Top 3 Shows About Friendship Every Language Lover Should Stream in 2021
From Friends to The Big Bang Theory, TV series with central iconic friendships have glued us to the screen for decades. Whether you prefer indie, quirky shows like How I Met Your Mother or the Hollywoodesque gloss of Sex and the City, there is something both relatable and extraordinary in watching people deal with each other, care for each other, and spend a slice of their lives together.
For language lovers, shows about friends and friendships are invaluable learning resources because both the humour and the drama in these shows are usually conveyed through engaging dialogue filled with culture-specific jokes. Moreover, shows like Friends or Will & Grace are not driven by plot twists, but by a series of every-day situations that everyone can relate to. As a result, the language in these comedy shows is current, highly social, and extremely useful to learn how people speak in real life.
A few weeks ago, we received the sad news that Friends was no longer available on Netflix. Although it took us a few days to recover, we finally decided to put ourselves together and we came up with some help for hungry viewers who also love learning new things.
Below, you will find the three best shows about friendships every language lover should stream right now.
Por ahora (Argentinean Spanish) – Available on YouTube
Created by stand-up comedian Malena Pichot, Por ahora revolves around the lives of five friends who are going through what Argentinean people call “la crisis de los 30”, i.e., the anxiety that comes with turning thirty and feeling that you haven’t done as much or as well as you should have. The title of the show, which means “For the time being”, refers to the uncertainty that this generation experiences as they navigate their way through badly-paid jobs, unstable relationships, and an ever-changing society.
Norma, played by Pichot, is a thirty-something feminist that somehow ended working in an advertising company whose sexist politics and advertising campaigns are a source of constant frustration for her —and laughs for the viewer. At the same time, she is trying to get back to dating, which isn’t going as well as expected.
One night, for example, she meets Sebastián, a school trip coordinator who is genuinely worried because Norma didn’t have a graduation trip. “But… are you okay?”, he asks sympathetically. In Argentina, school trip coordinators are usually seen as stereotypically shallow, dim-witted, and immature.
This is the kind of cultural nuances that make Por ahora a great show for people who love learning about different countries. Besides, language enthusiasts will be able to see how Argentineans use “vos” instead of “tú”, and how they stress verbs on the last syllable (hacés or comés instead of haces or comes).
Please Like Me (Australian English) – Available on Netflix
Twenty-something Josh is experiencing some huge changes as he struggles to cope with being a grown-up. To begin with, he is forced to move back with his depressive mother after she tries to kill herself by taking a handful of sleeping pills. And to top it all off, his longtime girlfriend, Clare, dumps him because she’s convinced that he’s gay, something he’s never stopped to think about before but can’t unsee now that somebody else has said it.
Luckily, Josh is not alone. His best friend, Tom, a straight, awkward guy facing his own insecurity and commitment issues, is an excellent match for Josh’s witty, sometimes unsympathetic personality. Together, they will navigate their first decade of adulthood and learn to be more likeable, both to potential partners and to each other.
Much of the enjoyment in this series comes from the dialogues, excellently written by Josh Thomas himself. Frustrated by the complexities of dating, Josh says things like “I’m sick of sexuality being fluid. I miss the days when the gays were gay and the straights were straights and the bisexuals were lying!”.
Another great character, Ella, who dates Tom in seasons 3 and 4, also has some great quotes, such as: “Life’s meant to get boring as you get older so it’s not so disappointing when you die”.
Because the show is Australian, you will get to hear an accent that it’s not frequently used on TV, but that is famous for its vowel sounds, and its question-like intonation at the end of sentences. Stream the first episode right now and see if you can spot these elements!
Merlí (Catalan) – Available on Netflix
Merlí is a Spanish television series about a philosophy teacher of the same name who encourages students to question societal rules through the teachings of the world’s greatest philosophers.
Each episode is named after a different thinker and revolves around his main ideas. Throughout the three-season series, both Merlí’s students and us, as an audience, get to learn about great philosophers or schools of thought, such as the Sophists, Aristotle or Focault, as the show makes clever connections between their teachings and the students’ personal lives. Watching these friends grow up throughout the years is a real treat for viewers of all ages.
Merlí became so popular when it first came out that young people in many Spanish-speaking countries used to joke about how many Catalan expressions and grammatical features they had learnt thanks to the show. For example, some fans started to use the article “el/la” (the) before proper names, as in La Tania, which is a regular occurrence in Catalan but sounds funny to Spanish ears.
Is there any other show about friends that we have missed? Let us know in the comment section.
At Language Trainers, we offer personalized courses in Spanish, English and Catalan. In fact, we offer courses in more than 50 languages! So, if you would like to try a tailor-made learning experience, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our website. Our native teachers will get in touch with you in no time with the best pedagogic proposal for you!