Hello young lovers! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Despite what the “haters” and stereotypers might claim, we nerds are actually a very romantic lot…It’s just our taste in love stories that’s somewhat different.
Our tales of timeless romance involve starships or zombies or robots or mutants. Our romantic idols are space smugglers and super heroes and suave sociopaths. We adore a good love story–we just adore it more when the lovers are puppets or vampires.
The characters below are from love stories every bit as profound and heart-wrenching as Romeo and Juliet–and some are even more tragic (thank you, Joss Whedon).
So hold your Nerd Guy or Nerd Girl (or anime character-themed body pillow–we don’t judge) close, and get in the mood for love with The 10 Most Romantic Couples In Nerddom.
10. Shaun and Liz (Shaun of the Dead)
Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright‘s groundbreaking “Rom-Zom-Com” (romantic zombie comedy) would be nothing without the “Rom”. Shaun and Liz (Simon Pegg and Kate Ashfield) are a typical young British couple. Liz is beginning to feel like their relationship is stagnating, and doesn’t think Shaun is doing enough to change this. So she dumps him after he forgets to make reservations for their anniversary dinner….
Then the dead begin to walk the earth.
Sometimes it takes something like a zombie apocalypse for a woman to learn what her man is truly made of, and watching Liz fall back in love with Shaun as he leads her, her annoying roomies, his mum, and his slacker buddy to safety through the shambling undead hordes is a romantic delight.
9. Zoe and Hoban “Wash” Washburne (Firefly)
As Firefly fans know, Zoe (Gina Torres) didn’t think much of Wash (Alan Tudyk) when they first met–and can you blame her? She’s a stoic, almost grim, tough-as-nails war veteran–and he’s a wiseass manchild who plays with plastic dinosaurs during his down time. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a single thing these two have in common. As Wash himself once said: “Not everybody gets Zoe and me at first glance”. But the strength of their bond–despite, or perhaps because of the unlikely nature of their marriage–was one of the things that made Firefly so special. They were 100% believable as a couple, even when they quarreled.
Oh, and to address the interracial issue: One of the awesome things about sci-fi is you can create a universe where things that would be an issue in our world are of absolutely no consequence. That’s all I have to say on that.
8. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
The romance of Harry Potter‘s two best friends has come under intense scrutiny of late, ever since J.K. Rowling seemingly expressed regret that Hermione (Emma Watson) wound up married to Ron (Rupert Grint). There’s more to what she actually said, of course, but it was enough to get the internet up in arms. Some say the combative relationship of “Romione” (yeah–they went there 😛 ) means they could never have a successful romance–and Hermione would be better off with someone like Harry. Others love the back and forth between them, and believe the pair would have a rocky, but loving and devoted marriage.
Whatever the fanatics and “shippers” may say, Ron and Hermione are a wonderful literary example of characters that grow and change together–and I’m sure that growth continued long after the events of Deathly Hallows
7. Joker and Harley Quinn (Batman: The Animated Series and DC Comics)
Villains need love, too. And while super-psychotic arch criminal The Joker will never TRULY love anyone but himself, he was willing to tolerate being the object of the former Dr. Harleen Quinzel’s misplaced affections. Joker’s goofy, obsessive, disturbingly sexy moll first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, where she was voiced by Arleen Sorkin, and proceeded to try her darnedest to make the Clown Prince of Crime (voiced by Mark Hamill) a happy villain. Dr. Quinzel was once Joker’s psychiatrist during one of his “visits” to Arkham Asylum, and in the course of his treatment, poor Harleen got lost somewhere inside The Joker’s inscrutable mind….what made it out was no longer the bright young psychiatrist–but an amoral maniac in a skintight jester’s outfit.
Their relationship is, of course, dysfunctional at best, and often downright abusive–but Harley is committed to winning over her “Puddin'”. Such determination might be admirable were it not so perverse.
6. Buffy Summers and Angel (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
The second Whedon pairing of the day is arguably the greatest vampiric romance in the history of fiction (SUCK IT, Bella and Edward). Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is The Slayer–the latest in a long line of young women gifted with enhanced abilities she uses to hunt down and destroy the undead. Angel (David Boreanaz) was once the dreaded vampire Angelus, who slaughtered countless innocent humans all across Europe for food and pleasure. But when he ran afoul of a vengeful Gypsy, he was cursed: His human soul was restored, making him feel unimaginable remorse for all his evils, and driving him to become a force for good…HOWEVER, if he ever experiences a moment of perfect happiness, he will lose his soul and become Angelus again.
Buffy and Angel fell powerfully, intensely, passionately in love…but knew they could never (ahem) “express” their love–intimately, that is, for fear of unleashing Angelus.
It’s the kind of hopeless romantic tragedy that a master emotional manipulator like Joss Whedon excels at.
