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Pair the Spares

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Well, they have this much in common...

Charlie has an unrequited crush on Alice; meanwhile, Doris has been desperately trying to win over Bob's affections. However, Alice and Bob are the ones who ultimately end up getting together.

When Alice and Bob finally go from Unresolved Sexual Tension to Official Couple, Charlie and Doris are left in the cold. Still, both of them have experienced the pain of heartbreak and unrequited love — so why not hook them up together? They may not have any initial attraction to each other, but they can always hang out and reminisce about their similar failed romances, and somewhere along the way, they might just find mutual love with each other like their former partners have.

While it's nice to see Charlie and Doris get a happy ending of their own, this device can very easily reek of red string puppetry and make viewers suspect that the creator just paired them off to permanently get them out of the main couple's way.

Differs from No Loves Intersect in that the leftover pairings are not immediately obvious and the involved people are initially just part of the Love Dodecahedron. Results from Conservation of Detail, since many viewers (and some writers) simply wouldn't "buy" the spares getting over it by, say, dating outside the closed social circle of the cast to get away from the drama.

See Ship Mates for when the fandom does this in Fan Fic. Compare Sexual Karma, Lonely Together, Beta Couple, Everyone Must Be Paired (where the majority of the cast ends up with a love interest, whether or not they had been involved in the Love Dodecahedron). If the 'spares' were originally after the same love interest, see Pair the Suitors.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Angelic Layer manga pairs up Tamayo and Oujirou, who had previously shown slight interest in Koutarou and Misaki, respectively. (The anime, on the other hand, flips the pairings, putting Tamayo with Koutarou and Oujirou with Misaki anyway.)
  • At the end of The Anthem of the Heart Natsuki and Takumi mutually desire to rekindle their relationship, leaving Jun as the Romantic Runner-Up for his affections. At the end, Daiki confesses his feelings for her, but it's unknown whether anything comes out of it.
  • Dad, the Beard Gorilla and I hints a possibility of romance between Hino and Yukari after Soichi marries Tsukasa, although they don't officially hook up. It helps that the "spares" already have plenty of Ship Tease moments even before the Official Couple does.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, this is implied to be the case with Inosuke and Aoi, whereas the pairings of Tanjiro/Kanao and Zenitsu/Nezuko are more directly confirmed. The epilogue is set in modern day japan featuring what looked like to be the descendants of the main cast and the reincarnations of the dead cast. One of them is Aoba Hashibira, and while he's a splitting image of Inosuke, he does bear Aoi's name in a similar vein to Kanata Kamado, Tanjiro and Kanao's heavily implied descendant. And the previous chapter also had them being teased with Inosuke showing an interest in the girl. The final volume's extra drawings confirm that he's their descendant.
  • Satoshi and Risa in D.N.Angel. Its beginning as anime-only hints in the end (that exchange of looks and smile can't be platonic, really), and become a popular Ship Mates ever since. The existence of the pairing is acknowledged by the manga (sort of) with them having a lot of screentime together and a truckload of romantic vibes and chemistry (though D.N.Angel as a whole tend to tease everyone x everyone so whether they end up with each other in the end is still questionable).
  • FAKE. In the epilogue, having reached the realization that Dee is never going to choose him over Ryo, JJ very unexpectedly hooks up with Drake, despite their relationship not having been romantic previously and (perhaps because) Drake conveniently having just been dumped by yet another girlfriend.
  • Hiro and Ayaka from Gravitation. Initially, Ayaka was Yuki's arranged fiancée and Hiro was Shuichi's implicitly bisexual childhood friend; both of them push their partners to be with one another, and began dating each other.
  • Chapter 84 of Horimiya had a case of pairing the spares of the spares when it starts teasing Yanagi and Sakura. The two of them were originally interested in Yuki and Tooru, who in turn were originally interested in Miyamura and Hori. This is ultimately subverted, as while Yanagi does get legitimate ship tease, it's Yuki's older sister in both here and in Hori-san and Miyamura-kun, while Sakura ends up with nobody.
  • Itazura Na Kiss is guilty of this with Chris and Kinnosuke.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Takeda expressed being interested in Miu several times (though he didn't make many direct advances on her), while Freya was shown to be attracted to Ukita. The epilogue confirms that Miu married Kenichi and Ukita went to the same university as Kisara and the two started dating, while Takeda often brings Freya for training with his master, who suggests they're dating. While they bashfully deny being in a relationship, it's strongly implied that, if they're not together now, they eventually will be.
  • Macademi Wasshoi has one of the weirder versions of this. At the end of the series, we have Takuto's harem still after him, though with Metallis being a huge supporter of Suzuka. Metallis' former sidekick George has been paired up with Macho Camp angel Hapshiel. It's a healthy, if somewhat bizarre, relationship.
  • The Mahoromatic epilogue reveals that Kawahara and Miyuki married in the future.
  • Ginta and Arimi find love in Marmalade Boy in just this way. After chasing Miki and Yuu, they give up simultaneously on them and then fall in love with each other.
    • The same thing also happens to the American cast, more or less. In that case, no one ends up with the person they originally wanted (or appeared to want).
  • In the Natsu e no Tobira manga by Keiko Takemiya, it's stated at the end that Jacques and Ledania hooked up. The anime, however, shows that Ledania hasn't replied to Jacques' marriage proposal.
  • Lampshaded in Negima! Magister Negi Magi. Natsumi reasons that she can't make a pactio (it requires kissing, but not necessarily coupledom) with Negi, because he's the protagonist and she's just "a side character". She then reasons that she could only do it with "the one guy who's in the same 'side-character' position as me" (Kotaro), with whom she has quite a bit of Will They or Won't They? subtext. They do, and they end up getting married.
  • In the last chapter of No Bra, it's revealed that Masato's friend Hideki and Yuki's cousin Mizuki are a couple.
  • Rizelmine's entire Love Dodecahedron gets resolved this way, down to one girl getting paired off with a dog that had molested her in an earlier episode.
  • Conversed and defied in The Story Between a Dumb Prefect and a High School Girl with an Inappropriate Skirt Length. In Chapter 38, Tsukishima and Tasaki (the only main characters without love interests) start hanging out discussing manga, and the conversation gets to talking about the tendency of manga writers to pair the which they both say in unison "I absolutely hate it when the leftover characters start dating each other!" Just to finish off any lingering doubt, the narration then clarifies that both characters would never consider dating each other because they are too alike.
  • Wandering Son has a Maybe Ever After between Saori and Doi. Saori had never once shown interest in Doi's one-sided crush on her. Unusually, Saori isn't technically a "spare" since she is dating someone, however her boyfriend is treated rather like a disposable fling.
  • Another case appears to have happened in xxxHOLiC, when it's revealed that despite the unsubtle Ship Teasing that has occurred between Watanuki and Doumeki from even before the latter was formally introduced in the series, Doumeki ends up married to Kohane who also is in love with Watanuki.

