5 'Will They, Won't They' TV Pairings That Failed Spectacularly

5 'Will They, Won't They' TV Pairings That Failed Spectacularly
Image credit: CBS, Netflix

The 'will they, won't they' trope can be a double-edged sword, capable of ultimately charming the audience or leaving them feeling let down.

There's something undeniably captivating about the classic 'will they, won't they' storyline. We can't help but be drawn in as two characters dance around their feelings, hesitating to take the plunge into romance. It's the stuff that has made shows like Friends and The X-Files absolute favorites for millions of viewers.

For writers, however, navigating the 'will they, won't they' dynamic is no walk in the park. Essentially, they're faced with two options: either the characters get together or they don't (and let's be real, that second one isn't really an option). But factors like a show's longevity, controversial creative decisions, or behind-the-scenes drama can get in the way of smooth storytelling and create a chaos that ruins the couple forever. Here are five prime examples.

Otis & Maeve

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Sex Education

Otis and Maeve's spark was the main draw for fans who tuned into the Netflix series. As the show progressed, their bond deepened, but when it came to actually dating, things went downhill fast.

Every attempt at romance seemed to backfire, causing hurt not only between Otis and Maeve, but to others as well. Eventually it got to the point where Ruby seemed to be a better fit for Otis. And by the time Otis and Maeve called it quits, it was more of a relief than a shock.

Andy & Erin

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The Office

While The Office blessed us with the iconic couple of Jim and Pam, it also served up the messy relationship between Andy and Erin. Their love arc was a rollercoaster ride of missteps and miscommunication.

From constantly hiding their true feelings to disastrous pairings with other characters, Andy and Erin's road to romance was filled with obstacles. And just when they finally got together, Andy's sudden departure on a boat trip left their storyline unresolved and unsatisfying. Unlike the show's other couples, Andy and Erin were denied any real moments of happiness together, much to the dismay of fans.

Bones & Booth

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The undeniable chemistry and heartfelt connection between Bones and Booth had viewers rooting for them from the start. However, when Bones unexpectedly got pregnant in Season 6, the show hastily pushed them into a relationship, leaving fans feeling like something was missing.

The rushed storyline was a result of Emily Deschanel's real-life pregnancy. But in hindsight, many fans believe it had the potential for better execution and more push-and-pull twists to play with.

Barney & Robin

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How I Met Your Mother

Barney and Robin's unexpected romance brought a fresh and exhilarating dynamic to the show and made many viewers see them as the perfect match. Even fans rooting for Ted and Robin couldn't deny that Barney brought out the best in the tough news anchor.

But the showmakers' insistence on sticking to their original endgame ultimately damaged Barney and Robin's relationship, as well as the sitcom's finale. The decision to kill off the mother and have Robin divorce Barney so she could end up with Ted undermined the character development and storylines that had been building throughout the series.

JD & Elliott

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From the get-go, JD and Elliott seemed destined for happily ever after. However, as their relationship unfolded, it became clear that it was far from ideal. JD's character took a nosedive, constantly sabotaging Elliot's chances at a healthy relationship.

Over time, the audience's affection for JD waned and they found themselves actively rooting against him, making the final romantic arc downright cringe-worthy.

Were you rooting for or against JD when it came to the relationship with Elliot?