Fictional relationships that have turned me to goo

You know how sometimes you become too invested in a fictional couple? That’s me, currently. And while I have wild ambitions to fill this blog with smart posts that closely analyze media and show that I am capable of deep and nuanced thinking…uh, instead here’s a list of some of my favorite fictional couples!

In case you were wondering, the cause of my current case of distraction is Our Flag Means Death on HBOMax. It’s a ten episode season of half hour episodes and is a goofy, funny little pirate show that somehow makes you really sad at the end? Give it a try and then harass HBO to renew it for a second season.

An eighteenth century ship sails on the ocean during sunset
The ships are comin’ in, captain! The relationships, that is. (Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash)

Or check out this very non-comprehensive list of some of my favorite fictional couples.

A quick aside: This list was mostly for what was top of mind, but I did decide to do a quick Google search for some all-time great couples just to see if I was forgetting anything glaring, and some of the results were wild. And proof that not enough people have actually read classic novels. (Listen, Scarlett and Rhett are a very interesting couple but they are not goals! Cathy and Heathcliffe is the weirdest relationship goal you could ever have, please don’t! Who included Pip and Estella from Great Expectations? That’s obscure and also wrong! Also, the correct ship from that book is clearly Miss Havisham and her old wedding dress. If you would like more classic novel relationship hot takes, let me know and I will provide.)

All right, with that out of the way, here is the list in question:

Television

David and Patrick – Schitt’s Creek

Have I had out of body experiences because this particular relationship on this particular show makes me so damn happy? I’m pretty sure I have.

In general, Schitt’s Creek is a show absolutely worth watching and anyone who has spent five seconds on the internet and been inundated with nonstop memes knows this already or is too annoyed to give the show a chance.

Almost every last character on this show is an absolute delight. But David might be my favorite? And his relationship with Patrick is one of my favorite things in the history of scripted television and on my initial watch definitely made me cry at least thrice.

Josh and Donna – The West Wing

Okay. I know this is kind of problematic. Josh is sort of a huge asshole and flirting with the person who works for you is complicated on a whole number of levels. BUT Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney have a lot of chemistry and I was still happy they ended up together.

This is one of my early ships from middle school or something so my feelings about the The West Wing are considerably more complicated these days. Still! They are a formative fictional couple for me. I enjoy watching this emotionally constipated man realize he’s been in love with someone for like five years.

Leslie and Ben – Parks and Rec

Another workplace relationship but this one I still fully endorse. Leslie Knope is one of my favorite characters on television in general and Adam Scott is incredible? (If you haven’t seen Severance, you should. He is startlingly good in it.) I picked up this show when it was around season four, and I remember absolutely tearing through it at every free possible moment not just because it’s very good but also because I was dying to see the Leslie and Ben thing play out.

Impossible not to love a “they have so much chemistry and really want to get together but are trying not to because of other reasons but can’t stay apart” relationship. Inject it into my veins.

Books

Darcy and Elizabeth – Pride and Prejudice

This is my most basic opinion, but it’s not wrong. Also, all the classic literature lists that included Heathcliffe and Cathy as an iconic relationship but not Darcy and Elizabeth…huh?

I personally like Jane Austen (very brave, I know). Her sense of humor strikes me just right and her characters are so fun to watch bounce off each other. And that includes the main couple in this book. Darcy’s first proposal and Elizabeth’s subsequent rejection of him his an incredible scene that should be put in a museum. The scene at the end when Elizabeth tells Darcy’s aunt that she and Darcy are definitely NOT engaged but she will also not agree to never become engaged to him just because she’s pissed off? Chef’s kiss! I love a man who comes back to propose because he heard you told off his mean, rich aunt.

Also, yes, Colin Firth is the best Mr. Darcy and his smolder is very real.

Remus Lupin and Sirius Black – Harry Potter

My feelings toward this series have become pretty complicated in the past few years largely due to the author of said series being a mean person. In order to include the series, I felt it only fitting to push my favorite relationship of the series even though it has been explicitly rejected by the author. I don’t care. She can shut up because she is wrong.

Lupin and Sirius 4ever.

Yes, this still holds true if you are a Lupin and Tonks fan. People can be bisexual!

