*spoiler alerts for LOTS of shows
We’ve all agonized over whether or not our favorite characters would get together. Whether it’s books, TV, movies, or comics. There are those characters that we know deep down in our soul are meant to be together. These are OTPs.
OTP: One True Pairing. Meaning your favorite combination of characters in a fandom.
Arrow: Oliver x Felicity = Olicity
From the very beginning of Arrow, I knew something was missing from this story. It wasn’t until they introduced Felicity that I realized it was her. Someone to temper Oliver’s crazy tendencies and be a voice of reason. Seeing that relationship teased and finally happen this season has been EVERYTHING.
Teen Wolf: Stiles x Lydia = Stydia
Stiles and Lydia represent a relationship where the popular jock and smart girl roles are reversed. It’s also a lesson in waiting. Stiles has been in love with Lydia his whole life and instead of pushing himself on her, he just loves her quietly and without fail. They might not be together YET, but he encouraged her to stop hiding her genius and what more could you want in a OTP?
One Tree Hill: Nathan x Haley = Naley
Here begins my relationship with kissing in the rain. While not super realistic, it was fun watching Nathan and Haley make it look so romantic. Honestly, they might be the only TV couple not to be divisive. How could you not love them with their cute kids and big dreams? Always and Forever guys, Always and Forever.
One Tree Hill: Peyton and Jake = Jayton
OK, I’m sorry, but if you weren’t absolutely in love with Jake Jagielski in season one of One Tree Hill, then you’re wrong. Jake was perfect: responsible, loving, taking on the whole single-dad thing with a smile on his face. And Peyton in season one was at the height of her angst, so being with someone who had good reasons to be angsty, but wasn’t, was so good for her. Ugh. They were just so good. So good, y’all.
New Girl: Nick x Jess = Ness
The classic “opposites attract” formula between Jess’s spunky energetic personality and Nick’s grumpy turtle-faced personality is obvious, but it’s not what I love about these two. It’s the steady progression of Nick and Jess’ relationship. They started out as strangers/roommates and they consistently got on each other’s nerves. From there they grew into friends who pushed buttons to challenge one another and it became clear (and not in a forced way) that they genuinely cared about each other’s well-being. They get under each other’s skin, but it’s with good intention. The number of times Nick has done something goofy to make Jess happy or has said some version of “you should be with someone who’s crazy about you” is enough for me to decide they’re perfect for each other. And can we talk about their first kiss? And how Nick basically admitted he’d thought about how he wanted it to happen? It happened. And hot damn, it was worth the wait.
Brooklyn Nine Nine: Jake x Amy = Jamy
Jake and Amy are not only great as partners at the NYPD, but they’re also ridiculously competitive. Mix that in with the fact that Amy is a rule-follower and Jake prefers to make up his own rules on the fly (often, with a series of hilarious one-liners and puns to boot)—and you’ve got the recipe for a perfectly playful-yet-tense relationship. The more you watch Brooklyn Nine Nine, the more you’ll notice how Jake has been low-key in love with her the whole time. For me, that’s the icing on top.
Parks and Recreation: April x Andy = april x andy
Let’s start with April’s wedding vows to Andy: “I guess I kind of hate most things. But I never really seem to hate you.” Perfect. April and Andy are kind of my all-time relationship goals (as I’ve been compared to April on a number of occasions and Andy is a sweetheart who I’d be happy to find the equivalent of in real life). Andy’s influence on April softens her up, meanwhile April’s influence on Andy makes him want to try harder. They balance each other out perfectly and they make each other better. As if that isn’t enough, they have role-play characters named Bert Macklin (FBI) and Janet Snakehole (a very rich widow with a terrible secret). And they name their baby Jack (short for jack-o-lantern). Come on.
The Royals: Jasper x Eleanor = Jeleanor/Jaspenor
Simply put, I’m a sucker for sexual tension. Considering how much of Jasper and Eleanor’s relationship revolves around such electric tension, it’s no surprise I’ve shipped them since The Royals started. There are still a lot of secrets left to be revealed and the two of them seem to be playing games with each other constantly, but I’m convinced they share a deeper mutual respect for one another. What started as a game of emotional tug-of-war has turned into something real and now Jasper has to fight for Eleanor. And I am loving it.
Hart Of Dixie: Zoe x Wade = Zade
It all started when Zoe moved to the small southern town of Bluebell, Alabama, to practice as a GP. She was completely out of her element, but townie Wade Kinsella was there to welcome her with a little gritty, sassy southern charm (aka he hit on her endlessly) and she loved it. Personally, I loved how Wade found pleasure in getting her all worked up and he’d turn on his twangy Kinsella charm to calm her down again. Then there was their playful banter and Wade’s determination to get Zoe to loosen up from her stuffy New Yorker ways. It never got old—neither did Wade’s nickname for Zoe, “Doc.” As the show progressed, they’d turn to each other for help and advice for things both big and small. Even when they were seeing other people throughout the show’s run, my heart was always set on Zade. And because of Zade, I will never get sick of watching Hart Of Dixie over and over again now that it’s off the air.
Sherlock: Sherlock x John = Johnlock
People have been debating since 1865 (OK, maybe just in academic classrooms since then) whether there was more to the Sherlock and John platonic relationship. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, have also more or less centered the entirety of BBC’s Sherlock around this question. Can Sherlock love? Can he only love John? What’s with John’s constant “no homo,” while prioritizing Sherlock over everything and everyone in his life, including his wife? There’s a whole subset of the Internet, articles in well-respected publications, and more fanfiction than there are cups of tea in England devoted to this OTP. Whether Moffat and Gatiss ever have the balls to go where Arthur Conan Doyle did not, we’ll never know, but we’ll keep shipping it.
