We don’t know how and we don’t know why, but in an otherwise awful year, we’re just… not gonna question it. Instead, we’re gonna celebrate with 22 of our absolute favorite swoon-worthy moments from the past 12 months, listed below in no particular order.
1. Amy’s butt-centric wedding vow in Brooklyn Nine-Nine
A seasons-long romance culminated in a perfectly imperfect wedding, complete with this immortal line: “There is a bomb at this wedding as well… Your butt. Your butt is the bomb. There will be no survivors.”
2. Raf gives up his dreams in Jane the Virgin
Jane’s whole relationship with Rafael has been a dream come true in so many ways, but never more so than in “Chapter 80,” when Raf announces to Jane that he’s postponing his own career goals so they can bet on hers. That’s not just romance. That’s love.
3. When Nick didn’t kiss Priyanka in real life
As recounted in Vogue, Nick Jonas and now-wife Priyanka Chopra had been texting for months when she invited him over to her house for a drink… which sounds sexy, except that nothing happened. He hung out and left without anything more than a back pat, because her mom was in the house. Which is actually even sexier! We stan a respectful suitor.
4. The hot tub convo in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
It’s not like we needed any more convincing to fall head over heels in love with Peter Kavinsky by this point in the movie—but when he confesses to Lara Jean that he drove all the way across town to buy her her favorite yogurt drinks? Swoon.
5. The satin pillowcase in This Is Us
Sometimes it really is the little things that matter. A road trip turned into a teaching moment for Kevin when Zoe forgot her silk pillowcase at home. Things could have gone south when Kevin fundamentally misunderstood why the pillowcase was important (she wasn’t being fancy, it’s a crucial part of every natural-haired black woman’s nightly routine), but he came through by ordering one to their hotel room anyway. Kevin didn’t 100% understand why she wanted it, but he went the extra mile to make sure his girl had what she needed. Typical Pearson. —Alexis Nedd
6. “Nakia… hi” in Black Panther
Such is the power of T’Challa’s crush on Nakia that Mr. I Never Freeze, an actual superhero and a literal king, found himself tongue-tied in her presence. We’ve all been there.
7. Ricky and Damon’s first kiss on Pose
For Damon, his attraction to Ricky was his first attempt at openly expressing his sexuality, which makes Ricky’s earnest pursuit of him (and respect for his boundaries) so much more romantic. Their first kiss — a peck, really — was Damon’s first, and the first of many as they became the show’s most solid couple. —Alexis Nedd
8. Pete and Ariana’s matching tattoos
We’re not saying they were a good idea. Just that there is something kind of romantic about being so head-over-heels in love, you’ll jump headfirst into obviously ill-advised decisions.
9. Piper and Alex’s wedding on Orange is the New Black
We’re not saying these two are great for each other—to the contrary, we’ve spent seasons seeing how toxic this relationship could be. And yet, we couldn’t help tearing up when they finally committed for good, in a ceremony that was just so perfectly them.
10. Martin joking about being the popular one in RBG
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s groundbreaking and transformative legislative work was rightfully the center of RBG, but throughout, it’s obvious that Martin’s loving and joyful support was instrumental in her life. Especially for the time period, the fact that fellow lawyer Marty wasn’t threatened by her success and instead loved it and joked about it had us – and Ruth – all swoon-y. —Erin Strecker
11. When Harry and Meghan shared an umbrella in Australia
Obviously that wedding was the stuff of fairy tale legend, but what’s really wonderful is that it’s just the start of their story, not the end of it. Here’s to a million more perfect little moments for Harry and Meghan, like the smile they shared under an umbrella in Australia.
12. Fonny moves imaginary furniture in If Beale Street Could Talk
That cliché about how love makes a house a home has never been truer than in that Beale Street scene where Fonny convinces Tish to take a chance on a loft apartment by getting the landlord to help him move imaginary “furniture” into the space. In that moment, the possibilities stretching before these young lovebirds are endless… which makes it all the more devastating when that bubble bursts.
13. Janelle and Tessa’s flirtation in “PYNK”
Whatever is going on with Janelle Monáe and Tessa Thompson IRL, there’s no denying the intense chemistry between them in videos like “Make Me Feel” and “PYNK.” The latter is so tender and so intimate, it may make your heart burst.
14. When Nick pulls out Eleanor’s ring in Crazy Rich Asians
Rushing to the airport: standard rom-com stuff. A public declaration of love in front of confused but amused strangers: cute, but been there, done that. Popping the question with a ring that says, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’re not just in love, you’re family: Reader, we wept.
15. The parking lot in A Star is Born
Ally punches a dude to protect Jackson in a bar. Jackson gets her frozen peas to ice her hand. Then they hang out in the parking lot, bonding over music and getting vulnerable in that way you only can with strangers. Youtry not falling head over heels after a night like that.
16. Starr’s OTP in The Hate U Give
It’s not every day you come across a teen who ships her own parents, but it’s also not every day you come across parents as deeply in love with Lisa and Maverick in The Hate U Give. These two are #couplegoals, from the way they flirt with each other to the way they protect each other and sacrifice for each other.
17. Oscar surprising Taylor with snacks on Billions
There’s giving your beloved flowers and candy, and then there’s sending your extremely nerdy beloved Fibonacci sequence flowers (do not ask me to explain this) and flying across the country to personally deliver them candy ahead of an all-night coding session. Nerd love!
18. Gabe sharing his sauce with Kayla in Eighth Grade
Sometimes it’s the teeniest tiniest gestures that get us the most. The Kayla/Gabe meetup at the end of Eighth Grade can’t even be definitively described as a date—they’re just hanging out. But when Gabe offered to share his McDonald’s sauces, any flavor, with Kayla, our inner 13-year-olds fell in love with that lovable dork. Do you know how many grown people can’t even even manage that much??
19. The drunken pizza dinner in Set It Up
Because the only thing more romantic than a reservation for two at a candlelit Michelin-star restaurant replete with champagne and roses, is a shitty pizza that’s still “the best meal I’ve ever had,” simply because of the person you’re with.
20. The Ferris wheel in Love Simon
Simon’s months-long correspondence with “Blue” literally peaks with a Ferris wheel ride. For a while, it looks like Simon’s been stood up… but when Bram finally shows up, they share a sweet kiss that was definitely worth the wait.
21. The rom-com proposal in Queer Eye
Public proposals are terrible… unless we’re talking about a Queer Eyedude giving his girlfriend a Grand Romantic Gesture straight out of her rom-com-fueled dreams. She was moved to tears. So were the Fab Five. And so were all of us watching from home.
22. The slow dance in A Quiet Place
Even in an apocalypse, there’s room for romance—and this particular romance is extra sweet when you remember that Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are married IRL. Sure, having a baby in this situation is a terrible idea. But could you blame them for wanting to get it on?