In some cases, a couple, a 'ship, an intriguing bond - can be the best part of a TV series. These small-screen romances can be iconic, disgustingly adorable, and can even provide the audience with goals for their own personal relationships.
But with all those captivating romances, there are also the ones that are loved and praised when they really shouldn't be. Those couples everyone loves, while their relationships aren't actually as healthy or empowering as their fanbases make it seem. Let's review some of TV's worst couples that are somehow always romanticized.
10 ROSS AND RACHEL - FRIENDS
Though they are regarded by many as one of the most iconic couples of 90s TV, the popularity and hype that surrounded this relationship far inflated its actual significance. No relationship is perfect, but Ross and Rachel's was fraught with so many holes and problematic moments that it should not be considered anything but harmful and toxic.
The on-again-off-again nature of their relationship was one of the most memorable recurring storylines on Friends, but while the drama and hilarious moments that stemmed from this deserve appreciation, Ross and Rachel's relationship itself does not.
9 MEREDITH AND DEREK - GREY'S ANATOMY
Undeniably, Meredith and Derek were one of the most notable aspects of Grey's Anatomy. Their relationship was and still is one of the most well-known and revered on TV, but when put under the microscope, is "MerDer" really the dream romance it was cracked up to be?
Though iconic, this romance really shouldn't be anyone's relationship goals. Before Derek's eventual death in season 11, he and Meredith's relationship was full of drama. They fought countless times over countless things. One of the most notable instances of this was Derek choosing Addison over Meredith and then berating Meredith when she attempted to move on. Let's also not forget the fact that Derek clearly valued his own career over Meredith's and almost made her uproot her life and move to Washington for him. When examined, McDreamy is a whole lot less dreamy than he appears, as is his relationship with Meredith.
8 VIOLET AND TATE - AMERICAN HORROR STORY
Back when American Horror Story aired its first season, "Murder House", teens and adults alike swooned over Violet and Tate. Maybe on the surface, this relationship is swoon-worthy, drenched in angsty prose and sentiments that vibe with someone going through an existential crisis. But in reality, a relationship like Violet and Tate's is very damaging.
These two certainly brought out the worst in each other. Because they were both suicidal and depressed, AHS made it seem like they were the only ones who understood each other. This is a very bad message to send, especially since this relationship appealed so much to the young adult demographic. Violet and Tate should be buried in AHS history, and their relationship should never have been romanticized.
7 MIKE AND ELEVEN - STRANGER THINGS
Stranger Things is definitely one of the most captivating and popular shows of the decade, and the Duffer Brothers do an amazing job of writing and developing it. But that doesn't change the fact that Mike Wheeler and Eleven are young kids. The fact that they are one of the show's central couples is just wrong.
In season 1, this relationship was cute and quite innocent. It was in season 2 that things started to get a tad inappropriate, especially when Eleven was shown to be jealous when she thought that Mike and Max were getting too close. This isn't exactly a great influence on the younger viewers, and it would be nice if Stranger Things would keep the Mike-Eleven kissing scenes to a minimum.
6 JACKSON AND MAGGIE - GREY'S ANATOMY
Over the years, Grey's quality has significantly decreased. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the show is constantly destroying fan-favorite relationships, such as Jackson and April's. These two were one of the rare examples of Grey's Anatomy beautifully portraying a friends-to-lovers bond.
Jackson and April's relationship was loved by the majority of the fanbase, so after a very messy divorce, and after they had a daughter together, it's understandable that introducing a new romance wouldn't exactly be a great idea. But of course, Grey's did that anyway and thus came Jackson and Maggie. A relationship as contrived as that one did not deserve any of the praise it received.
5 RICK AND MICHONNE - THE WALKING DEAD
Weak and lazy writing plays a big role in The Walking Dead. This especially is leaks through in the show's couples. Though Rick and Michonne were quite anticipated by the fanbase, Walking Dead writers completely dropped the ball when turning this relationship into a romantic one.
From the beginning of their romance in the tenth episode of season 6, there was a heavy-handed quality to the way TWD writers portrayed these two. The relationship could have been something absolutely beautiful, given Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira's talents, but in The Walking Dead's hands, it fell short several times.
4 CLAY AND HANNAH - THIRTEEN REASONS WHY
Thirteen Reasons Why is infamous for its controversial depiction of mental health and teen suicide. One of the many problems with this Netflix series is its tendency to glamorize the struggles one faces when they are afflicted with bullying, high school drama, and as a result, severe depression.
A major plot of the series is the relationship between Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen. Despite there being many questionable aspects to this bond, they are constantly romanticized. This is another example, similar to the aforementioned Violet and Tate, of a bad influence on a young, impressionable audience. Clay and Hannah were bad for each other, and nothing about that relationship should be considered special.
3 JACK AND KATE - LOST
The countless complex and interesting plots and subplots in LOST. A big part of the series' intrigue was the mysteries that still remain unresolved to this day. Though it was a very smart show, LOST had its series of decisions that weren't exactly brilliant.
One of the most annoying arcs on LOST was the recurring love triangle between Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. The show's constant flip-flopping between pairing Kate with Sawyer, then with Jack, became very tiresome very quickly. In the end of the series, Jack and Kate ultimately ended up together - in what audiences are supposed to assume is the afterlife. But this was after seasons and seasons of jaded drama, so the payoff was not all that great.
2 NICK AND ADALIND - GRIMM
Grimm was NBC's quirky, lighthearted comedy/horror gem. It had a small main cast of strong, likable characters, and for a long time, the writing was consistent.
After building Adalind Schade as the antagonist for nearly the entire series, Grimm took a hard left and killed Juliette (well kind of). Nick and Juliette were shown to be a beautiful couple throughout the series, so Juliette's death (and later "rebirth") certainly came as a shock. But what was even more shocking, was the fact that shortly after this happened, Grimm writers decided Nick should have a romance with his long-time enemy, Adalind. Sure, the enemies to lovers trope is popular, but in this case, the whole storyline never even made sense. Grimm had a good thing going with Nick and Juliette, and they shouldn't have squandered it.
1 JIM AND PAM - THE OFFICE
Even though The Office concluded its nine-season run back in 2013, the show's power couple, Jim and Pam, are still loved to this day.
This relationship was definitely one of the best parts of The Office, but when you think about it, are they really relationship goals? While their love story was mostly beautiful, there were some aspects that raised red flags. In the final season, Jim and Pam's marriage hits rough waters and they endured some pretty upsetting fights. The problems with this relationship make it a little less captivating than its often made out to be.