Popular television has brought us a number of funny female friendships in the form of family, (the Patty Duke Show, Sister, Sister, Kath & Kim) famous quads (Sex & the City, Living Single, the Golden Girls, Girlfriends) and trios that tickled us (Friends, Moesha, Happy Endings), but there is something to be said for the humor born of the special relationship between a broad and her bestie.
2014 proved to be an epic year for the bestie brigade on TV with the introduction of HBO’s Doll & Em and IFC’s Garfunkel and Oates, but it’s the broads of Broad City with their feisty brand of Fourth Wave feminism who stole the show. Produced by Amy Poehler, whose dedication to the portrayal of well-rounded female friendships on TV (see Parks and Rec, below) and in real life with Tina Fey (both of whom have other XX driven productions in the works) assures us the future of female-fronted television is in mighty fine hands.
So in honor of Broad City’s Season Premiere, (Feb 17th on Comedy Central) we salute 25 other dynamic duos who’ve paved the way for Abbi and Ilana’s stoner shenanigans from television’s beginnings to now:
1) Ethel and Lucy – I Love Lucy, 1951
Much like everything else in life, it’s hard to top the original. These two wacky dames set the template for friendships forged in hijinks.
2) Beryl and Sandra – The Liver Birds, 1969
The adventures of these two (and their far out, King’s Road couture) served as the pioneering “single girl, buddy comedy” we’ve come to know and love.
3) Mary & Rhoda – The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970
Mary’s peppy optimism and Rhoda’s self-deprecation balanced each other out in one of TV’s first and greatest yin/yang friendships.
4) Florida and Wilona – Good Times, 1974
Florida and Wilona’s no-nonsense relationship served to support each other through life’s hard knocks.
5) LaVerne & Shirley, 1976
Featuring all of the above (hijinks, hard knocks, single gal adventures and complimentary opposites) LaVerne & Shirley is still the gold standard in female bestie sitcoms.
6) Chrissy and Janet – Three’s Company, 1977
Many other blondes would “come and knock on the door” above the Roppers (and then Mr. Furley’s), but Chrissy and Janet’s friendship was the kind strong enough to take on the idea of Jack Tripper and made it a bit easier to see past the show’s weird, homophobic slant.
7) Natalie and Tootie – The Facts of Life, 1979
Though part of an ensemble of young women on the original The Facts of Life, Tootie and Nat’s friendship was the stuff of true bestiehood. Not only were they one of the first bi-racial, female friendships on television, they were the first ladies to whip out their bong (even if they thought it held Jellybeans) in Prime Time.
8) Punky and Cherie – Punky Brewster, 1984
These two spunky ‘tweens were both orphans living with elderly caregivers and shared a mutual fondness for mismatched apparel, which helped them forge a bond as unique as their fashion sense.
9)Kate & Allie, 1984
A tale of two divorced moms living together and making it work featured the always stellar Jane Curtin and showcased how women step up to support one another.
10)Mary and Rose – 227, 1985
Born of stoop gossip, Mary and Rose’s friendship weathered Rose becoming Mary’s landlady, their teen children and the exploits of their sexpot neighbor, Saaannnnnnddddrrrrahhhhhh.
11) DJ and Kimmy – Full House, 1987
Sometimes you need to skip school to meet Stacey Q, and that’s when a friend like Kimmy Gibbler comes in mighty handy. In the ’80s, many sitcoms featured the “Mom’s dead (or absent). Let’s have a party” motif. Trouble-making Kimmie was just what straight-laced (and kinda boring) Donna Jo and this straight-laced (and kinda boring) sitcom needed.
12) French and Saunders, 1987
Much like Abbi and Ilana, this comedy duo began honing their craft “underground” in the world of sketch comedy prior to their TV series. And again, much like the Broad City girls, it was a real life friendship that lead to this great TV show which deftly skewered pop culture, and the success of which can be attributed as much as to their comedic writing skills as their talents as performers.
13) Blossom and Six – Blossom, 1990
Sometimes goofy-yet-enduring teen friendships are formed in your parents’ blatant disregard for conventional baby names and the love of oversized accessories.
14) Patsy and Edina – Absolutely Fabulous, 1992
The proto-partying godmothers of Broad City’s Abbs and Ills, Pats and Eddie ably swayed their way through so many decades, lovers and designer substances because they knew no matter what, they always had each other….and a walk-in champagne cooler, Sweetie Darling;)
15) Daria and Jayne – Daria, 1997
These two birds-of-a-feather made high school slightly less miserable for each other, proving if you can find one friend in your teen years that just “gets you” you’re lucky indeed.
16) Lorelai and Sookie – Gilmore Girls, 2000
One of the most realistic and enduring lady friendships ever on TV, Lorelai and Sookie worked together, played together and cried together through all of life’s ups and downs and allllll that Christopher nonsense.
17) Rory and Lane – Gilmore Girls, 2000
Moms are a daughter’s best example of how to be friends with another lady, and Rory and Lane’s unwavering devotion to each other proves it.
18) Lucille 1 and Lucille 2 – Arrested Development, 2003
Though these ladies claimed to be besties- their rivalry was one for the books, reminding us female friendships don’t have to function to be extremely deep (and very, very funny).
19) Lily and Robin – How I Met Your Mother, 2005
It’s hard to the only girl in a “boys’ club” and it was major when Lily welcomed Robin to their penis-heavy party with open arms and then fought for her to remain in the group even when she and Ted (and then Barney) were kaput – constituting a major act of bravery on TV or in real life.
20) Liz and Jenna – 30 Rock, 2006
It took until 2006, but the relationship between Liz and Jenna was one of the first on TV to take on candid discussions about female rivalries and the roles we take on in female friendships. As Liz Lemon, Tina Fey explored the complexities of these fragile relationships with humor and brutal honesty. And even though they were total opposites, not even the knowledge they had shared the dong of Dennis Duffy could break these two up.
21) Carly and Sam – iCarly, 2007
It may have been a show named after a female character, but iCarly was a veritable Dude Universe. Carly didn’t have a mom (with no explanation, ever) and Sam had an awful, absentee one, yet somehow these two very different teens forged a friendship rich with girl power that was all the family they needed.
22) Leslie and Anne – Parks and Rec, 2009
It should be stated for the record, Leslie Knope is great at all things – including best friendships; the woman coined the term and launched the holiday Galentine’s Day for God’s sake. Though a comedy to its core, Parks and Rec did a fantastic job actually showing the process of how women become friends as adults, something a thirty minute sitcom rarely takes the time to flush out.
23) Max and Caroline – 2 Broke Girls, 2011
2 Broke Girls may be far from perfect TV, but Max and Caroline’s devotion to each other is the glue that holds this show – which is essentially a flaming ball of stereotypes – together.
24) Jess and Cece – New Girl, 2011
Through frequent flashbacks, New Girl clues us in on how childhood friendships evolve and change as the ladies involved in them and their relationship itself, evolves and changes.
25) Hannah and Marnie – Girls, 2012
Your early 20s can be “make or break” time for college friendships as evidenced by the portray of “best friends” and former roomies, Hannah and Marnie on Girls – earning the show both praise and criticism for its unflinching portrayal of young women’s relationships with all their highs and lows.