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The Ten Greatest Television Romances of all Time
Television romances have been captivating audiences since the 1950s, when the popularity of TVs skyrocketed. From soap operas to sitcoms and everything in between, audiences love nothing more than true love. In some cases, television weddings—like real-life royal weddings—have had record-breaking viewer counts.
Whether it’s science fiction, hospital dramas, or cop shows, romance inevitably becomes one of the critical themes of nearly every TV show. Some romances take years to develop, while others happen overnight. While many of these romances have ended in death, divorce, or experienced a kidnapped child, we’re here to focus on the positive. With that, we present the ten greatest TV romances of all time.
10 Sun & Jin: Lost
Lost is considered one of the best TV series of the 21st century, with a long list of awards and acclaim to its credit. Among the many themes in this series is, of course, love. Intimacy and sexual tension play a considerable role in Lost. While there are some love triangles and uncertainty with some characters, Jin and Sun’s romance only grows stronger.
This mind-bending series tells its story with flashbacks, flashforwards, and unique flash-sideways, in which viewers experience a timeline that could have or might have happened. Fans learn that Jin, a poor fisherman’s son, had to win the respect of Sun’s father, an influential businessman with strong ties to organized crime. Their marriage faces difficult times, and when they leave Sydney for L.A., Sun is on the verge of leaving Jin. She changes her mind at the last second, and their lives are forever changed when they board their flight.
Through unspeakable adversity, the two lovers cross time and space to be together. Though their lives are tragically cut short, their romance is the stuff of legend.
9 Lucy & Ricky: I Love Lucy
One of the most popular TV shows of all time, I Love Lucy, is little more than the true love story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as depicted in a sitcom. As the Ricardos, Lucy and Ricky rent a New York City apartment from their best friends, the Mertzes. Invariably, Lucy concocts a hair-brained scheme along with Ethel Mertz, which causes Ricky distress. These schemes often focus on her jealousy of her husband’s success as a band leader. Lucy yearns for the spotlight just as much as Ricky, but her attempts usually result in hijinx, which TV fans adore.
For six seasons and 181 episodes, Lucy and Ricky warmed our hearts with their love for each other, and their pregnancy was the first example of an openly pregnant woman on TV. In fact, the show is famous for many TV firsts, such as the first scripted television program to be filmed on 35 mm film in front of a studio audience.
8 Cory & Topanga: Boy Meets World
“We all watched Cory and Topanga grow up and share so many firsts. The smart girl and the class clown managed to be the childhood TV couple we strived to be like.” Over seven seasons, viewers watched the two go from strangers to best friends and from dating to married. They face the same trials and tribulations any couple faces, and they do so with style and grace. In the final season of Boy Meets World, the couple breaks off their engagement for several episodes. When they reconcile, they go to counseling together and make their lifelong love for each other work.
Fifteen years later, their love story continued with Girl Meets World, where they moved to New York City and had a daughter named Riley, a student in Cory’s middle-school class (he’s the teacher now), and Topanga is a big-shot lawyer. The evolution and growth of their relationship is unlike most in TV history, as they were children at the start and fully actualized adults when they finally left us.
7 Randall & Beth: This Is Us
This Is Us was one of the most heartwarming and tear-jerking series ever. It chronicled the life of the Pearson family, a seemingly average family living extraordinary lives. In the early 1980s, Jack and Rebecca Pearson were pregnant with triplets. Tragically, one of the babies was stillborn. Miraculously, at the same time, an orphaned child left at a fire station wound up in the paternity ward with the surviving Pearson twins. Jack and Rebecca adopted the child and named him Randall. The Pearsons are white, except for Randall, who is Black, making for an interesting childhood.
The story is told with flashbacks and flashforwards. Randall grows up and meets Rebecca in college. They fall in love and get married. They have two daughters and foster a third. They are both brilliant and passionate and are determined to live their best lives no matter how much adversity they may face. In a series filled with couples, Randall and Rebecca are the best because, more often than not, they make us laugh instead of cry.
6 Pam & Jim: The Office
The Office is not only one of the most famous comedies of all time, but it also started an entirely new style of comedic television show: the mockumentary sitcom. “Jim and Pam’s relationship caught the attention of the documentary crew from the very first moments, as their constant joking and quick exchanges hinted that they both had deeper feelings for each other.”
