The Prospects of Televised Best Friends

Have you ever watched a TV show and thought to yourself, “I could totally fit in with this group?” I have, just as I’ve catalogued which television characters I could conceivably date. And so, here’s a list for you of TV personalities I’d love to hang out with.

Casey Klein, Party Down

I once aspired to be a full-time media critic, living in New York or Chicago, writing for Rolling Stone and meeting the kind of people you salivate over in the grocery store checkout lane while browsing the covers of Us Weekly and In Touch. Similarly, Casey Klein (Lizzy Caplan) would like nothing more than to be an LA-based comedic actress, rubbing shoulders with Judd Apatow and getting a script offer every day. While I’m happy copywriting, Casey is making a go of it as a part-time caterer with the Party Down company. And while it’s not what she wanted, she makes the best of it by flirting with co-worker Henry Pollard (Adam Scott) and cracking wise in the most awkward of situations. (Post-porn awards party while high on ecstasy, anyone?) I can see us throwing back PBRs and making jokes and watching TV (so meta!) while talking about what we used to want to be.

Lily Aldrin and Marshall Eriksen, How I Met Your Mother

I can’t imagine better couple friends than Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel). They’re quirky, and funny, and extremely loyal, even in the most unusual of circumstances. Sometimes, admittedly, it’s nice to have ‘couple friends,’ to hang out with another pair of young marrieds and play board games and eat semi-fancy food and make cocktails that may or may not taste good. All of these are things that Marshall and Lily seem to greatly appreciate, and I’m willing to bet they’d accept us into their fold, even if we never got invited to McLaren’s with the rest of the gang. I personally wouldn’t be too offended by that.

Abed Nadir, Community

Abed (Danny Pudi) tends to make a lot of my lists, and why wouldn’t he? His pop culture knowledge bests mine, he sees the good and bad in people clearer than anyone else he spends any amount of time with, and he’s almost jarringly honest, all of which are character traits I actively seek out when making friends. (And I’ll admit it, the pop culture knowledge besting is something I still haven’t found. Work on that, guys.) I’m not looking for a Troy/Abed relationship here. I’m just looking for someone I can nod at imperceptibly when we recognize a movie quote or a situation that eerily mirrors one we saw on Saved by the Bell on a Saturday morning in 1994.

Willow Rosenberg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Yes, that’s correct, Alyson Hannigan is in an enviable position here, having played two of my favorite female characters in recent television history–or, at least, two that I find extremely endearing. At any time, Willow is one of the most appealing characters in a series filled with them. Whether she’s shy and retiring, slightly bolder and empowered by loving relationships, or even straight up evil, she’s a very appealing person with a number of admirable qualities. (OK, maybe not when she goes the evil route, but close enough.) Anyone would be lucky to have her as a best friend, or even a casual acquaintance.

Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, Battlestar Galactica

Starbuck is beyond badass. She’s surly yet loyal, subdued when she needs to be and cocky when her job requires it (and sometimes when it really, really doesn’t). She’s honest, sometimes to a fault, and she’s surprisingly vulnerable. I get the feeling she’d be great at telling you to put up or shut up, and more than willing to cry on your shoulder if you leaned her way. Plus, she once stabbed a Cylon with a steak knife for getting too close over a charming little dinner he’d prepared, and I just can’t say no to that kind of thing.

And on that note, I should finish The Big Rewind or watch TV or something. Gotta find some new friends sometime.

True Bromance

Bromance in film got tired a little while back. But on television, it’s still thriving, and it has been for longer than I realized. So I decided to make a list of my very favorites.

Abed Nadir and Troy Barnes, Community

It’s no secret that Community is my favorite show on television right now. In fact, I believe that it should be everyone’s favorite show on television right now. It’s hilarious, it’s heartfelt, and it’s the most original comedy since Arrested Development. And it has something Arrested Development never had: friendship.

Community analyzes friendships on a serious level with some frequency, but one that never gets a somber examination is Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed’s (Danny Pudi), and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re almost unnervingly close, and that closeness takes them everywhere, from krumping and freestyle rapping to their unfilmed morning show, Troy and Abed in the Morning! Their tags were one of the first things I really loved about Community, and now, not an episode goes by without at least one great gag involving their adorably clingy relationship.

Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords

When you move from New Zealand to New York with your best friend, your guitar, and very little else, you can’t help being close, especially when you’re this socially awkward. Bret and Jemaine (who play ever-so-slightly exaggerated versions of themselves) can’t catch a break in the music business, and despite their irrepressible cuteness, girls aren’t exactly knocking down the door of their shabby apartment. So who do they turn to when things go wrong? Each other, time and again, and always with amusing results.

Hugo “Hurley” Reyes and Charlie Pace, Lost

If Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) were into dudes, then Lost would’ve been the perfect opportunity to meet cute–survive a crash landing on a magical island and encounter all kinds of wacky, unexpected phenomena while getting closer by the day. But they aren’t, so instead, we get a fantastically organic friendship between two guys who always feel down on their luck. Even when Hurley’s girlfriend dies and Charlie gets dumped over a kidnapping/simple misunderstanding, they’re still there for each other on the hellish island they call home.

Cory Matthews and Shawn Hunter, Boy Meets World

This is the stuff slash fan fiction dreams are made of. Cory (Ben Savage) and Shawn (the still remarkably hot Rider Strong) are diametrically opposed in all the right ways. Cory’s the product of an upper middle class couple whose relationship never wavers; Shawn’s a trailer park miscreant from a broken home. Cory loves one girl and one girl alone throughout his youth and adult life; Shawn has a two week rule and only one long term relationship to his name. Cory’s reasonably bright and ambitious; Shawn’s a tortured artist with no regard for school or the rules therein. And yet, they are friends, the best of, and they remain that way from elementary school through adulthood. It could easily be argued that they love each other more than Cory ever loved his girlfriend-turned-wife, but that’s another story altogether.

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, the Harry Potter series

Fine. It’s not TV. But I don’t care. They’re the exception, not the rule. Sure, Hermione’s their best friend, too, but who rolls their eyes at each other when she’s smarting off? Ron and Harry. And who can talk about girls and Quidditch freely when her nose is in a book? Ron and Harry. And who’s more impressive when they get some fighting words in? Ron and Harry. Those are my favorite parts of their relationship: when they realize that not everything is perfect between them, and come hell, high water, or the silent treatment, they have to find some way to settle things. And they always do, and that’s what makes them Harry and Ron.

Rediscovery of Reading

There’s kicking myself to be done.

While I was unemployed, I didn’t read all that much that wasn’t on the Internet. Now, I’m beginning to think this is mildly tragic. As per usual, I received a number of books for Christmas. This time around, the haul included Gary Schmidt’s The Wednesday Wars, two Batman graphic novels (Year One by Frank Miller and The Killing Joke by Alan Moore), the Hunger Games trilogy, and Nathan Rabin’s The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture. So far, I’ve read The Wednesday Wars, The Killing Joke, and the first book of the trilogy, The Hunger Games. All three have been brilliant in completely unique ways. The Wednesday Wars in particular struck a chord. It’s fascinating how Schmidt takes what could’ve been a fairly mundane story (boy reads Shakespeare with an unlikely friend, his teacher, while the Vietnam War threatens the world around him) and makes it absolutely vibrant. I literally laughed and cried through this book, and would recommend it to anyone with a soul.

Anyway.

The one reason I can think of that I all but quit reading recreationally for that year I didn’t have a job is this: reading, to me, is a reward. You put in eight hours of reasonably hard work without many breaks, you come home, you eat, and then what? You do something fun, and lately, for me, that’s curling up with a good book (and, OK, playing Donkey Kong Country Returns, which, in my defense, is badass by definition). It’s as though I feel I deserve it. And that seems about right to me.

Life, by the way, is going just fine. The holidays were jam packed with family and friends and general tomfoolery. One highlight was going to see Black Swan while some truly wonderful people were in town. It’s a gorgeous film, overwhelming in its intentional mind-bending and a seamless blend of genres. I still really want to see True Grit, but I’m glad to have seen Black Swan first. I also took to writing fan fiction and posting it on, well, FanFiction.net, because really, where else? I won’t share my user name here, but I will say this: it’s been great for my ego. And the people on the site are truly helpful, something I didn’t expect.

Also, I’m glad it finally looks and feels like winter outside. Those temperatures above 35 degrees Fahrenheit and being able to see the ground completely, that was getting ridiculous.