Truly, Madly, Deeply: The Best 90s Era TV Couples
Love is on the Air
There's nothing I love more in life than a wonderful love story. A real, powerful, and engaging story about real people or characters that just pull at the heartstrings better than anything else. And while there have been a rash of celebrity engagements in Hollywood, my favorite stories are those of the fictional kind. Because in our minds and our hearts, they always remain pure and lasting.
I particularly want to devote this hub to my favorite 90s television couples that I grew up with mainly because in a lot of ways I feel the 90s was the last era in which love was openly and proudly celebrated. A television wedding was still an event and a momentous occasion in the lives of those who watched and participated. And even now on YouTube and beyond, we still cherish these moments as if they just happened.
Before I start, I'd also like to mention that this list is in no way comprehensive or objective but I'm sure you knew that.
Still the One: Corey and Topanga
Corey and Topanga may have done more to ruin expectations of romance than Disney movies if you ask me. But it still doesn't mean I don't love their relationship. Boy Meets World is now known as the premiere TGIF show of inconsistencies. From Topanga's changing character and family dynamics to the mess of age and grade level, it's not known for being as faithful to continuity.
But that doesn't matter. As a kid, this was my favorite TGIF show for many reasons. It was more faithful to reality than Sabrina.They had the best parental figures in Corey's parents, Alan and Amy. But most importantly they were head-on in addressing issues in the lives of Corey, Topanga, Shawn and the rest of the gang. Putting the cherry on top was the bond of Corey and Topanga.
When we first met them, it seemed like there was no way Corey and Topanga would end up together. They weren't even friends, let alone romantic. But as the series progressed and morphed, it was shown they had been close when they were younger (pre-series timeline) and never thought of anyone else but each other.
However, by the time they are together in their high school years, it's not as if they didn't face challenges of normal teens. Topanga's parents divorce skewed her thoughts on lasting commitment, Corey cheated on her on a ski trip, and Shawn served as the proverbial third wheel. Yet there was a lasting faith that kept Corey believing in their relationship and Topanga always close.
As a viewer it was exciting and promising. You didn't have to guess for the most part but you just knew these two were magic together. Even as they transitioned into adulthood, the depth of their commitment and friendship with each other always captured a childlike essence that we all long to see in a relationship.
Here's to you, Corey and Topanga.
I'll Stand By You: Harvey and Sabrina
Sabrina the Teenage Witch was the most inventive shows of the 90s. I particularly enjoyed it because of Melissa Joan Hart and how well she did in her previous series, Clarissa Explains It All. But beyond that, it was just a great show, well I should say the first four seasons were great and the last three were just passable but either way one of the things that made the show was Sabrina and her relationship with eternal good guy Harvey.
Sabrina had a lot to deal with. There was her mixed heritage of being a human and a witch, separation from her parents, and also the general anxieties of being a teenager which never changes. Not to mention that annoying Libby who was always trying to throw shade and her almost uncle/principal Mr. Kraft who was always finding fault with her.
She always had her friends and her boyfriend to support her. Her friends may have changed but the relationship she had with Harvey was almost always steady through the first half of the series.
Initially as Sabrina moved into Salem and its very small world of students, parents, and citizens, Harvey was introduced as a crush but also a friend. Their attraction develops steadily and eventually they date.
Unlike most high school relationships, Sabrina had to keep a secret: the fact she was a sorceress. That's a lot to keep up with but somehow she manages to do so until she reveals it to him. While it's obvious that he doesn't want to dump her, he also didn't like being lied to.
But as with all 90s era television couples, they don't stay apart for long. He shows up while she's attending college and briefly dates one of her friends until he realizes he's still in love with her even though she's marrying another guy, Aaron.
Yet thanks to magic and her conniving cousin, Sabrina and Harvey finally live happily ever after. It just goes to show true love is better than anything else.
David and Donna: I Knew I Loved You
In case you're wondering, Savage Garden didn't make me write this hub. But anyway, I had to include this next couple on the list simply because they survived ten years of craziness including three high school, four college, and three real world. David and Donna at first were the second bananas to too-hot-to-trot Dylan and Brenda but eventually became the perennial favorite of fans.
