There are happy endings, and then there are even happier endings that we can only dream of happening. We’ve definitely seen our fair share of dream fictional couples in movies and on TV. There’s Lorelai and Luke, Jim and Pam, Cory and Topanga, Monica and Chandler, Holly and Paul, Allie and Noah, the list goes on and on. But sometimes your favorite couple doesn’t actually end up together, and it seems as though that can hurt more than a real-life breakup (not to be dramatic).
We’re not saying that all of these TV series and movie writers were wrong, but we can’t help but wonder how different these popular shows and movies would be had some of our favorite couples actually ended up together in the end. (Because, let’s be real, Rose definitely had enough room on that door to save Jack.) Keep reading to see 16 fictional couples who should have ended up together. But beware: plenty of spoilers lie ahead!
16. Mark and Lexie, Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy’s beloved couple Mark and Lexie deserved so much better. Dr. Mark Sloan was the resident bad boy surgeon at Seattle Grace Hospital, and he seemed like an unlikely match for Lexie Grey, Meredith Grey’s half-sister who was an adorably dorky intern-turned-resident at the hospital. But alas, they fell hard and fast for each other, and their love blossomed into a beautiful, unexpected relationship. Fans were thrilled at the pairing until *that* plane crash ruined just about everything. Lexie, who was pinned underneath part of the plane, succumbed to her injuries despite Mark and Christina Yang’s efforts to save her (and Mark telling her about the beautiful life they still had to live together). Once the survivors made it back to the hospital, Mark then died of his injuries, too – hence the new name of the hospital: Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Honestly, this one still hurts, and these two should have most definitely ended up together.
15. Phoebe and Joey, Friends
Of all the Friends romantic pairings, Phoebe and Joey were snubbed for not ending up together. We loved Mike Hannigan and all, but with Monica and Chandler falling in love and Ross and Rachel somehow ending up together, too, how did Joey and Phoebe not get their shot at love?! Their personalities were meant to be: not only were they both kooky in their own ways, their senses of humor were perfect together. And how can superfans forget all of the times Joey kissed Phoebe? Though Phoebe was happily married by the end of the series, deep down we all know Joey and Phoebe were truly meant to be together.
14. Serena and Nate, Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl here: Chuck and Blair got their fairytale ending, so WHY didn’t Serena and Nate? These two Upper East Siders were made for each other, and we all know it. Somehow, Serena ended up marrying Dan at the end of the show – who was basically her brother at a couple different points on the show – but let’s remember back to when Serena dated Nate early on in the series: there was no drama, Nate always told her he loved her, and he was there for her every time Dan was off being the worst. Though Serena basically broke Nate’s heart by kissing Dan while she was still dating him, we wish there was a way to turn back time and make sure Serena and Nate stayed together.
13. Joyce and Bob, Stranger Things
Though Bob only had a brief stint as Joyce’s flame on the second season of Stranger Things, fans were devastated when his heartless death left Joyce sad and still single. Though he was just a manager of a local RadioShack, Bob always put Joyce and her kids first, and although he had no idea the secret battle Joyce was fighting to save Will from whatever connection he still had to the Upside Down when they started dating, he still wholeheartedly supported her and helped her however he could. Then, once he learned just how corrupt the government was for testing the effects of supernatural power, he gave everything he had in an attempt to shut it down. Ultimately, he was killed by a viscous demodog before he could escape its path, leaving fans unable to see a potential relationship between Joyce and Bob. We will admit there’s a lot of potential for Joyce and Hopper, though.
12. Finn and Rachel, Glee
They were an unlikely couple on Glee: Finn Hudson was the high school football quarterback and Rachel Berry was an outspoken theater nerd – but when these two were brought together by their school’s glee club, the formed one of the cutest teen TV relationships of all time. They were on and off throughout the first few seasons of the show, but viewers got to see their connection deepen and grow as they helped each other through your average high school drama. But tragedy struck in real life when Cory Monteith, who played Finn, overdosed and passed away in 2013, leaving the show with the responsibility to write off Finn. Finn’s memorial episode left pretty much everyone in a puddle of tears – remember Lea Michele (also Cory’s real-life girlfriend) singing that heartbreaking rendition of “Make You Feel My Love”? Though they had a rocky and unpredictable relationship, the bond between Finn and Rachel was so genuine and touching that they definitely should still be together today.
