Worst fictional couples

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Worst fictional couples

Post by Enail on Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:34 pm

I think we've done lists of fictional couples we like a couple of times (maybe on Prime or the old forum), but what about the really awful couples, the ones you're rooting to never get together or to break up or to do anything but be around each other?

It's on my mind b/c I caught an episode of Modern Family yesterday, and every time Cam and Mitchell are on screen I cringe. They are so full of contempt for each other that I find it almost painful to watch. It feels like for every nice or loving interaction they have, there are ten of them sniping at each other, rolling their eyes, cutting each other down, assuming the worst of each other. Sure, when their conflicts are the episode's storyline, they get a sweet resolution where they realize they were being unfair and affirm how much they care for the other, blah blah blah, but a cute make-up every so often doesn't cancel out wall-to-wall disdain the rest of the time.  How can you love someone you don't even respect?

Okay, this could probably just go in rants, but I want to hear other peoples' worsts too!
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by eselle28 on Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:53 pm

Buffy and Angel. Buffy and Spike. Buffy and almost anyone, really. None of those relationships were even remotely healthy, and I feel like the show sometimes made them out to be more romantic than they really were. Sure, everyone knew Spike was trouble, but the Angel relationship was played as being romantic. Why didn't anyone say anything about a 15-year-old girl dating a guy who appeared to be in his late 20s, had his own place, and who represented himself to the world as being an adult? That's vastly creepier than the usual storyline about a vampire who passes himself off as a teenager and dates one of his human high school classmates.

In other Whedon news, I always did whatever the reverse of shipping is with Mal and Inara. I can put up with a character who slut shames as long as the show recognizes it's a flaw, but I don't want to see him end up with the woman whose perfectly legal occupation he's been complaining about.

Carrie and Big. I didn't actually mind them back when the show recognized that they were both sort of lousy people, but they became insufferable when the show started to buy into the idea that Carrie was the heroine rather than the villain of the piece and that Big was her true love.


Last edited by eselle28 on Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by Enail on Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:54 pm

Oh yeah, I was totally un-shipping Mal and Inara.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by bomaye on Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:58 pm

Felicity and Oliver in Arrow has been something teased off-and-on for awhile. Unfortunately what's happened is that as the show has progressed, Oliver has made poor life choice after poor life choice and can barely hold himself together most of the time, and she's turned into more his mother than the best choice to be his lover

Something interesting too, in Flash continuity, Barry Allen and Iris West get married, but in the current TV show, Barry's and Iris' actors don't have that kind of chemistry and there's two or three better choices at least (including the aforementioned Felicity)

I sometimes think with TV show relationships, actor/ress chemistry plays a large part in if it works or not.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by Prajnaparamita on Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:56 pm

Johnny and River from that stupid game/visual novel To The Moon.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS YOU’VE BEEN WARNED



Its not the worst, because the characters grudgingly admit that the two of them probably shouldn’t have ended up together (but still protest any attempt to separate them and it still goes at TWU LUV in the end, so I think its still in the running.)

Also applicable to my current interest in portrayals of women with ASD in the media (or lack thereof), so I’ve been reflecting on this story a lot.

First off, its great that River subverts tropes by being autistic and yet considered pretty and desirable. Unfortunately Johnny only considers her desirable because the “quirkiness” of her serious neurological condition and social isolation makes him feel special and different. It’s not that she’s a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, rather its worse, she’s co-opted into being the MPDG by a man who doesn’t care to see her for who she actually is. (Like seriously, when she finally gets diagnosed, the doctor refers Johnny to some books and information about her condition. He refuses to look at any of it.)

Also, she has no character beyond being the person that Johnny wants to be with and Johnny pursues and Johnny marries and Johnny spends most of his life angsting about. It doesn’t help that 75% of their dialogue goes like this:

Johnny: “River, what’s wrong?”
River: “…”
Johnny: “River, what are you doing?”
River: “…”
Johnny: “River, what do you want me to do?”
River: “…”

I mean it gets kinda disturbing when you think about how if she’s portrayed as so shut-in that she can’t even express basic emotions, how much of their relationship she actually was able to consent to (I mean she could say no, but was anyone listening?). Also being autistic doesn’t make you some kind of primordial, pure, untouched by the evils of this world saint, but we’ll never know for sure what’s going on with her BECAUSE WE’RE NEVER ALLOWED IN HER HEAD FOR A CHANGE. Mostly she comes across as very depressed and lonely most of the story.

Final disturbing bit:

Female Scientist: “Wow, this is fucked up. He never actually loved her, did he? They never should have ended up together.”
Male Scientist: “NOOOOO you cannot separate them! Not even giving him back his dead brother can replace her! I will fight you from doing this with all of my power!” [Because of course the fact that he didn’t actually love her, but merely loved the idea of her that he created in his imagination is inconsequential to the fact that the man staked a claim on the girl, and thus is entitled to her being in his life.]

