DISCUSSION: Who are the best and worst "best friend" characters in Episode stories?

Here are some prompts to get the discussion going:

  1. Who is your favorite best friend character? (If you have one.)
  2. Who is your least favorite best friend character? (Again, if you have one.)
  3. What don’t you like about best friend characters in Episode stories? (Cliches, tropes, etc.)
  4. How do you wish best friend characters were portrayed in Episode stories?
  5. Do you want best friend characters to have their own “side stories”? In other words, what role do you think he/she should be play with regards to the MC/story?
My answers
  1. My favorite best friend characters come from College of Eternity by @sophookles. Erissa, Vanita, Valeria, Col, Bryle, and Airin were all super supportive of the MC, whichI loved, AND each of them had their own interesting personalities/stories weaved in!

  2. My least favorite best friend . . . hmm. I don’t really know, to be honest. Basically, I don’t like any best friend who encouraged the MC to drink and party all the time.

  3. I hate when the best friend is only there to party, party, (oh, and did I mention) PARTY. I also don’t like when the best friend encourages the MC to pursue relationships with two different LIs. Like, I understand that the best friend is trying to be supportive, and he/she isn’t the ONLY one to blame, but it’s just seen so often that it’s becoming tiring to read.

  4. I wish best friend characters had more substance. I wish they had their own personalities outside of being the MC’s personal step stool and motivational speaker (lol). I mean, there’s nothing wrong with hyping up the MC from time to time, though. Anyway, I also don’t like best friends who are only supposed to serve as comic relief. Okay, sometimes, this can be done well. But, often, the humor doesn’t mature from the “i LiKe FoOd” jokes. Oh, and did I mention best friends whose only traits revolve around their ethinicity/sexuality? :frowning:

  5. While I would like for them to have their own side stories, I also think that if the main focus of the story is on the MC, then I don’t want 70% of the screen time to be taken up by the best friend’s escapades. BUT, with that said . . . like I mentioned before, the MC should preferably have their own personality.

I honestly wish I was a better story writer, lol. Kudos to all of the amazing writers out there! I know it’s really difficult to create meaningful characters AND have a great plot AND have smooth directing :flushed:

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I like best friends who actually have a life apart from assisting the MC
Not those who just show up to help the MC

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Exactly! And I never like when the MC just treats their best friend like a doormat :((

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Ugh yes, I like those stories where the best friend gets a boyfriend or a girlfriend or actually has screen time of their own

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Like the author alphan?

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  1. I think the best friends of Elyse in Wentworth (by elle badu) are pretty amazing! They’re all super supportive and are very realistic. The cast is also very very diverse!

  2. The MC’s “best friends” in AGAIN (by Rezogen) are horrible to the MC. Not only are they fake, but they constantly talk down to her and push her to do things she doesn’t like. They are written this way on purpose ofc but it makes my heart all sad because no one deserves to be treated like that ):

  3. I think that a lot of stories follow this trend of having the “token POC best friend” or the “token gay best friend”. Of course there’s nothing wrong with making the best friend a person of color or gay but sometimes harmful stereotypes are applied to the character. I’ve also noticed in stories that the best friend can only exists for the MC, like…make them their OWN person, you know? They should have their own problems and hobbies just like the MC.

  4. I know that for story purposes sometimes best friends are written to be toxic but I wish that in normal stories they’re what everyone really wants in a best friend irl. Supportive, loyal, etc.

  5. Kinda answered this one in 3 a little bit!

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  1. okay so like I loveee when the mc has a big friend group – girl squad, couples crew, idc I love it all haha. its so much more fun to watch and makes the 1:1 scenes with the bff feel more special

  2. i dont really know… sometimes it doesnt seem like theyre actually best friends which is kind of weird. like if they dont have any little inside jokes or funny memories then it feels like a kind of forced label

  3. I dont like video chat scenes with the best friend, or really any video chats in general. theyre kind of long and drawn out and usually just restate that they are, in fact, best friends

  4. I wish best friends stayed present in the story. in a lot of stories it feels like the bff is there at the beginning and just vanishes once the LI appears or the action starts. which is kind of sad bc those are all huge events thatd i would totally need my bestie to weigh in on.

  5. the can but they dont have to. it deff makes them more likeable though when they have a disctinct personality and plot line.

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These are such awesome questions! :relaxed:

  1. I really love the best friend characters in Legally Clueless by Charlie Cee. They are so sweet and supportive of one another, the cast is diverse, and the author really takes time to explore the identities of each character and their lives as separate from Avery, the MC. Also, Paper Planes by @linasofia is amazing for the same reason. Even though it’s a friends-to-lovers plot, Lina gives us the space to understand and imagine Elliot and Ro’s close friendship before any of that happens (as well as their friendships with other people). Both stories are so wholesome and I really look forward to their episodes because of these details!
  2. I can’t think of a least-favorite off of the top of my head, but I do find that unsupportive best friends irk me a lot, especially when the MC is going through a lot of drama/trauma in their lives. Usually, you want to root for the MC and it sucks when they don’t have a proper support system, you know?
  3. As @AmandaReckonwyth said in their reply, I also don’t appreciate the “token POC best friend” trend. This is something that I am personally trying to dispel in the story that I’m currently writing. You can tell almost immediately when an author is making an effort to develop all of their characters, and not just the MC. I find supporting character backstories to be important to my understanding of the story, too! Sometimes I also need a break from the main plot.
  4. I am a sucker for strong, loyal friendships. Like, when an MC has a best friend that will be there for them when they fall (I read a lot of stories with drama), I feel most satisfied. Also, a realistic best friend that will be there to check the main character when they’re acting erratically or irresponsibly, while being understanding of their situation.
  5. Best friend characters should absolutely have their own lives. Background characters are background characters for a reason; a supporting character should go beyond that. We as writers have the opportunity to go into depth with these characters beyond what a movie with limited time might do. Television series often show the side stories of characters beyond the MC as well, because focusing solely on one person for that long feels unrealistic and honestly takes away from a wholly enriching story.
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Yeah, kind of

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coughs Poppy from Crossing The Line coughs

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Oh my gosh, I LOVE College of Eternity! I totally want to be friends with all of those characters.

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