Ships That Sailed in My Heart: 10 TV Couples I Rooted For Growing Up
Shipping wars have become ubiquitous in television now. If two characters so much as exchange eye contact, you better believe they will have an obnoxious mash-up of their names and a hundred fanfictions dedicated to the romantic undertones in said eye contact. Oh, and don’t forget the wars rabid fans get into as they argue whose ship is the best and should definitely be “endgame.”
I’m not a particularly passionate shipper unless you count my undying devotion for #TeamJaFael in my Jane the Virgin recaps, but when I think about it, I always did have favorite couples I rooted for as a kid. Here are my top 10 ships growing up.
10. Laverne DeFazio and Lenny Kosnowski, Laverne and Shirley
Ship Name: Lavenny
When I Started Shipping It: “Lenny’s Crush” (Season 4, Episode 18)
Why I Started Shipping It: Oh, how could you not?!?! Lenny was a dope, but he was a sweet dope who turned out to have a lot in common with the feisty Laverne as revealed in this episode. They both liked sports, enjoyed monster movies, and were already friends with a great rapport. Plus, Lenny didn’t care if Laverne didn’t look perfectly made up all the time. For God’s sake, he sang “I’m in Love With Laverne” to Laverne while she was in pajamas with her legs half shaved.
If a man can still sing a love song to you with a straight face when you look like that, then you’ve got yourself a keeper. Especially when he doesn’t think it’s weird you drink Pepsi and milk mixed together.
9. Marion and Howard Cunningham, Happy Days
Ship Name: Harion
When I Started Shipping It: “Dance Contest” (Season 3, Episode 16)
Why I Started Shipping It: Marion and Howard Cunningham were always an ideal couple with amazing comedic chemistry, but it wasn’t until they got their own storyline in this episode that I realized how great of a couple they were. Howard was all ready to fight the Fonz (the Fonz, people!) because he thought Fonzie and Marion were having an affair. That’s true love right there.
Even though Howard and Marion may have had their disagreements over the years, they knew that with each other, they would always have happy days.
Yeah, I made that pun.
8. Sabrina Spellman and Harvey Kinkel, Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Ship Name: Habrina
When I Started Shipping It: “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)
Why I Shipped It: Something about the way those two crazy kids made eye contact at 12:36 pm really drew me in. Sabrina and Harvey were picture perfect high school sweethearts, if you exclude the fact that she was a witch and often had to cast spells on Harvey to make him forget the crazy hijinks her powers caused. Even though I was sad when Harvey broke up with Sabrina after finding out she was a witch–come on, Samantha’s husband(s) didn’t mind!–I realized it was a good choice. Harvey got a chance to adjust to Sabrina’s magical life as a friend who could help her out of sticky situations, instead of being the reason she got into them.
I was happy when Sabrina broke up with her fiance and rode off with Harvey into the sunset at exactly 12:36 pm. That’s a story to tell the grandkids. After you explain Grandma is a witch, of course.
7. Roseanne and Dan Conner, Roseanne
Ship Name: Ran
When I Started Shipping It: “Life and Stuff” (Season 1, Episode 1)
Why I Shipped It: From the very beginning, Roseanne and John Goodman had such excellent chemistry that I really would have believed that the two had been married for over ten years with three kids. Even though they often made sarcastic barbs towards one another and married life, at the end of the day they were truly in love . I was completely devastated when Roseanne and Dan briefly separated in season 9 and then even more when the finale revealed Dan actually died from his heart attack.
On the bright side, at least this meant none of season 9 was real, although we still had the misfortune of watching it.
6. Brooke Davis and Happiness, One Tree Hill
Ship Name: Brappiness
When I Started Shipping It: “Crash Course in Polite Conversations” (Season 1, Episode 11)
Why I Shipped It: Brooke Davis, despite being the bad girl of One Tree Hill, was actually a sweet girl who deserved a much better guy than Lucas Scott, who flip-flopped between loving Brooke and her best friend, Peyton Sawyer. In this particular episode, Peyton and Lucas almost had sex, and while Peyton felt guilty for betraying her best friend, Lucas insists on pursuing Peyton. It was here when I decided that I would not join the ranks of the Brucas vs. Leyton shippers because what I really wanted for Brooke was to be happy instead of in a relationship with a two-timing jerk who made pretentious narrations.
