Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Maddie's Pick: Top 10 Female Friendships on TV [Contributor: Maddie]

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The way that television has portrayed female friendships has always been hit or miss, but last year did give us a variety of great female friendships on television that were complex, realistic, and a delight to watch. There are few qualifiers placed on this list: the writers had to actually show moments of friendship and not just slightly allude to them (sorry, Thea and Felicity from Arrow), they couldn’t be relatives, the list covers shows that I personally watch regularly, and is in no particular order.

I will admit I was a little disappointed when I realized how difficult it was to get to get to ten friendships. We live in a time where it is so important to have positive and nuanced depictions of female friendships represented onscreen, and I sincerely hope that is something that changes for the better in 2017.

For now, it is time to take a look at the female friendships that have blessed, and continue to bless, the television landscape.

1. Valencia, Rebecca, and Heather (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: After everything that happened in 2016, I kind of want to live in “Friendtopia,” the imaginary dystopia where their friendship is so strong they literally take over the world set to an amazing homage to The Spice Girls. Zigazow! While female friendship is such a wonderful thing, it is also super complicated. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has done a great job of showing the nuances, quirks, and social politics involved in a group of female friends. Moreover, Rebecca’s growing friendships with Heather and Valencia has been a great for her mental health, and is an important step in her personal development and quest for happiness. I love the dynamic with these three, and it’s been a highlight of this season.

2. Paula and Rebecca (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: This year Paula and Rebecca’s friendship has been tested once it became clear that the pursuit of Josh is not the healthiest thing for Rebecca. Their boundary issues came to a head in the season one finale, which got the ball rolling for some really great dynamics in season two and some stellar performances from Donna Lynne Champlin and Rachel Bloom. It’s a great thing to see how these two characters do love each other, but because of that, they need to give the other some space to grow on their own. It hurt to watch them at odds, but it set the stage for a friendship that is deeper and more beneficial to both parties involved.

3. Jules and Ophelia (Sweet/Vicious)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: Pretty much from the pilot I knew that this was the start of a beautiful friendship. As soon as Jules and Ophelia belted out “Defying Gravity” in a post-murder carpool karaoke, I fell in love with this friendship. These young women are so different, but as the series has moved forward, Jules and Ophelia push each other to be their best selves with love and support. Veronica Mars fans may see shades of Veronica and Mac in these two when watching, and I mean that as a compliment of the highest order. Whether fighting alongside each other as they bring vigilante justice to campus predators or chatting over frozen yogurt, these two make a great team.

4. Claire and Misty (Luke Cage)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: Normally in a series of this genre, two female characters would be rivals for the heroe's affection or, at best, frenemies. However, one of the largest strengths of Luke Cage is how its female characters are written. Even though Misty has “had coffee” with Luke before, she and Claire work together without cattiness, and with mutual respect. I guess there is nothing like a hostage situation to bring people together. These are two smart, fiercely independent, and brave women, who we get to see form a kinship instead of a rivalry. The repartee in their dialogue was amazing to watch and I cannot wait to see how their dynamic unfolds in season two.

5. Jessica and Trish (Jessica Jones)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: Sometimes the greatest love story for a character isn’t romantic (although I can definitely see the argument for shipping these two). Jessica and Trish are each other’s person and family. Trish sees the hero in Jessica and is a major part of Jessica’s journey to overcoming her past and rising to heroism. Likewise, Jessica can only see that there is still good in the world through her bond with Trish, and she is the only person who Jessica can let in and be herself in all its messed up complexities. Their connection is the heart of the show, and I look forward to seeing them faces new challenges together in the show’s second season and in The Defenders.

6. Gabi and Sofia (Young and Hungry)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: So, Young and Hungry is my happy show, and likewise, Gabi and Sofia’s friendship is just fun. As someone in this age group, I think their dynamic is a great example of friendship in your early twenties. You have that friend who only has her stuff together only slightly more than you. Sometime we can get wrapped up in our own drama, but it is nice to have a friend who is there for you through it. In the season four finale, it was a great moment to see Sofia put her foot down and express how Josh and Gabi’s “will they/won’t they” cycle was taking its toll on her and then for Gabi to make her friendship with Sofia a priority over whatever she and Josh currently are. These two make me smile, and I can’t wait for my happy show to return and enjoy what shenanigans they are going to get into in when season five premieres.

7. Jess and Cece (New Girl)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: Over the years, I have loved Jess and Cece’s friendship. They balance each other perfectly and are a great example of how when you live far away from your family, the friends you make can create a family that you choose. This season shows how their dynamic has developed since Cece got married. Of course things are different, but they still have a bond that is going to last.

8. Peggy and Ana (Agent Carter)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: Seeing a healthy friendship on television between a married woman and one of her husband’s female friends is a rare thing to behold on its own. The fact that Agent Carter is a Marvel show and is set in the 40s makes Peggy and Ana’s dynamic all the more unique. Ana Jarvis could have easily been written as jealous; however, the first time we meet Ana, Peggy is straddling Jarvis mid-sparring session, and it becomes quickly apparent that Ana is different than what is expected of her. She is witty and filled with joie de vivre, and soon becomes a delightful addition to Peggy’s team. Peggy and Ana bond and become like family, which makes it all more heartbreaking when Ana got caught in the crossfire of Peggy and Jarvis’ adventures.

 There was so much more of their dynamic to explore, and I will forever be bitter about Agent Carter’s cancellation partially due to this wonderful new friendship we got to see in season two.

9. Mylene, Regina, and Yolanda (The Get Down)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: The Get Down is an incredible and often underrated show. I fell in love with the stories of these kids chasing their dreams. Mylene is such an interesting character, and her journey is shaped by her friendships with Regina and Yolanda. When Mylene is kicked out of her house for singing secular music, Yolanda and her family are the ones to take her in. These girls are there for each other through everything in a friendship as beautiful as their harmonies. Likewise, it is great to see a friend of young women who are carefree and filled with joy. It makes sense that they become a singing group instead of Mylene going solo. These girls are set to take the world by storm, but they will do it together.

10. Ginny and Evelyn (Pitch)

Why They’re Friendship Goals: Everyone needs a friend like Evelyn in their corner. We all need someone who will fight for us, but who we can also enjoy a girls night of laughter and gossip with. She is a force of nature, and I cannot sing her praises enough. Her friendship with Ginny is one of the highlights of Pitch for me, and one the reasons I need a second season of the incredible show.

I am excited to see more from these amazing friendships in 2017 and hopefully more shows will feature friendships like these. What female friendships on television do you enjoy? Let us know in the comments.


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