'll be arriving February 14, Valentine's Day. That's when Joe plans to announce that she is its One True Love.
  • The BattleTech setting's likely most iconic example would still have to be the way in which one of its most famous Magnificent Bastards cemented his reputation once and for all right at his wedding to friend and foe alike, as seen in the novel Warrior: Riposte:
    Hanse Davion: "My love, I give you the Capellan Confederation!"
  • In Brian Blose's The Participants, immortal observers Hess and Elza are separated before they profess their love when the Creator ends one world and replaces it with another. After a few hundred years of life, Elza encounters Hess again - because he has spent all his time walking the new world in search of her.
  • In Brave New World, John the Savage, having been raised on traditional ideas of love and romance, tries to explain the concept to Lenina who was raised in a Free-Love Future which discourages any form of attachment. She finds the whole idea strange and preposterous.
  • In The Courtship of Princess Leia, Leia is being wooed by Prince Isolder of the powerful and glamorous Hapes Consortium and is cognizant enough of the political ramifications of such an alliance to seriously consider it. To compete, Han enters a shady Sabaac game and wins a planet in an attempt to impress Leia, fails, and ends up abducting her to visit "his" new planet, which turns out to be in an ex-Imperial warlord's territory and is inhabited by a tribe of Dark Side-using "witches." Needless to say, it takes a bit for Leia to ultimately end up marrying Han.
  • In Edenborn, Deuce uses his mastery of virtual reality to create a number of half-talismans to send to the object of his affection so that he can later present her with the missing halves. He also completely opens her ability to program her own domain and unlocks her parents' logs, all in an effort to liberate her from what he sees as intolerable confinement.
  • At the end of Heart of Steel, Mad Scientist Alistair plans to show Julia just how much he loves her by conquering the world as a gift for her.
  • In A Knight To Remember, Virago wins Holly's heart by jousting for her in a Renaissance festival. It's an even grander gesture than she intended, as Holly was already in love with her, but was afraid that Virago couldn't return her feelings.
  • In A.L. Phillip's The Quest of the Unaligned, Alaric uses the Prince's Crown to transform Laeshana into an orah, thus simultaneously allowing her to marry him, giving her the full power that she has been seeking for years, and freeing her of the black aspect of her fire-magic that she's been fighting her whole life.
  • In Yuck A Love Story, Austin lassos the Cheesy Moon to give to Amy as a birthday present. And before that, he wears a superhero costume and builds a life-size statue of an Apatosaurus in her yard using Popsicle sticks.
  • Ruslan and Ludmila: Subverted. Finn spends ten years as a pirate and brings Naina a magnificent hoard of treasure, and she coldly says "Hero, I don't love you!"
  • In ''Boy Meets Boy, Paul spends an entire week dedicated to different Grand Romantic Gestures each day, including draping the school hallways with origami flowers he made himself, a scroll of fun word definitions, a personalized song created by a friend and serenaded to him, letters, and more.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7 Yz: A particularly desperate example occurs in "Eşitlik". Shaken by Dilek's belief that they are no longer in an equal relationship after an old sex tape goes viral, Kaan realizes desperate times call for desperate measures. He rents a studio for a day, makes his own solo sex tape, uploads it to the internet, and personally sends it to every acquaintance and colleague who gossiped about Dilek including his own boss. When all is said an done, the two agree to move to Canada to begin their lives anew.
  • The exact phrase is used verbatim in Arrested Development:
    Lucille: Buster, hi. It's me again. I've still got those Producers tickets, and I'd love to share them with you. I don't want you to think I'm taking this more seriously than you are. Unless you're planning some grand romantic gesture, my feelings are just the teensiest bit hurt.
  • Hannibal: The second half of season two revolves around Will's slow seduction of Hannibal as a murder partner/maybe romantic partner while he's simultaneously reeling him in so he can have the FBI arrest him. He ends up bringing Hannibal human meat (from what Hannibal believes to be Freddie Lounds) that they proceed to eat together. Even though Will is less than honest about where it actually came from, the understanding and companionship Will offers him is enough to make Hannibal betray himself.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Ted is a fan of pulling these off, and other characters try their hand at it as well.
