Spoiler alert: It's not.
"She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers"
, "You Belong with Me"
One of the most common types of Love Triangle
, named after characters from Archie Comics
, wherein the main character ("Archie") is caught between two love interests with drastically different personalities. "Betty" is the sweet, reliable
, everyday Girl Next Door
type (which could mean "kind of dull"), while "Veronica" is more alluring, exotic, and edgy, but has more of a mischievous or icy
personality (which could mean "kind of a bitch"). This translates to their physical appearances; Betty will be pretty but conservative in dress, while Veronica will be Ms. Fanservice
in all her glory. As a rule, they will have different hair colors as per the Blonde, Brunette, Redhead
The usual dynamic is that Betty, often the hero's best friend, is herself deeply in love with Archie (who might see them as Just Friends
or being Like Brother and Sister
, hence his obliviousness to her feelings
), while Veronica is the sultry Ms. Unattainable. Archie is attracted to her, but she barely notices his existence. Betty will want the hero to be happy
and thus suppress her own desires so she can help him win over Veronica. Another possibility is that Archie and Betty are already in a relationship, but then Veronica starts batting her eyelashes, causing friction between the couple. In cases of Arranged Marriage
, Betty is the girl the parents prefer and Veronica is the one they reject
Don't let the pronouns fool you. By no means is this trope limited to women or hetero relationships. If the two love interests are male, they are often characterized as the kind-hearted, polite Nice Guy
and the edgy Bad Boy
. Another variant is Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor
, with a rich but douchey "Veronica" and a poor but kindhearted "Betty", or a rich and kind but boring "Betty" and a spirited blue-collar "Veronica."
Whom the hero will end up with varies according to medium, story, and the values of the time period and culture
where the story was made. Traditionally, Betty stood a better chance, at least if the story had a Happy Ending
, due to conforming to social standards, while choosing Veronica would only lead the poor sap into ruin
. Usually, the hero would spend the story chasing Veronica only to realize that Betty was The One
— complete with a convenient 'appreciate what you've got' or True Beauty Is on the Inside
Aesop. However, as attitudes to what is 'appropriate' sexual conduct have liberalized, it's more accepted for Veronica to have a chance at winning a happy ending too, if not with the main hero, then as part of a Beta Couple
. Movies have traditionally favored Betty, but video games, comics, and TV shows (especially long runners) have played this trope for all it's worth. In genderflipped
cases, the Veronica usually has the edge, especially if the story is aimed at women
, and if the (male) Betty wins, you can bet the fanfic
writers will race to fix that
In case this wasn't complicated enough, sometimes a Third-Option Love Interest
makes their presence known to shake things up even further. Look up Cock Fight
for the almost Spear Counterpart
Movies have lately come to a compromise with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl
; cute and non-threatening, yet exciting and different. Video games with Multiple Endings
get to Take a Third Option
by letting the 'player
choose who the hero ends up with. Comic book and TV show franchises tend to have Negative Continuity
over the long term due to constantly rebooting their origins to avoid Continuity Lockout
Compare the admirable one and sexy one of the Four Girl Ensemble
as well as the wife and seductress of The Three Faces of Eve
In a Freudian Trio
, the Betty averages as The Spock
while the Archie as The Kirk
and the Veronica as The McCoy
. In a Tomboy and Girly Girl
(and its Distaff Counterpart Sensitive Guy and Manly Man
) and Light Feminine Dark Feminine
(and its Distaff Counterpart Noble Male, Roguish Male
) pairing, the Betty will be the Girly Girl (and its genderflipped variant Sensitive Guy) and Light Feminine (and its genderflipped variant Noble Male) while the Veronica will be the Tomboy (and its genderflipped variant Manly Man) and Dark Feminine (and its genderflipped counterpart Roguish Male).
Do be aware that fans like to exaggerate potential relationships; Shipping
would not exist without it. As a result there are likely to be multiple instances of an Official Couple
(vindicated by Word of God
) that has some sort of Fanon-based
"romantic rival" mirroring this trope. Even shows without such romantic entanglements in-universe can inspire Betty/Veronica debates amongst the Fandom
; hence, Mary Ann/Ginger
A very small number of these scenarios, particularly in more recent times or exotic settings, the Betty and Veronica
conflict may be resolved by the triangle becoming a One True Threesome
, or giving them a Marry Them All
ending. This is particularly prevalent in fan works.
See also Betty and Veronica Switch
, where the presumed Betty and Veronica somehow switch roles
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Esoteric Card Games
- Card VI "The Lovers" of the Tarot has, in many versions, the imagery of an Archie who needs to choose between a Betty and a Veronica. It's meant to represent the choice between sense and sensibility, etc.
- Even shows without such romantic entanglements in-universe can inspire Betty/Veronica debates amongst the Fandom; particularly if there are two main female characters who fit the Betty/Veronica archetypes.
- Teen Titans. Fans who ship Beast Boy/Raven will often portray Beast Boy as Archie, Raven as Betty, and Terra as Veronica. In Fanfiction, Beast Boy will be more taken with the unstable, traitorous Terra, but in the end he will discover that he's loved his friend Raven all along.
- In Wicked, Fiyero and Glinda initially bond over their self absorption and love of living it large. They start going steady. Elphaba realises she loves Fiyero the day they rescue the lion cub, he starts to realise he has feelings for her ... It sorts itself out for the best eventually.
- And then Elphaba and Glinda got Word of Gay'd. Yeah, it's complicated.
- It's usually safe to assume that Everyone Is Bi in a Gregory Maguire story unless explicitly stated otherwise.
