Teeth-Clenched Teamwork

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Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Sometimes in Real Life, people on the same side don't get along. In fiction, this often occurs when there are multiple Villains trying to work together, a mismatched team of heroes, or a situation where former enemies have to team up. The problem with this sort of team is that they have trouble using The Power of Friendship or The Power of Love to win—likely because this is essentially the more cynical version of those tropes. It's still not at the far cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, however, because it still assumes that people can (and should) at least work together.

Generally the imperfect teamwork generated serves as both a good source of drama and/or comedy, depending on the situation. It's particularly dramatic if the group undergoes a period of Divided We Fall first. It also helps ensure that the group is interesting and varied without raising questions of why they work so perfectly together.

This dysfunctional teamwork often takes the form of Family Drama (in cases where the team includes at least part of a Dysfunctional Family). The touchstone of enmity is family, after all.

The Leader may often find himself demanding an Ordered Apology.

Compare with Fighting the Lancer, where animosity between teammates actually does leads to a fight.

Contrast Sour Supporter, who is convinced that the team is doomed to failure, but works well with them anyway. If the series goes on long enough (and becomes less cynical), with enough Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other moments, this might turn into The Power of Friendship or The Power of Love. Conversely, this trope is a good counterpoint to True Companions; it is a way of introducing some conflict and authenticity into works that would otherwise be too sugary.

Contrast We ARE Struggling Together!, and A House Divided where there's lots of infighting on the same side but no teamwork. An Enemy Mine and Colliding Criminal Conspiracies usually results in this trope. Chained Heat is a more specific version of this trope involving being forced to work with someone by some method of a physical attachment. Family Drama usually has this within a family. Not to be confused with teams whose members always clench their teeth. Red Oni, Blue Oni and Vitriolic Best Buds are duos rather than teams, but they usually display this trope.

Often, this is how Fire-Forged Friends start out.

