‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’: 5 More Popular Shows About Female Friend Groups
Updated: May 15
As it’s name would suggest, The Sex Lives of College Girls, follows four freshman girls as they navigate life, love, and academics at the prestigious Essex College. Series creator Mindy Kaling has crafted four multi-dimensional characters - Kimberly, Bela, Leighton, and Whitney - with a central focus on sexual exploration as they come-of-age.
Despite their differences, the randomly-placed roommates-turned-friends support one another through the trials and tribulations of first starting college. There are moments of disagreements, and yes, the season 2 finale might challenge many of the hopes fans have for the four young women. But ultimately, they support one another while growing into their own.
“Many women know that female friendships are like, the most important thing," Pauline Chalamet, who plays Kimberly, told Insider in a 2021 interview. "There's a real intimacy that's created. The show does a really good job of depicting that because there's a way that you share in a group like that…”
Comparable shows like Sex and the City, or Pretty Little Liars, and even Golden Girls all center around four powerful, unique female characters who lean on one another to get through different stages of life. As we patiently wait for the third season of Sex Lives of College Girls, whenever that may be, these shows will certainly tide fans over.
Pretty Little Liars (2010-2017
One year after their friend went missing, four high school girls reunite after they are threatened by an anonymous person, “A”. This teen drama is riddled with mystery and tension that gripped teenage audiences throughout the 2010s. Despite dark underlying themes, we grew up watching Aria, Spencer, Hannah, and Emily grieve their (presumed) dead friend while also coming into their own.
They face challenges of any other high school girl; understanding their sexuality, falling in (and out of love), overbearing parents and absent ones too, academics and passion and everything else that comes to define us. What’s more, they all added something to the group, portraying themes of individuality and acceptance.
It’s easy to romanticize New York City; but for Hannah, Marnie, Shoshana, and Jess, the reality of navigating the city - Brooklyn - is far more challenging than what their young adult selves fantasized.This isn’t like living in college, sheltered and supported by parents while being told their opportunities are endless.
Rather, there comes a balance in working towards their dreams, finding (and losing) love, and making a name for themselves among an island of other recent graduates trying to do the same. Girls is a raw depiction of how female friendships ebb and flow in our 20s; while some get stronger others break down. But that’s what the show does well. It doesn’t pin the girls against one another; instead showing the flaws and strengths of each of them as they interract with the environment they find themselves in.
Sex and the City (1998-2004)
As Carrie Bradshaw famously said in the hit HBO series, “They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style." Maintaining friendships in your 30s is notoriously a difficult thing to do. Careers take center stage and the search for a life partner feels like a ticking time bomb.
But in those moments of stress and self-deprication, or even just loneliness, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha always find time to gather for brunch, have a night out, or even just keep eachother company from the comfort of their couch. Their lives may all be wholly different, but that’s what makes the foursome’s friendship that much stronger as they find solace in comparing life stories and experiences.
Desperate Housewives (2004-2012)
The women of Wisteria Lane are left reeling following the suicide of their neighbor; a woman everyone viewed with envy and awe. What lies behind the picket fence in this idyllic town of perfect people?
Susan, Bree, Gabrielle, and Lynette could not be more different in terms of aspirations and and how they live their lives. But despite each one enduring varying trials of midlife - affairs, financial troubles, the woes of motherhood - these housewives may be more alike after all. And while drama along the cul de sac is expected, they find commonality as to support one another through crisis.
Golden Girls (1985-1992)
What’s better than living in a house with your best friends? This beloved comedy ran from 1985 to 1992 and follows four women in their sixties sharing a house in Miami. Three widows and one divorcee, the now-single Golden Girls met by chance after responding to a local ad searching for roommates.
Not only did the cast include Hollywood icons like Betty White and Bea Arthur, it also portrayed revolutionary themes about female friendship, particularly as we get older. Highly topical for the time, Golden Girls fans watched each week as the ensemble fought ageism at work, death of friends and family, addiction and disease, and sexuality as it related to the 1980s. For such heavy topics, the girls kept things light as they embrace getting older alongside eachother.