Hooray! They got together! Finally! We've watched them Meet Cute, groaned at the arrival of the Romantic False Lead, sat through seasons upon chapters of Will They or Won't They?, shouted hurray at their Now or Never Kiss and this is the moment we've all been waiting for! And for good reason, because now...
Um, because now...
The Romance Arc is the gift that keeps on giving. Whole fandoms have been known to run solely on the fuel of shipping vitriol for years on end. Though they won't admit it, people will continue watching through a boring scene just to see whether this guy can work up the nerve to ask out that girl over there. But, for some reason, as readily as they attach themselves to potential couples, they shrug at the successful conclusion of the romance and move on. Yes, for all the grand arguments and fights over who will get with who that reach ridiculous levels of Serious Business, when everything is said and done and the characters do become an item? Past that climax point, you'll find that most of the audience has completely lost interest. On a basic level, you can blame the good ol' stock aesop of Wanting Is Better Than Having, which is at the core of the mentality which romanticizes the exact phase of "getting together with someone" beyond all reason. After all, continuing on to watch them get married, have children, and happily grow old together wouldn't be interesting in the slightest, now would it?
This may be why even in works far towards the idealistic end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, everyone seems to stay forever trapped in a limbo of meaningful gazes and Moment Killers; writers just don't want to take their chances with this reaction. It's also probably the underlying cause of Last Minute Hookups and characters hooking up afterwards being so common. It's a rare writer who seriously builds on plain vanilla True Love as a pillar of the plot.
Another contributing factor beyond audience apathy is that writing a convincing relationship, with genuine depth of character and development, is a much more difficult feat than pouring on the quick-reaction drama and will-they-won't-they, far above Platonic Writing, Romantic Reading; for as daunting as asking someone out can be, that's the easiest part of any given relationship when compared to the effort needed to maintain a healthy long-term relationship, and that effort carries over into writing romance as well. To put it cynically, Will They or Won't They is just a form of building anticipation, and anticipation is easier to craft than a satisfying payoff (and aftermath to said payoff). Once that anticipation is no longer there for the writer to lean on, weaknesses in the writing can suddenly show through that the audience was too distracted by the narrative tension to notice -- or care about -- earlier. When the writing is too thin, there's just nothing much there after the They Do for the audience to care about or invest in. If the writing doesn't have actual substance, the writer can only really rely on cheap narrative tricks to keep their audience. On top of that, portraying any of the problems or twists that can happen in an ongoing romance can end up being blood in the water for rival factions of shippers.
This trope may be an extreme reflection of what tends to happen, over time, to real-life relationships; after the first year, the "honeymoon" of the romance is over. Or rather, when the easy excitement of getting together is over and the couple have to actually work on the relationship. Few writers seek to capitalize on the Rule of Drama potential here.
- The finale of Bakugan Battle Brawlers shows Dan and Runo finally getting together, and the first episode of the sequel series, Bakugan: New Vestroia, has them still together. Then Runo and every other girl from Battle Brawlers gets Put on a Bus.
- After Usagi and Mamoru got together in the original Sailor Moon anime, they were shown together less and less; Mamoru's personality went from "mysterious" to "two-dimensional" depending on how interested the writers were in him. Kunihiko Ikuhara at one point joked that he wished he could just kill him off and hook Usagi up with Rei, and this is clearly evident by a failed attempt at a break-up arc in Sailor Moon R that tried to create new tension between the pair, followed by just giving up and largely dropping Mamoru from major plotlines altogether. This was painfully noticeable in the last season when the new writers decided to play up Seiya's unrequited crush on Usagi from the manga by trying to build it into a more explicit Will They or Won't They? arc, while Mamoru got Put on a Bus for most of the season, only returning in the last episode to reassure the audience that the main couple still existed.
The manga version avoids this trope by keeping Mamoru a well-developed (and much more badass) character even after the hook-up. Comparing his role in the fourth arc between manga and anime alone is dumbfounding; short version: in the former, he is a critical character to the storyline, getting focus arcs and acquiring a major power-up. In the anime adaptation, he's barely existent in the season and actually gets knocked out for the final episodes to even further reduce his impact on the plot (and his powerup became a MacGuffin for the enemy to try to use and is eventually used by Usagi and Chibiusa instead).
