On the most romantic day of the year, we take a dive into the TV couples who made our soul’s soar and hearts break.
Sharon and Rob – Catastrophe
An accidental pregnancy after a one night stand with a stranger who lives on the other side of the world might not seem like the ideal start to a romantic relationship, yet over the course of four series, Sharon (Sharon Horgan) and Rob (Rob Delaney) flourish into a couple who are made for each other.
Catastrophe perfectly captured the messy complexities of modern adult relationships with whip smart humour, realism and a lot of heart.
Despite their explosive arguments and scathing exchanges of insults, the couple somehow managed to withstand the major tests of a relationship: the never-ending exhaustion of raising kids, losing parents and the resultant grief, issues of addiction and accusations of infidelity.
Iconic romantic moment: The series ends with a breath-taking metaphor for Rob and Sharon’s entire relationship. In the closing moments of Catastrophe’s finale, Sharon decides to swim in the sea while Rob sits out. When Rob spots a warning sign forbidding swimming due to lethal rip currents, he dives in after her. The series ambiguously ends with the two far out at sea, attempting to make it back to shore.
Ola and Lily / Eric and Adam - Sex Education
Sex Education has been praised for its entertaining yet educational exploration of teen sexuality across the spectrum. Since these two pairings are still in the seedling stage of their relationships, they can share a space in our ranks.
As series two got underway, no one was convinced by the pairing of Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Ola (Patricia Allison) as they fumbled their way through their first relationship. As Ola took to venting her frustration to her best friend Lily (Tanya Reynolds), she began to realise her undeniable attraction towards her friend.
An awkward yet endearing state of confusion and support ensued, as Ola explored her pansexuality and Lily came to terms with the fact that she wants to be “more than just friends”.
Meanwhile, we got a more sympathetic insight into the life of Adam (Connor Swindells), a closeted teen who was both expelled from military school and fired from his job for something that wasn’t his fault. The character transformed from the aggressive bully of series one to a vulnerable scapegoat, capturing our hearts in the process.
As Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) began to explore his first ever relationship with the seemingly perfect Rahim (Sami Outalbali), there was a looming feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Eric’s mother spoke for everyone when she said: “He doesn’t make you sparkle”.
While Adam and Eric enjoy therapeutic night-time trips to smash stuff up at a junk yard, the pair came to blows when Eric tired of hiding their friendship. Outside Otis’ party, Eric took Adam to task for projecting his shame and self-hatred onto him, as Adam recoiled from holding his hand.
Iconic Romantic Moment: When Adam interrupts the school performance to tell the entire school that he wants to hold Eric’s hand, this seemingly small gesture acted both as a demonstration of Adam’s newfound openness to explore his sexuality, and an apology for the horrific way he treated Eric over the years. The latest teaser from Netflix reveals that the relationship will be explored further in series three.
Chandler and Monica – Friends
While Ross and Rachel’s ‘will-they-won’t-they’ saga undoubtedly provided the necessary drama to keep Friends ticking along for ten years, it would be remiss to cast-off Chandler and Monica as merely ‘the other couple in Friends’.
At first glance, a tightly strung clean freak and a perpetually sarcastic cynic seem incompatible, yet Monica and Chandler’s electric chemistry became a continual delight for fans.
While Ross and Rachel bickered over whether or not the pair were ‘on a break’, Chandler and Monica wrestled with and overcame difficult issues such as infertility and the red tape of the adoption system, providing a nuanced and realistic portrayal of romance.
The pair proved that their relationship was indeed a steadfast one and yet never grew boring or predictable.
Iconic romantic moment: When the Bing’s put a ring on it. Chandler and Monica’s joint proposal was perfectly romantic and heartfelt, even if they did risk burning down Monica’s apartment by lighting 5000 candles for the sake of ambience.
Tim and Dawn – The Office
The Office provided us with a bleak, all too relatable and, at times, excruciatingly awkward depiction of working life.
The office flirtation between Tim (Martin Freeman) and Dawn (Lucy Davis) provided some much-needed heart to Wernham Hogg Paper Merchants. The pair brightened up an otherwise bleak and uncomfortably cringey show, where Ricky Gervais’s all-too-chummy manager David Brent made us squirm with his inappropriate jokes and Gareth (Mackenzie Crook) left us wincing with his comically outrageous displays of imagined authority.
Collective hearts broke when, at the end of the second series, Dawn announced she was leaving for Florida with her miserable fiancé Lee, and Tim’s last-ditch efforts to confess his love ended in rejection.
Yet The Office Christmas Special managed to pull off one of the most satisfying finales in TV history when, after three years of will-they-won’t-they, Dawn finally got together with Tim at the Christmas party.
Iconic romantic moment: When, upon opening Tim’s thoughtful gift of an art set in her taxi home from the Christmas party, Dawn finally came to her senses and turned the car around to get her man.