- It's kind of hard to say which girl is the Betty and which is the Veronica, though. If we define the Betty as the humble, relatable one and the Veronica as the glamorous, enviable one, then Elphaba would be the Betty and Glinda the Veronica. But if we define this trope as "safe choice vs. edgy choice," then the adorable, popular Glinda would be the Betty and the fiery, freakish-looking outlaw Elphaba would be the Veronica.
- There's also a secondary triangle with Boq, Glinda, and Nessarose, which is similarly subverted. Boq is in love with Glinda (Veronica) who isn't interested and tries to pawn him off on Nessa (Betty). Nessa, however, turns into quite the Clingy Jealous Girl and morphs into the Veronica.
- In Georges Bizet's opera, Carmen, MicaŽla and Carmen are, respectively, a Betty and Veronica for Don Josť.
- In Lady in the Dark, Liza Elliott, editor of Allure magazine, is unable to make up her mind between Kendall Nesbitt, the publisher who started the magazine for her, and hunky Hollywood actor Randy Curtis. She finally decides to reject both and Take a Third Option.
- The Rainmaker has File (a Betty-type) and Starbuck (a Veronica-type) as rival love interests for Lizzie (same goes for The Musical version 110 in the Shade).
- Thirteen has Brett in a Love Triangle with Kendra (Betty) and Lucy (Veronica). Meanwhile there's a friendship version of the trope where Evan has to decide between being friends with Brett and the cool kids (Veronica) or with the losers Patrice and Archie (Betty). Then there's a subtle one of Kendra liking Brett (Veronica) while being oblivious to Archie (Betty).
- The Wildhorn musical adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde has the aristocratic Emma Carew as the Betty and prostitute Lucy as the Veronica. Several screen adaptations of the story have also used the trope, with Jekyll's fiancee (usually the daughter of Sir Danvers Carew) as the Betty and a prostitute/bar girl that Hyde picks up as the Veronica.
- The musical Anything Goes has Hope Harcourt (Betty) and Reno Sweeney (Veronica) for Billy Crocker. Subverted in that Reno's interest in Billy is one-sided as he only has eyes for Hope. Reno eventually ends up hooking up with Hope's fiancee Evelyn Oakley, effectively Pairing The Spares.
- The musical Girl Crazy (now best remembered for being Ethel Merman's stage debut as well as introducing the song I Got Rhythm) centers around a Betty And Veronica: Danny is stuck between simple mail carrier Molly (Betty, played by Ginger Rogers) and the saloon owner's glamorous daughter Kate (Veronica, played by Merman).
- The musical Avenue Q has Princeton (Archie) going out with Kate Monster (Betty) before leaving her for Lucy T. Slut (Veronica). Don't worry; in the end he goes back to Kate.
- The Phantom of the Opera has Christine choose between her childhood sweetheart and general Knight in Shining Armor Raoul (Betty) and the insane, brooding but more passionate Phantom. Subverted, as although Word of God says that Christine loves The Phantom the most, in the end she chooses the Safe Option, Raoul.
- Romeo and Juliet - Juliet's decision between her two suitors. Paris courts her in the 'proper' way, by asking her father's permission. Romeo falls in love with her, marries her in secret and kills a beloved family member.
- Depending on the production, a rare gender opposite variation occurs in Jesus Christ Superstar with Mary Magdalene (Betty) and Judas (Veronica). To the point where in the 2000 film version Judas catching Mary and Jesus in an intimate position is what drives him to betray Jesus to the authorities.
- Fate/stay night: Within the whole series, this role is fulfilled primarily by Saber and Rin, with Saber as Betty and Rin as Veronica.
- The series presents many other heroines which fit into this role as well. Other variants are Sakura/Rin and Sakura/Rider.
- Tsukihime: Within the whole series, this role is fulfilled primarily by Arcueid and Ciel. However, it's difficult to determine which is which, because they periodically switch roles.
- The series presents many other heroines which fit into this role as well. Other variants are Ciel/Akiha, Hisui/Kohaku, and others.
- Saya no Uta Is a very interesting deconstruction of this. There is kind, friendly Yoh as the Betty, and horrifying, alien Saya as the Veronica.
- Analogue: A Hate Story With *Hyun-ae and *Mute. Except that, well, "Betty" *Hyun-ae did slaughter the whole population of the Mugunghwa
- In If My Heart Had Wings, the twins' route is split between upbeat, sweet, but clumsy and 'average' Asa and intelligent but cynical, aloof, and sharp-tongued Yoru.
- In Kissed By The Baddest Bidder, Eisuke's route has the protagonist torn between her kind, considerate supervisor Takahiro and, of course, Eisuke, the glamorous but very shady billionaire who considers her his property.
- Real life Betty/Veronica tensions = brunette, cute Judy Garland vs. fast, "Sweater Girl" Lana Turner, both in love with bandleader Artie Shaw.
- More famously, Debbie Reynolds (Betty) vs. Elizabeth Taylor (Veronica). After Liz was widowed suddenly, Reynolds' husband Edwin "Eddie" Fisher (father to Carrie, and the best friend of Taylor's dead husband) left his family to be with Liz. The nation sided against Eddie and Liz, until Liz came down with a near fatal case of pneumonia.
- Blonde Jennifer Aniston as the Betty, brunette Angelina Jolie as the Veronica, Brad Pitt as... Archie? The tabloids had many, many field days with this, as did the broadsheets...
- The Notorious B.I.G. and his well-known triangle with Lil Kim and Faith Evans. Which is Betty and which is Veronica is not as clear as it seems, as he and Kim were intimate for years before he met Faith.
- John Lennon (Archie)/Cynthia Lennon (Betty)/Yoko Ono (Veronica, in the "exotic and edgy" sense).