Why The Vampire Diaries Needed to Break Up the Love Triangle
Credit: Justin Stephens/The CW. © 2012 The CW Network, LLC    

The Vampire Diaries

Why The Vampire Diaries Needed to Break Up the Love Triangle

The Vampire Diaries is one episode away from wrapping up its fifth season and has already been renewed for a sixth. The thing is: though we still love the supernatural drama, we can’t help but think it’s lost some of its bite — pun! — in the past season. Might this be a result of the love triangle, the founding structure around which TVD was initially constructed and has since so steadfastly stuck? We think so. And we think it’s past time TVD left the love triangle behind. Here’s why!

It’s lost its tension. Love triangles only tend to work as dramatic and suspenseful devices if there is convincing tension about who the central figure in the triangle will choose. There was a point at which this was very true about TVD’s love triangle. Elena loved Stefan, but she still felt something for Damon. Later, Elena loved Damon, but was struggling to let go of her feelings for Stefan. Arguably, the transference of feelings only worked within the confines of Elena’s character because she underwent a huge trauma: she became a vampire. At this point, there is very little question over who Elena will choose, which means the love triangle is no longer interesting.

It cripples the narrative potential of all the characters. Every time TVD chooses to tell a story that focuses on the love triangle, that means they are telling not to choose another story, and that is definitely hindering where the characters might go. Imagine what TVD could do with the time and energy it spends on Delena vs. Stelena — not only for the three central characters, but for the supporting cast who are forced to the background whenever the love triangle takes precedent.

This show isn’t about high school anymore. We imagine TVD is worried about losing much of its audience by changing up the formula too much in the switch from high school to college, but we think it may have underplayed its hand in trying to keep almost everything the same. College changes people. It changes relationships, and it changes priorities, including maybe Elena’s obsession with trying to decide which Salvatore brother to love. We had hoped her interests would have broadened a bit with her transition to college. Unfortunately, the show has not allowed this, still clutching ever-so-tightly to the love triangle.

The love triangle has become overused as a TV trope. When TVD first started, the romantic love triangle was already an overused trope in TV. Five years later, the plot device has reached near astronomically overused status, especially for The CW. We are so over-saturated by love triangles so much so that teenage-geared TV shows without them are a romantic breath of fresh air. Even if TVD’s love triangle hadn’t outlived its usefulness within the context of the show, there’s a good chance the trope has outlived its usefulness as a TV plot device in general.

Do you think TVD should let go of the love triangle? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments below!

Catch the Season 5 finale of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!