The greatest twosomes in television history?
That’s what Robin Roberts celebrates this weekend, hosting the two-hour clipfest TV’s Most Dynamic Duos: Presented by The Paley Center for Media (9-11 p.m. Sunday on ABC).
The show’s 30 chosen pairings range across TV’s six-decade history, from ‘50s faves Ralph and Alice Kramden of The Honeymooners to today’s Cameron and Mitchell of Modern Family. (Full list at abc.com/shows/tvs-most-dynamic-duos.)
But we think this Nielsen Media Research poll missed the mark in more than a few cases. When it comes to The Honeymooners, for instance, what about Jackie Gleason’s Ralph Kramden with Art Carney’s Ed Norton? Polled people also picked All in the Fami ly’s Archie Bunker and Mike Stivic. But over Carroll O’Connor’s explosive Archie and Jean Stapleton’s “stifle” wife, Edith? Really?
Here are some other names that might have made the grade.
• Andy Taylor and Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show (daily on TV Land; marathon 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday on TV Land): No brainer! How could Chandler and Joey of Friends be chosen over the 50-years-young heritage of Andy Griffith’s wise sheriff and Don Knotts’ dizzy deputy? Millions still watch this ‘60s sitcom — in black-and-white!
• Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad (midseason finale 10 p.m. Sunday on AMC): Getting current, there’s Bryan Cranston’s increasingly scary meth chef and Aaron Paul’s student turned surprising moral center of this terrific tragedy. These Emmy winners define “dynamic,” working together in such natural tandem, they make each other better by the week.
• Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott, I Spy ( 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. weekdays on Aspire): Let’s talk groundbreakers: Robert Culp’s white tennis pro and Bill Cosby as his black coach, both actually undercover agents. With their relaxed rapport, they pioneered cross-racial friendship while ‘60s sheriffs were still fire-hosing civil rights marches.
• Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey, Cagney & Lacey (reunion TV movie at 8:30 p.m. Monday on Encore Suspense): Women’s modernizing lives finally hit the screen when Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly dominated ‘80s Emmy Awards as police detective partners leading divergent lives. More recent best friends: House’s House and Wilson.
• Gomez and Morticia Addams, The Addams Family (on DVD): This ‘60s monster-com remains beloved, thanks largely to John Astin and Carolyn Jones’ kinky coupling as weirdly wonderful parents. More memorable wedlock: Al and Peg Bundy of Married With Children, even Denny Crane and Alan Shore on Boston Legal.
• Beaver and Wally, Leave It to Beaver (daily on TV Land and Antenna TV): Sitcoms’ first “natural” acting kids were played with everyday charm 1957-1963 by young Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow. Great adult sibling pairs: Frasier and Niles on Frasier, Ray and Robert of Everybody Loves Raymond, Roseanne and Jackie of Roseanne.
• The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Lone Ranger (on DVD): No Westerns make the list? Dozens filled TV’s early years. Other genre faves: Roy Rogers and horse Trigger, Gene Autry and horse Champion, Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty.
And, lest we forget — Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul on American Idol.