50 Most Beloved TV Couples of All Time
Friends with benefits.
What makes a great TV couple? Is it when two actors have great chemistry? Is it that the characters make one another better? Or is it just that they look really, really good together? Many times, it’s a combination of factors that makes a fictional twosome so captivating—something between them just clicks! And that’s certainly the case with these 50 beloved TV couples.
Fair warning: You won’t be seeing Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mr. Big (Chris Noth), or Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) on this list. We went through the annals of pop culture history to choose pairings that broke ground on television and gave viewers something to cheer for each and every week. Because that’s what episodic love is all about, right?
Lucy and Ricky, I Love Lucy
Americans had never seen a couple like Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) when I Love Lucy premiered on CBS in 1951. The multiethnic couple broke ground on television, but it wasn’t an easy road. “CBS and its sponsor, Philip Morris cigarettes, were adamantly opposed to this,” Kathleen Brady, the author of Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball, told NPR. “They said that the American public would not accept Desi as the husband of a red-blooded American girl.”
Boy, were they wrong. Lucy and Ricky quickly won audiences’ hearts. In fact, more than 70 percent of TV viewers in the country tuned in to see them welcome their fictional son in 1953. The series not only changed the course of television, but it made audiences laugh week after week for six years. The words “I’m home” have never been the same.
Eric and Tami, Friday Night Lights
There are three versions of Friday Night Lights: the 1990 nonfiction book by Buzz Bissinger, the 2004 drama film adaptation by Peter Berg, and the 2006 television series (also by Berg) inspired by the film. But the couple at the center of the third iteration—Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and Tami Taylor (Connie Britton)—is really what stuck with fans, thanks to their love as big as the great state of Texas.
TV critic Alan Sepinwall called the Taylors “one of TV’s most realistic and loving couples.” Using these two characters as the relative moral high ground, Friday Night Lights portrayed real issues among Middle Americans—like family values, racism, drugs, and abortion—in a truly authentic way for five seasons, winning over critics and viewers alike.
Kevin and Winnie, The Wonder Years
You cannot think childhood love—your first crush, the first time you hold hands, your first kiss—without thinking of The Wonder Years’ Kevin (Fred Savage) and Winnie (Danica McKellar). These two, whose story was set in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, exemplified everything pure and magical about coming-of-age romance.
Kevin and Winnie were two kids who grew up as neighbors and, despite naively promising to be together no matter what, they ended up going their separate ways—and challenging viewers to live with that reality. “Things never turn out exactly the way you plan them,” Kevin said in the series finale, subverting the audience’s hope that he and Winnie would ultimately live happily ever after.
Edith and Archie, All in the Family
“Those were the days,” right? For nearly the entirety of the 1970s, audiences were entertained by the antics between Archie and Edith Bunker on the Norman Lear series All in the Family. Archie (Carroll O’Connor) was frequently referred to as a “lovable bigot” who was struggling to handle the constantly changing world around him. Edith (Jean Stapleton), on the other hand, had a huge heart and—despite being a bit ditzy—often delivered nuggets of wisdom. These two were the definition of the mantra “opposites attract.”
George and Louise, The Jeffersons
This spin-off of All in the Family centered on George (Sherman Hemsley) and Louise (Isabel Sanford) Jefferson, once neighbors of Archie and Edith, who we saw “movin’ on up” from a working class neighborhood in Queens to a “de-luxe apartment” in Manhattan. The Jeffersons was the first series to depict a successful black family, paving the way for others like it.
George and Louise had a similar relationship to that of Archie and Edith. While both women were kind counterparts to their loud-mouthed husbands, Louise stood her ground and proved that she could go toe-to-toe more so than Edith did. At the end of the day, though, George and Louise loved each other and they made history on one of the longest-running American series with a primarily black cast.
Monica and Chandler, Friends
Many Friends fans champion the on-again, off-again relationship between Ross and Rachel. But we’d say the show’s truly iconic relationship is the far more reliable pairing of Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry).
