In the grand scheme of things, shipping is probably goes at the bottom of the list of things of importance. But shipping has always been and will probably always be important to me. I might be a pessimist at times but in my heart of hearts I will always be a lover of love stories, preferably ones with HEAs. So let’s talk about love stories and romance but more specifically, what makes a couple an OTP for me? What are some tropes on romance that I will devour again and again?
Perhaps the most important thing to me in order to get me to ship a couple is to ask do I like them as individuals and can they exist as individuals on their own with a world apart from who they love. Love is a uniting of two people. How can I like them together if I don’t like them apart or if I get more development for one character and not the other how can I feel that they really love each other? This is where all these romance tropes are born. I love Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows because they are so independent from each other makes it more special when they come together, the fact that they are so independent lets the other person figures things out on their own while still silently supporting each other. Inej never tries to change Kaz and vice versa, but she won’t give up who she is for him.
It’s a reason why I’ve never really liked Edward and Bella from Twilight, Bella of course wanting to be a vampire solely because of Edward. What does she even like?
It sounds sort of weird but one of the most important things to an OTP for me and maybe the most important thing is their wit/banter or their chemistry with each other. You might be thinking, umm what about respect? honesty? Nope, it’s chemistry. It’s that initial attraction, something about these two people that makes you interested in them. It can start in a meet cute or some sort of romantic plot device to have them realize their feelings for each other. After that, it’s where the fun part comes in. Most if not all romances can be boiled down to a trope but when these tropes are executed well, an OTP is born.
The slow burn-usually culminates in a kiss after lots and lots of angst
My favorite couples of all time have been slow-burn, sometimes so painfully slowburn. Percy and Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series are one of my favorite slow-burns that felt so completely natural and lovable. It’s even more lovable because we get to see them grow up together from kids to young adults and it’s just so heartwarming. Chuck and Sarah from Chuck were also extremely slow burn mostly because Sarah had trust issues but it just felt all the more natural and sweet when they did get together.
It’s important to note that even though I like slow-burn relationships, there’s still an initial spark to them that made me want to ship them in the first place. I love Arin and Kestrel‘s from The Winner’s trilogy initial tension but like mindedness in their wit and banter which made their slow-burn all the more heart achingly angsty. Pam and Jim from the Office. I really got to see how they’ve changed over the course of the seasons and having them finally be together was just perfect
2. Dynamic Duo-Two people are similar and capable in ways and just are there to mentally support the other
I love this trope because we get to see dynamic duos just take on the world together and the other half knows that the other person can handle shit and just mentally supports them. This is why I love Leslie and Ben from Parks and Recreation because they are so supportive of each other even as they have their own big ambitions. I also really like this trope because it gives both parties a chance to save the other and have a battle of wills.My
favorite non-canon couple is Shiro and Allura from Voltron. They’re both really intense leaders that feel the need to take on burdens and responsibilities for the rest of the team. But they often disagree strongly with each other and they’re kind of each other’s voice of reason. It’s all the more satisfying when they have their moment of happiness. My other favorite non-canon couple for this trope that I’ve been shipping for years is Eragon and Arya from the Inheritance cycle. And did my shipping pay off??? Nope, Christopher Paolini just decided to leave me hanging..
One ship that does this trope well in my opinion is Once Upon a Time’s Regina and Robin. I don’t even watch the show and I know what happens to Robin but holy shit, this ship is so much better to me than Captain Swan. I just completely love their strength but understanding that they can be vulnerable with each other without undermining that strength. Another dynamic duo that I ship and I don’t even watch the show but I love their gifs on Tumblr is Bellamy and Clarke from The 100. Again, the whole they’re both leaders
and they subtly support one another is my jam. One show that I recently started watching, The Americans also does this well; Phillip and Elizabeth are already on my top OTP list because not only are they a great dynamic duo (they both kick ass and take no names), but their well-being depends on them forming sexual and romantic connections with other people but somehow the show is able to convey that they have a special understanding for each other and their silent support of one another gives me life despite their deepest reservations about the other. And speaking of silent support, San and Ashitaka and San from Princess Mononoke I love too because they like each other but they realize they have a duty to other people besides themselves and that kind of selflessness makes me love them all the more.
3. Weird meets weird- one person’s weird is perfect for another person’s weird
Every person is some level of weird and I like this trope because it makes me believe that there is someone on that same type and level of weirdness that just makes them perfect together. Probably the ultimate example of this is April and Andy from Parks and
Recreation. April is eternally annoyed and cynical. Andy eternally naive and optimistic. But somehow their eccentric humor and personalities just mesh and it’s just so cute. Gretchen and Jimmy from You’re the Worst are both terrible and pessimistic people that shouldn’t be in a relationship with anyone decent but somehow you just love the two of them together because they just get each other and they kind of throw societal expectations of what should happen in a relationship down the drain. The opposite of that would be Jake and Amy from Brooklyn Nine Nine. They’re both too pure for this world but they’re nerds on the inside so they just meld p
erfectly together. My other favorite workplace couple is Jonah and Amy from Superstore (they’re not together…yet..). On the surface, they seem like the stereotypical no-nonsense girl and the idealistic guy trope but as the episodes go on, you realize that they are so similar. They love getting into other people’s business and both have the same core views about the workplace. I love them so much
4. Witty Playfulness- Usually consists of witty banter and being playful with another person that they’re usually not with others
I normally make it a rule not to ship real life people together because I don’t truly know them but usually if they have a video together or act together, I just find myself loving their dynamic. I love this trope because it’s so telling of how their minds think and it just shows that they have the same type of humor. Haven’t you ever talked to a person that did not have the same humor as you and just felt awkward. Like can I really be with someone who doesn’t understand memes?? (jk, but not jk, but jk). This is why I’m in love with
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone‘s relationship ever since I saw them in The Amazing SpiderMan. Like I’m in this for life. Just look at any interviews they have together. Any and you cannot deny that they’re meant to be (i’m being dramatic). I know that they broke up and I respect that but have you seen the things they say about each other even now? Also they both just got nominated for Oscars and they hugged during the BAFTAs just two days ago. Don’t tell me love ain’t real.
For some reason, I also love Marzia and Felix who both have really popular Youtube channels. They’re so adorable. I’ve literally watched all their videos together.
5. Opposites Attract-Bad boy meets good girl or even better, bad girl meets good boy
In real life, this would more likely not happen because statistically, you’re more likely to be with someone who is more similar to you than not. I like seeing how two people who never really like each other because of who they are end up falling for each other anyway or somehow end up spending time together because of some unforeseen circumstance. The ultimate one for me right now (non-canon) is Haley and Andy from Modern Family. I mean she’s like this popular girl who’s too cool for school. He’s not that…cool and pretty nerdy but it just works. Another perfect example of the opposites attract is Ryuuji and Taiga from Toradora. Ryuuji is sweet and kind and loves doing housework and cooking but he has a face that makes him unapproachable to many people. Taiga, on the other hand, is super cute and short but she is actually irascible and has a really bad temper. Their interactions are just hilarious because they’re so different. Nina and Matthias from Six of Crows is kind of in that same vein. Nina is flirtatious and confident, Matthias more reserved and conservative and that just makes their interactions so interesting and fun to read because there’s always that tension, having these two personalities at odds with one another. The most recent one that I ship is Jonathan and Nancy from Stranger Things. I
know, I know, that the writers dared to actually have Steve undergo character development and that was such a pleasant surprise but please, you just can’t give me angsty stares and not have me ship Jancy. Again, I love the trope because these two people would have never crossed paths if it hadn’t been for the mystery of the strange creature.
6. Star-Crossed Lovers/Forbidden Love
This trope is so cliche but I eat it up like no other. I think, if done right, it’s actually one of the most insightful romantic tropes to be used. Forbidden love usually means there’s some societal, cultural, or familial aspect in the way of two people getting together. And if done right, this trope can prove what love makes people do. What are they willing to sacrifice for another and isn’t that one of the most romantic things of all? To defy the selfish nature of survival and humanity itself. My ultimate couple for this one has to Sharzhad and Khalid. They’re honestly one of my favorite couples in general of all time but Renee Ahdieh really plays this trope well because they will never apologize for loving the other person even though Khalid supposedly killed her best friend and Sharzhad is supposed to die.
They never deny their attraction to the other person which is common in forbidden love stories. The other couple that comes to mind is Evan and Maise from Unteachable because they understand how wrong on paper it is but they are attracted to each other and they’ll hide it but they won’t deny their attraction.
7. Rivals-Always competing against one another but everyone knows they should just hook up already
I think I first fell in love with this trope surprisingly when I read The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare himself. It was further cemented when I read The Night Circus, the two magicians, Celia and Marco being actual rivals in a deadly, magical game. I like this trope because it gives an automatic level of sexual tension above the others and it makes it so much more sweet when they do find common ground. This was especially true when I started shipping Keith and Lance from Voltron. They’re always bickering and trying to outdo the other person but when they share a serious moment, it is out of this world. Please be canon!!
And how could I forget Elizabeth and Darcy, always trying to outsass the other. Jane Austen probably knew what sexual tension was before it was even a thing.
8. Friends to Lovers
This trope is precious because often the feelings of love aren’t realized until something happens but that deep-seated love was always there even if the characters don’t see it but the audience does. Percabeth is a classic YA one but I also love Emma and Knightley from Emma and the webseries. Emma and Knightley have such a deep knowledge of the other person and it’s so endearing to watch them voice what the other person is already thinking.
9. Fake Relationship
This is my most recent favorite that I didn’t even know I liked but like friends to lovers, it deals with the concept of being so sure that the other person is just a friend or someone you thought was one thing to you but it turns out to be another. Fake relationships are fun because the person is using the other person to get someone else so they think they won’t fall for the other person. My favorite one so far is Peter and Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve loved Before. I also liked Gia and Hayden from The Fill-In Boyfriend though it’s not as well developed or endearing as Peter and Lara Jean.
Of course, great OTPs will do these tropes well but they are also some combination of these tropes. Percy and Annabeth are a combination of the dynamic duo, the slow burn, the playfulness and a few shades of the opposites attract. What are some of your favorite tropes and your favorite otps that fall under these tropes. I obviously need more pairings to ship…obviously. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and if these ships have taught me anything, if you are in a good relationship, you’ll feel the love and respect you deserve everyday 🙂