7 things Saturday: great female friendships in TV and film

Well, my 10 things Tuesday turned into 7 things Saturday. This week has distracted me in many ways (the sun is out and flowers are blooming) and I'm still trying to get through a pile of grading and these lists always take longer than I think they're going to. As part of my series on friendship, I thought I'd write about female friendship on TV and in the movies. Turns out, it's difficult to find positive female friendships that aren't overly sentimental where one of the characters is dying (Steel Magnolias, Beaches, Terms of Endearment) and though my first choice fit into that category a bit, the whole storyline doesn't evolve around Ruth's death; it's about their relationship.

1. Idgie & Ruth Fried Green Tomatoes

You're just a bee charmer, Idgie Threadgood You

Let's face it, their "relationship" went deeper than friendship but no matter the romantic feelings they had for one another, they were also great friends. And I think the best start for any relationship is friendship. Their affection for each other is strong, palpable, even, especially when Idgie comes to get Ruth from her abusive husband and threatens to kill him. If that ain't friendship, what is?

2. Thelma & Louise from Thelma & Louise
This film was hailed as a kind of "female buddy movie" as it creates a twist on the typical and iconic "road film." It begins innocently enough but quickly turns to a self-defense shooting, going on the lam and stealing one's way across the United States kind of film. The women's friendship evolves throughout the film as we watch how the two continually rescue one another from one situation after another and ultimately choose friendship over their own safety.

3. The Women (Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha) of Sex and the City

What I like most about the portrayal of female friendships on SATC is that while there was glamour and escape, there was always truth and loyalty. One of my favorite episodes is one where Carrie and Miranda get in an argument about Big. Miranda's frustration got the best of her and all Carrie wanted was her best friend's support. But it's hard sometimes to know when we're trying to prevent our friends from getting hurt and when speaking our mind is really about us. And I think Carrie and Miranda's relationship displays that over and over again throughout the series. All of the girls have different relationships from one another and I appreciate the ways they relate to one another. It's true that we have all kinds of friends and they don't always mix well. In this case, however, the women show us what it might be like if they did.

4. Angela Montenegro and Temperance Brennen from Bones

I'd like to know how these two became friends in the first place. This week on Bones we're supposed to see how Booth and Brennen came to be but I'd really like to know the background on Angela and Bones. (I haven't watched the episode yet). Angela is the heart of the show, for me and her emotion counterbalances Brennen's intellectual and logical approach to things. The loyalty between them runs incredibly deep and we see it most when Angela refuses to testify and Bones' father's trial, saying, "Friends don't send friends’ fathers to the electric chair."

5. The Ya Yas in The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood

Another group of women who hold secrets tightly, the Ya Yas are the kinds of friends you hope to grow old with. Both the film and the novel emphasize the importance of female support, especially when experiencing some of the darkest days one can imagine. While Ya Ya is about the nature of story and memory, it's also about the bonds of female friendship and the lengths we go to to protect one another. I love the portrayal of the ya yas in the film, kidnapping Siddha, drinking at the cabin and trying their best to help their friend and her daughter make amends. It may seem like meddling, but in the South we call it friendship.

6. Ethel and Lucy from I Love Lucy

When you have crazy ideas or what seem like crazy ideas, you need a friend to support your adventure but also one who is willing to go along for the ride. And no matter how silly the idea, Ethel was always by Lucy's side. Their friendship was just as important on the show as their relationships with their husbands and for me, was always the anchor in the narrative.

7. Buffy and Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

One of the great things about watching Buffy was that there was female empowerment deriving not only from Buffy but also from her relationships with friends, or some might say because of her relationships with her friends, specifically Willow. While you can tell from the title of the show the character with whom we should identify, Willow's strength evolves as the series continues. Their friendship withstands boyfriend/girlfriend drama and other teen bullshit while they fight demons, vampires and evil, at large.