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Celebrating Love - Top 12 LGBTQ+ Couples in Television History!

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Disclaimer: Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpoilerTV.

Love is love, no matter what sexual orientation or identity of a person is, where there’s love, there’s bound to be representation; and on the silver screen, we’ve seen LGBTQ+ characters and couples since the early 70s! The first known character to have been gay on primetime TV, was Steve on the show “All In The Family” played by Phillip Carey in 1971. The first onscreen lesbian kiss was in 1974 on the British BBC Drama, “Girl” between Alison Steadman and Myra Frances. From then until present day, there have been shows across various networks and streaming sites which feature characters and couples who are part of the LGBTQ+ community - this article highlights just a few of the very many ships that we know and love, we picked a dozen couples to talk about this Pride Month! Here they are in no particular order.

#1 Buck & Tommy - "911" by Anjali Savalani:

Every show that hits their 100th episode milestone is always an achievement in and of itself, one that they take the time to highlight by showing different stories for different shows; sometimes there's an ensemble musical filled with laughs and shenanigans, or a wedding to celebrate, or an alternate universe "what if?" question that gets answered! And then there's "911" which took the opportunity to center its 100th episode around fan-favorite beloved Evan "Buck" Buckley and his personal journey of self-discovery - he's bisexual! "Buck, Bothered and Bewildered" featured an hour that centered around Buck, a character who is not just one of the main cast, but someone who is in his 30s and had always been seen before this as a serial dater and a womanizer - and yet, there was something missing. Something that he couldn't quite put his finger on until he met Tommy Kinard and realized just what it was... he needed to free himself from all of the pressures and expectations and pre-conceived notions that who he had been all this time was the real, authentic him. 

911 is a show that already has shown us what queer love stories look like, through Hen & Karen or Michael & David, but also in other people living their day to day lives when the Team answers 911 calls or in Josh Russo - a secondary, but still quite-oft featured character. With Buck though, it's a story that he is still very much going through in all of the episodes that followed in its seventh season, and we the audience are following along the journey as well - getting to see Buck & Tommy's first kiss in the loft, see how their first date plays out, first fumbles and panic moments, first "coming out" talks with the people close to Buck's life, and then all of the second's and third's that come after as well! At the end of season 7, Tommy was still very much a part of Buck's life, the two of them are happy together and there's always every chance that Lou Ferrigno Jr. could return in season 8 to continue their story. And we the audience will be right there by their side to see where things will lead them!

#2 Crowley & Aziraphale - "Good Omens" by Anjali Savalani:

6000 years of friendship. One's an angel, the other is a demon. Spend all of that time together in each other's company and then team up to save the world from the anti-christ and complete annihilation when Armageddon will soon be upon them? Well, feelings are bound to blossom! "Good Omens" was an absolute storm when it aired its first season back in 2019 and fans all around the world couldn't stop talking about David Tennant and Michael Sheen's chemistry, both onscreen and off! Of course things weren't explicitly stated in terms of anything romantic between the two of them, Crowley & Aziraphale were a team and on their own side in the war between Heaven and Hell, but there was tension, subtext, a slow-burn that had started with the dawn of Creation itself! 

But it wasn't until the second season aired last year did things change - and how! After having spent the better part of their time hiding an amnesiac Gabriel whilst also matchmaking two humans Nina and Maggie, when the offer from Metatron tempts Aziraphale to Heaven, Crowley tries to stop him from making a mistake - he confesses his feelings for the Angel and even kisses him, but to no avail! It's a heartbreaking beautiful moment to see; two celestial beings who fell in love against all the odds, against all effable or ineffable plans, and with only one final third season left to air, we can only hope that the two of them can find their way back to each other and retire to the South Downs in a cottage together!

#3 Bill & Frank - "The Last of Us" by Anjali Savalani:

One of 2023's most-loved and and highest rated tv shows was HBO's "The Last of Us" which was adapted from the bestselling video game, a show which took a barely mentioned small moment from one part in the game and turned it into a full-fledged episode, "Long, Long Time" and showed everyone just how Bill & Frank met, fell in love and survived a post-apocalyptic world together, before dying in each other's arms. It's a story that touched hearts everywhere, mainly through Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlet's performances, as it highlighted something that was briefly referred to as a "partnership" but transformed into a real and wonderful years long relationship! It's almost unheard of in video game adaptations and even horror television, but what a beautiful deviation it was. 

