And so, with hearts and flowers and chocolates aplenty and love-theme music gushing in the background, I give you
The Top 5 SF Couples Who Are Overdue for a Valentine's Day Kiss:
5) Todd & Jenny (from Todd and the Book of Pure Evil)
As burgeoning highschool romances (or non-romances, as the case may be) go, Todd and Jenny's has it's share of obstacles. Not only is Jenny aloof even though Todd is clearly smitten with her, there's the problem of their school being the centre for evil supernatural activity that they're forced to deal with on a regular basis, which takes up a lot of spare time that would normally be devoted to adolescent melodrama and making-out. It doesn't help either that stoner metalhead Todd, as good-hearted as he is, may be the destroyer of worlds. And yet there's hope for these two crazy kids. Todd has demonstrated that he loves Jenny pretty much unconditionally and is willing to accept her for who she is, regardless of whether she's in her usual frame of mind, or whether she's been put under a spell and forced into a romance with an obsessive girl with an evil twin or with a basketball player possessed by the spirit of a 1950's auto wreck victim, or whether she's been cursed to increase her weight by a factor of ten. And, encouragingly, as we saw in the fat episode, Jenny has (grudgingly) taken notice of this and there seems to be a hope, however dim, that she may someday break down and give Todd a chance. So I say "Get it over with! Kiss the poor bastard!" and maybe, if the satanic cult doesn't bring an end to the world, they may live happily ever after - or at least until Jenny gets tired of Todd getting wasted and eating corn chips with his sidekick Curtis every night.
4) Lister & Kochanski (from Red Dwarf)
From the first day Dave Lister came aboard the Red Dwarf and laid eyes on Kristine Kochanski, he was head-over-heels in love with her. Three million years in stasis for Lister and Kochanski's death (along with the rest of the crew) couldn't diminish those feelings either. Lister even incorporated her into his life goal of returning to Earth and setting up a hotdog stand on Fiji. And, courtesy of a run-in with an alternate universe near-duplicate of the "Short Rouge One", Lister did eventually get Kochanski back. Problem was, she was in love with his alternate universe double, and didn't have much use for this universe's good-hearted slob. My memory of the middle seasons is pretty fuzzy, so I'm not entirely certain, but I've got a feeling that Kochanski never really gave Lister a chance, and we're told at the beginning of series 9 that she'd finally got fed up with him and the other "Boys from the 'Dwarf" and left the ship in one of its smaller craft. And yet the early seasons did contain a time-jump episode where Lister ran into a future version of himself, happily shacked-up with Kochanski. So it appears that eventually she does give him a chance. It's just that we, as the audience, haven't seen it yet. Never-the-less, it's gotta be a long, lonely wait for Lister to get to that point in time, so I say it's high time for Kochanski to realize what a great guy Lister really is. I say it's time that Lister got his Valentine's Day kiss from the woman he'd cross time and the universe for.
3) R2D2 & C3P0 (from the Star Wars saga)
They may have been manufactured long ago in a galaxy far, far away, but it's the 21st Century - time for these two droids to come out of the closet and show their true feelings for one-another. Really, R2 and 3P0 may be kidding themselves, but they're not kidding anyone else. Since their initial meet-up on Tatooine, the robots have been pretty much inseparable. When they're in the same room together, they're always close. Very close. It's not uncommon for 3P0 to have a hand near or on R2's dome. They're always fondly bickering like some old couple, and while 3P0 may storm off into the desert after a tiff, they're always ecstatic to be reunited. R2's always there to put old Goldenrod back together after some mishap. And when R2 takes a hit for the hometeam, it's not the human heroes who worry about him (hell, looking at their reactions, none of the Rebel heroes gives a shit about how much damage the little guy has taken and whether he'll recover), it's 3P0, who's quick to offer his own parts to save the astromech. I don't know whether droids would kiss or not on Valentine's Day. Might be a problem seeing as how R2 doesn't appear to have lips, much less a mouth. But maybe they'd interface with R2's data jack or something (now there's a rather risque image!). At any rate, R2 and 3P0 really need to get on with it and express their love for one another, and Valentine's Day is as good a time as any.
2) Mal & Inara (from Firefly/Serenity)
One Firefly's central sources of conflict is that of the captain and the companion aboard the ship as they struggle against the sexual tension between them that's thicker than Jayne's head. Arguments and insults are more frequent than attacks by the Alliance, Mal gets jealous when he sees Inara with clients and she is deeply hurt when he has a brief romance with a friend of hers. All of this eventually prompts Inara to leave the freighter, although she ultimately returns during the events of the movie Serenity and ends up staying-on again, much to Mal's satisfaction. Watching these two spar, the viewer knows it's only a matter of time until their explosive relationship is fully realized as an open romance, and yet because Whedon keeps stringing it along again and again, we're put in the same position as the rest of the crew of Serenity who see the relationship for what it is and sit on the sidelines in exasperation waiting for Mal and Inara to finally get it over with. Really, these two need to have a serious Valentine's Day kiss before they kill each other.
1) Ivanova & Marcus (from Bablyon 5)
The ultimate in tragic romances. All Marcus ever wanted was for Susan to care for him as much as he loved her. But despite the obviousness of his feelings, Ivanova, a victim of her own jadedness after a lifetime of romantic disappointments, doesn't allow herself to feel anything for him and returns his kindness and humour (usually) with disdain. Finally, once the ranger has given his life to save hers, Ivanova is forced to acknowledge the depth of his feelings, to admit she deliberately passed up a chance at happiness, and to come to terms with the fact that deep down she cared for him too, and she is nearly crushed by these realizations. Ivanova lives out the rest of her life successful in her careers in Earth Force and later the Rangers, but carries the constant burden of the lost opportunity with Marcus. It's a tragedy that's written and performed so well that it's almost as hard for the viewer to bear as the characters. If there's any consolation, it's that series creator J Michael Straczynski mentioned on one of the DVD collection commentary tracks that he eventually wrote a short story (haven't read it myself yet) taking place many years after the events of B5 where Marcus is eventually revived and Ivanova (now long dead) is cloned, and the two are finally able to build a life together on a distant world. Because of that, I hope for Marcus and Ivanova that there's something like Valentine's Day on that world where they could eventually enjoy a long overdue kiss.
Okay, before everyone starts with the "Hey, wait a minute! You left out..." I'll admit there's an absence of literary characters on this list. That's because as I looked through my horde of books, I couldn't find any examples of couples who should be together but who hadn't committed yet. Nor did any examples spring to mind when I sat down and thought about all the books I've read that aren't on my shelves. If there are any you can think of, by all means let me know and we'll put them in the "should have included" pile. Any more examples from TV and film that should be on the list? Let me know and we'll throw them in on the comments board too!