Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Greatest TV Romance Ever?


Brian Lindenmuth and Sandra Ruttan reading.




There have been many TV romances over the last fifty-odd years. Most of the great ones have been more about loggerheads and lust than love. Witness Sam and Diane (Cheers), Maddy and Dave (Moonlighting), Laura Holt and Remington Steele, Buffy and Angel, Ross and Rachel (Friends).

Three of my favorites
are: Lorelai Gilmore and Luke Danes on Gilmore Girls, Monica Geller and Chandler Bing on Friends, and the most touching for me, Pam and Jim on The Office. (Or Dawn and Tim in the British version).

Pam and Jim remind me of Popeye and Olive Oil, and I say that in the most delighted way. Pam even stands like Olive when she looks up at Jim. (I'm sure this observation must have been made before). And certainly her onetime boyfriend, Roy, is a Bluto if ever there was one.

When something comes between Pam and Jim, it is always the intercession of fate. They seem incapable of anything other than the most charitable and loving behavior toward each other. Maybe it's too sweet for some of you, but for me, it's the essence of romance, if even the high school version.

Are there any other romances this captivating?


32 comments:

Clair Dickson said...

ewwww.... mushy stuff. ;-)

pattinase (abbott) said...

YOu know how it is.

Scott Parker said...

I'll certain second the motion on the Jim/Pam relationship. It's sweet (but not too sweet for me). As for Chandler/Monica, the episode with the proposal is wonderful, especially with the audience reaction. But for an example of a mature, loving relationship, you can't beat NBC on Thursday back in the 1980s: the Huxtables and the Keatons.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Very astute observation. The long-lasting romance is pretty wonderful. It takes great skill to pull it off in terms of writing and acting.

Naomi Hirahara said...

For cynical people like me:

Chuck and Blair on GOSSIP GIRL

I'm not sure it will endure, but I think it's the most interesting romance on network TV right now.

And I love the "bromance" between the guys of ENTOURAGE. I must be slightly twisted.

Todd Mason said...

The relations on ONCE AND AGAIN, including between the divorced couples, is still the best example of this sort of thing I've seen on television. The romances at the heart of JOURNEYMAN are part of what made it so impressive. And call me a Sela Ward idolator, but I dug the relation between House and Stacy on HOUSE, as the only person whom Greg House has to listen to (even when he's trying to manipulate her), even if he grudgingly will also listen to his two other adult friends.

TM said...

THE [1970s] BOB NEWHART SHOW, in the early years, featured a good partnership...they started making Emily more and more flighty by the end of the series, which was both easy and unfortunate. (As opposed to the 1960s BOB NEWHART SHOW, of course.)(NEWHART was just dismal in comparison, in this way and several others.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, I like the example of ENTOURAGE and is very apt. Yes, the first BN show was lots better-I've been watching the second and it's just too tepid. ONCE AND AGAIN, you know how much I like that one. THIRTY SOMETHING didn't have the compelling romance. Actually Elliot and Nancy ended up being more interesting than Hope and Michael.

Brian said...

Hey! I see that you are reading Generation Loss. Fantastic.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, I finished it. She's one hell of a writer. I don't read much horror and I guess I was expecting something more horrific. But instead it was a great mediation on the artist as a loner, as an outsider. A complicate person who sees where obsession can lead. I tried to do this with my last WIP but obviously didn't bring it off.

TM said...

Patti, you definitely don't read enough good horror, givent the stress you put on Koja as a Literary Horror writer. Almost everyone I read regularly is doing work that ambitious and humane...I leave the routine Kings and King knockoffs and worse to others.

TM the pedant said...

And, of course, Hand isn't solely a horror writer. (And, persnicking, the First BOB NEWHART SHOW was that 1960s variety show.)

TM said...

The families in RELATIVITY, the series after MY SO-CALLED LIFE and before ONCE AND AGAIN, and the romance between the twenty-somethings at the heart of it, should probably be mentioned here.

Travis Erwin said...

I agree and that relationship is sort of what a modeled the underlying romance in my novel Plundered Booty after.

Yeah I know, it seems a stretch to use the words plundeed booty and romance together but trust me it's in there hidden beneath the not so subtle humor.

