This week on The Collective, we'll be revealing our 5 Best lists. I have chosen 5 Best "Television" Couples. And I use the word "television" loosely. Because they're real to me, okay? These are real people. With real feelings. Like me and you. Unless you don't think these people are real. In which case, the only one with feelings here is me.
Lois and Clark: Don't fall for me, farm boy.
When ABC began airing Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in 1993, it took two episodes before I completely stopped accepting phone calls on Sunday nights. I needed the 8-9 p.m. time slot to watch the show, and the 9-whenever time slot to process everything that had happened with the most important two people to ever show up on my television screen. (Sorry, Mario. Sorry, Luigi.) Lois and Clark was the first show that caused me to throw something at the television. My dad used to say, "It's just a show, kiddo." And I'd say, "What do you know of love! Or superpower, Dad! WHAT DO YOU KNOW!"
Lois: You have that face... like you need to borrow money.
Clark: Lois, no... I...
Lois: It's okay, Clark. That's what friends are for.
Clark: No, Lois. I just...
Lois: How much do you need?
Clark: Lois! I want you to go out on a date with me!
Lois: A date? You mean like a real date? Where I take out my good perfume, the one that I got after I saw "Love Affair," the good one not the remake, and I put a dab behind my knee, and I don't even know why?
Ross and Rachel: When were you...under me?
At the end of the first season of Friends, Rachel found out that Ross loved her. The night of the second season premiere—with Rachel poised at an airport gate to tell Ross that she loved him, too—the cable went out at my house. What did I do? I got on my bike and road it 12 miles to my grandparents' house to watch Ross get off a plane with a woman called Julie. At the end of the fifth season, I was old enough to drive. The night of the sixth season premiere—with Ross and Rachel in Vegas, having just been married—I was at a friend's house, and the cable went out. My car was in the shop, so what did I do? I got on my bike and rode 15 miles to my grandparents' house to watch Joey say, "An annulment? Ross, I don't think surgery is the answer here." I would have walked 500 miles, and I would have walked 500 more, just to be the one to walk 1,000 miles and watch The One Where No One's Ready.
Rachel: You know, I can't even believe I thought about getting back together again. We are SO over!
Ross: FINE BY ME.
Rachel: Oh, and hey: those spelling tips will come in handy when you're at home on Saturday nights playing Scrabble with Monica. I just feel bad about all that sleep you’re gonna miss wishing you were with me!
Ross: Don't worry about me! I still have your letter!
Rachel: And hey, just so you know: it's NOT that common. It DOESN'T happen to most guys. And it IS a big deal!
Josh and Donna: I wouldn't stop for red lights.
Here's a fun fact: Aaron Sorkin rewrote part of the Pilot episode of The West Wing because the chemistry between Josh and Donna was just that good. Josh was the Deputy Chief of Staff, and Donna was his Executive Assistant—Deputy, Deputy Chief of Staff, she called herself. Josh was brilliant and arrogant and clueless, and Donna was his compass in every possible way. I checked out on The West Wing when John Wells took over, but I never checked out on Josh and Donna. When they finally kissed in the last season, I cried and cried. And squealed more than entirely appropriate.
Donna: What's wrong with me getting my money back?
Josh: You won't spend it right.
Donna: What do you mean?
Josh: Let's say your cut of the surplus is $700. I want to take your money and combine it with everybody else's money and use it to pay down the debt and further endow social security. What do you want to do with it?
Donna: Buy a DVD player.
Donna: But my $700 is helping employ the people who manufacture and sell DVD players. Not to mention the people who manufacture and sell DVDs. It's the natural evolution of a market economy.
Josh: The problem is: the DVD player you buy might be made in Japan.
Donna: I'll buy an American one.
Josh: We don't trust you.
Donna: Why not?
Josh: We're Democrats.
Donna: I want my money back!
Josh: You shouldn't have voted for us.
Bette and Tina: I'm not afraid to make a fool out of myself.
I have never, ever wanted a television couple to work it out the way I want The L Word's Bette Porter and Tina Kennard to work it out. They're like Heathcliffe and Catherine in Wuthering Heights, not just in the "whatever souls are made of, his and mine are made of the same" kind of way, but in the way they betray each other and adore each other and lash out at each other and protect each other, and in the way—this season, at least—their passion for each other consumes them. Heathcliffe and Catherine are like my all-time least favorite fictional couple, but I just cannot get enough Bette and Tina. Hypocrisy, thou art my name! (But not the name I use on the message boards, where I spend half my days, wanking about whether or not Bette and Tina are going to GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER.)
Tina: She's an emotional cripple.
Bette: Emotional cripple slash narcissistic personality disorder!
Tina: When she calls you, you have to end it.
Alice: I know, it's just...
Bette: Just nothing. What are you gonna do?
Alice: Well, I was going to ask her...
Bette: No asking.
Tina: You're going to tell her. Say Gabby, I really enjoyed the time we spent together but it is obvious to me that we are in different places in our lives and we want different things from a relationship, and I respect myself too much to let you treat me this way.
Bette: It's clear to me now that you are an emotional cripple without the capacity to understand true love.
Tina: And I'm no longer willing to waste my valuable time on you.
Bette: So step off, bitch.
Pam and Jim: Those are the rules of Jinx, and they are unflinchingly rigid.
If you know me but at all, the praise I am about to bestow on The Office in general, and Pam and Jim in specific, is going to floor you. Ready? Okay, deep breath. The only other man to make me swoon the way that Jim Halpert makes me swoon is a guy called Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Maybe you've heard of him. He's in a little book called Pride and Prejudice. And the only couple that I can even think of comparing Jim and Pam to are Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe. That's how good and sweet and perfect, perfect, perfect they are together. I feel God in this Chili's tonight.
Jim: Alright I just have to ask now that we're public, um, is the magic gone?
Pam: It's funny you bring that up, because yes it is.
Jim: I knew it. Oh man, just like that huh?
Pam: I think... I mean, I don't know what it is but...
Jim: Be honest.
Pam: I now find you repulsive.
Jim: That's honest. Alright, fair enough. It was really fun while it lasted though, wasn't it?
Jim: For me, it was.
Runners up: Marc and Amanda, Ugly Betty; Claire and Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show; Jack and Karen, Will and Grace; SpongeBob and Patrick, SpongeBob SquarePants; Carrie and Big, Sex and the City; Michael and Dwight, The Office; Kevin and Winnie, The Wonder Years; Bo and Hope, Days of our Lives.
How about you? What "television" couple is your favorite?
Please do not say Meredith and McDreamy. Seriously.