Follow TV Tropes


Roommate Drama

Go To

Rod: You leave your clothes out. You put your feet on my chair.
Nicky: Oh yeah? You do such anal things as ironing your underwear!
Rod: You make that very small apartment we share a hell.
Nicky: So do you, that's why I'm in hell too!
Avenue Q, "It Sucks To Be Me"

Living with other people can be hard. Even if they're your friends, you may not like the way they fold their towels or clean their dishes, and Heaven help you if they decide to bring their dates home. And, this can be even harder if the roommate is someone you don't get along with in the first place, or just generally clash with.

Common plotlines that ensue with this trope involve the roommates fighting for space, one of them being absurdly annoying or otherwise difficult to live with, and a major difference in personalities that cause both of them to be fighting, such as one of them being a slob, and the other a neat-freak. It can occur between enemies, strangers, or even people who are otherwise best friends, discovering their differences while Hilarity Ensues.

They may learn to live together and become close friends, or the bad roommate will need to be escaped from by any means necessary; otherwise, the hilarity and drama will continue indefinitely.

Can overlap with Roommate Com, if the characters living together is the work's premise, and contrast From Roommates to Romance, where the premise is that the roommates fall in love as a result of living together.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Discussed in Chapter 31 / Episode 9 of Asteroid in Love. The first day Ao moves into her Childhood Friend Mira's house ends with the two getting into a minor argument. When Ao speaks with Mira's Cool Big Sis Misa regarding this, the latter mentions this trope is to be expected, just at different degrees:
    Ao: I'm so happy to be living in the same home, but if this how our first day goes...
    Misa: It's only natural you'd be worried. You grew up in different environments and now you're living together. I'm sure all kinds of things will come up between you.

  • Whateley Universe: Diamondback and her former roommate, Psydoe, have issues stemming from Psydoe's deer instincts reacting to Diamondback's Snake People appearance, that are unknowingly, being exacerbated by malignant spirits. For instance, they argue over Diamondback's alarm clock in Child of Confusion, which is the first in a series of paragraphs demonstrating their issues, viewed from Diamondback's point-of-view:
    "Goddammit Diamondback, shut your fucking alarm clock off!" The illusion shattered and I open my eyes to realize the devil's laughter actually belongs to the beeping of the most obnoxious alarm clock known to man, the voice to a girl I had come to know and loathe. Trisha never shuts up once she gets started. "Just because you have to run your scaly ass under the fucking shower for an hour and a half doesn't mean you have to wake me up every morning!"
  • Monster of the Month Club: Some of the monsters who are active at the same time don't get along, such as Icicle and Sweetie Pie, Chelsea and Burly (though they get along better than the former two), and Sparkler and Butterscotch (he loves loud noises, she prefers peace and quiet).
  • Implied to have existed in the backstory of Tolliver Groat and Stanley Howler, the last remaining employees of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office at the beginning of Going Postal. They get on fine, although they have bisected the bunkroom, but as he gets to know the eccentric and experimentally-minded Groat and the even more eccentric and fanatically precise Stanley, Moist gets the distinct impression that this is the calm after the storm.

