Ah, Thanksgiving. Ye old day of feasting on high-calorie goodness, sharpening claws for Black Friday sales and yes, taking stock of the things and people in life you appreciate. It's also a great time for TV junkies to indulge in another kind of gorging, i.e. the programs that have given us so much life.
So let's take a moment to celebrate the TV BFFs -- of all types -- who provide us with the emotional sustenance of shock, glee, horror and outrage this holiday weekend.
1. Paula and Rebecca, Crazy Ex Girlfriend
Though their friendship often reeks of a mother-daughter relationship totally lacking boundaries, they're still a joy to watch. Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) with all her... Shall we say, quirks... Reminds Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) to take chances and assert her own needs. Paula also frequently keeps Rebecca from jail and/or dissolving into a puddle of tears and ice cream. And while their support slips very often into the realm of enabling, they're still each others' rocks, giving us serious friendship goals in the process.
2. Earn, Paper Boi and Darius, Atlanta
These hip-hop homeboys became one of the year's most intriguing trios, as we watched their day-in-the-life pursuits turn into comedic and existential gold. Earn (Donald Glover) the wanderer, Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) the intelligent drug dealer/rapper and stoner philosopher Darius (Keith Stanfield) have an alliance that's full of as much disagreement and chaos as it is love and respect -- and underneath it all a silent pledge to have each others' backs no matter what.
3. Lorelei and Rory, Gilmore Girls
Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) aren't just mom and daughter, but kindred spirits fortunate enough to be brought together by fate and genetics. As series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has said, what makes them compelling is that they're "girlfriends who travel and talk on the phone and keep in touch," the way she does (and we all do) with her friends. Even for those of us who find the idea of being BFFs with mom unsettling, these two -- and their rapturous dialogue -- make up one of TV's most captivating friendships.
4. Leonard, Howard, Sheldon and Raj, Big Bang Theory
Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) have a combined IQ that would possibly eclipse all the intelligence in the corridors of the government itself. Does that keep them from accidentally spilling each others' secrets, or hurting each other with their cluelessness about personal boundaries? Not at all, but their understanding of each other (often loaded in indecipherable geek speak) gives us squad goals for real.
5. Bart and Milhouse, The Simpsons
Many of us have grown up watching the boys from TV's record-breaking show get into countless high jinks, fights and adventures together. Though both of them can be exhausting -- Bart with his constant shenanigans and Milhouse's insufferable dorkery -- they're way more perfect together than they are apart. Both resilient underdogs who impart lessons about respecting differences, they also let us relive our inner kid week after week (after week after week). They'll have our enduring love forever -- and we mean that literally since this show, thankfully, will never die.
6. Nicole and Devin, Loosely Exactly Nicole
MTV's underrated and hilarious freshman comedy draws much of its many strengths from the antics of these roommates: the loud, bossy and off-the-chain Nicole (Nicole Beyer), and Devin (Jacob Wysocki) her equally outrageous BFF who's one of the only people who can put her in check. They're hysterical together as they chase boys and jobs, offering an unbridled glimpse into modern millennial life.
7. Tyrion and Jaime, Game of Thrones
On the surface, glaring differences make their connection seem unlikely. But ultimately, the brothers share a tight bond. They're both heroes who've gone unappreciated for the noble deeds they've done -- even by the people they tried to save -- with a sort of yin and yang thing that makes their dynamic so rich: Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), master of the sharp sword; and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), master of sharp wit.
8. Kara and Alex, Supergirl
Yes, they're sisters. But Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Alex Danvers' (Chyler Leigh) relationship is Supergirl's greatest strength -- a point proven this season when the tough Alex makes herself vulnerable enough to come out to Kara. Theirs is a friendship that teaches us so much: how bonds strengthen when they're tested; how we have a duty to protect the most vulnerable among us and of course; the recognition that our powers are even more remarkable when combined.
9. Rick and Michonne, The Walking Dead
Yes, we know: there are many TWD ships we could idolize -- Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) the most obvious. Now though, the most compelling friendship may be Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira,) whose longtime support for one another has blossomed into romance. Their affair has been a long time coming, with the two having a natural, effortless communication since their first encounter at the prison when she showed up with baby formula, drenched in walker goo. Both warriors with deep respect and care for each other, they're balanced too: there aren't many people who can knock sense into Rick and get away with it. Romance was the next logical step for them but remember, it was based on a very solid friendship first.
10. Mike, Lucas and Dustin, Stranger Things
These three almost don't need adult supervision, they're so self-contained, self-reliant and resourceful as a group. Individually they were moderately equipped -- all of them outcasts in one way or another, bonded by their decidedly nerdy interests. But in the face of a monumental challenge that required overthrowing parental, governmental and even scientific powers that be, they soared. By creating their own little democratic society and working out its codes and rules on their own, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) Lucas (Gaten Matarazzo) and Dustin (Caleb McLaughlin) showed us adults a few things we needed to see: how to disagree and still stay friends, how to stick up for your buddies and how to never, ever give up.
11. Crazy Eyes and Taystee; Pennsatucky and Big Boo,Orange is the New Black
Through the seasons, Taystee (Danielle Brooks) has been a patient, sweet and encouraging confidant to Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba), even when she's getting dangerously close to going off the rails; in the most recent season we've seen Big Boo (Lea DeLaria) be the ultimate ally when she was down to get revenge for the rape of her friend Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning). That these friendships offer whopping insights on race, sexuality, class, mental health issues and so much more is just a bonus. What sustains us as viewers -- and keeps these women's humanity intact in a living hell -- is the commitment they continually demonstrate to each others' well being when they could easily be solely out for self.
12. Alex and Meredith, Grey's Anatomy
One of the most celebrated TV friendships ever, Alex (Justin Chambers) Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) are the fan fiction dream Tumblr was made for. With more than a decade of ups and downs logged in their books, their friendship has endured all kinds of ordeals -- which now includes Meredith stopping Alex from taking a plea deal and, quite possibly, beginning the romance fans have been praying for forever.
What TV friendship are you most grateful for?