Small-screen romance: the 10 best TV couples of all time

Couple watching TV together

Want to get romantically inspired in time for Valentine’s Day? Start by turning on your TV or firing up a streaming service – our latest survey shows that TV romances can be very inspiring! In fact, a majority of Australians think watching lovebirds on TV can make them feel more romantic in their own lives. But that begs the question: who are the best TV couples of all?

After surveying 300 single Aussies, we have the answer – in fact, we’ve uncovered the 10 best TV couples of all time. From will-they/won’t-they pairings, to on-again/off-again matches, to rock-solid romances, these relationships are officially the nation’s #couplegoals.

Australia’s top 10 best TV couples

10. Scott and Charlene (Neighbours)

This list just wouldn’t be complete without mention of the 80s most iconic Aussie TV couple. You guessed it, Neighbours’ notorious Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan) and Charlene Mitchell (Kylie Minogue) were arguably the supercouple of the decade. After getting off to a bumpy start (the couple’s respective families were locked in one of those oh-so gripping soap feuds), Scott and Charlene ended up getting wedded in Episode 523. Not only did Scott’s dashing mullet and Charlene’s glamorous dress capture the nation, the episode also clocked 2million viewers, making it one of the highest rating soap opera episodes in Aussie history.

Yes, you might’ve expected the pair to register higher up the list, but still, we love them to bits. Here’s that infamous clip of them tying the knot.

9. Shane and Angel (Home and Away)

For those of you who remember the golden age of the small screen, AKA 90s television, Home and Away’s Shane (Dieter Brummer) and Angel Parrish (Melissa George) will likely ring a bell. A permanent fixture in Summer Bay throughout the mid-90s, the ill-fated duo caused shockwaves at the time with their teenage marriage. After a doe-eyed encounter at a Frente! concert, the couple were smitten. Sadly they were never far from drama; after Angel endured a series of accidents including a seaplane crash, Shane met an impromptu end after contracting septicaemia from a cut on his hand.

Aside from the doom and gloom, here’s a clip of the couple looking for their first home…

8. Mitch and Cam (Modern Family)

ABC’s award-winning Modern Family shows there are many, many ways to be a strong couple – you just have to find the lid that fits your pot. Gay couple Mitchell (Jesse Tyler-Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) have found that connection, and in the process become one of the best couples on TV. Sure, they don’t always see eye-to-eye, but they support each other when it counts, they’re great dads, and they love each other warts and all. If you want to watch a real TV romance, this is a great place to start.

In this Season 5 clip, Mitch and Cam are – finally – tying the knot. They’ve been through a lot to get here, but in this scene they can just relax and love each other. If you feel yourself getting misty-eyed when they take the dance floor, know you’re not alone!

7. Sam and Diane (Cheers)

A lot of the couples in this top 10 have one huge thing in common, and that’s the delicious tension of a will-they/won’t-they, on-again/off-again romance. Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) are a particularly interesting example of this. Over 5 seasons (and a special finale episode), Sam and Diane captivated viewers with their opposites-attract love, but here’s the kicker – they could never quite make it work. The unusual thing is that this didn’t put people off: despite their romance ending with a broken engagement, they were still voted the third-best TV couple of all time.

Here, their crackling chemistry is on full display as both Sam and Diane try to get the other to admit to having feelings. The only question is: who will crack first?

6. Will and Grace (Will and Grace)

Will and Grace stole Aussie hearts with their sitcom about two best friends, Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing), living together in New York. Will, a gay lawyer, and Grace, a straight interior decorator, hit the mark navigating the challenges of early adulthood together. Alongside sidekicks, Jack and Karen, the best friends stand together through thick and thin. This platonic pair won their place as the embodiment of friendship – the foundation of every romantic relationship. During its original run of 8 years, Will and Grace became a mainstay of weekly viewing, won 16 Emmy’s and became America’s highest-rated sitcom. It has been lauded as grounding breaking, being one of the most successful TV series with a gay leading character and bringing LGBT culture to mainstream media. The great news for fans is that show made a come back as of 2017, and these beloved best friends are back on our screens!

Here, Will comes to say goodbye to Grace before she goes to Bali for 8 months with her husband Leo. Their comfortable familiarity makes us all grateful for our best friend!

