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All Love Is Unrequited / Live-Action TV

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  • Game of Thrones:
    • Lysa Arryn only has a thing for Petyr Baelish, who only has a thing for Catelyn (and her Generation Xerox daughter Sansa), while Catelyn only sees Petyr as a little brother.
    • Brienne loves Renly but his affections lie with Loras who is crushed upon by Sansa and many other highborn girls.
    • Orell declares his feelings for Ygritte, but she rejects him in favour of Jon.
    • Jorah's Wife Husbandry on Daenerys is not working on his favor...
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  • Step by Step: Al Lambert was a tomboy during the early seasons and one of the earliest episodes—the one where Steve Urkel crash-landed in the Lamberts' yard—had her trying in vain to catch the eye of a good-looking sixth-grade classmate to take to the dance. Steve helps her to realize that the boy didn't want her (because she was too tomboyish) and there were others more worthy of her time. However this is averted in later seasons because she grew up into a very attractive girl who has no problem attracting boys.
  • Early Buffy the Vampire Slayer is like this until somewhere in the middle of season 2. Oz is interested in Willow, who has a crush on Xander, who likes Buffy, who's in love with Angel (who proves the exception to the trope by loving her back, though his vampirism and his curse provide obstacles of their own). Then Willow falls for Oz, Xander and Cordelia hook up, etc.
  • In Babylon 5, the Trope Namer, there's Marcus for Susan, Lennier for Delenn, Garibaldi for Talia, Zack for Lyta, and Corwin for Susan (at least on a crush scale).
    • Then again, the same show also had successful relationships: Sheridan and Delenn, Sinclair and Catherine Sakai note , Garibaldi and Lise, and possibly G'Kar and Londo (that one's platonic). And its hinted Susan actually had feelings for Marcus but never admitted it (which only makes it more tragic).
  • In ER, Rocket Romano pines after Elizabeth Corday for a whopping seven years, from their first meeting until his death.
  • Frasier:
    • "The Ski Lodge" features the cruelest punchline of all these examples; after all the running around, Frasier is left to come to the painful realization that absolutely no one was interested in him.
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    • The Tag has the woman Frasier was after actually change her mind about him and knock on his door. After getting no answer, she leaves, disappointed. As soon as she's back in her own room, Frasier walks out of the kitchen and goes back into his room, oblivious to the fact that she was ever there.
    • On a more long-term basis, for the longest time Niles' crush on Daphne was firmly unrequited, long enough for him to finally give up on her and move on with someone else, just in time for Daphne to learn of his feelings and realize that she really was in love with him.
  • 24's seventh season seems to have a pint-sized version of this going on: Janis likes Larry Moss, who likes Renee Walker, who likes Jack Bauer, who… probably likes Renee, or possibly only loves killing terrorists. Then season 8 shows that, yes, Jack does indeed like Renee.
  • Grey's Anatomy.
  • Every soap opera ever.
  • On How I Met Your Mother Barney spent the entire fourth season secretly pining after Robin. Then, in the season finale, she says that she loves him back. Instantly, Barney's completely over his feelings for her and goes back to hitting on random bimbos. Then, when he finds out Robin lied about being in love with him, he goes right back to wanting her again. This all eventually leads to them doing a rapid-fire version of this trope.
    Barney: Why are you so afraid of giving this a chance?
    Robin: Because I'm scared of how much I like you!
    Barney: Whoa, this is a bad idea.
    Robin: Uch, you're right, it's a mistake.
    Barney: Yes… No!
    Robin: I love you.
    Barney: Let's be friends.
    Robin: Okay, friends then.
    Barney: I love you.
    Robin: Let's get married!
    Barney: No, you're smothering me!
  • The Russell T. Davies-era Doctor Who. Mickey loves Rose, but Rose loves the Doctor, who Rose's mother Jackie flirts with on their first meeting, but he won't allow himself to fall in love, he is later loved by Martha (who the Doctor rejects at every chance), was loved by Sarah Jane Smith, and had been (at least one side of him) loved by the school Matron Joan. Oh, and Jack loves everyone, except Donna. This is not at all the case in the classic series (even Sarah Jane's attraction for him is a Retcon), and becomes much less true in the Steven Moffat era. Although you have Rory's love for Amy (and Amy's ignorance of this) when they were young, and Amy's attraction to the Doctor (and his disinterest in her the the knowledge that she's engaged). There is huge disagreement as to whether this trope applies at all between the Doctor and Clara due to the series continually zigzagging around it; general agreement is that it was finally averted at the very end of Series 9 when both the Doctor and Clara ended up on the same page ... of course, just in time for her exit. Immediately thereafter, the trope tried to reassert itself as River Song, in the 2015 Christmas special, pretty much claimed that her attraction to the Doctor - despite the two being married - was one-sided.
  • The tradition continues in Torchwood. Tosh is in love with Owen, who is either not interested or too proud to give her a chance. Gwen loves her boyfriend, but she loves Jack even more. Jack loves Gwen too, but is aware the she's taken. He is, in turn, casually involved with Ianto, who is pining for much more than that.
  • In Smallville, Clark with Lana in the first season. Chloe with Clark for the first half of the show, though she eventually got over it. Pete also had a secret crush on Chloe before he was Put on a Bus. Lex towards Chloe is hinted subtly (and less subtly in a deleted scene), Lionel is confirmed by Word of God to have a bit of this, and a Villainous Crush, towards Chloe. Lionel to Martha too.
  • In Glee Ken falls for Emma who pines for Will who's married to Terri. Until Will finds out Terri lied about being pregnant and then falls for Emma although Ken is still out in the cold.
    • Mercedes likes Kurt, who likes Finn, who is both interested in Rachel (who likes him back) and dating Quinn, who is cheating on him with Puck, who is dating Santana, who also has little side-flings with Brittany.
