Thursday, September 13, 2012

Top Ten: Male/Female friendships on TV

I recently gave you my top ten slash and femslash ships and ages ago I wrote a list of the most epic romance on TV… So I guess it’s pretty clear that I love romance (as long as it’s of the fictional variety). But I don’t want you to think that’s the only reason I love popular culture. I don’t just ship everyone romantically sometimes I like a good old-fashioned friendship. Which is exactly what I am going to be celebrating.

This top ten list isn’t just about any kind of friendship, no the ones listed here are all platonic male/female friendships. They are difficult to find – it seems that everyone agreed with When Harry Met Sally. But I think these friendships prove that when a guy and a girl are best friends it can be a beautiful thing without ever turning to romance.

Just to clarify  - I am not counting any couple that dated seriously but if they hooked up a couple of times that’s OK. Also I am not counting siblings… they will get their own list very soon.

10. Stiles and Lydia – Teen Wolf

I’m going to start this list with a kind of optimistic dream of what could be the best male/female friendship ever. Stiles has been in love with Lydia for as long as he can remember and Lydia never really noticed that he existed. It sounds like the beginning of a teen romance but it seems like this amazing show (seriously watch it) might actually go in a different direction. I really do hope so because what Lydia really needs is a friend, and just because Stiles has been in love with Lydia for ages doesn’t mean she has to love him back (as much as I love him). Besides they are both so smart, and they’re the only humans in the pack – that just cries out for some serious friendship bonding. Look you never know what’s going to happen with Teen Wolf, and they might still go with the romance but I live in hope that these two will be BFF’s by the end of Season 3.

9. Leslie and Ron – Parks and Recreation

Not all friendships are life altering, sometimes they are just two people that respect each other and get along pretty well. Leslie and Ron is one of those friendships. They have the opposing political viewpoints and yet they somehow manage to work together in a government department. Leslie’s enthusiastic love for the political process that makes me fall in love with her every week should really have sent Ron a running. But you know what, they respect each other, which means they respects their differing ideologies. I realize it’s a strange concept for most people – that you don’t have to think the exact same thing in order to be friends but it’s not a bad message. 

8. Peggy and Don – Mad Men

Considering the hideous gender equality in this program (I know they are just being historically accurate but still – awful) it didn’t seem likely that Don Draper would have his most lasting relationship with his female secretary Peggy. Yet somehow their relationship grows into one of equality and respect. I know I talk about respect a lot in this list but you would be shocked at how often male/female friendships are not equal. Peggy and Don manage to defy the trend, and seeing as it’s the 1960s it’s practically a miracle. Peggy always looked up to Don, and Don always trusted Peggy. They know each other’s dirty little secrets and I guess that scares them into a kind of complacent friendship, but it also means they trust each other and that’s what counts.

7. Willow and Xander – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Yup, Joss has done it again. This friendship is beautiful, and heartbreaking – it is Joss after all. All my life I have wanted a friend like Xander was for Willow. I mean yes, in the early seasons Willow has a crush on Xander, and they even make out a couple of times (due to formal wear) but these two were always more friends than lovers. Xander and Willow, they just get each other. They date other people and they have other friends but in reality this show started with Xander and Willow together and it ended with Xander and Willow together. I mean come on, Xander’s love literally saved the world… I will defy anyone to get through the yellow crayon speech without breaking down into a ball of tears and emotions. I’m crying now just thinking about it – he wanted to die with his best friend. Ugh. Xander and Willow: BBF’s forever.

6. Penny and Sheldon – The Big Bang Theory

This friendship is the saving grace of this show. It could have just been another sit-com based on stereotypes and an odd couple romance but then Sheldon stole our heart. Sheldon is the definition of breakout character and it is in his interactions with Penny that you see him at his best. I still can’t believe that it’s an American sit-com that has managed to show one of the most realistic and interesting male/female friendships on TV. Penny and Sheldon have nothing in common but their relationship is built, like so many great friendships, through shared experiences and an oddly accurate understanding of each other.

5. Jack and Jen – Dawson’s Creek

Who cares about Will and Grace the best gay man/straight lady friendship ever to grace the magic box is the one between Jack and Jen on Dawson’s Creek. Jack and Jen find each other when they are both in a dark place – they have both lost someone close to them and they both have families that don’t approve of their lifestyle choices. They became each other’s family being there for each other in away that their real families never were – except Grams, Grams is awesome. They don’t even shy away from the complications of a gay male/straight female friendship, when the deal with the idea that Jen might want more than Jack can give. Ultimately they work it out, and the heartbreaking finale of this series is really all about their relationship – oh so many tears. 

4. George and Annie – Being Human (UK)

Would you have guessed that a werewolf and a ghost would be such good friends? I thought not. But then again I never really imagined them cohabiting… but I guess that doesn’t really turn out that well. George and Annie work as friends because they are both so… well human. Annie desperately wants to help and George just wants to be left alone so it’s weird that they get along at all. Yet somehow George manages to get past his closed off demeanor and be there for Annie when she needs him. While they both care about roommate Mitchel more openly there is something about the simple friendship between George and Annie that makes me smile… until well DAMN THIS SHOW!

3. Veronica and Wallace – Veronica Mars

Sometimes I worry that everyone has forgotten about Veronica Mars (except Kirsten Bell) which sucks because it really was one of the best television shows ever, with one of the most amazing female characters ever. It was just awesome OK and one of the most awesome things about it was the relationship between Veronica and her best friend Wallace. These two are friends from the moment Veronica cuts Wallace down from the flag poll he’s taped to and what a beautiful friendship it is. It’s not perfect though, which is actually one of the reasons I love it so much. They fight, sometimes they lie to each other and they don’t always agree but when it comes down to it they are always there for each other. The boyfriends and girlfriends will come and go but Veronica and Wallace are friends for life.

2. Zoe and Mal – Firefly

She’s a warrior woman and he’s her captain; she’s very straight and he’s entirely sarcastic, it shouldn’t work but somehow it does. This relationship is an interesting take on the ex-army buddies that you see so much in male/male friendships. Zoe and Mal have been through everything together and it’s pretty clear that they would follow each other into oblivion. The best part about this friendship is that even though they are both super hot they never even consider going down the road of romance – even if Wash doesn’t believe it (oh Wash! I made myself sad). It’s understated but you don’t need any mushy words to see that these two would do anything for each other.

1. The Doctor and Donna – Doctor Who

The Doctor has had a lot of lady friends over the years and each one of them is just as special as the last but it was his relationship with loud-mouthed Donna that really encapsulates the spirit of male/female friendships. Doctor is not looking to mate, which is good because Donna’s not at all interested in mating with a skinny boy like him. She’s so insecure and he’s so damaged by all his pervious relationships that neither of them really wants to let the other in but that just means that when they do it’s a fantastic friendship based of mutual respect. They just get each other, and you know what they have fun together. I might look for angst in a romance but all my favourite friendships are based on fun. And this relationship is the funnest of the lot – until it’s not fun anymore (poor poor Donna).

Well there to have it my top ten friend-‘ships’… see what I did there? Yes that’s right I am hilarious. Do you agree? Did I miss your fav? Comment your thoughts and I will argue with you until you realize you’re wrong.