TV Couples That Never Should Have Gotten Together

By Jake SchroederLast Updated Apr 2, 2020 5:29:07 PM ET
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Photo Courtesy: NBCU Photo Bank/GettyImages

Some television characters are simply better as friends than as a couple. Even if they have sexual tension and long-running flirtations, it doesn’t mean they should be together. In fact, many completely lose their chemistry and are never the same after getting together.

Let’s take a look at some of the worst relationships in TV history. In some cases, the pairings nearly ruined perfectly good shows. What were the writers thinking? Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Oliver & Felicity | Arrow

When shows begin to cater to a couple — and a couple’s fans — that’s when you know you’re in trouble. When Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) was introduced to Arrow as a minor character, fans begged for her to become a series regular. Five seasons later, she became the female lead and Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) romantic partner.

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Photo Courtesy: FanAboutTown/Flickr

Their relationship was problematic right from the beginning, because they didn’t have much chemistry. They frequently fought and had trust issues, and some fans prefer Oliver Queen’s relationship with Black Canary (Katie Cassidy). The producers favored "Olicity," even though nothing ever seemed to work between them.

Sayid & Shannon | Lost

Lost had many bizarre plot twists and unanswered questions, but it also had numerous relationship dramas. For one thing, the Jack-Kate-Sawyer love triangle lasted way too long, and most couples had devastating endings (we’re looking at you, Charlie and Claire). Fans connected with Desmond and Penny, as well as Sun and Jin.

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Photo Courtesy: Mario Perez/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

However, they never connected with the relationship between Sayid (Naveen Andrews) and Shannon (Maggie Grace). The couple didn’t have any chemistry or a good storyline and character development. They seemed to be a couple for the sake of having another couple. Any fan will tell you the relationship didn’t work.

Booth & Hannah | Bones

When Bones first premiered in 2005, fans wondered if a relationship would blossom between forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and her sidekick, Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). They seemed perfect for each other. However, when Bones rejected him, Booth immediately rebounded with a beautiful, award-winning journalist, Hannah Burley (Katheryn Winnick).

Photo Courtesy: Fox/IMDb

It shouldn’t be that surprising that the relationship didn’t work for the TV drama. The relationship felt like a contrived plot device. Fans didn’t want them together, but the show kept pushing them as a couple. For many viewers, it became too exhausting to watch.

Connor & Oliver | How to Get Away with Murder

In the popular ABC drama How to Get Away with Murder Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) was a law student who had big dreams for himself until he got mixed up with murder (hence the title). He met Oliver Hampton (Conrad Ricamora), a sweet computer nerd, and fans wondered what would happen between them.

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Photo Courtesy: Mitch Haaseth/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

Connor and Oliver started dating, but it never felt right. Instead, it felt contrived and forced by the writers. It wasn't even a believable relationship. The show has continued with the plot line for multiple seasons, but it never should have happened.

Cersei & Jaime | Game of Thrones

Even the best shows have bad couples. For instance, Game of Thrones had a downright disgusting one in the incestuous sexual relationship between Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) that produced three illegitimate children. Cersei and Jaime were twins and also lovers. Yes, try to wrap your mind around that relationship.

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Photo Courtesy: HBO/IMDb

The popular HBO drama featured a controversial scene with Jaime and Cersei engaging in non-consensual sex beside their son’s dead body. It made many fans cringe in disgust. We don’t blame them. No one needed to see that, and the bizarre nature of their relationship could have been omitted from the show altogether.

Dan & Blair | Gossip Girl

Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) never should have dated on Gossip Girl. Dan and Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) were a couple, and Blair was supposed to be with Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick). So, why did the writers decide it was smart to put Dan and Blair in a relationship?

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Photo Courtesy: Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic

They were very different people. They actually hated each other at the beginning of the show, but they started to bond over their similar tastes in movies. Okay. Fans thought the relationship was random, and they weren’t wrong. It wasn’t realistic.

Belle & Rumpelstiltskin | Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time was a drama that brought your favorite fairytale characters together. To this day, fans still love the relationships between Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).

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Photo Courtesy: ABC/IMDb

One relationship fans didn’t like was the romance between Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin). In this story, he was the Beast. Regardless, he remained awful and repeatedly lied to Belle. Their relationship was odd, as if Belle’s only purpose was to always see the "man behind the beast." Fans felt there was more to Belle’s character.

