Shipping It: The TV Relationships We Root For, Even When We Shouldn't
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Shipping It: The TV Relationships We Root For, Even When We Shouldn't

By Sarah Carlson | Seriously Random Lists | May 17, 2013 | Comments ()


Anyone who says they've never shipped a fictional TV relationship is lying, plain and simple. These days, most TV execs and writers specifically aim to hook viewers in with a good will-they-or-won't-they pairing, and the manipulation is hard to resist. Cheering for a coupling to form or work out, or even wishing one would exist when we know it never will, can be fun. It can also be unhealthy, as many an obsessively Photoshopped tribute uploaded to Tumblr can attest. (Montage music videos on YouTube are even better.) But we're here to focus on the fun.

Some of my favorite ships are below, and I'm the first to admit they aren't all good ideas. I don't root for infidelity in real life among my friends, so why do I wish so-and-so character would leave his wife for another woman? I guess it's all part of the fantasy of a good story -- let's imagine what would happen if characters got together. If things go awry, well, it's fiction. No harm, no foul.

Mindy and Danny, "The Mindy Project"


This pairing was hinted in the pilot, and Season One built upon Mindy and Danny's (Chris Messina) friendship as Kaling herself and her crew softened both characters a tad. If they ever get together, it probably won't be for a while, but a Mindy-Danny relationship is well worth waiting for.

Brienne and Jaime, "Game of Thrones"


Everything about their interactions is perfect, and actors Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christine are fabulous. And I will unleash my dragons and show no mercy on anyone who spoils anything about these two in the comments.

Sarah and Paul, "Orphan Black"


The dynamic of this pairing is something not often seen on TV. To elaborate would be to give much of Season One's plots away, so just know this: these characters (played by Tatiana Maslany and Dylan Bruce) are electric together, and oh so hot.

Peggy and Ted, "Mad Men"


I shouldn't want this, I know. But I can't help it. I'm not sure Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) can resist him (Kevin Rahm), either.

Caroline and Klaus, "The Vampire Diaries"


Klaus (Joseph Morgan) is getting his own spin-off, so the thought of him being separated from Caroline (Candice Accola) surely has many a fan ready to throw in the towel on this ever-crazy show. Just go with him, girl. Your current boyfriend is lame.

Sherlock and Watson, "Sherlock"


You know you've thought about it. Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock already is gay. Join the club, Watson (Martin Freeman).

Daenerys and Jorah, "Game of Thrones"


The journey to King's Landing will take a while, Khaleesi (Emilia Clarke). Your trusty advisor (Iain Glen) will help you pass the time. (See previous warning about spoilers.)

Tara and Pam, "True Blood"


These b*tches belong together. Tara (Rutina Wesley) already is copying her maker's (Kristin Bauer van Straten) style. Now she can be a shoulder to lean on as all hell breaks loose in Bon Temps.

Rachel and Mike, "Suits"


These two (played by Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle) are a fairly traditional will-they-or-won't-they couple as far as procedurals go, but their chemistry combined with how entertaining "Suits" is will keep fans watching.

Tim and Somebody (Preferably Male), "Justified"

DeputyTim.gif QuestionMark.jpg

Anybody, really, just let him have his day. Yes, I ship the idea of Tim (Jacob Pitts) having a fling, and I'm in the boat (along with Joanna, I believe) of thinking he's probably gay. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but Tim has paid his dues and deserves some fun.

Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Steve

    Don and Joan from Mad Men too. Though Weiner will never do that

  • Guest

    Daniel and Tawney on Rectify

  • Amelia

    I definitely ship John and Sherlock. <3
    Johnlock forever.

  • Ruthie O

    Alicia and Kalinda. Not because they shouldn't be together; just because should but never will be. Stupid CBS.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Tim and Nadine of Pajiba commenter fame.

    Sherlock is gay? How did I miss that?

  • I was going to comment on your Game of Thrones pairings, but I dont want to risk your wrath. Lol! I've just recently started watching The Mindy Project (mostly because of Utkarsh-- Donald from Pitch Perfect haha!), and now I'm hooked! The cast is just so entertaining!