    Comic Books 
  • The comic continuation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer pairs up Xander and Dawn who happen to be the last Scoobies who are single and heterosexual.
  • In Invincible, after Mark (the title character) starts dating Amber, his best friend William starts dating Mark's ally/secret crush Atom Eve. It sort of makes sense because they both know Mark's identity, but when Eve realizes how immature William is, they break up after a few issues. Mark and Eve eventually end up together while William later comes out as gay.
  • The spin-off comic Life With Archie: The Married Life presents two alternate scenarios in which Archie Andrews marries either Betty Cooper or Veronica Lodge. In either scenario, the woman Archie didn't pick ends up dating Reggie Mantle.
  • In Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic, in the "Mobius 20 Years Later" timeline, the future version of Tails ends up married to the future version of Mina Mongoose, who was Sonic's ex-girlfriend. This caught many fans off-guard since the present versions of the characters barely interacted with each other. Writer Ken Penders admitted to putting the two together because he thought they made for a cute couple and because he didn't want to establish that Tails grew up to be a lonely bachelor after a storyline where Fiona Fox, a girl he liked, broke his heart.

    Comic Strips 
  • A December 1993 FoxTrot storyline had Peter in conflict over whether or not he should take new character Mindy, who has a crush on him, to the Christmas dance, thus hurting the feelings of his girlfriend Denise (who's taking a vacation to her grandmother's). In the end, though, Peter's problem is solved when Mindy falls in love with his friend Steve (and then mysteriously vanishes from the strip afterwards).

