Top 10 Love Triangles in Cartoons

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Top 10 Love Triangles in Cartoons

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Joey Turner
Two's company, but three's a crowd, even when it comes to love triangles in cartoons. We're looking at some of the rockier romance stories between some of our favorite animated triads - some stories ending better than others. We'll only be looking at small-screen triangles, so animated feature films are a list for another day. MsMojo takes a look at the best love triangles in cartoons. What's your favorite cartoon love triangle? Let us know in the comments!
Transcript
Two’s company, but three’s a crowd. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Love Triangles in Cartoons.

For this list, we’re looking at some of the rockier romance stories between some of our favorite animated triads - some stories ending better than others. We’ll only be looking at small-screen triangles, so animated feature films are a list for another day. Also, while a love quarrel may be prominent in the original comics, it also needs to play a major role in the Cartoon adaptation. If you’ve never seen any of these amorous polygons, there will be spoilers.

#10: Tom Sloane, Jane Lane & Daria Morgendorffer
“Daria” (1997-2002)


You’d never expect someone like Daria to fall into the stereotypical love triangle drama… until she gets involved with her best friend Jane’s boyfriend, Tom. At first, Daria didn’t care for Tom once he and Jane started dating – Jane leaving her in the dust didn’t help things either. However, throughout the course of Season 4, Jane and Tom’s relationship starts to slowly crumble while he and Daria start growing closer – and tension begins to grow between the snarky chums. Fortunately, both girls manage to reconcile, and Daria and Tom decide to keep dating at least until graduation. Not the most compelling boy-drama arc, but it did showcase how strong Daria and Jane’s friendship can be while also giving Daria a somewhat healthy romance.

#9: Danny Fenton, Sam Manson & Valerie Gray
“Danny Phantom” (2004-07)


Sam has been Danny’s best friend for years, and while they can deny their feelings… we all knew there was something between them. Valerie is a former popular girl-turned-ghost hunter who HATES Danny PHANTOM, but develops feelings for Danny FENTON… don’t you just love irony? Sam and Valerie end up rivaling over Danny’s affection, but Valerie’s the one to make the first move – she and Danny briefly date for a bit, but she decides that her ghost hunting should take priority over getting into a serious relationship – if only she knew she was fighting her ex’s ghostly half. Naturally, Sam wins the love tug-of-war and she and Danny hook up at the end – who didn’t see that coming?

#8: Timmy Turner, Tootie & Trixie Tang
“The Fairly OddParents” (2001-17)


You’re never too young to start your first love triangle, and 10-year-old Timmy Turner finds himself caught in the middle of two possible love interests – Trixie Tang and Tootie. Trixie is the most popular girl in school – so naturally, Timmy desperately pines for her; she’s a bit of a snob, but she does show Timmy that she cares from time-to-time. Tootie is a geeky, lonely little girl who has a major crush on Timmy – which wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t as overenthusiastic… or Icky Vicky’s little sister. There’s been debate over who Timmy should be with, but it became null when both girls became obsolete to the series. However, if you consider the live-action movies canon, Tootie was the clear-cut winner.

#7: Arnold Shortman, Helga Pataki & Lila Sawyer
“Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004)


We all know that Helga like-likes Arnold… a LOT, but she hides her true feelings by constantly bullying him while adoring him from afar. Unfortunately, her secret affections end up causing a romantic spark between Arnold and the new girl in school, Lila. At first, Lila likes Arnold but he doesn’t return her feelings, but then the positions are switched where he like-likes her, but she doesn’t feel the same – leaving Helga feeling bitterly jealous from the sideline. It’s been speculated that Lila keeps rejecting Arnold because she finds out about Helga’s true feelings for the football head. It wouldn’t be until 2017’s “Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie” that Arnold finally forgot about Lila and reciprocated Helga’s feelings.

