Whether or not there’s been a true increase in television’s messed up relationships, this past year seems to have had more than its share of troubled couples. There are bittersweet pairings that clearly never had a chance (SOA’s Nero and Gemma,), terrible, pointless marriages that barely held together (True Detective’s Marty and Maggie Hart), and those we loved together, but fell completely apart (Mad Men’s Megan and Don). Then there are these broken, we-know-they-shouldn’t-be-together couples who, despite how wrong for each other they are, we sometimes root for (or secretly check out on Tumblr). It’s inexplicable really; these couples are impossibly wrong…they shouldn’t work. But one or both partners were helpless to resist, even if they knew their relationship was destined to fail.
Warning: Spoilers for the listed series contained below each photo — if you’re not caught up, don’t read the blurbs.
Ava and Boyd, Justified
From wanting to kill each other to falling in love, it’s always been a hellaciously bumpy — and bloody — road for Ava and Boyd, but when they got engaged our hearts melted right alongside them. Problem is, neither half can seem to keep out of trouble; next thing we knew Ava was in jail, Boyd distracted and unable to get her out, and from the look of season 6 teasers, their breakup might be permanent.
Adam and Hannah, Girls
From friends with benefits to a kind of mutually exclusive…something, Hannah and Adam have never been quite right. Still, we liked Hannah better when he was around, and as strange as it seems, Hannah’s presence may have grounded Adam. But they’ve never seemed to have a real partnership, so much as one consistently feeding the other’s ego — save, when Adam “rescued” Hannah from her own obsessions (and was that really about her, or was Adam just enjoying being in that dominant position?). Now that each partner’s career is moving along, what are the odds these two will last one more second?
Cersei and Jaime, Game of Thrones
Uh, I really don’t need to say anything here, do I? But it’s damned interesting that these two characters (and actors) do have some kind of strange chemistry together, and there are plenty of people who ship the pair (Do yourself a favor and stay away from Tumblr on this one).
Louie and Pamela, Louie
Sometimes friends should just stay friends — no, really, it’s okay! Like when both parties can’t seem to decide what kind of relationship each really wants, and all the misread signals lead to one of you trying to rape the other (and piss off your audience). And then you both slip into a candlelit tub, and fuck if any of us knows how to feel.
Desiree and Dell, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Take two sexually confused people — one dominant and abusive, the other grateful for love and held back by her own misperceptions — marry them them off, and toss them in the middle of a freak show. What have you got? Hell if I know. We *think* these two are broken up for good, but I wouldn’t put it beyond Ryan Murphy to get them back together again.
John and Mary, Sherlock
Well, who could blame poor Watson when we were as smitten with Mary as he? Turns out John never really knew his secret assassin bride at all, but after a separation, the
pair trio (she’s pregnant) are reunited — and seemingly still in love. This is an impossible relationship (who thinks John could really forgive and forget Mary’s past and lies?) we can’t help but ship.
Alison and Noah/Helen and Noah/Alison and Cole, The Affair
Granted, when you watch a series called The Affair, you sort of know what you’re getting yourself into. Still, the late surprises of just how fucked up all the relationships are was…surprising! That both Helen and Cole would beg their respective cheating spouses to stay, even though both marriages are disastrous messes, could almost lead us to root for Alison and Noah — but they’re so utterly wrong for each other, it makes no sense. With The Affair, Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi have created the ultimate guide to messy, horribly broken relationships.
Hannibal and Alana, Hannibal
Two psychiatrists, each going against his/her very nature to conduct a strangely sensual courtship; that is, until one figures out the other is the best secret serial killer on the planet — and each tries to kill each other. Oh and in between, they both seemingly fantasized about having Will Graham in bed with them…now that’s a seriously hot mess.