In our quest to bring you the best TV reading, sometimes we have to look… backwards. That’s why we have Thursday TV Throwback, wherein each week our staff of pop culture enthusiasts will be tasked with bringing back some of the best television clips that have been forgotten by time, space and the general zeitgeist.
This week’s theme: ’90s Couples We Love!
Television isn’t always the best barometer for realistic relationships — and in fact, it’s often the exact opposite. And yet we look back on ’90s television through such misty eyes, especially when it comes to our favorite made-for-TV relationships. There’s the seminal favorite, Boy Meets World‘s Cory and Topanga. The steamy adult affair between ER‘s George Clooney and Julianna Margulies. Heck, even the animated love between Doug (of Doug, obvi) and Patti gets our vote. We love them, and they love… well, also them.
Looking for a quick splash of romantic nostalgia? Here’s what our staff picked…
Kate Ward: Sam and Clarissa on Clarissa Explains It All
Okay, so they weren’t really a couple. But every time Sam climbed the ladder to visit his best gal pal, the room was rife with sexual tension. And yes, I understand I might have to report myself to my neighbors for merely writing that sentence.
Matt Patches: DJ and Steve on Full House
DJ and Steve started dating young — maybe too young? — but they gave hope to all the middle schoolers of the world that perhaps they’d find love too. Then they broke up in the seventh season and crushed America’s hearts. They were perfect together! Thankfully, the producers knew that, Steve eventually returning for the series finale to take DJ to prom. All was right in the world once again.
Kelsea Stahler: Felicity and Ben on Felicity
The great thing about Ben and Felicity (besides the fact that it brought Scott Speedman into our lives and made us all want to move to New York) was that some of the greatest beats in their four-year saga were moments that didn’t involve a rooftop kiss in the moonlight or running through the airport. Those things happened too, but it was moments like this one, in which all took was a signature Speedman look and a few choice words to give teenage-me (and let’s be honest, 2012-me) butterflies.
Michelle Lee: Angela and Jordan on My So-Called Life
Maybe part of me rooted for geeky Brian Krakow, but Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano were the perfect doomed high school couple. You just knew that Broody McBrooderton would eventually break her heart — and that then Claire Danes would break our hearts, and we’d love it. And cry into our flannel shirts.
Brian Moylan: Donna and Graduation on Beverly Hills, 90210
90210 had lots of great couples: Brenda and Dylan, Kelly and Brandon, Kelly and Dylan, Brandon and that girl who took drugs, Kelly and that guy who took drugs, Donna and David, Steve Sanders and his mirror, that girl from the Noxema commercial and Dylan. Oh so many great couples, but none was better than Donna Martin and Graduation. May they live happily together for eternity.
Abbey Stone: Lindsay and Nick on Freaks and Geeks
Lindsay and Nick’s relationship might not have been perfect (heck, they couldn’t even make it through one season), but it was moments like this that made sure you never stopped rooting for them. The tenderness and compassion they so clearly felt for one another is the stuff legendary romances are made of. And the true tragedy of it all is that Freaks and Geeks‘ untimely cancellation prevented these two crazy kids from realizing their true potential as a couple.
Aly Semigran: Doug and Carol on ER
Ross and Rachel were cute and all, but when it came to ’90s TV romances, no one even came close to the smoldering Doug (George Clooney) and Carol (Julianna Margulies). Their chemistry was off the (medical) charts and when they reunite in her last episode, there wasn’t a heart that stopped fluttering. (You should probably get that checked out, by the way.)
Marc Snetiker: Cory and Topanga on Boy Meets World
You can’t talk about the beloved couples of ’90s television without giving due attention to the pair that taught an entire generation about real love. Cory and Topanga’s fairy tale relationship spanned seven hilarious and heartbreaking seasons and included marriage proposals, honeymoons and unfortunate middle names. But perhaps most remarkably, as they fell in love with each other, we fell in love with them.
Michael Arbeiter: Doug and Patti on Doug
In the history of American television, no tale of romance has been so sincere, so relatable, so heart-wrenchingly close to home as the unrequited love felt for Patricia Mayonnaise by classmate Douglas Yancy Funnie. Eleven-year-old Doug’s first day in the town of Bluffington brought him through a cataclysm of new experiences: deciphering the Honker Burger’s hieroglyphian menu, dealing with town bully Roger Klotz, facing off with the legendary Nematode. But nothing had as profound an effect on Doug as laying eyes on Patti for the first time. Throughout their time together, Doug endured heartbreak after heartbreak pining for Patti. He was humiliated in front of her at a horse riding field dream, passed up as lab partner in favor of new kid Fentruck, and famously frightened by the prospect of dancing with her at the box social. But in a testament to the unparalleled beauty of true love, Doug never lost the will to carry on. Even when he thought he had no chance with Patti, he upheld his love proudly. Even when he was plagued by a front-and-center zit, was caught red-handed composing a banjo ballad for his beloved, thrust full force into an incredibly awkward movie date — hell, even when he accidentally knocked her dead mom’s house down — Doug never gave up. He embraced his love for Patti, for there was nothing inside of him of which he was prouder. Doug Funnie was a talented artist, a skilled musician, a dedicated dog owner, and a steadfast friend. But above all, he was a lover. A lover of a girl named Patti Mayonnaise.
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