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This trope in its current form is almost nothing but Die for Our Ship and Complaining About Love Interests You Don't Like, and everything in its definition is already covered by Strangled by the Red String, Token Romance, Satellite Love Interest and Romantic Plot Tumor. I can't think of a reason for a character to be on this page over any of those other four. In fact, the entry on Matilda's husband from Last Scenario is repeated almost verbatim on the Satellite Love Interest page.
The Laconic description of this trope is "A romance that exists solely to advance the plot." Barely any of the page's examples fit this. A true example of a "romance that exists solely to advance the plot" would be if True Love's Kiss is needed to break a spell, and the writers say "welp, the lead needs a love interest then". Now let's look at the actual examples:
Already mentioning Mary Sue Tropes, which are Flame Bait. Definite air of bashing. No mention of why this romance is necessary to the plot. "Demand for Ryoga to get a happy ending" implies Pandering to the Base, not plot necessity.
Nothing but bashing.
This one is a better argument and doesn't feel like bashing... but the situation it's describing fits better under Strangled by the Red String. The first sentence might qualify for the "exists to advance the plot" portion of the trope, but the rest falls under Strangled.
Vague. "Hardly romance"? Explain how? Nothing here about necessity to the plot either.
The first sentence actually fits the definition. But then in devolves into Strangled by the Red String again.
"The player has the option to have Serge treat Kid like crap and she's still in love with him" seems tropeworthy (probably falls under Gameplay and Story Segregation), but not for this because there's no mention of why Kid's love is essential for the plot.
Pure complaining about Story Branch Favoritism, classic case of this trope degenerating into "Bashing love interests you don't like".
The Last Scenario example of a love interest only existing to pre-emptively sink ships involving another character is tropeworthy... under Satellite Love Interest. The "case of the not-gays" example from Red Letter Media listed under "Film" falls under this too.
This trope's definition seems to have drifted to "the work says they're a couple but they don't have chemistry". The problem is chemistry is extremely subjective, and Strangled by the Red String already covers this ground. (Even this trope's description practically calls it "Strangled by the Red String, but less extreme")
Ironically, a better description of this trope is found in the Satellite Love Interest description: "Contrast with Designated Love Interest, in which a character's characterization isn't involved enough with loving another character, thus making the "love interest" moniker seem tacked-on."
The problem is most of the page's examples don't fit this either. For example, the Tales of Graces Cheria example. Cheria's character is extremely involved with being in love with Asbel. Fans just think it wasn't done well. That's not the same as "not obviously being in love with someone but being called their love interest anyway."
In summary, I propose this trope be deleted as I don't think there's any reason for it to exist as long as Token Romance, Strangled by the Red String, Satellite Love Interest and Romantic Plot Tumor do. Anything it could cover already falls under one of them.
Edited by BigKlingy on Oct 25th 2018 at 4:29:54 AM
Clock is set.
I would argue that Designated Love Interest is a worthy trope just not with its current definition. For example, Designated Hero and Designated Villain are tropes whereby the author is TELLING US the reader/viewer that the hero is heroic or the villain is villainous without actually showing it. IMO, Designated Love Interest should run along very similar lines: the author is TELLING US that these two are madly in love, and yet all evidence available runs completely contrary to this.
Anakin and Padme from Star Wars are a good example of this (see Red Letter Media/Plinkett's Episode 2 review for a detailed explanation).
I think that in this form the trope would be markedly different to the other tropes described and it shouldn't be lost when it can be repaired.
I agree with this. Hell, that's what I thought the trope was supposed to be in the first place. Which would make definitions:
Token Romance: Characters are paired up because of demographic reasons (requiring a romance to attract an audience) and the subsequent romance has nothing to do with the plot.
Strangled by the Red String: Romance Ex Machina, the romance comes out of nowhere.
Satellite Love Interest: A love interest exists only to be another character's love interest.
Romantic Plot Tumor: The romance arc engulfs the whole rest of the plot, kind of the antithesis to Token Romance.
Die for Our Ship: The fans don't like the ship and kill/pair off/write out a character to facilitate a ship of their preference.
Designated Love Interest: The characters don't seem to be in love for whatever reason but the author and plot says they are. Not necessarily Strangled by the Red String because there could be attempts at showing build up, but for whatever reason it just doesn't work.
Edited by PhiSat on Dec 4th 2018 at 3:23:24 AM
That sounds like an inversion of Relationship Writing Fumble. "The writer's tell us these two are in love, but they act more like friends/siblings/enemies".
Edited by Pichu-kun on Jan 5th 2019 at 8:13:59 AM
That Laconic really needs to be changed, by the way, since it applies to platonic relationships coming off as romantic. The Laconic just says "Accidental subtext makes a relationship come off differently than intended."
I changed the Laconic to "Romance without solid buildup or basis for it." That seems more in line with it. Feel free to change.
