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Love Me or Love Me Not: Why Love Triangles are Still a Phenomenon in Rom-Coms?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

If you watched Netflix’s newest Rom-Coms To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 2: PS I Still Love You or The Kissing Booth 2, you know what I’m talking about. Love Triangles are still popular and probably will never get out of style. 

The list is long and it counts with classics such as Mean Girls, My Best Friend’s Wedding, 10 Things I Hate About You, Bridget Jones’s Diary and numerous others. And that’s not only a thing in movies! A lot of TV Series also have Love Triangles as one of their main focuses. Jane The Virgin may be the best example, since Jane (Gina Rodriguez) tries to choose between Michael (Brett Dier), her long-term boyfriend, and Rafael (Justin Baldoni), the father of her baby, for five seasons!

In movies or TV Series, there are lovers and haters of Love Triangles. For some, it’s a classic characteristic of a Rom-Com. For others, it’s a way to put a little unnecessary drama into the narrative.

One thing is for sure, love triangles usually have a female character between two male characters – that most likely are very different and probably hate each other. That happens in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 2. Lara Jean (Lana Condor) gets stuck between Peter Kavinski (Noah Centineo) – the boyfriend of her dreams – and John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher) –her middle school crush and the first boy she wrote a letter to. With the love triangle made, Lara Jean starts to feel confused about both of them, and that’s basically how the movie goes: She needs to make a hard – and right decision.

Bettina Strauss/Netflix

Maybe that’s why the Love Triangle Phenomenon works, because we cheer for our favorite boy and expect him to do everything he can to win the female’s heart. After all, fighting for love is what a Rom-Com is all about.

Meanwhile, are Love Triangles really needed to develop characters, grow a couple or make a movie interesting? 

In my point of view, there are lots of other obstacles that can be more interesting than a love triangle appearing out of nowhere. When I was watching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 2 I started cheering for John Ambrose to win that fight, but – Spoiler Alert! – he lost, and I think he only lost ‘cause Lara Jean didn’t actually have a choice. No matter what, she was going to choose Peter Kavinski at the end, ‘cause he was the right choice for her, and the choice I thought she was going to make since the beginning. A little bit predictable. 

At the same time, the public goes online and starts talking about the choice the female character made every time a movie gets released. #TeamPeter or #TeamJohn? #TeamNoah or #TeamMarco? #TeamJacob or #TeamEdward? And on it goes. The public likes to talk about it and find arguments to stand for their Team. And that’s the funny part about a Love Triangle. At least for me. 

As I was trying to find the answer for those questions, I asked my friend who’s currently studying Cinematography in college. Melissa Yurie (19) said that “having a female character divided between two lovers is something that splits up the public and makes them involved with the narrative. A girl between two male characters causes intrigue and keeps the public’s morality intact, once it’s not about cheating, but about a choice between two men, that is not up to us, but attracts our attention.”

In another point of view, Andressa Sousa, a 20 year-old student, thinks that love triangles “Opens new perspectives to the people involved in the relationship, and besides, it escapes the public’s expectation of monogamy”

For journalism student Mariana Cossa (20), the fact that the two characters that are trying to win the female’s heart are very different from each other makes it more interesting, “because the public analyses the characteristics of each one and chooses the best. In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 2, the love triangle works so nicely that  even when Lara Jean chose Peter, a lot of people sympathized with John too”, she says.

Bettina Strauss/Netflix

Maybe, love triangles work and will never get out of style because this formula attracts the public, so they can stand for something bigger than themselves. Just like what happened with #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan and #TeamBatman or #TeamSuperman, fighting for a thing that’s not up to us, makes us fight for it even harder. 

I’ll always be Team John Ambrose McClaren. Even If he wasn’t Lara Jean’s choice, he was mine. And maybe that’s why love triangles are still a thing in Rom-Coms, because even if we hate the character’s choice, we love ours.


The article above was edited by Anna Bastos.

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Laura Enchioglo

Casper Libero '22

Journalism student passionate for writing, reading, watching movies and discovering new things.
Giovanna Pascucci

Casper Libero '22

Estudante de Relações Públicas na Faculdade Cásper Líbero que ama animais e falar sobre séries.