Oh, TV couples. We love you. We become so attached to you. We root for you. We become obsessed with you. We hate it – but secretly love it – when you’re apart (because we know it’s only going to be a matter of time when you’re united in some epically romantic scene). And, then, when you do eventually get together, we’re so happy for you. Maybe we’re living vicariously through you. Maybe it’s just because we all love a good love story. Whatever the case, it’s Valentine’s Day and love keeps us together, so here are some of television’s very best love affairs to celebrate l’amour.
The '50s - Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, ‘I Love Lucy’
This one’s pretty much a no-brainer. Lucy and Ricky epitomized that opposites do attract: she was the daffy showbiz-wannabe who always had a lot of explaining to do; he was the straight-laced bandleader who was there to help bail her out. Together, they broke social barriers (they were the first biracial couple on television and Lucy was the first actress to appear pregnant on TV) and made us – and each other – laugh. Though the couple’s real-life romance ended, the Ricardos love is timeless.
The ‘60s – Mike and Carol Brady, ‘The Brady Bunch’
The story of a lovely lady with three lovely girls and a man named Brady with three boys of his own depicted TV’s first blended family (you’re welcome, ‘Modern Family’). The couple always stuck together, whether it was to solve family squabbles or picking out house décor, and they did so lovingly (okay, maybe too lovingly, but the show was during the "love the one you're with" ‘60s). Plus, since we knew that Carol and Mike shared a bed (which wasn't seen on TV until they did), it was pretty much a given that they most definitely carved out some “alone” time. Hot.
The ‘70s – Mary Richards, ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’
Mary Richards knew decades before Carrie Bradshaw told us that the most significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. She was television’s first single, successful, modern woman, who didn’t necessarily need a man (she left her fiancé in the pilot because he wouldn’t put a ring on it) in order for her life to be complete. Sure, there were dates and men along the way (and, of course, Rhoda), but in the end, Mary remained single and happy, reminding us that we can indeed make it on our own.
The ‘80s – Clair and Cliff Huxtable, ‘The Cosby Show’
While watching ‘The Cosby Show’ as a child, it was easy not to recognize the relative ease Clair and Cliff Huxtable had with each other (I was there for the jokes and the Jello, of course). But looking back as an adult, not only do I see the workings of a classic sitcom, but the portrait of real -- and really romantic -- marriage. The Huxtables laughed together. They parented together. And despite having five kids and two time-consuming careers, they always made the time for a little romance. They didn’t have an idealized marriage, like, say ‘Leave it to Beaver,’ but it was pretty darn close.
The ‘90s – Ross and Rachel, ‘Friends’
What other TV couple in recent memory has conjured up so many comparisons thanks to their “we were on a break!” on-and-off relationship? Over the span of 10 years, these two “friends” got together, broke up, dated other people, got married (well, Ross got married to Emily and then he and Rachel were drunkenly married in Vegas and had an eventual annulment), and, then, had a baby. Despite all the ups and downs, there was little doubt they would eventually find their way back to each other at the end of the series’ final episode. Ross is, of course, Rachel’s “lobster,” after all.
The 2000s – Will and Grace, ‘Will & Grace’
Sometimes the best relationship one can find in life is that with their best friend, and no other friendship showcased that truism better than Will and Grace. The two BFFs (and roomies) had all the romance of a relationship without it being romantic. Yes, they had hooked up years earlier in college, but their connection was way deeper than that. It was about knowing someone so well that things can’t help but get personal and, well, a little touchy at times (at one point, they went years without speaking). They made up, of course, because they realized just how special it is to find someone who gets you in everyway and loves you anyway.
The 2010s – Pam and Jim, ‘The Office’
Everyone loves a good office romance, especially one between such good buds (and pranksters) as Pam and Jim. Kudos to Jim, who liked Pam since day one, for sticking with the long play because they definitely had some major obstacles in their way, like Pam’s engagement and Jim’s transfer. But the long-burn of their courtship made their eventual union that much sweeter. Pretty much everyone wants to marry their best friend, and Pam and Jim actually did.