Fictional Women Deserve Better Too

Listen, I’m a feminist second and a proud consumer of cheesy romance first. Romance is one of my favorite genres and if the TV show doesn’t have a cute couple to root for, I’m frankly not interested. With that being said, there are some fictional couples that I cannot get behind in good conscience. They leave me asking, “what does she see in this guy?”. Even as a hopeless romantic, I have my limits. So, if I lived in these characters’ fictional worlds as their best friend, I would tell them that they deserve better. 


1. Sandy and Danny, “Grease” (1978)

Grease was one of my most watched movies as a kid. However, when I revisited with my adult perspective, I came to a new realization: Sandy and Danny should not have ended up together. The main plot of “Grease” is two individuals falling in love despite coming from two different worlds. The main conflict stems from their differences and dabbling in each other’s worlds to make their relationship work. 

“Grease” is a cute concept; however, I would argue that Danny doesn’t change for Sandy in the same capacity that Sandy changes for him. Sure, he gives the preppy schoolboy thing a try, but he’s back in his traditional attire. Sandy ends the film completely forgoing her goody two shoes look in exchange for something more like Danny’s speed. 

            Most jarringly, Danny tries to pressure Sandy into having sex with him. Sandy has to literally run away from him. Don’t even get me started on Danny ditching Sandy at the school dance to dance with another girl. Perhaps basing a romance on how much two people can change in order to be in a functioning relationship doesn’t make a strong couple. Sandy, if you were my best friend, I would tell you that you deserve better. 


2. Ross and Rachel, “Friends” (1995-2005)

            I’m a loud and proud “Friends” lover and I don’t care how basic it is. What I am not a lover of, and never have been, is the Ross and Rachel storyline that spans all ten seasons. It’s hard to convince me that a couple that keeps breaking up is meant to be because it sounds like they’re not. 

            Ross was a terrible boyfriend. From him being insanely jealous of Rachel’s coworker, showing up to her new job unannounced and overall undermining Rachel’s career and intelligence. The nail in the coffin was when Ross slept with another girl after he and Rachel got into a fight. I could probably go on, but the bottom line is they shouldn’t be together. 

            After ten years of watching these characters mature and settle into their careers and family life, Rachel doesn’t learn a thing when it comes to Ross. In the series finale, she leaves her dream job in Paris to get back together with Ross. When it comes to choosing between a career and a boy, I’m always going to tell you to choose the career. Ross and Rachel are a quintessential TV show romance, which definitely ended in divorce. While everyone was yelling, “get off the plane,” to Rachel I was silently pleading for her to stay on it


3. Ted and Robin, “How I Met Your Mother” (2005-2014)

“How I Met Your Mother” is a show about love. Ted retells the days when he was a hopeless romantic navigating relationships with various women who almost ended up being the mother to his children. Ted first falls in love with Robin but they ultimately break up because they want different things out of life. Robin is career-focused and has no interest in having children whereas Ted does. Robin seeks independence and wants to live a life outside of the traditional expectations for women. 

Throughout the series, Robin is able to grow in her career and find a relationship that meets her nonconformist ways. Ted meets the mother of his children and is able to have the life that he’s always wanted. The show should have ended just like that, but of course, that isn’t the case. In the series finale, the show reveals that Ted is a widow and Robin is divorced. In typical rom-com fashion, Ted makes a grand romantic gesture to Robin and the two get back together. 

The ending of the show undoes years of character progression for both Ted and Robin. Most importantly, Robin had been vocal throughout the series about prioritizing her career and not being interested in being a traditional mother and wife, which is what Ted had wanted. The series finale would’ve been more impactful if Robin didn’t end up with anybody and was able to find happiness outside of a romantic relationship. Robin, when Ted showed up at your window holding the blue trumpet, you should have shut it and went to bed.