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Uptight Loves Wild

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He's an uptight actuary.
She has a ferret.

Fry: What the hell's going on? I thought you were anti-dirty, not pro-dirty.
Morgan: I'm surrounded by neat freaks every day. There's nothing kinkier to me than a filthy slop-jock like you.

He's stuffy. She's untamed. It's true love.

Mr. Stuffy is in a rut: Life is boring because he plays by the rules. Along comes this wild and crazy woman to show him how to live life to its fullest, and she just might learn a few things along the way, too.

Though the most common form of this trope is from male creators who idealize femininity as a saving force, it could be Gender Inverted. Mr. Stuffy could be Ms. Stuffy and the wild angel could be male and help the little wallflower come out of her shell and blossom gloriously into a beautiful rose! Also, compare Well, Excuse Me, Princess!Lovable Rogue meets Defrosting Ice Queen, the latter trope can also be applied to "Ms. Wild" as well, especially if she doesn't want to waste time with a nerd.

In more recent times, same-sex variations also occur, perhaps unsurprisingly given the reputation homosexuals have for wildness. The typical formula here will combine the trope with a Coming-Out Story, where the protagonist is "straight" and unhappy until meeting an attractive and adventurous same-sex love interest — maybe a glamorous Lipstick Lesbian for a woman, or a sassy Drag Queen for a man, but at any rate, someone who shakes up the status quo.

Occasionally the "Wild" party's outlook will be portrayed as better in every way — more authentic, self-actualised and Closer to Earth, where "Uptight" is detached and neurotic. However, if they end up getting Character Development of their own, it tends to be in the direction of taking more responsibility and/or learning to commit after a life of casual relationships.

Often seen in 2/3 of a love triangle, especially if the triangle includes two male nerds and their dream girl.

Because Opposites Attract, they'll live Happily Ever After unless Uptight and/or Wild are dying (Nicholas Sparks, we're looking at you!), in which case they'll live what remains of their lives to the fullest. Or unless there's a sequel, in which case Stuffy will surely develop Aesop Amnesia.

The defining trope of Screwball Comedy. Extremely common in Romantic Comedy.

Compare Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl. Manic Pixie Dream Girl can result when this trope is taken to extremes and a "Wild" female love interest comes across as a mere plot device.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Armitage III: Ross and Armitage are somewhere between this and Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, though Armitage is no dummy.
  • Invoked and then subverted in Death Note, where the wild and energetic Perky Goth Misa is deeply in love with the uptight Broken Ace Light, and expects him to fall for her goofy Genki Girl demeanor over time; instead, he takes advantage of her scatterbrained personality and Mad Love to enlist her as a weapon against L.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
  • Hidoku Shinaide: Nemugasa is a rule-abiding, Stereotypical Nerd and Scholarship Student who just wants to get good grades and go to college. Maya is a wealthy kid who skips school, dyes his hair, gets piercings, underage drinks, and is a much more sociable person than Nemugasa. They end up dating, but their differences becomes a reoccuring sore point in their relationship, with Nemugasa becoming an Insecure Love Interest in part because he feels like he's too boring for Maya. Though Maya does at times thoughtlessly says things along those lines, he actually is grateful for Nemugasa's Positive Friend Influence on him as it's the only reason why he cared enough to work on himself to be better.
  • Miko from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is a member of the school's Public Morals Committee and strict to the point of zealotry, yet she develops feelings for Ishigami, who is far more lax about the school's rules. Contributing to this is that she's Locked Out of the Loop on what really happened to him in middle school.
  • In Kanga Na Spoon, the main character opens by talking about how perfect, glamorous and orderly his life is before introducing to his lover, an obnoxious, flamboyant, freeloading fashion designer with no life skills.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Kati Mannequin and Patrick Colasour. Kati is an older, no-nonsense workaholic, Patrick is a carefree, loveable idiot. At the end of the series, they get married.
    Patrick: Still working? Don't you need to take a break?
    Kati: Now of all times? Do you realize what will happen if I don't get through this data?
    Patrick: The eeeeevviiilll space aliens will come and get us?
    Kati: (smiling) ...somehow I can never continue to take things seriously with you around.
