Terrific TV Twosomes
I am a big fan of TV. In fact, it practically raised me. Over my many years of watching the boob-tube, there have been some memorable characters. And what is better than a memorable TV duo? So, I figured I would break down some of my all-time faves. The list is in no particular order, since I am bad at picking favorites. Just ask my three wives.
Warning: Some major spoilers ahead!
While everyone might have gone gaga over SVU, I preferred the shorter-lived Criminal Intent. The cases were better, and, in my opinion so were the detectives. Plus, neither of them looks like they may have committed the crime…Chris Meloni. Goren and Eames, the two original (and best) detectives on the show have a strange chemistry. Goren, incredibly portrayed by the odd Vincent D’Onofrio, is a great mix of Columbo and Monk. He is genius-level smart, but also has a weird sense of humor and determination. Kathryn Erbe plays his partner and perfect foil, Eames. She is a no-nonsense all-around good cop who is not sure whether or not she agrees with Goren’s methods and constantly wonders if he is totally unbalanced. Somehow, they make it work in Major Case. I highly recommend the show, especially the episodes from the first few seasons, before they went all Chris Noth on us. Not to mention–Jeff Goldblum? Oh, I just did…
When I heard that there would be a Cheers spinoff, I wondered who the main character would be. Cliff? Sam? Carla? Frasier? I admit that I didn’t think it would work out. It would have to feature some well-cast characters. But I don’t think they could have found someone more suitable to play the character of Niles, Frasier’s brother, than David Hyde Pierce. When the two start to talk about things ranging from art to opera, it is totally believable. This pair of psychologist brothers are always together, whether it is because Niles wants to ogle Daphne, Frasier wants to complain about Lillith, or they are arguing about which of the two is going to bite the bullet and go to the bar with dad.
Among the characters on Mad Men, the relationship between Peggy and Don is one of the more dynamic. While there is nothing sexual between them, viewers are kept wondering if it will ever get to that level, since the two characters share an intimacy rarely seen from the buttoned-up Don. While they may be employer and employee, the relationship tends not to feel that way. You get more of an “old friends” vibe. Don knows Peggy’s secrets and vice versa. In addition, Peggy owes Don for her shot at being a copywriter, while Don doesn’t realize how much he needs Peggy. When the last season ended, the two characters were in different places but I am sure that the show runners will bring them back together again.
Michael & Dwight (The Office)
There is no more degrading television relationship than that of Michael and Dwight. One is the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton. The other is the assistant (to the) regional manager. Michael despises Dwight almost as much as Dwight tries to please Michael. The thing I never understood about their relationship is: Why does Dwight care what Michael thinks anyway? I know Michael is technically the more powerful of the two in the hierarchy of Dunder Mifflin, but Dwight owns his own farm and seems to have his stuff together overall. It may be creepy, 18th-century style stuff, but it is his nonetheless. In the end, I guess Dwight just values authority, even if it is dumb and offensive.
Ever since Fry encountered his mechanical friend in a suicide booth shortly after defrosting, these two have been inseparable. Fry even lives in Bender’s closet, albeit the closet is the size of a regular apartment. When the two are not out on deliveries, they might be running schemes (like finding the winning cap in a can of Slurm) or going on harebrained adventures (like battling the cast of Star Trek). Bender makes fun and takes advantage of Fry’s stupidity on a regular basis, but Bender won’t pull any schemes on his buddy, because as Fry says, “You already have my power of attorney.” Plus, Bender would love for all humans to die, except his Meatbag. And if anyone steps to Fry, Bender is there to say, “Bite my shiny metal ass.” Here is a pretty funny collection of their moments together.
Liz & Jack (30 Rock)
Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon is the oddest career woman on TV. She is not concerned with typical feminine things or even average hygiene, but does her job better than anyone else. That job is keeping her two stars in line and producing a live show. She has a great mentor in Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy, the self-made businessman who used to run GE’s microwave division. Fey and Baldwin have great on-screen chemistry, and the viewer can see the genuine affection between these two characters, even though both can be horrified by the other’s actions. The two were even married at one point, thanks to a clerical error. But I am glad this show isn’t dumb enough to try to stir up a love story between them. It would be entirely unrealistic and hackneyed at this point. Realistically, Liz and Jack stand for important parts of the business world. Jack represents the soul-crushing aspects of capitalism, while Liz represents the crushee. Needless to say, these two combine for some hilarious television.
