There are many “will they/won’t they” TV show couples taking that next step, and in some cases, it has been very successful. Some shows have never been better since eliminating that push-and-pull from the plot. In other cases, maybe they would have been better off not taking that next step.
The way a show handles one of these relationships usually means the early stages of such a romance aren’t filled with getting to know one another because, in some cases, that relationship was developed in a way that these two characters know each other better than anyone else. There isn’t any first date chatter to sit through, and likely, they already know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
So usually, it seems like the only way to move forward for such a couple is to jump right into a serious relationship. These characters can be partners at work or roommates in a loft (as are the ones I address below), so their lives are already entwined in such a way that a split won’t be easy and would affect those around them.
Bones: First comes love, then comes…an obstacle or two (or three or…), then comes a baby, then comes a serial killer plotting against them, and then comes marriage. That’s Booth and Brennan’s relationship in a nutshell, as the two finally slept together in the midst of tragedy, and thanks to a time jump, we didn’t see the initial stages of their relationship—and that worked.
Instead, the Bones writers were free to use their relationship to their advantage, rather than focusing on its early days, to drive the story, and just this season (and the end of last), we saw that as the evil genius Pelant used his power over the team to force Booth to turn down Brennan’s proposal. The show has, in my opinion, been better because Booth and Brennan got together because it eliminated those fleeting relationships we knew would never work for each.
Castle: What earns Castle and Beckett this spot is the way the show handled their relationship and her job offer at the end of last season and beginning of this one. She was worried what taking the job would mean for their relationship, but Castle threw her a curveball and proposed instead of breaking up with her. When this season began, they were in a long-distance relationship while she was in D.C. She didn’t have to choose, and once she returned to NY, the show was able to begin to focus on their future together. Where will the wedding be? Will there be kids? These are the questions they’ve begun to address, and so far, they’ve done in a very Castle-like way.
NCIS: Los Angeles: A recurring theme for Kensi and Deeks, a.k.a the ones with terrible communication skills, has been a certain problem about never saying what they mean. Just as they finally gave in and a dinner that was supposed to be “something like tacos” turned into a date at a romantic restaurant that turned into “I want to be at my place right now, with you” and Deeks following Kensi out and the promise of a talk about their “thing,” Kensi was reassigned. It was cruel, yes, but it was cruel in a way I respect.
Kensi’s assignment overseas was introduced as something that had been brewing at NCIS for some time with that conversation between Hetty and Granger (I’m convinced there’s a reason it had to be her on this mission), and the show could have just as easily left Deeks and Kensi’s partnership in that post-kiss-and-back-to-flirty-banter it had been in the beginning of the season and shipped her off to hunt down this White Ghost. Instead, they gave us “Recovery” and “The Frozen Lake.” Whatever happens between them when they’re finally on the same continent again may not keep them a “winner,” but for now, they’ve earned this spot.
NCIS: As season 11 began, we knew Cote de Pablo’s departure was coming in episode 2. There were still questions surrounding the status of “Tiva,” and fans were understandably nervous about where the show would leave them, and while Tony and Ziva did kiss at the airport, I would argue it wasn’t the smartest move. After all, Ziva gave him the “I care too much about our friendship” line in the season 10 finale, essentially friend zoning him for the moment, and because Cote de Pablo’s departure was shocking news over the summer, putting in that kiss seemed a bit forced and rushed. I highly doubt it would have happened if Ziva hadn’t left, so the decision to put “Tiva” in this group has nothing to do with the couple itself. It’s about how the show handled their final scenes together (for now, because Ziva’s alive and could come back).
New Girl: Some shows wait years before taking that next step with their two leads. New Girl didn’t, and while I applaud it for going there in its second season, unfortunately the execution has left a lot to be desired. Sure, it has led to more hijinks for the roommates, those directly and indirectly (i.e., the other guys) involved, but something just isn’t working. In a way, it seems too forced and awkward, and just because Nick and Jess were the “will they/won’t they” couple of the series doesn’t mean something should have come from that kiss the way it did.
Readers, I now turn to you. Which TV show couples have you liked post-“will they/won’t they”? Which do you wish hadn’t taken that next step?
Photos: Patrick McElhenney/FOX; Richard Cartwright/CBS; Sonja Flemming/CBS; Ray Mickshaw/FOX
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