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Love is what many of us are inadvertently drawn to within the series.


But it also garners the most drama, and some of it is contrived and unnecessary.


It is far too familiar now for television series to put some of the most notable couples through the wringer for the sole purpose of angst and drama. Yes, we’re looking at you, Chenford.


Unfortunately, the status quo for many series has become putting interesting characters together and then showing how terribly they are at conflict resolution.


It’s like series are so determined to capitalize off the drama and angst within relationships that they don’t even bother investing in any other angle.


It’s become frustrating that series have resorted to the same patterns when showcasing their couples and what they go through rather than delivering on the more realistic and inspiring option of serving as positive examples for relationships.


Related: The Rookie: How Chenford’s Breakup Romanticizes Sacrificing Love for Growth


Television is a medium that often reflects our world, the human experience, and yes, even relationships back to us, and while it doesn’t have a responsibility to do that authentically, it’s certainly nice when that happens.


Whether it’s Chenford or every current ship on Grey’s Anatomy, especially Lumone, some couples have much to learn.


We have a few pairings they could learn a thing or two from regarding how to maintain a relationship and navigate obstacles without the rollercoaster ride of emotional manipulation and tiresome drama.


Bobby and Athena – 9-1-1


One of the most notable pairings currently on air is Bathena on 9-1-1, primarily because they tend to set a precedent for all other 9-1-1 couples.


They’re the blueprint.


Through them, we get this perfect example of a second-chance-at-love middle-aged couple, something which you rarely see shown and perfected well.


But we also see this more mature couple who has seen and experienced it all make space for one another in their lives. It’s hard for people to bend when you have two established, strong individuals who would typically be seen as settled in their ways.


However, if there’s anything some of these struggling television couples can learn from Bobby Nash and Athena Grant, it is flexibility.


They’re such an excellent depiction of a pairing who can come together with their own flaws and heavy emotional “baggage.” Instead of letting that keep them apart or routinely get in their way, it brings them closer together.


There’s nothing the two of them can’t navigate together, and we’ve literally witnessed them damn near drown on a cruise ship overrun by pirates, so yeah, we’re not exaggerating.


Related: Did 9-1-1’s Three-Episode Ship Disaster Sink or Swim?


Both characters did come with a duffel bag of emotional baggage, and they not only brought that with them, but their partner was able to help them sort through it as a unit.


We’ve witnessed countless examples where they supported one another through some difficult times, and they learned how to bend when they needed it and when to push back, too.


It’s most telling that many of the other relationships in the series attempt to model Bathena as best as they can, or everyone turns to them for advice regarding their own life issues and relationship ones.


It’s not to suggest that the two of them are perfect by any means, but unlike some of the usual issues that crop up with pairings on television, Bathena tends to face more realistic problems and find ways to work through them.


They put in the work. We don’t see enough couples putting in that work anymore.


Judd and Grace Ryder – 9-1-1: Lone Star


To a lesser degree, we see something similar regarding Grace and Judd Ryder on 9-1-1: Lone Star, as they genuinely support and love each other beyond measure.


It’s undoubtedly the most compelling dynamic in the series. While it’s not as popular as the fan-favorite Tarlos, the Ryders have such a healthy and authentic relationship that has the staying power that inspires.


The Ryders have been tested a lot. And they’ve faced some things that you’d come to expect from a pairing that has been happily married for some time.


Their beautiful origin story, which is easily one of the series’ best episodes, had them navigating traditional issues like Grace figuring out her professional career with her relationship and Judd self-sabotaging his relationship and agreeing with Grace’s father that he wasn’t good enough for her.


Related: 9-1-1: Lone Star: How Judd and Grace Are the Heart & Soul of the Series


And while it did lead to a breakup, it didn’t feel contrived and led to an even better reunion that helped the pairing become one of the most enduring and stable relationships on the air.


Randall & Beth Pearson – This Is Us


Randall and Beth could also teach something about supporting and holding each other accountable.


Out of all the relationships in This Is Us, Beth and Randall Pearson are the closest any of them have come to being the picture-perfect relationship that was Jack and Rebecca.


But if we’re going to be honest about this, they may have even exceeded them.


Because Beth never hesitated to call Randall out on his crap when it was necessary and often showcased how you can support your partner while simultaneously calling them to the carpet about things.


And that’s something that the Pearson matriarch and patriarch often struggled with in the many flashbacks. Rebecca didn’t always hold Jack to account and was usually just as guilty of placing this wonderfully flawed man on a pedestal just as much as the others.


There was something more grounded about Beth and Randall, which meant that nothing would tear the two apart even when they were at their lowest points.


It was almost a relief that we saw the younger Pearsons face any number of issues without the constant fear that they could break up at any moment.


They are one of the strongest examples of a pairing who know how to walk that line between supporting their partner unequivocally while calling them out and ensuring they grow and become better.


Dan and Roseanne Conner – Roseanne


If there was ever a couple who went through it all and managed to do it together, it was The Conners.


While controversy surrounds the show and its spinoff now, it doesn’t overshadow the fact that Roseanne and Dan are among the best television couples ever.


They were the epitome of “keeping it real” and a beautiful representation of a Blue-Collar love story that mostly stood the test of time.


Some of the petty issues that appear to drive couples apart these days seem insignificant compared to the types of obstacles Dan and Roseanne faced as two working-class parents trying to make ends meet while living a happy, healthy, and hilarious life together.


They faced the issues that real people experience regularly: Financial insecurity, the daily grind of life, the wear and tear of simply trying to stay afloat, and navigating parenthood.


And they did it so comically that it was endearing because it was so relatable.


Essentially, they didn’t consider any other option beyond sticking together through thick and thin and taking all life’s cards head-on.


And they didn’t require lengths of time apart and rollercoaster emotions to get there. They stuck together and persevered through it all.


Eric and Tami Taylor – Friday Night Lights


Like The Conners, Friday Night Lights‘ Eric and Tami Taylor were the type of down-home, realistic, middle-America couple that was relatable to the masses and the definition of “goals.”


Seriously, the Taylors have the type of marriage that appeals to people of all walks of life, sexual orientation, or more. They’re transcendent in the way that sparks multiple articles about them, and they continue to be the inspiration behind aspirational love in both fiction and reality.


The Taylors teach us about balance and compromise in a way many still can’t process or navigate.


While they certainly had their arguments and blow-ups, it all came from a place that felt real rather than contrived. Their issues were ones that viewers could identify with, but they never backed out of a resolution.


They fought until they worked it out, found the right balance for both of them and compromised where they needed to.


We saw that from the start of the series, with Tami’s ability to constantly bend to accommodate Eric’s job, things came full circle by the end when he did the same for her.


They’re two of the most stubborn people, and yet, they know how to yield to one another, which is something that we rarely see adequately depicted on television these days, sadly.


Stef & Lena Adams Foster – The Fosters/Good Trouble


Stef and Lena Adams Foster are also a pairing who had the type of transcendent love, which particularly speaks volumes for them as a queer couple.


So often, forms of media push the idea that “home is you,” as in a person may find their home in the love of another person and the safe harbor they provide.


Related: The Best LGBTQIA Representation


But very few couples capture that concept properly. Stef and Lena are the best examples of this and should be the format utilized to convey this notion without sacrificing one or both characters in the process.


Stef and Lena built a brick-by-brick home for themselves and their beautiful family. They’re the foundation of the home they provide for their loved ones.


It’s a concept where the good times are highlighted, and the bad ones are glamorized, but with Stef and Lena, we see the strength of their love over multiple seasons and the Good Trouble spinoff.


They become each other’s safe harbor in such a raw manner that it doesn’t come across as this rosy view of how love should look. But that makes them timeless as a pairing that has cemented a place amongst the greats.