The two characters don't even have a "meet-cute" set against the backdrop of a world that's suffering the aftermath of a brain-gnawing fungus that brought the world to its knees, but they do, and for twenty years, we get to see how they learn how to live with each other, cut off from the rest of whatever is left of civilization and become the person that the other needed them to be. Bill's purpose in life was to save Frank's life and Frank, he was the one who showed Bill what it meant to live the life that he had. They survive together, but they also live and love and they have their arguments and tender moments and everything in between. 

One could say that the trope of "burying your gays" which has been very prominent throughout all forms of media is something that gets challenged with these two characters, because yes at the end of it all, both Bill and Frank die, but it's not as a result of them being gay, it's a consequence of what happens after they've lived a happy life together and that makes a difference.

#4 Magnus & Alec - "Shadowhunters" - by Anjali Savalani:

I still remember where I was on the day that I saw the twelfth episode of "Shadowhunters" season one, which was so aptly named "Malec" - the scene still playing clearly in my mind as if I've just seen it for the first time. Set against the backdrop of the beautifully fitting "War of Hearts" by Ruelle, there's a wedding happening, Alec Lightwood is marrying Lydia Branwell, an arrangement to strengthen the relationships between the shadowhunter community, and they make it all the way to the altar, almost ready to mark the other with the wedding rune when Magnus Bane walks in. Throughout the whole season, the warlock and shadowhunter have crossed paths with each other, had those moments where you know... know that there's something there between the two of them, but it isn't until this very minute - surrounded by friends and family does Alec make his choice. 

Magnus is there and he waits patiently, not making a move until Alec decides to take that leap and is the one who crosses the room to meet Magnus halfway and pulls him by the lapels for a kiss that was heard all around the world and cheered on for by fans everywhere! It was just the beginning of their relationship and even though the show was eventually canceled, 'Malec' are able to find their happy ending together when they get married. The series was one of the first few shows which began airing almost a decade ago that shone a light on two people who were completely different personalities, came from different worlds, had different experiences with their sexuality and how they found their way to each other.

#5 Louis & Lestat - "Interview with the Vampire" by Je-Ree Olenik:

There are many characters and couples that have represented the LGBTQIA2S+ community over the years. In recent years the representation has gotten so much better with rich and compelling stories. The television series Interview with the Vampire is no exception. Based on the best selling novel by Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire is on its second season and showing no signs of slowing down. Praised by fans and critics with a Rotten Tomato score of 98%, nearly every character on the show represents the community. 

The main ship for the show is the relationship between Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) and Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid). Throughout the series there are other relationships like that of Louis and Armand but the more popular and prominent ship is that of Louis and Lestat. 

The Vampire Lestat sees Louis on the streets of 1910 New Orleans and is immediately attracted to him. Louis hides his true sexuality as is the custom in those days but with Lestat he is free to be himself. The audience is treated to poetic dialogue and stellar acting. The show offers a gothic romance between two vampires that is of course toxic but riveting at the same time. You want these two together even though they should never be. To be fair we are talking about vampires and what vampire is not toxic- they have to murder innocents in order to survive. 

The updates to the story to fit today’s audience are sensible as this story has been done before with 1994’s movie version starring Tom Cruise (Lestat) and Brad Pitt (Louis). Their relationship was never explored on this level. AMC’s television version offers a fresh take with the casting of a black man as Louis. To have an openly gay black male character in a relationship with a white male character and later another person of color is amazing to see.

#6 Louis & Armand - "Interview with the Vampire" by Je-Ree Olenik:

Over the course of the first season we see multiple intimate scenes between the lovers. Whether it be domestic bliss or very brutal and raw couple arguments that only vampires can have, the audience is left wanting more. It came as no surprise that the show was picked up for a second season which fans are currently in the middle of. 

The second season does not feature a current love story between Louis and Lestat but between Louis and Armand. We see courting, dating, love and arguments - a different relationship to that of Louis and Lestat but still beautiful to witness as someone craving representation for other groups. 

Interview with the Vampire fills a gap that was missing in storytelling and entertainment. I cannot wait to see what they do next and I hope to be able to watch and review this series for many seasons to come.

#7 David & Patrick - "Schitt's Creek" by Cristina Almeida:

David and Patrick's relationship on "Schitt's Creek" is a beautiful and groundbreaking portrayal of love that has had a significant impact on the LGBTQ community. Their story is tender, authentic, and refreshingly free of typical television drama, focusing instead on their deep connection and mutual support. David, played by Dan Levy, is known for his high-maintenance personality and penchant for the dramatic, often getting lost in the minutiae of daily life. Patrick, played by Noah Reid, serves as a grounding force for David, gently guiding him to see the bigger picture and appreciate the simpler, more meaningful aspects of life. 

