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Sibling Switch Squick

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Let's say the main character's name is Alice. She has a brother named Bob. The creator writes a new series with a totally new character, also named Alice. Alice's love interest in the story just happens to be named Bob (or look exactly like him, or act like him), and even though they're new characters, it still causes a Squick reaction.

Compare and contrast Brother–Sister Incest and Twincest, which don't even bother with the Expy bit.



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    Comic Books 
  • Pre-Crisis, Katherine "Kathy" Kane, AKA Batwoman, was an occasional love interest for Batman. Post-Crisis, Katherine "Kate" Kane, AKA Batwoman, is Bruce's cousin. (Also, a lesbian.)
  • In the original Italian Martin Mystere comics, Diana is Martin's love interest (and later wife), but in the French Martin Mystery cartoons she's his stepsister. Granted, they're Not Blood Siblings, but it's still pretty unnerving.
  • The New 52 version of Wonder Woman had a plot where Hades (who's a kid for some reason) tried to force Wonder Woman to marry him, which is weird when you compare it to the DC Animated Universe, where he's implied to be her dad.
  • Lana Lang and Superboy, based on one cover on, were siblings in one story, when in almost every other, she's his love interest.

    Fan Works 
  • Inverted in a number of Frozen fan fics. The chemistry between Anna and Elsa and the strong focus on their relationship led to a lot of fans shipping them despite them being sisters. Consequently, a lot of fan fics go the AU route and make them friends or strangers instead of siblings so they can have an incest-free romance. Played straight in a few cases with Hans, who goes from being Anna's love interest to becoming a family member.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Wonder Woman (2009), Hippolyta has a child (implied to be by rape) with Ares, which is especially messed up if you know that in the original myths, he's her dad. (To be fair, the comics have always ignored that part of the story.)

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Aquaman, Mera's father is named Nereus. In the comics, Nereus was the name of her betrothed before she fell in love with Aquaman instead.
  • Parental version in Clash of the Titans (2010): Acrisius and Danae were husband and wife, while in the myth they were father and daughter. Also, Perseus hooks up with a fairly In Name Only version of Io; in the myth, Io is his great x 7-grandmother.
  • While Rick and Holly are father and daughter in the Land of the Lost (1974) TV series, the latter is renamed Holly Cantrell in the 2009 movie and at the end of the film, she and Rick become lovers.

  • Stephen King's Desperation and The Regulators, depending on which you read first. Either way, the Carver family from one version of the story reverts who are siblings and who is married. In other words, David and Kirsten/Pie would be brother and sister in Desperation, and their parents Ellen and Ralph, but in The Regulators, they're married, with Ellen and Ralph now their children.
  • Downplayed in My Brother is a Superhero. The characters Luke and Lara are named after the author's Real Life children, which makes it a little weird that they have Ship Tease in the first two books. Granted, it never gets beyond teasing, with the second book making clear that they're Just Friends (to Luke's relief).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Toward the end of Arrested Development, Tobias starts dating a woman(?) named Michael. He doesn't seem to mind that this is also the name of his brother-in-law.
    • Also, early on in Arrested Development, Buster dated a woman named Lucille, although it became increasingly apparent that he was using her as a stand-in for his mother Lucille, since "Lucille 2" was his mother's age and a close friend of hers.
      Buster: I'm leaving my mother for you. You're replacing my mother.
  • Cursed: As their trope suggests, in Arthurian Legend Merlin and Nimue are supposed to have some sort of romantic relationship. In this series, he's her father.
  • In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Richard's in a relationship with Susan Way, sister of Gordon Way. In the TV series Dirk Gently, Richard's in a relationship with Susan Harrison, Gordon Way's ex-fiance.
  • Variation in Scrubs: Dani dates a boy named Danny briefly, confusing other characters into thinking she shouts her own name during sex.
  • In Supergirl, M'gaan M'orzz is in a romantic relationship with J'onn J'onzz. In the comics, she was his protege, and in Young Justice, she is his niece.
  • In Tensou Sentai Goseiger, the Black and Yellow Rangers are a Brother–Sister Team. In its American version, Power Rangers Megaforce, they're unrelated high school students and Black is always trying (and failing) to get a date with Yellow.
  • Inverted in Wizards of Waverly Place: Alex and Justin were originally going to be bickering best friends, before being made siblings.
  • A variation in an episode of The X-Files reveals that Mulder and Scully's souls always reincarnate into two people who have a close relationship, but there's no telling what relationship that might be, and they inevitably turn out siblings on a few occasions. In one incarnation that's described in particular detail they are father and son (and it's not clear who is which). It's pretty bizarre to think about.


    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates both have this for the same reason. In both games, most of the children are tied to one of their parents: mothers in Awakening, fathers in Fates. Both games also have a child (or two, depending on the sex of the Player Character who has a tied child as well) that is tied to a different-sexed parent than all the others, meaning that they can get a sibling in the form of the child tied to their other parent. The children can also be married to each other as long as they are not siblings. Part of the Replay Value of these games is the possibility to try different ways of marrying the parent characters to each other, which makes one playthrough's siblings into another playthrough's potential spouses.
  • Due to the nature of The Legend of Zelda mythos, with several generations of Links and Zeldas with different relationships, this comes into play in installments when their relationship seems more romantic, while in others it comes across as familial (especially due to a mistranslation in the SNES game making gamers believe she is Link's sister.)
  • The relationship between Mega Man and Roll differs from series to series. She is treated like his younger sister in the original series, a protective older (adoptive) sister in Mega Man Legends, and a love interest in Battle Network.
    • In the Battle Network series, Rock is his human Operator's dead twin brother. This relationship does not exist in the anime. The two are shipped. It is about as squicky as it sounds.
    • If you read Roll's Diary at the end of Mega Man Legends 2, Roll admits that she's in love with Mega Man.
  • The Sims pulled this in reverse when The Sims 2 was released, with the new Family Tree feature which revealed that Bella Goth and Michael Bachelor were brother and sister - squicking out any player who'd had Bella leave her husband and marry Michael in The Sims.
    • There's also Fran and Freddie Foofaraw in the first Sims game for console, who look very alike and are usually taken to be brother and sister... except for the fact that Fran's bio in the official game guide refers to Freddie as her "hunk". This sort of thing happened a lot in the first generation of Sims games due to the lack of formal family trees.
    • The trope gets Inverted a couple of times in Veronaville, the town in The Sims 2 which is loosely based on a number of Shakespeare plays: Beatrice and Benedick are named after romantic leads but are twin siblings in the game, while Romeo and Mercutio go from being best friends with lots of Ho Yay undertones to brothers.

    Web Comics 
  • Referenced in Roomies! with Joe's reaction to a change in Walt Disney's Hansel and Gretel.
  • It's a bit disconcerting to start on Safe Havens because you're a Kevin & Kell fan and discover that the geneticist with big hair is in a relationship with the dyslexic sports star who always wears sunglasses. The two K&K characters by those descriptions are only step-siblings, but still.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Fanfic Switch Squick