    Fan Works 
  • The LDD-fanfiction, Bridge to Terabithia 2: The Last Time does the usual requisite plot of retconning Leslie Burke's supposed death so that she can be with Jess Aarons, but causes problems because the story is set in a high-school setting where Jess at this point has his own girlfriend, the OC Sonia Taylors, which he ends up dumping because of Sonia's clingy jealous attitude and manipulative nature. But it all works out in the end, because in the Distant Epilogue more than two decades later it's revealed that Sonia eventually let go of her grudge and ends up marrying Scott Hoager, Jess' former bully from the 2007 movie adaptation, which Jess and Leslie found out from their daughter who had a crush on Scott and Sonia's son. Small world?
  • Supergirl fanfic Hellsister Trilogy first breaks up the Kara Zor-El x Brainiac 5 traditional canon romance and then it has Kara fall in love with Kryptonian fellow Dev-Em, and Brainy end up with Laurel Kent.
  • The possibility of Aqualad and Ferris dating has been hinted at in Life Ore Death, but is at least averted in the first season of the story. Specifically, the early additions of Ferris and Zatanna to the Team have evened out the gender ratio as early as mid-September, with the members gravitating toward canon's Dick-and-Zatanna, Wally-and-Artemis, and Conner-and-M'gann pairings. Kaldur'ahm and Renka are both single, both older than their teammates, both members of minority populations, and they both enhance their melee combat with magic. Renka/Ferris has also shown a deep interest in Atlantis, and she and Kaldur have bonded on her visits there. They haven't really thought about dating though, less for Twice Shy reasons than because they both currently prefer a Celibate Hero lifestyle.
  • In Love Worth Waiting For, this is how matchmaking works in China. At age fifteen, a matchmaker registers your soulmark and looks for the person that matches it. If they can't find that person, you're married off to another un-matched person at age thirty. Mulan narrowly avoided this because she eventually found out her soulmate lives in a completely different country.
  • In the Maribat AU, if Adrien isn't getting hit with Ron the Death Eater, then he usually steps aside so that Marinette can date Damian and ends up with another character, usually either Jon or Kagami.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles: Invoked. Many female OCs are introduced with the main purpose of serving as a love interest to some of the Konoha 12 boys, such as Kiba, Lee, Sai, and Shino. Though some of them, such as Mina (Kiba's love interest) or Kei (Sai's love interest) have enough personality, background and their own character arcs to avoid being Satellite Love Interest.
  • In Ranma ½ fanfiction, this happens very often, mostly with Ship Mates type pairings. These writers mainly get their basis from the presence of Ship Tease for gags/storylines and short-lived moments of in-series Shipper on Deck: most of the characters in the Love Dodecahedron know that if their rival falls in love with somebody else, then whoever they want is sure to fall into their arms. This is why Ukyo promotes Ryoga with Akane, why Mousse promotes Ranma and Akane (and probably would support Ranma with Ukyo or Ryoga and Akane, if the ideas ever arose), and why Akane is quite willing to promote the idea of Ukyo and Ryoga or Shampoo and Mousse. Nabiki and Kuno are a popular fan couple due to a combination of some Ship Tease (a manga Filler story has them temporarily become enchanted with each other after being caught by a Love Potion version of the Umbrella of Togetherness, while an anime one has Kuno mistakenly being predicted as destined to marry Nabiki), though this invariably ends with Ship Sinking, and the fact that Kuno is Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense and Nabiki's Money Fetish makes her easy to picture her hooking up with Kuno for his money.
    • Ranma the Second time Around takes it in a different direction - Ranma and Akane end up together, as do Kasumi and Dr. Tofu. Ryouga, meanwhile, ends up with Shampoo (due to accidentally marrying her), while Mousse and Kodachi fall in love with each other. Uyko marries Konatsu, and Kuno ends up with Akari. Nabiki, meanwhile, becomes engaged to Sota Higurashi.
    • In After the Fall of Giants, Akari and Konatsu end up together after Ryouga and Ukyo, their former love interests, fall in love with each other.
  • Vacation from the Norm, while Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable are very much together later joined by Shego in a One True Threesome situation, and Bonnie hooks up with Senor Senor Jr. as per canon, several other unusual pairs emerge including; Joss Possible and Felix Renton, Vivian Porter and Drakken, Yori and Motor Ed and (in volume 2) Betty Director and Will Du.
  • What If Goku Married Bulma? has Chi-Chi hook up with Yamcha after Goku marries Bulma instead of her.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the wedding scene for Despicable Me 2, Silas Ramsbottom (Lucy's boss) and Natalie (Gru's "bad" date) are shown dancing together and actually enjoying each others' company.
  • Averted in Frozen (2013). One would assume that, since Anna and Kristoff are falling in love that Hans would suddenly become Elsa's love interest, especially since he earns her trust while she's in the dungeon. However, it turns out he's trying to seize the throne of Arendelle from its heirs and is sent back to his country a criminal. This doesn't stop fanfiction from pairing the two.
  • In Gnomeo & Juliet, Juliet's father tries to set her up with Paris. Unlike in the play, he survives and winds up falling for Nanette, Juliet's friend (roughly equivalent to the Nurse).
  • Inside Out has an odd example: throughout the movie, there's a small Running Gag about Riley's mom fantasizing about her old boyfriend, an attractive Brazilian helicopter pilot, whenever the dad annoys her. During the Creative Closing Credits, we find out that Riley's teacher is apparently involved with him now.
  • At the end of Tom Sawyer, Tom and Becky become a couple while Tom's formerly resentful ex-girlfriend Amy falls for Huck.
  • At the end of Toy Story 2, we already know that Woody would be with Bo Peep, so it left out his sidekick Jessie. But of course, there's the perfectly available Buzz right there, and Toy Story 3 expands on their relationship considerably.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 27 Dresses: The ending has Jane's best friend Casey meet one of Kevin's co-workers at Kevin and Jane's wedding, with the implication that they're going to hook up.
  • Basically the plot of the 1997 Meg Ryan/Matthew Broderick vehicle Addicted to Love.
  • Done for laughs at the end of Baseketball. Coop ends up with his love interest Jenna, and Squeak embraces the possible transsexual 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.
  • The Baxter skewers this trope. It tells the story of a hapless man who is cursed to be the spare in every one of his relationships. If he makes it as far as the altar, an old flame of his bride inevitably shows up at the last minute, accompanied by swelling romantic music, and convinces her that he is the one she really loves.
  • Big Trouble in Little China: Jack attempts this by telling Margo that Eddie has a crush on her. It's mostly a ploy to keep both of them out of the way while he and Wang are Storming the Castle, but Eddie gives Margo a look that implies Jack isn't wrong. Near the end of the movie, Margo suggestively asks Eddie to come over to her place later and help her choose the title of her planned book.
  • Taken to its logical extreme in Billy Madison, which ends with just about every character who got at least one line sharing passionate kisses (including an imaginary penguin), only one pairing of which was set up prior to the ending.
  • A Cinderella Story: the closing narration reveals that Carter, the protagonist's best friend, winds up with Astrid, the snarky school announcer, with whom he had never really interacted before this.
  • Coming to America: After Akeem marries Lisa, Imani, Akeem's arranged wife, seems to end up with Semmi, Akeem's friend. Meanwhile, Lisa's ex Darryl appears to end up with Lisa's sister Patrice, who has had the hots for him for a long time.
  • Enchanted: Leftovers Edward and Nancy get together after an uncertain amount of time passes. Since the two travel to Andalasia to get married (rather than in the "real" world), where the fairytale nature of the realm can make spontaneous love work it's the sequel Disenchanted reveals that by 15 years later they are still literally living happily ever after.note  Although in a Deleted Scene, Nancy gets some extra character development that foreshadows this quite nicely.
  • Gorgeous has a rather hilarious example. Protagonist Ah Bu (Shu Qi) traveled all the way from Taiwan to Hong Kong to seek her true love, Albert, only to find out Albert is gay. She ends up with CN Chan (Jackie Chan), oblivious that her crush and Secret Admirer, Long Yi, had tailed her all the way from Taiwan, but eventually it turns out Long Yi had no problems having relationship with men, so leftovers Albert and Long Yi gets paired into a gay couple.
  • Subverted in A Knight's Tale (slightly in the movie and expanded in a deleted scene). Will and Jocelyn get together, Chaucer has his wife, and Roland and Christiana hook up. Kate and Wat are left standing there rather awkwardly and Wat holds his hand out. Instead of her hand, she gives him a pastry and walks off. Wat is fine with this.
  • Licence to Kill: In the end, James chooses Pam Bouvier over Lupe Lamora and suggests that she hook up with El Presidente instead of him. This basically comes out of nowhere, as Lupe and El Presidente have shared literally zero scenes beforehand.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Although in the novel the pairing was actually set up quite nicely and built up pretty well in the background of everything else that was going on, the movie version makes Faramir and Éowyn seem like a version of this trope. Éowyn loses out on Aragorn and gets his "slightly inferior replacement" of sorts, and the whole implied romance comes and goes in the space of a single reaction shot. The Extended Edition does remedy this a bit with a 50-second scene of them comforting each other at the Houses of Healing. Miranda Otto had posted a photo of herself and David Wenham in their characters' beautiful wedding outfits from a Deleted Scene that still hasn't been released.
  • Love in the Villa: Cassie and Brandon get dumped by Charlie and Julie, respectively. They get a drink together in the end, obviously charmed by each other.
  • Parodied, then played straight with a little justification in Mean Girls. The remainder of the trio (one a gay guy, the other probably not a lesbian) have an Almost Kiss at the final dance, before being mutually disgusted and breaking apart. Then another minor character, who's actually shown an interest in the girl previously, finally gets his chance.
  • Mr Malcolm's List: Julia (who was rejected by Jeremy) and Henry (who bows out after understanding he doesn't have a chance with Selina and realizing he has feelings for Julia) get together around the same time Jeremy and Selina do.
  • One film adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo puts Franz and Haydée together offscreen, mentioned offhand by another character as the former falling madly in love with the latter. Thus allowing Edmond to get back with Mercedes, but more importantly avoiding the Values Dissonance of the original ending that looks disturbingly like Wife Husbandry to a modern audience (in fact it was utterly unintentional on Edmond's part, he took Haydée in as part of his years-long plot to discredit Fernand, and she fell in love with him over time).
  • By the end of Night of the Comet everyone in the world is dead except for Sam, her big sister Reggie, the hunky stranger Hector who Reggie has hooked up with, and a pair of cute kids who Hector and Reggie have taken under their wing. So we have a newly-formed nuclear family, and one teenage girl who is still upset that her big sister has once again taken the boy she had her eye on, in this case the last man in the world. Reggie tells the kids to wait for the light to change before crossing the street. Sam thinks this is ridiculous under the circumstances, so she crosses the street - only to be almost run over by a cute guy we've never seen before. He invites her to take a ride with him and they drive away, and as we do we see from his license plate he has the initials of the arcade game player whose high score Reggie was trying to beat at the beginning of the movie.
  • Happens in Old School with Frank the Tank and Heidi (Luke Wilson's swinger girlfriend from the beginning of the film). Granted, Frank and Heidi would probably be a pretty good couple.
  • The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement: The garden party makes it quite clear that not only are Mia and Nicholas the Official Couple of the film, Mia's fiance Andrew is quite taken with Lady Elyssa, Nicholas' date. Mia ends the film dating Nicholas, and the final scene implies that Andrew and Elyssa did indeed get together.
  • Saving Silverman parodies this; the protagonist marries his childhood sweetheart, and the evil Disposable Fiancé is paired off with his best friend, but then Jack Black's character (who has mentioned he might be gay) marries R. Lee Ermey's character.
  • In She's the Man, the main characters' mean exes wind up together.
  • In the Disney Channel Original Movie Stepsister from Planet Weird, Megan's parents are divorced, and her mother is dating a weird new neighbor named Cosmo Cola. In fact, Cosmo and his daughter Ariel are Starfish Aliens, who escaped from their planet's tyrannical emperor. Ariel's mother was killed during the escape, but she can't bring herself to accept that. So, when Megan's mother and Ariel's father start dating, both girls are determined to drive them apart. Megan also wants her parents to get back together. They invite their parents to dinner, and Ariel invites Serena Soo, a strange woman who believes in Reincarnation, thinking that she is a better match for her father. Fast-forward to the end of the film, and the girls have given up their attempt, Cosmo marries Megan's mother, the girls exchange boyfriends (sort of, Ariel ends up hooking up with Megan's high school crush, but Megan starts liking Ariel's ex-boyfriend Fanul, the Emperor's son), and Megan's dad starts dating Serena.
  • Order-inverted in When Harry Met Sally.... The title characters (Just Friends at the time) unintentionally cause the Beta Couple to form, from a cross-pairing in a Double Date. This leaves themselves as the "spares" (and after much drama, as the Alpha Couple at the end).
  • Wild Mountain Thyme heavily implies that Rosemary's Romantic False Lead Adam ended up together with the girl he met on the plane flight to Ireland; when Anthony and Rosemary get together and forget to pick him up at the airport, the girl offers him a ride, and in the "Everyone Comes Back" Fantasy Party Ending, Adam is shown sitting with her.
  • An early script for You've Got Mail has Kathleen (Meg Ryan) and Joe (Tom Hanks) trading partners by the end of the film. This was dropped by the time filming was done.

