the "best friendship" shortlist: tv, film, & books
required consumption: best friend edition
There is much to read and view below, but before we begin: A friend of mine recently called herself a dutiful “mixie,” as in, reader of mixed feelings and I thought, wow, we need to reconsider our fandom name.
So, thank you Claire for the contribution to the mfcu (mixed feelings cinematic universe). For the rest of you lot, please vote on your favorite:
And with that, please enjoy a shortlist of required consuming if you are, have been, or want to be a “best friend.” Happy pondering!
The Neopolitan Novels. This tetralogy by Elena Ferrante helped me, despite being in two hours of therapy weekly, come to terms with the slow decline of my last best friendship. When you are attached at the hip and have grown so intertwined, the struggle to try to be your own self again can only lead to internal combustion. Nothing felt like it was mine and I felt I couldn’t achieve without her blessing. A line that rings in my ears like tinnitus from the first novel in this series: “Didn’t my passion grow in the warmth of hers?” — Mi-Anne Chan , editorial @
There I Almost Am by Jean Garnett. This essay puts into words that shameful feeling of wanting, needing to be part of something but also resenting the fact that you are. — Mi-Anne
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. This book starts off with two loners, Aristotle and Dante. Aristotle is angry all the time, and Dante is a know-it-all with his head perpetually in the clouds. Though the two seem to have nothing in common, they create a bond that changes the course of their lives forever. Through prose, brutal yet tender honesty, and just the right amount of angst, this story shows how an unlikely friendship can push you into a journey of self-discovery, allowing you to transform into the person you’ve always wanted to be. This book will make you cry and laugh and question yourself and cry again — just like a good friendship! — Aarohi Sheth, social @
“Steven Universe”. I fear my failed campaign to get my loved ones to watch this cartoon will always haunt me. Yes, you are correct in assuming it’s mostly geared to children, but its complex exploration of familial, romantic, platonic, AND self love is honestly unmatched. It starts off so wholesome and quirky and then suddenly I was seventy-five 10 minute episodes in, having an existential crisis about a 6000 year-old alien civil war and sobbing at the screen while learning to love myself again. Plus, it’s queer af so you must watch. — Logan Tsugita, art @
“Chewing Gum.” Yes, on the surface, this show is about a 24-year-old who is desperate — like, desperate — to lose her virginity. But, as the storylines unfold, it’s revealed to be a heartwarming tale about the ways in which both chosen and blood family pull together in times of need, whether you ask them to or not. — Aarohi
“I May Destroy You.” This show is not what is seems! It starts off with the main character Arabella, played by Michaela Coel, dealing with the immediate aftermath of horrifying sexual assault. But as the show progresses, its focus turns to the support of her two closest friends, fitness instructor Kwame and aspiring actress Terry, who both, unfortunately, relate to Arabella’s experience. The trio’s friendship is rooted in deep love, as they continuously accept each other — despite all of their flaws and mistakes — and commit to being in each other’s lives for as long as they can. (“Your birth is my birth, your death is my death” is a common phrase sprinkled between Terry and Arabella’s talks throughout the series.) Through handholds and open conversations about “girl code” and frankly, trauma bonding, the show displays true, complicated, but tender, platonic love. — Aarohi
Heavenly Creatures — So, sure, it’s a sapphic friendship with a murderous bent that’s based on a true crime story, but there’s something undeniably beautiful about the (seeming) purity and joy of the friendship between Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet’s characters. It shows the manic highs and angsty lows of teenage best friendship; the complexity — and in this case the horror — of ultimate “oneness”. — Amalie, editorial @
The 400 Blows — This classic French film follows a young kid who leads a troubled life, yet finds comfort in his best friend who is by his side through a variety of mishaps and misadventures. — Ali Farooqui, video @
What’s on your BFF shortlist?