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:
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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