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The Friends Who Never Hang

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Annie: This is really important to me, Abed. Could you please go as my friend? My really good friend?
Abed: Well, I didn't realize we were really good friends. I figured we were more like Chandler and Phoebe; they never really had stories together. ...Sure, I'll do it, Chandler.

A series is shown to have an ensemble cast with a Limited Social Circle group of friends as its main characters. Naturally an ensemble cast allows for several different smaller pairings within the larger grouping. This mixing and matching allows the audience to see the interconnectivity of each of the characters' lives with one another. It also allows for different storylines to showcase how one character may relate to another by giving them their own subplot, even if it's just for an episode or two.

But then there are those two characters within the same group of friends who almost never seem to hang out. When the group is all sitting around on The Couch in their Social Semi-Circle, these two friends will converse and talk with one another, and may even talk about funny things they've done in the past together, revealing how well they actually know each other, but on-screen, to the actual audience, they never have plots together or seem to do anything with each other. This is usually due to the writers being stumped on what to do with the two characters when they're alone together because they lack a certain chemistry. Maybe it's because of the way that the two characters are crafted in that they are too dissimilar from each other to be plausible Those Two Guys, Heterosexual Life-Partners, or Love Interest, but not so different that they could make an interesting Odd Couple, Vitriolic Best Buds, or just Foils in general. Sometimes, there simply aren't any opportunities for the characters to spend time together, especially if they meet each other late in the story.

This trope seems particularly relevant for early seasons of a TV show, whereas by later seasons the writers are more willing to try (and exhaust) all combinations of characters. For the most part, it's only in TV-land that people with full-time jobs (be it as a professional or as a housewife) can hang out together all the time. In real life, you have to actively make time for that.

Instances of this trope can be especially detrimental if one or more characters become a Spotlight-Stealing Squad, and as a result, only the cast members they usually interact with are utilized as foils while those they failed to gain chemistry with are ultimately Demoted to Extra due to not having enough relation to the usual recurring cast. See also Satellite Character, for when a character is designed to interact with only one cast member or fraction in particular. Not to be confused with 24-Hour Party People, who are also supposedly friends but don't hang out in any context other than a few infrequent parties.

This can be Truth in Television, especially if the friendships are based mostly on proximity (for example, a spouse/partner or relative of one of your friends, or a social group in school) or if the individuals have little in common with each other but both enjoy hanging out as part of a group.

Compare Ships That Pass in the Night, which is what happens when fans ship a pair of characters that rarely or never interact.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Among the main six girls of Azumanga Daioh Yomi and Sakaki have only interacted twice between both the manga and the anime, and Sakaki is never shown speaking to Yomi on screen.
  • In Bloom Into You, Yuu's main group of friends consists of herself, Akari, Koyomi, and Natsuki, but the latter got into a different high school and hardly ever sees the other three. While it's implied that she keeps in touch with Yuu, she only sees Koyomi and Akari twice- once on a Golden Week outing near the start of the series and a second time at an outing near the end. As a result of this, Natsuki's sometimes out of the loop about some recent developments in her friends' lives.
  • Yamato/Matt and Mimi in Digimon Adventure are the most infamous case, since they never had a plot together, nor do they ever speak to each other. It stands out because they do have some shared interests (Mimi has a beautiful singing voice and Yamato sings and plays bass in a band) and they get shipped quite a bit. Digimon Adventure tri. has them finally interact for once.
    • A plot point in Digimon Adventure 02 when it came time to Pair the Spares for the Fusion Dance power-ups. While Davis/Ken and Kari/Yolei had no issues, Cody and TK actually struggled to get their mons' fusion working because they hadn't really interacted much with each other in the show up to this point.
  • Goku and Chiaotzu in Dragon Ball never directly talk to each other. The closest they get is when Goku indirectly congratulates Chiaotzu on getting his body back in the afterlife (and in that case, he was speaking telepathically with Yamcha), and a moment in Dragon Ball Super where Chiaotzu uses his psychic powers to try and hold Goku back (which Goku didn't even notice).
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • While they might not always get devoted chapters to their relationships (Fujiwara with either of the freshmen for example), all of the members of the student council do demonstrate unique relationships with one another... except for Shirogane and Iino. This gets lampshaded in chapter 165 (literally a hundred chapters after they first met) when they are alone in the student council room together, and Shirogane realizes he has no idea how to interact with her, leading to awkward attempts at small talk. They do become fast friends however in said chapter after discovering they do in fact have a lot in common, and develop a good Senpai-Kohai relationship.
    • Karen, Erika, Maki, and Kashiwagi are two pairs of Childhood Friends who formed a Four-Girl Ensemble back in middle school. Despite their close friendship, they normally stay split along the childhood friend line outside of group gatherings (which is in part enforced by the two pairs being in separate classes in their junior year and different school clubs). Kashiwagi in particular almost never interacts with Karen or Erika if Maki isn't also present.
    • Shirogane and Kashiwagi have been classmates for at least two years and there is a fair amount of overlap between their friend groups (Kaguya, Tsubasa, Maki), yet the number of times the two of them have directly interacted can be counted on one hand. Unsurprisingly, she isn't among the group that comes to see him off at the airport when he leaves for Stanford.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid:
    • The dragon characters frequently interact as a group but, on their own, usually only socialize with Tohru or the humans of their acquaintance. Chapter 61, however, has the normally very anti-social Fafnir seek out Lucoa, who's typically only seen with either Tohru or Shouta, for help as a model for the manga he wants to draw.
    • The Kanna's Daily Life spin-off rectifies this with Kanna. In the main series, she interacts primarily with the others in the Kobayashi household and her classmates. The spin-off features chapters such as she and Saikawa finding Fafnir's secret arcade and bribing Lucoa for help. A main series chapter has Elma taking Kanna, Saikawa, and Shouta fishing.
  • Implied with Naruto. According to some supplemental material for the non-canon movie Road to Ninja, Naruto is often alone when not on a mission, to the point where he makes shadow clones of himself just to have someone to talk to, and is overjoyed when Lee convinces the other guys to invite him to simply hang out. Granted, it's implied he's often on other missions with his colleagues between arcs, but we rarely see opportunities to see them hang out when "off the clock". Fortunately, between the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War and the epilogue of the manga (Naruto Hiden and The Last in canon; the various omake in the anime), Naruto is often seen hanging out with many of the other members of the Konoha 12 (Sai, Lee, Shikamaru, and Hinata in particular), meaning he would not have to be alone.
  • Choromatsu and Ichimatsu of Osomatsu-san rarely interact despite being brothers who have lived together their entire lives. In the second season, they get a bottle episode fittingly titled "Ichimatsu and Choromatsu" that's entirely about their strained relationship, with the two finding it uncomfortable to be around each other after being left home alone.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Serena and Clemont in the XY series. While all the members of the group talk to each other, these two interact with each other the least and never have plots together. To a lesser extent, Ash and Bonnie don't interact much, either. All other dynamics get much more spotlight. The XY&Z arc slightly addresses this by giving Clemont and Serena a few more moments together, though most of this is restricted to their mutual concern for Bonnie.
    • Dawn and Brock in Diamond and Pearl. Whereas Brock and Ash had a decade-long bond, and a lot of focus was put into Ash and Dawn due to them being co-leads, the interactions with Brock and Dawn were mostly contained to a few episodes and never really brought up.
    • Among the Pokémon themselves, this trope is surprisingly common. Aside from group lunches and the occasional "all the Pokémon get separated from their trainers" episode, they have historically had very few stories, recurring or otherwise, showcasing their friendships with each other. However, there have been many exceptions throughout the years:
      • Notable aversions in the earlier sagas included the friendship between Pikachu and Togepi, and much later Piplup (as well as the Ship Tease between Pikachu and Buneary). Another early subversion is the friendship between Ash's Bulbasaur and Squirtle. After that, the Best Wishes series has Iris's Axew, who had good friendships with both Pikachu and Scraggy. Finally, the XY series averts this with Ash's Hawlucha, who becomes a Big Brother Mentor to baby Noibat.
      • The Sun & Moon series in particular downplays this by having the entire protagonist squad's Pokemon out of their balls routinely, with a larger emphasis on family and sibling-like bonds among teams.
      • Pokémon Journeys: The Series, however, plays into this trope exceptionally hard. Ash's Pokémon in this series are rarely seen outside of battle, and even when they are, there's almost never any focus on their individual friendships. Similarly, because of the incredibly high amount of Pokémon Goh has caught, he's rarely shown having distinct friendships with any of them (outside of the Galar starters). In fact, most of Goh's Pokémon have yet to make any non-cameo appearances despite it being established that he does actually spend time with them.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica is pretty good at showing or suggesting the relationships between the five main characters, and spinoffs have largely filled out the ones that didn't (Kyouko and Mami, for instance, have the implication that they're former partners turned into out-and-out fact). However, even with all spinoffs taken into account, the most significant interaction Madoka and Kyouko share is a few scenes in the ninth episode, and even those scenes are mostly about their shared bond with Sayaka.
  • Reborn! (2004) has the 10th Vongola Guardians. Although all of them are made out to be 'True Companions', a couple of the guardians barely share any dialogue or interests with each other. Hibari and Mukuro are bitter enemies while Chrome stays with Mukuro unless she's needed to fight for Tsuna's group.
  • Rei and Minako in the Sailor Moon anime barely interact, aside from Rei occasionally getting exasperated with Minako. This is in stark contrast with the manga and live action, as Rei and Minako in those versions are Vitriolic Best Buds and rivals. As well, Minako spends a lot less time with Ami in nearly all versions of Sailor Moon. Minako is most often paired with Rei/Usagi in the manga/PGSM/Crystal, and with Makoto/Usagi in the original anime. Ami is most often paired with Usagi (PGSM) or Makoto (manga, Crystal, and the original anime).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • During her tenure on Yu-Gi-Oh! Jounouchi's sister Shizuka has almost no interaction with Yugi. Her interactions are mostly with her brother, with Honda and Otogi due to the love triangle that exists, and with Mai and Anzu due to them being the other girls in the group.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Jack has notable interactions with every member of Team 5D's except for Aki. This is somewhat interesting as the two of them share similar experiences of being manipulated by others into being crueler people (Goodwin for Jack, and Divine for Aki) before changing their ways upon being defeated by Yusei. However, they only occasionally talk with each other in a group, and pretty much never interact with each other alone. This is also reflected by the fact that Jack is the only Signer of the group who still calls her on a Last-Name Basis.
  • While most of the main girls in YuruYuri have shared at least one skit with each other, the interactions between Akari/Ayano and Chinatsu/Chitose are nearly/completely non-existent. While this could be justifiable due to the fact that they aren't together in any of the main groups (Amusement Club/Student Council or First/Second Grade), the fact that both Kyouko and Yui have interacted or shared time with either Himawari or Sakurako (which share the same characteristics of not being together in any of the main groups) makes it a lot more jarring. Thankfully averted in Chapter 95 of the manga, where Akari, Chinatsu, Ayano and Chitose share a small skit together at the Amusement Club.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: Depending on the story (before the reboot), Betty Cooper's closest friends included Veronica Lodge, Jughead Jones, Cheryl Blossom, and Midge Klump. With several stories focusing on Betty pairing with one of them over the others. These characters were rarely depicted as hanging out together when Betty was not involved, and there were stories depicting their mutual dislike for each other.
  • Batman and Aquaman within the Justice League. Batman has some kind of bond with all the founding members of the League:
    • Superman is his best friend and despite their differences, they have a deep respect for each other. Later on, they would both also become fathers.
    • Wonder Woman is another of his closest friends, note  being one of the few people who can get him to open up while simultaneously not taking his crap. They're also the League's resident strategists.
    • The Flash (Barry Allen) and Batman are both into forensics and often talk about it and criminal psychology long into the night.
    • Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Batman have mutual respect for each other and are Fire-Forged Friends, also bonding over their shared trauma from their respective parents' death.
    • He and Martian Manhunter were both on the Justice League International where Bruce was able to relax much more and let his guard down, a time Bruce still looks back on fondly. They also have detective work in common, as despite having several "secret identities", J'onn is most often shown as John Jones, a police detective and/or private investigator.
    • Aquaman and Batman? Not only have we never had any mention of a friendship between the two, but we've actually never seen them hang out. In fact, in the DC Rebirth Aquaman series, when Arthur is in critical condition after having shot down the League's attempts to help him, the only Leaguer who doesn't visit him in the hospital is Batman!
    • That is probably because Aquaman and Batman are a textbook example of characters that are too similar in personality (both are arrogant loners) while also being too dissimilar in abilities and style.
  • The only two members of the Batman family who aren't close are Dick Grayson and Stephanie Brown. There've been attempts to rectify this at least.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Played relatively straight in Donald Duck's interactions with his cousins. Gladstone Gander was introduced in the 1940s as a personal rival to Donald, and (briefly later) as a rival suitor for Daisy's hand. Donald and Gladstone's relationship has inspired hundreds of stories, though whether they are depicted as friends, foes, or frenemies depends on the story. Fethry Duck was introduced as a somewhat annoying houseguest of Donald in the 1960s, but the duo were soon cast as friends and co-workers. Over the decades, they have been depicted as each other's best friend, and have served as a protagonist duo in hundreds of stories. Gus Goose was introduced in the 1930s, and he has been around nearly as long as Donald himself. But he has few distinctive character traits other than being lazy and gluttonous. Writers rarely pair Donald and Gus in stories, and the characters otherwise mostly interact in stories involving large casts. Writers seem to find little inspiration in the relationship between Donald and Gus.
  • The Flash: Of the Flash Family, Barry Allen and Jesse Quick have straight up never had a one-on-one conversation in-canon.
    • Barry is close enough with the guys-he considers Wally West Like a Son to Me and sees Jay Garrick as an older brother, and Bart is literally his grandson from the future. He's had conversations with Max Mercury and Johnny Quick, and in the Rebirth era he's the centre of the 'new' Flash family and so he gets screen time with Wallace (who like Wallace's cousin Wally, Barry tries to be a surrogate dad to), Avery (who he briefly counsels and mentors), Godspeed (his Evil Former Friend turned loose antihero), and Meena (who he briefly dated). But Jesse? The only time they've had any degree of interaction is when they're part of a larger group assembly, but they still don't have any direct interaction.
    • On Jesse's end, she is very close to Wally (who she once had Ship Tease with before deciding they were Better as Friends and Like Brother and Sister), Bart (who she tries to be a Cool Big Sis to despite regularly being annoyed by him), Jay and Max (who both act like a Parental Substitute or Cool Uncle to her and consider her the daughter they never had), and of course Johnny (who was her father); she's even shown being friendly with Barry's wife Iris, who tries to be a Cool Aunt to her, as well as the other wives of the Flash men. When Barry was brought Back from the Dead, however, very shortly after Jesse was Exiled from Continuity with the rest of the Flash Family and was not properly reintroduced for several years. Barry and Jesse appeared together in an out-of-continuity promotional comic for Snickers where he acts as if he's been her close mentor in the same vein as Superman is for Supergirl, and in The Flash (2014) he's briefly her mentor, but that's due to the show pushing Barry into Wally West era stories and characters, and even still, the two are notably the most distant of the show's Flash family.
  • Hal Jordan counted both Barry Allen and Oliver Queen as his best friends, yet the Flash and Green Arrow rarely team up. Justified, since Barry really doesn't like Oliver, what with considering him a bad influence on Hal, with his anti-authoritarian views, not to mention all the times Oliver has made Hal doubt himself. Likewise, Oliver dislikes Barry for being a police officer, as he considers cops "blue fascists." Never mind that Barry is a CSI, not a beat cop, Oliver still doesn't like him.
    • Injustice: Gods Among Us rectifies this somewhat, as they share a few scenes together. The last scene of the Regime!Flash has him nodding towards Green Arrow of the main universe as he is being led away.
    • Hilarious in Hindsight when you consider the successes of Arrow and The Flash (2014), where this is averted; Barry and Oliver are good friends and have roles similar to Superman and Batman respectively.
  • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe: The police officers Chief O'Hara and Detective Casey have been depicted as two of Mickey Mouse's closest friends and allies since the 1930s. By extension, they are supposed to be friends with much of Mickey's supporting cast. They rarely interact with their "friends" when Mickey is not present, and they seem to know little about these friends' private lives or motivations.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake is seen hanging out with each of his pals from the group he hangs out with at Gotham Heights on their own except Hudson; he's only seen with Hudson when Ives and/or Hudman are also present. On the other hand, he plays basketball after school with Callie, goes over to Hudman's house to play games and talk, and hangs out with Ives all the time.
  • Scott Pilgrim features a lot of emphasis on the complicated web of relationships between the characters. However, in the last volume, Scott realizes that his sister Stacy and his friend Young Neil have never met.
  • The Sentry was often stated to be best friends with nearly every hero especially Reed Richards and the Hulk going so far as being the best man at the wedding of the former. Yet The Sentry never displays any real friendship with any of them and it is all talk (mostly because the Sentry as retooled by Brian Michael Bendis has almost no similarities to the original metafictional version created by Paul Jenkins).
  • Superman:
    • Except for the occasional crossover or event, the different members of the Super Family seldom team up. Particularly, Steel and his niece Natasha have almost no relationship with any of the Supergirls or Superboys.
    • Kara Zor-El and Barbara Gordon are usually depicted as close friends, but they are hardly seen hanging out together when they are not "heroing". However, some statements hint they meet up with each other off-panel.
    • In The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor, although Linda Danvers repeatedly calls Lena Luthor her best friend, they have seldom met each other since Linda moved out of Midvale over one (real-time) decade before.
    • In Supergirl's Three Super Girl-Friends: Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl and Triplicate Girl from the Legion of Super-Heroes are presented as Kara's new friends; despite this, Supergirl would not develop a close relationship with any of them, (although Saturn Girl would aid Supergirl in stories such like Action Comics #307). It would not be until the Supergirl (2005) 2010 Annual that the four girls would spend time together on panel.

    Fan Works 
  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs: In "What if Jake was stuck in morph?", it's mentioned that Marco and Cassie don't spend much time with the team outside of missions until David forces them to become more cohesive.
  • Ask The Main Four shows Kyle and Cartman watching a musical together in the same night Stan and Kenny play video games in the former's house. Interactions between Kyle and Kenny are very brief.
  • This dynamic puts Wanda Maximoff in an awkward position in Because I Knew You when she deflects the spell intended to erase all knowledge of Peter Parker from the world in the belief that it was a deliberate attack on her. When she remembers who Peter is from their brief interaction in the final battle against Thanos (Peter introduced himself to Carol while Wanda was within earshot), Wanda tracks him down to determine why anyone wanted her to forget him and only realises what happened after reading his nightmare, lost for how to deal with the knowledge that she's the only person on Earth who even knows Peter Parker exists when she barely knew him before everything went wrong.
  • In Boys und Sensha-do!, Anglerfish Team is this, in stark contrast to the way they are in canon. Miho doesn't spend much time with her friends from the team outside of tankery matches, and when they're in port after the match with Saunders, no one, not even Yukari, invites her along.
  • In The Cutting Edge, after Laurel Lance is sent back from the moment of her death to a year before Oliver returned home, she reflects that this basically applies to her and Barry Allen when she meets him at Iron Heights (Barry visiting his father while Laurel meets with a client); she and Barry had met, but only in the sense of them both taking part in their preceding team-ups rather than the two being friends in their own right.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02: The Story We Never Told, when Yolei is possessed by Jachomon, Tai and Matt basically fill this role for her, as they're the only Digidestined who can't say anything nice to help her come back to herself as they just don't know her that well (could also apply to Joe, but he was elsewhere during the confrontation).
  • A Diplomatic Visit: Discussed in chapter 17, when Rarity acknowledges that she and Rainbow Dash rarely spend time together one-on-one because their interests lie in different directions, but that doesn't stop them from being friends.
  • Ducktales Rewritten attempts to rectify examples of this from the original series, including;
    • Donald gets a decent amount of interaction with Launchpad in "Jaw$!".
    • Donald and Webby get into their own adventure in "Donald the Royal Court Magician".
    • Lena gets more fleshed-out interactions with the triplets, especially Louie.
    • Donald and Della are given more interaction with Lena and Violet too.
  • Feralnette AU: During the Birds of a Feather arc, Kagami confesses to Marinette that she's concerned that one of her friends has been prioritizing all of his other friendships over spending time with her. This has reached the point where he eagerly goes out of his way to spend time with the others, but refuses to make any effort whatsoever to make plans with her; they only spend time together if he's unable to hang out with anybody else. And whenever she brings up the issue, he acts as though she's the one in the wrong for getting upset or wanting to be treated the same as all the others. Marinette offers her some honest advice, unaware that Kagami is specifically referring to Adrien Agreste.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: Chloe and Goh are Childhood Friends; however, the two of them haven't spent any quality time together in years, save for when Pokémon are involved. This has fostered a lot of resentment on Chloe's part, while Goh is completely oblivious to her feelings, claiming that he cares for her as much as he does for Ash and Raboot. It takes one of Chloe's classmates calling him out on the fact that he's had to come to them asking about how she usually behaves, despite her supposedly being his 'best friend', for him to realize how badly he's been neglecting her. However, when Chloe's actions are later re-examined, it turns out that they are both at fault for their failing friendship; as Goh never listened and made bad attempts to be a friend, Chloe never spoke and made no attempts to be a friend, and she becomes even worse when she gets on the Train.
  • In the Joe the Great franchise, all of the main cast have been paired individually in some way shape or form with the exception of Brooke and Fred and Joe and Sam. When the Magic Squad splits up and hang out outside of hero activity it's Joe, Fred, and Sam while it's Ethan and Joy. Justified, since Ethan and Joy have to little to nothing in common with Fred and Sam, it is unknown if the same is said for Joe.
    • Lampshaded in Pure Pressure, where Ethan and Sam and Fred and Joy tell Joe it was strange for them to work together and that they should never hang out and just be in a team of five.
    • Conversed in Finders Creepers, Losers Sweepers, When the Magic Squad split up, Joy and Sam tell each other they don't interact much or hang out and state it's because they have little to nothing in common, but can work together if they need to as they are a team, the same is said for Ethan and Fred.
  • In the Harry Potter fanfic On the Way to Greatness, Harry befriends students from various houses (from his own house: Millicent and Blaise Zabini; from Ravenclaw: Padma Patil, Terry Boot, Luna Lovegood and a couple others from his Arithmancy class; from Hufflepuff: Cedric; from Gryffindor: Hermione, Neville, and the Weasley twins). But apart from Harry, none of the aforementioned groups really hang out with other houses.
  • In Pokemon: Shadow of Time, Gligar/Gliscor seems to be this for Ash's Sinnoh team; after history is reset, the now-separated team quickly set out to find each other, but after Chimchar, Gible, Starly, and Turtwig come together and Celebi teleports Buizel to join them, they gave every sign that they considered this the full group, with Gligar having to find them on his own and expressing annoyance that they nearly abandoned him.
  • In Spider-X, it is stated that Ororo is good friends with Martha Connors, the wife of Curt Connors, after the team cure him of his transformation into the Lizard, but they are never shown spending time together one-on-one.
  • Discussed in Time to Disinfect. While having lunch together, Kel brings up that, out of all their friends, he and Mari almost never hang out without the others around. He's quick to note that he does think she's cool, though, and he'd like to spend more time with her.
  • Adelina and Caren in Transcendence. The two of them are described as being good friends who get along well. However, in the nearly 40 chapters since Caren's introduction, the two of them have been shown interacting only once.

    Films — Animation 
  • Toy Story: The toys almost never directly interact with the humans throughout all four films, but that's almost understandable considering that would freak them out.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Downplayed, but present. While Ralph and Felix are the main characters, there is some mildly awkward tension when Ralph goes to talk during the game celebration, indicating that despite being the main duo for 30 years or so, they don't talk or know each other that much. Both seem to be aware of this, which also contributes to the awkwardness. This is fully averted in the sequel.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Abominable: Despite her friendship with the other women, Karen doesn't participate in their activities and conversations during the first part of the movie. However, she does happily note during a phone call to her boyfriend that Michelle seems to be having fun.
  • Some of the relationships in The Breakfast Club are focused on much more than others. Alison suffers the most from this since she doesn't speak until halfway through the film. Most of her time is spent developing her romance with Andrew and aside from a last-minute makeover/bonding moment with Claire, doesn't interact one-on-one with anyone else very much.
  • Grumpy Old Men and its sequel Grumpier Old Men show John interacting with Max's son Jacob quite a bit, but Max only gets a very brief interaction with John's daughter Melanie in the second film.
  • In The Lord of the Rings:
    • Despite ostensibly serving as one of his protectors and being a member of the Fellowship, Legolas says exactly five words directly to Frodo: "And you have my bow". Justified in that the two are separated for most of the story - they meet at the House of Elrond, split up at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, and don't see each other again until the tail end of The Return of the King, but awkward nonetheless. Legolas primarily interacts with Aragorn and Gimli, barely even looking at anyone else in the fellowship.
    • Gimli has a similar problem to a lesser degree than Legolas. As he's mostly the comic relief to the Three Hunters trio of himself, Aragorn, and Legolas, he rarely talks to anyone outside that dynamic. He never once spoke to Boromir or Sam.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In the first two Avengers films, Thor doesn't interact with Bruce Banner that much due to Bruce being more focused on science and Thor on fighting (and his interactions with Bruce's alter ego always consist of them fighting a foe or each other with no time to socialize). Thor: Ragnarok ultimately subverts it by having Thor bond with the two of them while they're trapped on Sakaar and work together to escape and save Asgard. Following this film, they're almost unarguably closer to each other than they are to the other Avengers — Bruce is even the one Steve and the others send to collect Thor in Endgame when they're reuniting the team for the Time Heist.
    • Spider-Man is this to all the original Avengers not named Tony Stark. He talks to Steve in a few scenes in Captain America: Civil War and never interacts with the other Avengers. The only characters outside of his supporting cast he has actually interacted with throughout his run in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are Tony, Steve, Doctor Strange, Star-Lord, Ant-Man, Falcon, Bucky Barnes, War Machine, Happy Hogan, Carol Danvers and Thanos.
  • In Mary Poppins: Mary Poppins and Mrs. Banks are of similar minds in responding positively to the children; they are also both listed by Bert among the people the children have to look after them. However, they do not speak to each other once in the film.
  • St. Elmo's Fire is about a group of True Companions, but some of the friends don't seem to interact one-on-one very much. Kirby, for example, doesn't seem to spend much time with Wendy or Jules.
    • Actually a fairly realistic portrayal of what happens after college. No longer all living on campus and having jobs makes getting together harder, especially with the ones to whom you weren't as close.
  • Star Wars:
    • Poe and Rey in the Sequel Trilogy. They are part of a Power Trio along with Finn, but they don't actually meet until the final minutes of The Last Jedi, the second film of the trilogy. In The Rise of Skywalker they barely interact one-on-one and when they do, they tend to argue or criticize each other (and it's insinuated this is a regular thing), with Finn as a mediator. The creators were likely going for a Vitriolic Best Buds dynamic, but seeing how little they interact, it can come off more that they only tolerate each other because a) they're fighting on the same side and b) they're both best friends with Finn. The ending alleviates it a bit by having them share a heartfelt hug with Finn, but overall the films don't portray them as being especially close.
    • Rose becomes close to Finn and allies with Poe in The Last Jedi, but only interacts with Rey in the Expanded Universe. And then in The Rise of Skywalker she's Demoted to Extra and barely interacts with any of them.
    • Jannah has minimal interactions with Poe and Rey, spending most of her time with Finn, although in fairness they don't meet Jannah until over halfway through the final film and they have other things to focus on besides having a friendly chit-chat, like stopping Palpatine and his planet-destroying space fleet.
    • In the original trilogy, Lando is friends with Han and Chewie and befriends Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, but he's never close with Luke. They work together (mostly off-screen) to track down Boba Fett and plan Han's rescue from Jabba the Hutt's palace, but after that, Luke has his own adventures to deal with while Lando stays with the Rebel fleet. Amusingly enough, The Rise of Skywalker mentioned that Luke and Lando travelled together for a time after the events of the original trilogy when Luke was researching Force artefacts.
      • This is averted in the Expanded Universe, where Luke and Lando interact extensively, especially in The Corellian Trilogy.
    • In the prequel trilogy, Obi-Wan and Padmé don't have much screen time together, reflecting the two worlds Anakin has to choose between (i.e. a normal life and family vs the Chosen One of the Jedi). The few times they are together, it's always professional, and Obi-Wan coming to her to find Anakin in Revenge of the Sith indicates how bad things have gotten.
    • Despite sharing allies and friends, along with the original trilogy suggesting that they had a deep history, Anakin and Yoda seldom have any screen time together in the Prequel era. They only briefly interacted in The Phantom Menace when the Jedi Council was evaluating Anakin and they didn't interact at all in Attack of the Clones. They had a few interactions in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but they were again minimal. The most significant scene between the two was in Revenge of the Sith when Anakin comes to Yoda for advice on how to deal with his visions of Padmé's death (without specifying it's her) and Yoda gives him the unhelpful advice of learning to let go of everything he fears to lose. Due to his exile on Dagobah, Yoda never encounters Anakin after the latter becomes Darth Vader.


