[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Alena Dillon to the site today. She’s talking all things powerful female friendhsips. Take it away, Alena!]
In honor of Galentine’s Day, here’s a list of ten television shows that demonstrate the importance of female friendship. Whether they’re keeping quiet about manslaughter, acting as prison protection, or brainstorming sex toys for seniors, these gal-pals were an inspiration for the camaraderie in my novel Mercy House, and teach us how to rely on and celebrate the women in our lives.
Parks and Rec
The mother of the holiday, Leslie Knope, is all about “ladies celebrating ladies.” She is devoted to her community, her job, and her friends, but no one more than Ann Perkins, her “poetic and noble land creature.” She is always reminding Ann of her worth with outlandish compliments, gifts, and fierce devotion.
This dynamic cast of characters depends on one another inside and outside the ring, banding together to brighten the spotlight on the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The central stars, Ruth and Debbie, may have a complicated history, but even they learn to cooperate, compromise, and forgive. A win for any of them is a win for them all.
Ilana and Abbi are an audacious bonded pair (so bonded, in fact, that they regularly Facetime from the toilet) who find themselves in the image reflected back to them by one another. Their sharp humor and fearlessness are even more remarkable considering their characters are inspired by the actresses, writers, and creators of the show, real-life friends Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer.
Big Little Lies
These resilient, loyal, and complicated women must navigate the secrets pulsing beneath the surface their town, while keeping themselves, their families, and one another safe. This series is based on a novel by authoress, Liane Moriarty, and produced by Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon’s company that puts women at the forefront of its stories—a friend to us all.
Grace and Frankie
This show proves that the importance of female friendship endures as Grace and Frankie lean on one another for business ventures, company, security, and laughs, facing their eighth decade. Not only that, they look out for women often overlooked, specifically those in need of arthritis friendly vibrators. In a dearth of roles for actresses over fifty, we are grateful for this hilarious and heartwarming show.
While Jess and Cece evolve as people, their childhood friendship remains steadfast. They follow each other from Portland to Los Angeles, and despite their occasional disagreements (the purse fiasco, the “just a model” dig) they’ll always smooth things over a game of True American or an Anne of Green Gables marathon.
It’s in the name. Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe are such good friends, they live together, drink coffee together, wear wedding dresses together, and are even there for each other when their job is a joke, they’re broke, and their love life’s DOA. Twenty-five years after the series’ inception, they are still there for us too.
Sex and the City
These four ladies with their distinct personalities teach each other that there is no shame in exploring and enjoying intimacy, in the form of friendship, love, and lust. They empower one another to chase what they need—even in high-heeled Manolos—and to demand what they deserve.
Orange is the New Black
The phrase, “friends for life” is sometimes made literal behind the bars of Litchfield Correctional Institution. In prison, friends are necessary for survival. They combat all the pitfalls of the prison industrial complex, including other inmates and guards, but more importantly, desolation and loneliness.
Two Stanford grads, Issa and Molly, tackle careers, dating, and all of life’s messiness in Los Angeles. These women are so close they finish each other’s sentences. They also prove that supporting your friend isn’t always about cheerleading, but sometimes means calling out mistakes.
Which female friendships make you feel warm and fuzzy inside?
About the Author:
Alena Dillon’s work has appeared in Slice Magazine, The Rumpus, and Seventh Wave, among others. She earned her MFA from Fairfield University. Mercy House is her debut novel. She lives on the north shore of Boston with her husband, son, and their black Labrador, Penny
Mercy House by Alena Dillon, out now!
Inside a century-old row house in Brooklyn, renegade Sister Evelyn and her fellow nuns preside over a safe haven for the abused and abandoned. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Mercy House will be investigated by Bishop Hawkins, a man with whom she shares a dark history. In order to protect everything they’ve built, the nuns must conceal many of their methods, which are forbidden by the Catholic Church.
Evelyn will go to great lengths to defend all that she loves. She confronts a gang member, defies the church, challenges her own beliefs, and faces her past. She is bolstered by the other nuns and the vibrant, diverse residents of the shelter—Lucia, Mei-Li, Desiree, Esther, and Katrina—whose differences are outweighed by what unites them: they’ve all been broken by men but are determined to rebuild.
midst her fight, Evelyn discovers the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to bestow it.