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Playing With / Betty and Veronica

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Basic Trope: A character has two conflicting love interests with contrasting personalities; one friendly and "safe", the other exciting and "dangerous".

  • Straight:
    • Nice Girl Alice and beautiful Femme Fatale Carol are in love with Bob.
    • Tomboyish Girl Next Door Alice and girly Alpha Bitch Carol are both attracted to Bob and are vying for his affections.
    • His parents and her parents have arranged that Robert and Isabelle will marry. When he arrives at her father's castle, he finds Isabelle attractive, but her cousin Matilda, who is an orphan without inheritance, is stunning.
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    • William sees Esmeralda in her family's box at a play. Securing an introduction, he calls, meaning that he meets her quiet and plain sister Helen, who is the one who actually makes him welcome; after many calls, he realizes that while he still thinks Esmeralda stunning and vivacious, Helen's quiet virtues and courtesy have grown on him.
  • Exaggerated: Honest, pretty, good-natured, church girl Alice and stunningly beautiful exotic criminal vampiress Carol both want Bob.
  • Downplayed: Alice and Carol have mostly similar personalities, but there are a few differences between how the girls behave.
  • Justified:
    • Bob is having an affair with both of them at the same time.
    • Alice and Carol are different incarnations or aspects of the same person (clones, present/future versions, alternate reality twins).
  • Inverted:
    • Bob has to marry either Alice or Carol, but neither of them wants him.
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    • For political reasons, Prince Robert has to marry either the calm and elegant Lady Alisandre, or her vivacious sister Lady Catherina, though they hate him and vice versa; he's torn between Alisandre's patience with his antics and patent disapproval of his life, and Catherina's greater interest in entertainments, and the way she will insist on having some of the fun herself.
  • Gender Inverted: Berta has to choose between Nice Guy Alex and Troubled, but Cute Chris.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice and Carol are in love with Bob, but he ends up entering a relationship with Dana.
    • Alice and Carol both pretend to be in love with Bob for their own reasons, but they aren't. Maybe they're just in it for the competition, or they both actually want Darren but think they can't have him.
    • None of them have a problem with polygamy.
    • If homo- or bisexuality is involved, Alice and Carol fall for each other and tell Bob where to go.
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    • Alternately if homo- or asexuality is involved, Bob realizes that he's not attracted to women and comes out to Alice and Carol.
    • Alice and Carol realize separately that Bob can't choose. Alice is so repulsed by his attraction to a dishonest vamp that she dumps him; Carol is shocked that he finds Alice's sweetness and love of home attractive and dumps him before he asks her to marry him.
    • Bob and Carol fall in love. His parents keep trying to push Alice, who isn't interested herself.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Bob chooses Dana - so Alice and Carol team up to get rid of her.
    • Alice and Carol both pretend to be in love with Bob for their own reasons, but they aren't... until they both fall in love with him for real.
    • Bob chooses Dana, but has second thoughts about turning down Alice. Carol is now out of the picture (or vice-versa).
    • Bob chooses Dana, only to discover that Eddie is also vying for Dana's affection
    • Alice and Carol both love Bob, but for whatever reason one thinks the other would be the better match, and pushes Bob in that direction.
    • They both think the other is the better match, so Bob ends up alone or with disgusting, destructive Dana because Alice and Carol seem to shun him.
    • Alice and Carol fall for each other and tell Bob where to go. But it turns out that Alice still loves Bob, so now it is she who has to choose between two love interests.
    • Now, Bob must choose between the nice but homely Albert and the handsome but eccentric Cody.
  • Parodied: Both Alice and Carol are horrible and/or obsessive people whom Bob can't stand.
  • Zigzagged: Alice and Carol are in love with Bob. Then they aren't. Then Bob's in love with them but they don't reciprocate. Then they do, but Bob's moved on. Then Dana enters the picture...
  • Averted:
    • Alice, Bob and Carol are just friends.
    • Alice and Bob love each other, and Carol is just friends with them.
  • Enforced: "We need romantic tension between these three!"
  • Lampshaded: "You know, having two women fight over you is not as much fun as you'd think it would be."
  • Invoked:
    • "Let's see if I can get Alice and Carol to fall in love with me at the same time..."
    • After his first romance with Alice sours, Bob intentionally goes for Carol, who is as different as possible from Alice.
  • Exploited: Dana tells Bob that she can decide for him, and gets him to date her.
  • Defied:
    • Alice withdraws from the competition, respecting Carol as a friend and not wanting a lover to come between then.
    • When Bob lets the love triangle go on too long, Alice and Carol give him an ultimatum: choose one of them, or lose them both.
    • Bob is disgusted by the fact that both Alice and Carol are fighting over him and flat out tells them that he has no interest in either of them.
  • Discussed: "Much as you'd like to believe otherwise, Bob, having two women chase after you at the same time hardly ever happens."
  • Conversed: "I wish Alice and Carol were both chasing after me..."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Alice and Carol are in love with Bob, and the resulting strain this three-way triangle places on them ends up ultimately destroying the relationships between all three.
    • Alice and Carol are in love with Bob, and one of them decides to Murder the Hypotenuse.
    • Alice likes Bob and Carol, Bob likes Alice and Carol, Carol wants the others as Just Friends but is too nice to say anything or enjoys the attention.
    • Bob eventually chooses Carol. That feeling of unrequited love drives Alice to move to another neighborhood, or even town, simply so she wouldn't have to associate with Bob.
    • Bob realizes the trope is in effect, but doesn't do anything and lets the situation go on for too long without considering either girl's feelings beyond "Awesome, two chicks dig me!". As a result, one of the two girls(or both) becomes a Yandere.
    • As it happens, Alice can't be nice all of the time, Carol resents the effort she has to put into her appearance, and both have lives outside of Bob. Both resent him reducing them to two-dimensional stereotypes, and ultimately both reject him.
  • Reconstructed: Alice and Carol are in love with Bob, and the resulting strain this three-way triangle places on them ends up ultimately destroying the relationships between all three. They eventually manage to repair their relationships and come to an accommodation.
  • Implied: Alice and Carol are mainly undeveloped characters, but Alice dresses much more conservatively than Carol.

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