- Fumiya liked Saori from Wandering Son since his first appearance. After several in-series years he asks her out properly and she agrees. After that, the already minor Fumiya almost never pops up, and when he does it isn't related to Saori. You could easily mistake Takatsuki and Saori for a couple because their friendship was significantly more important than Saori dating Fumiya.
- Kase-san had to deal with this quite a bit in the sequel series Yamada and Kase-san—they were adorable as high-school sweethearts figuring out how deep their feelings went, but after They Do kicked in, it felt like far too many plots arose from artificial tension, jealousy, and Poor Communication Kills in their relationship, making it a lot less appealing and the story a lot more repetitive.
- A lot of fans of A Town Where You Live agree that as soon as Haruto and Yuzuki got back together the story started to go downhill. (Particularly with all the other characters that ended up Demoted to Extra or Out of Focus, the Flanderisation endured by others, Yuzuki being demoted to Satellite Love Interest and losing some of her previous personality, and Haruto's sometimes scummy behaviour in rekindling the relationship.)
- After Carly in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's makes her Dying Declaration of Love to Jack and then returns from the dead, it was blatantly obvious that the writers had no idea what to do with her. To try to avoid the problem, they had her suffer Easy Amnesia and later essentially downgraded her to part of Jack's Unwanted Harem, more or less just trying to ignore the plot point and hope the audience did the same. The difficulties were so strong that they sparked persistent rumor that it was to avoid her voice actress being in a cult.
- Spider-Man: Peter Parker and Mary Jane, according to Joe Quesada. Peter and Mary Jane were Happily Married for around 20 years. Joey Q, resident Editor in Chief, decides that Peter being single would lead to far more interesting stories than being tied down. Cue One More Day, massive Ship Sinking, Quesada instantly drawing more backlash than his already-controversial DC counterpart Dan DiDio ever managed. The newspaper strips, in contrast, continued to keep the duo together in a stable married relationship, while the alternate universe series The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows also kept them together while making them a Super Family Team with their child Annie May. After ten years, the mainstream versions of Peter and MJ were finally allowed to reconcile in Nick Spencer's run on the title...seemingly (and ironically) at the suggestion of Quesada himself.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender The Promise runs into this with Aang and Katara. After they hooked up at literally the very end of the original series, the comic continuation has them as a Sickeningly Sweethearts couple and Katara being reduced to a far more secondary character, killing interest in both fans and their friends. They eventually do move past Sickeningly Sweethearts, but beyond that, there really isn't anything interestingly done with them bar maybe one moment where Katara reflects how their relationship mirrors the multicultural heritage of the colonies over which Aang and Zuko are currently arguing.
- Mai and Zuko had similar problems - though they'd been together in the series proper, it only got focus in a handful of episodes and they spent far more time apart than together. When The Promise took the pairing to the center and removed the biggest reason for them to not like each other (Zuko's guilt about betraying his uncle), it became evident that the two had almost no chemistry, while Mai proved decidedly unsympathetic. It was so poorly received that it had people latching onto Zuko/Suki after they shared a few conversations, in the hopes that maybe the comic was leading in a different direction.
- Young on-and-off couple Edda and Amos finally did the deed in 9 Chickweed Lane while in Brussels for a cello competition. Since then, some readers feel they've become noticeably unlikeable. Decompression made it worse as the couple were still in Belgium for several real-time months. Those who disliked the strip feel the author seemed to be using it to play out "his unhealthy sexual obsessions."
- Referenced in Candorville by Lemont: he cites this trope as the reason he can't hook up with Susan.
- It happened with Baldo and Smiley in Baldo, and the author of the strip later cited it as the main reason behind their eventual breakup.
- In the Star Wars sequel trilogy, Rey/Kylo has been a popular ship since The Force Awakens, but the way it's handled in The Rise of Skywalker disappointed a lot of shippers: They're revealed to be a Force "dyad", they team up following Ben's HeelFace Turn, they kiss after Ben revives Rey...then Ben immediately dies. Some shippers felt there was little build-up to the 'romance' (the creators can't even seem to decide if their relationship is romantic); Rey and Kylo spend the majority of the film as enemies with few emotionally intimate scenes, so the culmination of their relationship can feel tacked-on. Some shippers disliked that the problematic elements of their relationship (such as Kylo being a violent stalker) were never addressed. It didn't kill off the ship altogether, but many shippers were dissatisfied with the onscreen presentation.