  • Naruto has the shy Proper Lady Hinata and the hyperactive Idiot Hero Naruto.
  • There are clear traces of this in Shinji's budding attraction to Asuka in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Where he is a timid conformist, who usually just keeps his head down and does as he is told, she is hard-nosed, strong-willed, prideful, and refuses to let herself be pushed around by anyone, and it is evident that he admires her quite a bit for these traits.
  • Mahiro and Nyarko from Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!, with Nyarko's wildness annoying Mahiro to the point of slapstick punishment. It's obvious that he has feelings for her, but won't admit to them for a number of reasons, not the least of which is she's Nyarlathotep, and the idea of romancing a Cosmic Horror scares the SAN Points out of him.
  • Ranma and Akane from Ranma ½. It's referenced multiple times throughout the series... Such as one of the opening themes about Ranma and Akane being titled "Don't Make Me Wild Like You" and Ranma's name essentially meaning "wild horse." While (in the manga, at least) Ranma thrives on manipulation, Akane often gets upset with his antics and reveals his identity when he doesn't want her to. He enjoys playing pranks on people, even when Akane gets mad at him for it. He's also comfortable with being half-naked or nude around other people. Akane, on the other hand, will have none of that. She always tries to keep him covered up and maintains her own modesty at all times. True to the trope, Akane eventually becomes more relaxed about these traits and starts helping him out in his schemes, and even starts coming up with some herself. (Strangely enough, although they're opposites in this sense, they're alike in many other ways.)
  • Most of the weapon and meister pairings in Soul Eater are this way. Maka is very much by-the-rules, studies copiously for tests, and is very modest; her partner, Soul, is very lazy and laid back, often falls asleep during class, and agrees to "piss on [Sid's] grave" with Black*Star. Tsubaki is very kind, a good cook, and doesn't even try to fight without Black*Star; Black*Star, on the other hand, frequently picks fights for no other reason than because he can, and is loud and obnoxious. Kid is the son of the Shinigami, completely OCD to the point of having panic attacks in the middle of battles and is dressed impeccably; Liz is hinted to be a bit of a flirt and Patti blows off an entire test by turning it into an arts-and-crafts giraffe.
  • Sailor Moon has Usagi as the clumsy, lazy, bad student who befriends everyone paired with elegant, dedicated, studious Mamoru who has few friends. Over time, being around Usagi causes Mamoru to become more carefree and goofy while being around Mamoru causes Usagi to (try) to be more grounded and responsible.
  • The Weatherman Is My Lover features an uptight newscaster falling for the program's eccentric cosplaying weatherman.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
  • The Flash: Linda Park is initially very disciplined and is always more focused on her work to a point she doesn't have any friends. And then she meets Wally West...
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Etta Candy is a boisterous, rule-breaking, quick-tempered, impulsive college dropout while her love interest Lawrence Stone is an uptight, rule-abiding, slow tempered, and premeditative USAAF pilot.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Brainiac 5 is a serious, brooding, and introspective man whereas his girlfriend Supergirl is an upbeat, cheerful, extroverted woman.
  • In the Pathfinder comics, you have spontaneous, hyperactive thief Merisiel and her pious, law-abiding, teetotaler girlfriend Kyra.
  • The Sandman (1989): In Death: The High Cost of Living, Perky Goth called Didinote  guides a teen guy named Sexton on a journey of self-discovery and teaches him to respect life and live it to the fullest, and etcetera. A good example of the difference between Wild and Manic Pixie Dream Girl, as Didi, while unconventional, spontaneous, and extremely outgoing, is at the same time calm, collected, and thoughtful.
  • Spider-Man: Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson... from both Peter and MJ's perspective: Shy, introverted worrywart (Peter) with one of the most extroverted and charismatic women in the Marvel Universe. From MJ's own point of view, it's also inverted, because she sees herself as a pragmatic levelheaded go-getter girl who was always in control of her life, and then she ended up in a relationship and married to a guy who risks his life on a nightly basis has bizarre experiences and some of the worst luck in the world, and who's often a pinball for fate.
  • X-Men: Scott Summers is an extremely serious and introspective man. Jean Grey is Fire and Life incarnate and acts like it.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

