Saturday, July 7, 2012

What are the best television love triangles?

Love triangles can make or break a television show – just ask fans of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – where the two sides are battling it out over whether or not Elena will end up with Stefan or Damon.

Launching a great love triangle can mean great things for a show. It’s a lot harder than it sounds, though.

For every great love triangle, there are 10 bad ones.

The trick to launching at truly great love triangle is to have fans of both pairings. If both fan bases turn out to be rabid -- so much the better.

It also helps to write the triangle so it’s not a forgone conclusion which couple will ultimately stand the test of time.

So, what are television’s greatest love triangles?

10. Stefan, Elena, Damon (The Vampire Diaries): The acting on this show isn’t always great. Well, sorry, it’s not. The chemistry, though? Wowza. We have good brother Stefan, bad brother Damon and the vapid stick, I mean Elena, they’re fighting about. The truth is, Damon’s endless stream of charm (and a face like an angel) pretty much make him irresistible. That being said, Stefan has his own army of fans. It really is a tough choice.

9. Ben, Felicity, Noel (Felicity): This was another teenage soap that jerked fans in both directions. I came late to the ‘Felicity’ bandwagon -- sadly, after the disastrous haircut -- so I wasn’t as invested in the triangle as others. When I became interested in the show it was made very clear to me that I would have to make a choice – Noel or Ben. I really couldn’t decide. They were both intriguing. In the end, like Felicity herself, I went with Ben. Why? I find Scott Speedman more attractive than Scott Foley. What can I say? I’m shallow.

8. Big, Carrie, Aidan (Sex and the City): The truth of the matter is, this triangle worked because Big and Carrie aren’t always likeable. If Carrie were likeable, for example, we would have wanted her with Aidan hands down. Sure, Carrie spent years pining for Big. She had to watch him marry a younger woman and leave town (several times). Still, Big was always in the back of our minds. When Carrie met Aidan, though, we couldn’t help but fall in love with him. When he forgave Carrie for cheating with Big, we were relieved he was back. When Carrie started panicking about marrying him we all saw the signs. The truth is, Carrie wasn’t good enough for Aidan. She and Big deserved each other.

7. Sydney, Vaughn, Lauren (Alias): I know this triangle is something of a stretch – mostly because fans always believed that Sydney and Vaughn would  find their way back to each other – but in the beginning I wasn’t so sure. Lauren seemed like an interesting character that was having a believable response to the fact that the woman her husband used to be in love with had suddenly come back from the dead with no memory of the past two years. Sure, a lot of us suspected she would turn out evil. This is ‘Alias,’ after all. The writers dragged it out so long, though, that I started to wonder if she wasn’t going to be evil. Just when I accepted the fact that she was just a normal woman – BAM – Lauren is not only evil but she’s killing her father in cold blood. Personally, I spent the majority of season three livid with Vaughn for moving on so quickly. He redeemed himself when he shot Lauren three times in the chest. What? I’m a romantic.

6. Sonny, Brenda, Jax (General Hospital): Soaps are famous for triangles. This triangle, though, transcended the genre. Originally, I was a Brenda and Sonny fan. The duo oozed charisma and sex appeal. Then I was a Brenda and Jax fan – mostly because I was totally ticked at Sonny for that whole Lily thing. Then I was a Brenda and Sonny fan again. I thought their time in the catacombs and running from Lily’s vengeful father helped the couple grow. Then I was a Brenda and Jax fan again. Sonny leaving Brenda at the altar was the final straw. Then I was a Brenda and Sonny fan again. Jax leaving Brenda at the altar was the last straw. Now? I’m a Brenda fan. She’s better than both men. Anyone that would take Carly’s side over Brenda’s doesn’t deserve her. Whew. Anyone else think Brenda and Sonny will still ride off into the sunset together?

5. Bill, Sookie, Eric (True Blood): This can actually be extended into a quadrangle and this point given last week’s episode that culminated with Sookie climbing on Alice in the waning minutes of the episode. Here’s the thing, Alcide is probably my favorite of all of Sookie’s love interests in the books. I never got the Sookie and Eric relationships in the books, and book Bill is beyond boring. On the show, though, I’m genuinely torn. I liked Sookie and Bill. I was O.K. – although slightly bored – with Sookie and Eric. I am definitely looking forward to Sookie and Alcide, too. I honestly don’t know where I land in this whole mess. I guess the only thing I can say with absolute certainty is that Sookie could have the best looking three-layer sandwich ever.