Ricca: It was a profoundly dissatisfying iteration on the idea of Reylo. Okay, yes, they kiss on-screen. Which is somehow less meaningful than the angry looks, or the reaching out, the hand touches [of the previous movies]. Then having it end there, with Ben Solo dying, redeemed kind of, is unsatisfying.
- In Blue Is the Warmest Color, though many of the film's fans appreciate it in its entirety, there are many that prefer the first chapter to the second, preferring the buildup and the most intense parts of the love affair, feeling the movie became less interesting after Adèle and Emma's grand love story eventually came to a close and the issues of the relationship/eventual breakup came into play.
- A Court of Thorns and Roses: For some Feyre/ Rhysand shippers, their actual relationship became tedious to read about after they got together, especially by A Court of Frost and Starlight. The main criticisms brought up is that the story tends to shift the focus to their relationship even though there's other, more important things going on like the war with Hybern, and their relationship itself is mostly devoid of conflict and dramatic tension after the second book, consisting largely of them hooking up and constantly reiterating how much they love each other. Some readers also didn't appreciate the way Tamlin got derailed as a love interest to make way for Rhysand. This only worsened after the fifth book, due to many readers increasingly finding Rhysand's behavior problematic, while Feyre/the narrative constantly excuses it, making their dynamic come off as toxic.
- Twilight has an especially extreme case; Bella and Edward get over the Will They or Won't They? midway through the first book, and that book has three sequels (not counting The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, which doesn't follow Bella and Edward, and Midnight Sun (2020), the retelling of the first book from Edward's perspective). Shipping Bed Death essentially happened almost as soon as the couple got together, and the fact that every book following just kept them together (with only some minor bumps along the way) made it worse. There is an attempt to include conflict via a love triangle with Jacob, but it's undermined by the fact Bella blatantly prefers Edward. Originally, Stephenie Meyer only planned to write one sequel, Forever Dawn, which didn't include the love triangle and skipped right ahead to Bella and Edward's wedding.
- Romance is not the main reason people watch Arrow. Nevertheless, many people agree that romance is badly handled in the series. The series first stuck up to the comic book-inspired romance between Oliver Queen (the titular character, Green Arrow) and Laurel Lance (Black Canary), even though the two spent most of their time together bickering and being mean-spirited throughout (Oliver had cheated on Laurel before the series started, so she had plenty of reasons to hate him, but still) which fans considered repulsive, wishing Oliver should hook up with Felicity Smoak, an erstwhile supporting character who was popular for her funny personality. Fast forward to Season 4 and Laurel was Killed Off for Real, making Felicity Oliver's sole love interest. The relationship overtook the series lore with the angst reaching to soap opera levels, which in many ways was reminiscent of the whole Oliver/Laurel problem that people were so against. Even as the show bounced back from the nadir that was Season 4, the pairing was seen as the series' weakest point (especially in contrast to how its sister series, The Flash (2014) handled its main pairing) and was when the fanbase began to seriously criticize how the-then showrunners (Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle) handled the show's direction. When Beth Schwartz took over as showrunner for the final two seasons, she made a point to improve and, most importantly, reduce the focus on the Olicity angst, a decision that was universally welcomed.
- I Dream of Jeannie was a series that seemed to be based entirely on the premise that the title character was clearly madly in love with her master, Tony Nelson, who constantly deals with the headaches created by her clumsy super-powered advances on him. The fifth season had the pair married to try and stave off a ratings decline and Jeannie and Tony were married at the start of the fifth season. Snuffing out the lead conflict of the show only hastened its demise, as it was cancelled after the season's conclusion. This might have been why the two reunion films involved plots breaking the couple up.
- In season 4 of Community, Britta and Troy's relationship was interesting when it was two seasons of ship teases, but as soon as they got together, fans were unimpressed at the pairing. They wind up having an anticlimactic breakup late in season 4.
