It might seem surprising, based on all the obsession and emphasis in the world around us, but there are a few people out there who really don’t care about romance. Really. Not just people who are bummed out by something that didn’t work, or have self-piteously given up on a romantic relationship. Some of us are genuinely not interested.
For those of us who are sometimes called aromantic (or aro for short), Valentine’s Day is a little bit confusing. Sure, flowers and chocolate are great, but what are people going off about? What’s up with these high-stakes dates that people are scared of screwing up? Why are people so worried about having someone to share a romantic evening with? I’m free. Wanna come over and watch old TV shows in pajamas? We can have chocolate, if that’s what you’re after…
There’s a similar feeling when we’re watching a movie, and, out of the blue, two characters start kissing. Where did that come from? It’s even worse when someone says they want to be, “just friends,” like that’s something bad. What’s wrong with being friends? Is the love I have for my friends somehow less important than the love you have for a romantic partner?
So, in honor of all the great friend-love that goes unrecognized and undervalued, I’d like to call attention to some of my favorite friendships on television. Some of these you’ll guess right off the bat. Some might be more obscure or surprising.
Sean and Gus (Psych)
A quirky, modern take on the classic Sherlock and Watson pairing, Sean and Gus have been friends since childhood and really can’t help but stick together. Sean is the charming, neurotic, fake psychic who uses his incredible skills of observation to solve crimes the Santa Barbara Police Department can’t. Gus is his perfect balance, with a level head, an active conscience, and a nearly flawless memory. The two of them get into all kinds of hilarious situations as Sean pretends to look into the metaphysical world for answers. No matter what happens, though, they have a bond of friendship that will last a lifetime.
Samantha Carter and Janet Frasier (Stargate: SG-1)
Stargate:SG-1 has a great cast of characters, with diverse and interesting relationships and friendships. Even if there’s an off episode, there’s always someone there to crack a joke, and the friendships within the group are a constant, stabilizing force.
Samantha Carter, (who goes through a series of title changes over the course of the show) and Dr. Frasier are notable as some of the greatest female friends in science fiction. There is no rivalry or negativity between these two strong, female leads. They work together to keep the world safe from alien threats, and then hang out together over the weekends. Carter is even a sort of godmother to Frasier’s adopted, alien daughter, Cassandra. Their onscreen chemistry is compounded by the fact that the two actresses, Amanda Tapping and Teryl Rothery, are good friends in real life.
Mike and Micky (The Monkees)
While all four Monkees are really good friends in the television show, these two are something special. Throughout the first season, and most of the second, this guitar-wielding songwriter and his drummer/lead singer pal never leave each others’ side. Mike’s more collected, shy, thoughtful personality is balanced out by Micky’s spastic, impetuous creativity. Not only are they great together on the show, but Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz are also lifelong friends in real life. Their vocal harmonies are still outstanding 50 years later, and they have immense respect for one another as people and artists.
And of Course, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (Star Trek)
Let’s not leave Leonard McCoy out of his place in what has to be one of the most iconic onscreen friendships there is. These three are truly the core of Star Trek. Many people have compared these three characters to the heart, mind, and will of one person. Despite their bickering and differences, they always pull together when it counts. These three hold each other up when one of them falters, and bail each other out when one of them gets in trouble. With the Star Trek films, we even get to see their relationship develop through death, rebirth, old age, and excursions through time to the 1980s.
If you’re like me, and aren’t so interested in all that romantic nonsense, enjoy your time hanging out with your Spock, your Mike Nesmith, your Sam Carter, or whoever it is you have your adventures with. Don’t feel pressured to find some form of “better” relationship if you don’t want one. Go on loving people just the way you do: as a great friend.
If you’re into romance, but you don’t have a romantic partner right now, remember that you are not unloved. Spend time with good, close friends, and treasure the unique type of love that you share with them.
If you’re in a romantic relationship right now, by all means enjoy it! Have a great Valentine’s Day! Just make sure you don’t forget the importance of friend-love in the special bond you have with that person.
You know what all of these friendships sort of remind me of? They remind me of an ancient friend pairing that people have been reading about for years. The Bible says of David and Jonathan’s friendship that “he loved him as he loved his own soul.” (1 Samuel 18:1)
That seems like a pretty important relationship to me.
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