Kelly and Ryan – The Office
Honestly, The Office deserves its own list on this subject. The show is full of all kinds of toxic relationships, with Michael and Jan being a close and explosive second. Kelly Kapoor and Ryan Howard manage to consistently bring out the absolute worst in each other, from sloppy annex make-outs to fake pregnancy. Those crazy 30-something-year-old kids.
Matt Murdoch and Karen Page – Daredevil (Netflix)
Before Disney made Marvel shows into squeaky clean, feature film-level productions, Netflix’s slate of superhero shows had a surprising level of grit to them. Particularly Daredevil who, compared to the rest of the MCU, is horny as Hell’s Kitchen. He hearts & leads girls on with his ridiculously hot yet sensitive and vulnerable demeanour, making use of his super senses to seduce you.
Aria and Ezra – Pretty Little Liars
Age gaps are tricky to explore in media. It takes a confident team of writers for it not to come across as a little iffy! Ezra knowing who Aria was before they get together in the pilot, though dramatic, does color him poorly. He didn’t know he would become her teacher but, at that point, he was already a certified dirty dog.
Ted and Robin – How I Met Your Mother
Fans go back and forth on exactly how toxic Ted and Robin became. The show seemed to be building towards the idea of letting past love go, no matter how painful. This made the fact the two are so clearly incompatible all the more tragic, excusing a lot of their behavior as it lead to that conclusion. Then that ending happened.
Kermit and Miss Piggy – The Muppet Show
The turbulent saga of these children’s TV turned film-stars has been one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities for decades. Miss Piggy’s erratic and often physical behavior has drawn hoards of paparazzi and endless speculation. They’re a classic on-again-off-again couple, in that Kermit says it’s off. We wish them both well in life.
Al and Peggy Bundy – Married with Children
TV was a very different beast in the 80s. It’s unlikely Married with Children would even be made today, since the ‘together but want to kill each other’ style of comedy has evolved beyond being simply cruel and abusive. They don’t seem so unhappy beneath all the animosity, but boy they make it personal when they start firing.
Frank and Estelle Costanza – Seinfeld
It would take an environment of intense and unsustainable pressure to create a diamond as wonderfully neurotic as George, and Frank and Estelle are a volcano inside of a black hole. Every conversation they have seems to contain three miscommunications, two different arguments happening simultaneously, and one big aneurysm for poor Georgie.
Bobby Briggs and Shelly Johnson – Twin Peaks
Most couples in Twin Peaks are toxic in an intentional homage / critique of soap opera melodrama. The show takes it deeper with Bobby and Shelly, however. They fill the initial tropes of local bad boy and hot diner waitress, but before long you realize the depths of the abuse Shelly suffers from her husband, and the trauma that Bobby masks with his behavior.
Cookie and Luscious – Empire
Empire’s take on toxic love shows how circumstances and life experiences can change people. Both are drawn to each other passionately, but the rocky foundations the series lays for them, and the way they bring out such impulsive behaviors in each other, tell us that these two are in far too deep to find long-lasting happiness and safety.
Miranda and Che – And Just Like That
This Sex And The City spin-off follows Miranda as she leaves her long-time partner Steve, for Che, after an extremely sexually-charged encounter. Miranda’s confident, straight-talking reputation is contrasted with new vulnerability as she navigates gender and sexuality, with Che identifying as non-binary. This isn’t the issue here, though, Che’s antics in general make any teenager look mature, causing an intense dislike from fans.