I can't get enough of comfort food these days. My diet only incorporates TV shows that make me feel all warm and snug- kind of like an inside-out hug. My favourite kind: shows about friendships between girls and women. To say that these showcases of supportive, hilarious and transformative relationships, anchored by damn-near unconditional love (along with my actual friends, of course) have carried me through the beginning of the year would be an understatement. Cradled me might be more apt. So if you too are in need of some gentle rocking back and forth, interjected only by a good laugh, here are five shows (new and old) that you should get into.
If Broad City and Big Mouth had a lovechild, this would be it. The show follows Maya and Anna as they navigate the trials and tribulation of middle school and the strain it puts on their friendship. Without being expositional, and maintaining its cringe-worthy feel, Pen15 manages to address issues like race, peer pressure, beauty and sex. But the stand out appeal is in how well it seamlessly depicts the acute heartbreak that comes with realising that your friend, who you've been siamese-twinning life with so far, is growing in a different direction from you.
Tuca and Bertie
The only animation on the list, Tuca and Bertie is such a delight. The show features an unlikely friendship between two women in their 30s: an eccentric toucan called Tuca and a much more reserved and anxious songbird called Bertie. The pair's difference in sensibilities act as a guide for each other as they go through life's ups and downs. It has a surreal feel that makes the viewing experience all encompassing- some scenes are a whole trip- without being exhausting. In fact, it heavily leans onto lightheartedness making it a perfect escape.
As far as classics go, Golden Girls ticks all the boxes. This seven-season show is as hilarious and brazen as the four women who star in it. The Golden Girls centres a demographic we don't see nearly enough in the context of friendship. What does friendship being at the centre of your life look like when it was not for so many years prior? Whatever the answer, this show proves it is certainly a question worth exploring.
The stars of this show are some of the real-life members of a New York all girls skate crew called Skate Kitchen (which also inspired the self-titled film based on the crew). With the tongue in cheek title, Betty, a reclamation of the derogatory term often thrown at girls who take up space in a male-dominated sport, this six episode first season maintains this witty texture throughout. Its also consistently cool in the details that hold it together like the costuming, hair and scoring. The show follows their everyday lives as they navigate teenage life in the vibrant backdrop of NY. Ultimately, this show is about girls being unapologetic and relentless in putting themselves first, while having each other's back through it all. It will also without a doubt make you check how much skate boards cost.
This list wouldn't be complete without Abi and Illana, the twosome that this show revolves around. The two friends are often on the opposing sides of the spectrum with their sensibilities, although perhaps not as much as Tuca and Bertie. The one thing they do have in common however, is their constant inability to get their shit together- an imperfection that they consistently forgive each other for, in a way that encourages you to cut yourself some slack too. We could all use a little more compassion for ourselves, now more than ever.