5 Best Lesbian Pairings That Survived Beyond Their Shows
Nothing could tear these women apart, not even TV producers.
Last year, I rewatched Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time since it was actually on the air and fell in love all over again with Willow and Tara. Unfortunately, watching Tara’s death scene – even though I knew it was coming – was heartbreaking. In fact, I was so cut up that I wrote an article about my five favorite female couples on TV that had been cruelly ripped apart by the network executives… I might take these decisions a little personally. In that piece, I also promised to do a companion piece on WLW couples on TV who had survived past the end of their respective shows and are (probably!) still together now. Without any further delay, here are my favorite queer female TV couples that lasted longer their shows.
Warning: You are now entering spoiler territory.
Ellen and Laurie (Ellen)
I didn’t watch this series until my final year of high school because, unlike Friends, reruns weren’t shown every single day on UK TV. I’m so glad that I got the chance to see it though. Ellen and Laurie’s first date is in a crowded bar, with all the sitcom troupes that go along with it, but thankfully, their night improves once they find a quieter spot. While the pair had their ups and downs, including Ellen’s trouble publically expressing affection for her girlfriend, by the end of the series they’d smoothed all of that out.
Given that this pairing coincided with Ellen DeGeneres coming out, it's not hard to see why the couple would have gotten a happy ending.
Helen and Nikki (Bad Girls UK)
When idealistic new prison governor Helen recruits inmate Nikki to help her reform G Wing, she never could have predicted that they’d fall in love. While relationships between convicts and prison staff were common on Bad Girls, this pairing was not about extorting favors or a quickie in the cell. At the end of the third season, after Nikki has been released and Helen nearly left her for a man, the pair reaffirm their commitment to each other and the rest was history.
Carol and Susan (Friends)
Friends has been making headlines again since it got added to the Netflix library because of criticism from young people about its problematic content, including jokes that are transphobic, homophobic, racist, and sexist. I’m not here to defend Friends on this point because I agree for the most part and we don’t have time to get into it. But Friends did introduce a lesbian couple in its first season, show them successfully raising a kid, and even getting married. And they were the most stable couple on the show.
We had ten seasons of Ross and Rachel’s on-off relationship and while we might have loved the drama, it would have been excruciating to live through. Meanwhile Monica and Chandler were constantly hiding stuff from each other - especially meeting up with exes - who does that? Best of all, Carol and Susan were still together at the end of the series, even if we rarely saw them in the later seasons. They may have even gained full custody of Ben, due to Ross’ erratic behavior.
Bonus: The pastor who married Carol and Susan was played by the openly lesbian Candace Gingrich, sister of anti-LGBTQ+ Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Emily and Naomi (Skins UK)
When this show first aired, I skipped it because of an intense dislike for the main character, Tony. However, since learning about Emily and Nikki’s relationship, I’ve actually gone back to watch it in its entirety. Despite the somewhat crazy storylines that sometimes accompany Skins, the evolution of Emily and Naomi’s relationship felt so real to me. They’ve had their fair share of drama, including infidelity, family disapproval, and getting on the wrong side of the law, but by the end of season 4, they’re preparing to make the next steps in their relationship by going travelling together.
Brittany and Santana (Glee)
I’ve talked about this before, but I have a strong bond with the Brittany/Santana pairing. I still can’t watch Santana tell Brittany that she loves her without tearing up – I even did it while writing this paragraph. Their relationship may have been a little rocky throughout the show, but by the final season, they were more than ready to get married. Statistically, not many high-school sweethearts will go the distance, but I think these two can make it. They’ve weathered family rejection, homophobia, and even Sue Sylvester together, so why wouldn’t they be able to face whatever life throws at them?
So those were my top picks for queer female couplings that I feel confident predicting would still be together in the reboots/movies that I’m sure are coming. Now I’d like to hear from you. Which pairing is your favorite? Which one did I miss?