The Five Most Dysfunctional Iconic Movie Couples of All Time

by Lucas Witherspoon

Oftentimes people describe wanting a so-called “fairytale romance,” but since no one bothers to read anymore, what most of them really mean is they want their own relationship to emulate that of one of the many prototypical film couples that have grown to be emblematic in a lot of peoples’ minds as to what a relationship should entail. Look a little deeper, though, and you’ll find that some of the most iconic movie couples of all time were actually just as fucked up as the rest of us, if not more.

Rhett and Scarlett
Rhett and Scarlett’s relationship could be described as tumultuous at best, which, in all fairness, is the adjective I’d use to describe about 90 percent of all relationships I’ve witnessed. Their relationship has all the elements that make it ripe for instability: infidelity (or allegations of), drunken fights, and plenty of stunt queening (i.e. Scarlett falsely claiming she’s pregnant at one point). On top of it all, Rhett throws her down a flight of stairs, resulting in a miscarriage and gets drunk and tries to rape her. Clark Gable may be devastatingly handsome, but the character of Rhett was a pretty horrible person and mean drunk, which, in terms of bringing the crazy, complemented Scarlett’s psychopathy. Nonetheless, the results were disastrous.

Big and Carrie
Without even pointing out the implausible fact Carrie was a freelance writer who could somehow afford Manolo Blahniks and a $9 million NYC apartment (the equivalent of $3,000 a month in rent), who then went on to become the eventual wife of a multimillionaire, Carrie Bradshaw remains the idealized archetype for needy, love-hungry women everywhere. Since when did emotional dependency become an endearing or enviable quality?

Romeo and Juliet
Speaking of codependency, do we even really have to go in to how fucked up these two are? We get it: you’re two people in love who come from different worlds. That doesn’t mean you should kill yourself in the process just to prove your devotion and spite your families. Plus, they were “in love” for, what, four days? I’ve had juice cleanses that have lasted longer, only talking about doing a juice cleanse is only slightly less obnoxious than this duo.

Johnny and Baby
Aside from introducing the world to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”, thus prompting countless second-rate wedding reception recreations of the finale dance, Dirty Dancing tells the tale of a 17-year-old affluent, Jewish girl (a rich Jew–go figure), “Baby,” who meets a dancing instructor at a lodge while on vacation with her parents. She eventually falls in love with the lodge’s working class dance instructor, Johnny, and cons her dad out of money to pay for his primary dance partner’s abortion. Somehow the iconic finale dance has managed to distract audiences from realizing that not only did she lie to her father in order to pay for a random woman’s illegal abortion, but also that Johnny is clearly much older than her (conveniently, his exact age is never officially given). It’s a little too To Catch a Predator. On the bright side, I’ve never seen a straight man with better hip action than Patrick Swayze.

Romy and Michele
Okay, they’re not technically a couple, but their interdependent friendship has completely ruined their chances of ever landing a man, so they may as well be. All that aside, they just may be the most stable and compatible coupling on this list.