There are so many adorable TV couples that we can’t help but ship. But, there are also some TV couples that are super weird! And not like ~quirky~ weird, more like “WTF is going on here?!” weird. You know the ones — often they’re student and teacher, family members, or just totally mismatched in terms of power dynamics. It just gets a little hard to root for a couple when the entirety of their relationship is rooted in straight-up ickiness!
Full disclosure: some of the couples on this list are ones fans fully love. But we can’t get over how inappropriate their courtships really are. Sorry to burst your TV-fantasy bubble! It’s just hard to deny that TV romanticizes some wacky ideas when it comes to love. Here are some of the least acceptable TV couples of all time that still kinda creep us out!
1. Sutton and Richard, The Bold Type
If you have to hide your relationship from everyone you work with maybe you shouldn’t be in that relationship. Sutton (Meghann Fahy) has been a loyal, if lowly, secretary at the magazine Scarlet. Her beau Richard (Samuel Page) is part of the Board of Directors for the magazine and a lawyer for the publisher. So, uh, yeah totally not apropos. They have to fight so hard to keep it a secret so that neither loses their job that the pressure breaks them apart. That’s when you know a relationship is totally not meant to be — when it’s entirely based in lies and espionage. That’s only hot for so long, y’all!
2. Paris and Asher, Gilmore Girls
This relationship was wrong on so many different levels. Paris (Liza Weil) and Asher (Michael York) became an item during Paris’s freshman year at Yale. Only problem? He was a professor. Oh, and he was decades older than her. So old that he went to college with Paris’s BFF’s grandfather. Eek. While the teacher-student thing was icky, we can get over it since college students are actual adults and it’s not quite as weird when they date professors. But the age difference on top of it all made it super inappropriate. Sure, Paris was always mature beyond her years but she had plenty of growing up to do before she settled down with an octogenarian! Also, he’d apparently dated students before. Like, *creepy old dude* alert!
3. Chris and Angie, Skins
Student-teacher relationships in high school are pretty bad. But it’s a bit worse when the teacher is a psychology teacher. Shouldn’t you be able to see why this behavior is wrong, lady?! Chris (Joe Dempsie) and his psych teacher Angie (Siwan Morris) have a strong flirtationship that turns into way more than it should. Chris is wild and confident, and Angie is timid and insecure by comparison, leading her into a tryst with her persistent teenager. It dips even further into inappropriate territory when Chris’s life becomes a mess: he’s homeless, and he turns to Angie for help getting back on his feet. These two messed-up people definitely did not need to be sowing the seeds of love when they were at their lowest!
4. Dan and Serena, Gossip Girl
Ugh, these two! There were plenty of red flags between these to for years, but it was the ultimate reveal that Dan (Penn Badgley) was Gossip Girl that made this romance full-fledge F’d up. Serena (Blake Lively) ends up marrying the man who spread rumors about her and her friends for years, stalked her, talked all kinds of crap about her, and lied to her! Are you insane girl? Not only is his continued presence in her life inappropriate, it’s downright scary. This guy is definitely unhinged and we’ll never get over how he basically gaslit her into being with him after that reveal. Also let’s not even bring up the step-siblings/shared brother thing.
5. Pacey and Tamara, Dawson’s Creek
You should probably know your relationship is wrong when it ends in a day in court. This teacher-student courtship has some super creepy elements. Not only did Tamara (Leann Hunley) initiate her relationship with Pacey (Joshua Jackson), she’s a grown-ass woman who took his virginity. Then their relationship gets so out of hand she’s in court and the two have to split because she’s literally being run out of town for her creeper ways. And they both still think this was ~true love~ somehow! This is one of those gross relationships where the couple pretty much thinks they’re doing nothing wrong because they feel so deeply for each other. And we’re here to tell y’all that you’re nasty no matter what you think!
6. Rachel and Cooper, One Tree Hill
When these two met, there were so many sparks. Just one problem — she was 17 and he was in his 20s. Whoops! She initially lies about her age, which tips you off right there that this couple is a major no-no. When Cooper (Edward Michael Trucco) found out about her true age, he tried to end the relationship, but is gross and fell back into Rachel’s teen-girl traps. The relationship was full of fights, false pregnancies, and limo crashes after that. He pretty much had to leave town to get away from the temptation of a high school girl. So, yeah, totally not a relationship on the up-and-up.
7. Jude and Tommy, Instant Star
Some lines just shouldn’t be crossed. Like mentor and mentee falling in love. Especially when one is 15 and the other is in his 20s. Tommy (Tim Rozon) and Jude (Alexz Johnson) meet when Jude wins Instant Star, a TV talent competition, and Tommy becomes her producer. The attraction is there from the start but let us reiterate — Jude was 15 when they met. When Tommy first kissed her she was 16 and that is NOT better! Their weird illegal romance is tip-toed around for years until they finally get together before her 18th birthday, making their couple-dom reveal when she comes of age extra creepy for everyone. He worked with her for years and now suddenly likes her when she happens to be 18? Yeah, no. We all see how gross it’s always been!
8. Ross and Elizabeth, Friends
This relationship is just full of negligence and age-gaps. Ross (David Schwimmer) learns one of his college students has a crush on him and once she’s found out she asks him on a date. Few problems here: Elizabeth (Alexandra Holden) is way younger than him, she’s his student, and her dad hates him. So not a lot going for this relationship from the jump. When Ross learns that dating a student isn’t just “frowned upon,” it’s prohibited, he literally does not care. He puts his career on the line for someone he barely knows! And in the end, his insecurity with her being young and fun and him being a goddamn adult man splits them apart. Good riddance because this TV couple should never have started to begin with!
9. Daya and Bennett, Orange is the New Black
Daya (Dascha Polanco) is an inmate in a woman’s prison. Bennett (Matt McGorry) is a Correctional Officer at the prison. See the problem? The unbalanced power dynamics in this relationship make it irrefutably wrong. No matter how smitten they are with each other, there is only one way for this relationship to end: badly. Daya legally can’t consent to a sexual relationship with him, though he pursues her anyways and she ends up pregnant. Bennett is, at the end of the day, a giant wimp. And when it comes to time to step up for the child, he uses his freedom, since he is not locked up, to run away and abandon the child and Daya. It’s sad and messed up, and shows why this kind of relationship should never exist.
10. Brooke and Nick, One Tree Hill
What is it with the girls in Tree Hill lying about their age? Brooke (Sophia Bush) initially meets Nick (Rey Valentin) on a blind date from a dating website (because all high school girls use dating websites. Sigh). She fools him for a bit that she’s much older than she actually he is until, whoops, he’s revealed to be her new English teacher! And they still keep dating afterwards. Yikes, guys. The girls in Tree Hill may lie about their age, but it’s the slimy men that choose to stay with them when they find out the truth. Even grosser, they don’t break up because he has a moral compass or anything, it’s because he cheats on her! Proving Brooke Davis is too good for everyone, basically.
11. Lip and Helené, Shameless
The teacher-student element in their relationship isn’t even the most inappropriate thing about these two! Lip (Jeremy Allen White) has never had an easy time finding healthy relationships to fall into. He’s pretty much a glutton for punishment. So when he falls hard for a college professor with an open marriage, the dangerous liaison leads him down a spiral of alcohol and over-dependence on the woman. It’s basically no good for anyone. The relationship ends with Helené getting fired and Lip losing pretty much everything. Some urges are better left unsatisfied!
12. Jon Snow and Daenerys, Game of Thrones
Jon (Kit Harrington) and Dany (Emilia Clarke) may be a new item in the Game of Thrones universe, but they’re following in the grand tradition of gross, incestuous couples on that TV show. She’s his aunt, guys! Okay, sure, they don’t know that yet but it doesn’t stop this relationship from being super inappropriate. Pepper in the fact that their courtship has them both giving up on morals and convictions they’ve held forever and it all feels totally off!
13. Elena and Stefan/Damon, The Vampire Diaries
Listen, I don’t care how ~fated~ these relationships are, they’re creepy AF. These two brothers are hundreds of years old, revolving their entire lives around seducing a teenager. Um, ew. As sweet and romantic as they can sometimes be, we can’t deny the totally unseemly implications of Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) relationship with both of these guys. Even when she herself becomes an immortal vampire she’s still in her teens and they are still old AF. It’ll never be normal, sorry. We’ll also mark the fact that she’s continuing on-again-off-again relationships with two brothers as a strike against the trio. Sibling rivalries can be unavoidable at times, but both siblings dating the same person is – and should be – completely preventable.
14. Megan and Don, Mad Men
There are some things you just never do in a workplace. Dating, and marrying, your boss is one of them. Megan (Jessica Pare) goes from being Don’s (Jon Hamm) secretary to being his wife seemingly overnight. But the real problem: they both continue to work together after they get romantically involved. This involves several times where issues in their relationship spill over into workplace drama. Shockingly, this marriage that began as a boss basically making a lesser employee feel powerful, ends badly. And by “shockingly,” we mean how did they even stay together as long as they did?!
15. Aria and Ezra, Pretty Little Liars
There are plenty of inappropriate student-teacher relationships on TV but what makes this one the worst is how no one cares that they’re together. Aria (Lucy Hale) and Ezra (Ian Harding) have become completely normalized not only on the show, but in real life. But oh my god, this relationship is a walking nightmare. Not only is Ezra her teacher, but he stalked her and her friends to write a book. STALKED. How is it acceptable to have an ~epic~ love affair with someone so dang creepy? Fans love these two, but those of us who realize how disturbing their relationship really is will never be on board with “Ezria.”
16. Callie and Brandon, The Fosters
Are they peers? Foster siblings? Adoptive siblings? Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Brandon (David Lambert) meet when she moves in with his family with her little brother as foster kids. There’s a lot of back-and-forth on whether or not the family can actually adopt Callie – even after they adopt her biological brother – and whenever it looks like they can’t, Callie and Brandon fall into each other’s arms. Then, days before she is adopted, they have sex. Just for her to become his legal sister when Callie Jacob becomes Callie Adams Foster. It’s a big ol’ mess, pretty much, but their continued relationship is the definition of “inappropriate.”
17. Olivia and Fitz, Scandal
We’re not gonna lie, these two are pretty great together. But we’re also not gonna lie and say they should be together. For starters, Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) is the President of the United States and Olivia (Kerry Washington) was part of his campaign staff. If you can’t smell the power imbalance from here, you have a problem. But the strange thing is how much power she has over him. These two use each other time and time again and manipulate one another like their love is a game. Oh, did we mention that Fitz was married for most of his relationship with Liv? Yeah, these two are beyond inappropriate.
18. Cersei and Jaime, Game of Thrones
THEY’RE BROTHER AND SISTER. Need I say more? Okay, I will because it gets even grosser. All of Cersei’s (Lena Headey) children are thought to be the offspring of her husband, but they’re actually her brother, Jaime’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). It literally does not get more disturbing than that. Their continued love affair throughout Game of Thrones gets creepier beyond incest, too. There’s manipulation, questions of consent, and a whole lot of Cersei basically welcoming rumors that they’re a thing. On a TV show full of shocking things, this relationship may be the most shocking of all.