So we’re all in agreement these days that we would rather binge watch shows and act like the characters are our real-life friends rather than engaging with society, right? Okay, cool. Glad I’m not the only one. Since we all have emotional investments in television shows even though these characters really should have no bearing on our day-to-day lives, I thought I should indulge this toxic mentality by talking about couples from beloved TV shows that should never have ended up together. God, I have way too much time on my hands. All of these couples are considered iconic, but I’m going to tell you why their relationships at best, wouldn’t work, and at worst, are straight-up toxic. Go ahead, rip me apart in the comments.
Dan and Serena from ‘Gossip Girl’
Or any couple from Gossip Girl, for that matter. I’ve said it before: Dan and Serena’s relationship was only fueled by drama and looking into each other’s eyes as The Fray swelled in the background. That’s not romance. That’s just making each other’s lives hell with a (crappy) soundtrack. I could write an entire dissertation on why Chuck and Blair were terrible together too, but let me put it this way: the worst jumping off point for a marriage is if you’re getting married to an abusive guy solely to make sure he doesn’t go to jail for murder because as his wife, you won’t have to testify. There’s literally no argument that could prove me wrong here.
Here’s what should have happened: Rufus and Lily should have gotten married. Blair and Dan should have gotten married because they really were the healthiest couple on the show and Serena f*cked Blair’s stepbrother that we all forgot about, as well as her ex-boyfriend, so it’s a double whammy in terms of revenge. We all know how much Blair loves revenge. Nate and Jenny should’ve at least had a better shot at dating because they seemed to really care for each other. And Chuck and Serena can rot in hell with all the other good-looking but inherently terrible fictional characters. I’m sure they would’ve gotten along swimmingly with Lyla Garrity and Patrick Bateman.
Aunt Becky and Uncle Jesse from ‘Full House’
Don’t worry, I’ll make an inevitable Operation Varsity Blues joke at Aunt Becky’s expense in a minute. Full disclosure: I’m writing this without having Fuller House in mind because I’d rather have unprotected sex with Charlie Sheen or eat a lobster roll from McDonald’s than watch that sh*t. Anyway, Aunt Becky and Uncle Jesse were so. f*cked. up. It was not due to them simply being a modern couple with the woman being the breadwinner who was close with their spouse’s family. I mean, think about it: after Aunt Becky and Uncle Jesse got married, they moved into a really nice apartment that she was paying for, and literally two seconds later, they got manipulated into moving back into the Full House. Like, the catalyst for them moving back in is that the baby of the family cried and said she missed Uncle Jesse. Can you imagine that? Getting forced back into an overfilled boarding house because of a baby? Was Aunt Becky just a doormat in this relationship or did she move in to a place to cut costs so she could buy the twins admission to USC (ba dum tss)? I mean, I get Joey living there. With or without the Full House, he was set to be perpetually single. Any man whose job involves fisting a puppet in front of children is doomed for a life of celibacy. But Aunt Becky could’ve fled, and honestly, so could’ve Uncle Jesse had he ever grown out of his
failing struggling rockstar phase. Having to move into the Full House a day into your marriage is grounds for annulment. Also, did I mention, f*ck Uncle Joey?
Ryan and Marissa from ‘The O.C.’
This relationship only lasted as long as it did because it was propelled by these characters’ toxic traits. Ryan’s toxic trait is him having to be the white knight in every situation to the point where he sacrifices himself, and Marissa’s toxic trait is that she sucks. Having a killer wardrobe, brooding, and saying, “Hey” every other word is not a personality. That being said, I still loved watching the drama she got herself into. Every single relationship that girl got into was just to piss off her mom, probably because she was bitter that her mom was a way more interesting character who was actually funny. The only relationship Marissa had that I liked was with Volchok because, well, he was hot and they had hate sex, which again, is hot. Everything about it was hot until he, ya know, killed her. Ryan actually seemed like a good person, but just went overboard with helping others to the point where he got himself into some sh*tty situations and I stopped feeling bad for him. Honestly, most high school relationships aren’t #couplegoals or whatever because we were all weird, insecure, hormonal teenagers in high school. Even though Ryan and Marissa were a sh*tty couple, The O.C. still f*cks (except for Taylor Townsend and Oliver. Them I could do without).