Type-A Monica and irrepressibly goofy Chandler couldn’t have been more different. But after a seasons-long slow build, they ended up getting together and (in rare sitcom form) staying together. Their relationship continued to challenge expectations: Monica was the one who proposed to Chandler (a rare reversal of gender stereotypes) and they adopted kids (twins, in this case). This TV couple showed us that sometimes the love of your life can actually be your best friend.
Homer and Marge, The Simpsons
The Simpsons is the longest-running scripted primetime series in U.S. history—which makes the fact that Homer (Dan Castellaneta) and Marge (Julie Kavner) Simpson have been together the entire run that much more impressive. Plus, it’s still going strong, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon!
Homer and Marge have always been there for their three kids—Bart (Nancy Cartwright), Lisa (Yeardley Smith), and Maggie—proving to be a dysfunctional-yet-caring nuclear family unit. Homer can be a bit of a crude, rude buffoon, while Marge is often the voice of reason (even though she can be flawed at times, too). Their bond shows that no marriage is perfect but, given time and patience, bumps along the way can be smoothed out.
Fun fact: These two lovebirds were named after series creator Matt Groening‘s own parents, making this decades-long TV bond that much more special.
David and Maddie, Moonlighting
When it comes to tried-and-true lessons in television, look no further than Moonlighting. The 1980s series notoriously proved that there’s nowhere for a show to go after its “will they or won’t they” pairing decides that they, in fact, will. That’s what happened with the private detectives of Blue Moon Detective Agency, Maddie (Cybill Shepherd) and David (Bruce Willis), whose sexual tension had fans on the edge of their seats for years.
When they decided to finally start dating in Season 4, audience interest faded. “I think people went, ‘Well, that was fun,’ and they had enough of it,” creator Glenn Gordon Caron said upon the show’s cancellation.
Callie and Arizona, Grey’s Anatomy
There are plenty of relationships from Grey’s Anatomy that rank among the best TV couples ever, but the one between Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) was a cut above the rest. Sure, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) had a love for the record books. But they’d be a safe pick. Calzona—as fans call Callie and Arizona’s romance—is far more compelling.
According to Autostraddle, they rank among the longest-running—if not the longest-running—LGBTQ romances in TV history. Their storylines included Callie’s coming out later in life, Arizona becoming an amputee after a tragic plane crash, becoming moms, and figuring out how to co-parent post-divorce. It’s no surprise both characters made the Top 10 (Callie at No. 7 and Arizona at No. 2) on AfterEllen.com’s Top 50 Favorite Female TV Characters.
Ben and Leslie, Parks and Recreation
One of the best things about perky and energetic public servant Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is that, when she finally met the love of her life, Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), she didn’t let it dull her shine. In fact, Ben supported Leslie, helping her chase her dream and explore what she was most passionate about. It was a switching up of gender roles that doesn’t happen all that often on television.
For these two Parks and Recreation characters, it was never about drama, which is why they were able to thrive after the show’s creators let the audience know there would be no “will they or won’t they” tension. Their relationship was about challenging each other, nurturing each other, allowing each other to thrive, and assisting in helping the other become better versions of themselves. It was the purest kind of love we’ve ever seen on TV.
Marshall and Lily, How I Met Your Mother
With adorable nicknames for each other like Marshmallow and Lilypad, what’s not to love? We’re talking, of course, about Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan), really the only solid couple from How I Met Your Mother. While the whole show was ostensibly about Ted (Josh Radnor) telling the story of how he met the mother of his children, these side characters were where the real romance was at.
College sweethearts Marshall and Lily got engaged in the pilot episode, married at the end of Season 2—after some time apart—and welcomed their son, Marvin, in Season 7 and daughter, Daisy, in Season 9. (The series finale mentioned an unnamed third baby, too.) Though they certainly had their moments, their cuddly nature and adorableness with each other always won us over.
