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5 fandom couples that belong together, but aren't

Fandoms are all about shipping*. If you’re familiar with fandom shipping, you might know that there are tons of couples who are loved by the Canon Gods and fans like, such as Castle and Beckett, Bones and Booth, and Spock and Uhura (FINALLY, IT’S CANON!).

But for every long list of canonical couples that fandoms love, there’s a list just as long featuring couples that have all the makings for a ship* fit to sail the Seven Seas—but for whatever reason, they aren’t together. I’m listing five of those couples here, as well as some reasons about why they might not ever be official (despite intense hope).

Irving and Jenny (Sleepy Hollow)


This, apart from Ichabbie, was the ship to beat on Sleepy Hollow. The first season seemed to vehemently support it, since there were breadcrumbs along the way. Jenny and Irving were the second wave of force for Team Witness, both knowing their way around arsenals, hand-to-hand combat, and witty repartee. Both also got along well together—so well that Irving’s then-ex-wife, Cynthia, wasn’t sure if they were already an item. Even Orlando Jones, who played Irving, was all about Irving and Jenny, coining the couple name “Mr. and Mrs. Bamf.” The fandom eagerly followed suit, creating fan works of Jenny and Irving as the power couple du jour.

But then season two happened, and we all know what occured there: Not only did the show go downhill, but every crumb of storyline left from the first season went by the wayside. Season three promises the return of the Sleepy Hollow we know and love, but sadly, Irving (who was saved at the end of the second season) won’t be around to reap the benefits of Len Wiseman, Alex Kurtzman, and Heather Kadin coming back to the writers’ room.

Why they aren’t together: Not everything can be blamed on season two, believe it or not. Jones isn’t going to be on Sleepy Hollow because Irving got written out or anything; he and Jay Williams, the former president of global marketing and brand strategy for K/O Paper Products (owned by Kurtzman and Roberto Orci) have created digital entertainment company Legion of Creatives. The company’s first project, High School 51, stars Jones as a character who is currently shrouded in secrecy. Even though Jones has left, he’s still in the K/O fold, so he could still show up on an episode of Sleepy Hollow down the road. Who knows? Perhaps there’s still hope for Mr. and Mrs. Bamf after all.

Captain America and Falcon (Captain American 2: The Winter Soldier)


For some you out there, let me say this: Hear me out. If you’ve seen Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, you probably felt like the film was doing the most with Black Widow trying to hook Captain America up with every woman within a five-mile radius. Meanwhile, the story seemed to set up the Falcon as Captain America’s love interest. There’s even a legitimate meet-cute, aka the “On your left!” running scene. Don’t even get me started on the Falcon (Sam Wilson) staying by Cap’s (Steve Rogers) hospital bedside after he got seriously hurt taking on the Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes). Remember that they just met, like, weeks ago.

Other reviewers noticed this dynamic as well, such as the A.V. Club’s Caroline Siede, who, while writing about Marvel’s inability to write a good story for Black Widow, stated, “Winter Soldier smartly avoids shoehorning in a romance between Steve and Natasha. Instead, it’s Anthony Mackie’s Falcon who fulfills the narrative beats of a Steve Rogers love interest. In contrast to Black Widow’s nuanced motivations, Falcon joins the climactic battle simply to be around Steve.”

To go even further than the movie, there’s something worth noting from the comics. Apparently, in 1973, a set of Captain America panels featured Cap and Falcon sharing a moment after Cap quickly nursed the Falcon back to health. But their moment was a silent one, since what they felt had to go “unsaid” because they were men. Someone wrote in saying how encouraged they were after reading that scene, and hoped that at some point in the future, what went unsaid in the comics could be said between people in real life without anyone judging them. Make of that what you will.

Why they aren’t together: There are many reasons why they aren’t together, one being how 1950s Marvel’s movie studio is as a whole. Marvel is doing well with its Phase Two and Phase Three stuff, but let’s be real; Marvel has never won any awards for stellar writing for women, or even people of color, for that matter. Recall the recent kerfuffle of Black Widow not being on any Avengers merchandise, and the character getting the “slut” treatment in the movies—her being paired with Iron Man, Captain America, and The Hulk, with no discernable added character growth—even before Jeremy Renner made that “slut” joke. Also, don’t forget the fierce wrestling match it took for fans to wring out a Black Panther movie, with Louis D’Esposito, Marvel Studios’ co-president, vaguely hinting at a movie coming “someday” and saying it would be difficult to create Wakanda, even though it’s apparently so easy to create Asgard, another place that doesn’t exist in real life. If Stan Lee didn’t say he wanted the film to happen, I doubt the hand-wringing would have stopped.

