Editor’s note: This story contains spoilers for Netflix’s miniseries “One Day.”

Netflix’s highly anticipated miniseries “One Day” (rated TV-MA) was released right before Valentine’s Day, and clearly represented the streaming platform’s stab at attracting a romance-minded audience.

Based off the novel of the same name by David Nicholls, the series follows Emma and Dexter’s relationship over a 20-year span. The pair begin as friends but eventually become lovers.

And then, in a devastating and wholly unnecessary twist ending, one of the main characters gets hit by a bus and dies.

Although I’ve seen the 2011 movie adaptation (starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess) of the same book, I was devastated by how the TV series portrayed the death.

And I wasn’t just crying sad tears. I was crying angry tears.

I wanted to know the point of suddenly killing off one of the leads in a romance and was ready to freak out further if the answer was “character development.”

I wasn’t alone in my anger. While “One Day” has received favorable reviews overall, many critics have called out the show’s ending. As Judy Berman wrote for Time, “The ending, which doesn’t quite earn its abruptness and, worse, frames one character primarily as a vehicle for the other’s development, remains a problem.”

The 2011 movie received similar criticism. “Its death is sudden, and to those unfamiliar with the book, unexpected: It’s not in keeping with the mood, which has been, up until then, a thinking-person’s romantic comedy. As such, ‘One Day’ isn’t so much part of a long tradition of weepies, as it is a follower of the recent ‘don’t give an audience what they want’ craze,” Will Paskin wrote for Vulture at the time

Unnecessary deaths in romantic films aren’t new

The “‘don’t give an audience what they want’ craze” Paskin referred to was especially prevalent in films in the 2010s. Its purpose was, by my estimation, to reduce audience members to a puddle of meaningless tears.

  • 2010’s “Remember Me” follows the soap opera-esque ups and downs of the relationship between Tyler (Robert Pattinson) and Ally (Emilie de Ravin), only for audiences to discover at the very end of the movie that it’s Sept. 11, 2001, and Tyler is waiting in his father’s office, located in the World Trade Center. He doesn’t make it out.
  • In “Moulin Rouge!,” after love conquers all, Satine (Nicole Kidman) dies of tuberculosis in Christian’s (Ewan McGregor) arms.
  • In 2016’s “Me Before You,” quadriplegic Will (Sam Claflin) decides to go through with his planned assisted suicide, despite falling in love with Louisa (Emilia Clarke). (That ending was also controversial because, as disability advocacy groups pointed out, it implied that a life with disability is not worth living.)

There are times when a lead romantic character’s death does work — and touchingly so. Movies like “Love Story,” “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Titanic” take care to make a main character’s death mean something, by, for example, showing an audience how a couple grapples with a debilitating, progressive illness.

But when handled poorly, a lead character’s death just seems to be a hollow, half-hearted attempt to interject meaning in what would’ve otherwise been a completely fine (or even great!) love story.

Why do characters have to die?

In its worst form, an unnecessary death whittles down one character’s existence to serve the other. “One Day” falls victim to this, as does (and I hate to say it) “A Walk to Remember.”

Both male leads were completely different before meeting their love interest. Landon (Shane West) in “A Walk to Remember” was a delinquent bad boy; Dex, a substance-addicted, chronic partier. Once loved by the female romantic lead, they clean up their act (it should be noted that Dex was already in the process of doing so, but Emma helped expedite this process).

Then, in both movies, the death of their love interest solidifies the men’s transformation, making Jamie (Mandy Moore) in “A Walk to Remember” and Emma in “One Day” mere plot devices for the other’s character development, despite the time we as the audience spent getting to know them. (Jamie’s death in “A Walk to Remember” is more justified than Emma’s since we knew that Jamie was sick for much of the film.)

Landon becomes a doctor and Dex, who initially slips back into his addiction, is inspired by the memory of Emma to strengthen his relationship with his daughter.

An unexpected death like Emma’s in “One Day,” or Tyler’s in “Remember Me,” or Satine’s in “Moulin Rouge!” (and so on) practically obliterates the themes established earlier on in the films and leaves viewers wondering, “What’s the point?”

There really isn’t one. Except to maybe leave you, like me, in an unexpected and annoying funk in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, continually reaching for tissues.