8 Awesome Non-Romantic Buddy Couples
So it’s Valentine’s Day. Or Enforced Romance Day for many. The candy aisles have turned pink and red. Cards, both sincere and ironic, are flooding Facebook walls everywhere. Restaurants are shooing out the pesky single people who would dare make reservations. And couples and friends get together to celebrate their love for each other.
But while romantic love is fun and all, and there are certainly no shortage of fictional couples out there to celebrate, there’s another sort of couple that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough as it should. I am talking about the non-romantic buddies of the world, the ones who may not be wearing rings or kissing with tongues but who nonetheless hold a deep, unbreakable bond and a special place in our hearts.
Friendship has always been just as important as romance to me, and so this Valentine’s Day I decided to celebrate some of my favourite non-romantic couples. Why 8? Because I’m writing this incredibly last minute. Of course these are franchises only I know about. I am more than likely forgetting something or someone that you love dearly. Or I just didn’t think they made the cut. So if you disagree…well, that’s what comments sections are for. Enjoy!
Walter and Astrid- Fringe
Yeah, yeah, we all love Peter and Olivia and their whole “destined to be together” thing, but you have to also acknowledge everyone’s favourite licorice loving mad scientist and the FBI agent forced to be his assistant (honestly, is ANYONE else curious what her job was before she was a glorified babysitter?)
Sure, Astrid started off as a somewhat obscure character whose only real purpose was to serve as the audience’s exposition machine and have her name forgotten continually by Walter. But it wasn’t long before Walter went from grudgingly tolerating her presence to appreciating her input to depending on her as a grounding force in his life.
Watching the two banter and provide support and concern for each other is one of the many things that makes Fringe great, and it only makes sense to acknowledge them here.
Phoneix and Maya- The Phoenix Wright Games
This is probably a bit more of an obscure reference, but if you haven’t played the Phoneix Wright games on the Nintendo DS that is something you should remedy soon. The game follows Phoneix Wright, ace attorney in a land where law is treated the same way that crime fighting is solved in CSI.
Joining him throughout the series is his friend, Maya, the little sister of his late mentor. Multiple times throughout the stories it’s always joked that Phoneix and Maya could potentially get together, but the two never make the move, instead remaining close colleagues and friends. Phoenix’s somewhat serious and sarcastic nature is nicely balanced with Maya’s sheer enthusiasm for…well, everything.
Harry and Hermione/Harry and Ron- Harry Potter
Shippers everywhere beware: I’ll be getting into some controversial pairings in this article. Yes, I know that since the series ended J.K. Rowling has stated that upon reflection, perhaps Hermione and Ron should not have been the ones to hook up in the end. Many fans agree and there are countless fan fictions dedicated to shipping Harry and Hermione and leaving poor Ron out of the picture.
But truthfully? I always found it refreshing and bold to keep the two as friends. And they still work as friends. Rowling’s writing was always at its best when she focused on the strength of friendship rather than who was snogging who (England wins for having the best kissing slang ever).
Harry and Hermione were no exception, both supporting each other when the other needed it whether it was help studying for a charms exam or rescuing the other one from being tortured by a crazed witch in the midst of an evil wizard’s house. Actually, heck, I’m throwing Ron in here too. His friendship with Harry was also a huge driving force of the series. It’s an incredibly strong friendship and should be acknowledged.
Besides, everyone knows Hermione and Draco should have ended up together.
Jon Snow and Samwell Tarley/Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee
These two couples are going into the same spot. Both have Sam’s. Both form an unshakeable man-bond. Both have to fend off some great evil from their respective fantasy worlds.
But if I were to actually lean more towards one, it would be the Game of Thrones match. Good old Frodo and Samwise merit a mention, sure, but you actually get to see Jon and Sam’s friendship grow from the beginning and really appreciate how close a bond these two misfits form amidst the dreary life of the Night’s Watch.
More than that though, both friends are useful to each other. Jon has the skilled swordsmanship and bravery to defend the much weaker Sam. Sam has book smarts and common sense that keeps his sometimes hot headed friend grounded.