- Moonlighting's Dave and Maddie. Despite this trope occasionally being known as Moonlighting Syndrome, the show didn't really suffer from the leads getting together, it suffered from the leads not being in the same room for about a year afterward. There was no point at which they were together as a couple at all.
- During the earliest episodes of Grey's Anatomy, George/Izzie was a popular Fan-Preferred Pairing. However, when the show's writers decided to make it canon, some of the loudest complaints of it came from former shippers of that pairing because of how abruptly both characters went from pining after other people to wangsting over each other and how it involved a cheating subplot that made them rather unlikeable, and the pairing was quickly nipped in the bud.
- Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman didn't last very long after Lois and Clark got together. It probably wasn't helped by the many false starts; the episode where they finally got married for real was actually titled "Swear to God, This Time We're Not Kidding", and also Executive Meddling which kept the writers' hands tied because Warner insisted that the marriage in the show coincide with the marriage in the comics. The comic book writers, amusingly, say they were ready to marry Lois and Clark off for years and had to wait on the TV show. So then... a case of real-life Poor Communication Kills?
- Friends: Ross and Rachel, who went through the Will They or Won't They? trek, were together for barely a season, broke up and returned to Will They or Won't They? territory for the next seven years. The writers themselves admitted they got them together too fast and couldn't make their actual relationship interesting. Despite the hype, many fans grew frustrated with the couple and lost interest. By the time a definitive conclusion was reached, most fans no longer cared. However, Chandler and Monica played out differently.
- On Ugly Betty, audiences were crying for Betty to hook up with the adorkable Ensemble Dark Horse Henry. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the cute/funny interactions that made the couple popular in the first place, the writers decided to throw in every bit of contrived soap-opera drama they could think of for the sake of "plot." Audiences got sick of it mighty quick, and before long Henry was Put on a Bus back to Tucson with his babymama.
- Frasier: The jury is still out on whether Niles and Daphne finally hooking up made their relationship less or more interesting; some fans cite this as the moment when the show jumped the shark. There are other factors. Keenan and Lloyd left the show at that very moment and other aspects of Seasons 8-10 were equally suspect. The eleventh season kind of bears this out, as N&D are also far more interesting there. Ostensibly, the coupling had something to do with Kelsey Grammer's ego, as he wanted the focus to shift to the title character (something also rather botched until the eleventh season). Season 11 in general was a huge reverse shark-jump. But most viewers agree that Niles and Daphne got together at just the right time, as they had avoided irritating or losing the interest of the viewers by not dragging the Will They or Won't They? on too long (as opposed to say, Ross and Rachel.) One could say that while Niles and Daphne suffered from this, they didn't have to, and they wouldn't have if Keenan and Lloyd had stayed. Incidentally, people forget that production problems is what made Moonlighting's Maddie and Dave, this trope's poster child, suffer so severely from Shipping Bed Death: it's just more difficult to pull off a good post-Relationship Upgrade romance than a UST-fueled one.
- A rather bizarre In-Universe example in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun. Sally, Tommy and Harry use Officer Don's radio scanner to listen to the private phone calls of a woman named Andrea and her cheating boyfriend, which they treat as though it were a show. This leads to them actually meeting Andrea and Harry dating her. Harry and Andrea have a nice, drama-free relationship, causing Sally and Tommy to complain that "the show has really gone downhill since Harry was introduced". They try to convince Harry to act like a jerk so that the "show" will be interesting again.
- The X-Files is sometimes accused of this, but as Mulder and Scully probably got together right around the same time as some other major changes in the show (it actually happened offscreen, but it was implied they first slept together around the end of Season 7, right before David Duchovny left) it's hard to say whether to blame the hookup or other factors for the deterioration in writing quality. The producers were certainly afraid of ending the UST between Mulder and Scully, often mentioning the Moonlighting Effect. Unfortunately they dallied so much we saw them get together only in the second movie.
Joe Ford: Gillian Anderson is doing her best to sell the doting lover material but I miss that cold steel that she was wielding last season. She's so drippy whenever the subject of Mulder comes up ...I hate to say it but Scully does sound like she has completely fallen under Mulder's spell in the courtroom. She is publicly stating exactly the same sort of science fiction nonsense that she used to criticize Mulder for expressing. When the prosecution consul points out that Mulder and Scully have fallen in love and had a baby I couldn't help but agree that it appears that she has been bewitched by him and his lifestyle.
