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
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
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?