With spring anew, love is in the air again. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming and wedding season is just around the corner.
Often when our favorite television characters get engaged, it’s almost as exciting as if our best friends are the ones that will be heading down the aisle. Unlike film and books, the development of complex character arcs and story lines over consecutive seasons allows the audience to truly invest in these relationships.
Pop culture also provides several examples of how-to and how-not-to propose. TV marriage proposals range from the simple like Jim and Pam from The Office to Lorelai;s elaborate proposition on Gilmore Girls and even the down-right silly like Charlie’s from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Including successes and a few failures, we complied a list of 20 memorable marriage proposals from our favorite television shows.
20. Ben and Leslie on Parks and Recreation
Television’s most adorable couple recently tied the knot in one of the best episodes in Parks and Recreation history. Earlier in the season before the impromptu wedding, Ben Wyatt surprised Leslie Knope in her dream house to pop the question. Perfectly combining sweetness and comedy, Leslie made sure she would remember everything about that moment.
19. Dexter and Rita on Dexter
Exposing his rare vulnerability, Dexter proposes not only to his pregnant girlfriend Rita but also her children Astor and Cody and presumably to his unborn child. The serial killer with a heart confesses, “I want us to always go out for banana splits, and replant the lemon tree that keeps dying and I never ever want to miss pizza night.” Watch Dexter’s proposal here.
18. Jerry and Elaine on Seinfeld
In the season nine episode titled The Serenity Now, Jerry becomes full of strong emotions when he learns how to get mad. These emotions result in Jerry proposing to a humorously-shocked Elaine, who really just wanted a nectarine.
17. Chuck and Blair on Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl core couple finally made it official in the penultimate episode of the series. The reasoning, of course, was more dramatic than it needed to be: Chuck and his father Bart fought at the top of a skyscraper, Bart fell to his death, Blair was the only witness and the couple get married in order for Blair to not have to testify against her husband. Well, at least the proposal still seemed genuine.
16. Sam and Dianne on Cheers
Widely received with mixed reactions, the recipient of Sam’s telephone proposal was revealed to be Dianne in the season five premiere accurately titled The Proposal. Whether you love them or hate them, Sam’s proposal to Diane on the boat is classic sitcom comedy. Watch Sam propose to Dianne (twice) in the video here.
15. Charlotte and Harry on Sex and the City
After a recent break-up, the most normal pairing of the series coincidentally meets up at local synagogue singles’ night. Harry paraphrases Casablanca and Charlotte apologizes for continually attempting to mold Harry into her ideal match and rushing the relationship. Inspired by Charlotte’s confession, Harry asks her to be his wife.
14. Hilary Banks and Trevor on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Meeting when working at a local television station, eldest Banks daughter Hilary abruptly falls in love with lead news anchor Trevor Collins, who plans an extreme way to ask for her hand in marriage. It would be an understatement to say this one didn’t go quite as planned. Check out the Banks family watching Trevor’s proposal to Hilary here.
13. Michael and Holly on The Office
Michael takes Holly on a walking tour through the memories the duo made together at Dunder Mifflin. Often portraying an over-the-top personality, Michael brought his A-game and proposed to the love of his life with thorough planning and impeccable execution. And Yoda impressions from both participants.
12. Corey and Topanga on Boy Meets World
Finally deciding what she wants to do with her life, 18-year-old Topanga proposed to longtime boyfriend Corey during cap-throwing time at graduation. The quintessential high school couple provided the ultimate cliffhanger for the summer hiatus.
11. Mike and Phoebe on Friends
Wonderfully played by Paul Rudd, Mike spends most of the episode attempting to propose to Phoebe while continually failing to find the perfect setting. After unsuccessful opportunities on a jumbo tron and then hiding the ring in a piece of cake, Mike proposes to his lovable-eccentric lady over dinner. Happily ever after for Mr. and Mrs. No Balls.
