The 11 Best On-Screen Friendships In TV History

8 minute read

By Jonny Hughes

Whilst many television shows focus heavily on romantic relationships, history has proven that there have been just as many magical “bromances,” “ladymances” and platonic friendships over the years to keep us highly entertained. Everybody needs a partner in crime, a wingman and someone who inherently understands them, and often these on-screen relationships are the ones which provide the most humor and capture our hearts. These are 11 of the most endearing friendships that have graced our TV screens throughout history, and despite having your own best friend, you are sure to be slightly envious of these unique relationships.

11. Sherlock Holmes & John Watson (Sherlock)

One of the most famous friendships of all time, the relationship between Sherlock and Watson has also been one of intense speculation, and this has continued with the riveting BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Those involved with the show, and the editor of the Sherlock Holmes Journal, have reiterated that they are just good friends, however, and certainly good enough for inclusion on this list. Although they clash and irritate each other at times, deep down they know that they are great friends who rely on one another heavily which is what makes them a great partnership. Sherlock is somewhat anti-social despite his brilliance, and therefore has trouble connecting with people (aside from Watson), whilst Watson enjoys the adventure and is in awe of Sherlock’s remarkable talent. Their contrasting personalities and mutual reliance is a crucial part of the show’s success.

Source: Screenshot via BBC One

10. Jerry Seinfeld & George Costanza (Seinfeld)

Although Jerry and Elaine’s great friendship could also be included on this list, it is the one found between Jerry and George which offers the most entertainment. Essentially the real-life friendship between creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, an enormous part of what makes Seinfeld arguably the greatest sitcom of all-time is the hilarious interactions that these two have over even the tiniest details of life (you can almost hear Larry David through George). Jerry can put up with and engage George over these trivial matters and comes along for the ride, and often acts as the voice of reason whilst also getting some enjoyment out of his misery. Although he sometimes appears indifferent, Jerry is often shown to worry about threats to the group lifestyle and his friends are important to him (as well as provide him with plenty of joke material). Source: Ew.comSource: Screenshot via NBC

9. Mark & Jez (Peep Show)

They may not be perfect friends, but deep down both Jez and Mark know how important they are to one another (“I know you don’t want to hear it, but I love you. And in your own dried up, desiccated, weird and unfriendly way, you love me too”). The pair struck up their friendship after attending university together, and Jez then moves into Mark’s apartment and is largely financially supported by Mark. Jez, therefore, relies on Mark, but equally, Mark relies on Jez, who is the more outgoing and social of the two. Although this creates a strain on their relationship, it is also sweet as they both know that they need each other to get by. Much of the humor lies in their differing personalities and the disagreements they have, but now and then there will be a touching reminder of their underlying care for one another.

Source: Screenshot via Objective Productions

8. Lucy & Ethel (I Love Lucy)

The original TV show gal pals, Lucy and Ethel’s friendship is an important one in TV history because it marked the first time that a show was led by two females. It is now considered one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms of all time, and you can be sure that many of the friendships on this list will have been inspired by the special relationship that these two had over the six seasons. Character development was not as prominent back in the ’50s and instead, the show relies largely on slapstick humor, but due to Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance being terrific friends in real life, this comes across in the show and adds to its charm. Lucy and Ethel even have their own special “friendship” song that they sing after buying the same dress, which is the sign of a great and special friendship.

Source: Screenshot via Desilu Productions

7. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche & Sophia (Golden Girls)

Although this list primarily focuses on TV duos, it is impossible not to include the Golden Girls. Long before Miranda, Carrie, Charlotte and Samantha in Sex and the City (which just missed the cut), there was Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia. These four elderly single ladies became the greatest of friends and got into all kinds of shenanigans together throughout the show, proving that age is just a number when you have a great group of companions by your side. They all become roommates in Florida and are previously divorced/widowed, helping to unite them as they enjoy their retirement together. The fantastic friendship found within the group certainly inspired many shows that followed, and the unique setup of using elderly characters made this a particularly endearing and entertaining show which stands out from the crowd. Source: Amazon.comSource: Screenshot via Walt Disney Television

