Memorable TV Best Friends: No. 10-1
by Kim Potts, posted Jul 26th 2010 3:30PM
10. Charlie Kelly & Dee, Dennis & Frank Reynolds & Mac
Show: 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' (2005-present)
Stars: Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Glenn Howerton, Danny DeVito and Rob McElhenney
Friend-ly conversation: Are they friends because they like each other, or friends because no one else will be friends with them (episodes, after all, often revolve around the gang "versus"-ing someone)? There's a reason the show has been called "'Seinfeld' on crack," and it's because of the fact that part of the reason Charlie, Dee, Dennis, Mac and Frank are always together is because the rest of the world finds them so objectionable. Still, they've embraced that in their own, often selfish, ways, forming a little (highly dysfunctional) Paddy's Pub family.
That's what friends are for: A clever 'It's Always Sunny' promo that spoofs the famous fountain opening of 'Friends' is the epitome of the gang's relationship, as only this bunch could take an occasion as simple and fun as a frolic in a fountain and turn it into an occasion that ends with them smacking, shoving and trying to drown each other, and finally fleeing when a cop car arrives on the scene.
9. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce & B.J. Hunnicutt
Show: 'M*A*S*H' (1972-83)
Stars: Alan Alda and Mike Farrell
Friend-ly conversation: B.J. had his work cut out for him when he arrived at the 4077, as he was replacing Hawkeye's BFF Trapper John. And though Hawkeye had a constantly wandering eye with the ladies, while Hunnicutt was devoted to his family back home, the two hit it off right away, sharing the same sense of humor, an affection for their home-brewed cocktails and a commitment to treating their patients as sensitively as possible in some very challenging, often heartbreaking, circumstances.
That's what friends are for: In one of B.J.'s darker moments, he was crushed to learn that his daughter, Erin, called Radar daddy. He went on a drunken bender that ended with him smashing Hawkeye's still and punching his pal in the face, though Hawkeye forgave him, understanding that he was missing out on his daughter's childhood.
Meanwhile, as with many other male TV friendships that involve lots of emoting, fans have speculated about the nature of the Hawkeye/Hunnicutt relationship, leading to a silly, but clever, 'Brokeback M*A*S*H' fan video:
8. Felix Unger & Oscar Madison
Show: 'The Odd Couple' (1970-75)
Stars: Tony Randall and Jack Klugman
Friend-ly conversation: One was messy (sportswriter Oscar), one was uptight and obsessively neat (photographer Felix), which meant, of course, that they were the perfect complement to each other. In fact, in the show's series finale, Felix was able to win back his ex-wife, who he never stopped loving, with an act that proved he was a changed man: He spent a night in Oscar's room.
That's what friends are for: The opening credits said it all: Felix's wife gave him the boot, and despite the fact that they were complete opposites, his old friend Oscar took him right in.
7. John "J.D." Dorian & Christopher Turk
Show: 'Scrubs' (2001-10)
Stars: Zach Braff and Donald Faison
Friend-ly conversation: They met as college roommates, and a lifelong friendship was sealed, as doctors J.D. and Turk went on to work together at Sacred Heart, share an apartment with their stuffed dog Rowdy, be so close that they could finish each other's sentences and share a quirky sense of humor that included them dressing up as World's Most Giant Doctor and Multi-Ethnic Siamese Doctor.
That's what friends are for: J.D. and Turk are so close that their co-workers, friends and even Turk's wife Carla liked to joke that they were more like a couple than just friends, which led to 'Guy Love,' the 'Scrubs' musical ode to their friendship, with lyrics like "Guy Love/That's all it is/Guy Love/He's mine, I'm his/There's nothing gay about it in our eyes."
6. Bert & Ernie
Show: 'Sesame Street' (1969-present)
Stars: Frank Oz and Eric Jacobson as Bert; Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire as Ernie
Friend-ly conversation: The Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Ralph and Norton of 'Sesame Street,' Bert and Ernie are Muppet mates and roomies whose personalities are opposite. Ernie is given to sticking bananas in his ear, singing of his love of his rubber duckie and wanting to play while Bert wants to sleep, while the grumpier Bert likes to read books like 'Boring Stories,' fulfill his duties as President of the National Association of W Lovers (as in W, the letter of the alphabet) and become annoyed with Ernie.
