Yesterday we began our countdown of the top twenty television couples. Some were romantic, some were fun, one couple was actually trying to murder each other. Let's recap:
#20) LOIS AND CLARK, 'Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman' #19) MELANIE & LINDSAY, 'Queer as Folk' #18) BUFFY & ANGEL, 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' 'Angel' #17) WILE E. COYOTE & ROADRUNNER, 'Looney Tunes' #16) AL & PEGGY, 'Married... with Children'
Those were the first five couples on our list; click the link above for an in-depth look at each. Well the march towards Valentine's Day continues, which means today we get five more couples on our countdown!
I pretty much spoiled our fifteenth entry above, didn't I..? #15) PAUL & JAMIE, 'Mad About You'
'Mad About You' is a 1990s sitcom about a newly-married "yuppie" couple in New York City. Paul Reiser, who played Paul Buchman on the series, created the show, he wrote the show--he even composed the memorable theme song for the show:
So what makes Paul and Jamie a memorable television couple? Despite the light-hearted nature of the series itself, nothing came easily for Paul & Jamie Buchman. The series faced down realistic problems, temptations of cheating, financial stressors, and worse. There was a sort of 'When Harry Met Sally' vibe to the Paul & Jamie relationship, with the witty Paul constantly trying to amuse and entertain his brilliant, beautiful wife.
Adding to the lovability of this couple is the fact that Paul consistently believed Jamie was out of his league; his character never forgot how lucky he was, or took his spouse for granted. Further, Jamie knew how lucky she was to have a man as devoted as Paul, although she didn't joke about it as much as he. Both characters were successful in their careers, neither one dependant on the other... which oddly enough lead them down a path that few sitcom marriages ever traverse.
No, I'm not referring to the couple having a child at the end of the fifth season, but to the way the characters drifted apart over seasons six and seven. 'Mad About You' depicted Paul and Jamie growing older, becoming parents, and finding it more and more difficult to keep the passionate romance alive in their marriage. Rather than treat this mounting distance as a plotline for a one-off episode, Paul & Jamie saw a marriage therapist and continued to work through their problems until nearing the end of the seventh season... when the unthinkable occurred and the pair separate.
A sad ending, no? Well don't fret: in an extra-long series finale, we see a flash-forward of twenty-two years in the future when Paul & Jamie's daughter Mabel, now an adult and a filmmaker like her father, brings her parents together in order to view her first film. Paul and Jamie are older, wiser, and every bit as in love as they were when they met. The pair move forward together into an entirely new chapter of their lives, "jumping into the final frontier" as the theme song suggests.
For their uniqueness and their on-screen chemistry, Paul & Jamie Buchman earned a spot on our countdown.
#14) MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE & MISS ELIZABETH, WWE Programming
Now for some of you, this list just lost all credibility. And for another group of you, this just became the greatest television couples list ever.
Like it or not, Professional Wrestling is a staple of Americana and the era of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, The Million Dollar Man and the Ultimate Warrior is still held in a dear place in the hearts of millions of fans. The WWE (then known as the WWF) had been introducing soap opera elements into their weekly broadcasts, giving us laughter and suspense along with our sports-entertainment. But then came Macho Man Randy Savage and his lovely valet Miss Elizabeth... and suddenly WWE programming brought us a love story, as well.
Randy Savage was introduced as a bad guy character, a crazed bully who mistreated his beautiful valet, a shrinking violet rather than an outspoken WWE Diva of 2000s. The gag was, Savage (real name Randy Poffo) was married to Miss Elizabeth (Elizabeth Hulette) in real life and the pair were very much in love. Elizabeth was in on the joke of Savage's mistreatment and the pair had undeniable on-air chemistry, as Randy teased and talked down to the sympathetic heroine.
Savage was never outwardly vicious towards Elizabeth--he just made it clear that he was a pompous ass and he didn't deserve such a loyal love.
Eventually Savage became a fan-favorite and teamed with megastar Hulk Hogan as a tag team called the MegaPowers. This gave us an unforgettable storyline that you wouldn't expect from a show centred around men in tights smacking each other: we got a love triangle.
Savage became insanely jealous of Hogan and Elizabeth's friendship. Despite the fact that we fans at home knew our hero the Hulkster would never touch another man's wife, Savage accused the pair and split from Elizabeth in storyline, leading to his greatest bad guy run of his career. This all culminated at Wrestlemania VII, when Savage was in trouble and his former love Elizabeth rushed to his aid from the crowd...
Needless to say, the audience ate it up. Savage and Liz were reunited, never to be separated again. It was a love story worthy of any television series and it just happened to play out on the bright theatrical stage of a wrestling ring. These two are an unforgettable television couple.
#13) MULDER & SCULLY, 'The X-Files'
FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder & Dana Scully are unlike any other duo on our list. Not only were the pair partners professionally for years before they were linked romantically, but Mulder and Scully actually birthed a whole new spate and subsection of entertainment fandom into the world: it was Mulder and Scully on 'The X-Files' who created the internet's very first 'shippers.
As the article linked will explain, 'shipping (from relationship) is when a group of fans congregate around the idea that certain characters in fiction should be (or secretly are) involved in a romantic relationship. Given the rise of internet pop culture fandom during the run of the popular FOX series 'The X-Files,' some of the first message board discussions about fictional character forbidden love to ever grace (or tarnish) the internet were about none other than Mulder & Scully.
You see, despite clearly caring for one another, fans were never given any evidence of romantic or sexual entanglement of 'The X-Files' main agents until the seventh season of the program. The way it was revealed was perhaps the largest shock of all: rather than build up to a climactic kiss where the pair would fall into the sheets and the camera would pan tastefully to an open window, an episode of 'The X-Files' simply began with a cold open of Scully waking from her bed... a bed that contained a naked, sleeping Fox Mulder.
WELP--the internet basically exploded. Series creator Chris Carter explained that Scully & Mulder's relationship had become physical after the years of their intense partnership, however 'The X-Files' was not a love story so he didn't feel it prudent to develop that occurrence on screen.
Regardless of how it happened, it happened: Mulder and Scully found solace in each other's arms. Despite the poor reception of the second 'The X-Files' feature film (subtitled "I Want to Believe"), the ending of the film acts as a fond farewell to our agents. Despite the fear of the unknown, despite future uncertainty, Mulder and Scully agree to face tomorrow side by side, paying off the thematic structure of the series in a pledge of love and togetherness. The final shot of the pair during the closing credit sequence is each of them waving to a passing camera from a tropical setting; Mulder and Scully waved goodbye to fans, assuring us all that they are together and they will be alright.
#12) Cliff & Claire, 'The Cosby Show'
Ahhh the Huxtables! You had to know we were going to visit with Cliff and Claire at some point on this list, didn't you?
'The Cosby Show' rescued the genre of the sitcom, rescued NBC from the ratings doldrums, and gave America a new family to fall in love with and grow up with. Based on star Bill Cosby's stand-up comedy routine and stories from his family life, the sitcom was developed despite Cosby starring in two failed projects before it.
So what did 'The Cosby Show' have that his previous projects were lacking? Love.
Given that Cliff Huxtable was basically just Cosby himself in character, 'The Cosby Show' allowed for Cliff and Claire to amuse and crack each other up on camera. Unlike other sitcoms where the characters must hold a straight face while the studio audience laughs at a quip, often Cliff and Claire were laughing themselves, making the scene even funnier as a result.
As you can see from the clip above, Cliff and Claire adored each other. They faced their lives, their problems, and child-rearing with a humorous buoyancy worthy of The Marx Brothers, always turning to laughter to overcome the obstacles in their path. The series was massively acclaimed, earning six Emmy Awards during its run.
'The Cosby Show' was praised for showcasing African Americans who are successful in business and medicine; it also raised ire for only depicting a well-off segment of the African American population. Regardless, 'The Cosby Show' is an absolute landmark in television history and Cliff & Claire Huxtable were a couple everyone could admire and aspire to emulate.
#11) PACEY AND JOEY, 'Dawson's Creek'
Ahh, 'Dawson's Creek;' a teenage soap full of melodrama, sappy music, and overly-eloquent characters... and a show that captured the hearts of an entire generation.
As Jeffrey Stepakoff, former writer for 'Dawson's Creek' explained, when the ratings for the series began to wane, it wasn't only his program that was under fire: it was scripted television in general. Reality television programming had enraptured America and all scripted programming, be it drama or comedy, was suffering as a result. So how would Stepakoff bring 'Dawson's Creek' back from the brink of cancellation?
Have Pacey and Joey kiss.
This was unthinkable to fans of the series. 'Dawson's Creek' had established a will-they-or-won't-they love affair between the eponymous Dawson (James Van Der Beek) and Joey (Katie Holmes) from the very pilot episode. Pacey (Joshua Jackson) was Dawson's best friend and comic relief, he wasn't the one Joey was meant to be with! ...Right?
Wrong. Joey and Pacey became an item, beginning with this scene, which Stepakoff dubbed "The Billion-Dollar Kiss:
That scene above saved 'Dawson's Creek' from the doldrums and extended its life by years. Fans returned in droves to see the new direction and to argue over whether Joey belonged with Dawson or his more rugged buddy. Over the seasons, the storylines focused less and less on Dawson and more on Joey herself--Holmes is the only cast member who appears in ever single episode of the series.
Fans fell in love with Joey and Pacey as a couple... but the ever-present spectre of Dawson loomed large. Pacey had betrayed his friend, despite the fact that Dawson had left Joey prior to this development. Some believed that Joey had betrayed Dawson, expecting her to wait patiently while Dawson sowed his wild oats. But the vast majority wanted Joey and Pacey to sail into the sunset, happily ever after.
Well I'm pleased to say, fans got their wish. While the series finale built to a final decision--Dawson or Pacey--that Joey would have to make, during the episode it seemed there was only one true choice. Joey and Pacey defied the originally-scripted programming and grew into one of television's most memorable couples, even though they were never intended to be matched. It's a unique development, an interesting story, and a memorable television couple to say the least.
That does it for five more couples on our countdown. Tomorrow? Five more! See you then!"