Uptight Loves Wild

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He's an uptight actuary, she has a ferret.

He's stuffy. She's untamed. It's true love.

Mr. Stuffy is in a rut: Life is boring because he plays by the rules. Along comes this wild and crazy woman to show him how to live life to its fullest, and she just might learn a few things along the way, too.

Though the most common form of this trope is from male creators who idealize femininity as a saving force, it could be Gender Flipped. Mr. Stuffy could be Ms. Stuffy and the wild angel could be male and help the little wallflower come out of her shell and blossom gloriously into a beautiful rose! Also, compare Well, Excuse Me, Princess! - Loveable Rogue meets Defrosting Ice Queen.

They could be LGBT, as well (e.g. a Deadpan Snarker Seme with a Keet Uke, mentioning no names).

Often seen in 2/3 of a love triangle, especially if the triangle includes two male nerds and their dream girl.

Because Opposites Attract, they'll live Happily Ever After unless Uptight and/or Wild are dying (Nicholas Sparks, we're looking at you.), in which case they'll live what remains of their lives to the fullest.

The defining trope of Screwball Comedy. Extremely common in Romantic Comedy.

Compare Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl. Not to be confused with Manic Pixie Dream Girl as the "Wild" part of this trope doesn't need to be Manic, a Pixie, a Dream, or a Girl.

Examples of Uptight Loves Wild include:

Anime and Manga

  • Ruby and Sapphire from Pokémon Special fit this perfectly. One other character even calls Sapphire "Wild Girl".
  • Hinata Hyuga is not particularly uptight, but is certainly not wild. Her crush Naruto, on the other hand...really, really is.
  • Most of the weapon and meister pairings are this way. Maka is very much by-the-rules, studious copious amounts for tests, and is very modest; her partner, Soul, is very lazy and laidback, often falls asleep during class, and agrees to "piss on [Sid's] grave" with Black*Star. Tsubaki is very kind, a good cook, and doesn't even try to fight without Black*Star; Black*Star, on the other hand, frequently picks fights for no other reason than because he can, and is loud and obnoxious. Kid is the son of the Shinigami, completely OCD to the point of panic attacks in the middle of battles and is dressed impeccably; Liz is hinted to be a bit of a flirt and Patti blows off an entire test by turning the test into an arts-and-crafts giraffe.
  • The Weatherman Is My Lover features an uptight newscaster falling for the program's eccentric cosplaying weatherman.
  • In Kanga Na Spoon, the main character opens by talking about how perfect, glamorous and orderly his life is before introducing to his lover, an obnoxious, flamboyant, freeloading fashion designer with no life skills.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has Italy and Germany. Germany is a strict, military-oriented neat freak who can fall into Drill Sergeant Nasty at times. Italy is clueless, hyperactive, and loves to surrender. The Ship Tease between them is overwhelming.
  • Ranma and Akane from Ranma ½. It's referenced multiple times throughout the series... Such as one of the opening themes about Ranma and Akane being titled "Don't Make Me Wild Like You" and Ranma's name essentially meaning "wild horse" (while Akane and her sisters all have names with serene sky/cloud imagery). While (in the manga, at least) Ranma thrives on manipulation, Akane often gets upset with his antics and reveals his identity when he doesn't want her to. He enjoys playing pranks on people, even when Akane gets mad at him for it. He's also comfortable with being half-naked or nude around other people. Akane, on the other hand, will have none of that. She always tries to keep him covered up and maintains her own modesty at all times. True to the trope, Akane eventually becomes more relaxed about these traits and starts helping him out in his schemes and even starts coming up with some herself. (Strangely enough, although they're opposites in this sense, they're alike in many other ways.)
  • FAKE: Ryo towards Dee which he will deny.

Comic Books

Fan Works

  • The popular, not-quite-canon-but-hinted-at pairing of Sasha Nein and Milla Vodello in Psychonauts. They're long-time partners, and are without a doubt close friends, if not in love (though Milla definitely has feeling for Sasha). Sasha's the uptight one (of course; he's German) and Milla's the wild party girl.