    • Kartofsky → Kurt → Blaine → some random guy at the Gap
    • Artie has a fling with Brittany because he still likes Tina, who has moved on to Mike Chang.
    • Artie misses Brittany the second time they break up. He tries (unsuccessfully) to win her back). At the same time, Santana is in love with Brittany, but is dating Kartofsky, who also seems to have a thing for Sam.
    • Will likes Emma but makes out with Shelby, has a sleepover (strangely, a literal one) with April Rhodes, and is in the process of divorcing Terri. Emma likes Will too, but is tired of trying to make their relationship work… so she moves onto Carl the dentist. Sue also develops a one-episode crush on Will.
    • Rachel likes Finn who is dating (and eventually breaks up with Quinn), so Rachel moves onto Jesse while still having feelings for Finn who ultimately decides he wants to be with Rachel. And this happens twice.
    • Quinn dates Sam, cheats on Sam with Finn, and then Santana breaks Sam and Quinn up so she can date Sam. After Sam and Santana break up, Rachel tries (unsuccessfully) to ask him out.
    • Jacob Ben Israel likes Rachel, which never changes. Also, Puck's crush on Lauren goes unrequited for quite some time.
  • In Primeval, the main character Nick begins to fall for Claudia who is then erased from the time line and replaced with an alternate version called Jenny who Nick also falls for until he's shot. Likewise, Nick's ex-wife Helen tries to seduce him but fails and then tries on his best friend Stephen who leaves her after he ''finally'' realises the sort of person she isand then sacrifices himself. Abby falls for Stephen at the beginning of the show's run but is discouraged when she learns he already has a girlfriend (who is not Helen). Of all the relationships in the show, only the Connor/Abby arc comes to something—and even that took two whole series and the better part of a third.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Damon loves Elena, she doesn't love him back. He loves Katherine, who also doesn't love him back, but instead loves Stefan. Who is in love with Elena. In 2x22 and 3x09 Katherine reveals she loved Damon too. And both times, she says it after saving Damon's life. Subverted in Season Four when Elena transitions and admits to Stefan that her feelings for Damon have been magnified. This causes a mutual break up.
  • Community:
    • The first few episodes seemed to offer a fairly predictable version of this, with Official Couple Jeff/Britta and Beta Couple Annie/Troy. But it eventually subverted this, in that after a while the characters decided to move on to other people instead of fawning over someone seemingly uninterested. There is still occasional Ship Tease between these pairings, but it's not a primary focus (and there's just as, if not more, Ship Tease between other pairings, such as Jeff/Annie).
    • In one episode, this trope is rather hilariously subverted, with Britta playing up her "unrequited love" for Jeff to the hilt in order to gain sympathy from the rest of the college (never mind that she was never anything more than briefly infatuated with him, if that). This backfires spectacularly when Jeff pretends to publicly confess his love, which she rejects, leading to everyone taking his side instead.
  • As of the season 4 finale of iCarly, Sam has fallen for Freddie who has fallen for Carly who could be harbouring her own feelings towards Freddie due to a breakup after he saved her life in an earlier episode eventually lead to them breaking up because of Freddie was unsure if Carly really loved him and not just because he saved her life. In the season 5 premiere, the sequel to the season 4 finale has Freddie kissing Sam and returning the feelings Sam has for him.
  • C-drama Holy Pearl (loosely based on InuYasha) has this in spades. To begin: Mo Yin loves Rong Di who loves Xian Yue who loves Wen Tian. Wen Tian manages to buck the trend with Xian Yue's reincarnation Ding Yao, who loves him back. Until the very last episode, at which point it is played depressingly straight.
  • In Chinese Paladin: Yue'Ru to Xiao Yao, Jinyuan to Yue'Ru, Caiyi to Jinyuan. The trend continues from the previous generation: Queen Wu to the Sword Saint, Mo Yixi to Queen Wu, the Saintess to Mo Yixi. For added points, Mo Yixi and the Saintess were intended as each other's True Love—until he ran away.
  • Bunheads. Truly loved Hubbell who loved Michelle until he dies while Michelle doesn't love anyone really, not even herself. Meanwhile Boo loves Charlie who's barely aware of her existance and all the girls except Boo are in lust with Godot who, again, is barely aware of them except for Boo with whom he's friends.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Leonard started pining for his neighbor Penny the minute they meet. Penny thought of him as a good friend, and continued to date the Dumb Ass Jerk Jock type. Eventually, after a few false starts, they get together in season three… and then they break up because of The "I Love You" Stigma, specifically Penny not being ready to say the words yet. Then in season four Leonard gets a Romantic False Lead… er starts dating Pryia… and Penny begins to confront her feelings for Leonard, realizing she still cares about him and that he's a great guy, probably the most genuine man she's dated (and undoubtedly the smartest). And also still dating Pryia.
  • In Dracula, Lucy is in love with Mina, who is engaged to Jonathan, whilst Lady Jayne fancies Grayson who is pining for Mina, the look-alike of his deceased wife.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Ziyal has a crush on Garak who's in love with Bashir who trails after Dax.
  • In Shadowhunters, Maureen has a crush on Simon, who has a crush on Clary.
  • El Chavo del ocho: with the adults; Doña Clotilde has a crush on Don Ramón and Don Ramón on Gloria. With the children; Chilindrina (Don Ramon’s daughter) has a crush on Chavo and Chavo on Patty (Gloria’s niece). The only requited and mutual crush is between Doña Florinda and Profesor Jirafales.
  • My So-Called Life: Oh God. Angela loves Jordan, Brian loves Angela, Angela's little sister crushes on Brian, Angela's friend Rayanne sleeps with Jordan at some point and there's hints Rayanne likes Angela, and it gets worse from there. None of them are happy.


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