If there weren’t great couples on TV, why would we stay home (alone or in pairs) glued to the tube, envying their relationships? Who wouldn’t be jealous of the passion between ”ER”’s Doug Ross and Carol Hathaway? (Talk about out-of-control emotion: She tried to kill herself over their relationship.) Or how can anyone resist the cerebral love affair between the ”X-Files”’ Scully and Mulder? These days, TV offers us plenty of weddings, affairs, crushes, and unrequited love. But of all the shows of the past decade, these 10 couples stand out as inspiring, romantic, sometimes dysfunctional, but always fun to watch.
Buffy and Angel (”Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
Talk about a guy from the wrong side of the tracks. It’s not easy to fall in love with the very bloodsucking species you’re trying to kill. But Buffy couldn’t help herself when she was around this tortured, brooding nightcrawler. High school love can barely survive a bad movie, but these two got past Angel’s 300-plus-year age, his curse by the gypsy family, and, of course, Buffy’s professional obligation to send him to hell. When Angel finally left Sunnydale to fight demons in Los Angeles, Buffy was devastated — but it was like a stake in all our hearts.
Tony and Carmela (”The Sopranos”)
They’re not exactly the healthiest of couples. Okay, they’re dysfunctional with a capital D. But you can’t help but love Tony and Carmela because despite their insane relationship, you can tell how much they are in love. She knows his faults — and murderer, crime lord, thug certainly go beyond the typical ”won’t-take-out-the-garbage” type of marital complaints. He may sleep around and get annoyed with her constant needling, but he thinks she is the purest thing in his life. And we would never presume to argue with him about what constitutes a healthy marriage.
Joey and Dawson (”Dawson’s Creek”)
What guy didn’t wish he had a childhood buddy like Joey, a tomboy who once slept in his bed and all of a sudden blossomed into a teenage beauty queen? What girl didn’t wish she had a friend like Dawson, a sensitive, kind, cerebral partner in crime? There was so much sexual tension between these two that when they finally kissed, it seemed like the entire world would implode. Okay, so the world did implode and she started dating his best friend and he wouldn’t speak to her for what seemed like years. Still, anyone who has one ounce of faith in love would bet on these two ending up talking about Steven Spielberg, debating family dysfunction, and rowing romantically together down the creek.
Donna and Eric (”That ?70s Show”)
It’s hard to believe that all the polyester and bellbottoms didn’t repulse these romantic tendencies, but somehow Eric and Donna manage to bring something new to teenage love. They are endlessly awkward and yet adorable in their transition from next door neighbors to lovers. And unlike the other hook-ups on the show, you know if these two don’t actually end up together, at least they’ll be friends forever.