10 Badass Yet Toxic Best Friends: TV & Film’s Hottest Troublemakers

“So I started hanging out with Rayanne Graff. Just for fun. Just cause it seemed like if I didn’t, I would die or something. Things were getting to me. Just how people are.”

– Angela Chase, My So-Called Life, Pilot

You know the type — the Bad Girls who corrupt the Good Girls. The Bad Girls who inspire the Good Girls’ Mothers to say “I don’t want you hanging out with that girl.” The best friends who “save” girls who perceive themselves to be “stuck” or “boring” by jump-starting those good girls’ little lives into free-fall.

Cigarettes are smoked, lipsticks are shoplifted, and, more often than not, lesbian kisses are exchanged. Maybe it’s because it’s hard not to fall in love with somebody who makes you feel such giant feelings, no matter what those feelings are.

I always wanted one of my own, ’cause I was a good kid who got good grades, didn’t drink or do drugs, worked a part-time job and always made it home before my fascist curfew. I wanted Rayanne Graff to tell me that my hair was holding me back, and then do something about it. Like the girls on this list, I think.

 

Top 10 Sidekicks Who Will Probably Get You Into Trouble, Look Good Doing It


 

10. Alex Nuñez (Deanna Casaluce), Degrassi: The Next Generation

Known in school as a bully and a troublemaker, Alex’s signature quote is “I don’t play well with others.” Her attitude got flipped on its head when Alex’s heart flip-flopped for Paige. But Alex was always really dark, like way darker than killing a baby harp seal.

 

9. Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki), Friday Night Lights

Julie’s Mom: “Honey, I don’t like your tone, I don’t like your sarcasm, and I really don’t understand what you see in hanging out with this [Tyra Collette] girl.”

Eventually Tyra became proof that even the Baddest Bad Influence could turn her shit around with a helping hand from Tami Taylor.

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8. Sugar (Lenora Crichlow), Sugar Rush

Even harder than having a badass best friend is having a badass best friend you want to bone. This was the case for poor Kim with respect to her fuckup friend Sugar who was always stealing things, drinking, and having casual sex (with men). Kim does get the girl-on-girl action she wants from Sugar, eventually, but Sugar can’t seem to do anything besides manipulate. The best part is that Sugar actually lands in prison and gets out early by fucking a female prison guard.

 

7. Edie (Mena Suvari), Six Feet Under

Claire was never a good girl, that’s for sure, but Claire gets so intoxicated by Edie and their Deep Talks About Art and hallucinogenic drugs that she actually sleeps with Edie even though Claire’s not gay and Edie is. Then Edie says, “The world’s not your own private fucking chemistry set. Just stay away from me!”, which should be printed on a sticker and distributed to straight best friends all over the world. (I love Claire though, don’t get me wrong.)

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6. Ashley Davies (Mandy Musgrave), South of Nowhere

Ashley: “I know I’m not the one you want her to be with, but I’m the one she chose.”
Spencer’s Mom: “We’ll see who she chooses. I guess the battle lines are drawn.”
Ashley: “Guess they are.”

It’s a rule of television that anybody who uses Manic Panic in earnest and wears more than three bracelets at a time is probably gonna make you skip school sometimes. This is another case of the badass best friend turning into The Girlfriend which is extra-special for the Mom that hated her even before the gay shit came up.

 

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5. Gia (Marla Sokoloff), Full House

Gia: “Mr. Tanner, my mom would NEVER let me have a party without adult supervision… [Mr.Tanner walks out] …which is why I didn’t tell her.”

You know when you look back on your life and think “that’s when I shoulda known I might be gay,” that’s how I feel about my lifelong imaginary affair with Malra Sokoloff, who played Stephanie Tanner’s best friend, Gia, in Full House. Sokoloff went on to corrupt multiple other youths on programs like Party of Five, Seventh Heaven and Boy Meets World. Gia peer-pressures the hell out of Stephanie during their two-season homoreotic best friendship, luring Steph to the darkside of Makeout Parties, joyriding and smoking and eventually gets into a car accident with two guys they met at the mall.

 

4. Evie (Nikki Reed), Thirteen

Tracy’s Mom: “Tracy was playing with Barbies before she met Evie!”

Getting one’s tongue pierced is the ultimate symbol of teenage rebellion. Then there’s drugs, drinking, threesomes, feelings, fights with Mom and so forth. Then you put all that together and you have yourself a movie.