- The Doctor Who revival is an interesting case here (as usual). The first season of the new series had a fair bit of UST between Rose and the Ninth Doctor, culminating in a romantic kiss in the finale. Then he became David Tennant. The relationship became a straight-up romance and lo, the flame wars started. Some loved it, some thought Rose had become a Relationship Sue, some thought the whole thing was a badly handled Romantic Plot Tumor, some hated the idea of romance in Doctor Who at all; it didn't kill the show, but the fights are still going on. Increasing the effect was that whether the Doctor was romantically interested in Rose varied hugely, depending on who had written any given episode. It got even worse from Rose's brief return in Series 4. Her haters hated her appearing again, while many of her fans felt it negated one of the best companion departures. It got even worse with Clara, to the point that the show was focusing much more on her than the Doctor. Some fans even began to sarcastically call the show "Clara Who."
- Caroline and Richard on Caroline in the City. So much UST, and so little of the caring once they got together. Oh my God.
- iCarly: The much-hyped Sam/Freddie pairing. When iDate Sam & Freddie showed what an actual Seddie relationship would look like, this was the reaction of many fans. Sam and Freddie's chemistry as bickering sidekicks dissolves as soon as they get romantic and kills the UST Seddie fans saw before the arc started. Every kiss is identical and not filled with much passion. Their constant fighting is no longer cute and instead shows a dysfunctional relationship. The generally accepted reason for it is Nathan Kress and Jennette McCurdy's long friendship ruining their ability to show or feel passion for each other. They have both stated they dislike the idea of the Sam/Freddie pairing or that they want their characters to not end up with anyone, and Jennette has said that she dislikes filming romantic scenes and that kissing Nathan feels like kissing a brother.
- Ed. Part of the premise of the show was the unresolved romantic tension between main characters Ed (played by Tom Cavanagh) and Carol Vessey (played by Julie Bowen). They got together, ratings dropped, show cancelled.
- Bones: Angela and Hodgins broke up randomly, right after dealing with their issues relating to Angela's ex so they could get married. They realized they didn't trust each other. It didn't take, and they were married in a jail cell a season later.
- A complaint by some looking to explain a general decline in quality in the American version of The Office. Once Pam and Jim get together in between seasons 3 and 4, they became a little more boring. The writers tried replacing them with other will-they-won't-they tensions and love triangles, such as breaking up Angela/Dwight, and then later introducing and breaking up Andy/Erin and Michael/Holly, but none of them had the same appeal as Jim and Pam's UST. Viewers complained that the show was turning into a "soap opera". This was exacerbated by trying to drive a wedge between Jim and Pam post-marriage with other people who were fawning for them, which seemed like quite a reach that either would fall for a temptation. There isn't a whole lot of drama of whether Jim would ever think of cheating on Pam considering he was so in love with her, he bought an engagement ring the week they started dating.
- Gossip Girl, with Dan/Serena and Chuck/Blair.
- Both groups have hardcore rusted-on supporters and they are Ship Mates so tend to stick up for each other vocally. Other people (mostly the Dan/Blair and Serena/Nate Ship Mates) are tired of the "Chuck does something horrible, they break up, Chuck redeems himself, Blair forgives him, they get back together" and the "Serena redeems herself, Dan forgives her, they get back together" shtick. Which in the case of Chuck/Blair is happening for about the 6th time.
- Dan/Blair gained fans during the fourth season but when the two actually started dating the viewers disliked it so much that the ratings plummeted to the point that the show barely got renewed for a final season.
- Glee: While "Finnchel" are the biggest offenders of this trope, their situation is complicated enough to put them in the next section. More straightforward examples would be Blaine/Kurt and Will/Emma. The former pairing was championed as one of the first big mainstream gay pairings on TV, but Blaine's Creator's Pet status ended up turning fans sour. While with the latter, Will ended up being a jerk in the second season and it reached the point where fans started to root for Emma to stay with the blatant Romantic False Lead she married.