Examples of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Zombie Loan: a classic example of this: The two guys are literally chained together and have to work together (IE not kill each other again) to get their debt paid.
  • My-HiME, when Natsuki agrees to work with Mai and Mikoto, although she does eventually become friends with both of them. Further in episode 16, Midori unites the HiME into the "HiME Rangers" against a common threat despite them still holding grudges against each other... although it's subverted given Midori's selfish reason for doing so, and subverted again, and brutally, with The Reveal at the end of that very episode. This happens quite a bit between Mai and Natsuki in the manga, as well. Aside from the pair sharing a Living MacGuffin in Yuuichi, the student council (under Haruka's watchful eyes) is attempting to keep them apart to prove that their side is more efficient in protecting the school from Orphans. Yuuichi once calls out Natsuki and Mai for always fighting, and demands that they start getting along better so that they can defeat Yukino and Haruka. Even when the two factions are merged together under Midori's leadership, Nao frequently verbally exchanges insults with Natsuki while making it clear that she's only in it for her agenda while Haruka contemplates taking control of the group.
  • This one is central to Earth Defense Family the Daichis, or whatever the right translation of its title is. The Family's Defensive Alliance
  • Naruto
    • Naruto says this is the only reason he is going to tolerate Sai. After Sai abandons the secret mission and is no longer The Mole, he becomes a True Companions. There's also Hidan and Kakuzu, who hate each other but are the perfect team due to their complementary abilities and the fact that Kakuzu can't simply kill Hidan due to his Nigh Invulnerability.
    • The antagonists' teams in the Chunin Exam, as noted by the databook, have by far the worst teamwork rating. Teams 7, 8, 10 and Guy have conflicts between their members, but have the ability to work together when they need to, and have ratings of 20-25 in teamwork. By contrast, the other teams do not care for each other, as Zaku shoots Kin in order to also injure Ino, who is possesing her, and the Sand Siblings (with a rating of 5) are essentially described as a one-man team that Gaara controls through fear (Their teamwork gets better after Gaara does).
    • The Sound Four has conflicts between Tayuya and virtually every other member; when Shikamaru tries impersonating Jirobo, it fails because he doesn't complain about Tayuya's foul language.
    • More recently there's the team-up of Kabuto and Tobi. Each has mutually exclusive long-term plans and is fully aware the other will backstab them at some point, but for the time being they are working together and putting up a significant fight.
  • Near and Mello from Death Note. Also L and Light in the Yotsuba arc.
  • Cowboy Bebop has this dynamic due to Faye joining the gang. She has a tendency to take off on her own and even stealing from Jet and Spike.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (manga and second anime series only), Roy Mustang and Olivia Armstrong recognize that they are both allied to take out the bad guys, but they have such issues dealing with each other that the air actually darkens the first time they talk face-to-face. Olivia doesn't care at all for her brother, and refers to Roy as only the slightest bit more useful than him.
    • In the anime, Roy and Ed live this trope. Over time, the relationship goes from trying to manipulate each other to "I still don't like you but I do respect you." Envy tries to use his/her/its tried-and-true Shapeshifter Guilt Trip on Edward. When he turns into Roy, Edward briefly hesitates and then smiles and says "You couldn't have picked a better target!"
  • One Piece. Impel Down. Buggy the Clown and the tops of Baroque Works team up with Luffy, and none of them are too happy about it. Well, maybe Mr. 2. The "tops of Baroque Works" includes Crocodile, who not only gets along poorly with Luffy because of his attempt to destroy Alabasta, but also with Jimbei, over the fact that Crocodile wants to kill Whitebeard, while Jimbei wants to save him and Ace.
    • Also Zoro and Sanji are a good example of this.
  • In D Gray Man, it's an understatement to say that Allen and Kanda don't get along—to the point where, more often than not, they end up attacking each other instead. But there are numerous times where they have to work together in order to exorcise high level Akuma.
  • GetBackers, during the Infinity Fortress Arc, has Ban paired with Shido—the person he gets along with least (which is saying a lot, since most people can't get along with Ban). They constantly bicker and start beating each other up. Though it is noteworthy that after their time together, they do get more of a grudging friendship.
  • The Allied Powers from Axis Powers Hetalia.
  • The eponymous duo from Tiger and Bunny, for a while. The conflict gradually ebbs out of their partnership the more they work together—especially after episode 8, which marks the point at which Barnaby begins defrosting in earnest.
  • The pre-Extended of Gundam Seed, consisting of Shani Andras, Cortho Bauer, and Orga Sabnak are a team of Sociopathic Soldiers with utterly lousy teamwork. They frequently shoot at or through each other, ignore one another's presences entirely out of battle, and hate helping one another out. Despite this, they're pretty dependent on one another psychologically, with Cortho having an utter Freak-Out when the other two die.
  • Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball. Its mainly on Vegeta's side though. Vegeta teams up with Goku only if he has to, to defeat a common enemy, and Goku usually has to beg Vegeta to give his energy to him to defeat a Big Bad, due to Vegeta's sheer stubbornness and not wanting to admit to himself that Goku is more powerful.
  • This happens every time Inuyasha and Kouga team up, to the point of "accidentally" smacking each other with collateral damage when they fight a common enemy.
  • Bleach: Ichigo and Uryuu's initial rivalry ends when a Menos Grande appears. This leads to Teeth-Clenched Teamwork against the mountain of hollows they're surrounded by and is the beginning of a Fire-Forged Friends.
    • The Gotei 13 is made up of semi-autonomous divisions. As a result, when captains enter a battlefield together they usually stick to their own fights unless they're close friends. Some of the captains have almost nothing to do with each other and disdain each other at best (loathing each other at worst). Cue the battle with the espada Yammi where Kenpachi and Byakuya find themselves having to team up. The only way their Pride can handle it is by turning it into a rivalry to see who can kill Yammi first while pretending he's getting in the way of them trying to kill each other. Strangely enough, they seem a lot more tolerant of each other after that event.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Stan Lee's Fantastic Four might be the Trope Maker, but even they resorted to The Power of Friendship when they were in deep trouble...
  • The comic Nextwave has the Nextwave Squad, a superhero team formed by what turned out to be a supervillain corporation, on a mission of retaliation with stolen equipment and feeling like it.

Monica: No. Enough. You people will by God act like a team, or at least like people who know each other, or I'll incinerate the bunch of you here and now.

  • In the "Tower of Babel" arc in Justice League of America, Ra's al Ghul has incapacitated the JLA using Batman's anti-JLA contingency plans. Like exposing Superman to red kryptonite. Once Batman reveals that he's the one responsible, most of the team (especially Plastic Man, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter) are closer to killing him than working with him, but they push through. At the end, he's expelled from the League. For a few issues. In a neat epilogue, Batman's extended family is shown being mistrusted by their own teams (the Titans don't trust Nightwing, Young Justice doesn't trust Robin, and the JLA stop calling Oracle for advice).
  • In X-Force and later X-Statix, this was the dynamic between the Anarchist and the rest of the team, Spike and the rest of the team, and especially Spike and the Anarchist. The Anarchist and Spike are both African-American, but the Anarchist is adopted and his parents are white; Spike feels that this makes him, well, not a real black guy, and will never let him forget that; On rare occasions where the two agree on anything, it's usually in the form of Dumbass Has a Point. Eventually, however, they reconcile, with Spike acknowledging that he never really had anything against the Anarchist, and it was all talk to make him look good on camera.
  • Crops up whenever Batman and Judge Dredd have a Crossover—since Batman is a somewhat freelancing vigilante, while Dredd is the law, they're willing to work together to bring down their enemies, but that doesn't mean they have to enjoy each others' company.
  • The Punisher almost always has to employ this trope whenever he teams up with someone. He and Spider-Man can't stand each other, but they can usually swallow their bile long enough to cooperate against whichever bad guy they're both after.
  • Spidey feels this way about Wolverine too, disliking Wolverine's willingness to kill and his generally sour attitude. Again, when the chips are down they've got each other's back.
  • Kitty Pryde is this when it comes to Emma Frost, due to her past with her. That is, until they finally got along when the former is trapped in the space bullet.
  • In the Transformers comic, this often happens when opposing factions face an Enemy Mine situation (the Time Wars and attack of Unicron, for instance), but some set groups within the canon fall victim to it as well. The car-based Decepticon combiner team the Stunticons are noted to loathe their loud, browbeating leader, Motormaster, and generally not get along with each other, as their team includes a vain but depressingly fatalistic killjoy, a paranoiac who fears he's being watched by everything (including inanimate objects), a over-competitive braggart with an ego the size of a fairly sizable planetoid, and an unhinged maniac who terrifies the other four with 'Terrorist' for a function. It's a wonder that their combined form Menasor doesn't spend most of his time punching himself in the face.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • In With Strings Attached, the four are forced to travel with the Hunter on their quest for the third Vasyn piece. They can't stand him, he can't stand them, but they have to stay with him because they have no other way to the Vasyn piece, and he has to stay with them because his god told him to.
    • Also in Strings is the uneasy alliance of Brox and Co. with the Raleka. Each side is contemptuous of the other, but they need one another to put together the Vasyn and move it around.
  • In The Blue Blur of Termina, following their encounter in the jungle, Sonic and Tatl are forced to team up when the Skull Kid incapacitates and leaves behind Tatl in the Subterranean Forest. Despite having a mutual goal in finding the Skull Kid, Sonic and Tatl pretty much hate each other, especially the latter.


