Jerk or Idiot Choice
A female lead has two love interests, neither of whom is a very good choice.
Needs Examples Tropeworthy?

(permanent link) added: 2012-05-20 15:25:55 sponsor: Dacilriel (last reply: 2012-07-03 12:16:16)

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Jerk or Idiot?

Jerk or Idiot Romantic Choice

Love the Jerk or the Idiot?

This is a YMMV trope.

Love Triangles are very popular. Generally, much of the suspense in a well-written story comes from the fact that both Love Interests are attractive, desirable, and have a lot of good qualities.

Sometimes, however, the question comes down, not to which person is better, but which one is not worse. It is usually a female lead who has to choose between two guys, only both guys have severe flaws which may well outweigh their good qualities. In short, a discerning viewer may well wonder why she's spending time with either one instead of finding someone else entirely or just being single.

Most often, one guy is rude, violent, and insensitive, while the other is nice, but weak and stupid. Interestingly, fans tend to ship the Jerkass while in canon the girl is more likely to end up with the Dogged Nice Guy. There's likely to be a Cock Fight along the way.

These characters often provide wish fulfillment, which does not translate well when viewed practically. All Girls Want Bad Boys because it's a great romantic fantasy and you can make him better, but bad boys don't often make good romantic partners because they're, you know, bad.

This trope is likely to be heavily YMMV, since one person's psychotic Yandere is another person's misunderstood Woobie.

Sub-trope of Love Triangle. See also What Does She See in Him?. A wrong choice may become No Accounting for Taste. Compare Two Guys and a Girl and Betty and Veronica.


Examples

Film:
  • My Fair Lady has Eliza with arrogant, misogynistic Professor Higgins and bland, slightly creepy Freddy. (Less present in the play on which the movie was based as Higgins was not considered a love interest and Freddy was presented more favorably)

Literature:
  • In The Phantom of the Opera Christine is torn between the Phantom who is an obsessive murderer and Raoul who is fairly bland and stupid.
  • In The Twilight Saga Bella spends much time angsting over her choice between a controlling, stalker vampire and a hot-tempered werewolf who tried to force himself on her.

Western Animation:
  • On The Simpsons Marge's mother gets involved in a Love Triangle with Mr Burns and Grandpa Simpson. When the latter crashes her wedding to the former she chooses... neither. For exactly this reason.
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