  • The trope image is from Along Came Polly, in which Ben Stiller's character, who works in the insurance industry, tries a second chance at love with his free-spirited junior high classmate Polly (played by Jennifer Aniston).
  • In Ball of Fire a burlesque dancer (Barbara Stanwyck) who needs to hide out from the law winds up staying with a bunch of professors (it's a long story). When the younger, handsome professor (Gary Cooper) decides that it's time for her to leave, she pretends to be in love with him. Naturally, it happens for real.
  • Below Her Mouth: The more conventional and strait-laced Jasmine falls for Dallas, a bold uninhibited woman.
  • A tragic example comes up in The Blue Angel: A man (Emil Jannings) who has dedicated life and limb to education suddenly falls for a cabaret singer (Marlene Dietrich).
  • Bright Star: John Keats is a man back in the 1800s who is hidebound by convention, emotionally closed-off, undaring, and believes himself to be a failed poet. But along comes his muse, Fanny Brawne. She's a young, vibrant, fashionable, fiery, flirty, independent-minded, outspoken, strong-willed party girl who inspires him to write a sonnet that shares a name with the film's title. Will she challenge him and motivate him to new heights and help him achieve success that lasts until the 21st century? Well, it is based on a true story, so take a wild guess.
  • Bringing Up Baby – although in something of a variation, it's Wild who falls for Uptight first, Uptight for many reasons wanting nothing to do with her for a large part of the movie. Wild doesn't so much teach Uptight to loosen up as she does drag him kicking and screaming into it.
  • Casino deconstructs this to hell and back with the relationship between "Ace" Rothstein and Ginger. "Ace" is a full-blown humorless Control Freak and Ginger is a horribly impulsive Gold Digger, an irredeemably Broken Bird call-girl that depends on drugs and her relationship with her Svengali pimp. Rothstein just felt Love at First Sight and overlooked all the signs that it was going to end badly (even Ginger telling him point-blank that it was a bad idea), thinking that he could control her like he did everything else in his life… boy, was he wrong.
  • Daddy Issues: Maya is initially shy and depressed. She falls for Jasmine, a confident, more outgoing young woman, coming out of her shell through their relationship.
  • Desert Hearts is about the lesbian relationship between a repressed, middle-aged English professor and a free-spirited young casino employee-cum-sculptress.
  • Duck Butter: Nima is a more reserved and shy woman, attracted to bold, freespirited Sergio.
  • Enchanted: Stuffy, cynical divorce lawyer Robert meets literal fairytale princess Giselle.
  • Erin Brockovich - Though it's a platonic love, this is exactly the relationship between Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind quite thoroughly deconstructs this. A relationship like this doesn't always work and after the falling-in-love part, it causes more pain than joy; so much so that both parties opt to have their memories removed of each other. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is also far more complicated: "I'm not a concept, I'm just a fucked-up girl looking for a peace of mind".
  • Five Feet Apart: Stella, who strictly abides by her prescribed medical treatments, feeling a duty to her family, eventually falls for Will (who often flouts them, in spite of his mom's worry), although after having him take better care of himself.
  • Flakes features this as a B Plot with the uptight Bruce coming to admire the wilder Katz. However, it never goes anywhere because she's devoted to the similarly wild, if unambitious, Neal.
  • Forces of Nature is about a straight-laced writer who sees himself forced to travel to his wedding with a free-spirited drifter and is impressed by her fun-loving personality, forming a close bond with her and starting to wonder if he's making the right choice in getting married. This is a rare subversion in that they do not end up together: He and his fiancée still agree to get married since they realize they still love each other, though his experiences with the drifter are still portrayed as having helped him become a better person.
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives: Everyone thinks that Tommy is crazy, but he's very sane and stuffy and goal-oriented. His love interest, Megan, is very wild. Megan cracks wise, disobeys her father, breaks Tommy out of prison at gunpoint, crams his face into her lap for a police chase... um, balances her chair on two legs, and is very lucky to have hooked up with the Final Guy for a 50/50 chance of survival.
  • Enid and Seymour from Ghost World.
  • The Golden Child: Sassy jokester Chandler Jarrell breaks all the rules while trying to save children, and teaches stoic, bookish, disciplined Kee Nang how to literally let down her hair.
  • Parodied in Grease with Proper Lady Sandy and Greaser Delinquent Danny.
  • Grumpy Old Men: John Gustafson and Max Goldman are fairly uptight and stuck in a rut, finding pleasure only in ice fishing, bickering, and tolerating their children. That is until wild and crazy Californian, Ariel Truax, rolls into town, racing a snowmobile up and down the street, turning their lives upside down, and causing a love triangle between the two.
    • Showcased chiefly in a scene between John and Ariel, where she gleefully admits to stealing John's mail, claims to be able to tell his fortune by spending 30 seconds in his bathroom, and asks him if he's homosexual or heterosexual, all to his chagrin (but ultimately for his own good). Almost lampshaded with...
      Ariel: "Well, it's a perfectly legitimate question."
      John: "Well, maybe in California, but here in Minnesota... Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!"
      They get married
  • An unremarkable short film called Headlong. As the reviewer at Something Awful puts it:
    This is just a retelling of one of the most classic stories known to man. Unfortunately, it is a story which man has always found irritating, cliched, and thoroughly useless. It's the tale of an uptight man who meets free-spirited female who teaches him how to cut loose, despite being an intolerable bitch. Simon Raby reinvents this timeless story by giving it a fresh, exciting new angle - he puts it inside a car! How does he come up with this stuff?
  • In Hellraiser, Uncle Frank definitely helps Julia come out of her shell.
  • Holly Slept Over: Everyone is pretty surprised that Audra had been involved with Holly in college, as she's quite sexually straitlaced at present with her husband Noel. Holly though is a free-spirited, very beautiful bisexual who Noel is immediately attracted to, with Audra shown as still having a strong attraction for her as well. It's easy to see how Holly would have had this dynamic with Audra in college as well.
  • Jason's Lyric: Jason is a responsible man who's spent his youth taking care of his family (following his father's death) that he thought to be too busy to enjoy life or even to just relax until he meets and falls in love with the free-spirited and dreamy-yet-adventurous Lyric. Lyric teaches Jason that life is more than just taking care of a family as well as reminding him about the right to be happy and free, while Jason persistently proves Lyric that not all men are jerks.
  • The relationship between Juno and Bleeker from Juno.
  • Kiss Me (2011): Inhibited, reserved Mia is drawn to Frida, who's bold and carefree. Frida teases her by saying she's anal, and the pair fall for each other.
  • In Lady Jane (1986), this is the way the romance of the bookish, quiet Jane and the mischievous Guilford is depicted.
  • Latter Days is a gay example: promiscuous party boy Christian falls in love with Mormon missionary Aaron. They actually get a happy ending.
