All right, we’ have the best sci-fi/fantasy couples, as well as the sexiest pairings known to televised censorship. What, though, about the worst couples? I don’t mean the couples that are purposely bad, or the couples that get together just to keep the True Love Pair from actually hooking up.
Their love was so misunderstood.
No, rather than talking about the Rose-and-Mickeys of the romance world, I want to talk about the worst couples that the producers and writers force-feed you. The ones that, for inexplicable reasons, you’re supposed to like and support. The people that are terrible but are pushed together through contrived banter and nonexistent chemistry, and that leave no satisfaction afterwards.
The McDonald’s of romantic decisions, essentially.
[*Editor’s note: This list contains neither “Bella and Edward” nor “Bella and Jacob”. Nor even “Edward and Jacob.” Yes, there is evidence that the author wanted any and/or all of those pairings to be viewed favorably. No, I don’t care.]
7. Westley and Buttercup, The Princess Bride
“This is true love. You think this happens everyday?”
“I sure hope not.”
It’s a wrench including this couple, it really is. But I have to, because for years when I thought of “true love” I thought of Westley and Buttercup: she waits for him loyally, he fights his way home to find her, they cover insurmountable odds and live happily ever after (except for the whole him losing 50 years of his life to Count Rugen. So I guess they live happily for like, five minutes.)
“I turned it up to eleven.”
Okay, but let’s talk for real about this couple. It starts out with Buttercup ordering him around like her little bitch. He always responds with “As you wish” which is code for “I love you” (hopefully not in a romantic way, otherwise the grandpa at the end of the story is going to jail.)
So what, either he gets off on being dominated or it’s just because she’s hot? Fine. Whatever. They fall in love. She learns to say please. Everyone grows as a person.
Then he leaves and apparently dies. She loses her shit and shuts down completely. But he’s not dead! He’s off becoming a pirate! Not just a slave to a pirate, but a head honcho pirate. He becomes the Dread Pirate Roberts and does piratey things! Like having a parrot, wearing a mask, plundering gold…oh, and probably raping and murdering. How attractive.
So does he send word to let his beloved know he’s alive? Nah. He waits five years to see if she’ll remarry. Then he kidnaps her, threatens to backhand her for lying, and taunts her about her fiance.
Also, that ponytail. God, that ponytail.
Let’s face it. Buttercup is useless (can’t even fight off an R.O.U.S, for fuck’s sake) and Westley is a douche.
My apologies for the destruction I just wrought on your childhood.
6. Willow and Kennedy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Kennedy, the only reason to open your mouth is that pierced tongue.
Sadly not the worst relationship to happen in the Buffyverse, Willow and Kennedy are still difficult for me to handle, mostly because Willow was the best thing to happen to relationships since crotchless panties.
Go ahead and imagine the two together. I’ll wait.
Willow was the first person in the series (including Giles, the grownup) to have a stable, committed relationship that wasn’t all about drama. She and Oz had a quiet, realistic coupling that still managed to be sweet and endearing and wonderful. Then they got rid of him, so he could go make shitty movies.
“No, I’ve made good life decisions.”
Then she slowly fell for Tara, a sweet, deep, mystical girl without a violent bone in her body. It was amazingly tender and thoroughly erotic. And then they got rid of Tara.
Enter Kennedy. Whiny, obnoxious, self-absorbed and spoiled, she was unapologetic about her egotism and completely wrong for Willow. They had nothing in common except that they were both lesbians, and Kennedy neither understood nor sought to learn about Tara or what made Willow tick. I was sad to see Willow end the series on that note. I would have preferred almost any other pairing.
5. Saul Tigh and Caprica Six, Battlestar Galactica
“I got an eye patch. Bitches love eye patches.”
There’s actually not much to say about this couple, since it was getting toward the end of BSG’s decent episodes and descending right into the chewy nougat center of their weird religiosity and bizarre hallucinations. Basically, Saul Tigh bones Caprica Six which, if you look at the two of them, proves that this is, indeed, a fantasy story. She gets preggers and there’s a lot of fuss about their child being the destined Cylon/human hybrid. Then the baby dies. Then it turns out it wasn’t even actually a hybrid, because of lazy writing.
“Shit, I was supposed to plan this?”
I can’t even talk about how stupid this couple is. Tigh is a decorated war hero who has every reason to hate the Cylons. Caprica Six is in love with Baltar and possibly her own clone, and who gives a shit if they have a kid? It’s a stupid plot point, it’s a lie to the characters, and it only seeks to tear jerk where the well is completely dry.
The same is probably true for Tigh’s well, if you know what I mean.
4. Merlin and Gwen, Merlin
The BBC show Merlin is not an especially feminist text. By that I mean that every female character is either mindlessly evil or blandly, one-dimensionally good. Sadly, no character is flatter than Guinevere.
Gwen loves everyone in the show, and I mean everyone. Arthur, Lancelot and yes, even Merlin. For a while in Season 1, the writers apparently thought it would be great to hint at a romance between the woman destined to be Queen of Camelot and the weird little wizard boy who looks like the bastard son of Chris Eccleston’s ears.
Dumbo may also have been involved.
Anyway, there’s a lot of awkward intimations and Merlin remaining staunchly asexual throughout Gwen’s fumbling hints at attraction. The whole thing is frankly embarrassing, and not worth the halfhearted effort the show made trying to get us to care.