8 Couples That Hurt Shondaland Shows (And 7 That Saved Them)

More than any other creative universe on television right now, the world of Shondaland is renowned for its twisty, complicated, addictive romantic relationships.

Fans are passionate about their favorites and least favorites in equal measure, engaging in heated social media battles with hashtags and branded content provided by social media accounts at the ready.

Maybe you're a tried and true resident of Shondaland who has seen the relationships known to fans as MerDer, Burktina, and Dizzie come and go. Or perhaps you're a Gladiator in a Suit who feuded over the merits of Olitz versus Olake for far too long.

Or hey, maybe you're someone who prefers to be an honorary member of the Keating crew and you just want to fit in with that group and its twisted ways.

Whatever your involvement with Shondaland may be, the odds are high that there are certain couples you've been rooting for from the very beginning, and certain other relationships that make your stomach turn.

With 14 seasons of Grey's Anatomy, 7 seasons of Scandal, 6 years of Private Practice, and 4 years of How to Get Away with Murder under her belt, it's no exaggeration to say that Shonda Rhimes is responsible for hundreds of love stories.

However, unfortunately, not every love story can have a happy ending -- or an enjoyable journey, for that matter.

Here are the 8 Couples That Hurt Shondaland Shows (And 7 That Saved Them).

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Camilla Luddington and Justin Chambers as Jo Wilson and Alex Karev in Grey's Anatomy
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15 Ruined: Jo and Alex (Grey's Anatomy)

Camilla Luddington and Justin Chambers as Jo Wilson and Alex Karev in Grey's Anatomy

The relationship between Jo and Alex had the unenviable task of converting a fanbase that was primarily still hung up on a relationship that had been over for years.

Although Izzie's involvement in Grey's ended with season six, her presence loomed large for quite some time in terms of potential romantic connections for Dr. Alex Karev.

It was Jo's job -- if not to fill her shoes -- to at least offer an alternative, and perhaps even something better than the unfortunate ending that befell Izzie and Alex years ago.

Unfortunately, as Grey's tends to do when it can't help itself, their relationship has been consistently bogged down by some of the show's most nonsensical storylines.

Ranging from near arrests and assaults to false identities and psychotic exes, their relationship has run the soap opera gamut. 

However, sadly, the series seems nowhere near done dragging their involvement out further.

14 Saved: Richard and Adele (Grey's Anatomy)

Loretta Devine and James Pickens Jr as Adele and Richard Webber in Grey's Anatomy

If romances are Shondaland's specialty, then tragic ones are their supreme specialty.

Look no further than the heartrending story of Richard and Adele Webber. The long-married couple never exactly had it easy.

Richard's commitment to his work, and his affair with Ellis Grey, often monopolized his life. However, through almost all of it, Adele remained at his side, loving him more than anything and anyone else.

When enough was enough, she left him, but Richard soon realized all that he had lost and returned to her, which she welcomed with open arms.

Yet just as things seemed as though they were going to be on the mend for them, Adele's Alzheimer's struck, proving to be the final blow for their marriage.

As Adele's condition worsened, Richard remained by her side all throughout, culminating in a tragic final moment of Richard crying and picturing them dancing at their own wedding to "My Funny Valentine".

13 Ruined: Huck and Quinn (Scandal)

Guillermo Diaz and Katie Lowes as Huck and Quinn Perkins in Scandal

Scandal was far less afraid of getting down and dirty and downright toxic than any of its Shondaland predecessors. Unfortunately, that meant viewers everywhere were forced to witness the bizarre dynamic between Huck and Quinn.

Their initial friendship? Adorable. Their close bond that they returned to, culminating in Huck officiating Quinn's own wedding in the series finale? Also adorable.

However, what came in between -- featuring lies, betrayal, torture, and repeated prolonged face licking as a method of manipulation -- was by far one of the worst things Scandal forced its viewers to witness in its entire seven season run.

Huckleberry Quinn, as the series and its fans branded it, may have seemed like a good idea to start, but it certainly outstayed its welcome.

Not all initially good ideas are worth following through on.

12 Saved: Laurel and Wes (HTGAWM)

Karla Souza and Alfred Enoch as Laurel Castillo and Wes Gibbins in How To Get Away With Murder

The poor kids of the Keating Five (well, Keating Four now) never really stood a chance when it came to finding solace in one another. However, that didn't stop them from trying.

Thanks to their commitment to finding love and connection, despite the harrowing ordeals they were forced into via Annalise's many less than legal lessons, troubled souls Laurel and Wes were able to find one another.

From the very start of the series, they were billed in unison as the quiet ones, the ones to watch out for.

However, in allowing their quiet natures to find one another, the series created one of its loudest love stories to date.

