What good is a television show without some friendly competition? From siblings who'd rather have nothing to do with each other to childhood best friends who end up vying for the same guy's heart, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at the most iconic TV rivalries from the '90s and early '00s… starting with this one. When "One Tree Hill" debuted on The WB in 2003, there was a lot to love — fans were transported to a suburban port city in North Carolina and given full access to the dramatic lives of the beautiful teens who resided there. A particular Tree Hill treat, though? Watching the relationship between the show's leads, estranged half-brothers Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty), evolve. The guys, who shared the same intolerable father, Dan Scott (Paul Johansson), ended up forming a bond that, while imperfect, became the heart of the show. They'd been pinned against each other practically since birth, but they eventually decided to move past their differences and show up for one another. What we'd give to hear Lucas endearingly refer to Nathan as "little brother" again! Keep reading for more…
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Angel and Spike on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
Before there were Stefan and Damon Salvatore on "The Vampire Diaries," there were these two. From the stellar storytelling to the compelling, often heartbreaking character arcs, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is recognized as being a top-tier example of what a great television show looks like. And while Buffy's personal struggle with balancing her Slayer duties and life as a teenager remained at the forefront of the series, her two main love interests also got a ton of screen time. The rivalry between Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters) preceded even Buffy herself, as we learned early on that Spike was in love with Drusilla (Juliet Landau), who had a fiery connection with Angelus, who turned her. Angel is Buffy's equivalent of that high school sweetheart you want desperately to take with you to college before ultimately realizing that your lives are headed in different directions, while Spike is that bad boy you've always found kind of insufferable but have low-key been curious about nonetheless. Both men have had some seriously gut-wrenching moments with the Slayer — from Angel and Buffy's tearful goodbye during season 2's "Becoming: Part Two" to Spike consoling Buffy while she cried during season 5's "Fool for Love" — and truthfully, it's difficult to definitively pick which vamp we love more.
Ben Covington and Noel Crane on "Felicity"
The idea of a recent high school graduate changing her college plans to follow her longtime crush to a university across the country sounds completely bonkers — yet "Felicity" somehow managed to find a way to make it sound romantic. It's a tale as old as '90s television: Felicity (Keri Russell) followed high school hunk Ben Covington (Scott Speedman), whom she barely knows, to college, where she ended up meeting attractive and wildly endearing resident advisor Noel Crane (Scott Foley). As early as the pilot, we were introduced to the love triangle that would persist until the show's close, as Felicity began to develop bonds with both guys. Throughout the series, the girl is no stranger to making poor decisions (we'll leave it at that!) and when it comes to Ben and Noel, she has a pretty difficult time picking the man with whom she wants to pursue a relationship. While she was with one, the other was insanely jealous and vice versa — at many points, Ben and Noel's rivalry almost resulted in a physical altercation. From Noel's rambling to Ben's brooding, Felicity was torn between two incredibly disparate lovers. The only commonality they had? That they'd both fallen for the bookish teen from Palo Alto.
Jess Mariano and Dean Forester on "Gilmore Girls"
Ah, yes, the classic good guy-versus-bad guy situation. In addition to giving audiences a look into the quick-witted, fast-paced banter between a mother and her daughter, "Gilmore Girls" also served up some pretty great romance. Take, for example, the rivalry between Dean Forester (Jared Padalecki) and Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia). To put it simply, Jess was every Dean's nightmare. The brooding, charming and wildly intelligent new kid in town who takes an interest in your girlfriend? Yup, not what you want. After lying to herself for a good season and a half, Rory (Alexis Bledel) ended up picking Jess… only to regret her choice and miss her adorable first boyfriend. The rivalry persisted even after Rory made her choice, with both guys continuing to try to one-up one another as the better suitor. Every "Gilmore" fan is well-acquainted with the long-standing war between Team Jess and Team Dean — though in our opinion, there are strong cases for (and against) both of them.