Later:

Female Scientist: “See, you had nothing to worry about! Even though we removed all memories of her existence in his life, he still re-created an duplicate version of her in his new memories! So they can have their happily ever after ending! (For the next five seconds before he dies, that is.)”

I mean, moral ambiguity and all that, but the One True Love ending, plus the fact that the game was billed as this “Love Story For the Ages” reeeaaaallllyyyyy left a bad taste in my mouth.

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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by reboundstudent on Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:56 pm

Ted and Robin. Good Lord, did I hate that couple, and how the show kept returning to mine it for ever-decreasing amounts of drama and angst. It was just continually bizarre that the show recognized they weren't a good couple; not only did they want very different things out of life, but they found each other's redeeming qualities (Robin's independence, Ted's romanticism) annoying in each other. I could understand how Season 1/2 Ted-Robin dated, but I was baffled by the continuing insistence that they belonged together, or were even healthy together.

I also 2nd Carrie and Big. I've been rewatching Sex and the City while on a sewing binge, and holy cow, did I not realize years ago how deeply dysfunctional a couple they are. Hell, how toxic and dysfunctional Carrie herself is. Example: in the 1st movie, Miranda, who just discovered her husband of at least 4 years cheated on her, in a moment of weakness, makes a remark against marriage towards Big. Big uses this to spin off the deep end and leave Carrie at the altar (though to be fair, he tried to call her and turned back inside of what, 5 minutes after leaving?) When Miranda reveals this to Carrie, Carrie freaks and lays all of the blame for Big's decision on Miranda. Kay, fine, momentary lapse... until Carrie guilts Miranda intro forgiving her husband for cheating, because Miranda did something to hurt Carrie. Because somehow "off-hand remark to already skittish fiancee of friend" is the exact same as "slept with someone else in a monogamous, long-term marriage."

Anyone from a Nicholas Sparks story.

Bella/Edward, Ana/Christian hands down among the worst of the worst couple(s?) in fiction though.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by eselle28 on Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:25 pm

reboundstudent wrote:Ana/Christian hands down among the worst of the worst couple(s?) in fiction though.

I was considering nominating them as well. I haven't seen the movie, but the characters have zero chemistry in the books. They don't even bicker in the way characters in that worn-out trope about people who love each other express it by arguing way - they argue like a couple who've already broken up five times and who have a limited amount of patience for each other's shit.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by The Wisp on Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:55 pm

Deborah and Raymond from Everybody Loves Raymond, IIRC (it has been awhile since I've seen it). Raymond is domestically incompetent, rarely stands up for himself, will give in to his wife but then act like a whiny victim about it, and often communicates passive aggressively if he tries to communicate at all. Deborah always has to have it her way and refuses to meet Raymond halfway, is also indirect in her communication, isn't very affectionate, and never seems open to questioning herself or changing her mind about her behavior and expectations in the relarionship.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by Enail on Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:59 pm

Actually, almost every sitcom main couple (in a show where them being a couple is a basic premise) could tie for worst couple ever. But I think you'd have to disqualify shows where most of the humour rests on everyone being that terrible to everyone else and only count ones where the couple goes above and beyond.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by reboundstudent on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:12 pm

Enail wrote:Actually, almost every sitcom main couple (in a show where them being a couple is a basic premise) could tie for worst couple ever. But I think you'd have to disqualify shows where most of the humour rests on everyone being that terrible to everyone else and only count ones where the couple goes above and beyond.

Except Marshall and Lily! Big applause for a sitcom couple that is still funny, but also healthy and functional.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by caliseivy on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:46 pm

Enail wrote:It's on my mind b/c I caught an episode of Modern Family yesterday, and every time Cam and Mitchell are on screen I cringe. They are so full of contempt for each other that I find it almost painful to watch. It feels like for every nice or loving interaction they have, there are ten of them sniping at each other, rolling their eyes, cutting each other down, assuming the worst of each other. Sure, when their conflicts are the episode's storyline, they get a sweet resolution where they realize they were being unfair and affirm how much they care for the other, blah blah blah, but a cute make-up every so often doesn't cancel out wall-to-wall disdain the rest of the time.  How can you love someone you don't even respect?
Of my many issues with Modern Family, Cam and Mitchell's relationship never seemed right to me, and you just pointed out why. You know, other than the fact that it seems like the writers decided to just write a stereotypical Gay guy relationship based off of stereotypical depictions of Gay guys.