4. Brenda, Dylan, Kelly (Beverly Hills, 90210): The kids on ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ were supposed to be the exact same age as I was (even though some of the actors had 15 years on me – but that’s a different story). I think that’s why I was so into the West Beverly High drama. I’m not going to lie, I was a Brenda and Dylan fan from the beginning. I know a lot of people don’t like Shannen Doherty, so they turned on Brenda, but I actually was on her side in the whole Kelly and Dylan debacle. I couldn’t root for Dylan and Kelly regardless – mostly because he treated her like dirt. After Doherty left, Dylan and Kelly were pushed into another triangle with Brandon. It wasn’t until Brandon and Kelly were paired that I managed to start liking Kelly again. Still, I know there’s a huge faction of Dylan and Kelly supporters out there. The only thing I have to say to that is . . . shame on you.

3. Dawson, Joey, Pacey (Dawson’s Creek): Poor Dawson. Even on his own show he couldn’t get the girl. In the end, Katie Holmes’ Joey chose the lovable slacker Pacey over her (and his) best friend Dawson. I watched the show from beginning to end – and at times it was more out of habit than anything else. When it came down to Joey’s final decision, I was still torn. The truth is, I would have been fine with her decision either way. Both couples were tortured. Both couples were fun. I thought there was a lot of build-up for Dawson and Joey only to toss that relationship at the last second – but I give Kevin Williamson a lot of credit for having the guts to do it. That’s why this triangle still manages to live in infamy today.

2. Jack, Kate, Sawyer (Lost): The serious debate these couplings bring out makes me laugh. I always thought Jack and Kate belonged together. I also thought Sawyer and Juliet belonged together. Say that to the wrong fan base, though, and you’re going to get an earful you probably weren’t expecting. The appeal of this triangle stemmed from the fact that the characters on ‘Lost’ were never purely good or purely evil. They were painted in shades of gray – like real people. Even though I was a fan of Jack and Kate, I can see the appeal of Kate and Sawyer. Truth be told, though, my favorite relationship on the island was Sawyer and Hurley. Yeah, took you to a scary visual place didn’t I?

1. Angel, Buffy, Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): Whether you’re team Bangel or team Spuffy, the heart of Sunnydale’s resident slayer has been battled over for years. What’s interesting about this war is that it’s still going on today – even though the show ended in 2003. That’s almost a full decade, and yet people are still feverishly debating which vampire with a soul owned Buffy’s heart. Which team am I on? I guess I’d go with Angel – mostly because I can’t get over that whole Spike almost raping Buffy thing and the fact that the Spuffy relationship was one of the things that made seasons six and seven of the show largely unwatchable. That being said, Buffy is a strong female character. I’m perfectly fine with her ending up without either of them.

What do you think? What are the best love triangles ever?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alcide was never a love interest for Sookie in the SVM books. Her love interests were Bill, Eric and Quinn.

Love triangles have become boring and repetitive. I don't know of too many people anymore that enjoy a triangle story line.

July 7, 2012 at 5:31 PM 
Blogger Amanda Lee said...

Sorry, I consider them making out and Alcide pursuing Sookie as him being a love interest. He has fallen off in recent books -- but in the earlier books, he was definitely up for consideration.

July 7, 2012 at 5:33 PM 
Blogger Serena van der Woodsen said...

Great choices! My favorite triangles are Delena vs. Stelena (I lean Team Delena but I see Stelena's appeal too), Pacey/Joey/Dawson (Pacey and Joey all the way baby) and Sonny/Brenda/Jax. The last was the best because I was truly torn. I credit Vanessa Marcil for that. She can generate chemistry with a brick wall. But despite Sonny's jerkiness I can't get past Vanessa and Maurice's insane sexual and romantic chemistry. They'll always be one of the my favorite screen couples.

July 8, 2012 at 12:35 AM 
Blogger Jovana said...

I was so excited for tv Eric and Sookie to happen. Nobody does a jerk quite like Eric Northman. But then they had him neutered in season 4, and having sex with Sookie in Narnia. Badass viking he was no more. That literally killed ANY spark those two EVER had. I can never buy them again. Bill is much better for her and seems to genuinely love Sookie, no matter how hard he tries not to. Also, Bill has gotten more interesting over the course of the series.

July 8, 2012 at 6:37 PM 
Blogger Pepe said...

I'd say Sam/Kara/Lee from Battlestar Galactica

June 7, 2014 at 8:05 AM 

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