In honor of February 13, also known as Galentine’s Day, we’re honoring seven female friendships portrayed on TV! If you’re not familiar with the holiday, Galentine’s Day, founded by Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation, is about celebrating lady friends. It’s like “Lilith Fair minus the angst and plus frittatas.”
Leslie and Ann, Parks and Recreation
Who better to honor on Galentine’s Day than the inventor of the day herself, Leslie Knope, and her beautiful, naïve, sophisticated, newborn baby of a best friend, Ann Perkins? Sure, Ann doesn’t live in Pawnee anymore, but their legacy lives on forever, setting the precedent for all best friendships to come. Throughout their sisterhood, Leslie has referred to Ann as a beautiful spinster, a beautiful, rule-breaking moth, a beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox, and a poetic, noble, land mermaid. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is. Looking to improve your female friendships? Look no further than Leslie Knope’s personal mantra: Hoes before broes, uteruses before duderuses, ovaries before brovaries. [Hillary]
Abbi and Ilana, Broad City
Broad City might be this year’s most talked about sitcom. I personally love the show for many reasons, but the relationship between the show’s leads Abbi and Ilana is really something spectacular. Abbi and Ilana are so different in appearance and behavior, but their relationship makes so much sense because isn’t every girl’s best friend someone who compliments her? There is so much media content that devalues female friendships, especially in the context of reality TV and many primetime and daytime soaps where women seem to be constantly fighting over men. In this show, though both characters support each other in the Spice Girls way, “Wisdom Teeth” even highlighted how much the normally irresponsible Ilana was willing to sacrifice in order to support Abbi when she got her wisdom teeth taken out. Ilana has some more-than-friends feelings for Abbi, but that has yet to be categorized or made into some sort of silly plot line. Broad City has made waves as a delightfully feminist sitcom, and indeed it is, and it all comes from Abbi and Ilana’s open and awesome friendship. [Sarah]
Clarke and Raven, The 100
Too often, television shows position women to be rivals instead of friends. There’s a number of reasons for this, from stereotypes of catty teens to the subtler problem of being disposable love interests. When girls and women on screen are solely defined by who they’re dating, romantic rivalry becomes the default interaction. Fortunately for us, The 100 was having none of that. While initially positioned as two parts of a season 1 love triangle, Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and Raven (Lindsey Morgan) choose to ignore their mutual boyfriend problem and instead work together for the betterment of the group’s survival. It helps that both young women are impressed with each other’s skills, and both desperately need a real friend.
As season 2 has driven all the characters to unimaginable places, we’ve had the chance to witness Raven and Clarke’s friendship being tested near to the breaking point. With Clarke being responsible for the death of a mutual loved one, it seemed like Raven would never forgive her. But understanding and true compassion has brought Raven somewhat around, and the hug in this week’s episode was a welcome relief to viewers. Clarke and Raven are stronger together than apart. If anything should happen to either beloved character, fandom will riot. [Sara]
Maggie and Emma, Playing House
There’s been a growing crop of female-centric comedies airing in recent television history, but, arguably, none have a friendship quite as ambitious as the one featured on USA’s Playing House. Real life best friends Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair play Maggie and Emma on the show, longtime friends that are reunited when the heavily pregnant Maggie finds out her husband has been cheating on her, and Emma moves back home, quitting her high-profile business job in China, to help her raise the baby. These two are the embodiment of the idea that with friendship, you get to choose your own family, and that the nuclear family — romance and a white picket fence included — isn’t necessarily what you need to make you happy. Playing House is incredibly funny, and because of how much its characters clearly love each other, the show feels almost giddy in its joyfulness. [Laura]
Fiona and Veronica, Shameless
Fiona Gallagher and Veronica Fisher from Shameless have one hell of a friendship. The two have been neighbors for years and have stuck with each other through thick and thin, which in other words means through all the shit you can possibly think of (boy drama, drugs, trouble with social workers, house arrest, and the works). Fiona and her family are not exactly what you would call “good” neighbors, but that doesn’t stand in the way of V seeing through their rowdiness and being a genuine friend. V could have easily been the bitchy neighbor that makes the Gallaghers’ lives a living hell, but instead chooses to help Fiona in any way she can, and Fiona most certainly does the same. With all the things the the two have gone through (like Fiona’s bad decisions with men), and all the drama going on between V and her husband, I think the two of them deserve to go out and have their own Galentine’s Day celebration, don’t you? [Marie]
Viva, Amber, Holli, and Saz, Some Girls
British comedy series Some Girls is all about female friendship. Specifically, it centers on a friendship between four schoolgirls living in South London who come from diverse backgrounds. Call it the female version of The Inbetweeners if you want, but Some Girls has its own brand of humor and unique personalities leading the series. Most of the focus is on Viva Bennett (Adelayo Adedayo), the only levelheaded member of the group who often has to get her friends out of trouble. And, consequently, she often gets dubbed the “boring” one. Amber (Alice Felgate) is the embodiment of every blonde stereotype you can imagine. Holli (Natasha Jonas) is the angry and brutish one. And Saz is essentially the weird one — very uptight, sarcastic, comes from an Indian family, and has the least amount of luck when it comes to boys. As much as they drive each other crazy, these characters have a genuine bond. Not to mention, it’s refreshing to see teenage girls getting along on TV. [Hera]
Virginia and Lillian, Masters of Sex
Before I get started on the beautiful dynamic between Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) and Dr. Lillian DePaul (Julianne Nicholson), if you haven’t caught up with the second season of Masters of Sex, go watch it now! It’s an incredible show with some of the most complex characters on TV today. Virginia and Lillian’s relationship started much like many other female relationships that are portrayed on television, with instant judgement and distaste for the other woman for whatever reason. In this case Lillian, as a female doctor in a time when women had to fight that much harder to gain respect by other men in the field (1950-60s), looked down on Virginia for using her “beauty and allure” as a means of working her way up the same ladder Lillian had previously struggled so hard to climb.
Lillian decides that the only way she can be taken seriously is by de-feminizing herself (muting the colors in the suits she wears, constantly wearing a tight bun, having a very deadpan demeanor). As Lillian struggles more and more to raise money for her Pap Smear program, she decides to listen to Virginia’s advice. Essentially, Lillian must flirt with other doctors to convince them to help out. And she does. Although this didn’t work with the male doctors, her charisma worked on their wives, thus giving her plenty of donations to help with the program. Lillian’s methodical nature and her intensity at approaching certain things couldn’t work without Virginia’s charm and personality. They work well together. They make a better team together. It’s only through their friendship that Lillian grasps the concept that you don’t have to be a man or even act like a man to be powerful. You can be feminine and still have the ability to succeed.
Unfortunately, I do believe Lillian’s cancer was the trigger that made the friendship a far more emotional one, particularly for Virginia. They’re both women who try not to get too close to others, in part, because their eyes are constantly set on their goal. Despite this, “Lillian snuck around the wall.” She knows Virginia. As Lillian’s health and abilities to function start to rapidly decline, it makes their bond that much stronger. It’s as if they’re trying to fit in everything they can until the last possible second, and they do. Virginia cares for her, from going with her to appointments to caring for her back home. They’ve become so close that even though it hurts her, Virginia understands why she would want to end her treatments and just let go. It’s because of all of this that it was only right that Virginia would be there for Lillian in her last hours. This also makes it that much harder to watch Virginia kiss her friend (and she doesn’t have a lot of those), say goodbye, and lie down next to her as she passes on. [Isabella]