She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers."
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 modest 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 trope.
This trope is almost endlessly flexible. In a commonly-seen version, Betty is Archie's loyal comrade and usually his best friend, secretly pining for him while he (unaware of her feelings) is attracted only to Veronica, the sultry Ms. Unattainable who barely notices him. Betty, who wants Archie to be happy, may assist him in his pursuit of Veronica, even though we all know how much she wants him for herself. Another possibility is that Archie and Betty are already in a relationship, but then Veronica starts batting her eyelashes at Archie and causes friction between the couple. In cases of Arranged Marriage, Betty is the girl the parents prefer and Veronica is the one they reject, especially if children are expected (because Betty is more likely to want them). When Archie meets Betty and Veronica at the same time — if they are sisters, for example — he will fall in Love at First Sight with Veronica and only notice Betty after she had time to grow on him (as, for instance, when he often comes to their parents' to try to woo Veronica).
"Archie," "Betty," and "Veronica" can be any gender or orientation, though The Gentleman or the Scoundrel is a possible Spear Counterpart specific to the situation of a female Archie and two male suitors. 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." Apparently you can only have money or the girl, fellas.
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. (In extreme but fairly frequent cases, he would learn that Veronica was in fact his illegitimate half-sister.) A Proud Beauty Veronica often discovered, in the end, that she set her standards too high or overestimated how long her beauty would last, and finds herself an Old Maid.
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.
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. Betty might be the Light Feminine while Veronica is the Dark Feminine in Light Feminine and Dark Feminine.
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, Bailey/Jennifer, Janet/Chrissy, Velma/Daphne, etc.
A very small number of these scenarios, particularly in more recent times or exotic settings, the conflict may be resolved by the triangle becoming a One True Threesome or a Marry Them All ending. This is particularly prevalent in fan works.
Please avoid referring to characters as "the Betty" and "the Veronica" to someone else's "Archie" when referring to this trope, as it is not particularly helpful to those tropers who are not familiar enough with the characters in question to immediately extrapolate the implied relationships.
- Choose Me: Mark or Doug gives the characters Mark, the familiar childhood friend and coworker, as Betty and Doug, the suave bartender you just met, as Veronica to your Archie.
- 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.
- Flash Gordon does this several times: Flash must choose between Dale (the Betty) and Princess Aura (the Veronica); Princess Aura must choose between Flash (the Betty) and Prince Barin (the Veronica).
- InSecurity: Cloudcuckoolander Genki Girl Sedine sees herself as the Betty and ditzy Ellie as the Veronica towards Sedine's husband Sam's Archie.
- Dealt with frequently, with main character Luann (the reasonably nice Betty) competing with vain cheerleader Tiffany (Veronica) for Aaron Hill (Archie).
- Luann also had to choose between the nerdy Gunther (Betty) and the cooler Aaron (Veronica). At least until Aaron moved to Hawaii, making Gunther win by default.
- Another example had a competition between Luann's brother Brad (Betty) and Dirk (Veronica) for the affections of Toni. Brad won.
- The Golden Age MAD romance spoof "Flob Was a Slob!" had everyday American girl Ramona Snarfle choosing between her childhood friend, Sheldon Flob, who'd rather be chasing butterflies, and handsome, adventurous Rackstraw Him, who happens to also be a drug pusher and philanderer.
- In "The Wooden-Clog Maker and the King's Daughter", the clog maker is in love with Guilemette, and both of them too poor to marry, when he receives a tree that has peaches in the middle of winter. He is diverted from her by learning the king will marry his daughter to whoever brings him peaches in mid-winter, and tries the Impossible Tasks the king sets, but in the end rejects the princess for Guilemette.
- In "The Damsel With the Long Nose", in the beginning, the simpleton lad helps a miller's daughter, who gives him three things that turn out to be magic. (The narrator observing at the time that he should have stayed put with her.) A princess tricks him out of them, one by one, but is so beautiful and charming that he keeps trusting her again. Finally, he gives her a long nose, which makes her so ugly he falls out of love, and tricks the things back out of her — and then wishes himself back to the miller's daughter, since she was kind and simple.