- House had fun House/Cuddy Ship Tease with some Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other, but in season 7 their relationship is... kindest put, a dragged out mess, with both of them acting stupid (one brought up but ignored plot point is that House is a worse doctor when he's with her, and both of them seem fine with it), the only joy seems to be offscreen sex and House acts like even more of a dick while she's a Love Martyr. This continued after the break-up, as any friendship is gone, his annual breakdown isn't sympathy inducing cos he's acting like an abusive ex, she compromises patient care to get back at him, and even though he does get nicer in season 8 after a prison stint for crashing his car into her house, she's off the show in that season and nobody seems to care about her absence much.
- In Pretty Little Liars, this was the reaction a lot of the fanbase had when the controversial Ezra/Aria relationship went from it's forbidden sneaking-around phase to (mostly) out-in-the-open stage in season 3.
- Gilmore Girls: Luke and Lorelai spent four seasons as Just Friends and the most popular ship of the show, with most viewers dying to see them get together, but they just didn't work as a couple. The writers went on by literally shipping off Luke for several episodes, giving the couple forced conflicts and at best having the characters putting their engagement on-hold because of unrelated circumstances (such as Lorelai's conflict with Rory in Season Six), overall leaving the impression that the pair worked better as friends than in an actual relationship.
- Downton Abbey:
- Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes: A lot of fans and Jim Carter himself wanted Carson to have a romance with Mrs Hughes. After they get together and wed, they only have pointless plotlines. Carson keeps badmouthing his new wifes culinary skills without being aware of his own rudeness.
- Bates and Anna: They used to be one of the most popular couples in Series 1 and Series 2, before they got together and interest faded away.
- Damon and Elena used to be by far the Fan-Preferred Couple of The Vampire Diaries, but by season four onwards and especially season five, their popularity dwindled due their relationship becoming stale.
- While it was a popular ship in Season 1, some fans of Stranger Things were rather displeased with how Jonathan and Nancy got together in Season 2, thanks to Murray acting as a Shipper on Deck until he practically prods them into it. It makes their hook-up a lot more stilted than it could've been. Not helping the bed death was the Character Development Steve, Nancys previous boyfriend, received in the same season.
- Couples on Sunset Beach had an alarming tendency to break up if there weren't any more barriers to cross. Vanessa miscarried thanks to Virginia's attack and (temporarily) broke off her engagement to Michael. Meg was more or less kicked out of Ben's home by his irritating pimple of a son. A.J. broke ties with Olivia when she crawled back into the bottle. Perhaps worst of all, Ricardo couldn't forgive Paula for not having his back during the rape trial.
- Neighbours has practically embraced this trope, being littered with couples who fans thought had great chemistry up until the point they actually got together. One of the most egregious was Daniel and Imogen, the Fan-Preferred Couple at a time when Daniel and Amber were the Official Couple whose wedding was going to feature in the 30th anniversary celebrations. Actors Ariel Kaplan and Tim Phillips lobbied for their characters to get together, a convoluted series of events saw Daniel accidentally jilt Amber and swiftly get together with Imogen and fans swiftly concluded that, not only were they as dull as the previous pairing, they weren't even particularly well-suited. When Ariel Kaplan quit the show, Daniel was written out as well, and they were swiftly married off after just a few months together in which they'd already managed to break up and get back together at least twice. Word of God was that it was felt Imogen deserved a happy ending, but many fans suspected they'd just given up on any relationship featuring Daniel ever being interesting.
- Lots of Game of Thrones fans believed Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen would have a romance, which indeed happened in Season 7. However, the execution left many underwhelmed; they go from tentatively trusting each other to lovers in just four episodes (equalling a few weeks in-universe) and then barely spend any time together as a couple before hitting a rough patch, going from consummating their relationship to 'breaking up' in only two episodes. Dany is so devastated by Jon's rejection after they learn they're aunt and nephew it contributes to her highly contentious descent into villainy, culminating in Jon assassinating Dany after spending most of Season 8 harping on about her being the 'rightful queen'. While most viewers weren't expecting a happy ending for the couple, many felt the whole romance came off as awkward and contrived rather than a heartfelt tragedy.
- Phil Foglio once commented that Hal Foster, the creator of Prince Valiant, recognized the danger of this once Val and Aleta were finally wed, and solved the problem by introducing lots and lots of supporting characters who could get into romantic entanglements with each other.
