Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

12 TV Love Triangles That Ruined Their Shows And 12 That Made Their Shows Iconic

You can't deny that Stefan, Damon, and Elena were epic.

🚨Warning: There are some massive spoilers ahead!🚨

1. First, the love triangle between Olivia, Fitz, and Jake from Scandal was one of the many reasons this show became so memorable.

Fitz showing Liv the house he built for her and Jake telling Liv that he wants to "stand in the sun" with her
ABC

Scandal was an important TV show for several reasons, and one of its lasting legacies will be this iconic love triangle. Whether you fell head-over-heels for Fitz and Liv in the very first episode or you thought Jake was the far superior choice for Liv, it was great to watch this love triangle play out every week. Honestly, thank you, Shonda Rhimes, for this era of TV.

2. But Pam, Jim, and Karen from The Office being in one was kind of unnecessary considering Karen was treated so poorly.

NBC

This was a classic case of a TV show putting a character in a relationship just to create conflict with the person they are so clearly destined to be with. Jim and Karen were cute, but it was doomed from the start. Karen was a fun character, but she ends up getting a bad rap simply for being in the middle of Jim and Pam.

3. Listen, Addison's entrance on Grey's Anatomy was absolutely iconic and her love triangle with Derek and Meredith was one of the reasons Season 2 was the best.

Addison arriving and telling Meredith, "And you must be the woman who's been screwing my husband"
ABC

To this day, I still believe that Addison's first scene on Grey's Anatomy is one of the best moments from the entire series. We were living in Meredith and Derek's happy bubble, and then she showed up and popped it. While we always knew Derek and Meredith would find a way to be together, Addison created some great tension, and it was amazing to watch.

4. But Izzie, Callie, and George from Grey's Anatomy 100% did not need to be in a love triangle and it was just awkward.

George telling Callie he slept with Izzie and George and Izzie in bed together
ABC

George cheating on Callie with Izzie was one of the dumbest mistakes he ever made. This entire love triangle was just way too messy, and it didn't even have a good resolution. George ended up leaving Callie for Izzie, but then, George and Izzie realized they didn't have any sexual chemistry, so they stopped dating. This was one love triangle Grey's could've lived without.

5. Devi's adorable love triangle with Paxton and Ben on Never Have I Ever is one of my favorite storylines of 2020 so far.

Devi kissing Ben while Paxton leaves a message on her phone seeing if she wanted to hang out
Netflix

Never Have I Ever is one of my favorite new shows of 2020 and I couldn't help but fall in love with every character. Devi, Paxton, and Ben's love triangle is already so fresh and exciting, and I can't wait to see where it goes in Season 2. So far, it's a definite highlight of the series.

6. But Eric choosing to be with Adam, who bullied him, instead of sweet Rahim on Sex Education was a mistake.

Rahim watching Eric and Adam onstage
Netflix

Eric deciding to be with Adam instead of Rahim stung. Rahim treated Eric so great, but then Eric did him dirty by kissing Adam in front of the whole school. I'm all for Adam discovering his sexuality and growing, but I don't understand how Eric could be with him after he bullied him for being gay for years. Sex Education is phenomenal, but this love triangle misses the mark.

7. Jane, Rafael, and Michael from Jane the Virgin had one of those love triangles where you could see Jane ending up with either one and being happy about it.

Jane and Michael on their wedding day and Jane and Rafael on theirs
The CW

Team Michael vs. Team Rafael felt like another defining moment for TV. I think having Michael die only to come back and have Jane choose Rafael was rough, but everything about this love triangle leading up to that made for some great TV moments. Both Michael and Rafael helped Jane in their own ways, and I loved it.

8. But Artie trying to get Brittany back on Glee after they broke up and she clearly liked Santana was just odd.

Fox

Artie singing "Isn't She Lovely" to Brittany AFTER calling her stupid was wild even for Glee standards. Santana wasn't ready to come out to everyone when Brittany and Artie were dating, but throwing Brittany and Artie into a relationship just didn't make sense.