6. Troy & Abed (Community)

No TV friendship is sweeter than the one found between Community’s Troy and Abed. They seem an odd pairing at first, as one is a former high school football star and the other has difficulty socializing and expressing emotion, but they quickly form a friendship over acting immaturely. Before long, a full-fledged bromance develops which both amuses and concerns the rest of the group (“you don’t hear me saying anything crazy about Abed and Troy’s weird little relationship!”) Their adventurous side and wild imaginations often lead the entire group into all kinds of hijinks, which is a huge part of what makes the Meta show such a popular and unique series. Whilst the entire group care and look out for Abed, it is Troy that is the only one who truly understands him, and his protective nature is both endearing and comical. Source: Community-sitcom.wikia.comSource: Screenshot via NBC

5. Leslie Knope & Ann Perkins (Parks and Recreation)

“Hoes before bros. Ovaries before brovaries. Uteruses before duderuses.” There are not many people that can put up with the huge personality of Leslie Knope, but Ann Perkins is one of these people and together they form a fantastic and hilarious duo. It all began when Ann’s boyfriend Andy (brilliantly played by Chris Pratt) fell into a pit, and soon one of TV’s greatest gal pal relationships blossomed. Leslie is incredibly over-enthusiastic and caring with her friendships, with a key source of humor being the ridiculous terms of endearment that she has for Ann (“you poetic and noble land-mermaid”). Ann, although taken back by Leslie’s love, cares deeply for Leslie and does everything in her power to make her happy. Although the likes of Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, and Chris Pratt often steal the show, this friendship is one of the most endearing and important relationships in modern television. Source: Vulture.comSource; Screenshot via NBC

4. Corey Matthews & Shawn Hunter (Boy Meets World)

While growing up, everyone needs a fantastic friend by their side for both the highs and lows that they will inevitably face. This was brilliantly portrayed on Boy Meets World through the special relationship that Corey and Shawn had, which was an important element of the show over the seven seasons. The pair strike up a friendship during kindergarten, and they then go through childhood and adolescence together and face several serious personal issues. It was Shawn who asked Topanga out for Cory once he finally realized his feelings, a sign of a great friend during those awkward teenage years. In the final season, they all head off to university together where they face many adult issues, and eventually, Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Eric all move to New York, where the spin-off, Girl Meets World, now takes place. Source: Digitalspy.comSource: Screenshot via NBC

3. Meredith & Cristina (Grey’s Anatomy)

Perhaps the best female friends on television (although Leslie Knope may disagree), Cristina and Meredith are each other’s “person.” Together they are smart, strong and independent, and both are positive role models for women around the world. Professionally they are competitive with one another and push each other to become better, and this is something that all great friends will do. There is nothing artificial about their relationship, which is refreshing to see, and they do not encounter the typical clichés that we see on television such as competing over the same guy, but they go through an enormous amount together which sometimes causes them to butt heads. They fully accept each other as well, and this friendship is likely the one which female audiences identify with the most, as it is a very realistic portrayal of friendship. Source: Wired.comSource: Screenshot via ABC

2. J.D. & Turk (Scrubs)

Taking the term “bromance” to a whole new level, the friendship between J.D. and Turk is a key part of the show and also one of the best relationships on modern television. After meeting as college roommates, they became best friends and were both accepted to Sacred Heart together. Here we see them advance in their careers and go through plenty of ups and downs together. The hilarious relationship is wildly over the top at times, with all the other characters frequently commenting on their unusual friendship, but this does not bother them in the slightest. Although they somewhat differ in personality, they have a terrific understanding of one another and enjoy each other’s immaturity, which is evident through “The World’s Most Giant Doctor,” the spinning eagle, winding up Hooch and, of course, their stuffed dog called Rowdy. Their “Guy Love” song perfectly sums up their hilarious relationship. Source: Thoughtcatalog.comSource: Screenshot via ABC Studios

1. Joey & Chandler (Friends)

Although the entire group has fantastic chemistry (the clue is in the name), it is Joey and Chandler that share the best friendship (sorry, Ross). The dynamic of “the good looking one” and “the funny one,” a familiar duo for many of us, the special relationship that they share is a key source of humor and one of the most iconic fictional friendships of all time. Initially bonding over beer and Baywatch, Joey and Chandler quickly became the closest of friends, having gone through many ups and downs together. Their somewhat contrasting personalities creates a mutual reliance that they both understand, which is clear when Joey moves out and they both struggle to carry on individually. Table football, the chick and the duck, Fireball, the reclining chairs, “Miss Chanandler Bong,” bickering like a married couple, and their many man hugs are just a part of what makes this TV’s greatest on-screen friendship. Source: Pinterest.comSource: Screenshot via Warner Bros. Television

Jonny Hughes


Jonny Hughes has been writing about movies and TV for Goliath since 2015.