What's wrong with policemen on television these days? They're always complete opposites. One's of them fat and poor, the other one's thin and posh. One of them's a woman, the other one's a Martian. One of them has four heads, one of them's allergic to heads.
—Inspector Fowler, The Thin Blue Line
Mr Neat/Tidy/Law-Abiding/By-The-Book forced to work/live with Mr Messy/Slob/Zany/Risk-Taker/Plays-By-His-Own-Rules. Despite the name, they're usually not actually a couple.
The original Odd Couple were The Odd Couple, a Sitcom based on a movie based on a play of the same title, about two divorcees, Neat Freak Felix Unger and his sloppy friend Oscar Madison, having to live together.
See also: Salt and Pepper, Different As Night and Day, Tomboy and Girly Girl, Sensitive Guy and Manly Man, Red Oni, Blue Oni, Opposites Attract, Two Gamers on a Couch, Badass and Child Duo. Compare Heterosexual Life Partners. May be part of a Wunza Plot.
If it's not the two main characters, it's an Odd Friendship.
Anime and Manga
- It's implied that before Shinji Ikari's arrival in his class at school in Neon Genesis Evangelion, that Kensuke Aida (nerd) and Touji Suzuhara (jock) were this.
- Tenchi Muyo!! - The space-cop pair "Miho-Kiyo" -- Born Lucky Brainless Beauty Mihoshi and Cosmic Plaything By-The-Book Cop Kiyone. They're the same in whatever series they appear (though Kiyone does not appear in the first OVA series).
- Nana - Nana and Hachi, who is also really named Nana.
- Futari wa Pretty Cure - Part of the premise; two unlikely partners are a sports-loving tomboy and a brainy class rep.
- Bleach has a whole lot of these.
- The Shinigami, most notably in the 13 squad divisions with many of its captain and lieutenant sets:
- 1st Division: Captain Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto and Lieutenant Chōjirō Sakisabe (Yamamoto enjoys Japanese culture but dislikes European, and holds Japanese tea sessions for his squad, while Chōjirō is obsessed with European culture and dislikes Japanese to the point of growing his own tea leaves), but both traits are only described in the data books, and thus only really show up in omake.
- Although, these same manuals usually mention that this is the only thing they generally disagree on.
- 2nd Division: Captain Shaolin "Soifon" Fon (Les Yay Tsundere Ice Queen Jerkass Facade) and Lieutenant Marechiyo Omaeda (Dumb Muscle Butt Monkey Gonk), one of the best, but lesser-seen examples.
- 3rd Division( prior to Gin's defection): Smug Snake Captain Gin Ichimaru and melancholic Woobie Izuru Kira
- 6th Division: Captain Byakuya Kuchiki (cold, Aloof Big Brother) and Lieutenant Renji Abarai (Hot-Blooded)
- 7th Division: Calm and collected Captain Sajin Komamura and Hot-Blooded Lieutenant Tetsuzaimon Iba
- 8th Division: Captain Shunsui Kyōraku (Professional Slacker) and Lieutenant Nanao Ise (stiff and formal with a Prim and Proper Bun to show it).
- 10th Divison: Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya (Workaholic Child Prodigy) and Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto (Brilliant but Lazy). Their Odd Couple -ness really shows in the office. Yet despite this, these two seem to have the highest respect for one another of all the Captains and Lieutenants in the Society.
- 11th Division: Blood Knight Kenpachi Zaraki and Cute Bruiser Yachiru Kusajishi.
- 12th Division: Complete Monster Mad Scientist Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Extreme Doormat Nemu Kurotsuchi. This makes sense: Mayuri created her to be like that
- 13th Division: Ukitake is a tall, peaceful, calm individual who tries to negotiate conflict between friends and allies with smooth-talking, friendly soothing words. Rukia's pint-sized, Hot-Blooded , and prefers to either beat sense into friends and allies or passionately yell at them.
- In the "Turn Back The Pendulum arc, we have: Shinji Hirako (Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass) and Sousuke Aizen (Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Evil Genius), Kensei Muguruma (Temperamental Jerk with a Heart of Gold) and Mashiro Kuna (Adult Child Genius Ditz), and Kisuke Urahara (Nice Guy Mad Scientist) and Hiyori Sarugaki (Bratty Half-Pint Jerkass Woobie).
- Even the ex-captain traitor trio qualifies: Kaname Tōsen is a mostly stoic justice-seeking Knight Templar, Gin Ichimaru is an Ax Crazy Evilly Affable Enigmatic Minion, and Sōsuke Aizen is an Affably Evil Magnificent Bastard Hero-Killer Villain Sue. Enjoyable Teeth-Clenched Teamwork ensues.
- Hell, there's so many odd pairs Bleach that even The Heartless Arrancar and Empathic Weapon Zanpakutō can qualify here, especially for the Zanpakutō, since more often then not, they're almost the exact opposite of what their respective shinigami wielders are (though this is more of a matter of "How they act" vs "What their personalities are like").
- Naruto - The Akatsuki team of Hidan (religious, detests money-grubbing people) and Kakuzu (money-grubbing, detests religious people) works here too. The only reason they are together is because both have problems with killing their partners, and both are nigh-immortal.
- Azumanga Daioh
- The stern, mature, bookworm Yomi and goofy, brash, hyperactive Tomo.
- The same applies for the sensible, caring Nyamo, and the playful, irresponsible Yukari.
- Shy, quiet cute-obsessed Sakaki and outgoing, impulsive Kagura's growing friendship might also count; particularly later in the season; although it seems a little more one-sided (on Kagura's part) than the other pairings.
- Mai-Otome - Country Mouse Arika Yumemiya and strait-laced #1-ranked student Nina Wang. Can also be applied to Arika and snobby Rebellious Princess Mashiro Blan de Windbloom.
- Hidamari Sketch - Yuno and Miyako have very different personalities, which doesn't prevent them from being very close. Miyako's often energetic efforts to show her feelings for Yuno are especially endearing at times.
- Scrapped Princess - The "Beast Princess" Seness Giat and Yamato Nadeshiko Eirote Borchard.
- Toradora!: Ryuuji and Taiga. He's tall, gentle, is an expert at housekeeping, likes to cook, and generally does his best to avoid conflict—unfortunately, the hereditary angry glare he got from his father makes everyone think Ryuuji's going to kill them, or worse. She's short, brutish, never bothers cleaning up after herself, burns salads, and has the temperament of a raging tiger—unfortunately, her pretty face and delicate figure makes strangers think she's just a cute little girl.
- Soul Eater
- Maka and Soul from are a pretty good example of this trope.
- Tsubaki and Black Star are even stronger examples.
- The meister/Weapon groups such as Harvar and Ox. Shinigami has a contrasting group in his named area heads, but he and scythe Spirit are not actually that dissimilar. Though it depends on how far Shinigami's obfuscating stupidity.
- Light Yagami and L in Death Note. Light is an occasionally amnesiac mass-murderer who kills criminals in order to make a 'better world' with himself as God. L is the detective who's trying to catch him. And they were HANDCUFFED TOGETHER for several episodes/chapters! Not to mention that Light is neatly dressed and charismatic, while L is a sloppy Bunny Ears Lawyer with No Social Skills.
- Chiaki from Nodame Cantabile is a perfectionist neat-freak who prefers good manners, yet he spends much of his time with Nodame, who is eccentric, ill-mannered, chaotic and an immense slob.
- Kanade (serious, somewhat Tsundere) and Yukino (ditzy) from Candy Boy. As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that the two are more alike than they initially appeared.
- Darker than Black- The two Contractors, November 11 and April have this dynamic, especially in the dub. He is cool and kind of fastidious (at least in respect to smoking) and always wears a suit. She is a Bottle Fairy who dresses like a party girl and has dyed hair. They kill people. They are also Salt and Pepper; November is currently the page picture for Phenotype Stereotype while April is black, albeit with blue hair and yellow eyes. On the other hand, they're both rather attached to July.
- Subaru and Teana in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS and all related releases where they serve as main characters. The former's too energetic for her own good while the other tries to keep professional in the face of that energy.
- Niea and Mayuko from NieA 7, the latter being a serious cram-school student in contrast with the boisterous, freeloading and food-stealing alien girl who lives in her cloest. Still, their relationship shows signs of a sisterly bond, which gets especially prevalent when Niea goes missing.
- A central theme in Noir; Kirika and Mirielle's curious relationship is key to the plot.
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya - Haruhi and Kyon, He's a down to earth, Ordinary High School Student, and Deadpan Snarker and she's a hyperactive Genki Girl, who is also God.
- Gakuen Alice has a Mikan, Hotari, Natsumi, and Luka. Any way you mix and match you get an Odd Couple.
- Gon and Killua in Hunter X Hunter probably count, because it's been pointed out that even their Nen types are complete opposites of each other. Gon's a naive, strong-willed boy from the country and Killua is a devious ex-Assassin who also happens to be very, very rich. Kurapika and Leorio probably count, too.
- And how could we forget the ultimate example. Goku and Vegeta from Dragon Ball are complete oppisites that are, forced to team up. No matter how much they don't like it.
- In The Secret Agreement, Yuuichi is down to earth and realistic while Iori is impractical, otherworldly, and has very scattered attachments to actual things. On top of this there is a large wealth and class gap between them. They aren't quite a case of Opposites Attract, but in-story Yuuichi remarks to himself how they are an unlikely couple.
- The title characters of Tiger and Bunny. Kotetsu (Wild Tiger) is impulsive, emotional, compassionate and prone to poking his nose into other people's business. His partner Barnaby ("Bunny") is asocial, aloof, relentlessly formal and generally unconcerned about anything other than avenging his parents' deaths.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Definitely Germany and Italy. Denmark and Norway, to some extent. And maybe Canada and America.
- Tintin - gracile hyper-saintly jack-of-all-trades journalist meets chubby choleric, eccentric alcoholic—who could this possibly be? Tintin and the Captain, of course.
- Cable and Deadpool - One: a muscle-bound, angsty psychic mutant from the future trying to make the world a better place. His buddy: a fourth-wall-breaking motormouth mercenary who is made of cancer and loves pop-culture riffs. They Fight Crime, sort of.
- Blacksad has intillectual tough guy John Blacksad paired with precocious pervert Weekly. They get along surprisingly well.
- Sehven and Leeka in Feather. Sehv is the last dragon slayer. Leeka is the last full blooded dragon. You can see where the conflict comes from.
- Lenore and Ragamuffin in Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl.
- Superman and Batman. Superman is an alien with almost godlike powers. He can fly, lift hundreds of tons, and fire heat beams from his eyes. He was raised under generally modest circumstances and was inspired by the strong morals taught to him by his parents, and believes in setting a good example for all of mankind. He's also happily married. Batman is a human, albeit an incredibly badass one. He trained his mind and body for years to gain his genius for gadgets, his mastery of combat skills, and his understanding of the mind. He is a tycoon who was inspired to be a hero by the murder of his parents, and believes in creating a nightmare image to scare criminals straight. Oh, and he's got relationship issues out the wazoo. They're practically the superhero Good Cop, Bad Cop scenario, and yet they still acknowledge the other as their best friend.
- Quantum and Woody, with Eric (Quantum) as the by-the-books superhero and Woody as the slapdash slob. Though Woody repeatedly insists they're "not a couple."
- Sin City has Dwight and Miho. Dwight is a down-to-Earth guy who tries to use his head while Miho is the Ax Crazy assassin who never says a word. They get into conflicts a lot but Miho usually listens to him.
- There was a two issue arc in Spider-Man where he was forced to team up with Loki to save the world and Loki's mostly-mortal kid, who the person trying to destroy the world was possessing. It involved a lot of wordplay between the two master sof I Shall Taunt You and despite being a hero and a villain-just-doing-something-good, it was so well-written that a lot of fans remember and like it (and post it all over the web, particularly the "chili dog scene").
- It also introduced an as-of-yet unfired (and since it was written in 2003-04, probably forgotten) Checkovs Gun of Loki owing Spider-Man a favor.
- Power Man and Iron Fist headlined a comic together in the early 80's and this trope was invoked often in the advertising. Iron Fist comes from another world where he has mastered martial arts to an almost superhuman level. His is a life of discipline and dedication. He's also rich, but his lack of experience in the real world leaves him naive at times. Power Man, in contrast, grew up poor on the streets and knows entirely too much about how the world works, and completely lacks training and discipline, but gets by on the virtue of being super strong and nearly indestructible. Together, they're a nightmare for criminals of all sorts.
- In the Heat of the Night - Virgil Tibbs (black and Northern) and Bill Gillespie (redneck).
- Turner & Hooch (1989) with Tom Hanks as the obsessive Neat Freak bachelor cop Scott Turner having to share his pristine apartment with... Hooch, a large slobbering Dogue de Bordeaux he-dog, the only witness in a murder case.
- Ken and Ray in In Bruges in, in. Bruges. Ken being the warmhearted, wiser man and Ray being the impertinent, non-PC young one. Ken likes Bruges for the scenery; Ray hates it for being so boring.
- Tallahassee and Columbus in Zombieland. Columbus is a nervous, twitchy college student who's scared of clowns and addicted to World of Warcraft. Tallahassee is a Crazy Awesome Badass who's constantly on the hunt for Twinkies and creative new ways to kill zombies. The two get along surprisingly well.
- The 1998 Avengers. Mrs. Peel doesn't play by the rules, Steed does.
- The Lethal Weapon franchise. Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs. Murtaugh is the family man detective who just wants to remodel his house in peace, while Riggs is the crazy loner cop who tends to have a Heroic BSOD every movie.
- Cherrybomb - Malachy (Rupert Grint) and Luke (Robert Sheehan). Malachy is a steady, dependable straight-A student with a doting middle-class family, and Luke is a loud, flamboyant drug-dealer with a taste for vandalism and violence, whose family abuse and neglect him.
- The Great Race - The Great Leslie is a charming male chauvinist. Maggie Dubois is a militant female chauvinist. Naturally, they fall in love and get married.
- Red Heat. Moscow's toughest detective, who happens to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Chicago's craziest cop, Jim Belushi. There's only one thing worse than making them mad. Making them partners.
- Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman's characters in The Change Up.
- The Avengers has pretty much every pairing except Black Widow and Hawkeye. But one that stands out in particular is Tony and Bruce. Helps that they both "speak English".
- Isaac Asimov's "Robot Detective" novels, where the couple is an intelligent robot detective and a robot-hating human policeman. They Fight Crime together.
- Conventional, polite nice guy John Watson and eccentric, sarcastic junkie Sherlock Holmes, who were originally forced to live together because neither of them could afford the Baker Street flat on his own, make this trope Older Than Radio.
- Deconstructed in John Dies at the End, with the relationship between John and Dave. For most of the book, Dave is seen as pretty normal, with John being the weirdo. However, as the book progresses, we discover that John is Dave's only friend, and the reason Dave still hangs around with him is because he's a codependent sociopath, and John's the 'normal' one.
- Aziraphale and Crowley from Good Omens are, in theory, about as different as it's possible to get: they met in the Garden of Eden, where Aziraphale was the angel at the eastern gate and Crowley was the snake. (They've both since been demoted.) Having worked opposite each other on Earth for countless centuries, they've realised that they have more in common with each other than they think and become best friends, still nominally working for good and evil but not interfering with each other's projects and occasionally having lunch together. Aziraphale is the neat, picky one while Crowley is wilder and always wears sunglasses.
- In The Westing Game, the sixteen main characters are paired with each other in order to solve a mystery. Most of the pairs seemingly have nothing in common with each other.
- Pettersson & Bendel - A Con Men Odd Couple. Pettersson is a dashing but rather naive homeless man whom most people take to straight away; Bendel is a scrawny illegal immigrant and financial genius who must have a Charisma score of about -10.
- Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, to an extent. While they do fit the bill of nutty-goofball and sophistication-incarnate, respectively, their living situation is due to a professional, master-servant relationship.
- Discworld - Esme Weatherwax (uptight, virginal, constantly testing herself and others), and Gytha Ogg (easy-going, mother of fifteen, gets on well with everyone).
- Shadowleague - Zavahl, former head of the Corrupt Church and a dour man at best, and sunny Ailie in Maggie Furey's books.
- The Princess Series - Snow White and Talia (Sleeping Beauty) were this back before Danielle(Cinderella) joined the team making it a trio. Snow is intelligent, immature, outgoing, wields magic, and is younger then she looks due to magic. Talia is reserved, stoic, cynical, a high level warrior, and is older then she looks due to magic.
- In Kidnapped David Balfour is a respectable(and rather priggish) lowlander and a firm Hanoverian. Alan Breck Stewart is a wild Highlander and a well committed Jacobite.
Live Action TV
- Two and A Half Men - Charlie and Alan
- Hawaii Five-O - McGarrett and Danno are this trope.
- Simon and Simon - Rick and A.J. Simon are brothers so different in temperament that they had to be brothers for anyone to believe they'd voluntarily work together.
- Michael and Joey from My Two Dads.
- Larry and Balki from Perfect Strangers.
- Scully and Mulder from The X-Files (at least until Scully began to believe). And when that happened, it became Scully and Doggett.
- The Professionals - Hot-tempered and caring Doyle and cool Bodie.
- Bones - Logical, scientific Brennan and intuitive, religious Booth.
- Full House had an Odd Trio.
- Alien Nation - Francisco (Newcomer) and Sikes (who doesn't like Newcomers) in both the movie and the television version.
- House - Gregory House and James Wilson define this trope.
- MythBusters - When the producers of what would eventually become Mythbusters first approached Jamie Hyneman regarding hosting his own show, he objected on the grounds that he is... not exactly an extrovert ("Do you even have moods?" "No."). He suggested importing a much more outgoing colleague, Adam Savage, as co-host. The result has developed into one of the funniest, most charismatic Odd Couple pairings going. They more or less intentionally created a Double Act/Comedy Duo/Manzai, which given how often it shows up on this list, is probably a sub-trope.
- Top Gear - Jeremy Clarkson (loud, brash, and confident) and James May (quiet, pragmatic, and orderly), whose on-screen bickering has frequently been compared to an unhappy marriage. They're good friends, however. And when you add Richard "Hamster" Hammond to Jezza and Captain Slow on the UK version of Top Gear you have one of the greatest Odd Trios ...in the world.
- Oz and James - James May co-presented with Oz Clarke: May plays the ignorant scruff to Clarke's long-winded pedantry. Early episodes feature May complaining about how Clarke would rather talk about alcohol than drink it. They eventually came to the point where they enjoyed each other's company, especially once May picked up enough wine knowledge to carry on an informed conversation with Oz.
- Life On Mars - DI Sam Tyler and DCI Gene Hunt: an uptight, by-the-book, and slightly crazy cop trained in the modern and forensics-heavy methods of policing, and a reckless, bastardly, and semi-alcoholic cop trained in the 1970s Cowboy Cop method of breaking down doors and having people arrested for cattle-rustling because he needed an excuse to get them off the streets. At one point in the show, they beat each other up in a hospital room and the camera cuts to them sitting down together having a smoke and talking about their job.
- Clark Kent and Lex Luthor from Smallville.
- Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.
- The Mighty Boosh revolves around the relationship between Vince Noir (super-trendy, cheerful, fey social butterfly with big eyes) and Howard Moon (curmudgeonly, misanthropic, mustachioed jazz-aficionado with tiny eyes). Vince is often mistaken for Howard's wife/lady friend, and Howard is often mistaken for Vince's father or geography teacher. The Odd Couple dynamic has an additional level to it, as it both mirrors and contrasts the real-life dynamic between actors Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt.
- Red Dwarf - Arnold Rimmer and Dave Lister. Rimmer is the uptight, regulation-following kind of person who will insist that the red-alert bulb be switched on when all of the crew members are in the same small room and are all undoubtedly already alerted and delights in quoting "Space Corps Directives". Lister, on the other hand, is described as "toffed up to the nines" when wearing a t-shirt with only one curry stain on it and pants with a hole in them that he's spray-painted himself to cover up. Lister is portrayed as both far more intelligent and likable, but Rimmer is his superior and delights in tormenting Lister. Their relationship eventually becomes far more friendly.
- Rome - Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, with Vorenus as the uptight, honourable, stoic, by-the-book guy (with occasional cold-blooded murderous rage), and Pullo as the cheerfully hedonistic thug who never thinks beyond the next fight or fuck. Played with in that over the course of the series, Vorenus gets broken down into a crazed nihilist while Pullo matures into a thoughtful, responsible, father and leader.
- Sam and Dean Winchester.
- Dean Winchester and Castiel.
- Angel and Spike in the fifth season of Angel. Earlier seasons had Wes and Gunn in this role.
- The Naked Trucker and T-Bones:
Trucker: "...That's why I do the drivin'-"
- Vince and Errol from 15 Storeys High. Vince is a mildly eccentric misanthrope (not to the extent of being wacky, but he gets his decorating ideas from pornographic magazines), whereas Errol is naive, trusting, friendly and helpful.
- Mark and Jeremy from Peep Show are a classic example... at first glance. However, given the show's hook of giving us an insight into their thought processes, it quickly becomes clear that they're both quite equally neurotic, insecure and introverted, and in many ways Jeremy is even more socially uptight than Mark; Jeremy is desperate to be thought of as cool, edgy and sophisticated (often appearing smug, foolish and pretentious in the process) where Mark, whilst very socially inept, has fewer pretentions or illusions about himself or exactly how cool he is, and rarely bothers to put on airs as a result. David Mitchell and Robert Webb generally play an Odd Couple in their various collaborations, and may even be one themselves.
- Averted by Bottom: Richie and Eddie are forever playing catch with the Idiot Ball; there's always one stupid guy and one angry guy, but which is which is never constant, even within a single episode or a single scene.
- Hardison and Eliot from Leverage. The snarky, socially awkward genius and the angry, charming badass.
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody - Zack and Cody. Maddie and London count as well.
- Mork and Mindy.
- Star Trek: The Original Series - Cool, logical Spock and cranky, passionate Bones, with Kirk as intermediary. Id, ego, and superego... In Space!
- A game in Whose Line Is It Anyway? called Title Sequence takes suggestions from the audience of "two unlikely roommates/coworkers/etc." Thoroughly crowned in one episode where the (unfortunately nixed) suggestion was "Bill Cosby and Hitler".
- Inspector Fowler in The Thin Blue Line makes fun of this cop-drama convention:
Fowler: But they're so predictable: there's always the two officers: they don't get on then they do get on. One of 'em's fat and gruff, the other one's thin and posh. One's a sad old drunk, the other's a health fanatic. One is a woman, the other's a Martian. One has four hats, the other is allergic to hats...
