Story By: Mikah Willis
In recent years Hollywood has gotten increasingly lazy when it comes to their storytelling. Instead of creating a unique narrative they often just piece together repetitive conflicts, plot twists, and stereotypes. However one of the worst examples of this happens with a forced romantic conflict called a “love triangle.” A love triangle is a trope in which two characters both fall in love with the same person, then they end up in conflict with each other over who gets to be their partner. Even if you didn’t know the name of this trope beforehand, you’ve probably seen it numerous times in movies and shows. This is because it's one of the most simple and overused tension points in movies and shows.
When a show or movie needs tension, it's often easier to introduce an old format that's been done hundreds of times before rather than invent a unique or interesting conflict. However using a repetitive trope usually results in repetitive characters. Introducing a love triangle immediately forces all three characters involved into a box. Being involved in a love triangle can often be their only defining traits. It makes none of the characters feel unique and makes it difficult to root for any of them. Instead of their screen time centering around meaningful actions or character development, they are stuck fighting in a situation where no matter what one of them will end up dissatisfied. This is especially devastating for the character being pursued, because that character will have to remain indecisive for the conflict to continue. That character will either have to show no interest in either of them, or show interest in both of them, which will either make the audience hate them, or feel bad for them, meaning they won't be rooting for either of the characters trying to court them.
In addition to ruining the characters involved, a Love triangle also heavily destroys the story itself. The point of introducing a love triangle is just to add conflict to a film. Preferably something just barely entertaining enough to keep the attention of its viewers, but it does not result in a good story. A love triangle is predictable and none of the outcomes will be satisfying to the viewers. Either the character being pursued will choose one of their love interests, leaving the other unhappy, or they will pick neither, making the entire conflict pointless. Throwing in a last second happy ending for the character who wasn’t chosen won't do much to help the plot either, because it shows they could have been completely content without the conflict even happening, destroying its purpose.
Hollywood has numerous tropes it likes to repeat throughout shows and movies, however love triangles are one of the most harmful as they destroy the plot of a story, and even promote harmful obsessions and relationship dynamics to its viewers who are often children. A child should not think it is normal for two people to compete for another one's love, especially to the degree often seen in media where the person they are fawning over does not like the conflict. Love triangles were never a good trope, and the fact that they are still commonly used is just a showcase in the laziness of Hollywood productions in recent years.