Why These Characters with Romantic Tension Are Better off as Friends


The “will-they-won’t-they” couple is a staple of TV romance. It’s incredibly hard, nearly impossible, to find a TV show without at least one pair of characters who have some soldering romantic tension. Sometimes these couples get together, sometimes they break up and sometimes, no matter what stage of the relationship they happen to be at, they should stay far, far away from each other. Here are seven couples with serious romantic tension that are way better off just being friends.

Oliver and Felicity – Arrow 
There’s a certain and vocal part of the Arrow fandom who truly believe that the lesser quality of seasons 3 and 4 of the show has everything to do with the relationship between Oliver and Felicity. It’s not true. What is true, however, is that in season 5 Oliver and Felicity are working together far better as friends and vigilante work partners than romantic ones. When Oliver and Felicity were together Arrow dealt more with their romantic turmoil than anything else.
Oliver and Felicity seem to be the classic example of a TV couple that work better on paper than they do in practice. They certainly have the attraction and the tension but they are too different from one another to be together harmoniously. Conflict does make good story, but there is too much conflict between Oliver and Felicity for them to be sustainable.
Olivia and Fitz – Scandal 
They should’ve called it quits a long time ago. Since the very beginning of Scandal, Olivia and Fitz have been attracted to one another and since the very beginning they’ve been awful together. Olivia’s romance with her other main love interest, Jake, isn’t much better, but Olivia and Fitz are dysfunction personified. Lying, power games and infidelity are all up for grabs with these two. They have an almost magnetic pull to one another but every time they get together the results are disastrous. It’s best for their lives, not to mention the entire free world and the viewers’ sanity, if they call off their romantic entanglements for good.
Cookie and Lucious – Empire
Cookie and Lucious do make good TV as romantic partners. They just make better TV as bitter and petty rivals. In season 3 the two have gotten even closer to reuniting, but Cookie and Lucious are far more interesting when they are waging war with each other rather than making love. Empire thrives on conflict, especially conflict between Cookie and Lucious. It’s hard to have conflict when these two are in a relative state of domestic bliss. So the farther they stay apart, the better off things are for Empire.
Wyatt and Lucy – Timeless 
There is probably nothing wrong with Lucy and Wyatt hooking up on Timeless. It would leave Rufus out in the cold, turning the tight trio of Timeless into a tight couple and their techy sidekick. But the biggest problem with Wyatt and Lucy consummating their clear attraction to one another is that it’s just too obvious a move for Timeless.
If (and when) Lucy and Wyatt hook up there will be nothing particularly exciting or interesting about it because the show has so heavily telegraphed their romantic future together. Plus, when Lucy and Wyatt finally do lock lips it will almost certainly be followed by some time travel adventure that brings Wyatt’s wife back to life, complicating their relationship. Or there will be some reveal that Lucy, or Garcia Flynn using Lucy’s journal, is responsible for the former Mrs. Logan’s murder. Timeless isn’t really a show that’s about shocking plot twists, it’s more like TV comfort food. Still, it is best to avoid big developments that everyone can see coming a mile away.
Luke and Claire – Luke Cage
Sadly, the second half of Luke Cage‘s first season on Netflix is of a noticeably lesser quality than the first half. One of the big mistakes is taking the friendship and sexual tension between Luke and Claire and having them actually kiss. Season 1 ends with Claire and Luke on the precipice of being in a committed relationship without ever really saying it out loud.
Hopefully, though, in the upcoming crossover series The Defenders and Luke Cage season 2, Claire and Luke’s romance will become something like a forgotten memory. Claire Temple is one of the best characters of Marvel’s Netflix universe and she deserves better than to be the love interest of two of the biggest heroes, Daredevil and Luke. Furthermore, Claire and Luke are fun together but nothing beats the dynamic between Jessica Jones and Luke. The only way there is going to be a future between Jessica and Luke is if the thing between Luke and Claire is over.
Morgan and Carol – The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead has a weird relationship with romance. Romances tend to develop suddenly on the show or they wallow in a weird limbo state. The dynamic between Carol and Morgan is in that weird limbo state right now. This is doubly weird because for several seasons Carol had the same type of relationship with Daryl.
There is clearly something between Carol and Morgan. They are both struggling with their use of violence in a post-apocalyptic world, Morgan has put his own life at risk several times to save Carol and they are two of the only Alexandrians currently living near the Kingdom. There is just no official romance.
It’s not that Carol and Morgan wouldn’t be good together, but things have lingered too long in their weird embryonic romance state for a hook up between them to feel natural. The Walking Dead should never stop giving us scenes with Carol and Morgan because they are two of the best characters. But the ship has sailed on a romance with them, especially since King Ezekiel has shown more than a passing interest in Carol. Sorry Morgan, but a dude with a pet tiger beats a guy with just a fighting stick.
James and Kara – Supergirl
When Supergirl season 2 began Kara might have called her romance with James Olsen quits but James doesn’t seem to be over Kara in the same way. Though Kara has moved on to a “just friends” relationship with James he still gives her enough longing looks that it suggests Supergirl is not quite over exploring their romantic misadventures. This is not even to mention the clear jealousy that James has for Kara’s current love interest, Mon-El.
In time, Supergirl revisiting a Kara and James romance might not be the worst idea ever. Since the first season James’ identity has been tied up in his relationship to Kara and her cousin, Clark. He has only just now become his own vigilante hero, The Guardian. Supergirl needs to tell us who James truly is and why we should care about him before we can ever consider him Kara’s one and only love.
So what do you think? Should these couples stay apart? Do you want any of them to get together? Which of these would be the worst couple?
(Images courtesy of ABC, AMC, FOX, NBC, Netflix and The CW)