Doug and Carol, ER
Anyone who caught an episode of ER’s first five seasons could tell you that Carol (Julianna Margulies) was going to fall in love with Doug (George Clooney). Even though Marguilies still had a year left in her contract, Clooney left the show after Season 5—but not for good. The actor pulled off one of the biggest, most unforgettable surprises in television history.
As Entertainment Weekly tells it, even NBC executives didn’t see that final cameo coming. (You know the one: Where Doug shows up in a Seattle home with Carol at the tail end of Season 6—Margulies’ last season.) And then, of course, the couple showed up again years later, at the end of Season 15, in the series finale, giving fans closure and assuring them this match made in heaven stood strong.
Cory and Topanga, Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World
It’s easy to compare Boy Meets World’s Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) to The Wonder Years‘ Kevin and Winnie. But there’s one obvious difference: Cory and Topanga wound up together at the end of the series and even returned years later in a spin-off—Girl Meets World—along with a family of their own.
Like Kevin and Winnie, though, these two were each other’s first kiss and first crush. They came of age together—from middle school to high school, from college to adulthood—winning the hearts of the audience along the way. Through their ups and downs, Cory and Topanga showed us that true love is meant to be fought for.
Phil and Vivian, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Like the central characters on The Jeffersons, Phil (James Avery) and Vivian (Janet Hubert-Whitten first, and Daphne Maxwell Reid later) Banks were an affluent black couple in a predominantly white world. But they lived across the country in the L.A. neighborhood of Bel-Air, where they took in their nephew (Will Smith playing a fictionalized version of himself).
Phil and Viv were a strong couple who were the core of their family—including kids Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro), Hilary (Karyn Parsons), and Ashley (Tatyana M. Ali). But they also learned about class differences and racism from their nephew, who was—as you may recall—born and raised in West Philadelphia. Just to reinforce how connected these characters were to the Jeffersons, George and Louise showed up to buy the Banks mansion in the series finale.
Sun and Jin, Lost
However you feel about the series finale of Lost, there’s no denying the love between Sun (Yunjin Kim) and Jin (Daniel Dae Kim). Even though the show featured a plane crash, a smoke monster, mind-bending time skips, a cadre of crazy scientists, and, oh, 46 other main characters, these two lovebirds stood out to fans.
Despite mounting tension, we couldn’t help but be touched when Sun gave Jin a phrasebook and their walls came down at the end of the first season. Then, in the final season, they tragically died together in a sinking submarine, choosing one another, even though it meant a certain death. The other couples on Lost don’t even come close to this pair.
Willow and Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
While Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) got attention for relationships with Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters), the best couple from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was, without question, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson). Willow began as a shy and timid high schooler, but we saw the character blossom into a powerful witch after coupling up with Tara in college. Though Tara met her tragic death in Season 6, witnessing Willow go evil as a result was one of the most expertly-crafted dramatic turns of the entire Buffy series.
Randall and Beth, This Is Us
Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) are, without question, the strongest couple on This Is Us. The show’s unique structure has assured fans that the duo will make it no matter what, as they’ve been seen happily together in flash-forwards. Knowing that allows viewers to watch them without any feelings of foreboding doom. And while we may know where Randall and Beth end up, the joy is watching them get there.
Luke and Lorelai, Gilmore Girls and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
Fans of Gilmore Girls often focus on the numerous love interests of Rory (Alexis Bledel), but it was really Lorelai (Lauren Graham) who had the truly iconic romance. The mother-daughter duo’s relationship is the cornerstone of the series—no one in their right mind would deny that—but it’s impossible to ignore the spark that existed between Lorelai and Luke (Scott Patterson). (Sorry, Rory!)
These two were admirable sparring partners when it came to the war of words featured in each episode, with the coffee-loving and fast-talking Lorelai being a grounding force for the scruffy Luke, best known for wearing flannel, a backwards baseball cap, and a permanent scowl. It’s a widely-known fact that Luke was originally only supposed to be in the pilot episode but, after Patterson displayed some incredible chemistry with Graham, producers decided to keep the character around Stars Hollow quite a bit longer—which was definitely the right decision.
Jim and Pam, The Office
What started out as a mutual crush and flirtation blossomed into a beautiful romance by the end of The Office. Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) had countless cute moments—from every time Jim came over to Pam’s reception desk, to when Pam drunkenly kissed Jim after the Dundies at Chili’s, to how Jim proposed to Pam at a gas station in the pouring rain, to getting married on the Maid of the Mist boat in Niagara Falls. There’s definitely a reason why online dating bios to this day say things like, “Looking for a Jim to my Pam” (or vice versa).
Rob and Laura, The Dick Van Dyke Show
Today’s viewers may look back on some classic TV shows and think of them as prude, but there’s no denying the magic between Rob (Dick Van Dyke) and Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Sure, the married couple slept in separate beds even though they had said “I do.” But the series was somehow able to convey that this was a vibrant young couple who absolutely adored each other.
On top of that, you had two of the biggest names in show business playing love interests, keeping fans tuning in week after week to see the Petries take on whatever life threw at them as a team—something that wasn’t necessarily the norm in the 1960s. They even had the honor of being called “TV’s most glamorous and stylish sitcom couple” by Vulture.
Mitch and Cam, Modern Family
Even though the novelty has worn thin as the seasons have gone by, you cannot ignore that Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) of Modern Family have helped improve the perception and representation of LGBTQ love on TV. Seeing these characters living their lives has been nothing short of groundbreaking. And to top it off, they are portrayed as parents after adopting a daughter, Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons).
As Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, once said, Modern Family “is genius in the way it integrates comedy and inclusion, and is able to educate and open people’s hearts and minds.”
Mike and Carol, The Brady Bunch
Here’s the story of a lovely couple who blended their families and, most importantly, grew together. We are, of course, talking about Mike (Robert Reed) and Carol (Florence Henderson) Brady, the man with three sons and the woman with three daughters who—along with their maid, Alice (Ann B. Davis)—tackled life’s many growing pains.
“While our real-life parents were splitting up at an alarming rate, those goody-goody Bradys were telling us a shameless lie about family life,” Jess Cagle of Entertainment Weekly wrote about The Brady Bunch. “We desperately believed it. Most of all, this was the family that the latchkey kids came home to every day after school, the family we could always count on.”
Miranda and Steve, Sex and the City
Let’s be honest: Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) was the only relatable character on Sex and the City. (I mean, she ordered Chinese food so often, the restaurant knew her name and order by heart.) So, when this career-driven lawyer who seemed to have everything planned out met Steve (David Eigenberg), a charmingly nerdy bartender who was quite the opposite, it was hard not to root for them.
Sure, they have a few breakups, but, when Steve was diagnosed with testicular cancer and they ended up reconnecting, Miranda got pregnant, and, after some thought, kept the baby—whom she later named Brady. They eventually reconciled in the first Sex and the City movie and you could practically hear fans proclaiming their belief in true love as a result. Sorry, Carrie and Big—Miranda and Steve are where it’s at.
Sam and Diane, Cheers
Not all couples are meant to be—and Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long) from Cheers were the perfect example of that. These two were pretty mismatched from the beginning; he was a womanizing bartender, she was an aspiring writer working as a cocktail waitress. What existed between these two was purely sexual tension, which is why their numerous attempts at starting a relationship never worked out. The final time they decided to give it a shot was in the series finale, which brought in 84.4 million viewers—making it the second most-watched series finale of all time. Sam and Diane were set to marry and ride off into the sunset together, but they realized, like Kevin and Winnie, they simply weren’t meant to be.
Roseanne and Dan, Roseanne
In terms of couples most of America can relate to, none come close to Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan (John Goodman) Connor on Roseanne, which debuted in 1988. The Connors were a textbook “regular” family living in the heartland dealing with issues that many Americans face on a daily basis—financial strains, family drama, that sort of thing. But these two kept each other and audiences in stitches with their antics, always showing that they loved and supported each other.