5. Phillip J. Fry and Turanga Leela (Futurama)
Fry (voice of Billy West) and Leela’s (voice of Katey Sagal)”will they? won’t they?” romance was an integral part of Futurama throughout all eight seasons of Matt Groening and David X. Cohen‘s cult favorite animated series. Fry’s advances are rebuffed, and his affections unreturned all throughout the first 4 seasons. At first it’s pretty understandable: Fry’s a lackadaisical idiot with nothing to offer save for good intentions–and Leela (for a one-eyed cartoon mutant) is a total babe, way out of a loser like Fry’s league.
Over time we come to learn that Fry–while unintelligent, immature, and lazy–is honorable, fiercely loyal, and utterly devoted to the people he loves. At the same time, the beautiful, intelligent, well-adjusted Leela is revealed as a seething ball of neuroses: She was an orphan who grew up believing she was an alien, only to learn as an adult that she’s really a sewer mutant–she got to know her parents, but had to hide the truth of her origins or get deported to the sewer. On top of that, she’s anal-retentive, meddling, nosy, and her impossible dating standards meant she was perennially alone….it takes four seasons before she really begins to consider Fry as a romantic prospect. They don’t even have their first kiss until the end of the 4th Futurama made for dvd movie: Into The Wild Green Yonder.
When the series was rescued from Cancellation Hell by Comedy Central, Fry and Leela became an on again, off again couple–until the final season, when they (finally) started to get serious. The series ended (for good this time) with Fry proposing to Leela…and I’m hoping another made for dvd movie will be made to cover their wedding.
4. Gomez and Morticia Addams (The Addams Family)
Has there ever been a couple more passionate, more romantic, creepier, kookier, mysteriouser, or spookier than Gomez and Morticia?
Portrayed on the original 1964 tv series by John Astin and Carolyn Jones, and in the 1991 film version (and its 1993 sequel) by Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston, the Addamses have been romantic role models for geeks, weirdos, oddballs, goths and everyone else who just doesn’t quite fit in for 50 years. They proved that you don’t have to be “normal” to find true love, and that romance doesn’t have to be sickly sweet or trite: It can be strange, dark, a little twisted, a bit scary, and altogether ooky.
Oh, Gomez and Morticia have also been played by Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth on Broadway…and by Tim Curry and Daryl Hannah in the straight-to-video Addams Family Reunion.
3. Kermit The Frog and Miss Piggy (Jim Henson’s Muppets)
Quite possibly the most famous non-human romance (and definitely the most famous inter-species romance) in modern pop culture is that of Kermit and Piggy. They’ve been together for close to 40 years–been married at least twice (once on The Muppet Show, and at the climax of The Muppets Take Manhattan), and are reportedly going to be tying the knot again in the upcoming Muppets Most Wanted.
Like Zoe and Wash, and Ron and Hermione, Kermit and Piggy strike many as an unlikely pair–and more than just because you have to go back to the level of Phylum before they have any common biological ancestors. Kermit is soft spoken, agreeable, and rather low-key–while Piggy is loud, combative, and bombastic. She’s also jealous, possessive, and borderline physically abusive.
How or why they work (in more ways than one) is a total mystery, but their love is unmistakable and timeless.
2. Superman and Lois Lane (DC Comics)
Easily the greatest comic book romance of all time, most modern iterations of Superman’s story (the tv series Smallville and the film Man of Steel, for example) realize that Lois would have figured out who Clark Kent is–I mean, she IS a Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist: It stands to reason that eventually she’d notice that the man she loves is the guy she works with sans glasses.
The pair have been married in more than one version of the story–even had children in some scenarios. Superman just isn’t Superman without Lois Lane, she “grounds” him….she reminds him what he’s fighting for, and why the life he chose is worth everything he’s had to give up. Other “Double L” girls may come and go–Lana Lang, Lori Lemaris….but Supes will always find his way back to Lois.
The supercouple has been portrayed on the big and small screen by the likes of George Reeves and Noel Neil, Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher, Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth, Tom Welling and Erica Durance, and most recently: Henry Cavill and Amy Adams.
1. Han Solo and Leia Organa (Star Wars)
If you didn’t realize who #1 was gonna be by the time you were halfway through this list, shame on you!
Sci-fi cinema’s greatest love story is without a doubt the romance between a Corellian smuggler and an adopted Alderaanian princess/senator/rebel leader.
At first, Leia (Carrie Fisher) thinks Han (Harrison Ford) is a–wait for it– “stuck up, half witted, scruffy looking Nerf herder”…besides, that nice boy from Tattooine is so sweet–and a really good kisser!
Well, a few months on the lam, hiding in asteroid fields and evading Imperial Star Destroyers can start to change anyone’s opinion–and eventually, her Highness-ness realized that she’s got a thing for scoundrels.
Once Leia found out that the cute kid from the desert was actually her brother, nothing stood in the way of her and her spice smuggling squeeze (except perhaps the hour of vomiting cased by the realization that she recently gave “Bro” a yard of tongue)
In the Expanded Universe novels, Han and Leia married and had 3 children (Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin). Hopefully, the writers of Episode VII were at least smart enough to include their marriage in what will become Star Wars canon.