    • The most referenced one is Ted stealing a blue French Horn for Robin to proclaim his love; they have their first date at a restaurant that has the instrument on the wall and she loves it. Everybody brings flowers, Ted brings her the horn. In a Continuity Nod, before they break up, a waiter recognizes him and makes him bring it back. A later episode shows the restaurant now has the horn chained to the wall.
    • Ted takes the blue instrument in-joke further by hiring a group of musicians to play music for her with instruments that are also painted blue. Plus he fills her living room with roses and brings her tons of chocolate.
    • Ted makes it rain once for Robin. She's supposed to go on a company trip with a colleague who's constantly hitting on her and she seems to start liking him, so Ted performs a Rain Dance. For hours. Amazingly, it does rain despite the forecast and amazingly, Robin finally agrees to be with him.
    • The two-minute date with Stella is a standout. Ted's in love with her, but she claims she doesn't have time for a romantic relationship in her busy life — all she has is her two-minute lunch break. So Ted puts together a date scheduled to fit into this time constraint, spending about 20 seconds each on a dinner, movie, dessert and walk back to her business. It works.
    • When Ted proposes to Victoria, he fills the flat they lived in with a huge amount of gorgeous red roses. She loves it and is ready to accept him, but they never get engaged because Ted doesn't accept her request to distance himself a bit from Robin.
    • Marshall once manages to get an entire marching band to sneak into a lonely airport where Lilly is waiting alone and play "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight while disguised as fellow travelers so he can kiss her for New Years. Try topping that.
    • Even anti-romantic Barney gets into it later. He refuses to leave a diner for a really long time until his love interest of the season, Nora, agrees to go out with him again.
    • The show even points out that such gestures can be considered creepy and stalker-ish if the intended recipient does not welcome the gesture. This is referred to as the Dobler-Dahmer Theory. The example given: In college, Marshall sneaked into Lily's dorm room to sing her a ukulele song to ask her out. Lily was interested in him and so it worked, like Lloyd Dobler with the boombox outside the apartment in Say Anything.... If Lily was not interested then he would come across Serial Killer creepy and crazy a la Jeffrey Dahmer. This also implicitly means that one cannot "win over" an uninterested party with a grand gesture, as the recipient must already have feelings for it to work.
    • Barney's epic Batman Gambit to get Robin to marry him, which originates with getting her to break up with her dim-witted boyfriend via an Anguished Declaration of Love, manipulating her to become a Crazy Jealous Guy as he pretends to date her co-worker Patrice and leaving the final steps in the hands of Ted, because having also dated Robin if he didn't approve he wasn't going to go through with it.
    • Barney giving Robin a rehearsal dinner perfectly tailored to her by redirecting to it a hockey rink filled with stereotypes of her native Canada, and getting her there under pretense that he was arrested trying to break in to a laser tag place.
  • Gilmore Girls: Interestingly, despite being a show that focuses half on parent/child relationships, and the other half on romantic relationships, the writers take a pretty dim view on the Grand Romantic Gesture. While many are featured, the show often subverts the expected outcome. The gestures are grand, they're romantic, but they're superficial and not the way to a lasting relationship:
    • Lorelai says that a proposal should be big and epic and have "a thousand yellow daisies". Cue her Romantic False Lead boyfriend proposing to her by sending one thousand yellow daisies to her workplace. She ends up leaving him at the altar.
    • In season 1, Rory's boyfriend Dean builds her a car, which he presents with an "I love you." When she's not ready to say it back, he gets upset and breaks up with her.
    • In season 4, Jess visits Rory at her dorm room and begs her to run away with him. Her reaction is incredulous and angry that he would suggest it, and the entire thing is played for tearjerker, not romance. He gets increasingly desperate, even confessing that it was Love at First Sight for him, but she turns him down and sends him away.
    • Rory's college boyfriend Logan is fond of these, but they don't typically read as "romantic," so much as "throwing his money around" and "using them as a replacement for communication." In the series proper, he often uses them to get back into Rory's good graces when he's done something to upset her, to distract from what's actually wrong. It culminates in him blindsiding her with a proposal in front of their friends and family at her college graduation, then leaving her when she says she wants to wait. In the revival, Rory's last contact with Logan is a huge night of revelry and debauchery meant to cheer her up, but is also what makes her realize she needs to break off their affair, because he will never grow up and she needs to move on.
