What makes a great fictional couple? Is it the kind that we aspire to be in our own lives, or the ones who are nothing like us but that we find ourselves rooting for on the sidelines? Is it more about harmony and compatibility, or entertainment value above all else?
As a Valentine’s Day treat, the team here at NewsCult pondered those very questions as we chose those romantic pairs that have staked out a place in our hearts like no other.
Jim Halpert and Pam Beesley (The Office)
The Office is a show about everyday people doing an everyday monotonous job. The characters’ lives are based in hard reality, yet Jim Halpert and Pam Beesley have a fairy tale relationship that fits within the show’s realism. They’re perfect for each other, like most TV characters are made to be, but these two are different. We had to wait for these two.
Everyone knew Jim and Pam would get together, despite their attempts at other relationships, fights, and fallouts. They got together when the time was right for their characters, not for the show, which isn’t always the case in a TV series. It took until season three for them to be a couple, but their relationship was deep in the first episode. Christopher Craddock, News Writer
Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski (Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind)
I really can’t give enough praise when it comes to this film. If you haven’t seen it, I’m not even sure I can carry on a conversation with you without judgment. The relationship that Joel and Clementine share is such a poignant, core-shaking example of what it truly means to be in love with a person who may not exactly be right for you and all of the chaos that goes along with that. It opens up a dialogue about memory and heartbreak and whether it’s better (or even possible) to forget the imprint someone had on your soul. It’s beautiful and sad and frustrating all at once. They are most definitely a couple that has left a lasting impression on me and I’d venture to say on anyone who has watched this movie. Melissa Copelton, Opinion Editor
Nick Miller and Jessica Day (New Girl)
I’m still holding out hope for these two. Between their solid friendship base, that incredible first kiss, their hilarious rapport and the fact that Nick’s feet are almost always pointed toward her—it just doesn’t get much better. Skye Davis, Culture Editor
John Dorian M.D. and Chris Turk M.D. (Scrubs)
Most people think Valentines are about having that special someone to hold you tight, feed you chocolates, and to pressure you into marriage. Sometimes, however, love and romance can happen between BFF’s. Casual watchers of Scrubs know the two as Turk and J.D., but real fans refer to them as the Bromance that topped all Bromances. In what the Internet refers to as “the most powerful bond a man can share with another human being,” (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=guy%20love) this untraditional Valentine’s duo tops any other fictional couple. David Liu, News Writer
Jeff Winger and Annie Edison (Community)
Are the best fictional couples the ones that you pull for right from the start, or the ones who gradually sneak up you? It might depend on the medium, but I know I prefer the latter. The heartwrenching saga of Jeff and Annie may seem like the ultimate surprise love story, in that even their creators never really meant for them to fit together as well as they do. But somehow, when you go back and re-watch earlier seasons, they inexplicably appear perfect for each other right from the start. Alas, for six seasons they were never an official couple … unless you interpret the series finale generously, in which case they became one just in time. Jeffrey Malone, Entertainment Editor
Tina Belcher and Jimmy Pesto, Jr. (Bob’s Burgers)
Does a better “Will they? Won’t they?” story exist anywhere in the history of television? Probably, but this one makes me laugh. They’re the Ross and Rachel of our generation, just way less annoying. Also, more butt jokes and dance moves. Both good things. Michael McCarville, Entertainment Writer
Ralph and Alice Kramden (The Honeymooners)
My favorite fictional couple is Ralph and Alice Kramden from The Honeymooners. In the context of pop culture, they are the progenitors of the “dopey husband and smart aleck wife” trope that has been aped (with varying degrees of success) by an immeasurable slew of sitcoms.
Sticking with that trope, no matter how much hot water Ralph’s half-baked antics land him in, Alice is always there to lovingly needle him every step of the way. Between all the ups and downs and the “Bam zooms,” baby, they’re still the greatest. Daniel McQuade, Man Cave Writer
Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
This timeless romance is one of my absolute favorites because it is essentially two people being total dicks to each other. Not only has this classic tale had countless spinoffs, including Bridget Jones’ Diary and the totally underrated Bride and Prejudice (ok, maybe it’s appropriately rated), but its original form is also pure gold. The quips Lizzy and Darcy throw back and forth are awesome, and what attracts the two most is the recognition of a true adversary in the other. This isn’t some lovey dovey romance where the woman is so gorgeous that the man can’t help but fall for her, and the man is so dashing that he saves the poor damsel. Lizzy is a total badass, who can think for herself and isn’t marriage-obsessed like all her sisters. She is her father’s favorite, and for good reason. Darcy is handsome, wealthy and accomplished, but that isn’t what Lizzy falls for. The love that grows between them is the result of a cultivated understanding of the other person’s character. Lizzy is the original feminist icon, and Darcy isn’t put off by her strong will and intelligence. Unlike Taming of the Shrew, he doesn’t eventually break her and force her to conform to the subservient wife role. Darcy respects Lizzy, and grows to love the partner he knows she will become.
If you want the long version, go for the BBC TV series with a deliciously young Colin Firth giving you model British stuffiness. If you want the whole thing in a 3-hour package, do the Keira Knightly film version. Want it à la 2016? Do the Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series. No matter which way you do it, prepare for some fire, because this ain’t The Notebook kids. Jasmine Romero, Man Cave Writer
Ross Geller and Rachel Green (Friends)
Ross and Rachel are THE most relatable television couple ever. They were together, then not together, then they kissed, then they were on a break, then they got back together, then they broke up again, then they had sex, had a baby, and eventually ended up together. In other words, Ross and Rachel are basically everyone’s spirit animals. Gayana Sark, Editor-in-Chief
Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson (Glee)
Glee was one of the first TV shows that I was really invested in, despite the poor writing following the show’s third season and beyond. The characters that did keep me watching for all six seasons were Kurt and Blaine. It was so much fun to watch these friends to lovers (to exes, to engaged to exes to married) especially as they developed their relationship through the power of well choreographed duets (their version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is still one of my favorite versions of that song) that contained off-the-charts chemistry.
Though they may have not been the most well written TV couple to exist, I loved watching their journey unfold, even through the very end. Plus, when Blaine proposed to Kurt on the same steps that they first met on, I may have wept a bit. Marissa Sblendorio, Man Cave Editor
April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer (Parks and Recreaction)
My favorite couple is April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer. They are the perfect counterbalance to each other. They have a classic cat and dog relationship that somehow works to bring out the best in both of them. Emily van den Blink, Science Writer