The Best-Friend Plot-Device

The Take published this video the other day.

And it reminded me of one of my old Tumblr Posts.

I wrote this back when I was, well, less gentle in expressing my thoughts. I used to think writing strong and forceful opinions made for a more entertaining read, but that’s beside the point. My piece reflects much of The Take’s dissection of the best friend trope and it’s problems. One thing I addressed that The Take didn’t were instances when the best friend’s meddling actually causes trouble. And this goes back to the problem with this character type – their sole function is a plot device and they are never treated as human. So when they push main characters to bad decisions, we’re not meant to hate them because those actions were those of a plot device, not a real human person. The exception was of course, Henry Wotton, whom I talked about – he was a real human person who actually had an agenda for pushing his friend into bad decisions. The point is that when you actually treat the best friend as a real person and examine their motivations, you will usually not like what you find. And that’s when you have to reinvent these characters.

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