    • In season 7, Christopher buys out an entire restaurant in Paris in order to woo Lorelai. He proposes and talks her into eloping, even though Lorelai expresses concern that Rory isn't there. They don't even last the season.
    • Meanwhile, the show portrays smaller, more personal, less flashy gestures as sincerely romantic, such as Luke building Lorelai a wooden archway for her wedding, ironically to the Romantic False Lead from earlier, which is seen as one of the sweetest things he does for her.
  • The X-Files: Played with in the episode "The Rain King", where the "villain" is unconsciously causing tornadoes and thunderstorms because of his pent-up romantic desire for the woman he is unable to confess his feelings to. When she learns about it, she realizes that causing a thunderstorm out of love for her is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for her.
  • In Coupling, Patrick tries to tell Sally that he loves her (and buggers it up, but it's not like he's got much practice at that sort of thing), then, having bought out the entire pub for the evening, plays the Spiderman theme with his two best friends dancing to it. In costume. Sounds odd, except that he and Sally had their first kiss to the Spiderman theme.
  • Friends:
    • After a fight with Monica, Chandler decides to pull one of these. Of course, he takes it a step too far and proposes. Thankfully Monica knows his neuroses well enough to see what's going on and talk him out of it.
      Monica: Chandler, um, I want you to take just a minute and I want you to think about how ridiculous this sounds.
      Chandler: Yeah, I'm kinda wishing everyone wasn't here right now.
    • In Season 6, Chandler attempts to make his real proposal as big and surprising as possible. Naturally, this backfires but luckily Monica pulls one of her own, filling their apartment with candles and proposing when he arrives.
  • Merlin:
    • Subverted in the episode "Sweet Dreams" in which Prince Arthur is put under a spell to fall in love with the spoilt princess Vivian. He wakes up with the desire to woo her with increasingly elaborate measures, ranging from taking her a roast chicken to scaling the castle wall at night to reach her bedroom and finally fighting a duel to the death with her father. When the spell wears off due to a True Love's Kiss from Guinevere, he takes her a single red rose.
    • Played straight when Arthur proposes to Guinevere by candlelight. He's filled her wooden house with lit candles in what is quite frankly a terrifying fire hazard.
  • In Doctor Who, River Song threatens to unravel all of time and reality by stalling the Doctor's death... to build a distress beacon that calls out to every point in time and space. She couldn't allow the Doctor to die without knowing how much he is loved, by a million million people throughout all of creation... and by none moreso than her.
    • In a parallel to the above, the Doctor does the same for Clara Oswald, except add to that the fact he punched a diamond wall with his bare fists for 4 1/2 billion years first, just for her though due to The "I Love You" Stigma that has been established, this is indicated through euphemisms like him telling Clara, "I had a duty of care" when she asks him why he put himself through hell for her".
    • In the 2015 Special "The Husbands of River Song" the Doctor not only finally decides to see through his date with River Song on Darillium after centuries of running away from it, but via Stable Time Loop ensures that there's a restaurant overlooking the Singing Towers in the first place. If it's going to be their last night together, it will be as lovely as possible for her.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, vampire Spike, to prove his love to Buffy... lets Drusilla stun her with a cattle prod, chains her to a wall and offers to kill Dru, his ex, for her. In hindsight, this probably wasn't the best idea. Later, however, he goes and gets his soul for her, which falls under this trope a little bit better.
  • Kamen Rider Fourze:
    • How does Shun try to ask Miu to the prom? By sending a truck to school with a giant screen that says "I Love You!", appearing in a white tuxedo with a large bouquet of flowers, and having the football team as his backup.
    • Later, Shun has an Imagine Spot for what he wants to do next: it involves using Fourze's Schop Switch to dig on the school grounds, spelling out the word "LOVE" (yes, it's all caps), Miu's name and a heart symbol, and then having Fourze fly Shun to Miu's side.
  • In Chinese Paladin, this combines with Flower from the Mountaintop: Ling'er has always wanted to see (non-existent, but nobody tells her that) red dandelions; Xiaoyao and his love interest Yue'Ru conspire to produce them for her.
