Remember that awful time in the fall of 2009 when Twilight the movie was released and basically every Forever 21 store in America started selling “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” T-shirts? I think that lasted for about five more years until the 5th and final film was released and the stupid vampire fever finally died down. Anyway, that “iconic” love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob was the spark that made the Twilight saga a global phenomenon. There’s nothing tweens/teens dig more than drama and romance, and nothing weaves those two themes more perfectly than love triangles. FromThe Hunger Games to The Vampire Diaries to The Notebook, very few teen novels or TV dramas are complete without at one love triangle at some stage in the series. They are often the driving force of fandoms on Tumblr and the primary subject of fan-made Youtube videos. But they are also the reason why no intelligent person takes teen fiction seriously, which is a real shame because some of those works are really quite good. Anyway, here are five reasons why I think YA works, dramas and books, are better off without love triangles.
1. They are clichéd.
My first time watching/reading about a love triangle was a trilling experience. You know from the beginning that she’s going to pick the hot mysterious one, but you still get all excited and shit when he finally kisses her. And then you feel bad for the sweet acne-stained boy who loves her just as much but gets nothing in return. Then you get all giddy again when she marries the cute one and you forget all about the other kid.
The second and third time were pretty awesome, too. But then it just kept happening. Every show I watched there’s always some goddamn drama between the main girl and two very attractive boys. Or an attractive bad boy and a nice nerdy one. Or a vampire and a werewolf. Or a womanizer and a best friend. Before long the magic was lost. Excited giggles turned into groans. Not again. Predictability is the worst thing that can happen to dramatic fiction, and right now nothing is more predictable than love triangles.
2. They are unrealistic.
If I got a cent for every time someone told me she left her longtime boyfriend for her first love whom she hadn’t seen in ten years but realized she still loved when she randomly bumped into him on the subway while she was visiting NYC for the first time ever, I’d be a fucking millionaire. Or so I wish. I wouldn’t get a fucking cent in a million years because typical plot lines like that don’t happen in real life.
3. They are sexist as hell.
Think about every single love triangle you’ve read about or watched. Now tell me how many of them consist of one guy and two girls. I can’t think of any, and I’ve watched a lot of teen dramas. It’s trendy and romantic and sweet to have two dashing young men fight valiantly for a girl’s affection. But when two passionate, naive young girls fight over a hot dude, they’re usually perceived as desperate and annoying. It’s acceptable and cute if a girl leaves her fiance at the altar and runs away with the guy she’s always been in love with, but if a guy does the same thing to a girl he’d probably be called a fucking asshole, which brings me to the next point….
4. They are stupid.
So, okay, here’s the thing I’ll never understand with this whole love triangle business: if you’re not over your first love, why the fuck would you string along someone else? I mean, why would any sane or ethical person ever agree to marry someone when they clearly know they’re still in love with another person? Shouldn’t we be more responsible than that? Can you really “wholeheartedly” love a person (sorry it’s this is kind of confusing) for years before your first love shows up for about five seconds and you’re all torn and confused and shit? Kind of like How I Met Your Mother, but that’s another story. I guess my point is that love triangles basically encourages us to be totally irresponsible and selfish when it comes to love. Like, just follow your heart and be with whoever makes you happy, even at the expense of someone who’s given you everything they have. Is that just fucking cruel?
5. They overshadow more meaningful themes in the book/drama.
This is probably the most problematic issue with love triangles. Granted, romance plays a huge role in most YA books and TV dramas. In fact, I can’t really think of a teen work that’s not driven by romance. Anyhow, any decent book will contain some kind of underlying theme that’s more important and sophisticated than love and betrayal: like the abuse of power/class struggle in The Hunger Games or individuality/collectivism in Divergent. But those more complicated concepts almost always get overshadowed by the trendier and easier to understand theme of relationship drama. It sounds ridiculous but it’s the truth.
I’m not completely against love triangles. They do work when they’re unique and well thought-out, but right now they’re way too high in quantity and way too low in quality.