The X-Files: Mulder x Scully = Sculder
While perhaps the Mulder/Scully pairing proceeded terrible couple names, it stands as one of the few pairings that gave the audience (an excruciatingly) slow build, let it pay off, and then took it all away again. The tension and friendship between the two was undeniable, almost from the start, and the show did an interesting job of making it seem as if it didn’t matter if they were together or just partners and friends. The audience knew no matter what, the two would always come back to one another. Now, how they’ll handle them in the X-Files revival remains to be seen, but they better still be end game!
LOST: Jack x Kate = Jate
I spent many hours of my life I will never get back binge-watching this show. From episode one, I wanted Kate and Jack to get together. Their personalities are similar but throughout the series they are able to balance each other. Both make stubborn decisions often, but they always follow and look after one another in dangerous situations. They may be stuck on that godforsaken island, but at least they have each other! Despite a brief love triangle involving Sawyer, Jack and Kate seemingly end up together in the end, which made the time I wasted on this show almost worth it.
Nashville: Rayna x Deacon = Reacon
CONTEXT: I’m only partway through the show! But they never got the timing right. Back in the good old “Rayna and Deacon” days, the two lovebirds made such sweet music both on stage and off until Deacon’s demons returned. Fifteen years later, their passion has all but vanished and watching them fall in and out of love all over again is torture. Despite an incredibly tumultuous history, “Reacon” is clearly meant to be so shut up and make up already!
Gossip Girl: Rufus x Lily = Rufly
I watched every season of Gossip Girl whilst it aired on TV. (Feel free to judge)! Although I will say that the show’s quality severely decreased in the later seasons, I loved the earlier ones, especially Season 1. And whilst everyone else was shipping either Chuck and Blair, or Dan and Serena, or Ken and Barbie, a.k.a. Serena and Nate, I loved Rufus and Lily. I’m a hopeless romantic at heart and I am a complete sucker for romances of the past and old loves somehow coming back each other’s lives. And the addition of both characters learning that their child was interested in their own old flame’s child. Although Rufly became canon at some point, I feel like their relationship didn’t get treated with the same care and development that other ships got. The writers had them divorce and broke my heart in the process. Oh well, we’ll always have seasons 1-4.
Gilmore Girls: Rory x Jess = Literari
Of Rory’s three serious relationships throughout the seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, neither Dean nor Logan could ever hold a candle to the dark, slightly mussed curls of Jess Mariano. He and Rory connected over literature and poetry and at the end of the day he always wanted what was best for Rory (even if that sometimes meant leaving to go to New York without so much as a goodbye). Now, Jess may have started off slightly abrasive and sure, their relationship didn’t end as well as it could have, but when Rory on a break from Yale, it’s seeing Jess grown up and matured, working at a publishing house with his own book, that inspires her to get back on track.
The Vampire Diaries: Klaus x Caroline = Klaroline
I’ll admit it: I’m not up to date with what’s been happening in Mystic Falls, having stopped watching at the end of last season (for reasons other than Nina Dobrev’s departure). Still, the one pairing I desperately rooted for was this one. Each character brought out a side to the other that was otherwise left unexpressed, and it was absolutely glorious—not to mention the chemistry was incredibly entertaining to watch. The brief amount of screen-time they shared allowed them both to step out of the identities they were confined in, in order to explore what else they could be. This is an OTP that could have gone far—had it not fallen victim to the CW’s attempt to establish a franchise. But there might still be hope?
Harry Potter: Hermione x Neville
The love story between Hermione and Ron was sweet, well-developed, and perfectly credible. But not for one second I thought it was destined to last. I’m not saying that it ever felt forced or out of place, but simply that when people grow up they sometimes grow apart—and this is what would have eventually happened to Ron and Hermione. In order for their young love to evolve into something permanent, the couple would have needed to grow up at the same pace, which they never seemed able to do. And while author J.K. Rowling might consider counseling a helpful solution, I firmly believe Hermione would be infinitely better off with someone else. Someone who fights through the hard times, never turns his back on his friends, and steps up to face the challenge. Someone like Neville Longbottom.
Orange Is The New Black: Piper x absolutely no one
Although Piper is the on-paper main character of the show, the performances of the support cast are so great—and the writing so brilliant—that she has kind of slipped out of the spotlight. She remains nonetheless a big part of the series, and her struggles and questionable decisions (combined with her being quite a shitty person) make both the character and the show in general compelling, complex, and hilarious. But as fun as it is to watch her move from lover to lover, it’s time for Piper to be alone. On one hand, her time in prison has changed her too much to ever reconcile with (now ex-) fiancé Larry. On the other, she’s still holding on too tightly to her past to be able to start a new relationship with former girlfriend and partner-in-crime Alex—one that will not result in mutual destruction. Unless she learns how to let go and evolve, which she hasn’t so far, her best option is an indefinite amount of alone time.
Merlin: Merlin x Arthur = Merthur
While the original mythos of King Arthur and his wizened wizard perhaps did not have homoerotic overtones (he was too busy doing his sister), as per usual, the BBC has made up for that fact in spades. While Arthur may end up with his Guinevere, he spends all his time, all his longing looks, and all his non-stop quips about sore bottoms on his BFF servant, Merlin. By the end of the series, even the actors were shipping Merthur, and the show runners may deny it, but they gave Merthur lovers a fan nod while Arthur asks Merlin to hold him while he passes. For a family show, most of it was spent with half-naked buff men grappling with one another and huddling for warmth, so we’re not sure this slash pairing is even a stretch.