Joey Potter and Jen Lindley on "Dawson's Creek"
Just as Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) was attempting to figure out her feelings for her longtime best friend, Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek), new girl Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) showed up and threw any progress off-course. The earlier episodes of "Dawson's Creek" showed Joey and Jen being pretty vicious toward one another as they competed for Dawson's attention, and although their relationship improved over the course of the series, a lingering sense of duplicity remained — Joey neglected to tell Jen about her relationship with Pacey (Joshua Jackson), and Jen failed to tell Joey when she started seeing Dawson in college. Still, while their relationship wasn't without its issues (and melodrama), there did appear to be a constant effort on both sides to change for the better. So that's worth something, right?
Jim Halpert and Dwight Schrute on "The Office"
It's heartwarming to see two frenemies become actual friends. In what was one of the most beloved relationships on "The Office," Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) were constantly at each other's throats, with Jim incessantly pranking Dwight and Dwight ceaselessly calling for their boss, Michael Scott, to fire Jim for terrorizing him. What's so great about this particular rivalry is that, like others on our list, it didn't stay as such. By the show's end, Jim and Dwight had developed a special bond, one that saw them growing closer both inside and outside the Dunder Mifflin office. The rivalry, while (hilariously) childish, set the groundwork for a friendship that culminated in Jim being asked to serve as Dwight's "bestest mensch" at his wedding. Aw.
Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls on "Veronica Mars"
Opposites attract could not be more true than in this case. In the "Veronica Mars" pilot, the world seems pretty straightforward — Veronica (Kristen Bell) is the popular girl-turned-social outcast with an ex-boo, Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn), who shuns her and hangs out with his intolerable best friend Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). Throughout the show's first episode, we got a clear look at Veronica and Logan's rivalry — how both were grieving the loss of Lily Kane (Amanda Seyfried) and failed to put aside their differences. That's why when Veronica and Logan shared that epic first kiss later in the first season, we were initially taken aback before realizing that it actually made complete sense. Veronica and Logan's story is an interesting one in that we see them go from two people who can't stand each other to one of television's most beloved couples. There's this contradictory element to their relationship, one that makes you both doubt its ability to work and root for them all at once. Of course, it would take two rivals to craft an epic love story filled with lives ruined and bloodshed.
Rory Gilmore and Paris Geller on "Gilmore Girls"
There's "friendly competition" and then there's this. When Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) first walked the halls at Chilton, she had no idea she'd soon be encountering the wrath of Paris Geller (Liza Weil) — though what initially started off as a tumultuous academic competition turned into a special (albeit peculiar) friendship. The rivalry really only persisted as long as it did because of Paris, but when she eventually opted to see Rory as a potential friend instead of an obstacle to getting into Harvard, the two developed a close bond. Their relationship, with its rough patches, was one of the show's most exciting, namely because they were so different. From Chilton to Yale, Rory and Paris weathered whatever life threw at them together.
Brian Krakow and Jordan Catalano on "My So-Called Life"
OK, hear us out. Just because Jordan Catalano was unaware it was a rivalry doesn't mean it wasn't! On "My So-Called Life," fans of the angsty drama were given an inside look at Angela Chase's (Claire Danes) innermost thoughts, which included her moody anecdotes about her emotionally exhausting crush on Jordan (Jared Leto). What Angela was unaware of, however, was that longtime neighbor Brian Krakow (Devon Gummersall) was low-key crushing on her at the same time. The rivalry between Jordan and Brian was a pretty mellow one, namely because Brian was too shy to ever confront Jordan and Jordan was too aloof to ever understand what exactly was going on. Perhaps the most notable moment between these two came in the series finale in which Brian used Jordan to profess his feelings for Angela. It was the first real moment we saw between Angela and Brian, and it's the first time we saw both guys working together (and, in a way, against one another) to gain Angela's affection.
Peyton Sawyer and Brooke Davis on "One Tree Hill"
Nathan and Lucas weren't the only rivals on "One Tree Hill." Despite being friends since they were little girls, childhood besties Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton) and Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) were often at odds throughout the show's earlier seasons. The reason for their rocky best friendship? They were both vying for the heart of Lucas (Chad Michael Murray). After Brooke found out that best friend Peyton and boyfriend Lukas shared a kiss (on more than one occasion) behind her back, she decided to cut them both out of her life. What ensued over the third and fourth seasons was a quippy, catty rivalry between both teens that at one point resulted in a literal brawl in Brooke's front yard. Luckily though, the girls were eventually able to patch up their friendship and realize that their love for each other was far more important than their feelings for any guy.
