TV’s All-Time Top 10 Secondary Couples
By Carson Blackwelder
In the world of TV, love dictates all.
All viewers have their favorite couples from past and present: From Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) to Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), on-screen romances fill fan blogs and magazines.
But what about those secondary characters and their budding relationships that fly under the radar? Some of the best TV relationships have been those of sidekick characters or best friends, and it’s often their relationships that are more endearing than those of primary characters.
Here’s my list of the top 10 secondary TV couples and the adorable moments that make them so great:
10. Woody Boyd and Kelly Gaines (NBC’s Cheers)
Kicking off the list is the prime example of how opposites attract.
Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson) and Kelly Gaines (Jackie Swanson) exemplified this by coming from vastly different backgrounds on NBC’s hit Cheers.
Kelly, the ditzy beauty, hailed from a wealthy family, while Woody entered in season four as a pen pal — literally, pens — of former bartender Ernie “Coach” Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto), who passed away in season three. Woody’s midwestern charms were enough to win Kelly over, and their relationship was consistently funny and adorable.
Woody’s “Kelly song” takes the cake in terms of birthday gifts. This sincere present to her on her special day edges their relationship onto this list and concretes their place in TV couple history.
9. Daniel Desario and Kim Kelly (NBC’s Freaks and Geeks)
These two rebels without a cause took viewers on a roller coaster ride full of teenage angst and coming-of-age moments.
Daniel Desario (James Franco) and Kim Kelly (Busy Philipps) were ceaseless in getting protagonist Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) involved with their teenage antics, but the couple individually created strong bonds with her, vastly improving themselves as characters.
Sure, they may have broken up and gotten back together a few times on the show, but their inseparable bond and ability to not judge each other during the most trying times of their lives made them perfect for each other.
And with relationships on TV, consistency is key. You can always find this couple in the stairwell of the high school — probably making out and skipping class.
8. Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey (ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy)
Age is just a number, and Dr. Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) and Dr. Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) proved just that.
Sure, age — and a crazy, adult daughter — is what broke up this relationship on the show, but everyone knows they still loved each other, all the way up to their tragic deaths in the plane crash at the end of season eight.
McSteamy and Lexipedia, two of their nicknames, always lit up the screen when they shared a scene, and it was Mark’s smooth moves and Lexie’s awkward ways that made them such an adorable match.
I have to admit, too: No longer seeing them in the hallways of Seattle Grace is a severe let-down.
7. Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate (NBC’s Parks and Recreation)
NBC’s Parks and Recreation is full of quirky moments, but none could ever match the quirkiness of Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) and April Ludgate’s (Aubrey Plaza) relationship.
Andy’s odd charm and April’s semi-darkness contrast each other in the most endearing way, and the two have evolved from seemingly minor characters to rivaling the relationship of protagonists Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott).
Each are hilarious on his/her own, but when combined, the two deliver moments that leave the audience simultaneously laughing and saying “aww.”
6. Barney Stinson and Robin Scherbatsky (CBS’s How I Met Your Mother)
Both said they would never settle down, but these two friends from CBS’s How I Met Your Mother were destined to be together.
The notorious playboy Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) and the career-driven journalist Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) had always denied love, but naturally, they began to fall in love with each other along the way and were predestined to head down the aisle, according to the show’s famous flash-forwards.
Robin originally dated lead Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), but after they broke up a few times, the storyline with Barney began to form, and their relationship has been a whirlwind fraught with other partners and excessive stubbornness.
After previously swearing off love, it’s so good to see them finally experiencing it together.
5. Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts (Fox’s The O.C.)
Here’s the bottom line: On TV, every geek gets his girl on.
Comic book-obsessed Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) and the ever-popular Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson) seemed to repel each other at the beginning of the series, but their chemistry intensified over the course of four seasons.
Through their ups and downs, the two proved to be soulmates, showing that if you give your loved one enough space and support their life ambitions, you, too, can get married in a small Jewish wedding ceremony.
The two had barely spoken to each other when the show began, but after growing together, they formed a union that will hopefully outlast the typical O.C. marriage. And let’s get real: who can beat that Spiderman kiss?
4. James “Sawyer” Ford and Juliet Burke (ABC’s Lost)
Suliet, the fan-given nickname of Juliet Burke (Elizabeth Mitchell) and James “Sawyer” Ford (Josh Holloway), is one couple that proves the existence of fate.
ABC’s Lost had some tricky plot devices: fast-forwards, flashbacks and even flash-sideways, but one may have been the trickiest of them all: the love quadrangle.
This predicament, between Sawyer, Juliet, Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) and Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), persisted throughout the series, though it began as a love triangle before Juliet appeared in season three.
After countless moments of not knowing who would end up with whom, the series finale finally cemented Sawyer and Juliet in an emotional and beautiful scene at a hospital vending machine.
In the flash-sideways world, Dr. Juliet Burke helps Sawyer retrieve a snack from the vending machine, and as she touches his hand, all of their moments from the other timelines come rushing back, filling them with the sincerest emotions I’ve ever seen on TV. The kiss the couple shares during this moment is sure to make you want to keep coming back for more.
3. Amy and Rory Pond (BBC’s Doctor Who)
Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Pond (Arthur Darvill) are both known for the lengths of time that they will wait for something that they want.
Amy is “the girl who waited” for The Doctor (Matt Smith) for 12 years, whereas Rory is “The Last Centurion,” waiting millennia for Amy to be released from the Pandorum. Each knew what they wanted and were willing to wait to make it last.
Their time on the TARDIS marked the first married couple to join the Doctor in his adventures, and it was a refreshing to see him take a backseat to falling for his companion. The three traveled throughout time and space and maintained a healthy and adorable relationship.
After intense scenes with the Weeping Angels in the most recent episode of Doctor Who, Amy chooses to be with Rory in a fixed time and space, ending her adventures with The Doctor and cementing her lifetime with Rory. It is her choosing true love over The Doctor’s adventures that make her and Rory’s relationship so strong and memorable.
2. Chandler Bing and Monica Geller (NBC’s Friends)
Out of all the couplings on NBC’s hit Friends, the one that won my heart was Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) and Monica Geller (Courteney Cox).
Chandler is the class clown, and Monica is the OCD chef. Their friendship goes back to Monica’s brother Ross’ (David Schwimmer) college days, since Chandler was his roommate.
It took a while for their relationship to get off of the ground, but in contrast to Ross and Rachel Green’s (Jennifer Aniston) 10-year “Will They/Won’t They?” courtship, Monica and Chandler’s relationship was realistic and heartfelt.
While it seemed that Chandler was a bit nervous to settle down, Monica took matters into her own hands, staging the most beautiful and moving proposal in TV history.
1. Xander Harris and Anya (The WB’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Who knew the love between a human and a demon could be so strong?
Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) and Anya’s (Emma Caulfield) relationship began as an awkward way for Anya to assimilate with the humans after she got stuck in the mortal realm, but it quickly became a challenge for her to overcome her demon tendencies and learn to love someone.
It took a while for Xander to get over his infatuation with Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), but once he began to open up and love Anya, he served as her notion of what “normal” means for humans.
Her quirks were always hilarious and matched Xander’s over-the-top personality perfectly, and the two became an endearing beacon of love that had no boundaries.
The two seemed to be heading down the aisle, but Xander backed out, leaving Anya — and their relationship — fractured and broken. By the finale, it looked as though they were mending their relationship, but Anya sadly perished in the high school while making sure Andrew Wells (Tom Lenk) made it out alive.
Xander’s final words about her ensure that the two were soulmates.
“That’s my girl,” Xander said. “Always doin’ the stupid thing.”
Did I omit your favorite secondary couple? Let me know in the comments below!
Tags: ABC, Adam Brody, Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, Arthur Darvill, Aubrey Plaza, BBC, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Busy Philipps, CBS, Cheers, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Desi Arnaz, Doctor Who, Elizabeth Mitchell, Ellen Pompeo, Emma Caulfield, Fox, Freaks and Geeks, Friends, Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Jackie Swanson, James Franco, Jennifer Aniston, Josh Holloway, Josh Radnor, Karen Gillan, Linda Cardellini, Lost, Lucille Ball, Matt Smith, Matthew Perry, NBC, Neil Patrick Harris, Nicholas Brendon, Nicholas Colasanto, Parks and Recreation, Patrick Dempsey, Rachel Bilson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, The O.C., Tom Lenk, Woody Harrelson