While there are many components to a great television show, fans tend to become particularly invested in the favorite characters' romantic relationships… especially when there's a good ol' love triangle! Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at TV's most memorable love triangles… starting with these three college students. When "Felicity" debuted on The WB in 1998, the stakes were set and the love triangle was made clear from the moment the show's titular character (Keri Russell) stepped onto the University of New York campus. While Ben Covington (Scott Speedman) was the initial reason Felicity moved to the Big Apple, it didn't take long for her to develop a deepening friendship with her adorable resident advisor, Noel Crane (Scott Foley). There was no shortage of drama between these three — from Felicity having to decide who she'd be spending her summer vacation with in the season 1 finale to rising tensions between Ben and Noel throughout the series to Felicity's inability to fully shake off her feelings for one while she was with the other, fans were never truly sure who she'd choose. Thankfully, she ended up with the right guy for her. Keep reading for more…
Name a more quintessentially '90s love triangle — we'll wait. If you ask a group of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fans which couple each prefers, the results would likely be split. While Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Angel (David Boreanaz) have that high school, first love kind of romance (how could we forget that gut-wrenching scene in the season 2 finale where she kills him to save the world?!), there was also something utterly compelling about her connection with Spike (James Marsters). Spike became an immediate fan favorite, and his growing feelings for Buffy made him even more beloved as the series went on. However, while her relationship with Spike had its fair share of sweet moments (like when he quietly sat next to her while she grappled with the news of her mom's worsening brain tumor in season 5), many fans were never able to forgive him after he attempted to assault her in season 6 — and rightfully so. Although Buffy ended up with neither of them, even Sarah Michelle Gellar has admitted she was more of a Bangel fan!
It's hard to imagine a world where Veronica (Kristen Bell) and Logan (Jason Dohring) don't end up together — but according to "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas, that was initially the case. It turns out that Neptune, California's resident bad boy was written as a minor character, but Jason's chemistry with Kristen was too good not to explore. If you're anything like us though, you really tried to love Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn), Veronica's old flame, but unfortunately, his character was underwhelming at best (it's also hard to forget how they were nearly siblings). By definition, the situation between Veronica, Logan and Duncan does constitute a love triangle — but let's be honest, there was really no contest. After all, Veronica and Logan's love story was epic — spanning-years-and-continents, lives-ruined-and-bloodshed epic. Excuse us while we try to forget the season 4 finale.
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Ah, the bad boy. Who better to embody the rebellious, handsome and really intelligent misfit of the early '00s than Jess Mariano? For many viewers, it was like we were experiencing Rory Gilmore's (Alexis Bledel) relationship woes with her — "Gilmore Girls," with its witty, quippy banter, had two of TV's most beloved love triangles, and the one between Rory, Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) and Dean (Jared Padalecki) is one that's been hotly debated. Don't get us wrong — Dean was a great first boyfriend — but there was something enticing about Jess, whose ability to charm his way into Rory's heart was second to none, and poor Dean had to helplessly sit back while it happened. This is another triangle that, to our dismay, ultimately resulted in no long-lasting relationship, but it's still one of our favorites.
There was a lot to love about Shonda Rhimes' "Scandal," but the convoluted love triangle between Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), Jake (Scott Foley) and President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) remains a major draw for us. For the longest time, it was difficult to know with certainty who Olivia would pick for good — but at the end of the day, one man reigned supreme, and unfortunately, it wasn't our beloved B6-13 official.
Small-town teen romance has never looked so good. "Friday Night Lights" is among the most exceptionally written television shows and teen dramas, so it's hard to forget the love triangle that existed between Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly), Jason Street (Scott Porter) and Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch). Lyla and Jason's picture-perfect relationship began to crumble after he suffered a career-ending injury at the start of the football season. With Lyla refusing to believe that Jason's life would forever be altered and with Jason trying to come to terms with his new reality, their relationship began fraying at the edges — which resulted in Lyla eventually having an affair with Jason's best friend, Tim. The religious good girl cheats on her former high school football star boyfriend with his unambitious, beer loving best friend? I mean, that was television at its absolute finest.
Ugh, this one hurts to think about. "One Tree Hill" was known for its melodrama and emo soundtrack (remember when Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy guest starred?), but its iconic love triangle is what set it apart from other teen dramas. While Lukas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton) proved to be the endgame, their road to figuring that out wasn't an easy one. Sure, they were cute together, but they made their fair share of mistakes, like when they snuck around together while Lukas was dating Brooke (Sophia Bush) — Peyton's childhood best friend! By some miracle though, Brooke managed to forgive Peyton and their friendship eventually went back to normal. Love 'em or hate 'em, the moment between Lukas and Peyton at the state championship in season 4 was everything: "When all my dreams come true, the one I want next to me… It's you… It's you Peyton." Swoon.