  • Along Came Polly (which provides the page image).
  • Angel A[context?]
  • Bright Star - John Keats is man back in the 1800s who is hidebound by convention, emotionally closed-off, undaring, and believes himself to be a failed poet. But along comes his muse, Fanny Brawne. She's a young, vibrant, fashionable, fiery, flirty, independent-minded, outspoken, strong-willed party girl who inspires him to write a sonnet that shares a name with the film's title. Will she challenge him and motivate him to new heights and help him achieve success that lasts until the 21st century? Well, it is based on a true story, so take a wild guess.
  • Bringing Up Baby—although in something of a variation, it's Wild who falls for Uptight first, Uptight for many reasons wanting nothing to do with her for a large part of the movie. Wild doesn't so much teach Uptight to loosen up as she does drag him kicking and screaming into it.
  • Crazy Beautiful
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind quite thoroughly deconstructs this. A relationship like this doesn't always work and after the falling-in-love part, it causes more pain than joy; so much so that both parties opt to have their memories removed of each other. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is also far more complicated: "I'm not a concept, I'm just a fucked-up girl looking for a peace of mind".
  • Forces Of Nature
  • Garden State
  • Grease as well as Grease 2
  • Harold and Maude
  • An unremarkable short film called Headlong. As the reviewer at Something Awful puts it:

This is just a retelling of one of the most classic stories known to man. Unfortunately, it is a story which man has always found irritating, cliched, and thoroughly useless. It's the tale of an uptight man who meets free-spirited female who teaches him how to cut loose, despite being an intolerable bitch. Simon Raby reinvents this timeless story by giving it a fresh, exciting new angle - he puts it inside a car! How does he come up with this stuff?

  • Into the Night
  • Latter Days
  • Laws of Attraction She's a stuffy uptight cynical genius divorce lawyer! He's a free-spirited genius divorce lawyer who believes in true love! They Fight Crime! - uh, they're opposing counsel on a bunch of different cases! It's actually a pretty well-done, if forgettable, example of this trope, and it definitely doesn't hurt that Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore are damned good actors.
  • Mad Love
  • My Sassy Girl
  • My Girl
  • Gender-flipped in Ninotchka (and its musical remake, Silk Stockings).
  • The Owl And The Pussycat
  • Pretty Woman
  • Something Wild
  • The Sound of Music (Maria isn't "wild", but she is a Blithe Spirit).
  • Sweet November
  • A Walk to Remember
  • Juno and Bleeker from Juno
  • Enid and Seymore from Ghost World
  • Lisa, Wyatt, and Gary from Weird Science
  • Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies - A teen girl, Eiko, gets a reclusive middle-aged puppeteer, Shibukawa, to promise to "repeat kill" her when she becomes a zombie. She's in the final stage of becoming a zombie, a stage called, "Near Death Happiness" [1] which is a period of manic giddiness, as per usual with all girls around the age of 16, and she'll soon start glowing due to the B.T.P. or "Butterfly Twinkle Powder." Can she help him learn to laugh again in this crazy, mixed-up world that's symbolic for lost innocence? Of course, once he finally opens up that gift she gave him and finds a chainsaw inside!
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is an odd case: while they are not romantically entangled, the relationship between wild American Delysia Lafosse and stiff British governess Miss Pettigrew follows this trope pretty closely, with each learning something from the other.
  • Notting Hill - William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is an unsuccessful Notting Hill bookstore owner who is depressed that his wife has dumped him. But all that will change when Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), the world's most beautiful woman and best-liked actress, enters his shop and changes his life with her glamorous Hollywood ways.
  • What's Up, Doc?: Once Judy Maxwell sets her eye on Howard Bannister (Ryan O'Neal), not even his impending marriage to the controlling Eunice Burns (Madeline Kahn) is going to stand in her way. And as much as he protests, this crazy adventure is just the thing he needs to make him start thinking over the things he really wants (Eunice is not among them).
  • Yes-Man is a very obvious example of this. The stuffy Jim Carrey gets the wild Zooey Deschanel when he finally decides to start saying yes to things.
  • This is pretty much the entire plot of The African Queen.
  • In Friday the 13th Part 6. Everyone thinks that Tommy is crazy, but he's very sane and stuffy and goal-oriented. His love interest, Megan, is very wild. Megan cracks wise, disobeys her father, breaks Tommy out of prison at gun point, crams his face into her lap for a police chase... um, balances her chair on two legs, and is very lucky to have hooked up with the Final Guy for a 50/50 chance of survival.
  • A Single Man
  • Charlie's Angels - Natalie & Pete
  • Uncle Frank definitely helps Julia come out of her shell in Hellraiser.
  • Enchanted: Stuffy, cynical divorce lawyer Robert meets literal fairytale princess Giselle.
  • Ondine - Syracuse is a cynical, reclusive, recovering-alcoholic fisherman who one day brings up a selky named Ondine Romanian drug mule in his fishing net. She brings luck and can grant wishes. Can Ondine help Syracuse learn to live, love, and trust? Yes. They get married..
  • A Fish Called Wanda, at least for Archie and Wanda.
  • Gender-reversed in The Sure Thing.
  • On Life As We Know It, it's gender flipped. Holly is an uptight bakery owner, and Messer is a free-wheeling player.
  • Up starts out with a version of this between 10-year-olds. It's very cute—and leaves a lifelong impact on them as well.
  • Love Letters is a made-for-TV film directed by Stanley Donen, starring Laura Linney as Melissa Gardner Cobb and Steven Weber as Andrew Ladd. She is a freewheeling artist with plenty of sexual partners and a love of booze and has had a bad reputation since high school. He's a stalwart, stuffy Republican politician. Their letters to each other are his sail and her anchor, but she threatens to moon his respectable peers if his letters get too uniform.


