From Jerry & George to Amy & Tina, we’re celebrating some of TV’s most iconic duos in honor of National Friendship Day.
The first Sunday of August is National Friendship Day — so it’s the perfect day to go all out for your platonic other half. The best part of this holiday is there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to celebrate. In addition to giving some extra love to our friends, we’re also taking this opportunity to honor some of our favorite iconic duos from TV shows.
The following seven pairs have made us laugh, cry and everything in between. And, perhaps most importantly, they’ve taught us a whole lot about what it means to be a good friend.
Whether it’s eating an obscene amount of chocolate just to prove a point, remaining steadfast BFFs both before and after a romantic relationship, or starting your own business together when all else fails, the following seven iconic duos have taught us many life lessons. And, of course, they’ve provided us with plenty of fabulous entertainment along the way.
1. Lucy & Ethel (I Love Lucy)
Has there ever been a TV duo that’s managed to get into quite as many scrapes as these two? We certainly can’t think of one.
When they’re totally fed up with their husbands, Lucy and Ethel hightail it to Palm Springs in retaliation, proving that a girls’ trip is the solution to any problem, big or small.
They also taught us it’s probably a poor choice to steal fruit from a movie star’s backyard, and nabbing John Wayne’s footprints out of the ground at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre may have some negative repercussions.
But the most important lesson we learned from Lucy and Ethel’s friendship is that friends who stuff their faces with chocolate together will be friends for life — no exceptions.
2. Mulder & Scully (The X-Files)
When I hear the phrase “iconic duo,” these intrepid FBI agents are the first people who pop into my head.
Out of every TV friendship, Mulder and Scully’s is the most complex and ever-evolving. They started out as reluctant partners when Scully was assigned to debunk Mulder’s work, but the believer and the skeptic ultimately turned out to be the dream team who forged a beautiful friendship.
Throughout the series run, viewers watched as the pair slowly but surely developed a trusting friendship and then became romantic partners. When the show returned in 2016, Mulder and Scully had ended their romantic relationship and many of us were seriously concerned about how it would affect their on-screen dynamic.
We needn’t have worried. Their friendship, which was always based on a foundation of mutual trust, respect and care, was still solid as ever. Mulder and Scully’s friendship can weather any storm because, as he once told her, “You’re my one in five billion.”
3. Lorelai & Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)
It’s a depressingly common stereotype that teens think their parents are a total drag — and TV often reinforces this trope and uses it as a punch line. That’s why Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, the mother-daughter duo who double as best friends, are so special.
Plenty of girls and women are BFFs with our moms, and Gilmore Girls beautifully illustrates the joy in this one-of-a-kind relationship. After a tough week of hitting the books and studying for AP exams, some of us loved nothing more than kicking back with our moms on a Friday night to indulge in junk food and movie marathons. It was refreshing for many teen viewers to see this reflected on the small screen — because not every high school girl is a social butterfly, and that’s more than okay.
Still, Gilmore Girls doesn’t shy away from the one downside of being best friends with your mom — arguments are inevitable, and clashes can be devastating. Lorelai and Rory’s relationship was beautifully complicated and when they fought, we cried right along with them. But, of course, they always reconciled and emerged with a relationship that was stronger than ever — because painful arguments can bring about positive lessons and a renewed sense of appreciation for one another.
4. Tina Fey & Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live and the Golden Globes)
Fey and Poehler can truly do no wrong, on-screen or off. They became the very first female coanchors of Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” and their stint on this segment was the highlight of the show.
In addition to collaborating on multiple films, they’ve cohosted the Golden Globes together three times — and when they called it quits on this gig, the awards show lost a whole lot of viewers. (Sorry, Ricky Gervais, but it’s impossible to compete with this beloved pair.)
In her book Yes Please, Poehler perfectly summed up their unbeatable chemistry: “Sometimes Tina is like a very talented bungee-jumping expert. All it takes is Tina to softly say, ‘We can do this, right?’ and I suddenly feel like I can jump off a bridge.”
The very best part of this TV friendship is that the real-life BFFs Fey and Poehler could reappear on our small screens anytime, hilarious and more in sync than ever.
5. Seth Cohen & Ryan Atwood (The O.C.)
The O.C. ended with Seth’s wedding to Summer Roberts, but diehard fans know the bromance between Seth and Ryan was truly the show’s best relationship.
The brooding bad boy and the neurotic nerd couldn’t have come from more different backgrounds, but they had one thing in common: before they found each other, they were both completely lonely and misunderstood. Luckily, the Cohens adopted Ryan and neither of these teens had to feel alone anymore. (And thank goodness for that — our hearts couldn’t take it!)
As if their adopted brotherhood weren’t strong enough, the O-negative besties officially became blood brothers as the series came to a close. Seth wasn’t a fan of needles (or fainting, for that matter), but there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for Ryan.
In a finale filled with emotional moments, arguably the most tear-inducing moment was hearing Ryan tell Seth, “I’m a lot better off than when you found me,” especially because he so rarely showed his emotions.
6. Jerry & George (Seinfeld)
Seinfeld is an ensemble show through and through, but Jerry and George are the lifelong best friends who anchor the series. The characters met in middle school and spent the rest of their days making shallow, fairly obvious criticisms of everyone around them. Were they likable? Heck, no! But their stream of reprehensible actions and comments made the show hilarious.
As the screen faded to black in the series finale, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer sat together in a jail cell, having finally gotten their comeuppance for being some of the most terrible people to grace our TV screens. It was fitting that the show’s very last lines were nearly a word-for-word repetition of the first conversation between George and Jerry in the pilot: a deep discussion about the correct placement of the second button on George’s shirt.
“The second button literally makes or breaks the shirt. Look at it: it’s too high! It’s in no-man’s-land,” Jerry observed for the second time.
“Haven’t we had this conversation before?” George asked.
The exchange was the perfect sendoff for the show about nothing. After nine seasons, the characters had gone nowhere and learned nothing. For a show that had only two cardinal rules — no hugging and no learning — this iconic duo rose to the occasion and then some.
7. Abbi Abrams & Ilana Wexler (Broad City)
What do you do when you receive poor feedback on a media project? In Abbi Jacobson’s case, grab your best friend and start a web series that turns into a runaway hit and ultimately gets picked up by Comedy Central (complete with a cameo appearance from Hillary Clinton, but no big deal).
Much like Fey and Poehler, Abbi and Ilana’s real-life chemistry translates directly to the small screen, and it’s a joy to watch. Against the backdrop of New York City, these two gloriously imperfect characters always have one another’s back — whether it’s exchanging hilariously awkward comments all day or Ilana going to seriously extreme lengths to attend Abbi’s art show (at a sandwich shop, of course, because this is Broad City).
The #BroadCity Instagram hashtag translates to “female friendship” for good reason. And when you’ve made it as an Instagram hashtag, you’ve definitely earned the status of iconic duo.
Which iconic duos are your favorites? Sound off in the comments!