  • e jerry powell

    I am hugely in the minority, but I say that Scandal's Olitz totally shouldn't be. At all. Everybody in the world (other than, say, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young and Joe Morton) disagrees with me.

  • Ruthie O

    Head over to Racialicous' Scandal recaps and roundtables to join the Fitz hate! Seriously, he belongs alone, wrapped up in his misery. He doesn't deserve Mellie or Olivia.

  • e jerry powell

    He's just a man-child. I pity him more than hate him. He does need to grow up a lot more really fast if he's going to keep being president...

  • MelBivDevoeGivesUpOnDisqus

    I want nothing more in the world to happen on GoT than for Dany and Jorah to get it on.

  • Dany and Jorah...fuck yes!! I've been wanting these 2 to hook up since the beginning.

  • Kirbyjay

    My one and only ship ever, by that I mean I invested and was furious at the writers that they destroyed them, was Jackie and Hyde on That 70's Show. Why? I don't know. It was a silly ( yet funny) sitcom but somehow the burnout and the cheerleader just grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I guess maybe because the four other characters were somewhat androgynous but Hyde was all guy and Jackie was a girly girl and they had chemistry up the wazoo. They were total opposites yet they were both abandoned by their families and put up masks ( zen and bitch) to hide their true feelings.
    Danny and Mila would incorporate all kinds of extra sexy business by holding hands, she would sit on his lap, they were always touching, and the making out...Hot Damn! They really seemed like they were hot for each other beyond the show. Mila Kunis always said she had her first crush on the show. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was Ashton Fucking Kutcher. No chemistry there whatsoever.

  • I loved Jackie and Hyde! One of my favorite sitcom-couples everrr! Great build up leading to when they finally got together, but they ended the relationship just like that. .

  • Some Guy


    Hannibal the Cannibal and Will The-Not-Quite-Cannibal Graham?

  • May

    Will and Alicia in The Good Wife forever and always. IRL they would never work, but this isn't real life so, get on it Alicia.

  • SpaceAge Paige

    No way is Tim gay in Justified. That's a terrible idea.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I don't understand rooting for a character to be gay. I LOVE Justified, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Tim. Seriously, he is an amazing character. And while I understand why some people think he's gay, I can't say say one way or another. Suspecting someone is gay is one thing, wishing they were is wholly another. And honestly it's weird.

  • Three_nineteen

    Why? There needs to be more gay characters on TV. An awesome character like Tim being a positive gay role model would be a great thing. Pretty hot, too.

  • SpaceAge Paige

    Yes. To me, in some ways, it just seems like people want to shove in
    a gay character where there is no perceptible need for that storyline.

  • hippyherb


  • Pants-are-a-must

    I would love to see those particular Sherlock and Watson do the nasty simply to see Moffat's head blow up from homophobic anger.

  • Kim Voeks

    You missed the big one - Olivia Pope and President Fitzgerald Grant on Scandal. Or Olitz , if you are down with it. She has people tortured for information. He kills Supreme Court justices with his bare hands. He's married and she's his campaign manager. They are so wrong together but soooo hot. Last night alone we learned that he has a super power. It involves his tongue and it isn't his skill at speaking.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    so......aren't they already in a relationship?

  • And no to Jaime and Brienne. They're amazing together, but I'll be really pissed if they go the romantic route with them. Just leave them at BFFs.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    Pretty much. Plus, Brienne could do better than a dude who can't wait to get back to having regular sex with his own sister.

  • ajhan

    Agreed. The two have a really special, unique friendship and I don't see how turning it romantic would be an improvement.

  • Teddy Chaughuhuhuh looks so much like James Spader it freaks me the hell out.

    And I know it's the accepted term and whatever, but I haaaaate the word 'ship', or 'shipping'. I don't even know why, but it makes my teeth ache.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Thank you. I refused to read this article because of that annoying word... but it's a boring Sunday morning and I succumbed. It's still annoying though.

  • Uriah_Creep

    And I know it's the accepted term and whatever, but I haaaaate the word
    'ship', or 'shipping'. I don't even know why, but it makes my teeth

    I hereby award you one hundred upvotes.

