10 Popular TV Show Couples We Love to Hate, But Also Hate to Love

By: Zeina El Bakry

If you’re anything like me, someone who lowkey gets seriously obsessed and emotionally attached to fictional characters, then you’ve come to the right place! Most of us can recall a time when we watched our favorite characters on screen and used them as inspiration for our personal lives; from their humor, relationships, comebacks, fashion, and overall lifestyle. I can even recall my friends and I as prepubescent tweens, squealing over our favorite fictional couples and distressing over the ones we didn’t ship. Unfortunately, for many of us, our favorite fictional characters often didn’t end up with the person we hoped for. However, looking back at it now, it does make sense; imperfect relationships exist in real life, so not all onscreen couples are meant to be good. Accordingly, we’ve decided to make a list of 10 TV show couples we love to hate and also hate to love! (p.s if you’re still watching any of these shows, maybe skip that paragraph, so you don’t see any spoilers)

Ezra and Aria – Pretty Little Liars

This onscreen romance (that never should have happened) very easily tops off the list for many obvious reasons. For starters, she was a minor and he was her high school English teacher; making the relationship very inappropriate, illegal, and disgusting. In fact, it was revealed by the cast that one of the show’s main advertisers dropped them after finding out about the disturbing relationship, and honestly, we don’t blame them. Ezra is nothing short of a statutory rapist, who has also manipulated and deceived Aria for years for the book he was writing. In addition to his relationship with Aria, Ezra has a track record of being with minors, since he was also seeing her friend Alison before that. This creepy romanticism of an adult-minor relationship is bottom line alarming and distasteful, and I kind of always hoped Ezra would end up getting arrested by the end of the show.

Betty and Jughead – Riverdale

Riverdale is most certainly one of those TV shows that are all over the place; at some point, it gets so unclear because of all the unhinged and crazy plot lines and couple combinations. The relationship between Betty and Jughead is surely a difficult topic to tackle but before I get into it, I should mention that despite whatever negative comments I make, they undoubtedly look great together and have an undeniable chemistry that serves as the backbone of the show. Nevertheless, it has been concluded by mutual consensus that Betty and Jughead are way too dangerous for each other. Betty is too caught up with her meddling ways that she is continuously getting them both into trouble, and Jughead isn’t much better considering he also got her into a gang-world he wished he wasn’t a part of. These two do nothing but put themselves in danger and it’s obvious to any viewer that they are way too destructive to be able to be together.

Artie and Tina – Glee

Next up, we have the disastrous and short-lived romance between Glee’s Tina and Artier that unfolded at the start of the series. Literally, anyone can see that the pair had zero to no chemistry and the fact that their relationship was built on lies makes it so much worse. Tina is evidently the one to blame for their split since she was the one who pretended to have a stutter, so she wouldn’t have to communicate with people as much. Artie had initially developed a liking towards her because he felt a special connection and thought they could relate to each other because they both had impairments. However, after Tina admits that she in fact pretended to have a stutter, Artie feels deceived and thinks that she is untrustworthy. Understandably, this causes him to break up with her, but the pair make amends later on and become friends with no hard feelings towards each other. I think it’s safe to say that this couple is definitely better off staying just friends.

Ross and Rachel – Friends

I’ll give you all a quick minute to take a ‘break’ before I get into this one because honestly, where do I begin with these two? Even though their whirlwind romance was the main thing keeping viewers on their toes, there’s still a lot of things about them (read: Ross) that was unhealthy. When they first meet, most viewers thought they would make a perfect match, but later on, Ross begins to act too jealous, possessive, whiny, and manipulative. We understand that a lot of Ross’s behavior is due to the past trauma he endured in his previous divorce, but maybe he should have worked on himself before getting into a relationship with someone new. Ross never really showed the kind of respect Rachel deserved, especially during the times she was working so hard to get her dream job. Instead, he just acted controlling and drove her away, and let’s not forget that he slept with someone else (no they were not on a break!), and even if they were, his feelings for her would be in serious question if it only took him a few hours to get with someone else.

By the end of the show, most people had hoped that the ending would show all the friends happy together, but (spoiler alert) most of us were crushed to see Rachel give up her dream job in Paris to be with Ross. Something about her turning down what she always dreamed of didn’t sit well with many viewers, especially because her career always seemed like an afterthought to Ross the moment he decides he wants to be with her again. Honestly, their will-they-won’t-they relationship got too tiresome and provoking by the end, maybe they just weren’t lobsters after all!

Jules and Rue – Euphoria

In one of the most popular TV series of 2019, not only did we get the coolest inspo for makeup looks but we also one of the most fictional couples we love to hate, Euphoria’s Rue and Jules. From the very first episode, everyone senses Rue’s feelings for Jules, well everyone except for Jules it seems. However, later on, Jules discovers that Rue is in love with her, and viewers were disappointed with the way Jules plays with her feelings. Not only did Jules lead her on, (spoiler alert!) but she also makes out with Anna, when meeting her in a rave. After that, she tells Rue that she loves them both, and pressures Rue to run away with her, despite knowing that it would be harmful to her sobriety. Euphoria showcases multiple toxic relationships, Nate and Maddy have entered the chat, but Rue and Jules’ relationship remains the one Euphoria fans were most frustrated at.