One thing that also isn’t mentioned too much is that they were an overweight couple without that element being the butt of the joke. Plus, how many other romances have we seen that could go away for nearly 20 years and come back to wow audiences again? Even though the Roseanne revival met its end after a racist controversy surrounding Barr, it’s hard not to think fondly of the couple in their 1980s and ’90s glory.
Paul and Jamie, Mad About You
Few TV couples have as much chemistry as Paul (Paul Reiser) and Jamie (Helen Hunt) did on the ’90s series Mad About You. The New York City pair was, well, mad about each other, but they struggled to keep their relationship running smoothly—you know, like the rest of us do.
Reiser and Hunt were fun to watch and they seemed to really like each other behind the scenes as well—something that definitely helped convince viewers that their onscreen love was real. Now, 20 years after we bid them a fond farewell, Paul and Jamie are set to return—with the original cast—in a revival sometime in 2019.
Lois and Clark, Smallville
It took nearly the full 10-season run of Smallville for this inevitable coupling to finally happen, though the chemistry between Lois (Erica Durance) and Clark (Tom Welling) had already been off the charts before it was official.
Once the two left Smallville behind, where they had more of a sibling relationship, and began working together at the Daily Planet, Superman fans were finally in comic book territory—and the romance started to heat up. Lois and Clark taught viewers a serious lesson: Patience is indeed a virtue, and it pays off.
Mindy and Danny, The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling has a deep love of rom-coms. So it makes sense that the main couple in her show, The Mindy Project, Mindy (Kaling) and Danny (Chris Messina), was cookie-cutter rom-com material. Watching these two polar opposites fall in love was great and even when they fall apart, we knew they would get back together (which they ultimately did in the series finale). It always had to be them.
Veronica and Logan, Veronica Mars
Any characters whose relationship nickname is LoVe have to end up together, right? Veronica (Kristen Bell) and Logan (Jason Dohring) on Veronica Mars couldn’t have been more different. She was a teen moonlighting as a detective—as feisty and quick-witted as they come. While he was the bad boy son of an A-list actor who had everything served to him on a silver platter, but was still full of angst. Viewers saw their layers peeled back only to reveal two vulnerable creatures who just wanted to love and be loved.
Sure, there were many ups and downs for LoVe, but, as they themselves noted, their story was “epic.” And it was part of the reason why fans funded a Veronica Mars feature film in 2013 (in fact, they raised more than $5.7 million of its $2 million goal). The film was released in 2014 and now, five years later, Veronica Mars lives on yet again with a new season set to air on Hulu. There’s no stopping the LoVe.
Fran and Maxwell, The Nanny
We have never rooted for a boss and their employee to get together more than we did with Maxwell (Charles Shaughnessy) and Fran (Fran Drescher) on The Nanny. In the 1990s, viewers hung on to every high-pitched word that came out of Fran’s mouth, just wishing Mr. Sheffield would hurry up and fall for the woman who had been there for him and his kids all along. Eventually, it happened and, as the show headed into its sixth—and final—season, they finally got married, adding twins to their brood in the series finale. Was it inappropriate? Maybe. Did we love it? Absolutely.
Yorkie and Kelly, Black Mirror
Black Mirror, for the uninitiated, is an episodic anthology series; every episode features a brand-new setting, plot, and characters. When you imagine the best TV couples in history, you probably imagine characters you’ve spent dozens, if not hundreds, of episodes getting to know. So it’s extremely impressive that, in just one episode, the creators of Black Mirror were able to give viewers a couple that rivals the best of the best.
In the Season 3 episode “San Junipero,” the two main characters—Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)—headed to the titular town. It was seemingly stuck in ‘80s nostalgia, but that was actually part of a simulated reality in which the elderly can live—even after death. It was a rather optimistic story for such a notoriously bleak show, though the ending was admittedly a bit bittersweet. The Emmy-winning episode has been viewed as a triumph for LGBTQ representation.