  • Julian in Dancing on the Edge angsts over what he can do to show Jessie how much he cares about her. He settles on buying a ton of her records and giving her a car.
  • In Zoey 101, Chase moves to England to be with Zoey after she transfers boarding schools. This ends up biting him in the butt, though, as she switches back to P.C.A. to confront him about his feelings for her at the same time.
  • In The Worst Year of My Life, Again, Alex tries two different ones to win over Nicola Grey in "Valentine's Day". The first time, he tries to play romantic violin music and give her a bunch of roses. The second time, he sets a romantic table for two in the middle of the school gym. Neither really works out for him, though...
  • Subverted on the comedy The Class (2006). The show's pilot has Ethan deciding to celebrate his engagement by getting together the third grade class where he and his girlfriend first met. However, it backfires as the girlfriend is tired of Ethan's over-the-top "love gestures," feeling he's being too controlling and breaks up with him in front of everyone.
  • Glee: Blaine and his marriage proposal to Kurt. He convinced three rival show choirs to do an elaborately choreographed (and costumed) dance to "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles throughout the entirety of the large Dalton Academy, where they met and fell in love. Blaine is singing, all of Kurt's friends and family are there, and the proposal concludes on the stairs where they fell in love with an equally elaborate speech. Kurt very emotionally says yes.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Leonard gives Penny a preserved snowflake from the North Pole.
      Leonard: It'll last forever. I preserved it in a one percent solution of polyvinyl acetal resin...
      Penny: Oh, my God. That's the most romantic thing anyone's ever said to me that I didn't understand!
    • After being kissed by a fangirl, Sheldon immediately flies across the country to visit Amy at Princeton to propose.
    • Howard gives Bernadette a necklace shaped like a star. Not that grand... until he explains that he's going to need it back because he's going to space in a few weeks.
      Howard: So when I get back, I can give you a star that's literally been in space. (beat) Take that, any guy that ever bought you anything!
  • Frasier has an episode where Frasier starts a new relationship and ruins it by overdoing the big romantic gestures from the start. It ends with maximum embarrassment after Frasier's serenade in front of everyone when she tries and fails to cover the microphone to keep it from picking up her "We need to talk."
    Monica: Don't get me wrong, Frasier. Everything you did was nice, it was just... too much. You made me feel like a project and not a person.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Twice subverted by Wilson Fisk.
      • The first time Fisk asks Vanessa out, she says she has to close up shop, and he just politely leaves. She's surprised that he didn't offer to buy the place so she could leave early; Fisk replies "Any woman who can be bought isn't worth having," impressed at her ingenuity.
      • In the very next episode, for their second date, Fisk does buy out the entire restaurant, but this is a pragmatic move, not a romantic one. He's not good in public and doesn't want to be interrupted like Anatoly made the mistake of doing on the first date, so buying the restaurant is the simplest solution.
      • In season 3, Fisk goes to great lengths to regain "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" in time for Vanessa's return to New York, but ultimately decides to abandon his pursuit after paying a personal house call to the owner and learns about its sentimental attachment to her family. Sadly, that doesn't stop Dex from going behind Fisk's back and killing the owner for the painting anyways.
    • Matt Murdock disclosing his secret identity to Karen Page at the end of the season 2 finale could be construed as one, in an attempt to regain her trust after driving her and Foggy away during the second half of the season. It more or less works, seeing as by the start of The Defenders (2017), they are on speaking terms once more.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Kilgrave tries to pull this off, but given who he is, it falls apart right away. At one point, Kilgrave asked Jessica (while she was under his control, of course) what her happiest memories were, and she told him that they were of her childhood home. Kilgrave buys this very house (from the new owners who were now living in it, although he did make an effort to appeal to them willfully) and arranges it to look exactly as it did when Jessica had to leave it. Jessica isn't fooled, because doing something like this (nice as it may appear) doesn't make up for Kilgrave's abuse, rape, and sociopathic behavior, although she is willing to at least give him a chance to see if there's any hope of him turning good. Sadly, there really isn't, because Kilgrave undoes the favor almost immediately with more sociopathy and has to be put down. We never see if Jessica kept the house, though.