I stopped watching One Tree Hill after the five-year time skip, but I later finished the series and was happy to see that Brooke went on to be a successful businesswoman who married a filmmaker and had twin children. Suck it, Lucas.
5. Cordelia Chase and Angel, Angel
Ship Name: Cangel
When I Started Shipping It: “Provider” (Season 3, Episode 12)
Why I Shipped It: I know, I know! Everyone knows the official couple of the Buffy-verse is Buffy/Angel, but when Cordelia moved out to L.A. and joined Angel Investigations, I was impressed at how much Cordelia grew up from the spoiled, shallow popular girl from Sunnydale to be a fearless defender of the innocent and true friend, so I thought she’d be a perfect match for Angel. Although Cordelia and Angel had flirtatious moments before, the last scene in “Provider” where they feed Angel’s son Conner and bicker over what to spend their money on like an old married couple was where I started to root for a relationship. Season 3 teased the possibility, but my hopes were dashed when Cordelia had to leave to become a Higher Being.
And then my hopes were further dashed by season 4. Let’s not talk about season 4, please.
4. Audrey Horne and FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks
Ship Name: Special Agent Hooper
When I Started Shipping It: “Traces to Nowhere” (Season 1, Episode 2)
Why I Shipped It: Maybe it was the sultry jazz music that played every time Audrey Horne came on screen, but she and Special Agent Dale Cooper sizzled together. Cooper was the first one to see through Audrey’s bravado and encourage her to do more with her life, and Audrey quickly proved herself to be a plucky and clever aid to the investigation of Laura Palmer’s murder. The writers even planned for the characters to get together, but actor Kyle MacLachlan (most likely at the urging of his then-girlfriend Laura Flynn Boyle, who played Donna) claimed to be uncomfortable at being paired with an eighteen year old.
So the writers brought in new love interests for both of them: business associate John Justice Wheeler (Billy Zane) for Audrey and beautiful waitress Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham) for Dale. Ironically, Heather Graham was five years younger than Sherilyn Fenn and her character was only 20. But Showtime is in talks to revive the series so hopefully it will be revealed that Audrey and Dale ended up together anyway.
3. Lizzie McGuire and David “Gordo” Gordon, Lizzie McGuire
Ship Name: Gizzie
When I Started Shipping It: “First Kiss” (Season 2, Episode 1)
Why I Shipped It: Lizzie and Gordo had been best friends forever, and like Lizzie, I considered him a brother figure until this episode where it became apparent he had a crush on Lizzie. After Ronnie broke her heart, Gordo comforted Lizzie by telling her that she was special even without Ronnie. And when she didn’t want to go to the school dance, he brough-*t her mini donuts! How could she not realize that Gordo is the one for her?
Luckily, they got together in The Lizzie McGuire Movie so my thirteen-year-old self could breath easy.
2. Angela Chase and Maturity, My So-Called Life
Ship Name: Angurity
When I Started Shipping It: “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)
Why I Shipped It: I know you’re fifteen and I’m sure I was just as equally obnoxious and immature, but goddammit, Angela!!! Get it together!!! Angela, how could you not tell that Jordan Catalano is no good?! I mean sure, he’s way dreamier than Brian Krakow, but he treats you like crap! Also, could you manage to not be mean to Sharon Cherski when her father had a heart attack and she was really sad about it? Oh, tell Jordan off! It’s okay to be a virgin! You look out for Rayanne! And Rickie, sweet Rickie, who is too good for this earth. And be nice to your mom! I know she’s really annoying right now, but she means well!
1. Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Ship Name: Tillow
When I Started Shipping It: “A New Man” (Season 4, Episode 12)
Why I Shipped It: It was Tara and Willow, people! How could you not root for them? They were so cute together and they helped each other come out of their shells and become powerful witches and they were just so sweet together and…well, you all know what happened.
Let’s not think about that and just remember how Tara and Willow were one of the first on screen lesbian couples and how cute they were together.