Kurt and Blaine, Glee
The Glee creators came up with multiple iconic couplings, but the top spot goes to Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss)—the ultimate “teenage dream.” Though they came with the usual trappings of young gay characters (coming out, bullying, etc.), theirs was also a teen romance just like any other teen romance. For example, the episode “Original Song” featured their first kiss, while the episode “First Time” has them lose their virginities to each other.
Both instances were treated with the same pomp and circumstance as their straight counterparts, helping to normalize LGBTQ relationships for young viewers. Fans finally got what they wanted when Klaine—as well as Brittany (Heather Morris) and Santana (Naya Rivera)—exchanged “I do’s” in the final season, something June Thomas of Slate called “the gayest thing I’ve ever seen on television—and ever expect to see.”
Ned and Chuck, Pushing Daisies
We take for granted the fact that our favorite TV couples are free to hold hands, kiss, hug, and take it all the way—but what if they couldn’t do any of those things? That was the case with Ned (Lee Pace) and Chuck (Anna Friel) on the gone-too-soon series Pushing Daisies. Ned was a pie maker with the ability to bring back the dead with a simple touch. The only catch was that if he touched the undead again, they’d die permanently.
So, when the dessert connoisseur’s childhood crush, Chuck, was murdered, he brought her back to life. But, in order for her to stay alive, they couldn’t have any physical contact. The two fell in love all over again, utilizing their imaginations to show their affection for each other. This intricate plot setup gifted viewers with one incredible smooch through plastic wrap, a moment that ended up on TVLine’s roundup of the Best Kisses in TV History.
Jane and Michael, Jane the Virgin
Even though the titular character shines with Rafael (Justin Baldoni), there’s no denying the magic that was Jane (Gina Rodriguez) and Michael (Brett Dier). This love triangle at the center of Jane the Virgin nearly gave us whiplash going back-and-forth between two endgame-worthy dudes.
While Jane is with Rafael in the show’s final season, the starry-eyed writer originally chose to marry Michael—before he died and later came back to life, that is. While their ferris wheel kiss was aww-worthy, their wedding packed an emotional punch that made fans go through an entire box of tissues (or two). Michael delivered his vows in Spanish (thanks to help from Jane’s abuela), a move that cemented him as the TV crush to end all TV crushes. They may not have ended up together, but their love story is one we’ll never forget.
Dre and Rainbow, Black-ish
What we love about Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) Johnson on Black-ish is that they unflinchingly handle whatever life throws at them—be it a social issue, a political issue, or a relationship issue—and they come out the other side as better people and better partners.
While older shows—and even some contemporary ones—may treat a character’s race as largely a background detail, Black-ish puts it front and center. We’ve seen Dre and Bow celebrate their family’s highest highs and we’ve also seen them openly and honestly tackle their lowest lows, but these two always help guide their family in the right direction and aren’t afraid to embrace new viewpoints themselves.
Louis and Jessica, Fresh Off the Boat
Fresh Off the Boat, based on Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same name, centers on Louis (Randall Park) and Jessica (Constance Wu) Huang and their three children. The couple, like many others on TV, couldn’t be more different: Louis is personable and laid back, while Jessica is completely no-nonsense and to the point. But it’s this dichotomy between them that makes Louis and Jessica so enjoyable to watch—they truly balance each other out.
Bob and Linda, Bob’s Burgers
Bob’s Burgers is about a family-run hamburger restaurant, and while the animated series focuses heavily on the Belcher children, it would be just as good if it were solely about dad Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and mom Linda (John Roberts).
While Bob is a caring dad and more of the level-headed figure, Linda is the life of the party and is often blindly optimistic about anything and everything. Their family unit may be one of the weirdest on television—seriously, one of their kids even started s a rumor that the burgers are made of human flesh—but we love them for all their quirks.