11. Olivia and Fitz, Scandal
These two were the ultimate power couple of our dreams. Sure, their relationship wasn’t the best in the beginning: President Fitzgerald Grant did have an affair with Olivia Pope during his campaign run while he was still married to Mellie. But these two were just destined to be; their ambition and drive for success were so similar, and yet they perfectly complemented each other when running the country and solving some of the nation’s worst crises got tough. Their tumultuous relationship was at the center of all seven seasons of Scandal, and while Shonda Rhimes ultimately chose to have the two go their separate ways in the end (so no home in Vermont!), we can’t forget the chemistry these two brought to the Oval Office.
10. Katniss and Gale, The Hunger Games
Okay, it’s hard to deny that Katniss and Peeta make a great couple in The Hunger Games. It’s just that Katniss and Gale would have made an even better couple when you really think about it. Where to start? Katniss and Gale have been tight since day one (we’re talking hunt-turkeys-together tight). He always sacrificed himself to help Katniss and her family under the oppressive government regime. While Peeta was brainwashed during the revolution, Gale actually got out and fought right alongside Katniss. Oh, and he called her Katnip too, which is just downright adorable. But best of all, Gale clearly loved Katniss all along, even when he knew she was in love with Peeta. We’re not saying Katniss and Peeta are bad together, we’ll just always be #TeamGale for life.
9. Mia and Sebastian, La La Land
La La Land took viewers on a magical and epic love story of Mia and Sebastian: an aspiring actress and a jazz pianist who cross paths in Los Angeles and embark on one of the most beautiful, romantic love stories you could imagine. From singing in the streets to helping each other achieve their dreams, these two fell hard and fast for each other. While they were no strangers to the occasional argument (because being a struggling performer in LA isn’t always the most glamorous life), viewers assumed they would pull through for each other in the end… because how could they not? They literally danced among the stars at Griffith Observatory, for goodness sake. But in one of the worst plot twists of all time, a five-year time jump shows Mia having made it as a famous actress – and also shows that she has a family and loving husband to support her… but it’s not Sebastian! Honestly, Mia and Sebastian isn’t just a love story we want – it’s a love story we deserve.
8. Jack and Rose, Titanic
Is this one even a question? Jack and Rose were the ultimate power couple aboard Titanic. Jack was a lower class, scrappy, adventure-loving passenger who won his tickets moments before the ship set sail. Rose, on the other hand, was a member of the elite first-class passenger group who was dying to get away from the suffocating high-class life she was destined to live forever. When they met by chance on the ship, their epic love story began. Between fancy dinner soirées and after-hours parties below deck, these star-crossed lovers fell deeply in love (who can forget that steamy car scene?). But, as we all know, the Titanic’s fate was already set in stone, and when it struck an iceberg and began to sink, Jack and Rose found themselves clinging to a stray door in the freezing water of the Atlantic ocean. While Rose laid on top of the door claiming she would never let go of Jack, who was still in the water, he eventually died of hypothermia before they were saved. This, of course, began an argument that continues to this day: did she or did she not have enough space on that door to save Jack?
7. Harry and Hermione, Harry Potter
While Potterheads have strong opinions about a number of things that happened in the Harry Potter series (both in the books and on the big screen), one thing almost everyone agrees on is that Harry and Hermione Granger should have ended up together. Instead, Hermione ultimately ended up with Ron Weasley, and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it was confirmed that Hermione and Ron were still together years later, married and had children. But since then, author J.K. Rowling told Wonderland magazine that she, too, thinks Harry and Hermione should have been together in the end. “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.” *wipes tear*
6. Barney and Robin, How I Met Your Mother
To say fans of How I Met Your Mother were outraged at the series’ finale is an understatement. The show took a whole nine seasons to lead up to the central plot question: how did Ted meet the mother of his children? Well, he met her right after the marriage of his friends Robin and Barney… but just moments later, the show revealed that not only did the mother of Ted’s children die shortly after she gave birth to them, they also showed that Barney and Robin got divorced, too! A divorced Robin and widowed Ted rekindled their relationship, but fans weren’t so pleased. While Barney and Robin had their ups and downs over the entire series, there’s no denying these two should have stayed together. They respected each other and made sacrifices for their relationship, and the divorce wasn’t explained as thoroughly as it should have been. While an alternate ending on the HIMYM DVD showed Ted’s wife still alive and Barney and Robin still together, it should have just been that way the first time around.