Dan and Serena – Gossip Girl

It’s crazy to think that growing up, I thought Dan and Serena were goals, but after rewatching Gossip Girl, I now realize there is so much that is wrong with this couple. Let’s start with the obvious; Dan was nothing but a literal stalker for years because he wanted to be a part of Serena’s ‘world’, he even went as far as to (spoiler alert!) become Gossip Girl. Other than that, another major problem in their relationship is that they seriously had nothing in common; which causes their romance to take a break at some point.

It’s clear as day to anyone watching that Dan ultimately used Serena, he was too caught up in trying to make a name for himself and be a part of a world he once called ‘materialistic’ that he did not realize how he quickly spiraled and became incredibly toxic. He was a horrible character who constantly criticized, defamed, and belittled Serena for years when in reality she was trying so hard to change and was a much better person without him. She deserved better and should not have ended up with him after she found out everything he had done, I’m still so bitter she didn’t end up with Nate, I guess emotional intelligence has left the chat.

Derek and Meredith – Grey’s Anatomy

This is another relationship that people have mixed opinions on, which completely confuses me because they exhibit all the signs of a toxic relationship. I guess what aggravates viewers the most is the awful way Derek treats Meredith from the very start, he is constantly hiding things from her, telling lies, he has a serious cheating issue and actually believes that her life and career are second to his. I have to admit that at the start, I was hopeful and thought they were endgame but by the end when Derek forces her to put her dreams aside for his, I felt like their relationship was far too destructive. Meredith deserved a lot better than selfish Derek, their relationship should not be put on a pedestal by Grey’s Anatomy fans.

Lucas and Peyton – One Tree Hill

I’m going to be completely honest with you, I’ve never watched One Tree Hill. But, I’ve heard enough of my friends getting into numerous momentous debates on the relationship of Lucas and Peyton that I might as well be an expert on the topic. From what I’ve been made aware of, even from the very first episode, some viewers sensed that there was a slight appearance of chemistry between the characters Lucas and Peyton, despite Lucas already being involved with someone else. As the show went on, Lucas eventually cheated on his girlfriend to be with Peyton, and despite doing that; multiple One Tree Hill fans somehow believed that they were not wrong in doing so because they belonged together. On the other hand, many were disappointed because both characters knew what they were doing and Lucas should have broken up with his girlfriend instead of cheating.

Throughout the show, many viewers begin to question the connection between the two and label their relationship to be dull, passionless, and meaningless. The only thing these two have in common is their love for constantly complaining, perhaps they should take some notes from other couples on the show like Brooke and Julian or Nathan and Haley?

Blair and Dan – Gossip Girl

I’ve already mentioned Gossip Girl once before, but this pairing is one I had to call out if I wanted this list to be legitimate. No matter how many times I re-watch Gossip Girl, the moment Lonely Boy and Queen B get together I can’t help but shudder. This relationship is all kinds of wrong, for starters didn’t anyone fill Blair in on the girl code? Yes, I understand that Serena got with Nate but, she felt guilty after and, they did agree that it was in the past and that their friendship can overcome it. Once again, we bring in the issue of Dan’s insecurities that fueled his never-ending quest to be a part of the Upper East Side. Many viewers of GG can agree that Dan was not in love with Blair, but with the idea of her and being with the most popular girl in town. Also, no matter how complicated their relationship got, I think we can all agree that Chuck and Blair will always be meant for each other. So without any further explanation, this case is closed. We didn’t like him with Serena and we didn’t like him with Blair, Maybe Dan Humphery’s just better off alone or with someone who isn’t an Upper East Sider?

Bryce and Ani – 13 Reasons Why

To conclude this list, I’ve decided to save the most controversial and most hated character in any TV series ever, Bryce Walker from 13 Reasons Why. Not only was Bryce an incredibly violent, narcissistic character who showed traits of a sociopath but he was also a serial rapist, who got what he deserved. However, there is a lot of debate on whether he had a suitable ending or if the world was too harsh on him. After Clay rightfully exposing him as Hannah’s rapist, Jess also musters up the bravery to speak her truth and press charges against Bryce for raping her. Up until this point, Bryce was a hotshot jock with everything going for him, but this changed his life and made him a target in his new school. He was often the prey of the jocks at his new school and was picked and pounced on any chance they got, during this time, the show painted Bryce as a different character; one that was miserable, regretful, and possibly capable of change.

This is where the train wreck of a relationship begins, Ani tries to see the good in Bryce despite knowing that he raped her best friend. However, Ani was simultaneously leading on Clay (Bryce’s biggest opponent/enemy and the protagonist of the show), which results in fans of 13 Reasons Why hating her appearance in the third season so much that the actress herself got a great deal of hate. Their relationship was impulsive, confusing and all kinds of wrong; they were both emotionally all over the place and only used each other as a distraction from the chaos surrounding them. There’s undoubtedly a lot of conversation and scandal over Bryce Walker and everything to do with his character, as well as his relationship with Ani and her spontaneous arrival into the third season.

Well there you have it, the top 10 TV show couples we love to hate and hate to love because let’s face it, not all couples can be as endearing and realistic as Lucy and Ricky, Marge and Homer, or even Monica and Chandler.

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