The best famous duos of all time. Quite a few TV shows have led with friendship in the title: Think of Starsky and Hutch, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Will & Grace, or Cagney & Lacey.
None of those pairs made our list, but we have staples in television history and some new characters that have already surpassed expectations. Look at these and see if your relationship is similar to any of them.
The Best Famous Duos Of All Time & Famous Pairs
20. Liz Lemon & Jack Donaghy
(Tina Fey & Alec Baldwin)
30 Rock, NBC, 2006-present
Even though Jack never intended to be her friend, his role as a mentor to Liz morphed into an off-beat friendship built on his unwillingness to admit they’re friends. In the end, Jack confesses, “Lemon, I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
19. Cory Matthews & Shawn Hunter
(Ben Savage & Rider Strong)
Boy Meets World, ABC, 1993-2000
In contrast to many of these couples, Cory and Shawn’s relationship was documented from the time they were in sixth grade until they graduated from college. It was everyone’s dream to have a friend like Cory or Shawn during the 1990s. We saw them at their highest and lowest points, and they were always natural to us.
18. Lorelai Gilmore & Rory Gilmore
(Lauren Graham & Alexis Bledel)
Gilmore Girls, The WB/CW, 2000-2007
It’s rare to see a mother-daughter pairing on TV, especially one that’s heartwarming and poignant.
17. Buster Bluth & Lucille Bluth
(Tony Hale & Jessica Walter
Arrested Development, Fox, 2003-2006
Arrested Development chose to go for comic gold, where Gilmore Girls touched the heart. This mother/son pairing was awkwardly thrust into the spotlight because of their overprotective relationship, but for some reason we couldn’t help but smile. I would never want to take part in the Motherboy competition (but secretly wish I could).
16. Wayne & Garth
(Mike Myers & Dana Carvey
Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1988-1993
Who didn’t want to be these two? Hanging out in your basement and listening to music all day sure sounds like a fun way to spend your days. The sketch became so popular that two films were produced.
15. Andy Taylor and Barney Fife
(Andy Griffith & Don Knotts)
The Andy Griffith Show, CBS, 1960-1968
These two were forced together through blood (they’re cousins) and work, so they didn’t have to like each other, but were a great team nonetheless. Barney was the blowhard, while Andy was the composed professional.
14. Chandler Bing & Joey Tribbiani
(Matthew Perry & Matt Le Blanc)
Friends, NBC, 1994-2004
Despite being part of an ensemble group, the roommates/best friends surpassed their peers’ level of friendship. It would be inaccurate to call their relationship a “bromance”; they were much more than that. The perfect mixture of opposites and similarities made them able to play off each other so well.
13. Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble
(Alan Reed & Mel Blanc)
The Flintstones, ABC, 1960-1996
Flintstone and Rubble were neighbors, co-workers, best friends, and members of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes. Since the Stone Age, men have been hotheads with soft spots.
12. Lucy Ricardo & Ethel Mertz
(Lucille Ball & Vivian Vance)
I Love Lucy, CBS, 1951-1957
Even though Ethel was Lucy’s landlady and there was a significant age gap, these two neighbors became best friends. The friendship of these two female leads was a first for a sitcom and was a focal point of the show.
11. Jerry Seinfeld & George Costanza
(Jerry Seinfeld & Jason Alexander)
Seinfeld, NBC, 1989-1998
Despite being part of one of the greatest foursomes in TV history, these two remain a duo. The two were lifelong friends who made fun of each other’s less desirable qualities. Jerry and George’s ability to go back and forth for hours on end about something that didn’t matter to anyone created some of the most meaningful TV conversations ever.
10. Walter White & Jesse Pinkman
(Bryan Cranston & Aaron Paul)
Breaking Bad, AMC, 2008-present
In this story, a dying teacher starts dealing meth and enlists a former slacker student to help him with the business side of the trade. Their relationship was built over a simple bond that has now evolved into something more meaningful-and darker-than either of them could have imagined.
9. Norm Peterson & Cliff Clavin
(George Wendt & John Ratzenberger)
Cheers, NBC, 1982-1993
Is there anyone who wouldn’t enjoy drinking beer all day and talking trivia? The two Norms were inseparable on those stools at a bar where everyone knows your name, while Sam and the other members of the ensemble ran all over the place.
8. Fred Sanford & Lamont Sanford
(Redd Foxx & Demond Wilson)
Sanford & Son, NBC, 1972-1977
Lamont was raised by Fred alone after his wife died, which probably explains why they became friends and business partners. Fred’s hardnosed personality rubbed off on Lamont over time, and finally, the son became greedier and more of a schemer than his father. The phrase “like father, like son” has never been more apt than with these two.
7. Troy Barnes & Abed Nadir
(Donald Glover & Danny Pudi)
Community, NBC, 2009-present
In addition to having a morning talk show (fictitious), these two odd-ball best friends moved in together. They remind us all of what it was like to be a kid again and that it’s okay to dedicate a room to pretend play. They’re the only ones to have a signature handshake out of all the duos on the list.
6. Bud Abbott & Lou Costello
(Bud Abbott & Lou Costello)
The Abbott & Costello Show, syndicated, 1952-1954
They are best known for their “Who’s On First?” bit but had much more in their arsenal. The combination of straight man and comic foil they employed set the bar for others to follow.
5. Bert & Ernie
(Frank Oz & Jim Henson)
Sesame Street, PBS, 1969-present
The purpose of Bert and Ernie was to show children that people can be friends despite their differences. Even better, the Muppets’ relationship mirrored that of Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Sesame Street may be aimed at children, but you’re never too old to enjoy it.
4. Tony Soprano & Dr. Melfi
(James Gandolfini & Lorraine Bracco)
The Sopranos, HBO, 1999-2007
It was the entire premise of The Sopranos that Tony went to Dr. Melfi for therapy. So many of the presented plots were a direct result of their professional relationship. Although he revealed so much to her, she never questioned his actions or trusted his motives.
3. Hawkeye Pierce & B.J. Hunnicutt
(Aland Alda & Mike Farrell)
M*A*S*H, CBS, 1972-1983
When Trapper McIntyre left the show, he left a massive hole in Hawkeye’s world. But then came B.J. Hunnicutt in the fourth season. Where Hawkeye was aggressive, Hunnicutt was calmer. Hawkeye watched from a helicopter as Hunnicutt rode his motorcycle down the mountain, then Hawkeye saw the message his friend had left using painted white stones. “GOODBYE.”
2. Fox Mulder & Dana Scully
(David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson)
The X-Files, Fox, 1993-2002
The combination of skeptic and believer is an archetype because Scully and Mulder made it that way. The (mostly) platonic friendship began when Scully was sent in to debunk Mulder’s work, but she grew close to her partner and came to trust him—and no one else.
1. Felix Unger & Oscar Madison
(Tony Randall & Jack Klugman)
The Odd Couple, ABC, 1970-1975
It was hard to get this far in the list and not call any duos an “odd couple.” Of course, so many TV duos owe everything they have to Felix and Oscar. One is neat and compulsive, while the other is messy and leads an unscheduled life. Their differences made them great, but their relationship could never be duplicated.