TV’s Most Rewarding Relationships



By John Nathan

Most of us experience many different relationships throughout life, and throughout the decades, television executives have tried to explore all of them.  Here’s a brief list of some of our favorites!

1.  ALTER EGO – THE INCREDIBLE HULK.  Do you know what triggers can make you act a complete fool? Bill Bixby certainly did. Snickers commercials now famously feature people who “aren’t themselves when they’re hungry,” and Mr. Bixby wasn’t quite himself whenever he got angry!




2.  ROOMMATES – THREE’S COMPANY. The weekly shenanigans of Jack, Janet and Chrissy pushed the envelope of appropriateness in 1970’s sitcoms – and so did Mr. Furley’s fashion sense!





3.  FAMILY – THE COSBY SHOW. For most people who grew up in the ‘80’s and the years since, the Huxtable family was not only a source of entertainment, but they also served as a inspiration and model for the ideal family.  Tell the truth, guys: how many of you are still looking to marry the Claire Huxtable of your dreams? I know I am!




4. FRIENDSHIPS – THE GOLDEN GIRLS.  There have been many imitators, but no series centered on women and friendship has duplicated the enduring legacy of this 80’s classic. From men to menopause, these friends stuck together and loved each other through the many ups and downs that women of a certain age cope with. Their loyalty and the laughter they caused still resonate with audiences thirty years later.




5. PARTNERSHIPS – NIP/TUCK. Envious, vain, insecure and self-centered are adjectives that could easily describe the patients of the fictional McNamara/Troy plastic surgery practice. But, in this case, we’re using them to describe the surgeons, themselves. While Nip/Tuck certainly skewed to the outlandish during its later season, the series was exotic and evocative as it explored the many conflicts that arise between business partners.



6. PLATONIC – MOONLIGHTING. Often compared to its male-female detective predecessor “Remington Steele,” Moonlighting was also known for equal parts drama, comedy and sexual tension between the two lead characters Maddie Hayes and David Addison. Moonlighting was also known for its innovations in production, including complex fantasy sequences and its signature breaking of the fourth wall. Oh, and it also launched the career of an action star named Bruce Willis.



7. SIBLING RIVALRY – DALLAS. The Ewings redefined the art of the primetime drama when “Dallas” premiered in the fall of 1978. While the elders and the women may have come and gone, the one tension that kept the series going through 14 seasons, 3 made-for-television movies, a reunion special and a series remake more than two decades later was the never-ending saga between good son Bobby Ewing and his evil older brother J.R.



8. STREET LIFE – THE WIRE. Everybody knows that the dope game is dirty business, and in nowhere is that more evident than in the complex business/personal relationship between characters Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell on HBO’s critically acclaimed series “The Wire.”  From brotherhood to betrayal, the complex and devastating impact that greed, competitiveness and arrogance can have on a relationship is obvious from just one look at these two.



9. WORKPLACE –MURPHY BROWN. Long before 30 Rock, there was Murphy Brown – a hilarious series in the 1980’s that would not only give a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make up the media, but would famously become fodder for national discussion after Vice President Dan Quayle famously criticized its depiction of a working single mother.




10. MAN’S BEST FRIEND – LASSIE. Animal lovers everywhere will forever be indebted to the long-runny, Emmy award-winning series that depicted the fictional collie as not only a friend, but a member of the family.





11. MAN’S OTHER BEST FRIEND – KNIGHT RIDER. Women have shoes and men have cars – that’s just the way it is.  While many shows from the past have exhibited man’s other best friend in all its lacquered, high-powered glory (Miami Vice, Batman and Speed Racer come to mind) no show did it better than the 1980’s series “Knight Rider.”  Most guys can’t tell you the name of the male characters from the series because it was Kit who, after all, was the real star of the show.



Did we miss one of your favorite TV Land relationships? If so, please Join the Conversation and let us know which TV relationship you can’t live without!

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