Now that the official day of hearts, glitter, and love has ended, some of us are in dire need of a palate cleanser to get back to our pessimistic selves. Because, let’s face it, for every cute romantic pairing we see on-screen, there is an awful one that makes us roll our eyes and hate the concept of relationships. Whether they are abusive, are poorly portrayed, lack chemistry, or are just plain out of the blue, these couples help remind us why we sometimes dread seeing relationships play out on the big screen. Here are some of our most hated on-screen pairings in recent fandoms, and why we believe they were so awful to watch.
The Hulk and Black Widow (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
“Let’s give Black Widow a boyfriend because she’s alone and that’s sad.”
We’re not sure how the Hulk/Black Widow pairing came about, but I imagine there was someone in the writing room screaming “She’s a woman who is alone! She needs a man to validate her existence! Who doesn’t have a romantic interest yet? Uhhh.. Hulk! Yeah, put her with the Hulk!” So despite being a badass superhero who didn’t need a man in the first few films, Black Widow spent much of her time in Age of Ultron pining after a guy and feeling like she wasn’t enough to make him happy. Quick note to writers: you absolutely do not have to pair up every single character in a franchise, and you can find tragic plotlines for women that aren’t “I can’t bear your kids so I’m worthless to you,” okay?
Scarlet Witch and Vision (Captain America: Civil War)
“What do you mean we have another single female? Does that android thing have a girlfriend yet?”
This one is less painful than Black Widow/Hulk because Wanda is never really shown to be super independent (in Age of Ultron she relied heavily on her brother and Hawkeye to help her get through the fights), but it’s still kind of disturbing that, despite having the most power in the Avengers, Wanda seems to always need a man to look after her. I get that this pairing is probably to appease the fans of the comic books, but I beg the question: do gal pals not exist in the MCU? There are dozens of little bromance moments but we hardly see Wanda and Natalia interact with each other. Do the women have lives outside of their romances? Can we get a brief scene where Pepper Potts, Jane Foster, Sharon Carter, and Laura Barton are having a conversation and drinking margaritas so we can confirm they’re not in some closet waiting for a man to interact with?
Harley Quinn/The Joker (Suicide Squad)
“It’s okay that he’s terribly abusive ‘cause he loves her!”
The Harley Quinn/Joker romance has always been contentious. She was specifically created to be his sexy minion, making the relationship unbalanced from the start. In the comic books The Joker is an all-out asshole, throwing Harley out of windows and often attempting to kill her. But Harley is so blindly obsessed with him that she deludes herself into thinking he loves her. It’s clearly an unhealthy, unbalanced, toxic relationship and no one in their right mind points to that and goes “yeah, that’s what I want.” Suicide Squad, however, focuses on how The Joker is trying to rescue Harley, effectively undermining his abusive attitudes. The two lunatics are portrayed as some sort of ride-or-die couple, leading to tons of audience members (probably in equally toxic relationships) to put this relationship on a pedestal of what it means to be in love. Congratulations DC, you’ve somehow romanticized the most abusive relationship to the point of people posting it on their facebook walls as “relationship goals” and cosplaying it with their boo. Quick note to everyone out there: if your man demands you jump into a vat of acid, offers you up to his employees, and leaves you for dead in a drowning car… it probably ain’t love.
Kitty Pryde and Iceman (X2)
“He’s a nice guy, but his girlfriend can’t touch him so let’s have him cheat on her.”
The biggest crime from the original 20th Century Fox X-Men series was the absence of Gambit, meaning that one of the greatest couples in X-Men history could not make an on-screen appearance. So the writers instead paired Rogue with Iceman, who was, in this version, a very polite and kind boy that offered her a very polite and kind relationship. That is, until the no-touching thing got to be too much for young Bobby, and he finds solace in another girl. I get that they were trying to bring in the drama with the addition of Kitty Pryde, but her introduction as the homewrecker to the only cute and innocent romance in the film franchise made people hate her. It ultimately does Rogue a disservice by making her nothing more than a jilted girlfriend, it does Iceman a disservice by making him the jerk whose physical needs are above feelings, and it does Kitty Pryde a disservice by not letting fans get to know her as a whole character outside of the love triangle.
Wolverine/Jean Grey/Cyclops (X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand)
“Agency? She doesn’t need no stinkin’ agency!”
Speaking of love triangles in the X-Men series, let’s talk for a moment about this whole Wolverine/Jean Grey/Cyclops mess. Jean Grey is often said to be the most powerful of the X-Men, but her fear prevents her from fully harnessing them. As a result, Jean Grey spends most of the films being meek and submissive – traits that are carried over to her personal relationships. The problem is we have no idea if Jean likes either of these guys, but they’re constantly fighting over her. She’s in a relationship with Scott, but they’re so distant I can’t figure out what they see in each other. Then Logan declares his love for her in The Last Stand, but even by then (three movies later!) I’m unsure if the feeling is mutual. In the end Jean doesn’t really get to choose – she seems to go along with whoever is alive and fighting for her at the moment. Come on, Jean… you can do better.
Superman and Lois Lane (Man of Steel)
“Find the two most attractive people. That’s all we need.”
There are few relationships in the nerdiverse that are more well known than Superman and Lois Lane. The chemistry between fiery Lois and chivalrous Supes has been around since the 1930’s and has been translated into numerous mediums. The most recent film adaptation of the couple is portrayed by Amy Adams and Henry Cavill: two beautiful, brilliant actors with absolutely no on-screen chemistry whatsoever. One of the more common criticisms of Man of Steel is the lack of heart and character development, and this becomes painfully obvious when the two leads attempt to portray their love for each other. The words are there, but the passion is missing, leading their relationship to feel rather superficial and empty.
Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley
“Character development? Just, like, have them kiss. That’ll be enough.”
Another couple suffering from very poor development is Harry and Ginny – a pairing that develops absolutely out of nowhere for viewers who have never read the books. The books at least make an attempt at forging some sort of romance between the two, but the movies decided to do away with that pesky character development. Ginny spends most of the early movies either being too shy or petrified to speak, then spends the rest of the series kind of watching the crew from afar. The film doesn’t show Ginny’s tough, often badass persona. They don’t show her being funny or clever or supportive like she was in the books. In fact, they don’t show any personality at all, making us wonder just what it is that Harry sees in her. Other characters that Harry had more chemistry with: Hermione, Ron, Draco, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Fang, Neville’s toad Trevor, and the Fat Lady.
Padme and Anakin (Star Wars)
“Okay, who are the two people with the least amount of chemistry we can hire to say these terrible lines?”
For most Star Wars fans, this couple’s appearance on this list needs no explanation. Terrible writing and no on-screen chemistry help make the endlessly whining boy and the smart girl with terrible decision making skills a shoo-in for this list. Why does he love her? We have no idea. Why does she love him? We have no clue. What is driving either of these characters to make their awful choices? This pairing was so terrible that I have personally never rewatched the prequels after my initial introduction to them a few years ago. Once was enough, thank you very much.