By Author:

  • In all but one of the novels of Jane Austen, there is no scene where two male characters are alone together without a woman present. Austen didn't want to speculate on how men behaved on their own. Mansfield Park is the exception, with scenes between Sir Thomas and his elder son Tom where they discuss Tom's debts, Sir Thomas and his younger son Edmund talking about the theatre, Edmund's arguments with Tom over said theatre, etc.

By Series:

  • The Heroes of Olympus follows the journey of seven separate POV characters, plus their occasional Sixth Ranger (mostly Nico). This trope was bound to happen, and it does: while most of the demigods develop significant friendships and/or romantic relationships with each other, Frank and Piper have the least interaction. Hazel and Jason are a close second. Piper and Hazel would count if not for their last-minute bonding in House of Hades.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, there's only really one scene where Ford and Trillian directly interact one-on-one (when they're in the Magrathean catalog with an unconscious Zaphod). Perhaps it's because they both tend to be more competent and less quirky than the other characters and therefore can pretty much happily ignore each other.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Despite being in the Fellowship of the Ring together, Legolas is never seen interacting with any of the Hobbits very much, even though two of them are very fond of Elves. Boromir has less interaction with Sam than the rest.
  • Happened in Ringo & Co, as Ringo's friends are friendly with him but never meet with each other and even don't know each other.
  • In the second arc of Wings of Fire, despite being friends with each others friends, Turtle and Winter rarely interact one-on-one and neither do Kinkajou and Qibli.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Ensemble Cast of Arrested Development tends to have very interwoven storylines and everyone winds up having at least one storyline together. The exception to this is Buster and Maeby, who speak to each other precisely one time during the entire series: In the season 3 finale "Development Arrested", a brief scene sees Maeby finally speaking to Buster in order to get him to sign off on the movie Maeby is trying to make about the family. Aside from this, they share countless scenes together but never actually interact directly a single time.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • When Howard and Amy are paired together on a scavenger hunt, they point out that they had never been alone together before. From that point forward, however, they interact more frequently and it's later shown, when they end up working together, that they do have a good friendship.
    • Amy does play it straight with Leonard and Raj. A season 11 episode lampshades it: Sheldon and Penny mention being, respectively, Amy's fiancé and best friend while the best Leonard can say is that he once gave her a battery.
    • Bernadette rarely interacts with anyone other than Howard and the other two girls. She starts interacting far more often with Raj after she and Howard get married (although she rarely has scenes with Raj alone, if Howard is not involved) but still plays it straight with Leonard and Sheldon.
    • From the original five, it's pretty clear that Howard isn't particularly close to Penny or Sheldon, and the two pairs only tolerate each other. Later on, there are storylines every now and then between Sheldon and Howard, but even then they don't seem too close. Even though Howard and Penny are on much better terms once Howard stops being a pervert to Penny after he starts dating Bernadette, the two never really become close friends and they rarely have scenes together without the other characters.
    • In general, any girl/guy pairing on the show qualifies, except the three couples (Leonard/Penny, Sheldon/Amy, Howard/Bernadette) and the Odd Friendship Sheldon/Penny.
  • Big Little Lies: Jane and Celeste are only alone together in one scene in the final episode of season 1.
  • Boy Meets World:
    • In season 5, when Shawn, Jack, and Eric become roommates in the Pennbrook apartment, there are very few scenes with Shawn and Eric together. This gets lampshaded in a late season 6 episode when they do have a conversation and bring up their time living together. (Ironically, this is because Rider Strong and Will Friedle were such good friends off-camera, they'd have trouble getting through any takes together without corpsing. Even in the aforementioned scene, it's pretty obvious that both actors are struggling not to corpse.)
    • Invoked by Cory in Season 6 with regards to Angela. He makes a deliberate attempt to get to know Angela better, which she initially rebuffs (for a few reasons, the least of which being that Cory is Shawn's best friend). She eventually relents, and the two characters share quite a few one-on-one scenes throughout the season.
    • Other one-on-one interactions almost never seen during the show: Cory/Jack, Cory/Rachel, Shawn/Rachel, Topanga/Jack, Angela/Jack, and Angela/Eric. Note that all of these relationships involve a character introduced late in the show's run - there simply wasn't as much time to explore potential relationships, especially since a lot of time had to be devoted to establishing the ones that did happen (primarily Eric/Jack, Shawn/Angela, Eric/Rachel, Jack/Rachel, Topanga/Angela, and Angela/Rachel). The gulf between the "old guard" characters and the newer characters actually became a plot point in "The War" and "Seven the Hard Way" in the seventh season - notably, the rift is healed by Eric, who functions as a "bridge" between the two camps - a member of the old guard who mostly interacts with the newer characters.
    • In a variant of this trope, Angela is the only character in the core group of students who never has any one-on-one interactions with Mr. Feeny. This is made all the more jarring when her father visits Pennbrook in one episode and immediately makes a beeline to him, asking for advice about his daughter.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Anya and Tara had barely any close personal interaction despite hanging out together for years in the Scooby Gang and their love interests being best friends with each other, possibly due to their vividly contrasting personalities.
    • Oz and Cordelia got along well enough, yet when he crosses over to Angel, they briefly catch up, then run out of things to say.
    • Oz and Angel rarely interacted, mainly due to the fact that Oz joined the gang around the time Angelus was on the loose. When Oz arrived in Los Angeles, he and Angel exchanged brief words, Cordelia noting that their conversation was typical of their relationship.
    • Even though they were part of a quartet of vampires that terrorised Europe for decades, Spike and Darla barely interacted onscreen.
  • Breaking Bad: Despite both having close associations with Walt and Mike, Saul Goodman never interacts with Gus Fring and it's implied that they don't quite know each other, but that Saul is terrified of Gus and Gus is at least aware of Saul's existence. In Better Call Saul, it's further clarified that they know of each other's existence but don't have any sort of working relationship. They do briefly meet in one scene, leaving Gus by far the main character that Jimmy/Saul interacts with the least.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Of the ensemble, Holt and Boyle rarely get storylines together. Lampshaded when they do get a storyline in "Dillman".
    Holt: Well, if you must know, I was having lunch with Boyle.
    Jake: No way. You two are the second most unlikely Nine-Nine lunch combination.
  • Charmed: Downplayed. It's hard to notice but Piper and Cole don't have any significant one-on-one time until the seventh season. By this point, Cole wasn't even a regular on the show anymore and just showed up as a guest character who only interacts with Piper and another guest character for plot reason. Overall they have a lot of scenes where they are both present, but it's usually accompanied by at least one of the sisters and/or Leo. Cole was introduced as a demonic love interest for Phoebe and had the most screen time with her throughout seasons three through five. Paige and Prue both traded off being suspicious of and not liking Cole, but they each have at least one episode where their subplot put them in direct interaction with him. By the middle of season 5 when the character was off the show the most significant scene he and Piper had alone was when they were trying (and failing) to blow the other up, and even then Leo quickly came to break the tension.
    • Also, regarding the first season: Piper had very little involvement with Andy. He was Prue's love interest and Phoebe went to him a few times for information, but Piper had maybe a handful of scenes with him, and there was almost always someone else present.
    • With Season 6 Paige had the least amount of time one-on-one with Chris. Admittedly her subplots that season tended to skew a little more insular than the rest of the cast as she was in a temp job and jumped from job to job with a different magical problem for her to solve every episode.
    • If you watch closely, among the characters who are main and appear at least during one of the seventh first seasons, and at least in a half dozen episodes, Dan never interacts with Darryl.
  • During Season One of Chucky, Junior barely interacts with Devon out of the three other main kid characters (Jake, Devon, and Lexy), despite being best friends with him.
  • Community:
    • The page quote is from Season 1's Social Psychology. Abed lampshades the lack of plotlines between him and Annie using Phoebe and Chandler as an example. This is also a bit of parody of the trope because this was only four episodes into the series so no clear relationships had been solidly established with the characters anyway. This becomes less true as they become something like Platonic Life-Partners later in the show.
    • Shirley and Troy didn't have a B-Plot together until the fourth season. Yvette-Nicole Brown (Shirley's actress) noted this in the DVD commentary for a season three episode where Troy gave a heartfelt goodbye to Shirley, although the two never spent time together on-screen. They also rarely spoke to one another directly even when the group was all together around the study room.
    • Shirley and Jeff intentionally invoke this because it was established in their first episode together that they were really toxic to one another. This is brought to light again in season 2 where the two almost conspired to get Chang imprisoned for the rest of his life. The third season episode "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" had a Jeff and Shirley pairing that seemed to resolve their issues and later in the season, the two spend an episode together without resulting in them becoming horrible people.
    • Abed and Pierce haven't spent too much time together, but this seems to be at least partially intentional on Abed's end because, as Abed puts it, he doesn't find Pierce all that compelling as a character.
    • In season 2 Jeff tries to throw Abed a Pulp Fiction themed party for his birthday but is derailed by a special "My Dinner with Andre" dinner that Abed set up for just the two of them. Abed's reasoning for the dinner was that it seemed that he and Jeff hadn't spent much time together in their second year as opposed to their first year when they had more shenanigans with each other.
    • You never see much of Abed and Britta together until Season 3, after Britta decides to be Abed's therapist.
    • One episode in Season 5 points out that Jeff and Duncan, despite being the two characters that have known each other for the longest, don't really act like friends. The episode ends with them making a more concerted effort in their friendship.
  • On the The Dick Van Dyke Show Laura and Richie have very little contact with each other despite being mother and son. It's so bad that there's a joke that the two never talk, although they do... on occasion.
  • Fawlty Towers: In the whole series, Sybil rarely interacts with Manuel, perhaps reflecting what she believes to be Basil's poor choice of staff. An exception is in "Basil The Rat" when Sybil treats Manuel with genuine kindness when he has to give up his pet rat.
  • Friends:
    • Joey and Monica, which is ironic since they were meant to be the show's Official Couple. In the entire show, they have stories together (without Chandler or other friends) in only four episodes.
    • Ross and Phoebe, especially in early seasons. Later in the series, they hang out more often, especially in season 9, while still being kind of Vitriolic Best Buds. She does genuinely try to console him with a hug in the finale when Rachel decides to board the plane to Paris.
    • Chandler is most subject to this trope, having few stories with Phoebe and Rachel. Early seasons have him almost exclusively paired with Joey and sometimes Ross. From Season 5 he has storylines with Monica or is back with Joey. Somewhat explained in the commentary when the writers talk about the three most iconic relationships of the show (Ross/Rachel, Chandler/Monica and Chandler/Joey) and Chandler is tied up in two of them. Being part of two such significant dynamics meant Chandler's stories were more exclusive.
      • Chandler and Phoebe, as evidenced by the page quote. They spend more time hanging out before Chandler starts dating Monica, then they don't seem to like each other so much. "The One With The Ring" is the only Chandler/Phoebe episode in later seasons. Though notably, when allowed to choose the name for one of her brother's unborn children, she chooses the name Chandler, and when Phoebe gets married, Chandler is the one who walks her down the aisle.
      • Chandler and Rachel. They are quite good friends in season 4 when they are often seen together without the other friends. However from Season 5 onwards they rarely interact, with the cheesecake episode in season 7 being the only exception.
      • Interestingly enough, Chandler and Monica in early seasons. Before their impulsive one-night stand in London leads to their Secret Relationship, they rarely have storylines without the other friends in the first four seasons, although their few interactions are pretty meaningful and emotional ("The One With The Birth", "The One With The Flashback", "The One With The Jellyfish"). Besides these episodes, they also have a storyline in the season 2 episode "The One Where Ross Finds Out" where Monica becomes Chandler's personal trainer, but they fight throughout the entire episode.
    • Despite being brother and sister, Ross and Monica rarely had stories with just the two of them after Monica begins dating Chandler. They grew up together, so there wasn't much new territory for their relationship.
    • In early seasons Joey and Rachel played it straight but in the second half of the show they developed a much more significant relationship. Again makes sense as it coincided with the Chandler/Monica relationship and before then Joey/Chandler and Rachel/Monica were the two most common storyline pairs. The Chandler/Monica pairing up opened an obvious niche for them
    • Another odd example is Monica and Rachel in later seasons. In seasons 1-5, they were the second most prominent friendship after Joey/Chandler, but from season 6 onwards (after "The One On The Last Night") they almost never have one-on-one interactions. In contrast to Joey/Chandler who, while not inseparable as they were early on, still get a decent number of storylines in later seasons. This is somewhat justified since season 6 is when Rachel moves out of Monica's apartment so Chandler can move in.
  • Full House:
    • Kimmy Gibbler is a downplayed example, mostly because she is DJ's friend while everyone else in the house hates her. She also has some significant interaction with Jesse and Stephanie, but rarely interacts with Danny, Michelle, or Rebecca, and you could count the number of times she interacts with Joey over the course of the series on one hand. Aside from one babysitting side plot, she also never has any real interaction with the twins.
    • Joey and Rebecca interact occasionally, but never really have stories together.
  • The George Lopez Show: While the Lopez family do tend to interact a fair amount with each other, Carmen and Benny don't seem to interact much. Same goes for Carmen and Vic. She's not very good with her grandparents.
  • On Both Versions of Ghosts it is a supernaturally enforced trope with Mike/Jay. While both of them in their respective series likes the Ghosts just fine, given they can't see them like their wives Alison/Samantha, they rarely have any chance to interact with their undead housemates.
  • Ghostwriter: Some members of the Ghostwriter Team get little to no one-on-one time. For example, Tina and Rob rarely interact without any of the others around. This is ironic because they probably have the most in common with each other. Both are shy, introverted, creative people who start as outsiders before joining the team. Tina even once admitted that she can relate to Rob.
  • On Girlfriends, Joan, Maya, and Lynn all get significant one on one time with male friend William throughout the series, but Toni very rarely interacts with William outside of a group. Later, in Season 7 when Monica permanently joins the group (after several guest appearances over several seasons), both Joan and Lynn take several episodes to bury the bad blood between themselves and Monica, leading to quite a few one-on-one interactions between Monica and Joan/Lynn. That did not happen with Maya, despite hating Monica as much as the other two.
  • Glee: The Glee club consider each other family, however with up to and sometimes over 12 kids in the Glee club at any given time, it would be downright impossible to develop strong friendships between all the characters.
    • Blaine Anderson never seemed to hang out with anybody in the club upon his transfer to McKinley High in Season 3. He mainly hung around with boyfriend Kurt at the start of the year, only expanding his relationships with others in the last half of the season. By Season 4, when Kurt has graduated, he becomes best friends with Sam, forming two-thirds of a Power Trio with Tina, as well as having friendly moments with Artie, Brittany, Ryder, Jake, and Marley.
