It’s not easy to make a decision — in real life and on television. Over the last 10 years, some of the biggest shows of the decade had something major in common: a love triangle.
The Vampire Diaries introduced one of the most popular ones of the decade from its first season: Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) and brother Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) both fell in love with the same woman, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev). It spread over eight seasons, ending in 2017, with Elena making her final choice and living a happy life with one of them. (No spoilers, just in case you’ve somehow managed to avoid them!)
Creator Julie Plec, who got her start writing for Dawson’s Creek — which included one of the most famous love triangles of all time — became an expert at the story line and weaving the web.
“The recipe for a love triangle is as old as the recipe for gingersnap cookies, but the ingredients, it’s something that you can’t control, which is chemistry,” she told E! News after the finale. “So as a writer, you can create as much as you want, but when it all comes down to it, you need the three parts of the love triangle to work. And we had Paul, and Ian, and Nina, who instantly just worked. Paul and Ian had chemistry as brothers. Ian and Nina had chemistry as the bad boy and the good girl, and the hero/heroine chemistry between Paul and Nina was just so beautiful, so that worked, and you can’t force that, and you can’t write that on the page. It just has to exist.”
While TVD has ended, many other love triangles have been born — and hopefully, will only expand. Many assumed that Riverdale would be based on the love triangle between Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) but it hasn’t happened … yet.
“The core of Archie Comics has always been two things. One is that they’ve always been in high school, and two is that there’s always been a love triangle,” creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Us in July. “Strangely, on Riverdale, we haven’t played a lot of high school stuff, and we have not played the classic love triangle as much. So, my hope is that this season we’ll playing a lot more of the high school stuff and more of the love triangle stuff.”
For more of the most memorable TV love triangles, scroll through the gallery below: