DEANNA LETS JASON GET DOWN ON ONE KNEE TO PROPOSE In what we used to think was the most despicable moment in TV breakup history (until Monday night’s episode of “The Bachelor”), “Bachelorette” Deanna Pappas let single dad Jason Mesnick get down on one knee and actually start proposing before she interrupted him. “No, I can’t,” moaned Pappas (in a voiceover seemingly added in post-production) just a few grueling moments too late. But in perfect what-goes-around-comes-around reality-show karma, her relationship with the other guy she let propose to her that same day ended badly. If only she hadn’t gone to New Zealand and advised Jason to take the safe bet (aka Melissa), maybe he wouldn’t have broken the poor girl’s heart even more than Deanna did his.
MICHAEL DUMPS HOLLY ON “THE OFFICE” Michael Scott (Steve Carell) had finally broken loose from his last bad relationship with Jan (Melora Hardin) and lucked out to find Holly (Amy Ryan) — a girl who shares his goofy sense of humor and seemed charmed by his inappropriate remarks. But love and work don’t always mix, and Holly was transferred to the Nashua branch. Could a long-distance relationship work? Not on a sitcom and not with a freak like Michael. After begging Holly to stay because he feared he’d return to Jan, Michael decided to cut their long weekend short and head back to Scranton. It’s hard to watch a grown man cry.
KEVIN AND WINNIE CALL IT QUITS ON “THE WONDER YEARS” We cried like babies when Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) and Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) shared their last night together. Over six seasons we watched their relationship blossom. When Winnie briefly left Kevin for Paul (really?) and when Kevin fell for Madeline, the hot new girl at school, we thought those episodes were just dalliances and that Winnie and Kevin would be together forever. But in the series finale, when Kevin found Winnie making out with the summer camp lifeguard, we realized that this young love could not last forever and it was time to move on. Even as they were breaking up, a rain-soaked, tear-drenched Winnie said, “I don’t want it to end.” Neither did we.
JOEY AND PACEY MELT DOWN ON “DAWSON’S CREEK” The only thing worse than a nasty breakup is a nasty PUBLIC breakup. Such was the case when Pacey let loose on Joey at the senior prom, as Dawson and the class stood with their chins to the floor. No wonder he felt like he was “the designated loser.” Gotta say, Pacey, you sure seemed like it.
MIKE LEAVES GLORIA ON “GLORIA” Three years after “All in the Family” went off the air, producer Norman Lear decided to go for yet another spin-off, this time about Archie Bunker’s daughter, Gloria. While we never saw Mike Stivak (Rob Reiner) and Gloria Bunker-Stivak (Sally Struthers) go their separate ways, we were given a simple (if not entirely plausible) explanation: Mike had decided to join a commune, leaving Gloria and their son, Joey, to make it on their own. The most upsetting part of the TV couple’s split? “Gloria” is one of the most notoriously bad spin-offs of all time.
DIANE POSTPONES HER WEDDING TO SAM ON “CHEERS” Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) were TV’s ultimate on-again/off-again couple. But finally it seemed they would take a trip down the aisle. The wedding was set. Enter Diane’s ex-fiance, Sumner Sloane, who offered her a deal to finish her novel. And sadly enough she accepted. Her promise to return in six months went unfulfilled. Diane would not return to “Cheers” for six years, when she showed up for the series finale, as Sam and Diane decided to run off and get married — and then called it off yet again.
RHODA AND JOE SPLIT ON “RHODA” When Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) married Joe Gerard (Dave Groh) they made the simple vow to stay together “as long as you both shall love.” They loved for roughly one-and-a-half seasons before becoming the first couple to separate (and ultimately divorce) on TV. Their relationship arc proves the timeless adage that getting married doesn’t solve all of a girl’s problems — especially on a sitcom. Heed our warning, Carrie Bradshaw.
LORELAI BREAKS LUKE’S HEART ON “GILMORE GIRLS” It was the moment we’d all been waiting for (and believe us, we “Gilmore Girls” fans were rabid enough to wait a long, long time): Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) were finally together. But Luke was toying with her — and us. He kept delaying their wedding. Still, Lorelai might have overreacted to his last postponement just a touch. Sleeping with your ex in retaliation is taking it too far, right? Anyway the wedding was off, the series was cut short, and we never got to live out our fantasy of walking down the aisle with Lorelai and Luke. We’re not sure who was more broken-hearted: Lorelai, Luke, or the fans.
BERGER BREAKS UP WITH CARRIE ON A POST-IT NOTE ON “SEX AND THE CITY” It was 2003′s equivalent of breaking up via text message, when Jack Berger (Ron Livingston) broke up with Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) on a Post-It Note: “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” Too late, Berger. There’s absolutely no way for a guy to crawl back into a girl’s good graces after that kind of treatment.
BURKE LEAVES CHRISTINA AT THE ALTAR ON “GREY’S ANATOMY” What happens when your on-screen love makes some off-color off-screen remarks? He gets fired in the real world and leaves your character at the altar in TV land. That’s what happened to Sandra Oh’s character, Cristina Yang, on “Grey’s Anatomy” when her TV fiancé, Isaiah Washington’s Dr. Preston Burke allegedly made a homophobic remark about fellow cast member T.R. Knight. The result was one of those classically painful jilted-girl-in-a-big-white-puffy-dress moments.