- Reign by Greg Stolze addresses the concept in the GMing chapter, which states that while a loving, happy relationship may be the most rewarding thing to be had in real life (complete with a Shout-Out to Stolze's wife), it's dull as hell for a game and risks leaving players dissatisfied whether you explore or ignore the relationship. So better to only explore troubled, difficult relationships for dramatic purposes until someone wants a happy relationship on which to retire their character.
- Erik and Christine in The Phantom of the Opera are probably the most iconic Fan-Preferred Couple in the history of theatre, which meant bringing them together properly in Love Never Dies seemed like an easy slam dunk with the fanbase. It wasn't. Due to various other characters being bashed by the narrative to make Erik and Christine look better, a lot of attempts on the part of the writers to make Erik out to be sympathetic when he isn't, their interactions coming across as weird and creepy, and undermining the original point of the story, that Erik letting go of Christine was a sign of maturity and growth, a lot of fans fell out of love with the pairing—and even the ones that didn't tend to file Love Never Dies under Fanon Discontinuity.
- SNK can be pretty guilty of this as well. Ever since Fatal Fury 3 they did do ship tease regarding Terry Bogard and Blue Mary. SNK did enjoy using it at first with Fatal Fury 3 and the Real Bout series and the earlier KOF games as well. However, over the course of the 2000s, while Terry is considered iconic for SNK he didn't really have any role in the KOF series anymore and is pretty much just there to appease older fans. Some have even feared that SNK would kill off Blue Mary since unlike Terry who used to be a main character Mary was always a secondary one. That and Terry's girlfriends have a tendency to end up dead (in the anime, anyway). Fortunately that hasn't happened yet.
- Played straight through the first five seasons and all four movies of Futurama with Fry and Leela, culminating in a supposed Last-Minute Hookup and making ample use of the show's sci-fi elements to push the relationship to points much farther than other fandoms' ships would be able to go without becoming unable to snap back to the status quo and keep Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Avoided in the sixth season, where they are together but their relationship is not given too much screentime.
- Happened in the second season of The Legend of Korra between Korra and Mako. The first season had them at the center of a messy Love Quadrangle, which concluded with Mako leaving his girlfriend Asami for Korra. When the second season came and the writers had to show them as a couple, Korra and Mako just didn't work. They had no real chemistry together and were constantly arguing over different opinions and expectations, and their respective jobs as the Avatar and a police officer getting in the way of their relationship. At the end of the season, they both acknowledge they just don't work as a couple and break up for good. The following seasons had them as just friends, and although things were a little awkward at first, they did work out fine that way and Korra found another love interest Asami with whom she formed a more functional relationship.
- An odd case happens between Duncan and Gwen of Total Drama. Their friendship was realistic and well-received, and many fans shipped them together, though Gwen always tried to make it clear that they were only friends. Due to this, Duncan suddenly kissing Gwen in World Tour (while still dating his previous girlfriend, Courtney) not only felt like it came completely out of nowhere but resulted in the infamously disliked Gwen/Duncan/Courtney love triangle storyline. When it was time to actually show Duncan and Gwen as a couple, their every interaction was awkward and forced, with none of the charm or chemistry that they had when they were just friends. To make matters worse, the writers couldn't help from dropping hints that Duncan was still into Courtney the entire time, which makes you wonder why the hell he cheated on her with Gwen in the first place.
- Allura/Lance was never the most popular pairing of Voltron: Legendary Defender, but it did have a reasonably dedicated following - one that was decidedly not interested in it when it became canon. On top of reading as a rebound due to coming right after Allura's breakup with Lotor (which meant that Lance was Always Second Best in his relationships as well as everything else in life) and the "wear the girl down" implications the relationship had for Allura, the writers didn't seem to have any idea how to handle the pairing or how to make interesting interactions with them. It dominated most of their scenes in the seventh and eighth seasons, and mostly came across as tedious and cliche, on top of largely eating Lance's characterization. Its culmination in Allura's death, followed by Lance inexplicably turning Altean and giving up his dreams of being a space pilot to become a farmer, just made the whole thing even less appealing.