Although the number of well-constructed female characters in TV is very slowly rising, there still seems to be a cap on how many women can appear together in each show! Here’s a look at some of the close partnerships that managed to transcend the norm, simply by being between two women.
Xena and Gabrielle, Xena: Warrior Princess
Perhaps it’s cheating to include the most famous female buddies, since you’d have to argue pretty strenuously and convincingly to show that Xena and Gabrielle weren’t a romantic couple, but since the show occasionally threw a moment of heterosexuality at them, I think the pairing counts. Fans of the Xena and Gabrielle relationship had plenty to keep them going: the characters bantered, hugged, and kissed (not to mention the bathing together). Even better, multiple episodes confirmed that Gabrielle’s soul was tied to Xena’s for eternity, allowing them to find each other after reincarnation. Love just doesn’t come any stronger.
Janeway and Seven of Nine, Star Trek: Voyager
Not many starship captains would be willing to induct a Borg into their crew, yet Janeway accepted Seven of Nine with compassion and understanding from the moment she was severed from the Collective. It was a bumpy friendship, especially at first (death threats and insurrection tend to put a dampener on things), but Janeway never wavered in her belief that Seven could succeed as a human, and this support won Seven over at last. Granted, the Janeway-Seven relationship wasn’t of the type to involve popcorn and Trivial Pursuit; nonetheless it was a deep, deep bond, as shown by Janeway’s willingness to violate the Temporal Prime Directive and go back in time to save Seven in the series finale. You only have to look at the sheer bliss on future Janeway’s face when she once again sees Seven to see how much she meant to her.
Buffy and Willow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy and Faith may have had the angsty attraction going for them, but nothing was more adorable than Buffy and Willow. Watching popular, ex-cheerleader Buffy actively pursuing Willow’s friendship, and Willow’s tentative yet joyful acceptance was the start of all sorts of cuteness, involving movie nights, heart-to-hearts, and general snuggliness (and hey, finally a portrayal of a friendship between teen girls that didn’t focus on competition over men!). Like all good buddy relationships, Buffy and Willow’s bond managed to weather all the usual troubles such as drifting apart in college, and the not-so-usual difficulties of black magic addiction and post-resurrection depression. Though the innocent cuddliness may have worn away over the series, the love stayed just as strong.
Bo and Kenzi, Lost Girl
Isn’t it a little sad that a good sci-fi and fantasy series with a woman as the main character is still enough of a rarity that when the trailer for Lost Girl came on screen, I figured it would either a) pull the typical “strong woman in a man’s world” angle, or b) get cancelled after 13 episodes. Possibly both.
I gave it a chance, and hey, what a pleasant surprise: In the first episode, the titular lost girl, Bo, rescued a tiny spunky woman and thereby earned herself a proper buddy-stroke-sidekick, in the tradition of all good action series. While so far, the friendship has not yet reached the heights of Xena and Gabrielle, the relationship between Kenzi and Bo is refreshingly light and fun, but also strong and reliable.
Cagney and Lacy, Cagney & Lacy
The original, and sadly, one of the very few female-female cop partnerships shown on TV. You could say it was groundbreaking in its time but unfortunately, it’s still groundbreaking in our time too. A series chronicling the careers and close relationship of two women: who would have thought it would be such a stumbling block for TV writers and execs even now?
But enough on the negative: Cagney and Lacey were awesome because they transcended the usual depictions of female friendships in that era. Their relationship gave audiences a proper look at two women negotiating the work world together, as well as a look into the support they offered each other in their private lives, presenting a more complete, mature perspective on female friendships.
So what do you think, readers? Who are your favourite female buddies?