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Bob loves Alice, his childhood sweetheart/girl he dated in High School/college classmate. Unfortunately, Alice is dating André, a suave, handsome, rich foreigner who has asked her to marry him and move far away from Bob. The audience roots for Bob, as he's both the underdog and the same nationality as they, the target audience. It is soon revealed that André is a jerk, or at the very least isn't as good a match for Alice as Bob is, and Alice unceremoniously dumps him in favor of Bob.


Problems arise when this trope is exported to André's home country, particularly if Bob is American. Eyes are rolled and people mutter about prejudice and how they hate their nationality being stereotyped as evil or jerky. This isn't an exclusively American trope, however, and has been done with different nationalities involved, or with Andre and Bob's roles reversed. It can also be given a Gender Flip with a woman trying to win a guy back from the arms of a foreign lady.

A form of Creator Provincialism portrayed as a Love Triangle. Related to Betty and Veronica; which lover is which is quite obvious. A subtrope of Wrong Guy First.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, we have Shinji (Japanese) caught in a love triangle with Rei (Japanese) and Asuka (American, German, and technically Japanese, but raised in the former two). While the series has Ship Tease moments with both couples and doesn't resolve anything by the end of the series, different nationalities interpret the triangle based on different cultural expectations. In native Japan, the Rei/Shinji ship is definitely the winner, to the point that the reboot Rebuild of Evangelion makes it canon and has Asuka drop her feelings for Shinji the minute she realizes Rei likes him. In the West, however, Asuka is far more popular, and most western fanfiction has her come out as the clear winner for Shinji's heart.

    Films — Animation 
  • Porco Rosso, where Gina (Italian) is being pursued by Curtis (American), who wants to take her away to be a movie star with him. However, she mostly seems amused by this; she's had a thing for the title character for years.
  • The Rescuers Down Under has Australian mouse Jake as the foreigner, but he's not evil, and Miss Bianca herself is Hungarian.
  • Invoked and averted in the French animated movie Azur et Asmar: both heroes initially seek the Maghrebine Lady of the Djinns. When her European cousin the Lady of the Fae comes to help her choose, she initially dances with French Azur and the Lady of the Djinns with Maghrebine Asmar, but all four find that they're happier changing partners.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A variant of this is done in the Jim Carrey vehicle Liar Liar, where the move is to Boston (the movie is set in California) and the reason behind Fletcher's despair is that his ex has custody of his son and he'll lose almost any chance of seeing him if they move across the country.
  • Leap Year (2010): The heroine Anna goes to Ireland to propose to her New York City boyfriend Jeremy. By the end, this has become an inversion, when she moves to Ireland and marries the Irish man she meets there
  • Made of Honor (2008): Tom vs. Colin McMurray over Helen. Helen is Tom's best friend from college. He realizes he is in love with her only when she's on sabbatical in Scotland. Lo and behold, she returns to New York with Colin, a Scottish duke who wants to marry her. Colin isn't portrayed as a jerk (except when it comes to sharing cake) but he just turns out to be wrong for Helen.
  • Three Men and a Little Lady has a variation with Peter vs. Edward over Sylvia. The variation being that Sylvia is English too, but otherwise this trope is played in a very similar way. Peter is the American underdog and Edward is a horrible jerk who wants to send the titular little lady (Mary) Off to Boarding School.
  • Sweet Home Alabama does it with States instead of Nations. Alabama vs. New York (which, granted, are about as different as different countries to some people).
  • Inverted by "Crocodile" Dundee, which ends with American Sue Charlton choosing the Australian main character over her stateside boyfriend.
  • Run Fat Boy Run makes the underdog and the girl he loves British, and the opponent a jerky American. It was going to be set in Chicago so presumably it would have had this plot follow the more American underdog mold, but then Simon Pegg bought the script.
  • French Kiss has the audience initially rooting for American Meg Ryan to win back her Canadian fiancé from a French seductress. In an inversion however, as the film goes on the audience instead begins to root for her and French thief Kevin Kline to get together.
  • The English woman vs. the Indian woman competing for the Indian hero's affections in the Bollywood film Lagaan.
  • Played with in the Ava Gardner movie Bhowani Junction where Ava’s character, the Anglo-Indian Victoria must choose between the British Army Colonel Rodney Savage, Ranjit a Sikh man and Patrick, a fellow Anglo-Indian childhood friend. In the original book, she chooses the Anglo-Indian Patrick but that was changed in the movie to have her end up with the dashing white Colonel Savage. This movie was made in The '50s.

  • Older Than Television: Quincy Morris (A Texan), Dr. Jack Seward (An Englishman), and Lord Arthur Holmwood (Another Englishman) fighting over Lucy Westenra (An Englishwoman) in Dracula. Holmwood wins, but then Lucy turns into a vampire. And then, of course, on the more analytical level it's the whole team competing with Dracula (a grade-a Scary Foreigner) over their women.
  • The Ron-Hermione-Viktor Love Triangle in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Britain vs. Bulgaria). Viktor didn't end up being bad though, and still remained in contact with Hermione after the end of the story. (Word Of God says Viktor attended their wedding, to Ron's chagrin.)
  • Emily's Quest follows this trajectory with Emily, who receives marriage a proposal from a samurai, (and this is Victorian-era Canada!) eventually finding love with her childhood sweetheart. Some fans object, finding Dean Priest to be Better Than Canon.
  • In Ovid's Heroides Penelope worries there's love triangle between her, (from Ithaca/Greece), her husband (also Ithacan/Greek), and a "foreign woman" (who the audience knows is the witch Circe from Aiaia, though Penelope doesn't actually know she exists). Not only is her husband with Circe until he finally leaves to come back home to Penelope, but she specifically worries that he won't come home because he'll find a more exotic, interesting woman (while she's too "provincial" and plain), making this trope Older Than Feudalism.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Friends: The Ross/Rachel storyline that stretched across the series' run used this trope at least twice.
    • Ross vs. Paolo over Rachel. Paolo eventually tries it on with Phoebe and the whole gang turns against him, after several episodes of Ross looking mopey and bemoaning the situation to everyone else. He's understandably chirpier when Rachel dumps Paolo, but it kinda backfires when she tells him she's sworn off men for the foreseeable future.
    • Rachel vs. Emily over Ross. Emily is a Stuffy Brit who, sure enough, expects him to move to the United Kingdom with her. Official Partner Rachel is a laid-back, albeit rather ditzy, American gal.
  • Desperate Housewives did this with the whole Ian/Susan/Mike triangle.
  • Big vs. the Russian from Sex and the City.
  • Woody vs. Henri on Cheers.
  • Reversed, then played straight on How I Met Your Mother when Robin and strait-laced Ted break up and she almost immediately leaves for an extended trip to Argentina. When she comes home she brings back an Andre, then when she gets annoyed with all the personality traits she first found attractive about him (trying to sensually feed her by hand, sweeping everything off the table to have sex, inviting strangers into her home), she realizes he's just a rebound and dumps him, but not to go back to Ted.
  • Charlie/Zoe/Jean-Paul from The West Wing.