Forget Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Harry and Sally. As a child, I had Kevin and Winnie. He was the every-man and she was the ideal, “Super Cooper.” This on again-off again relationship was one to watch and grow with. As a boy, there were times when I hated Winnie, times I loved her, but I just knew she and Kevin would wind up together. Except…they don’t. That is one of the most fascinating things about this show. It is too true. Everyone has had a first love they thought they would be with forever, but for some reason, things just don’t work out. Kevin and Winnie mirror this. There were plenty of scenes where, watching this with the wisdom of age, I have gotten a little weepy. (Shut up.) If you have never watched the show and I just ruined it for you, forget everything I said and watch it. It is incredible. I dare you not to cry!
I don’t think there are more intense, exciting, and sometimes funny scenes than those shared by Locke and Ben on screen together in LOST. Locke was Ben’s favorite target to screw with, and Locke obliged a number of times. There were so many moments where they would play off each other and delight the audience. The two were connected in a number of ways, even leading to speculation that they were somehow related. While one escaped a wheelchair, the other wound up in one. They both had their parts to play. If Ben was the brain of the Island, Locke was its heart. As an aside, a while back we heard that Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson were going to be in a show together where they played a couple of hitmen. I would have watched the hell out of that. Instead, we get “Person of Interest” and “666 Park Avenue.” The universe can be so cruel.
Dana Scully and Fox Mulder are the perfect pairing of skeptic and conspiracy theorist. While Mulder is willing to believe anything he is told by The Lone Gunmen, Scully is much more grounded in facts and proof. This made for the addictive concoction that was the X-Files. Although she didn’t always believe him, Scully was there to back up Mulder when the two were attacked by an inter-dimensional monster or whatnot. I preferred the show’s stand-alone episodes and not much for the overarching storyline about Fox’s missing sister and aliens. (Wow, that really looks crazy when you type it out.) And I stopped watching completely when they replaced Duchovny with the terminator model T-1000: Robert Patrick. Any way you slice it, these two epitomize the sci-fi buddy cop duo, despite the show being off the air for 11 years.
This pair of best friends stars on the greatest show on TV no one is watching. From the beginning, you couldn’t tell that the two oddball college freshmen would hit it off. But with time, their friendship blossomed and they now share everything: an apartment, a dreamatorium, and a fake morning talk show. They both share a love of bad movies, odd references, and secret handshakes. While Abed has visits from his evil alternate self, Troy tries to resist being lured by the head of the Air Conditioning School (portrayed by the awesome John Goodman) into his true calling of being an AC repairman. Through it all though, including Troy’s Constable Reggie to Abed’s Inspector Spacetime, this pair make Community absolutely hilarious.
No one thinks they will end up cooking meth and running a drug empire with their former chemistry teacher. Well, i guess I shouldn’t speak for everyone. Jesse Pinkman certainly didn’t. But that is exactly what happened when mild-mannered high school teacher Walter White learns he has lung cancer and tries to create a financial nest egg for his family after his death. Walt enlists the help of his former student and small-time dealer, Jesse. Over the course of five seasons, these two have been through one life-threatening situation after another, all the while making their way to the top of the drug empire. Jesse is as devoted to Walt as Walt is to his own ego. This has caused Walt to betray Jesse a number of times, including letting the latter’s girlfriend die and poisoning a child in order to achieve an end. All of this without Jesse’s knowledge, of course. But at the same time, Walt still has a soft place in his heart for Jesse. Towards the end of the last season half-season their relationship began to change dramatically and I am excited to see where Walt and Jesse end up when all is said and done.
Friends since childhood, these gumshoes have what it takes to solve some serious crimes in and around Santa Barbara. Shawn, the hyper-attentive faux psychic, and his best friend Gus, the pharmaceutical salesman-turned detective, always manage to get the bad guy, despite getting in their own way. The way James Roday and Dulé Hill play off each other is classic, and their innumerable references to random pop culture from their childhood things make them a favorite pairing of mine. Both of them are incredibly dorky, while neither wants to admit the fact. The show’s mysteries are typically nonsensical or easy to solve, but it is great nonetheless. It is the interplay between them that keeps me watching, whether it is Shawn constantly introducing Gus with fake names, Gus flaunting his knowledge, or the two of them freaking out because a criminal has pulled a gun. Psych looks like the most fun show to be a cast member on, since no one takes themselves too seriously. In conclusion, if you are not watching this show, you are being the way Eriq LaSalle spells “Eric.”
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Jerry Galante is a corporate cataloging librarian. He has a BA in History and a Master’s in Library Science and is just waiting to hear about that pilot he submitted 7 years ago. If you enjoyed this post, you should check out Jerry’s previous offerings, “If the World Ended, How Would It Happen?” & “Planets, Planets Everywhere.”