1: "Jachel" – Joey and Rachel, Friends.
Nobody can quite tell when it was that Friends became a ridiculous parody of everything that comedy stands for, but it most likely happened when we first saw Monica in a fat suit. Not much ever came close to topping that one moment of character-assassination, but the Friends writers did their hardest as the series continued, ending up in one of the last seasons with the idea of hooking up Joey and Rachel. As anyone who watched the show knows, this is ludicrously sacrilegious for three reasons: Rachel; belongs with Ross, Joey belongs with Phoebe, and there is absolutely no reason why the two characters would ever fancy each other. At this point in the show Joey was essentially the only character remaining who nobody particularly wanted to beat with a plank of wood covered in acidic stag beetles, so to take him and hook him up with the whiniest and most pathetic of the main cast (at this point Monica and Ross were barely recognisable as people anymore, Chandler was whipped, and Lisa Kudrow looked bored to be there) was not perhaps the best move. Friends had a lot of good-will going towards it though, so it managed to ride out the bumpy last nine seasons and make it to a proper finale. As a pairing, the couple would only ever talk about how awkward and weird they found dating all the time – when they weren’t crying at each other, that is – and it seriously didn’t make good television for anyone. And then, when they thankfully split up, Phoebe was with another guy: Paul Rudd. Nobody can compete with Paul Rudd! Joey never got the girl, and the show was ruined forever.
2: "Mita" – Michael and Rita, Arrested Development
Arrested Development is firmly thought of as one of the best comedies ever made, an array of in-jokes that follow one after another and range from the sublimely ridiculous to the sublimely… just witty. If anyone ever recommends the show to you, though, they’ll almost certainly warn you about the third series, which starts with a long story featuring Rita, played by Charlize Theron. Michael, the main character, meets this British girl by accident and then continues to see her for a number of episodes. They start to date, and then spanners get thrown in the works, hurdles are introduced, and so forth. Nothing wrong with that – until you realise that Rita is mentally retarded. Yeah, for the first half of the series the main joke is that Michael doesn’t realise his new British girlfriend is a retard, and we all laugh along at that. We don’t care about the angle of mental deficiency – idiots need love too – but the way the show worked previously didn’t really allow for this level of humour. Poking fun at Michael way usually a subtle process that the show took great pains to hide. Here, the jokes were completely obvious, aimed at a mass-audience who were never going to watch the show (it was witty, and such shows do not last long) and it completely spoilt everything. By stalling with this relationship, the show needed to put on serious steam in order to catch up with itself and provide us with a decent finale. Thankfully, it did. And at least Charlize Theron was hot, which was distracting enough for us not to care (even women fancy The Theron).