(Minor Age Of Ultron spoilers)
A mission for you dear readers: please direct me to any TV shows or movies where a girl and a guy who are close long-time friends (with history going back to far before the start of the show/movie) and working/living in close proximity do not end up together as a couple (or even tried). Please.
You see, I have many close male friends, but my best friend is a guy and I am a girl. We’ve been friends since we were babies. And here we are, eighteen years later, still friends. So this is a matter that I can speak about.
Over the years, we’ve had people assume we were brother and sister. That makes sense because we’d go to and from school together (though we don’t look alike), but eventually people just skipped the family assumption and guessed that we were dating. To which we’d both reply with “Ew, no, that’s like dating a sibling. Weird.”
Best friends is all we’ve ever been and all we ever will be. Coolbeans.
That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes enjoy when fiction characters who are best friends end up together. I guess I’m a sucker for fictional romance. Look at Fitzsimmons on Agents Of SHIELD. Through most of season one I convinced myself that I was totally okay with them being friends. They were such a good science team and their interactions were hilarious. And then Fitz confessed his feelings for her in the season one finale and I was hooked. Like, yeah, I loved them as friends, but he cared about her so much that he was willing to sacrifice himself. But then when season two began and their relationship was rocky in all aspects, I just wanted them to be friends again. As their friendship heals, I know that it’s only a matter of time before they’re actually dating. And I’m looking forward to that day.
I also hate myself for it. Because I spent years and years being an advocate for best friends staying just best friends, just to turn around and happily await a Fitzsimmons kiss. Ugh.
Why am I saying this now though? Well, I recently saw Avengers Age Of Ultron, and I was forced to take a look at the relationship of a few characters, thus spawning this discussion.
Okay, so you know in the first Avengers movie when there was serious chemistry between Natasha and Clint (Black Widow and Hawkeye) and the assumption that they were in a romantic relationship of some kind grew? And in Captain America: The Winter Soldier Nat wore a little arrow necklace?
But then in Age Of Ultron the real romance was between Natasha and Bruce Banner (Hulk). I did not see that one coming, and I don’t think anyone did, actually. And I’m not here to say that I loved it, because it was kind of sudden and awkward, but I didn’t mind that Clintasha (as they’re called) aren’t a thing.
Natasha called Clint her best friend in Age Of Ultron. And that’s awesome. Sure, their friendship became when he refused to kill her when they were younger (she was an enemy assassin), but since then they’ve been partners. And they are the only two Avengers without a superpower/power suit (and their own movie), so they’re already in a slightly different league. They’ve got history as a team doing dangerous things. As Victoria Hand said in episode 1×07 of Agents Of SHIELD, “[T]hey never had an extraction plan.” So they obviously have a strong bond by now.
So that’s why I would have been fine if not happy had they ended up as a couple in the end. But they didn’t. In Age Of Ultron, it’s revealed that Clint already has a wife, two kids, and one on the way, all living on a secret farm for their protection. Her name is Laura (so…I guess he doesn’t marry Bobbi as per the comics…). This was brand new information and at first I was surprised. Like, why should I like this new lady when he could be with Natasha? But as the movie went on, I was pleasantly satisfied. Laura turned out to be super nice and supportive of Clint and his line of work and the fact that all the Avengers just crashed there one night out of the blue. And what’s more is that Natasha seemed comfortable with her, and the two kids even knew her as their aunt. Like, YES. That’s what I want. I want Clint’s best friend still having an important role in his life, even if they aren’t romantically linked.
So the romance between Natasha and Bruce was weird and not my favourite, but the friendship between Natasha and Clint was perfect. Yay Marvel.
Because seriously, where else does that happen? I could list you numerous movies where the longtime best friend ends up as the soulmate and it’s angering me more and more (13 Going On 30, Something Borrowed, One Day, Valentine’s Day, When Harry Met Sally…). And I’m not upset that this happens because I’m sure it does happen in real life and it’s probably really cute and special. I’m upset that it’s a trope. I’m upset that I feel bad for loving Fitzsimmons and I’m upset that friends staying just friends is so awfully underrepresented.
So seriously. If you know of any movies or TV shows where best friends stay just best friends forever, hook me up because I have a mighty need. Mostly because I just want to know that it exists. I mean, surely I’m not the only one who’s noticed this? Even if you don’t have an opposite gendered best friend like me, you’ve probably noticed it. And if you do have one (or more, that’s cool too) are you bothered by the situation in the media? Let’s discuss!