Growing up as a female watching -- and watching and watching and watching -- a lot of TV, it was often frustrating to see the lack of female characters in general, let alone female characters who had interests outside of boys. Luckily, we now live in an age where the Bechdel Test exists, so that discerning viewers can know where to find quality entertainment that includes two women talking about something that isn't a man. (It's surprisingly rare.)
Though, as Laci Green points out on the latest episode of MTV's "Braless," we're also living in an age where female friendships on TV are taking front and center more than ever before... even if some of those friendships can be slightly problematic, like on HBO's "Girls."
"Is it just me, or are they all friends just because they've known each other for so long? They seem annoyed with each other a lot, and yet none of them seek out new friendships either," Green says. "Even less pleasant is the fact that every character on 'Girls' is so self-absorbed and entitled. Their friendships do have hidden moments of genuine affection and care, but there are tons of subtle, selfish cruelties in EVERY relationship onscreen."
Green is right about Hannah Horvath's less-than-desirable lady friendships, but she also points out that at least these characters are given the chance to do something that men have been doing onscreen for decades: be unlikable.
"To be honest, I think the fact they're unlikeable is part of why I find them interesting," Green says.
More likable are Tastee and Pouseey from "Orange is the New Black," whose tender, often confusing friendship has become one of the show's most fascinating plot points. As Green points out, the two characters bond over prison life and frequently address (and poke fun at) "racial and class struggles" that, on most TV shows, are entirely ignored.
Plus, their relationship goes far beyond just a means for them to pass the time until the perfect man, woman, or end-of-sentence comes along -- it's a major part of their lives.
"While jealousy and rejection are often used on TV as a short-lived plot twist, 'Orange' shakes it up and shows how these emotional nuances shape (and ultimately strengthen) their friendship throughout an entire season's arc," Green adds, referring to the devastating Vee incident of season two.
Lastly, there's "Broad City" -- which MTV News has Stanned for quite some time. Green says the "Broad City" ladies are the gold standard of TV lady-friendships, since Abbi and Ilana are each other's "main squeeze," and realistically shoulder the burdens that 20-somethings deal with living in New York City, together. Burdens like -- you know -- accidentally getting your best friend high on painkillers after dental surgery, then losing her at Whole Foods.
"These ladies go to endless and hilariously extreme lengths to support each other, a swift departure from the 'catty girl fights' shoved down our throats," Green says.
Also, as an added bonus, Abbi and Ilana continuously make realistic mistakes, and smoke more weed than guys in a Seth Rogen movie. (Although Rogen did once cameo as Abbi's boy-toy, and they smoked weed together.)
"Abbi and Ilana follow a new-ish comedy trope of female f--kups," Green concludes. "The perpetually adolescent male character is nothing new to the screen, but now more women are doing it, too. At a time in my life when there are so many pressures, part of what makes me love this type of comedy is the fact that it reminds me that it's okay to be a dumb, imperfect human -- just as long as I have my ladies by my side."