One of the best parts of following a television series over time is watching the development of romantic relationships between your favorite characters. There is an awesome feeling that comes with watching a couple you have been rooting for finally get together onscreen. Not all long-awaited or much-hyped television relationships end in sunshine and roses, however. Some run their course, others are foiled by plot points or casting changes, and a good number fall to the network’s cancellation ax. Unfortunately, there are also those pesky onscreen romances that never seem to survive their maiden voyage. Much like the doomed Titanic, these relationships sink due to a fatal mix of: lack of chemistry, bad writing, poor timing, and awful characters. Sometimes even ‘ships you have been waiting for end up at the bottom of a sea of disappointment. Let’s take a look back at a few of modern television’s biggest relationship disasters, emotional wreckage and all. Fair warning, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD abound.
Ted and Robin – “How I Met Your Mother”
The relationship between Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) and Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) became the romantic centerpiece of How I Met Your Mother in the very first episode. However, as the show progressed, the relationship between Ted and Robin became a television version of You’ve Got Mail. Ted and Robin, a couple no one was rooting for, ended up together only after Ted stripped Robin of everything that made her awesome in the first place. While the couple was much better as friends, Ted found ways to change Robin to his “ideal woman” even then. I honestly preferred Robin with Barney, at least with him she could be herself (Neil Patrick Harris).
Rachel and Joey – “Friends”
To this day, many years after Friends ended, I have no idea why writers decided to pair Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc). Possibly it was because the characters were already living together and in close quarters, so the show tried it out? I personally think that show-runners had just run out of couple configurations on the show and wanted something to do with Rachel before she ended up with Ross (David Schwimmer) for good. Regardless, the relationship was a complete fail from the start. Rachel and Joey both served similar comedic and plot purposes on the show, so putting them together was just too much. Additionally, Aniston and LeBlanc had less chemistry than a pair of raw carrots.
Dawson and Joey – “Dawson’s Creek”
Throughout the first several seasons of Dawson’s Creek, writers wanted viewers to root for Dawson (James Van Der Beek) and Joey (Katie Holmes). The audience was drawn into the will-they-or-won’t-they of childhood friends. When the couple finally got together, however, it was just awkward. Despite how long everyone had been waiting for the relationship to happen, viewers suddenly wanted it to end. With all of the passion you would expect of two high-schoolers hesitantly kissing each other for the school play, the long-awaited relationship ended up cringe-worthy. Luckily, the relationship disaster between Joey and Dawson highlighted the superiority of Pacey (Joshua Jackson).
George and Izzie – “Grey’s Anatomy”
Another stop on the “what were they thinking” tour, the relationship between Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) and George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) on Grey’s Anatomy never should have happened. Writers used the relationship between the two friends as a vehicle to end Callie (Sara Ramirez) and George’s marriage, and the execution was atrocious. While Heigl and Knight worked well onscreen as friends, it was obvious to viewers that any romantic chemistry was dead on arrival. This storyline was so bad, I blocked most of this relationship from my television memory.
John Carter and Susan Lewis – “ER”
The only positive thing that can be said for the onscreen romantic relationship between Dr. Carter (Noah Wyle) and Dr. Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) on ER is that it was thankfully short. Carter was crushing on Lewis in the first few seasons of the show before Stringfield left the first time. Then, Lewis returns several years later and Carter tries to live out his teacher fantasies. Almost every single interaction this couple had was awkward and forced, not to mention Carter was supposedly in love with someone else at the time. Some crushes should just stay crushes.
Supergirl and… Everyone – “Supergirl”
Guest Contributor Andy Wilson Writes: Supergirl writers have tried half a dozen different guys to pair up with Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) and they’ve all failed in one way or another. Supergirl and Jimmy Olson (Mehcad Brooks)? No thank you – so awkward. Then there was that crush that Winn (Jeremy Jordan) had on her. Double awkward – they were both better than that. Kara and Mon-El (Chris Wood)? Well, that almost worked but ended in tragedy, and really didn’t last all that long. Plus, the relationship was always still going to be based on him being mean to her at the beginning – so problematic. And that brings us to our current situation with William (Staz Nair). Stop trying to make this ‘ship happen! Let Kara be single for a while.
Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth – “Bones”
Right from the very first episode of Bones, I ‘shipped Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). The fun chemistry between the direct scientist and the driven agent, as well as the onscreen presence of Deschanel and Boreanaz, had me hooked right from the beginning. I loved their interactions and waited for literal years for them to get together. But, writers decided to draw out the suspense too long. And, before Booth and Brennan had a chance to start an onscreen romance, Emily Deschanel’s pregnancy needed to be written into the show. So, the show just pretended that the two main characters had been sleeping together on the sly for a while. Suddenly, fans went from wishing for a Booth/Brennan relationship to finding out that the two of them had started a relationship without us, and had a baby on the way. The television show picked up as if this was not at all strange for the audience, and the couple went forward to eventual somewhat wedded bliss. But for viewers, everything was forced and accelerated, like picking up a romance novel and only reading the part after the couple gets together. The writing choices and the instant Booth-Bones family made the relationship less believable, and a huge letdown.
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Erin is a lifelong geek who is a part-time writer for Bleeding Cool. Between her day job and her mom job, Erin reads and watches all the fantasy and sci-fi she can get her hands on. She is a Trekkie, Warsie, Potterhead, recreational WoW nerd, and Whovian. Find her on twitter @pearlsandchucks.