    Live-Action TV 
  • New Girl: The first episode involves the recently-heartbroken Jess moving into a house with three guys, and annoying them with her constant sobbing and drama. Though they learn to love her by the end, she still creates drama for them on occasion as they all learn to adapt.
  • House of Anubis: This happens a lot thanks to rooms being swapped around on occasion:
    • When Nina first arrives, she's put into Patricia's room in place of the disappearing Joy. Patricia assumes that Nina had something to do with the disappearance and starts to bully Nina relentlessly, helped by the fact that they're living together.
    • After Amber leaves the House, a spot opens up in Mara's room and is taken by Willow. Due to their clashing personalities, Willow's Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies drives Mara insane, and then later, Mara's overzealous studying habits drives Willow insane, too. When Jerome tricks Willow into changing rooms, Mara is overjoyed.
  • Friends:
    • After Joey moves out, Chandler is so lonely he finds a new roommate and stumbles upon a strange, temperamental man who accuses him of sleeping with his ex girlfriend while also naming a pet after Chandler. He's so unhinged that Chandler eventually resorts to tricking the guy into thinking he never lived there at all.
    • After Rachel moves in with Phoebe they have some initial disagreements but generally get along pretty well. Then Rachel accidentally leaves her hair straighteners plugged in which sets the bedrooms on fire. Rachel moves in with Joey and has so much fun that Phoebe starts to worry she won't want to leave, so she tries to drive a wedge between them by giving Joey a drum kit and a tarantula. It doesn't work, as Rachel loves both, but when Phoebe explains what's going on Rachel assures her she'll move back in.
  • In Zoey 101, drama is created with each new roommate people get:
    • In the first two episodes, Nicole and Dana fight so much that Zoey leaves and moves in with the weird science girl, Quinn. However, Quinn's science experiments drive Zoey up the wall, so she's forced to go back to her original room.
    • In the second season, Dana leaves, while Zoey and Nicole get a new roommate, Lola. Lola is a freaky goth who heavily implies she killed someone at her old school, but things get much better when they discover she's just an actress playing a character.
    • After Chase leaves, Logan and Michael are so intent on not getting a new roommate that once James moves in with them, they treat him horribly, unwilling to accept that Chase is gone. But, by the end of the episode, they manage to make friends.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Sheldon is a demanding Spoiled Brat and Control Freak, so Leonard is the only one who (usually) tolerates living with him. In "The Bad Fish Paradigm", Sheldon temporarily moves to Raj's house, and then to Howard's house. They both kick him out and Howard brings him back to Leonard's apartment.
    • In the episode "The Friendship Contraction", Leonard doesn't want to follow the strict rules of Sheldon's Roommate Agreement anymore, so Sheldon makes him sign a clause that nullifies their friendship. The Agreement is restored by the end of the episode, after Leonard tells Sheldon that he would be happy to help him, but at least wants some recognition and a "thank you" for everything he does for him.
  • Family Matters: In the episode "Movin' On", Laura (who has recently reached adulthood) moves into an apartment with Myra. However, Myra's quirky Genki Girl personality drives Laura crazy, so Laura decides to move back to her parents' house. It helps that, even before moving in together, Laura and Myra were already Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • The Odd Couple (1970): The entire premise centers around two divorced men, Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, sharing an apartment, even though Felix is a neatnik Control Freak and Oscar is an irresponsible slob. The two are very close friends, but they butt heads over virtually every point of possible disagreement.
  • Two and a Half Men: When an earthquake destroys the plumbing in Judith's house (Alan's ex-wife), Alan offers to let her stay with him and Charlie. Charlie is none too pleased, as he finds Judith shrewish and she disapproves of his lifestyle, but tries to put on a friendly face while she's around. Much to everyone's surprise, Alan and Judith seem to get along, that is until she starts dating other men.
  • Victorious: The episode "The Bad Roommate" has Andre staying over at Tori's house so they can write a song they intend to show to a music producer. Andre ends up annoying Tori and her family by doing things like eating an entire pie meant for the whole family. Eventually, Tori auditions to the music producer by herself, using the music that Andre wrote.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: In the episode after Harper moves in with the Russos, she ends up keeping Alex up all night by loudly training at night for a marathon, complete with a soundtrack of barking dogs, and loud cries of self-encouragement.
  • Schitt's Creek:
    • The show revolves around parents and their two adult children forced to share two adjoining motel rooms. Siblings David and Alexis bicker constantly in early seasons over things like who gets the bed closest to the door or her strewn-about clothing. David and Alexis also become rather horrified at being able to hear their parents' amorous activities through the thin walls.
    • In Season 5, David stays over with his boyfriend Patrick, whose roommate Ray is obnoxiously friendly and keeps interrupting the couple. This prompts Patrick to finally get his own apartment.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "the Ascent", Jake and Nog, now a Starfleet Cadet, are forced to room together. Nog is now an overachiever and a neat freak, Jake is a laid back slob. They come to a resolution because there are no other quarters unless they move back in with their fathers.
  • In Sesame Street, Ernie and Bert are two single puppet characters who live together and share a bedroom. Ernie is silly while Bert is serious, which causes comedic struggles such as Ernie waking up Bert in the middle of the night and them arguing over food.

  • Avenue Q: In "It Sucks To Be Me", Nicky and Rod are introduced as best friends who hate being roommates:
    Rod: You leave your clothes out. You put your feet on my chair.
    Nicky: Oh yeah? You do such anal things as ironing your underwear!
    Rod : You make that very small apartment we share a hell.
    Nicky: So do you, that's why I'm in hell too!
  • The Odd Couple, the original play, set up the neat-freak Felix and slobby Oscar dynamic that would be seen in every other adaptation.

    Web Video 
  • In Carmilla the Series, Laura is roomed with Carmilla against her will after her original roommate goes missing. They clash almost instantly, with Carmilla being rude to Laura's friends, stealing her food, and condescendingly calling her nicknames like "cupcake" and "cutie." And that's before Laura finds out she's a vampire. It eventually turns into Belligerent Sexual Tension, Fire-Forged Friends, and then an outright Relationship Upgrade.

    Western Animation 
  • Early in Amphibia, the basement is flooded and Anne has no where to sleep. Sprig volunteers his room, allowing the two to be roommates. Hop Pop objects, citing this trope as a reason why it's a bad idea. They ignore him...and he's quickly proven right. Among other issues, Anne and Sprig are different species, and while Anne needs to sleep in a colder temperature (something true for most humans), Sprig needs to sleep in the heat. Add in other usual issues such as sloppiness, annoying habits, broken personal items...Needless to say, they aren't roommates anymore by the end of the episode.
  • Family Guy: In "Peter's Def Jam", Brian has to stay in Stewie's room after Lois suspects she might be developing allergies to him. At first Stewie is thrilled, but soon becomes annoyed at Brian's antics, such as being a slob and inviting strangers over to get high. Stewie retaliates by getting a ferret, as "all the worst roommates have them".
  • The season 17 Arthur episode "Opposites Distract" plays out as this. Best friends Arthur and Buster have to study at Buster's house when there's a leak in Arthur's roof. Buster's messy room conflicts with Arthur's neatness to the point that they are unable to work together. When the doorknob breaks and they can't leave the room, they play a board game and relax. They agree to still hang out, after they finish their homework separately; then Buster's roof leaks.
  • Ruby Gloom: The episode "Gloomates" revolves around Skull Boy moving in with Poe after his room is accidentally destroyed by Iris. Things are fine at first, until Skull Boy finds a book that inspires him to adopt The Slacker personality, which annoys Poe and the two engage in a fight. It takes Ruby talking to both of them one-on-one (even if she just used the same speech for both) for them to reconcile with each other.
  • The Loud House: In the episode "Room with a Feud", Lincoln's sisters have problem with their roommates: Lola complains that Lana is ruining her dolls, Lynn complains that one of Lucy's bats bit her and Leni complains that Lori's hair ruined one of her hairpins. Lincoln tries to determine which sister is the most compatible with which via a test he took with Clyde before. At first, the girls seem to be compatible with their new roommates, but then they start arguing again: Lynn because Lana's pet rattlesnake is resting on her jersey, Lucy because Lola gave Edwin a girly makeover, Lily because Lori accidentally stepped on her phone, causing the former to post embarassing photos of the latter online, Lisa because Luna played louder than the loudest note she was allowed, causing her beakers to break, and Luan because Leni laughs at literally everything she says. Lisa uses a machine that calculates the compability for each sibling (including Lincoln, who ends up with Lily). Everybody is happy with their new roomate, except Lincoln, who has trouble sleeping. However, the next day, the girls decide to return to their old rooms.
  • In the Futurama episode "I, Roommate," Fry moves in with his Robot Buddy Bender only to discover that robots live in "apartments" the size of storage closets and that Bender has no conception of his needing more space. When the two move to an apartment designed for humans, Bender gets evicted because his antenna interferes with the television reception in the building. Now desperately lonely without his new roommate, Bender decides to get rid of the antenna, an act equivalent to castration in robot terms. Realizing how much Bender misses him, Fry moves back to Bender's original apartment, where he discovers that Bender's windowed "closet" is large enough for him to live comfortably. The two are happy Odd Couple roommates for the rest of the series.


Video Example(s):


Cleanliness obsessed roommate

In "Horrible Roommates", Dolan's brother, Zaraganba, tells the story of Emojie moving in with a man who's very tidy. Perhaps a bit too tidy...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / NeatFreak

Media sources: