I'm a firm believer in romance, and I love it on television — but only when it's with the right couples. There are times when either the writers or producers attempt to shoehorn characters into relationships that are clearly ill-suited.
We have all had those moments when we fast-forward through scenes with those couples because they make us cringe. While there might have been the slightest hint of chemistry between the two, the events of the series will usually make it clear that the couple doesn't belong together. Then we have to suffer through what we can only hope will be the eventual breakup.
For these four couples, the relationships were thankfully short-lived.
1. House and Cuddy ('House')
Though this couple had chemistry, their relationship had disaster written all over it from the start. Lisa Cuddy, the Dean of Medicine at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, held a position that made her Dr. Gregory House's boss, which threw a red flag on the play from the start. Their flirtation began in Season 1, but #House was a drug-addicted narcissist who couldn't be happy, and Cuddy walked a tightrope between hysteria and anger for most of the series. Yet, this unlikely pair became a couple.
Fortunately, we only had to endure 15 episodes before Cuddy breaks things off with House because, surprise, he popped a few pills when he was stressed out. This break-up has never made sense to me. Cuddy knew that House was a recovering drug addict when she began dating him, but the second he slips up because he was worried she had cancer, she reverts to her shrewish nature and puts their relationship on the chopping block.
The writers of the Season 7 episode of House tried to explain this after the episode aired, but it's difficult to make sense out of the senseless. At any rate, the breakup led the show down a ridiculous spiral from which it never fully recovered.
2. Piper and Dan ('Charmed')
This relationship was doomed from the start. Every fan of Charmed knew Piper was destined to be with Leo just as we knew Dan was her break-up fling. Eking out the tiniest portion of chemistry, Piper and Dan managed to last only a few episodes before Leo's presence drove a welcome wedge between them.
Once Piper chose Leo as the man she loved, Dan made a half-hearted attempt to bring Piper to her senses when he dug up information on Leo's past. Everyone but him knew it was a lost cause. After he realized he wasn't getting Piper back, he faded away just as quickly as he had arrived. And viewers breathed a sigh of relief as balance was restored to the Charmed universe.
3. Ray and Kendra/Hawkgirl ('DC's Legends of Tomorrow')
Whoever thought this relationship was a good idea clearly wasn't paying attention to this couple onscreen. Though Brandon Routh and Ciara Renee both won the gene pool when it comes to beauty, there was simply no connection between the two. Because of the writers, the actors attempted to force a chemistry that didn't exist, and it was almost painful to watch.
Kendra never seemed fully committed to the relationship while Ray appeared a little too desperate to find love. They both carried baggage that weighed them down as well as any attempt at a relationship. While Kendra had just lost the man she'd spent 4,000 years with, Ray had gone through a break-up with Felicity Smoak, a blast that had almost killed him, and he'd spent months being held captive by Damien Dahrk.
Viewers seemed to be the only ones who knew these two weren't ready to take one step forward, much less a giant leap into a committed relationship.
4. Thea and Alex ('Arrow')
Thea Queen had almost palpable chemistry with Roy Harper. Under any circumstances, it would be difficult to match that. So why the writers chose Oliver's campaign manager — a rather lukewarm, uninteresting character — as Thea's next love interest befuddled many fans.
Even in the midst of her relationship with Alex, Thea tells Roy she loves him. And it's Roy who is by her side when she is dying. Of course, we know Alex had to be kept in the dark about what was happening with Thea, but we're only being honest when we admit we didn't miss seeing him at Thea's side. Fortunately, Thea and Alex shared very few scenes together before he was unceremoniously eliminated in the midst of Darhk's Utopia.
Sometimes, we have to wonder what the writers or producers were thinking when they connect couples onscreen, especially when we see no useful purpose for it. Out of the four couples here, only one remotely moved the storyline along (House and Cuddy). I doubt we'll ever know the reasoning behind the other three couples.
As much as we're grateful when cringe-worthy relationships end on shows, we know we can't always get what we want out of television. So as one couple breaks up, another gravitates toward one another. We just hope it's one that makes sense.
Which of these couples made you cringe the most?