  • Iron Fist (2017): Subverted for laughs. Danny tells Colleen that he "ordered take out," and then escorts in a dozen caterers who set up a full-course romantic dinner in the middle of her dojo, complete with candles. The subversion is that Danny doesn't know any better; he's been living in a monastery for the last fifteen years, so all he knows is that these were the people his dad would call whenever his mom wanted dinner on short notice.
  • Schitt's Creek:
    • David needs to apologize to his put-upon boyfriend Patrick so he flamboyantly lip-synchs to Tina Turner's "Simply the Best" after their store has closed. This is a Call-Back to Patrick's earlier Serenade Your Lover gesture when he serenaded David with an acoustic version of the song at their store's open mic night.
    • Ted crashes the Singles Week musical chairs game that Alexis has organized in order to declare his love for her in front of all the attendees.
    • Johnny has a history of buying grand gifts for Moira, sometimes through large charitable donations. She's had a theatre and an emergency route named after her, and Johnny maintains a garden in Schitt's Creek named after Moira. Initially, Moira objects to having anything in the town named after her, but Jocelyn convinces her that accepting the garden will make Johnny happy.
    • A romantic hike Patrick arranges for David turns into them intertwining grand romantic gestures. David initially whines about the length, hurting Patrick's feelings but when Patrick hurts his foot, David apologizes and insists they continue and even carries Patrick for a section of the hike. They reach a spot with a beautiful view where Patrick used to come and think about David before they were together. As David sets up the picnic, he finds Champagne. Patrick directs him to a ring box and gets on one knee and proposes. David tearfully says yes.
  • The West Wing: Toby buys his pregnant ex-wife her "dream house", which she's had her eye on for years, as part of his newest attempt to propose to her. As much as Andy loves the house, when she realises why Toby bought it she turns him down and asks if he can get his deposit back.
  • Banjun Drama: Jun-hyeok from "His Double Life" does one for his main piece's birthday. While working late at the hospital, she suddenly gets an urgent patient rushed to her. Taking off the cloth covering the patient reveals her boyfriend, with a doll and a declaration of "I love you." The employees who rushed him in bring out the party poppers and birthday commemorations; it was Jun-hyeok's elaborate birthday present for her.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Lampshaded by Louis de Pointe du Lac in "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self" when his boyfriend Lestat de Lioncourt agrees to lend him a large sum of money to purchase the Fairplay Saloon: "It was a grand and loving gesture on Lestat's part."

  • The Russian song A Million Of Scarlet Roses is about an artist who fell in a love with an actress who loved flowers. So he sold his house and his paintings and bought millions of scarlet roses, turning the square in front of her window into a sea of flowers. It's actually based on a legend about the Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani.
  • The song Only You" by The Platters is commonly used as a grand romantic gesture for most occasions. However, the song is also a double-edged sword since the song has regressed to a point of being a song associated with stalkers.
  • A downplayed version occurs in Blake Shelton's Austin. The titular Austin broke up with her boyfriend in order to 'find herself.' When she calls him up almost a year later, she finds out that, though he updates his answering machine message several times a week, he always ends the message with 'PS: If this is Austin I still love you.' She ultimately gets him to call her back and returns the favor.
  • Joe Diffie's "John Deere Green" and Montgomery Gentry's "My Town" both include the grand small-town romantic gesture of climbing the water tower to paint it with a declaration of love. In both cases, the relationship lasts.

  • John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme: Savaged in one sketch where two women talk about exes who engaged in this, finding them creepy and stupid, such as proposing to his girlfriend in front of an entire stadium of people, so she's booed when she turned him down, or another who took his girlfriend on a hike, then proposed to her before throwing the ring away to "make a gesture". Then immediately follows is John Finnemore yelling at men to not do this, but rather go for a nice quiet proposal a woman can turn down if she doesn't feel it, and that the only reason it works in films and TV is because it's happening in films and TV.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In the episode Clay City English Teacher, Mr. Conklin encourages Mr. Boynton to make a grand romantic gesture to Miss Brooks, in order to dissuade her from transferring to Clay City High. Mr. Boynton tries to impress Miss Brooks by imitating Sam Spade. It makes sense in context.