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • The movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles is perhaps a defining text of this Trope.
  • The Saw movies did something like this to the extreme where enemies were put into a house and if they didn't cooperate, they died.
  • This is the whole point of most zombie movies, especially those made by or remade from George Romero. Night of the Living Dead started the trend, with the zombies providing constant pressure on a house full of strangers who fight over what to do while passing the Idiot Ball back and forth like a hot potato.
  • In Inception, Arthur and Eames are often at odds due to their conflicting personality types.
  • In the second X Men movie, the X-Men have to team up with Magneto and Mystique in order to prevent William Stryker from wiping out mutantkind in its entirety. Magneto and Mystique betray them once the threat has passed, and take Pyro with them after his Face Heel Turn.
  • The second of the Joshuu Sasori series, Jailhouse 41, finds the heroine obliged to work together with six other prisoners. Many of them hate her, but are also scared enough of her not to attack her, and recognise her toughness and experience will be a bonus.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Terry Pratchett's Truckers, the tiny Nomes must form a team to drive a lorry. If they can't they will die when the store they live in is demolished. They bicker and fight, but in the end they face the fact they have to work together. They harness the power of the engine to save themselves. Due to the uneven teamwork, steering control comes a poor second.
  • Discworld: the Ogg extended family is described in a similar light.
  • Nathaniel and Bartimaeus in The Bartimaeus Trilogy.
  • Harry and Marcone in The Dresden Files.
  • Snape and Sirius in Harry Potter despise each other despite being on the same side; Snape has never forgiven Sirius for encouraging him to go look for a fully-transformed werewolf while they were at school, while Sirius trusts anyone who worked for Voldemort as far as he can throw them. Dumbledore has to cajole them into shaking hands at the end of book four, and they continue to trade insults through every scene they have in the following book.
  • In Andy Hoare's White Scars novel Hunt for Voldorius, the White Scars and the Raven Guard manage to overcome Divided We Fall and do this. They find it difficult enough that the Raven Guard, attacking first, has brothers wondering if the White Scars will really support them.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, any threat to the entirety of known space results in this, as the Federation tries, with varying degrees of success, to gather all the local powers into a coalition. It sort of works during the Gateways and Genesis Wave crises, and in the desperate days of the Borg Invasion, but there's always a lot of complaining. Now the Typhon Pact has been formed, we'll be seeing more teamwork, so presumably more teeth clenching...
  • In the second Warrior Cats series, one cat from each of the four Clans is chosen by their ancestors for a mission. Two end up coming along on the journey. Since they are from different Clans, some of them are quite a bit tense, even hostile at times, around each other, but after helping each other through numerous dangers, they become Fire-Forged Friends.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters have commented publicly more than once about how they "don't even really like each other" and try not to spend time together.
  • Hawaii Five-O. McGarrett and Danno in both the original and the remake hate each other's guts, but make one hell of a team. It should be noted that their everlasting hatred for each other ebbs and wanes as the plot dictates frequently.
  • This was a staple of 24. Jack being the kind of guy he is, most of the people who work with him do it with teeth TIGHTLY clenched. But it's not just him. Various government agencies will struggle to cooperate, as will individuals on those teams. Even the villains behind the given terrorist plot will be shown to be ready to cut each other at a moments' notice.
  • The first season finale of Torchwood. Jack summarizes it when he lists what his colleagues did during the season.
  • Firefly: Firefly is actually fairly mixed about this, as Jayne and Simon are often at odds with everyone else (and each other), and Inara and Shepherd are often at odds with Mal, but other than that everyone seems to get along just fine. Well except for Jayne and River. And Jayne and Inara. Or maybe it's just Jayne.
  • Farscape, especially in the earlier episodes, has the theme of highly incompatible beings having to work together to survive. Happens again when Scorpius joins the crew in season 4 (and again in "The Peacekeeper Wars".) No one wants him around, and with very good reason, but John is especially reticent to keep him aboard.
  • Lost has this come up every time three or more people have to cooperate on something, especially if Ben is involved.
  • Top Gear has this in most episodes with occasional aversions/subversion/inversions. They were unnaturally supportive of each other for most of the 24 Hour Britcar Endurance Race, but admitted afterward that working together in a Power of Friendship way had made them "feel dirty".
  • Blakes Seven has this due to some conflicting strong personalities among the crew.
  • House. Dr House's team falls into this category. The team is polite at best, and Dysfunction Junction at worst. The team does always set aside differences to help the patient, but they never stop sniping at each other. Still, even at their lowest low, they're productive. Then Season Five grabs a shovel. So far, they're still cooperating, but after Season 5, Episode 13, it's pretty obvious that the team has almost no morals whatsoever, and no one seems to be trying to change that. Foreman has all but fallen from grace, Kutner lacks the gumption to back himself up, and everyone else has pretty much bent to House's will. At this point, they're the poster child for why every Five-Man Band needs The Chick. House, being House, seems to prefer that his team be at each other's throats. Hence his signing off on Foreman's thesis and not Cameron's, when Foreman basically cribbed off of Cameron. Among many other things.
  • Star Trek: Voyager was all about this; what with the Federation and Maquis having to work together while not necessarily trusting each other. This wore off pretty quick by the end of the first season.
  • Murphy Brown. The FYI team will almost always be at each other's throats when they need to be working together, mostly instigated by the size of their egos. Although The Power of Friendship comes through beautifully in the end, they'll have to have a free-for-all shouting brawl first.
  • A frequently recurring theme on Stargate Universe, primarily demonstrated in the Young and Rush characters.
    • Also happens on a national scale on planet Novus, populated by descendants of the Destiny crew from an alternate timeline. The two countries (Tenara and Futura) are bitter rivals over the philosophies of their founders but have gotten over their differences and pooled their resources together to build numerous Generational Ships to take them to another world when their civilization is threatened.
  • This happens frequently on Misfits, most notably when the group of Fire-Forged Friends kill their probation worker and have to go to extreme lengths to hide the evidence. There are a lot of clashing personalities (and generally appalling attitude problems [1]) in the group, plus there's no clear leader, so the bickering never stops and occasionally gets nasty. But they usually manage to stick together when they absolutely have to. That said, when the situation gets really desperate in the season one finale and it looks like a full-scale Misfit Mobilization Moment might be on the cards, the team buckles under the pressure and falls apart completely.

