friendship

If you believe TV friendships are real, you are going to get hurt. Bigtime.

By now you’ve probably heard of Broad City. If not, move it to the top of your binge-watching list immediately.

Broad City is all I hoped Girls would be. It’s funny, super relatable and has a strong, multi-faceted, diverse cast led by writers and creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. Jacobson and Glazer go by their namesakes on the show, which centres around their fictional-but-probably-based-on-real-life friendship, and follows their day to day lives while they traverse New York City as young twenty-something, NYU graduates trying to get by in shitty apartments with obscene rent.

The two lead characters are the best of friends. They spend every waking moment they aren’t training Shania Twain (Abbi) or finding their calling as a bike messenger (Ilana) in each other’s company. In the latest episode, it concludes with the two taking a platonic bath together.

Jacobson and Glazer in the bath. Image via Comedy Central.
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As much as I love Broad City, it has given me a major case of friend-vy.

Is this what female friendship is meant to be? Am I meant to be taking (clothed) baths with my close friends or Skype them while in the middle of some horizontal tango with a significant other?

Look, I have friends. Great friends. Close friends. Do I have an Ilana to my Abbi? Absolutely. But do we take baths together? No.

Close friendships have long been the centrepiece of prime time TV shows. Golden Girls, How I Met Your Mother and The O.C have all revolved around tight-knit groups, perhaps none so much as the clan from Friends. Growing up watching Friends re-runs, I was convinced that my friend group would be a reflection of this later in life. I placed it on a pedestal and assumed I would have a Chandler, Joey, Phoebe and Monica (I was Rachel). But I was happy to go without a Ross. Ross was the worst.

Bye Ross. Image via Warner Bros.

Are we meant to have these tight-knit groups and exclude everyone else? Watching these sitcoms certainly makes me feel that way. In all of these shows you'd be hard-stretched to find any of the characters have friends outside of their core circle.

I know, I know. These are TV shows. They aren't real life. They have budgets and cannot afford to have an endless amount of actors cast just so the core friendship group can have acquaintances.

But I can't help but think it's rather unhealthy to have one truly great friend à la Broad City. To rely on someone so much could mean a potentially devastating end. A friendship break up can be harder than a relationship break up in the sense that, unless there's not a definitive end, you will never know what went wrong. In Abbi and Ilana's case, these two characters rely so much on each other that if either suddenly got a job with a heavy workload or found one of them had to move cross-country for a particular reason, they would be lost, scrambling to pick up the pieces.

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What's the last text you received from your best friend? We reveal ours below. Post continues after video. 

In the novel Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern, the two lead characters, Rosie and Alex are separated when Alex moves to a new country. In a letter to Alex, Rosie says she spent so long pushing other people out that she was completely alone once he left. I think we've all experienced this at some point in our lives. I had a very close friend for a couple of years. We would do everything together, people would say it was weird to see one of us without the other. Eventually and spectacularly, we burnt out. Yes I was hurt and upset, but luckily I had maintained other close friendships during this time which I could fall back on.

I learnt a lot of lessons in that friendship. It taught me to recognise the qualities I truly valued in a friend and to appreciate and cherish the strong friendships I had even more.

Despite all of this, Broad City truly is a triumph when it comes to female friendship, and I can see a lot of similarities between how the lead characters treat each other and the interactions I have with my friends. They constantly pep each other up with compliments like Ilana's, "Abbi has chocolate brown eyes and the ass of an angel," focusing on the other's positive attributes rather than their flaws which just makes you want to yell, " YAS KWEEN YASSS." It showcases (albeit magnifying) all the real parts of friendship. Their platonic love for one another, the in jokes, the loyalty and the pair's unwavering support during their transition to fully-fledged adulthood is one most twenty-somethings can relate to.

Leslie was Ann's number one fan on Parks and Recreation. Image via NBC Universal.

I think in the end, friendship will always be your interpretation of it. If taking baths together is that interpretation then so be it. For me it's the connection I feel to the people I care about, it's the way I laugh uncontrollably when I talk to my closest friends and it's the feeling of security, the knowledge I can talk to people about the most mundane parts of my day and know they'll still find it interesting.

As Megan Garber from the Atlantic put it, "[Abbi and Ilana] are each other’s Happily Ever After.  They are very probably the loves of each other’s lives."

And while my friends and I don't spend every waking moment together, they are definitely my Happily Ever After too.

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