That's what friends are for: Still, it works for the pair (whose importance in pop culture is such that fans continue to debate whether or not the puppet characters are gay). As Ernie tells Bert in the 'Street' musical segment 'That's What Friends Are For,' "I'm messy, and you don't like it messy, but because I'm your friend, you don't mind too much if I'm messy ... That's what a friend is, Bert. Not minding too much, because you like someone."
5. Chandler Bing & Joey Tribbiani
Show: 'Friends' (1994-2004)
Stars: Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc
Friend-ly conversation: Foosball, pizza and a chick and a duck. Those were the mainstays of the Bing/Tribbiani household, as Chandler (whose generic job was thought to be "transponder" at one point) and actor Joey were a hugging, wisecracking duo whose friendship survived Chandler falling in love with Joey's girlfriend, Joey moving out and the foghorn-voiced annoyance that was Chandler's girlfriend Janice.
That's what friends are for: Any Joey-Chandler fight was always settled with a hug, which prompted them once to wonder if they might not be hugging too often ...
4. Laverne DeFazio & Shirley Feeney
Show: 'Laverne & Shirley' (1976-83)
Stars: Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams
Friend-ly conversation: Milwaukee beer bottle cappers Laverne and Shirley were roommates and best friends, and constant cohorts in the search to find Mr. Right. Laverne was the more cynical of the two, but even real dramas like the death of her fireman boyfriend and a pregnancy scare were nothing a glass of milk and Pepsi and a pep talk from the ever-upbeat Shirl couldn't fix, while Laverne provided equally loyal friendship and a much-needed reality check for Boo Boo Kitty-lovin' dreamer Shirley.
That's what friends are for: Laverne and Shirley were also partners in wackiness, with Marshall and Williams proving to be the most gifted physical comediennes on TV since Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance. The season four episode 'Supermarket Sweep,' in which the pals win a three-minute supermarket shopping spree, is right up there with classics like Lucy and Ethel's chocolate factory mischief.
3. Jerry Seinfeld & George Costanza
Show: 'Seinfeld' (1990-98)
Stars: Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander
Friend-ly conversation: Another pair of childhood buds, George and Jerry saw their friendship endure as the two moved to Manhattan as adults and spent most of their days at Monk's Coffee Shop and Jerry's apartment, obsessing over the minutiae of their lives. The pair were probably their own, and each other's, own worst enemies, too, as they often took a tad too much delight in the other's humiliations and relationship woes, but George and Jerry were such constant companions -- and Jerry, at least, was single, thin, neat and got along with women -- that their friendship came under the scrutiny of one of Jerry's love interests, a reporter who penned an article suggesting the two were actually lovers. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
That's what friends are for: Later, even George and Jerry's friends question their relationship. In season nine's 'The Cartoon,' George begins dating a woman who resembles Jerry, prompting the ever-blunt Kramer (Michael Richards) to point out "George's man-love for a she-Jerry."
2. Dorothy Zbornak & Sophia Petrillo & Rose Nylund & Blanche Devereaux
Show: 'The Golden Girls' (1985-92)
Stars: Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, Betty White and Rue McClanahan
Friend-ly conversation: They were talking about -- and living out -- sex and the city before Carrie Bradshaw and friends wreaked havoc on the Big Apple. The 'Golden Girls' were also proof that you can make new friends at any age, and that those friends can become as important to you as your family. And, of course, they also suggested that years of life experience will help you store up years worth of great one-liners.
That's what friends are for: Swapping dating horror stories, supporting each other through deaths, financial woes and problems with their children and, of course, sharing lots of cheesecake.
1. Lucy Ricardo & Ethel Mertz
Show: 'I Love Lucy' (1951-57)
Stars: Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance
Friend-ly conversation: They fought, they made up. They schemed, they got caught. But TV's first truly great BFFs remain the standard by which female friendships in TV comedies should be measured, especially for Ball and Vance's skills with some of 'I Love Lucy's' physical comedy scenes, from the famous chocolate factory conveyor belt in 'Job Switching' to their attempts to fool a friend (without her glasses) into thinking Lucy was a famous Marx brother in 'Lucy and Harpo Marx.'
That's what friends are for: Many of Lucy's schemes revolve around her trying to become part of hubby Ricky's showbiz biz, despite any discernible talent. But Lucy's lack of song-and-dance skills aside, her performance with Ethel on 'Friendship,' the Cole Porter tune from the musical and movie 'Du Barry Was a Lady' (in which Lucille Ball starred with Red Skelton and Gene Kelly), epitomizes how fun their friendship was.