FilmmakingScreenwritingTV

Top 5 Dysfunctional Duos on TV Right Now

By September 23, 2021No Comments

Complex and deeply flawed characters are always so much fun to watch, and those tormented types often find a counterpart that is just as wounded as they are. Seeing those duos love and hate each other while trying to survive in a chaotic world can be so fascinating, and lucky for us, television is brimming with those people.

Here are my choices of the top 5 dysfunctional duos on TV right now.

Eve Polastri and Villanelle from Killing Eve

Are they going to hook up or kill each other? That is the central question we are asking ourselves with every episode.

The deeper we get into Villanelle’s pathology and sociopathy, the scarier she becomes and the more Eve seems to be attracted to her. To those two, foreplay is a stab wound. You can’t get any more dysfunctional than that.

Eve Polastri and Villanelle from Killing Eve

Eve Polastri and Villanelle from ‘Killing Eve’

Deborah Vance and Ava Daniels from Hacks

Deborah Vance is an aging comedienne in a male-dominated field. Her act is old and she’s been coasting on those self-deprecating, boomer jokes for decades. Ava is a Gen Z writer who is too opinionated for her own good.

After an awkward job interview where both women are horrible to each other, Ava is unprepared and Deborah is uninterested in Ava’s point of view, the generational clash between these two is clear. As the sparks and punch lines fly between them, they continue to drive each other nuts while writing some great comedy together.

Deborah Vance and Ava Daniels from Hacks

Deborah Vance and Ava Daniels from ‘Hacks’

Brooke and Cary Dubek from The Other Two

These two siblings have failed at adulting big time in season 1.

This show about a Justin Bieber type kid who gets famous from a YouTube video, while his two older siblings flounder through life, is a hilarious piece about the nature of fame and how hard it can be to just grow up.

Brooke and Cary Dubek from The Other Two

Brooke and Cary Dubek from ‘The Other Two’

Sheila and Danny Ruben from Physical

The first couple of episodes of this show are hard to watch and come with disclaimers about triggering images around eating disorders.

Sheila seems completely lost and unraveling under the surface as she tries to keep her house and family running smoothly. The secrets she keeps from her husband Danny and all the selfish choices they each make for their own pleasure and benefit make this couple the definition of dysfunctional.

But seeing Sheila come alive and finally get rid of her self-hating inner monologue when she discovers Aerobics makes this show worth watching.

Sheila and Danny Ruben from Physical

Sheila and Danny Ruben from ‘Physical’

Melissa and Josh from Schmigadoon!

These two start as a couple on the rocks and find themselves trapped in a musical. The only way to escape is by crossing a bridge with your true love. It’s clear to everyone watching what they have is not true love. Within minutes of making this discovery, they break up and jump into bed with other people.

As we get deeper into the season we see bits of their past and get a glimpse at some happier times, but it’s pretty clear they are not meant for each other and find all kinds of ways to disrupt the idyllic world they find themselves trapped in.

The banter, the musical numbers, the color, it’s all fabulous, if only these two could stop and enjoy it.

Melissa and Josh from Schmigadoon!

Melissa and Josh from ‘Schmigadoon!’

Got a TV pilot featuring your own disfunctional duo? Check out our TV coverage options!


Julia Camara is an award-winning Brazilian screenwriter/filmmaker. Julia won a Telly Award for the sci-fi found footage feature Occupants. Julia’s feature directorial debut In Transit, won Best Experimental Film at four different festivals. Julia’s other writing credits include Area Q and Open Road.