Rayna and Deacon, Nashville
Love never sounded sweeter than it did when Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon (Charles Esten) sang about it on Nashville. This musical drama, about a legendary country singer whose star was fading (Rayna), was made all that more interesting when she began falling for her former lover (Deacon).
The two ultimately got together, only to be torn apart yet again, but they proved to be a couple worth rooting for each week. For example, just try watching the eye contact they make while belting out the hauntingly beautiful “No One Will Ever Love You” without getting goosebumps. You can’t. It is impossible.
Poussey and Soso, Orange Is The New Black
There are few characters who had a love as tragic—and meaningful—as the one between Poussey (Samira Wiley) and Soso (Kimiko Glenn) on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. The series is known for featuring same-sex couples—after all, it does take place in a women’s prison—but while Poussey was completely sure of her sexual orientation, it took Soso a bit longer to gain the courage she needed to fully embrace it. And, just as Soso seemed to fully come around, Poussey tragically died.
Poussey’s death was not without consequences; it completely upended the show and Soso became a changed person—more confident and ready to do whatever she needed to avenge her lover. It was a devastating outcome for these two, but they had the strongest relationship on a show full of strong relationships.
Seth and Summer, The O.C.
You may think the popular girl falling for the nerdy guy is a bit overdone—and you’d be correct—but it’s hard not to root for The O.C.’s Seth (Adam Brody) and Summer (Rachel Bilson). What started out as a crush between the awkward nerd and the school beauty became a true love story for the ages.
Seth found out that Summer wasn’t as cool as she seemed, and Summer learned that Seth was more complex than he appeared. At first it was Seth who felt the need to measure up to Summer, but it ended up being the complete opposite by the series’ end. That was the ride The O.C. took fans on—and, given the chemistry between these two, we would definitely buy a ticket over and over again.
David and Patrick, Schitt’s Creek
What began as a business partnership quickly proved to be one of the most darling relationships on TV. We’ve watched David (Dan Levy) and Patrick (Noah Reid) on Schitt’s Creek go from running Rose Apothecary together to now being engaged and ready to take the plunge into married life—which we’ll likely see in the upcoming final season of the Canadian series.
Perhaps our favorite thing they’ve ever done, though, is when Patrick wowed everyone with a gorgeous acoustic rendition of “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner and David returned the favor with a passionate lip-sync worthy of winning RuPaul’s Drag Race. David and Patrick don’t only revere each other, but they know how to show divas a little respect. It’s a tough call to deem them the best couple from Schitt’s Creek—because they’re all pretty incredible—but their nuanced story and emotional arc is deserving of the honor.
Eleanor and Chidi, The Good Place
Though they may have been set up as soulmates under false pretenses, The Good Place’s Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper) have proven that not even the inner workings of the afterlife can keep two people apart who are destined to be together. In what at first glance looked like a heaven-esque existence—but actually turned out to be a torturous social experiment—we met Eleanor, a self-described “garbage person” who didn’t care about anyone else, and Chidi, an ethics professor who struggled to make the right—or rather any—decision.
Even after having their memories reset literally hundreds of times, these two keep finding their way to each other and falling in love again and again. They could just be another example of two completely different people somehow being drawn to one another, but to limit them like that would be a pop culture travesty.
Rob and Sharon, Catastrophe
You might not think highly of a relationship mostly existing because of a one-night stand that resulted in an unexpected pregnancy, but Rob (Rob Delaney) and Sharon (Sharon Horgan) on Catastrophe will change your mind. These people are refreshing because of just how much they are flawed, proving that perhaps two wrongs do make a right.
Rob and Sharon make us feel like it’s okay to wonder if you’re doing this whole life thing the right way or if you’re just screwing it all up. They prove that soulmates don’t have to be perfect, they just have to actually strive to be there for each other (and, if they have one, their little family).
