#RelationshipGoals from the TV Shows I’m Watching Right Now
From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.
When I set out to write this post for you, I made a long list of all the best marriages I’ve seen on television.
Of course, you can probably guess the top couples from tv on my list:
Coach and Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights
Ben and Leslie from Parks & Recreation
Adam and Kristina from Parenthood
After all, these are the couples on everyone’s #MarriageGoals list!
As I expanded my memory and my list, though, I realized that I’d written this post before!
Yep, that’s right. Over on my blog, you can read all about my favorite TV marriages and why I think they’re great. https://marycarver.com/2019/02/best-marriages-tv-makes-great/
So today, I’m going to talk about something else.
Today, I’m thinking about the best relationships in the shows I’ve watched recently—including friendships and family relationships, not just marriages—the ones that give me #RelationshipGoals.
Ted Lasso and Coach Beard
If you haven’t watched TED LASSO on Apple TV+, stop what you’re doing and watch it right now.
This truly is the show we need in 2020.
It’s a sitcom about an American college football coach hired to coach a professional soccer team in the U.K., and it is the most delightful, heartwarming, hilarious show I’ve watched in years.
One of the best parts of the show is the deep, authentic friendship between Ted, the main character, and his assistant coach, Coach Beard.
The two men have such a complete understanding of one another that they can frequently speak in their version of shorthand, uttering just a few words to get a complicated point across.
They also support each other, completely and unconditionally, and it’s beautiful.
Shawn and Gus
Before the new PSYCH movie came out this summer, I rewatched the whole series.
And one thing that struck me this time around was how completely on board Gus was for all of Shawn’s shenanigans.
Sure, their vastly different personalities mean they approach life differently.
But rather than one roping the other into trouble, they really are—for the most part—equal partners in crime (or, crime-solving).
I also appreciated that when Shawn went too far, Gus called him on it.
True friends speak the truth, even when it’s hard or when they normally go along with things.
Penelope and Schneider
I actually adore every relationship in the new ONE DAY AT A TIME, but Penelope and Schneider are my favorite.
Over the seasons, they’ve developed such a deep friendship, partly bonding over their personal struggles and hard-earned through some serious conflicts.
Though they come from totally different backgrounds, they have found common ground, and it’s created an affection and a bond they don’t seem to have with anyone else.
Maddie, Helen, and Dana Sue
The ladies of SWEET MAGNOLIAS have been friends since childhood, and it shows.
They know each other at a level we don’t always see in newer friendships, and that allows them to accept and encourage one another so completely in everything they face.
It also allows them to be honest, but loving, with each other—a gift to any woman living life and navigating decisions in career and relationships like they are!
Holly Hobbie’s Parents
If you haven’t watched HOLLY HOBBIE on Hulu, I do recommend it!
Sure, it’s a show made for and aimed at tweens like my daughters, but I loved it just as much as they did!
And while the show focuses on the children, I couldn’t help but be impressed and inspired by the parents in this show.
The mom is the breadwinner of the Hobbie family, while the dad takes on more of the daily parenting duties—and I am here for that.
They were supportive of one another and presented a [mostly] united front to their kids, and I love the way the show avoided stereotypes of dumb parents or needlessly contentious spouses.
Daniel and Amanda LaRusso
I wasn’t sure about this one.
Every single main character of COBRA KAI, the Karate Kid reboot series, seems determined to make the worst decisions possible.
But while I do not love Daniel nearly as much as I did in the 80s, I do love his wife and her refusal to put up with his crap.
When he acts like a child, she rolls her eyes and gently points out a more reasonable approach to parenting, teaching, work, and his relationship with Johnny Lawrence.
And when his feud blows up their life, she draws a hard line to protect her family and restore some sanity.
At the same time, the series shows them working together as an excellent sales team at their car dealership, working through disagreements in a realistic way, and connecting like actual adults who love each other.
It’s the most refreshing part of this show.
Elizabeth and Henry McCord
I will never miss an opportunity to shout the praises of MADAM SECRETARY, including the marriage portrayed by the main characters.
Elizabeth and Henry are two high-powered professional in an intense industry (politics!), but never do they neglect care for their relationship and for each other.
Even when they disagree at work or about decisions they must make, they treat one another with respect and genuine affection.
Almost every single episode of this show (which, though it ended last year, I finished watching this year so it counts) finds the McCords in their bedroom, getting ready for the day or unwinding before bed or even in bed together.
Like a normal adult person love story. (I’d like to stop feeling the need to classify fictional characters as “normal adult people,” but let’s be honest: So many TV characters are ridiculous and unrealistic and childish! That can be fun to watch, but I like the normal adult people, too.)
Cory and Topanga Matthews
Most of us know Cory and Topanga as childhood sweethearts from BOY MEETS WORLD in the 90s.
I do, too, but I was re-introduced to them when my girls watched the reboot, GIRL MEETS WORLD.
The new show is just as cheesy and “Disney-fied” as the original, but also?
It’s sincere and heartfelt and lovely at times.
And the way grown-up Cory and Topanga appreciate each other as professionals, present a united front as parents, speak kindly to and about each other, joke and tease and play off each other—well, I loved it.
The Girls of The Baby-Sitters Club
I mean…could they BE any cuter?
The girls in the new version of THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB aren’t perfect.
They are awkward, they make mistakes, they feel and act insecure and jealous, and they are just as different in personality as Ann M. Martin intended.
But, they are also sweet and kind and normal kids who make the choice to develop these friendships they then rely on and nurture and protect.
It’s adorable and lovely, and those are the kind of friends I want for my girls—and myself!
Every relationship in The Unicorn
Don’t sleep on this fairly new CBS sitcom.
THE UNICORN is about a friend group of three couples after one of the wives dies.
The way the two couples show their love for both their widowed friend and his late wife is beautiful.
When you think of the phrase, “it takes a village,” this is what you’re probably imagining.
The three families swap carpooling duties and share meals; the kids play together (and sometimes don’t); the married couples encourage their newly single friend to begin dating but balance out their silly advice with true understanding and love.
Again, this is a show (surprisingly) about actual adults, acting like adults.
And the best kind of adults, because they’re just such incredible friends.
To be clear, they’re not perfect and their relationships aren’t conflict-free (that would be a boring show).
But they work through things and come out stronger and more loving in the end, and I think we need more of that.
So, that’s my updated #RelationshipGoals list! Who’s on YOUR list of best TV relationships?
If you like our relationship goals from favorite tv shows, you’ll love these posts too!