Andy & Angela | The Office

On The Office, there were two relationships that stood out to fans: Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) and Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey). Fans loved the comical couples and wanted them together forever. That’s all there was to it.

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Photo Courtesy: Byron Cohen/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

So, when Angela began dating Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), fans immediately hated it. Yes, the relationship was used to create more drama for Dwight and Angela, but the pair didn’t have any chemistry. It was awkward, and there was never a nice moment between them. Luckily, they never went through with their marriage.

Ted & Robin | How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother was built around Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) describing to his children how he met their mother. During the show’s finale, we finally saw their mother (Cristin Milioti), but then she was killed off, allowing Ted and Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) to end up together. No one wanted that to happen.

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Across multiple seasons, fans saw how Ted and Robin were wrong for each other. To many fans, Robin’s marriage to Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) was perfect. They had more in common, and Barney made some serious character growth by the show’s end.

Lorelai & Jason | Gilmore Girls

Everyone knows Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) belonged with Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) on Gilmore Girls. They were the perfect couple, even though they had their flaws. It took four seasons for the characters to admit their feelings, and when they finally kissed, fans cheered.

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Photo Courtesy: Jim Spellman/WireImage

But during the show’s fourth season, Lorelai dated Jason "Digger" Stiles (Chris Eigeman). He was her father’s business partner — and was rather dull. He wasn’t compatible with Lorelai, who is known for her lively, quirky personality. She knew she didn’t fit into her parents’ world, so why did she date her father’s rich business partner? It’s a mystery.

Rachel & Sam | Glee

Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) and Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) were the ultimate "relationship goal" on Glee. They were destined to be together forever. However, due to Monteith’s sudden death in 2013, Finn had to be written off the show during the fifth season. Of course, Rachel was devastated by Finn’s death — as were the show’s fans.

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If you didn’t stick around to watch the show’s final season, you missed seeing Rachel start dating Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet). Sam wasn’t a bad character, but he sure wasn’t Finn. No one could replace everyone’s favorite quarterback, and their relationship never should have happened.

Jackie & Fez | That '70s Show

Jackie Burkhart (Mila Kunis) and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) never should have dated on That '70s Show. To many fans, they weren't the ideal couple, and no one "shipped" them in the slightest. Because it was so random, the relationship seemed contrived and unrealistic. It certainly wouldn't have worked in real life.

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Jackie had a strong relationship with Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson). Their relationship had more growth and development, and fans thought Jackie and Hyde would end up together. When the relationship unexpectedly ended in the show's eighth season, fans were upset, especially when Jackie started dating Fez soon after the break-up.

Mindy & Ben | The Mindy Project

Some relationships are so flimsy you wonder how anyone ever thought it was a good idea to bring them together. It would be easier if they simply broke up. That’s how viewers felt watching the relationship between Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) and Ben on The Mindy Project. Their relationship didn’t work, yet it somehow led to an even flimsier marriage.

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Photo Courtesy: Fox/IMDb

The relationship became so exhausting to watch that fans felt like it was a chore to watch the show. Mindy and Ben clearly didn’t belong together, but they were forced together in a contrived relationship, and it was painful to watch the show when they were together.

David & Maddie | Moonlighting

Moonlighting is a great example of a show that went downhill as soon as the characters you desperately wanted to get together finally started dating. Detectives David Addison (Bruce Willis) and Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) solved many cases together, but that’s not what fans loved. Instead, they loved the characters’ unresolved sexual tension.

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Photo Courtesy: ABC/IMDb

However, once they became a couple, the show didn’t know how to move forward. The concept depended on their chemistry and flirting. Once that went away, it lost its spark. Viewers turned out to be far more interested in watching the buildup to a relationship rather than the relationship itself.

Carrie & Aidan | Sex & the City

A show about the joys and trials of dating in New York City, Sex and the City featured many relationships. Carrie Bradshaw’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) relationship with Mr. Big (Chris Noth) wasn’t for everyone, but they are an iconic TV couple.

