I’m pretty sure this couple is debating what show they should binge-watch next. Perhaps (hypothetically speaking, of course) he wants to finish that last season of The Musketeers, but she’s bored with the swords and the costumes and wants him to finally watch Arrested Development with her. Or maybe he’s saying, “Um, really? You watched the new episode of NCIS without me?”
I’m kidding. I know I’m the only person under 65 who admits to watching NCIS.
Of course that means the rest of you are lying. But whatever, that’s cool. It’s just THE MOST WATCHED SHOW ON TELEVISION for no reason, I’m sure.
One of my friends has recently discovered Madam Secretary. I adore everything about this show, but in particular, I seriously appreciate the portrayal of marriage between the main character and her husband. I told my friend they are one of my favorite television marriages. And that got me thinking about my other favorite TV couples — and wondering just why I love them so much.
Now, first of all, when I say, “TV couple,” in this scenario I’m referring only to married couples. In a world of shows that make us root for couples to break up, make up, cheat, try again, leave, reunite — and back and forth and back and forth, I’m talking about couples with a little more permanence. (Not to say that we aren’t often faced with married couples who break up, etc., but I have to draw some parameters or we’d have no end for this discussion. And heaven knows we’d find ourselves sidetracked as soon as we began debating Ross and Rachel vs. Joey and Rachel, and we simply do not have the time for that.)
(However, SIDE NOTE, if you want to read an interesting argument FOR Joey and Rachel [yeah, I’m serious], check out this Twitter thread. It’s hilarious and, well, maybe not all wrong.)
So, married couples on TV. Who do we love, and why do we love them?
But wait! First, let’s cover the couples I’m not in love with real quick.
Long-suffering wives with oafish husbands? Don’t love ’em.
Formerly fun singles who got real boring the second they said, “I do”? No thanks.
Always fighting, constantly complaining, can’t figure out why they’re together duos? Hard pass.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on to the good part! Who are the couples who literally make our eyes smile and our hearts warm? Who shows us the right way to fight, the reality of committed romance, the power of someone who always has your back? Who makes us want to tweet about #marriagegoals? Even if we hate Twitter? and hashtags? and goals?
Here are my favorites:
- Coach and Tami Taylor (Friday Night Lights)
- Peter and Elizabeth Burke (White Collar)
- Henry and Elizabeth McCord (Madam Secretary)
- Andre and Rainbow Johnson (Black-ish)
- Ben Wyatt and Leslie Knope (Parks & Recreation)
- Brad Williams and Jane Kerkovich-Williams (Happy Endings)
And a few honorable mentions:
- Jamie and Paul Buchman (Mad About You)
- Zoe and Wash Washburne (Firefly)
- April and Andy Dwyer (Parks & Recreation)
- Marshall Eriksen and Lily Aldrin (How I Met Your Mother)
Awwwww. Just thinking of these couples makes me smile and sigh happily! I really do love them.
What is it that sets these couples apart from the rest, that makes us want to take notes or just schedule a double date? When I think about these TV husbands and wives, I noticed several similarities — even though they’re found on all different types of shows.
- They’re grounded and steady. With the exception of the wacky Brad and Jane, these couples are relatively drama-free and provide a foundation the other characters (and this viewer) tend to rely on.
- They have a sense of humor. Is anything more attractive than someone who makes you laugh? Obviously not, and these couples know this well. Not only do they have inside jokes and a deep understanding of each other’s sense of humor, but they simply approach life less seriously than some characters in other, more serious shows. And thank goodness for that. Life is stressful enough without hostility or animosity in my shows! (Or my marriage…something it took me longer than it should have to figure out!)
- They trust each other. I mean, let’s be real here. Elizabeth Burke looked at Matt Bomer’s Neal Caffrey with his fancy suits and, well, HIS FACE — and she still only had eyes for her husband. And, really, I just love how infidelity or even jealousy is a non-issue with these couples.
- They have a history. No insta-love here, these people have known each other for years and have the inside jokes and deep understanding long-term, well-established couples do.
- They’ve weathered some storms. Anyone who’s lived enough life together will face things. And all of these couples have done that — and come out the other side stronger.
- They’re on the same team. Likewise, our favorite TV couples stand together, whether they’re facing down school board votes, city council recalls, ridiculous teenagers, or actual terrorists. And the together part is just as important as the standing.
- They fight for each other, not against each other. Aside from Ben and Leslie, who just might be a tad bit TOO sweet (is that even possible?!), all of these couples fight occasionally. But they do it from a foundation of respect and work through their differences to find a solution.
- They’re equals who compromise. Some of the facial expressions I found when searching for photos of these couples cracked me up. The bugged eyes, quirked lips, and – most of all – the raised eyebrows spoke volumes. But while all of these couples are incredibly comfortable in their knowledge of each other as well as confident in their opinions and predictions, you won’t hear [too many] utter those damaging words, “I told you so.” They take turns being right — or insisting on their rights, and no one spouse is ever valued more than the other. Each of these couples is made of two intelligent, hard-working professionals who respect what the other one does.
- They support each other. It’s not just respect these couples have for each other. They’re truly proud of what their spouses do, even when it completely conflicts with their own work or affects their family in completely unexpected ways. Ben and Leslie literally take turns following their career dreams (and being supported by a spouse), and in the end [SPOILER ALERT], so do Coach and Tami.
- They’re affectionate. Just look at those pictures up there! These couples are always smooching! Or patting or squeezing or just holding hands. I found more than one article that mentioned the McCords’ pillow talk, as their busy lives don’t always leave much time elsewhere for conversation, and the only thing Leslie Knope mentions loving more than waffles is Ben Wyatt’s butt. I guess you’d say these couples are in touch with each other, both literally and figuratively. (Or maybe you wouldn’t say it, but I like puns so I would. Also, I didn’t feel good about ending this list with the words, “Ben Wyatt’s butt.”) (And then I did it again anyway.) (I’m not really sure what’s happening right now.)
So, that’s my list of my favorite married couples on television. Who are YOUR favorite TV couples?
Photo by Bryan Apen on Unsplash.
I’m going to have to break down and actually watch Parks and Rec one of these days. Adam has refused because of his Aziz connection, but I think it would be up my alley.
I know he is kind of an oaf, but I do love Phil and Claire Dunphy. They seem to sincerely like each other and try to keep some spark alive when they aren’t bogged down by their crazy family. (I haven’t watched in a couple seasons but I assume this is still true!) Cam and Marshall are pretty great too on Modern Family.
Also super big heart eyes for Zoe and Wash.
Oh man, Jessie, you really do need to watch Parks and Rec! It’s SO GOOD. And now that we have THAT out of the way…WHAT Aziz connection?! I need to know more about this…! I forgot about the Modern Family couples! I don’t watch that one regularly, so it wasn’t on my radar. Good call!
Henry and Elizabeth McCord are by far my faves! They’re both out there in the middle of saving the world and they take time to chat about parenting or their mood or super mundane and normal things! They just rock. I’ve said that so many times to Josh while we are watching them! I also had to laugh about Elizabeth Burke and Neal Caffrey because seriously, so true! Haha! I love seeing positive marriages portrayed on TV!
The McCords are superheroes, aren’t they? Maybe we can be like them when we grow up. :)