Ross Gellar & Rachel Green
“We were on a break!” These five little words — a testament to the minute bits of miscommunication that are prone to striking many relationships — almost broke up the best TV couple of the ‘90s. Ross and Rachel, two members of America’s favorite set of friends, seemed destined for each other since the season premiere. Consoling Rachel after her impromptu run from the altar, Ross proved that he was the one who was willing to, as the catchy theme song emphasized, be there for her. The two of them, along with their four other friends, faced the trials of adult life in bustling New York. As they went through job hirings and firings, bad romances and blind dates, family drama and three divorces (for Ross, anyways), they weathered it together. Although they were also TV’s most trying on-again/off-again couple, audiences always knew that Ross and Rachel would end up together. After ten seasons of getting to know each other’s quirks and gaining a deeper mutual understanding, as well as experiencing rash bouts of jealousy whenever one was involved with a different significant other, the two finally realized that they were the perfect match. Friends to the end, Ross and Rachel are proof that the formula of being friends first before jumping into a relationship just might work.
Pam Beasley & Jim Halpert
I don’t actually follow The Office. My sister does, sharing an affinity for that show with a majority of my friends. I do still remember watching a few holiday episodes and season finales with my sister, though, as well as hearing my friends’ triumphant chants of “PB&J” after one Thursday night. From what I can hear, though, Jim and Pam are the perfect example of an office romance done right. Attracting Pam with his witty sense of humor and sharing the office-wide (minus Dwight) dislike for boss Michael’s eccentric leadership style, Jim immediately hit it off with Pam. However, like most couples, they were both too shy to admit their feelings to each other and found themselves in different, lackluster relationships. Once Jim mustered up his courage and went through with his admitting-fest, though, he showed Office fans that honesty was the best policy, and PB&J became a winning combination of a couple.
Will & Grace
Okay, so these two aren’t really a couple — but, if you have seen this sitcom about a woman and her gay best friend, you know that no one could have Will without Grace. Or vice versa. I think Will and Grace definitely demonstrate the best qualities of a best-friendship: together since college, they could finish each other’s sentences, easily beat any other partnership for Game Night, and laugh, cry, and hug it out within ten seconds after each fight. Forgiving and forgetting — or forgiving and learning from their mistakes — was a shared mantra. Most importantly, they always willingly and gracefully (many puns intended) advised each other. Pointing out flaws with ex-boyfriends, offering direction on different career paths, and always butting in with their two cents, Will and Grace always looked out for each other. When Grace finally got married, Will, very fittingly, was the one to walk her down the aisle, and lthough he gave her away, it was clear that he was not going to be walking out of her life anytime soon and that the two of them were the ones who would stick together through better or worse.
The Boy and Girl Next Door
Ryan Atwood & Marissa Cooper
Who remembers The O.C.? The original, scripted show — before MTV camped on the trend of televising the problems of pretty, rich, young people with Laguna Beach and The Hills — was based on a simple yet addictive premise. Poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks moves into a rich neighborhood with well-meaning caretakers, and immediately falls in love with the unhappy rich girl next-door. With his couldn’t-care-less attitude and mysterious-stranger aura, Ryan Atwood beats up Marissa Cooper’s boyfriend and catches her eye in the process. This characterizes their relationship: rough-and-tough Ryan provides the thrill of excitement and danger for Marissa, who feels like no one else can stand up for her quite like the new kid. Although (spoiler alert) the show jumps the shark by bringing one of these two to an untimely end, audiences will forever remember The O.C. as the jumpstart for the primetime teen soap opera genre and for the dream couple created out of the “opposites attract” formula.
The Family Couple
Homer & Marge Simpson
We analyzed Homer and Marge Simpson in one of my high school English classes, during our marriage unit. Through all of Homer’s headache-inducing schemes and harebrained ideas, Marge puts up with him and his wild shenanigans. The Marge murmur, which can be best described as a vocal cringe, is the only sort of complaint she voices to him. Aside from that, she sincerely cares for his wellbeing in any situation and simply wants what’s best for the family. Unlike the stereotype of domestic suburban housewives, though, she gets into her own adventures as well, and whether she gets addicted to gambling or breaks her leg on the ski slopes (not from skiing, but after a giant clock from the ski lounge falls on her) — Homer looks out for her, in his well-meaning, slightly clumsy way. The two depend on each other, and like the other four couples, love each other at the end of each crazy day.