Because ranking tropes is fun! Using Kate Cavanaugh’s list of awful tropes, I’ve decided to rank the most godawful romance tropes! I tweaked it a little for the kind of books I read/rom coms I watch- but kept it basically the same. Let’s see if you swoon over my list 😉
Awful person transformed by true love– this is just Beauty and the Beast. I’ve no problem with this- provided the person is redeemable.
Surprise baby– I’m sorry I don’t mind this! It can be super cheesy- however I’m okay with it in general (unless the couple are awful, there’s abuse or the relationship should’ve ended for some reason). As long as it doesn’t have a name like Renesmee!
Chase scene (in airport)– I mean, this is great. I’ve no issue with it! GIVE ME ALL THE CHEESE! Yes, it’s getting a little tired, but I can live with it… most of the time.
Everyone must end in a couple– this doesn’t generally bother me, though I agree it can feel unearned. Also, it can be annoying cos it’s unrealistic. I also never understand why everyone has to pair up at the end of YA, because, *newsflash*, I’m going to assume some of those people will break up and some people will find their someone later. On second thoughts, this one does irk me a little.
Strong independent woman that don’t need no man… but inevitably ends up with someone. Sometimes I want a buffy scenario, okay?!
Instalove– I can’t buy into it and it’s lazy writing, but there’s so so much worse here.
Paranormal age gaps– magic doesn’t make a pervert less of a pervert.
Calling off the wedding at the altar– usually it’s the mc doing this at the beginning and it shows them up to be an *awful* character. They humiliate someone in front of all their family and friends and it’s just icky. But guess what? If this happens at the start of a movie, I’m quitting straight away. I can’t root for someone who could do this. And if it’s done to the main character, then it’s too awful and depressing and it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. (The only time this is okay is when some villain is forcing someone to get married and it gets stopped… but that’s what was meant by the trope).
On-off relationships– the worst thing is, this trope only comes about when the story had something good going for it. Then the wisecrack writer decides to ruin it. Rather than showing off a healthy couple, it devolves into a kind of nightmarish limbo of will-they-won’t-they-oh-they-will-oh-they-won’t-now. It’s just… exhausting. And it nearly always makes you fall out of love with the characters and their romance. I hate this and would be happy to never come across it again.
Miscommunication– I used to not mind this, now I hate it because it just makes the whole story seem redundant. Usually it’s two adults, who have easily resolved issues, but won’t communicate with each other about it. And just, WHY CAN’T THESE TWO HUMANS TALK TO EACH OTHER AND SAVE US ALL THE DRAMA? GAH!!
The other man/woman is terrible– Kate C said the problem was with the person being awful makes you question the love interest’s taste. However, for me, the main issue is this nearly always leads to a cheating dynamic. Like, it’s okay to emotionally cheat or get really close to cheating, just as long as you think the other man/woman is a jerk. And that doesn’t fly with me. It’s also really annoying to be told the other person is rubbish- but sometimes I just don’t buy it! I often come away thinking that the mc is terrible and making excuses about the other person to justify their actions.
Love triangles– the only reason this isn’t as high on the list is because there are other things that are worse.
Stalking is cute– NOPE. It’s not. Don’t do it. Even in fiction.
Weird power dynamics (professor and student, psychologist and client) eww- I just can’t decide which of these two examples is worse.
Cheating– I mean, so many of the ones that came before this were high up the list BECAUSE they lead to cheating/are a form of cheating. So obviously, this has got to top the list. Lying, manipulating and being a crap person ruin romance. End of story.
That was surprisingly cathartic! Do you agree with me on any of these? What do you think is the worst romance trope? Let me know in the comments!