I get it – I love Ross and Rachel, Liz Lemon and Criss, Harry and Sally, Han and Leia, Cher and Josh, Zack and Kelly… I really do! But it’s time to give our secondary couples some love. That’s right! Maybe these couples aren’t at the forefront of your mind, but they still have wormed their way into our hearts on screens both big and small.
Phoebe and Mike, Friends
I mean, on a show when you have Ross and Rachel and then midway through the series also get Monica and Chandler…there’s not much room for other Really Intense Couples.
Except there IS room. (Wait, what?)
Phoebe and Mike (Paul Rudd) get together from a hilarious blind date mix-up perpetrated by Joey and end up being one of my favorite couples on TV. Nothing seems to go right with them – he lies to her, she “Phoebes” meeting his parents and then when he tries to propose she keeps making fun of the way he’s going to do it…and on and on.
But he convinces her of his piano prowess without a piano in front of him, she encourages him to pursue his piano playing dreams and he fights for her in Barbados (and this is against DAVID – SCIENTIST GUY DAVID – PLAYED BY HANK AZARIA).
And then their wedding almost gets ruined, but instead they have the best wedding…ever. I just really love Phoebe and Mike, you guys.
I also love that this Secondary Couple involves one half of one of my favorite Primary Couples of all time – Cher and Josh from Clueless.
Murray and Dionne, Clueless
Which brings me to my next favorite Secondary Couple – Dionne and Murray in Clueless.
Being the best friend of the main character makes you PRIME Secondary Couple material. Murray and Dionne fight a lot throughout the movie, but always stay together. We get to watch them get in a fight at the Val Party (which I how I refer to any situation where I have to go to the Valley), we get to see Murray’s vocab skills in action (it’s a really good school), we learn Dionne wants a sailor-themed wedding and we watch Di’s virginity go from technical to non-existent.
Obviously Clueless is interesting since there are a few Secondary Couples but Dionne and Murray really take the cake for me. I always admired her fashion choices and his willingness to teach her how to drive. I hope those crazy kids are still together.
Jenna and Paul, 30 Rock
A lot of 30 Rock involves Liz Lemon navigating the dating world. And let me just say, I’m pretty much into all of Liz Lemon’s relationships.
No, seriously, I love Dennis Duffy, I love Dr. Baird, I love Wesley Snipes, I LOVE Carol, and I love Criss. You can’t go wrong with Liz Lemon boyfriends.
But you also can’t go wrong with anything involving Jenna Maroney. Jenna Maroney is the voice in my head, if that makes any sense. Like, Liz Lemon is totally me but Jenna Maroney is who I am in the privacy of my own thoughts.
And her relationship with Paul is fantastic. How they get together, his compromise with performing as half Jenna/half Cher, their run-in with Victor Garber and the Wool Council, their Black Swan reconciliation…everything.
Mandela and Michael, 10 Things I Hate About You
In a movie with Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Andrew Keegan all as potential boyfriends it’s AMAZING that you also end up having this quiet relationship between David Krumholtz and Susan May Pratt (who goes on to be Maureen in Center Stage, obviously) steal my heart!
She’s obsessed with Shakespeare, he’s been seemingly too involved in his friend’s relationship to focus on his own and then all of a sudden is sweeping Mandela off her feet! What a sweetheart.
Seriously, her getting the note in the locker and then seeing him at the dance kills me every time. (Not as much as Heath’s performance on the bleachers or Julia Stiles’ crying performance in class, but still!)
Jess & Marie, When Harry Met Sally…
I don’t often pick favorite things. I’m a curmudgeon that way. I’ve only ever committed to my favorite color: blue. And even then I sometimes say purple. Otherwise, in elementary school I would change my favorite things every time. Then I went to film school and really became averse to picking my favorite movie. Now I’m comfortable with top 5, 10 and sometimes even top 2 lists. I can handle that.
My top 2 movies are When Harry Met Sally… and Annie Hall. (And don’t talk to me about the comparisons, I know. I have a type.)
Anyway – as much as I (obviously) love both Harry and Sally, I love Jess and Marie just as much. (It doesn’t hurt that I love Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher so much too.) Jess and Marie get together because they are being set up with Sally and Harry, respectively. Obviously they bond instead (the New Jersey connection was not enough for Marie and Harry) and Marie even quotes Jess back to Jess which has never happened to him before.
I love when they’re moving in together and Harry goes nuts over the stupid, wagon wheel Roy Rogers, garage sale coffee table and I love when Harry and Sally have sex and both call Jess and Marie. When Marie turns to Jess and says, “Promise me I’ll never have to be out there again” I die. Every time.
Jess and Marie, I tip my hat to you. You are my all-time favorite Secondary Couple.