It's Valentine's Day again, maybe the lousiest one yet. The old reliable Valentine's tradition of hooking up with a stranger under the overpass is off the table, as is indoor dining in most locations and even a lot of basic travel. You will inevitably turn to movies and TV shows for some vicarious romance, but there's no need to envy the couples you see there. In fact, you should be thankful you're not them.
1. Ross and Rachel
While these two characters in Friends would seem to be compatible in that they are both terrible, they are even more terrible together. Yet, they have perfectly good relationships with other people. Weirdest is when Rachel catches a plane to break up Ross' wedding to Emily in London, and the show takes for granted that we'll root for this to succeed.
2. Spider-Man and Mary Jane
A worse last-minute canceled wedding is Mary Jane and John Jameson's in Spider-Man 2 because the first Spider-Man movie already ended by telling us Peter and MJ must stay apart for her safety. In fact, the sequel has MJ kidnapped again by a Spider-Man villain, yet the movie ends with her and Peter together. Clearly, more trouble is ahead.
3. James Bond and Severine
Most of Bond's flings are ripe for criticism, with some of them consisting mostly of James Bond committing actual rape. But we have to especially call out Skyfall because minor Bond girl Severine gets shot dead ... by Bond because he fails an inconsequential shooting contest. Then MI6 show up. He could have called them in five minutes sooner and saved her.
4. Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese
John Connor in Terminator sends his friend Kyle back in time to protect Sarah, knowing that Kyle will end up as John's father. He's saying, "Hey, best friend, please bed my mom." That's not an '80s sci-fi thriller. That's an '80s sex comedy plot right there.
5. Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter
The attempted romance between Captain America and his neighbor was weird enough in Civil War when he'd just learned that she was his dead girlfriend's niece and had been spying on him. But thanks to his later time traveling, Sharon is also his own grandniece through marriage. No wonder their kiss is so passionless.
6. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts
7. Thor and Jane
Having already lived for 1,500 years, it's hard to see how Thor's brief time with Jane could have such an impact on his life. Sure enough, he visits Earth several times without visiting her and possibly even lives here for five years without ringing her up. We're looking forward to seeing how Thor 4 brushes this off.
8. Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor
On the other hand, we have Diana, who's 1,000 years old as of Wonder Woman 1984 and hasn't gotten over her brief time with Steve. This is worse. Seventy years after they knew each other for a couple weeks, she's still pining for him and doesn't even have other friends. In the real world, there are people who spend half their lives with a beloved spouse and, after they die, still find someone new -- as they should.
9. Lucy and Peter
Sandra Bullock's character in While You Were Sleeping pretends to be the fiancee of a comatose man she's never actually met. She fools his family, then seduces his brother. Then when Peter wakes up with amnesia, he too believes she's his fiancee and proposes to her because he thinks it's the right thing to do. If this sounds like an amazing black comedy, no, that's not how the movie plays it.
10. Colter and Christina
In the movie Source Code, a character takes on the body of a man traveling a train with his fiancee -- because this is all a simulation, no, there's no ethical quandary here. But at the end of the movie, he has somehow created a new universe, with him permanently in this man's body and the unwitting fiancee thinking she's in love with him. Not only is this a time crime -- it is rape by deception.
11. Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey
For a sex fantasy, Fifty Shades has some very unsatisfying sex. The story is about control in all ways other than sex, where rather than BDSM, we just see Christian dutifully pleasuring Anastasia. With one exception: She begs him to whip her, he finally does, and so she gets mad. Which also isn't BDSM, by the way. Instead of kinky sex, he just beats her severely then leaves, without either of them getting off.
12. Frank and Lai
The Transporter offers an especially weird case of a kidnapper and kidnappee falling for each other. Jason Statham's Frank doesn't know he's transporting a kidnapped woman at first. Later, she has sex with him. Then, he realizes the sex was a trick. But ... in the end, they stay in love. Tale as old as time.
13. Belle and Beast
14. Tarzan and Jane
When Jane agrees to stay in the jungle, perhaps she has not fully taken into account the fact that Tarzan is going to fuck a bunch of gorillas. The way gorilla hierarchies work, the alpha is responsible for inseminating the entire tribe. The old alpha, Kerchak, died and passed the mantle to Tarzan.
15. Ariel and Eric
Oh, this couple seems perfectly happy at the end of The Little Mermaid. But that's because Ariel hasn't yet seen Eric's penis. As far as she knows, she's soon going to be depositing eggs in some corner, and he'll separately drop semen on them to fertilize them, as is only proper in the fish world. Instead, he has this strange appendage that looks like something from Ursula's garden, and he wants to stick it inside her.
16. Snow White and the Prince
It's not clear why the Prince kisses the girl he finds in a coffin. Perhaps he has a thing for dead women and does this regularly. As for Snow White, the only reason she doesn't freak out on waking to this stranger is that she has experience with violent men and figures staying still is the only way to avoid getting stabbed.
17. Danny Ocean and Tess
At the start of Ocean's Eleven, Tess says she can't be with Danny because he's a criminal. Then Danny pulls off a colossal crime. And so she decides they can now date. Yeah, the caper also revealed her current boyfriend to be an asshole, but she doesn't have to be with either of them.
