Problematic Romantic Teen Drama Moments

Teen dramas are allll about the romance. You know the drill. Slow music with lyrics about love…the characters lean in…

But sometimes…the romantic moments fall short. Even worse, sometimes they might SEEM romantic, but are actually super messed up. Below are some of the worst teen drama moments that you might’ve once seen as romantic but are actually really problematic.


Spoilers ahead!

Note: Some of the following contain mentions of sexual assault and abuse.


When Veronica and Duncan slept together while they were both drugged and Duncan thought she was his half sister on Veronica Mars.


There is just…SO MUCH to unpack here.


When Seth named his boat after Summer, even though he’d never spoken to her before on The O.C.


I love Seth and Summer, but can we admit this was pretty weird?


When Tristan called Miles a man whore for being with girls in the past, and then Miles had to apologize to him and they exchanged “I love you”s and slept together on Degrassi: Next Class.


Miles was definitely being a doofus this episode, but Tristan shaming him for having had sex with girls was NOT okay. Their entire relationship was just Tristan being terrible and biphobic and Miles always having to take the blame for everything. Miles wasn’t a perfect boyfriend by any means, but he didn’t deserve to be treated like this, and Tristan should have been called out on his behavior.


When Polo watched Carla and Christian have sex without Christian’s consent on Elite.


I didn’t mind the poly relationship between the three of them, but the way this started was sketchy as hell.


When Ezra talked about how much he was going to miss his class (while clearly focusing on Aria) on Pretty Little Liars.

ABC Family

This was so awkward. Everyone knew he was talking to Aria and it came off super creepy. Also, HE WAS HER TEACHER, which was painfully obvious in this “romantic” moment.


When Malia and Stiles slept together at Eichen house, even though Malia had the emotional intelligence of a 9-year-old on Teen Wolf.


Malia turned into a were-coyote at age 9 and then lived in the woods for eight years. The gang turn her human again and she enters an insane asylum (where Stiles ends up due to being possessed by the nogitsune) and they have sex??? It’s not sexy or sweet; it’s honestly really creepy.


When Jackson was dying and Lydia said she still loved him on Teen Wolf.


Jackson was a terrible, emotionally abusive, manipulative (even violent, after he became the kanima) boyfriend and it did NOT seem like him and Lydia had a deeper bond. So this moment where Lydia said she loved him (and Jackson didn’t even say it back!) felt super off to me. It just made me feel bad for Lydia.


When Xander tried to use a love potion to get Cordelia to fall for him so he could break up with her and she thought it was romantic on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The WB

I still don’t understand why Cordelia got back together with Xander after he literally used witchcraft to try to hurt her. It was super messed up.


When Emily forgave Paige for kissing her when she was drunk and then not telling her about it on Pretty Little Liars.

ABC Family

Emily basically says Paige taking advantage of her was fine because her drunk desires were what she really wanted (which is a very problematic message). Also, Paige threatens to kill the person who drugged Emily’s flask, which is…not exactly romantic.


When Serena said Dan wrote Gossip Girl as a “love letter” to her on Gossip Girl.

The CW

Don’t even get me started on this one. He was literally her stalker.


When Angel saw Buffy through the window and decided to help her and it was suggested it was because he had a crush on her, even though she was like 15 on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The WB

I’ve never been a big fan of the whole “protagonist’s love interest knew who the girl was before entering her life as a love interest” plotline (cough cough, STEFAN SALVATORE, cough cough, EZRA FITZ, cough cough). Especially when that man is way older and goes into the relationship lying to the girl. While I do love Angel and Buffy, this flashback would’ve been better without the implication that Angel was attracted to Buffy/creeping on her from the start.


When Klaus tried to kill Caroline, then saved her and it was framed as romantic on The Vampire Diaries.

The CW

As much as I love Klaus and Caroline, most of their “romantic” scenes were in the context of Klaus saving her life after he’d put it in danger. At this point, Klaus was an evil supervillain who had just killed Tyler’s mom. While I like Caroline changing his mind, the romance aspect was pretty problematic.


When Lucas kissed Peyton AT SCHOOL and said he liked her more than Brooke (HIS GIRLFRIEND AND HER BEST FRIEND) on One Tree Hill.

The WB

NOTHING about Peyton and Lucas sneaking around behind Brooke’s back was romantic. Lucas Scott was the absolute worst.


When Blair and Chuck slept together even though she had just escaped being kidnapped on Gossip Girl.

The CW

This was…so messy. The show took Chuck’s character way too far when two episodes prior, Chuck forced Blair to the ground and punched a window above her, causing her to get a cut from the glass. The only reason Blair showed up at Chuck’s new hotel site was because she thought Chuck was threatening to jump off a building. Then Russel tried to kill her to punish Chuck and…Blair decided to sleep with him right after?? This was so messed up and honestly out of character for Blair, who was engaged at the time.


When Maya didn’t want to have sex with Zig and she had to literally push him off to get him to stop on Degrassi: Next Class.


To be fair, Zig’s behavior is at least called out as wrong here. But the episode still ends with them having sex and treating the whole incident like it was just some misunderstanding. I get that the writers were trying to make a point about the importance of asking consent even in a relationship, but they didn’t have to have Zig nearly assault Maya to get the message across.


When Monty and Winston hooked up and it was framed as romantic even though Monty literally beat him up at a party on 13 Reasons Why.


I get that Monty came from an abusive household and was dealing with internalized homophobia, but he was a horrible, horrible person. The show shouldn’t have tried to get us to sympathize with him after he sexually assaulted Tyler, and there was absolutely nothing romantic about his and Winston’s fling.


When Rory and Dean slept together while he was married on Gilmore Girls.

The WB

I think we’re all in agreement that this was gross, right? But while it might be kind of understandable to make this mistake at 19, Rory clearly didn’t learn anything from it, since she went on to have an affair with Logan while he was engaged in the revival.


When Damon and Elena finally admitted their relationship was toxic and then slept together on The Vampire Diaries.

The CW

I remember seeing this scene and even though they admitted their relationship was toxic, thinking that I loved how they couldn’t stay away from each other. But…Damon had literally killed Elena’s friend because he thought she didn’t want to be with him. This should not have happened right after she found out about it.


And finally, when Stiles had a panic attack and Lydia kissed him to calm him down on Teen Wolf.


No matter how cute Stiles and Lydia are as a ship, PLEASE do not do this to someone in the middle of a panic attack.

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