When you’re looking for inspiration for your #friendshipgoals Pinterest board, cartoons and animated films probably aren’t the first place you’d look. However, turns out they’re jam-packed with besties who’ll make you wish you had a friend like that. Animated characters always have their trusty side-kick, and they can teach us a lot about the true meaning of friendship. While they often drive the main character totally nuts, these besties are loyal, supportive, and totally accepting of their BFF’s flaws. They don’t even have to be human, though! Who doesn’t love a good friendship between two talking animals? Timon and Pumbaa nailed it!
Next time you’re looking for something to watch with your BFF, why not check out some of these animated shows or movies? They’ll give you plenty of incredible friendships to look up to, and may even give you some ideas about how to make your bond stronger. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a bit more like Daria and Jane Lane?
16. Buster and Arthur, Arthur
Who knew that a friendship between an animated aardvark and rabbit would turn out to be so wholesome and pure?! Arthur and Buster may only be third-graders, but they provide plenty of #friendshipgoals material for us grown-ups. They always have each other’s back, no matter what crazy escapades they’ve got themselves into this time. Arthur tolerates Buster’s weird UFO theories and Buster always knows how to cheer Arthur up on a bad day. They even wear slippers with each other’s faces on them. If that isn’t true friendship, I don’t know what is. While Arthur taught us all many important childhood lessons, the most enduring was the power of friendship. Awwwwww!
15. Timon and Pumbaa, The Lion King
It might seem strange to admire the friendship of a cartoon meerkat and warthog, but let’s be real – Timon and Pumbaa are best friend goals. For one, they totally accept each other’s flaws and love each other anyway. Like, Timon even puts up with Pumbaa’s majorly pungent smell issues. Pumbaa doesn’t care that Timon is super self-absorbed who often ‘borrows’ his friend’s genius ideas. Their bond is so strong that they even ADOPT A CHILD together. Simba was lucky to have these two in his darkest hour! Timon and Pumbaa are clearly devoted to each other and are distraught at the thought of losing one another. They just want to spend the rest of their lives together, kicking back in the jungle and eating as many bugs as they can manage. Who doesn’t relate to that?
14. Carl and Russell, Up
Oh, man. Even thinking about the movie Up is enough to make the coldest of people shed a tear. That film is so emotional, mostly thanks to the beautiful friendship between old grouch Carl and six-year-old Russell. While Carl sees Russell as an annoyance at first, he eventually warms up to the young Wilderness Explorer. These two friends really need each other without initially realizing it. Carl needs Russell to help him through the sadness created by his wife Ellie’s tragic death. Russell needs Carl to fill the gap left by his absent father. Not only do these two go on some exciting adventures together, they also vastly improve the other’s day-to-day life. That scene at the end where Carl is there to see Russell get his “Helping the Elderly” badge… It always gets me!
13. Spongebob and Patrick, Spongebob Squarepants
They may be a sponge and a starfish, but Spongebob and Patrick have a friendship so pure it’s the envy of humans everywhere. They’ve been besties literally since birth, and are official members of the ‘Best Friends Forever’ club – they have the matching rings to prove it. While the two have fallen out many, many times throughout their adventures, they always make up in the end. Patrick is genuinely distraught whenever Spongebob isn’t around and tries to give him good life advice. Spongebob is equally so devoted to Patrick that he’s let his buddy borrow his actual brain on several occasions. In return, Patrick has threatened violence towards anyone who even thinks about hurting Spongebob. That’s friendship goals right there.
12. Lilo and Stitch, Lilo and Stitch
Disney classic Lilo and Stitch proves that even a species barrier can’t prevent the most beautiful and enduring friendships from forming. Lilo desperately needed some extra company before Stitch came into her life. She was lonely following the death of her parents and suffered bullying from her classmates. That company came in the form of a weird blue alien that Lilo initially mistook for a dog: aka, Stitch. The two quickly became inseparable. They truly love and support each other, with Stitch often making misguided attempts to ‘help’ his bestie. Although Stitch’s alien origins make him a bit of a liability at times, Lilo won’t let anyone criticize him or try to take him away from her. She fully accepts him, dangerous genetic mutations and all. Don’t we all wish we had a friend like that?
11. Mulan and her soldier buddies, Mulan
While the movie Mulan features a ton of amazing friendships, the one between Mulan and her soldier buddies has to be the most wholesome. They initially bully Mulan’s male alter ego ‘Ping,’ but the group eventually come to understand and respect each other. Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po genuinely care about Ping and are devastated when he/she suffers a serious injury. Most importantly, though, that care doesn’t disappear once it’s revealed that Ping is actually Mulan — a woman. The trio doesn’t judge Mulan due to her gender and immediately follows her without question when the Huns invade the Emperor’s palace. Even Mulan’s eventual love interest Shang isn’t as open-minded as these three. In an otherwise pretty misogynistic society, their unbridled support of Mulan is pretty refreshing.
10. Tiana and Charlotte, The Princess and the Frog
While The Princess and the Frog is ostensibly a love story between Tiana and her Prince, the friendship between Tiana and Lottie is a bit of a scene-stealer. These two are just too adorable! Lottie had the potential to look down on Tiana due to her social standing and race, especially considering the film’s historical setting. However, she’s actually a total sweetheart who doesn’t care about that kind of nonsense. She wholeheartedly loves and supports Tiana and encourages her to follow her dreams. In return, Tiana acts as Lottie’s rock, calming her down and acting as her voice of reason. The hyper-emotional Lottie is brought back down to earth by Tiana’s support. It’s the perfect pairing!
9. Helga and Phoebe, Hey Arnold
Schoolgirls Helga and Phoebe may have a somewhat uneven friendship at times, but they’re still pretty close. Phoebe is always super supportive of Helga’s schemes – no matter how frankly insane they are – and is loyal to the extreme. While Helga does have a tendency to use Phoebe, she also cares about her deeply and is always there to give out help and support when her friend needs it. The two also share a huge thing in common: they are each other’s confidantes when it comes to love. Phoebe is the only person that Helga trusts enough to let her in on her secret feelings for Arnold. She clearly values her best friend – even if she doesn’t always know how to show it.
8. Shaggy and Scooby, Scooby-Doo
There is no greater love than that between a man and his dog. This is only exemplified by the intense buddy-ship between Shaggy and Scooby-Doo. While all of the members of Mystery Inc. are pretty close, these two are pretty much inseparable. They eat Scooby Snacks together. While the rest of the gang goes off to solve mysteries, they unite in their cowardice and chicken out together. Can you actually imagine these two being separated? Their utter devotion to each other has created a bond that’s totally unbreakable. Sure, one of them is a dog, but we humans can still take a leaf out of Scooby’s book. Plus, we should make friendship ‘snack dates’ a thing.
7. Ash and Pikachu, Pokémon
Again, these BFFs may not be entirely human, but they still have a bond that’s the envy of us all. Ash and Pikachu may have got off to a rocky start, but the best friendships are ones that have made it through adversity! While Ash does kinda make Pikachu fight other animals on his behalf, the electric mouse is totally willing to defend his friend in any circumstances. In return, Ash rushes to protect his friend and never lets real harm come to him. The most emotional evidence of their close friendship has to come from Pokémon: The Movie. When Ash is turned to stone by the evil Pokémon Mewtwo, Pikachu desperately tries to shock his friend back to life and is totally devastated when he can’t. Eventually, it’s the tears of his Pokémon that revive this popular trainer. No, I’m not crying, you are.
6. Fry and Bender, Futurama
Fry and Bender’s friendship oscillates between them being willing to die for one another and driving each other nuts. At one point, Bender literally steals Fry’s kidney in order to sell it; at another, Fry removes Bender’s “antenna” (read: male genitalia) because it interferes with the TV signal. Despite these frankly appalling actions, the two remain inseparable. It’s not all bad: they’ve done some pretty touching things for each other too. Fry commandeered a huge space telescope to look for his lost friend, while Bender has saved Fry’s skin more times than we can count. Their relationship is practically brotherly, despite one being a human and one a robot.
5. Bart and Milhouse, The Simpsons
Bart and Milhouse are those two classic kids that get into all sorts of weird and wonderful scrapes together. While Bart is blatantly the more dominant of the two, he still cares deeply about Milhouse and is pretty upset when his friend briefly moves away. Sure, they constantly wind each other up and often act in a pretty disloyal way. Milhouse constantly snitches on Bart, while Bart practically tortures his friend with his teasing and practical jokes. However, their shared love of comics and Krusty the Clown always brings them back together in the end. It’s implied in flash-forward episodes that they even become brothers-in-law after Milhouse marries Lisa, a situation that I’m sure Milhouse would love to be the case. Bart? Maybe less so…
4. Marlin and Dory, Finding Nemo
To be honest, the relationship between Marlin and Dory is in many ways the best thing about Finding Nemo. Yes, the whole ‘finding Nemo’ part may be central to the plot, but the fact that Dory and Marlin found each other is also pretty crucial. They were both lonely, with Marlin being a single dad and Dory totally forgetting who her friends and family were. Despite being total strangers, they went on a huge adventure together and always had each other’s backs. They risked their lives for one another on multiple occasions. Dory gave everything to find the son of a fish she barely knew. Marlin kept her around despite the admittedly frustrating effects of her short-term memory loss. These fish are definitely friends, not food.
3. Finn and Jake, Adventure Time
Adventure Time is a pretty great show in general, but it totally excels when it comes to its portrayal of friendships. Just look at Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen! However, undoubtedly the closest BFFs in the show are Finn and Jake. It’s another case of the unbreakable bond between a human and his dog. However, Jake is so much more than Finn’s pet. In fact, he’s technically his adoptive brother! Finn and Jake support and love each other through all of their crazy adventures. Their closeness is made clear when it emerges that Jake can always tell when Finn is about to cry. They’re just so in tune with each other’s emotions! It’s too much! We all need someone like that in our lives.
2. Muffy and Francine, Arthur
The Arthur universe’s other iconic BFFs are feminist icons Francine and Muffy. The two bonded over having the same middle name – Alice if you were wondering – and have been crushing the patriarchy together ever since. Upon first glance, the two seem to be polar opposites. Francine is pretty tomboyish and loves sports, while Muffy is more typically ‘girly.’ Muffy comes from a background of wealth, while Francine is of a lower social class. However, the two are inseparable and always have each other’s backs. They also have one major thing in common: badass feminine ambition. Neither of them let the boys run the show. In a flash-forward episode, it’s even revealed that Muffy becomes the first female President. Friends who defy gender stereotypes together stay together.
1. Daria and Jane Lane, Daria
Speaking of awesome feminist best friends, Daria and Jane Lane are the misogyny-scorning BFFs we should all try to emulate. Their shared scathing wit and cynicism make them the perfect pair, as does their shared mindset of “misery needs company!” Jane and Daria always look out for each other. Even when Jane’s boyfriend Tom started to hit on Daria, their strong bond wasn’t broken. Not many friendships would survive that! They judge people together, back each other in times of trouble, and provide sometimes brutal honesty when the other is in the wrong. Also, they have frequent pizza dates. They’re basically living the friendship dream.