Isn't that just Strangled by the Red String?
I honestly can't think of and example that isn't this.
Unless someone can list a Designated Love Interest example that isn't Strangled by the Red String, I see no reason to even keep it.
I'm wondering if Strangled by the Red String and Designated Love Interest shouldn't both be merged with Relationship Writing Fumble: I'm having trouble seeing any distinction and RWF has a better title IMHO.
Edited by StarSword on Jan 6th 2019 at 1:03:26 PM
Relationship Writing Fumble is for when relations are interpreted differently than intended, this trope is about something different, relationship that come off intended but is forced.
Hows this Laconic? "The plot calls them a couple but they don't act like it."
Hows this distinction?
Should we start removing or trimming misuse (anything about the nature of the relationship as opposed to its plot relevance) and see if there's enough to be worth keeping?
Edited by Ferot_Dreadnaught on Jan 6th 2019 at 11:57:26 AM
I'm still not clear on what "said to be falling in love" means. Who's saying it? Maybe it would to have an example that would fit under this definition.
The narrative. An example is "The relationship of Ariel and Eric obviously needs to exist because it happens in the original fairy-tale and it gives Ariel her main motivation to want to become human" and "Bulma and Vegeta basically got together because "a kid from the future said so." The narrative calls for there romance.
I just realized they're not examples since it doesn't explain the lack of romantic interaction. Should I start removing misuse to see if there's enough to be worth saving? Or should we have a more solid definition to work with first?
But everything that happens in a story is motivated by the narrative. I don't think we can start cutting until we have at least one example of what does count.
How's this as an example?
But how does that line up with "the plot says so"? From that description, the romance seems pointless to the plot.
Mind if I jump in?
So I was going to say that that example doesn't read like Designated Love Interest to me, but that was before checking the page and realizing I don't know what Designated Love Interest actually, really is. It seems like it's just... "writers think the story needs a love plot so they shove two characters together and claim they're in love".
I'm with you guys, any example that wouldn't be covered by Strangled by the Red String just sort of reads like complaining about love interests or romantic subplots the fan doesn't like.
Problem is that proving the love interests are together "because the narrative says so" is hard. The trope assumes creator intent to just have a romantic subplot, which is impossible to prove, leading to the confusion at what "the plot says so" even means.
I'm not really seeing much worth salvaging here.
Are any of these examples? What about these?
If they show the relation doesn't happen because of this, is it an example (Flash is Strangled by the Red String before Legend of Everfree, which is an after the fact fix)? If not, what trope is it?
If Strangled by the Red String is about romances with no basis, there's no difference between Designated Love Interest. I then say make Designated Love Interest a redirect to Strangled by the Red String (which has far more wicks and inbounds).
Edited by Ferot_Dreadnaught on Jan 7th 2019 at 1:36:37 AM
I don't think llia fits. She's just a clear-cut example of Childhood Friend Romance. Their relationship is developed just fine.
The first Young Justice example isn't demanded by the plot, it's pointless to the plot. Rocket is also only a Love Interest to Aqualad in that one episode, after which there is no reference to a romance between them. The second is just Strangled by the Red String.
Edited by TheMountainKing on Jan 7th 2019 at 8:32:47 AM
The Avatar one reads like Strangled by the Red String with a good dose of complaining.
Removing them. Should I remove the ones we've deemed not examples from the main page?
Thoughts on these?
My understanding of Strangled by the Red String is that it doesn't necessarily have the characters not acting like they're in love, but usually that the strangling happens as the result of Unfortunate Implications or with little justification to suddenly pair two characters up. Designated Love Interest has the characters not acting romantic yet the story telling us that they're a good couple.
An example that I'd say fits under both for different reasons would be Tales of Graces: Asbel and Cheria. In the base game I'd consider them Designated Love Interests because while the game tells you they'd make a good couple through Character Shilling, they have a total lack of chemistry and come off more like they're childhood friends who went sour and now dislike each other.
In the Lineage and Legacies arc though, written after the main arc, they've suddenly been given massive amounts of predictable supertext, blushing, and dialogue. People felt the writers went too far and strangled them (note that this arc takes place after the main story, making it all the more jarring) because of this.
Edited by PhiSat on Jan 9th 2019 at 12:54:22 PM
My biggest problem is still that the current description assumes creator intent by claiming that the romance exists because "the creator just wanted a romantic subplot", which may be true in some cases but sets the tone for a complain-y article, because people already go in with the mindset that the relationship exists purely because the creator wanted it to and was lazy in making it and not, say, for a variety of other possible reasons.
While I can see a trope where the love interests are said to be in love despite not acting like it, which is what I had thought Designated Love Interest was, the description doesn't reflect that, so I'm not sure if that's actually what the trope is supposed to be about or not.
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