- Just like in real life, TV and film is full of relationships, and not all of them are completely healthy
- Many shows and movies we love showcase people stuck in bad relationships, from the comedically incompatible to the downright awful
- That said, there are healthy fictional couples out there whose relationships actually work – here are five to be inspired by
1. Marshall Eriksen and Lily Aldrin, How I Met Your Mother
At its core, How I Met Your Mother is a show dedicated to chronicling the bad decisions of its main protagonist, Ted Mosby. Throughout the show’s run, Ted gets into a litany of terrible relationships, from the comedic to the unrealistic to the seriously toxic. Between Ted, the dedicated pick-up artist Barney and the woman they both fawn over, Robin, it’s difficult to find a single healthy relationship on the show.
That is, of course, except for Marshall and Lily. The pair of university sweethearts are already together when the show starts, and they remain the glue that holds the whole group of friends together. Though both are pretty flawed individuals (Lily is a secret shopaholic with a serious temper problem, and Marshall can be an indecisive doormat), the two have personalities that complement each other perfectly.
Even as we see them progress through matrimony and child-rearing, the pair never fall into the cliche of the constantly sniping, passive-aggressive married couple. Instead, they seem to genuinely be able to comfort each other and make each other laugh, and they always apologise when something goes wrong.
2. Captain Holt and Kevin, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Captain Holt’s relationship isn’t exactly the centre of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and it’s pretty obvious that Holt wouldn’t want it to be. This stern police captain with a stoic manner but heart of gold makes sure it’s understood that he is happily married to a man on his first day on the job, but he doesn’t find it necessary to volunteer any more information at first.
When we finally meet Holt’s husband Kevin, he is just as mild-mannered and measured as his spouse, resulting in an unusual relationship dynamic that has its fair share of comedic moments. Despite their chemistry being somewhat understated, it is still clear that this duo are deeply in love, and that their marriage provides a stable foundation for both of them.
Holt’s dedication to his husband is seen in the way that he takes a huge amount of care over picking a present for Kevin, even straying far away from his own comfort zone and love language to do so. Holt learns to cook a sentimental meal for Kevin when he himself is not fond of cooking sentimentality, just because he knows it will remind his spouse of one of the happiest times they’ve spent together. The meal he makes does turn out disgusting… but it’s the thought that counts.
3. Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt, Parks and Recreation
Individually, Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt of Parks and Recreation fame are already two of the most wholesome and pure characters in the history of TV. It was no surprise, then, that fans of the show began shipping the pair as soon as they appeared on screen together, and kept rooting for their relationship every step of the way. Needless to say, Leslie and Ben did not disappoint.
These two adorkable characters are each impossibly nerdy and enthusiastic, but in completely different ways. We watch as they learn about and adapt to each other’s interests, whether that’s the history of local government and politics or just the sprawling lore of Game of Thrones. We also see them each giving and taking in the relationship, prioritising their own goals when necessary and supporting their partner through their personal career evolutions when needed.
Right from the beginning, these two had a rapport and a set of inside jokes that made them believable, since they were best friends as well as soulmates. These cute little moments, from Ben agreeing to make Leslie a mac-and-cheese pizza, to their vows including the words “I love you and like you”, make it clear that theirs is a sustainable relationship built to last.
4. Brittany and Santana, Glee
Most of the couples on this list skewed close to middle age by the time their respective shows wrapped up, but there’s something to be said for the power of young love as well. Glee’s Brittany and Santana were best friends throughout high school, and that relationship quickly deepened and blossomed into something more.
Though many of the relationships on Glee were fraught with drama, Brittany and Santana remained relatively stable throughout the show’s run. Their foundation of friendship meant they were always kind and compassionate towards one another, even when obstacles like fear, distance and other partners meant that they couldn’t be together.
Though it was up in the air whether the two would actually end up together, they managed to tie the knot in one of the sweetest episodes in Glee’s history. Unsurprising, since their relationship proves true the adage ‘opposites attract’, with Brittany’s offbeat and go-with-the-flow genius balancing out Santana’s practicality and strength. For fans of the show, these two proved that sometimes your first love can be forever.
5. Morticia and Gomez Addams, The Addams Family
They might live in a huge dilapidated mansion and cut the heads off of roses for fun, but don’t let them fool you: Morticia and Gomez Addams are probably the healthiest couple in TV and film history. Created at a time when most sitcoms depicted a nagging wife and inattentive husband, the original Addams Family TV show instead drew its comedy from how absurdly happy its husband and wife were.
Even now, Morticia and Gomez Addams represent a true love for the ages. They are dedicated to their children, always supporting their individual hobbies, treating them like grown-ups and letting them make their own decisions even when the two don’t fully understand them (summer camp, anyone?). Morticia and Gomez also always support each other through hardship, sticking by one another even when disaster comes to haunt the family.
Most importantly of all, though: they could not be more in love. Gomez treats Morticia like a queen, but she is also an equal partner when it comes to major decisions about money, their home and their children. Morticia is a stay at home mother, but she isn’t afraid to chase other goals, such as joining the dark forces on their hellish crusade. The two complement each other every minute, waltz every hour and never ever take each other for granted. (Not to mention, it’s also implied that their love life is excellent.)