8 of the Best 'OTPs' of All Time
Hello and welcome to another addition of Throwback Thursday here at TBT Media! It’s been too long! (I went on vacation and have been useless ever since.)
In today’s article I’m throwing back to what is usually my favorite part of a show: ‘OTPs’ or ‘ships’ or whatever you want to call them! If I’m being honest I shipped couples for literally 20 years before I knew anything about fandom or terms for couples I wanted to see get together and live happily ever after making babies.
Related: Top 20 Romantic Ships
The days before I knew what shipping wars were….those were blissful days, y’all. In no particular order here are eight of the best (in my opinion) OTPs from past TV shows and if they ended up together or not (spoilers for older shows ahead).
1. Clark and Lana, Smallville
Kicking things off with this old teen classic of the WB (turned CW)! Even at 16, when I started watching this show, I knew enough about Clark Kent (Tom Welling) to know he didn’t end up with his high school crush Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk), but boy, oh boy, I shipped them hard! From the moment Lana was introduced I should’ve seen the foreshadowing in her pretty necklace being kryptonite, keeping him from even standing close to her. But alas, I was young and naive.
I watched as they went from friends to lovers over eight painful, emotional seasons. If you are a fan of angst this is the ship for you! You will get about every fan fiction trope that exists fulfilled (life saving, wound nursing, finding a baby and being its parents for a day, getting “affected” by a plant that makes you all sexy and needy; the tropes are endless).
Tom and Kristin have very believable chemistry, and together they are almost too beautiful for a camera to handle! This show also suffered with the whole “they got together too early so now we gotta break them up” thing that CW writers seem to have a hankering for. In the end it’s kryptonite that keeps them apart and it’s bittersweet poetry considering all they’d been through together. But it did have the closure “Clana” shippers needed to move on.
2. Charlie and Claire, Lost
I still cry when I think about these two. This couple, if you think about their “endings” before the happy reunion in the finale, is painfully tragic. But it starts out as one of the sweetest, softest, most pure ships to ever sail on a TV show. Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) has serious issues — heroin addiction, depression, self loathing. Claire (Emilie De Ravin) does as well; she’s pregnant with a child she was supposed to give up for adoption because the boy she loved didn’t want to “deal” with her or a baby, she’s emotionally delicate.
Related: Looking Back on 'Lost'
These two come together and heal each other, as friends before anything else. Honestly they go from friends straight to “married old couple”! Charlie loves baby Aaron like he was his, and Claire supports Charlie in a way he’s never had anyone do in his life. They have some brutal ups and downs in their relationship, but no two people ever loved each other so gently and yet with such ferocity as this pair of love doves did. They deserved so much better as characters and as people in the world of Lost, but they were endgame, soulmates even in the next world, and I will forever love their love.
3. Victor and Sierra, Dollhouse
Victor and Sierra are one of my top OTPs ever! Victor (Enver Gojokaj) is a “Doll” (think futuristic escort who people hire for everything from a party date to lewd sexual fantasies), and dolls get their memories wiped. When they aren’t rented out, they’re in “doll state,” which is probably the mental level of a six year old child: they do art and other docile activities in their down time.
We learn a few episodes in Victor seeks out fellow Doll Sierra (Dichen Lachman), and she also seeks him out. We’re told this isn’t “normal” Doll behavior; even when they are imprinted with personalities for their current clients they still notice each other and protect each other. When Sierra starts to have flashbacks of her sexual assault, Victor tries to show her comfort. They are just such a pure ship guys, I could cry thinking about them.
Their story is interesting because as characters they were definitely more side characters at first but, as the show went on, I think the producers realized how much chemistry the actors had and how much better their love story was than the actual leads. Even in the time jump when they are no longer dolls but hardened versions of their true selves, they still love each other deeply.
I held my breath in the series finale, believing full well my ship wasn’t getting a happy ending, but they did! And I danced with joy, it was a glorious surprise considering my track record with kinda “doomed” OTPs. It was beautiful to see a biracial ship (Dichen is of Tibetan descent) and while Victor is Italian-American in show, Enver is Albanian-American which was fabulous to know since very few US shows have diverse casting.
4. Peter and Olivia, Fringe
If you’ve followed any of my previous articles, you know how much I love #polivia, it was my main OTP for years! I watched the show live so it was a long five years of ups and downs for this pair, they started off antagonistic then became friends then became lovers (oh look, it’s my favorite trope!).
Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), an FBI agent, is so tough and strong, but there is something about Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) that lets her crumble a little when she needs to. He’s sarcastic and bullheaded but she knows his life is one filled with brokenness and feeling unloved by his father. Olivia plays a large role in why Peter and his father (Walter Bishop) reconcile and together they become a real family over the the years.
Related: Why You Should Be Watching 'Fringe'
It’s beautiful to witness their soft descent into deep, unflinching love. They find their way back to each other through near death, alternate universes, changing timelines, actual erasure from existence — the list goes on! Olivia loves Peter so much that even when he is erased from the timeline, their connection is so strong he cannot be completely removed and he literally re-materializes in the new timeline and upon re-meeting him, Olivia starts to remember everything from the original timeline. When will your OTP ever?
They hurt each other deeply more than once but in the end their love is stronger than every seeming defeat they face. In the end they get their happy ending, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch! Acting-wise, Anna and Joshua have this connection you can feel when they are together onscreen, an ease that feels like they’ve known each other for lifetimes. It makes their bond feel incredibly real.
5. Mary and Matthew, Downton Abbey
As I type this I could still fly over to Julian Fellowes’ house and cover his entire driveway with legos and throw all his shoes in the yard...and not feel bad about it, but let’s move on. It’s the year 1912 outside of London, England, and Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) is ready to despise her third cousin Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) for inheriting her family estate in the future simply because he’s the last male heir to pass it to. Why should some guy she’s never met get her home one day?
So begins a beautiful ship of antagonism and snark that turns into a beautiful friendship and then a beautiful romantic love (I know they’re related but this was the way things worked back then). Even after Mary discovers, too late, how much she loves Matthew, she does her best to not ruin his supposed happiness with another girl, but you can see in his eyes he has never recovered his heart from Mary’s perfectly manicured clutches.
After his poor fiancee passes away tragically from the Spanish flu, and Mary breaks it off with the caveman newspaper guy, you still aren’t sure they will end up together; but in the most beautiful snowy moment they melt your heart with their renewed love and happiness, are blissfully married and starting a family when a terrible (side eyeing the writers) tragedy rips them apart, until the next life at least. They still were technically an endgame ship, just not endgame for both parties.
Michelle Dockery shines as the stone cold heiress that is secretly a lonely tender girl, and Dan Stevens plays too-good-for-his-own-good Matthew with a warm, kind presence that shines his light on Mary’s real heart, exposing it to true love for the first time...the chemistry is a livewire between them onscreen.
6. Leslie and Ben, Parks and Recreation
OMG, these two are one of the most adorable ships to ever exist. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is a well-meaning Parks & Recreation deputy director with a heart of gold, and no-chill Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) is a state auditor that comes into town to possibly shut down her office or at least fire her.
He ends up staying on at the office because he falls in love with Leslie, and although she like him too, she sees him as the enemy. They are antagonistic and argumentative at first, but even when they argue they look like they just wanna kiss. Later on, as they date, Ben is so supportive of her political career and she to his that it becomes this adorable race of who can support the other more.
Their relationship is depicted realistically with a little extra zaniness by Amy and Adam, but I for one would consider myself blessed to have this healthy, stable, loving relationship. They also get their happy ending filled with kids, friends, and shining political careers. Bless this show for its purehearted comedy and happiness.
7. Jim and Pam, The Office
Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) are one of my og ships! They are always at the top of most OTP lists, and for good reason! From the moment you see their playful work bond to knowing how Jim really feels to the pivotal kiss in the Season 2 finale “Casino Night,” they are so realistic and yet their love is so like a fairytale that it makes you want that thing they have.
Through their ups and downs you watch as they navigate through other relationships, jobs,and passions just to end up side by side again and again, #PBandJ (or #Jam) is the ship that keeps on giving til the series finale, when they get to keep their happily ever after. John and Jenna have SO much natural chemistry that I used to wonder how they weren’t together in real life.
8. Pacey and Joey, Dawson’s Creek
I just binged Dawson’s Creek for the first time last year and I think I’ve written about Pacey and Joey (#Poey) three times since then. It was such a surprise to me! I wasn’t expecting much from the late 90s teen soap, but the relationship between Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) and Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) is worth all the other ridiculous plots and teen drama.
From the moment you see their dynamic visibly shift from “bros” to something more just under the surface, it makes you cheer for them more than you ever did Dawson and Joey! The show writers proposed this ship for the sake of drama and then realized the golden chemistry between Joshua and Katie and decided to commit and had Joey pick Pacey! Audiences were reeling because it was so unexpected, but it was the best decision they ever made. The deep connection and love they have for each other makes them both better versions of themselves. And though the show threw some curves at them they got their endgame in the series finale!
Thanks for joining me down this road of feels! What are your favorite ships or OTPs of all time? Tweet them at us @tbtmedia, or leave a comment below!