I’m single, so you might expect me to hate Valentine’s Day. But that’s not the case. I’m glad we have a holiday celebrating love, even if it does get exploited a lot by heartless candy companies. And to any couples using this day as an excuse to get all romantical, I say, “More power to you.” Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying my own Valentine’s Day tradition by baking heart-shaped cookies and watching the most violent movie in my collection. (This year it’s Mad Max: Fury Road. ‘Cause nothing says love like a flamethrower guitar.)
While I have nothing against Valentine’s Day as a holiday, I’m not a big fan of the kinds of movies that come out around this time of year. You will never see me review a romantic comedy or drama on this blog, because, with the exception of a few adaptations of work by geniuses like Jane Austen, I think they’re all rubbish. Love is a very difficult thing to portray on screen, and most movies that are built around a romance come across as trite and formulaic at best.
But once in a while, I do find an on-screen couple that I really like, and when I do, I’m as passionate a shipper as anyone. All my ships have a few things in common. Their relationship is never the main focus of the work, but it always adds another dimension to it. I always like both characters equally when they’re apart from each other. And I always feel like one character completes the other in some way, whether it’s through different personalities, different worldviews, or something else. I also tend to like couples in TV shows better than movies, because a show gives you more time to develop each character and their relationship.
Anyway, here are my top 5 favourite movie and TV couples:
5. Claire Temple and Matt Murdock (Marvel’s Daredevil)
What’s that? You say these two aren’t a couple anymore? Well, you can take that negative thinking and throw it down the Hand’s bottomless pit, because Clairedevil is the best ship on any Marvel/Netflix show so far. These two heroes share a desire for justice and a willingness to sacrifice everything to see it done, but beyond that, their personalities couldn’t be more different. One’s a ruthless vigilante with a martyr complex and a flair for the dramatic, and one’s a sarcastic, down-to-earth nurse who still longs for a normal life, even though that’s impossible since she lives in Marvel’s New York City. Claire gives Matt a good dose of common sense when he needs it (which is often), and he inspires her to put her skills and smarts to work for a greater cause. They make a fantastic team, and I’m still holding out hope they might get together more permanently someday.
4. Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt (Parks and Recreation)
This is kind of a weird one for me, because it comes from a show with no sci-fi or supernatural elements (which are usually my prerequisites for liking a show). But gosh darn it, these two are just so cute together. And they’re a political couple where neither half is cheating and both stay married for love rather than political convenience. Which, I guess, brings a little bit of fantasy to the show. I’m a little biased towards the male half of this couple, though, because Ben Wyatt is literally my dream man. (Smart, nerdy, good-looking, creates his own board games, and owns a Batman costume. What more do you want?)
3. Wash and Zoe (Firefly/Serenity)
I’ll admit, when I first started watching Firefly, I did a double-take when I realised these two were married. They’re the ultimate odd couple: the goofy, physically unimposing pilot with the stoic, no-nonsense warrior woman. But that’s what makes them so great together. Wash is one of the few people who can get Zoe to lighten up, and Zoe brings out his hidden tough guy. They’re both fantastic at what they do, and their love and respect for one another is always obvious–sometimes almost sickeningly so. Naturally, theirs ends up being a tragic romance, because Joss Whedon doesn’t believe in happy endings. But up until then, they were perfect.
2. Han and Leia (Star Wars)
They’re among the most famous cinematic couples in history, and for good reason. You can’t get more sassy banter, or more romantic declarations of love, in any other movie. They’re also one of the only fictional couples I like who actually have similar personalities. Leia and Han are both rebels in their own ways, and they both have a habit of mouthing off to authority figures. But of course, Han starts out as a scoundrel, until his encounter with Leia convinces him to fight for bigger things than just himself. Leia was already pretty much perfect, but falling in love with Han helps her become a little less arrogant. It also saves her from falling for her brother, which is always a good thing. And even if they eventually met with tragedy by way of an emo son, I still ❤ these two.
- Mulder and Scully (The X-Files)
This couple is the gold standard to which I hold all movie and TV romances. Their interactions are so funny, their love so heartwarming, it can even make a jaded cynic like me feel something. And even though I love both of them equally, neither is ever quite as fun to watch unless the other is around. Again, Agents Mulder and Scully couldn’t have been more different when they first met: she’s a rather cold, logical-minded scientist who won’t believe in anything unless she sees solid proof, and he’s an emotional guy who believes there’s a UFO behind every tree. But what with Mulder’s hunches usually being right, and Scully’s common sense keeping him from getting into too much danger, they make a great team. More importantly, it’s clear throughout the show that they trust each other more than anyone else and would go to the ends of the earth (literally) to save each other. They may never have explicitly said they were in a relationship on the show, but in my mind, they’re married. Oh, and their fans invented the term “shipping,” so you have to respect that.
All that to say – Happy Valentine’s Day from the Wizard! Who are your favourite fictional couples?