When we are first introduced to the couple, it's clear that they are in need of a large dose of swagger. David is a music-loving geek with no romancing skills while Donna lacks self-confidence and book smarts. However, as they come to befriend each other, it's obvious they belong together.
They make it through high school and into college until Donna's morals conflict with David's desires their freshman year. So as a result, David indulges himself by cheating and Donna dumps him. It always hard to see this part but it helped them both grow up.
In the ensuing seasons they both hook up and break up with some other major players but always hold a candle for each other. Eventually they reunite in the seventh season and things look up until a little thing called check fraud interrupts their romance and Donna lets David go again.
After that it looks almost as if it's over, but we all knew it wasn't over. Someone had to break the pattern of Beverly Hills relationships. So finally in the tenth season, we all get what we want, a happy and long-awaited ending to our favorite high school outcasts.
Lois and Clark, Back at One
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman is quite possibly one of the most criminally underrated series of the 90s. Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain were note perfect in their pairing from day one. They captured the romantic tension of these comic icons better than anyone I have seen or have yet to see.
What I most liked about Lois and Clark was that even though they were attracted to each other, they always knew it wouldn't work unless they were both fully committed. Unfortunately Clark was fully engaged in trying to preserve his identity as Superman.
Another thing that stood in the way was their work relationship. As we all know, office romances are among the trickiest to navigate because if it works you irritate everyone else and if it doesn't you irritate each other. However, they both decided to stop fighting fate and get together.
However, the issues of them being together resurfaced. And it wasn't just Clark's second identity but Lois's crazy ex, Lex Luthor. But good prevails and they finally get together and tie the knot.
While the show didn't end in the best of ways, at least we know they ended up together.
Zach and Kelly, All My Life
If there was one thing to remember about Saturday morning television on NBC, it was most definitely Saved By the Bell. It was the height of camp and the height of cool all at once. Nobody better defined it than one Zack Morris. He was a little dim but very clever and he only wanted to do one thing: hang out.
Fortunately he had his other friends to keep him in line but ultimately he ran the show. Zack had his sights set on quickly snatching up the most lovable and popular girl in the school, Kelly Kapowski. He had to fight his future best friend Slater along with some other characters, but in the end he got what he wanted.
Zack and Kelly's relationship seemed picturesque. She kept him in line when he wanted to rebel against school rules and he gave her the much needed confidence to pursue her dreams. It all came crashing down once Kelly cheated with the new Max manager, Jeff. Their breakup eventually led to what was a major devastation in each of their lives but they remained friends and even got back together for a short period of time.
However as the series ended and college came about, it was obvious that the first love that had once burned so bright was going to dim. But wait, there were the college years as well as the introduction of new temptations for each. Kelly had an affair with an older, divorced man Professor Lasky and Zack, was well Zack.
But fate intervened and they finally got together and married once and for all. And all of us 90s kids could sleep well knowing they were happy with each other.
What Say You?
I hope you enjoyed this list I put together. As I've said before it's mostly what I enjoyed watching growing up, nothing extremely profound. While I know there are some couples I left off (Ross and Rachel, Dharma and Greg, etc.) I'm also interested to see what couples you liked from this list, which ones you weren't familiar with and so on.
This is my first full out television hub that I've done in a while so I'd also like thoughts and suggestions for future hubs that you may want me to write on. Thanks as always for reading and I look forward to your responses.
My Other Comprehensive Television Hubs
- Hopelessly Devoted: TV's Most Lovelorn Characters
Our favorite characters who fall in love too fast, over-commit in relationships, or just plain don't know when to stop.
- Lovin' Handfuls: The Ultimate TV Ladies' Men
The men in television who have the worst reputations for romance. From commit-phobes to the overly committed, a list of those you remember for their reputations than their character.
- Always and Forever: My Favorite TV BFFs
Some of my favorite friends from television's greatest shows.