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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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He Said, She Said: Our Favorite ‘Will They/Won’t They?’ Couple on TV

By Rachel Bennett & Carson Blackwelder
Television Editor & Columnist, Television Contributor

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With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s only appropriate to talk about one topic: “Will They/Won’t They?” TV couples.

They’ve been the staple of TV for years, and just when we think we’ve seen them all, another pair sweeps us off of our feet.

From Sam and Diane (Ted Danson and Shelley Long of NBC’s Cheers) to Ross and Rachel (David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston of NBC’s Friends), we’re constantly enraptured by people looking for love.

So who will be the next great “Will They/Won’t They?” couple to join these ranks? Here are our favorite duos of the moment — maybe we’ll talk about them, too, for years to come.

Carson’s Take

In one on the sultriest moments on primetime TV this year, Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) teamed up for their popular duet “No One Will Ever Love You” at The Bluebird Café on ABC’s Nashville.

Since the drama’s well-written and nicely cast pilot by creator Callie Khouri, fans have been hanging on every note, watching the intense chemistry between Rayna and her former flame grow stronger and stronger — and peaking in last week’s episode.

Rayna is the fading “Queen of Country,” and Deacon is her right-hand man and former band leader. Together, they’ve produced numerous country hits that span 20 years of friendship, romance and more. Add in Rayna’s signature sass and Deacon’s Southern good looks, and you have the makings of a severely addicting couple. Sure, Deacon hooked up with Rayna’s hottest competition, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), but at this point, Deacon and the country starlet have more of a mentor/mentee jive.

Slowly but surely, the audience has learned more about Rayna and Deacon’s romantic and professional past. Deacon’s vice has always been the bottle, and as the past becomes unraveled, we’ve seen that Rayna’s been with him through it all — acting as his rock and his support.

After the umpteenth time in rehab, Deacon emerged to find Rayna finally shacking up with another guy, current hubby Teddy (Eric Close). But let’s just say that when put head-to-head against Teddy, Deacon’s charm and edge win every time.

Rayna and Deacon’s relationship on the show has been quite a roller coaster thus far — and it’s just the first season. Even though I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for them, it’s their secretive and steamy past that leaves fans clamoring for more (can we get a flashback episode, please?).

However, after an awkward moment when Rayna encouraged Deacon to “see what’s around the bend” and go on tour with a sober band, their relationship took a turn for the worse.

If these two can’t find solid ground, Rayna’s reservations and Deacon’s self-destructive tendencies could get the best of them. But in the meantime, we’re hanging on every slightly awkward, passion-stifling scene between the two country stars and wishing for another duet.

Rachel’s Take

For the past few months, I’ve been waiting for a new “Will They/Won’t They?” couple to take the torch from Parks and Recreation’s perfect duo, Ben (Adam Scott) and Leslie (Amy Poehler).

Luckily, this season gave me a new pairing worthy of their place: Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel), of Fox’s New Girl. They may not have Li’l Sebastian to bring them together, but they’re pretty adorable.

However, what possibly intrigues me most about this coupling is that I’m not even sure I want them together — but I love every moment they share on screen. How is this even possible?

Before I get too far ahead of myself, calm down, New Girl fans. Of course, being a TV romantic, I want Jess and Nick to get together eventually. I mean, come on, that kiss (take a few minutes to repeatedly watch it and then get back to me).

Nick and Jess understand each other better than anyone else on New Girl, and Johnson and Deschanel’s chemistry is undeniable. They look out for one another no matter what the cost, and her optimism eases his crabbiness while he brings her back down to earth. You’d be heartless not to like them.

My problem is that creator Liz Meriwether has done such an amazing job of building this ensemble and crafting these friendships, I feel almost as hesitant about disrupting that dynamic as the characters feel.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I love Nick and Jess — who doesn’t want to fall in love with their best friend? At the same time, is such a risk worth crossing the Rubicon to make?

Several shows have taken a similar approach to the subject (NBC’s Cheers, The Office and my beloved Parks and Rec have all shown the repercussions of dating a coworker), but New Girl takes it a step further by showing roommates falling for each other. The stakes are simply higher because there’s no escape.

What’s even more, if the relationship doesn’t work out, we’ll have to see the fallout on both sides. Neither Nick nor Jess is solely a significant other, as Sam (David Walton) and Angie (Olivia Munn) were. Instead, they’re characters we’ve come to know and care about, and we’ll be with them through thick and thin.

Let’s not forget their relationship would also affect how all of the other characters – Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Winston (Lamorne Morris) and Cece (Hannah Simone) – interact with them. Winston insisted as much last week when he urged Nick to make things right with Jess after the kiss because he didn’t want to lose him as a roommate.

Nevertheless, it’s only a matter of time before Meriwether takes the leap with Nick and Jess, but I appreciate how she’s easing into it. It’s realistic and will make the end result that much sweeter.

For now, I’m enjoying the flirtation — as they say, good things come to those who wait — and Nick and Jess will surely be worth it.

Who’s your favorite “Will They/Won’t They?” couple on TV right now? Let us know!

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