In honor of Sweetest Day, which is tomorrow and which I recently discovered is mostly a Midwestern phenomenon invented, no doubt, to make us feel better about being stuck in the goddamn Midwest, I've compiled a list of Great Nerd Couples. I know I'm probably forgetting some biggies -- I tend to do that, like when I'm in a meeting and try to make a list of all the United States in my head but always end up forgetting the one in which I actually live. Anyway, this is just a little smorgasbord of fictional love, meant to bring out the Cupid in all of us. If, of course, your Cupid watches sci-fi and likes English literature.
Elizabeth and Darcy / Pride and Prejudice
Miscommunication, repression, awkward social moments -- that's what love is really all about, isn't it? Jane Austen certainly got it right with Pride and Prejudice. Few novels portray the silly awkward dance of brain-crunching confusion that permeates just about every romance -- fictional or non-fictional -- that ever was or will be. Plus, any story that gets turned into a movie with Colin Firth wins points in my book -- yes, even Bridget Jones' Diary.
Hermione and Ron / Harry Potter series
Thank God Hermione was in charge of this romance or things never would have gotten off the ground. As clueless as Ron may have been, at least he recognized the value of a good, smart -- very smart -- woman. I'm glad they finally got rid of that pesky third wheel, too. What was his name? Harry something....
Bones and Booth / Bones
Bones and Booth. Is that a great name for a saloon or what? As characters, these two have a nice ying-yang of geek/non-geek going on as well as a gift for significant glances and engaging banter. And as much as we loved Boreanaz as Buffy's broody boyfriend Angel, isn't it nice to see him undead and cracking jokes in the sunlight? It makes him look taller, I think.
+ Jim and Pam / The Office
These two are sweet, sweet wish fulfillment for anyone who's ever had an office crush. (And yes, I'm talking to you. I see how you look at the guy in accounting. Go ahead, give him an invoice...if that's what the kids are calling it these days.) Seriously, wouldn't work be wonderful if we all had someone fun to share it with? Jim and Pam make us wistful while also making us laugh, whether it's recruiting Dwight for the CIA or faxing him from the future. Good times...
Han and Leia / Star Wars
And at this very moment, millions of pre-adolescent girls across the globe learned that kissing is in no way icky, especially when it involves Harrison Ford.
Lois and Superman / Superman
Sure, Lois was always kind of mean to Superman's nerdy alter ego, but you've got to admire the commitment of these two crazy kids. Decades worth of comic books, three TV series, more than a half dozen movies -- that's sticking with it for the long haul. Plus, the guy made the Earth spin backwards just to save her, even though she was played by Margot Kidder. If that's not true love, I don't know what is.
Wash and Zoe / Firefly
Probably the least dysfunctional and therefore most doomed of all the Whedonverse romances. But hey, we enjoyed our toy dinosaur-loving, spaceship-flying, slightly jealous Wash and his patient, quietly sarcastic and decidedly deadly mercenary wife Zoe while they lasted. Yup, it was all sunshine and puppies until the whole "I am a leaf on the wind" debacle, which I now think of whenever I see drifting foliage. Thanks a lot for ruining fall for me, Whedon!
Mulder and Scully / The X-Files
Ah, the classics. Mulder and Scully were the standard bearers of great nerd love. Him, all crazy, anti-social sexy loner guy with the raging persecution complex. Her, the brainy scientist with an uncanny ability to run in high heels, get kidnapped and traumatized and never, ever get to be right about anything. What does it all add up to? Love, baby. Or at least the tacit suggestion of such after nine long, frustrating years. This was a Chris Carter show after all.
Beatrice and Benedick / Much Ado About Nothing
This is where we class the joint up, what with the Shakespeare and the iambic pentameter and the well-managed cleavage. Beatrice and Benedick earn nerd romance honors for their simple elegant snark and for the beautifully contrived crossed-wires that keep them at arms length while the younger, less interesting Hero and Claudio sort out their feeble swooning. The old saucy couples are always, always more fun than the dull pretty ones.
Adama and Roslin / Battlestar Galactica
Speaking of old saucy couples, we've got these two who basically have "tragedy ahead" stamped all over their foreheads. First their home planet gets nuked. Then they find out there are only 50,000 humans (soon to be less) left in the universe. Then they get put in charge of the whole mess. Talk about pressure. Top it off with Roslin's cancer and that whole "dying leader" prophecy and Adama's hard drinking and tendency to grow pornstaches, and you've got a recipe for some sad days ahead. Let's hope they get at least a few quiet moments together before the world ends -- again.
And on that note...Happy Sweetest Day everyone!