The Wisp wrote:Deborah and Raymond from Everybody Loves Raymond, IIRC (it has been awhile since I've seen it). Raymond is domestically incompetent, rarely stands up for himself, will give in to his wife but then act like a whiny victim about it, and often communicates passive aggressively if he tries to communicate at all. Deborah always has to have it her way and refuses to meet Raymond halfway, is also indirect in her communication, isn't very affectionate, and never seems open to questioning herself or changing her mind about her behavior and expectations in the relarionship.

I don't think the relationship ever changed on the show, and I've seen many, many, episodes. There was a joke once on an episode of Family Guy (there's another bad relationship there) where they joke about Deborah complaining and Raymond tells her to stop being a b**ch or something and she finally snaps, smashes a vase, and goes for him. I was always waiting for that moment where she finally snapped on him or his mother.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by Enail on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:52 pm

reboundstudent wrote:
Enail wrote:Actually, almost every sitcom main couple (in a show where them being a couple is a basic premise) could tie for worst couple ever. But I think you'd have to disqualify shows where most of the humour rests on everyone being that terrible to everyone else and only count ones where the couple goes above and beyond.

Except Marshall and Lily! Big applause for a sitcom couple that is still funny, but also healthy and functional.

Yep, for all the things I disliked about relationships in that show, and there were many (it was one of those shows that I watched because it happened to be on when I wanted to watch tv rather than because I liked it), they did do a pretty good job on that.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by UristMcBunny on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:55 pm

River Song and the Doctor.

Because he seriously became more and more of a neglectful, borderline-abusive dick with entitlement issues and a serious manchild complex, while she wasted her life pining away in a prison out of guilt, in spite of being very clearly and explicitly shown to be about 1000x more awesome than the doctor in every single way.

I think the culmination of all the shit with them for me was the point where she broke her own wrist - out of his sight - to escape the grip of a weeping angel and then proceeded to hide the agony of that from him because of some shit like "he prefers the mystery" or "pain upsets him" or something equally shitty that boiled down to "if I ruin his fantasy of me as this superhuman mystery woman for even a second to reveal my human frailty he'll throw the sulkiest hissy fit ever seen enacted by anyone over the age of three and turn my physical harm into his Whiny Manpain".

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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by waxingjaney on Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:09 pm

eselle28 wrote:I always did whatever the reverse of shipping is with Mal and Inara.
Capsizing.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by PintsizeBro on Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:55 pm

waxingjaney wrote:
eselle28 wrote:I always did whatever the reverse of shipping is with Mal and Inara.
Capsizing.
Seconded.

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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by reboot on Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:56 pm

Pretty much every Shakespeare and Jane Austen couple.....actually pretty much any couple in literature until....I dunno....1990?

Homer and Marge Simpson, 3rding Carrie and Big and Carrie+anyone (never saw movies but watched show when it aired some), any superhero with anyone human, actually anyone supernatural with any human (including Time Lords in this), and all rom com couples that come to mind.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by kath on Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:23 am

I disagree re: Jane Austen's couples. They're certainly not modern, but given what she was doing, when, and that she was looking at relationships and the options for women and talking about mutual respect. She was working when she was working, and she pushed that envelope for when she was working.

But then, I am of the "Elizabeth and Darcy and Jane and Bingley actually respect each other" camp. At least by the end of the book. I can't even say Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins or Mr and Mrs Bennet, because those are presented as complicated and / or outright awful relationships in the book, to say nothing of Lydia and Wickham.

For me, one of the requirements of it being a "worst" couple is that it's actually the worst, but the work doesn't seem to know it at all / presents it as good or possibly ideal. Most of the Jane Austen stuff, she is dealing with the gender issues and options for women and doing a really good job of it, especially given 1813. Contrast Austen with Vanity Fair, and it's just like "...."

I'm certainly not on board with Hero and Claudio, but I'm not sure how Shakespeare is expecting you to feel about that. And, I'm sure there were more fictional couples invented between the advent of fiction and 1990 than are dreampt of in your philosophy. Or that one can keep in their head to make statements about Razz.

That said, Jane and Mr. Rochester. Yikes.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:30 am

Anakin and Padmé?
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by reboot on Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:28 am

kath wrote:I disagree re: Jane Austen's couples. They're certainly not modern, but given what she was doing, when, and that she was looking at relationships and the options for women and talking about mutual respect. She was working when she was working, and she pushed that envelope for when she was working.

But then, I am of the "Elizabeth and Darcy and Jane and Bingley actually respect each other" camp. At least by the end of the book. I can't even say Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins or Mr and Mrs Bennet, because those are presented as complicated and / or outright awful relationships in the book, to say nothing of Lydia and Wickham.

For me, one of the requirements of it being a "worst" couple is that it's actually the worst, but the work doesn't seem to know it at all / presents it as good or possibly ideal. Most of the Jane Austen stuff, she is dealing with the gender issues and options for women and doing a really good job of it, especially given 1813. Contrast Austen with Vanity Fair, and it's just like "...."

