Every protagonist in a movie or series has that one person who always supports them through thick and thin the best friend. The best friend characters exist in almost every plot, whether they're giving inspirational advice, assisting in the hero's personal life, or adding a dynamic to the story with their colorful personality. Unfortunately, the BFF role is often reduced to a minor one, only supporting or comforting the main character without being given a meaningful background story and only appearing on a limited screen time.
Take Dionne from Clueless (1995) as an example; although she and Cher made quite the duo, Dionne's character doesn't give any significant contributions to the storyline. The audience knows almost nothing about her, except that she's rich, cool and sassy. Even worse, the best friend often becomes a token character, where the role represents a marginalized or minority group such as a person of color or part of the LGBTQ community. But they were treated only as a token and not as a person with complex thoughts, like Claudia in Moxie (2021) or Theo in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018).
But once in a while, there are best friend characters who eventually become the hero of the story. Even if they started as supporting characters, these characters managed to capture the audience's heart and make us root for them. Not only did they steal the spotlight, but they also taught us deep values like loyalty, bravery, and the real meaning of friendship.
Here are some of the greatest best friend characters of all time we love:
Eric Effiong/ Foto: Netflix
Eric Effiong (Sex Education)
Perhaps in the hands of another writer, Eric Effiong would've been the ultimate token BFF character; he's black and he's gay. But in the hands of Laurie Nunn, the show's creator, Eric is arguably one the most iconic characters in TV history. He's more than just "the funny guy" or "the gay best friend". Eric is a great friend to Otis, he's always available for his best friend whether to offer him a shoulder to cry on or to give him life advice. But most importantly, he is an example of a complex and multi-dimensional character. He's funny, unapologetic in expressing his identity, brutally honest with everyone, is also vulnerable, and we get to see the side of him where he's questioning his identity and that is what makes him the most relatable character on this show.
Samwise Gamgee/ Foto: New Line Cinema
Samwise Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings)
There's no better duo than Frodo and Sam. If it weren't for Sam, Frodo would never have reached Mount Doom, and Middle Earth will never be saved. It was Sam's loyalty and bravery that made him one of the best characters in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. When his best friend, Frodo, volunteered to go to Mordor to destroy the ring, Sam was dead and set on joining him on the dangerous journey. He refused to leave Frodo, even when Frodo pushed him away and suspected him of wanting the ring to himself. However, it was not blind loyalty that allowed Sam to hold on to Frodo and their mission. Sam stayed because he knew Frodo couldn't and shouldn't bear the burden alone, and in their most desperate moment, when all hopes were lost, it was Sam's will that got them through the last steps of Mount Doom.
Lane Kim/ Foto: The WB
Lane Kim (Gilmore Girls)
Everybody cherished Rory Gilmore as the main character of the classic television show; Gilmore Girls. But for me, it was Rory's best friend, Lane Kim, that brought me joy every time I watched this show. Lane is a witty, cool Korean American girl who wanted to live her teenage days to the fullest. She wanted to play in a band, dye her hair, and date boys her mother wouldn't approve of. Unlike Rory who has a strong relationship with Lorelai, Lane had a strained relationship with Mrs. Kim, a conservative and strict parent. Lane's experience is highly relatable to ordinary teens she has to juggle between strict family tradition and her desire as a teenage youth to express herself and in the midst of her struggle, Lane is still a great friend to Rory.
Max Mayfield/ Foto: Netflix
Max Mayfield (Stranger Things)
Eleven and Max are friendship goals. At the start of season 3, Max Mayfield showed up as the mysterious new kid in town. Even though Eleven resented Max at first, their friendship eventually blooms and instantly becomes the audience's favorite. They trust and help each other to be themselves and show each other that boyfriends are not everything. But it was in season 4 that Max truly became the center of our attention, where she's not afraid of facing her trauma and willing to fight Vecna head-on. Throughout the fight, Max showed an incredible amount of resilience and courage. Max escaping Vecna while listening to "Running Up That Hill" will always be one of the greatest moments from the show.
Ji Seung-Wan/ Foto: Netflix
Ji Seung-Wan (2521)
It's really easy to love all the characters from Twenty Five Twenty One, but Ji Seung Wan is our best girl. She was a top student in her school, and was chosen as class president. On top of that, she also ran a radio broadcast where she talked about social issues faced by young people. Between Na Hee Do, Ko Yu Rim, Baek Yi Jin, and Moon Ji Woong, Ji Seung Wan was the brain of the group, but above all, Ji Seung Wan was a reliable friend. Contrary to popular belief that smarty like Ji Seung Wan would be selfish and arrogant, she cared deeply for her friend and classmates. She even sacrificed her future and education when she stood up against her school teachers for using violence toward the other students. With someone like her as a friend, you know that you will always have somebody to rely on.
From Eric to Ji Seung Wan, all of them are great characters that showed us what it truly means to be a good friend. Their stories and personalities also served to show that best friend characters can be as significant as the main characters. Best friend characters deserved a well-thought narrative cause why focus on one character when you can have multiple wholesome characters?