Sadly, as this is Shondaland after all, their story would prove to be a tragic one, with Laurel's father arranging to end Wes' life, and Laurel learning that she was pregnant with Wes's child after the fact.

11 Ruined: Owen and Amelia (Grey's Anatomy)

Caterina Scorsone and Kevin McKidd as Amelia Shepherd and Owen Hunt in Grey's Anatomy

When his character was first introduced, Owen Hunt was an acquired taste, someone who the writers really took time developing to hopefully win the audience over.

By pairing him with Cristina at the time, they were setting him up to be someone important and worthy of one of the series' leads.

When Cristina left, however, Owen remained a significant character, and they were left with a void they desperately needed to fill.

Cue the horribly misguided idea to bring in Derek's wayward sister, Amelia, as Owen's new love interest.

Not only do the characters and actors lack any spark whatsoever, but Amelia's character is so toxic and self-destructive that all of Owen's character growth and value feels wasted in each moment that their characters are paired.

10 Saved: Oliver and Connor (HTGAWM)

As we've seen, the pairing of polar opposites can be hit or miss, in Shondaland as anywhere else.

For How to Get Away with Murder, they found their perfect polar opposite pair in the relationship between seductive bad boy Connor and shy tech geek Oliver.

What began as a surprise fling soon blossomed into the series' most emotionally weighty romantic relationship.

In addition, it allowed the series a real opportunity to showcase LGBTQ love in the ways that Grey's had done with past relationships.

Their relationship may be more complicated than most -- given their less than legal dealings through Annalise Keating's teachings and crimes -- but through it all, through health issues and nervous breakdowns, they have been by each other's side, weathering whatever HTGAWM chooses to throw their way.

9 Ruined: Callie and Arizona (Grey's Anatomy)

Shondaland has done great things for promoting LGBTQ representation and equality; there's not even any point in trying to deny that.

However, just because something began with the greatest of intentions, that doesn't mean that it will end that way.

The relationship between Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins was, for quite some time, a real fan-favorite component of the series, primarily because it allowed two brilliant, beautiful LGBTQ women to be intelligent professionals and equal romantic partners.

Yet over time, their relationship devolved into something lesser and uglier, involving infidelity, betrayal, ugly fighting, separation, and a cruel, drawn out custody battle that did neither of them any favors in terms of characterization.

With Sara Ramirez's exit from the series, it's likely their story will always have ended on a bittersweet note. Looking ahead to the future -- and Jessica Capshaw's own exit from the series -- perhaps that's one story best left finished.

8 Saved: Cooper and Charlotte (Private Practice)

Paul Adelstein and KaDee Strickland as Cooper Freedman and Charlotte King in Private Practice

As we've seen so far, it's a rarity -- if not impossible, at this rate -- to be a couple in Shondaland and come out in the end mostly unscathed, never mind given a happily ever after.

The clear exception so far is the relationship between Charlotte King and Cooper Freedman on the Grey's spinoff Private Practice.

Having originally met via an online dating site, the two would go on to embark in ostensibly the series' clearest love story.

They weathered many storms together, including a devastating arc in season four that found Charlotte being the victim of a brutal sexual assault.

However, through it all, Cooper was by her side, and they grew stronger together than they ever could have been apart. By the series' end, the two were happily married, now raising a son and triplet baby daughters in the most conventional happily ever after Shondaland has ever shown.

7 Ruined: George and Izzie (Grey's Anatomy)

TR Knight and Katherine Heigl as George O'Malley and Izzie Stevens in Grey's Anatomy

Best friends falling in love with one another is one of the oldest tropes in the television couple writing manual. Yet just because it's worked in certain cases, doesn't mean that it should be applied in any and all other cases.

Look no further than the horrible, horrible decision Grey's made to briefly pair best pals and comedic partners George O'Malley and Izzie Stevens romantically.

While the duo had wonderful friendship chemistry, the romantic chemistry was totally absent, leaving their emotionally and passionately fraught scenes feeling dry and uncomfortable.

Add to it all the complicated, messy scenario in which their feelings came to light -- George's short-lived marriage to Callie, anyone? -- and this was by far one of the worst pairings Grey's ever decided to pursue.

6 Saved: Derek and Meredith (Grey's Anatomy)

It was the relationship that began a television empire.

Meredith and Derek's romance was what drew viewers into Grey's Anatomy from the very beginning, two lost and stubborn souls trying to find a way to one another despite their respective baggage and trauma.

Once they finally were able to be together, the series was stronger than it had ever been, allowing perpetually scarred leading lady Meredith the moments of happiness she deserved, while also allowing Derek's character to flourish and grow beyond the constraints of the desirable McDreamy.

