Ah, the mythical male-female friendship. So rarely does it happen on TV or, if most magazines are to be believed, in real life. Well, considering the fact that my current roommate is a guy who happens to be one of my closest friends (and I know he is reading this and is feeling pretty proud of himself right now), it always annoys me that male-female friendships are constantly overshadowed for the “more dynamic” love story angle. The only “will they-won’t they” that emerged in my apartment was will they survive two whole years of living with each other, or will Karishma bludgeon her roommate with the Nutella jar that was left out, again? Is the drama over the air conditioning not good enough TV? Does no one really want to watch the nuances of a social media-based conversation of “What can we order from Seamless that isn’t too recent, so the delivery guy doesn’t judge us?”
I’ve started watching Elementary, and I’m so far adoring the friendship that’s developing between Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that so far, Sherlock seems to actively listen and respond to Joan, deferring to her areas of expertise and trusting her judgment.
Here are some other personal favorites of male-female friendships on TV:
Leslie Knope & Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation
They disagree on everything politically, but ultimately love each other. I mean, he gave her away away at her wedding. Nothing says friendship like a mutual love for breakfast.
Kaylee Frye & Captain Mal Reynolds, Firefly
On paper, they are complete opposites. Mal is brash, rude, and a lot impulsive. Kaylee is the heart of Serenity and keeps Mal grounded. I mean look at how precious her face is as she tries to convince Mal to let her go to the buffet table.
Liz Lemon & Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock
Liz’s mentor couldn’t really find the words to tell her how much he loved her (or rather, he found all of the words), but he was very proud of the Lemon he mentored, even if she ended up so radically different from him.
Penny Hartz & Max Blum, Happy Endings
These two dysfunctional folks are great friends who sometimes hate each other and are a little melodramatic, which is in no way at all like my own friendship with my roommate.
Emerson Cod & Olive Snook, Pushing Daisies
Olive was late to the private investigation game, but once she got into the spirit of things and really bonded with the gruff Emerson Cod. Away from central characters Ned & Chuck, Olive really shone. Emerson even became fond of his new (sort-of) partner, calling her “Itty-Bitty,” which is just adorable.
All of these friendships involve some amount of respect for and support of each other. Whether it’s respecting someone’s career and skill-set, or (begrudgingly) caring for someone when he/she is ill, it is possible to have great complex relationships between men and women.
Of course this list isn’t a definitive list of male-female friendships, and there should be more, especially as most of these are fairly recent in TV history. List some of your favorites in the comments!