Word of advice — you are better off not dating someone you work with! When "Grey's Anatomy" debuted on ABC in 2005, fans were smitten with McDreamy — we mean Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) — and it was also difficult not to fall in love with the series' complex yet likable lead, Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). After Meredith had a one-night stand with Derek, their relationship became all sorts of complicated, with the biggest deterrent being Derek's estranged wife, Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh), who wanted to reconcile. Eventually, Derek and Meredith finally got their happily ever after, until, of course, his tragic death. The Meredith-Derek-Addison love triangle is arguably one of television's most memorable.
Who could ever forget this infamous "Sex and the City" love triangle? While magazine columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) was the career woman we all aspired to be, her love life was an absolute mess. The number of times she left good guy Aidan (John Corbett) for playboy Mr. Big (Chris Noth) is too many to count — but her indecision eventually led to her saying "I do" to Big. We couldn't always understand why she kept leaving a good thing, but at least she finally got her longed-for happy ending!
It really seems like one summer can change — or ruin — it all. There was no shortage of ridiculously messy (and dramatic) relationships at Beverly Hills High School, and the love triangle between Dylan (Luke Perry), Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and Kelly (Jennie Garth) is the perfect example. While the bad boy hottie seemed to be happily dating Brenda, it only took one summer abroad in Paris for him to hook up with none other than her best friend, Kelly! Thankfully, though, both former besties seemed to dodge a major bullet — neither of them ended up with the motorcycle-riding rebel.
"Welcome to the O.C., b—-!" The year was 2003, and you were watching the pilot of "The O.C." You felt sorry for bad boy orphan Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie) and you envied the privileged life of Orange County, California, princess Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). Their Romeo-and-Juliet romance was established from the get-go, but the only thing standing in their way? Marissa's jock boyfriend, Luke (Chris Carmack). The love triangle lasted for about half of the first season — until Marissa ended up choosing to be with Ryan. Fans knew their romance was ultimately doomed, but that didn't stop us from rooting for them. Rest in peace, Coop.
Looking for the most melodramatic teen love triangle to top all teen love triangles? Look no further: In 1999, Dawson (James Van Der Beek), Joey (Katie Holmes) and his BFF Pacey (Joshua Jackson) formed one of the most iconic love triangles in teen soap opera history. The show — which chronicled Dawson's possessive (and really problematic) love for Joey and Pacey's refreshing, jokester antics — revolved around a teen-turned-young woman who was torn between two guys who seemingly adored her. While the introduction of the love triangle was seen by many fans and critics as a real sore spot of the series, it is among television's most memorable. Truthfully, Dawson was insufferable, so we're glad she chose Pacey in the series finale.
It was hard not to become completely invested in the lives of the Upper East Side's elite teens, and that was largely because of their juicy relationships. While there were a slew of romantic storylines throughout the course of the series, "Gossip Girl" fans were particularly invested in one: the love triangle between Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) and Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford). Blair's relationship with Nate was sweet, but her connection with Chuck was passionate. Blair eventually chose Chuck as the affluent teen she wanted to be with, though we're still not entirely convinced she made the right decision. Whatever you want, B!
Ah, yes — another love triangle that revolved around a human girl and two not-human boys. When "The Vampire Diaries" debuted on The CW in 2009, fans were quick to adore Elena Gilbert's (Nina Dobrev) burgeoning relationship with tortured, sensitive vampire Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley). Their love sparked a fandom, with many viewers dubbing themselves Stelena shippers. The blissful relationship between those two took a turn for the worse in season 3 when Elena confessed to Stefan that she was falling for Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), Stefan's rule-breaking brother.
While the idea of Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) was an initially hard (and weird) pill to swallow, their romance was sweet to watch unfold. "Friends" is a beloved sitcom for countless reasons, and its seemingly unconventional but actually promising romantic pairings is one of them. Joey was a lot of things — a struggling actor, a sandwich fanatic, a genuine friend and a fan favorite, which is why it was both heartwarming and heart-wrenching to watch him fall in love with one of his best friends, who was ultimately going to end up with another guy. Despite how insufferable he could be at times, Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) was Rachel's one true love, so Joey never really stood a chance. Still, despite being short-lived, it was gratifying to see Rachel consider the possibility of being with Joey, a man with whom she'd developed a strong friendship before ever taking things to a romantic level. There's no denying this fact though — Ross and Rachel were each other's lobsters, and that's that.