Just, come on, the friendship, the hiding, the betrayal, the reunion, the cohabitating, the joint Christmas present? I wrote a lot of fanfiction back in the day. Don’t fight me on this.

Achilles and Patroclus

I guess Achilles and Patroclus are technically a fandom ship because The Iliad never outright said they were a couple but um…I consider them canon. (And when it comes to Greek mythology, what really is canon, anyway? The Iliad is basically fanfiction.)

Because I am a History NerdTM and a School NerdTM, my support for these two as a couple started in high school when I read The Iliad for the first time in Latin class. (In case you were curious, the previous sentence is a good encapsulation of who I am as a person.) And I have been shipping them ever since.

Saying this makes me a bit of an Achilles/Patroclus hipster, since I was about them many years before Madeline Miller wrote The Song of Achilles, but I don’t judge. Also, The Song of Achilles? Good book.

I don’t really recommend reading The Iliad unless you want to read a lot of gruesome battle descriptions and lists of how people are related to each other. But I do recommend you consider that after Patroclus was killed by Hector, Achilles had an all out grief fest, hosted funeral games, killed like half the Greek army, and then murdered Hector and defiled his body because of how upset he was. Just consider it.

Also this:

A black cloud of grief came shrouding over Achilles.
Both hands clawing the ground for soot and filth,
he poured it over his head, fouled his handsome face
and black ashes settled onto his fresh clean war-shirt.
Overpowered in all his power, sprawled in the dust,
Achilles lay there, fallen . . .
tearing his hair, defiling it with his own hands.

Book 18 of The Iliad

It is worth mentioning Achilles and Patroclus both brutally murder their fair share of people on the field of battle. So, like, iconic couple, but also…it’s complicated.

Red and Blue – This is How You Lose the Time War

This book is extremely good. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was also extremely good. And it’s short! Now I love a long book, but a novella composed of love letters opponents write each other during an intergalatic war that involves time travel is one of the best ideas anyone has ever had.

There was a time when this book was getting recommended a lot and some people thought it was overhyped. But those people are wrong. I just love all the ways these characters find and consume letters to each other (sometimes literally consuming the letters in the process). It is somehow sweeping and epic and also deeply personal and just really lovely all around.

Movies

Danielle and Henry – Ever After

This movie has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it in theaters when I was in the third or fourth grade. And I have watched it so many times since that I basically have the entire thing memorized. And it is still so good! And so quotable.

Danielle and Henry first meet when she throws an apple at his head to stop him from stealing her father’s horse. Then, during their second meeting, she tells him off for being a rich boor. And he is about it. I love how this relationship centers around Danielle unabashedly speaking her mind, even when that involves insulting Henry, and he cannot get enough of it. I also like that he’s a rich brat and Danielle helps expand his worldview.

The actors have really good chemistry and the relationship is believable. And all the side characters are so fun! The entire move is gold.

Dido Belle and John Davinier – Belle (2013)

Anyone else other than me remember this movie? I own it on DVD and watch it at least once a year and I love it a lot. In fact, despite being an aforementioned History NerdTM, I refuse to read about the real history of Dido Belle because I like the movie world and I suspect history is not as good. (Sorry, history, you’re a real one.)

John Davinier is one of the most earnest men written into existence, and this movie is what helped me recognize that I am super into earnest men as characters and love interests. There’s a scene where he yells at Belle’s uncle in a carriage about how sincerely he loves her and every time my entire body threatens to explode with feeling.

Don’t know what this says about me, but I recommend checking it out.

Evie and Rick – The Mummy (and The Mummy Returns)

These movies are good. There I said it. And Evie and Rick are a perfect power couple. The squabbling and coming together in the first movie is good and then the married couple wild for each other in the second movie is great! I love to see happily married couples on the screen (side shoutout to Thin Man movies for this by the way), even if they are chaotic and horny in weird situations.

As a history nerd librarian, Evie is basically life goals and Rick is a perfect himbo. How can you not support the two of them?

It also does the fun one-two punch that the Alien movies do, where the first movie is a sort of horror (liberally sprinkled with clips) and the second is mostly just action adventure (also with many quips). On a related note, I refuse to acknowledge that the third movie exists.


Give me your opinions on these couples or share your own faves. Let me know if you would like some hot takes on classical literature. Let’s pretend the world is not terrifying and is instead gentle and comforting for a moment.

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