In season two, the group shows they are also True Companions, whenever one of them is in danger.

  • The entire fourth season of Angel, with one exception - that brief period when they were all mind controlled into working together. The depths of distrust, resentment, and betrayal spread through the team meant that imminent apocalypse was pretty much the only thing that could get them in the same room.
  • Not every team on The Amazing Race ultimately finds themselves getting along, the separated couple of Tara & Wil (Season 2) being the best example. She actively flirted with another racer in front of him.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Present in The Navy Lark whenever Commodore Povey and the Troutbridge Crew were forced to team up to defeat whatever lunacy the Admiralty foisted upon them. In Season one whenever Lt. Cmdr. Price and CPO Pertwee had to team up to outfox Povey's plans to drill them out of the Navy.


Sports[edit | hide]

  • The 1986 New York Mets were one of the best baseball teams ever assembled. They were also, almost to a man, a bunch of drunks, womanizers, drug abusers, and masters of Jerkassery. More memorable then their fights against other teams (like literal, knuckle-up fight) were the one's among themselves. One of the more fractious ones was between team star Daryl Strawberry and the unofficial team captain Keith Hernandez.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • A Teeth Clenched Party can lead to some brilliant situations in Dungeons & Dragons, especially when the players make their characters without caring what the others have. One of the common DM challenges is finding ways to keep the party of butchering each other over a few gold pieces. It's best when an evil character and a good character are forced to work together.
  • Imperial forces working together with xenos in Warhammer 40,000, which has happened in a variety of ways from Worthy Opponent to painfully bad. Indeed, several Imperial forces working with other Imperial forces, such as Space Wolves and Dark Angels, qualify. This is sometimes codified: the races are broken up into two super-factions, Order and Disorder (since the punchier antonym for "order" is already taken.) Disorder are everybody's enemies, all the time, especially each other; Order will team up in the face of an overwhelming threat from Disorder, and fight to the death any other time.
    • Teeh Clenched Teamwork is the only the Chaos Gods know how to work together.
  • [[Changeling: The Lost]] revolves around this kind of teamwork. Four to six vaguely human characters who have been tortured in unique ways for the last twenty years all show up on earth around the same time and agree to work together out of necessity for numbers. Then a Fetch shows up and three of them want it dead, two of them want to reason with it and one of them is off picking his nose. If any of them actually hurts the others, they will get hit with the result of their Magically-Binding Contract that keeps them allies.
  • This is how the Inner Sphere responded after the invasion of the Clans in the 3050s timeframe in BattleTech. The five Great Houses (and Com Star) have spent the last three or four hundred years fighting with each other constantly, and when the Clans arrive, initially each faction leaves their rivals to their fate, believing they can hold their own or at least let these 'alien invaders' do the hard work for them. Only the intervention of Jamie Wolf finally makes the Inner Sphere cooperate in what is at best an Enemy Mine scenario.
  • The five Praetors of New Phyrexia in Magic: The Gathering. In particular, Jin-Gitaxias and Vorinclex never hide their despise towards each other.
    • Many fans believe that this will eventually lead to an all-out Enemy Civil War.