  • Laws of Attraction She's a stuffy uptight cynical genius divorce lawyer! He's a free-spirited genius divorce lawyer who believes in true love! They're opposing counsel on a bunch of different cases! It's actually a pretty well-done, if forgettable, example of this trope, and it definitely doesn't hurt that Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore are damned good actors.
  • In Life as We Know It, Holly is an uptight bakery owner, and Messer is a free-wheeling player.
  • Love Letters is a made-for-TV film directed by Stanley Donen, starring Laura Linney as Melissa Gardner Cobb and Steven Weber as Andrew Ladd. She is a freewheeling artist with plenty of sexual partners, a love of booze, and has had a bad reputation since high school. He's a stalwart, stuffy Republican politician. Their letters to each other are his sail and her anchor, but she threatens to moon his respectable peers if his letters get too uniform.
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is an odd case: while they are not romantically entangled, the relationship between wild American Delysia Lafosse and stiff British governess Miss Pettigrew follows this trope pretty closely, with each learning something from the other.
  • A (mostly) platonic example appears in Mr. Peabody & Sherman between the bookish, dorky Sherman and the fun-loving, girly Penny, although their relationship begins with the left foot (the plot essentially begins after Sherman bites Penny after she literally treated him like a dog). It is only because of Character Development for both parties (especially hers) that they begin to understand each other. However, Mr. Peabody thinks at first she may be a Toxic Friend Influence.
  • My Animal: A fantastic lesbian version. Heather, a closeted lesbian who's reserved and restricted as a result of not only her social repression (she lives in a small town while it's during the 1980s sometime, a very homophobic period) but secretly being a werewolf, falls for Jonny, who is a bold and carefree girl who spends most of her free time partying. Jonny inspires Heather to act on her attraction and embrace her orientation as they begin a relationship.
  • My Girl: Thomas falls for Vada despite her being everything opposite to his usual sedate existence.
  • In Ninotchka (and its musical remake, Silk Stockings). A cheerful, carefree Frenchman falls in love with an Ice Queen commissar from the Soviet Union.
  • Notting Hill: William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is an unsuccessful Notting Hill bookstore owner who is depressed that his wife has dumped him. But all that will change when Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), the world's most beautiful woman and best-liked actress, enters his shop and changes his life with her glamorous Hollywood ways.
  • Ondine: Syracuse is a cynical, reclusive, recovering alcoholic fisherman who one day brings up a selky named Ondine (Romanian drug mule) in his fishing net. She brings luck and can grant wishes. Can Ondine help Syracuse learn to live, love, and trust? Yes. They get married.
  • Pretty Woman: A snarky businessman? Check. A wild escort girl? Check. Love? Double check! A play on Cinderella, she teaches him that life shouldn't be all about dismembering companies on your giant mobile phone, but sometimes getting a Snapdog and copping a squat under a tree to remove your shoes. He teaches her to believe in herself and gives her the opportunity to become more than she is.
  • The Proposal: This movie tries to trick you into thinking that Bullock's character, Margaret, is the stuffy, uptight one, and Reynolds' character, Andrew, is the comic relief. However…
    Margaret: Outsider (from Canada) who breaks the rules, which, as the plot suggests, gets her threatened with deportation, and she then breaks more rules to avoid deportation. She's not the usual perky hippie new-age type, though, but she's definitely Wild in the corporate drag of a smart business suit and ponytail, and acts fairly abrupt and harsh, as she delights in acting wild and crazy and keeping Ryan Reynolds on his toes and basically doing as she pleases. She will use her idealized femininity as a saving force with her zany schemes, helping Andrew with his various issues. But will they fall in love by the end? Take a guess!
    Andrew: He's in a rut. Life is boring because he plays by the rules.
    • Best summarized in the Family Guy episode Farmer Guy, when a man comes into a video store and asks for a copy of the film, Peter, the cashier, says nobody has returned their copies, so he simply shows the man a poster of the movie on the wall...
      Peter: "I have a poster from The Proposal you can look at. You'll get most of the story."
      Customer: "Huh. They seem pretty mismatched."
      Peter: "There ya go."
  • Something Wild: Charlie Diggs is a stuffy New York businessman who meets the wild, drunken Lulu who takes him for an unexpected road trip.
  • The Sound of Music: Maria isn't "wild", but she is a Blithe Spirit in the face of the extremely uptight, Captain von Trapp.
  • Stacy Attack Of The Schoolgirl Zombies: A teen girl, Eiko, gets a reclusive middle-aged puppeteer, Shibukawa, to promise to "repeat kill" her when she becomes a zombie. She's in the final stage of becoming a zombie, a stage called, "Near Death Happiness" note  which is a period of manic giddiness, as per usual with all girls around the age of 16, and she'll soon start glowing due to the B.T.P. or "Butterfly Twinkle Powder." Can she help him learn to laugh again in this crazy, mixed-up world that's symbolic for lost innocence? Of course, once he finally opens up that gift she gave him and finds a chainsaw inside!
  • Stargirl: Leo is a fairly quiet, reserved boy who goes with the flow. Stargirl is highly eccentric, outgoing, and independent. They fall for each other and have a sweet relationship.
  • Steam (2007): Elizabeth starts out as a reserved woman with controlling Catholic parents struggling to face her attraction toward woman. She gets into a relationship with Niala, who's proudly bisexual and a rebellious, carefree social activist whom she's instantly attracted to, growing more confident from being with her, though it doesn't last as a result of Niala's cheating on her.
  • Stranger Than Fiction: He's a methodical/orderly IRS agent, she's a slightly anarchic college dropout who runs her own cookie shop and doesn't pay her taxes.
  • The Sure Thing: Prim, somewhat anal-retentive Allison falls for goofy, madcap Gib.
  • Sweet November has introvert executive Nelson Moss (Keanu Reeves) meeting carefree Sara Deever (Charlize Theron), with the twist that the girl has terminal cancer.
  • Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl: Adele is a subdued, lonely, obedient girl at first. She's drawn to bold, social and rebellious Beth, as her friend initially then her girlfriend.
  • Thor has shades of this. The serious science student Jane falls for the Fish out of Water demigod who likes to smash things (He gets better, of course).
  • Up starts out with a version of this between 10-year-olds. It's very cute — and leaves a lifelong impact on them as well.
  • What's Up, Doc?: Once Judy Maxwell sets her eye on Howard Bannister (Ryan O'Neal), not even his impending marriage to the controlling Eunice Burns (Madeline Kahn) is going to stand in her way. And as much as he protests, this crazy adventure is just the thing he needs to make him start thinking over the things he really wants (Eunice is not among them).
  • Who's That Girl: A stuffy suit is about to enter into a bad marriage when he meets an ex-con who loves red lipstick and leather jackets... with a pet cougar named Murray. Or, as the trailer puts it, "She's beautiful, she's impulsive, she's... Madonna! And in 24 hours, she'll turn a mild-mannered, corporate attorney into a wild-eyed fugitive from justice."
  • Yes-Man is a very obvious example of this. The stuffy Jim Carrey gets the wild Zooey Deschanel when he finally decides to start saying yes to things.