Now I if can just get an agent to see all of that.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I read Generation Loss because of a review piece in the NYT. It mentioned Sara Gran and Hand and another writer as being horror writers. I decided I needed to try a horror novel and was surprised at how little horror there was.
I've heard of that BN show but never saw it. I guess he did standup on it? Can't imagine him as a song and dance man.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Travis-It sounds like such a cool book. And I know it will have heart in it-that's your greatest gift.

TM said...

Yes, in the first BOB NEWHART SHOW, he was doing telephone routines and MCing...some sketch comedy. I don't think he was required to sing or dance. Then there was THE ENTERTAINERS, where he was again a variety show host on a rotating basis...Carol Burnett as an eventual cohost...

pattinase (abbott) said...

You are truly awesome.

Cameron Hughes. said...

The US Office is better than the original to me BECAUSE of Jim and Pam. I cheered when Jim popped into Pam's talk with the camera-man to ask her on a date and then that great over-joyed smile from Pam.

I watch The Office for the romance. Funny as the show is, Jim and Pam are the most real couple on TV.

I also really like Marshall and Lily on How I Met Your Mother. Its nice to see on TV a married couple where you don't constantly wonder why they stay together if they're so mean and stupid to each other.

Buffy and Angel, of course...

Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls.

Cameron Hughes said...

Oh, and how can I forget Turk and Carla on Scrubs? They're another example that TV can do a healthy married couple.

And the greatest romance ever: Denny Crane and Alan Shore.

pattinase (abbott) said...

HA, Cameron. My mother asked me last week if I thought they might be gay and not realize it.

Barbara Martin said...

This is rather dated, but I always liked the budding romance in the old TV series, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

ink and beans said...

Love Pam and Jim, but I think the show lost some wonderful tension when they finally got together, one of the necessary evils of TV romance, I guess.

I loved the romances on the West Wing, because of how long they were drawn out before ever being realized, scratching the surface and retreating again (I'm thinking of both Josh and Donna, and CJ and Danny). Sigh.

- Jim

Are You a Honker? Die.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think they circumnavigated that by having Pam go to New York to study art. Her homecoming was bittersweet. The Office is actually full of romances now. Michael and Holly even worked.
West Wing is sorely missed.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Both the movie and the TV series, Barbara.

Cameron Hughes said...

I hate the assumption that men can't be close like women without being gay.

Brian said...

I hate the assumption that men can't be close like women without being gay.

Sandra and I have been watching The West Wing for the past few weeks and were talking about this very same thing. I hate it too. One of the best relationships on the whole show is that of Bartlett and Leo. Best friends for 35 years, through thick and thin, and also affectionate (which isn't the same as sexual). It's a shame that the writers from season 5 on never really understood the dynamics of that relationship.

Also, I really hate the term bromance.

Really, if you think about it, The West Wing has it all.

Mature relationship - The Bartlet's

Will they won't they - CJ and Danny; Josh and Donna; Sam and Malory

Inter-office - Will and Kate

Flings only - Any one the Hoynes looked at and CJ to some extent

Post-divorce - Toby and Andrea

Big fan of The West Wing if you can't tell :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

It was too bad that Sorkin's next show was given no time to gel. West Wing, although occasionally too self-righteous and didactic, was one of the few great dramas over the last twenty years. It was actually about something, about people who cared.

Todd Mason said...

I'll have to say I preferred SPORTS NIGHT. Sorkin knew television. With THE WEST WING, we got all the surface and spin of how politicians and their staffs wanted to see themselves and wanted to be seen. SPORTS NIGHT wasn't exactly full of searing indictment, but seemed to me to represent its subjects more accurately. SUNSET STRIP a little less so, but still more verisimilitude than TWW.

John McFetridge said...

SPORTS NIGHT was good all right.

For me it was Roseanne and Dan Connor on ROSEANNE. If you can seperate the Hollywood gossip from the show and just watch the show there's some of the best writing that's ever been on TV.

Or maybe I just feel that way because I've spent so much of my life in kitchens just like that with people just like that.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Love Sports Night. What a great ensemble. Okay, Roseanne and Dan was a great one. How could I forget them? He was the most gracious husband who ever lived.

Anonymous said...

I was searching for a site that listed the best tv romances of all time and came across this one. I was dismayed to see that my personal favorite did not warrant a mention as it must surely knock spots of some of the ones on this list.

Niles and Daphne (Frasier). Years of total obsession by Niles (oblivious by Daphne) then realisation (by both), acceptance and marriage.