34 great TV I love you's
Rory and Dean in "Love, Daisies, and Troubadours" on Gilmore Girls
Dean Forester was Rory Gilmore's first love, but it took her a second to realize it. After Dean's unreciprocated "I love you" led to the couple's first breakup, Rory couldn't quite find the way to make things right. But when Dean showed up at her school, she realized she couldn't let him go again.
Best part: "Because I love you, you idiot!"
Jamie and Claire in "Lallybroch" on Outlander
The story of Outlander is the story of Claire trying to find her home, the place she belongs. And the moment she starts to feel that at Lallybroch, Jamie launches into a sentimental conversation about the reasons why he married her, and furthermore, the moment he first fell in love with her. It catches Claire, and the viewers, off guard in the most welcome way possible.
Best part: Jamie telling Claire, "I wanted you from the first moment I saw you, but I loved you when you wept in my arms that first night at Leoch. Now, I wake up every day and I find that I love you more than I did the day before."
Booth to Bones in "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole" on Bones
Booth had put his heart on the line twice and been shot down, well, twice. (Then it happened a third time with Hanna.) While we're thrilled Booth and Bones are got together, we're baffled as to how Bones — or any girl for that matter — would have the strength to turn down a guy who delivered a speech like Booth's ''I'm the gambler'' in the show's 100th episode. And you can bet that we still cry when watching this scene.
Best part: ''You know when you talk to older couples who've been together for 30 or 40 or 50 years. It's always the guy who said 'I knew.' I knew right from the beginning... I'm that guy. I know.''
Jim to Pam in "Casino Night" on The Office
Two seasons of will-they-or-won't-they tension led up to Jim's sincere and simply put parking lot confession of love. But engaged Pam's reaction was — at least initially — less than ideal and drove Jim (and US!) to tears. And you know what? It still gets us every time.
Best part: [Pause] ''I'm in love with you.''
Desmond and Penny in "The Constant" on Lost
He never stopped trying to reach her. She never stopped looking for him. And ever since this aired, we never stopped dissolving into tears whenever we see it.
Best part: The. Whole. Thing.
Ryan and Marissa in "The Countdown" on The O.C.
After nearly half a season of build-up, Ryan and Marissa finally decided to give the relationship thing a try, but neither of them expected to fall for the other so quickly. So when Marissa found herself saying "I love you" after a movie date, all Ryan could manage to say back was "Thank you." But when he found himself locked in a poolhouse on New Year's Eve, he had some time to realize his mistake. In an iconic moment, Ryan raced to find Marissa, running up the stairs to Oliver's penthouse, where he arrived just as the clock hit midnight to confess his love.
Best part: Marissa's "Thank you" in response to Ryan's "I love you."
Carol to Luka re: Doug in "Such Sweet Sorrow" on ER
A patient's husband's emotional speech about his everlasting love for his dead wife prompted Carol to pack her things and rush off to meet longtime love Doug in Seattle during season 6. But she didn't leave without explaining her rush exit to Luka, who had been standing beside her loyally since the birth of her and Doug's twins. We don't even blame her for not saying her speech directly to Doug because, honestly, would you waste time with words if you were with that man? That's what we thought.
Best part: "I'm still in love with him; I am," she said. "I've been in love with him since I was 23 years old. He's everything to me. He's my life. I feel complete when I'm with him, and I feel empty when we're apart. He's the father of my children and he's my soul mate."
Meredith to Derek in "Bring the Pain" on Grey's Anatomy
We don't like to remind ourselves about those times when all wasn't about happy Post-it marriages for Grey's most famous couple. But we do like to remember this scene, where Meredith spilled her heart in a very Meredith way. And while he didn't ''pick'' her that time — eventually he did. That's what counts.
Best part: ''Derek, I love you. In a really, really big, pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your window, unfortunate way that makes me hate you. So pick me. Choose me. Love me.''
Chuck to Sarah in "Chuck Versus the Three Words" on Chuck
Choosing the best Chuck and Sarah moment is like choosing the best piece of chocolate from a variety pack — it's all good. But when Sarah learned (via video confession) that Chuck chose to be a spy because he loved her, we got more teary-eyed than she did. To use a rom-com cliché, she made him want to be a better man. Sigh.
Best part: "You're the one that taught me that being a spy is about choosing something bigger. It's about putting aside your own personal feelings for the greater good, and that's what I chose. I chose to be a spy for my family and friends and you. I chose to be a spy because... Sarah I love you."
Buffy to Angel in "I Will Remember You" on Angel
We have to make this quick because just thinking about the tragedy of this episode and those bitchy oracles makes us hurt in ways only this couple can. The most wrenching part, of course, is when the seconds inch by and Buffy repeats, ''I'll never forget. I'll never forget.'' We never did.
Best part: ''How am I supposed to go on with my life, knowing what we had? What we could have had?''
Damon to Elena in "Rose" on The Vampire Diaries
He might think he doesn't ''deserve'' Elena, but after this uncharacteristically tender moment, he at least deserves some lauds for putting someone else's happiness before his own.
