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Pair the Spares/Playing With

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Basic Trope: Characters are paired together in order to make them unable to compete for the affections of the characters who are the main couple.

  • Straight: Bob and Alice are the main couple. Charlie, who had a crush on Alice, and Carol, who had an unrequited love for Bob, are both paired together.
  • Exaggerated: Every character in the Love Dodecahedron or Unwanted Harem finds their ideal mate.
  • Justified: Charlie used to date Carol before he fell for Alice, and wants to see if he and Carol can make their relationship work again now that Alice is out of the question.
  • Inverted: Charlie and Carol start off as a happy Beta Couple but break up when Alice and Bob show up and never get together again.
  • Subverted: After Bob and Alice get together, Charlie and Carol go out on one date and realize they have nothing in common.
  • Double Subverted: Charlie and Carol don't work out, but then Carol meets Dave and Charlie meets Danielle.
  • Parodied: Bob and Alice date Carol and Charlie, then Bob and Carol date Charlie and Alice, then Bob and Charlie date Alice and Carol, and when the madness ends, they're all completely monogamous and satisfied.
  • Deconstructed: Charlie and Carol get together, but neither are completely over their former loves.
  • Reconstructed: In a Distant Finale set twenty years later, Charlie and Carol are shown to be a happy family with three kids. Time proved them a good match.
  • Zig Zagged: Several episodes are dedicated to pairing the remaining spares from a Love Dodecahedron with each other but no match really works until the end.
    • Rejects from the Love Dodecahedron regularly get together and become happy Beta Couples. Meanwhile, the main couple keep on getting into more Love Dodecahedrons.
    • All of the Love Dodecahedron and Unwanted Harem end up happily paired with each other once Alice and Bob are spoken for. Then Alice and Bob break up, but now there's no-one left for them to turn to.
  • Averted: Charlie and Carol do not get together.
    • Alternatively: There is a different number of men and women.
    • Tenchi Solution.
  • Enforced: The Grand Finale or Season Finale are approaching and all that UST has to get resolved!
    • To eliminate the competition, Alice or Bob uses mind control or love potions on the spares to put them together.
  • Lampshaded: "I guess, it's only you and me left, girl..."
  • Invoked: Bob and Alice conspire to set Carol and Charlie up on a blind date.
  • Defied: Bob suggests that Charlie asks Carol out. Charlie is disgusted and says, "Not that desperate, pal! I barely talk to her."
  • Discussed: "So...Bob and Alice are together. I was wondering, Carol, if you'd like to..." "Go out with you once I get over him? Why not?"
  • Conversed: "Ugh! Just because he didn't get Alice doesn't mean you have to pair him with someone he rarely even interacts with!"

Back to Pair the Spares.

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