Over the last few months, I have watched the series Gilmore Girls on Netflix. This show is about the different relationships between a grandmother, mother and daughter. Across three generations in the Gilmore family, we see the joy and the bitterness of female friendships. We watch what happens when they support each other and how much it hurts when they are torn apart. After finishing this show, I started to think about why TV shows on female friendship have become so popular. We watch the hilarious yet meaningful friendships of Monica, Rachel and Phoebe in Friends and we ache when they fight. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha from Sex and the City are our best friends too. Ginny and Georgia reminds us of the importance of loyalty in friendships and Grace and Frankie shows us how we can stick together through it all.
Many young girls feel the pressure to find a best friend and to have that one person with whom they can share everything. It is the highest status someone can have in our lives. I think this is because we see how amazing female friendships can be on TV and we look for that in our own lives. These TV shows help us to understand what a good female friendship looks like and also what to avoid. We want to be able to be as honest and open as Lorelai and Rory (Gilmore Girls) and we want to feel understood no matter how crazy we sound. We want the one person who will accept us as we are and will always be in our corner no matter what. We can always call them, and they will be there to listen.
Another reason we love watching female friendships is because they remind us of our own. When we watch Monica and Rachel (Friends) laughing together, we get that warm fuzzy feeling that we would get from sitting with our own best friend and are reminded of the fun we have laughing with them. It’s almost like watching an idealised version of your own life. We can relate to the conversations and laughter, and it reminds us of why we love our friends.
During hard times, we may not have many people to turn to. I have heard countless women say that watching TV shows was their main source of comfort during a rough patch. The female friendships in these series made them feel less alone. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha (Sex and the City) were always there for each other and never judged. They gave some of the best advice to help navigate the chaos of life. Whilst watching, we feel as if we are a part of the friendship with Monica and Rachel – we feel like we are in on the inside jokes too and laughing alongside them.
Ultimately, I think we love to watch these TV shows centred around female friendships because the friendships are so rich and diverse. The shows display the best and worst of friendship. They are not perfect, but they are beautiful and hilarious and kind and forgiving. We can relate to what we see, and we enter into the friendship ourselves. We cry when they cry, and we hurt when they fight. Most of all, we laugh when they laugh. They hold us in our darkest moments, and we can always go back to them again and again.
“Gilmore Girls Piloto” by Cristal Filgueiras Bittencourt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.