Bart Simpson and Sideshow Bob on "The Simpsons"
All we can say is… we wouldn't want to be Bart Simpson. The rivalry between Bart and Sideshow Bob began in the season 1 episode of "The Simpsons" entitled "Krusty Gets Busted" after Bart outed Bob as the perpetrator of the Kwik-E-Mart robbery. The crime resulted in Bob getting thrown into prison, and from that moment forward, the maniacal man vowed to exact revenge against the mischievous 10-year-old boy. Through his constant terrorizing of Bart throughout the series, Sideshow Bob unarguably became not only a fan-favorite villain on the show but in pop culture in general.
Buffy and Faith on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
Maybe this is why there's only meant to be one Chosen One at a time. For the first two seasons, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" — with the exception of Kendra Young (Bianca Lawson) — focused primarily on Buffy's experiences as the single Slayer picked to protect Sunnydale and the rest of the world from the imminent dangers of the Hellmouth. Sounds straightforward, right? Well, not exactly. After Kendra's untimely death at the end of season 2, Faith (Eliza Dushku) was called and proceeded to wreak havoc on the sleepy town. Her bad girl, "want, take, have" ways were initially off-putting to Buffy, who'd long followed the rules of her Watcher (Anthony Stewart Head), but for a moment, she gave in to Faith's persuasion and took a walk on the wild side. Of course, as every fan knows, Buff's foray into hardcore partying, flirting and stealing didn't last long, and neither did Faith's time as an upstanding Slayer who fights alongside the good guys. Their rivalry came to a head many times, though one of the most poignant was in the season 4 episode "Who Are You," in which both Slayers switched bodies. At the episode's climax, we saw Faith (as Buffy) pounding on Buffy (as Faith) and angrily talking down to her, when in reality, she was talking to herself. The episode on the whole was a standout in the series as it expertly showcased just how different both women are.
Ryan Atwood and Luke Ward on "The O.C."
What happens when you put two alpha male types in the same high school? A full-blown rivalry. At the start of "The O.C.," Luke Ward (Chris Carmack) was established as the popular lacrosse-playing jock who also happened to be dating the Princess of Newport, Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). But when Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie) made his debut at the Harbor School, Luke felt threatened and, as seen in the pilot in which Luke uttered the now-iconic phrase, "Welcome to The O.C., b—-," he and Ryan got into their first of many scraps on the beach. Thankfully, the ice between them eventually thawed and the two were even able to maintain a friendship while Ryan dated Luke's ex-girlfriend Marissa. We loved watching Ryan and Luke go from enemies to actual friends in the matter of one season.
Zack Morris and A.C. Slater on "Saved By the Bell"
When we first met A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez) on "Saved By the Bell," he was introduced as the athletic, attractive new kid at Bayside High who immediately took an interest in pretty, popular Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Amber Thiessen). The problem, of course, is that "Preppy" — otherwise known as Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) — had the biggest crush on Kelly and saw Slater as a threat to his future with the bubbly cheerleader. Though Slater was initially meant to be an obstacle to Zack and Kelly's romance, by the show's second season, both guys ended up becoming best friends and Slater even developed feelings for the strong-willed Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley). "Saved By the Bell" was one of the earlier teen shows to showcase a rivalry-turned-best friendship.
Ren and Louis on "Even Stevens"
The struggle of growing up with a sibling you absolutely can't stand was explored in this hit Disney Channel series. When "Even Stevens" premiered in 2000, audiences across the world were given a look into the lives of the Stevens family, who resided in a suburb of Sacramento, California. The show focused on the family's youngest children, Louis (Shia LaBeouf) and Ren (Christy Carlson Romano), two siblings who couldn't be any more different. While Ren was intelligent and well-mannered, Louis was lazy and immature — and their inherent differences often led to a slew of arguments, competitions and bickering. However, the show wasn't without its poignant moments — beneath the constant fighting, it was apparent that there was love between Louis and Ren. After all, they are siblings!