Tanita Matthews
January 31, 2015 7:00 am

It’s fair to say I love a good box set. I love having a good story to get sucked into and a whole band of new characters to love as if they were actual people. I think what everyone loves about a good box set (or, you know, a good Netflix series binge), especially me, is how immersed you can get in one character’s life. I think it speaks volumes about your own personality and your reasoning based on who you best relate to, so here are my five ultimate box set heroines! (Please note that this doesn’t necessarily mean they save the day–They just kick ass.)

Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke, Revenge — Emily Vancamp

This character is all about beauty and brains, a lethal and most definitely deadly combination. For those of you who haven’t seen Revenge, I won’t spoil it for you, except to say that this character makes me tingle all over in excitement because she is so deviously fabulous. Emily VanCamp’s wit and cold stare reduces me to a quivering girl crush mess. What I learned from hours of watching is that you should never, ever, ever underestimate your opponent, and that honestly nobody in the freaking world can be trusted, unless you’re a dishy barman (cough, Nick Wechsler, cough). As long as you have copious amounts of money, you can switch your identity numerous times and be a black belt in pretty much every defensive art possible, nobody will ever recognize you, and you can quite literally get away with murdering your enemies! But what I admire about the character most is her strength and her quick thinking and ability to stay one step ahead at every point.

Petyon Marie Sawyer, One Tree Hill — Hilarie Burton

What I admire Emily Vancamp’s character for in strength, I also admire Hilarie Burton’s for in weakness. Peyton Sawyer is a leading female character in One Tree Hill and, again, not to deliver any spoilers but Hilarie’s character is such a dark bundle of emotions that even I had trouble keeping up with her reasoning at times. But Peyton Sawyer is a favorite of mine because she’s so beautifully tragic. I learned about true love from this character and how there is a special someone for everyone. Many a time in my life I’ve compared my affairs to that of a One Tree Hill episode (in my head, obviously!). Her best friend (Brooke Davis) is a legend, and their friendship reminded me very much of my own with my best friend (not that we sleep with the same guy, but that true friendship and sisterhood is an unbreakable bond no matter what angst you face in your life.)

Gabrielle Solis, Desperate Housewives — Eva Longoria

Gabrielle Solis (aka Eva Longoria) is a babe. She is a waft of glorious golden skin, shiny hair, amazing shoes, and a good, kind heart. Also, she has a torrid love affair with her gardener in the first season and it’s just hilarious. Gabby is everything amazing about being a woman: strong-willed and determined, and at the root of it all, wants the best for everyone in her life and is prepared to go to great lengths to achieve it, all in some amazing Dolce. Gabrielle’s character was built from the ground up; coming from a poorer background, she marries into money and makes sure her life is exactly as she wants it to be. She doesn’t let her past mistakes control her future happiness. (Until her pedophile stepdad turns up and threatens her, then things get a tiny bit tricky.)

Betty Suarez, Ugly Betty — America Ferrera

Forget about The Devil Wear Prada, this series made fashion magazines look incredibly exciting. Having worked at a few, I can tell you life at a magazine does not include illegitimate children popping up, tucked between pages of torrid affairs. But America Ferrera taught me a lot about staying true to yourself. She was a fantastic “ugly duckling” heroine. A bundle of sweetness with her ponchos and carb-filled diets, she showed us about true loyalty, and that at the end of the day, as long as you did your best and your intentions were honorable, you can never go wrong. Her upbeat attitude and badass outbursts when it all gets a bit too much make me pump my fists in the air for team Betty Suarez.

Phoebe Buffay, Friends — Lisa Kudrow

Everyone loves Friends, except my parents who don’t understand how I can watch and re-watch it more times than they’ve had hot dinners. My personal favorite “friend” is quirky and sassy Pheobe Buffay. I would never call her ditzy, because she is so smart in ways that people wouldn’t normally expect, that she goes beyond “cool smart” and is her own brand of “Pheobe smart.” She cares about her friends and their families and ignores the bad in people for the most part and concentrates on the good, even though her twin sister is a pain in the backside, her little brother is a bit strange, and her grandmother is in hell. Lisa Kudrow’s excellent acting skills execute Pheobe perfectly, and her quirky but oh-so-true songs have me giggling every time: “But the truth is she died and someday you will too, lalalalalala!”

So there we go, that is a list of the ultimate women of box sets who keep me hooked and giggling to myself about their antics. Any time I need to summon the strength for a nerve-wracking situation, I think to myself, “What would Emily/Betty/Gabby/Pheobe/Peyton do? And after I’ve eradicated all irrational methods of assassinating someone or singing to them, I usually find the answer.

(Images via, via, via, via, via.)

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