The two would go on to marry, to raise children, and to struggle with the problems married couples face, both realistic and soap opera-esque.

However, their story would be cut tragically short by the decision to senselessly cut Derek off, resulting in Patrick Dempsey's departure from the series, and the show's overall weakening in turn.

5 Ruined: Jackson and April (Grey's Anatomy)

Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams as April Kepner and Jackson Avery in Grey's Anatomy

It's a risky move to put two characters who are fundamental opposites together. Sometimes, it works better than you could ever have hoped, with tension and culture clashes allowing for sparks to fly in spades.

However, in other cases -- such as in the pairing of repressed do-gooder April Kepner and spoiled rich kid Jackson Avery -- all it will lead to is trouble.

Unlike other entries on this list, Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew do have chemistry together, which makes their unfortunate characterizations and storylines all the more disappointing.

With differences in personal beliefs as a foundation for their relationship, it was clear that things would be shaky from the get go.

However, fast forward a few years to a period that included an interrupted wedding, a broken marriage, the loss of a child, a crisis of faith, and much more pain and anger, and it becomes clear that their relationship was one that never should have begun.

4 Saved: Fitz and Olivia (Scandal)

Tony Goldwyn and Kerry Washington as Fitzgerald Grant and Olivia Pope in Scandal

Star-crossed romances are really Shonda's forte.

In Scandal, this was the precise tactic used for the long-suffering, on and off again relationship between onetime President Fitzgerald Grant and political fixer Olivia Pope.

With Fitz trapped in an unhappy marriage of political convenience, and as inaccessible as any man could be, the plight of the good ship Olitz often seemed to be a doomed one.

However, over time, once Fitz was out of office and divorced, the two continued to find their way back to one another.

With their relationship now open to the public, rather than Washington's worst kept secret, their feelings were able to flourish and grow.

By the series finale, it's beyond apparent that these two are made for one another, and will be together for years to come.

When they greet each other with their signature flirtatious "Hi" at the end of the episode, all fans of the relationship know exactly what that means: their story is just beginning again.

3 Ruined: Denny and Izzie (Grey's Anatomy)

Relationships formed between doctors and patients in works of fiction rarely ever portray the medical professional in a flattering light, especially when they're a woman.

The Florence Nightingale syndrome usually kicks in, depicting the woman as driven to the brink in the name of saving her patient/lover no matter the cost.

On Grey's, this clearly mirrors the story between Denny and Izzie -- well, at least the first time around. They somehow fall in love with one another over the span of a few episodes, despite Denny's rapidly declining health, and intend to marry.

Yet as Denny's health worsens, Izzie does the unthinkable, tampering with his LVAD to rig a medical process in order to ensure he receives proper treatment. However, since this is Grey's, it backfires horribly, resulting in his sudden death and Izzie's trauma.

The relationship was cringe-inducing enough as it was the first time around.

Add in the mind-boggling ghost Denny plot of season five, and you truly have a nonsensical mess of a relationship.

2 Saved: Mark and Lexie (Grey's Anatomy)

Chyler Leigh and Eric Dane as Lexie Grey and Mark Sloan in Grey's Anatomy

Sometimes, the strongest love stories are the ones that never truly get the time together that they deserve.

For Shondaland, the most star-crossed and tragically fated couple of Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey remains one of its most important love stories to date.

As the brilliant young intern with a heart of gold, Lexie was everything perpetual bad boy Mark was not.

It was because of that clear contrast, that direct source of conflict, that they worked so well with one another.

Lexie changed Mark for the better, making him a better man than he ever had been before her. Mark also allowed Lexie to open up more, to loosen up and love and live.

However, despite the series' own claim that they were "meant to be," the two would not get to experience the happiness of an ever after together, as they were both victims of the tragic plan crash that spanned the end of the eighth and beginning of the ninth seasons.

1 Ruined: Jake and Olivia (Scandal)

Kerry Washington and Scott Foley as Olivia Pope and Jake Ballard in Scandal

From the moment Jake Ballard and Olivia Pope met in that coffee shop in Washington, Scandal as a whole began to go downhill.

With the introduction of Jake's character, Scandal lost its way, becoming mired in plots of intrigue and espionage and characters who chewed at the scenery whenever they so pleased.

As Jake was a member of the shady organization B613, he was always a threat. Jake was assigned to spy on Olivia, even doing so in her most private moments.

He also choked her on one occasion, and landed her in the hospital on another, and let's not forget the fact that her father considered him the son he never had, and far from a son-in-law.

In Scandal's series finale, the cell door is shut on Jake's future as he is sent off to prison to serve time for his many crimes -- thankfully shutting the symbolic door in the face of this toxic relationship for good.


Which do you think are the best and worst Shondaland couples? Let us know in the comments!

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