Elena and Syd, One Day at a Time
Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Syd (Sheridan Pierce) from One Day at a Time—a take on Norman Lear’s classic TV show of the same name—deserve as much recognition as they can get. This new version centered on a Cuban-American family living in L.A. and, during the first season, Elena coming out. The teen eventually found her first love with Syd, who identified as gender non-binary (opting for they/them pronouns). Not only were these kids just as nerdy as each other, but they were also both open and honest about their feelings and weren’t afraid to stand up for themselves and each other.
Kristina and Adam, Parenthood
You name it and we can guarantee you that Kristina (Monica Potter) and Adam (Peter Krause) faced it on Parenthood—together, might we add. They had three kids together, one of whom had Asperger’s syndrome; Adam had his own business; and Kristina battled breast cancer (beating it by the series end), ran for public office, and started a school for students with disabilities.
The thing that set them apart was that they faced these hardships together and also celebrated their many achievements along the way. The Braverman family was a big one, but so was the love that they all had for each other—and there was no bond stronger than the one between Kristina and Adam.
Damon and Elena, The Vampire Diaries
The Vampire Diaries delivered one of TV’s best love triangles—Damon (Ian Somerhalder), Elena (Nina Dobrev), and Stefan (Paul Wesley). Oh, and did we mention two of the three were vampire brothers?
Some fans will tell you that Elena was best with Stefan when she was human and made more sense with Damon after her transformation into a bloodsucker was complete. Both relationships were dynamic and full of emotion, but we have to give it to Damon and Elena (dubbed Delena) over Stefan and Elena (AKA Stelena). Plus, Dobrev and Somerhalder dated off screen, meaning that chemistry between their fictional characters was the real deal.
Hank and Peggy, King of the Hill
“I tell you what,” we just can’t get enough of King of the Hill’s central relationship: Hank (Mike Judge) and Peggy (Kathy Najimy), a couple whose love for each other was bigger than the state of Texas.
Hank was a family man who was proud to be a part of the “propane and propane accessories” business, while Peggy was a substitute teacher specializing in Spanish (which she had a terrible grasp on). Hank was often confused or anxious when it came to modern trends and generally had the desire to do the right thing, while Peggy would change up recipes just enough so that she could give them a new name (like “Spa-Peggy & Meatballs”) and whose gullible nature often got the best of her. At the end of the day, though, it was hard not to adore the Hills.
Mulder and Scully, The X-Files
Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) was a firm believer in the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life and its presence on Earth, while Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) remained rooted in skepticism and explained things away with logic.
The FBI agents’ romance only seemed to get better as the seasons progressed and we had to wait until very late in the series for them to even share a first kiss. When they did, though, sparks flew and they cemented themselves in pop culture history. Luckily, we got to see Mulder and Scully return for two more seasons in recent years, in addition to two feature films.
Stef and Lena, The Fosters
Police officer Stef (Teri Polo) and principal Lena (Sherri Saum) got off to a rocky start. They met when Stef was married to a man and wasn’t out—though she eventually divorced her husband in order to be with Lena.
The Fosters showed that two women can have a strong, love-filled marriage and create a beautifully flawed blended family, made up of biological, adopted, and foster children. These two were inherently good people who were good to each other, too. No matter what came at these ladies, they pushed through, giving audiences something to believe in.
Rebecca and Herself, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Even though Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) had three suitors—Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), Greg (Santino Fontana originally, Skylar Astin later), and Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster)—to choose from in the series finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, she ended up choosing herself.
“I’m sure a lot of people are going to ask, ‘OK, so who does she end up with later in life?’ And the answer is, ‘I don’t know,’” Bloom—who co-created the series—told Vulture. “She knows who she is. Everyone else is in a different place. She could move to Paris for two years to study music and meet a guy there. And it’s nice, letting her be free.”
It was a refreshing outcome that made Crazy Ex-Girlfriend even more unique than it already was from the beginning—a show that took the rom-com structure, added in a musical aspect, and made it very timely by tackling topics openly and honestly. And for more amazing small-screen trivia, Here Are the Yearly Salaries of Your Favorite TV Characters.
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