Virgin River's Most Toxic Relationships Have Been Before Our Eyes All Along

Virgin River's Most Toxic Relationships Have Been Before Our Eyes All Along
Image credit: Netflix

It raises a lot of questions when you think about it.


  • Despite their problems, Mel and Jack's relationship is not the most toxic on the show.
  • Virgin River's largest group of friends has a very troubling relationship.
  • Robyn Carr may have put on paper what she thought was typical of her generation.

Since the beginning of Virgin River in 2019, fans of the hit Netflix romantic drama have been ranting about how toxic the relationship between the show's romantic leads, Mel Monroe and Jack Sheridan, is. Their on-again, off-again romance, combined with the whole arrangement of not talking about their feelings for each other and suddenly getting engaged or breaking up because he has a child on the side and reuniting against all odds, has led many viewers to question its integrity.

And indeed, Mel and Jack are far from the perfect couple. But their relationship is not the most toxic in Virgin River.

The old friends of the titular town, also known as Hope's sewing circle, which includes Hope, Muriel, Lilly, Connie, Jo and Ludie, have a very strange friendship, to say the least. But somehow we ignore the toxicity of their relationship.

Hope Let Muriel Take the Fall in the Situation with Doc

Probably the most problematic aspect of Hope and Muriel's friendship is that Muriel tried to date Doc while he and Hope were on a break. But as messed up as that seems, what was even more disturbing was that few people knew that Hope and Doc were on a break, so the whole town thought that Muriel was stealing her best friend's man, and Hope perpetuated that misconception.

Hope and Muriel's other friends were also disgraced in this situation as they dragged Muriel around behind her back for something she practically didn't do. And there were other instances of the circle being very bad friends. For example, despite their closeness, none of them seemed to know or notice that Lilly was pregnant. Or the fact that they quickly abandoned Hope after her head trauma. These are not the things that good friends do.

Real-Life Prototypes

Netflix's Virgin River is based on Robyn Carr's series of novels of the same name. But the show is not an anthology like the books. The romantic drama focuses on Mel and Jack and tells the stories of other characters in between. That's why we don't know much about Muriel's life or the rest of Hope's sewing circle. Likewise, we know little about the true depth of their relationship and just assume that it is a friendship.

Meanwhile, the relationship depicted on Virgin River may well be very realistic, as it was apparently quite common for women of Robyn Carr's generation to only pretend to be friends, as they were often grouped together by external factors beyond their control. And this phenomenon has been well explored in various media. The hit ABC dramedy Desperate Housewives is built around this idea. So this toxicity may well be a very accurate depiction of a typical real-life circle of friends.

How do you feel about Hope and Muriel's friendship?