Ask yourself this question: Have you ever become emotionally attached as you watched a beloved TV couple go through that emotional rollercoaster of the will-they-won’t-the phase of your favorite show?
If you said yes, you’re normal — and honest. But if you said the latter, then you’re probably lying to yourself just a little bit. We all get emotionally invested in our favorite sitcoms or television dramas. It’s inevitable, really, and it’s usually the best part about watching our favorites finally get together onscreen. We want this!
Some of the greatest fictional love stories of all time come from our favorite TV characters. From ’50s lovebirds Ricky and Lucy to the on-and-off romance between Rachel and Ross on Friends, there are decades of TV couples to look back on and swoon over. Here are the top five fictional couples whose love stories I still root for after all these years.
Buffy and Angel, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’
Ah, the classic ’90s of it all. It’s been more than 20 years since Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” first premiered and I still religiously watch reruns every October. When you think of Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Angel’s (David Boreanaz) epic romance, you can’t help but also think about doomed love. For starters, this wasn’t your average boy-meets-girl situation. No, Buffy was a bona fide vampire slayer and Angel was well, a centuries-old vampire that she was supposed to hunt and kill. Then there was the fact that Angel couldn’t experience a single moment of happiness or else he would lose his soul and turn into a bloodthirsty, unfeeling monster. All that aside, they fell in love, and so did audiences right along with them. I will say, for me, the early seasons were the best. The romantic tension, the buildup, and ultimately, the heartbreak between the two. This all makes for good TV, and a good ol’ fashion “shipping” of a pair before that term was even really was a thing.
Jamie and Clare, ‘Outlander’
Now on to one of my favorite couples that literally spanned the test of time.
Since “Outlander” was adapted for TV screens and premiered in 2014, it has become a pop-culture phenomenon and for a good reason. With ease, it seamlessly blends historical fiction with whirlwind romance in the 18th century war-torn Scotland. With Sam Hueghan in the role of the gallant Jamie Fraser and Caitriona Balfe in the role of our stunning heroine, Claire, the chemistry and sparks practically fly onscreen between the pair. As a viewer, I am always enthralled in the ups and downs of their long-spanning relationship. There is adventure, time travel, separation, reconciliation, and ultimately, deep love forged between their onscreen characters. And, to me, their love is truly one for the ages.
Nathan and Haley, ‘One Tree Hill’
“Don’t say I never gave you anything.” This is the scene where it all begins. Nathan opens a box of Cracker Jacks. Inside, he finds a prize, which is a brightly colored bracelet. He puts the bangle on Haley’s wrist and says those seven iconic words. It was at that moment I knew this was one Tree Hill couple that was meant to be together forever.
Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) and Haley James Scott (Bethany Joy Lenz) will forever be known as “Naley” to me. Throughout nine seasons onscreen, the couple went through breakups, kidnappings and numerous other scandals (I’m looking at you Chris Keller …) that would test any reasonable person’s relationship. But, somehow, they always found their way back to one another. Two weddings and two children later … if that isn’t the definition of true love, then I don’t know what is.
Meredith and Derek, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
“Pick me, choose me, love me.” If you are a die-hard Grey’s Anatomy fan, then you should know by heart those famous words spoken by Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) as she professes her love to Dr. McDreamy or Derek Shepherd, played by the talented Patrick Dempsey. Their love story might have had a rough start and a tragic ending, but that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t one of the greatest of all time for me when I was growing up. Frankly, a marriage that started with a one-night stand and was sealed via a Post-It note is not easily forgotten.
Oh, and remember the time that Meredith surprised Derek with hundreds of candles lighting up the outline of the house they were going to build together? Television gold.
Coach Eric Taylor and Tami Taylor, ‘Friday Night Lights’
“No matter what happens, no matter where you go, no matter what you do, I’m always gonna be behind you. Always and always and always.”
I know I can’t be the only one who thinks Coach Tayler and his wife Tami are the definitions of relationship goals. If these FNL lovebirds can make it through numerous plot twists, pregnancies and the scorching Texas heat, there’s nothing these two can’t overcome. This golden duo — he’s a football coach, and she’s a counselor-turned-principal — is funny, romantic and willing to compromise and support each other. They take all the chaos of their life in stride and are totally and completely in love. So, I think we can all aspire to have a love like Mr. and Mrs. Coach Tayler, am I right?
Monica and Chandler, ‘Friends,’ On air: 1994-2004
Summer and Seth, ‘The O.C.’ On air: 2003-2007
Chuck and Sarah, ‘Chuck,’ On air: 2007-2012
Ben and Leslie, ‘Parks and Recreation,’ On air: 2009-2015
Felicity and Ben, ‘Felicity,’ On air: 1998-2002
Mindy and Danny, ‘The Mindy Project,’ On air: 2012-2018
Fran and Maxwell, ‘The Nanny,’ On air: 1993-1999
Jim and Pam, ‘The Office,’ On air: 2005-2013