I'm certainly not on board with Hero and Claudio, but I'm not sure how Shakespeare is expecting you to feel about that. And, I'm sure there were more fictional couples invented between the advent of fiction and 1990 than are dreampt of in your philosophy. Or that one can keep in their head to make statements about Razz.

That said, Jane and Mr. Rochester. Yikes.

Ahh, the battle of the lit geeks Smile I am of the camp that there is no real respect in Austen's couples and about three months after the marriage there will be flights because the couples are fundamentally different. I will definitely concede Hero and Claudio, I forgot them! But raise you a Heathcliff and Catherine.

I was being a bit sarcastic about no healthy couples pre-1990, but am struggling to think of some
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by waxingjaney on Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:09 am

Chani and Paul? Complicated by that whole Emperor of the Known Universe thing, but otherwise they seem to have treated each other well.
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by reboundstudent on Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:42 pm

kath wrote:I disagree re: Jane Austen's couples. They're certainly not modern, but given what she was doing, when, and that she was looking at relationships and the options for women and talking about mutual respect. She was working when she was working, and she pushed that envelope for when she was working.

But then, I am of the "Elizabeth and Darcy and Jane and Bingley actually respect each other" camp. At least by the end of the book. I can't even say Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins or Mr and Mrs Bennet, because those are presented as complicated and / or outright awful relationships in the book, to say nothing of Lydia and Wickham.

For me, one of the requirements of it being a "worst" couple is that it's actually the worst, but the work doesn't seem to know it at all / presents it as good or possibly ideal. Most of the Jane Austen stuff, she is dealing with the gender issues and options for women and doing a really good job of it, especially given 1813. Contrast Austen with Vanity Fair, and it's just like "...."

I'm certainly not on board with Hero and Claudio, but I'm not sure how Shakespeare is expecting you to feel about that. And, I'm sure there were more fictional couples invented between the advent of fiction and 1990 than are dreampt of in your philosophy. Or that one can keep in their head to make statements about Razz.

That said, Jane and Mr. Rochester. Yikes.

Yes to all of this. I'm absolutely with you about Elizabeth/Darcy and Jane/Bingley.

Have you ever seen Brows Held High's review of Whedon's Much Ado? He mentions that towards the end, when Claudio is making the Big Speech about how stupid he was to disrespect Hero, there's a "strategically placed" extra that is clearly doing the "Judging You" face, and it's great.

Can I out myself as having hated Jane Eyre? And still being baffled to this day how anyone considers Jane and Mr. Rochester a good romantic couple?
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by reboot on Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:57 pm

You have me as an ally on the Jane/Rochester= Bad. I was baffled at 13 when the librarian asked me if I thought they were a romantic couple. I am still baffled
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by kath on Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:05 pm

I thought you were probably being sarcastic about 1990, but since there wasn't a while lot to indicate the opposite opinion ... *shrug* seemed worth mentioning.

I think Elizabeth and Darcy are actually quite similar in temperment (and Jane and Bingley are too). The things that put them at odds in the beginning are their snap judgements about each other. They don't just entrench those judgements either - they come to revise their opinions and understand each other by the end of the novel.

Of course we've got less insight on Jane and Bingley. But they seem even more similar in temperament than Lizzy and Darcy.

I would have suggested Heathcliffe and Catherine but I haven't actually read the book so I thought it would be bad form :p.

I feel like I should go read some ancient Greek poetry, maybe some Sappho. Gotta be like atotal least one not-aawful relationship there. Maybe Lescaux? :p
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by reboot on Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:26 pm

I think we have to disagree on Austen couples.

I have not read Sappho in years. I do not remember it well enough to remember if the couples were good or bad. However, mythology is a whole treasure trove of worst fictional couples
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Re: Worst fictional couples

Post by Enail on Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:43 pm

I actually liked Jane and Rochester. There's all kinds of obvious and major terribleness, of course, but because of the gothic, melodramatic atmosphere, I felt like the story recognizes that it's an over-the-top bad boy fantasy rather than something presented as a genuine, desirable relationship. And the fact that there had to be a dramatic symbolic change and rebirth, as well as a change in their relative statuses, before even the author would set it down as as a happy ending! She knows that shit wasn't cool! That plus "another time, different mores" makes the awful aspects something I can look past and still enjoy. Though I certainly wouldn't nominate them for 'best fictional couples' either Razz

And at the time I read it (and still to a rather disappointingly large degree), I felt they had more chemistry than the vast majority of other fictional couples I'd seen - reading it, I believe they actually like and respect each other (as separate from treating each other with respect, which is another story), that they're attracted to each other, and that they are people who would choose to spend time in each other's company even if romance was not a factor.
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