Are love triangles becoming an overused trope in television?


No matter where you look on television, there’s a love triangle somewhere. Love triangles offer the chance for dramatic storylines but are they becoming an overused trope in fiction?

Love triangles happen. There’s no doubt about that. Over the years, we’ve watched various characters have to choose between two people they love. Yet, it seems now that no matter where you look in television there’s a love triangle.

As a fan of The Resident, I’ll admit that I’m watching for signs of an upcoming love triangle — and hoping that the writers will avoid it. The show has already had one and now it looks like the main couple almost every fan out there ships is at risk of a love triangle.

More from Entertainment

The standard love triangle storylines

Almost every show I’ve watched in recent years have involved a love triangle or two. The Vampire DiariesRevengeGrey’s Anatomy, even The Big Bang Theory. Some of them work out for the story and others are just done for the sake of drama. And it’s the ones that are done for the sake of drama that have become overused and fallen into just being a trope.

Take the triangle between Elena, Stefan, and Damon. At the start, the triangle showed signs of developing but there was a deeper reason for it considering Elena was Katherine Pierce’s doppelganger. Season 3 was the moment it turned into an overused trope — and don’t get me started for Season 4!

It was over the top and eye-rollingly annoying. And it made it all the worse for me that Elena was falling for two brothers but expected the one she didn’t choose to still be friends with her!

Watch your favorite shows on fuboTV: Watch over 67 live sports and entertainment channels with a 7-day FREE trial!

Grey’s Anatomy has introduced a number of love triangles over the years, purely for dramatic reasons. In some cases, there have been no logical reasons for them. Just look at the one between Meredith, Link, and DeLuca right now. This one has just come out of nowhere, especially the relationship between Meredith and DeLuca.

MANIFEST — Photo by: Barbara Nitke/NBC/Warner Brothers — Acquired via NBC Media Village /

When love triangles work

Yet, there are times that love triangles are done differently. These are the ones that don’t quite fall into the trope. Manifest is an excellent example of a love triangle that makes a world of sense. Grace believed her husband was dead and finally opened her heart to bring someone else into her life. Danny became part of her and Olive’s family.

When Ben returned, it was clear that the last five years would catch up to Grace. No time had passed for Ben, which made the love triangle even harder. He had to accept that his wife had gone through the grieving process and accepted his death. Ben needed to accept that there was another man Olive had come to rely on as a father figure.

Even the triangle between Michaela, Jared, and Lourdes makes sense. Jared believed Michaela had died and he moved on. Moving on just happened to be with her best friend. When it came to Michaela returning, it was clear Jared still loved her and she still loved him. Lourdes was caught in the middle, hoping her husband would remain with her only to find that she couldn’t compare.

When love triangles are done differently, they can work. They need to make sense and there needs to be some sort of buildup. Too many TV shows throw in love triangles for the sake of drama — and primetime TV are not soap operas where almost anything is acceptable. It’s time for more shows to be like Manifest (or even the twist that Grey’s Anatomy introduced with Callie/Arizona/Mark) and find something different.

Next. 101 TV shows to watch before you die. dark

Do you think love triangles are now an overused trope? What would you like to see on TV? Share your thoughts in the comments below.