18. Fletcher and Audrey
In Liar, Liar, Maura Tierney's Audrey leaves her wonderful current boyfriend to get back with her ex Fletcher, played by Jim Carrey. This on a day when he got arrested, had his car impounded, broke out of jail, broke through airport security, and stole an airport vehicle. Habitual lying was just the start of this guy's issues.
19. Clare and Henry
Henry is unstuck in time in The Time Traveler's Wife, and he keeps encountering Clare at various ages. In the end, these are two people who fall in love and have kids despite some clear obstacles. But Clare says she first fell in love when she was six, he appeared in front of her naked, and he urged her not to tell her parents.
20. Allie and Noah
21. Harry and Ginny
Harry Potter and Cho Chang's relationship falls apart due to a misunderstanding -- and once we find out what was really going on, this story is never resolved. Instead, characters refer vaguely to Cho suffering deep depression, and we're supposed to laugh at this. As for Harry and Ginny, the only good thing this relationship has going for it is that when they have sex, Harry gets to pretend he's really with his true soulmate: Ron.
22. Snape and Lily
We're supposed to feel sympathy for Snape after learning he was always in love with Harry Potter's mother. Really, that just makes his actions worse. All of us have unrequited crushes as children, but most of us get over it, and none of us use that old obsession as an excuse to torture the child of whomever we claim to have loved.
23. Buffy and Angel
Long before Twilight, we had Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where aged vampire Angel falls in love with a teenager. C'mon, Angel, what you want to hang around teenagers for? Teenagers are unbearable. Yeah, she's a slayer, but there are slayers before and after her whom you manage to avoid.
24. Leia and Han
We used to joke about what a mismatched couple Leia and Han from Star Wars were and how little future they had, considering the only thing he knows to do is smuggling. Then we got the sequels, and it turns out that in the years that follow, Han Solo ... did indeed stick to smuggling. Yay. Cue Han and Leia's theme.
25. Forrest and Jenny
Some of Forrest Gump's charm lies in horrible things happening and Forrest's lack of understanding. We're not so sure that that's still charming when sex enters the picture. Switch the genders in the dorm scene, and we don't see viewers cheering when a college guy masturbates using an unwilling, intellectually disabled young woman's hand.
26. Josh and Susan
Or maybe the audience just really likes seeing childlike Tom Hanks get off? Because we also have Big, where he falls in love with a thirtysomething coworker while secretly being just 13 and having the mind of a child. The sex is strictly off-screen, but that doesn't make it much better.
27. Brian and Shay
28. Vivian and Edward
Pretty Woman seems like an odd setup for a love story -- a man hires a woman for a weekend of sex. Want to know how this sort of thing really ends? Check out the original ending of the movie. He pays her. And drives off. Leaving Julia Roberts' Vivian crying and fishing the scattered bills out of the gutter.
29. Phil and Rita
Bill Murray in Groundhog Day using his many years of time looping to better himself as a person, gain new skills, and help the town? That's nice. Using his years of time-looping to gain knowledge about Andie MacDowell's character that he couldn't otherwise obtain with the ultimate goal of having sex with her? Uh, that's a little morally iffy.
30. Ted and Robin
Ted and Robin from How I Met Your Mother work so poorly as a couple that the show devotes several episodes over the course of several seasons to explaining why they'd work poorly as a couple. Yet by the end of the series, they're back together again because the writers wanted to fulfill an ending they'd long ago planned ... even if the characters now make even less sense together than the last time they decided to stay apart.
31. Miss Piggy and Kermit
We're supposed to cheer every time The Muppets get revived, and Kermit and Piggy end up together again. So, we're just supposed to forget how she keeps beating him up every chance she gets? Piggy's hot, of course, but that's not a good enough reason to stick with her.
32. Cam and Mitchell
Cam and Mitchell from Modern Family have roughly three romantic moments over the course of 11 years but roughly 250 episodes in which one gets mad at the other because "you always do this!" For at least the first few seasons, we were convinced these were two gay roomies who only pretend to be partners so they can adopt a baby.
33. Robb and Talisa
In Game of Thrones, Robb falls for Talisa, so he marries her. That's ridiculous. Marriage is a political alliance, love is irrelevant, and he's already engaged. Havoc ensues. In the books, Robb doesn't choose love over honor: He breaks his engagement and marries someone else because of honor.
34. Arya and Gendry
35. Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy
We're supposed to be happy when Darcy drags Bridget's ex out of a building in Bridget Jones 2, beats him up, and throws him in a fountain. The ex probably deserved it (he's played by Hugh Grant), but just keep in mind that that sort of behavior in real life doesn't end with strangers cheering and may land you in prison.
36. Joe Black And Claire Forlani
"Joe Black" in Meet Joe Black is Death. As in, the Grim Reaper. Claire bangs Death. Which is weird by itself, but he's currently wearing the skinsuit of the guy she was previously flirting with, who died ... and then at the end of the movie, he brings this man back to life, to fall newly in love with the woman who already had sex with his body.
