True friendship

Which television show about female friendships had the best theme song? An investigative report.

The Golden Girls
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Best line about friendship: “And if you threw a party/Invited everyone you knew/You would see the biggest gift would be from me/And the card attached would read/Thank you for being a friend.”

The original and the best. There is no aspect of a woman’s life that was not first explored by Sophia, Blanche, Dorothy and Rose. Note that there are wheels within wheels in this song. The singer refers simply to “a party” – this isn’t even your birthday party, just a regular party, but she’s still bringing you a present. And it’s huge! She buys you gifts for no reason – simply for the extravagant and wasteful joy of seeing you smile.

The Babysitters Club
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Best line about friendship: “Say hello to your friends/Babysitters Club/Say hello to the people who care/Nothing’s better than friends/Babysitters Club/’Cuz friends are always there.”

Though the Golden Girls were all retired and entering their titular “golden years,” they had a great deal in common with these young entrepreneurs. The Babysitters also grew and learned something every week, although they ate a great deal less cheesecake while doing so.

Sister Sister
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Best line about friendship: “Sister! Sister!/Never knew how much I missed ya/Now that everybody knows/I ain’t ever gonna let you go.”

Ostensibly, of course, this is a show about family and not friends, but it can be argued that since Tia and Tamera don’t even meet each other until they’re teenagers, they have no shared sibling history and instead interact more like friends, at least at first. This song is a solid effort. For the sake of Jackée Harry, we will pretend the awful intro they switched to in the last season never existed.

Sex and the City

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Best line about friendship: None.

This song tells me nothing about friendship. New York is full of shiny buildings. A woman stands alone and friendless, then is very nearly hit by a bus. I like the little rushing synth-piano scale at the end, though. That part’s good.

Gilmore Girls

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Best line about friendship: All of them. It’s a Carole King song.

This is perhaps the most likely contender to give The Golden Girls a run for their money. Clearly, putting “Girls” in the title is a winning strategy. Carole King? Autumn leaves? Flopping onto a bed and laughing together? Melissa McCarthy? This show understands women and the things that matter most to us.

“Where you lead,” Carole tells us, “I will follow – anywhere that you tell me to,” even though we know, watching at home, that the entire point of Rory’s growth as a character means that she will eventually go places that Lorelai cannot – should not – follow. The hopelessness – the unrealizable state of closeness celebrated in the theme song is what makes it so bittersweet. Rory will, at times, push her mother away; she will go to Yale; she will not need you to be with her. She will grow old and someday die.

The Winner: A difficult decision, but the edge has to go to The Golden Girls. They sit around a piano! Dorothy chokes Blanche! All the Girls stride about majestically in massive coats with the kind of physical confidence I can only aspire to. They’re pals. They’re confidantes. Full disclosure: I began to tear up on my third viewing of the theme song and am now definitely crying. My kingdom to the first viewer who can bring me a gif of Bea Arthur biting her fist in frustration as at :13 in the intro.