By now the news has settled in: Lawrence won’t be back to disrupt Issa’s emotions in season 3 of the HBO hit series Insecure.
Though he was no Romeo, the unemployed entrepreneur loved his lady and waded through the staleness of their relationship. That is, right up until she dabbled in the Daniel pond halfway through the season, which gained the good guy (Tasha may disagree) some sympathy.
But whether you’re a part of #LawrenceHive still swarming #TeamIssa’s mentions or nah, he will go down as one of the best onscreen boyfriends ever. Because let’s face it: there’s always onscreen good (and sometimes bad) boys that our hearts can’t ignore. Through infidelities, heartbreaks and, of course, the most picture-perfect relationships that maybe didn’t last that long, forgetting some of black television’s best romances is as hard as Molly leaving Dro alone.
So from Mr. Get ‘Ta Steppin’ to Van’s baby daddy, let’s salute the end of the road for the Best Buy shirt-wearing bae with a celebration of 13 of the most iconic, though rarely ever perfect, TV boyfriends.
Dwayne Wayne, A Different World
Played by Kadeem Hardison
The quintessential boyfriend, four-eyed Dwayne Wayne was equal parts smart, funny, kind, romantic and enterprising. After a season of chasing Denise Huxtable, he finally made his move for Whitley Gilbert, a not-so-subtle play that took a few years to take effect. But once the more-than-friends pair settled into their feelings for one another, neither Kinu nor Whitley’s walk down the aisle to Byron could stop the mathematician from crowning his queen Mrs. Wayne. According to Hardison, Wayne is probably still treating her like royalty while grading papers on the couch. #RelationshipGoals
Earn Marks, Atlanta
Played by Donald Glover
Let’s be honest: Earn wouldn’t win “Boyfriend of the Year,” even if Van was held at gunpoint. But when the struggling music manager attempted to show up for his sometimes-girlfriend and baby’s mom, he always made a commendable effort (see the “Go for Broke” episode). Unfortunately, everyday struggles and a German festival eventually eclipsed their strides to make it work. But maybe Earn and his attempt at love may not end there, and his previous efforts certainly can’t be forgotten.
David Paulk, Being Mary Jane
Played by Stephen Bishop
Was David the root of all of Mary Jane’s issue? Probably not, but he was undoubtedly the catalyst for much of the turmoil she suffered early on in the series. Whether she was stealing his sperm or recovering from a car accident, all roads somehow led back to this on-again, off-again boyfriend. In Paulk’s defense, he did urge Mary Jane to forget about him, but they collided emotionally one last time to bury the relationship and any remains of their friendship for good. It’s nice the two finally went their separate ways.
Derwin Davis, The Game
Played by Pooch Hall
Young love has its peaks and valleys. However, when Derwin and Melanie crash-landed in the San Diego football world for his rookie year, their love was almost taken out of the game. First, there was the cheating with Drew Sidora. Then, Janay got pregnant. In spite of it all, the football rookie-turned-Sabers franchise athlete somehow remained devoted to his one true love, Melanie. Derwin’s corny jokes were a perfect match for Melanie’s drama queen ‘tude, and the couple went on to marry and have a child by the series finale.
Omar Little, The Wire
Played by Michael K. Williams
All’s fair in love and street wars, right? While he was arguably The Wire’s most notoriously feared character, Omar’s relationship with boyfriend Brandon Wright was the heart of his onscreen arc, which is why Wright’s murder at the hands of the Barksdale organization was so hurtful. In its wake, Omar’s subsequent crusade to avenge his lover became one of the most iconic runs in modern TV history.
Jamie Foxx, The Jamie Foxx Show
Played by Jamie Foxx
Foxx’s onscreen persona is a legendary example of how funny guys can break free from any friend zone with belly laugh-inducing jokes and persistently goofy romance. Both the comedian and Fancy (played by Garcelle Beauvais) danced around their affection for one another for three years before she accepted he was the one. He eventually put a ring on it and gave audiences this classic TV wedding moment.
Scooter, Living Single
Played by Cress Williams
Childhood loves don’t always last, but Scooter and his smooth-talking endeavors were determined to make Khadijah “Don’t Need Ya” James his one and only. However, the two friends couldn’t quite endure for the long haul. So after a six-month hiatus and a few dates, they managed to remain solid friends but little else sparked between these two.
Lafayette Reynolds, True Blood
Played by Nelsan Ellis
Those who can hallucinate together, stay together, right? Well, that’s certainly the case for the short-order cook who fell in love with boyfriend Jesús over witchcraft, magic and medium-ship. Outspoken, fiercely loyal and sassy, Lafayette’s fiery energy was drawn to the calm-natured brujo who helped deepen his powers and belief intimacy. Their love came to a tragic, spirit-possessed end, but their love never died—a true romance.
Shazza Zulu, A Different World
Played by Gary Dourdan
Freddie Brooks’ bae was a hotep long before the anti-progressive sect became an online trend and Black Twitter fodder. Even as fine and smart as he was, Shazza’s misogyny made him unbearable to most of the Hillman campus. But, his shared love of the environment, Afrocentrism and political activism with Brooks kept their love (and love-making) alive until she found herself, another man and became a lawyer.
Steve Urkel, Family Matters
Played by Jaleel White
Steve Urkel loved Laura so much that he transformed his DNA to become Stefan, his super-suave alter ego the ladies loved. Through several attempts to become the cool guy he believed Laura wanted, Steve—a kind-hearted, caring nerd—ultimately won over the love of his life by just being himself. (Cue the studio audiences “aw”).
Played by Martin Lawrence
Martin knew he was only “the man” with his woman, Gina Waters, by his side. Though all the WZUP host’s silly antics, immature breakups and jokes would sometimes drive Gina away, he’d move heaven and earth, and even hire Brian McKnight, to get his lady back. Considered one of the most unforgettable TV proposals in black television, Martin adamantly made sure Gina’s frowns never stuck around too long.
Quinton “Q” Brooks, Moesha
Played by Fredo Starr
Q was the rugged bad boy a girl’s parents prayed she’d never meet. But for Moesha, she was impressed with his hard demeanor that turned soft only around her. Q romanced Mo’ long enough to put a ring on it, but the two never made it down the aisle. Still, Q remains one of the best boyfriends she had.
Overton ‘Obie’ Wakefield Jones, Living Single
Played by John Henton
If nothing else, Obie is a man who knows what he wants. With Sinclair at the center of his affection, the resident handyman made things official fairly quickly with some good ol’ fashioned flirting and youthful courting. What girl can argue with a man who can build a house and your self-esteem?