Nathan and Haley from ‘One Tree Hill’
One Tree Hill was the most ridiculous show to me because it’s an alternate reality. There is absolutely nothing realistic about that show, and yet they half-assedly tried to make us believe that we could relate to their “high school struggles.” The most amusing thing to me was that basketball team would play games with Gavin f*cking DeGraw in the background. When have you ever gone to a basketball game and heard that?? Also, what was up with Brooke having a wildly successful fashion line at the age of 12 and a guy named CHAD writing a successful novel at such a young age? F*cking CHAD. And the craziest part of that alternate reality was that Nathan and Haley got married at 16 and a crazy amount of people supported it. I remember one episode when they were just dating, and Haley nearly broke up with Nathan because HE WATCHED PORN. Like, in 2019, it would be nearly impossible to date a guy that DOESN’T watch porn. And then Nathan got his child bride pregnant at a wildly young age, and again, no one really batted an eye. Did I mention she went into labor during her valedictorian speech? That’s insanity to me. Can someone please pass me a blunt? Because writing about these couples is bumming me out and I can’t afford Botox to get rid of stress wrinkles.
Ross and Rachel from ‘Friends’
My main takeaway from Friends is that they all had such an arrested development that they would almost never deviate from that friend group. That’s too bad, because the only one who did deviate from the group was Phoebe when she married Paul Rudd, and that was the best relationship on the show. And do you know why that was the best relationship on the show? Because it didn’t enable this arrested development. Also, because it’s Paul Rudd. I’m happy that Monica and Chandler found someone to be extra annoying to, because no other self-respecting person would tolerate either of them. Rachel was one of the only characters I liked, so it sucked to see her consistently roped back into a romance with a mopey, immature weenie whose life’s passion was DINOSAURS. And I never understood why he was totally cool with the mother of his child moving to France with their baby, and the only reason he stopped Rachel was because he still was in love with her. Wait, what? Your baby is going to live in another continent, but you’re fixated on getting your ex back in the most selfish and inappropriate way possible, thusly making her look unprofessional by giving up a job with one of the biggest designers on the planet? I just can’t get over the fact that this dude stopped regarding his son from a previous marriage halfway through the series and then wasn’t really thinking about his daughter when she was moving to another continent. I’m calling it: Ross is a loser.
Jim and Pam from ‘The Office’
The Office had some great couples, and the top two were Michael and Holly and Phyllis and Bob Vance. Dwight and Angela were definitely bad for each other at times, but I genuinely believed both changed for the better and belonged together. Ryan and Kelly were totally wrong for each other but amazing to watch as well. But Jim and Pam? Uhhhhh, no. It’s not like I actively hate them because it’s not even worth having strong feelings about since they’re overall inoffensive. But I definitely don’t think they’re meant to be. Jim was a catch in that he was funny and tall. But Pam? I cannot remember one time where she made me laugh, and I’ve seen that show so many times. I honestly do not get why Jim romanticized her so much. Besides making fun of everyone at Dunder Mifflin, literally what did they talk about? The only things I ever saw them talk about were getting annoyed by their coworkers or getting sappy with each other because they bonded over getting annoyed with their coworkers. That does not a marriage make! And yet somehow it did.
However, I do admit that bonding over hating the same people is borderline erotic and can count a form of foreplay. Still, I have no idea what Jim and Pam would do with themselves after moving to Austin if they can’t sh*t-talk their coworkers anymore. Jim would have no cameras to awkwardly look at, and I’m sure he had to take a long, hard awkward look at his sham of a marriage instead.
Cory and Topanga from ‘Boy Meets World’
Okay, first off, I never bought it when Cory and Topanga insisted that they fell in love in the fourth grade. I don’t get why that kept trying to sell us that wildly inappropriate and nonsensical storyline. Kids at that age find romantic pleasure by making their action figures or dolls f*ck alone in a corner during recess. That’s the only instance. I don’t get how you can marry someone who you started dating in middle school, either. Remember your 12-year-old self? Would you trust someone that fell in love with the dweeb that you probably were at that age? I know I wouldn’t. And don’t most people experience personal growth, thus making it difficult to stick with the person you awkwardly slow danced to during the entirety of “Stairway to Heaven” at a middle school dance? I mean, my college boyfriend and I are so different from who we were back then that we would have literally nothing to talk about today. Cory and Topanga are both great people, but any relationship that blossomed from middle school or high school and ended up in marriage makes no sense to me.