- Ironically, the uptight, pompous Fowler has his own Odd Couple-style relationship with Grimm, the CID inspector; Fowler is the By-The-Book Cop Parody who acts like he's in Dixon Of Dock Green, Grimm is the Wannabe Cowboy Cop who thinks he's in The Sweeney.
- The two lead characters of Route 66, Tod and Buz. Tod came from a wealthy family and attended Yale, and when drunk he has the tendency to reveal what a toffee-nosed snob he really could be if he weren't so nice. That is, he tells 'hilarious' stories about free tickets to the opera and being on the fencing team, while Buz sits stone-faced because he is an orphan from Hell's Kitchen.
- The two survivalists of Discovery Channel's Duel Survival, an ex-military guy and a hippie (imagine Sarge and Fillmore being forced to play Survivorman together) who also have differing views on nature: the ex-military guy sees it as something to fight with while the hippie tries to live in harmony with it, to the point of always going barefoot even in 10-degree weather (which really freaks his partner out).
- Ray and Fraser of Due South.
- Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel from At the Movies. The hardly even knew each other before going on TV, aside from working at rival Chicago newspapers, but eventually became close friends. Their review dynamic, with Gene being more intellectual and nitpicky and Roger being more emotional and jokey made them the most popular and respected film critics in the country.
- In White Collar, Peter Burke is an honest, upstanding, serious FBI agent and Neal Caffrey is a charming, romantic, and tricky con artist on work release as a consultant for the FBI.
- They also clash in tidiness where the serious FBI man is messy and the con artist is the clean freak.
- The Good Guys gives us Jack, the by-the-book cop, and Dan, the Chaotic Good cop.
- The Adventures of Shirley Holmes: Book-smart, logical, no-nonsense, daughter-of-a-diplomat Shirley Holmes, who doesn't mind doing somehing that might get her in trouble in order to solve a mystery, and street-smart, emotion-driven, former gang member, parents-own-a-fish-market Bo Sawchuck, who is legitimately trying to get his life straight and nonetheless gets dragged into Shirley's adventures solely out of loyalty and friendship.
- Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth Earl of Asherton, and his partner, cranky, working-class Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers. There's very little they do not clash on at some point. Naturally, there is also nothing they would not do for each other.
- Murdock and B. A. on The A-Team.
- Face and Murdock also qualify to some extent, although theirs is more of an Odd Friendship. They're the handsome con man and the crazy pilot who just happen to be best friends. Together they pull off some of the most improbable scams with ease.
- Last of the Summer Wine, Compo and whichever
great long dollopthird man they have at the time.
- Castle: Richard Castle and Kate Beckett. He's a flippant, playboy Man Child mystery writer, she's a By-The-Book Cop no-nonsense workaholic NYPD homicide detective with an unhappy past. They Fight Crime And Have UST. Played with, however, in that they're gradually revealed to have a bit more in common than they first let on, something which only helps with the UST.
- Dharma and Greg: The two main characters form an Odd Couple.
- Trick gives us the crime-solving duo of Ueda Jiro, physics professor, and Naoko Yamada, stage magician.
- Numb3rs pairs Don, head of a team of FBI investigators with his mathematical prodigy of a brother Charlie. They Fight Crime.
- In an episode of NCIS, Tony is handcuffed to the criminal, White, and also plays a criminal himself, hoping that the suspect will lead the team to his partner. Tony plays the part of a tough, down-to-earth guy who has fallen on hard times. White doesn't like getting his hands dirty, is nervous, and clearly not the brains of the operation he and his partner are involved in. On the other hand, though, it turns out that White is also playing a part. He actually is the brains of the operation and is a very dangerous killer. So the fake pairing, a tough guy and a wuss, is much less odd than the real pairing, a federal agent and a psychopathic murderer. Despite all of this, though, at the end of the episode both admit to really coming to like the other, even after learning the other's true identity.
- Community episode "The Science of Illusion": She's a seriously cute recovering teen drug addict. She's a newly-single, single-mindedly Christian housewife and mother. They Fight Crime!
- An episode of Monk had Stottlemeyer bunk with Monk after an argument with his wife. Hilarity ensues as Monk drives Stottlemeyer crazy with his antics. Considering Monk's various issues he should have seen this coming. In the end a close to a nervous breakdown Stottlemeyer declares that he is going to beg his wife on his knees to take him back.
- Home Improvement: Manly Man Tim and Sensitive Guy Al. They are united in their fondness for tools and craftsmanship.
