Valentine’s Day is the one day in February that can either incite excitement, anxiety, bitterness, or indifference. It often places an unfair amount of focus on couples and romantic love which has, over time, been reshaped and redefined to also honor friendships with the ever growing popularity of having Galentine’s Day brunches or parties. While Galentine’s Day is largely considered a day for expressing love to the female friends in your life, it does show that your romantic partner isn’t the only important relationship in your life. Friendships are just as important. In honor of friendships of all kinds, I compiled a list of my favorite TV friendships I have grown to love.
1. Mike, Will, Dustin, & Lucas (Stranger Things). Sometimes the bonds we form when we were kids are often the ones that begin to shape who we are and what we want to become as we get older. The strongest bonds are often the kind of friendships we keep for life. This is why I really enjoy the friendships of Mike and the gang from Netflix’s Stranger Things. As soon as you are introduced to these kids and watch them seriously engrossed in a game of Dungeons and Dragons in Mike’s basement, there’s a sense that these kids are close, loyal, and they will have each other’s backs when they’re in trouble. There’s no greater example of them being there for one another than Will’s mysterious disappearance. The kids going on their own search for Will, outside of law enforcement’s official search, drives the entire season of the show. The kids refuse to believe Will is as good as dead and they’re not about to sit around and do nothing either. They care for their friend and want to see him come home. Throw in the addition of the equally enigmatic Eleven, who Mike, Dustin, and Lucas meet along the way, and you have a merry little band of kids who will face off against a Demogorgon to save Will. If that isn’t the absolute definition of friendships that go deeper than blood, then I don’t know what is. They’ll love and support each other until the very end.
2. Chidi & Eleanor (The Good Place). When other people may think you’re a lost cause and not worth having around, you only need that one friend who pushes you to do better and believes in your capabilities as a human being. This defines Chidi and Eleanor’s friendship of NBC’s The Good Place. Okay, maybe Eleanor sort of begs a reluctant Chidi, a former ethics professor, to help her learn how to become a good person when she’s mistakenly placed in the “good place” after she dies. Despite Eleanor’s initial selfish reason for wanting to be good in the afterlife, after spending her entire mortal life being a garbage person, Eleanor does eventually push herself to be a better person that no longer has to do with earning her place in heaven. A lot of that has to do with Chidi. His influence on her inspires her to be selfless without defaulting into her douchebaggy ways and in return Eleanor helps Chidi become less uptight. She teaches him to relax and have fun. Good friendships often inspire each other to excel on a personal level.
3. Caitlin & Cisco (The Flash). Friends will often go through tough times and struggles and you need someone who can just be there to either listen or give you advice. This is a dynamic I have often seen between Caitlin and Cisco of The CW’s The Flash. When Barry Allen messes with the timeline and creates Flashpoint in Season 3, the rest of his friends and family have to deal with the aftermath of his mistake. Caitlin has to control her newfound ice powers and resist the urge to become Killer Frost and Cisco’s brother Dante is dead when he was alive before Barry’s time manipulation. Cisco has managed to pull Caitlin out of the brink when her Killer Frost side ran amok in the episode “Killer Frost” by reminding her that she’s stronger than her alter ego. Caitlin uses her deep understanding and empathy over losing someone you love to bring Cisco out of new enemy Savitar’s mind manipulation in the episode “The Present.” Caitlin and Cisco are fighting personal demons they never had to before in this season, but because these two know each other so well and are great work partners, they always seem to know what to say to each other to make the other feel like they aren’t alone. This is what I love about their friendship. There’s a sensitivity and unwavering faith in one another to get through their personal issues, and it helps when they have a friend who truly understands them. I think these two really get each other out of everyone on Team Flash.
4. Regina & Emma (Once Upon a Time). Can former enemies truly become friends? Sometimes people don’t always start off on the right foot. It may seem impossible for two people to find common ground with one another, but with time, you may discover you have a lot in common than you realize. Regina and Emma from ABC’s Once Upon a Time are two women who were once at odds with one another until they eventually found themselves with common goals and similar views. Regina as the Evil Queen certainly wasn’t looking to make friends, much less with the daughter of the parents she set out to destroy. Neither was Emma willing to step into the role of the savior of Storybrooke or mother to a son she gave up for adoption years ago. Yet, it became inevitable these women would cross paths with one another and fight each other at every turn. As the show continues to progress, both characters have grown and changed as they are thrown into one extraordinary situation after another. There have been many times Regina and Emma had to work together to combat common enemies or parent Henry, a son they both love (Emma as the biological mother and Regina as Henry’s adopted mother). When Regina’s Evil Queen ways finally fall away to usher in a good and better Regina, Emma is one of the ones to extend a hand of friendship when the other residents of Storybrooke were unwilling to trust this new and improved Regina. In return, Regina becomes the one to help Emma fight off a dark side of herself she never knew she had in her. It’s under these circumstances and many others like it that help Regina and Emma start over in their relationship to become genuine friends who want to help and support each other. They show it’s never really too late to become a friend as long as the other truly desires it. Rather than being the other’s greatest enemy, they have become far more to each other––a powerful and advantageous ally.
5. Trish & Jessica (Jessica Jones). Strong and healthy female friendships, where women aren’t being pitted against each other for something as trivial as rivalry or over the love and affection of a single man, can be somewhat lacking in television sometimes. Not the case for Trish and Jessica of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. These women are far too strong and independent to waste their time on any of that. One is a career woman who is very much focused on her job and the other is a private detective who has her own personal issues to straighten out to even begin to care if she looks remotely appealing to the opposite sex. Trish and Jessica have the kind of bond that’s almost like sisters. They didn’t exactly have the best childhoods growing up. Trish and Jessica have it rough in different ways, but they got through it by having each other at their sides. Even when Jessica goes MIA out of Trish’s life for a bit without any explanation, Trish is naturally pissed when Jessica suddenly shows up at her doorstep but immediately helps Jessica when she sees her friend is in some deep trouble. The friendship Trish and Jessica share is rock solid. No matter what happens, they are the first ones to step in to aid and protect the other without hesitation. It will always be gals before bros for Trish and Jessica.
On this Valentine’s Day, remember to show your love and appreciation for the friends who have been a huge part of your life. Who are your favorite TV show friendships?
For an alternative look at friendships, check out an article I wrote a few years ago about my Top 5 friendships from manga.