10 TV Characters with More Messed Up Love Lives than Mine

So, I’m going through a break up. A bad one. I mean, a really bad one. I decided there is only one way to handle this. . .


Gif from here. 

Nope! Not alcohol. Self-indulgent blog posts about fictional characters. I’m keeping the self-pity to a minimum, and comparing my love life to many of the characters I know and love from television!

The list is in no way definitive. I mostly put down characters from shows that I watch and enjoy. Feel free to add your favorite love-lorn characters in the comments!

10. Liz Lemon

While the protagonist of “30 Rock” is very good at wrangling lazy writers, tantrum-throwing actors, and delusional executives, she had a rough time in her love life. For the early part of the show, Liz dated Dennis “The Pager King” Duffy. She finally gets him to go away, and she falls for Floyd, the recovered alcoholic lawyer. After going through pains to break up Floyd from his girlfriend, Floyd moves and leaves her, only to return and ask Liz to be in his wedding. We have Jon Hamm’s guest spot as the handsome, but idiotic doctor, who eventually ends up with two hooks for hands, and Wesley, the guy the universe keeps trying to get Liz to settle for. While Carol, the pilot played by Matt Damon, is generally pretty normal, their break up results in a hostage situation on an airplane! The only reason Liz is saved from a higher spot on this list is her food-truck-owning husband Kriss. Six seasons of a crummy love-life were finally redeemed by Liz marrying James Marsden while wearing a Princess Leia costume!

9. Mindy Lahiri

If this woman can't make it work, what hope do I have?

Dr. Rowwr! Image from here.

“The Mindy Project” is a relatively new show, only now in its second season, but Dr. Lahiri has wracked up an impressive number of bad breakups! (I mean, she’s a doctor!  She should be able to do better!)  From her addict/cheating ex Josh to Brendan the mid-wife to Casey, the pastor-turned DJ- turned event planner, the mens be making Mindy crazy!

8. Tom Haverford

Tom is handling the break up poorly. Image from here.

Normally, being Leslie Knope’s sidekick is a pretty sweet deal. However, poor Tom Haverford has had a rough time dating. First, he marries the friend he’s secretly in love with to prevent her deportation back to Canada. Then, after she rejects him and divorces him, she dates his boss! (Not Leslie, Ron!)


To be fair, no man can compete with that mustache!

In recent seasons, Tom has attempted to date Ann Perkins (who ended up raiding his apartment for a bunch of toiletries) and Mona Lisa Saperstein (the psychotic sister of his dysfunctional best friend Jean Ralphio)! Poor Tom has grown a lot in recent seasons. At this point, he deserves better.


Gif from here. 

7. Rayna James

Such shiny hair! Image from wikipedia.

“Nashville” is a guilty pleasure of mine! I love Hayden Pantierre’s bitchy diva Juliette Barnes, and Scarlett as the somewhat hipster-ish ingénue playing the music I actually like. Mostly, I love Connie Britton as the goody-two-shoes beloved star of country music! (As the Fug Girls have noted, her hair is just so pretty!) As a glorified soap opera, this show has a lot of bed-hopping, but Rayna’s is surprisingly the most extreme. She’s in love with her guitar player/song-writer Deacon, but she’s married to Teddy. She resists Deacon to stay faithful to Teddy, who is slutting it up with some gal named Peggy Kentor, who was mean to Rayna when they were teenagers, or something. To make matters worse, Rayna’s oldest daughter is the secret child of Deacon, but raised by Teddy due to Deacon’s alcoholism. The only bright side is that Rayna’s new producer, the young, hot Liam seems poised to make up for Deacon and Teddy’s faults!

6. Robin Sherbatsky

Robin knows that good scotch will help you through any break up! Image from here

Early on, “How I Met Your Mother” was a great show that featured a woman who was focused on her career and not in a rush to get married. The years with Ted, Barney, Marshall and Lilly changed poor Robin, though. She’s up front with Ted about her feelings; he badgers her into dating her anyway; then, they break up because he wants kids and she doesn’t, which she told him at the very beginning of the series! She gets over many of her commitment issues only to see Ted pair up with almost every up-and-coming actress between the ages of 23 and 40. She dates this guy Don, who leaves her for a job that she turned down for him. After various ups and downs, she ends up with Barney, the man who is a walking, talking STD!

5. Hannah Horvath


Gif from here. 

Much of the power of Lena Dunham’s “Girls” is that it shows, in painful, humorous details all the horrible, stupid, embarrassing mistakes women make when they are in their early twenties. However, Hannah seems to get the worst of all of this. Adam, her sort-of-not-really boyfriend, ignores her repeatedly, and then, after he’s decided he wants to commit, he turns it up to 11 without checking with Hannah first. (Note: I am the first to admit that much of this is Hannah’s fault, too.) In Season 2, she sleeps with and is later rejected by her crack addicted, downstairs neighbor. Her first boyfriend/now gay roommate has sex with her female best friend. And, in a moment of great humiliation, in the midst of her OCD break-down, she runs into Adam and his new, pretty, thin, and normal girlfriend. While the season ends with Adam trying to sweep her off her feet, I’m not too optimistic about Hannah’s chances at a happy ending or even a functional relationship in Season 3.

