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Favorite TV Pairs

December 16, 2009

On the fourth day of Christmas, Television gave to me:

(This post is brought to you by ladies dancing.)

I’ve been a shipper (n. – one who ‘ships,’ or actively roots for two fictional people to hook up; from the word ‘relationship’) my entire life, before I knew it had a name. I live vicariously through fictional romantic relationships, and am quick to match characters in my favorite shows long before they ever interact. When those relationships see fruition I’m ecstatic; when they crash and burn, or are never properly fulfilled, storylines abandoned on the side of the plot highway, then I complain bitterly on the internet and retreat into fan fiction to ease my sorrows. (My favorite ships typically sink like the Titanic.) The pairs I root for aren’t always the leads, but chemistry can’t be denied. Here are just a few of my favorite television couples – including those who haven’t yet coupled.

Wesley (Alexis Denisof) & Fred (Amy Acker), Angel

As far as I’m concerned, Angel ends after the fifth season episode “Smile Time,” for that’s when Wesley  and Fred  finally kiss after years of UST (or, Unresolved Sexual Tension) and really unpleasant happenings, including betrayals and near-death experiences, not to mention several apocalypses. Of course, the episode was immediately followed by “Hole in the World” or as I like to call it, ‘Rip my heart out and put it through the blender as only Joss can,’ which is why I prefer to ignore the second half of the final season.

Both of their characters grew and changed tremendously over the course of the show, but they remained perfect for one another – just a couple of highly intelligent, socially impaired geeks, representative of most of the show’s audience.

Angela (Michaela Conlin) & Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), Bones

While Booth and Brennan have undeniable chemistry and I look forward to the culmination of their relationship, it’s the sweetness of the Angela/Hodgins pairing that wins me over every time. They just fit so well together, that it made perfect sense despite their opposite personalities. I’m still nursing a grudge over the fact that the two broke up for literally no reason at all. However, since it ’tis the season, I think I’ll choose to remember the good times, like their first date on the park swings, or how Hodgins proposed using bio-luminescent fish guts.

Castle (Nathan Fillion) & Beckett (Stana Katic), Castle

Though it will no doubt be awhile before these two crazy kids get together, what I like about this pair is the way they actually work together. Beckett may find Castle’s juvenile behavior annoying, but she makes more breaks in a case by bouncing ideas off him, or taking his lead and running with it. He challenges her to think harder, and she challenges him to think smarter. We get to have Castle’s charming, avant garde approach to crime-solving without sacrificing Beckett’s intelligence or skills as a detective. Sounds like a good partnership to me.

Piper (Holly Marie Combs) & Leo (Brian Krause), Charmed

Unlike many of the couples on this list, Piper and Leo got to have a happily ever after, though not without a considerable amount of angst along the way. First they couldn’t date because he was an angel (and technically deceased), then he became human, then he got his wings back, then he became an Elder which meant he had to cut all ties from humanity (which was rough since at this point he was married with a baby), then Piper had a second child who came from the future – first to break his parents up because of unresolved daddy issues, and then to get them back together for his conception – and then just when they were working things out, Leo was literally put on ice by Destiny (due to budget cuts) until Piper and her sisters saved the world again. Somehow, they made it through, and despite the magic and the demons, they portrayed a pretty realistic marriage with its ups and downs, and were the only romantic pairing to survive the entire show’s run.

Chuck (Zachary Levi) & Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), Chuck

Season three should be interesting given that Chuck and Sarah finally reached an understanding in their relationship, only to have Chuck re-download the Intersect into his head (now with Ninja!action), putting him back in the role of ‘intelligence asset.’ Though now that he’s due to be trained as a real agent, Sarah won’t have to worry so much about letting her feelings interfere with protecting him. The writers have reset the board for this season, can’t wait to see what’s in store – and I hope that they don’t make these two secret agents suffer too much.

Jeff (Joel McHale) & Annie (Alison Brie) Community

A surprise pair that snuck up on me during “Debate 109,” and a much more interesting match than Jeff and Britta. I worried that the writers had immediately abandoned the exploration of a relationship between sleazy lawyer and (wannabe good  guy) Jeff and uptight, repressed, over-achieving Annie, but according to a friend, episodes have been aired out of order, explaining why the ball was seemingly dropped in the following episode. It’s really amazing how the removal of a hair clip changes Brie’s appearance.

Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) & Lindsay (Anna Belknap), CSI: NY

I was rooting for them as soon as he started calling her “Montana,” and knew it was love when he flew across the country to support her as she testified in court about the murder of her friends. I worried when Danny fell to pieces after a little boy who lived in his building was killed, and he started sleeping with the boy’s equally distraught mother, but the show seems to have retconned that indiscretion. Thank goodness Belknap got pregnant with her second child, or who knows what would have happened to the relationship. After eight months of giving Lindsay her space, but assuring her he was there for their child, Danny took her to the city courthouse and married her before she went home to Montana. After baby Lucy was born, I was sure the happiness couldn’t last, and when Danny was shot, confining him to a wheelchair, I figured it was the beginning of the end. Fortunately, having a wife and child got him back on his feet, and now I can only hope that the writers will leave the Messers alone.

Victor (Enver Gjokaj) & Sierra (Dichen Lachman), Dollhouse

What I love about these two (aside from the fact that they’re portrayed by brilliant actors) is that no matter what personalities they’re imprinted with, they always manage to find each other, and recognize the connection between them. Victor and Sierra are Joss’s answer to the question of soul mates. My only regret for them is that we won’t get to see how it turns out (though no doubt we’d get Jossed; i.e. it would be traumatic and devastating and one of them would end up dead.)

Crichton (Ben Browder) & Aeryn (Claudia Black), Farscape

I didn’t start watching Farscape until long after it had gone off the air, so I knew that Crichton and Aeryn were going to end up together before I put the first DVD in the player. What I didn’t know was how brilliantly the relationship would be explored, or just how happy I would be when they finally made it work. The actors have said that they knew from the beginning the show was a love story, and clearly they were right.

Zoe (Gina Torres) & Wash (Alan Tudyk), Firefly

Before he started playing really creepy killers, Tudyk was the loveable, comical pilot and Torres was his warrior wife. Can you say opposites attract? There were several other interesting relationships on board Serenity, but the bond between these two, and the reversal in typical gender roles, always stood out. Of course, Joss can’t allow any happy couples in his universe, so the movie took care of that.

Hardison (Aldis Hodge) & Parker (Beth Riesgraf), Leverage

Whether this will ever go beyond flirtation is unknown, but the obvious fascination computer hacker Hardison has for cat burglar Parker (whose grip on social constructs is loose at best) is fun to watch. They often seem like little kids with crushes, and though it’s doubtful they could ever function in an actual relationship, I’ll take what I can get.

Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) & Claire (Emilie de Ravin), Lost

I had these two lined up for matrimony before Claire even had a name and before the two ever shared the screen; I referred to her as the pregnant chick, and thought it would do drug-addicted Charlie some good to take responsibility for the baby. I must be psychic, because it wasn’t long before Charlie was bringing Claire tea and offering her invisible peanut butter. When he made his ‘Greatest Hits’ list before he died, I just knew Claire would be number one. Given that no one stays dead on the Island, I’m hoping for a big Deus Ex Machina for these two Losties.

Sawyer (Josh Holloway) & Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), Lost

I wasn’t going to do two from the same show, but this pairing really hooked me in. The two actors excelled  as two people who bond out of necessity and realize they can only count on each other, and both characters bloomed without the dead weight of other love interests Jack and Kate. The quick reveal that Sawyer and Juliet were shacking up in New Otherton bothered some, but to me it felt like a natural solution; they gave each other stability and didn’t add to each other’s emotional baggage . If only Jack and Kate had stayed off the damn Island, Sawyer and Juliet might have been able to live a relatively happy existence as equal partners.

Jack (John Barrowman) & Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd), Torchwood

Talk about having my heart pureed. When this relationship began it was kept deliberately vague, and started after Ianto revealed that he’d been keeping his half-Cyberman girlfriend Lisa in the basement of the hub – not exactly the best foundation. For a long time I was convinced that Ianto was plotting to hurt Jack in revenge for Lisa’s death, but fortunately the romance was real. Things got serious between them through Season Two when Ianto became the core of the team, and I loved their innuendo-laden banter, but I knew it was too good to be true when he stepped to the forefront in “Children of Earth.” Talk about devastating.

I understand the concept of using character deaths to heighten drama – I’m a die-hard Joss Whedon fan, after all, and he’s been doing it a lot longer than Torchwood- but the problem with Ianto’s exit was that it didn’t serve the plot in any significant way. Things were already dark and horrible and dramatic and doomed; I can’t really understand why the writers would want to take away what little was left. The show will be back for a fourth season, but I’m not sure I care to watch it without its heart and soul. I’m not the only one.

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