BLOGS

Lessons Learned From the Teen Couples of '90s and '00s TV

With ABC Family's summer lineup of teen dramas under way, the romances on shows like Pretty Little Liars get me all nostalgic for some of my past favorite young couples. If one thing hasn't changed since the mid-'90s and early '00s, it's that these soap operas starring teenagers are always filled with intense, over-the-top relationships. So maybe Hanna and Caleb or Spencer and Toby can learn something from these other pairings that fans used to obsess over. (Though when half of the duo is a grown adult who used to be his underage girlfriend's teacher, it might be a bit more tricky... Sorry, Aria and Ezra.)

Seth and Summer, The O.C.
I shipped Seth and Summer before I knew what shipping was - - but wow, did Josh Schwartz love playing with my emotions. They were supposed to represent the classic story of the loveable dork winning over the misunderstood popular girl, then quickly topped the more melodramatic love affair between Ryan and Marissa. Even though Seth was always more than just Ryan's nerdy sidekick, it took a little while for Summer to rise above her party girl stereotype. But when she did, she quickly became the only girl good enough for the amazing (to my tween heart) Seth Cohen. I could've watched them banter through every episode but instead, I had to worry about their fate as new drama entered their lives way too often. They had to deal with shootings, stupid Anna, drug problems, idiot Zach, a bisexual bartender, George Lucas, spontaneous personality changes, an earthquake... you know, normal teen problems. Towards the end, it sometimes got difficult to watch The O.C., but it was worth it to make sure they survived to sail away on the Summer Breeze.
Lesson Learned: No obstacles, be they completely illogical or contrived, can stand in the way of your bliss.

Rory and Jess, Gilmore Girls
Oh, Jess Mariano. From the day he showed up in Stars Hollow wearing a leather jacket with a paperback in his back pocket, good girl Rory was a goner and poor Dean was screwed (not in the good way). Jess may have been Lorelai's worst nightmare -- stealing beer from her fridge and acting like a jerk, not to mention showing up to the Gilmores' house with a black eye -- but let's face it, he was perfection. Jess and Rory's back-and-forth flirting and fighting may have lasted longer than their actual relationship, but Jess with his tough-guy exterior and book-loving, vulnerable inside left his mark. Every time he popped back after his untimely exit, I fell for him all over again (like Rory should have) and my fingers are still crossed for a reunion movie where they end up together. Milo Ventimiglia owes me one; I sat through four seasons of Heroes for him.
Lesson Learned: If a guy is rude to your family, fails school and seems like an all-around bad person, he's really just a sensitive writer who needs your help.

Zack and Kelly, Saved by the Bell
Bayside High apparently had a very small body of students, and they all really, really liked each other. Zack and Kelly, of course, were the main couple. Much of the show revolved around the ups and downs of the relationship between the ideal couple -- a funny, popular guy (who could randomly stop time) and a beautiful cheerleader... except apparently, they weren't good enough for each other. The series started with Slater and Zack fighting over Kelly, while most of Kelly's other boyfriends were secondary Bayside characters. As for Zack, well, he dated almost every girl to appear on the show. There was a brief relationship with Jessie (who was so excited), another with Lisa, then short-lived main character Tori and then the girl from the random let's-all-work-at-the-same-beach-club storyline. But Kelly didn't care that her boyfriend dated every girl she'd ever become semi-friendly with; they were the fictional Bayside's golden couple, and after a stint at the also fictional Cal U, they had a wonderful, last-minute, Screech-filled wedding during a terrible TV special. It seems like the Gossip Girl gang learned a thing or two from them, too.
Lesson Learned: Don't let the fact that your significant other dated your best friends ruin your relationship.

Cory and Topanga, Boy Meets World
Sure, there was that one time that Cory kissed that skank Lauren on the ski trip and then Topanga met the guy at the art gallery (who in my memory was played by Leonardo DiCaprio but according to IMDb was actually Jonathon Jackson -- whatever), but other than that, this power couple's drama never lasted as long as most of their TV counterparts. They supposedly loved each other since they were five years old -- even though in the early episodes they were barely even friends. Still, Topanga never left him for Shawn Hunter, which has to show her devotion. Not only was their love strong enough to erase their middle school memories, it also managed to lure Topanga away from Yale and into non-existent Pennbrook and marriage to Cory two years later. They lived horribly for a while, stuck in the "married dorms" (which along with those co-ed bathrooms probably aren't real) and begging Cory's stubborn parents for help, but it all worked out because they had each other. Or maybe it was because of Mr. Feeny's brilliant guidance throughout their entire lives. Either way.
Lesson Learned: Love conquers all... especially continuity and the Ivy League.

DJ and Steve, Full House
For the first few seasons of Full House, it seemed like DJ would always be unlucky in love. She was kind of nerdy, wore some of the worst '90s fashion and was usually surrounded by her overbearing goofy family. Then she found Steve, and suddenly there were guys showing up for her all the time. Still, none of them could compete with the older, Aladdin-voicing boy. Aside from their eventual issues, there was one major problem between the two: every time Steve tried to get lucky, massive complications occurred. On their first date, Michelle and Stephanie got kicked out of the movies for sneaking in while the oblivious couple made out behind them. The next time Steve was around, DJ was so distracted by his mouth that she didn't notice her sisters had got on a plane to New Zealand. Another time, their kissing actually caused a truck to pour cement all over the Tanner kitchen. We can only hope that eventually DJ was able to leave the house and be with Steve without putting her sisters in danger or causing more property damage.
Lesson Learned: Don't make out, anywhere, ever.

Think you're a TV or movie expert? Prove it! Play Trivia Without Pity, our new online trivia game with over 2,000 questions about the shows and films you love -- and love to hate.

What are people saying about your favorite shows and stars right now? Find out with Talk Without Pity, the social media site for real TV fans. See Tweets and Facebook comments in real time and add your own -- all without leaving TWoP. Join the conversation now!

Comments

SHARE THE SNARK

X

Get the most of your experience.
Share the Snark!

See content relevant to you based on what your friends are reading and watching.

Share your activity with your friends to Facebook's News Feed, Timeline and Ticker.

Stay in Control: Delete any item from your activity that you choose not to share.

MOST RECENT POSTS

BLOG ARCHIVES

Brilliant But Cancelled

March 2014

1 ENTRIES

February 2014

1 ENTRIES

January 2014

2 ENTRIES

December 2013

1 ENTRIES

November 2013

1 ENTRIES

October 2013

4 ENTRIES

September 2013

3 ENTRIES

August 2013

2 ENTRIES

July 2013

3 ENTRIES

June 2013

1 ENTRIES

May 2013

2 ENTRIES

March 2013

2 ENTRIES

January 2013

2 ENTRIES

December 2012

1 ENTRIES

November 2012

2 ENTRIES

August 2012

1 ENTRIES

July 2012

2 ENTRIES

June 2012

2 ENTRIES

May 2012

3 ENTRIES

April 2012

2 ENTRIES

March 2012

1 ENTRIES

February 2012

1 ENTRIES

January 2012

1 ENTRIES

The Latest Activity On TwOP