While most romantic notions in television and film range from patriarchal to impossible, as I watched the finale of Girls two months ago, I couldn’t help but admire the particular and relatively believable quality of the way Adam acted towards Hannah. He may be far from perfect, but the fact that he ran around New York shirtless just to comfort Hannah is quite something. I began to think about the qualities of all the fabulous love interests I’ve come across in television and film. The question arose: what would make the perfect love interest?
I admire the intelligence of Sam (Jared Padalecki) from Supernatural, the loyalty of Santana (Naya Rivera) from Glee, and the kindness of Marshall (Jason Segel) from How I Met Your Mother. I find the strength of Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) from Parks and Recreation irresistible, and the wit of Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) from True Blood impossible to match in the real world. Although Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.) from She’s All That was a sort of douchebag, his smile stills makes my heart skip a beat. The range of inside jokes of both Celeste and Jesse in Celeste and Jesse Forever is heart-warming.
Vic from What I Like About You has an ability to endure that I still look for in a real life significant other. But for this one, I must pause. While What I Like About You was a relatively obscure teenage sitcom that aired on The WB and can now be seen in the late night line-ups of Nickelodeon and ABC Family, it was a decent and funny show to watch. Vic was a romantic interest of Val (Jennie Garth), who married her on a drunken escapade in season 4, then refused to annul the marriage. As horrifying as it sounds, his attempts to win Val over, and his refusal to give up because he knew deep down that she was in love with him, were sickeningly romantic and endearing. So much so, that Vic, an obscure beefy Italian character from an early 2000’s sitcom, has ruined my idea of love.
The lovable Brad O’Keefe (Bret Harrison) from Grounded for Life makes me yearn for the next-door-neighbor stereotype. I admire the bounds of friendship that exist between the ladies of Desperate Housewives and would desire such a friendship between my love interest and I. Naturally, the Australian accent of Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger, RIP) of 10 Things I Hate About You along with the sarcasm of Katarina Stratford and the overall nature of Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) from Ever After: A Cinderella Story kill me softly.
For honorable mention, the emotion of Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet, The Holiday), the sex appeal of Roux (Johnny Depp) from Chocolat, the sense of humor and the ability to treat children like human beings of Will Freeman (Hugh Grant, About a Boy), the badassness and loyalty to her family of Wichita (Emma Stone, Zombieland), the resilience of Noah (Ryan Gosling) from The Notebook and Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) from 50 First Dates, and the badassness of John Bender (Judd Nelson) from The Breakfast Club, the optimism of Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) from He’s Just Not That Into You. And while all of these strong and enduring qualities may not be able to exist in a single human being, we can all dream.
Not satisfied with this recipe? Nominate the qualities of your favorite TV or film-based love interest in the comments.
Art by Laura C.