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Photo Courtesy: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

One of the more troubling relationships on the show was between Carrie and Aidan Shaw (John Corbett). He was the wrong man for her. Yes, they may have loved each other, but they weren’t compatible. Aidan wanted to turn Carrie into the woman he wanted her to be, and he could never trust her. Isn’t that troubling?

House & Cuddy | House

The relationship between Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) on House was unhealthy from the very beginning. For one thing, House was an addict, and Cuddy enabled him. Nonetheless, when the show premiered in 2004, viewers thought the two were meant for each other.

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When they finally got together during the show’s seventh season, their relationship made it almost impossible to watch. House’s struggle with his sobriety made him unfit to be in a relationship with anyone, especially Cuddy. The show’s writers wanted them together, even though viewers eventually disagreed.

Jess & Nick | New Girl

Some couples are better off as friends, and that includes Jessica "Jess" Day (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) on New Girl. Their back-and-forth flirtation was more interesting than their actual relationship. They had plenty of chemistry, but fans were more invested in their flirtation.

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Jess and Nick’s relationship was too short-lived to really matter as a relationship. The show’s writers could have just kept them as flirtatious friends and roommates, and that would have been fine. Instead, when their relationship ended, they tried to go back to being friends. Naturally, that didn’t work out very well.

Spencer & Caleb | Pretty Little Liars

Who thought it was okay to have Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) and Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn) be in a relationship on Pretty Little Liars? Fans certainly didn’t ask for the pairing. During the hit Freeform drama’s sixth season, Spencer and Caleb started a fling that never should have happened.

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Photo Courtesy: Ron Tom/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

For one thing, Caleb was Hanna Marin’s (Ashley Benson) ex-boyfriend. The Spencer we know never would have dated Caleb when she knew about Hanna and Caleb’s intense history. It felt forced, and there wasn’t enough plot development. Fans hated the decision and said that was when the show "jumped the shark."

Sarah & Hank | Parenthood

On Parenthood, Sarah Braverman (Lauren Graham) and Hank Rizzoli (Ray Romano) were so mismatched that it was hard to watch their relationship. Sarah was outgoing, friendly, lively and never afraid to show her emotions. Hank, on the other hand, was a loner. Their personalities clashed over and over again.

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Photo Courtesy: Colleen Hayes/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Their relationship stretched the boundaries of disbelief and felt forced. It was only created to add more tension to Sarah’s noticeable attraction to Mark Cyr (Jason Ritter). The show’s writers seemed to lose focus on where they wanted to take Sarah, but no matter where it was, Hank shouldn’t have been a part of it.

Izzie & George | Grey's Anatomy

When will writers learn that sometimes friends should just be friends? They don’t have to date and fall in love. On Grey’s Anatomy, the show toyed with the idea of Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) and George O’Malley (T. R. Knight) as a couple, probably because George had always had a crush on Izzie. It was a dumb decision.

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Izzie and George were best friends. Seeing them kiss and make out was like watching a brother and sister start a relationship. The couple broke up after two days of dating, and their friendship was never the same. That’s what upset fans — not their failed romantic relationship.

Kara & Mon-El | Supergirl

Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) and Mon-El "Lar Gand" (Chris Wood) had a toxic relationship on Supergirl. He treated her poorly, but no one remarked on it, as though it was how men should treat women. For example, he mentioned that he missed objectifying women. Does that sound like a good boyfriend to you?

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Photo Courtesy: The CW/IMDb

Fans were forced to watch their relationship for far too long. It was also scary to think young girls could be watching the show and thinking Mon-El was the "ideal boyfriend." At least real-life married couple Benoist and Wood seem to have a much better relationship off-screen.

Lorelai & Christopher | Gilmore Girls

Lorelai Gilmore’s (Lauren Graham) relationship with Christopher Hayden (David Sutcliffe) was important on Gilmore Girls. After all, he was Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) father. Lorelai had to interact with him, but they didn’t have the best relationship. In fact, they were actually toxic for each other. Christopher was never a "stand-up" man.

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Their relationship was tolerable until the show’s final season when the couple randomly got married. Rory wasn’t even there to attend the ceremony. Christopher was always jealous of Lorelai’s obvious feelings for Luke Danes (Scott Patterson), and that jealousy killed their relationship all over again and ultimately led to the show’s downfall.

