Remember the time that C.J. and Toby finally realized they were madly in love and began a romantic relationship that went down in favorite-TV-couples history? No? That’s because it never happened. It should have, but alas, “West Wing” mastermind Aaron Sorkin doesn’t really care what you want. Sorkin isn’t the only writer/producer/creator who kept some of our favorite almost couples from having beautiful and meaningful relationships. Occasionally, audiences were treated to, say, an awkward kiss never to be repeated, an “I love you” that was quickly taken back or -- at most -- one night of romance.
In a match-making collaboration with Juicy Fruit, we’re recapping some of our favorite never-were couples from film, television and literature -- the ones that left us wishing the love birds would all realize their true feelings, leading to an ending filled with both figurative and literal fireworks. Warning: this list contains spoilers.
Will Truman and Jack McFarland (“Will & Grace”)
Jack was there for Will when he came out of the closet. There was also that almost romantic night they didn’t actually spend together on Karen’s boat. Will supported Jack financially and Jack reminded Will when he needed to hit the gym. Isn’t that the very definition of a couple? Despite the zings about Will’s weight and hairline, and Jack’s spazztic personality and frequent unemployment, these two really cared for each other and found ways to show it, including that one time Jack told Patti LuPone to shut her “beautiful brassy trap.”
Hermione Granger and Harry Potter (Harry Potter books)
Plenty of readers thought that something more should have blossomed between Potter fans’ favorite witch and wizard. Ron always seemed a bit too dim for Hermione. But her relationship with Harry displayed respect, kindness, love and a deeper understanding of one another. Ron and Hermione constantly bickered. Plus, Ron was incredibly awkward and had zero game. But there was a comforting shoulder to cry on and blue eyes for days with the ever-sensitive Harry.
Peggy Olson and Don Draper (“Mad Men”)
Peggy Olson: a great example of a strong woman who wouldn’t be afraid to tell a man what’s up and to get his act together. The recent downward spiral Don experienced would never have happened had he been involved with Peggy Olson. She would not have put up with that crazy business. And when it comes to their work, they make each other better. We’d also love to see Peggy with someone who won’t cut his nipple off and give it to her in a box.
Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy (“30 Rock”)
They decided in Florida that their untraditional friendship was too interesting to become romantic and ruin everything. But that didn't stop many fans from wishing sparks had flown between "sister-ployee" and "work oracle." Jack suffered from major mommy issues and Liz, a serious cheese problem. Despite their flaws and differences (and there were many), the two looked out for each other. Remember in season three when Liz flashed an entire room at a business retreat to pull the attention off of Jack when he forgot to remove his mic? While they were certainly not the best people in the world, Jack and Liz weren't the worst, either. “Graduate students are the worst.”
Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
Everyone loves to watch lifelong best friends fall in love. The only hitch for Willow and Xander was, the sparks started while they were in love with other people. They kissed in episodes throughout season three (including one where Cordelia nearly died trying to rescue them while they were getting cozy). Guilt-ridden by their betrayal and the hurt they caused, the two never developed a long-term romantic relationship. Eventually Willow fell in love with another witch and Xander fell in love with an ex-demon and almost everyone died.
Frasier Crane and Roz Doyle (“Frasier”)
Work relationships in TV shows are a breeding ground for sexual tension. Straight-shooter Roz was never afraid to get into a verbal battle of wits with Frasier. As his producer for his radio show she freely mixed her own two cents in to his advice for callers. The zings about her healthy sexual appetite and his pretentious yet childish demeanor flew back and forth throughout the series. Still, there were plenty of warm moments between the two of them. They slept together once, and it made things super weird, but in the end they smoothed it all over and restored a solid friendship. They were both complete messes (he had a crazy ex-wife and her baby-daddy was a college undergrad) but they created a perfect balance at the same time.
Leslie Knope and Jean-Ralphio Saperstein (“Parks and Recreation”)
Strictly speaking pre-Ben, here. Despite the soft spot we all have for Jean-Ralphio’s shenanigans and the way he sings the end of every other sentence like he’s Mary J. Blige laying down a track at Columbia, Ben Wyatt trumps Jean-Ralphio any day. That being said, we think Leslie and J-R could have had an interesting connection, not too dissimilar from the time that Ann and Tom dated. Leslie would have been an organizing influence on him -- and his fake death in the series finale would have gone a lot smoother because of it.
Dottie Hinson and Jimmy Dugan (“A League of Their Own”)
There may not be crying in baseball, but we’re crying over the fact that she didn't stay in Rockford. Imagine the career the Peaches’ starting catcher would have had if she’d left her dairy farm and her World War II-wounded veteran husband for her coach. Like any queen of diamonds, Dottie knew how to put a washed-up, occasional misogynist like Jimmy in his place. Not to mention, her command of the field earned his respect. It’s hard to say how a romance would have changed things, but there definitely would have been a new generation of insanely talented ball players who could catch foul balls in mid-splits and bat over .500.
Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister (“Game of Thrones”)
He saved her life at the cost of his own hand, and she managed to reunite him with his indifferent family. Arguably, Brienne is the only person with whom Jamie has been truly open, which shows his trust and respect for her. Likewise, she has shown the same for him. He’s beautiful and rich, and she, well, isn’t ... but it could work. Mr. Martin, if you’re reading this, incest is so two season ago. Bring on the Tarth.
Edith and just about ANYONE (“Downton Abbey”)
Aside from the dead ones, Edith is probably the unluckiest character in Downton. Her demeanor and untraditional look regrettably marks her as the “other” daughter when introduced at dinner parties. First, we saw her jilted at the altar by an old dude with whom no one was really hoping she’d ride off into the sunset. And just when we think she’s found true love with married man Michael Gregson -- so many things wrong with that scenario to start -- he goes off to Germany, gets murdered and leaves her pregnant with his child out of wedlock. At this point, we’d settle for any well-meaning, age appropriate suitor for Edith. Not an easy task when it literally feels like the eligible bachelors on this show keep dying off or heading across the pond to America (in which case, they may as well be dead).
Dr. Ian Malcolm and Dr. Ellie Sattler (“Jurassic Park”)
If it weren’t for that pretentious, awkward-around-children Dr. Grant, perhaps Ellie would have taken Ian’s flirting more seriously. Who can resist a chaos theorist who knows how to rock a black leather blazer to a field expedition? She definitely wouldn’t have lured him back to another dino-filled island in the second movie. If only love -- like life -- found a way.
Mindy Lahiri and Peter Prentice (“The Mindy Project”)
As Peter left for Texas to follow love, he told Mindy she is his best friend. And when he came back just before his wedding, he asked her to be his best man (cue the sappy noises from the audience). They share a lot more in common than she and Danny, and how adorable were they as a fake couple at Mindy’s ex’s wedding? If they ever got together, we bet they’d spend weekends picking out cute outfits for Nicole the dog, reading gossip magazines and crashing weddings of professional athletes.
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