  • Nicely averted in Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me. Despite the main couple and many of the side characters hooking up, Liza remains with temporary boyfriends by the end of the book.
  • Lampshaded at the end of The Enemy by Desmond Bagley, where the first-person protagonist mentions how the Hero Gets the Girl and his offsider gets the second-best girl. While the latter is true, the protagonist has less than a year to live thanks to an infection he caught, so the hero at least Did Not Get the Girl.
  • The Fionavar Tapestry series of books begins with five protagonists transported from Canada to the magical world of Fionavar: over the course of the trilogy, two die and one decides to stay in Fionavar after hooking up with a local woman. The remaining two decide to return to Canada, and on the last page, they decide to go on a date, with no particular buildup to this in the preceding 700+ pages.
  • An unusual example: the Grace Harlowe series follows the eponymous heroine and a rotating cast of friends (all female, although some of them have male counterparts and some of these couples eventually marry) through high school, college, and World War I, after which Grace (whose husband is conveniently missing in the Amazon) and some of the young women join up with the young men from the previously separate Pony Rider Boys series in a new series, Grace Harlowe's Overland Riders. On the last page of the final book, everyone who was not already in a couple is paired up. In the final two cases the paired characters had evinced absolutely no previous interest in each other, to the point that when the first of the two unattached women announces her engagement, her friends think she is marrying the other single man, and are relieved when the final spares announce that they are also engaged.
  • Author J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame said in an interview that although she left open the possibility of a relationship between many characters such as Neville and Luna (the last pair of The Team), she didn't explicitly state one in the wrap-up because it "felt too neat." That was also the main reason both of them ended up marrying a background character (Neville and Hannah Abbott) and a character that never appeared in any of the books (Luna and Rolf Scamander).
    • Inversion in OotP: the spares hook up a whole book before the Official Couple ( Cho Chang and Michael Corner and Harry and Ginny respectively.).
  • In The Belgariad, this ends up happening to many of the supporting characters, such as Silk with Velvet, Zakath with Cyradis, and even Beldin with Vella. In fact, several of these characters aren't even mentioned until the second quintet, which suggests that the characters were created specifically for this trope.
    • Justified in that The Destiny is a huge Shipper on Deck. Polgara remarks that people who aid Destiny will be rewarded by finding happy love. At no point does anyone entertain the notion of being happy alone.
      • Beldin is quite happy alone. Belgarath also spend lots of time wandering the earth or doing research in his tower with little to no interaction with the outside world and liked it this way. But they are happier when Destiny-shipped.
  • In Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novel Appointment with Death, Jefferson Cope gets paired up with Carol Boynton in the epilogue after spending the entire book pining after the married Nadine. This probably isn't all that unlikely, but it comes out of nowhere nevertheless.
  • Throughout Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall series, Sophie has a Love Triangle going on with Archer Cross and Cal. Further complicating things is the fact that the ghost of Archer's ex-girlfriend Elodie is magically bound to Sophie. In the final book, Spell Bound, Cal decides to sacrifice his life in order for Sophie to live, knowing she is in love with Archer. Afterwards, Elodie's ghost asks Sophie to unbind them so that she can stay with Cal's ghost.
  • The Gareth/Gaheris/Lynette/Lionesse pairings are lampshaded in The King's Damosel by Vera Chapman, in which Lynette marries Gaheris but is in love with Gareth (since they've, you know, actually spent time together). Luckily, Gaheris is as uninterested in the marriage as she is (possibly more so).
  • In The Lightning Conductor, Molly is dodging the attentions of Jimmy and Jack is dodging his mother's attempts to set him up with Sybil. After Molly and Jack fall in love, Jimmy and Sybil hook up with each other.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, author J.R.R. Tolkien originally wrote Éowyn as the love-interest for Aragorn, before he revised the story to include Arwen; therefore after he did so, Éowyn becomes rather hastily paired with Faramir, and a chapter is dedicated to their growing relationship.
    • It works better than most examples of this trope, because Faramir is similar in personality to Aragorn in many ways, while being much closer to Éowyn's age and from a culture that's a bit less foreign than the Elvish-raised Aragorn. Hence, this relationship is more likely to actually last and work. Also because Éowyn's crush on Aragorn was mostly motivated by the fact that he isn't a creep like Wormtongue and takes her more seriously than the other men in her life (excepting her brother). Her own uncle doesn't even consider her for the position of regent while he rides off to Helm's Deep, until her brother's lieutenant Háma speaks up for her. The way it comes off in the book is less that Éowyn is shunted to the side in favor of Arwen, and more that there are plenty of guys who will treat her the way she deserves so she doesn't need to settle for the jerks just because Aragorn is taken.
  • In Jane Austen's Love and Freindship, Augusta and Graham — perhaps because they both have some sense.
  • Played with via time travel in the short story "Needle in a Timestack" by Robert Silverberg. In the initial timeline, the protagonist Nick Mikkelson is married to Janine Mikkelson nee Carter, and Janine's ex Tommy Hambleton is trying to use time travel to negate Janine having broken up with him as he considered her The One That Got Away. When one of Tommy's efforts succeeds, Nick goes back to a time before Tommy and Janine met and impersonates his past self to break up with his then-girlfriend Yvonne and set her up with Tommy. Upon returning to the future, Nick finds Tommy and Yvonne happily married, and they set him up with their other single friend Janine Carter.
  • Swedish writer Simona Ahrnstedt does this in her debut novel Överenskommelser, when Lily and Alexandre suddenly hook up.
  • Generally subverted in P. G. Wodehouse's books (Blandings Castle, Jeeves and Wooster, etc), in which a typical plot might go as follows: A loves B, and C loves D. But just before the book starts, A and B break up over something, and A, seeking to show he's not heartbroken (though he is) proposes to D, who is temporarily convinced that C is a complete bastard. Then everything gets disentangled. Subverted in that the eventual pairings are set up quite early on in the book. This formula is then livened up by wonderfully eccentric characters, hilarious plot twists, and fabulously funny writing.
  • William Collins' and Charlotte Lucas' marriage in Pride and Prejudice, though it takes place well before the end, has overtones of this- he being rejected by Lizzie Bennet and she being pretty much an Old Maid already, by contemporary standards.
    • Also humorously Discussed at the end by Mr Bennett, after Jane and Lizzie have become engaged in quick succession: "If any young men come for Kitty or Mary, send them in, for I am quite at leisure."
  • Conspicuously averted in The Quest of the Unaligned. Not only does the story end with the Alpha Couple (Alaric and Laeshana) formally getting engaged, Word of God reveals that Gratelle later got engaged to a ruahk noble somewhere in the south and Nahruahn is too young to get married for another few years.
  • Parodied in Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers. After The Hero and the girl get together at the end of the novel, the two remaining male characters suddenly realise they're gay and do the same.
  • From The Wheel of Time, from all indications, Berelain and Galad.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The season one finale of Agatha Raisin ends with it looking like Gemma and Bill are getting together.
  • Downplayed example in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Fitz/Simmons became canon during season 3, and season 4's opener gave us Mack and Elena, leaving... Coulson and May to be next in line. Downplayed in that they were extremely close beforehand, but it can still feel a bit sudden.
    • Worth noting Mack and Elena could also be seen as pair sparing, as while Mack was the main person she talked to throughout season 3, their relationship got upgraded during season 4's beginnings, seemingly out of nowhere.
  • Bob Hearts Abishola: Once Abishola decides to date Bob exclusively, Chukwuemeka is paired with her friend Kemi, who is widowed.
  • Some Castle fans view the Espositio/Lanie pairing this way since Castle/Beckett is the Official Couple and Detective Ryan is engaged. However, if you watch closely to first and second season episodes, Esposito is flirting with Lanie.
  • The spares to Crash Landing on You's main couple Jeong-hyuk and Se-ri, Seung-joon (Se-ri's rejected suitor) and Dan (Jeong-hyuk's arranged fiancee, whose feelings he has never reciprocated) have a nebulously flirtatious relationship after Jeong-hyuk and Se-ri affirm their feelings. Seung-joon dies at the end, so not much can come of it.
  • Fans of Degrassi: The Next Generation are fond of this, pairing (for instance) Emma with Jay so as not to interfere with Ellie/Sean. (Emma is paired with Sean. Ellie is not paired with Jay.) Similarly, practically all Spinner/Manny shipping is to stop anything from happening between Craig and Manny. Craig/Manny shippers are conversely fond of Jimmy/Ashley and Sean/Ashley, while Emma/Sean shippers are fond of Craig/Ellie.
    • In series example. At the end of Season 9, long-standing couple Jay/Manny had their best friends (Spinner and Emma) get married. Some fans were not pleased by this. In that it ruined the chances of Emma/Sean and broke up fairly long-lasting Spinner/Jane.
      • A better example would be Jimmy/Hazel. Spinner and Jay aren't exactly best buds. It's just that Jimmy was angry at Spinner for the whole paint and feathers incident.note 
  • Doctor Who:
    • A non-romantic example is likely the tendency in both the Classic and New eras to partner Sarah Jane Smith with K-9 (see K-9 and Company and The Sarah Jane Adventures). Sarah left the Doctor a good deal before he picked up K-9 and they never had anything to do with each other in any Fourth Doctor stories, but they're the two most beloved Fourth Doctor companions, so apparently belong together.
    • "Doomsday": In the main universe, Pete had died some years ago (visited in "Father's Day"), leaving Jackie widowed. In an alternative universe, Pete had survived, Rose was never born and Jackie was killed in "The Age of Steel". The surviving Jackie and Pete are naturally paired together.
    • "The End of Time" shows Martha Jones and Mickey Smith being married, even though Martha was previously (supposedly happily) engaged to someone else and their interaction during the show was minimal. Word of God states that her honeymoon mentioned in Torchwood was actually to Mickey, and both characters were initially intended to appear before Noel Clarke and Freema Agyeman were unavailable.
  • The final season of Downton Abbey works with this trope to a hilarious extent. First there are the people who really do get married—Mary to her mechanic, Edith to her marquis, Isobel to Lord Merton, Carson and Mrs Hughes to each other—to say nothing of Rose, who married and went to America at the end of the previous season. Then there are all the hinted-at future pairings: Moseley with Baxter, Mrs Patmore the cook with Mr Mason, Daisy the under-cook with the latest footman, Tom with Edith’s new editor. By the end of the series, poor Thomas is the only one left without a soulmate (until the film).
  • Drake & Josh, "Playing The Field": When Drake and Tori get back together, Drake hooks her date up with his Operation: Jealousy date.
  • Exaggerated in Friends. Ross’s doppelganger Russ, newly dumped by Rachel, is saying goodbye to the gang. Julie, the woman Ross broke up with to be with Rachel, turns up. Russ and Julie look into each other's eyes, and in mere seconds are completely in love.
    • Also Played With and eventually Subverted in the case of Joey and Phoebe. It seems like they're going to get together at many points during the series, but nothing ever really comes of it.
  • Averted on General Hospital after Jason and Brenda are dumped by Karen and Jagger, respectively. They share one kiss, but quickly realize that they're still too raw from their recent breakups and equally quickly realize that they're still in love with their exes—indeed, Brenda turns her efforts to getting Jagger back. They ultimately remain nothing more than very good friends.
  • Glee pairs Brittany and Artie as well as Sam and Mercedes for seemingly no other reason than this trope.
  • Lampshaded on Home Improvement: Tim points out Jill's attempts to pair the spares, and Jill responds, in an angry tone, "Because I want everyone to be as happy as we are."
  • House of Anubis: At the end of season 3, Fabian and Mara were the only two students still in Anubis House who weren't dating anybody, due to Nina leaving and Jerome ending up with Joy. They shared a moment in the finale, and come Touchstone of Ra, they spent the time having some minor Belligerent Sexual Tension before kissing at the end. This is a particularly controversial pairing because the two of them had barely interacted in the show before they were paired together.
  • The last episode of the first season of The IT Crowd ends with three Bedmate Reveals. The first two are already the inverse of what we might expect, and the third involves the only other two recurring characters, Richmond and Denholm.
  • By the final season of The Leftovers, Laurie and Kevin have gotten divorced between Season 1 and 2 and John and Erica have gotten divorced between Season 2 and 3. Come Season 3, Laurie and John (two characters who have shared no scenes together to this point, and showed no interest in each other) are married and working together.
  • Lost: Jack and Kate get off the Island and hook up (for a while), leaving behind Kate's other love interest, Sawyer, and Jack's other love interest, Juliet. Sawyer and Juliet eventually get together, but it's a testament to the acting ability of Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell that the Sawyer/Juliet relationship comes out of nowhere (unless you'd been brushing up on this trope) and yet many viewers felt they were more convincing, more dramatic and way less annoying than the Jack/Kate relationship, which had been around from the pilot episode.
  • In the final season of The Nanny, Niles (the Snarky Butler) and C.C. (the Evil Would-Be Love Interest) end years of antagonism by getting married.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: While Ned and Moze officially hook up, Ned's ex-girlfriend, Susie, and one of Moze's fanboys, Loomer, get back together.
  • In Our Day Out, two students of opposite sexes each have a crush on one-half of a teacher couple. One of the teacher couple encourages the students to get together, and they do.
  • Padre Coraje, being a soap opera, ends up with most characters either paired up or dead, but the most egregious example is Mercedes and Horacio, who hook up in the very end of the last episode, and it is even mentioned that what brought them together was having spent their lives obsessing over half of the main couple. The funniest thing is, being Unlucky Childhood Friend and Bad Guy Jr., they'd had lots of interaction, and it was never romantic.
  • Enforced and exaggerated on a Netflix Relationship Reality Show, "Perfect Match." The elimination / competition aspect is that each of the contestants has to explicitly declare (or have someone declare for them) a "match" with another contestant, or else they're sent home. While certain couples (as of the first season, Joey and Karisellenote ) remain stable, the other eight contestants typically have to fumble to find something reliable.
  • In Scrubs, after J.D. and Elliot get together for good, their exes Kim and Shaun also become a couple.
    • Earlier, Season 3's finale played with this by having Sean drive Danni (JD's girl of the season) home.
  • In Smallville, after Clark Kent and Lois Lane finally admit their romantic feelings and Unresolved Sexual Tension for one another, and after Zod and Tess start exploring their mutual attraction which later evolves into Dating Catwoman, and because a large contingent of Chloe fans had been calling for Chloe/Ollie since Season 6 (often saying "Chloe deserves to have her own superhero" or "Chloe deserves to have her own billionaire" in comparison to the previous Clana, Lexana, and Lollie relationships) the producers finally acquiesced to the fan campaigns, and put Oliver and Chloe together as Friends with Benefits, and then later as a Battle Couple.
  • In one episode of Stargate Universe a failed attempt to get back to Earth leaves the characters stranded on an unpopulated planet centuries in the past. With no way back to Earth or their time, the characters resign themselves to spending the rest of their lives on the planet and quickly start pairing off and getting married. After all the obvious couples are paired up, the leftover characters start pairing up amongst themselves which results in some Crack Pairings. This is justified by the situation since the relationship pool is very small and the only alternative for most of them is to spend the rest of their lives alone. In contrast, an alternate version of the characters who avoided being stranded in the past, avoids this trope because most of them still have a hope of returning home and thus do not see the need to jump into relationships.
  • War and Peace (2007): Sonya ends the novel as the maiden caretaker to Nikolai's children, but this adaptation pairs her with Denisov.
  • Parodied on an episode of the sitcom Working (1997), where after a ban on inter-office relationships is lifted, everyone quickly pairs off in order to release the sexual tension that had been building. The Butt-Monkey is too slow, and the only one left is a Little Old Lady.
  • In The X-Files, Dogget and Reyes, the two agents that replace Mulder and Scully, are romantically involved during their one season onscreen. It would have been interesting to see where that relationship had gone, had the show's ratings not been so low and the show cancelled.
    • It was obvious from the onset that Reyes was meant to be Doggett's love interest. Chris Carter said that Doggett was not meant to replace Mulder or be a love interest for Scully. So it seems Reyes, while mostly being brought on to replace Scully on The X-Files, also had the added bonus of placating outraged MSR shippers.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Depending on which version of Arthurian Legend you read, Sir Gareth either marries his Damsel in Distress Lyonesse or his Damsel Errant Lynette (Lyonesse's sister). Either way, his brother Sir Gaheris marries the other one.
  • Greek mythology is a giant clusterfuck (in both senses), and so it wasn't very surprising that the fact that Demeter is a) the fertility goddess and b) the only of the 12 Olympian unmarried and not having vowed for chastity, irritated the Greeks somewhat. So in later development, she usually got paired with Poseidon, who is c) even more of a horndog than Zeus, d) who cares for his official wife Amphitrite who you probably know from crosswords, maximally (and already has "trite" in her name), and e) showed his affections for her by raping her when she mourned for her daughter Persephone. note  Athena and Hermes also got this trope to a certain degree limited by the aforementioned chastity vow, probably they are happily enjoying a daily chess match or so.

