Like most television addicts, I am a big ‘shipper. I root hard for the couples I love. I cheered for Friends’ Ross and Rachel, for ER’s Carter and Abby, for Friday Night Lights’ Tim and Lyla, for The O.C.’s Ryan and Marissa, and the list goes on. Confession: I even cheered for Xena and Hercules. But looking back through the years, I realized that there has rarely been a time when I genuinely went down with my ship, as they say. Sure, Carter and Abby didn’t make it, but they always had their flirtation. Rachel, of course, got off the plane, and even though Marissa died, she was still Ryan’s last thought as he attempted to move on (into bachelorhood). Oh and in case you’re wondering, I’m still holding out hope for Tim and Lyla.
But there has been one ‘ship that I have been fighting to keep afloat for years now, and I refuse to let it sink. Refuse! I’m talking about Law & Order: SVU’s longest tension-filled relationship between onetime partners Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson.
I don’t know how the show did it, but for years, it kept me intrigued with nothing but longing glances, swoon-worthy hugs, and late-night conversations. For most other shows, I probably would have given up at some point, but there was just something about Benson and Stabler … and it was more than just the fact that Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni have amazing chemistry (though that helped).
Benson and Stabler were partners in every meaning of the word. These two were willing to die for each other; they were clearly attracted to each other; and each of them was the other’s shoulder to cry on. Even when Stabler was married, he was work-married to Benson, which is where he spent about 97 percent of his time. And even now that Stabler’s not on the show anymore, in last week’s premiere, he was the person Benson started talking about when she was kidnapped by a crazy man. Their love cannot be stopped!
I will admit that I have not seen every episode of Law & Order: SVU, so please correct me if I’m wrong (and tell me specifics, so I can watch!), but based on my research, the duo never so much as kissed. Not even a little peck on the lips! These two had/have the most (annoyingly) ridiculous self-control I’ve ever witnessed, real or fictional. Although, the one hug in the hallway – the one where Stabler ran to her – was better than any kiss I’ve ever seen. However, I would like to clarify that as great as the hugs have been, I still want to see an actual kiss. I need to see an actual kiss. This ‘ship cannot sink.
Look, I get that Benson and Stabler were trying to be professional, and that their love for each other sometimes got in the way of good police work (and there was the on-again, off-again infidelity issue), but if this series ends after 15-plus seasons, and these two don’t end up together, I will never get over it. I know Stabler’s no longer on the show, but if that man does not show up in the series finale (or before then), I might lose my mind. Or maybe Benson retires too, so now there’s no job standing in their way?!
I don’t really care how it happens so long as this hug-filled relationship is taken to the next level. Bottom line: No two people can have that much self-restraint (or self-hatred) for that long. They have to give in eventually. Right? Right?!