In a special edition of Overlooked, our contributors weigh in on love stories that go unrecognized. These are your wishful OTPs, the will-they-or-won’t-theys that never materialized, and the platonic friendships that don’t always inspire epic-length fan fiction.
She was looking for a mind at work. He was not throwing away his shot. Together, they would have been America’s first power couple, putting the likes of Brangelina and Kimye to shame. Alas, Alexander Hamilton and Angelica Schuyler were not meant to be.
Instead, founding father and rap master Hamilton would marry Angelica’s too-good-for-this-world sister Elizabeth Schuyler, who really deserved better than — spoilers — a cheating husband with a penchant for rhymes. And let’s not forget Angelica’s fate: a lifetime spent across the Atlantic with a man who couldn’t match wits with someone at her level. They were doomed to never be satisfied, but at least it made for a good musical.
— Josie Kao
It’s not uncommon to scroll through Tumblr and find posts celebrating Eleanor and Tahani as the ultimate couple on NBC’s The Good Place. I, for one, am all for it — an Arizona dirtbag paired with a sexy giraffe? Sign me up! But people overlook The Good Place’s OG pairing: Eleanor and Chidi.
Are we forgetting about how Chidi is literally trying to save Eleanor from eternal damnation by teaching her about ethics and moral philosophy? You would think that a shrimp-obsessed boner pill salesperson and a tortured academic who gets stomach aches from making decisions would be horrible for each other, but they are forking goals! Even when a demon tries to come between them over 802 times, they always find each other. I am #Cheleanor for life, and anyone who says otherwise can go to the Bad Place.
— Ilya Bañares
One of the most overlooked parts of love is platonic love, which is why I wanted to highlight the friendship between Troy Barnes and Abed Nadir from Community.
The two started off on a rough note in the pilot, but by the second episode their chemistry became unmatched, demonstrated by the duo’s impeccable timing in their notorious Spanish rap, “Donde Esta la Biblioteca?” Later in the series, the two host a fake morning show together, share a sacred handshake, and embark on adventures dressed as characters from their favourite in-universe show, Inspector Spacetime.
Friendships between two male characters are often seen on TV, but the closeness and warmth of Troy and Abed’s relationship are not. The show doesn’t feel the need to declare their friendship is strictly platonic, opening a space for man-to-man relationships to be comfortably close without being dubbed effeminate.
— Winnie Wang
“I did fall in love with Katara. And I’ll probably always love her.” This is an actual quote from Dante Basco, who voiced Prince Zuko on the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. It speaks volumes that even Zuko’s official voice actor shipped his character with Katara — just as much as the fandom did.
Objectively, the pairing was poetic: she was a waterbender, he controlled fire. She rejected everything he stood for, he did all he could to change and be better. She burned with passion, he was drowning in ambition. Zuko and Katara were more than just a cute couple — they were Yin and Yang. Be it here or in the Spirit World, they should have been together.
— Sarim Irfan
In 2015, tvN released the third instalment of its Reply series, a Korean anthology drama with different seasons set in different years of the ’80s and ’90s. Much like How I Met Your Mother, Reply 1988 plays with the viewer’s expectation of who the main couple will be by shifting from the present to the ’80s in something of a wild goose chase.
At the centre of it all is Kim Jung Hwan, a grump with a heart of gold who loves Deok Sun, the fumbling heroine. The writers make us root for him time and time again, showing us just how much Jung Hwan loves Deok Sun before lifting the carpet from under us and having her end up with the sweet Go player from next door. At least the actors ended up dating in real life.
— Laura Seijas Figueredo
The love story of Vice-President Selina Meyer and her ‘bagman’ Gary Walsh takes place mostly in her office and inside the fictional American bureaucracy of Veep. Gary adores his megalomaniac boss, Selina, and his love for her knows no bounds; he constantly subjects himself to humiliation and ridicule for her. Yet for all the thankless sacrifices, there are moments where Selina is shown to truly love Gary — though in these moments, it’s also painfully clear that the two only have each other.
Their love story is unglamorous and often excruciating to watch. However, it is this truthful depiction of love, hilarious complications and all, that makes the duo the most enjoyable to watch on television.
— Hannah Turcotte
Despite being endgame in the Harry Potter books, Harry and Ginny are often underrated due to the films’ abysmal portrayal of both Ginny and their relationship. The books show a passionate, compatible pair. Ginny’s Quidditch skills rival Harry’s, and she is constantly making him laugh. When Harry gets upset, Ginny never cowers like Hermione, but she stands strong and talks sense into him. Harry calls her his best source of comfort and longs for her every night they’re apart. Their love is fearless, with an epic first kiss in the middle of a crowded common room. No one else matched Harry’s fire like Ginny.
— Linh Nguyen
EM Forster’s Maurice — written in 1914, published posthumously in 1971 and adapted to film in 1987 — is an intimate, frustratingly overlooked novel. Its writing reflects Forster’s own struggles with homosexuality against the oblique, confusing world of the British upper class.
Falling in love with his best friend, the titular Maurice wanders through life unsure of how to act. Forster approaches this relatable experience with compassionate understanding, like an incessant current flowing beneath the rigidity of classism. When Maurice finally finds love, Forster recognizes how brave an act this is and writes it beautifully. Comporable to Carol and Call Me By Your Name, Forster’s kind, defiant approach to love and class differences makes Maurice an essential read.
— Arjun Kaul
Overlooked is a recurring feature in the Arts & Culture section where writers make the case for pieces of culture that don’t get the attention they deserve. To contribute, email firstname.lastname@example.org.