Another reason is money, or rather, the fear of losing money due to risk-taking. Marvel can put racial, gender, and sexual diversity in their comic books all day, which is great, but if they don’t have to put it in their films, they won’t for fear of not getting the highest return at the box office. And it’s not like Cap and Falcon have ever been canonically outed, even though their relationship has soared past friendship and is now arguably in romantic soulmate territory. So since they are not officially out as anything, they will always be “straight” in the movies.

Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)


For all intents and purposes, Jack and Elizabeth were together in Dead Man’s Chest. Elizabeth and Jack’s quick relationship got more and more intense throughout the film, until it imploded with Elizabeth two-timing Jack with a kiss, leading to him being tied to his ship to sink to the bottom of the ocean. But really, Elizabeth should be with Jack for real.

Will Turner may be the actual child of a pirate, but Elizabeth is the true pirate of the two. She can scheme and plan with the best of them, even better than Jack can. Jack knows she’s got a pirate’s heart, and that’s what attracted him to her in the first place. She’s equally attracted to Jack’s wild nature, while Will, who isn’t wild, always stands for what’s right. Compared to the adventure and oceanic life Jack can offer, what does Will have that will keep Elizabeth satisfied with landlubber life? Nothing, as far as I’m concerned.

Why they aren’t together: The writing of Dead Man’s Chest wasn’t that stellar. The writing got worse in At World’s End, and let’s not even discuss the fourth one. With the writing quickly deteriorating, I doubt anyone cared to take in what direction the characters were headed in. The top concern was that Elizabeth and Will’s love story stay at the center of the action.

Zuko and Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender)


Zuko/Katara vs. Aang/Katara was such a big topic of debate back when Avatar: The Last Airbender was ruling the Nickelodeon airwaves. The canonical pairing is Kataang, but Zutara really was where the characters were headed. The reasoning is twofold. First, the story itself seemed set up for Katara and Zuko to at least come to a truce, what with Zuko immediately pinpointing Katara because both she and Zuko had lost their mothers. The story did allow for Zuko and Katara to become friends and partners on several missions, including Zuko helping Katara find the man who killed her mom, and both of them taking on Zuko’s sister, Azula. Second, the Cave of Two Lovers seemed to support a Zutara relationship, since the characters in the story of the cave were from the Fire Nation and Water Tribe. The cave’s story was basically Romeo and Juliet, and the characters who line up with that story? Katara and Zuko.

Why they aren’t together: Even though the breadcrumbs were there, Zutara just didn’t take off, for some reason. I think the writing was just set on having Katara and Aang as the endgame. Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino are some great writers, and there’s a reason the show has won beaucoup awards. But apart from Sokka’s relationships, other romantic relationships, like Mai and Zuko, never seemed to be set up concretely enough to be believable (for me, anyway). Some better-established romances would have been nice. Still, it’s worth noting that Konietzko and DiMartino always planned for Kataang to happen. Zutara just happened to have as broad of an appeal as Kataang.

Tia Dalma and Will Turner (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)

Tia Dalma and Will Turner (pictured above) seemed to hit it off extremely well in Tia Dalma’s swampy home in Dead Man’s Chest. The sexual tension in that scene was too palpable, maybe because Naomie Harris and Orlando Bloom might have been dating at the time. But Tia Dalma is actually in love with Davy Jones. Also, she’s actually a sea goddess. But that shouldn’t stop her potential love affair with Will, right?

Why they aren’t together: Dead Man’s Chest was the beginning of the end for the series’ writing, as stated above, but At World’s End just didn’t make sense. Tia Dalma’s transformation into Calypso was cool, but was it set up well? Also, was it set up well that Tia Dalma was in love with Davy Jones? Did anything about that movie make sense?

There you have it: five ships that may not be canonical, but still have fierce followings. What do you think? Debate in the comments below!

*”Ship” is a term from fandom culture that is short for “relationship.” This term is used as both a noun and a verb, as in, “I totally ship Captain America and the Falcon! Why won’t Marvel just put them together?” or, “I’m shipping Tia Dalma and Will Turner, no matter what you say!”

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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