5 Clichéd Romantic Tropes In Film & TV That Just Annoy Today's Audiences

5 Clichéd Romantic Tropes In Film & TV That Just Annoy Today's Audiences
Image credit: Summit Entertainment, Paramount Pictures

These need to go in the trash.

The romance genre is all about human emotion and relationships. As the world of dating changes (and it is changing fast these days), the genre needs to transform with it, updating old tropes along the way.

Yet, filmmakers continue to cling to the done-to-death clichés that worked in the past and are surprised when audiences frown upon these storylines and arcs, saying they are too cringe-worthy and tired. Here are five notable examples of such tropes.

Love at First Sight

It may be presented as the most romantic thing in the world, but love at first sight is too unrealistic to appear in every other movie and TV show.

Yes, we only need a split second to form an impression of someone, but can the great feeling of love really be based on such an impression? And isn't it all about how a person looks rather than who they really are? Come on, we need a healthier approach to choosing a partner, let alone a soul mate.

Ugly Duckling

Speaking of looks, the ugly duckling transformation so often seen in the projects of the 1990s and 2000s is no longer acceptable in the modern world. At least not in the same form as before.

Usually, a pretty actress is 'uglied down' by glasses and a ponytail, and once she gets rid of both, everyone suddenly sees what a beauty she is. There are plenty of problems with this, the main one being that the outer transformation is presented as more important than the inner one, when in reality we know that it's the other way around.

Stalker Behavior

An obsessive or controlling partner is the worst kind of situation a person can find themselves in. At the same time, it is a highly glorified trope in the romance genre. The most popular example is probably Edward from Twilight, who literally stalked Bella by showing up in her bedroom at night. That's a classic red flag.

What's worse, in the movies and shows, obsessive stalkers tend to get what they want. Their love interest eventually falls into their hands. Too bad we don't get to see how these relationships develop and meet their inevitable tragic end.

Cheating with Soulmate

Another big red flag (and unfortunately the one that is often portrayed as something positive in romantic movies and shows) is when a person starts (or reignites) a relationship by cheating on their current partner, explaining it with true love.

Well, cheating is never okay. No matter what emotions are involved. Honesty is the key. All people's feelings matter. We can't believe we're writing this in 2024.

Last Minute Wedding Realization

This trope is not as damaging as it is cringy and overused. In real life, how many times have you seen a wedding get cut off in the middle because one of the people standing at the altar suddenly realized they loved someone else and ran away? We bet zero.

Yet, this storyline has been used in so many movies and shows that every on-screen wedding seems suspicious at this point. We can't help but wonder what drama is about to unfold before our eyes.