    • Considering that they're meant to be in the Unholy Trinity together with Santana, the characters of Brittany and Quinn never really hung out.
    • Rachel and Puck become this in Season 3, which seemed strange as the first two seasons had developed an odd but charming friendship between the pair.
  • Happy Endings had an episode in which siblings-in-law Brad and Alex have the exact same problem as Robin and Marshall; in this instance, their interaction is encouraged by Jane, Brad's wife/Alex's sister.
  • Invoked in How I Met Your Mother that had an episode where Robin and Marshall hung out solely because they realized that they had never hung out one-on-one together (which is actually a Continuity Snarl as there was an episode prior where they hung out together at a Minnesota-themed bar Marshall frequents).
  • Impractical Jokers: Early on, most team challenges would pair Joe with Murr and Q with Sal. This would change later on, with each Joker having teamed together at least a few times.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
    • Dennis and Charlie rarely have storylines together without Mac or Frank acting as an intermediary between the two. In the show's storyline, Mac and Charlie were childhood friends and only met Dennis in high school. Mac spends more time with Dennis than Charlie does because Mac and Dennis are roommates, while Charlie lives in a hovel with Frank.
    • Almost as rare are storylines with Mac and Dee, as the latter tends to have most of her storylines with her twin brother Dennis, her adoptive father Frank, or Charlie.
    • Frank and Dennis also rarely have storylines together without someone else as an intermediary. This gets lampshaded in the episode "Dee Sinks Into a Bog", when Frank and Dennis are left alone in a room and realise that they have nothing to talk with each other about, pointing out that they usually have someone else present to act as a buffer.
  • On Living Single, while everyone works well collectively as a group and with Khadijah (given she's the main character), certain members of the group don't seem to have much screen time with one another. This is the case of Overton and any woman not Synclaire and Khadijah, who are his wife and his wife's cousin, respectively, but in particular with Regine. note  Then there's also Kyle and Synclaire who didn't have much interaction as well as her and Max, too. That being said, it seems that the aforementioned males have something of a level of contempt for the females and vice versa, even if it only pops up on rare occasions (one episode had Kyle annoyed that Synclaire was invading his shared apartment with Overton once she and the latter began dating, though her eccentricities would annoy any normal person, like using an iron to make a grilled cheese sandwich.)
  • Lost: The only main character who meets every other main character is Jack. Among the original Flight 815 survivors, Jin is only seen interacting with Locke a couple of times and doesn't interact with Jack very often, either. Among other characters, Desmond and Juliet almost never interact.
  • Lucifer:
    • Since her profession is outside of law enforcement, Linda isn't particularly close with Dan and Ella, though they are nominally friends because of their shared connection to Lucifer. She isn't seen interacting with the former until season 4 and the latter until season 5, even though they have been in the same orbit for several years. Her relationship with Chloe used to be this, but they have had some bonding moments, especially after Chloe starts dating Lucifer.
    • Despite his role in her conception and her close relationship with his brother, Chloe rarely interacts with Amenadiel until season 4, when they begin to converse much more regularly.
  • After season one of Merlin, Arthur and Morgana had barely any scenes with each other. This was partly due to the constraints of the plot, in which Morgana grows ever more isolated, but even once the reveal that Arthur and Morgana were half-siblings occurred, there was never much effort to capitalize on their new relationship.
  • Million Yen Women: Nanaka at some point notices that almost never speaks with Yuki, despite the two of them having lived in the same house for six months. Yuki outright states that she considers Nanaka to be too dimwitted to be worth speaking to.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: Not at first, but Cookie and Moze eventually become this by the third season, in which they only share one B-Plot together in one episode and hardly interact anymore otherwise.
  • The O.C. has Ryan and Summer, and Seth and Marissa. Their personalities clash, and they mostly have scenes with other people. Interestingly enough, the friendship of Seth/Summer/Ryan/Marissa works out pretty well.
  • Odd Squad has a work-related variation. As the show primarily takes place in a workplace where the main characters are in different departments within the eponymous organization (for the first two seasons, at least), there are numerous dynamics between main characters and side characters — some more impactful than others. There's no significant interaction between the main characters from all three seasons either, barring Odd Squad: The Movie and OddTube.
    • Olive and Otto, being partners, are the most prominently featured dynamic, with another character (sometimes another agent, other times a client) sometimes acting as an intermediary. Otto and Oscar had one episode where they spent a good amount of screen time together ("The Trouble with Centigurps"), as did Olive and Oscar ("Oscar of All Trades"). Oprah does interact with Olive and Otto in a majority of episodes but doesn't usually go any further than just giving them cases, and has full-on interactions with Oscar on a personal level, more so than Olive and Otto, due to him serving as an assistant of sorts. She also rarely has interactions with Olive or Otto one-on-one. On the other side of the coin, Oscar has frequent interactions with both Olive and Otto due to the Investigation and Science departments being close-knit and working together to fight oddness. In addition, it's very rare for Olive, Otto, Oscar, and Oprah to interact together as a whole group, only doing so in a sparse couple of episodes.
    • Season 2 has Olympia and Otis also be the most popular dynamic since they're partners like Olive and Otto. However, there's more variety when it comes to interactions, with three episodes focusing on Oona and Ocean in particular. Otis and Oprah interact far more often than the latter did with Olive or Otto due to the fact that their relationship goes beyond being merely boss-to-employee, having a few episode storylines with them interacting ("Three's Company", "Odd Squad Needs You", "Who is Agent Otis?"). Olympia and Oona are shown having frequent interactions with each other in numerous episodes such as "Olympia's Day" and "The Perfect Score", while Otis and Oona interact in "License to Science". Like Olive and Otto with Oscar, Olympia, and Otis also interact with Oona frequently, while Oscar acted as an intermediary prior to his departure from the show. Oprah also interacts with Olympia and Otis more frequently than with Olive and Otto, going beyond her usual role of giving them cases to solve and having two episodes with her prominently interacting with them, and while she does interact with Oona in more than one episode, it's not on a personal level like with Oscar. However, like in the previous season, it's very rare that Oprah, Otis, Olympia, and Oona interact as a group, only doing it in one or two episodes.
    • This trope is defied by Omar in "Running on Empty", but is played straight for the rest of Season 3. In that episode, he splits the Mobile Unit into two different pairs — him and Oswald, along with Orla and Opal — so they can bond with each other. This becomes a mainstay for the rest of the season, and every single member of the Mobile Unit interacts with each other at least once. However, the Big O, who is part of the core cast, doesn't really have any meaningful interactions with any of the agents (neither in a group nor one-on-one) outside of giving them missions, with only two episodes having her hold a conversation that isn't about what case they have to solve.
  • Despite having a large cast, The Office (US) does a pretty good job of having all the characters interact with each other at one point or another but this does occur occasionally.
    • Jim and Angela never have a scene with just the two of them interacting and they almost never interact in group settings either. This one is especially odd since both Jim and Angela interact most often with Pam and Dwight (who also have many one-on-one scenes amongst themselves). Angela is also never seen interacting with Stanley either.
    • Meredith and Ryan; aside from a single comment Meredith makes to him when he takes the desk across from her, the two of them are very rarely seen talking to each other.
    • Creed is rarely seen interacting with Stanley, Phyllis, or Kevin.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • Subverted with Ann and April. Despite April going out of her way to avoid interacting with Ann due to her being Andy's ex, they still have a surprising amount of interaction: Ann is April's nurse when she is sick with the flu, Ann drives April to her vet school tour, and the two of them even have a touching moment in Ann's goodbye episode.
    • Donna has this with Leslie (her boss) of all people: of all the Parks and Rec staff, they have the least interactions total, and the least amount of scenes (although there was one episode focused on the Leslie-Donna relationship).
    • Outside of Ben's first few appearances in Season 2, we see very little of Ben and Ron together. Which is surprising, considering they're both close to Andy, April, and Leslie, and Ron loves cutting expenses, which is Ben's main job as Assistant City Manager.
  • Psych:
    • Out of the main cast, Gus mainly teams up with Shawn. Whenever he interacts with another character, Shawn is usually present. It makes sense given that Shawn is the only reason why he needs to interact with the SBPD, since out of the remaining four main characters, 3 are part of the department and the fourth is Shawn's father.
      • Gus and Lassie worked together to save Jules in "Mr. Yin Presents", and Lassie approaches Gus for help in "Feet Don't Kill Me Now"
      • Gus and Jules have even less interaction. The closest we have to a team-up between the two is "A Very Juliet Episode", where she asks him to find her ex-boyfriend without Shawn's knowledge, and it doesn't take long for Shawn to get involved. In "You Can't Handle This Episode", it turns out that while Jules told her brother all about Shawn, she said nothing about Gus - not even his name, much to his annoyance.
    • Henry and Lassiter barely had any team-ups between each other, besides "Shawn Takes A Shot in the Dark", where both of them team up to find a kidnapped Shawn.
  • Reba: A family variation. It's very rare to see Cheyenne and Jake interact. The few times they do interact, it's brief, unpleasant and they usually have Van, Kyra, or Reba as an intermediary.
  • Rimmer and the Cat almost never interacted in the early seasons of Red Dwarf: Rimmer didn't think of the Cat as a person, and the Cat, before he got more domesticated later on, had no interest in a man who couldn't feed him.
  • One of the (many) issues fans had with season three of Robin Hood was this trope in effect. What had previously been a close-knit group of outlaws, with an interesting range of dynamics between them, was now populated by individuals who had virtually nothing to do with each other. Allan and Much become Those Two Guys, which is either heartwarming or random considering they could barely stand each other in the previous seasons, but Robin and Much (previously Platonic Life-Partners and the second-most important relationship of the show) are practically strangers throughout season three. Little John has no storylines with anyone (his one character-centric episode has him completely separated from the rest of the group) and Tuck and Kate never exchange a single word of dialogue with each other.
  • Rules of Engagement:
    • Russell and Jennifer don't have a plot with just the two of them until the seventh and final season.
    • There's an earlier episode in which this is lampshaded between Jeff and Jennifer who realized they never hung out until they go shopping for Megyn (in fact, Jeff does not even know Jennifer's last name). This is further lampshaded by Russell, who admits he rarely hung out with her too, mostly because he would always end up looking at her chest.
  • Seinfeld:
    • "The Dog," from Season 3, is one of the first times George and Elaine have to interact without Jerry as a buffer, and they realize that they have nothing in common. They manage to overcome their awkwardness only by gossiping about Jerry, which quickly grows old. (In later seasons, however, George and Elaine have a number of storylines featuring just the two of them.)
    • Newman and George, who are in some ways quite similar characters, never interact much.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series probably intended Sulu and Chekov to be buddies. These two characters weren't too dissimilar in age and attitudes. However, both seem to be grouped together because they both suffer from being the original series' most prominent satellite characters. In most cases, either got paired up with Uhura instead of together. The fact that they both have the same job doesn't help, as one frequently fills in for the other, meaning they frequently appear without the other.
    • Rectified somewhat in Star Trek: Generations: Chekov is shown to know more of Sulu in his private life as he's the one to introduce Demora Sulu (Hikaru's daughter) to Kirk, who was surprised to learn that Sulu had a family, and at the beginning of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Sulu and Chekov are shown to have been hiking in Yosemite together. They also don't seem to have been a part of Kirk, Spock, and Bones' campsite.
    • The portrayal of Sulu and Chekov as friends was initially inhibited by the fact that during the second season (Chekov's first season on the show), due to George Takei simultaneously acting in The Green Berets, they often appeared only in alternate episodes.
    • The Expanded Universe goes the other way with them: they're practically inseparable, and Chekov eventually becomes Sulu's first officer on the Excelsior.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation spin-off novel "Immortal Coil", Doctor Beverly Crusher explicitly notes that she and Data are a loose example of this; while the senior staff of the Enterprise still spend time together, Data and Crusher don't spend that much time together as Data obviously doesn't require her medical services that often.
  • Played With on Supernatural between Sam and Cas. While Cas and Dean gradually develop a friendship over the fourth season, he and Sam are indifferent to each other at best, and often slightly hostile to each other. By the fifth season, Cas acknowledges Sam outright as a friend, and Sam seems to feel the same, but they rarely interact without Dean until Season 9, from which point they do develop their own friendship which is actually far calmer and less fraught than Dean and Cas' friendship.
  • Eric and Jackie barely had any storylines with only the two of them in That '70s Show. While Jackie started out as The Friend Nobody Likes, eventually the entire gang warmed up to her, and she eventually shared storylines with pretty much all of them... except for Eric, who kept wanting to have nothing to do with her throughout the series.
  • Victorious: Due to the show's fairly large ensemble, some of the relationships in the main cast seem closer than others, as Tori and surprisingly Robbie is the only one to have significant plot lines with everybody. Cat rarely has any storylines with Andre or Beck that don't involve another intermediary, Andre rarely has interactions with Cat or supposed best friend Beck, Jade doesn't really hang out with anybody besides Cat or Beck despite in group tag-alongs, and Beck rarely has storylines outside Jade or Tori (despite one very memorable episode with Robbie). Jade and Tori's relationship, while a dominant focus throughout the series, rarely has episodes where they actually hang out alone... though some have noted there's a considerably more open and less hostile dynamic between them when they're away from the outside social world.
  • This occasionally happens on The Walking Dead, due to the large cast. For the same reason, they can also be hard to notice.
    • The most notable example is probably Michonne and Carol. Despite being main characters, they almost never interact with each other. In fact, before Season 9 (in which they finally share a lengthy conversation), the only two times where they're seen together are in "No Sanctuary," when Michonne thanks Carol for saving them all from Terminus, and in "Them," where they are shown hugging in the background, both of which are very minor instances.
    • Daryl and Merle are brothers, but they never appear onscreen together in Season 1. Aside from Merle appearing to Daryl as a hallucination in Season 2's "Chupacabra," they never even see each other until halfway through Season 3 in "Made to Suffer."
    • Glenn has almost no interactions with his sister-in-law Beth.
    • Carol and Eugene have their first real interaction midway through Season 10 when they and a couple of other characters are split off from the rest of the Hilltop group. This is despite the fact that they'd simultaneously been a major part of the show for over half its run by that point,note  and are both among the longest-running characters on the show.
  • Will & Grace: Jack/Grace and Will/Karen, though both pairings have a few moments, the show doesn't focus much on their interactions. In one episode of season 8, Will and Karen lampshade this trope when they are alone.
  • Another family variation occurs in Young Sheldon. Among the members of the Cooper family, Sheldon and Georgie seldom interact with each other. In fact, "Kirk, Spock and Testicular Hernia" and "A Slump, a Cross and Roadside Gravel" are the only episodes (as of this writing) to feature the two spending a significant amount of time together without the others as an intermediary.

