You know the drill… you dig the girl, but the girl doesn’t dig you. When you get relegated to that role of insignificant other, it’s said you’ve landed yourself in the Friend Zone. Well, as it turns out there have been plenty of people on TV who found themselves in this ungodly netherworld of non-sex. While many eventually crawl their way out, below are 11 classic TV characters who were at some point epically trapped in the Friend Zone.
11 TV characters totally caught in the friend zone
11 Fry – ‘Futurama’
For the vast majority of Futurama, Fry desperately attempted to impress the one-eyed temptress Leela. However, his slacker average-Joe persona did little to earn her affection. Of course, all it takes to change her mind is a mild infestation of internal worms, which serve to help him increase his intelligence. However, once these worms are gone he slips back into that fabled friend zone. That is, until the final episode before the first cancellation of the series.
10 Andy Bernard – ‘The Office’
In many ways, Andy is the new Jim of The Office. While Jim was initially trapped in the Friend Zone with Pam, he quickly found his way out. Currently, Andy is on the same track with Erin. While they did date for a bit, she eventually leaves him to start up a relationship with office worm, Gabe. Now that those two have broken up, this will-they-won’t-they relationship is likely to end in sappy happiness. However, for now Andy is stuck at a table for one.
9 J.D. – ‘Scrubs’
This was one of the more obnoxious Friend Zone relationships in TV history. From the first episode, J.D. is infatuated with Elliot Reid, but his affections are rebuked for the better part of the series. Sure, they date for a while, but then they break up… and J.D. finds himself smack dab in the middle of the Friend Zone all over again. Thank God for that final episode…the saving grace for plenty of lovelorn TV character dudes (too bad us real guys don’t get one of these in real life).
8 Randy Hickey – ‘My Name is Earl’
Randy Hickey isn’t exactly the hottest iron in the fire. Nor is he the brightest crayon in the box. It’s no wonder than, that sexy motel maid Catalina considers him just a friend. Despite being married (for green card purposes), Randy still is far from considered her husband. Poor Randy… queue Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.”
7 Fox Mulder – ‘The X-Files’
It’s pretty crazy to think that Mulder never thought about getting under that sexy trenchcoat of Scully’s until the final seasons. While the two routinely tell people (and ghosts… and Big Bad) that they are merely partners, the truth is visible to pretty much everyone else. Maybe if Mulder stopped obsessing about aliens for a couple minutes, he’d have gotten that kiss before the eighth freaking season.
6 Tony Micelli – ‘Who’s the Boss’
As the hired help to his love interest, Tony wasn’t exactly in the best position to pick up the wealthy Angela Bower. However, as these things often go (at least in television), their zany situation proved to be the glue that binds… and by the end of the show they were sitting in a tree… k-i-s-s-i-n-g.
5 Annie Edison – ‘Community’
How anyone could turn down Alison Brie is beyond me, but somehow Jeff Winger just isn’t all that interested. Throughout the first two seasons of Community, Annie has been interested in three different guys that have turned her down (Troy, Jeff and Dr. Rich). However, as we are all well aware, such would definitely not be the case in real life.
4 Finn – ‘Adventure Time’
Finn is a 13-year-old adventurer for life who can win anything but the heart of Princess Bubblegum. While the two share a bit of romance when Princess temporarily becomes 13-years-old herself, that budding romance is quickly burst when she returns to her normal 18-year-old self. What time is it!? CRY IN YOUR ROOM ALONE TIME!
3 Leonard – ‘The Big Bang Theory’
Given his uber-nerd status, Leonard’s attraction to Penny seemed like a long shot. Of course, the two did eventually wind up together for nearly a whole season. However, that didn’t last and now he’s back to being “just friends.” Hang in there, Leonard old buddy! Something tells me your luck will change once that final season rolls around.
2 Niles Crane – ‘Frasier’
Ah yes… how many of us haven’t had that sexy maid fantasy? For upper-crust Niles Crane, his love for Daphne Moon was long stunted by his unfortunate marriage to Maris. However, even when this marriage ended, it took him years to finally express his true feelings. Success… they eventually get married. Too bad it only took him ten years to get there.
1 Ross Geller – ‘Friends’
Ross is the ultimate example of Friend Zone success. Over the show’s ten seasons, a variety of hurdles keep the two from becoming more than just friends. However, despite a string of important relationships, Ross just can’t seem to get Rachel out of his head. Though they dated for about a year (and even got married), things take a turn when Ross thinks the two are “on a break.” Finally that lucky series finale rolled around and the two found eternal happiness that is oh so common in the world of television.
Originally published on August 19, 2011.