The media isn't always the most realistic when it comes to depicting relationships (like, say, the sappy, unrealistic happily-ever-after ending), but there are a few lessons we can learn from some of the couples we watch on TV. It's especially easy to pick apart the notorious “will they or won't they?" couples from our favorite TV shows - the ones who constantly flirt, create tension and break up, only to get back together again. Here's our top eight "will they or won't they?" couples from TV!
1. Ross and Rachel from Friends
This one is a given. You might even say that Ross Geller and Rachel Green were one of the first couples of this category, constantly changing their minds about each other from season to season: "We were on a break!" That’s the catch with these types of couples – their outcomes are all different. Luckily for Ross and Rachel, they end up happily together. Though they had a few blips in their relationship, they eventually find each other in the end, simply because it was meant to be.
Ross and Rachel have had their bad moments (read: the Xerox girl), but it's clear that the two belong together. Ross's sassy/smart attitude and uninhibited opinions balance out Rachel's shallow and naive side. Sometimes the relationship is worth it, even through all the drama – and this is definitely one of those relationships.
2. Danny and Mindy from The Mindy Project
Since the show premiered back in 2012, Danny and Mindy have been a couple waiting to happen. Sure, the two characters repulsed each other during the first couple seasons, but once we saw Danny coming around, there was no stopping it from happening.
While some of us loved the Mindy/Cliff combo, there are tons of different reasons that brought Mindy and Danny together. Danny’s stone-faced demeanor perfectly balances Mindy’s babbling behavior. Sure, it’s not a perfect relationship, in the time that the two have been together, we can already see that the characters bring out the best in each other. While Danny and Mindy most definitely have their ups and downs (with Mindy’s drama-obsessed attitude, how can you not expect them to?), their relationship has strong promise.
We like the couple together because they clearly make each other better people. In one recent episode, Mindy smoothed over Danny's relationship with his mother, and in another, she forced him to finalize the divorce Danny had been putting off. And alternatively, Danny has been able to tone Mindy down and help her prioritize what's most important in her life. Though the relationship has its pitfalls, it ultimately makes both characters happier and better.
3. Nick and Jess from New Girl
Nick and Jess are quite the unlikely couple – a grumpy, less-than-motivated bartender and a quirky, bubbly teacher – but that's exactly why fans love them together. Nick tones down Jess's bubbly outbursts and Jess balances out Nick's monotonous daily activities.
When the show began in 2011, we were all wondering what sort of relationships would spring out of a girl living with a group of goofy guys. It was soon established that there was no romantic air between Jess and any of the roommates, but we slowly saw something develop between Nick and Jess during the second season after they're forced to kiss.
And while Nick and Jess have had their cute moments, we don't think they're the best for each other. It became clear at the end of last season when the two broke up, simply because they have nothing in common. While Jess' enthusiasm balances out with Nick's lack of motivation, there's something to be said about their differences. It's clear that Jess wants more out of the relationship and that Nick doesn't mind settling for less. And if the two can't even agree on trivial things, then perhaps they shouldn't be in a relationship together.
While Nick and Jess are no longer together, that's no saying that it can't happen again. Two exes living in the same apartment – and at the moment, the same room? That's a get-together waiting to happen.
4. Jim and Pam from The Office
If there was ever any romantic tension between two TV characters, it was between Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly on The Office. The show, which ran for nine successful seasons, constantly relied on the ever-so-juicy Jim/Pam subplot. Prospects seem rough at the start of the show when Pam was engaged to another guy and Jim relocated to a different office. We watch as the two go through ups and downs of crushes, separate relationships and flirty interactions in between. It’s clear to viewers that Jim and Pam were meant to be from the start (How can you ignore the hilarious pranks, obvious tension and adorable gifts?). Once the couple finally started dating, it took off from there.
Jim and Pam make sense for an array of different reasons, and they’re one of our favorite TV couples because the portrayal of their relationship is so realistic. It shows us that even when the timing is off or when jealousy is involved, a couple can still pull through and be strong. Even though their relationship isn’t necessarily movie-magical (a proposal at the gas station, marriage issues, money problems), Jim and Pam work through their issues to make their relationship strong.
5. Olivia and Fitz from Scandal
If you’re a Scandal fan, you’re well aware of the Olitz relationship. Throughout the entire series, flashback episodes give us more insight to the relationship between Olivia Pope and Fitz Grant. As the show progresses, dramatic discoveries are revealed and more controversy is created over their relationship.
The two characters are both very independent, so one would expect them to butt heads – but just the opposite happens. It’s refreshing to finally see a couple of strong characters build a good relationship together.
Still, Scandal fans have differing views on whether the relationship is good or not. While the Olivia/Fitz relationship does have its strong points, we're hoping it doesn't hold through. The signs are there: It's a forbidden love and a relationship filled with constant drama, so it's likely an unhealthy relationship that won't last. Though their relationship is a good source for some excitement in the show, we don't think it should continue on in the next season.
6. Ted and Robin from How I Met Your Mother
Though the plotline of How I Met Your Mother is overall based on the events that led up to Ted meeting the mother of his children, it generally follows a timeline of his relationship (and lack thereof) with Robin Scherbatsky.
Needless to say, Ted and Robin have a complicated relationship. Ted has relationship problems in all nine seasons of the show, and the tough and independent Robin has her own issues to deal with. While our hope was hindered by their breakups, even through Ted’s relationships with a string of other women and Robin’s marriage to Barney, somehow we knew that Ted would end up with “Aunt Robin.”
While we fangirled over Ted and Robin at the beginning of the series (you can't say the whole blue French horn thing wasn't adorable), fans lost interest in the couple once Barney and Robin got together. Ted and Robin may have been cute together, but Barney and Robin became the cool couple – they were friends turned romantic. The whole How I Met Your Mother series finale wasn't the biggest success, and Ted and Robin's reunion was definitely one of the low parts, as fans were still settled on Robin being with Barney.
7. Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls
What better time to analyze the characters of Gilmore Girls than right after it has been added to Netflix? We knew Luke would be a key character in Lorelai’s life from the very beginning (heck, his diner appears in every episode). A hunky chef and a diner junkie who doesn’t know how to cook? How could they be a more perfect pair?
Needless to say, however, Luke and Lorelai’s relationship was a little rocky. We had hope when Lorelai proposed in season five, but once the relationship became strained throughout season six, there was no going back.
But unfortunately, Luke and Lorelai didn't exactly get the ending they deserved. Sure, the kiss at the end of the series implies that the two end up together, but fans still have a lot to worry about when it comes to their relationship. There are a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up before Luke and Lorelai can have a healthy relationship, like Luke's relationship with Anna, arguments surrounding April, and Luke's past relationships with Nicole and Rachel. While we love the two together, the writers didn't give the characters the ending they should have gotten, what with all the drama in the last few seasons.
The “will they or won’t they?” couple is a great concept for writers to use in order to move the plot along, but after a few breakups and get-togethers, it gets a little old. We wish the writers of Gilmore Girls would have just kept Luke and Lorelai the happy couple that they were meant to be.
8. Emma and Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time has done a great job with keeping us wondering whom Emma will end up with – first it was the Huntsman, then the complicated relationship with Neal. And once she ran into Hook in season two, she knows he’s trouble. After an intense (and flirty!) swordfight in Fairy Tale Land, the two finally break the tension with a passionate kiss. And while Emma may have insisted that it was just a one-time thing, Hook ensures that it won’t be.
Because Hook fell for Emma while she was interested in another man, it changed the way he approached her. Hook made it clear that he would do anything to get Emma to be with him, so perhaps she should give him a chance. This might be the perfect opportunity for her to start steering away from her typical “bad boy” boyfriends!
We just can’t resist the suspense and romance of a good “will they or won’t they?” subplot! These couples keep us on our toes, wondering whether or not the characters are good for each other and will end up together.