The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

No Love Triangles Here

Even with the improbability of it, Hollywood has an obsession with this trope, and the public eats it up

There are no six-foot tall brothers—one who is athletic and gorgeous, and another who is smart and sweet—who are both madly in love with me, estranged because I drove a wedge between them. 

You might say, “Sarah, it would be super strange if that did happen.” The scarcity of love triangles in real life might not seem odd to you when first thinking about it, but after looking into the number of movies and shows that include the trope, you would think love triangles were common.

“I feel like a version of a love triangle may happen in real life, but movies make it much more dramatic and unrealistic,” said Summit senior Coral Reed. 

For years, Hollywood seems to have an obsession with a good love triangle. This trope occurs in many movies, not always as the main plot point, but usually adding some drama to the plot. A major love triangle can be found in “The Great Gatsby” between Jay Gatsby, his long-lost love Daisy Buchanan and her husband Tom Buchanan. In the case of “The Great Gatsby,” the love triangle takes up the significant plot of the movie and is the main attraction. “The Notebook” also involves some tension, with a major love triangle occurring between Noah and his first love, Allie, and the man Allie was going to marry instead of Noah. Another classic is “Titanic,” with Rose boarding the ship promised to one man and leaving the ship in love with another, Jack Dawson.

Two things in common with all of those movies: They all turned into instant classics, and it’s always two men fighting over one woman. 

According to “The Appeal of Love Triangles in Movies” by the Imperium Publication, “The secret is that everyone enjoys drama. Excitement and intrigue pull you in, and then there’s the thrill of picking a side and debating who the best is for hours on end.”

Of course, you can’t talk about love triangles without talking about “Twilight,” in which Edward (the smoldering vampire) and Jacob (the skulking werewolf) have a long-standing feud over the same woman, Bella throughout the series. According to Forbes, the “Twilight” saga was a $3.3 billion grossing series and is one of the most well-known romantic movies. Even though the first movie came out in 2008, the love triangle is still debated to this day, with people split between “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob.”

“I think they’re entertaining and easy to get invested in,” said Arden Conde, a Summit senior. “Usually, people latch onto one of the characters and root for them through the series so you’re more emotionally invested.” 

Love triangles don’t often happen often in real life, so what makes them so sensational? People may not be able to relate to the trope, but the competitive nature of a love triangle keeps the audience engaged, drawing the viewers in. 

Small love triangles can work great to draw the audience in as well, such as in “The Hunger Games,” between Katniss Everdeen, her childhood love and the other tribute from her district, who coincidentally always had a crush on her. Though it may not be the reason people turn on the movie, there can be just as much debate over “Team Gale” or “Team Peeta,” with multiple news outlets (MTV, Vulture, CBR, Entertainment Tonight) weighing in on the topic.

“Team Peeta because he would literally die for her,” said Conde. 

It is not surprising that the public loves the spectacle caused by a love triangle with how popular reality dating shows such as “The Bachelor,” “Too Hot Too Handle” and “Love Island” are, with millions of viewers tuning into the shows. All over social media, people will be debating which pairings are their favorites.

According to “The Appeal of Love Triangles in Movies” by the Imperium Publication, the reason people enjoy a good love triangle is that “the entanglement of three characters, each with their own longings, motivations, and flaws beautifully depicts the complexity of human emotions.”

More disturbingly, there’s something about brothers fighting over a girl that draws viewers in. “The Vampire Diaries,” a popular show that aired in 2009 and lasted eight seasons, involves two brothers who are both in love with one girl, with the girl dumping the younger brother for the older. More recently, this trope can be seen in the hit TV show “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” with Belly going back and forth between Conrad, her childhood crush, and Jeremiah, her best friend. Towards the end of 2023, Netflix came out with a show at the end of 2023 called “My Life with The Walter Boys” in which the Walter boys are both in love with the same girl.

“I think it’s both normal and weird [for brothers to compete over a girl],” said Conde. “I think in the shows I’ve watched their drive is partially feelings for the girl and partially competitive nature with each other.”

Once again these shows have all done incredibly well in viewings. Even 15 years after it first aired, “The Vampire Diaries” is still in the top 100 shows based on audience engagement today according to Television Stats. Season two of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” is one of Amazon’s top 10 most-watched seasons of any show. “My Life with The Walter Boys” topped Netflix’s Top 10 Shows for multiple weeks in a row.

The thing that viewers love about love triangles is that they can pick a side and watch through as there is a winner and a loser—one thing about people is that most of them love to argue. If the audience then has something to lose, they will continue to watch and find reasons why their side will win and be the ultimate match. It doesn’t matter that it’s make-believe and that they have no say in the matter; if you give people something to argue about, most times they will.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Hawkins
Sarah Hawkins, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Meet Sarah Hawkins, one-third of the Editor-In-Chief team. Hawkins has been a part of The Summit Pinnacle for three years and enjoys writing both in and out of school. When not writing, planning and editing for this class, catch Hawkins digging her cleats in on the lacrosse field. As an avid volunteer for various organizations, Hawkins is also the president of the Interact Club at Summit. Hawkins seems to always have something on her to-do list, but as procrastination is a favorite skill of hers, you can spot her with friends around town or baking a fun dessert!

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    AnonymousFeb 26, 2024 at 2:21 pm

    Love triangles in a real world and modern scenario is such a funny concept. Like, you have 2 people who are both equally as madly in love with you and you continue to hang out with both of them???