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CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK

Finding love - using different channels - for our favorite TV characters

Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie of ‘‘House’’) and Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes of ‘‘Homeland’’).

Most television shows have central romances. They often involve “will-they-or-won’t-they’’ tension and multiple obstacles thrown in the way of the couple to prolong said tension - not to mention the life of the series. But what if characters could choose from the entire primetime roster in their search for love and syndication? A world where period settings, geographical boundaries, and genre conventions did not apply? We have imagined such a world, and these are a few of the couples we would like to see in it.

SARAH RODMAN

Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith of ‘‘Downton Abbey’’) and Henry Reagan (Len Cariou of ‘‘Blue Bloods’’).

Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith of “Downton Abbey’’) and Henry Reagan (Len Cariou of “Blue Bloods’’)

These crotchety-but-secretly-kindhearted septugenarians may be separated by centuries, but their mindsets are similar. The countess once remarked that a woman isn’t “entitled to opinions until she is married - then her husband will tell her what her opinions are.’’ And we know that when the retired New York cop sits at the head of the table for Sunday dinner, he is free (and firm) about his opinions. Plus, they have both got blue blood! (SR)

Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men’’) with Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly of “NCIS’’)

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We would very much like the smart, sexy, and steely director of agency operations at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to be happy. She deserves a man who will make her laugh, take her seriously, and show the right amount of tenderness to help break down her walls. We think the handsome, snarky-but-stand-up NCIS agent could be the guy to give her all that. Plus, he would probably be willing to watch the soaps with her. (SR)

Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle of “House of Lies’’) with Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp of “Revenge’’)

Just imagine all of the conniving this pair could do as a team! With daddy issues, self-interest, and the long con in common, we picture the crafty management consultant from the Showtime dramedy and the wily Hamptons infiltrator from the ABC soap having epic bull sessions late into the night. (SR)

Max Blum (Adam Pally of “Happy Endings’’) and Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez of “The Office’’)

They say opposites attract and this pair couldn’t be more different. Max may be the schlubbiest gay man on television, living in sweat pants and refusing employment. Of course, the fastidious Oscar is a dutiful employee, a whiz with numbers, and a charter member of the “Finer Things’’ club at the Dunder-Mifflin office. It might not work, but some couplings need to be more about our entertainment than the characters’ happiness. (SR)

Penny Hartz (Casey Wilson of “Happy Endings’’) and Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor of “How I Met Your Mother’’)

As bothersome as Ted’s amped up romanticism of practically everything is, he would help give Penny some stability. Hopelessly devoted to every guy she meets, Penny is so set on finding a man and Ted is so marriage-driven that neither would freak out at the thought of commitment. They would probably get married on their third date. Don’t you just want to see them happy? (My dream is for every show I watch to end in a wedding.) (NC)

Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe of “Parks and Recreation’’) and Annie Edison (Allison Brie of “Community’’)

Sure, Greendale Community College student Annie is a bit young for Pawnee city manager Chris, but there’s a lot they could learn from each other. Annie needs an older man to help her put away her childish things. Chris needs a young, impressionable doe like Annie to teach about herbal remedies and kale smoothies (and keep away from prescription drugs). Together, there’s nothing their Type-A love couldn’t accomplish. (NC)

Jess (Zooey Deschanel of “New Girl’’) and Andy Bernard (Ed Helms of “The Office’’)

Jess can’t understand anyone who isn’t a dessert person and Andy is like a golden retriever puppy who just wants to be loved. They’re adorable. Why not be adorable together? There would be no shortage of colorful clothing, trips to the American Banjo Museum, and singing. Oh, the singing. Breaking out into spontaneous song is like foreplay for these two. (NC)

Liz Lemon (Tina Fey of “30 Rock’’) and Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula of “Quantum Leap’’)

Despite her charms, Liz has always had a rough time in the dating pool. Enter time-traveling Sam, who proceeds in the Lemon tradition of boyfriends with famous names (Wesley Snipes, Carol Burnett), has a thing for brunettes (he was hot for Teri Hatcher in that “Star Crossed’’ episode), and often vanishes without notice (ideal for Liz’s personal space issues). Plus, who else could leap decades just to retrieve a bag of Tato Skins for his love? Swoon! (MB)

Only Kim Zolciak could be a match for Kim Zolciak.

Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie of “House’’) and Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes of “Homeland’’)

Beauty-and-the-beast factor aside, these two have some major compatibility points. Both have solid jobs that absolutely consume them, both are given to zoning out to jazz (though Carrie might not stomach Gregory’s weakness for Norah Jones so well), and both pop pills like they were Chiclets. A spat between these two would be a zingfest of epic proportions. Confession: I kind of want this to happen just so they can break up. (MB)

Kim Zolciak (of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta’’) and . . . Kim Zolciak

We know this is a stretch for several reasons: Kim Zolciak not a “character’’ in the traditional sense. And despite her dalliances with a certain DJ, she’s not a lesbian either. Nor is she able to split in two. But the self-portraits that litter the walls of her house and her fixation with combing her giant wigs suggest that Kim finds love in the mirror every morning. She’s the one that she wants, and it’d be wrong to keep them apart. (MB)

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