    Video Games 
  • In each Criminal Case game (except in the first one for some reason) the player has two main partners who accompany them during most cases, mainly so they can repeat what the player says. However, these partners alternate between who is the one accompanying the player while the other is mostly relegated to the background or is flat-out absent during the case. As such, interactions between Amy and Frank, Carmen and Jack, Isaac and Madeline, Gloria and Jones, Jack and Zara, Gwen and Luke, and Hugo and Carrie tend to be very rare and limited.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Averted by necessity in Dragon Age: Origins, because the group is very small and, owing to the situation, are together virtually all the time. There are conversations that pop up between characters while wandering around, and the developers made sure that every possible pairing has at least a few. That said, some of them really don't like each other, and it's only the circumstances of the Blight that keep them in proximity at all.
    • Mostly averted in Dragon Age II, where various characters can be seen hanging out at each other's places; for example, Hawke may visit Anders to find Varric is just leaving, or can drop by Aveline's office in time to see her chatting with Isabela. There are even moments indicating that they have interactions with lesser characters (for instance, if you save the little elf girl from the serial killer in Act 1, she ends up joining the city guard under Aveline in Act 3). Played straight in the case of Hawke's sibling, who always leaves the party at the end of Act 1 in one way or anothernote ; if they're brought back in later acts for either of the DLC campaigns, the other companions may talk about how little time they get to spend together.
    • Sera may call you out on this in Dragon Age: Inquisition, depending on when she is recruited and how soon you interact with her after she is. If she is recruited before the Inquisition moves to Skyhold, but you don't interact with her until after the move, or if you recruit her after the move and don't speak to her at the first opportunity, she gets tetchy with you about ignoring her.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Kain and Rydia of Final Fantasy IV are not only major characters in the final party but are two of the biggest ensemble darkhorses and breakout characters of the Final Fantasy series in general, gaining them more time and attention in the sequel. They've pretty much never interacted.
    • The winner of this trope in the Final Fantasy series is Final Fantasy VI. Despite how much of this game's decades of fame has been spent talking about its characters and story, the reality is that this game was just Squaresoft showing off how many playable characters they could have, branching scenarios and fights, and side quests they could come up with this time around. Only Terra, Locke, Edgar, Celes, Setzer and maybe Sabin have any lasting significance to the plot and therefore the most interactions with each other. Cyan, Gau, Shadow, Mog, Strago, and Relm may as well have functioned as just slightly more of a one-shot character than Leo; and Umaro and Gogo are completely irrelevant to the game altogether. Part of the reason for this is that the structure of the game itself is unorthodox - of the 40 hours you would spend doing everything there is to do, only the first 20 hours have conventional plot and progress, the other "half" of the game only involves a few chapters before you get the airship and you can just get to the end dungeon right there. There just isn't room for 12 characters to hang out much with each other when characters become interchangeable 10 hours after the start. It's particularly telling that a lot of dialogue that comes from characters do not assign a speaker and are programmed to be just as interchangeable. The other half of the game does allow you to explore the other characters more and get some additional rare interactions in side quests and in the ending (one short side quest in particular has the whole group suddenly take a break from their quest to fuss over buying clothes for Gau, the least interacted-with non-optional character in the group), but again it only functions as content for the player, not bringing the group closer to each other. At the end, most are still just strangers that never talk to each other or seem to care.
    • Due to the heavy focus on Cloud in Final Fantasy VII, a lot of party members never get interactions with one another outside of him.
      • Barret does best of all, getting juicy scripted interactions with Tifa, Cait Sith, Cid, Yuffie, and Red XIII as well as with Cloud; Aerith and Tifa get several scenes together, although most of them are about Tifa getting jealous of Aerith's relationship with Cloud; Red XIII gets a brief scene with Tifa; Yuffie shows up to argue with Barret during his brief time as party leader; and Vincent at one point tells Cid "let's go back to our rooms". Everything else is only implied at best or entirely absent. At least in both Yuffie's and Vincent's case, it comes across as a deliberate character choice (Yuffie seems affectionate towards Cloud but antagonistic towards everyone else; Vincent rarely feels the need to talk).
      • Aerith and Barret don't interact very much considering Aerith got caught up in AVALANCHE by saving the life of Barret's daughter, and they were two of the game's three party members during development for a while. Their main interaction is the scene in the Gold Saucer, where Aerith deliberately antagonises Barret even though he's already in a bad mood and refuses to apologize when Tifa calls her out on it, implying that Aerith doesn't actually like him very much. This is also the case in Final Fantasy VII Remake, where thanks to the game's structurenote , they only get one battle together (the Arsenal) and they barely have what can be considered a "conversation" before the end of the game.
    • Despite there being only six main party members in Final Fantasy XII, we never see much of any sort of group dynamic. Everyone has at least SOME connection to another member of the group, but scenes developing their relationships are sparse at best. You could quite easily play through the entire game with the idea that most of them don't really like each other, and Penelo might as well have just stayed at home for all the impact she has on both the plot and the party. Possibly justified as Vaan and Penelo were added late into the game's development and original plans for the game involved Basch as the protagonist.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Dimitri, Ingrid, Felix, and Sylvain are all long-standing friends, but Dimitri and Sylvain are the only pair of the group not able to A support each other (their supports cap at B), implying they just aren't as close. And when Dimitri is killed on the Verdant Wind or Silver Snow routes, Sylvain is the only member of the Blue Lions period to opt not to mention him, instead focusing on the upcoming battle.
  • In Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Kamila and Amelie are described by various other characters as friends and playmates, which makes sense, given that they're little girls of a similar age who live in adjacent apartments. However, they never share screen time together in the actual game, not even during the epilogue scenes. It's presumably intended to explain why the kidnappers who target Amelie end up snatching Kamila instead, although the fact that they're next-door neighbours could alone have accounted for that just as easily.
  • Downplayed throughout the Kingdom Hearts series but Riku and Kairi don't have too many moments actually interacting or conversing with one another in a meaningful way as they do with Sora, at least rarely on-screen. They clearly care about one another since Kairi is the motivation behind much of Riku's actions in the first game while Kairi is very happy to reunite with Riku again in II. Not to mention, the events of the games frequently keep the trio from being together but it's still rather noticeable. By the time of III, they don't say a single word to one another at any point in the game despite several opportunities to do so.
    • Word of God indicates that this is intentional, as Nomura has spoken in two separate interviews (one in the Ultimania for II and one in the pre-release promotion for III) about depicting childhood friends growing apart as they get older, the former interview in particular addresses this concept in relation to Kairi.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel:
    • It was inevitable that the game was gonna get hit with this trope due to the sheer size of just the playable cast starting with nine of them with Rean being the primary point of view character. It also doesn't help that half of the chapters has the other characters off-camera doing their own thing due to the game splitting the class up. In fact, it would be easier to list who hangs out with one another rather than this trope. Although in the spirit of the trope page, a few examples include Crow with most of Class VII barring Elliot and Rean, Gaius with either Alisa, Laura, or Fie, and Millium with everyone barring Jusis and Rean. And that's just for starters.
    • Cold Steel III tried to rectify the issue by downsizing to just four starting characters with two more joining in the New Class VII led by Rean, now a Badass Teacher, but this trope still prevails. Examples include Kurt and Musse, and Ash and Altina. It gets worse in Cold Steel IV where both old and new Class VII join up and the cast gets bloated.
    • Somewhat rectified in The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie at least with New Class VII where both Kurt and Musse do hang out with each other and actually have a shared side story alongside Juna for the ride, and Ash and Altina are together with Rean in his route in chapter 2 of the game.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, Meryl and Otacon never interact, despite being characters so similar that Otacon will play Meryl's role in the ending if she doesn't survive, and despite Meryl's ultimate love interest being a character very similar to Otacon. The original game (not the remake) contains a brief scene where Otacon remarks on how cute Meryl's "behind" is to Snake, meaning he has at least seen her in person; the one time Meryl mentions him, she's apparently really worried about him (again suggesting that they know each other), but since his name hadn't come up in her script at all before, the voice actress mispronounces it. They don't interact in Metal Gear Solid 4, where Meryl gets into a romance with Akiba, a character with similar nomenclature and personality to Otacon - Otacon is invited to her wedding but spends it lurking around in the corner, chatting to the uninvited Drebin.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 3 provides several examples of this within the dynamics of SEES as a group, even though the characters all live in the same dorm.
      • SEES, unlike the Investigation Team and Phantom Thieves of Hearts, is a relatively cliquey group as third years Mitsuru and Akihiko have known each other since childhood whilst the second years are all relatively new to the team. As such, the Protagonist, Junpei and Yukari share a ˇThree Amigos! relationship and plenty of scenes together, as the trio are all in the same class, whilst Fuuka easily falls in with them when she joins the party as they're all second years; whilst Shinjiro spends the majority of his screen time with Akihiko, and is commonly found relaxing away from the rest of the group upon joining the team. It's only after Character Development kicks in that the group starts to become closer and actually feel like a group of friends, and sometimes only after a concerted effort by a specific party - such as Yukari helping Mitsuru cope with the death of her father. The bad ending reinforces this trope, as the team lose their memories of the Dark Hour - whilst everyone still lives in the same dorm, they've separated back into their initial cliques, with the Protagonist only retaining his friendships with Junpei and Yukari because he befriended them on his first day at Gekkoukan High, before all the drama with the Dark Hour started.
      • Within gameplay, the Protagonist doesn't share any Social Links with the male members of SEES, so subsequently never spends any one-on-one time with Junpei, Akihiko, Ken, and Shinjiro. This would be partially amended in Persona 3 Portable and the introduction of the Female Protagonist, who shares Social Links with every member of the group. The difference in the relationships the Protagonists share with their teammates would ultimately be addressed in Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, as the Female Protagonist would get to interact with her male counterpart and his friends, whilst Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight gives the Male Protagonist lots of one-on-one time with each member of SEES.
    • In Persona 5 Royal there’s Kasumi Yoshizawa. Despite being advertised as a new teammate to the Phantom Thieves, she only ever spends time with Joker and Akechi - and in the latter's case, it's partially because they already knew each other in passing. This is jarring when Marie still managed to come across as friends with the other members of the Investigation Team. While all of the other Phantom Thieves have Showtime attacks with two of the members they're closest with(for example, Morgana has one with Ann, who he has a crush on, as well as with Haru, whom he partnered with after briefly leaving the group), Kasumi's only Showtime partner is Joker, a distinction she shares with Akechi.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Tails and Cream barely ever communicate with each other. It's rather odd considering Sonic and Knuckles interact with their female counterparts quite often.
    • Ever since Sonic Heroes, more or less every character has been filed into a niche "team" that rarely interacts with the rest of the cast outside of their teams aside from Sonic himself, bordering on being an entire roster of Satellite Characters. Typically they're divided into "Team Sonic",note  "Team Dark",note  "Team Rose",note  "Team Chaotix", note  and the duo of Blaze the Cat and Silver, with Cream occasionally grouped with them due to her close relationship with Blaze. Particularly egregious with Team Chaotix, since they barely even interacted with the rest of the cast before suddenly being close enough to be invited to Sonic's Birthday party, only to spend the entire party standing by themselves.
    • Even within the teams themselves this happens. Knuckles and Tails rarely interact nowadays unless it's plot mandated they do, Cream has more or less never spoken a word to Silver despite how close she is to Blaze, all of Team Rose rarely has anything to do with Big unless they need a third wheel, etc. Really, they're all basically just there to talk to Sonic and no one else.
  • The Splatoon series has a veritable ocean of characters that only gets larger by the game, so it was inevitable that they'd struggle with writing interactions between them. A particularly noteworthy example is the relationship between the Squid Sisters and Off the Hook. Though they're supposedly on very good terms and are frequently shown hanging out in official artwork and tie-in media, they barely interact in canon, outside of one picture of the four eating lunch together and a few passing mentions in Marina's chat logs. In fact, Off the Hook spends more screen time with the Squid Sisters' grandpa than the girls themselves. Especially odd, considering the two groups are inextricably linked to each other. Splatoon 3 averts this with the new idol trio Deep Cut by actually including them in the "Return of the Mammalians" story mode and giving them substantial interactions with the Squid Sisters... but does nothing to rectify the situation with Off the Hook. In fact, it actually got worse — Callie and Marie never even mention Pearl and Marina across the entire "Return of the Mammalians" campaign. With Splatoon 3 marking a full-on switch to Rotating Arcs for the idol groups, this is unlikely to ever change.
  • Steins;Gate: Apart from the main foursome of Okabe, Kurisu, Mayuri, and Daru, pretty much every other character is a Satellite Character. Despite being Lab Members, Ruka, Moeka, Suzuha, and Faris/Rumiho have little to no interaction with each other. In fact, the only time any of these characters share lines, Suzuha is pointing a gun at Moeka, who just shot Mayuri.
  • In Heart of the Woods, Tara and Abigail are the only two characters in the main group of four who never get a one-on-one conversation, possibly because they only meet near the end of the game.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, while most pairs of main characters receive at least a few Z-skits of dialogue with each other, there is precious little interaction between Raine and Presea. Colette and Regal don't interact very much, either, apart from one endgame skit involving the two of them and Lloyd.
  • Team Fortress 2: With a cast of nine main characters (sorta, depending on how you consider team colors) who seem to be fairly friendly with each other within their teams, the game tends to be pretty fair with its cast in terms of screen time, but a clear pattern of groups has formed after seven years, with some serious neglect to non-traditional arrangements. The comics and animated shorts show that they clearly have time off and sometimes do things that don't involve killing everyone. In spite of this, the limited overlap between the nine of them is surprising in the supplemental material.
    • Scout is often seen opposite Spy or Soldier, and sometimes Heavy.
    • Soldier gets the most coverage, playing off Scout, Heavy, Demoman, Pyro, and Spy. This is probably because he's a complete nutjob and they're great foils for his idiocy.
    • Pyro only seems to get screen time with Engineer, and a bit with Soldier.
    • Demoman seems to only hang out with Soldier.
    • Heavy is usually seen with Medic, of course, but he also shows up alongside Scout and Soldier as a Comic Trio.
    • Engineer's only meaningful interactions so far seem to be with Pyro and perhaps Medic.
    • Medic gets screen time with Heavy, naturally, but also a bit with Engineer.
    • Sniper doesn't seem to get a lot in the way of 'hanging out' with any of the others, fittingly enough.
    • Spy gets Scout and Soldier as his major costars.
  • In Until Dawn, a game about a close group of friends that is ripe with player choices, two pairings of the eight main characters — Sam/Matt and Ashley/Jessica — never directly interact a single time in the entire game, no matter what choices are made.

