Soapbox: Small screen, big love – The 10 best TV couples of all time

Friends_Ross_Rachel
If you grew up in the 90s, chances are these guys were your fave couple

If there’s one thing that pop culture is not short of, it’s great romances.

Nowhere is this more the case than TV, a medium pretty much built around the “Will they/won’t they?” model of dramatic tension.

In honour of Valentine’s Day, I’ve rounded up the following list of the 10 best TV couples of all time – full warning: increased heart rate and misty eyes are likely to ensue.

10. Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly
TheOffice_Jim_Pam
In case you were wondering, this is exactly what love looks like

Once it found its feet, the US version of The Office really delivered the goods, and this was especially so when it came to romantic leads Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly.

One of the cutest couples ever seen on screen, Jim and Pam– with their unimpressive jobs and average (by Hollywood standards) looks – proved a loveably identifiable pair, and their office romance is something many viewers could relate to.

Fans of the UK original might argue that Tim and Dawn should be included on this list instead, but the fact is, we never actually saw them together (except for a few brief moments in the Christmas Special), whereas we followed Jim and Pam all the way from the initial dating stages through to marriage and finally parenthood.

Through it all, they’ve been a realistic model of a young couple in love, figuring out how to make it work, and above all, remaining best friends along the way.

9. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage
JessicaJones_Luke_Jessica
The coolest couple on the list? Possibly

The first of several turbulent couples on this list, these two are dynamite – and not just in bed (although they’ve broken at least one of those).

The star of Marvel Entertainment and Netflix joint production Jessica Jones, Jessica is carrying some emotional issues due to years of abuse at the hands of supervillain Kilgrave which make relationships a struggle for her, and things aren’t made any easier when Luke learns that Jessica killed his wife – a pretty big stumbling block for any couple.

Despite all of this, these two make a good fit for each other, with their complementary superpowers and mutual understanding of what it means to be a street level hero in New York.

8. Philip J. Fry and Turanga Leela
Futurama_Fry_Leela
Just your typical “boy meets cyclops” love story

Futurama’s Fry and Leela epitomise the saying “Love finds a way”.

Indeed, although Leela often knocked Fry back for much of the series as a result of his childishness – and unbelievable stupidity – he eventually won her over thanks to his sweetness, loyalty and bravery.

This couple has had several big moments in their time – many of them the result of incredible grand gestures by Fry – but the most definitive comes in series finale “Meanwhile”.

Here, we see them grow old together and then, even knowing how things have played out between them, accepting the offer to literally do things all over again.

If thinking that’s perfect is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!

7. Nomi Marks and Amanita
Sense8_Nomi_Amanita
Just because you’re being tracked by a shadowy organisation doesn’t mean you can’t take time out for coffee

Sense8 was a pleasant surprise when it arrived on Netflix in 2015, and part of its charm lies in the love stories experienced by its cast of international psychics.

Of these, arguably the strongest was that shared by trans woman Nomi and her non-psychic partner Amanita. These two tick all the boxes of a strong relationship – they support each other and stick by each other no matter what.

They are also a loving and affectionate couple, and their resilience is second to none. That Amanita is able to gently observe that “What’s Up?” by the 4 Non Blondes made the perfect soundtrack for Nomi’s near-lobotomy perfectly sums up why they work so well together.

6. Ross Geller and Rachel Green
Friends_Ross_Rachel_kiss
This is like the 1,056th time these two have gotten back together

Let’s just get this out of the way: Ross and Rachel’s relationship might have driven much of Friends, but it also nearly drove audiences to insanity.

In that regard it was similar to many real-life “on/off” romances, where you often just want the couple to break up and stay broken up.

And yet the unquestionable connection between these two characters ultimately gets them over the line, and it’s impossible to deny the happy feeling you felt every time they got back together (especially the last time!).

5. The Doctor and Rose Tyler
DoctorWho_Rose_Doctor
Somewhere on the Internet, there’s a music video with this picture in it

Everyone loves a star-crossed love story, and what could be more so than the story of the immortal Time Lord from space who fell for the mortal girl from London?

The tenth incarnation of the Doctor shared an electric chemistry with Rose, and they were clearly two people who loved spending time – and travelling the universe – together.

Things only really got shaky whenever the pair slowed down long enough to confront their feelings for each other, and weren’t helped when they later became trapped in separate dimensions.

Still, the Doctor and Rose enjoyed a happy ending of sorts when she was able to start a relationship with a human version of her man capable of growing old with her, even if it did mean that the real Doctor was left on his own.

4. Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big
SexandtheCity_Big_Carrie
Romance – New York style

Sex and the City was groundbreaking in its celebration of female sexuality, yet the relationship between Carrie and Big serves as a reminder that at its heart, the show was really a story about finding love.

Over the course of its six seasons, we saw Carrie and Big make countless stumbles along the pathway to togetherness, but there was never really any doubt that once they sorted through their emotional issues – most notably, his fear of commitment – they would end up a lasting item.

3. Piper Chapman and Alex Vause
OrangeistheNewBlack_Piper_Alex
Issues: These two have them

Yet another volatile couple, Piper and Alex are either the best or worst thing to happen to each other.

Orange is the New Black wouldn’t be the same without this pair, and even though they might not stay together for long, when they are they’re great to watch.

Despite both being wildly flawed individuals, these two have an amazingly strong bond, and their awareness of their own faults and understanding of themselves and their relationship means that when they are a couple, you really do hope they’ll work things out.

2. Homer and Marge Simpson
The Simpsons_Homer_Marge
He might be an idiot, but Homer sure does have the moves

Homer and Marge are probably the cutest couple on this list.

There’s a view out there on the Internet that The Simpsons marriage is actually a tragic one: that Marge getting knocked up meant she HAD to marry Homer, and give up a promising career as an artist.

Frankly, this is crap.

These two fell in love at an early age, sure – but they’ve also had their marriage tested multiple times and never walked out when the opportunity arose, and BOTH have sacrificed a lot to make things work, not just Marge (Homer didn’t just quit his dream job, he re-entered another that he actively despises in order to support the family).

Considering all the many heartwarming moments between Springfield’s sweetest twosome – from singing “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” on a bicycle to making out in a lighthouse searchlight and beyond – they’re a pretty tough act to top.

1. Eric and Tami Taylor
FridayNightLights_Tami_Coach
These two, you guys…

Coach Eric Taylor and his wife Tami present us with another great marriage, and are proof that you can show a healthy relationship in serialised drama without resorting to scandalous storylines.

The Super Couple of Friday Night Lights, these two are pretty much what anyone who believes in love aspires to: nearly two decades into their marriage, they’re still deeply in love with and attracted to one another.

Crucially, they also value the same things and support each other’s dreams – Tami is the rock that allows Eric to dedicate himself to football, and in the end, he is able to repay her commitment by backing her decision to move to Philadelphia for work.

The key quote from the series is “Clear Eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” – between them, Coach and Tami are living proof of that.

That’s it for this Soapbox – now it’s your chance to join in!

Who is your favourite TV couple? What makes them so great? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

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Soapbox: Small screen, big love – The 10 best TV couples of all time

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