This isn't about cougars chasing after twentysomething guys or college students hooking up with professors. We're talking about relationships between adults and underage teenagers that are actually illegal, among other things. Yet, while they're illicit, ill conceived and dangerous in the real world, we can't get enough of them on scripted TV. Hell, some of them are our favorite small-screen couples of all time. While there is a current rash of hot-for-teacher storylines, there have also been plenty of other underage characters who've fallen for someone far too old for them.
Tina and Chris (Skins)
High school student Chris is probably more emotionally mature than his 23-year-old teacher, but still, she did end up getting cuffed and fired because she slept with him. She thankfully had the common sense to turn down his offer to squat in an abandoned house and sell hotdogs. Can't say that we really love them as a couple, but their relationship, including his paper on how he planned on boning her, were quite inappropriate indeed.
Cara Lynn and Greg (Big Love)
Cara Lynn was abandoned by her mother and left in a compound that wasn't exactly what you'd call female friendly, and she was nearly part of a plural marriage to an older man when she was 14. So maybe from her perspective, dating a teacher who was a decade and a half older than her wasn't exactly so bad? Either way, she may be a math genius, but her outlook on men is totally screwed up.
Pacey and Tamara (Dawson's Creek)
The cougar phenomenon was much less of a TV trope back then, but we knew she was trouble when she walked into the video store and flirted with Dawson's best bro. Although they didn't realize that she was his teacher, they kept up their torrid (by early WB standards) affair for the majority of the show's first season. Not that we exactly blame Tamara - Pacey was pretty damned adorable.
Buffy and Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
When they met, she was 16 and he was 241. That's not just one generation gap to overcome, but, like, 15. Of course that didn't stop us for rooting for this couple. Neither did the fact that he was a ruthless monster (at various points in his life) and that her whole purpose in life was to stop vampires like him. Hey, opposites attract, right? Though when we do think about it, losing her virginity to someone that old is more than a little on the icky side. And that's not even counting the fact that their consummation unleashed his evil alter ego Angelus, who then tried to kill everyone around her.
Ezra and Aria (Pretty Little Liars)
Yet another illicit student/teacher relationship that began outside of school (in this case, they met a restaurant and he thought she was a college student). She's naïve and acts like a teenager, while he has boyish charms. His worries about getting caught didn't stop them from holing up in his apartment and holding hands and snuggling. But the worst thing (well, aside from Aria's insufferable wardrobe) is that he thinks that now that he's got a new university job, they can finally have a more public relationship. Dude, she's still only like 16.
Jude and Tommy (Instant Star)
He was a twentysomething ex-boy band member and she was a 15-year-old American Idol knockoff winner, so they were meant for each other. Most of the time. When she found out that her first boyfriend was cheating on her (on her 16th birthday), she sought solace with Tommy and they shared their first very water-logged, very steamy kiss. It was up and down from there, mostly because he was her producer and she was a burgeoning celebrity and they knew that a relationship between them would be wrong. Tommy dated her sister for a while, but he and Jude definitely had chemistry to spare.
Nate and Catherine (Gossip Girl)
This was a couple that we weren't particularly fond of, as they had more problems than just a giant age gap. She was a wealthy significantly older woman and he was still in high school, and while age is mostly irrelevant on this show (when it comes to drinking and running businesses), their coupling was also indecent because he was basically prostituting himself in order to fund his high life when his father fled town. Guess his adorable mug is good for something. Oh, and also wrong? Catherine was sleeping with her stepson as well.
Lux and Eric (Life Unexpected)
Considering she used to date a guy named Bug, dating a teacher was sort of a step up for Lux, even though she didn't know he was one when they met and he romantically offered to take her (a total stranger he found outside a bar) to see the ocean. After that, they crashed weddings together, ousted her best friend from her own apartment and did some after-school tutoring. Things got a little awkward when he befriended one of her father's roommates, but at least there were some repercussions to the relationship once both of 16-year-old Lux's parents quickly ran Mr. Daniels out of town as soon as they found out about their affair.
Gabby and John (Desperate Housewives)
She was a married former model turned housewife who was bored because her husband Carlos was always working, so she hooked up with her teenage gardener John. Yeah, he did like to work without his shirt on, so we can see why she was tempted, but it was still quite immoral. It took his mother (and a bunch of near misses with her husband) for this fact to be finally made clear to them.
Elena and Stefan (The Vampire Diaries)
Compared to Angel, Stefan is practically young at only 162 years old. Still, she's a high school student without a lot of parental supervision. Even if he was only 18 or 19, the amount of time she spends sleeping over at his house would still be wrong. And while they are romantic and destined to be with each other and all that crap, they still aren't exactly the greatest role models for the teenagers that watch the show.
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