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Operation Jealousy / Live-Action TV

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  • Used by Connie a few times on Phillip Boynton in Our Miss Brooks, to varying effect.
  • In Smallville, Chloe does this a few times to Clark with a few Temporary Love Interests. The straightest example is in Heat (an episode after they broke up) when she talked about this cute guy from Metropolis who she lost her virginity to but was disappointed, thanks to Clark's, to quote the trope description, "awareness of a brick". She is later involved again with Jimmy and ends up marrying him, but sometime in the middle she admitted to Jor-El that she still loves Clark. Despite that Clark's constant refrain of She Is Not My Girlfriend, he always had the knack of looking mightily jealous whether Chloe is involved with another guy. And a priceless expression whenever she actually kisses them (happened at least three times, with Justin, Ian and Jimmy; although for the last occasion it turned out to be Bizarro). Lana with Lex Luthor too.
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  • Drake & Josh:
    Drake: I hate your girlfriend, but her idea to make Tori jealous was really smart.
    Josh: Not that smart. They've done it on every sitcom since the 1950s.
  • On Chef!, Savannah tried to attract Gareth by inventing a boyfriend. She sent herself flowers in the mail and everything. It was almost sad, but mostly hilarious.
  • Miss Piggy tries this on the Avery Schreiber episode of The Muppet Show. It seems to work, except that Scooter spills the beans.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • April convinces Andy that if she puts several hickeys on his neck, it will make Ann jealous and want to get back together with him. Which totally has nothing to do with any feelings April has for him...
    • April tries to use Operation Jealousy AGAINST Andy too, by flirting with Jean-Ralphio, and later with her new boyfriend Eduardo. The first fails because Jean-Ralphio is a douche, the second because Eduardo and Andy actually get along really well.
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  • In Seacht, after Eithne slept with Mã­cheãl, his girlfriend, Paddy, came to the show and shagged Pete, who was Eithne's boyfriend at the time. Drama ensued. Oh, and to make matters worse, Eithne and Paddy are sisters.
  • On an episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche tries this to make her boyfriend Floyd (who just stood her up) jealous, The Beard being Rose's foreign cousin Sven. At first, it seems like Sven is taking this wrong and falling for Blanche (being rather naïve) but as it turns out, he knew what she was up to - he himself wanted to scare his fiancé away. (It's an Arranged Marriage, and he's very nervous about it.)
  • On an episode of Gilligan's Island, Mr. Howell and Lovey split up, and they both attempted this plan to make the other jealous; Mr. Howell with Ginger and Lovey with The Professor.
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  • On Gossip Girl Blair brings home a British lord from her vacation in Europe to make Chuck jealous. Later on Chuck and Vanessa team up to make Blair and Nate jealous.
  • Maddie on Jonathan Creek tried this to make Jonathan jealous; unfortunately, she was going on a blind date based on a photo which did not entirely match the goods, so to speak, and the guy ended up being several decades older than his photo and, personality-wise, "the bastard son of Forrest Gump." Needless to say, Jonathan not only clocked exactly what she was doing (and that it had gone badly wrong) but enjoyed himself enormously at her expense.
  • In Hannah Montana, Miley attempts this on Jake to get him to break up with his girlfriend. It later turns out that the "girlfriend" was just Jake using an Operation Jealousy on Miley (and succeeding).
  • A complicated version in Friends: Monica and Chandler have a Friends with Benefits relationship that's clearly bordering on more, but Monica gets asked out. She intended to get out of it but Chandler misunderstands and claims they were just "goofing around" to protect himself. This prompts a hurt Monica to say yes to the date and and flaunt the guy in front of him. Thankfully Chandler talks to her, explains his feeling, she calls the scheme off, and they ultimately enter a real relationship.
  • Been done a couple of times on Glee:
    • Rachel said the main reason she agreed to date Puck was in the hopes that it would make his best friend Finn jealous - it worked a bit, to go by Finn's facial expressions during Puck's song performance to her.
    • After being spurned by Santana, Brittany recruited Artie to be her new duet partner/boyfriend in the hopes of making Santana jealous - this also worked, though not quite in the way Brittany hoped.
    • Artie only got with Brittany originally to make Tina jealous after she left him for Mike.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • After Marshall confesses that a coworker jumped him at work, Lily thinks he's just trying to invoke this trope and doesn't believe him. However, when the coworker drops by to apologize to Lily and confirms that it did happen, Lily beats the snot out of her in a jealous fury.
    • Barney takes this to rather spectacular levels in his proposal to Robin. He asks Patrice to pretend to be his girlfriend to make Robin realize how she feels, even spreading the rumor that he was going to propose to her.
  • Herman's Head. Herman asks a girl to play along with this; she rightly describes the trope as "pathetic". It doesn't help that the ex-girlfriend Herman's after realises what he's doing and starts saying loudly to the man she's with things like, "Yes, I'm not wearing any underwear!" Eventually Herman and his ex start arguing directly and after a Slap-Slap-Kiss go off together, while the man and women they'd been using strike up their own conversation.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon tries to ask Penny out in an attempt to make Amy jealous. Penny sees right through it and convinces him to just go tell Amy how he feels.
  • Played for Drama on Switched at Birth: Daphne flirts and makes plans with Travis, who she knows has a thing for her, but she only does it in order to attract her much older boss.
  • Happens three times on House of Anubis.
