Roundtable: Who are your favorite fictional love interests?

Books, film and television are perfect ways to make us fall in love with fictional characters. The Daily Campus Life Section discusses which fictional couples are their favorites! Illustration by Kaitlyn Tran/The Daily Campus

Books, film and television are mediums that offer a realm of captivating fiction. As themes of romance tend to thrive in writing, we can’t help but immerse ourselves in the minds of beloved characters experiencing their own romantic arcs. And what better day than today to discuss which lovers we love?

Karla Perez, Campus Correspondent

My favorite fictional love interests would have to be “Criminal Minds’” own Spencer Reid and Maeve Donovan. While the end of their love story was tragic, every other part of their romance was sweet and innocent. 

Spencer did everything in his power to conceal Maeve’s identity to protect her from her stalker. He didn’t even dare tell Jennifer Jareau, his best friend in the show, about her. Despite his ever-changing schedule and demanding job, Spencer still managed to figure out a specific call schedule with Maeve so that they could speak to each other without fear of the stalker listening in. He had never seen Maeve’s face before until the moment of her death. But despite the unknown, he loved her for her character, not her physique. 

The two of them knew that until Maeve’s safety from the stalker was guaranteed, they could not truly be together; although, the couple’s shared words and massive efforts to spend time together revealed that they loved each other deeply. The dedication this couple put into protecting each other without asking for too much is what makes Spencer and Maeve my favorite love interests in TV. 

Joanne Biju, Associate Life Editor

Over winter break, I discovered the underrated masterpiece that is NBC’s “Superstore.” The show is a refreshing take on workplace comedy, completely unrelated to the works of Michael Schur — namely “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

“Superstore” takes place at a big-box store called Cloud Nine and in the very first episode viewers are introduced to my newest favorite fictional love interest (there are lots), Jonah Simms. 

Jonah joins the team of store associates as a business school drop-out, thinking of it as a temporary gig to hold him over while he figures out his true calling. But on his very first day he finds himself smitten with floor supervisor, Amy; unbeknownst to Jonah, Amy is married. Known to everyone, however, is Amy’s strong disliking for the new kid on the floor. 

Amy has a cynical outlook on life at Cloud Nine, pointing out to Jonah that people like her are stuck living paycheck to paycheck, while those like him waltz in, picking up the job for fun. Over the course of the show, Jonah proves to Amy that he’s more than just a pretty face, changing her own outlook on the store and her future. 

There are many things to love about Jonah; he’s there for Amy through thick and thin, helping her navigate her relationship with her husband, parent her teenage daughter and grow in her career. At the end of the first episode, he covers the ceiling of Cloud Nine with glow-in-the-dark stars, creating a moment of beauty in the seemingly mundane. These gestures aren’t just directed at Amy, he finds a way to be there for all his coworkers. 

Jonah is also incredibly passionate about real-world issues. On several occasions, Jonah spearheaded movements to start a union and every Halloween episode he dresses up as a hot-button issue; Gerrymandering, Brexit and the disappearing bee crisis, to name a few. Jonah constantly sends coworkers articles from NPR and gently corrects the problematic views of his boss Glenn, but he’s also self-aware — a quality I am appreciative of. 

Jonah and Amy are an adorable couple — though they have their ups and downs — but as a love interest, he simply takes the cake. I’m saying it now, loud and clear, Jonah Simms is the next Jim Halpert. 

Esther Ju, Life Editor

When I stumbled upon Hulu’s TV adaptation of “Normal People” during the peak of quarantine, I was not prepared to embark on a years-long obsession with Connell and Marianne. Yet, here we are.

Not only are both characters incredibly flawed, at times their bad decisions create the urge to throw something at the screen. But in the midst of mistakes and misunderstandings, their relationship ebbs and flows throughout young adulthood, and they manage to stay connected as they grow up. It’s simultaneously frustrating and beautiful to watch.

I’d argue that “Normal People” is an example of one of TV’s most realistic depictions of modern relationships. While Connell and Marianne have difficulties with communication, they offer unconditional support in dealing with each other’s struggles, like Connell’s mental health and Marianne’s abusive family.

Watching the series prior to reading the book was admittedly a critical mistake. However, the book is equally deserving of praise. There’s more to Sally Rooney’s work than contemporary romance, with little bits of Marxism and subtle commentaries on social class wedged in between. At one point, their difference in status is what causes Connell and Marianne to fall out — something that is translated much better in the book than in the series.

Evidently, “Normal People” is far from a feel-good romance. In fact, you’ll probably cry a lot while reading or watching it (like I did in both scenarios). It might also enable you to engage in an emotionally-draining parasocial relationship with its fictional protagonists. Oddly enough, sharing their pain makes it worth being attached.

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