Tropes I Love/Hate #1: Will she, won’t she?

I was going to do a different trope first, but I ran into this one recently and it annoyed me enough to get me blogging about it.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WillTheyOrWontThey

Originally, I intended to talk just about tropes I use and why, but right now I just want to vent.

This trope is probably the main story line in 85% of all romantic movies, romance novels, TV comedy/dramas, and anything else with a romantic plot-line in it. And it drives me nuts!

First of all, everyone knows when the main woman and the main man meet, if they’re both single they’re generally going to end up together at the end. There is no surprise here, and the idea of it adding tension is worthy of much eye-rolling. Everyone knows they get together at the end! How does that add tension when there’s no other possible outcome? Boooring.

Secondly, whenever I find a book with this in it, I end up giving up part way through. Why? So much text is taken up with this infernal waffling. Instead of focusing on, I don’t know, the plot?, the writer wastes thousands of words on how the MC loves/hates one person.Thousands of words. About being indecisive. Blergh.

And lastly, this cliché (an over-used trope is a cliché ) tends to make the characters come across as selfish asshats who have no real problems, and should probably spend their time developing a conscious instead of constantly emoting about their love lives. When the genre is romance, a certain amount of this is acceptable, but all too often it’s the ONLY thing which is driving the character. I keep thinking, this is a boring character, they have no life, why am I reading this crap? And I toss the book away.

Now, have I ever used this trope? Yes. It drove me up the wall, because the character seemed so useless, lol. Have I ever seen it used well? Yes. Once in the 80s, and a few times in books. But as the saying goes, the exception proves the rule.

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11 thoughts on “Tropes I Love/Hate #1: Will she, won’t she?

  1. I have to add, in the 80s I was just a kidlet, so I’m basing this more on memory than recent viewing. I can’t imagine rewatching most of the ‘cool’ tv I loved; somehow, I don’t think a lot of them would be able to bear the scrutiny, lol. Oh, Love Boat, you sad, sad show…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like my whole childhood was spent mocking tropes with my family. Like, that was 70% of family TV time.
    P. S. My favorite memory of that is my mother straight up screaming : ” Oh, just dump the asshole! ” at the screen. Good times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sod it… 😦 I think I used this one in my last novel, though I did get confused as another character unexpectedly took prominence and I ended up wondering myself which one the protagonist would actually end up with. I do love it when a story tries to run away with itself and I can barely keep pace…

    Ah, TVTropes… the pleasant hours we have spent in pure procrastination.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry, I meant to reply sooner, but life got in the way.

      I don’t mind that the trope shows up here and there; it’s pretty much unavoidable these days. But when it’s the central tension that the romantic plot is based on? When the main character spends all of their free time moaning on about ‘Does Ralph love me? Do I love him?’ I want to smash something.

      Apologies to any Ralphs reading this.

      Liked by 2 people

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