Top 5 TV “I Love You”s

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! (Or, happy League of Women Voters Day, if you’re Liz Lemon.) And what a wonderful coincidence that it happens to fall on a Tuesday, making it the perfect excuse for me to celebrate Top 5 Tuesday by counting up our top 5 declarations of love on television…

1) Spike & Buffy (“Touched”) – I think it’s possible that this is the most beautiful and the most selfless confession of love in the history of television. Joss Whedon is a master of character, and he somehow turned a ruthless killer vampire into a tragic romantic hero in seven seasons. After having regained his soul (and some of his sanity), Spike was finally able to love Buffy in the way she deserved, even if she didn’t reciprocate. When everyone else in her life had renounced her, Spike stood by her side and was a source of comfort to her, helping her to see her own strength. Here’s an excerpt of Spike’s speech: “When I say I love you, it’s not because I want you, or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are. What you do. How you try. I’ve seen your kindness, and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you, and I understand, with perfect clarity, exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman. You’re the One, Buffy.”

2) Damon & Elena (“Rose”) – What are the odds the first two entries on this list would be vampire/human romances? (Probably pretty good, actually.) Buffy and The Vampire Diaries are very different shows (to say the least), but one thing they have in common—aside from fangs—is that they know how to break your heart. In the season 2 episode “Rose,” bad boy Damon finally decided to share his feelings for his brother’s girl. Elena was understandably concerned to find Damon lurking creepily in her bedroom, and she was even more troubled when she realized what he was about to tell her: “I love you, Elena. And it’s because I love you that I can’t be selfish with you…why you can’t know this. I don’t deserve you. But my brother does.” This was a big step for the clinically closed-off Damon, but even bigger was the fact that, after he told her he loved her, he wiped her memory of it, so there were no lasting effects on her relationship with Stefan. Probably the most soul-crushingly perfect part of this scene was the close-up of one single tear trickling down from Damon’s eye as he compelled Elena to forget what he’d just told her, breaking the hearts of fangirls everywhere.

3) Kate & Sawyer (“Every Man for Himself”) – Probably the only good thing to come out of the tedious locked-up-in-Othertown plot line of the third season was Kate and Sawyer’s romance, which finally had a chance to blossom when the two were held captive together, with nothing to do but feed each other fish biscuits and be emotionally manipulated by their captors. Seeking some form of revenge for his wife’s death, Pickett started violently beating Sawyer one day while a distraught Kate watched from her cage, powerless to stop him. Pickett asked her repeatedly, “Do you love him?” as he continued to pound on Sawyer, and eventually Kate confessed that she did. Some might argue that this particular declaration of love is less meaningful because it was given under duress (she could have easily just lied to protect Sawyer), but I think it was one of the most emotionally raw moments between Kate and Sawyer throughout the series.

4) Jim & Pam (“Casino Night”) – It’s easy to create an epic romance when your show includes dramatic elements like vampires and indeterminately mystical islands, but The Office managed to do it with just a mundane paper supply company for a backdrop. Jim and Pam spent the first two seasons making it obvious that they were soul mates, despite the fact that Pam was engaged to Roy (eww). In the season 2 finale, Jim finally couldn’t take it anymore and told Pam that he was in love with her. The acting in this scene between John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer was phenomenal, and Jim’s vulnerability in the face of Pam’s rejection was enough to break even the hardest of hearts. Fortunately for us (and for them), this was only the beginning of Jim and Pam’s love story.

5) AltLincoln & AltLivia (“Bloodline”) – You have to be a serious boss to tell a woman you love her for the first time while she’s in the process of having another man’s baby, especially when she has a rare genetic disease that makes it very unlikely that both mother and child will survive the birth. But Lincoln Lee is nothing if not a boss, and he was up to the challenge. He held AltLivia in his arms and told her he loved her (while she was in labor), and when she made him promise to save her baby no matter what, he said yes, even though it seemed an impossible promise to keep. What makes this scene so amazing is the fact that we only had one season to get attached to these two characters (and we spent most of it hating AltLivia), but despite being relatively new members of the Fringe ‘verse, in that moment, I still cared about AltLincoln and AltLivia like they were my two closest friends in the world. And I certainly reacted as if they were (by which I mean, with many tears of joy and awe).

What do you say, pop culture fans? What are your top 5 “I love you” moments of television? Did I name any of yours? Did I pick the right Lost couple? I’m already second-guessing myself. And how did Logan and Veronica not make this list? (Don’t worry, I have something else in store for them.) Thanks for reading, and happy Valentine’s Day!

-Louise

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Posted on February 14, 2012, in Television, Top 5 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Wish Peter and Olivia were in your top 5!

    • I know! I really wanted to include them, but their “I love you” moment was so subtle and complex (like them), I didn’t know if the awesomeness would translate to non-Fringe viewers… So I went with my second-favorite Fringe couple instead. But man do I love Polivia more than any couple on television!

  2. ITA with Buffy/Spike and alt!Livia/Lincoln. Those two are probably the ones that stick out most in my mind, for the very reasons you mentioned. It’s crazy how two secondary characters managed to draw me MORE than the main love story of the show. The Spike/Buffy speech was just…perfect. It’s hard to find a better and more beautifully written declaration.

    I’d probably swap out Sawyer/Kate for Desmond/Penny’s phone call in ‘The Constant’ though…

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