One of the best things about television and film is its portrayal and celebration of friendships. For most women, friendships are also a central part of our lives, and getting to see strong female friendships and relationships in media is a treat. Luckily, there are many iconic female TV duos to turn to!
With TV, there is something for everyone to connect to — whether you are best friends with your mother or daughter like the Gilmore Girls, or childhood friends like Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) and Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), the exploration of friendship is something everyone can relate to. There is never a bad time to celebrate strong female friendships. So, let’s dive into the most iconic female TV duos!
10. Robin and Lily – ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (2005-2014)
How I Met Your Mother is arguably one of the greatest sitcoms of the 2000s. While the central premise focuses on Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) and his journey to meeting “the mother” (Cristin Milioti), the true story is about the friend group. Even though Ted’s relationship with Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) didn’t work out (at first), another relationship blossomed at the beginning of the show, and that is Robin’s friendship with Lily Aldrin (Allison Hannigan).
Their friendship is one of the best examples of female friendship on TV because they truly care about each other and even when they have disagreements and differences, they show up for each other in the end. In one episode, Lily points out that Robin is the one she goes to “for the real stuff” and to me, that is the core of what friendship is about.
9. Lorelei and Rory – ‘Gilmore Girls’ (2000-2007)
When you think of iconic female TV duos, Lorelei (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) are likely one of the first that comes to mind. Set in the cozy fictional town of Stars Hollow, Gilmore Girls centers around the unique and idealistic relationship of a mother and daughter who are each other’s number one confidante. The show emphasizes that Lorelei and Rory are “friends first and mother and daughter second.”
Friendship comes in many forms, and Lorelei and Rory give us a look into a strong (albeit co-dependent at times) relationship between a mother and daughter that resonates with women around the world. They have their ups and downs, but ultimately, the bond between them is nearly unbreakable.
8. Monica Geller and Rachel Green – ‘Friends’ (1994-2004)
Friends is about as iconic a TV show as they come. It helped set the stage for ensemble comedy television for decades. Although the show centers around a larger friend group, there are friendships within the group that stand out. One in particular is the friendship that propelled the plot of the show — Monica and Rachel — a female duo that defined the late ’90s.
Monica and Rachel exemplify the type of friendship that everyone dreams of — a friend that is more like family. In the pilot episode, Monica reconnects with Rachel at a time when Rachel needs a friend the most, and they become roommates. Despite challenges like Rachel’s tumultuous relationship with Monica’s brother Ross (David Schwimmer), the two women have unforgettable times together, and they consistently show up for each other. Their relationship is special, and they ultimately make each other better people.
7. Melissa Schemmenti and Barbara Howard – ‘Abbott Elementary’ (2021-)
Since Abbott Elementary premiered, it immediately skyrocketed in popularity and has swept awards shows due to its poignant yet hilarious examination of the unfortunate reality that teachers face in underfunded public schools. The talented cast portrays passionate teachers who are just trying their best to make a difference in students’ lives, and they’ve won the hearts of millions.
Melissa Schemmenti’s (Lisa Ann Walter) and Barbara Howard’s (Sheryl Lee Ralph) wholesome friendship is a beautiful example of the ideal relationship between coworkers. Being the two oldest teachers at the school, they have a lot to bond over with their years of experience and watching the younger teachers get themselves into questionable situations. Hopefully, audiences will get to enjoy their relationship develop even further over many more seasons to come!
6. Rebecca Welton and Keeley Jones – ‘Ted Lasso’ (2020-2023)
Speaking of modern hit shows, I could not put together a list of iconic female TV duos without including two of the best characters on television this decade — Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) and Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) from Ted Lasso.
In a world where — especially in a work setting — women are often pitted against each other, the beauty of Rebecca and Keeley’s relationship is that lift each other up. Rebecca truly believes in Keeley as a publicist and gives her the opportunity that changes the direction of her career. When Keeley later gets funding to start her own PR firm, the two are sad that they won’t see each other at work anymore, but Rebecca is nothing but supportive of her leaving to fulfill her dreams. Their friendship is truly an inspiration.
5. Jessica Day and Cece Parekh – ‘New Girl’ (2011-2018)
Another iconic female TV duo is none other than Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Cece (Hannah Simone). New Girl thrives off of the main characters’ hilarious dynamics and their strong relationships, and Jess and Cece are a large part of the show’s success.
Cece and Jess are very different people — Jess is a quirky teacher with unique fashion and Cece is an outgoing model. But similarly to Rebecca and Keeley, Jess and Cece aren’t pitted against each other — even when they each have their share of challenges with the loft boys — and their loyalty knows no bounds. This kind of female friendship is refreshing to see depicted in media from the 2000s.
4. Midge Maisel and Susie Myerson – ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ (2017-2023)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel burst onto the scene in 2017, captivating audiences everywhere with witty, quick dialogue and beautiful costumes. One of the best aspects of the show is another iconic female TV duo: Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) and Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein).
When Midge inadvertently performs her first comedy act in the pilot episode, Susie realizes she has a star on her hands and offers to be her manager. What starts off as a work relationship turns into a meaningful friendship. If one of them calls, the other is sure to drop everything and be there. They fight hard, but ultimately, they truly care for one another as family. Despite their major fallout in Season 5, they manage to find their way back to each other in the end.
3. Brooke Davis and Peyton Sawyer – ‘One Tree Hill’ (2003-2012)
While it hasn’t always been sunshine and roses, the friendship between Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) and Peyton Sawyer (Hillary Burton) of One Tree Hill is strong; they are the definition of an iconic female TV duo. The two characters constantly argue over the same boys and have ridiculous fights, but always come back together stronger than ever.
The series took a serious tumble after Burton left the production. Without the constant that was Brooke and Peyton’s friendship alongside the loss of Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray), One Tree Hill didn’t recover, despite lasting for a few more seasons.
2. Serena Van Der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf – ‘Gossip Girl’ (2007-2012)
Much like Brooke Davis and Peyton Sawyer, the friendship between Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) and Serena Van Der Woodsen (Blake Lively) is nothing short of a roller coaster. The two constantly switch back and forth between best friends and biggest rivals throughout the 6 seasons of Gossip Girl.
Despite the rocky nature of their relationship, these two are still one of the most iconic female TV duos of the 21st century — their style influenced a generation. Love them or hate them, Blair and Serena had everyone wanting to be just like them throughout the late 2000s.
1. Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins – ‘Parks and Recreation’ (2009-2015)
Not only are Parks and Recreation‘s Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) and Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) one of the most iconic female TV duos of all time, but they actually helped invent Galentine’s Day. These two have been there for each other through the years in ways only true friends could be.
Although Parks and Recreation features Leslie Knope as the main character and Ann in more of a supporting role, there is no Leslie without Ann. These two are true beacons of support for each other and they share one of the most wholesome and hilarious friendships in all of television.
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