It's one of the most common staples of movies, television and storytelling itself--two people falling in love, playing will-they-or-won't-they (though they usually will) and coming together right before the end credits. No matter how many times we see it, we want to see it again and again. It never gets old. We're all shippy for someone imaginary.

The reason we get that way has a lot to do with the presentation. For us to get lost in a fairy-tale romance, we have to believe in it. We have to believe it could work. The chemistry just has to be there, or it all feels flat and cliche. And there are many examples of that....

The Mask

Did this make sense to you either?

All nebbishly Stan Ipkiss wants is some Cameron Diaz tail, but he can't imagine anything happening between them--until it suddenly does, without any warning or sensical motive on her part, towards the climax of the film. Ipkiss is in jail, and Tina visits him--and confesses her spontaneous love. The biggest logic hole here is that he's only met Tina twice as himself--every other time, he's been The Mask, which she did not know yet. It's hardly enough time to develop even a friendship. But boy, did Tina get high off that one whiff of Stanley. "You're the only person who saw me as a person and not just a party favor!" Because he helped her open a bank account? "Thank you for sharing a sunset with me, for ten seconds, in a smelly park constructed over a former landfill! You're so romantic! KISS ME!"

As a testament to her ridiculousness, Tina did not show up in the obligatory Mask cartoon show that followed the movie. ...Then again, Jennifer never appeared in the Back to the Future show, and Dana didn't make one appearance in any of the 134 episodes of Real Ghostbusters. Love interests tend to get cut out because kids might find them yucky.

Gilmore Girls

How I hated--and still hate, to this day--Logan Huntzberger. I consider this cocky rich boy the Scrappy Doo of Gilmore Girls--a show I enjoyed immensely until he started showing up in every episode towards the end.

If I made a habit of watching more chick shows, I could probably fill this entire article with impossible couples from those alone. Real guys don't appear on those shows. Guys with bleached teeth and spotlessly clean apartments appear on those shows. Guys who love shopping and hate sports and have never farted even once. I sometimes wonder what women see in men other than hormonal gratification. We're gross; you don't want anything to do with us.

Up until Logan, though, Gilmore Girls was not one of those shows. This show actually had believable male points of view, chief among them Luke, who was as far from a prissy pretty boy as the WB would allow. But that was just part of the package. I mainly tuned into Gilmore Girls, and later bought all the DVDs, because it was one of the most hilarious, clever, and lovable series I'd ever seen. I didn't care if it was full of tampon ads--I think as long as something's GOOD, it shouldn't qualify as a show for women only. You can keep Gossip Girl and Lipstick Jungle, but don't take Gilmore Girls away.

Sadly, like most shows, Gilmore Girls started sliding downhill as the seasons stacked up. Some will say it was when Amy left her own series. Some will say it was when they started plopping out a bunch of plots-from-a-can like hospital emergencies and unknown daughters. I say: it started with Logan. He was extremely annoying and unlike Rory's other disposable boyfriends, he stuck around. And stuck around. And clung on like a leech, draining all the joy out of the show until the bitter end, when Rory broke up with him one episode before the finale.

There are many horrible Logan moments that prove his existence is cosmically impossible, but one from season six stands out in my mind. Rory's working overtime at the Yale Daily News, and the sun has set well beyond the mountains when she suddenly realizes: she was supposed to meet Logan for a date, and she has now stood him up for hours! What a crisis! At that moment Logan walks in the door, and you might think Rory's gonna get it, or at least a "Where were you," but Logan says nothing about it. He just walks in and stands there, hovering over Rory, with THIS look on his face:

What the...????

What Rory did to him doesn't faze him one bit; in fact, he stays to help out the staff and get the latest edition out on time. And when everyone's left, Rory realizes she never had dinner and all the restaurants are closed--and Logan magically pulls out sacks of takeout from under the counter, which he had put there before, KNOWING she would be starving later.

Logan was not only irritatingly perfect but irritatingly rich. This hadn't been a problem in the series before; it was always full of rich people--but it was all in the writing. Logan was cocky, arrogant, always had that grin pictured above on his face, and strutted around like a greaser, calling Rory "Ace." No one calls their girlfriend "Ace."

Gilmore Girls didn't have much of an ending, since the real one would have required Amy. She had the very last remark of the series in her head from the beginning, but we may never know what it was. I once suggested that the perfect ending to Gilmore Girls would involve Logan falling out of an airplane and getting impaled crotch-first on the needle of the Empire State Building.

Star Wars

Well, they had to be here somewhere. In between Ani's existences as a small squirt with bad acting skills and a youngling-slaughtering Sith Lord, he was a dorky teenager with a dull girlfriend. There is much of their developing relationship in Attack of the Clones that I can't recall, because I've only watched it all the way through once, when I saw it on the big screen. But I do remember them spending a lot of time rolling all over each other in a field full of daisies. I also remember the line "I don't like sand. It's all rough. Not like you. You're nice and smooth." She totally swooned over that one.

It's one of the least believable romances in all of cinema, for every reason one can think of. The dialogue is stiff, the acting is bad, and the love doesn't feel real. Perhaps the problem is that it HAD to happen--they're Luke and Leia's mom and pop, therefore they were destined to procreate. The best love stories come when the writer is free to get to know the characters, then decide which people would work best matched up. ....Actually, I just needed more words to fill this paragraph. The problem was Lucas, case closed.

