How many of us have looked at those finely-tailored married couples on television sitcoms and wished we could mimic the perfect people they appear to portray? They’re always clever and wise and funny. They always figure out the answer to every major issue in their relationship, all within 30 minutes.
Some sitcom couples have been more romantically inspiring than others These are the ones we remember the most and may even secretly yearn to be like.
Rob and Laura Petrie
In this early 1960’s sitcom, Dick Van Dyke was comedy writer Rob Petrie, while a very young Mary Tyler Moore was his attractive wife Laura on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
This show was on before the Women’s Liberation Movement gathered steam, so Laura was pretty much a traditional stay-at-home wife, although she was allowed to dress in pants, like a real-life housewife did, instead of being in pearls and heels all the time like “Stepford wife” June Cleaver.
This was a young, flirty, vibrant couple that did notalways agree with each other and, unlike t.v. sitcom wives in the past, Laura could speak her mind, which she often did. Rob and Laura looked good together and you knew that they were physically attracted to each other. That’s why having them in twin beds was so ridiculous, because you knew some actionwas going on.
The Dick Van Dyke Show began during the period when President John F. Kennedy was in office and his wife, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, was the woman every other American female wanted to emulate. It’s no mistake that the Petries, like the Kennedys, were also full of youth, vigor and passion.
There’s nothing more romantic than a couple who has fun with each other and Rob and Laura did.
Cliff and Clare Huxtable
Is it possible that any marriage could be this perfect?
On The Cosby Show, Clare Huxtable, as played by Phylicia Allen-Rashad, was elegant and intelligent, while husband Cliff, portrayed by Bill Cosby, was laid back and funny. Personality-wise, one seemed the ultimate compliment of the other.
Alhough they both had stressful, high-profile jobs (Cliff was a doctor, Clare was an attorney) and they had to take care of a houseful of kids with typical kid problems, they made time for each other. Even when they disagreed, there was no yelling or alienation. There was always a peaceful compromise between Cliff and Clare.
They were a romantic pair, but in the sweetest, most subtle manner. Remember the episode that ends with Cliff turning on an old song and feeding Clare sliced apples, as she leans back against him? This is not a sexually-charged moment, by any means, but it speaks volumes about the dynamic of their relationship and, just by the tenderness they display, you know that their more private moments must be equally as special.
David Addison and Maddie Hayes
Few of the younger generation even know about Moonlighting, which ran from 1985 to 1989, but it was the show that helped make Bruce Willis a star. He played private detective David Addison, the partner of fellow private detective Maddie Hayes, as portrayed by the fetching Cybil Shepherd.
This was not your standard comedy. It was sophisticated, funny in an intelligent way and intriguing, as each week David and Maddie took on another mysterious case.
Although this couple wasn’t married, it was crystal clear that there was an underlying attraction between them. Viewers tuned in every week, not only to see what case they were solving, but to see if they would finally let down their guard and get together. They came close on numerous occasions, but stopped short of going any further, to the frustration of fans. Still, there was always an aura of romance, because you knew they really loved each other and it was just a matter of time before they finally admitted it.
David and Maddie finally got together in the fourth season of the show. By that time, however, the quality of the show had somewhat declined and subsequent bizarre plot twists further aggravated things, prompting ABC to cancel Moonlighting.
Just the same, these two were the epitome of elegance, sort of like a hipper version of Nick and Nora Charles. This was also Bruce Willis at his best. As David Addison, not only was he irresistible to Maddie Hayes, but to the females who faithfully tuned into Moonlighting every week, wondering how Maddie could have resisted so long.
Paul and Jamie Buckman
Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt played Paul and Jamie Buchman, a New York newlywed couple on the show Mad About You, a popular sitcom that ran for close to 7 years on NBC and is now in syndication.
Paul was a documentary filmmaker, while Jamie was in public relations, so it was interesting watching them deal with the dynamics of adjusting to marriage, in-laws, sex and professional struggles.
The things they quibbled over were very much like the everyday irritations and common problems all married couples wrestle with, which made them very easy for viewers to relate to. No “cutesy” stuff here, just two very real people going through what we all go through while trying to maintain a decent relationship.
In the midst of all they went through, the love they had for each other was apparent, even when they didn’t particularly get things right all the time. They were endearing, loving and intimate, without having to be “perfect”.
I’d say that, of all the sitcom couples on this list, the Buckmans were more like “us” regular folks.