  • In Anything Goes, broke heiress Hope and stick broker Billy met and knew they were a perfect match before the play opens, but Hope is pushed into an engagement to a hapless and awkward English lord named Evelyn by her gold digger mother and Billy is propositioned by his longtime friend, a sassy nightclub evangelist named Reno. In the end, Evelyn is revealed to have gypsy ancestry and be hiding a spontaneous wild side. He marries Reno, Billy marries Hope, and Billy's boss marries Hope's mother.
  • In Kander and Ebb's Musical, Curtains, after Bobby finds his love, Georgia, is back with her ex-husband, he starts a romance with Bambi, the last single female role.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan:
    • Convincing a character that Pair the Spares really is the way to go and she'll be a lot happier that way is the basis of the entire finale of The Mikado, including the immortal lyric: "You've a very good bargain in me." Katisha (Nanki-Poo's Abhorrent Admirer) finally agrees to marry Ko-Ko (Yum-Yum's ditto), leaving Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum free to marry each other.
    • Ruddigore: 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". At the end, it's done straight, when Rose goes back to Robin, so Richard decides to marry one of the bridesmaids instead.
    • The Yeomen of the Guard: Subverted. After Elsie and Fairfax get together, the spares are Phoebe (who had pursued Fairfax) and Jack Point (who had pursued Elsie). They don't pair up; Phoebe marries someone else — not for love, but to protect Fairfax — and Jack Point doesn't marry anybody, but drops dead on the spot.
    • The Grand Duke: At the end, the protagonists marry their respective love interests and the Grand Duke marries one of his two fiancées, the Princess of Monte Carlo, leaving the other, the Baroness von Krakenfeldt, out in the cold. She hooks up with the Princess's father for his money.

