In many cases dynamic duos give audiences something to aspire towards, whether it’s a family bond, romance, or a friendship that can overcome anything. These relationships help audiences connect with their favorite pop culture TV shows, movies, books, video games, and in some cases, give them something to aspire to. The greatest duos go beyond the limitations of an audience's TV screen, they're inspiring even in real life.
In other cases, the creators and fans are at odds with the cannon, and create their own favorite pairings.
Here are some of the greatest pop culture duos that have kept fans talking long after their debut.
1. Friends: Joey and Chandler
Ever since the Friends’ final curtain call, fans have clamored for a reunion, and after nearly two decades HBO finally granted their wish. The welcome reunion solidifies just how much Friends still dominates the pop culture landscape. From the very first episode, their friendship proved to be an inspiration, showing that the family you choose is just as important as the one you are born with.
The two had one of the more touching moments during the finale, where they shared a final game of foosball, an award hug, and admitted there would always be a good reason to come back and visit. As a result of this iconic duo, you can find some of the best apparel and collectibles in The Friends subscription box and merchandise.
2. Gilmore Girls: Rory and Lorelai
One of the most notable iconic female duos in history, Rory and Lorelai highlight the interesting dynamics present in non-traditional families. For everyone who had a mother that had to be everything, Lorelai and Rory remind us of how deep that bond can go, and all the stresses it can survive.
The writers use rapid-fire dialogue to establish just how strong the bond they share is, proving that they have no trouble finishing each other's thoughts before bouncing to the next one. This stands in stark contrast to Lorelai’s interactions with her mother Emily. The two had a difficult, complicated relationship and never seem to see eye-to-eye on anything.
Where Emily struggles to be vulnerable, Lorelai and Rory are able to share honest, heartfelt conversations even when they aren’t getting along. Because of the close connection, their drift apart during season six was one of the darker turns, and when they finally reconcile you could feel a collective sigh of relief across the fandom.
3. Super Mario Bros: Mario and Luigi
Over the last 30 years, the Mario Brothers have struck a chord with several generations of fans through their chart topping video games and various movies and television series. Passionate fan reactions to the cast of A-Listers for the upcoming movie are only further proof of how much these characters still resonate with fans over a generation later.
Even in games where they aren’t working together to save princesses, the two are always on each other's mind. From Yoshi trying to reunite baby Mario with his brother in Yoshi’s Island to, Luigi tries to find Mario in the controversial Mario is Missing Game, the games prove that where you find one brother, the other is still on his mind.
4. Star Wars: Han Solo and Greedo
As one of the most iconic movies that changed pop culture, it’s not surprising that Star Wars duos would be on the list. Sure, Han Solo and his life partner Chewie have a strong bond formed under hardship, and they trust each other with their lives. However, from the audience’s perspective, Greedo introduces us to who Han really is from the get-go in the very first Star Wars film.
That’s why the seemingly minor change of making Greedo shot first in the special edition release had fans in an uproar. Greedo’s role in Han Solo’s life is a defining moment in how we perceive the roguish smuggler. Is he a “cold-blooded murder,” as George Lucas seems to suggest? Or is he an outlaw that knows how to get out of a deadly situation?
George Lucas couldn’t seem to leave the original trilogy alone, constantly making tweaks with each release, including several edits to the now infamous cantina scene. In the original cut, Han Solo grabs the upper hand while he has a chance to blast his way out of trouble, The shocking addition of Greedo firing first. As if that wasn’t enough, Lucas further changed the scene cutting frames to reduce the length of time between shots.
George Lucas was continuing to find a compromise that made him and the fans happy even as he was about to sell the IP to Disney. When the original Star Wars trilogy was added to Disney fans were further confused. Now, Greedo gives Han a verbal threat before firing first.
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5. Schitt’s Creek: David + Patrick
David Rose offers one of the most believable character journeys on the small screen. Over the years, his relationships with his family and the people in Schitt’s Creek help him evolve from a grumpy, anti-social socialite to a grumpy, business owner and loving husband, all while avoiding the typical tragedy tropes associated with LGBTQ+ characters.
The best part about David’s growth is that it isn’t some miraculous heel turn - he’s still essentially the same person. But, by pushing past his insecurities he’s able to reveal his vulnerable side to the people closest to him, and all the rewards that come along with it.
Schitt’s Creek’s final season dropped all at once, giving the world an uplifting closure for the iconic couple in a time where just about everyone needed a good, long virtual hug. Their wedding serves as the framework for the final season, and while it doesn’t go the way David plans, it’s a heartwarming ending for a much-loved couple.
6.Star Trek: Deep Space 9: Quark + Odo
Few dynamics truly capture a begrudgingly mutual respect quite like the one between DS9’s chief security officer and chief mischief-maker. While their motivations are near opposite, they are both fish out of water who aren’t always treated with the respect they deserve.
Quark is constantly belittled and disrespected by the people aboard DS9. Odo, on the other hand, didn’t even have his own private quarters for years. While they were constantly at odds, Quark recognized that he was essentially the closest thing Odo ever had to a friend. He was even able to help Odo work through his romantic feelings for Kira.
Over the years, Quark and Odo came to an understanding. While they share many of the dynamics of the typical odd couple, they had more in common than they realized, including a commitment to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. The culmination of their relationship occurs when Quark saved Odo’s life when they were stranded on an icy planet after a crash.
7. Miraculous: Ladybug + Chat Noir
Miraculous may be kid-friendly viewing, but Ladybug and Chat Noir have struck a chord with young adults, making this cartoon duo one of the most talked-about in any show currently in production. Their relationship is complicated by dual identities, and both carry a secret they are reluctant to entrust to anyone.
From day to day, they’re both teenagers struggling with their own issues. But when trouble calls, there they are, saving Paris on a daily basis with powers drawn from their “miraculous” jewels. Marinette is a well-developed, independent young woman that viewers not only relate to, but they can also look up to her as an idol, always ready to make the tough decisions needed to save the day.
The show itself relies on well-written soap opera-esque dramatics. The ‘love square’ between Ladybug, Chat Noir, Marinette, and Adrien drives fans nuts, so does the wait for even a single character to find to learn the secret identities behind the mask, which is why fans continue to talk about them while they await the next installment.
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8. The Office: Jim + Dwight
While The Office is best known for the iconic romance between Jim and Pam, Jim’s relationship with Dwight offered a much more interesting dynamic. In fact, their hilarious relationship has inspired The Office merch for quite some time. Not every great duo has to be BFFs. Dwight and Jim are at odds more often than not, with Jim unable to take Dwight seriously and Dwight feeling stings of jealousy because Jim was able to live life effortlessly with few consequences for his behavior.
Still, despite Jim’s constant pranks and Dwight’s campaign to get him fired, the dynamic duo developed a mutual respect for each other. Dwight even had Jim’s back when Roy came to attack him over his feelings for Pam, and Jim returned the favor with his support when Dwight was heartbroken over Angela.
By the end of the series, this iconic duo is able to acknowledge how they helped each other grow, proving that not all rivalries have to have a bad ending.
9. Stranger Things: Max + Lucas
Part nostalgia trip, part horror, Stranger Things became an overnight sensation that fans can’t get enough of. With each season, fans are introduced to more characters that build on the world of the original. Max is one of the standout additions. Not only is she well-rounded herself, but she also helps the other members of the party grow. When Eleven and Mike have difficulties, Max helps Eleven embrace her power of independence so Mike can learn how to treat her with the respect she deserves.
Her on-again-off-again relationship with Lucas offers fans a sweet view of young love while reminding them that no matter how much you care about your significant other, you can’t put your own needs in the back seat.
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