  • Proper British gentleman Lord Oswald Nelvil, and the titular free-spirited Renaissance woman in Madame de Staël's romance novel, Corinne.
  • The Daevabad Trilogy has straight-laced, highly religious Ali and scrappy con-artist Nahri, who both rub off on each other a little, along with hedonistic Mr. Vice Guy Muntadhir and his much more honourable guard captain Jamshid.
  • Daughter of the Sun: Orsina is duty-bound and serious, while she's drawn to Aelia, an inquisitive, very impulsive woman. It's her type apparently as she was also in love before with Perlita, a woman who Orsina notes had much the same personality.
  • Subverted in Effi Briest where the relationship between the Prussian official Geert von Instetten and the titular "Daughter of the Air" just plain doesn't work out because of their conflicting personalities. In the end, she ends up cheating on him with a more exciting, womanizing officer, and despite the fact that he still loves her, he sees no choice but to divorce her because his honor code says so. To be fair, him being twice her age and their marriage being arranged didn't help in the slightest.
  • Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi sees Lan Wangji, the stoic, quiet, rule-abiding model son, fall deeply in love with resident troublemaker, prankster, and rebel Wei Wuxian.
  • At the end of the Khaavren Romances, it is revealed that Tazendra has been in love with Aerich all along, and it seems to be mutual.
  • In the Curtis Sittenfeld novel The Man Of My Dreams, Hannah and Henry discuss the inversion of this trope when it comes to Henry and Hannah's Hard-Drinking Party Girl cousin, Fig:
    Henry: All of which makes it not that surprising that she sees me as a big fuddy-duddy.
    Hannah: Yeah, but Fig likes fuddy-duddies.
    Henry: You think so?
    Hannah: She needs an audience. It's like she's defined in contrast to whoever's around her. When we were in sixth grade, there was a girl named Amanda on our softball team who was always goofing off - she could play "Yankee Doodle" on her armpit, or she'd be doing cartwheels while the coach was trying to explain stuff to us, but it was obvious he still liked her. When we drove in the van, Amanda sat in the front and chose the radio station. She'd say, "Drive straight, Coach Halvorsen" and then he'd swerve. It was like Amanda was out-Figging Fig. And Fig hated her.
  • Loretta Chase loves this trope: Mr. Impossible (Rupert is the wild one, Daphne is the nerd), Lord Perfect and Last Night's Scandal (Olivia is the wild one, Peregrine/Lisle is less so). Benedict and Bathsheba from Lord Perfect seem to be set up to be this trope, except that Bathsheba isn't nearly as wild as her daughter/the rest of her relatives are.
  • Of Fire and Stars: Dennaleia is a reserved, duty-bound Proper Lady at first. She's soon attracted to Mare, a rebellious tomboy who inspires her to defy what's expected from her while becoming a couple.
  • The Light Novel Reaper (Ivan Navi) has Life and Death as a married couple and a prime example. Death is much more formal and straight lanced while Life has a tendency to be more wild and generally do whatever he likes despite his wife's occasional objections.
  • The Rosie Project: Don Tillman, who is deeply immersed in his work, lives by a schedule, and has a long test for a potential wife, and the easy-going Rosie (though she’s an academic as well) who is always late, has messy hair and fails every question of Don’s test spectacularly.
  • Star Trek: New Frontier:
    • Shelby and Calhoun. He's Military Maverick, and she's by the book.
    • Selar and Burgoyne: She's an aloof Vulcan, s/he's from a hedonistic race of hermaphrodites.
  • Rebel pilots Braylen Stramm and Gina Moonsong in Star Wars: Blade Squadron. He is a former Imperial military officer who does things by the book, while she is an ex-smuggler who is Mildly Military and a Fiery Redhead.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kissing Cousins George Michael and Maeby in Arrested Development. George Michael was mostly a timid, dutiful son while Maeby was something of an independent delinquent.
  • Ashes to Ashes (2008) messes around slightly with Alex and Gene; at first it seems that Alex is a Brainy Brunette who is sophisticated, intelligent career woman) is obviously the uptight one to Gene's fist-happy, racist, sexist, armed bastard of a guy. But then Alex goes and throws herself at every guy she meets whilst getting frequently smashed, and it's Gene who pulls her up on it.
  • Austin & Ally: He's wild and fun, while she's serious and responsible.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Penny moves into an apartment next door to two brilliant but socially awkward physicists and shows them how little they know about life outside of the laboratory. Leonard falls for her immediately and eventually they get together (and then split up, and then get together again, on-and-off it goes). Penny is the untamed one, Leonard the uptight one.
  • Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Amy is meticulous and neurotic while Jake is fun-loving and immature. Though it is played with slightly, in that one of the main reasons they connect so well is that they're both kind of immature and dorky, just in different ways.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Angel is moody, broody, and cursed by the Roma. Buffy helps raise his spirits and break the curse.
    • Faith and later Spike try to get Buffy the Uptight Slayer to loosen up. It doesn't end well either.
    • Stuffy Brit Giles with the lovely Romani granola girl techno-pagan Wicca hippie Ms. Calendar.
  • In the Hallmark Channel movie Christmas In The Air, a no-nonsense professional organizer is hired by a harried toy inventor to make his personal and professional life more orderly and efficient. Unusually, not only is it the man who is the "wild" one, it's the "uptight" one teaching the "wild" one to get his act together and show him that having a schedule and whatnot is a good thing. Furthermore, he actually wants her to do this, rather than the resistance typically seen in such scenarios. (Though it still makes the woman the "saving force" as in the trope description. And true to form, the wild one still gets the uptight one to relax and ease up.)
  • An episode of Cupid revolved around this. The title character had to hook the stuffy guy up with an untamed woman, despite their differences.
  • Dharma & Greg as parodied on Family Guy, which shows Dharma standing on a coffee table, and Greg telling her, "Dharma, come down from there. Wow, I can't get over what a free spirit you are."
  • ER:
    • Peter Benton and Elizabeth Corday. Deconstructed. Aside from his persistent discomfort over their racial difference (he's black, she's white), his aloof, dour demeanor eventually proves too much of a contrast to her vivacious, fun-loving personality and the relationship fizzles. Though this trope does play very well in regards to their friendship, as even years later, she's one of the few people he's genuinely able to relax around. They even seem to share a quiet moment of understanding in the series finale, which aired roughly 11 years after they broke up.
    • Kerry Weaver and several of her girlfriends after she comes out of the closet. Her reacting like a scared jackrabbit when encountering her coworkers while on a date, her reluctance to engage in any PDA, etc., quickly irritates and upsets them enough to end the relationship.
  • Firefly:
