There’s nothing like a great TV wedding. I’ve been very fortunate to have watched more than a few of my favorite TV couples get married onscreen, and there’s no better feeling as a devoted fangirl than watching a couple you’ve rooted for through all of their ups and downs finally get that perfect wedding episode.
Some of my favorite TV episodes of all time are wedding episodes because they are instant doses of happiness I can come back to whenever I need it. They’re reminders to never stop hoping and believing in happy endings (or, really, happy beginnings), and I love stories that make me feel hopeful and happy.
This week, I was lucky enough to get to watch another one of my favorite television couples—Rick Castle and Kate Beckett—tie the knot in an excellent episode of Castle.
The joy I felt watching their vows on Monday made me want to reflect back on my other favorite TV weddings.
Leslie and Ben (Parks and Recreation)
I’ve talked about this wedding so many times, but I feel like I can never talk about it enough. I’m not sure any moment I’ve ever watched on television has made me as happy as this wedding. It’s my go-to episode when I’m in need of some TV comfort food, and I still cry happy tears every time I watch it. Every detail was perfect—from the location and the dress to the beautiful vows and the clips that accompanied them, reminding us of the journey these two characters took to get to this place where they could both so beautifully say, “I love you and I like you.”
We’ve all seen those lists popping up on our Facebook feeds—“15 Movies that Changed My Life,” “10 Books that Stayed with Me,” “10 Albums that Have Defined My Life,” etc. We’ve probably even made one or more of those lists ourselves. (I’ve done both the book and movies ones.) But I haven’t seen any of these “challenges” devoted to television.
That’s about to change.
I am the woman I am in no small part due to the movies I’ve watched and the books I’ve read in my 26 years. However, I’m also the woman I am because of the TV shows I’ve watched and the television characters I’ve loved. More than any other form of media, television has given me characters and stories to grow up with, to be inspired by, and to learn from over the course of many years.
Therefore, today I’m making a list of the 10 TV shows that have had the deepest impact on me. And I’m challenging all of my fellow nerds to make their own lists and post them in the comments!
1. Sesame Street: My love for television as a medium and my respect for it as a positive force in people’s lives can be traced back to mornings spent watching Sesame Street with my mom. It was the first TV show I was ever exposed to, and I want it to be the first TV show I expose my own children to someday. I love Sesame Street not only for the things it taught me (Spanish, letters and numbers, the continents…) but also for how happy it made me as kid and still makes me as an adult every time I see Grover or Big Bird or Cookie Monster spreading joy to a new generation of kids.
2. Boy Meets World: This was the first show to teach me that a piece of media can mean different things to you at different times in your life. I grew up with these characters not only when the show first aired but also through reruns that seemed to air just when I needed them in high school, in college, and even now. Boy Meets World’s series finale is one I treasure as an adult far more than I did as a preteen watching it for the first time, and it gave me some of the most profound advice any TV show could ever hope to give: “Dream. Try. Do good.”
My favorite TV episodes are often the ones that make me cry the most. A good example of this is “Chuck vs. The Cliffhanger,” the Season Four finale of Chuck. I’ve seen this episode a few times since I first started watching the series on DVD last year, and it still makes me cry in multiple places every time.
One of my favorite things about Chuck is the warm and genuine chemistry between Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski as Chuck and Sarah. This episode celebrates that chemistry in the most beautiful of ways: with a much-anticipated wedding. But before the actual ceremony can take place, Chuck has to save Sarah from a deadly dose of radiation poisoning she contracted at their rehearsal dinner. Life and love are never simple in the spy business.
Though things may never be simple for Chuck and Sarah, what moves me the most in this scene is how simple and easy their love feels. Sarah’s “practice” vows are such a genuine reflection of who she is and who Chuck has been for her. She was sent to protect him and teach him how to be a spy, but he ended up teaching her how to be someone who is capable of being so much more than just a spy. Chuck brings out the gentle side of Sarah, the side that smiles almost shyly when she’s done telling the man she loves exactly what he means to her.
And then there’s Chuck—sweet, open, big-hearted Chuck Bartowski. If you asked me to draw up my dream man, it would be Chuck, and this scene shows exactly why. You will never see a man on TV as devoted to the woman he loves as Chuck is to Sarah. Levi plays this character with such beguiling earnestness that it’s impossible not to believe in the love story he’s selling. The moment when he whispers “Perfect” with tears in his eyes before saying it louder to Sarah gives me goose bumps every time I watch it. You can feel how much this character loves the woman he’s going to marry, and that believability is both incredibly uplifting in that scene and incredibly heartbreaking as we watch Chuck sitting at Sarah’s bedside, holding her hand and silently begging her not to leave him. As the scene ends, you get the sense that this man is willing to do anything to bring back the woman who so brightly lit up his life in the flashback we just witnessed.
Sarah wants to show Chuck that he is a gift she deserves, and what’s so emotional about this scene is that we can see that Chuck believes Sarah is a gift, too. These two beautiful characters deserve each other and the happiness they clearly have even in a practice wedding. And nothing makes me cry like two worthy characters finding happiness with each other—and fighting to protect that happiness in the face of huge obstacles.