- Stephen Fry and Alan Davies effectively function as this on QI.
- Andrew and Bert on How to Be a Gentleman.
- Lazy, extroverted, manipulative, boho-girl fashionable, borderline-anarchic Alex Russo is best friends with introverted, eccentrically dressed, somewhat nerdy Morality Pet Harper Finkle in Wizards of Waverly Place.
- Sesame Street: Bert and Ernie, right down to the stripes on their sweaters.
- In Starsky and Hutch, the titular characters are also a good example, though in a lesser extent. They do have different tastes in cars, food and vacation spots; for example, Hutch is a health nut while Starsky is more into junk food.
- Part of the initial success of Monday Night Football in the early '70s was due to ABC's broadcast booth having one of these in Howard Cosell and Don Meredith. Cosell was openly disdainful of ex-athletes being given prime broadcasting spots and made little effort to hide his dislike of ex-Cowboys QB Meredith. Meredith thought Cosell was a snobbish Know-Nothing Know-It-All. The the dramatic tension generated by their mutual antagonism helped turn MNF from an experiment into a pop culture phenomenon.
- Another sports-TV pairing: ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning. Mike Greenberg is a small, nerdy, germ-phobic, metrosexual neat freak, and cohost Mike Golic is a big, loud, ex-jock, man's man.
- Welcome to Room 305: Jung Hyun (a regular college student) ends up living with Hom, an eccentric, slobby and extremely camp.
- Subverted by satirists Bob and Ray, who were almost exact opposites as per this trope (slight, precise and soft-spoken vs. burly, extroverted and baritone) but could intuit each other's thoughts to the point where they could turn a chance word or phrase into a full-blown comedy skit without skipping a beat. Their character types did tend to reflect their personalities...except that big burly Ray ended up playing all the females.
- Sid and Tony in Hancock's Half Hour.
- Radio presenter Simon Mayo's blue to film critic Mark Kermode's red. Kermode tends to go off into wild rants while Mayo is much more composed and cool-headed; the banter is frequently hilarious.
Role Playing Games
- Nicky and Rod from Avenue Q. Their dynamic is very similar to the original Odd Couple...and thus to Sesame Street's Bert & Ernie (mentioned above) on whose personalities they were more directly based.
- Much Ado About Nothing - Benedick and Beatrice.
- Blatantly used in A Very Potter Musical, in which Professor Quirrell observes that he and Voldemort are "An odd couple". Their dynamic is explained in an ensuing musical number.
- Carefully set up in Snatcher, where Gillian's partner, Metal, is a Robot Buddy specifically designed to have a contrasting but complimentary personality to him, to help provide a different perspective and help him concentrate on his duties.
- Can occur in many RPGs. Especially blatant in ones where your character is given a childhood friend, such as evil player character/Dawn Star in Jade Empire.
- Quite well-done in Knights of the Old Republic with overly-serious and very dedicated Jedi Bastila mindlinked to a wisecracking amnesiac Sith with an inability to take anything seriously.
- Drakengard - Caim and the dragon. Caim hates all dragons because a dragon killed his parents, and the dragon hates all of humanity.
- Rico from Killzone is a Helghast-hating jerk and Hakha is a half-Helghast Deadpan Snarker. Much of the fun comes from watching these two talk to each other.
- In Riviera: The Promised Land, Fia and Lina are roommates. Fia is quiet, wise, intelligent, a good homemaker and cautious. Lina is outgoing, emotional, klutzy, messy and constantly runs head-first into danger.
- Tsukihime - Shiki and... everyone he meets, really. They're all really weird, except Satsuki. Don't worry, Roa fixed that. But bonus points for being a vampire killer and dating the strongest non cosmic horror vampire alive, and technically being the head of a demon killing clan yet having a Tsundere Ojou part demon for a sister.
- Final Fantasy VIII - The quirky pair of Fujin and Raijin fit this trope. They both have weird speech mannerisms and are highly eccentric.
- The World Ends With You - Neku and... well, all of his partners. But especially Shiki. Neku is an extreme introvert who seems to utterly despise people, whereas Shiki (at first) is your typical outgoing, fashion-obsessed teenage girl.
- Link and Midna from The Legend of Zelda:Twilight Princess. He's a helpful, caring ranch hand; she's a scheming, Manipulative Bitch (Or at least starts out that way). They actually work quite well together.
- Touhou has a fair share of these, such as laidback and naturally talented Reimu vs. hot-headed, hard-working Marisa, or straight-laced Youmu vs. goofball Yuyuko.