#6: Duncan, Courtney & Gwen
“Total Drama” (2007-14)


Despite being polar opposites, Courtney and Duncan hit it off in Season One and were going strong until near the end of Season Two when people started pointing out a possible thing between Duncan and Gwen – even though they were JUST FRIENDS. During Season Three, Courtney’s controlling attitude ended up pushing Duncan away and he ended up kissing Gwen behind Courtney’s back – lousy timing considering the two girls had JUST started bonding. Neither side was innocent in this whole mess – Duncan and Gwen betrayed Courtney’s trust, and Courtney let her paranoia and bossiness drive away those who genuinely cared for her –making this little fiasco a perfect example of the hazards of romance on reality TV.

#5: Mordecai, Margaret Smith & Cloudy J
“Regular Show” (2010-17)


For years, Mordecai had a crush on Margaret, and they finally start dating around Season 4… unfortunately, they had to cut their relationship short when Margaret leaves for college. After a while, Mordecai starts dating CJ –a girl he met previously, and things seem better for him… until Margaret re-enters the picture and things get awkward in the worst possible sense. While “Regular Show” tends to rely on bizarre humor, its more mature themes really hit close to home – including how messy love can actually be. In the end, even though both CJ and Margaret played an important part of his life, Mordecai ends up with neither of them… but it doesn’t mean he’ll NEVER find love.

#4: Korra, Mako & Asami Sato
“The Legend of Korra” (2012-14)


During the first season, Korra originally set her sights on Mako, but he was already dating Asami at the time – which didn’t sit right with the newest Avatar. Mako ends up developing feelings for Korra, and he and Asami break things off on good terms… the same can’t be said for when Korra and Mako break up later. It only gets more awkward from there when Korra loses her memory of her and Mako’s breakup and they go through that all over again… but this time they leave on peaceful terms. Meanwhile, Korra and Asami grow closer as the series progresses, and THEY end up together in the end – it’s amazing what kind of twists a love story can take.

#3: Popeye the Sailor, Bluto & Olive Oyl
“Popeye” franchise (1919-)


Unquestionably the oldest romance tug-of-war on this list is the legendary struggle between Popeye the Sailor and Bluto – or Brutus in some media – for the hand of the lovely Olive Oyl. While Olive is Popeye’s gal, the brutish Bluto will try anything to woo her and steal her away from him – even resorting to kidnapping. Luckily, Popeye almost always remembers a can of his trusty spinach so that he can bop some sense into Bluto and save his fair damsel. These two have gone at it for decades, though to be honest… Olive can be a little fickle when she’s not being a damsel-in-distress, so both sailors might do well to find someone who likes them for them.

#2: Marco Diaz, Star Butterfly & Jackie Lynn Thomas
“Star vs. the Forces of Evil” (2015-19)


When Marco first met Star, he just saw her as a crazy best friend who turned his life upside down – mostly because of him crushing on cool girl Jackie. However, once he finally starts dating Jackie, he comes to realize that his feelings lie elsewhere… with a certain princess who secretly likes him back. Jackie becomes fully aware of Marco’s feelings, and… encourages him to pursue them because she knows he’ll be happier. While Star and Marco being from other worlds complicate things, it all works out in the end and the two can finally be together – partly thanks to Jackie in one of the healthiest love triangles in animation history.

Before we unveil our number one love tug-of-war, here are a few honorable mentions.

April O’Neil, Donatello & Casey Jones
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2012-17)

Goliath, Elisa Maza & Demona
“Gargoyles” (1994-97)

Abe Lincoln, Joan of Arc & Cleopatra Smith
“Clone High” (2002-03)

M'gann M'orzz, Superboy & La'gaan
“Young Justice” (2010-13; 2019-)

#1: Rose Quartz, Greg Universe & Pearl
“Steven Universe” (2013-)


Way back before Steven was born, Pearl and Greg Universe found themselves competing for the love of Rose Quartz – Pearl seeing her as an idol while Greg wanted to know Rose as a person. Unfortunately, neither side really won in the end – Pearl is left heartbroken and embittered when Rose chose Greg over her, and both are left alone when Rose gives up her life to give birth to Steven. Greg and Pearl may have lost the gem they loved, but they also learned one of the most important rules about a love triangle – being able to forgive and let go –especially when they have a common ground over how much they love both Rose and Steven.
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