It was obvious almost from the very first episode of Friends that Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) were meant to be together, but they always seemed to get their wires crossed. One would be ready, and the other would be unavailable. And even when they were a couple, things didn’t always work out. But Ross and Rachel had a romance for the ages, and by the end of the show’s run they’d had a child together and decided to finally commit to each other for the long haul.
The quintessential “will they or won’t they?” couple gave in to their mutual attraction in the show’s second season, but their love-hate relationship continued until Shelley Long, who played Diane, left at the end of the end of the fifth season (she came back for the final episode). The uncouth bartender (played by Ted Danson) and the uppity waitress (Long) became the template for countless future sitcom couples whose relationships were fraught with sexual tension.
Steve Urkel & Laura Winslow, 'Family Matters'
Originally conceived as a single-appearance guest star, Jaleel White’s uber-nerd Steve Urkel became the most popular character on Family Matters, and was always motivated by his love for Laura Winslow (Kelly Shanygne Williams). As the show became more fantastical and absurd, Steve cloned himself, and his suave doppelganger became Laura’s boyfriend. In the end, though, she chose nerdy Steve over his romantic (yet scientifically improbable) alter ego.
Cheers spin-off Frasier got a lot of mileage out of its own “will they or won’t they?” couple, fussy psychiatrist Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and earthy physical therapist Daphne (Jane Leeves). Niles’ marriage to the never-seen Maris, along with his natural timidity, kept the couple apart for six seasons, and their road to eventual happiness was a bumpy one. But they did end up finding bliss and even having a son, making Niles a much greater success in love than his brother Frasier.
The original British version of The Office had its own star-crossed lovers in Tim and Dawn, but their romance was much briefer, and reached a definitive conclusion. The U.S. version of the show has already had a significantly longer life, so co-workers Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) have had plenty of time for their romance to blossom and develop. Even though it hit its share of obstacles, Jim and Pam's relationship had a happy ending when they got married in the show's sixth season, and eventually had two children together.
Neighbors and childhood friends Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna (Laura Prepon) got together early on and weathered plenty of storms, including the departure of actor Topher Grace at the end of the show’s seventh season. But they always ended up back in each other’s arms, and their sarcastic repartee was an expression of their genuine true love. The show ended on a hopeful, if uncertain, note for their future.
Chachi Arcola & Joanie Cunningham, 'Happy Days'
It was right there in the title of their Happy Days spin-off: Joanie Loves Chachi (pictured). Chachi (Scott Baio), cousin of Fonzie, and Joanie (Erin Moran), sister of Richie Cunningham, fell in love while pursuing their rock-star dreams. Joanie Loves Chachi, which found the two moving from Wisconsin to Chicago to play in a band, didn’t last long, but Joanie and Chachi’s love did; they got married in the Happy Days series finale.
Joe Gerard & Rhoda Morgenstern, 'Rhoda'
Rhoda’s romance with Joe (David Groh) blossomed on her spin-off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and the episode featuring their marriage was a highly rated event. It wasn’t meant to last, though, as the couple ended up divorcing in the show’s third season, a development that led to a steep ratings decline. Fans may have known that Joe and Rhoda (Valerie Harper) were meant to be, but they never got to see the couple reunite.
Andy Taylor & Helen Crump, 'The Andy Griffith Show'
There’s perhaps no more wholesome TV presence than Andy Griffith, and his small-town sheriff Andy Taylor had a pretty darn wholesome relationship with teacher sweetheart Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut). Double dating with Barney Fife and his girl was about as racy as Andy and Helen got, although they did have their share of tiffs. The squeaky clean lovebirds eventually got married on Andy Griffith Show spin-off Mayberry R.F.D.
The two awkward doctors got it on pretty early in Scrubs’ run, and went back and forth in their relationship throughout the series. Although each had significant romances with other people, J.D. (Zach Braff) and Elliot (Sarah Chalke) always drifted back together, and eventually ended up married and expecting their first child by the end of the show's ninth and final season.