- Resident Evil Zero: Billy Coen and Rebecca Chambers. He's a cynical, bitter, thuggish escaped convict and ex-Marine in his late twenties. She's a naive eighteen year old prodigy on her first day of work as a cop. Forced to team up together to kill zombies, they develop into a highly effective team as the game progresses.
- Final Fantasy VII: Serious, stoic Rude partnered up with easygoing, chatty Reno. Not only do they work very well together, but they actually are good friends.
- The Pits comic strips, by John Cook (artist of Sev Trek and the other Sev cartoons), has Neat Freak Herman suffering from two annoying sloppy bachelor flatmates: dumb womanizing Lance and the messy slacker Wayne, a textbook Trash of the Titans example. Things get worse when Herman gets a girlfriend.
- Casey and Andy.
- El Goonish Shive - In the form of True Companions. Tedd and Susan are an Odd Friendship.
- Girly - Winter and Otra.
- Freaking Awful Puns author GIROG uses an odd couple in his strips of the comic.
- In Wapsi Square, the Bibliothiki is currently looked after by an odd couple of librarians. Nudge is a mythical trickster. Phix is a sphinx, and one of Nudge's former victims.
- The main theme of Moon Over June. Beyond being perverted lesbian nymphomaniacs who would not know monogamy if it bit them, roommates Hatsuki 'Hats' Hasegawa (twenty-something math major/porn starlet) and Dr. Summer Winters Ph.D (OB/GYN in her late thirties) do not have a great deal in common.
- Although used often in the I'm a Marvel And I'm a DC series in regards to the numerous characters used and the vast variety in personalities, the concept was taken to its most hilarious extreme in which Deadpool gets the crazy idea that he should be in a sitcom with none other than Rorschach. "I smell a sitcom!"
- The two core characters / split personalities in Film Conscience, Phillip the Inner Pessimist and Ringo the Inner Optimist.
- The cops variant is parodied in Cracked.com's "If Movie Characters Didn't Make Horrible Decisions" with Rizzo and Flynn. Rizo likes to do things by the book. Flynn also likes to do things by the book. Together they are... Perfect Partners.
- Xin Fu and Yu in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- The Simpsons:
- In a spoof of Odd Couple Buddy Cop Shows, Troy MacClure announced his new show, "Handle with Care" (in which a retired cop "Jack Handle" and a retired criminal live together. He declared "We're the original Odd Couple!"
- Referenced in "The Boy who Knew Too Much", where Skinner and Homer are sequestered in a hotel room together.
Skinner You know, we're kind of like the original Odd Couple. You're the messy one and...
- Pinky and The Brain.
- In Justice League, Green Lantern and Flash. Lampshaded once when after a fight, John uses his ring to tie up the group of villains and delivers the "Guess that's a wrap" line. After receiving stares from his teammates, he apologizes for the lame pun and states that he's been spending a lot of time with Flash.
- Lilo and Stitch - Boisterous evil genius Jumba and meek, kindly scholar Pleakely.
- Ren and Stimpy
- Shoehorned into Sonic the Hedgehog for one of the eleven-minute Antoine episodes when Antoine is forced to live with Sonic, who becomes conspicuously more of a Comedic Sociopathy. The episode is actually called "The Odd Couple".
- 'The Mr. Men Show - Mr. Persnickety and Mr. Messy.
- The Imp and his flatmate, Bob.
- Family Guy - Stewie and Brian Griffin.
- The Oddball Couple with neat cat Spiffy and messy dog Fleabag.
- Chip and Dale.
- Phineas and Ferb -- while both play The Straight Man, Phineas is the talkative, scheming brother, while Ferb is quiet and calmer.
- Unlike most other examples of this trope, however, they get along perfectly and never argue—quite an accomplishment, since they're also brothers.
- Also, from the movie Doof and Doof! Twice the Evil, Double Doofenschmirtz, Coming at you, Fridays!
- Ferb TV gives us this little sitcom staring Norm the Robot and Little Suzy Johnson;
He's a robot from space, she's a little girl
- Cat and Dog in CatDog.
- Buck Tuddrussell and Larry 3000 of Time Squad. This leads to constant old-married-couple-like bickering. But They Really Do Love Each Other. Or not.
- The subplot of one Jimmy Two-Shoes episode was Beezy hiding out in Heloise's house, resulting in this situation.
- The Looney Tunes Show has cool, responsible Bugs Bunny living with scatterbrained egoist Daffy Duck.
- On Rocko's Modern Life there's a Show Within a Show about the parasites living on Spunky. Specifically, Bloaty the Tick and his buddy Squirmy the Ringworm.
- Eustace and Muriel in Courage the Cowardly Dog.
- and the fact that buddy shows often have forced puns as titles