5 TV Couples We Should Never Have Rooted For
Television loves "Will they or won't they?" couples, and will drag shows way past their reasonable expiration date for years simply because they know we'll tune in to see if two New Yorkers are gonna make out. The thing is, while that kind of romantic conflict is fun to watch in a fictional context starring Jennifer Aniston, it becomes borderline tragic when you apply the lens of reality. Here are just a few of the couples who've skewed our idea of what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like ...
Scully And Mulder Would Never Be Happy Together
I'm sorry, but Dana Scully, a smokin' hot doctor who works for the FBI, and Fox Mulder, a man whose main personality trait is that he masturbates to blurry videos of Bigfoot, make no sense as a couple. I'm not the only one who thinks that, either. Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files, shocked everyone by saying just before the premiere of the reboot that the two had "a platonic relationship," despite the series originally ending with them kissing over their infant son. He famously never wanted them to get together at all, but the internet couldn't see two people that hot in the same room without screaming "MAKE THEM KISS," until the writers were forced to do just that.
They clearly weren't designed to go together, and the writers didn't know what that would even look like, so they just decided to keep the relationship in a weird limbo for the entirety of the show's run. They weren't just a "Will they or won't they?" couple, they were a "Did they? Wink wink" couple. That's how little their romance is in the actual DNA of the show. The X-Files is fun because you have a person who doesn't give two shits about the Loch Ness Monster being a buddy cop to someone who writes Nessie fanfiction. If the creator can't be bothered to seem enthusiastic about the leads getting it on, then maybe we should ease off it a bit too?
Also, can you imagine what going on a date with Mulder would be like? Or a vacation? What is his actual personality when separated from his work? There are a lot of jokes about Mulder jerkin' it, but that seems pretty reasonable, since he doesn't have any kind of social life outside of the X-Files. He has no interest in dating. In Season 8, when Scully is preparing to have a second child from medical rape at the hands of a shadowy organization, she says she "can't live like this, the subject of some unending X-file." But that's the only way Mulder wants to live.
This is the perfect example of writers using fundamental personality differences to create dramatic tension, and viewers then insisting that tension has to be sexual. You have to wonder how many fans thus grew up thinking that it's hot when couples constantly disagree. It's not! It's awful!
Ted And Robin Still Want Different Things Out Of Life
We've written before about the terrible thing the How I Met Your Mother finale did to its audience by killing the titular mother so that Ted could end up with Robin. Somehow there's no weird behind-the-scenes reason for this twist; it was always the plan. And if you watch the first and last episodes and literally no other part of the show, it makes sense. If you've watched any other episodes, though, you'll see why Ted and Robin are terrible together, and that Robin would've been better off alone.
The major reason Ted and Robin never get together is that Robin doesn't want kids, and the end of the show seems to tell us that's no longer an issue, because Ted has two kids already. So ... problem solved? His kids aren't done growing up by the finale. They are 15 and 13 years old, and teenagers are the worst Pokemon evolution of children. And Robin never indicates that her stance on children has changed. So sure, she likes being "Aunt Robin" to Ted's kids, but how is she gonna feel the first time they have an argument and she can't just retreat back to her apartment full of dogs?
Plus, one of the things I liked about How I Met Your Mother was that it emphasized the titular couple's overall compatibility. They share extremely weird and specific personality quirks, like wearing driving gloves and collecting lucky pennies. They're both hopeless romantics with very specific ideas of what they want their futures to look like. If this kind of compatibility is what Ted has been looking for, then why would he end up with Robin, a woman we've been shown over and over is an unsentimental gun enthusiast who would rather eat a screaming fart than listen to Ted's poetry?
Also, if it was their plan from the beginning, shouldn't the show have maybe sanded off some of the rougher edges? Ted and Robin meet, argue for a decade, and then look at that, they were meant to be! It would have made more sense to end the show with Ted in bed with a hologram of The Mother.
Logan And Veronica Were Always Questionable
In the pilot for Veronica Mars, Veronica introduces Logan Echolls as the town's "obligatory psychotic asshole." Their love story begins with Logan taking a crowbar to Veronica's car and implying that he's thinking about hitting her too before he's stopped by a friend of hers. It's a tale as old time. For the rest of Season 1, Logan mostly hangs out in the background being a huge dick to Veronica until the end of the season, when he suddenly has a personality transplant.