Images: Netflix; Giphy (7)
So I know this response piece is about 13 years too late (God, we are old), but the internet wasn’t really big then and I’ve just finished watching Friends the second time through and I just have a lot of feelings. I know I’m about to lose a significant number of friendships and Betches may lose half its followers, but I’ll be damned if I let my better judgment stop me. I know Rachel and Ross is like, one of the most iconic TV romances of the 90s—possibly of all time—and it probably inspired your future wedding Pinterest board, but I don’t care. Rachel should not have gotten off that plane on the finale of Friends, and I’m not afraid to say it.
Rachel was offered her dream job working for Louis Vuitton in Paris, an opportunity that probably comes once in a lifetime. Now, maybe this is just because I’m dead inside, but there is no man on this Earth—except possibly Future—that I would give up my dream job for. And actually, Future definitely makes enough money to fly back and forth from Paris regularly, so I will amend my previous statement to say that NO man is worth giving up my dream job. As bae himself would say, chase a check, never chase a bitch. And we all know that Ross is Rachel’s bitch, so no, the statement applies as written.
And the same should apply for Rachel. Rachel, despite being spoiled and a daddy’s girl, admittedly hustled her way from shitty coffee shop employee to assistant at Fortunata Fashions to personal shopper at Bloomingdale’s to buyer and personal shopper at Bloomingdale’s to executive at Ralph Lauren. She went through a lot of shit, from serving coffee to her old-ass boss to dealing with Joanna’s crazy, insecure ass (may she rest in peace). She may have been kind of whiny and annoying, and was a bougie-ass ho, but she definitely earned that killer job at LV. And she should not have given up everything she worked so hard for to go back to a job she hated, a job where she’d advanced as far as she could, a job that ALREADY FIRED HER ONCE and didn’t even want to take her back. And all that for some nerdy paleontologist who thinks sushi gives you mind control powers (I wish).
Like, Ross is cool and all, but he’s not “fuck up your life” cool. Plus, what does that say about how much he supposedly loves Rachel if he’s not even willing to meet her in Paris? I mean, he’s been working his dream job for all 10 seasons, how about some compromise?
What really should have happened is Ross should have gotten his shit together, applied for some jobs, and joined Rachel in Paris when he had an offer lined up and ready to go. “But what about Ben?” you say. “He couldn’t just leave his son behind in the U.S.” you say. Okay, so, two things: One, where the hell was Ben all last season of Friends? No, seriously. Was that kid still alive? He is only mentioned in the first part of the last episode and his last physical appearance is in season 8 (“The One Where Joey Dates Rachel”, in case you’re interested—and yeah, I looked it up so try me). Ross never even sees this kid. For all we know, he doesn’t even have visitation rights anymore. Dark, I know, but someone’s got to say it.
Two, what about Emma? She’s Ross’s kid too. Why is it okay for him to leave Emma behind but not Ben? Ben has two moms to take care of him—and he’s like, what, 8 or 9 at this point? He’s good. Rachel, meanwhile, is about to be raising a baby all by herself in a foreign country. If anyone could use Ross’s presence and support, isn’t it Emma?
“But what about true love?” you say. “Doesn’t love conquer all?” you say. “Rachel and Ross are ~meant to be~,” you say, somehow inserting tildes into speech. Yes, let’s talk about ~true love~. Rachel and Ross have dated and have this huge history—they were even fucking married, FFS—but how does the moment Rachel realizes she’s still in love with Ross go down? LET’S ROLL THE TAPE.
“I still have feelings for Ross but feelings don’t mean love. I have feelings for Ross. I have continuing feelings of love, but that doesn’t mean that I’m still in love with him. I have sexual feelings but I do love him… *gasp* Oh my god! Why didn’t you tell me?!”
Like, come on you guys. We all know this is bullshit. You can lie to your friends about your feelings, but you can’t lie to yourself. You can be in denial, you can not want to admit it to yourself, but you yourself not even knowing you’re in love with someone is not a thing. It just isn’t. So how ~real~ is this love really? I’ll leave that to you to decide while I go into the Witness Protection Program.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of fish in the sea—Rachel of all people should know this. Rachel is hot. She would have done fine for herself in Paris. But okay, even if she and Ross are “soul mates” (gag), she should NOT have fucked herself over, ghosted on her dream job in a super unprofessional way and totally burned all her bridges with Louis Vuitton (a very dumb move for someone who wants to work in fashion and now has a baby to support), and gotten off that plane for him. She should have flown to Paris, called Ross from some café, face-first in a croissant, and told him to get his ass on the next flight to Charles de Gaulle. Does that make for good TV? Absolutely not. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t low-key disappointed when she got off that plane. Phalanges be damned.