Olivia Pope, Fitzgerald Grant, and Mellie Grant (Scandal)
Olivia: She’s smarter than anyone in Washington, D.C. (and possibly the world), she’s beautiful, and Fitz already calls her the love of his life. However, they are having an affair because Fitz is married, and that’s some shaky territory.
Mellie: Mellie is smart, too, but she’s more on the cunning side. She’d do just about anything for Fitz as long as it’s related to his presidency. Their love is a little forced, but she is his wife.
Solution: Olivia Pope. She’s the controversial pick, but she’s still the pick. Fitz loves her, and he always has. There would be no Scandal without their scandal.
- Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen, and Gale Hawthorne (The Hunger Games trilogy)
Peeta: He’s had the most sincere crush on Katniss since they were young kids, and he did save her life with those burnt, bread scraps and all. They’re pretty convincing as lovers in the Games, and Suzanne Collins, author of the series, married them in the end. So, there’s that.
Gale: He’s Katniss’ best friend, there for her when Peeta is crushing silently in a corner. Gale takes an active and brave role in everything he does. A tough girl like Katniss could find her kindred spirit in a tough guy like Gale.
Solution: Neither. Katniss is not girlfriend material, and that’s OK because she doesn’t want to be. The Hunger Games wasn’t supposed to be about a love triangle. Let Katniss go free!
- Pacey Witter, Joey Potter, and Dawson Leery (Dawson’s Creek)
Pacey: He’s charming, a man’s man, and he’s the bravest person in all of Capeside. He’s Joey’s knight in shining 90s clothes (and occasionally, frosted tips). Pacey is the king of the forehead kiss, he parties like a rock star, and he’s willing to let Joey go if she really doesn’t love him. In other words, he’s not a creepy stalker.
Dawson: Yeah, he’s a creative, tender soul with his movie making and all that. He and Joey also have that history of being best friends since, like, before birth. But he was never willing to let her go once Jen (Michelle Williams) broke up with him and he realized how freaking amazing Joey is, which was lame. In other words, he is a creepy stalker.
Solution: Pacey. He’s a charmer, and he lets Joey be her own person, not just “his girlfriend.” The writers got that one totally right.
- Spike, Buffy Summers, and Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Spike: Spike got his soul so he could be the man Buffy deserved. He’s snarky, but he’s deep. When he loves someone, he loves that person truly and always. You think he’s over Drusilla (Juliet Landau)? He’s not. Spike knows that true love never dies. But he also attempted to rape Buffy in her own bathroom, which is unforgivable.
Angel: He was Buffy’s first love, yes. But then there’s that whole thing where they can’t have sex without Angel losing his soul, which is pretty damaging for a relationship. Their forbidden passion is more forbidden that most.
Solution: Neither. Both of these vamps are trouble. Buffy says it herself in the series finale. She’s “cookie dough,” not done baking, and having a man in her life would prohibit her from learning about her real self. They make for great, television drama, but neither of them are the best match for the Slayer’s hand.
- Jim Halpert, Pam Beesley, Roy Anderson (The Office)
Jim: Jim was always Pam’s best friend. From the beginning, he understood her on a level that no one else could. He knew her favorite flavor of yogurt, how to appeal to her sense of humor, her dreams and desires, all of it. He was respectful of her engagement to Roy, but he was brave enough to let her know how he felt, too.
Roy: Roy had Pam first, and he was her fiancé. Presumably, they’d been dating since high school. But he was never very considerate of what Pam wanted or needed, and even when they got back together, he was mean.
Solution: Jim. We all knew it was coming, but come on. They’re perfect together.
- Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Lavender Brown (Harry Potter series)
Hermione: She and Ron were best friends from the beginning, even when they hated each other. They bickered, but that was part of what made their courtship so fun to watch. But Hermione was never really honest with her feelings for Ron until she saw him with someone else, which was a little mean.
Lavender: Lavender is a little intense with the cutesy pet names, and Ron is not a cutesy kind of guy. But she was brave enough to share her true feelings for the Gryffindor Quidditch Keeper, something Hermione tried to deny for too long.
Solution: Hermione. Seriously, we could feel the romantic tension between the two of them from the first time they laid eyes on each other on the Hogwarts Express.
- Robin Scherbatsky, Ted Mosby, Tracy McConnell (AKA “The Mother”) (How I Met Your Mother)
Robin: She’s really one hell of a woman. She’s self-sufficient, brilliant, beautiful, and she knows exactly who she is. What man wouldn’t be intrigued by Robin’s confidence? But she never wanted a guy liked Ted, so it seems strange that they would work out in the end.
Tracy: She’s Ted’s perfect compliment! We spent nine years learning about this guy and his often-pretentious habits, and there she is, with the same ones. There couldn’t be a more perfect match for the show’s central character… and then she died, leaving Ted to get back together with Robin.
Solution: Tracy shouldn’t have died, and Robin should have stayed married to Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).
- Tom Buchanan, Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)
Tom: There are no pros to Tom other than the fact that he’s filthy rich. He comes from old money, meaning Daisy is set all her life. She never has to worry about being in poverty because Tom’s money has her back. Other than that, he’s verbally abusive and hateful of people who aren’t exactly like him.
Gatsby: Gatsby pined for Daisy for practically his entire life. He started an affair between the two of them, and he lived his life trying to be the man her parents would want her to marry. He kept trying to repeat the past, even though Daisy had totally moved on. He would never be the safe choice or the right one.
Solution: Neither. They’re both crazy. Daisy should have taken her daughter and bolted in the middle of the night… oh, if only.
- Phoebus, Esmeralda, Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Phoebus: For a cartoon character, Phoebus is the handsome one. He sees Esmeralda as awesome, but he also recognizes her as a flawed human being. That makes him quite the feminist, and for a powerful, awesome lady like Esmeralda, that’s attractive.
Quasimodo: His love for Esmeralda is true and pure, but he worships her like she’s a goddess. Women aren’t goddesses, and they shouldn’t have that expectation thrust upon them like that. His view of the woman he loves is unrealistic and potentially damaging.
Solution: Phoebus. He understands that a woman is a person, not an angel.
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, George Wickham (Pride and Prejudice)
Darcy: He’s Elizabeth’s perfect compliment. He doesn’t try to sedate her passion and opinions about literally everything, and she appreciates his soft side. When you read the dialogue in the book, you forget who’s speaking at which time. That’s how perfect these two are together.
Wickham: Wickham is really weird. He might be charismatic and seem more like Elizabeth, but that’s inaccurate. Plus, he ran off with her sister and got married, which is pretty sneaky and scandalous. Elizabeth couldn’t be with a guy like that, not even if her family was losing its aristocratic status.
Solution: Darcy. No actual contest.