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10 Great On-Screen Workplace “Romances”

Inspired by Entertainment Weekly’s ode to history’s great “bromances” (which was inspired by today’s release of the new comedy “I Love You, Man“), I decided to pay tribute to another rarely celebrated faux romance: That between manager and employee. 

I thought it would be a nice change of pace from the conversations about employer/employee relations that tend to focus on the negative.  (And…what can I say? It’s Friday.)  

Below are 10 on-screen pairs whose workplace “romances” (womances?) remain completely platonic – despite having all the makings of a true love story:

  1. Mary Richards and Lou Grant (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) – The relationship between the producer for WJM-TV and her teddy-bear-on-the-inside boss is fraught with bickering, but underneath it all is an endearing mutual respect that reveals itself at the most unexpected of times.
  2. Sam Malone and Woody Boyd (“Cheers”) - They were no Sam and Diane, but Woody’s wide-eyed innocence was the perfect complement to Sam’s machismo, bringing out his softer side, à la “Beauty and the Beast.”
  3. Murphy Brown and Eldin (“Murphy Brown”) – It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship when Murphy hired the philosophic Eldin to paint her house and, later, be her nanny. Together, Murphy and Eldin, along with her baby, formed an amusing – if controversial – family dynamic.
  4. Ed Rooney and Grace (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) – Hearing Grace’s affectionate intonation as she scolds, “Oh, Ed!” is enough to illustrate that this working relationship is more husband/wife than ordinary principal/secretary.
  5. Roz Doyle and Frasier Crane (“Frasier”) – Their love/hate chemistry is straight out of a Hepburn/Grant screwball comedy, but even after one regrettable romantic encounter, they manage to keep their relationship professional.
  6. Waylon Smithers and Mr. Burns (“The Simpsons”) – Smithers’ unending devotion and unrequited adoration for his boss is as heartfelt – and heartbreaking – as any great romance.
  7. Dwight Schrute and Michael Scott (“The Office”) – An obvious choice, I know, but how can I leave out the live action version of Smithers and Mr. Burns?
  8. Andy Sachs and Miranda Priestly (“The Devil Wears Prada”) – It was a long, painful courtship, but Andy eventually won at least the respect (little though it was) of the complicated, career-focused Miranda. But like the nerd and the head cheerleader, societal pressures and personal prejudices would forever keep them from finding happiness together, and they eventually parted ways.
  9. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts (“Iron Man”) – Although billionaire playboy Tony and his assistant, Pepper, have obvious feelings for one another, fear of ruining their professional and personal relationship kept them apart.
  10. Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy (“30 Rock”) – A modern-day Mary Richards and Lou Grant, these two enjoy a tempestuous workplace relationship: When they fight, it’s bad, but when they make up, it’s soooo good.
Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.


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