Note: This article contains spoilers
Whether you’re single or not, chances are, you’ve spent plenty of time gushing over fictional characters. Millions of viewers watch love lives unfold behind the screen, rooting for their favorite couples and bickering with anyone who disagrees. Team Peeta or Team Gale? Are Edward and Bella endgame? Or does Jacob stand a chance? The paths these characters take are often out of our control, so sometimes, our beloved ships never sail the sea. Nevertheless, it’s always fun to fantasize about what could have been.
Here are a few of my favorite television couples, some more controversial than others.
Jess & Rory (“Gilmore Girls”)
Jess is the epitome of the right person at the wrong time. As soon as he comes into the picture, it is clear he and Rory are the perfect match. Despite Lorelai’s discouragement, Rory gives Jess the chance no one has ever given him before, seeing beyond his troublesome exterior. The two share an interest in reading and music and constantly push each other to become the best version of themselves. Jess calls out Rory for her mistakes, encouraging her to return to Yale, and Rory’s faith in Jess allows him to flourish as a writer. Jess truly connects with Rory in a way that neither Dean nor Logan ever did; the former held Rory back, while the latter pushed her to extremes. Both Jess and Rory grew a great deal from their short-lived relationship, but the two of them were young and hadn’t quite found a sense of purpose yet.
Jess does make an appearance in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” but with the ending up to interpretation, one can only hope their relationship panned out.
Devi & Ben (“Never Have I Ever”)
I’m a sucker for the enemies to lovers trope, so shipping Devi and Ben was a no-brainer for me. Beyond that, I found Ben’s character to have a better backstory and a lot more complexity than Paxton, who Devi immediately idolizes. As Ben and Devi begin to forgo their competitive nature, they realize just how much they relate to one another, causing friendship to blossom. He welcomes Devi into his home, no questions asked, and rallies Devi’s friends, bringing them back together. Ben does everything he can to ensure she makes it in time to spread her father’s ashes, and better yet, he is waiting for her when she gets back. Viewers see Ben struggling to build up his confidence when it comes to making his feelings known, bringing in a level of vulnerability Paxton never quite reaches.
Joey & Rachel (“Friends”)
This pairing is very out-there, I know. I’m not super passionate about this one, but I definitely found it preferable to Ross and Rachel, who were clearly endgame. Though Joey and Rachel’s relationship is platonic for most of the series, this, arguably, makes their romance all the more meaningful. On the other hand, Ross has been obsessed with Rachel since high school, rarely respecting her interests. He is constantly plagued with jealousy and is entirely uninterested in seeing Rachel fulfill her ambitions in the fashion industry. Joey, on the other hand, is there for Rachel throughout, pushing her to pursue her dreams and letting her move in with him while pregnant. Most importantly, Joey doesn’t let the fact that Rachel turns him down ruin their friendship. He respects her decision, while Ross spends years proclaiming, “We were on a break!”
Bob & Linda (“Bob’s Burgers”)
There’s not much to say here, besides the fact that Bob and Linda are the very definition of a good marriage. They have their disagreements, just like any other couple, but they never go to unreasonable extremes. Bob and Linda are always able to come together and support each other, whether it comes to parenting or their business. Their love may not come across as particularly notable or passionate, but they have all the essentials: teamwork, patience and communication. They find joy in the little things and have an extremely healthy relationship. It’s refreshing when most other on-screen romances are riddled with drama.
Grizz & Sam (“The Society”)
Unfortunately, “The Society” hasn’t been renewed for a second season, but it was good while it lasted, with Grizz and Sam reigning as the best couple from the show. In contrast to Sia’s portrayal of autism, Sam is played by Sean Berdy, an actor who was born deaf. Grizz is eager to learn sign language to communicate with Sam, even though the latter can read lips. Much to his chagrin, Grizz accidentally learns British Sign Language instead of ASL, but it proves to be an adorable and comedic turning point in their relationship. Grizz stands apart, making literary references, offering support to several characters including Sam and maintaining far more rationality than the other jocks in times of distress. In turn, Sam finds great comfort in his presence, but ultimately chooses to risk their relationship to help his best friend, Becca. Both Grizz and Sam are extremely selfless individuals and putting them together allows them to put themselves first for once.
Honorable Mentions: Jess & Nick, Kurt & Blaine, Jim & Pam, April & Andy, Leslie & Ben, Lorelai & Luke, Jessica & Louis