Media Gal Pals That Gave Me Life in 2019
Updated: Aug 11, 2020
I tried to write about fifty different sentences that truly encapsulated how trash 2019 was but for the life of me couldn't embody all the horror, sadness, and unfunny chaos the year held so this .gif will do:
There's a lot of different ways to chronicle this insanely awful year, and of course, every media source will try, from CNN'S "Top 15 ATTACKS ON OUR DEMOCRACY" to Buzzfeed's "Top 15 Celebrity Break-Ups We Definitely Helped Fuel By Constantly Reporting On Their Personal Drama" to FoxNews "Top 15 DUMBEST TEEN TIKTOKS AND ALSO WHAT IMPEACHMENT?! DON'T LOOK OVER THERE!"
So to combat the revolving door of the worst, most depressing news you've ever heard interspersed with random think pieces on what Baby Yoda says about cancel culture and consumerism, I thought I'd give you a list of brilliant women on and behind the screens this year who absolutely killed it....THROUGH THE POWER OF FEMALE FRIENDSHIP! It's like the Force. For every bad pairing the Dark Side produces (Tr*mp and Guiliani, Cats! and CGI feline human boobs, That Really Mean Girl From High School and Her Inexplicable Success That Is Seemingly Funded By Her Ponzi Scheme Makeup Products), the Light Side gives you these equal and opposite goddesses.
Tuca and Bertie
Tuca & Bertie
These anthropomorphized bird ladies were maybe my favorite part of 2019 and the fact the show wasn't picked up for a second season was a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY AND BIRDKIND. In its technicolor wonder-world created by Lisa Hanawalt, animator of Bojack Horseman (a show I obstinately refuse to get) and voiced by Ali Wong and Tiffany Haddish, buildings have boobs, ferns are unapproachably cool next-door neighbors, and toucans can also struggle with sobriety. It centers around two best bird friends- the ostentatious but lovable Tuca the Toucan and Bertie, the Songthrush who suffers from anxiety and a love of baked goods. Each episode is a beautiful display of cleverness, fun, and intense moments of searing vulnerability that yes, did Make Me Cry™. But the fact that the central friendship had true growing pains and conflict felt more representative of real relationships than any human drama I've seen in a long time, and feels almost like the only reference point I trust to handle the uncomfortableness of friendship in my 20s.
Favorite Moment: Bertie getting told off for having a movie "I've Made It" Moment at the Yeast Week baking competition and being surrounded by a bunch of singing ladies who are having their own movie moment, showing that we're all usually in our own bubbles and that bubble is endearingly off-key
Maya and Anna
Bowl cuts, braces, crushing on an idiot 13 year old named Braden who told all of his friends that you're the ugliest girl in the grade. Revisiting middle school sounds like a horrific nightmare but when you're gently escorted by best friends/comedy geniuses, Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine, you're in safe hands. In this unbelievably quirky show, the girls play their 13 year old selves...as 30 year old women. They revisit all the heartbreak, awkwardness, and drama of puberty with the gravity it held when you first when through it. There are so many moments you want to turn away because it's so brutally awkward ((ie. the first time you wore a thong, when you got mad at your best friend because you spent an unhealthy amount of time together, or just watching grown women earnestly discuss "how hot Alex J. is" ad nauseam like a perpetual sleepover that never ended)), but as you laugh along with them, you begin to forgive that 13 year old version of yourself you've never let go of because you low-key hated her. It's not her fault! Middle school was messed up! Let's just laugh about it and thank the friends that made it bearable!
Favorite moment: When Maya is in the closet trying to avoid her first kiss, and climbs into the coat on the hanger, dorkily yelling "I'm a scarecrow!"
Evil Queen Mortuana and JoJo, the Cursed Raven Princess
Heads Will Roll
In this ICONIC Audible audiobook (literally the only reason I have the app because you get one free book- THIS IS ALL I RECOMMEND), you get to experience Kate McKinnon in all of her bizarre comedy glory- with the added bonus that she wrote it all with her real-life sister, Emily Lynne. It's hard to classify what it is exactly; it's a mixture of an old-school radio drama, SNL digital short that somehow made it to air despite all the Harvard intellectual writers voting against it, Game of Thrones-style political drama, and the fever dream of a musical theatre nerd. The story follows the despotic Maleficent-esque evil queen, played by McKinnon, trying desperately to keep her throne that she isn't even sure if she wants, aided by her only true friend in the world, her animal sidekick/cursed princess, JoJo. I have listened to this well over twenty times and still audibly laugh-cry each time. Its brilliance cannot be overstated- nor can its infectious love for these characters. They also got Meryl Streep -MERYL STREEP- to be in it so that says something
Favorite Moment: The dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship between Odin, God of Thunder, and Frygge, his b*tch of a wife who just wants his undivided attention in their cloud kingdom of two, is that so hard to ask!
Mel and Jen
New Zealand is really slaying the game by producing some unbelievably funny pieces of comedy (obvs referencing Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's What We Do In The Shadows) and this Netflix hidden gem proves it. Best friends Jen and Mel run a business breaking up couples, despite Mel being eternally optimistic and kind-hearted while Jen is stuck in the past. The more complicated the business grows, the more the friendship is strained until they themselves break up. The heart of the movie is that it is a romantic comedy, with this gorgeous friendship the main love. The ending made me laugh so hard I had to pause it to wipe the tears off my face, as one apologizes to the other in the most ridiculous rendition of the 90s RnB hit "All My Life".
Favorite Moment: the flashback shown in a perfectly, cringey 80s-style karaoke music video
Amy and Molly
I badly wish this movie would've been around when I was in high school as it is The Ultimate Sleepover Film™ ((all I had was grumpily accepting The Proposal for the fifth time after my pitch for 7 Brides for 7 Brothers would inevitably get rejected)). Directed by Olivia Wilde, the story of two brainy high schoolers needing to get one night of fun in before parting ways for college has all the laughs and debauchery of a dumb boy film à la Superbad with the wit of Bridesmaids and a heart of gold. You get to see people on screen who are rarely seen (LGTBQ representation and a girl over size 6 as a romantic figure! Shocking!) and it flips the script of clique stereotypes that I earnestly hope exists in real high schools these days. And of course, I'm in love with Eduardo Franco and no, Erika, I'll never apologize for that.
Favorite Moment: When they try to get the pizza guy to give them the address of the party via an ill-conceived robbery heist
Honorable Mentions but is more of a Girl Group vibe (totally different dynamic): Derry Girls, Little Women, Someone Great
What were your favorite female-driven media moments of 2019?