Let’s face it, many TV shows and movies focus on romance or have an inner romance plot within the overall genre. We have categories such as Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller etc. Most of them have a romantic relationship woven in, with a happily ever after message. They are good movies that let us believe everything works out in the end romantically. With a divorce rate of 50% or higher for all marriages, that just isn’t the truth and can leave people suffering from a split or divorce, feeling like they did something wrong, or that they were extremely unlucky. Today, we are going to deviate from those movie types to look at TV/movies in which being single is honored. The star of the show is either a single person, or a single person that has an ensemble cast of good friends.
TV Shows that celebrate being single:
The Mary Tyler Moore Show – This show from the 1970’s really holds up. The star Mary Richards moves to the Twin Cities after her boyfriend of many years tells her he’s not ready to get married. Mary begins a new job, in a new city and makes friends with her neighbors and co-workers. She turns the world on with her smile and carves out a career and a happy life. We see men enter and exit Mary’s life along the way, but it is the friends and co-workers that are her constant. (Hulu)
Boston Legal – This series stars a confirmed bachelor and a friend who has been married multiple times. They head-up a Boston law firm. They are irascible, sexist and fun to watch. The women in their lives come and go, their friendship gets increasingly strange, but they always have each other’s back. Underneath all of the macho bluster, they care about others and prove you don’t need to be married to have a full life. It also features a strong single woman (Candace Bergen), who isn’t intimidated by the men and their antics. She is the true leader of the firm. (Amazon/Hulu)
Friends – After multiple years, 5 of 6 friends find their lobster – but that isn’t the main appeal! The show itself began with a group of 5 friends joined by an old childhood friend who shows up in a wedding gown, having just run away from her wedding ceremony. We get to see them move in and out of relationships, put their friendships first, and best of all learn their strengths, and the value of friendship. They’ll be there for you. (HBOMax)
The Golden Girls – Another oldie but a goodie. Three women in their fifties share a home to save expenses and gain companionship. They deal with old and new potential suitors, but the heart of this show is their independence, their bravery, and their support of each other. (HULU)
Sweet Magnolias – This newer streaming series has it’s share of romance, but the main character starts out being dumped by her ex-doctor-husband. Within the first two seasons you see her life get increasingly better. She has two strong friends who have chosen to be independent and to create strong businesses. This show celebrates these individuals and their strong lifelong friendship. (Netflix)
The Good Fight – A spin off from the Good Wife, these legal crusaders put their energy and their time into building a law firm, one case at a time. Their strength, compassion, single mindedness, and their ability to confront the legal system and each other is showcase for leading a life of purpose without the picket fence. (Paramount+)
Ted Lasso – In season one (spoiler alert) Ted becomes single. It’s not the focus of the show, only a small event. Ted is the man who is left by his wife, because he is relentlessly optimistic! He changes the life of everyone he meets. This is heartwarming, inspiring and made me laugh out loud. I want to be Ted! (Apple+)
Movies with strong single individuals that make a difference
Norma Rae – This 1979 film about a young single parent who stands up for what she believes in and fights to unionize the local textile plant that she works in. It is a journey of self-discovery and growing appreciation for who she is. Not currently streaming but available for sale on Amazon Prime.
Eat, Pray, Love – Based on a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, our hero goes from one relationship to the next, never finding happiness. While it becomes traditional in the end, throughout the movie she is exploring and working to find herself and rid herself of her tendency towards co-dependence, and her need of others’ approval. She is searching for what makes HER happy. (Hulu)
To Sir with Love – A 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier who takes a teaching post in a gap between engineering jobs. His focus on the kids, teaching them the fundamental of independent lives, and respect for themselves and others is a classic. A brilliant, compassionate, single, individual who makes a difference. (Amazon Prime Video)
…only you define how you will spend your life, where you will put your energy and focus.
Enola Holmes – Who knew Sherlock Holmes had a younger sister? She is just as smart, off beat, and strong. She becomes a super sleuth and outwits her famous brother. You will be rooting for her all the way. (Netflix original)
Wedding Crashers – This is a buddy film, about two divorce mediators who crash weddings to meet girls for quick sexual dalliances and to drink and eat at no cost. Each friend is either pursued or pursues a lasting relationship during this fun and sometime crude romp. They grow and mature as individuals. It is a movie about loyalty and friendship. (HBOMax)
Brittany Runs a Marathon – Brittany is a 28-year-old living in NYC. She is unhappy with herself and her life. Her negativity and self-focus get in the way of her relationships. This is a movie about personal growth, goal setting and growing up. There are times when you may not like the main character, but those are the rough edges that are sanded off as she pursues her goal of running the NYC Marathon and begins to be happy with herself and truly able to open up to others. (Amazon Prime Video)
Home Again – A charming move, starring Reese Witherspoon as a newly separated 40-year-old finding her way in LA. It’s refreshing to see the choices she makes and the honest way she deals with herself and the people around her. It’s a feel-good movie that will leave you smiling. (Netflix)
Little Women – The familiar story of the Marsh sisters as seen through the eyes of Jo, the most independent, rambunctious, and determined of the Marsh girls. She isn’t interested in marriage, not interested in parties. She wants to write and see the world. The 1994 version with Wynona Rider is my favorite. The 2019 version stays truer to the story original author’s life story. Either are worth watching. (Netflix)
Under the Tuscan Sun – After learning her husband is cheating on her, Frances is encouraged to take a tour of Italy. On a whim she buys a Tuscan villa and starts her new life which now includes painters, repair people, and neighbors. It’s a coming-of-age story for someone who is already middle aged. (Amazon Prime Video)
Legally Blonde – Sorority sister, Elle Woods is dumped by her college sweetheart. To win him back she manages to be admitted to Harvard Law. Here she learns of his engagement to another law student. Her compassion, fashion knowledge and hidden intelligence help her to rise to the top. She finds out what she really wants and is capable of. From fashionista and sorority ingénue to Law School valedictorian. It’s a great story. (Amazon Prime Video)
Being single is an opportunity to find out what is important to you without compromise. Only you define how you will spend your life, where you will put your energy and focus. Use this time to become the happiest version of yourself. Just like the characters in the movies and TV shows mentioned above.