When it comes to Sam and Frodo, it’s a pretty one sided relationship. Frodo appreciates and adores Sam, sure, but Sam does an awful lot of heavy lifting in the relationship. Literally. Seriously, Frodo is useless. But Sam’s loyalty in the face of adversity is admirable, so they get a mention.
Sherlock and Watson- Sherlock/Elementary
I know, I know they might be gay blah blah blah (or just in love in Elementary’s case). And I don’t fault anyone for kind wishing that the famous detective duo would just jump each other already (and I am not a big fan of Steven Moffat’s condemnation of anyone who does), but personally? I never found anything romantic between the two. That doesn’t mean though that they don’t make a great couple.
Sherlock and Watson’s loyalty to each other is practically baffling. Watson sticks by Sherlock’s side despite Sherlock’s tendency to put down everyone that bores him. Sherlock seems to consider Watson his only friend even though Watson is clearly not Sherlock’s intellectual equal. But these two complete opposites complement each other almost perfectly and despite their quirks their devotion to each other remains one of the strongest in fiction.
The fact that Elementary, which I have admittedly not seen, also maintains a non-romantic status is almost mind-blowing considering that Watson is played by a woman and in our culture a straight man and straight woman aren’t allowed to share screen time for more than five minutes before falling in love. Speaking of which…
Jack and Liz- 30 Rock
Good gravy, did people ever want these guys to hook up. As soon as this comedy began to hit its stride, fans began to anticipate the moment that the arrogant CEO of NBC and the quirky sketch comedy writer would throw caution to the wind and end up in bed together.
Tina Fey, blessed be her name, never succumbed to fan pressure though she did have a lot of fun calling attention to the speculations. 30 Rock went through many changes through its run, but one thing that always remained constant was the comraderie of the two main characters. The two constantly bickered and butt heads, but at the end of the day each held a deep respect for each other and was ready to leap to their aid if the other needed it. With hilarious results, of course.
And since we’re on this theme….
The Doctor And Donna- Doctor Who
The reboot of Doctor Who is chock full of companions with insane crushes on the Doctor. They travel with him to see the stars but also in the hopes that he will declare his undying love for them and make them his Timey Wimey Mate…or whatever Time Lords call their spouses.
The notable and so far only exception to this (come on, Clara has a little crush) is one Donna Noble who entered the series as a shrill, disgruntled bride but soon grew into an invaluable friend to the Doctor. The two had an undeniable buddy chemistry. They joked and laughed through their adventures. They berated each other for their various quirks. But more importantly, they comforted and learned from each other. Donna would always remind the Doctor of his compassion and be there for him when the burdens of being a Time Lord weighed heavily. The Doctor in turn helped Donna to realize that anyone is capable of greatness even if they were just a temp from Chiswick.
In a love obsessed culture, the Doctor and Donna not only provided a welcome change of pace, but a well developed one as well. They are proof that a relationship need not be romantic in order to be fulfilling.
Everything Simon Peg and Nick Frost appear in
Come on, you know these two HAD to make the list. Whether they are together whacking zombies in the head or are fighting off a gaggle of small town crazies, the focus is always on the friendship of the put upon straight man and his bumbling, goofy companion. It’s a formula that the two continually return to, but it’s a winning one that is always a delight to watch. It probably helps that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are good friends in real life.
If I were to choose a favourite pairing of the two, it would probably be the characters of Shaun and Ed in Shaun of the Dead. On the surface it’s a story about a man wanting to win back the woman he loves, but even just a little while into the movie you can see that the chemistry between the two unlikely friends is undeniable.
There is never any point in the movie that you doubt the their affection for each other even when they are frustrated and bickering. You can’t help but root for them the entire time. It is tons of fun to watch and leaves your heartstrings more than a little sore by the end.
And that’s that. Of course there are TONS more. What are your favourites? I didn’t even touch comics! Leave your comments below! And enjoy your Valentine’s, however you celebrate it!