A while ago I talked about the types of love story that turn my stomach. Today I’m going to talk about the types of love interest which make me throw a book into a fireplace, or throw the remote at the television. I’m not going to go on about Mary Sues or Manic Pixie Dream Girls because other people have already given hilarious parodies of those. These are the ones which I personally can’t stand.
- The Plank of Wood.
This is when the love interest is so underdeveloped they could be replaced by a plank of wood and it wouldn’t make much difference to the story or romance arc. This can happen generally with poorly written characters but its even worse if that character is supposed to be a love interest. How are we supposed to buy that this person can be loved if they have virtually no personality or redeeming features?
- The Karma Love Interest
Something which frequently appears in sitcoms with a ‘beauty and the geek’ romance. This is where the love interest, usually a female, is an embodiment of all the popular girls who refused to date the geeky guy in high school, making up for what horrible bitches all the girls were to him. Or perhaps it’s a girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day in high school but is now hopelessly in love with him, despite the fact that he hasn’t changed at all. I’m not the only one who felt that Ross and Rachael would just break up again a few years after the grand finale. I don’t even get why they would be interested in the type of girl who made their adolescence a living hell anyway.
It’s unfortunate because it almost implies that guys, no matter how horrible their personalities are, don’t have to try and change themselves but simply wait for girls to come around, stop being bitches, and fall in love with them. Yet if the genders are reversed, the girl will have to drastically change both inside and out to get the guy. Wow, I just made a horrifying revelation…
- The Muse
Closely linked to the manic pixie dream girl who often has a bit of the muse within her. This is where Person A falls for Person B not so much for who they are but for how they inspire them to create their artworks. Again, it is unfortunate as it is clear there is little basis for the couple to form a relationship and once the artist has finished his project, he can just dump her and find a new muse.
Just as bad is when an artist falls in love with a literal muse, which has been overused to the point of tedium. In fact, while writing this post I got the idea for a short story about a human falling in love with a muse for who they are, not for their artistic inspiration.
- The Replacement
Often a form of lazy writing when a writer can’t think of what else to do with a character so they just shove in a new love interest for the sake of drama. The object of a character’s affections has just died or decided they’re not interested. What to do, show them getting on with their life? Think of an interesting new story for them? Nah, let’s shoe-horn in another love interest right away.
- The Dumbass in Distress
Another old trope which is still discussed a lot, Person A falls for Person B because he saves her, often repeatedly. But if it’s such an outdated story, why does it still keep appearing? Is it because we still see the person being rescued as the reward and believe they should fall in love with the rescuer as thanks? The whole concept of falling for someone because they saved your life makes no sense anyway. Sure they’re probably a good person if they saved someone, but they probably just did that because they saw that person in danger and natural instincts kicked in. It’s really not much to base an entire relationship upon.
- The One That Got Away
This is when a would-be-couple is separated for many years then they re-enter each other’s lives again. Either Person A will suddenly fall in love with Person B again despite barely thinking about them for years or will still love them throughout the years not for who they are but for who they were years ago. People change a lot as time goes by so the person they are pining for has probably become a different person than the one they originally fell for. I think it can work if the characters get to know each other all over again and find that they still have things they like about each other, but I don’t think things that happened ten years ago should be the basis for an entire relationship.
- The Love Interest…And Not Much Else
Sure writers often have to insert characters to serve the role of love interest, but there are too many characters who exist only to be a love interest and have no purpose to exist beyond that. They might not even like or even interact with any other characters in the story because they only have eyes for the protagonist. It is much better for this character to make an impact not only in the romance part of the story but some other aspect of it as well, which doesn’t mean being kidnapped by the villain and used as the reward. Not only will the readers like them much more but they will be a better-rounded and developed character.
Are there any other types of love interest which turn you off? What love interests do you want to see more of instead? List them in the comments below!