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Top 10 Intercultural Love Stories on TV

VO: Alexandra Maynard WRITTEN BY: Derick McDuff
These love stories overcame cultural divides. For this list, we’ll be looking at small screen romances between individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Our list includes “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Modern Family,” “New Girl,” “The Mindy Project,” and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Intercultural Love Stories on TV.

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Top 10 Intercultural Love Stories on TV

These love stories overcame cultural divides. Welcome to MsMojo,and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Intercultural Love Stories on TV.

For this list, we’ll be looking at small screen romances between individuals from different cultural backgrounds.

#10: Carla Espinosa & Christopher Turk
“Scrubs” (2001-10)

Together through almost the entirety of “Scrubs”’ run, both the Latina Carla Espinosa and the black Christopher Turk were proud of their heritages. However their relationship was not without its fair share of troubles, including Turk referring to Carla as Mexican or Puerto Rican despite the fact that she was born in the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, the pair acted to balance each other out and bring out the best in each other. They also helped bring diversity to “Scrubs,” showing two people of color excelling, sometimes together, but often independently, in the medical community.

#9: Jake Peralta & Amy Santiago
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013-)

There are a number of great intercultural romances featured on this hilarious sitcom, and we have to mention Captain Holt, who fought against discrimination for years as a black gay cop and who has a white husband. However, the OTP in the Nine-Nine is without question the pairing of Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago. Their budding romance was filled with friendly competition and one-upmanship as well as a lot of dorky flirting. While there have been some difficulties, including Amy’s uptight traditional Cuban father not approving of Jake, the couple continues to overcome adversity.

#8: Mindy Lahiri & Danny Castellano
“The Mindy Project” (2012-17)

Mindy Lahiri, played by Mindy Kaling, was an OB/GYN who tried to balance her work and her dating life. The most frequent recurring character in her love life over six seasons was her on again off again main squeeze Danny. Following a traditional rom-com formula, Mindy and Danny started off as enemies before becoming closer, eventually developing a relationship, breaking up, but ending up together in the end. Of course, “The Mindy Project” brought a modern sensibility and updated many classic rom-com tropes, swapping the traditionally homogeneously racial couple with the Indian-American Mindy and Caucasian Danny.

#7: Lane Kim & Zack Van Gerbig
“Gilmore Girls” (2000-06; 2016)

Despite her strict Christian upbringing, Rory’s best friend Lane Kim had a deep love of rock and roll music. This led her to keep a secret stash of rock CDs and memorabilia and even to keep her garage band a secret from her Korean mother, who disapproved of American culture. This however did not stop Lane from falling in love with more than one of her bandmates. First it’s Dave, then it’s Zack - who could not have been more different than Lane. The couple disproved the doubters and became one of the show’s most adorable couples, getting married and having twins, with Zack even winning over Mrs. Kim by writing a hit song.

#6: Jay & Gloria Pritchett
“Modern Family” (2009-)

As its name would imply, “Modern Family” focuses on a complex contemporary family; the Pritchetts, who have Jay as their patriarch. While Jay might have seemed like a stubborn and old fashioned man, he was mostly accepting of his diverse family, including his Colombian wife Gloria. Despite his own children being fully grown and roughly the same age as Gloria, Jay has been a loving step-father for her son Manny - even if his parenting methods tend to differ from hers. Each taking the best parts of their own generations and cultures, they have rubbed off on each other and made one another into better people.

#5: Cece Parekh & Schmidt
“New Girl” (2011-18)

As they came from different heritages, religious backgrounds, and even political beliefs, the deck seemed stacked against this couple. But seemingly against all odds, they ended up together in the end. Starting out as friends with benefits, Cece and Schmidt got together officially but quickly broke up. Each bounced between a number of other partners, including an arranged wedding for Cece. Despite this and a number of other difficulties, such as Cece’s mom not approving of the pairing, they never were able to forget about each other. Their love story culminated in a beautiful wedding ceremony that honored both their Hindu and Jewish traditions.

#4: Thomas ‘Tom’ & Helen Willis
“The Jeffersons” (1975-1985)

Perhaps one of the best examples of how many prejudices a couple in a mixed race marriage can face, particularly in the seventies and eighties, was Tom and Helen Willis - the neighbors of the titular Jeffersons. Both the white Tom and the black Helen faced judgment and disapproval at every turn for their relationship, from their black and white neighbors alike. The sitcom showed George Jefferson and his disapproval of the union by having him harass them relentlessly, and frequently using insulting terms to refer to their mixed race children. The portrayal helped show viewers the issues that mixed race couples have had to deal with throughout history.

#3: Jessica Jones & Luke Cage
“Jessica Jones” (2015-)

Two individuals with superpowers and tragic pasts came together in the first season of “Jessica Jones,” with the title character, a super strong sleuth, hooking up with the bulletproof Luke Cage. While they had very different backgrounds, with Jessica being adopted by a single mom after the loss of her biological parents and Luke being the son of a southern black pastor, the pair still were easily able to find common ground. Their relationship became even more intense after they discovered each other’s abilities and how well they complement one another, particularly in the bedroom. Sadly their traumas, which involved the death of Luke’s wife, led to the end of the relationship.

#2: Shawn Hunter & Angela Moore
“Boy Meets World” (1993-2000)

Amazingly one of the most mature and realistic representations of an interracial couple was on a show for kids and young adults. Both Shawn and Angela were proud of where they came from, with Angela being a proud black woman, and Shawn growing up as “trailer trash.” But neither character was ever a stereotype. Unlike many characters from older generations, their different ethnicities were never a source of jokes, and like the characters themselves, their relationship was fleshed out and three dimensional. Shawn and Angela’s relationship was always a realistic depiction of two young people trying to navigate being in love for the first time and dealing with adult issues.

Before we reveal our pick here are a few honorable mentions:

Rebecca Bunch & Josh Chan
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (2015-)

Bernard & Rose Nadler
“Lost” (2004-10)

Barry Allen & Iris West
“The Flash” (2014-)

#1: Lucille Esmeralda ‘Lucy’ McGillicuddy Ricardo & Enrique Alberto Fernando Ricardo y de Acha III [aka Ricky Ricardo]
“I Love Lucy” (1951-57)

Our top pick is one of the original intercultural TV couples and was a true pioneer, coming long before anything else on this list and dating back to the days of black and white TV. The relationship between Lucy and Ricky Ricardo felt real because it was: actors Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were a married couple in real life, and having both of them as stars was a sticking point for the show, despite network objections because of the Cuban American Arnaz. The show ended up being one of the most popular sitcoms of the ‘50s, if not all time, and gave many Americans their first glimpse of an intercultural marriage.

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