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3. Effy (Kaya Scodelario), Skins

Effy: “Pandora, why are we friends? Do you ever wonder?”
Pandora: “Well, that’s super easy. You’re my pal because you’re the coolest ever, and I’m yours because I’ll totally do anything you say and none of your boyfriends ever want to surf me cos I’m useless.”
Effy: “That’s it?”
Pandora: “Yeah.”

Skins could be described as a show about self-destructive kids and the normal kids transformed into self-destructive kids by the self-destructive kids. But in Season Two, Effy didn’t even have to talk to get her and her friends into trouble.

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2. Legs (Angelina Jolie), Foxfire

Remember that time Legs walked into your school even though she didn’t even go there, and then empowered this whole group of shat-upon misfits into creating a homoerotic fire-cult?  That was awesome.

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1. Rayanne Graff (AJ Langer), My So-Called Life

Angela’s Mom: “All right, I admit it. I don’t like her. I don’t think that she’s the right friend for you.”

Rayanne defines this trope, and she’s alluring because she acts like she doesn’t care, ever. So for people who care a lot, like Angela Chase, someone so Devil-May-Care is just fascinating. Because you never know what could happen next. She might even break your heart!

Who was your favorite bad influence?


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Riese is the 35-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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90 Comments

  1. My vote goes for Kim Kelly on “Freaks and Geeks.” Kim is a total badass with a soft spot only for cute dogs, and at the end of a season of on-and-off friendship, she and Lindsey run off into the gay sunset together to follow the Grateful Dead.

  2. “’cause I was a good kid who got good grades, didn’t drink or do drugs, worked a part-time job and always made it home before my fascist curfew. I wanted Rayanne Graff to tell me that my hair was holding me back, and then do something about it.”
    ^^^^
    THIS.
    A MILLION TIMES THIS.
    I wanted someone to break me out of my tightly wound cocoon, to find the lock on my perfectly controlled and sterile box of perfection. I wanted to say “what if” and have someone beautiful respond with “fuck it”.

          • Thank god I’m not the only one. The fact that the editor-in-chief of Autostraddle knows just as much about Buffy as I do makes me feel way better about myself.

          • Riese, TV Tropes and the Buffyverse are inherently connected. This is my reason to (eventually) watch Buffy. Also it is a teevee thing that won’t make you angry, so there’s that?

            I am so tired from procrastinating and staying up all night that I just tried to correct the word “Buffyverse” because it was underlined in red and I didn’t remember that it isn’t a real word

            fuck, maybe I do have time to watch buffy

          • riese, i hear you, guuuuurrrrl. i also abstained from buffy. and wasn’t allowed MTV or the Simpsons. and haven’t seen star wars. #absentculturalreferences
            Buffy i could probably watch and appreciate at this point because it’s all late 90s/00s appropriately coming-of-agey, but I tried with star wars, and you know, i feel like it’s all older sibling nostalgia or something. i don’t get it.

          • Woah, really?!!? I haven’t watched it either, and since I’ve a long queue of movies, webseries etc I just settled for watching clips on Youtube. On another note: so far I’ve realized that I’ve just ignored 2 significant shows that were begging for my attention back when I was just 12 (Xena and BTVS). I feel slightly amusingly enlightened.

  3. The movie Thirteen came out the year I turned thirteen, and my mom had this great idea where we’d watch it together and use it as a springboard to “talk about [my] issues.” but she eventually chickened out.

    Which I guess is too bad, because those two chicks are kinda hot. or I would’ve thought they were hot when I was thirteen. no pedo.

    • my mom and i DID see it together but she didn’t know i had any issues and the whole thing hit close to home (in an overly dramatic way because in comparison to the girls in the movie i did NOT have big issues but they felt big in my little 13 year old brain) and i puked in the movie theater bathroom after the film and lots of little old ladies asked if i was okay and then i told my mom i had food poisoning and we should go home. so.

    • this is fairly similar to my experience of the film…except i convinced my mom to take me and my friend (a total badass herself whose parents didn’t give a fuck/didn’t know where she was most of the time) to see “Thirteen” based on the idea that it could be a jumping off point for an Important Conversation about Adolescent Issues. My mom’s pretty open-minded (hippie generation) so we did get to see it, but damn, that opening scene is rough. I imagine a lot of parents watching with their adolescent children turned it off/left the theatre before the story even really began.

  4. ooh I totally had a friend like this my sophomore year of college. We met when we were both studying Spanish in Mexico. I started the semester as a straight-laced Christian bookworm and ended it doing shots of tequila off of my friend’s stomach in a Mexican disco. Moral of the story: everyone should have a friend like this.