    • Simon and Kaylee are attracted to each other from the first moment they meet, something that's immediately noticed by everyone. He's a properly raised, upper-class gentleman who lives by the mantra of behaving courteously at all times (even when insulting people) while she's a country girl who's in love with life, freedom, and fun. Their different social classes cause difficulties; he fumbles his attempts to compliment her and she has a habit of misinterpreting his respect for her honour as evidence he thinks she'd never be good enough for him under normal circumstances.
    • Inara and Mal are almost constantly shipteased. Despite her profession of High-Class Call Girl, Inara is the more cultured and reserved one. Mal is the wild ex-soldier, flying by the seat of his pants, and doesn't think any further into the future than a day. This can change if Mal decides it's time to Let's Get Dangerous! (gone is the playful Lovable Rogue, replaced by a battle-hardened warrior).
  • Flying Blind, a short-lived series from 1992, explored the difficulties faced by self-conscious and repressed Neil in dealing with the erotic antics of liberated Alicia.
  • Frasier puts Frasier into this kind of dynamic with one of the Girls Of The Week he dates. It's gradually played with to the point of deconstruction as he gradually comes to realise that other than a deep sense of mutual sexual attraction, they really don't have much in common and the relationship likely won't last. Once he gets over his uncertainty about the situation, however, the two eventually agree to just enjoy that whole "mutual sexual attraction" thing for as long as it lasts.
  • Free Spirit (1989) is a standard sitcom from The '80s in which T.J. is a wise and reserved lawyer and wears sweater vests. Winnie is goofy and wacky and an immortal, magic-using witch with awesome hair. He has some kids but he and his wife got divorced. She's the live-in Magical Nanny/housekeeper. Together, they spend 14 episodes making the audience wonder Will They or Won't They?... before it was canceled.
  • Friends:
    • Extremely nerdy Ross (works in a museum, loves dinosaurs) and the laid-back Rachel (gorgeous and fun-loving). She was his crush since ever and she starts dating him. There was lots of on-again-off-again going on...
    • Phoebe and Mike, her Love Interest in later seasons. She's very free-spirited and quirky, he (while not particularly uptight per se) is much more tamed and reserved in comparison.
  • Gilmore Girls when hard-working straight-A student and aspiring journalist Rory falls for Troubled, but Cute bad boy Jess.
  • In Glue, the Secret Relationship between James and Cal is this: the former is a dutiful son and an all-around goody-two-shoes, while the latter is basically a rentboy and a drug dealer and often in trouble with the law.
  • Gossip Girl has Blair as an uptight, proper, virginal lady, and Chuck a hedonist who likes his hookers to come in twos. She makes him less wild and more responsible, and he makes her far more sexual and liberated.
  • iCarly: Impulsive, violent juvenile delinquent Sam dates geeky momma's boy Freddie for a while, though she spends a lot of time picking on him up until that point.
  • On Intimate, the free-spirited and sexually adventurous Isabella and the conservative and inhibited Max are a couple. It's not going well, however, as Max is unable to satisfy Isabella and she eventually insists on an open relationship.
  • The L Word: This show verts this trope pretty well, as most people tend to be varying degrees of wild no matter their gender or sexual preference, with the most notable exception being Tasha, uptight and in her rut, being rescued by Alice's feminine saving force, which sends quakes throughout the military and "frees" Tasha from her "oppressors."
  • The main couple in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is this. Phryne Fisher is modern, wild and hasn't met a rule that she isn't interested in breaking. Detective Jack Robinson is stoic, snarky and by-the-book. Over the course of the series, it becomes clear that he settles her down while she loosens him up.
  • Modern Family: The three main adult couples are a case of this. The Pritchetts (Jay, Claire, and Mitchell) are generally the uptight, in contrast to their partners' (Gloria, Phil, and Cameron) wild.
  • Never Have I Ever: Nalini is an incredibly straitlaced and pragmatic woman. Her beloved husband Mohan was a free spirit who just wanted her to be the Kate Hudson to his "Matthew McConicky."
  • No Tomorrow: Evie's initial attraction to Xavier, as she's a more shy woman while he's very outgoing and uninhibited. It's deconstructed however because she doesn't go for polyamory as he does, but Xavier is willing to commit for Evie.
  • Queer as Folk (US): Drew Boyd is a star quarterback who, although engaged to a woman, is a closeted homosexual. Emmett's flamboyant feminine saving force propels Drew out of the closet with a controversial on-air kiss.
  • Reboot (2022): The budding romance between Zack (an immature former child actor) and Elaine (a poised and intelligent studio executive) starts to develop when he gets her to ditch her plans of meetings, outlines, and emails for an afternoon spent running around the studio lot.
  • Schitt's Creek:
    • Uptight, Neat Freak Ted falls for wild child Alexis Rose. Initially, he is the Romantic Runner-Up, but when Mutt and Alexis's romance fizzles and he leaves town, Alexis realizes she made a mistake with Ted and spends several seasons chasing him.
    • Button-downed business major and Straight Gay Patrick becomes smitten with the flamboyant David Rose from the moment they meet. They are portrayed as an excellent match, complementing each other both professionally and personally.
    • The latter also appears as something of a Generation Xerox of David's parents, the straitlaced but lovable businessman Johnny and the eccentric former soap opera star Moira, who are shown to still be deeply in love and committed to each other after decades of marriage.
  • Sesame Street: Whether you think of them as Heterosexual Life-Partners or Ambiguously Gay, straight-laced and uptight Bert clearly loves Ernie because of his free-spirited nature.
  • Deconstructed with Steve and Miranda on Sex and the City, where they have a rather tense on-again, off-again relationship throughout most of the series precisely because their personalities clash too much. Even after they eventually marry, by the time of the movie (4 years after the end of the series), they have an equally strained marriage where every effort he makes to get her to relax is met with irritation.
  • Six Feet Under: Fun-loving, free-spirited, liberal photographer Claire Fisher falls in love with Ted Fairwell who is a conservative lawyer.
  • Skins with Chris and Jal. Jal inspires Chris to work hard to get and keep a job, and Chris inspires Jal to let her hair down a little.
  • Both major couples in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
    • Worf and Jadzia: he's a stuffy Proud Warrior Race Guy, she's a Trill with several hundred years' worth of memories who does whatever she can to avoid boredom.
      "Worf. My love. Let me make this very clear: I do not want to spend my honeymoon climbing, hiking, sweating, bleeding or suffering in any way."
      "Alright. What do you want?"
      "Room service. I wanna be pampered. I want a staff to cater to our every whim - I wanna be embarrassed by the size of our room."
    • Odo and Kira: he's a policeman so uptight he can't stand people moving the things in his room an inch out of place, she's a Fiery Redhead ex-guerrilla fighter with little respect for any rules but her own.
  • Utopia Falls: Shy, quiet Sage falls for bold, outgoing Brooklyn.