9. Rory, Jess, and Dean from Gilmore Girls are still considered one of the most memorable love triangles on TV.

Jess explaining to Dean that he bought Rory's basket so they get to have lunch together
Warner Bros.

Anyone who has ever watched Gilmore Girls has an opinion on who Rory should end up with. While I loved the Logan moments in the later seasons, the OG Rory love triangle with Jess and Dean was iconic. I mean, nothing compares to watching Jess win Rory's basket over Dean. Also, this love triangle truly culminated in one of my favorite episodes, "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?"

10. But Lorelai sleeping with Christopher after a fight with Luke was one of the worst storylines on Gilmore Girls.

Warner Bros.

I think the Lorelai and Christopher saga served its purpose in the early Gilmore Girls seasons, but having Lorelai sleep with Christopher after fighting with Luke was so unnecessary, and it basically ruined the show for me. Once Luke and Lorelai got together, having them in a love triangle with Christopher was just so there would be drama. I'm telling you, we all would've been fine with Lorelai and Luke just being an adorable couple without this mess.

11. The Lucas, Peyton, and Brooke love triangle from One Tree Hill is so important to the early season, and I genuinely enjoyed both relationships.

Lucas telling Peyton "It's you" and Lucas telling Brooke that he can tell her why he loves her all night while standing in the rain
The CW

The Lucas, Brooke, and Peyton love triangle is so important to One Tree Hill that you can't even imagine the show without it. I mean, yes, I think Lucas cheating on Brooke with Peyton (twice) was not great, but the way these relationships with Lucas tested Brooke and Peyton's friendship was so memorable. And let's be honest, we needed a good love triangle because no one was coming between Haley and Nathan.

12. But Omar cheating on Ander (who had cancer) with Malick was hands down the worst plot line on Elite.

Omar and Ander lying in bed together, then Omar leaving with Malick at a party
Netflix

I am still baffled that this even happened, because Omar and Ander were so in love. It felt wildly out of character for Omar to cheat on Ander with Malick just because things got hard. I'm glad everything resolved itself by the end of Season 3, but I really didn't need this love triangle. Also, the fact that Malick was dating Nadia, so Omar betrayed her too. This was just chaotic.

13. Dawson, Joey, and Pacey's love triangle on Dawson's Creek defined an entire generation and tbh, I loved it.

Pacey telling Joey "I remember everything" and Dawson and Joey kissing on the swings
Warner Bros.

Team Dawson or Team Pacey remains so important when talking about teen TV, so it's hard not to love this iconic and memorable love triangle. Whether you absolutely loved Dawson and Joey's friends-to-lovers romance or you consider Pacey and Joey's slow-burn romance in Season 3 the best, the love triangle on Dawson's Creek made a lasting impression.

14. But Spencer and Caleb dating after the time jump on Pretty Little Liars was unnecessary because Hanna and Caleb were always endgame.

Freeform

Don't get me wrong, Spencer and Caleb had some serious chemistry, but this was another example of creating drama for no reason. Hanna and Caleb were always going to end up together, so putting Spencer and Caleb together was just unnecessary. Also, Spencer always loved Toby, so there's that.

15. Riverdale managed to turn the Archie comics love triangle on its head by giving us Archie, Betty, and Jughead, and it has been a great and wild ride.

Jughead telling Betty, "From now on, we're partners" and Betty and Archie kissing
The CW

I remember when Riverdale first started and I was ready for the classic Archie, Betty, and Veronica love triangle. So, you have to admit, it has been refreshing to see Archie, Betty, and Jughead. What I love about this one is that I was firmly Team Bughead, but honestly, you can't help but admit that Betty and Archie have some serious chemistry.

16. But Archie dating Josie on Riverdale wasn't necessary because it was simply to keep Veronica and Archie away from each other for a little while.

Veronica telling Archie, "Because we're endgame" and Archie and Josie almost kissing
The CW

There was literally no need to put Josie and Archie together while Veronica and Reggie were a couple. Riverdale has a bad habit of not knowing what to do with their secondary female characters, like Josie and Toni, and this love triangle just exemplified that. Josie deserved a storyline independent from Archie's drama.