Theatre[edit | hide]


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Bionicle has this Trope in several instances, particularly in the Toa Nuva team. It's mostly just Tahu and Kopaka, though, and they settle most of their differences by the Karda Nui story arc. In the Toa Metru's case, Whenua and Nuju could barely stand one another and Onewa and Matau got on the nerves of everyone on the team. Both teams are True Companions, however, and their reluctant teamwork can be very effective when the situation calls for it.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Mega Man and Proto Man
  • Just try to say anytime you played a game online you didn't have to do this at some point.
  • The Survivors in Left 4 Dead 2 have this kind of relationship, at least initially. They're complete strangers, but eventually emerge as Fire-Forged Friends.
  • Knights of the Old Republic 2, big time. Some actually attack each other aboard the party's ship, others are simply rude and hostile to each other.
    • If you count the restored content, by the end of the game almost everyone is trying to kill each other for one reason or another.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2, too. Obsidian Entertainment seems to like this trope.
  • Alistair and Morrigan of Dragon Age Origins. Big time. Especially if they sleep together in a dark magic ritual to save his/thePC's life.
    • This theme continues on into Dragon Age II' as well; Fenris and Anders aside from their deep hatred for each other despite an awful lot of similarities tend to alienate others. Fenris in general dislikes mages (though he has less of a problem with the Hawkes) and Anders' obsession with the Mage/Templar conflict compounded by Vengeance leaves him antagonistic towards most of the party members by the third act.
  • Basically everyone playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii if they're not actually out to kill each other.
  • Mass Effect 2. Similar to the Knights example above, and not surprising given it's from the same company, but in , several of your team-mates go at it against each other with biotics (Jack and Miranda) or end up with weapons drawn (Legion and Tali) forcing you to pick sides (or choose a third option if you're charming/intimidating enough). And of course there's the Justicar who agrees to work with you but also vows to kill you after the mission if you're too much of a Renegade.
    • Overall, this is something of a theme for Shepard and Cerberus. They tried to kill Shepard in the first game and s/he ruined several operations, but now they're working for a common goal. By the end of the trilogy, they're back to the first game relationship, only with more personal hatred and heavier artillery on both sides.
  • The team of Sonic and Knuckles in Sonic Advance 3.
  • In Scaler, the first person the titular character meets is a Lizard Man named Leon. While he's no less hostile than any of the other wildlife Scaler's encountered so far, he and Scaler are united in their mutual hatred of the Big Bad, Looger. They form an uneasy partnership to try and deal with him. They eventually grow to get along, though they aren't willing to admit it at first--until they realize they're long-separated father and son.
  • Kane and Lynch. In the first half, they are actually forced to work together, much to the disdain of both- in the second half, they're working together to kill a common enemy, but they still hate each other. In the sequel they both end up pissing off a major crime lord in China, once again forced to work together to survive.
  • A few of the characters you get in Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn often argue amongst themselves and occasionally leave the party due to the other character. Example: If you keep Keldorn the paladin and Viconia the dark elf in the party together for too long, Keldorn will pick a fight with her for the sole reason of her being a dark elf.
  • The Australian team in World Destruction League: War Jetz fight among themselves as much as they attack the player. Good thing too, as they fly the best plane in the game.
  • John and Thel 'Vadamee in Halo 3.
  • Norman Jayden and Carter Blake in Heavy Rain.
  • Final Fantasy XIII starts off like this; after being turned into l'Cie they are forced to cooperate in order to survive, but each member of the team has it's own goals and many members hate other members. This often leads to the party being divided into smaller groups and many fights between main characters. Other than Hope holding a large grudge that borders on hatred toward Snow, Sazh could only barely keep himself from killing Vanille, Lightning really doesn't like Snow to the point of punching him three times, and tries to leave the entire party behind on several occasions and doesn't hold back on punishing Fang for her part in getting them in this mess either.
  • The team in the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money composes of a band of individuals with their own emotional baggage (and you) who are forced to cooperate together due to the fact that their lives are under the whims of an even worse lunatic who's strapped Explosive Collars on all of them and linking them to ensure cooperation. The Courier is forced to work with them to progress, all the while trying to ensure each others' survival. Later on, when the team finally splits up, you're given the option of either killing them or helping them deal with their own issues, after which they might try to help you in the final mission.
  • Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. Averted in Edge of Time's predecessor Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, where the Spider-Men do not interact with each other (the exception being the fight against Mysterio).
  • All three heroes of Koudelka.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Alliance and Horde forces guarding the Dark Portal (the common entrance into Outland for both factions) in the Blasted Lands are forced to put aside their hatred for one another for a common cause, but neither is happy about it, and you will be asked to spy on the other faction's plans.
    • And then there's pick up groups for the players, which range from being decent enough to clear the dungeons to being plagued by bickering, infighting and scapegoating for failures, and being unable to make any progress. To be fair, guilds are also susceptible to drama that can result in players making an exodus from the guild or the entire guild breaking up, despite (or because) of the fact that the players tend to group with each other more often and are used to how they work as a team.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Sun:Firestorm GDI and Nod temporarily join forces to defeat CABAL, both sides not to happy about it, and go their separate ways after CABAL is defeated.