- In The Little Soldier (in Andrew Lang's The Green Fairy Book), the soldier rescues a princess, but is not awake when she comes to fetch him away, a condition she set up so she would not have to marry him. In his search, he's helped by a fisherwoman, and he finds the princess, whereupon she tries to rob and cheat him. He goes back to the fisherwoman and marries her.
- In The Brothers Grimm's Odds and Ends, a diligent servant made herself a gown of the odds and ends of flax that the daughter of the house had thrown aside as too much trouble to spin. Then the daughter laughed about it to her bridegroom. Discovering that she was thriftless and the servant thrifty, he gave her up and married the servant instead.
- 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.
- And The Story Continues has two examples of this trope.
- The first is a gender inversion, with Stephen as the Betty and L as the Veronica for Erin. Erin’s relationship with Stephen is light, flirtatious but mutually supportive, while the one she had with L before his death in the prequel was turbulent, ambiguous and a bit problematic. Then to complicate matters, L comes back as Umbra, a shinigami who remembers nothing from before but still has feelings for her nevertheless.
- The second involves Mello, who is portrayed in this story as bisexual. His Unlucky Childhood Friend Matt is the Betty, who has had romantic feelings for Mello for some time but has resolved to keep quiet about them and support him no matter what...even if he personally doesn’t like what Mello is doing. Then there’s Misa as the Veronica: having met some time between this story and the prequel, she and Mello have bonded over their disappointment with their idols and engage in an unhealthy Friends with Benefits arrangement with a dash of Unholy Matrimony. Misa is not above rubbing it in Matt’s place that she’s sleeping with Mello and he isn’t. And given her history, she may have to do with why Matt refuses to act on his own feelings.
- In The One I Love Is, Shinji is Archie, Rei is Betty and Asuka is Veronica. Rei former is homely, quiet and feminine whereas Asuka is bold, hot-tempered and sultry. And both girls want the same boy.
- Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations: Samus initially became the Archie for Takatora (Betty) and Mitsuzane (Veronica). Veronica wins, more likely Takatora forfeited as a subversion.
- In Le Papillon Rising, Marinette sees Adrien as "Betty" and Papillon as "Veronica"... Until Adrien starts stalking her and acting more and more deranged. Then the Betty/Veronica thing fades.
- Crossroads - Between a Mermaid and a Princess, features Ash Ketchum as the Archie. Misty is the Veronica, being tomboyish, bold and quite willing to use her physical appeal to attract him. Serena is the Betty, sweeter and more feminine, and of course uses her cooking skills to her advantage. It's played with since both girls are friends and actively help each other to make up for their shortcomings.
- Gender-flipped in X-Men: The Early Years. Jean is the Archie for Warren (Betty) and Scott (Veronica), which is ironic given X-Men's fandom belief Scott is a boy scout. Warren is the polite, kind suave playboy and Scott is the ornery, snarky boy with a criminal record.
- This dynamic is perfectly captured with the lyric "your debutante just knows what you need, but I know what you want"
- In an odd contrast to this lyric, "Veronica" was actually a big-city debutante in her initial introduction in the 1940s, in order to contrast with small-town Betty.
- Dolly Parton's famous song "Jolene" paints the picture of this variety of love triangle. Jolene (with her "beauty beyond compare") is the Veronica, and the singer (who "cannot compete with you, Jolene") is the Betty. The song consists of "Betty" begging Jolene not to steal her man.
- Samantha Echo's "I Wanna Shake her Hand" is a Betty and Veronica song from Veronica's point of view, in which Veronica is sizing up Betty in a sarcastic, passive aggressive manner. Betty is the wife of her married crush (Archie), who looks at her (Veronica) as if she is "a strange, forbidden door." The sexually frustrated narrator vacillates between feelings of jealousy and friendliness, which is particularly evocative of the trope namers, who were actually best friends when they weren't fighting over Archie.
- Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" features a love triangle between blonde Girl Next Door Taylor Swift and a dark-haired cheerleader rival... also played by Taylor Swift.
- In one of her lesser-known songs ("The Way I Loved You") Taylor Swift takes the role of Archie choosing between her current boyfriend (Betty) who she describes as "sensible" and who "calls exactly when he says he will," and her "wild and crazy" ex who is "just so frustrating, intoxicating, complicated," who fills the role of Veronica. In the end, she chooses her ex.
- A Brazilian sertanejo song called "O Grafino e o Caipira" that tells the story of a rich city guy (the Veronica) and a hick (the Betty) fighting over a pretty girl. In the end, she gets tired of their fighting and goes for a cowboy
- "The Boy is Mine" by Brandy and Monica. While this isn't explicit in the song itself, if you look at the ladies' individual musical styles, Brandy is more a sweet girl-next-door while Monica has more of a street edge.
- The video clip of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" depicts Avril (as the Veronica) convincing the Archie to leave his uptight Betty girlfriend for her more interesting, more bullying self. Veronica wins.
- Paul and Storm's "More Than Two" mentions the Trope Namers and Takes A Third Option
- Bryan Adams's "Run To You." The Archie sings about cheating on his Betty-esque girlfriend with his Veronica.
"She's got a heart of gold, she'd never let me down/ But you're the one who always turns me on, you keep me comin' 'round."
- The Statler Brothers' 1972 country hit "Do You Remember These" has a quick line, "Veronica and Betty" toward the end of songs, part of a longer list of 1950s nostalgia.
- Saving Jane's "Girl Next Door" brings up the singer as the Betty and her rival who is the Veronica.
- The 1962 Marty Robbins hit, "Ruby Ann," tells the story from the point of view of the male Betty. He is a poor but honest, loving man. Ruby Ann is the female Archie who chooses him over the "big man" male Veronica. As the Betty gloats, "Big man, you got money in your hand, so what? You're at a table for two, but still there's only you, big shot....Ruby Ann took the hand of this poor, poor man, ain't true love a funny thing?"
- The Carl Smith classic, later covered by Mickey Gilley, "I Overlooked an Orchid (While Searching For a Rose)" tells of the singer's bitter disappointment after choosing the Veronica, whose exotic but superficial beauty didn't last. Betty (the orchid) had true beauty that has stayed the same through the years.
- "Bang Bang" by Jessie J and Ariana Grande involves a rivalry between the two — with Jessie's verse ending with "anybody could be bad to you,/You need a good girl to blow your mind" and Ariana's ending with "anybody could be good to you,/You need a bad girl to blow your mind". Which, as Todd in the Shadows pointed out, is kind of odd, given that these are much closer to the exact opposite of their usual personas. (The music video goes even further by inverting the usual differences in appearance: Ariana's hair has been bleached blonde and wears all white in her scene, while Jessie J is her usual black-haired self in an all-black outfit.)
- In the 2015 series The Muppets, Kermit's new girlfriend Denise (cheerful, down-to-earth, somewhat Adorkable pig who Piggy sarcastically describes as "It's like you're dating my six-year-old neice!") is the Betty, and his ex Miss Piggy (same demanding, karate-chopping diva she's always been) is the Veronica.
- In the radio adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jekyll loves the proper Margaret while Hyde lusts for the earthy Hettie. It's even worse because he's the direct cause of Hettie being forced into poverty and prostitution.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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, Don Jose has Micaela, his sweet friend from his hometown who tells relays messages back and forth between Don Jose and his mother, and the title character, who is a free-spirited, dangerous Hot Gypsy Woman.
- 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).
- Jekyll & Hyde has the wealthy aristocratic Emma Carew as the Betty and penniless 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 1987 version of 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. Note, however, that the 1962 version involves no sexual or romantic tension between Billy and Reno.
