Poor Scholars favorite TV couples

parks-rec-andy-april_400BY MARISSA CORVALLIS and AARON GOLDBERG

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Poor Scholars asked it’s own Marissa Corvallis to share her favorite couples on television. Because who doesn’t miss Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad?

Hannah and Elijah – Girls (HBO):

Throughout the first and second season, we see Hannah and Elijah’s relationship change constantly, from flashbacks to hetero love in college, to Elijah coming out with what should have been an obvi preference for men, to developing a friendship, to becoming roommates (and ultimately ex-roommates). Maybe Elijah carries the pair (that humor, that wit, that hair!), but Hannah’s self-aware awkwardness meshes nicely with Elijah’s flamboyance.

Sex and the City (may it rest in peace), taught me that “…men can get out of a relationship without even a good-bye, but apparently women have to either get married or learn something.” Hannah/Elijah teaches me about the dynamic nature of romantic relationships, roles of intimacy in the bounds of friendship (how could you, Marnie?!) and that when it comes to nose candy, use sparingly.

April and Andy – Parks & Recreation (NBC)

From overwrought makeout sessions to their shared inability to become actual grownups, they are the couple we aspire to be both similar to and nothing like at the same time. Andy is the clueless, awesome leader of the wonderful band MouseRat. April is the snarky, yet as a person secretary to the inimitable Ron Swanson.  April understands every situation too well; Andy doesn’t understand any situation, ever. The happy middle that they create is TV magic.

They perfected roleplaying with their alter egos Bert Macklin, FBI Agent, and Janet Snakehole, mysterious woman with a secret. Chris Pratt, who plays Andy, borrowed heavily from the role of Macklin in Oscar contender Zero Dark Thirty. We have no proof of this being true, but some TV critics tweeted about it so we assume it’s the reality. The depth and diversity of the Macklin character lends credence to this theory.

Cersei and Jamie – Game of Thrones (HBO)

What’s a good list about love without a little incest between the golden twins of House Lannister? Jamie is a master of battlefield destruction and Cersei is a master of political destruction. More importantly, they look the same and think alike. It’s probably not a stretch to say that they are a physical manifestation of the age-old problem of loving one’s self too much.

But, if you’re alone on this Valentine’s Day, you may want to take a cue and treat yourself to a box of chocolates, a strong Dornish wine and some alone time. Just don’t push anyone who happens to discover you out of a 20th story window.

Jane and Brad – Happy Endings (ABC)

While some will point to routinely funny Max or spunky Penny as their favorite characters, the reason we keep coming back to the show is for Brad and Jane.  Played by Damon Wayans Jr. and Eliza Coupe, the (now married) couple originally met on the hotbed of romance known as MTV’s The Real World, and fell for each other when Brad accidentally strolled into Jane’s bed for a late night booty call. Since we all have been on TV and met other people that way, they really are an Everyman’s couple. Like real life couples, both have gone to great lengths to hide a secret: for years Jane celebrated her birthday in July because she hated that it was actually on Christmas and Brad pretended to be unemployed when he had a job. (Long story)

Unfortunately, due to low ratings the show has teetered on the edge of cancellation for almost all of its 3 seasons. If you know anyone with a Nielsen box, let that person know we’d really appreciate if they watched. Primarily so that we can continue to love Coupe and wonder how Damon Wayans Sr. already made a hilarious, 30 year-old son who looks just like him.

Cam and Mitchell –  Modern Family (ABC)

Adorable arguments and opposite personalities make Cam and Mitchell’s relationship both entertaining and endearing. Their animated personalities are simply fun to watch. While performing mundane tasks of daily life and raising a young daughter, their verbal sparring is a highlight of the show. Cam and Mitchell show me the chemistry of complementary personalities. Let’s be real, opposites repel, but two different puzzle pieces must be reciprocal to attract.

Fun fact: Cam also went to U of I in the show (I-L-L!) which raises his like-o-meter by at least 83%.

Elizabeth and Phillip – The Americans (FX)

Forced into marriage 15 years before the show starts for their jobs as Russian spies during the Cold War, they have two (legitimate?) children that help serve as cover for their ruse. Now they find themselves in a situation that is becoming increasingly dangerous, leaving them with some tough decisions to make. In the meantime, they are becoming comfortable with each other and showing signs they may actually be in love with one another. It’s all very suspenseful!

My main issues with this couple are (in no particular order)

  • I’m not sure if I should root for them based on the fact that they are Russian spies who want to destroy the country I’ve lived my entire life…
  • I can’t stop wondering what the hell they talked about for the first 15 years they were together?

On the plus side, the first two episodes of the show opened with each of them taking turns seducing real Americans for intelligence. Phil even listened in to Elizabeth’s rendezvous for a bit in Episode 1. So yeah, The Americans: the new “it” couple on the swingin’ scene.

Walt and Jessie – Breaking Bad (AMC)

Plenty of married couples can relate to the emotional roller coaster of devotion these two have gone through while cooking methamphetamine over the years.

Melting a body or two in acid, getting stranded together in an RV in the middle of the desert, and murdering a key witness to protect the other partner are some examples of how their bond has been tested, but never fully broken.  There are some potential stumbling blocks for this couple though. SPOILER: Walt may have been responsible for destroying Jesse’s only chance at True Love and is functionally divorced in his actual marriage.

Nucky Thompson and Margaret Schroeder – Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

First of all, Steve Buscemi. Hat tipping out of the way, I can say that I rooted for this couple most on Season 1, and still carry hope that things will work out in Season 4. I mean if anyone can put a price on an apology, it is Nucky Thompson.

Nucky and Margaret teach me the about the value of independence in relationships. Margaret leaves him, despite the money he provides for her and her children, when she knows that ultimately her safety and heart have been threatened beyond reconciliation. Throughout the series, Nucky desires to ‘save’ his leading damsels in distress (which do not count nearly enough blondes in my opinion), but Margaret ends up saving herself.

And if there is one key take away from the sacred text of Sex and the City, is this: “…the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

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