Netflix’s The School For Good And Evil, available to stream starting on October 19, 2022, will bring Soman Chainani’s beloved book series about two polar opposite best friends, Agatha and Sophie, to the screen. While the story’s first adaptation is eagerly awaited by fans who enjoyed the exciting and innovative plot, the trope of putting two distinct personalities together as best friends has been tried and tested for decades.
From the MCU’s Steve and Tony to New Girl‘s Jess and Cece, there are many best friend duos on TV and in movies that prove the power of contrasting natures and how they can result in the strongest and most endearing of friendships.
Jacob & Newt – Fantastic Beasts
While the Fantastic Beasts franchise may not have received the same level of acclaim as its Harry Potter predecessor, one thing that has helped carry the spin-off film series is the friendship between Newt Scamander and Jacob Kowalski.
Apart from the obvious wizard/No-Maj dichotomy between the two, Newt is shown to be soft-spoken, awkward, and gentle, a stark contrast to Jacob being so open, personable, and strong-willed. Their complementing personalities allow for a more holistic approach to their missions in each film and make them the best of friends.
Jennifer & Anita – Jennifer’s Body
Jennifer’s Body – one of the sexiest horror movies of all time – offers an adept portrayal of a friendship between two individuals who are complete opposites but share an intimate and empowering friendship.
Jennifer is the popular cheerleader, while Anita (aka Needy) fulfills the boring and “nerdy” childhood best friend trope. The two are shown to have little in common, but still share a worthwhile friendship (before Jennifer gets possessed) with the depiction elevated by the fact that their differences are never boldly highlighted but quietly accepted, emphasizing that opposite friendships can exist as easily and simply as any others.
Shrek & Donkey – Shrek
Shrek remains one of the more iconic animated films of the 2000s, with many memorable lessons and characters. But one of the most celebrated aspects of the great film is the relationship between Donkey and Shrek.
While Shrek keeps to himself and is fairly anti-social, at first, Donkey is always shown to be loud, friendly, and overbearing with a character big enough to carry his own spin-off. The two are a worthwhile duo, with Shrek teaching Donkey how to be a bit more subdued and Donkey breaking down Shrek’s walls to make him vulnerable. Their contrasting but rewarding dynamic leads to great things, such as Shrek and Fiona uniting.
Patrick & Charlie – The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower offers a commendable film adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s bestselling novel, with Patrick and Charlie’s friendship, in particular, translating exceedingly well on screen.
Charlie is shown to be reserved, lonely, and introverted, while Patrick is always animated and extroverted, the star among his friends. Their friendship not only helps Charlie break out of his shell and find belonging with Patrick and his friends, and Charlie returns the favor by being one of the best friends Patrick has ever had. Their reciprocated affection and respect show yet again how two polar opposites can collide into an uplifting and life-changing bond.
Carl & Russell – Up
With its heartbreaking opening and wholesome plot, Disney Pixar’s Up is one of the movies nobody hates. In particular, the friendship between the upbeat and life-loving young boy scout, Russell, and the grumpy and pessimistic Carl is what makes the film so great and lovable.
Having lost the love of his life, Carl finds little joy in things anymore, but Carl reminds him of how great and epic life can be, rejuvenating him with the same optimistic energy that Ellie had when she and Carl were kids. Russell’s brightness perfectly contrasts Carl’s grim attitude, making for some great comedic moments between the two and a heartwarming end.
Jade & Cat – Victorious
Victorious is one of the teen sitcoms that deserve a revival, and a large part of that is thanks to the friendships depicted on the show, of which Jade and Cat’s is undoubtedly the best.
Cat is loud, oblivious, and too sweet for her own good, traits that perfectly balance out Jade who is angry, jaded, and closed-off. Despite their opposite natures, the two are shown to be best friends with Cat even bringing out a softer side of Jade that not many others see, as depicted in “Star Spangled Tori.” Their close bond is also shown when Jade visits Cat in her Sam & Cat spin-off, proving that their clashing personas only bring them closer.
Barney & Marshall – How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother‘s Barney Stinson was a lot to handle, proven by the many memes that perfectly sum up his character.
This is especially true when his loud, crude, and deceptive personality was placed alongside Marshall, who was kind-hearted, honest, and gentle. Despite this, the two were best friends who helped compensate for one another’s weaknesses and taught each other to be better, more rounded people, making their friendship much more intimate, important, and impactful than some others within their friend group.
Monica & Phoebe – Friends
Monica and Phoebe were complete opposites in Friends, a fact constantly shown throughout the series: Monica is always precise, firm, and practical, while Phoebe is cheery, easy-going, and free-spirited.
What made their friendship so great was that it often had moments where their clashing personas butted heads, but the two always resolved their issues and bounced back. The duo offers a genuine and relatable look at how friendships between polar opposites sometimes require work but are still well worth the effort, as they create a more wholesome worldview and rewarding life.
Steve & Tony – MCU
Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are one of the best ships in the Avengers movies, but it’s no secret that the two have had their fair share of issues, thanks to their distinct personalities.
Tony has always been more pragmatic and pessimistic when it comes to the fate of the world, while Steve chooses to constantly follow his heart and be more optimistic – two opposing worldviews that finally clashed hard in Captain America: Civil War. Yet their opposing natures are exactly what makes them such a popular friendship within the MCU, as they improve one another and come together to lead the Avengers as a powerful couple.
Jess & Cece – New Girl
Jessica Day and Cece Parekh’s friendship in New Girl is one of the things that make it such a binge-able and beloved TV series. The two girls epitomize what it means to be completely opposite, yet functional and realistic best friends.
While Jess is the down-to-earth, quirky, and relatable friend who grounds Cece and acts as her voice of reason, Cece is the ambitious, popular, and no-nonsense friend who encourages Jess to take risks and go for what she wants. The fact that the two have been best friends since they were kids solidifies how well they work together because of their totally different characters.