Stef and Lena know how to bear the best and worst themselves, the most amazing and the most vulnerable aspects to the other, and they trust one another with that.


They both come from challenging backgrounds and have made their own safe space within their relationship, which many others attempt to capture but rarely do.


Peter & Elizabeth Burke – White Collar


One of the most tired tropes in existence is that of the nagging wife of a law enforcement officer who married someone in the field and yet complained endlessly about their spouse working too much.


Elizabeth Burke is the exception to that rule, and it is one of many reasons Elizabeth and Peter Burke are an admirable couple worth emulating.


At the crux of their relationship is a profoundly deep understanding of one another and acceptance.


Neither of them ever try to change the other person. They knew who and what they married and always allowed one another to be unapologetically and authentically themselves.


Peter brings his work home with him about as much as Elizabeth gets actively involved in his cases, and they shine best when they’re attacking a problem, whether hers or his, together.


Ideally, for better or worse, people want to be with someone who understands them and doesn’t try to change them while also encouraging development and evolution, and the Burkes deliver that in spades.


David & Patrick – Schitt’s Creek


Schitt’s Creek‘s David and Patrick are another pairing that lays the groundwork for normalizing healthy relationships without the need for ridiculous bouts of drama.


The two normalized a lot of things, including the depiction of a queer couple, where you didn’t see them as just exclusively that or even have that weigh heavily over the series at all.


Despite the occasional bump in the road, Patrick and David are so endearingly and pleasantly “normal,” which is in itself what makes them so great.


They’re proof that it’s perfectly okay and even compelling to be a regular couple with no issues and that the love in and of itself is more than enough to reel in viewers.


Randolph Bell & Kit Voss – The Resident


Like David and Patrick, Kit and Bell from The Resident completely embody acceptance, whether of oneself or one’s partner.


The two had some hardships and faced a lot of issues head-on together, from some of Kit’s familial issues and scares to Bell’s health crisis; they were exceedingly great at navigating whatever came their way together.


As another mature couple on this list, they exuded a grace that you don’t come across often, which more couples should take note of.


Related: The Golden Bachelor Made Us Believe In Timeless Love … Then Took It Back


Kit and Bell extend that grace to one another consistently, as well as to their relationship as a whole, and thus, they became one of the healthiest and strongest romantic pairings of the series as a whole.


They even surpassed CoNic in that regard.


Rick Grimes & Michonne – The Walking Dead/ The Ones Who Live


It takes extraordinary strength to survive the apocalypse and keep love alive and thriving.


And Richonne is the sheer embodiment of strength, making their love story so epic it warranted its own spinoff.


Related: The Ones Who Live Made Rick and Michonne’s Reunion Worth the Wait


The electrifying chemistry of the pair is something that can’t be replicated. However, the lessons on embodying and utilizing strength when depicting a healthy, aspirational romance can be with effort.


Too many series still cater to the narrative that love is some weakness and vulnerability. Richonne has built their entire relationship around being the most fierce, strong individual still walking land while recognizing that love is what makes them so strong in the first place.


They’re so unapologetic about love, bringing an enviable passion that never gives you a reason to question the legitimacy of their relationship, what they mean to one another, nor their place as one of the greatest and most iconic ships, and, yes, healthiest, too.


The combination of strength, passion, loyalty, and ferocity when it comes to one another is something to strive for.


Related: Chicago PD’s Burzek’s Journey is a Testament to Enduring Love


Many shows are in a troubling loop of feeling as if healthy romantic relationships are boring, and they throw everything under the sun at some of their most popular and cherished couples to keep us on our toes.


But some of the most iconic, successful ships have taught us otherwise.


Hopefully, we all learn from what they have to offer.


Over to you, TV Fanatics.


How do you feel about the ongoing slate of television couples and their contrived drama?


What other successful couples can you think of who set the blueprint for healthy and entertaining couples? Let’s hear it below!

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.



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