A Brief Talk About Unnecessary Love Interests

So, have any of you guys noticed that in the past decade or so, we have been getting more and more unnecessary love conflicts? Yes, they are everywhere, from books, to movies, to, it seems like the writers just can't get enough of it.

Bio, what are you even talking about? I'm talking about how I can't watch a decent movie without the plot being interrupted by "No wait, don't leave me!" or "I still love you!" or worst of all, "Who do I pick?" I began noticing this trend years ago, but I never really thought much of it. Now, reflecting on recent movies and books, these love interests are practically being shoved down our throats... or at least mine.

There are many, many things that bother me with this. For one, it distracts from the main plot and just adds to the amount of time I sigh through the movie instead of white-knuckle gripping my seat. I mean come on, when you have a really good plot that's action packed and thought provoking, do you really want to see some couple fighting or snogging it out on the side? No, you want to see how it all ends, not the main character tearing up as their love interest walks away.

Another thing, love triangles. These are one of the absolute worst plot devices next to Deus Ex Machina. Most notoriously used in movies geared towards teens (Whatever the actual plot may be.) these stupid drama hacks are extremely shallow and cast a terrible image on the three involved. When you have two people fighting over one person (Which is incredulously unrealistic by the way.) both of them tend to seems like jerks and the one they're fighting over always goes back and forth until eventually breaking both of their hearts (insert fake tears here) and their own heart being broken as well. It's basically a screenwriter's way of saying "I give up." Love triangles do not add to a story and are usually just plain infuriating.(not to mention the whole Team X Team Y thing that usually spawns off of it.)

Not only are these disappointing in books and movies, but (And I have firsthand experience with this) the teens watching these kinds of movies think that this is the norm and how things work in real life. I have seen my friends hurt because somebody decided that they wanted to instill drama and REFUSED to give them a straight answer and ended up outright lying about liking another guy just to see what my friend would do. It's utterly sickening. This has happened multiple times with different people. It's not an isolated event.

Then, there are book adaptations or remakes of movies that add in some kind of inconvenient extra character, JUST FOR THE SAKE OF HAVING ONE. The second Hobbit movie is an example. And then movies that accentuate the love interest, such as Divergent just send me over the edge. I understand that in the book she liked him and they spent the night together and whatever, but they shove it in our faces like "You WILL accept this, and you WILL love this." In fact, the books do this too.

I honestly cannot see how anybody finds these love interests to be necessary or even entertaining. They detract from the main plot, and most of the time make me end up hating the living soul out of that movie/book. There is something extremely, fundamentally wrong with society if we feel the need to watch others suffer emotional wreckage, and then inflict that wreckage upon someone else just because they saw it in a movie.

Now, I will recognize that there are other stories where the love interest doesn't detract from the story. The Star Wars original trilogy actually handled it very well. The carbon-freezing chamber was a bit much, but they didn't have Leia become so overcome with love that she tried to sacrifice herself for Solo. They said goodbye, and in the next movie they rescued him, not because Leia was in love with him, but also because it made sense. Solo had some very smart and powerful friends who were perfectly capable of freeing him, so they did.

There are also plots where it is about the love interest, such as The Princess Bride. The movie had made love a central theme of the story and they didn't force it. They set up the interest, made some non-triangle-related conflict with that interest, and ended up overcoming the conflict. It is arguable that there is a sort of love triangle happening in the movie, as Humperdink was intent on marrying Buttercup, but it was extremely clear that Buttercup was being forced into the marriage, and that Humperdink didn't actually have any feelings for her.

TL:DR, Love interests in media just seem to be forcibly pushed onto us without adding anything except run time into the actual story. This doesn't mean love interests can't be tastefully used, or that they can't be what the movie is about, but instead means that many writers just add them in when they can't think of anything else to add conflict.

Please discuss, and those of you who don't agree, tell me why I'm wrong.

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This has been going on for a long time; Hollywood thinks that they have to inject romance into everything to get women interested. To a degree, I think that makes sense, but they've gone way overboard with it; just because a lot of females are inclined to be interested in romantic stories doesn't mean that all of them are, or that everything needs to have a romantic element. For instance, a lot of action movies have a forced romantic subplot. For the most part, action movies appeal primarily to males (not trying to sound sexist, and it's hardly a universal law, but it's basically true in my experience). Thus, forcing romance into that kind of movie is a waste of time--having a relatively small romantic subplot isn't going to draw the interest of anyone who's not already interested in seeing an action movie. It's silly and a bit insulting to think that it will. Incidentally, this kind of thinking applies to a lot of other things, like adding a token [insert group here] character to appeal to [insert same group here]. For the most part, people either are or aren't going to be interested in something, and throwing them a crumb to entice them won't do much.

On love triangles, I think there are rare exceptions that can work, though not in the over-the-top way they usually get portrayed. For example, I thought the implicit Ron/Hermione/Harry triangle in Deathly Hallows was fine. I agree that they are generally terrible, though (good example--season 1 of Legend of Korra).

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That drama thing? It's happening to my cousin...

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Hollywood has been doing it a lot, but I've just noticed an incline of late. And like you said, to a degree, a little bit of romance can help with the movie-making formula. It can help to make a movie seem a bit more reasonable. I also agree that if you weren't interested before, adding a romantic subplot will not help.

I think that the consumable media industry has been trying to be too diverse, trying to appeal to everyone. They take everything and mush it all together and see how it comes out.

Possibly one of the worst things they do when they insert a token character is over doing it. They tend to be extremely stereotypical and sometimes really loud in presence. Yeah, you made this for a minority, now shut up and let us watch.

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I read the whole thing. And agreed with every word of it.
As a writer myself, I can honestly admit that, while I've come close to using romance, I always seem to, intentionally or unintentionally, make it seem hinted at but never really there. But, normally I write action stories (my latest being a kinda exception) and as you said, romance doesn't fit in.

I do this too. I don't make a big deal out of it, but if it makes sense and it doesn't detract from the story, I'll add some very minor hints at it. Like if two people are in a relationship, I'll mention the relationship during the exposition, and then just give details when I think it's alright. The characters can hold hands while walking, or make some playful joke, but they won't be all, "I love you so much, that I can't stand to be a minute without you. Proceeds to make out"

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I haven't noticed an incline, but I also haven't been paying much attention to Hollywood's overall output, so I'll take your word for it.

I wouldn't say diversity is the problem, but homogeneity--as you say, they try to mash everything together. If they had true diversity, they would have a greater variety of types of stories.

Exactly. I just watched The Goonies for the first time the other day...oh my goodness, it was very guilty of this. (It was decent overall, but it would have been better without it.)

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Yeah, what I meant is that they tried to market to a diverse audience when I said that. =P

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I agree to everything you just said. Although some people like this and that's what attracts them to the movie/book. It is surely over used these days but I think people use this in action movies/books to get both people who injoy romance and people who enjoy action. There are however movies/books of pure action and movies/books of pure romance but some movies try to balance the two. Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn't.

All in all though I totally agree with you.

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I completely agree, there are certain instances were a love interest is okay (Mass Effect is an example of doing it very well, and it adding to the story) but I am sick of this sh- I mean crap in movies it's not needed in and books for that matter.

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Star Wars Battlefront II, it’s a game but whatever, two of the main characters randomly make out at the end, it was never brought up before

love isn’t canon :gregf:

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