  • Bud Light lampshaded and subverted this trope in one of their "Real Men of Genius" radio ads, Mr. Stadium Scoreboard Proposal Guy

  • In Jasper in Deadland, Agnes is in love with Jasper, but Jasper thinks they are Better as Friends because he is afraid that a relationship between them would break apart like his parents' marriage. In an attempt to get Jasper to face his fears, Agnes tries to face one of her own fears - she goes to the lake that Jasper swims in, and dives into it from a great height, something that Jasper often did, but she was afraid to do. This quickly backfires; as Agnes isn't as good at swimming as Jasper, she ends up drowning before she can reach the shore, and Jasper gets sucked into Deadland when he tries to save her.

    Video Games 
  • In Hypnospace Outlaw, one is attempted by T1MAGEDDON, a Playful Hacker with No Social Skills, on New Years Eve: a "Mindcrash" virus that Tiff, the girl he has a crush on, is theoretically the only one with the ability to stop. Unfortunately, it doesn't work; the girl is done with his attempts to woo her through such over-the-top, questionably-legal gestures. Worse still, it coincides with an actual mindcrash that kills between four and six people depending on the player's actions. T1MAGEDDON is promptly blamed for the deaths, and tried and imprisoned for manslaughter.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Kurugaya's route in Little Busters!, she doesn't seem to catch on that he likes her no matter how obvious he makes it, so he ends up resorting to these to get through to her. It culminates in he and his friends setting up a single, enormous firework and bringing her up into the top levels of the school at night so the two of them can see it exploding right outside the window. And yet she still doesn't figure out what he's trying to tell her, leading Riki to just give up trying to be romantic and tell her outright.
  • Magical Diary sees Damien (if you pick his path) writing you offers of anything he can think of that you might want. This includes jewels, silk dresses, a seat in the government, and world conquest or the death of your enemies. He later apologizes for the last one, musing that it would probably be wrong - unless you wanted him to, but he admits that he doesn't actually know how to be 'good'. "But for you, I would try."
    Mary Sue: I bet he'd kill people for me if I asked him to! ...oh dear. He probably would, too.
  • The confession of Sakuya Morimura in Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side has him lead the heroine to a large field full of anemone flowers he planted during his route previously, citing that they represent his love for her.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Homestar Runner cartoon "In Search of the Yellow Dello", Homestar doesn't know what to get Marzipan as a present, and Coach Z has some advice that ultimately inspires Homestar's search for the eponymous Yellow Dello:
    Coach Z: Don't just get her a flower. Get her some rare flower from the tallest mountain! That way she knows how much she means to ya!

  • In Penny and Aggie, on Valentine's Day, Duane, who's been platonically seeing Penny, fills his student council presidential office with elaborate romantic decorations, and presents her with lingerie, chocolates and a "Valentine's villanelle." Unfortunately for him, Penny has been contemplating breaking up with him for some time because she feels no physical attraction to him, and his over-the-top gesture is what finally leads her to tell him it's over.
  • Subverted when James recites a sonnet to Eponine in Roommates. A morally ambiguous Anthropomorphic Personification of the Theory of Narrative Causality proceeds to spend a lot of time and effort making the line "And I would trade the place of kings" reality, resulting in what appears to be a fan-favourite character Killed Off for Real in a comic where Nobody Can Die.
  • Firmly and hilariously defied in Girl Genius by Axel Higgs, who has seen way too many of these from various Sparks and proposes a more Mundane Solution for a lovesick Gil: Write Agatha a letter.
    Gil: ... I could build a machine that would project a simulacrum of myself which could explain-
    Higgs: Why I smacked you?
    Gil: Or... I could... just write...
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Man asks "Will you marry me" by having it written on a blimp. Woman guessed he would ask, so a plane carrying a banner saying "No" flies by next.
  • Til Debt Do Us Part: While at a friend's wedding on Jeju Island, Subin engineers romantically meeting Yejun where she has laid out a ton of candles and flowers. Subin asks him to be her real husband and have a happy life with her, and he accepts.

    Web Original 
  • This page explains why not to attempt this in Real Life.
  • The Onion has a great article parodying the rom-com gesture.
  • In the Dark Souls Misadventures 2015 Halloween special, Artorias does this for Ciaran by taking her on a romantic ride on his giant wolf Sif. In the sky. While fireworks go off from out of nowhere. It mostly works, but when the two are about to go in for the kiss, Tarkus mistakes them for terrorists and blows them up with a bazooka.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Wife: Chance, dressed as a pirate, "kidnaps" his wife Simone who has been acting dejected for a time from her office to have a cute little maritime adventure he plans a voyage trip to a close private island on a ferry. Simone loves the spontaneity and enjoys their lovely trip... at least until it turns out they have nothing to eat and they have to spend the cold night outside on the island because the ferry does not come to the island as often as Chance thought. It's not all bad, though, because they have an opportunity to talk honestly about their marriage and their relationship.

    Western Animation 
  • The DuckTales (1987) episode "Metal Attraction" is full of them, as Fenton Crackshell's over the top grand romantic gestures drive Gandra Dee to distraction:
    • He fills her house with bouquets of roses. Unfortunately, Gandra Dee is allergic to Roses.
    • He buys lunch for her at work, in the blue-collar Duckburg Bean Factory. The lunch is a candlelit gourmet meal, complete with a mariachi band for musical accompaniment.
    • He hires the "Singing Chocolates" to give Gandra Dee an enormous amount of candy:
      Singing Chocolates:
      Oh, we're the singing chocolates,
      As sweet as we can be,
      Fenton gives his love,
      To his sugar Gandra Dee!
      Gandra: Oh, Fenton, you shouldn't have done it!
    • Fenton later buys Gandra Dee a two-story cake "with chocolate frosting, marshmallow topping, and aluminum siding."
    • Fenton isn't the only one in the episode with grand romantic gestures. To declare her love for Gizmoduck, Robotica first paints R Loves G on Scrooge's money bin. Later, she attempts to destroy the money bin (and kill Gandra Dee) in an anguished declaration of love.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Question Authority", Superman takes Lois on a picnic date... on top of a suspension bridge.
  • Bojack Horseman features Mr. Peanutbutter, an anthropomorphic labrador retriever, as a member of the main cast who uses these as his primary method of showing affection and love. Of course, being a wealthy celebrity leads to him being able to throw huge surprise parties and buy helicopters for people to ride in just for the hell of it without a second thought. A lot of his Story Arc revolves around him working on his marriage with Diane Nguyen, who doesn't care for grand gestures, parties, or surprises, and would much rather spend time having intimate conversations and private moments, and his difficulty in understanding that not everyone likes the same things that he does or appreciates the same things he would.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Many episodes feature Homer performing one of these to make up for doing something especially stupid and/or selfish.
    • The Valentine's Day Episode "I'm With Cupid" had Apu performing a series of these for his wife Manjula, including having himself turned into a giant chocolate statue. Homer incites the men of Springfield to try and sabotage his efforts because they feel like he's making them look bad; they catch Apu at the airport paying a skywriter, but Homer's attempt to stop him caused the message to become just indistinct enough that all the wives and girlfriends interpret it as being directed at themnote . As for Apu, he got a "consolation prize" — Elton John sang for him and Manjula as thanks for saving his life from the errant skywriter's plane.
    • The episode "Let's Go Fly a Coot" lampshades this with Bart catching up to Milhouse's e-cigarette smoking cousin Annika as she was about to board a plane home. She thinks Bart is about to do one of these, calling it "so American." What happens, however is quite different.
  • Futurama:
    • In the episode "Time Keeps on Slippin'", Fry and Leela get married after Fry does something incredibly romantic for her. The problem: Because of the random time slips plaguing the episode, neither of them remember what it is he did for her, and she demands a divorce. In the end, he rediscovers what he did: Rearrange a bunch of stars to say "I love you, Leela". Unfortunately, the romantic gesture is blown up before she sees it again.