5. Mel and Ben (Packed to the Rafters)

Seven Network’s sitcom Packed to the Rafters was a popular programme when it aired between 2008 and 2013, perhaps because its family orientated plot was something a lot of Aussie viewers could identify with. Favourites Mel (Zoe Ventoura) and Ben (Hugh Sheridan) were central to the show, and their relationship had wonderful charm that was both passionate and accessible at the same time. Sadly, like many soaps, the good times had to come to an end. In this case, Mel was written out of the show by way of a car accident.

Ben and Mel from Packed to the Rafters

Image: Seven Network

4. Marge and Homer (The Simpsons)

Yes, you might already be screaming “d’oh” at the sight of this inclusion, but we’re overjoyed that televisions most beloved cartoon couple made it onto the list. That’s right; Marge and Homer Simpson come in as Australia’s fourth most loved TV couple! Voiced by Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner, Matt Groening’s famous creations have won the hearts of viewers across the globe with their iconic relationship.Along with their children Bart, Lisa and Maggie, the Middle-American parents have guided the Simpson family through 29 seasons of high jinks since the show began in 1989. And as for Homer and Marge, although they don’t always see eye-to-eye, there’s no disputing they’re truly in love!

Watch as Homer and Marge meet for the first time – it was love at first sight for Homer! He goes as far as getting detention just to speak to her. Now that’s real love.

3. Mulder and Scully (The X-Files)

If you haven’t watched the show, you might think that Fox’s The X-Files is all aliens, conspiracy theories, and monsters-of-the-week. And while there certainly is a lot of that, there’s romance too. In fact, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) might just be one of TV’s great will-they/won’t-they couples. Over 10 seasons they’ve moved from platonic partners to something far richer. Will they end up together? Only time, and perhaps the current revival will tell. But we want to believe.

In this moment from Season 7, Mulder and Scully kiss as the new millennium dawns. It was a moment many fans had been waiting for; a moment so major it’s still being talked about in the media1 .

2. Carrie and Mr. Big (Sex and the City)

Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) had a number of significant relationships over the course of the show, but none ever quite measured up to the love she felt for Mr. Big (Chris Noth). They had to do a lot of growing to be together, and they hit a lot of road-blocks along the way – marriages to other people, affairs, breakups – but throughout it all they carried a flame for each other. That flame saw them through six seasons and two movies; and right into second place on our list of the best TV couples of all time.

In this clip, Big has announced he’s moving to Napa. Carrie can’t imagine New York without him and so, even though they’re not together at this point, she goes to say goodbye – and it’s clear that the torch they carry for each other could still have a spark.

1. Ross and Rachel (Friends)

And so we come to the best TV couple of all. For those who watched TV in the 90s, it should come as no surprise that number one is from NBC’s ever-iconic Friends – its Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). Their love may have had its ups and downs, but it would seem Aussies still think he’s her lobster, even 14 years after Friends went off the air.

As it turns out, their era-defining TV romance may be perennially popular for a reason: it fits several of the relationship templates Aussies like to see on TV. 30% of those surveyed pick on-again/off-again as the ultimate type of TV romance, 24% opt instead for will they/wont they, and 23% think happily ever after is number one. In fact, there’s only one mould Ross and Rachel don’t fit: the tragic ending, a favourite for 12%.

In this clip, it’s the moment 90s’ romantics were waiting for with baited breath – the first proper kiss between this on-again/off-again duo. With hindsight, we know that break-ups and make-ups and babies lay in this couple’s future, but at the time, this kiss was all that mattered.

So, why do we love watching TV romances so much? EliteSingles Relationship Psychologist Zoe Coetzee explains that, just as we get scared watching a horror movie, we also feel the release of serotonin and feel good love hormones watching a romance unfold on TV. People connect with fictional characters through empathetic feelings, and neuroscience research has shown that the same hormones and chemicals associated with stress and attachment in real life situations are released while watching TV. So a TV romance can actually emulate the feelings of a real life romance – just one of the reasons why TV couples are so popular!

Did we cover your all-time favourite TV romance? Is our list missing one of the best TV couples of all time? Let us know below, or get in touch at [email protected]

EliteSingles editorial January 2018



TV clips and characters are owned by the following networks:

  • Neigbours: Network Ten
  • Home and Away: Seven Network
  • Modern Family: ABC
  • Cheers: NBC
  • Will and Grace: Warner Brothers
  • Packed to the Rafters: Seven Network
  • The Simpsons: Fox
  • X-Files: Fox
  • Sex and the City: HBO
  • Friends: NBC

Results based on EliteSingles’ Best TV Couples Survey (2018)

About the author: EliteSingles Editor

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