From their first meeting, where Patrick helps David navigate the complexities of setting up a business, to their heartfelt moments of vulnerability and growth, Patrick's steady and patient demeanor balances David's more flamboyant and anxious tendencies. Their dynamic showcases a loving and supportive partnership where differences are embraced and strengths are highlighted. Patrick's influence helps David grow, leading him to experience deeper self-awareness and happiness. This portrayal of a healthy, evolving same-sex relationship has resonated deeply with many, providing much-needed visibility and positivity for LGBTQ relationships on mainstream television. Their love story, culminating in a joyous wedding, has inspired and uplifted countless viewers, affirming that love is love, and everyone deserves a happy ending.

#8 Maya & Carina - "Station 19" by Cristina Almeida:

Maya and Carina's relationship on "Station 19" stands out as one of the few prominent women loving women couples on mainstream television, making their portrayal particularly impactful for queer women and the broader LGBTQ community. Their story is passionate, authentic, and rich with emotional depth, showcasing the complexities and beauty of a same-sex relationship. Maya, played by Danielle Savre, is a driven and occasionally guarded firefighter, while Carina, played by Stefania Spampinato, is a warm and insightful doctor. Together, they navigate the challenges of their demanding careers and personal traumas, finding strength and solace in each other. 

Maya's initial struggles with vulnerability and intimacy are gently addressed by Carina's patient and nurturing nature, helping Maya to open up and embrace her emotions. Their dynamic highlights the importance of communication, trust, and mutual support, illustrating a loving partnership where both individuals grow and flourish. 

As one of the few female couples on television, Maya and Carina's relationship provides crucial representation for queer women, offering a rare and positive depiction of a same-sex relationship. Their story not only normalizes same sex relationships but also celebrates them, showcasing the love, challenges, and joys they encompass. This representation has resonated deeply with viewers, providing much-needed visibility and positivity for LGBTQ relationships. Maya and Carina's journey, filled with both trials and triumphs, has inspired and uplifted many, affirming that love, in all its forms, is powerful and transformative, and that everyone deserves to see their stories reflected on screen.

#9 Hen & Karen - "911" by Valerie LaRoche:

These two are the epitome of love conquers all. At the start of the show, Both Karen and Henrietta (Hen) are already together, however, in the sixth episode of season six, titled Tomorrow, we get the chance to see the early days of their relationship. Fun fact: It was Chimney who brought them together (under the guise of meeting them both for drinks separately and never showing up - good one, Chim!), but they created their love story all on their own. What we love so much about HenRen is that, even though they have their differences, they always find their way back to each other. 

What also makes HenRen loved by many is the normalcy of their relationship dynamic. We didn’t need to see the cliche “coming out” storytelling that we have been used to. We didn’t need to have one side of the couple struggling with their sexuality, who they are, and the need to come to terms with it. It’s something that is very refreshing to see on today’s network television. Please let the days of feeling shame, or hiding who you really are be gone.

#10 TK & Carlos - "911: Lone Star" by Valerie LaRoche:

From the moment Carlos asks T.K. to join him to dance in the premiere episode of 9-1-1 Lone Star, they quickly become one of the fan favorites of the series. It did, however, take some time for them to find their footing as a couple. T.K., at the time, was looking for fun after just coming out of a serious relationship whereas Carlos was looking for something real with him. With time and vulnerable conversations (T.K. telling Carlos about his sobriety and Carlos talking about his family dynamic), they found their common ground and have fallen more and more in love with each season. 

T.K. and Carlos (Tarlos) are far from perfect though. There was a period of time where they broke up (done off screen) and the writers could’ve done what most shows do; have them try to find other partners to fill the void. Thankfully, that isn’t the direction they took with these two. Instead, we’re shown just how well things can turn out if you work hard for your relationship. Watching Tarlos’ love story and just how quickly people fell in love with them goes to show how important queer representation, and honest queer representation on television is. 

Rumors have been swirling around about the possibility of a 9-1-1 Lone Star cancellation, and let's hope that it’s only that: a rumor. To lose these two just when there’s so much more story to tell (T.K. and Carlos got married in the Season 4 finale) would suck. Not only because we’d miss Tarlos dearly, but we’d be losing out on positive representation for the queer community. A story like T.K. and Carlos’ is too important to not continue.

