There are a lot of twisted things about FX’s “American Horror Story.” A lot. But one of the more twisted things the writers have done thus far is to make me care about the ghostly headcase Tate Langdon and his nascent little relationship with the girl next door (upstairs?) Violet Harmon. Even if you’re not watching this show (which you should, because it’s delightfully twisted and indulgent), the pattern will be familiar to you. Tate’s the warped yet oddly sympathetic character that you want so badly to be redeemed. Because with great psychosis comes great charisma. So maybe it’s messed up, maybe it’s weird, or maybe I just want to believe in the healing power of love, man. Here are ten fictional couples you really shouldn’t be rooting for (but I do anyway).
Sarah and Jareth in Labyrinth: Oh suuuuure he broke into her house and kidnapped her baby brother. And yes, fine, there is a significant age gap. And, okay, they have very different ideas of what to do with make-up (he would never use his lipstick to draw on cobblestones). But as long as she doesn’t want kids of her own (tight pants=low sperm count, ladies) and is down with being ruled and stuff, she could be Queen of The Muppets! And who doesn’t want that?
Francis Dolarhyde and Reba McClane Red Dragon: The scenes between Francis and Reba were potent enough in the book, but when you have the magnetic Fiennes playing the character with nothing more disfiguring than a cleft lip and an unsightly brush cut, you definitely see what Reba sees in him. Even if she cannot, technically, well, see. And I wanted it to work out. And I was willing to forgive him *all* his trespasses if he wanted to live happily ever after with Emily Watson.
J.D. and Veronica in Heathers: How can we not root for two outsiders finding each other? It’s a meeting of the minds! Snarkmates! Love at first slight! But then comes the murdering and more murdering and the truly disturbing car lighter burns. I think they were going for a bit of the J.D./Veronica vibe with the Sydney/Billy Loomis love story in Scream. But Skeet Ulrich instead of Christian Slater? That’s like bringing a dull, Johnny Depp-looking knife to a gun fight.
Alice Morgan and John Luther in “Luther”: Alice Morgan is (Spoiler Alert) one crazy, f*cked up b*tch. I mean killing your parents is one thing, but brutalizing the family dog just to hide the evidence? That’s cold. But the cold, sociopathic Alice has a soft spot for John Luther (can we blame her?) and begs him to go away with her. And while we knew he’d take the rocky, high road (he loves a good trudge), how many of you were rooting for him to run off with her? Thought so.
Tom Ripley and That Affable Bloke From “Coupling” and The Pirates Franchise in The Talented Mr. Ripley: Although Tom spends the first 3/4 of the movie lying and killing, there’s still something oddly sympathetic about him, yes? I mean, I think Dickie and Freddie sort of had it coming. And Tom’s hijinks made GOOP cry a lot. So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice. Anyway, when he meets the darling Peter Smith-Kingsley I sort of hoped those two crazy kids would make it work. It certainly would have spared us some unwelcome sequels.
Buffy Summers and Spike in “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”: Every time someone on this site declares their love for Spike and Buffy someone in the comments point out what a truly terrible relationship these two had. The stalking, changing who you are for love, using someone for sex. The violence, the anger, the angst, the complete dysfunction. Those commenters are, well, they’re right. And yet, I don’t care. I unabashedly love Spike and his love for Buffy and while I think he can do better, who amongst us hasn’t pinned their hopes on the most impossible target?
Hamlet and Ophelia in Hamlet: No matter what version, which actor, or what time period Hamlet is and always will be a dick. A conflicted, put-upon dick. But a dick nonetheless. And, forgive my crudeness, but Ophelia gets the full brunt of his dickitude. The feminist in me wants to tell her to stop being a doormat, to never listen to her father and to maybe give that nice Horatio* boy a chance. But I also want to believe that Hamlet’s affection for Ophelia could have saved him. Could have saved everyone. That she almost gets through to him. That he means it when he jumps into her grave. I shouldn’t care about them. About their love. But I do. I really do.
Tara Knowles and Jax Teller in “Sons of Anarchy”: Given that “Sons of Anarchy” is somewhat of a modernization of Hamlet, this pairing flows nicely out of the last one. Unlike Ophelia, Tara is no fragile (mentally unstable), shrinking violet. And Jax Teller is far more violent and vicious than Hamlet ever was. But he also loves Tara and she loves him. And though being with each other only makes each of them more vulnerable (in the mortal sense), I would be heart broken if they were to part ways.
Marla and The Narrator in Fight Club: REALLY OLD SPOILER ALERT! Our beloved, nebbishy, self-loathing narrator is, of course, also a greasy ab’d psychopath. So, yeah, well chosen Marla. I like to believe his feelings for Marla are what allow the Narrator to wriggle free from his psychotic break. But not, of course, before some killing and maiming. So why is the shot of them holding hands (to quote ze Bowie) “as the world falls down” so endearing. It can’t just be the grade school caliber f*cking. Can it?
Erik Lensherr and Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class: They’re not really a couple? The hell they’re not. And while Erik Lensherr is a xenophobic mass-murdering f*ckhead, I’d like to believe that if he had the right mutant to settle down with, it all could have turned out differently. It could have been cosy wooden chess by the fire instead of sterile plastic chess in an inventive prison. That’s what I choose to believe anyway. I believe in the healing power of gay mutant love. Deal with it.
Joanna Robinson knows *Horatio is super gay for Hamlet. She also enjoyed the Ripley book sequels (the Ripliad!) but not the movies. Nope. Not one bit. You can tweet her twisted 140 character love poems here. Or email her the full batsh*t sonnet here.