Clark & Lana | Smallville

In the Superman comics, Clark Kent and Lana Lang are childhood friends. They sometimes have feelings for each other, but nothing ever evolves. On the TV series Smallville, the relationship between Clark (Tom Welling) and Lana (Kristin Kreuk) was slightly different.

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Viewers were forced to watch eight long, drawn out seasons of the couple’s on-again-off-again relationship and couldn’t wait for it to end for good. They were each other’s first love, but their relationship was riddled with betrayal and lies that made it unbearable to watch. We wanted them together — but perhaps in a better relationship.

Olivia & Jake | Scandal

On Scandal, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) didn’t have the best luck with her relationships, probably because she had poor taste in men. After all, the show’s plot focused on the fact that she was in love with the President of the United States. But to the show’s writers, one complicated relationship wasn’t enough.

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Photo Courtesy: Mitch Haaseth/Getty Images

Instead, Olivia had to date Jake Ballard (Scott Foley), who worked for her mass-murdering father’s spy agency. Jake stalked Olivia, assaulted her, nearly choked her to death, killed thousands of people and engaged in dozens of other treacherous acts. Despite these things, Olivia still liked (loved?) him.

Willow & Kennedy | Buffy the Vampire Slayer

One of the best things that happened on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the epic romance between Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara Maclay (Amber Benson). They were destined to be together, and it seemed their relationship would last forever. So, when Tara tragically died in Willow’s arms, fans could hardly believe it.

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Viewers were furious when Willow quickly moved on from the relationship and started dating another woman — Kennedy (Iyari Limon). How could she forget Tara so fast? A self-proclaimed, negative character, Kennedy was unnecessary to the show, but her relationship with Willow was never needed.

Aria & Ezra | Pretty Little Liars

When Pretty Little Liars premiered in 2010, fans were obsessed with the relationship between Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) and Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding). Granted, those fans were probably high school students who didn’t give the relationship too much deep thought. Rewatching the show, it’s obvious Aria and Ezra never should have been together.

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Photo Courtesy: Eric McCandless/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

When they first started dating, Aria was 16, and Ezra was her high school English teacher. That’s completely illegal, but no one seemed to mind. Throughout the series, their relationship had many ups-and-downs, and writers presented them as an epic love story when it never should have happened.

Dexter & Deb | Dexter

Everyone can agree that it was incredibly difficult to watch the relationship between Dexter (Michael C. Hall) and Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter). For one thing, Debra was Dexter’s adoptive sister, so when he started a physical relationship with her, many viewers found it weird and creepy.

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Photo Courtesy: Showtime/IMDb

Sure, Dexter and Deb weren’t technically related, but they were still adopted siblings who perceived each other as brother and sister. They shouldn’t have been together. The entire storyline was very bizarre. Their relationship didn’t need to happen, and the show would have been much better without their gag-inducing romance.

Tom & Ann | Parks & Recreation

People say opposites attract. Television writers certainly love to create characters who are nothing alike but still have intense sexual tension. This makes for good storytelling and character development, and it has been successful for many TV shows — but not for Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) and Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) on Parks and Recreation.

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Photo Courtesy: Colleen Hayes/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Tom was one of the show’s most hilarious characters, so his relationship with Ann, who didn’t have much of a real personality, was odd. They weren’t compatible, yet they were forced (by the writers) to be in a relationship. The romance was one of the worst things about the comedy.

Don & Megan | Mad Men

On Mad Men, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) never should have dated Megan Calvet (Jessica Pare). They knew each other for about five minutes before Don asked her to marry him, probably because he was used to someone caring for him. At the beginning of their relationship, their love thrived as Megan worked alongside Don in advertising.

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Photo Courtesy: Michael Yarish/AMC

However, once Megan quit and resumed her pursuit of acting, their relationship fell apart. It was a painful demise, and by that point, viewers were accustomed to seeing relationships end. This made Don and Megan’s relationship undramatic and forgettable to this day.

Rachel & Joey | Friends

During the final season of Friends, the writers tried to change the story and have Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) admit they had feelings for each other. They briefly dated, but the pairing was just plain wrong. It never should have happened.

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This was a "jump the shark" moment for Friends. Viewers knew the show’s writers had run out of ideas to further the show, so they invented this contrived plot device. It didn’t work. Rachel and Joey’s relationship came from out of nowhere, and they were better off best friends.