  • There's only 8. I feel cheated.

  • DataAngel

    Nick and Monroe from Grimm. I didn't want to, but I can't stop myself.

  • DeltaJuliet

    Anything to get rid of that damn Juliet. I'm so over her.

  • DataAngel

    Ditto. I wanted so much to like her, but she's just essentially a prop. It's not that the writers can't write women -- Rosalee and Adalind are awesome and Juliette is cardboard. Even the medical examiner Dr Harper has more of a personality, and she's only on-screen for about 3 minutes in the occasional episode!

  • koko temur

    Brienne will squash jaimie with her mighty thighs of doom without even noticing, bad idea.

  • Erin S

    Ugh, I love Mindy and Danny, I can't help it. Yes, he was a dick in the pilot and yes, he did make a comment about her weight but people seem to forget that Mindy made a dig about his divorce, which wasn't exactly nice either. Combine that with the fact that they've both become less asshole-y since the pilot and they've become hilarious sort of allies throughout the second half of the season and you've got a pretty cute pair. Also I think Mindy Kaling is so aware of the whole Moonlighting/Sam and Diane dynamic that she's not going to mess it up.
    Also, personally I would love to watch a show with two bossy, stubborn OBGYNS trying to have a baby together.

  • Agree with everything! Plus when it comes to sitcoms I tend to not think of the pilots as canon because the characters usually change completely.

  • Suzy Lee

    Amen to your whole comment!

  • PerpetualIntern

    Klaroline! I don't care if it's the stupidest shipper name ever!!

  • alwaysanswerb

    I'm kind of on Team Steggy (Stan and Peggy) myself. But I could swing for Teggy too, since basically my main requirement for ships is that they be doomed to sink.

  • BWeaves

    I think Stan and Peggy had a sort of mutual respect for each other after nude work night a few seasons back. However, I got the feeling that they really weren't each other's type.

    Ted, however, is exactly Peggy's type. They almost look like brother and sister. If Ted wasn't married, I think these two would already be together. As much as I like Abe, he seems too cool (and too Jewish) for Peggy. Just by her dress and demeanor, she's moved into serious middle aged, middle management territory. And Peggy's not beyond sleeping with an inappropriate advertising manager. Remember Ducky?

  • alwaysanswerb

    Yeah, Stan is definitely not Peggy's type. But I can't help myself sometimes -- I love to see bromances get awkward. Definitely agree that she and Abe are not going to last long-term, for all of the reasons you mentioned.

  • BWeaves

    Agreed. I get the Stan and Peggy shipping, too.

  • Classic

    I flove (freaking love) Danny and Mindy together. See "In the Club", "Danny Castellaneo is my Gynecologist", "Danny's Boy", "Santa Fe", and the season finale. Those two have such great chemistry. FLOVE!

  • mir

    Yes to Marshal Tim getting a lover!

  • John W

    You forgot Rectify's Tawney & Daniel.

    A broken man and his guardian angel.

  • Steve


  • Kathleen Allen

    ehhh...i'm ok with a sort of courtly love, but that's it. she can lead him towards salvation, but she just does not have the intellect that daniel has. and she's such a goody goody, i fear her light could make his darkness worse. i'd like to see him with someone a little less 'does this kool-aid taste funny to you?'. and if she is as pure as they're making her out to be, then an affair would be a serious crisis of faith and i could see her blaming/resenting daniel later. i think i may have over thought this...

  • Sarah Carlson


  • Laura

    Can I get an Amen for Gendry and Arya (ignoring the current age issue, of course)?

  • Even Stevens


  • Angie Ramos

    I really hope they meet up again in the books I love these two so much! Make it happen G.R.R.M !

  • Sara_Tonin00


  • Hollyg

    "Good things not happening" on GoT can not be considered spoilers.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I hven't read the books, so learning that Arya and Gendry don't ever meet up again in them is giving something away.

  • fracas

    I always thought they should've gone off on adventures together like their dads did. Arry and the Bull. That would've been great.

  • alwaysanswerb

    I had a mighty feel when they were separated.