  • Loretta Chase loves this trope: Mr. Impossible (Rupert is the wild one, Daphne is the nerd), Lord Perfect and Last Night's Scandal (Olivia is the wild one, Peregrine/Lisle is less so). Benedict and Bathsheba from Lord Perfect seem to be set up to be this trope, except that Bathsheba isn't nearly as wild as her daughter/the rest of her relatives are.
  • At the end of the Khaavren trilogy, it is revealed that Tazendra has been in love with Aerich all along, and it seems to be mutual.
  • Subverted hard in Effi Briest where the relationship between the Prussian official Geert von Instetten and the titular "Daughter of the Air" just plain doesn't work out because of their conflicting personalities - In the end, she ends up cheating on him with a more exciting, womanizing officer, and despite of the fact that he still loves her, he sees no choice but to divorce her because his honor code says so. To be fair, him being twice her age and their marriage being arranged didn't help in the slightest.

Live-Action TV


"Worf. My love. Let me make this very clear: I do not want to spend my honeymoon climbing, hiking, sweating, bleeding or suffering in any way."
"Alright. What do you want?"
"Room service. I wanna be pampered. I want a staff to cater to our every whim - I wanna be embarrassed by the size of our room."


Tabletop Games


Video Games

Web Comics

  • The Ciem Webcomic Series seems to enjoy subverting this, playing it straight only with Candi and Denny. Denny allows Candi to learn to lighten up a little. Otherwise, Candi pairs with Donte in what feels like Uptight Loves Slightly-Less-Uptight. Steve and Miriam are a case of Wild Loves Slightly-Less-Wild. Worse in the comics than the alternate universe books, as comic Donte has all the personality of a cardboard box.

Western Animation

  • Futurama; a female bureaucrat is attracted to Fry because he's so slobbish.

* Morgan seductively pins Fry against a wall*
Morgan Proctor: DIRTY BOY! Dirtydirtydirty!
Fry: I thought you were anti-dirty, not pro-dirty!?
Morgan Proctor: I'm surrounded by neat freaks all day. There's nothing kinkier to me than a filthy slop jockey like you!
Fry: Oh, stop...

  • Courtney and Duncan in Total Drama Island. She's an uptight priss with high hopes for her future; he's a wild teenage delinquent.
  • Happens in The Simpsons when the eternally uptight Principal Skinner falls in love with the free-minded music teacher.
    • Marge and Homer also fit, respectively.
  • Seems to be the case for Kendall on Kick Buttowski who is the residential "Fun Police", a lover of school, rules, books and opera who seems to be holding a torch for the daredevil Kick... even going so far as to flat out tell her actual boyfriend that she wishes he could be more awesome like him (ouch!).
    • Not that Kick hasn't complimented Kendall on her "elegance"...
  1. "Death" used to mean "Orgasm" hundreds of years ago