The Greatest Odd Couples To Ever Grace The Big Screen

The differences bring them together.

13/09/2017 14:05

Though there’s significant appeal in working with, befriending or even romancing folks with similar temperaments and relatable interests, there’s no denying the sparks that fly from couples as different as night and day.

The concept of attracting opposites has for centuries drawn the attention of artists and philosophers. “Baby seems we never agree, you like the movies, and I like TV. I take things serious, and you take ’em light. I go to bed early, and I party all night.” Rare insight there, from Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat.

“Our friends are sayin’, we ain’t gonna last. Cuz I move slowly, and baby I’m fast. I like it quiet, and I love to shout. But,” stress the couple, “when we get together, it just all works out.”

It just all works out.

Consider the yin and yang of Chinese philosophy, the idea of seemingly opposite or contrary forces actually being complementary, interconnected and interdependent.

In a nutshell, she takes two steps forward while he takes two steps back. But they come together, ’cos opposites attract.

Having made our point, we now present a quintet of classic movie partnerships that work, not in spite of, but because of their differences.

  • Princess Leia and Han Solo
    AFP/Getty Images
    Balance is a beautiful thing. On one side, dignity, grace, fire and responsibility. On the other, knockabout charm, casual criminality and seat-of-the-pants recklessness. Somehow, though, like so many other couples around the world, Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han (Harrison Ford) found in one another, not a reflection of themselves, but rather a loving source of those essential qualities one needs to live a complete life.

    Because every Princess deserves a scoundrel, and every scoundrel needs a Princess.

    They didn’t last, of course,  but there’s so much more to a great relationship than simple longevity. Saving the galaxy together, for example, fighting a war in the stars, is way more meaningful than simply running out the clock.
  • Mulder and Scully
    FOX via Getty Images
    Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) believes. That’s his thing. He’s a rebel, a loner. A joker, a nerd. A little bit spooky and as determined to get to the truth as anyone has ever been determined to get to anything. Ever.

    Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) doesn’t believe. At least, not for a very long time. Even after encountering scores of supernatural creatures from other worlds, she holds onto her scepticism so tightly, she could choke it. Logical and even-tempered, she’s the first port of call for Mulder’s crazy ideas.

    Together, they’re the best they can be. Far better, more interesting and certainly more entertaining than they’d ever be apart.

    Whether you agree with X-Files creator Chris Carter, who insists their relationship is entirely platonic, or, like most fans, you believe them to be crazy in love, Mulder and Scully rank among sci fi’s highest functioning odd couples.

    We believe in them.
  • King Kong and Ann Darrow
    Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images
    She (Fay Wray) was an actress, down on her luck. Seeking adventure and a hot meal, she took a punt on a producer who gave her a sandwich, and promised to make her a star.

    He was a giant ape, the King of Skull Island. Though adored by the natives, with non-stop monsters to fight for fun, he nevertheless felt a hole in his life that couldn’t be filled. Not even with unlimited bananas.

    The moment she saw him she screamed. Screamed for her life.

    The moment he saw her, he swore to protect her from every T-Rex, Biplane and plot device that came between them. And he did. And he was surprisingly tender.

    Theirs was a bond than transcended geography, language, species and size. A tale as old as time... Song as old as rhyme... beauty and the beast.
  • Marge and Homer Simpson
    FOX via Getty Images
    No animated couple in history has survived more shenanigans than Homer (Dan Castellaneta) and Marge (Julie Kavner). The former, a boorish, bumbling, boozing, lazy and immature oaf with questionable intelligence and certain anger management issues. The latter, a patient, kind, accommodating, domestic goddess.

    Why, though, does Marge put up with Homer? 

    “I know what I can offer you that no one else can,” says Homer during a rare moment of clarity. “Complete and utter dependence!

    “I need you more than anyone else on this entire planet could possibly ever need you! I need you to take care of me, to put up with me, and most of all I need you to love me, 'cause I love you.”

    “I must admit,” says Marge with a smile. “You certainly do make a gal feel needed.”
  • Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
    A homicidal, suicidal supercop and ex-Special Forces killer living “on the ragged edge” since the death of his wife, Riggs (Mel Gibson) shares a ramshackle trailer with his trusty mutt Sam, subsisting on a diet of alcohol, nicotine, junk food, self-pity, bad TV and homicide.

    Just turned 50 and feeling anything but nifty, Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover) a by-the-book detective, cautious and domestic with a boat, a house, a family and a cat to maintain. The last thing he thinks he needs is to be partnered with some gung-ho lunatic with blow-dried hair and a death wish.

    Seems every buddy cop flick ever made features partners who have nothing in common. First they hate one another. Later they develop a grudging respect. Ultimately, they’re thick as thieves. Friends till the end. It’s what critics call a trope. A theme. A movie cliché. Yet, we still think of this Lethal pair as the ultimate example of opposite’s attracting in a competitive genre.
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