Carrie & Berger | Sex & the City

There were a lot of questionable relationships on HBO’s Sex and the City during its six-season run. Miranda’s decision to date Skipper? Questionable. Charlotte choosing to date widower-turned-date-con-artist Ned? Questionable. Carrie’s commitment to wearing heels and a fur coat to a Yankees’ game? Beyond questionable. But almost nothing leaves us more annoyed than Carrie Bradshaw’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) relationship with Jack Berger.

Photo Courtesy: HBO/HBOGo

Played by the (usually) charming Ron Livingston, Berger is the embodiment of toxic masculinity — a lot of which stems from his obvious insecurities. Like Carrie, he’s a writer, but, instead of championing his talented girlfriend, Berger constantly feels threatened and makes Carrie feel bad about her successes. The gaslighting is off the charts. And, while we’re relieved they broke up, we still can’t believe he did so on a Post-It note — all because he wasn’t mature enough to have a thriving partner. 

Joey & Dawson | Dawson’s Creek

Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) and Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) once represented one of TV’s biggest “will they/won’t they” pairings. Well, at least for the first season of Dawson’s Creek. Although showrunners tried to pull that “soulmate” thread all the way through the series, the pairing never really made much sense — and they made for an annoying couple. And we aren’t just saying this because we’re Team Pacey.

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In earlier seasons, Dawson has a lot of growing up to do and acts almost entitled to his relationship with Joey. He’s obsessed with Spielberg — with big Hollywood endings and movie magic — and thinks that his life will play out like some silver screen epic romance. In reality, Dawson and Joey bring out the worst in each other, always arguing and full of angst. Luckily, showrunners got the hint and actually carved out a pretty solid, platonic ending for the two. 

Piper & Larry | Orange Is the New Black

In the pilot of Orange Is the New Black, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is getting ready to serve time for her stint as a drug mule back when she was allegedly young and aimless. When we meet her, she seems relatively settled: She and her best friend are wannabe entrepreneurs and she’s engaged to Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs), a writer who seems to adore her. But once Piper is at Litchfield Penitentiary, she’s surrounded by much more interesting characters — and Larry starts to look even more bland.

Orange Larry Piper
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Eager to publish a big article, Larry uses Piper’s trying personal story for his own benefit — and without her full consent — which leads not only to her embarrassment, but lands her squarely in harm's way in prison. Of course, Piper isn’t blameless either: She does (sort of) cheat on her fiance with Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), the woman who sent her behind bars in the first place. Regardless of who has done more wrong in the relationship, it’s clear that Piper and Larry, both toxic and dull, weren’t a good match.

Gina & Boyle | Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), the self-described “human form of the 100 emoji,” and Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), the optimistic foodie who can make any sentence creepy, were probably the weirdest pairing on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In fact, their (extended) hookup was probably the strangest thing to happen on the whole show, which is saying a lot. Sure, they’re both oddballs in their own rights, but, in this case, odds should not attract.

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Overly critical and annoying, Boyle is kind of the squad’s resident dweeb — though we appreciate his humor and occasional bravery. Meanwhile, Gina, although dramatic and ridiculous, truly is “the Paris of people” and by that we mean she’s just a little too cool for Boyle. Thankfully, their friends-with-benefits schtick didn’t last too long in light of the fact that Gina’s mom and Boyle’s dad married each other, making the pair step-siblings.

Ross & Rachel | Friends

This one might be controversial since some Friends fans (inexplicably) love Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), but we’ll stand by this opinion: This relationship is beyond toxic — and it’s because of Ross. Between the whining, the temper tantrums and the fact that everything he says is just dripping with judgement, we still can’t understand what Rachel Green (Jen Aniston) saw in him.

Ross Rach
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Ross, an insecure bully, constantly abuses Rachel by putting her down, demeaning her job and trying to control her life. Even in the end, he makes Rachel choose between him and her dream job in Paris. All that manipulation is a far-cry from romance. To make matters worse, he may, in fact, be the originator of the phrase “not all men” in “The One That Could Have Been.” All we’re saying is, Rachel deserved better. For the sake of her career (and health), she should’ve gotten on that plane.