The Better Love
There are seven types of love according to Greek mythology. Eros is romantic love and Philia is platonic love to put it in simple terms. If any, which one is the better love?
Often, we see portrayals in the media where a protagonist will have to choose love over friendship, or in other cases will not be able to give the same time to their friends as they did before having a significant other. Such depictions almost pit one love against the other in this pathetic yet very human rat race for approval, affection, and validation.
I didn't know what to expect when I started watching Derry Girls, but I was more than pleasantly surprised to see five friends being absolutely chaotic and wild. Erin, Clare, Orla, Michelle and her cousin James, spend their lives under the British Army's hold on Ireland in the 1990s while navigating their journey as rebelling teens in a Catholic school.
At first, viewers might get frustrated with the "gullible", "childish" or just plainly "unreal" characters, but as the series progresses, we can't help grow fond of the girls and James. Each of their personalities are so well developed with giving respect to each character, even when they are obnoxiously picking on James for being English.
The careful attention paid to develop their strong friendship while of course, allowing them room for ups and downs with some bruises here and there. Michelle's character specifically is shown as very empowered and while she is always on the lookout for a boyfriend, her character is never shown to be any less than the others'. This then connects to how this is one of the very few media where we are not introduced to a significant love interest. Surely, due to the idiosyncrasies of each character's teen life there are elements of looking for romance but it is not the epicenter of the series.
Going off of our initial question then, is it possible for media to appeal to the viewer if it only really focuses on one love over another? If yes, then Derry Girls is the perfect embodiment of such an idea. If no, then Derry Girls is greatly lacking in a very important aspect. But the reality is that none of these is the right answer because the initial question is in fact a flawed one. This also then means that most portrayals we see in media with placing Eros above Philia are an inaccurate representation of love itself, because the truth is that no one love can be compared with another; each has its own place. There is no better love.
However, this does call for some skeptical thinking and raises an important point: if all loves have their own appropriate place, then there need to be more representations in mainstream media to move away from solely Eros-centric portrayals. If Derry Girls can give respect to the dynamics of such a complex emotion while highlighting one that is not commonplace, then so can other media.
To conclude, wholesome and pure friendships are just as important as passionate romantic relationships, and so deserve to have a little fantasy and romanticizing in media too.