Best part: ''I love you, Elena... and it's because I love you that I can't be selfish with you.''
Alicia and Will in "End" on The Good Wife
Alicia and Will's love story was tragically cut short when Will was killed in The Good Wife's fifth season. But the series finale saw his return ... at least in Alicia's head. And as she sought closure so that she could go after Jason, she confessed what we all knew to be true: Her love for Will will always remain.
Best part: "I'll love you forever." -Alicia "I'm okay with that." -Will
Joey to Pacey in ''A Winter's Tale'' on Dawson's Creek
Joey was all about the little things in life, which explains why that's exactly what mattered most to her when it came to her relationship with Pacey, as she pointed out in her sex preamble. We give it a 10, darling.
Best part: ''Pacey, this is about how you carried my bag off the bus yesterday. This is about how when we go to the movies and you go and you buy popcorn you always make sure you bring back a napkin so I don't wipe all the grease on my jeans. And this is about how just last week when we were at miniature golf, you took all of the shots first so I would know the correct path.''
Monica to Chandler/Chandler to Monica in ''The One With the Proposal'' on Friends
She only got through a few lines, but we give her some credit for providing the romantic setup and getting the ball rolling. But credit goes to Chandler for being able to sweetly express himself — without a terrible joke at the end! Oh, Bing-a-ling.
Best part: ''I thought, that it mattered, what I said or where I said it. Then I realized the only thing that matters is that you make me happier than I ever thought I could be. And if you let me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way.''
Olivia and Fitz in "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" on Scandal
In the middle of Scandal's second season, viewers were treated to a flashback that showed just how much love once existed between Olivia and Fitz. As she finds herself frustrated with the feeling that her love for him controls her, the most powerful man in the country admits that he feels the same in one of the greatest confessions of love TV's ever seen.
Best part: "I love you. I'm in love with you. You're the love of my life. My every feeling is controlled by the look on your face. I can't breathe without you. I can't sleep without you. I wait for you. I watch for you. I exist for you." -Fitz
Chuck to Blair in ''The Goodbye Gossip Girl'' on Gossip Girl
When Chuck showed up in a limo with Blair's favorite spoils from around the world in hand at the end of season 2, he won Blair's heart. He won ours, however, with three little words: ''You were right.'' Kidding. It was four words: ''I love you, too.''
Best part: See latter line.
Homer to Marge in "The Way We Was" on The Simpsons
This cartoon couple has no shortage of sweet moments, but it's Homer's car confession post-prom disaster in this flashback episode that never fails to choke us up. A-d'oh-able.
Best part: ''I've got a problem,'' he said. ''Once you stop this car, I'm going to hug you, and kiss you, and then I'll never be able to let you go. [Cut to present day] And I never have.''
Kevin to Scotty in ''Moral Hazard'' on Brothers & Sisters
A moment of clarity amid family chaos led Kevin to pop the question to Scotty without a ring but with sincerity.
Best part: ''I'm completely, completely in love with you. I even love the things about you that I hate because you make me feel like I don't have to be anyone else than who I am.''
Sam to Diane in ''The Proposal'' on Cheers
Okay, it was once sour and eventually turned even more sour, but in the moment, Sam knew exactly what to say. It was simple, sweet, and Sam. Yes, he got shot down in the end, but let's just pretend that last part didn't happen. Deal?
Best part: ''From the very start, down deep inside, I've been crazy about you. Crazier about you than any other woman I've ever met. Hell, I was crazy about you even when I hated you.''
Niles to Daphne in ''Mixed Doubles'' on Frasier
The tension had been building for years, so an eventual acknowledgment of Niles' feelings for Daphne was inevitable. He finally got his chance when Daphne asked what his pickup line would have been had they crossed paths in a singles bar. While the too-subtle confession of love that followed went right over Daphne's head, it was stored in ours as one of the best ever.
Best part: ''Well, I would have said, 'Is this seat taken?' And you would have said 'No.' You would have said 'My name is Daphne,' and I would have said, 'My name is Niles.' And then I would have said, 'What are you doing for the rest of your life?'''
Steve to Miranda in "One" on Sex and the City
He was no one-night stand — even though she wanted him to be. Over the years Steve had gone above and beyond for Miranda. (Remember when he showed up for her mom's funeral?!) Who knew that it'd be a small pantry encounter that sealed the deal.
Best part: "Miranda, I love you, too," he said. "I mean, c'mon... Miranda, you're the one."
Alison to Emily in "The Glove that Rocks the Cradle" on Pretty Little Liars
It took them long enough! It wasn't until Pretty Little Liars' final season that Alison was finally ready to tell Emily why all of her past relationships failed ... because she's in love with Emily!
Best part: "I wanna do this, together. I want to be a family."
David to Maddie's Dad re: Maddie in "Father Knows Last" on Moonlighting
Ah, another third-person confession. Only David took a major risk choosing Maddie's no-nonsense father, Alexander, as the receiving end of his candor. The bold move paid off, however, as his confession was as genuine as it was frantic -- kinda like love, eh?
Best part: "Four billion people in the world, half of them built for comfort, and I gotta pick this one to grow old with."
Clark to Lois in "Harvest" on Smallville
Arguably TV's most famous couple, the bar is set pretty high for declarations of love. But this one ranks up there because it's nice to see that even a man of steel has a soft spot.
Best part: "I want you to know me completely with no secrets because you're the one. You always will be."
Cory to Topanga in "What I Meant to Say" on Boy Meets World
They were still itty-bitty high schoolers when Cory first told Topanga he loved her, but the innocent take on the meaning of love still strikes a chord with us even now. Kids say the darndest — and sometimes wisest — things.
Best part: "All I know is you and I belong together. I mean, I have always been able to talk to you, to make you laugh, and I've always, always wanted to take care of you."
Marshall and Lily in "Something Borrowed" on How I Met Your Mother
Arguably the cutest, cuddliest couple on our list, Marshall and Lily are not short on gestures of affection (marching bands at the airport!), but lengthy speeches aren't their style. Their wedding was the exception, though, and we couldn't have penned more fitting — or adorably personal — vows for the plucky pair.
Best part: Lily: "Marshall, I love you because you're funny, and you make me feel loved, and you make me feel safe. And for our anniversary you gave me a sweatshirt that says, ''Lily & Marshall Rockin' It Since '96.'' I kinda wish I was wearing it right now because it smells like you."
Amy to Ephram in "Foreverwood (Part 2)" on Everwood
The romantic Ferris wheel in the background certainly didn't hurt the impact of the speeches exchanged in the final episode of Everwood. But above all, Amy's rambling speech provided the perfect closure for the pair — and fans.
Best part: "Four years ago, you came to my little town and changed my life. I never thought that one person could do that to another, but you did."
Stefan to Elena in "Daddy Issues" on The Vampire Diaries
By the middle of season 2, Stefan and Elena had said "I love you" more than once — including Elena's epic first declaration — but there was something so simple and powerful about this moment. After Caroline had a bad day, Stefan surprised her with a girls night when he brought Bonnie and Elena over to her house for a sleepover. As Elena hugged her friend, she mouthed "I love you" to her thoughtful boyfriend, who mouthed it back.
Best part: It's a tie between the way Stefan pauses before mouthing it back and the look on his face when he does. It's as if he can't believe how much he loves Elena.
Juliet to Sawyer in "LAX" on Lost
Juliet's desperate pre-death plea was enough to tear us up, but the love speech lesson here is when you really mean it, forget the nicknames.
Best part: "I love you, James. I love you so much."
Eric and Tami Taylor in "Best Laid Plans" on Friday Night Lights
Eric and Tami Taylor will always be one of the greatest couples in television history, but that's not to say they agreed on everything. Rather, their disagreement is what made their portrayal of marriage all the more realistic. The perfect example? After Eric is offered a coaching job at TMU in season 1, Tami tells him that, as much as she loves him, she and Julie are going to stay in Dillon. He, however, needs to chase his dream.
Best part: Eric putting his arms around Tami and telling her, seemingly out of the blue, "I love you, I respect you, I'm proud of you, and I am in love with you completely."
Uncle Jesse to Becky in ''The House Meets the Mouse: Part 2'' on Full House
So it technically wasn't a speech, but who doesn't want a song dedicated to them? A Disney song, no less! Yes, we're corny.
Best part: ''This is a song for dreamers everywhere.''
Robert to Sol in "The Vows" on Grace and Frankie
Though Sol won’t actually get to hear the vows until four episodes into the following season, hearing Robert let down his emotional guard while writing his vows to his husband-to-be can give anyone at any age #relationshipgoals. (Let’s just forget about the fact that Sol just cheated on Robert with his ex-wife, Frankie, moments earlier since — spoiler alert — it all works out in the end.)
Best part: “I love you for who you are and who I am with you.”
Mulder to Scully in "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati" on The X-Files
There are almost too many moments from this pair to choose just one, but when Mulder returned from an odd journey in this season 7 episode, he made a heartfelt revelation about Scully's role in his life that left us with goosebumps.
Best part: "The end of my world was unrecognizable and upside down. There was one thing that remained the same. You... were my friend, and you told me the truth. Even when the world was falling apart, you were my constant... my touchstone."
Alex to Izzie in "What a Difference a Day Makes" on Grey's Anatomy
Talk about creating a moment. Ingrid Michaelson's "Turn to Stone" playing in the background only added more emotional punch to Alex's all-too-fitting vows (which he technically borrowed from a patient, but we forgive him).
Best part: "Today's the day my life begins. All my life I've been just me -- just a smart-mouthed kid. Today I become a man. Today I become a husband. Today I become accountable to someone else other than myself. Today I become accountable to you, to our future."