There are some narrative reasons for this, but the real-world reason was that fans absolutely hated Veronica's actual love interest, Duncan. The actor who played Duncan had been told privately by the show's creator that he would later be revealed to be bipolar, which apparently influenced him to play the character as though he were on a lot of medication that made him emotionally distant. Surprisingly, fans had trouble connecting with a dead-eyed weirdo, but the guy who busted Veronica's headlights? Now there's some real chemistry.
Here's the most famous exchange the couple has about their relationship:
Logan: I thought our story was epic, you know? You and me.
Veronica: Epic, how?
Logan: Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined and bloodshed. Epic. But summer's almost here, and we won't see each other at all. And then you'll leave town, and then it's over.
Veronica: Come on. Ruined lives, bloodshed? You really think a relationship should be that hard?
And the correct answer to that questions is NO! Sure, relationships are difficult sometimes, but there's no extra prize at the end for marrying someone who makes you miserable, even if he's really good at giving speeches. Of course, Logan ends the conversation with, "No one writes songs about the ones that come easy." Apparently he's never heard "Easy" by Sheryl Crow, or "Easy Love" by David Niall, or "I Got It Easy" by Michael Buble, or "It Should Be Easy" by our lord and savior Britney Jean Spears.
At the end of the Hulu reboot, the writers decided to kill off Logan roughly five seconds after he and Veronica were married, so I guess they really weren't fans of the relationship either.
Mindy And Danny's Problems Were Never Solved
Mindy Kaling's sitcom The Mindy Project had the kind of problem most shows wouldn't mind: Their male lead was just too famous. Chris Messina's career was really taking off as the show was reaching its conclusion, so he left midway through Season 4 and only made sporadic guest appearances in Seasons 5 and 6. They tried a few other love interests for Mindy, including one who was basically Danny 2.0, but in the end, Kaling decided that Mindy and Danny should end up together. But with only a handful of episodes to work out the couple's issues, nothing really got solved.
The shit that goes down between Mindy and Danny is horrible. Danny tracks Mindy's ovulation and tries to get her pregnant without her consent in order to prevent her from returning to work after having her first child with him. At one point he screams at her, "You chose your job over us having a happy family!" After that fight, bloggers were writing thinkpieces gleefully theorizing how he could be killed off. "Oh hey Danny, hop on this elevator. No need to look before stepping into it."
He wasn't, through! In the few short episodes that capped off the series, he ends up investing in Mindy's fertility clinic and telling her she's a good mother. Wow, all of their problems are now solved, right? Guess they can get back together. Certainly no lingering feelings of resentment to work through there. In fact, the last interaction we see Mindy and Danny have ends with him telling her she'll have to move to Tribeca with him because he can't live in the West Village. "Too many cupcake shops."
"Can we watch TV? We have the rest of our lives to argue," she replies. Aw, arguing for the rest of your lives. Again, great for the writers of your show. In real life, a bitter divorce a few years down the line is pretty much the best scenario.
Leonard And Penny Openly Hate Each Other
Leonard and Penny from The Big Bang Theory were always a strange couple to me, because they didn't have any big obstacles to overcome in order to be with each other. They didn't have any professional conflicts and their families and friends weren't feuding, and so the only concrete and consistent reason the show gave us was "Well, Leonard might be too smart." Yeah, and? Sorry, but "She's pretty and he reads too many comic books" doesn't exactly spell doom to me.
What does spell doom are their completely incompatible personalities and the 12 whole seasons the show spent making it clear that they suck together while supposedly teasing their love. Leonard tells Penny that he cheated on her on their wedding day, reads her diary without her permission, hides money from her, and won't let a male friend sleep on her couch. And yet she doesn't walk away, even though it's well-established that she doesn't like him that much. Penny and Leonard are constantly sniping at each other in a way that I guess is supposed to be fun? When a nerdy guy inquires how he got her to marry him, she says, "He slowly wore me down." She doesn't bother to try to understand what he does for a living for six years. She tells her best friend not to worry about missing their wedding because she's "not missing anything special."
In Season 11, since they just weren't incompatible enough, the writers decided that Leonard and Penny should disagree on having children. Leonard has always wanted to be a dad, while Penny decides that she never wants to have kids. This argument is resolved offscreen when Penny gets pregnant and decides to keep the baby. This disagreement has the couple in such distress that fans were guessing they might break up in the finale. The fact that they were glued back together at the last minute by an accidental pregnancy doesn't give me high hopes for their future.
Anyway, I look forward to the inevitable Big Bang Theory Netflix reunion season, which should logically be built around Penny and Leonard fighting over child support ... and Sheldon making quips about Green Lantern, probably.
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