Mary Tyler Moore Show

Friends forever: television’s best gal pals

The other night I revisited the hilarious 90s film Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. I used to remember the film for the outfits and great dance numbers, but what I took away the most this time was the completely amazing friendship the two women had. Through thick and thin, banana magnets and post-it notes, the two rarely ever falter in their affections for each other. There have been so many incredible examples of female friendship, especially on television. Just goes to prove that girl-power really exists, and it’s awesome.

George, Bess and Nancy

moss1Yes, this one technically is cheating because the world just hasn’t produced a perfect adaption of the books. But what better example of ‘friends forever’ is there than the world’s greatest teen sleuth and her two best friends? Nancy Drew, Bess Marvin and George Fayne have been solving mysteries together since the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories book #5, The Secret of Shadow Ranch.

Since the 1931 book, Nancy’s two best friends have become as synonymous with the character as her strawberry blonde hair and her blue roadster. The three have appeared together in hundreds of books, dozens of video games and

One of the main things that bothered me about the 2007 film, (and boy was that film bad) was the major lack of girl comradery between the three. Nancy is definitely one of the greatest literary characters of all time, but she still needs the help of her friends.

Thankfully, George at least gets screen time in the ABC The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. I mean, adventures are fun, but they’re much better with friends.

Mary and Rhoda

“You know what? In spite of everything, you really are a pretty hard person to dislike.”
“I know what you mean. I’m having a hard time hating you too. We’ll both have to work on it.”

And thus was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that would carry on beyond the realm of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The two women are so famous that in Romy and Michele, the two begin to bicker about who’s the Mary and who’s the Rhoda. I think in this case, it’s probably a win-win situation. Mary was the kindness, and Rhoda brought the laughs (and plenty of sass). Through men, apartment stealing and all sorts of shenanigans.

Rhoda (Valerie Harper) left after the forth season she move to New York, and to, well star in the spin-off Rhoda, but no matter how many lovely ladies they brought in to befriend Mary, no one will be as iconic as the super-lovable Rhoda.

Willow and Buffy

This is probably the most complex relationships mentioned. Buffy the Vampire Slayer gave the 90s plenty of great characters with depth and complexity. Willow Rosenberg is perhaps the most developed of them all. Her relationship with Buffy Summers . They were almost complete foils of one another: Buffy was a natural leader and Willow, who entered the series shy and meek, was almost destined to become a follower.

They each often struggled to grasp their own realities, a struggle that was almost impossible to move on from is they didn’t have each other. As the series progressed on and took a darker tone, the friendship became strained as they tried to deal with death and their own secrets they kept from each other. It wasn’t Buffy who could save Willow from herself. In the end, it was Xander, someone more human than either of them. When the series continued into its comic days, their friendship seemed to have weakened. Only occasionally were the glimmers of a more care-free time. But they still stand by each other.

Where this relationship goes is still moving and always becoming more layered. But it’s one worth watching.


Laverne and Shirley

“Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”

It can be tough living with your best friend. It can be really tough working with them. Doing both and still succeeding in having a lasting friendship? That’s something Laverne and Shirley could pull off. Everyone’s favourite Milwaukee beer bottlecappers were hilarious working-class women. Like Rhoda and Mary, together they maneuvered the world of men and dating. While they had their successes, it was always the hiccups that brought them closer together.

The two first appeared in an episode of Happy Days. They were so well-liked they received their own spin off in Laverne & Shirley. Their lasting impact is a sign of times unchanged. A world of trying to make rent and being poor has never changes. It’s where it takes each other to get through.

Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins

This relationship from Parks and Rec can be best represented in this clip alone, and I think it says it all:


Honorable mention:

Lorelai and Sookie (sorry, Rory)

“Do you think we will still be friends when we’re dead?”

“I will if you will.”

Two friends who are crazy, but only as much as each other.

You’re going to make it after all


It’s difficult to think of many positive female journalists depicted in entertainment. Apparently they only come in two types: ones who like to sleep for information and the others are so ‘cold’ and ‘independent’ that they are entirely devoid of any personality or warmth.

Be a bitch or be no one.

Yet, there is solace in knowing that The Mary Tyler Moore Show gave us the best journalist ever seen on television, and no character on television has even competed in the last four decades.

Even today, main character Mary Richards is awe-inspiring in a world of competitive journalism. She leaves her home town to enter a big city all on her own. The first episode shows Mary as she tries to apply for a secretarial job at WJM-TV only to find the position is already filled. Instead she is offered the position of associate producer. Today, that would never happen as journalists are crawling over each other just to get something read, but her journey is still admirable and totally relatable. mary-tyler-moore-opening-credits

The 70s must have been such a very different time for women going to work. The writers of the show wouldn’t even have Mary divorced as it was seen to be too risky as viewers may find it unlikable. But you have to admire a show that was dedicated to the success and struggles of such a kind (single) woman and her female friends. And even though she was a woman, she wasn’t hacking out silly, senseless stories, but she contributed greatly to her team, even creating a documentary about apes that was well-received (and even something she worked hard on because real people work for what they get). She held her own in a male-dominated world, and still managed to dress impeccably because a woman really can do it all. And she’s remains an icon today. Even Queen Katie Couric proclaimed her admiration for Mary Richards when she first watched the show.

There is something still so inspiring about a woman marching forward on her own. She’s probably the most representative depiction of any female journalist in entertainment (please, don’t you ever think we’re all like this one). Mary Richards didn’t sleep her way to success, but earned it by being great at her job, and an ethical human. She was my first introduction to journalism ethics, especially in the episode where she wouldn’t reveal a source she promised to keep secret.

One classy Midwestern woman.

Even the opening titles are still among the best. The first season’s lyrics open with “How will you make it on your own?” and end with “You might just make it after all,” referring to Richard’s coming struggles as a single woman in a new city. Following seasons had the lyrics change to “Who can turn the world on with her smile?” ending with “You’re gonna make it after all.”

Every day you struggle, just listen to that damn song and everything will be alright.

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God and I still want to twirl and throw my hat in the air.