sitcom smackdown

Marge and Homer, Troy and Abed: Our Favorite Sitcom Smackdown Couples, Ranked

Photo: CBS

Sitcoms love a good romance. They love a bad romance, or a doomed romance, or a silly romance that turns serious. Any romance, really — comedy and love just go together. In honor of Roseanne’s elimination in today’s Sitcom Smackdown, it seemed like time to talk about our competition’s central, iconic couples. Not every show has an obvious central pairing, and not every couple is a romantic pair, but most do, and most are. The course of true love always did run hilarious.

1. Roseanne and Dan Conner, Roseanne
They tease each other, they tease their kids, and they say good-night with a Clapper. But beyond the joking, there’s an unbelievably strong bond of love and support. “You wanna hear all the things I like about you?” Roseanne asks almost sarcastically, after Dan roughs up Jackie’s abusive boyfriend. Then things get really serious and poignant for a second. “You picked me,” she says tenderly. “And you fix stuff.”

2. Cliff and Clair Huxtable, The Cosby Show
There is no greater romantic gesture than Cliff rubbing Clair’s feet. And their mutual eyebrow-waggling gets us every time.

3. Monica and Chandler, Friends
Ross and Rachel are the more famous couple, but does anyone really aspire to their level of dysfunction? Hell no. It’s the surprisingly stable — despite or because of the neuroses — and complimentary pairing of Monica and Chandler that really warms our hearts. She’s high maintenance, but he “likes … maintaining” her. Aww.

4. Homer and Marge Simpson, The Simpsons
“Do you ever think about the future?” “You mean, will apes be our masters?” This is how you want every “define the relationship” talk to go, ladies and germs.

5. Liz and Jack, 30 Rock
Oh, we know, we know — they’re not a couple. But here are two people who rely on each other, trust each other, push each other, and find joy and comfort in the other’s presence. That’s love.

6. Lois and Hal, Malcolm in the Middle
Here are two people who are hot for each other. Basically all the time. It’s both cute and occasionally disturbing.

7. Jerry and Elaine, Seinfeld
Again, not a couple-couple. (Though, unlike Liz and Jack, they did go there.) But would either of them really meet someone who was a better match? Of course not. Except maybe George. For Jerry.

8. Sam and Diane, Cheers
So dysfunctional. Soooooo dysfunctional.

9. Carrie and Big, Sex and the City
So dysfunctional. Soooooo dysfunctional.

10. Troy and Abed, Community
Troy is technically dating Britta at this point, but come on. Everyone knows the central couple of Community is the one that hosts its own morning show.

11. Stan and Wendy, South Park
Oh, she hooked up with Cartman once, but everyone makes mistakes. There’s no better articulation of the overwhelming-ness of an elementary-school crush than Stan’s overactive barf response to any interaction with Wendy.

12. Larry and David Duchovny, The Larry Sanders Show
Just go for it, you two!

13. Louie and Pamela, Louie
After one of the great love confessions of all time, the show never really revisited the idea of these two as a pair — and since then, we’ve seen Louie with several other possible romantic partners. Sigh.

14. Tobias and Lindsay, Arrested Development
Open relationships only work if they’re based on trust, you guys.

15. Dorothy and Stan, Golden Girls
She marries Lucas in the end, but it’s Dorothy’s ongoing antagonism with her dummy ex-husband Stan that always felt like the show’s strongest romantic entanglement.

16. Jim and Pam, The Office

Ranking Our Favorite Sitcom Smackdown Couples