A brief history of 'I love you,' 'Thank you' moments in pop culture
It’s just like the old saying goes: Roses are red, violets are blue, I confessed my love, and you said, “Thank you.”
OK, so maybe that’s not exactly how it’s supposed to go. It’s an undeniably tough blow when you build up the confidence to say those three little words, and your act of passion is met with silence from your significant other, or worse, an apathetic “Thank you,” the same exact response you’d get if you’d done something as mundane as hold a door open for them.
Of course, as art imitates life, we’ve seen this painful exchange play out many times on screen, sometimes for comedic effect, sometimes with more emotional heft. In honor of Valentine’s Day, EW has rounded up all the times our favorite characters have been hit with cringeworthy politeness.
Friends, “The One With the Free Porn”
Ross Geller may be a paleontologist, but make no bones about it — the man knows nothing about romantic timing. His “I love you” to Emily is a serious swing and a miss, though she does stick around long enough to marry him. Until, of course, he says Rachel’s name at the altar instead of hers.
The O.C., “The Countdown”
It seemed like a good idea at the time? Marissa and Ryan were having a sweet moment planning a cozy night in and sharing a hug when Marissa decided to drop the L-bomb. Ryan’s initial silence and confused “Thank you” elicit a “You’re welcome?” from Marissa that only makes things worse. Of course, he gets it together by episodes’ end/midnight on New Year’s Eve, but there’s no denying the cringe-factor here.
New Girl, “The 23rd”
Paul makes the ultimate romantic gesture by gifting Jess a trip to Vienna for Christmas, and Jess returns the favor by giving him the top item on every man’s Christmas wish list: an anatomically correct heart of a 50-year-old non-smoker. Somehow, he finds the gift charming enough to inspire a first “I love you,” although if Jess’s decidedly non-romantic gift was any indication, she doesn’t feel the same way.
Boy Meets World, “What I Meant To Say”
Cory pulls out all the stops on his first date with Topanga as they make the jump from best friends to boyfriend and girlfriend, but when he tells her he loves her, all she can muster is a reluctant “Can we go now?” Just the words every love-struck teen wants to hear.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Maybe Holly Golightly should’ve gone a little lighter on Paul’s heart. But then again, maybe Paul shouldn’t have chosen a public library to profess his love for her. Still, “thank you” would have been a gift in this case.