Initially just friends with similar senses of humor, their relationship evolves over nearly a decade into one of the most beautiful (and hilarious) romances TV viewers have ever witnessed. While Pam is initially involved with someone else, she eventually leaves him, as she deserves better than her meathead fiance. Although they continue to face obstacles along the way, their feelings for each other are never in doubt.
5 Edith & Archie: All in the Family
Archie Bunker is the typical curmudgeon; he doesn’t like anyone. He endorses every stereotype about anyone who’s different from him in any way and is quickly offended by any slights against “his kind.” “It’s true opposites attract, with Archie and kind-hearted Edith keeping him grounded.” All in the Family ran for nine seasons, ending with perhaps the saddest death in TV history; Edith passed away in the end. Archie went on in a spinoff, Archie Bunker’s Place, for four more seasons.
The intro to the original show was the happy couple sitting at a bench piano singing the theme song in a hilariously poor collaboration. Through the years, Archie and Edith’s bickering became more than just a little endearing. When she passed away, millions of viewers wept as if she were their own family member. The show is considered by many to be the greatest sitcom of all time, and among its spinoffs was The Jeffersons. George and Louise Jefferson don’t make our list, but they get an honorable mention.
4 Uncle Phil & Aunt Vivian: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Although this sitcom was centered around Will Smith’s character, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Phil and Viv’s relationship “teaches viewers about everything from class, race, and other real-world problems while showcasing their love in every episode.” The show ran for six seasons with 148 episodes, during which time it was one of the most popular shows on the air.
In fact, it was so popular it launched Will Smith’s acting career and spawned a current reboot series. However, the reboot is a drama, not a comedy. Phil and Vivian’s love even survived a personnel change. At the halfway mark of the series, Janet Hubert was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid for the role. Despite on and off-camera obstacles, these two exemplify what real-life couples should strive for.
3 Eleanor & Chidi: The Good Place
This love story transcends life and death itself. This series spends four seasons exploring the afterlife, and if we learn one thing from it, it’s that these two are soul mates. We realize that if they met on Earth after surviving a near-life experience, they might not end up together, but they meet and fall in love as the most real versions of themselves. “What Eleanor and Chidi represent isn’t a frustratingly improbably opposites-attract, but the true power of a connection that isn’t about sparks or thunderbolts but about growth and maturity and the fundamental belief that a person can change if they really want to.”
The Good Place is a cult classic, and while it is a comedy, it ends on a very somber note. The show examines the human condition through philosophy and self-reflection, promoting the idea of balance throughout the universe. Chidi and Eleanor overcome cosmic obstacles to be together. Once they do, they get to spend lifetimes with each other.
2 Riker & Troi: Star Trek: The Next Generation & Picard
From the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the attraction between Commander William T Riker and Counselor Diana Troi is obvious. For seven seasons, they become more than lovers or friends. They become family, and their love for each other is undeniable. However, when the show concludes, they are not romantically involved. The season finale hints at Troi becoming involved with Lt. Worf in the future. The series was followed by four films, the last called Nemesis.
Nemesis begins with a surprise (for the viewers): the wedding of Riker and Troi. Their relationship plays a pivotal role in that final film, and as confirmed by the season one finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks, they spend the next chapter of their life together on the USS Titan, with the now Captain Riker in command.
Roughly 20 years later, we find that they had two children together. The oldest, a son named Thadeous, died of a rare blood disease. While the couple appears only briefly in season one of Picard, they play pivotal roles in season three. This couple treats each other like equals in every situation, making them one of the best TV couples ever.
1 Kermit & Piggy: The Muppet Show & Muppet Babies
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy first appeared on The Muppet Show in 1976. The show ran five seasons with 120 episodes, dozens of guest stars, and the first pig/frog romance ever. The show was followed by thirteen movies and an animated prequel spinoff. Over the years, Kermit and Piggy have faced the most bizarre obstacles any couple has ever faced. The weirdo Gonzo constantly tries to win Piggy’s affections, Kermit’s commitments to his friends Fozzy and Rolph, trying to find buried pirate treasure, and the list goes on and on.
The happy couple were married for a time, but in the end, they couldn’t make it work and got divorced. The two still work together and are dear friends. The couple’s relationship started when they were mere infants. There was always a mutual fascination, and fortunately, as adult muppets, they seem to have stopped aging. Perhaps one day, this frog and pig will reunite; either way, theirs is the greatest TV romance ever.