  • Laura

    Yes, it gave me the sads and I even knew it was coming :(

  • Nadine

    Oh my god I love you so much for that last one. SO MUCH. You don't even know. Tim needs a lovah.

  • Bert_McGurt

    How about AUSA (formerly ADA) Vasquez?

  • Nadine

    See? Already we're making improvements.

  • Rooks

    NO on Rachel and Mike - they make for the most annoying on-off-on-off-couple ever. How about a yes on Harvey and Donna? Alternatively, Harvey and Jessica.

  • Three_nineteen

    On Suits, I only ship Harvey and more screen time. Although if Harvey and Jessica decide to have a torrid weekend, they could record it and then show it, one hour at a time, for the next 48 episodes. I would watch the hell out of that.

  • Sarah Carlson

    Ooh, Harvey and Donna! Yes yes.

  • Classic

    I hate Rachel and Mike and am sick of those two to the power of infinity.

  • Stellamaris2012


  • prince_of_montagu

    NO to Pam and Tara. Those two work way better as mentor and student. I loved how Pam was teaching Tara to be the best bloodsucker she could be. Putting them together just seems like a mistake. Not everyone needs to hook up on the show, True Blood.

    Well, at least this doesn't involve Sookie and her precious fairy vagina.

  • melissa82

    But they're vampires -- they can not be in a relationship, fuck, and be fine. (unlike humans on tv.......)

  • One of the best parts about the vamps is that they can fuck whomever they want and not catch feelings. Like when Bill and his maker had sex again and he was super pissed at her so he practically ripped her head off turning it around. What's better than vampire hate sex?

  • Maguita NYC

    To break and twist around some hot jerk's head during hate sex...

    Oh, how much I wish I could do that.

  • prince_of_montagu

    I'd still prefer those two in a platonic relationship like Bill and Jessica (pre-Billith).

  • Fruity Fonzie

    OMG! thank god i'm not alone on this, Pam/Tara work better as a mother-daughter relationship

  • Mrcreosote

    Why is Tim gay? Can't he just be set up with the grifter bartender and they can mock Raylan?

  • Eddie

    Sherlock is gay? I always though he was more asexual or maybe bi, or are we talking about the literary version? Plus the most interest Sherlock has shown in anybody was Irene Adler.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    It's unclear, really. However, it's implied that if he isn't asexual, he certainly leans towards men (women are 'not his area', but he just says that he doesn't have a boyfriend). He's fascinated by Irene, but it may or may not be sexual; he certainly doesn't appear interested in actually having sex with her.
    Plus Irene tells John quite emphatically that yes, he and Sherlock are a couple.

  • Guest

    Other than Irene Alder, the only great love in Sherlock's life was Cocaine (so I don't think the whole Watson thing will work out).

  • barlowjk

    In "A Study In Pink" he made it pretty clear that he has no deal. They were still getting to know each other. John made it clear that "It's all okay," and Sherlock said thank you.

    It was kind of hot, come to think of it.

  • Classic

    Yeah where did the gay thing come from? It's pretty apparent he is asexual. Also the Irene Adler "A Scandal in Bohemia" had so much heat between those two it was freaking ridiculous.

  • Bananaranma

    My wife and I call Jorah, Ser Friendzone. Sorry, buddy.

  • Kolby


  • Maguita NYC

    Excuse you! But Caroline is the one who has chemistry with every man, and even a few women, on that show. She deserves to be cardinal in a portmanteau.

    Would Carolaus do?... No. It sounds like an itch.
    Caraus... No, too dirty.
    Caus... Whuh?

    Fuck it. I'm with you on Klaroline; Let's hope this happens before Joseph gets his spin-off.

  • Nicole

    Yes yes a million times yes to Watson and Sherlock

  • profession: none, or starlet

    Why on earth SHOULDN'T we ship Johnlock? It's one of the classic bromances, and it's constantly telegraphed on the show.

  • DataAngel

    If JohnLock is wrong, I don't want to be right.


    Danny is usually kind of a jerk to Mindy, except when they are alone. But then again, Mindy only dates jerks. So... MFEO?

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