STATE OF THE ARTS

The best love songs, TV couples and romantic comedies of all time

In honour of Valentine's Day, Amanda Parris and Peter Knegt count down their classics on this week's State of the Arts — and ask for yours.

In honour of Valentine's Day, Amanda Parris and Peter Knegt count down their classics — and ask for yours

Clockwise from top left: When Harry Met Sally, By Your Side, A Different World, Muriel's Wedding, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I Will Always Love You. (Courtesy)

Every Monday, CBC Arts runs down the latest arts and culture news on State of the Arts, a live chat between our very own Amanda Parris and Peter Knegt.

For our latest edition, Amanda and Peter took up the opportunity of Valentine's Day to each count down their favourites when it comes to the holy trinity of love-themed pop culture: TV couples, romantic comedies and love songs. The results? Watch the video below to find out (and feel free to add your own picks in the comments).

If you don't have time to watch the whole show, we've also handily listed Amanda and Peter's picks below:

Best TV couples

Whitley and Dwayne in A Different World. (NBC)

Amanda's picks: Compiling this list made me realize how many toxic TV relationships I have witnessed over the years. As a result, when a healthy (if not always happy) relationship does get presented, the pairing shine with extra luminosity. Before I get to my top five, there are a few couples that didn't quite make it on the list but deserve a special shout out. The past two seasons of This is Us have introduced audiences to the beautiful and powerful love story of Randall and Beth Pearson and they are definitely primed for future legendary status in this category. Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano from The Mindy Project went through a roller coaster of drama but their eventual reunion was the only true conclusion for the show. And Will Gardner and Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife created one of the best "will they or won't they" couples of all time. We won't discuss how that one ended.

1. Whitley and Dwayne (A Different World)

2. Cory and Topanga (Boy Meets World)

3. Buffy and Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

4. Glenn and Maggie (The Walking Dead)

5. Cliff and Claire Huxtable (The Cosby Show)*

* Note from Amanda: "I know that Bill Cosby in real life is highly problematic and I'm not here to defend anything he's done, but Cliff and Claire Huxtable were hugely important to me and very transformative. It was one of my first times seeing a successful, healthy, Black couple who were married and raising their children and just moving through daily life and love each other. It was just such a beautiful portrayal of love."

Buffy and Angel in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". (The WB)

Peter's picks: I'm all over the place with the criteria I used to define "best" when it comes to the five couples I listed. Some are there largely out of nostalgia, others because of how impressive the realism of their relationship felt to me. And one is kind of a cheat because they're not a couple or fictional, but they sure could host every awards show for the rest of eternity if I had my wish. I should also note a few of the many that almost made the cut: Roseanne and Dan Conner, Eric and Tami Taylor, Rory Gilmore and Jess Mariano (anyone ever on Team Dean or Team Logan has a problem). But I stand by these five as my ultimate choices, even if I'm not sure I'd ever want to actually be in any of those couples (with #5 being a massive exception).

1. Buffy and Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

2. David and Keith (Six Feet Under)

3. Rob and Sharon (Catastrophe)

4. Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano (My So-Called Life)

5. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (SNL, awards shows, talk shows)

Best romantic comedies

When Harry Met Sally. (Sony)

Amanda's picks: I struggled to not make this list just a combination of Meg Ryan and Hugh Grant films (for they truly are the queen and king of rom coms) and battled my deep embarrassment over some of the films I've watched countless times despite their problematic premises, predictable writing and not quite Oscar-worthy performances. Special shout outs go to Four Weddings and a Funeral — truly one of the best ensembles ever put together for a rom com, Sleepless in Seattle — the chemistry between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks is truly a gift of the 1990s and Coming to America — comedy gold that can still have me laughing till my stomach hurts 30 years later.

1. When Harry Met Sally

2.Notting Hill

3. Amelie

4. Moonrise Kingdom

5. Pretty in Pink

Muriel's Wedding. (Miramax)

Peter's picks: I am in full support of the popular suggestion that the late 1980s were the peak of rom coms, but only one film from that era is on my list (and at #5). So I do want to shout out a bunch of genre-pioneering romantic comedies I've loved for so long that are not on this list, like When Harry Met Sally, Moonstruck, Broadcast News, Something Wild and Working Girl. Upon recent rewatches, a lot of them are unsurprisingly very uncomfortable to watch in terms of female representation (someone could write a master's thesis with a #MeToo reading of Working Girl), so I'd rather focus — at least in my top two — on the more progressive films they helped paved the way for.

1. Muriel's Wedding

2. Bridesmaids

3. Punch Drunk Love

4. But I'm a Cheerleader

5. Say Anything

Best love songs

Amanda's picks: My primary criteria in making this list was one simple question: does it make my heart swell? There are many songs I appreciate for their lyrical prowess, their sonic experimentation or their captivating production. But this list isn't that deep — it's just about what moved me. A few songs that didn't quite make the cut but still deserve a shoutout: Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" may have been for a Disney movie, but as an adult I continue to get weepy when I hear it. Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" remains my ultimate karaoke song because it demands the floor stomping, fist pounding melodrama of any perfect love song. And Celine Dion (the queen of ballads that make my heart swell) has too many songs to name that could be on this list.

1. Sade - "By Your Side"

2. Prince - "Adore"

3. Norah Jones - "Come Away With Me"

4. Method Man and Mary J. Blige - "You're All I Need"

5. Aerosmith - "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"

Peter's picks: This was the hardest list to come up with it, and the one most likely to look entirely different depending on a different day. I could pretty much endlessly list songs that have been in on said different day, from The Smiths' "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" to Miguel's "Simple Things" to Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" to pretty much all of Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION. But this is today's list, for whatever it's worth.

1. Whitney Houston and/or Dolly Parton - "I Will Always Love You"

2. Fiona Apple - "Anything We Want"

3. The Righteous Brothers - "Unchained Melody"

4. Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris - "We Found Love" 

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Maps"

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