17. Insecure is an incredible show because it's able to tell such authentic stories, like the love triangle between Issa, Lawrence, and Daniel, which was iconic.

HBO

This show is so good that they even make love triangles look incredible. Even after four seasons, the Issa, Lawrence, and Daniel back-and-forth is just Insecure at its best. The way the series blended romance and comedy while dealing with these three is something we will cherish forever.

18. But Ian dating Trevor on Shameless was messy considering Ian ended up cheating on Trevor with Mickey, who he always loved.

Showtime

I feel like Trevor never got a chance with Shameless fans because we all knew his relationship with Ian wouldn't last. Obviously, Mickey and Ian are soulmates. This love triangle was just complicated and what made it worse was that Ian cheated on Trevor with Mickey. Another love triangle that was just created for some drama.

19. Kate, Jack, and Sawyer from Lost were so memorable, and honestly, Kate had undeniable chemistry with both of them.

Jack telling Kate he loves her and Kate and Sawyer cuddling
ABC

The relationships on Lost will always have a special place in my heart, and so will this memorable love triangle between Kate, Jack, and Sawyer. Heck, eventually it even turned into a love square if you include Juliet. Personally, I was always rooting for Kate and Sawyer (I mean, c'mon, when they were stuck in the cage together), but I also did love Kate and Jack because they were just quintessential Lost.

20. But Eve and Villanelle from Killing Eve have the best chemistry on TV right now, and having Niko in the middle of them for this long is just wildly unnecessary.

BBC America

I could give a TED Talk on how amazing Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer's chemistry is on Killing Eve, so it's wild to me that Eve wanting to be with Niko lasted as long as it did. Listen, enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, so I think it's time Eve and Villanelle fully commit to that, and we can get rid of Niko (for real this time).

21. Liza, Charles, and Josh's love triangle on Younger is one where I keep changing my mind on who Liza should end up, so that's how you know it's good.

Liza looking longingly after Josh and Charles coming up behind her and saying, "Memories?"
TVLand

I feel like Younger is one of the best examples of a love triangle done right. Yes, I think the show has run its course, but I am constantly flipping back and forth on whether I want Liza with Charles or Josh. Basically, Sutton Foster has chemistry with everybody and I'm glad Younger has used that to its advantage.

22. But Robin, Barney, and Ted's love triangle on How I Met Your Mother got super boring and I can't even explain how mad I am that Robin ended up with Ted after everything.

Barney and Robin getting married and Ted showing up to Robin's apartment with the blue French horn in the future
CBS

I fully understand that the creators wrote the ending a long time ago and were following through with a plan, but I think there's something to be said for changing course once a show is airing and two actors clearly have chemistry. Ted and Robin were a great jumping-off point for this story, but Barney and Robin had such unmatchable chemistry. This love triangle did not need to go on as long as it did, and the fact that it was so pivotal in the end was wild. Also, I still can't believe we spent the entire final season focusing on Barney and Robin's wedding only for them to get divorced and for Robin to end up with Ted AFTER he met Tracy. Ugh, now I'm mad again.

23. Whether you wanted Elena with Stefan or Damon on The Vampire Diaries, you can't deny that their love triangle was epic.

The CW

Elena, Damon, and Stefan's love triangle truly put The Vampire Diaries on the map. It became so important to the story, but what was great is that TVD was able to grow past it as well. Elena and Stefan's relationship and Elena and Damon's relationship included equally iconic moments and you could tell she really loved both of them at one point. I truly can't imagine TVD without this love triangle.

24. But Rachel and Joey dating on Friends was absolutely wild, considering we all knew Ross and Rachel would end up together eventually.

Ross walking in on Rachel and Joey kissing and saying he's fine
NBC

Finally, this was one of the most bizarre love triangles on TV in my opinion. Rachel and Joey were great as friends, so there was no need to try out this relationship. This was another case of a show not wanting the couple, Rachel and Ross, together, so they had to find a way to keep them apart. I know people either loved or hated Rachel and Joey together, but I just think it was unnecessary.

What love triangles did you absolutely love and which did you hate? Tell us in the comments below!

TV and Movies

Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

Newsletter signup form