9 titles about buddies and besties to watch online
They are there for us with a shoulder to cry on when that good-for-nothing rat cheats (again), and they’re at our side to cheer our victories, from beating cancer to getting a promotion at work to fitting back into skinny jeans. They are the ones we can call at 3 a.m for bail money (or to help us hide a body), and tag us in all the memes on Facebook, the more outrageous the better. They’re the ones who snuck you a bottle of wine during lockdown, and they’ve always got your back in a fight.
They are loyal, and they are trustworthy, and they sometimes appear when you least expect them. They are your friends.
A Million Little Things (S1-2 are on Showmax)
When one of a group of friends commits suicide it sets off a chain of events with the survivors, and peels back the layers as dark secrets are revealed. One of the group was on the verge of killing himself too but comes back from the edge to face his depression. Two of them are having an affair, which will have shattering results; another is a breast cancer survivor; and a child comes out the closet.
There is alcoholism, financial ruin, a transplanted heart, and an illegitimate son; ultimately it’s an ongoing story (renewed for a third season) of deep, abiding love and unbreakable bonds of support. Tissues optional.
Note that Season 1 expires from Showmax on 31 August 2020, and the Season 2 boxset is on DStv Now until 11 September 2020.
A group of young women have the common goal of making themselves seen and heard in the male-dominated skateboard culture of New York City. While this forms the foundation of the series – a follow up to the film Skate Kitchen, and featuring some of that cast – the friendships between these women is uplifting and inspiring.
The University of California, San Diego’s The Guardian says: “These women act as if they are talking to their friends, complete with awkward pauses or phrasing while conversing. Where some people might find this aspect of the show frustrating to watch, others see it as a refreshing display of character and reality within a show that is written, casted, and produced.”
A heavyweight cast that includes Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon (and the legendary Meryl Streep in Season 2), is in HBO’s own words a “darkly comedic series [that] tells the tale of three mothers whose seemingly perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.” I respectfully beg to differ on the comedic aspect; the women are definitely more on the darker side of things with the secrets they’re hiding to protect those apparently perfect lives.
At its centre, it’s a murder mystery, “Yet the series’ keen representation of female friendship – and the societal pressures that disrupt it – is equally, if not more, forensic and provocative,” says Elle.
Created by David E Kelley (Ally McBeal to Mr Mercedes), the first season of BLL picked up eight of the 16 Emmys for which it was nominated.
Grace & Frankie (Netflix)
Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) have their lives turned upside down when their respective husbands (Robert Hanson played by Martin Sheen, and Sol Bergstein played by Sam Waterston) announce that they are in love with each other. Oh, and they’re all in their 70s, proving that the friendship genre is not limited to teens and 20-somethings.
Even though Grace and Frankie could not be more different – and oh yes, they bicker and squabble all the time – a deep affection (dare we say, love?) develops between them. The seventh and final season, slated for 2021, will make the show the longest-running Netflix Original to date.
How I Met Your Mother (Netflix)
Like Friends, HIMYM has not aged particularly well. Shame. It’s about Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) telling his apparently teenage children how he, well, met their mother. It’s probably best not to try too hard to unravel timelines and ages because they don’t really add up.
The cast is fleshed out by Ted’s friends Marshall (Jason Segel) and his wife Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Robin (Cobie Smulders, seen more recently in Stumptown), and the best one of all, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), who is …wait for it… (if you’ve watched you’ll know, but if not, click here).
New Girl (Netflix)
Zooey Deschanel plays the delightfully ditzy Jess who finds herself living in a Los Angeles loft with three guys in a bromance love triangle: Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Winston (Lamorne Morris). Hannah Simone plays Jess’s bestie, Cece.
The relationships between them change a lot over the seven seasons, but at the end of it all, they support each other through thick and thin, good times and bad. “For better or for worse” applies much better to friendships than marriage. “This screwball comedy gets funnier and smarter – and is best when binged,” says The Guardian.
Running for six seasons from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Sex and the City set the bar for unrealistic situations as well as friendship goals. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) were single women in New York City, with an extraordinary amount of time on their hands to have lunches, go to nightclub openings, and drink cocktails. They had fabulous wardrobes and amazing apartments – Carrie, in particular, who appeared to sustain this lifestyle on the salary of a freelance columnist.
Be that as it may, we all wanted to identify with at least one of them; at the same time, we were none of them. But we understood the kind of tight-knit friendship that involves bottles of wine and undying support when hearts get broken – no matter how many times it’s happened before.
The Big Bang Theory (Netflix)
Once upon a time, a pretty young woman moved into the apartment across the hall from a bunch of science nerds. They are painfully awkward: one of them has highly questionable fashion sense while another is obnoxiously superior, and a third cannot speak out loud in front of the female of the species unless he is drunk. Doesn’t sound like much but it’s a modern sitcom classic (especially the earlier seasons), which ran for 12 seasons and won multiple awards.
Fun fact: Mayim Bialik, who played Amy Farrah Fowler, has a PhD in neuroscience in real life and consulted on the scripts from time to time.
Fun fact 2: Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is the only character whose surname is never revealed.
The Breakfast Club (Netflix)
A 1985 classic, the movie is about a group of teens who are put in all-day Saturday detention together. They have nothing in common – or so they think at first. As the day drags on (seemingly as long as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, so there were definitely more hours back then), they open up, learn each other’s secrets, and find common ground, and by the end of the day we can safely assume they have set aside their differences.
Director John Hughes was THE MAN when it came to 1980s teen movies. He also directed Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, and Ferris Bueller. Guess what else? Home Alone.
John Cusack was initially cast as John Bender, but when production was delayed for Sixteen Candles, Cusack was replaced by Judd Nelson. More fun facts here.