    Visual Novels 
  • Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair: The cast consists of ten teenagers attending a Halloween party together, but since the group is composed of a couple cliques, some people are only friends of friends and don't have much of a connection to one another. For example, Raiko has only recently gotten to know Momoko at the time of the party, while Mika doesn't interact much with many people besides Raiko(the girl she's trying to scare) before befriending Kamen in the good ending.

    Web Animation 
  • SMG4: Inevitable with a cast of so many characters. Some examples are SMG4 with Meggy; Luigi, Toad, and Meggy (Toad hates everyone and Luigi gels better with Tari); and Peach with most of the modern additions to the main cast. Slowly subverted as the series goes on, however. Also, Bowser also barely interacts with Wario or Waluigi.
  • NostalgiaSquare:
    • NostalgiaSquare very rarely interacts with NostalgiaGirl (they only ever talked to each other in NostalgiaGirl's Crush) and has never once interacted Cool Blue, despite the three of them being considered main characters.
    • Evil NostalgiaSquare, the presumed main antagonist, has only interacted with NostalgiaSquare (who is his good counterpart), Green Square and Chryso throughout the series.
    • Green Square and Scratch Cat also rarely interacts with the modern cast, such as Classic Bully, Sidney, Cool Blue, Classic Bully 2, Starboy, Fallen Star, Clancy, Classical Bully, Molly, and Cronica.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Strong Mad and Strong Sad, who are brothers and live in the same house, almost never interact without their other brother Strong Bad as an intermediary.
  • RWBY's titular team has Ruby and Blake, who get along quite well, but as of Volume 7 still lack any major on-screen moments of interaction compared to every other team member combination. Ruby & Weiss and Blake & Yang are Bash Sisters within the greater team dynamic and are Vitriolic Best Buds and Fire-Forged Friends, respectively. Ruby and Yang are half-siblings, with the latter even having a motherly role in the former's upbringing, while Blake and Weiss built a bond after reconciling their differences regarding Faunus and the White Fang. Finally, Weiss and Yang have acted as a secondary combat duo on occasion, such as fighting together in the Vytal Tournament in Volume 3. In Volume 8 Ruby and Blake are finally placed in a situation where they have to work together more than previously, and both are given a scene focusing on just the two of them together, with Blake telling Ruby how she's always seen her. It either comes off sudden or sweet, considering their rare interactions before. Funnily enough, this isn't the case in RWBY Chibi, where Ruby and Blake have some of the more memorable skits, especially due to Ruby's interest in Blake's Ninjas Of Love books.

  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Prior to the "Maybe Sisters" storyline in 2016, Ellen and Susan hadn't shared the same room since the "Grace's Birthday Party" arc in 2006.
    • Prior to the "MV5" storyline in 2015, the last time Ellen and Sarah had spoken to each other was during the "Sister 2" arc in 2008. This is lampshaded during the former storyline:
    Grace: Also, you two have hardly spent any time together and it seems that you should.
    • Prior to the "One Way Road" storyline in 2011, the last time Ellen and Tedd talked was during the "Sister 2" arc in 2008.
    • Prior to the "Squirrel Prophet" storyline in 2014, the last time Sarah and Justin talked was during the "Hidden Genesis" arc in 2007.
    • Prior to the "Hair" storyline in 2012, the last time Sarah and Nanase talked was during the "Hidden Genesis" arc in 2007.
  • Homestuck:
    • Rose and Jade are seen interacting far less than any other pair of beta kids. This is probably because they are the only two who a) aren't a server-client pair, and b) neither one of them is John (who as the protagonist gets the most screen time — especially in the earlier acts — and gets to talk a lot to everybody regardless of server/client status).
    • Since there are 12 trolls, there are numerous pairs of trolls who never or rarely interacted. Probably the most glaring example is Kanaya and Terezi, who are two of the most important troll characters in the series, as well as two of the barely-more-than-half who survive to the end. They're both quite close to Karkat, and occasional dialogue from each of them suggests that she considers the other among her best friends as well...but they are somehow never shown directly talking to each other one-on-one a single time in the entire story outside of walkarounds.
    • The B2 (post-Scratch) kids avoided this trope within their group.
    • There's also the "meteor crew", the group that spent 3 years on the trolls' meteor during Act 6. Dave lampshades this trope regarding himself and Kanaya at one point. Also, Karkat and Rose never talked much.
    • The 12 Beforan trolls are even worse, as they're all introduced three to four at a time in Flash game segments, where the others get cameo appearances if at all. For example, Aranea has only ever interacted with Meenah, and Mituna has never been portrayed speaking to Kurloz nor Latula, who are respectively his best friend and girlfriend.
  • Piro and Largo from Megatokyo. While initially they were together most of the time, as time went on, their storylines started to diverge greatly, with Largo's focusing more on being "Great Teacher Largo", random shenanigans, fighting zombies, and building "f34rb0ts", while Piro's went to the exploration of relationships, comparing the reality to fiction, dealing with his emotional baggage and previous relationship with Miho, and just dealing with everyday life, to the point they rarely talked to each other, and when they did they were basically having two different conversations on two different worlds.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent centers around a crew of five exploring a Forbidden Zone and a stowaway. Among them, Emil and Reynir (the stowaway in question) share no language, religious belief, reasons to work together, or desire to be friends, which greatly limits their possibilities of interacting.
    • From Reynir's point of view, the interactions with Mikkel and Tuuri happen via them being the only other Icelandic speakers on the crew. Lalli doesn't like Reynir very much, but both of them being mages and the only ones able to actually do something about the murderous ghosts that have taken a dislike to the crew keeps their interactions from being nonexistent. Sigrun is the commander and shares a religion with Reynir if not a language. This causes her to have a few comments about Reynir's attempts at developing his power (which partly involve getting a little attention from their shared gods) and a couple of incidents before this have given them a few via-translator interaction opportunities.
    • Emil can communicate verbally fairly easily with Tuuri, Sigrun, and Mikkel. He has also taken a liking to Lalli despite their lack of shared language that has developed into a full-blown Odd Friendship. His only real visible interactions with Reynir have been Emil treating Reynir as a prisoner upon his arrival at Sigrun's command, and several chapters later insulting him in a moment of frustration because he happened to be right next to him. Otherwise, Emil seems to only even pay attention to Reynir in one type of situation: when both Lalli and Reynir have a completely simultaneous reaction to something that only they can see, giving a little shake to Emil's lack of belief in magic and spirits in the process.
  • TRU-Life Adventures, because of the size of its cast, has a number of minor characters who only interact with one or two others, often serving as a foil to them specifically. Dorian, for example, exists to antagonize Bert and has only shared scenes with Bob and Neal otherwise. Among characters who appear with more regularity, Stephanie and Hector have never been seen interacting. And since being demoted, Simon only ever talks to Darby or Mike.

    Web Original 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: While the original series doesn't acknowledge it, in the Abridged adaptation, Piccolo and Goku both acknowledge the fact that, despite being battle-hungry warriors with strong grudges, Piccolo and Vegeta have never actually fought each other.

  • Game Grumps has a few examples, but since all of the players hang out regularly off-camera, they're all simply informed attributes until fleshed out farther.
    • The first few episodes of Steam Rolled team up Ross and Barry less out of actual chemistry and more out of the fact that Ross's regular partner Danny was too busy being Arin's partner. It didn't help that Barry had been an entirely off-camera presence up until that point, and the only person to have established chemistry with him was no longer on the channel.
    • Danny and Suzy have had almost no interaction within the channel itself, as Steam Rolled has a 4-player maximum and Danny is at the lowest priority of attendance due to being the host of two other shows on the channel. The only episode where they're both playing at the same time was only half the length of a normal episode.
    • Barry and Suzy are the hosts of Table Flip entirely because of fan demands, and even the fan demands were entirely because they were the only two players without their own show to host.
    • Valentine's Day 2014 was dedicated to this, with the Game Grumps episodes of the day starring Arin and Suzy and the Steam Train episode starring Danny and Barry. This is less significant, as these pairs have had a lot of on-camera interactions and are married/roommates respectively, but these were the first episodes to have the pairs on their own without being distracted by other groups.
  • The Sidemen have Olajide "JJ" Olatunji and Harry Lewis, who both do not frequent with the Sidemen much in any non-FIFA videos, especially videos of their Grand Theft Auto V sessions. What makes it worse is that they are the two most popular members of the group, and Harry in particular is also their newest member.
    • For JJ though, he eventually returned to full-time participation with the Sidemen, as he's recording many videos with the Sidemen (reappearing in sessions for Grand Theft Auto V Funny Moments, for example) and has even brought his second channel back after being abandoned for many months. Harry, on the other hand, is still rarely joining the Sidemen, with the Sidemen Sunday videos being his only participation in the Sidemen's non-FIFA videos as of now.
  • In the ever-evolving main cast of Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers, there are naturally some pairs that haven't interacted a lot:
    • Luigi doesn't get much one-on-one interactions with SMG4, Toad, or Meggy. He mainly shares his screen time with Mario.
    • Likewise, Peach mostly interacts with Mario since her screen time diminished, this also means she hasn't even spoken to any of the post-2017 additions to the main cast except Axol.
    • Also, SMG4 himself and Meggy don't interact with each other a lot.
    • Speaking of Meggy, she hasn't interacted much with most of the prominent pre-2017 characters, with the only ones being Steve in "The Minecraft Plague", Swagmaster in "Mario's Prison Escape", and a brief interaction with Old Man Hobo in "Officer Meggy".
      • Likewise, Saiko and Tari have only interacted with the Teletubbies in "The Mario Purge" and the Guards in the Anime Arc; and the former has interacted with SMG3 in "The Day SMG4 Posted Cringe"note  and Peach in "My Mario Academia", but that was revealed to be a Show Within a Show created by Axol, and the latter interacted with Steve in "🌽🌽🌽🌽𝓒𝓸𝓻𝓷🌽🌽🌽🌽".