36. Paula and Tripp
In the particularly awful romantic comedy Failure to Launch, the whole family of Matthew McConaughey's character kidnap him and tie him up in a room with his ex, so the two of them can reconcile. If your family ever does this to you, you must abandon them and cut all ties with any lovers they recommend.
37. Rory and Logan
By the end of Gilmore Girls, Rory is cheating on her forgettable boyfriend with old beau Logan. They're all in their 30s by this point, and there's no reason she and Logan can't simply start a normal relationship if they want to. Especially after she gets pregnant with his baby and still decides she'll raise it alone, for unclear reasons.
38. Deckard and Rachael
When Deckard forces replicant Rachael to ask him to kiss her, then has sex with her, that is rape -- we'd know that in a film that came out today. Kind of odd, though, that in the sequel, their relationship is remembered so fondly, with Deckard recalling, "She had green eyes." Then again, Rachael actually had brown eyes ...
39. Mulder and Scully
How incompatible are Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from The X-Files as lovers? So much that for the revival, creator Chris Carter declared their relationship had always been "platonic" ... even though the original series ended with them kissing over their baby.
40. Seth and Jules
Superbad throws in a twist on the old sex farce formula: The guy who wants to get a girl drunk enough for sex ends up drunk himself, so she refuses to sleep with him. Really, that could have been the end of that plot, and the movie could have ended on Seth and Evan's friendship. But no, Seth and Jules end up together after all.
41. Eowyn and Faramir
42. Tauriel and Fili
It takes a lot to be the worst subplot in the Hobbit trilogy, but the romance between Evangeline Lilly's character and that dwarf manages it. The two meet for a few seconds, he asks her to put her hands down his pants, and boom, she's now in a love triangle with him and Legolas. Making things worse: Lilly had specifically demanded that her character have no love triangle before agreeing to the take the role.
43. Leonard and Penny
Leonard and Penny from The Big Bang Theory don't appear to have any real obstacles to their relationship. As a result, all drama between them during their 12-year series seems to stem from how much they just actively hate each other. We're tricked into thinking Penny likes Leonard only because she doesn't appear to hate him as much as she does Sheldon.
44. Martha and Mickey
Martha and Mickey are the Doctor's companions on Doctor Who, years apart. Martha's adventurous and a med student. Mickey's a reluctant secondary companion who the Doctor calls "Mickey the idiot." The two never meet ... but then, years later, we learn that they somehow ran into each other and got married.
45. Spock and Uhura
Spock and Nyota Uhura had no relationship in the original Star Trek TV show or movies. That's because humans do not form good relationships with people who are emotionless. If you are even mildly emotionally deficient, that's called emotional unavailability and spells doom for the relationship. Spock is totally emotionless. Though, it looks like the Star Trek Into Darkness gives him a little emotion ... so he and Uhura can bicker.
46. Josie and Sam
In Never Been Kissed, it's bad enough that there's a spark between teacher Sam and undercover reporter Josie, considering he thinks she's his teenage student at the time. But then she writes a story publicizing the attraction between them and asking him to act on it publicly. Now he'll forever be known as the English teacher who's hot for his students.
47. Abby and Harper
Know how in a lot of cliched rom-coms, the central couple's relationship is threatened by an outsider, some evil schemer we root against? In Happiest Season, the outsider is played by Aubrey Plaza, and she's cooler, nicer, and more compatible with Abby than Mackenzie Davis' Harper, who Abby doesn't appear to even like.
48. Padme and Anakin
49. Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls
Logan is introduced in the very first episode of Veronica Mars as the town's "obligatory psychotic asshole." He and Veronica were never supposed to be together. But fans really hated the guy the show set up as Veronica's boyfriend, so she had to get with the asshole; what other choice did they have?
50. Claire and Bender
When the princess and the bad boy get together at the end of The Breakfast Club, that's supposed to be a fine tale of opposites attracting. But they clearly expect us to ignore just how many layers Bender wears and how awful he must resultantly smell. Also, going in under her skirt head-first earlier against her will was a sex crime.
51. David and Natalie
In Love, Actually, we're supposed to look at Prime Minister David (Hugh Grant) favorably, compared to the horny American president. Then when the president comes on to one of David's house staff, David kicks her out of her job. Later, he runs to her home to hook up. He's the prime minister -- how about he just not pursue subordinates romantically?
52. Alison and Ben
Get in a relationship, and you may have to change yourself. But in Knocked Up, Seth Rogen's Ben has to change everything about himself, moving, getting a new job, and cutting ties with his old friends. It leaves Katherine Heigl's character so unsympathetic that Heigl herself called it out, torching her real-life career.
53. Lorraine and George
Teenage Lorraine and George from Back to the Future are incompatible in every way. They have different interests, different levels of sexual experience, and they just plain don't seem to be into each other. Plus, we see into their future and know they aren't happy when married in the original timeline. Know who Lorraine's better with? Marty. It might sound weird, dating his mom, but we're convinced those two could make it work.
54. Bella and Edward
Twilight is the perfect love story. Even so, there's still one aspect of this relationship that we consider terrible -- we don't get to see enough of it. More sequels, please!
55. Jeremy and Gloria