  • "Opposites Attract" by Paula Abdul, about an uptight human who has a whirlwind love affair with a wildcat.
    "I like it quiet..."
    "And I love to shout!"
    "But when we get together..."
    "It just all works out!"

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • While he wouldn't act on it, Ciro feels attracted to his spirited childhood friend Zia, in part because he's envious that she can be less uptight than him. Unbeknownst to him, she reciprocates the crush.
    • Marko also fell for Zia because she's a punk that fights against the status quo, and he wants to learn how he can be more like that.
  • DC Nation: The Titans seem to really like this one. Tempest and Halcyon (the resurrected Aquagirl I) are the best case. Tula all but tackled Garth at the age of 14 and drug him off to have her way with him, and the pair have had a torch for each other since (interrupted by an annoying decade where she was a ghost).

    Video Games 
  • Noelle in Deltarune is studious, responsible, and nice to a fault. She regrets that she's unable to stand up for herself and do what she actually wants because of that. Hence why she's absolutely smitten with the class delinquent Susie— she deeply admires Susie's lack of care for following rules.
    Noelle: But that's... what's... NICE about you, you know?
    Susie: NICE!? The hell does that mean???
    Noelle: You're the... good kind of scary. You aren't afraid to... break the rules, y'know? ...I wish I could do crazy stuff like you.
  • Dragon Age also tends to have pairings that look like this. In general, each game provides at least one uptight or rule-abiding love interest that makes a more snarky or off-kilter protagonist look wild by comparison or a more wild protagonist that makes a more duty-bound or rule-abiding protagonist look uptight by comparison.
    • Dragon Age: Origins: Duty-bound Knight in Sour Armor Alistair has shades of this with a Warden who tends to pick more snarky Warden (particularly during romantic conversations), and the wildly uninhibited (in more ways than one) Zevran for a Warden who tends to pick more serious or rule-abiding responses.
    • Dragon Age II: A non-humorous Hawke has shades of this with both Isabela or Merrill, as the former is a thrill-seeking pirate queen and the latter is a Moe Cloudcuckoolander Elf who does things like swing on chandeliers, pick flowers from other nobles' gardens, and coo over their vicious attack dogs. By contrast, a Humorous Hawke has shades of this with Fenris.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition calmed down on the formula some, though a female Inquisitor always has shades of this with Sera. Even if a little snarky, the Inquisitor always comes across as polite and self-contained (if not stoic), while Sera is as wild, spirited, and carefree as they come.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI has the subdued, professional military commander Celes Chere falling in love with the charismatic thi... er, treasure hunter, Locke Cole. Through him, Celes taps into her own morality, and Locke is able to move on from his previous traumas because of her.
    • Squall and Rinoa from Final Fantasy VIII could be a trope image. Squall is a businesslike mercenary who tries as hard as he can to play The Stoic and is constantly Facepalming his teammates' antics. Rinoa is a free-spirited member of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who frequently questions the mercenary way of life Squall has and constantly encourages him to be expressive.
    • Final Fantasy X has Tidus and Yuna. Yuna was raised as the honored daughter of a martyr who fully intends to follow in his footsteps, and is constantly aware that she's a public figure who must put on a brave face for the populace. Tidus, meanwhile, is a tactless athlete who has no hesitation in barging into sacred ceremonies, trash-talking the hometown team of a tournament, and loudly questioning religious tenets. (In more than one instance where Tidus makes a big embarrassing scene, Lulu and Wakka look like they want to strangle him, while Yuna appears to be laughing and egging him on.)
  • Kyle and Lute from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. Lute is a Black Magician Girl with No Social Skills who can barely interact with people around her, whereas Kyle is a Cultured Badass Genius Bruiser who's simply fascinated with her odd personality. If they reach an A support, they can get married — and his friends are said to simply not be able to understand what he saw in such a strange girl like her.
  • In Hades, Thanatos is a cold, steadfast Consummate Professional. So, naturally, he falls so head over heels for open, flighty Zagreus that he'd risk everything to aid Zagreus in a goal Thanatos himself vehemently opposes. Achilles theorizes it's because Zagreus's energy and disposition are a sign of his still undiscovered domain as a god—life, which death cannot exist without.
  • This is how the player character's relationship with Bastila appears in Knights of the Old Republic. Females can also play this card with Carth (who's a bit wound up due to his trust issues), but it takes a gentle approach to win over Juhani
  • Mass Effect: There's the Consummate Professional Kaidan Alenko stating that he prefers "adventurous women," and potentially falling in love with Shepard, who makes a habit of defying authority and regularly breaks the rules when she needs to get something done.
  • The strongly-hinted-at pairing of Sasha Nein and Milla Vodello in Psychonauts. They're long-time partners, and are without a doubt close friends, if not in love (though Milla definitely has feeling for Sasha). Sasha's the uptight one (of course; he's German) and Milla's the wild party girl.

    Visual Novels 
  • Kindred Spirits on the Roof has a few couples with this dynamic.
    • Most obviously, Aki Ariu, a disciplinary committee member who's stern to the point of being intimidating, falls in love with Youka Koba, a quasi-delinquent rocker who's chronically late.
    • The dynamic also is present with Miyu Inamoto and Matsuri Amishima. Miyu is serious, disciplined and tends to plan ahead, while the spontaneous and impulsive Matsuri is practically her polar opposite. While the differences between the two lead to conflict, Miyu admits to herself that Matsuri helps balance her out and allows her to experience new things.

    Web Animation 

  • Ennui GO!: Noah (astrophysicist who will happily explode into an angry rant on any number of subjects) and Len (a magic-using Conspiracy Theorist who is probably right about all of them). Taken even further when Len asks Noah to roleplay basically a middle-aged suburban white dad and he prove so good at it she demands they have sex then and there. When he's manning the grill at a backyard barbecue she suffers a Lustful Melt just from looking at him.
  • Milk And Mocha has the titular characters. The former is a hyperactive, somewhat impulsive and very talkative white bear, while the latter is a stoic brown bear who never speaks. Despite their differences, they're very much in love.
  • Sandra and Woo has Landon and Larisa. The former is a shy, bookish, nerd. The latter is an insane pyromaniac who is set to become a succubus when she dies. Though in something of a twist, Larisa fell in love first.
  • Tripping Over You: Liam's father Eli is a stern, work-focused disciplinarian, while his mother Riva was "silly" and prone to sneaking around behind her own father's back. Despite this, they were Happily Married and Eli misses Riva deeply after her death from drug and alcohol abuse. It would seem the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as the asocial, snarky Liam and the upbeat, flamboyant Milo fall in love with each other.
    Eli: I decided I would work hard, to make a good life for us. She was more- carefree. But she brought me so much joy, so I would do the same for her.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: Free-spirited, punk rock troublemaker Marceline the Vampire Queen and serious, scientifically genius Princess Bubblegum rekindle their romance as of series finale Come Along With Me.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Gender-flipped. Linka is a great strategizer and during "Mind Pollution", Gi declares that her picture is in the dictionary next to "perfectionist." She quickly develops feelings for Wheeler, the most passionate and impulsive of the group (though she tries to hide them).
  • The page quote comes from the Futurama episode "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", which features an example between substitute bureaucrat Morgan Proctor and Fry. Here is the entire dialogue, immediately after she realizes how badly he maintains his office locker (complete with flies, sticky soda cans, and a ballcap with yogurt in it that Fry claims used to be filled with milk):
    Morgan Proctor: (seductively pins Fry against a wall) DIRTY BOY! Dirtydirtydirty!
    Fry: What the hell is going on?! I thought you were anti-dirty, not pro-dirty!
    Morgan Proctor: I'm surrounded by neat freaks all day. There's nothing kinkier to me than a filthy slop jockey like you!
    Fry: (flattered) Oh, stop...
    • Can be seen later in Fry's relationship with Turanga Leela. Leela is very organized and rather neurotic. She even makes her meals a month in advance and freezes them and has a rather spartan apartment. Despite this, she and Fry fall in love and remain very close.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): This usual dynamic between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn is deconstructed and then reconstructed. The serious, cynical and sarcastic Ivy harbors repressed feelings for Harley, who is crazy, impulsive and uncontrollable. However, Ivy rejects Harley's love precisely because Harley is too unpredictable for Ivy to believe a relationship between them can last or Harley won't hurt her again. Ivy decides it's safer to marry Kite Man because he's steady. Yet Kite Man comes to the realization during their wedding that, despite this, Ivy does truly love Harley more than him and breaks things off with her. Ivy comes to the realization that, regardless of her impulsive personality, Harley still was willing to change for her sake and allows herself to finally reciprocate.
  • Kaeloo has uptight, stuffy Kaeloo and resident bad boy Mr. Cat who couldn't care less about the rules.
  • Kendall on Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil is the residential "Fun Police", a lover of school, rules, books, and opera who seems to be holding a torch for the daredevil Kick... even going so far as to flat out tell her actual boyfriend that she wishes he could be more awesome like him (ouch!). Not that Kick hasn't complimented Kendall on her "elegance"...
  • The titular character in Milo Murphy's Law, a Walking Disaster Area, has a potentially requited crush on Amanda, a girl who is Obsessively Organized and has a fixation with scheduling her life down to the last detail.
  • The Owl House: The academic and dedicated student Amity ends up dating the rebellious and free-spirited Luz.
  • Phineas and Ferb's parents: The somewhat stuffy and decidedly dorky Lawrence is married to Linda, whose hit song was titled "I'm Lindana And I Wanna Have Fun".
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Hordak is an uptight, grumpy, no-nonsense warlord that doesn't admit failure, especially his. And yet, he falls in love with the free-spirited, hyperactive autistic genius Entrapta, whom teaches him that failure is what makes the greatest discoveries on science possible.
    • Deconstructed with Adora and Catra. Adora is reliable and strictly by the book, but ready to break the rules for the greatest good (and she has a dumb side, too). Catra, on her turn, is wild, laid-back and mischievous, but also self-centered and has no qualms onto hurting people to get what she wants (or what she thinks she does). Both have a long way to go and a lot of Character Development to make their relationship healthy enough to work.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Marge and Homer. It gets more prominent in later seasons, such as in the episode "Jaws Wired Shut". Homer is the brash, wacky one and Marge is the classy one.
    • Eternally uptight Principal Skinner and the free-minded Edna Krabappel. However, she ends up leaving him at the altar because of his "mommy issues".
    • Free-spirited Edna ended up marrying stuffy religious nut Ned Flanders.
    • On a later episode ("Flaming Moe" note ) Skinner falls for Juniper, a younger, freewheeling music teacher who replaces Mr. Largo. He then follows her out of town and returns three months later.
  • Marco Diaz who is a bit of a Neat Freak in Star vs. the Forces of Evil has a crush on skater girl Jackie Lynn-Thomas, and has some later canon Ship Tease with the very wild Star Butterfly.
  • Total Drama:
    • Courtney and Duncan. She's an uptight priss with high hopes for her future; he's a wild teenage delinquent.
    • In All Stars, Courtney has a fling with Scott, a sneaky farm boy who eats dirt and hunts down rats with a baseball bat.