5. Will (Bradley Cooper) as Sydney Bristow’s best friend on Alias
Granted, I just finished watching all five seasons of Alias so likely Bradley Cooper’s face is fresh in mind. But still, as best friend choices go, his is a remarkable one- basically because if the mark of a best friend is staying power through the tough times, then Will deserves a friggin’ medal. It’s bad enough your best friend from college is a super bad-ass spy and never told you about it. But then she starts getting you almost killed, tortured to nearly the point of death, scared to death and then her involvement with you kills her other best friend/your girlfriend. Then she “dies” and you get shipped off to witness protection. Except she’s not dead. And even though you’re now forced to live in Wisconsin and work in construction, she still shows up every once in a while to almost get you killed. Again.
In Bradley Cooper’s final appear as Will in the last season of Alias, Sydney makes a big speech about apologizing for ruining his life. Again. Sadly, everyone in Syd’s life has turned out to be worse with her in it- which really, really sucks when you repeatedly sacrifice your own life to, you know, save the fucking world. Will, being the true blue friend that no one is saint-like enough to deserve, tells her that she’s only made his life better, more exciting, and that his love for her has made it all worth it.
4. Shawn (Rider Strong) as Corey’s best friend on Boy Meets World
(Note- Boy Meets World is to me what Full House is to Beal. I won’t apologize for it or withdraw my plea to the network powers that be to put the show back into syndication already). So here’s what I love about Shawn- 1) He’s super white trash- trailer (check). Deadbeat Mom AND Dad (check). Half brother he didn’t know about played by a Lawrence brother (check). Likes flannel (check). 2) The only reason he’s friends with geeky Cory Matthews is because they’ve been friends since the first grade – a point acutely touched on in an early episode when the boys enter the 7th grade and Cory suddenly realizes that Shawn is cool and he’s not. But Shawn sticks with him anyway. He could care less about being cool, which of course makes me even more cool and I would stop using the word “cool” but we’re talking about Boy Meets World here, as well as the better part of the 1990s. So suck it. 3) We get a good level of angst for a sitcom BF (Shawn blows up a mailbox! Shawn gets drunk! Shawn joins a fucking CULT! Shawn’s parents leave him and he has to live with his teacher! Shawn’s dad dies! Shawn hates living in a trailer!) that provides those touching sitcom moments that I could eat up with a SPOON.
3. Rayanne (AJ Langer) as Angela’s best friend on My So-Called Life
If you’re going to have a full on teenaged identity crisis, you need a friend like Rayanne- it’s practically in the Angst Handbook, as well it should be.
I think we all know where this friendship would’ve eventually headed had the show not been brutally murdered. After all, despite the fact that she’s a high school party girl dream, Rayanne is slightly unhinged- you just know she would’ve been “that friend” for Angela- that friend in school who used to be your BFF before her problems sprung out of your control and then she wrote those kind of crazy letters to you and you suddenly realized she was completely bonkers and had to, for the rest of your life, refer to her as “that friend.”
Until that all goes down, however, you have the ultimate catalyst for prime teenage drama. Exactly what a girl like Angela Chase needs to realize her full potential. Exactly what a prime time soap needs to get in its patented overdose storyline.
2. Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendan) as Buffy / Willow’s best friend on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander Harris was so instrumental to my idea of what a male best friend should be that when my friend Vic and I moved to LA, we posted an ad on Craigslist with the title “Looking for a Xander,” explaining that what we really needed was a guy who was always there with a shoulder to lean on, quippy jokes, a slightly wimpy demeanor and, oh yes, looked surprisingly hot in a speedo. (What we got was a slightly crazy alcoholic with a boxer- aw, I miss Pablo.)
It was established through the show’s long tenure that while Xander was pretty much the most “useless” one (Willow becoming a powerful witch, along with her girlfriend Tara, werewolf Oz, vampire Angel etc etc), he was also the “heart” of the group. It’s Xander, after all, who’s able to snap Buffy back when she starts acting like a bitch because she accidentally died at the end of the semester and now has a major ‘tude about it. It’s Xander who’s able to stop Willow when she goes psycho witch crazy after evil-doers kill quiet Tara. And it’s Xander who ends up losing an eye in the battle of good versus evil. All key best friend attributes. Hmmm. Maybe I should’ve put all that stuff in the ad.
1. Turk (Donald Faison) as J.D’s best friend on Scrubs
The first TV couple to demonstrate the powerful force of straight man-love, Turk is, let’s face it, pretty much the love of John Dorian’s life. They met in college, went to med school together and lived together for an eternity until Turk man-upped, got married and JD moved out. How close are Turk and JD? Everyone in the hospital, including Turk’s wife, thinks that the boys are super gay for each other- which they are- and the greatest step the show took was to admit that and then have JD and Turk decide that they didn’t care. So, yeah, the guys are close. So close that JD showed up during Turk and Carla’s honeymoon (Turk sneaking off for some buddy time instead of sex with his wife- super gay for each other indeed).
So close that in (what should’ve been) the series finale of the show, JD and Carla have a touching moment where he thanks her for guiding him all these years. And when he asks if there’s anything he can do for her in return, they have the following exchange:
Carla: Tell me my husband loves me more than you.
JD (considering it seriously): It’s about the same.
Carla: I’ll take it.
And yes. We’re totally ending on a sappy note. Whatever, you know you love it too.
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