10. Charlie to the Waitress on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Charlie Kelly continually orchestrates shenanigans in order to trick the Waitress to go out with him. Promising to never stalk her again if she comes to the show, Charlie gives the Waitress a front row ticket to his elaborate rock opera The Nightman Cometh. As the finale, Charlie appears on stage as Dayman and serenades his crush with the catchy tune while belting, “Will you come on stage and join me in this thing called matrimony?” Fast forward to the 10:50 mark in the video above to check out Charlie’s ridiculous proposal.
9. Seth and Summer on The O.C.
In typical teen drama fashion, a pregnancy scare sets the scene for Seth’s proposal. However, the fan-favorite couple admits that the foundation of their relationship is stable enough for marriage regardless of the result of the pregnancy test.
8. Matt and Julie on Friday Night Lights
Returning home to Dylan for Christmas break, Matt Saracen surprises the coach’s daughter and admits with a shaky voice that he wants to be with her forever. Matt drops to one knee outside the Alamo Freeze and proposes to Julie with his grandmother’s ring.
Watch the high school sweethearts’ proposal scene here.
7. Derek and Meredith on Grey’s Anatomy
As an ode to several of their first interactions, Dr. McDreamy (do they still call him that?) proposes to Meredith Grey in an elevator at Seattle Grace Hospital. However, this elevator is fully decorated with medical memorabilia documenting their professional and personal relationship. Without getting down on one knee, Derek finally confesses his desire to live the rest of his life with Meredith.
6. Niles and Daphne on Frasier
To be expected of his character, Niles over-analyzes and attempts to make every detail perfect for his proposal to Daphne throughout the entire episode. When Daphne arrives early to Niles’ apartment, all plans thrown out the window. Niles manages to give a precious proposal speech despite the unexpected events. Additional humor comes from Frasier sneaking himself and several others from Niles’ apartment without Daphne noticing.
Lorelai and Max on Gilmore Girls
In the first seasons’ finale, Lorelai Gilmore receives a proposal of epic floral proportions. Lorelai and her boyfriend Max Medina previously had an argument after he offhandedly mentioned the couple should get married. Using her lengthy Gilmore vocabulary, Lorelai resisted and stated, “It has to be planned. It should be magical. There should be music playing and romantic lighting and a subtle buildup to the popping of the big question. There should be a thousand yellow daisies and candles and a horse.” Max followed Lorelai’s lead and proposed with just that: a room full of a thousand yellow daisies. Check out Max’s proposal to Lorelai here
Chuck and Sarah on Chuck
Chuck co-creator Josh Schwartz referred to the end of this episode as “the best 10 minutes in the show’s history.” Blending the various storylines with heartfelt detail, the final scene shows Chuck finally getting down one knee and proposing to Sarah in the distance. Brilliantly set to The Naked and Famous’ “Young Blood,” viewers didn’t need to even hear the exact proposal words to enjoy the moment.
Jim and Pam on The Office
From the beginning of The Office, everyone was rooting for salesman Jim Halpert and receptionist Pam Beesly. After a full season of teasing Pam with proposal fake-outs, Jim couldn’t wait any longer in the season five premiere “Weight Loss.” The duo met half-way at a gas station between Scranton and New York City in the dreary rain. The expression of pure happiness on their faces is infectious.
Matthew and Lady Mary on Downton Abbey
Both engaged to other people earlier in the season, Matthew Crawley and Lady Mary Grantham finally end up on the same emotional level by the finale. The couple who “carry more luggage than the porters at King’s Cross” decide to take the next step when Matthew advises that they venture on together. Putting class above all else, Lady Mary prompts, “You must say it properly. I won’t answer unless you kneel down and everything.” Beautifully set with snowy Downton scenery, it’s the perfect aristocratic fairytale. Unfortunately, the video above does not properly provide the entire scene. For more footage from this proposal, check out this fan-made video.
Chandler and Monica on Friends
The Friends couple actually executed a double proposal in the candlelit apartment: Monica initiates and encourages Chandler to complete the act since “there’s a reason why girls don’t do this.” Holding back tears, Chandler tells his best friend, “You make me happier than I’d ever thought I would be. And if you let me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way.” The episode ends with the romantic visual of the eventual Mr. and Mrs. Bing slow dancing to Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight.