Yesterday I got a little ranty on Love Triangles, but what I realized that I have a lot more to say about them.. Well, specifically, I pointed out subversions without first giving examples.
***WARNING WARNING: The following rant contains links to TVtropes.org. Time sucks can and will ensue.***
See, for years, I truly disliked Love Triangles as a plot device. The mere whiff of one, and I seriously debated continuing with the story.
There are multiple prongs as to why this Trope can be utterly terrible. Let’s start with the most obvious.
The One that is obviously right, and the Sexy alternative.
This is first step to a bad Love Triangle. When the choice isn’t really a choice.
This is the Prime example. Pam’s fiance is a jerk who treats her badly. Jim is the guy who is obviously perfect for her.
For drama and drama alone, she stays with the jerk.
Don’t tell me that Jim ‘never speaks up’. Pam is supposed to be sane and level-headed. She knows her boyfriend is an inconsiderate jerk. He insults her and hurts her over and over. Pam shouldn’t wait for Jim to say something. She should dump the jerk and say something to Jim.
It’s sad and silly, and makes no sense. She stays with the jerk only to keep ‘tension’ with Jim.
The Oblivious Leg
This a love triangle where A and B are in love, but C seems to think that they have a place in there. And the story agrees with them.
This is everywhere.
These two are perfectly happy. They are married. At no point does Jean seem attracted to Logan, and shuts him down repeatedly.
Why the hell did we waste any time on Logan’s feelings for her? I’m still not sure why he had a yen for her at all.
It’s Ne0-Trinity-Cypher all over again.
Person K: I’m with you, Person J.
Person J: *does something, like literally anything*
Person K: Nope, I’m with Person S, now.
Person S: Yay!
Person K: Changed my mind!
Person S: Why?
Person K: *shrugs* *Kisses Person J*
Person K: You know…
Most of them are about this sudden and this subtle.
The BIG CONFESSION
I… I love you, and I love you. And I just can’t choose.
Well, at least until The Pissing Contest breaks out (see Above Entry).
These are the symptoms of a bad love triangle. Now, they can be done well.
Harry Potter for instance: Ron – Lavender- Hermione. Lavender is obviously ‘not right’ for Ron. Yet he just can’t break up with her. He gets pulled between the two for a while. Lavender and Hermione even have a super catty pissing contest about who Hermione is taking as a date to a party.
But the chemistry and storytelling is so organic I doubt that people think of it as ‘a love triangle’.
And I’d say that’s the most basic litmus test. Are you involved in a story where a character has two love interests, or are you stuck with a ‘love triangle’?