If you are a fan of The CW then you are probably quite familiar with their abundant amount of love triangles. Prior to the network’s extensive superhero universe (and even is there as well) love triangles were a key component of drama in some of it’s most popular shows. These love triangles often sparked heated debates and Team “insert boy name here” shirts. A lot of these love triangles are still relevant today thanks to streaming channels and revivals.
Let’s take a look at some of the more iconic love triangles on The CW!
5. Buffy, Angel and Spike
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Ah, the original supernatural CW love triangle and a perfect example of the good guy/bad guy dilemma many love triangles face. Angel was often referred to as Buffy’s soulmate. They met when she was in high school and he helped her as best as he could when she was fulfilling her slayer duties. He gave her stability and comfort, but when they consummated their relationship on her 17th birthday he had his soul taken away and things were never quite the same. Buffy ended up having to kill Angel in order to keep the portal to Hell from opening and even though he did eventually come back, they never fully recovered. Then along came Spike. He started as a villain but eventually came around to be a helpful ally to Buffy and her gang. While the two went on for a few seasons before Spike’s feelings for Buffy became obvious, he had always been a person that she could count on or go to when her other friends weren’t quite understanding what she was going through. While their relationship was pretty tumultuous (he didn’t even have a soul) he would eventually redeem himself in season 7 and sacrifice himself to save the world. People often debate whether Buffy should have ended up with Spike or Angel, but created Joss Whedon once said that he was always a shipper of Buffy/Spike so I guess that kind of settles it?
4. Jess, Dean and Rory
It’s not a secret that the boy Rory should end up with is a huge debate amongst Gilmore Girls fan. It’s probably one of the most talked about conversations when it comes to the series in general. While technically the debate is Jess vs. Dean vs. Logan, the real love triangle was in the early seasons of Gilmore Girls between Rory, Jess, and Dean. Everything was going great in Rory’s love life until Jess Mariano came along. Content in her seemingly perfect relationship with Dean, she tried to ignore her feelings for Luke’s troublemaking nephew, but unfortunately was not able to. Torn between the reliability and comfort that Dean offered her and the intellectual connection and chemistry that Jess offered provided an entire storyline that forced Rory to really decide what she wanted. After about a season and a half of watching their flirting, Dean eventually broke up with Rory at the dance marathon leading her to begin dating Jess until the season 3 finale when he leaves her to go to California. Both points of the triangle never really ended in high school as Rory and Dean began an affair later in the seasons and Jess frequently stopped by to help give Rory some guidance. Coming to the end of the series it was clear that Rory and Dean were never meant to be, but that Jess still could be an option. This was further explored in Netflix’s Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
3. Lucas, Brooke and Peyton
One Tree Hill
Even though their love triangle was laid to rest halfway through its series run, One Tree Hill’s Peyton, Lucas, and Brooke is still a heated topic of conversation today. When the show began, it was evident that Lucas was and always would be in love with Peyton Sawyer. However, as the character of Brooke Davis began to develop from selfish cheerleader to selfless designer, it was hard to not want to root for her – and Lucas agreed. The love triangle between these three lasted about 4 seasons, starting with Lucas dating Brooke, but cheating on her with Peyton. Later on, he and Brooke would try dating again, but similar to their first run, he couldn’t quite quit his feelings for Peyton. In an epic moment in season 4, Brooke asks Lucas who he wants standing next to him when all of his dreams come true and he finally admits Peyton. With Brooke’s blessing, this love triangle was laid to rest and Leyton went on to be everything.
2. Damon, Elena and Stefan
The Vampire Diaries
The Vampire Diaries was basically pitched as a love triangle – “A young teen struggles to make a decision between two vampire brothers and their supernatural lives” is the IMDB description. While that may not have ever been their initial intention, the Damon, Elena and Stefan love triangle lasted quite long and was a huge point of contention for viewers and book readers. It was no secret that the Salvatore brothers had a history of falling epically in love with the same girl (see Katherine Pierce), but neither one of them could prepare themselves for the emotional roller coaster that was Elena Gilbert. When Stefan and Elena meet in the pilot their connection was immediate. The two begin a whirlwind romance that is pretty flawless until Stefan’s brother Damon comes to town and starts causing trouble. It’s easy for Elena to immediately hate Damn and want nothing to with him, but as time goes on and he begins to warm up so does she. When Stefan goes off the deep end with Klaus, it’s Damon who helps Elena and thus begins the beginning of their relationship. The only issue that kept standin in their way was that Elena’s unwavering loyalty and love towards Stefan. Her ans Stefan try their hand at getting back together, but once Elena becomes a vampire it’s clear that she wasn’t the girl she used to be. Soon, things start to shift and it becomes clear that Damon is Elena’s epic love story and that their love would be the flame that sparks the healing of Damon and Stefan’s relationship.
“I don’t think Elena necessarily came into my life to be my soul mate. I mean, she was. We loved each other, but she was also the only person I’ve ever met who actually believed that my brother was worth loving. And she reminded me that I used to believe that about him too. Her faith in him, it brought Damon and me back together, and yeah, I loved her, more than I thought I could love somebody else, but I think in the end I needed him more than I needed her.” – Stefan
1. Dawson, Joey and Pacey
It was hard to not know about Dawson’s Creek when it was airing on The WB back in the early 2000’s. A small town show about a group of high school kids with outrageous vocabularies facing challenges about love, family, and friendship certainly appealed to different generation than usual. It seemed clear from the get-go that Dawson and Joey were meant to be together and people seemed okay with waiting for that relationship to finally evolve. That is until season 3 when Joey and Pacey began getting some more scenes together and their chemistry became undeniable. All of the sudden Dawson’s Creek had a real love triangle on their hands. Joey leaving Dawson’s parents wedding to go to Pacey was iconic, and that’s not just because of the perfect Dawson crying meme that came out of it. It completely shifted the show, and while the writer’s definitely tried, they were never able to fully get that Dawson and Joey path back. In the series finale, Joey finally made her choice – Pacey.
Clark, Lana and Lex- Smallville
Betty, Veronica and Archie – Riverdale
Archie, Jughead, Betty – Riverdale
Wade, George, and Zoey – Hart of Dixie
Veronica, Logan, and Piz – Veronica Mars