  • In Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, all the crazy hijinks due to all the "Bunburying" get sorted out and the young people are satisfied by the end. So of course, the PRIEST and the NANNY embrace passionately too. (He's an Anglican priest, though—not Catholic—so he's allowed to marry. And they had been flirting all through act II, though without much success.)
  • Not really part of the story itself, but in adapting La Bohème into RENT, this is done. In Boheme, the musician Schaunard and the philosopher Colline are happily single secondary characters (and make plenty of wry comments about their friends Rodolfo and Marcello, and their relationships). Their analogues in RENT, Angel Schunard and Collins, are a couple.
  • Oklahoma! has Gertie Cummings, who flirts with Curly in the first scene, and Ali Hakim, the threat to the Beta Couple of Will and Ado Annie, married before the final scene by means of a Shotgun Wedding.
  • Subverted in Sheridan's The Rivals, in which all the major characters but two are already paired by the end as part of the story. This leads another character to suggest that spares Sir Lucius O'Trigger and Mrs. Malaprop pair up, but Sir Lucius responds with disdain.
  • Directly invoked in the lyrics of the Act II Finale of Spamalot, where the male and female chorus members pair off for a big group wedding.
  • In Wicked, Galinda's attempt to pair off her Stalker with a Crush Boq with Nessa, Elphaba's unbalanced sister, proves one of the most disastrous on fictional record.
  • Even William Shakespeare got into the act on occasion.
    Rosalind: No sooner met, but they looked; no sooner looked, but they loved; no sooner loved, but they sighed; no sooner sighed, but they asked one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy.
    • Also, to a lesser extent, in Measure for Measure. Vincentio and Isabella are paired off together, though Isabella had intentions of becoming a nun and he's obviously way too old for her. There is also Lucio and Random Prostitute A.
    • In The Winter's Tale, after the young lovers Perdita and Florizel get together and King Leontes is reunited with his lost love Hermione, Leontes rewards the widow Paulina for her part in ensuring the happy ending by marrying her off to the lord Camillo, who up until this point has barely interacted with her.

    Video Games 
  • In Black Closet, two of your Student Council minions, Althea and Vonne, will wind up together if you aren't romancing either of them. They're together at graduation, but there's no word on how long the relationship lasts.
  • Dragon Age:
    • If you don't romance Fenris or Isabela in Dragon Age II, they end up in a fling together.
    • Iron Bull and Dorian pair up in Dragon Age: Inquisition if neither is romanced. Blackwall and Josephine have a mutual attraction, but Blackwall knows his position is well beneath Josephine's. Sera and Dagna will also hook up post-game, as confirmed in the Trespasser DLC.
  • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of Holy War has Badass Bookworm Azel trying to woo over White Magician Girl Edin, while his childhood friend and Rebellious Princess Tiltyu chases after the Priest Claude. Depending on the players' actions, they may succeed their wooing. But should they fail... both of them can hook up together. And they're actually predestined, meaning they can be hooked up very easily due to game mechanics.
    • Since the first half of the game revolves around making sure that all your female characters are paired up with a husband, the gamer can actively engage in this trope if he/she realizes that they did not pair up somebody yet and all the "normal" options are taken.
    • Likewise, in Awakening and Fates, pairing up your units will net you powerful new child units, so unless your forward planning is super in-depth, most players will end up with at least one or two couples that are paired up just because there are no more available options.note 
  • Harvest Moon:
    • Some of the games (especially the Mineral Town ones) fall into this trope. After you've chosen your bride, your romantic rivals will often end up marrying their crushes (e.g. if you decide not to pursue Elli, then the Doctor gets her, and if you don't flirt with Ann, then she winds up with Cliff) a few weeks after you have your ceremony.
    • Subverted: If you don't choose Cliff for a certain event, he will leave for good, and Ann will remain single. And if you don't see their 2nd heart event before that event they still remain single (but Cliff doesn't leave).
    • In Rune Factory 2, if you marry anyone other than Yue, Mana and Alicia, their canon partner will be paired off with Yue. This is Justified: the second part of the game takes place after a Time Skip and features the children of the original characters, so this ensures that a canon couple's child will still be born. Mana and Alicia will remain unmarried.
  • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, Maxim's Unlucky Childhood Friend Tia gets together with Dekar immediately after Maxim and Selan's wedding.
  • Mass Effect:
    • If you show no interest in the human love interest (Ashley if you're male, Kaidan if you're female) in Mass Effect, they will show hints of mutual attraction until you have to leave one to die.
    • In Mass Effect 3, if you did not romance either Tali or Garrus over the course of the game, they will have dialogue between one another that sounds increasingly flirty. Eventually you'll catch them at Garrus' station embracing one another. Apparently BioWare decided the dextro-squaddies/two fan favourites of the franchise might as well date each other at the end given the option. Don't worry Talimancers and Garrus fangirls (or fanboys), if either of them is already in a relationship with Shepard, they'll just remain good friends.
    • In the Citadel DLC for 3, providing Ashley is still alive, she can potentially hook up with Vega.
    • Also in Citadel, Shepard can suggest that Jack and Miranda pair off. They are not amused.
    • Yet again from Citadel, Zaeed's attempts to do this with Samara are soundly shut down.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: In the Bounty Hunter story, if neither Mako nor Torian is romanced and the player encourages them, they will become a couple. It doesn’t work out, sadly.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Daisy being paired with Luigi in spin-offs is an example of this as well, as Daisy was originally a damsel for Mario to save in Super Mario Land. But of course, Mario and Princess Peach are the closest thing the series has to an Official Couple, so it was only natural for Luigi and Daisy to be paired up instead.
    • Several spinoffs ship Yoshi and Birdo together simply because they're similar-looking creatures of opposite genders, and there aren't many others to ship Yoshi with.
  • Sort of done in ToeJam & Earl: Panic on Funkotron in the Golden Ending. At the end of the game, Leshawna hooks up with either Toejam or Earl depending on who the player is controlling when they finish the game. If it's ended in 2-player co-op mode, then she gets together with Toejam, while Earl is introduced to Leshawna's never-before-seen identical twin sister.
  • In Until Dawn, there are eight main characters who arrive at the lodge. Four of them are already coupled and two seem headed that way. Samantha and Josh are the only two not to be paired. But given the flirting between them, it seems natural to pair them as a couple. If Sam survives the night she even indicates she felt she made a connection with Josh during her police interview. But the ship clearly sinks due to Josh's actions. Because of the Butterfly effect and its changing of canon, fans can always wonder What If?.
    • A non-romantic variation occurs with Jessica and Matt, two characters who are the most likely to die first due to how hard it is to keep them alive. If they manage to survive, they wind up meeting each other in the mines as a plot-convenient way to tie up loose ends, since they don't interact with the other characters who presumed they are dead.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Danganronpa franchise doesn't have an awful lot of romance and relies a lot on Ship Tease. Doesn't stop it from dividing up most of its characters into pairs based on relationships, making this a partial example.
  • Mostly nonromantic example - in Hatoful Boyfriend, at the end of the Bad Boys' Love route, the characters who were most significant in each others' plotlines are shown talking to each other - brothers Sakuya and Yuuya, couple Kazuaki and Shuu (who have a relationship to which "attempting to apply ethical guidelines is completely futile"), and Victorious Childhood Friend Ryouta with Hiyoko. San and Anghel, who barely interact, are shown together too, simply because they're both the two characters too weird to coexist happily with anyone else (Anghel is either Longing for Fictionland to the point of madness, a Reality Warper who can't perceive the same reality as anyone else, or a full-blown Talkative Loon with extremely vivid Hallucinations depending on interpretation; San is a throwback to before birds were fully uplifted and thus is The Ditz). The ending portrays them as getting along due to Anghel being too crazy to notice San's stupidity and San being too stupid to notice that Anghel is crazy.
  • Most of the cast of Kindred Spirits on the Roof get together with someone else if they aren't already a couple, with only two exceptions- Yuna's friend Fuji Ano and Nena Miyama, who's Ano's friend and the "third wheel" to her friends Umi Ichiki and Sasa Futano's relationship. While the two are friends, they never get together, making this an aversion.