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • M and Mary sign a contract in Shikkoku no Sharnoth in order to destroy the Metacreatures. M is completely dispassionate, while Mary grows to hate him more as time passes. In the end, she finally understands him and saves him in some sense, but contrary to what might be expected this does not develop into a romance.
  • Akai Ito: Uzuki the demon hunter openly despises supernaturals since her big brother was killed by one, Sakuya yields an undying grudge toward the demon hunters due to their act of genocide on her clan, while Tsuzura just want to get the hell out since she hates being the leader of the demon hunters, and don't like people in general. However, they must set aside their difference because Nushi is the real threat.


Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • Broken Saints gives us a villainous example: Benjamin Palmer and Lear Dunham clearly have no great love for each other, but they need each other's help to execute the Evil Plan. Of course, once Palmer has outlived his usefulness, Lear is quick to dispose of him.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • In Juathuur, Juoira's group bicker a lot, but most of the bickering is playful, and they still function. Contrast with Faevv's group. which bicker less until everyone goes separate ways because of a general lack of cohesion.
  • All twelve trolls in Homestuck. They spend 90% of the Hivebent arc bickering, scheming against, and attempting to murder each other, but eventually knuckle down and work together to fight (and defeat!) the Black King in their session.
  • The Light Warriors of 8-Bit Theater are each others' greatest enemies and can barely cooperate. However, unlike other examples it indeed makes it so that they tend to make little to no progress for much of their story, most of it being the actions of others or an individual member (in fact, teamwork tends to make things worse).
    • Well, the problem is that they're a Five-Man Band with no fifth member. The closest thing they have to a fifth member is White Mage, who tries to get them to cooperate but only leads to more bickering. Couple that with the fact that the closest thing to a Hero amongst them is a Cloudcuckoolander who is only capable of Crowning Moments of Awesome when his Crazy Awesome falls just right into place (which is rarely), and the other three are an amoral swindler, a homicidal philanderer, and a roleplayer...well, yeah. It's surprising they're capable of doing ANYTHING throughout the series.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The Vindicators of the Whateley Universe. Kismet, the leader, won't admit she ever makes a mistake. Lemure hates her and is only still on the tema because of Sizemax. Dynamaxx enjoys playing them off against each other. Captain Canada! is likely to go off the deep end at the first serious stressor.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Killer Bass of Total Drama Island invoke this trope in the second episode when self-designated Team Mom Courtney forces them to work together to build a hot tub, Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Five-Man Band from Code Lyoko starts out like this, evolving into a True Companions as the series goes on. Though technically fueled by their Power of Friendship towards Aelita, in the beginning they don't really have much loyalty to each other, and it's kind of easy to get them to break up or lose at least one member.
  • In Young Justice, the villains Sportsmaster and Cheshire obviously can't stand each other from their first appearance together. Fridge Brilliance kicks in a few episodes later when it is confirmed that Sportsmaster is Cheshire's (verbally and emotionally abusive) father, who she ran away from home to escape.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • This is especially prevalent in real life . Whether it's employees who dislike one another but want to keep their jobs, sociopolitical groups who cooperate for a common purpose, or countries who unite against a common enemy (notably, Great Britain and the United States allying with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany), the world is rife with people and groups who might not like each other, but who force themselves to cooperate anyway because they place a higher priority on their goals than their loathing of their reluctant allies.
    • On allying with the Soviets against the Nazis, Winston Churchill famously said "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons."
    • True even for the Apollo missions, apparently. One of the astronauts himself admits that there were flight crews that "would make you say 'Don't put those three guys in the same room together'", but they were all so motivated to do the job that "it worked."
  • Chinese civil war, Japanese invasion, Nationalists and Communists. Xi'an incident.
  • North Korea supports South Korea's claim over Japan's in the Liancourt Rocks Dispute.
  1. yes Nathan, we're looking at you