5. Rory and Jess, Gilmore Girls
Rory Gilmore had three important relationships on Gilmore Girls: Dean, Jess, and Logan. Dean was arguably the worst – did anyone even like him? He was insecure and needy and all-around just kind of annoying. Logan, while he was cute and sweet to Rory, was a little too privileged and immature to be with someone as sophisticated and driven as Rory. Jess, on the other hand, was her perfect match: though he was a bad boy who was rough around the edges, there’s no denying that they were both good influences on the other. Rory was able to get through to Jess, and helped him turn his life around and make better decisions. Jess, on the other hand, showed Rory how to loosen up and enjoy the fun and spontaneous moments in life. Though they didn’t end up with each other the first time around, we still have a shred of hope. Rory ended the first round of Gilmore Girls as a single lady after rejecting Logan’s marriage proposal.
But in the Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the show ended with Rory sharing with Lorelai that she was pregnant. Who’s the dad? Some immediately thought her baby daddy was Logan (since they were seeing each other pretty frequently throughout the revival) but there’s a slim chance it could be Jess, who she also briefly ran in to and peered through her window very wistfully at one point. We hope another revival answers our questions and leaves Rory with her one true soulmate: Jess.
4. Carrie and Aidan, Sex and the City
Carrie Bradshaw had one simple choice to make: Mr. Big or Aidan – and of course, she made the wrong decision. Over six seasons on Sex and the City, Mr. Big, though he was rich and wore fancy suits, literally strung Carrie along just because he could and knew she would always come back to him. Aidan, on the other hand, was sweet, committed to Carrie, and willing to do anything for her (he even went to Miranda’s mother’s funeral and swore on Chanel). But of course, once given an ultimatum, Carrie chose Big. While it’s clear Carrie and Big were happy at the end of the series and its subsequent movies, we can’t help but think of how much happier Carrie would be had she chosen Aidan.
3. Buffy and Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
There’s no doubt that Buffy and Angel were true soulmates on Buffy the Vampire Slayer– that’s why their breakup was so heartwrenching. But when a vampire with a soul falls in love with a vampire slayer, the ending is bound to be anything but happy. These two loved each other so deeply that many fans have argued that their love story is one of the greatest ever told. They sacrificed so much for each other; Buffy literally let him drink her blood to save his life; Angel let the love of his life go because he thought she’d have a better life without him. Even Sarah Michelle Gellarconfirmed she’s Team Angel. Is there any question that these two deserve to be together?
2. Elio and Oliver, Call Me By Your Name
Call Me By Your Name began as a small indie film, but after its release, it wasn’t long before it was receiving Oscar and Golden Globe buzz – and for good reason. Based on the 2007 novel of the same name, it told the coming of age story of Elio, a 17-year-old boy who was living at his family’s summer home in Italy when he met Oliver: his professor father’s graduate assistant who was also staying with the family for six weeks. Though Elio hated Oliver at first, the two eventually sparked an interest in each other and began a secretive, seductive and intimate relationship throughout the rest of the summer. The chemistry between Elio and Oliver was pretty much undeniable once they fell for each other. You couldn’t help but fall in love with the relationship these two had.
But once the end of the summer rolled around, Oliver had to return to the United States – leaving Elio lonely and brokenhearted. By Hanukkah, Oliver called Elio to let him know that he was getting married to someone else, shattering both Elio and us. Here’s hoping these two find their way back to each other in the movie’s upcoming sequel.
1. Brooke and Lucas, One Tree Hill
Brooke and Lucas ended up with other characters by the time One Tree Hill ended in 2012, but we can’t pretend like we don’t all know they should have ended up together. Where do we start? The hot tub moments? The 82 letters he wrote for her? Every time he called her pretty girl? When he said he pictured Brooke standing next to him when all his dreams came true? Or that time he confessed his love for her in the literal pouring rain? The list could literally go on and on. While Brooke will always be behind the red door, she should be behind the red door with Lucas beside her.