When Car Share’s John and Kayleigh parted on awkward terms in the series two finale I’ll admit, I was heartbroken.
How could Peter Kay trick us into thinking they’d finally found their happily ever after, only to reveal that John really hadn’t had the guts to tell the girl he was falling for how he really felt? And how could he end the series forever on such a cliffhanger?
But as the days passed, Kay apologised and my initial indignation faded, I actually found myself thanking him for his decision because, as far as I’m concerned, the best TV couples are often the ones who never quite get that happy ending.
Take Downton Abbey’s Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) for example. We spent three years watching the pair dance around each other in the halls of Downton as the icy Earl of Grantham’s daughter played hard to get and we loved every single second of it.
So eager were we to see the pair united that we even willed death upon lovely Lavinia (Zoe Boyle). Only when she perished could the “show that flopped” get its second act.
Yes, we delighted in the wedding but within weeks Matthew and Mary became just another married TV couple. It wasn’t until the once and future Earl of Grantham met his maker in the motor that we really felt anything powerful about the pair again.
Now I’m not suggesting that Car Share should become Car Crash but the truth is we’re passionate about John and Kayleigh because we love their existing dynamic. We love knowing what they’re thinking but never quite telling each other. And we love the tragedy of their stubbornly unrequited love.
We live for Kayleigh’s carefully dropped clangers about blokes she might fancy – namely hunky trolley man Ted 2 – and the sly sideways peeks to gauge John’s reaction. And we love John’s poorly concealed frustration and all too human inability to express himself.
It’s that relationship – or lack thereof – that makes Car Share a very special piece of telly, which leaves your belly aching and your heart breaking.
Car Share wouldn’t be Car Share if they really were a settled couple, so when you do deliver that FINAL final episode in 2018, Mr Kay, please don’t ruin a fantastic dynamic for the sake of a ‘perfect’ ending.
Just keep John and Kayleigh teetering on the brink of that happily ever disaster– that’s the best way to keep our love for them alive.
Do you agree? Or do you think John and Kayleigh should get together?
Car Share returns to BBC1 at Christmas