    • Mara and Jerome (Who of course, had an insane crush on Mara) started to fake date to make Mara's ex jealous. This ex happened to have moved to Australia and was wrongly quoted to have had a new girlfriend, and of course he did not and was actually talking about Mara. In the end Mara claimed she was just dating Jerome because people were teasing him for not having a girlfriend, leading to Jerome's confusion and annoyance.
    • The second time is when Eddie started to get really close to Mara to make Patricia, who was still his girlfriend, jealous until she explained why she had been mad at him that whole time. He later admitted he was glad when she got jealous because it proved she liked him back.
    • Patricia does it back when she wants to know if Eddie still likes her. To do this, she ends up asking out Jerome. Hilarity Ensues, as it turns out that everyone in the House, except for Eddie, understood her goals- even Jerome, to where he ended up messing with her on the date just to get a little fun of his own. It worked however, and Eddie got jealous and they soon got back together.
  • Cracker. Fitz finally convinces DS Penhaligon to go out with him, only to take her to the same restaurant his estranged wife has taken her date in order to show her up. While the two are arguing, Penhaligon can be heard asking the waiter for a jug of water, which she calmly pours over Fitz's head before walking out.
    Fitz: (dripping wet) Anglo-Saxon foreplay.
  • On Chef!, Savannah makes up an imaginary boyfriend to try to get Gareth's attention, but he quickly realizes that the bills for all the bouquets she's receiving are made out to her.
  • The Office (US): In the episode "Pool Party", Erin flirts with Dwight to try and make Andy jealous. Dwight doesn't reciprocate until Erin explains the scheme, at which point they both throw themselves into the roles of an over-the-top lovey-dovey couple.
  • Community: Jeff and Britta want to break up Annie and Vaughn because Annie is a vulnerable cutie and Vaughn is a lame douchebag (they think). They know that Annie has been in love with Troy, so they tell Vaughn that Annie is only dating him to make Troy jealous. He believes them but it's not actually true as Annie's interest in him is sincere.
  • Person of Interest. In "Bury the Lede", Reese goes on a date with a workaholic Intrepid Reporter as a means of secretly protecting her. Finch is Playing Cyrano back in Mission Control, so when Reese is stuffing up he goes to Plan B and has Zoe Morgan come up and flirt with him, in the belief that Reese appearing to be attractive to other women makes him more desirable. It seems to work (it doesn't hurt that Zoe is Famed In-Story) despite Zoe using the opportunity to pat Reese's behind. At the end of the episode though the reporter decides to break up with Reese, assuming from their UST that Reese is still pining over his "ex-girlfriend".
  • On My Name Is Earl, Joy goes on a date with a lonely and depressed man named Milo who had been on Earl's list. She did it because after a fight concerning Darnell's Porn Stash, Darnell claimed that he doesn't get jealous and that he takes it as a compliment when other men hit on Joy. However, Joy's gambit works, and she and Darnell make up.
    • In another episode there's an inversion of this trope. Earl is trying to make up for Faking the Dead to get out of a relationship with a clingy girlfriend. Her current boyfriend gets the idea to do the same thing from Earl, and Earl doesn't want to say anything because he's afraid that the idea that two different men have faked their deaths to break up with her would be too much for her. He tries to get her out of the house and doing fun things...which causes her to think they're getting back together. He tries the Please Dump Me Gambit, which culminates in pretending to have sex with Catalina. Natalie's response?
    Natalie: Well, just have fun, and call me when you're done!
    • Earl then calls her out for not getting jealous or upset when she really should have.
  • On GLOW (2017), Rhonda's sex life with Bash has dried up, so she hires a gigolo to pose as a handyman that she can flirt with to make Bash jealous. Her plan takes an unexpected turn and they end up having a three-way.
  • One episode of The Andy Griffith Show has Barney accidentally getting himself and Andy stuck with two 'fun girls' from out of town just before a big dance. Thelma Lou and Helen get jealous and decide to go to the dance with Gomer and Goober instead. By the end of the night, the couples are back together and Gomer and Goober are dancing with the fun girls.
  • During the Supergirl series, Cat Grant at one point gives this advice to Kara regarding her love interest James, describing it as the "Lighthouse" technique. Not specifically to induce jealousy with a given individual but to seem unattainable in order to garner his interest. Later, while unintentional, she notices it seems to be working when Barry Allen enters the picture and unintentionally does cause James to become jealous of the quick bond Kara and he strike up.
  • In the Open All Hours episode "The Housekeeper Caper", Arkwright launches an ambitious plan to make Nurse Gladys jealous using an advert for a live-in housekeeper; banking on the thought of another woman under his roof making her want to rush him to the altar. Unfortunately Nurse Gladys can not only read him like a book, but also quite likes watching his schemes fall apart.
  • In an early episode of The Wonder Years, Kevin briefly dates a girl named Becky Slater in an attempt to make Winnie jealous. This blows up in his face spectacularly when she finds out the truth. She ends up punching him (several times), and later tells everyone what he said about them behind their backs, leaving everyone, particularly Winnie and Paul angry with him for several episodes.
  • In the Here Come the Brides episode "Lovers and Wanderers," Big Swede has an argument with Miss Essie and then tries to win her back by flirting with some of the imported women. His plan backfires, and Miss Essie stops talking to him. Heartbroken, Big Swede leaves town, and Miss Essie starts flirting with Jason in the hopes of making Big Swede jealous when he returns. This backfires even worse - the other lumberjacks think Jason fired Big Swede to steal his woman, and they all protest by going on strike.


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