Friends writers did the couples calculus and ended up pairing Joey with Rachel? Not permanently, thankfully, but the obvious pairing was Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow). They had the same offbeat way of looking at the world, and their chemistry was apparent throughout the show’s run. In fact, they revealed to People in 2015 that they pitched this twist in the final season: A reveal that the two had been hooking up for the entire run of the show.
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Sam (Sam Trammell) carried a torch for Sookie (Anna Paquin) for much of True Blood‘s run, but by the time she started to tire of the hot undead, he had a pregnant girlfriend. These two had so much in common—sweet natures, generous souls, and, crucially, beating hearts. Charlaine Harris, who wrote the novels upon which the show was based, clearly agreed, pairing them off at the end of the book series.
Look up “friend zone” in the dictionary, and you’ll see a picture of Marty (Wayne Wilcox) from Gilmore Girls. He never got to first base with Rory, but at least he had the guts to lay his feelings on the line for her. Smart, hard-working, and almost as pop culture savvy as the Gilmores, he was the unsung option for the too-fickle Rory. (Let’s just forget about his douchey season 7 appearance. While we’re at it, let’s just forget about season 7 altogether.)
It wasn’t until the Season 6 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which the Scoobies all lost their memory that we saw the genius of a romance between Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) and Anya (Emma Caulfield). Centuries as a bunny-fearing vengeance demon left Anya a bit, shall we say, overwrought, and the unflappable, mature Giles is a much better match for her than Xander could ever be. And perhaps Anya could spark some of the ol’ Ripper in Giles again.
Sure, both Donna (Retta) and Tom (Aziz Ansari) managed to settle down with—but not settle for—other partners by the end of Parks and Recreation, but these two share so many loves — spa days, shopping, ’90s R&B icon Ginuwine. And we know the worldly Donna could teach the thinks-he’s-so-suave Tom a thing or two.
The love that dared not speak its name on The Facts of Life? Privileged princess Blair (Lisa Welchel) and tomboy Jo (Nancy McKeon). The Sam/Diane dynamic was so thick, we just wanted them to get a room already—one that was not shared by Tootie and Natalie.
Sure, Chachi had the swagger, but we were totally with Joanie (Erin Moran) when she (briefly) fell in love with Potsie (Anson Williams) after he serenaded her with “Put Your Head on My Shoulder.” (To be honest, we wouldn’t have minded if Marion Cunningham had jumped on the Fonz’s…motorcycle, either.)
Caveat: We wouldn’t have wanted to see these two get together until late in Mad Men‘s run. Until then, Don (Jon Hamm) was too much of a cad, and Joan (Christina Hendricks) was too invested in the domestic fantasy. But they always had mutual respect and really seemed to understand what made the other tick. And the chemistry, when they allowed themselves to unleash it? Off the charts.
On My So-Called Life, Rayanne (A.J. Langer) struggled with self-worth, while Brian (Devon Gummersall) was plagued by self-doubt. Maybe that’s not a recipe for a killer romance, but these two had their moments—remember Brian calling the Help Line and instead getting phone sex from Rayanne? Let Angela keep on mooning over Jordan Catalano, kids, and get busy.
Admit it: Marshall and Lily could be bit much, and Robin deserved better than either Ted or Barney. And despite Barney’s claim that Marshall and Robin were the only two platonic people on Earth, those two probably had more in common than any other duo on How I Met Your Mother. Maybe a quick fling when Lily was in San Francisco and Ted was being a douche (which is to say, being Ted)?
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Elaine (Marilu Henner) and Alex (Judd Hirsch) were basically the only adults on Taxi, and his anxious personality and her freewheeling nature played well off each other. But like Don and Joan, they seemed to respect each other too much to cross the line. (Okay, maybe they did at the end of their European adventure in “Vienna Waits,” but it was offscreen! Not fair!)
Will they or won't they? Spoiler alert: They didn't. These coulda-been-legendary TV couples exist only in fevered fanfic. For the most part, they never even shared a kiss onscreen, but we're not entirely imagining their latent sexual chemistry. Join us in 'shipping these romances that weren't.
For those of us turned on by cosplay and the phrase “temporal paradox,” and who will always have a special place in our hearts for Scott Bakula and absurdly long striped wool scarves, this is a golden age of television. There are three new time-travel shows on broadcast networks this season:...