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Two characters used to be friends or lovers, but now they aren't on speaking terms. The odds don't look good that they'll patch things up on their own. Fortunately, the plot is on their side: some external disaster happens and the characters get back together as a direct result.

Variants include:

  • Alice is ticked off at Bob, and then disaster strikes and Bob has to rescue Alice. This rescue convinces Alice that Bob isn't so bad after all.
  • Alice is ticked off at Bob, and then disaster strikes and Bob is in danger. Alice has to put aside her anger to rescue Bob.
  • Alice and Bob are ticked at each other. The disaster forces them to put their differences aside and work together.

Of course, shared disasters aren't exactly a great foundation for (re)building a relationship. Hopefully, in Bob and Alice's case, the disaster is simply a catalyst for spending more time together and genuinely reconciling; or it reminds them that life is short and their relationship is more important than whatever it was that drove them apart.

Very, very common in the Disaster Movie genre.

Compare Fire-Forged Friends, Rescue Romance.

Examples of Relationship-Salvaging Disaster include:

Film

  • Shaun of the Dead is billed as "a romantic comedy with zombies" for this reason.
  • The Abyss. In the Backstory, Bud and Lindsey Brigman broke up because they fought all the time. The deep sea rig they're in is cut off from the surface during a storm, and while they await rescue they fall in love again.
  • Twister. Bill Harding meets with his former wife Jo Harding to get her to sign their divorce papers. They end up going on a adventure together involving dangerous tornadoes and discover that they still love each other.
  • The first Die Hard film.
  • 2012. Our lead starts as a divorcee, but gets back together with his wife despite her new fiancé being there for most of the film as well.
  • Cloverfield starts with Rob and Beth having a fight. Then, Kaiju happens. A good half of the movie is about Rob & Co. looking for Beth. Naturally, they reconciled after they meet--for what little time they got left.
  • Radioland Murders: The leads are on the brink of divorce, because the male lead (probably) had a one-night stand with Ms. Yo-Yo Knickers. A Locked Room Mystery Clear My Name plot somehow comes into being at the same time as Hilarity Ensues, during which the female lead realizes anew just how many common points the two share. (As she saves his butt repeatedly.)

Literature

  • Jake and Cassie in Animorphs may represent the flipside of this trope, as they break up after the war ends.

Comics

Video Games

  • One of Ethan's possible epilogues in Heavy Rain implies that he's going to get back together with his estranged wife despite the fact she's responsible for getting Blake to think he is the Origami Killer.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • In Thalias Musings, Thalia thinks Eros' disappearance will be this to Hephaestus and Aphrodite's troubled marriage. Averted when the resolution culminates in their long-overdue divorce.
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