    • In the episode "The Why of Fry", Chaz (the Mayor's Aide) reserves the entire rocketskating rink for private use by him and Leela... by using his connections to get everyone else kicked out. When this ruins the night for the kids from the Cookieville Orphanarium (who had made a legitimate reservation, at great expense), Leela asks him to let the kids use the rink, but he chases them off just to prove how important and connected he is, thinking it'll impress Leela. It doesn't. By contrast, her heart is touched by Fry's gift of a single flower.
    • In "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings" Fry, having made a Deal with the Devil to master the holophonor, writes an opera dedicated to Leela.
    • "A Farewell to Arms," which takes place after Fry and Leela's Relationship Upgrade, shows that Fry defaults to this kind of gesture to the point where it's a source of frustration for Leela, particularly since his attempts to impress her tend to get one or both of them injured.
      Fry: Leela, I've made up my mind. Before we die, I'm gonna find and destroy every remaining copy of TRON: Legacy.
  • Batman: The Animated Series brought us the actions Jervis Tetch aka the Mad Hatter used to woo his Alice. Including, but not limited to — brainwashing a pair of thugs to go jump off a bridge to impress her with his bravery when they're about to get mugged; brainwashing the Maitre'd of a restaurant (as well as the rest of the staff) into getting them a seat and the romantic usuals (violin/flowers/etc.). After she reconciled with her boyfriend the same night, though, he uses brainwashing to break them up again, then does the "extravagant Flower surprise" in her house... which he didn't have a key for. Alice is, understandably, creeped out - but mostly because Jervis had no way of knowing that the two had broken up.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In "The Bitter Rose", Orko goes after the Flower from the Mountaintop to prove his love for Dree'Elle. Initially, it causes problems for everyone until it's revealed he did something unexpectedly beneficial, after all.
  • The Gravity Falls episode "The Hand that Rocks the Mabel" shows the dark side of this trope when Gideon Gleeful uses Grand Romantic Gestures to pressure Mabel into continuing to go out with him, doing things like training a parrot to squawk out an invitation to a dance, or setting off fireworks that spell out her name.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Deconstructed in "Hard to Say Anything", as Big Mac and Feather Bangs compete in romantic gestures in an attempt to woo Sugar Belle, but it ends up just wrecking her shop and driving her away. Eventually, Big Mac learns the moral that a heartfelt gesture is more important than a big flashy one, and builds a new display case for Sugar Belle to replace the one he broke.
  • Subverted in The Owl House. Luz is an avid consumer of fantasy media and was often made fun of back on Earth for being cheesy, so she's convinced that asking Amity out would need to be "breathtaking, emotional, and real". Ultimately, Eda convinces her that it's better to just do it now rather than wait for the "perfect" moment to come along.

    Real Life 
  • Posthumous example: In life, Jack Benny (in his fictional persona) was known for being extremely stingy with his money. After his death, one of the clauses in his will was to have a fresh rose delivered to his widow every day for as long as she lived.
  • Tattoo artists regard name tattoos as a cursed romantic gesture or a relationship jinx. Getting a tattoo of a lovers name can be positively received at the time, it eventually destroys the relationship entirely since it puts a lot of pressure on maintaining the relationship or it gives off some unsettling vibes for a new-love or ex-love. Not to mention it can make them look promiscuous and spiteful with past loves when they edit the tattoo.
  • It should also be reviewed in conjunction with past behavior, but grand romantic gestures are part of the tactic of love-bombing. While it can be used for benign purposes, for example for foster and adoptive parents to help troubled children who suffered from a lack of love and attention in their previous situation(s), the most common occurrence of this is within a cycle of abuse. It's a favored tactic of cults and abusive relationships, whether romantic or not. Victims are showered with gifts, attention, affection, promises for the future, grand gestures, etc. to make them feel that it's love at first sight or that this person is worthy of keeping around. What makes it distinct from actual infatuation and wanting to do nice things and say lovely things to the person they love is that once the victim displeases the abuser, or once the abuser feels secure in their relationship with the victim, they may do a complete 180: showing anger, passive aggression, accusing the victim of selfishness, withdrawing all of the nice things, punishing the victim with anything ranging from verbal, financial, to physical abuse.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Beau Geste, Le Beau Geste


We're having a baby.

When Schmidt finds out that him and Cece are having a baby, he buys her a room full of flowers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / GrandRomanticGesture

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