Favourite Film and TV Love Triangles

I wasn’t going to let Valentine’s Day pass without a mention. I realise I sort of did (haven’t been feeling well so never had the chance to hit ‘publish’), but it’s better late than never!

I couldn’t decide whether to go with a bitter-old-spinster tone or embrace my inner hopeless romantic. (Yes, you can be both.) I decided on a compromise: my favourite fictional love triangles. There’s a lot of love, but a lot of heartbreak as well. Mwahaha. This idea was inspired by the lovely Lynsey over at Allsorts and Anecdotes and her post on her favourite television couples, which you can read here.

As it turns out, I have seen too many films and TV shows, and read a lot of books (never too many), so I am focusing on half of my original list from television and film.

Julianne/Michael/Kimmy – My Best Friend’s Wedding

This is one of my absolute favourite films. Julia Roberts play Julianne, whose best friend, Michael (the gorgeous Dermot Mulroney), surprises her with the fact that he’s getting married to the young, chirpy Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). This forces her to realise that she loves him, and is going to do whatever she can to stop the wedding. The film is hilarious and heartbreaking, and realistic! I don’t want to spoil this for anyone who hasn’t seen it – how haven’t you seen this?! – but there isn’t a happy ending for everybody.

That’s the beauty of a fictional love triangle – there’s bound to be one happy ending as well as one person who doesn’t get their way. Despite this, My Best Friend’s Wedding is ultimately uplifting. (If you’ve seen it, watch the end again – genius!) In the meantime, I’ve picked a rather famous little scene from the middle of the movie which you just might recognise…

Cameron/Bianca/Joey – 10 Things I Hate About You

Again, this is one of my top-five favourite films. I’m far more interested in the relationship between Kat (Julia Stiles) and Patrick (Heath Ledger), but this is set up as a result of Cameron’s desire to date Kat’s little sister, Bianca. She can’t date until her older sister does, but her older sister isn’t interested in any of the boys from school. Having found a backer (‘someone who’s stupid, but has money’) to pay Patrick to take out Kat, Cameron (the adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt) finds himself with a rival for Bianca’s affections. Loosely based on the The Taming of the Shrew. Here’s the trailer:

Izzie/Alex/Denny – Grey’s Anatomy

Now for a sad one. When it comes to Izzie, there’s normally some kind of love triangle (or square) going on. This one was especially intense because Denny was her patient awaiting a heart transplant. For him, she breaks all the rules.

Spoiler alert: I don’t want to spoil too much for those who might be planning to watch this show, but when Izzie ends up with Alex, Denny reappears in the most horrendous way. It was a clever twist by the show producers, but it’s certainly one way to turn a great memory into something terrible. Here’s a brilliant video, full of spoilers, from which you can deduce the majority of the story if you’re interested:

Scarlett/Gunnar/Avery – Nashville

To be honest, I don’t like the love triangle aspect of this so much as Scarlett and Gunnar together. Avery is the guy Scarlett moved to Nashville with, so he could pursue his dreams. Gunnar is the guy who helped her realise she could have her own. There’s really no contest! However, nobody’s perfect, and Gunnar has his issues too, so this relationship isn’t plain sailing. Here’s a cute little clip showing the beginnings of the boys’ rivalry:

Seth/Summer/Zach – The O.C.

So, so many love triangles in The O.C., but I chose the one between Seth, Summer and Zach as my favourite because it was more often funny than anything else. Of course, this might not have been a proper triangle, as Seth himself points out: ‘Over the last 950 days we’ve been dating – and yes, I counted the Zach era, because, really, who were we kidding? – I’ve watched you grow into this incredible woman.’ (Aww!) Nevertheless, the Zach era produced this memorable scene:

Henry/Betty/Gio – Ugly Betty

Again, I could choose from a few love triangles in this TV show, but this is one of the best ever. Gio is still one of my favourite supporting characters from any television programme, and I was all for him and Betty. Henry was a boring guy from accounts with a knocked-up girlfriend. Why was he Betty’s first choice?!

Spoiler alert: I tend to go for the most conventional or obvious pairings, so I normally see my idea of the better couple make it onto the screen, but in this case it wasn’t to be. In the end, she chooses neither, which is quite refreshing. Perhaps if she ended up with the amazing Gio, there would have been no path to Daniel, who was the ultimate obvious partner (and who I was happy with too). Unfortunately my favourite clips are not on YouTube, but here’s a good one to highlight the differences between the two:

In short:

Bridget Jones. Since I had already included the Seth/Zach fight from The O.C., I left out the famous Hugh Grant/Colin Firth ‘fight’ scenes from Bridget Jones (1 and 2), but this is a great love triangle!

Gilmore Girls. Dean or Jess? Jess, every time. I watched way too many episodes of Gilmore Girls during university finals, and he was a wonderful distraction.

Gossip Girl. When it comes to Chuck/Blair/random obstacle (occasionally in the form of another person, more commonly something that’s not an issue at all), it’s always Chuck and Blair.

Moulin Rouge. The penniless sitar player!

This Means War. I almost feel sorry for her having to choose.

Enchanted. She chooses reality over the fairy tale. Or does she? Nice!


I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of my favourites, but there are too many to include! What are yours?


4 thoughts on “Favourite Film and TV Love Triangles

  1. Louise says:

    Now this is a fun post! I’m going to date myself here but is go with Brandon/Dylan/Kelly from the original 90210 and Angel/Buffy/Spike from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (plus a lovely few spillover episodes on Angel).

    • wakeupyourluck says:

      I feel I definitely missed out by never having seen Buffy – might have to go back and watch it. I saw the new 90210, but since they all pretty much dated each other it would be difficult to pick a good love triangle from that one!

      • Louise says:

        I watched the new 90210 but the old one was really my show. Started when I was 12 which was pretty perfect.

        I fully recommend Buffy – fashion is certainly looking dated by now but it otherwise still works IMO.

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