- 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.
- In The Playboy of the Western World, Pegeen Mike is faced with a choice between Shawn Keogh, her dull hometown fiancé, and Christy Mahon, the exotic and possibly dangerous newcomer. In the end, she decides Christy is too dangerous and drives him away — and almost immediately regrets it.
- In Murder Ballad, Sarah's two love interests are the downtown, reckless Tom and the educated, reserved Michael — Veronica and Betty, respectively.
- 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.
- School Days puts the player in the shoes of Makoto (Archie), who pines from afar for the Aloof Dark Haired Kotonoha (Veronica). His friend Sekai (Betty) initially tries to help set them up but is later revealed to have developed a Matchmaker Crush on Makoto. It all goes downhill from there.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog gives us the male version, with Dr. Horrible (Villain Protagonist) as the Betty and Captain Hammer (Hero Antagonist) as the Veronica.
- The Gungan Council has Anara (Jedi) and Kith (Sith) being the love interests for Tantor.
- The Nostalgia Chick is the Betty and Lupa is the (ambivalent) Veronica to Todd in the Shadows' Archie.
- Likewise, Todd is the Veronica and Critic is the Betty to Chick.
- Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse has the goodhearted, blonde Barbie and the scheming, brunette Raquelle vying for Ken's affections. Barbie always wins. A Gender Flipped variation also occurs, in which faithful Ken competes with Ryan, Raquelle's boastful brother, for Barbie's affections. Ken always wins.
- The SuperMarioLogan series has the ditzy star-obsessed Princess Rosalina, who likes Mario for who he is and the things he does, and Princess Peach, who sees Mario as an ugly and annoying Stalker with a Crush. The episode, "Mario's Valentine's Day Problem!" focuses on Mario having to choose between dating Rosalina or Peach when the latter wants to spend Valentine's Day with him. He ends up choosing Rosalina.
- This sort of thing happens all the time in real life. Unless you're one of those people who married your high school sweetheart and stayed married, you'll probably find yourself in this situation at least once. Worse, you'll find yourself in every conceivable combination of personalities, regardless of gender or sexual identity. No matter who you are, you are someone's Betty and someone else's Veronica. To one person, you might be a badass, strong personality, and to another, you're overly sensitive and sweet, but the person in question knows you're ultimately the better partner. Love triangles and quadrangles happen all the time, with people simultaneously attracted to two people, but in different ways.
- 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).
- Joe Jonas chose Camilla Belle (Veronica) over his Betty girlfriend Taylor Swift.
- There's the famous rumor of President Kennedy cheating on his beloved wife Jackie with popular actress Marilyn Monroe. Interestingly, sophisticated, wealthy Brainy Brunette Jackie has the exotic Veronica personality while bubbly, rags-to-riches Marilyn is more of a Betty here.
- Henry VIII's wives. Katherine of Aragon who sewed all Henry's shirts herself, gave money to the poor and remembered all of her servants by name in her will is the Betty with flirtatious Anne Boleyn, well known for her quick wit and short temper, as the Veronica. Then Anne Boleyn is still the Veronica but Jane Seymour with her old-fashioned values, modesty and spotless reputation is the Betty. Later, Anne of Cleves, initially shy, fond of needlework and popular with the people, is the Betty with Kathryn Howard, sexually experienced girl who enjoyed life and was unfaithful, as the Veronica. Catherine Parr, nurse to Henry, caring stepmother and household manager, actually came onto the scene later but the pattern still goes "Betty, Veronica, Betty" twice.
- Diana Mitford, one of the infamous Mitford sisters, experienced this conundrum once. There was Bryan Guinness - a sweet, young, fair-haired gentleman, absolutely besotted with Diana. And then, there was Oswald Mosley - a Tall, Dark, and Handsome fascist leader and a notorious ladykiller, obsessed with her. Guess, whom did she choose? Hint: she was buried as Lady Mosley.