4. Don Draper

Mmmmm! Image from wikipedia.

If there is a man whose name is synonymous with “dysfunctional relationships” , that man’s name is Donald Draper, or Dick Whitman, or Sexy Man, or whatever. Over the years, Don has sabotaged two marriages, reconnected with his ex-wife in a double adultery, and alienated his protégé. The only thing Don does better than making himself romantically miserable is looking good while doing so. (Of course, that might be to the credit of Jon Hamm, who apparently has a perfectly lovely love life.)

They always seems to enjoy being around each other! Image from NY Daily News!

3. Game of Thrones- the entire show!

None of these people can maintain a normal relationship! Image from here.

For the last three spots, I could have included almost all of the main characters, but then we’d miss out on the previous dysfunctional relationships.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has a pretty impressive list of icky relationships. Joffrey abuses Sansa. Petyr Baelish tries to molest and manipulate Sansa. Jamie Lannister sleeps with his sister Cersei. Cersei also sleeps with half of her cousins. Jon Snow has to lead a battle against the only women he’s had sex with. Tyrion has conflicted feelings towards his virgin wife Sansa and his prostitute girlfriend Shae. I’d make a bigger deal about all of this, but after a while, bad relationships just seem blasé.

Hipster Cersei says it all. Image from hipstergameofthrones.

2. Angel- the entire show!

Really, people? Image from here.

Before George RR Martin was known for breaking the hearts of fans, Joss Whedon was the man who made us all hurt so good. The basic rule in the Whedonverse is: no one gets to be happy. Ever.

In “Angel”, we get Angel sulking over Buffy. Angel sulking over Darla. Darla getting jealous. Angel sulking over Cordelia. Cordelia sulking over Angel. Connor sulking over Cordelia. Cordelia sulking over Connor. Cordelia becoming evil and sexually manipulating Connor into doing her bidding. And, then, there’s the whole Wesley/Fred/Gunn/Ancient God King who kills Fred thing. The only reason Angel comes in second is because at the tail end of the show, Angel meets a nice, normal werewolf girl, and they manage to have boring sex that doesn’t cause him to lose his soul.


Nina. She’s merely okay in bed, but at least she doesn’t unleash Angelus on the world!

Which leads us to . . .

1. Buffy- the entire show (but mostly Buffy Summers)!


Gif from here. 

Whedon’s first major show set the tone for relationships in his art. Buffy herself is a goldmine of bad relationships. The love of her life is a 250 year old vampire. It’d be creepy, like “Twilight”, except that Buffy actually talks about it. However, the night she loses her virginity to him, he goes evil and tries to kill Buffy and all of her friends. Oh, yeah, and she has to watch him skank it up with Drusilla. Also, she has to shove a sword in his gut to prevent the world from ending.

Buffy rebounds with Scott Hope long enough to start liking him, and breaking the news to a returned Angel. Scott then dumps her right before Homecoming, and she has to go to the dance with Cordelia. She gets back together with Angel long enough for him to decide that he needs to leave because their love is doomed.

In college, Buffy gets used by Parker for a one night stand. It really bums her out. He’s a super-huge jerkwad and also tries to hit on Willow who uses her words to make him feel like a tool.

Not this tool! Image from Austin Brown Coats!

She then dates Riley, who is supposed to be normal. It’s a story you’ve heard a million times before. Girl meets boy. Girl turns out to be mystical savior of the universe. Boy turns out to be secret, doped up government monster hunter. Boy commits treason. Boy loses doped up super powers. Boy gets insecure and starts visiting vampire prostitutes. Girl catches boy and sets fire to vampire prostitutes. Boy gets on helicopter and leaves forever. Except when he returns with his super-annoying wife.

Buffy later dies, and deals with her depression by dating/sexing up Spike, her prior nemesis. Aside from some fun BDSM stuff, it’s pretty dysfunctional. The relationship end when Spike tries to rape her. In some sort of weird Stockholm Syndrome, Buffy can’t seem to ditch Spike in Season 7 when he becomes a liability. Girl just can’t seem to catch a break!

The rest of the cast doesn’t fare much better. Willow’s relationship with Oz ends up with him both cheating on her and committing murder to save her. After Tara’s death, Willow tries to destroy the world and kill all of her friends. Anya copes with Xander leaving her at the altar by re-enlisting with the Vengance Demons. Xander, for his part, keeps attracting women who want to kill or eat him! And, it’s better if we don’t even go into Giles and Buffy’s mom.

That’s why this show is my all-time favorite show to watch when I’m dealing with heartbreak. Every character goes through crummy relationship stuff, yet, they still manage to pull their shit together to save the world. If they can do it, so can I!

Image from here.

Thanks for helping, television writers! My liver and I appreciate it!


Final “Buffy” gif from here.