Sonic the Hedgehog 360/PS3

The nation's Sonic fandom is divided into two camps: those who believe Sonic's true love is the canonical Amy Rose, and those who believe it should be Princess Sally Acorn, a character from the Saturday morning TV series and comic books. Both sides can be pretty zealous about this.

It's my judgment that they're both wrong. The problem with the idea of Sonic settling down with a girl is just that: settling down would mean slowing down, which would mean not being fast, which isn't true to his character. Historically Amy's lust for Sonic has been unrequited. She chases after him with flowers and candy and red hearts floating out of her head, yet she can't ever catch him. The ending of Sonic X suggested Sonic had feelings for Amy, but I doubt it was accurate. Besides, she looks like she's half his age.

In 2006 Sonic finally picked someone. He canonically kissed a female, but it wasn't Amy OR Sally. To everyone's horror....IT WAS A HUMAN BEING.

Until now, when pressed to choose a mate for Sonic or else, I've had to pick Amy by default because in the official Sonic universe, there is no Sally. But this flushes the whole "it's what the company says is true" notion down the commode. Because if I go by that logic now, I have to admit Sonic's true love is an actual girl--and I'm never accepting that. There has never been a fan demand for Sonic to fall for a human. And on top of everything else, why are they the same size? This is just further proof Sega has gone insane.

Hangin' with Mr. Cooper

The first season of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper was pretty good (though I was ten when I last saw it, so take that with a grain of salt). But they retooled the show in season 2 and made it worse, adding Raven and attempting to Cosby-fy Mark. One character stayed through both versions of the sitcom: Vanessa, played by Holly Robinson (Peete). I don't think many were watching the show anymore in its last season, but if you missed it, Mark suddenly said to Vanessa "I got feelins' for you." Vanessa reacted to this statement by acting awkwardly, and then they kissed. The development was way out of left field, and so was their hasty engagement two episodes later!

I don't know if the producers had a plan to smash Mark and Vanessa together at the end of the series, or if this was decided by completely different producers who had inherited the show...but it didn't work at all. I couldn't believe one bit of it. Mark had always hated Vanessa, and not in a romantic-tension kind of way...he had reasons. Vanessa was a spoiled brat, only without the bucks to live like one. No one with common sense would want to marry Vanessa. It felt more like they were forcing this idea because shows HAVE to end with a wedding between two lead characters, logically or not.

Final Fantasy 8

How does Squall get the girl? Through the foolproof method of showing no romantic interest whatsoever and muttering "whatever" to every conversation she attempts to start with him. Squall took hard-to-get to new heights. He could've thrown her off a cliff and she would've given him eleven more chances. He could've jammed a Gunblade in her buttocks and her response would have been "Oh Squall, you always know how to make me feel special!" Quoth Quistis Trepe, "Rinoa forces herself into your life no matter how many walls you attempt to build up to keep her out." No kidding.

The story might have been better received if this game wasn't marketed as a gargantuan, emotional love epic guaranteed to rest among the greatest romance stories ever told. If this one-sided, badly conceived relationship hadn't been the focus, it might be more fondly remembered today. Then again, there was also that nonsense of everybody concidentally coming from the same orphanage and forgetting about it. It also had to follow FF7.

That live-action Grinch thing

I'm really sorry for the bad memories. This is even worse than the princess and the hedgehog. Was it really necessary? What kind of sick scriptwriter thought we needed the idea implanted in our imaginations of Grinch and a Who getting freaky? Most of the extra non-Seussian material that padded out this movie was intended to give the Grinch a little more depth, perhaps a similar backstory to Scrooge, to make him more sympathetic....baaad idea. The Grinch reforms at the end of this story and that's enough depth for me. His entire life should revolve around creating chaos and misery, and ruining Christmas with the destructive zeal of The Noid. That's all I wanted; and I think it was possible to fill a movie with that alone.

Penny Arcade

Tycho Brahe is a pale bald supernerd who regularly plays D&D, absorbs hours upon hours of MMORPGs, and types up newsposts so overflowing with minute electronic jargon they're almost incomprehensible. Johnathan Gabriel is about the same, only he's also literally afraid to go outside (he's confessed this on the site). These people don't have girlfriends. They have wives.

Before you point out Gabe and Tycho are based on real people, and therefore their families and Safety Monkey and Annarchy and Twisp and Catsby have to be real too.....Have you ever seen a picture of Kara and Brenna? Then how do you know they're real? Their romances seem just as improbable to me as Sonic and Elise. What if I'm onto something?

Admit've considered this too.

Schoolhouse Rock

As we're told, "Mr. Morton is the subject of my sentence, and what the predicate says, he does." Mr. Morton deeply desires his next-door neighbor, but can't bring himself to talk to her. He tries writing her a letter, but it gets sent back to him. He tries calling her, but he's too nervous to dial her number. Just when he's given up all hope, the doorbell rings and it's the girl. And what's the first thing she says to him? She proposes marriage.

Given what we know about Mr. Morton and how reclusive he is, this might be the first time she has ever seen or talked to him. The song only had three minutes at maximum to tell this story, but much of it happened in real time. This is the shortest courtship I've ever seen in all moving-picture history. He just faced her, breathed once, maybe he didn't even have time to exhale, and she yells "MARRY ME!" And just in case anyone watching this cartoon doubts such a hasty hitching would work out, "THE MORTONS LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER" clearly appears on the screen in large type.

I'm not arranging these in any particular order, but if I was, Mr. Morton would definitely deserve the top position. No one can beat this.