These days, every show with a remotely romantic subtext loves to throw in a love triangle in its story arc and drag out those completely disastrous relationships for several seasons. It always goes along the lines of “Oh! I simply cannot choose between these two attractive boys with no real personalities” or “Why will I ever want to choose between these two hot girls fighting over me when I can simply lay back and enjoy the fun” or even “Hmm… this girl is really messing with my sexual compass right now, but what will I tell my boyfriend?”. In the real world, it’s unsettling and mildly concerning when your friend drags out a decision between two partners forever. Real love is rare out there so make sure you hop on that train when you see your chance! But when show creators take us on an emotional roller-coaster with their Will-She-Won’t-She tactics, I absolutely cannot take it anymore.
Love triangles can go on forever when a series has been running for years. It almost seems like shows are competing to create the longest love triangle of all time! The classic, wholesome and engaging Archie-Betty-Veronica story line in the Archie Comics has entertained readers for generations and was even turned into a TV show called Riverdale where they added the attractive Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones in the mix. On the other hand, the extremely annoying, cringe worthy and meme famous Bella-Edward-Jacob trio from the Twilight days shows that love triangles have their good days and then their bad days (I am so happy Kristen Stewart is doing so much better now!). It’s weirder when the two guys fighting for one girl’s affection are brothers, like in the Vampire Diaries with Damon-Elena-Stephen. When the Hunger Games movies came out, the audience focused on the love triangle brewing between Katniss, Gale and Peeta when they should have applauded the bravery of a young girl and her determination to fight the oppressive government against all odds! Sometimes, the dynamics between the leads of a show is the whole premise, so show runners have the opportunity to capture the audience’s attention through a great story or continue to lose viewers by only focusing on who someone likes better.
Jason Rothenberg is famous for his on-screen adaptation of The 100 book series into an amazing young-adult futuristic dystopian TV show that continues to wow its fans after its Five-season run. One of the reasons I think the show is so well received is because the main power couple Bellamy and Clarke haven’t been romantically paired together yet. True “Bellarke” fans know that they already have the emotional connection of an old married couple and kick ass together in style, but the show focuses on what they can achieve if they work together. The show never had scene where Clarke fights with Bellamy’s girlfriends at any point. Bellamy didn’t give up on Clarke even after she chose to love an enemy clan’s leader (who was a bad-ass woman warrior, by the way). The show never focused too much on their budding love triangles and chose to keep character development as its priority. Clarke and Bellamy have their ups and downs, but they come out stronger because of their intense bond. Honestly, I do want to see them together at some point later in the show, but for now, it’s refreshing to see that not all TV show leads need to be together for the show to succeed.
We cannot talk about love triangles without talking about Shonda Rhimes. She created not one but four heart-wrenching TV shows where the plot was one time or the other about an absolutely delicious love triangle. Scandal had an intense 7-season run where we were on the edge of our seats with the Fitz-Olivia-Jake triangle. It didn’t overshadow the other storylines of Olivia being the bad-ass woman she is but added a ton of drama that the audiences ate up. Grey’s Anatomy had Arizona-Callie-Mark where Callie was in love with Arizona but could not entirely give up her love for her best friend Mark. The three ended up raising a child together, which seemed like the perfect solution to their problems before Shonda decided to start killing people off!
Amid all these shows today, it is hard to find good quality content without show runners throwing complicated trio relationships at you that end in tears. There is always too much drama or too little. We don’t need another chick flick where girls are fighting for the affection of a guy in their high school years when they should be focusing on they want to achieve as strong independent women who lift each other up instead of bringing others down. In a way, I do envy Betty and Veronica’s relationship. Whether or not they are fighting over someone, they care about each other’s happiness first and won’t let some boy dictate their actions. Their sisterhood gives me intense pride over what women are capable of when they decide to prioritize their goals over the wants of men that are beneath them.