    Web Comics 
  • In Boy Meets Boy, Skids vents his frustration about his unrequited feelings for Harley out on Tybalt, the ex-boyfriend of Mikhael, Harley's current boyfriend. To make things even more complicated, Tybalt has also tried to seduce Harley and initially views Skids' lingering attraction to him as an obstacle. Long story short, the two become close friends and share a kiss near the end of the strip's run.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Elliot has a lucid dream in which he considers pairing Susan and Justin after finishing pairing the other main characters.
  • In Erstwhile's take on "Sweetheart Roland," Roland's Disposable Fiancée gets a Maybe Ever After with the shepherd who was in love with the protagonist.
  • Toward the end of Fans! Book 5 (the strip's original Grand Finale, before it was revived), Tim ends up married to Julia. In a conversation between Guthrie and Meighan, it is more or less revealed that Meighan had hired Julia (an old friend of hers from college) for the express purpose of setting her up with Tim.
  • In-story example, from Girl Genius: As the Heterodyne Boys have been Shrouded in Myth since Bill married Lucrezia shortly before their disappearance, his brother Barry was given the stock character of “The High Priestess” for a love interest in most present-day dramatizations of their adventures.
  • In I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space!!!, the artist parodies this by setting Alice and Dr. Wendy up on a date and having Dr. Wendy tell Alice she doesn't want to go on a second date as they are better just being friends.
  • The goal in the "Serious Business" story arc in the Insecticomics is to pair the spares. All of them, even the ones who weren't unpaired to begin with, and in as many combinations as possible.
  • Khaos Komix has an interesting aversion in which Mark and Amber, while dating one another, get their best friends to go on a double date with them. The twist is that Mark and Amber break up that very night to be with their respective 'spares' in the end.
  • Played with in The Order of the Stick, where in the second book, the only two main characters without a romantic arc are Belkar and Vaarsuvius. A drunken Belkar tries to pair the spares by kissing V (bear in mind that these characters hate each other, and V's gender and orientation are ambiguous). V does not take it well.
  • Sonichu takes this to a major extreme. At first, the only pairing was the titular character and Rosechu. However, by issue 9, Episode 19, Chris has paired just about every one of his creations with a girl and remedies the last one, Magi-Chan, in the next episode. He... just doesn't like anyone being alone.

    Web Original 
  • This is more or less described in The True Love List, the Love Interest's counterpart to the Evil Overlord List. Rule #32 as follows:
    There is a fifty-fifty chance that the Hero's Sidekick is in love with me. I'll find him a spunky, moderately-attractive tomboy type about his height, and steer them towards each other. If they quarrel, they're in love; if they hit it off, she loves him, but he's secretly unhappy with her and still loves me, and the Hero will need to send them off on a mission together.

    Web Videos 
  • Gameboys: The final episode of Season 1 hints at a possible hook-up between Terrence and Wesley, both of whom have been pining after separate halves of the main couple (Gavreel and Cairo, respectively).

    Western Animation 
  • Code Lyoko:
    • While they don't hook up, Yumi's and Ulrich's Romantic False Leads, Sissi and William, have a heart-to-heart chat at the pool commiserating about their unrequited crushes, realizing they both desperately want the same thing: for these Just Friends to get over each other.
    • Sissi and Odd unknowingly dated online. Perfect plot wasted.
  • Daria's finale movie somewhat randomly had Upchuck get together with minor character / Ensemble Dark Horse Andrea. The "Future Alter Egos," though not firmly canon, go even farther by pairing Allison with Lindy. Sort of a Theme Pairing for morally ambiguous characters who showed up in the respective movies?
  • Bebe developed a crush on Skeeter at some point during Doug. This may have been requited.
  • Futurama uses this to resolve the season six episode "Rebirth", in which a robot Fry and robot Leela are created as Replacement Goldfish for the real Fry and Leela.
  • Kim Possible: After the Kim and Ron hookup in The Movie, they started pairing spares. Bonnie got matched with Señor Senior Junior in a late Season 4 episode, and in the Graduation Grand Finale episode they paired Felix (and his cool wheelchair) with Zita Flores (who hadn't been seen for about 70 episodes), Drakken and Shego were implied during that finale and Word of God confirmed them as hooking up. A stand-alone episode involving nerdy Cousin Larry also had an implication that he was going to get involved with a friend of his. This basically left only Monique and Wade as unattached, and probably only because of their age difference.
  • In ReBoot, Mouse was first brought in as a former flame to Bob, making Dot jealous. In Season 3, during their travels, Matrix and AndrAIa encounter Ray, who the former instantly pegs as a rival for her affections. Naturally, the two end up together.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Velma and Shaggy are secretly a couple for the first half of season one.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The end of the episode parodying the Big Brothers mentorship program is a non-romantic example. Homer's Little Brother and Bart's Big Brother seem to be left out in the cold... until Bart points out that they would both do well together.
      • Before Bart matches them up, they actually spend a few moments bemoaning their situation in a way that, if they were actually paying attention, would indicate that they were perfect for each other — and then cheerfully bid each other farewell.
    • Parodied in the episode "The Canine Mutiny", in which Bart obtains an extremely well-trained rough collie named Laddie, and gives up Santa's Little Helper, who ends up living with a lonely blind man. In the end, when Bart manages to get SLH back, Laddie shows up (now working as a police dog) and appears to take an instant liking to the blind man, making it look like we're in for a heartwarming "Pair The Spares" conclusion. Turns out, Laddie is merely fulfilling his duties as a drug-sniffing dog...
    • A later episode depicts Marge and Homer five years in the past, almost cheating on each other at the same time at the same motel. When they run into each other each tries to hide this fact, and Homer's almost-mistress winds up locked in a box with Marge's almost-lover. Back in the present, the two are happily married with a daughter.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, Hamton J. Pig and Fifi la Fume occasionally had romantic interests with each other. Mostly because they're both the third persons in their 3-man teams, with Buster/Babs and Plucky/Shirley, and the simple fact that there was never a Tiny Toons counterpart for Petunia Pig.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Pairing The Spares


Nancy & Edward's Ever After

Nancy and Prince Edward find love with each other after their bethrotheds fall in love. And in true fairy tale fashion, they immediately get married.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / PairTheSpares

Media sources: