Happy birthday to Lizzy Caplan, who played one half of one of my favorite TV couples of all time: Henry and Casey from Party Down. Those two helped me remember what love was, y’know? (Someone who will not only accept, but appreciate your razor-sharp sarcasm.)
I’m sure she’s also an awesome human in real life, too, but since I don’t know her there, I’m left to form our mental friendship purely based on how adorable her relationship with Adam Scott was. It was just so unlike anything else I’d seen on TV, and so completely suited to them and their dysfunctions, that I couldn’t help falling in love with it and wanting it to exist in real life.
That’s right! Even though these people have their own entanglements going on (Adam is married, and Lizzy dated Matthew Perry for six years before splitting up in 2012, weirdly enough), I think they should drop all that and give me the romantic fulfillment that they teased me with on television!
You hear that, everybody? Here are the couples I want to happen in real life, so get on it! (It’s also a sometimes-embarrassing look at the TV shows I watch and have watched, so please be kind to my tastes and suggest additions, if the mood strikes you!)
1. April and Andy, Parks and Recreation
I think it’s really easy for a show to write off relationships between young people as being impulsive and dumb, but to their credit, the Parks and Rec writers have never let those things get in the way of a really perfect match between characters played by Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt. They aren’t the most traditional couple on TV, but they’re one of the most believable.
2. Matthew and Mary, Downton Abbey
Still not over this. Still haven’t forgiven Dan Stevens for walking away from Downton Abbey and leaving Michelle Dockery all alone. Because how are they ever gonna find a relationship to match that one? It was a truly respectful partnership, of the type that’s already rare enough on television, but especially in a period piece.
3. Marshall and Lily, How I Met Your Mother
You know what really puts me at ease while watching a show? A couple that we don’t have to worry about breaking up. Marshall and Lily have already accepted each other just as they are, and that’s a glorious thing…that Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel have hopefully been able to find in their own lives, with their own partners. (Which are sadly separate.)
4. Michael and Holly, The Office
I know everyone was probably expecting Jim and Pam, but I didn’t like what the show was doing with their relationship by the end of it. And how long it took them to get into it! My god you guys, just communicate with each other! This will-they-won’t-they stuff is exhausting. Michael Scott and Holly Flax, on the other hand, played by Steve Carell and Amy Ryan, never made any secret of how much they enjoyed each other’s company, and once they were both single at the same time, they jumped into things with both feet and never looked back.
5. Carrie and Aiden, Sex and the City
Again, I bet you were expecting one of the couples that actually stayed together, but I loved these two. Well, mostly just Aiden, and probably part of that was how much I disliked Mr. Big, but I always thought Sarah Jessica Parker and John Corbett were disturbingly cute together. Ah well. If they can’t even survive the show, there’s no way they could survive real life. Sigh.
6. Benson and Stabler, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
GIRL LEMME STOP YOU FOR A SECOND BECAUSE YES I KNOW THEY’RE NOT TOGETHER. And I honestly don’t even want them to be, in a romantic way. But there’s just such excellent chemistry between Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni that I can’t stomach the fact that they aren’t on SVU together anymore.
7. CJ and Danny, The West Wing
This one is kind of a throwback (thus no GIF), but I’m watching The West Wing all the way through for the first time right now and CJ Cregg and Danny Concannon are the absolute best, so you’ll have to excuse my enthusiasm. It’s one of the few instances where the female in the relationship has a higher status, career-wise than the male — and more importantly — that he respects and appreciates her for it. Kudos to Timothy Busfield and (my forever-love) Allison Janney.
8. Phoebe and Mike, Friends
If you thought I was seriously gonna put Ross and Rachel or Chandler and Monica on here, you’re out of your mind. They’re fun to watch, sure, but only because they’re tumultuous characters who can’t get their shit together either as a couple or as individuals. But Phoebe and Mike were so perfectly and quirkily matched that it even showed up in their wedding vows, when Mike said one of the reasons he loved Phoebe was because she was ‘so wonderfully weird’, a line that still legitimately makes me tear up. I’m also just obsessed with Paul Rudd and Lisa Kudrow though, so who knows.
9. Alicia and Will, The Good Wife
Have I mentioned recently that I don’t like Mr. Big, aka Chris Noth? I have to imagine that’s part of why I picked Alicia to be with a dead dude over him, but I also think I really liked Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner as a couple. It was fiery in an over forty, I-like-you-for-brain kind of way. Plus Julianna Margulies and Josh Charles are both absurdly attractive, so that doesn’t hurt one bit.
10. Joan and Roger, Mad Men
Okay, so the show really doesn’t want me to like them together, but I can’t help myself! I’m aware of the fact that Roger Sterling is a womanizer and that Joan has put herself in some questionable romantic situations in the past, but I really want it to happen. Maybe it’s because there’s no truly good relationship on Mad Men, but I feel like each of them mellows out the other in important ways. Someone please send an email to Christina Hendricks and John Slattery to see if they can sneak it into an upcoming script.
11. Ilana and Lincoln, Broad City
I almost put Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer on here instead, but they actually are best friends in real life, so I already got that wish! Instead I’m including Ilana and Lincoln, played by Hannibal Burress. It’s such a great representation of a relationship that’s not serious or official, but is still open and real and sexually liberated and great. They’re both so honest with each other about their wants and needs and feelings that it doesn’t matter to me whether or not they have the boyfriend-girlfriend label.
And one more for the road.