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Nicole and Darwin only share few scenes with just the two them. Despite being in a lot of plots together with the rest of the family there aren't a lot direct one-on-one interactions between them in those scenarios. They also never shared an episode together without any other family member around.
  • American Dad!:
    • Spoofed in one episode when Steve is shocked that Jeff and Barry have never met after realizing the two share one (minor) commonality. Only thing is, the two really don't have any reason to talk to each other, as Jeff is Hayley's husband (a semi-main character at this point in the show) and Barry is just one of Steve's teenage friends who generally doesn't interact with the rest of the Smith family. (Except for early episode "With Friends Like Steve's" where Stan takes Barry under his wing.) Steve's subplot then centers on him being obsessed with actively defying this trope by setting up a meeting between the two, under the impression that they'd like each other. The whole affair is treated as Serious Business by Steve, and by extension, the rest of the family. The meeting itself is mostly offscreen and ends rather anticlimactically, with Jeff and Barry agreeing to do a project with each other, much to everyone else's disproportionate joy.
    • There are straight examples within Steve's friend group. Steve and Snot are best friends and there are many episodes featuring them hanging out together without Barry or Toshi around. There are only a handful of episodes where Steve hangs out with Barry or Toshi alone. Snot likewise seldom hangs out with Barry or Toshi without Steve present and Toshi pretty much never hangs out with Barry or Snot without Steve around (it's implied that Toshi doesn't really like his friends and merely tolerates them because they're all nerds and he has no other options).
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Toph lampshades the fact she never got to go on a 'life-changing field trip' with Zuko, unlike everyone else. While they get left by themselves a couple of times and you can get a pretty good feel for how they would get along, the fact that Toph joined the cast after Zuko’s turn as an Arc Villain and Zuko joined the good guys shortly before the finale wound up hurt them. In lieu of her "field trip," Toph does get one heart-to-heart conversation with Zuko, which we only catch the end of.
    • In the Interquel comics, it's even worse. Zuko is the closest thing The Promise has to an antagonist, while Toph spends most of her time in an unrelated subplot. In all the subsequent stories, Toph and Zuko alternate joining the adventuring party. The only other story they’re both in is North and South, Gene Luen Yang’s last turn on writing duties, and Toph doesn’t show up until Part 2, while Zuko arrives in Part 3.
    • Come the time of the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, they seem to have been the least close friends of the group. Most notably, in the Korra comics, Korra tries to get Toph to run for Mayor of her hometown in the Earth Kingdom, and Toph points out that it was Aang, Sokka, and Katara who got involved in politics, not she. This pointedly leaves out Zuko, whose political misadventures are a running subplot in the comics Toph isn't in. Zuko also only retired from his head-of-state status about seven years before the events of the comics and his daughter Izumi now has the job.
  • Beast Wars: The characters of Dinobot and Airazor were never shown directly talking to each other despite appearing in scenes together in various episodes; various Predacons, such as Scorponok and Inferno, were also rarely shown interacting, but this is more excusable due to their villainous nature making it hard for them to cooperate.
  • Bonkers: This is a consequence of the show's notorious Troubled Production. Bonkers has as his friends Fall-Apart Rabbit, Jitters A. Dog, Fawn Deer, and Grumbles Grizzly. But because Jitters, Fawn, and Grumbles are mostly exclusive to the Miranda Wright episodes (produced first), and Fall-Apart was created for the Lucky Piquel episodes produced later, they only interact in the one episode that bridges the two together, "New Partners on the Block". This is particularly noticeable because Fawn addresses Fall-Apart by name in that episode.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • With the exception of the Mickey/Donald/Goofy team-up, Disney's animated stars barely interact with each other. Shorts on House of Mouse remedy this a bit by having Mickey share the screen with characters like Huey, Dewey, and Louie ("Mickey's Remedy"), Chip 'n' Dale ("Mickey's Mixed Nuts") and Jose Carioca ("Mickey Tries to Cook").
    • Chip 'n Dale were introduced as new enemies for Pluto in "Private Pluto" (1943). They faced Pluto again in "Squatter's Rights" (1946), "Food for Feudin'" (1950), and "Pluto's Christmas Tree" (1952). They also had brief interactions with Mickey Mouse in two of these Pluto-centric short films. From 1947 to 1956, the duo were most frequently paired with Donald Duck. They were paired with Black Pete once, in the Western-themed "The Lone Chipmunks" (1954). Otherwise, they were never paired with any of Disney's other regular characters, including Donald's own supporting cast.
    • Humphrey the Bear was exclusively seen with Donald.
    • Minnie and Daisy were also more or less Satellite Love Interests to Mickey and Donald respectively until later revivals gave them more individual roles (the two in particular now spend several roles alongside each other).
  • The Dreamstone: Pildit and Spildit, to the point they are never even in a scene together, something that can seem somewhat odd given they are supposedly cousins.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • Donald hasn't interacted with Webby or Launchpad too often. While Donald was absent for the majority of the episodes (especially in the first season), it still doesn't hold water. Even in her few episodes after returning, his sister Della bonded more with Webby and Launchpad than Donald did, especially two-for-one in "The Golden Armory of Cornelius Coot!". Webby is shown to greatly admire Donald as "one of the most daring adventurers of all time" and Donald does hug Webby along with the triplets near the end of "The House of the Lucky Gander". And Donald is shown to keep a photo of Launchpad in his houseboat in "Nothing Can Stop Della Duck", so the material was there, it was just never capitalized on. The latter case with Launchpad was rectified with "The Trickening" showing the two interacting onscreen for the first time, but Donald never had any significant screen time with Webby.
    • Dewey and Louie are rarely seen together without having Huey or Webby as an intermediary though this has been rectified with "Louie's Eleven" giving focus on their relationships without Huey or Webby.
    • Mrs. Beakley has next to no screen time with the boys without Webby as an intermediary. Even in "The Lost Harp of Mervana!" where she gets some one on one interactions with Louie, the conversations are still primarily about Webby.
    • Like the above Mrs. Beakley, Lena hardly ever interacts with any of the boys without Webby serving as an intermediary. "The Split Sword of Swanstantine!" somewhat rectifies this by having her pair up with Huey to find part of the titular sword.
    • Violet's interactions are primarily with Webby and Lena, but she is paired with Huey in "Challenge of the Senior Junior Woodchucks" and is paired with Louie in "The Split Sword of Swanstantine", leaving Dewey as the friend she never hung with.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Kevin and Sarah interact a lot with the other four kids but almost never with each other, which is odd considering that they are the two notably antagonistic characters who hate the Eds more than everyone else.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the episode "Eight Simple Rules For Buying My Teenage Daughter", while Meg is babysitting Stewie, he lampshades that the two generally don't interact much in an awkward attempt at making conversation.
    • Lampshaded again in "And Then There Were Fewer" the party of guests divide into couples to search the mansion. Peter makes groups, among them choosing Dr Hartman and Seamus since they may be interesting as a new chemistry.
    • Brian often has storylines with everyone in the main cast, except for Chris. Chris is generally the most Out of Focus of the main cast, so plots that focus on him are uncommon. Most of his subplots are with Peter, and maybe a few with Meg. However, the crossover The Simpsons Guy has a Brian/Chris subplot and in one episode Peter asks Brian to tutor Chris and to be a good role model. It should also be noted that Brian, though he's fond of alcohol, rarely accompanies Peter whenever he goes out drinking with Joe, Cleveland, and Quagmire. Brian and Quagmire's lack of interaction has been specifically noted below.
    • Same for Peter and Stewie. Apart from the episode "The Courtship of Stewie's Father", we never see an episode that focuses on the two of them.
    • The Real Life scenario was Lampshaded in the episode where Brian tries to hang out with Quagmire only to find out Quagmire doesn't like him. Just because everyone hangs out in a group doesn't mean everyone is really friends with each other. They simply have one or more mutual friends. As episodes passed, Quagmire and Brian's resentment towards each other was exaggerated into them being each other's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis.
  • The Flintstones:
    • Fred Flintstone always pairs up with his best friend, neighbor, and sidekick, Barney Rubble, and when not with him, he's with his wife, Wilma. The same is said about Betty Rubble, who is also rarely seen without her best friend, Wilma, or her husband, Barney. Now, Wilma and Barney have paired up occasionally, but Fred and Betty have never teamed up together.
    • However, in the spinoff series The Flintstone Kids, Fred and Betty get one episode together ("Freddy the 13th") where they try to purchase some Halloween costumes, but decide to use a pair of abandoned costumes they've found, unaware that a couple of crooks just used those costumes for a robbery.
  • Futurama:
    • Word of God acknowledged this trope and would occasionally find ways to remedy it, be it hilariously awkward, like Kif trying to make small talk with Fry while facing certain doom in "The Beast With a Billion Backs," or genuine like Hermes and Bender in "Lethal Inspection".
    • It's parodied with Leela and Bender in "Law and Oracle". As two out of the three main characters, they get plenty of interaction throughout the series and have a well-established dynamic... but it turns out that when their mutual friend Fry is gone, they have nothing to say to each other. Keep in mind they've known each other for at least ten years.
      Leela: So. You're a robot?
      (awkwardly long pause)
      Bender: ...Ugh. (turns and stares out the window)
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Out of the main cast, Stan and Wendy never fully interacted one on one, as opposed to him with the twins and Soos. There was a scrapped B plot idea where they get into a museum heist and Stan takes the fall when they get caught, not wanting Wendy to go down the same path he did when he was young. But the crew abandoned it when they couldn’t think of a good A plot to tie it in with.
    • After Ford Pines joins the cast in season 2, they don't really interact with Wendy or Soos, although they are friendly with them and the former helps Mabel get the unicorn hair needed to protect The Mystery Shack. They do interact more both in Gravity Falls: Journal 3 and "Comix Up!" from Gravity Falls: Lost Legends.
  • The Great North: Despite being the only females in the family, Judy and Honeybee never spent that much time together without the other Tobins involved even after Honeybee moved in with them. This even gets brought up in "Sister Pact Too Adventure", where Judy even admits to this and while she sees Honeybee as a sister, she's unsure if Honeybee feels the same way about her so she makes a plan with her to attend a feminist retreat to solidify a sisterly bond between them.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • Among the members of the J-Team, Jade and El Toro Fuerte are the only members of the group to have adequately bonded with every other member (though most of El Toro's interactions with Tohru happened when the latter was with the Dark Hand). This is largely due to the fact that there are only a handful of episodes featuring the entire team together at once, but this trope still holds water despite this.
    • Jackie has interacted with every member of the J-Team, but his interactions with Paco are always brief and nothing special.
    • Most of Paco's screen time is spent with either El Toro or Jade. Aside from Jackie, he only has a brief interaction with Tohru in "A Jolly J-Team Christmas" when Tohru was substituting for Santa Claus while he and Jade were Tohru's helpers, and he never interacts with Viper at all.
    • Speaking of Tohru and Viper, those two rarely, if ever, interact with each other. Oddly enough, Tohru briefly interacted with Viper's evil clone in "Attack of the J-Clones", as she tricked him into thinking she was the real Viper, only to sucker punch him.
    • Uncle also doesn't interact much with the J-Team members outside of Jackie, Jade (his relatives), and Tohru (his apprentice). In fact, Uncle tends to take a backseat in J-Team episodes, either being absent from them entirely or Out of Focus.
    • Most of Captain Black's screen time is spent with Jackie and/or Jade. He occasionally interacts with Uncle and Tohru, but his interactions with El Toro, Viper, and Paco are minimal at best despite Black being the J-Team's Mission Control.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Most of the cast have had a short together, sometimes leading to unique dynamics, however, due to some being director specific, a few key stars have not interacted (one notable example was Yosemite Sam, who co-starred exclusively with Bugs, except for "Along Came Daffy" and "Honey's Money," the latter of which was a solo cartoon). Special "all-star" projects such as the live-action movies and The Bugs Bunny Show remedied a few of these.
    • Notably, Bugs and Porky had little to no interaction in the original shorts. Bugs debuted in "Porky's Hare Hunt" (1938) as a new enemy for Porky, but their only other pairing as foes was "A Corny Concerto" (1943). They briefly met as allies in the final scene of "Porky Pig's Feat" (1943), but they do not even directly speak to each other. They never share the screen in any of the other original short films. For several decades, Porky was most frequently paired with Daffy Duck. After "Rabbit Fire" (1951), Bugs started being frequently paired with Daffy as well. But there is no film where all three of them co-star. The Looney Tunes Show changed this, and we see Bugs and Porky interact with each other much more; likewise, Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production gave them a few shorts together.
    • The Looney Tunes Show:
      • Bugs and Tina barely interacted in the show and when they did interact it was brief. There hadn't been an episode that focuses on them together (the closest they got was in "The Shelf," where Tina helps him put up a shelf before her date with Daffy) even though their respective partners, Lola and Daffy, hang out fairly regularly.
      • Likewise, Porky's interactions with Tina and Lola were very limited. While Porky and Lola did have one episode together ("Semper Lie," where Bugs lies to Porky to get out of a peach festival, and Lola ends up believing it as well), the biggest interaction he's had with Tina was in "The Shelf," where she tells Porky to stand up for himself while Daffy is abusing him during their dinner date.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Alya and Adrien don't directly interact very often even though she's the girlfriend of his best friend, and they even sometimes hang out together along with Nino and Marinette.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
    • The first season is a Deconstruction of this, as the group actually are just a bunch of acquaintances who were only brought together due to their newfound friendship with Twilight Sparkle. Leading to many episodes being the characters getting used to interacting with each other more and forming new bonds, such as Applejack and Rarity in "Look Before You Sleep". Even so, this trope is still played as straight as you'd expect when you have six main characters:
    • Pinkie Pie and Rarity rarely interact outside of their larger group. Out of the first 109 episodes, there are only four scenes (in the episodes "The Last Roundup," "Putting Your Hoof Down," "Canterlot Boutique," and "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows") where it's just the two of them without the rest of the cast. It's not until the sixth season that they get two episodes focusing on the two of them as a duo, and their human counterparts are even paired up for the Tri-Cross Relay in Friendship Games.
    • Likewise, Applejack and Fluttershy didn't get an episode dedicated to the two of them until the sixth season. They also get a dedicated episode in season 8, and as before, their human counterparts pair up for the Tri-Cross Relay in Friendship Games.
    • Once again, Rainbow Dash and Rarity. They have an episode dedicated to their hanging out and subsequently working together, but they also have a second dedicated episode in season 8 that actually discusses this trope, as the whole plot is devoted to them wondering why they're friends when they don't really have anything in common.
    • Invoked with Fluttershy and Discord's friendship early on for laughs. Until the fifth season, we never actually see the two just hanging out (in fact Discord has more screen time getting uncomfortably close with Twilight), and apparently neither do the other ponies, since they're usually pretty surprised when they find out those two indeed are quite close offscreen.
      Pinkie Pie: You and Fluttershy write each other letters?
      Discord: (genuinely shocked at the surprise) Well of course we do! We're friends.
    • After season 3, the Evolving Credits added a lot of side characters to the photo of Twilight with all of her friends, even though she rarely if ever hangs out with most of them onscreen. Snips and Snails are one example, having the honor of appearing with Twilight in the photo, yet they still haven't had any real interactions with her since their debut in season 1's Boast Busters, which portrayed them as acquaintances at best. And it's worth noting that, ironically, Discord is ABSENT from the photo.
    • Starlight Glimmer hangs with her friends less frequently than Spike, who occasionally gets a background role. Despite supposedly learning about friendship as Twilight's pupil and roommate, she hangs out more frequently with Twilight, Spike, Trixie, Sunburst, and Pinkie's sister Maud than Twilight's other friends.
    • Despite "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" describing the rest of the mane six as honorary Apple family members, Apple Bloom is the only other blood family member who is regularly shown interacting with any of them. "Pinkie Apple Pie", "Filli Vanilli", and "Grannies Gone Wild" are the only episodes where Granny Smith and/or Big Mac spend a significant amount of time together with another mane six member who isn't blood-related.
  • The Owl House:
    • Although they're both part of the core Hexsquad friend group, Amity and Gus haven't had any real interactions, at least not between just the two of them. The only exception would be Gus giving Amity a Spanish cookbook sometime before "Follies on the Coven Day Parade", something that happened offscreen.
    • Amity and Hunter are an interesting example. They had a significant interaction together in "Eclipse Lake" before the latter's Heel–Face Turn, but have had very little onscreen interaction since then in favor of giving Hunter more scenes with Gus and Willow, making him come off as Easily Forgiven for forcing Amity to give him the Portal Key. It's unclear whether or not this would have been addressed had the show not been Cut Short.
    • Also because of the aforementioned shortening, the Hexsquad don't get much onscreen interaction with Vee during their time in the Human Realm, although they are shown to get along in the scenes they do have together. Luz in particular hasn't had any important scenes with her since "Yesterday's Lie". It was also stated by the creators that they had planned to have her be initially uncomfortable with Hunter being around because of his connection to the Emperor's Coven, but that had to be cut.
  • Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja: Family variant; Howard's sister and father, Heidi and Mort, never appear in the same scene together, even ones taking place at Howard's house. This seems to be related to Mort's late introduction to the series. The biggest onscreen connection between the two is just a photo of Heidi at Mort's work desk.
  • Recess: Gus and Vince hardly interact with each other, compared to them with the other members of the Recess Gang. The same goes for Mikey and Gretchen.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • The usual way the group divides is Fred and Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby, and Velma with either group (or, in rare cases, going alone). This is lampshaded in one episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo?, where the group decides to split in a different way for once, with Fred splitting off with Shaggy, only to find they have absolutely no chemistry as a pair.
      Fred: So... did you see the game last night?
      Shaggy: Uh, I'm not really into sports.
      Fred: Oh, right...
      Shaggy: You wanna get some food?
      Fred: No thanks, I'm not hungry.
      Shaggy: Ooookay...
      (short pause)
      Fred: Next time, let's pair up like usual.
      Shaggy: Good plan.
    • Also brought up in the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo film, in which Velma complains about the usual pairings, leaving her the odd man out. Fred volunteers to be her partner on their current quest but struggles to carry normal conversation with her. Velma does appreciate the effort after a bit, however.
    • Other than The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and Daphne never have much one-on-one time, due to the aforementioned Fred and Daphne dynamic, though some of the movies do have them interact more often.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart and Maggie have very little interaction. They finally get to spend some time together in the episode "How Lisa Got Her Marge Back".
    • While Homer gets plenty of episodes with Bart or Lisa, Marge's plots mainly pair her with Homer or Lisa. Marge and Bart episodes come along very rarely: there are a few ("Marge Be Not Proud", "Bart the Mother", "Marge's Son Poisoning", "The Fabulous Faker Boy", "Peeping Mom"), but with merely three in the first 20 seasons, it's pretty uncommon.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): There's a case affecting the Spotlight-Stealing Squad in that Sonic rarely interacted with Bunnie, while Sally replaced Rotor as his confidant and foil, making them more this. As such the two ended up Demoted to Extra in Season Two.
  • South Park:
    • Kyle's relationships with Cartman or Stan are given a lot of focus, but his relationship with Kenny is hardly developed at all. Honestly, though, Kenny doesn't have too many plots tying him too closely with any of the other boys in the group.
    • Played With: Cartman and Kenny generally don't interact much, but in one surprisingly poignant episode, Cartman admits that since Stan and Kyle were best friends, he always considered Kenny his best friend. Another episode reveals that they had declared themselves "Best Friends Forever" years before, although Kenny claims that he did this out of pity because Cartman alienates everyone else.
    • Cartman and Stan don't have much of a dynamic, despite their different personalities. They have a storyline in "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow", where Cartman enjoys hanging out with just Stan without "stupid Kyle" around, but they don't seem to do it much.
    • While there have at least been a few exceptions between the four boys, Kenny and Butters barely interacted at all for many years. This amusingly came into play in the episode "Going Native", where it is revealed Kenny is actually Butters' favorite friend and the two finally share an entire plot together.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Barring some of the feature-length specials, Sandy is rarely involved in the antics going on at the Krusty Krab, so is not seen interacting with Mr. Krabs or Squidward much individually, and is rarely placed against Plankton. She also has a contentious relationship with SpongeBob's best friend Patrick; even when the two team up to cure SpongeBob's agoraphobia in "I Had An Accident," she's frequently annoyed by his stupidity. Aside from that episode, they seldom hang out without SpongeBob accompanying them.
    • Gary, being a pet, isn't commonly seen with anyone other than his owner, SpongeBob. In particular, he has never shared an episode with Sandy in the history of the series, and only had one episode with Mr. Krabs in "The Cent of Money."
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: When an episode's plot focuses on two of the main characters, the pairing will almost always be Mariner & Boimler, Tendi & Rutherford, or Boimler & Rutherford. Mariner and Tendi have a focus episode with "We'll Always Have Tom Paris", and Boimler and Tendi have had a few moments across the episodes, while Mariner and Rutherford haven't had any significant individual interactions.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Marco and Janna. While there are a number of moments throughout the series where the two interact, the only times Marco is seen willingly hanging out with Janna is when one of their mutual friends (usually Star) is also in the room. This is lampshaded in one episode, where Janna responds to Marco's attempts at small talk when they're alone by knocking him unconscious with hypnotic suggestion.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The relationship between Ahsoka and the named clones of the 501st besides Rex comes across as an Informed Attribute because she never interacts with any of them before the seventh season, and by then so many of them have been Killed Off for Real or Put on a Bus that they had to create two new characters, Vaughn and Sterling to give her meaningful interactions with the clones. Despite this, she still never even interacts with ARC Trooper Jesse until she removes Rex’s inhibitor chip during Order 66 and Jesse becomes the series Final Boss.
  • Steven Universe: Lapis Lazuli doesn't get a lot of screen time with characters who aren't Steven, Bismuth, or Peridot, as she only joins the Crystal Gems near the end of the fifth season. She never directly speaks to Garnet and has a single conversation with Amethyst and Pearl in the whole series (including the movie and the epilogue season).
  • Teen Titans
    • The cartoon has episodes that pair in some way each of the Titans with another member, with the exception of Beast Boy and Robin.
    • Generally, each team member would only have major interactions with two others. Robin with Starfire/Cyborg, Beast Boy with Raven/Cyborg, Cyborg with Robin/Beast Boy, Starfire with Robin/Raven, and Raven with Beast Boy/Starfire.
  • Thomas & Friends: Most of the "Steam Team" have had an episode together in the long run. Edward and Emily have had very little interaction, however. Edward also rarely interacts with Toby, likely due to similarities in character (and even being Flanderized in a similar manner).
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: The Voltron Team is meant to have become True Companions, with their bonds being vital to the creation of Voltron, but, with a cast of 7 main characters and only 13 episodes a season, some are more rare than others.
    • Shiro and Hunk rarely ever talk. It's a bit understandable, as they are very different in terms of action, motivation, and personality; still, the lack of interactions between them is quite noticeable. Shiro also spends a minimum of time with Lance, with whom he also has clashing personalities. Mostly, Shiro spent his time in early season 1 with Pidge, in later season 1 with Allura, and lastly, with Keith by season 2.
    • Keith and Pidge had only one significant interaction back in early season 1 and even then, it's unclear what that interaction really was, with the possibility that Keith is either extremely disappointed at Pidge for attempting to leave Voltron or has abandonment issues. (Maybe both.)
  • X-Men: Evolution:
    • Among the main cast, Jean and Kurt and Scott and Kitty probably had the least interaction among the characters, which becomes oddly noticeable thanks to the fact that Scott and Jean and Scott and Kurt were close relationships, as was Kurt and Kitty and, to a down-played extreme, Kitty and Jean. The first few episodes teased the idea of Jean and Kurt flirting a bit and Kitty gushing over how attractive Scott is, but after that, neither interact one-on-one much (especially notable given Scott's big-brother-like protectiveness over his team, Kitty's status as everyone's little sister, and Kitty briefly dating his rival Avalanche, meaning they had potential for him to play a few older brother tropes that he never touched upon with Kitty).
    • Averted with Rogue and everyone, as Scott, Jean, Kitty, and Kurt all have unique dynamics with Rogue, and played straight with Evan and everyone, to the point he borders on being The Friend Nobody Likes before being written out.
  • Young Justice:
    • The series doesn't give Superboy many opportunities to interact with Kid Flash or Artemis, which is strange since Kid Flash discovered him and Artemis expressed attraction to him.
    • In the comic adaptation of the series, Kid Flash and Superbody spent a few days together following Cadmus, including stopping a robbery from the Terror Twins.
    • Rocket gets this even worse. Due to her status as an 11th-Hour Ranger, she only gets paired with Zatanna. Then she joins the Justice League in Season 2.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Informed Friendship


The Gang Mixes It Up

Fred tries to prevent this trope by changing how the gang splits up, only for him and Shaggy to quickly find out why they never spend time together.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (25 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheFriendsWhoNeverHang

Media sources: