On a personal note, this is a very difficult topic for me. Not because of the whole “oh, it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m single, everyone has love but me” (said in whiny Ricky Gervais voice) nonsense but because when I was twelve I had a little whiteboard and one day I spent hours devising lists upon lists of my very favorite TV couples. For real. Thank god blogs didn’t exist when I was a pre-teen or I would’ve had to name it “SHAME.”
5. Happy Days (1974 – 1984) Joanie and Chachi
The Soap Opera Effect
This is a legit thing. It’s practically scientific. The reason why your grandmother is obsessed with Days of Our Lives, Young & The Restless, General Hospital etc? Sure, there’s sex and drama and corny moments galore. But there’s also a very real, very visceral reaction to watching someone for years and years, especially when that someone started out as a child. You invest in that person without realizing it, you watch and watch and one day you realize they’ve grown up, right before your eyes. It makes you somewhat emotional, dammit, when they celebrate their Sweet Sixteen, learn to drive, get their hearts broken for the first time, graduate high school… and especially when they, in this case Joanie “Shortcake” Cunningham, fall in love with the once goofy, gawky cousin of the super cool guy who lives above your parents’ garage. This video proves it. We love Joanie with Chachi mostly because we love Joanie AND Chachi. We watched them grow up, get together, break up, make up, get married. We saw it all, over the course of the show’s ten year run. (Also, it’s Scott Baio for God’s sake. That guy is ’70s, ’80s magic. That part’s not exactly rocket science.)
4. Dawson’s Creek (1998 – 2003) Pacey and Joey
The Perfect Triangle
I just actually watched those clips and want to die a little. What were they thinking when they wrote this show’s dialogue? Why is Pacey calling Joey a “woman”? She is SIXTEEN. I don’t even call myself a woman now, for God’s sake. Anyway. Step aside from Dawson’s obvious shortcomings and focus on the show’s biggest surprise. Clearly, Dawson Leery was supposed to end up with little Joey Potter (tomboy, a modern day Jo March, literally the girl-next-door). The first season literally threw Joey at his feet as she climbed through the window of his room, after a year of angst that only a bunch of 15 year olds can muster. So then what happens? Dawson’s best friend falls in love with her too. And when that best friend (you can hear the call PACEY! over the blogosphere whenever Joshua Jackson makes an appearance in real life) is pretty much the Lloyd Dobbler of Capeside? Poor Cerealbox Head doesn’t stand a chance.
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003) Buffy and Angel
The Beauty and the Beast
Well, so of COURSE the love of vampire slayer Buffy Summers’ life is a vampire. Of COURSE it is. Years before teenaged girls got sucked into the Twilight rabbit hole, before HBO had even heard of True Blood, sixteen-year-old Buffy developed the hots (it’s a ’90s expression, it works, leave me alone) for a 300 year old vampire with a soul. The show, in its smartest years, used Buffy and Angel’s relationship as a metaphor for the overpowering effect of first love (in maybe the most powerful example, Buffy decides to sleep with her boyfriend, for the first time, on her birthday, not knowing that the Gypsy curse of Angel’s human soul would be removed the moment he experienced a glimpse of pure happiness. So, yeah. Buffy wakes up the next day, all happy and in love… and her boyfriend has turned into a total monster. And you thought only Mormons could provide a subtle hint about the trouble sex can bring. Silly rabbit.)
2. The Office ( 2001 – 2003 / 2005 – Present) Tim and Dawn / Jim and Pam
The Kindred Spirits
Before there was Jim and Pam, there was Tim and Dawn. The settings may be slightly different but the stories started out the same- everyman Tim/Jim fall for their best office-mate, receptionist Dawn/Pam. Trouble is, she’s engaged to someone else. The beauty of how The Office plays what could’ve been a typical office romance is the dynamic between the two couples. Tim (it’s easier to stick with the first and greatest) is the Voice of Reason in this mad, mad world. He’s the one rolling his eyes along with us and wondering if everyone’s taken their crazy pills. S0, naturally he’s drawn toward pretty Dawn. She gets it. She knows everyone’s crazy. They speak the same language and in a world where you often feel like the last sane person on earth, this is crucial. It’s a lifeline. It doesn’t hurt when both of you are cute, funny, snarky and you let us all in on the joke. Of COURSE we’re rooting for you.
(Warning: this video will kill you)
(And the happy ending we needed)
1. The Cosby Show (1984 – 1992) Clair and Cliff Huxtable
The Perfect Couple
The following clip is ABSURD. Someone for Cliff Huxtable other than Clair? Please. TV has never gotten a pair more right than Brooklyn’s favorite Doctor/Lawyer duo. They’re smart, they’re playful, they fit each other like a forbidden hoagie with a bag of potato chips. There was no other way for The Cosby Show to end its eight year run than for Cliff and Clair to dance their way out of the studio. No other way.