There are some pairings that just shouldn’t happen. Sometimes the pairing is so bad that it’s good. And sometimes it’s just… horrible.
- Dexter and Rita, Darkly Dreaming Dexter (the book, not the show): In the books, Dexter is a much darker, but also more comedic character. He’s heavily influenced by his Dark Passenger, a force that encourages him to kill, and that isn’t satisfied when Dexter has periods where he doesn’t. In the books, Rita is a mere convenience for him so that he can appear normal. He likes her kids though, because for some reason, he can connect with children. In the first book, he says he picked her because she was damaged, so that they could pretend to be normal together. It added something wonderful to the books, and though he was using her, it also felt like she was getting stability and comfort out of the relationship too.
- Archie and Gretchen, Heartsick: He’s a detective, she’s a murderer. When he falls in love with her, she also falls in love with him, in her sick and twisted way. For 10 days she tortures him, leaving him addicted to pain pills. Then she turns herself in. But even prison doesn’t release her hold on him…
- Cathy and Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights: Show of hands… who hates this book? In Twilight, this is Bella Swan’s favorite book, and she said she loves it because”I think it’s something about the inevitability. How nothing can keep them apart — not her selfishness, or his evil, or even death, in the end…” I’m sorry, but selfishness and evil is not a romantic pairing in my mind. He wasn’t even an interesting kind of evil…
- Romeo and Juliet: Teen suicide is not romantic. Especially because most teens already think everything is forever and dramatic. I’m not saying it’s not a good play, because it is. But to have their names become synonymous with romance? No.
- Clarice and Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal: Spoiler alert if you haven’t read Hannibal. The movie ending is waaaay different from the book. (The book was 100 million billion times better.) Okay, I warned you. It was obvious there was some chemistry in Silence of the Lambs. Not necessarily sexual, but a definite connection. In Hannibal, it’s years later, Clarice has had an unremarkable career at the FBI, and Hannibal Lecter escaped. He starts sending her love notes and gifts, talking about how unappreciated she is. And at the end, he captures her and brainwashes her into loving him and traveling with him. It’s creepy, but ultimately powerful. She was drawn to him, and the brainwashing can’t explain all of their connection. I loved this ending. Maybe it’s not love… but it’s definitely something.
- Bella and Edward, Twilight, etc.: I really enjoyed Twilight. Honest. I thought it was a fantastic read. I don’t think it was a fantastic book; that’s a different story. Their relationship is everything I warn couples about. Possessive? Check. Controlling? Check. Follows you around? Check. Secretive? Check. Might snap and want to kill you to drain you of your delicious blood? Check. So why do bad couples make for such fun love stories? (Sometimes.)
- Skylar and Walt, Breaking Bad: I hated Skylar. Detested her. Wanted her to go very far away. I think that reason is that she couldn’t make up her mind about anything and blamed everyone else. If she had left Walt when she found out he was cooking meth, I would have totally been on her side. If she went all badass and decided to become his partner, but hadn’t whined and bitched about it, I would have loved it. But she did whine and bitch and jump in a pool in a creepy, quasi-suicidal way, and I hated her for it. Many times, I figure that bad characters are good for a show, but she served no purpose in my mind. In other news, I loved the on again off again bromance between Walt and Jesse, and was sad when they became estranged and never really made up.
- Mickey and Mallory, Natural Born Killers: I’m pretty sure that murdering your way across the country and wanting to be famous for it falls under the heading of “toxic relationships.” Yet it was interesting, because like Clarice and Lecter, their relationship was founded in some legit chemistry. It was a fantastic movie, and everything about their relationship was so bad that it was good.
- Anakin and Padme, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, The Clone Wars: Usually I pretend these movies don’t exist, so I hesitated even including them, but the list couldn’t possibly be complete without them. Speaking of chemistry, they had none. There was nothing believable about this paring. I love Natalie Portman, so it probably wasn’t her fault, but everything about this was terrible. Anakin was not a believable pre-Darth Vadar. I never really wondered what happened to Luke & Leia’s mother, and after these movies, I’m still pretending that I don’t know. If, by some miracle, you’ve never watched these, don’t. Don’t do that to yourself.
- Rick and Lori, The Walking Dead (the graphic novel & the show): Ah, Lori. Another universally hated character. She had no idea what she wanted. And I realize that many of us don’t, and that could be a way of connecting to her as a character, but it didn’t work. Because she was all over the place. She yelled at Rick that he had to get rid of Shane, and then when he did, she acted like he’d done something wrong. I really don’t begrudge her affair with Shane because I believe she thought Rick was dead. In the middle of a zombie apocalypse, it’s understandable that you’d want to connect with someone else. But that was the last thing she did that I understood. She was always letting her young son run off in the middle of the apocalypse and saying the wrong thing to everyone. And it wasn’t like she was just awkward and said the wrong thing the way most of us sometimes do; no, she just had a complete lack of empathy toward everyone because she was a self-centered person. Okay… rant over. (I could go on and on. If you hate Lori and want to talk about how much you hate Lori, email me.)
I know there are bad couples out there that I’m totally missing. Tell me what couples you hate or love to hate!