A History of the “Mean Friend” on TV

I’ve got a mean friend. You’ve got a mean friend. We’ve all got a mean friend. It’s inevitable. You try and justify them by focusing on their better qualities, if there are any, but sometimes their inner she-devil dominates. But in the end, they are still a friend. Hate to love them, love to hate them. You stick with them for one reason or another. Is it a curiosity of how far they can go? Or are they spouting the truth that you seek?

I was totally into Don’t Trust The B In Apt. 23 for a short while, the beginning was great, and Krysten Ritter’s character Chloe made the show. She was evil, pure evil. But kinda awesome. Oh stealing her roommates boyfriend was just the start of Chloe’s mean ways. The appeal was curiosity, and of course humor, how far will she go? Maybe a wish to have the confidence she had. I common theme with mean girls is for sure confidence. You’ll never find mean friends doubting themselves.

The epicenter of mean girlfriends is the Housewives series. Bethenny was definitely the meanie tormenting the streets of New York, but I didn’t see her that way, as an outsider. Maybe as a friend I would have been terrified. Her sharp wit and BRUTAL honesty I think came off as mean but was maybe just a form of self protection and preservation, also a common mean friend theme. Inner hurt. Sometimes, if you look deep down, got to feel bad for the bully.

Those sweet Tanner girls on Full House had a mean friend. And influencer. In season 7 and 8, Gia became Stephanie’s BFF. Cigarette smoking, partying and rebellious, Gia was scary to pre-teens – but fascinating, too. Riding in cars with boys became a turning point for Gia when a car accident occurred. Influencing Stephanie’s demise, with ditching school numerous times, Gia’s mean friend attitude manifested in trying to create a rebellious clone, but those moral angel Tanner’s turned out just fine.

On 2 Broke Girls, you want to hate Kat Denning’s Max, but for whatever reason, you can’t! Gotta love her putting Caroline in her place and her snarky wit. Sarcasm comes off as mean, but in Max’s case, it’s comedic and a result of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks and just trying to make it! No room or time for being a sweetheart on the road to success in Max’s mind.

Is having a mean friend masochism? Nah… well, maybe. But it’s more than that. It’s a subconscious desire to know the truth. Mean friends are brutally honest, often without realizing the consequences of telling you that you look like crap today or that you’re ideas are blatantly stupid. Ouch, they hurt. But is it also an utter curiosity to see how far into cruelness one person could possibly go? How far to the edge of the cliff will they walk? Maybe all the way to the end and then they will hover and reveal they are the devil. Probably not, but everyone has a friend that they believe that is possible. TV has created some of the meanest BFF’s ever! But behind all of them is some obvious heartbreak or difficult upbringing. Even Eric Cartman on South Park has a reason for being the meanie on the block! Yah, I’m a 22-year-old girl who watched South Park. Deal with it. But we love them. They make us laugh. They create drama and dynamics. They speak the truth! And everyone has a real life Bethenny, Gia, Chloe or a Max.

Filed Under