#11 Cameron & Mitchell - "Modern Family" by Julia Krassnik:

Mitchell and Cameron were introduced as a loving, committed couple in the show's premiere in 2009, quickly becoming fan favorites. Throughout the series, we watched them adopt a child, get married, and navigate the challenges of everyday life and parenthood. Notably, Mitch and Cam were main characters, receiving as much screen time as the straight couples, marking a significant shift from previous portrayals of gay couples who often appeared only as supporting characters. 

Mitch's buttoned-up personality perfectly balanced Cam's dramatic flair and big-hearted nature. This contrast led to many comedic moments and deeply touching scenes that highlighted their unwavering support, love, and commitment to each other. While they faced their fair share of issues like any couple, they always stayed together and always worked things out. 

Mitch and Cam’s portrayal deconstructed many stereotypes about gay men, such as the misconception that they are promiscuous and uninterested in long-term relationships. However, certain stereotypes did also get reaffirmed by how the two men are depicted: Cam’s dramatic flair and over-the-top reactions, and their shared interests in theater, art, fashion, and home décor. These traits contribute to the humor and depth of their characters but also align with longstanding stereotypes about gay men. However, it is important to note that "Modern Family" often uses stereotypes to create humor and relatable situations, allowing audiences to see beyond the clichés. 

Mitch and Cam's relationship was depicted with authenticity and depth, showcasing the everyday highs and lows of a committed partnership. It played a crucial role in normalizing same-sex couples on mainstream television, providing much-needed representation and visibility.

#12 Susan & Carol - "Friends" by Julia Krassnik:

Ross Geller's frequent divorces are a recurring joke on "Friends," highlighting his comically tumultuous love life. This begins right at the start of the series when his first wife, Carol, leaves him to be with her friend Susan. 

Carol and Susan were among the earliest representations of a same-sex couple on American mainstream television. For the most part, their relationship was portrayed as a normal aspect of life, without excessive sensationalism. The show also depicted the progressive and unique dynamic of Ross, Carol, and Susan co-parenting their son Ben, showcasing a blended family long before it was widely accepted. 

"Friends" broke new ground with the wedding of Carol and Susan in season two, episode eleven. This episode featured one of the first televised gay weddings, airing many years before same-sex marriage became legal in the state of New York. Despite being banned by a few local TV stations, the episode attracted a staggering 31.6 million viewers. Although it received some complaints, the lesbian wedding episode generally garnered positive feedback, including a GLAAD Award for its impactful representation. 

However, the show sometimes struggled to avoid harmful stereotypes. The portrayal of Carol and Susan’s relationship was at times tinged with homophobia, particularly evident in Ross's reactions. There are episodes where Ross worries that his son is not "manly" enough, expressing concerns that playing with dolls and having two moms might make him gay, as if this were a negative outcome. Ross also feels significant discomfort with his child being raised not just by someone else, but specifically by another woman. Additionally, there are several jokes throughout the show in which Ross is mocked for “turning” his wife gay. These moments highlight the show’s struggle to balance progressive representation of a same-sex relationship with humor. 

Despite these issues, Carol and Susan remain trailblazers for LGBTQ+ representation in media. Their presence on a major network sitcom in the 1990s provided visibility for same-sex couples and helped pave the way for more nuanced and respectful portrayals of LGBTQ+ relationships in television and film.

Notable Mentions:

Other many, many famous examples of LGBTQ+ couples over the years from TV shows across all networks include - Nick & Charlie from “Heartstopper”, Emily & Maya or even Emily & Paige from “Pretty Little Liars”, Fifteenth Doctor & Rogue from “Doctor Who”, Hawk & Tim from “Fellow Travelers”, “Toni & Cheryl” from Riverdale, Clarke & Lexa from “The 100”, Eve & Villanelle from “Killing Eve”, Maze & Eve from “Lucifer”, Cosima & Delphine from “Orphan Black”, Nicole & Waverly from “Wynona Earp”, Nick & Charlie from “Heartstopper”, Stede & Ed from “Our Flag Means Death”, Jesper & Wylan from “Shadow and Bone”, Rue & Jules from “Euphoria”, “Brian & Justin” from Queer As Folk, “Mickey & Ian” from Shameless, Sara & Ava from "Legends of Tomorrow" - and these are only still just a glimpse of what representation looks like on television! 

There are so many other shows and so many couples who have yet to get together; and even if they’re not “canon” in the very literal sense of the word, but are building towards something, there’s always a story worth exploring, worth being told, worth being experienced - because when we see ourselves represented in the media, it gives us the courage to be true to who we are and at the end of the day, that’s what matters. For every victory that is achieved, there will always be something else to improve upon or even change or adapt to, but strides are being made and we should always do our best to highlight them!

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