  5. “You know when you look back on your life and think “that’s when I shoulda known I might be gay,” that’s how I feel about my lifelong imaginary affair with Malra Sokoloff, who played Stephanie Tanner’s best friend, Gia, in Full House.”

    EXACTLY!

  6. and then AJ Langer became British royalty…
    Langer married attorney Lord (Charles) Courtenay, the son of the Earl of Devon, in a civil ceremony in 2004. A formal wedding took place on April 30, 2005, in Los Angeles, California.[2] Upon the death of the current Earl, Langer (who holds the courtesy title Lady Courtenay) will assume the title of The Countess of Devon, and will relocate to the family seat at Powderham Castle.

      • Yeah, that’s where Joanne Rowling got some of the names for her characters, I’m sure. There’s a village called Flitwick (pronounced ‘Flittick’), Crouch End in London etc.

        I think my favourite crazy British place name, though, is Froddle Dub, which is next to Flesh Dub. For years, I wanted to live there, just so people would have to write out a crazy address. It sounds like hobbits would live there.

    • it’s a terrible movie…but brilliant nonetheless. it’s monstrously fucked up and it has jenny lewis from rilo kiley and it’s a nice feeling to know that you’re watching the film where angelina jolie and her lesbian lover jenny shimizu met. oh, and there’s a scene where, if i recall, they all take off their shirts whilst sitting in some sort of weird ass prayer circle witch situation.

    • you have to see MSCL. i saw it like literally when it was on television, so I can’t imagine what it’d be like to ingest it all via marathon for the first time but according to popular opinion it’s pretty awesome that way, too. when it was over my friend amelia would call me or i’d call her so we could talk about all the feelings we had about that episode right away.

  7. Bad girls always have amazing hair!!! I have the puffy, wild, devil may care windswept look, but it just ends up looking awkward and unbrushed when coupled with my timidity.

  8. Doesn’t exactly fit here but I’m a scifi geek… Leila from the original Dr. Who series. She’s a lady, she’s a “best friend” and she constantly needed to be reminded not to kill anyone.

    Also, can we say Faith from Buffy one more time because, mmm… Faith.

    • i know, i tried to find a way to fit it in but thought, fuck like… i don’t mention any other actresses names here, it’d seem out of place… you’re so right though, i will say four hail mary evan rachel wood bisexuals before bed, even though i’m jewish

    • I just found out that when my mom was seventeen, she was in Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual’s dad’s theatre company in North Carolina…and she had a crazy crush on him. She told me that when she gets the chance, she’ll dig up some old photos of them together. Oh shit! why does this make me so excited?

  9. Okay, I’m prepared for a massive backlash here, but…

    My first thought when I saw this article on the main page and saw the My So-Called Life pic was, “ZOMG, that’s Cooper’s baby mama from Private Practice!!! She’s done other cool things too! Great!”

    I’m a little young for the My So-Called Life.. Apologies. :/
    But I’ve heard it’s great! And now I’m more inclined to watch it, so. Well done, Autostraddle!

    p.s. Evie from Thirteen and Alex from Degressi! Yes! Had massive crushes on them before I realized they were massive, not-the-way-straight-girls-mean-it, girl crushes!

  10. Gasp! I had no idea that Foxfire was a movie!! I read the book by Joyce Carol Oates three times when I was in high school.
    I think I’ll have to watch the movie and then read it again, this time imagining Legs as Angelina Jolie with that badass haircut.

      • Yeah, I was looking at the movie’s profile on IMDB and was surprised that it seems to be set in the time of its release rather than the 50’s.
        Ah well, I’ll try not to go crazy comparing the two. Thanks for the heads-up!

  11. I had two friends like this my sophomore year in high school. They somehow picked me out of the group of really nerdy, really good kids that I hung out with and started trying to get me to hang out with them all the time– they liked punk rock and metal and wore black and spikes and way too many bracelets and abused Manic Panic! I smoked pot and drank with them and one of my other friend’s moms called my mom and told her I was in with a bad crowd, but I didn’t care because I was a teenager. They’re still some of my my best friends even though we’re in different places and I still have an unrequited secret crush on one of them to this day.

  12. Geeze, I totally had a homoerotic crush on the bad girl best friend growing up. I was the nerd who always got good grades and shit and she did a bunch of drugs and introduced me to a whole lot of… sexual frustration.

    One of my best “you should have known…” moments was when she told me I should put some pictures of hot guys on my wall. I went out and bought Tiger Beat and other crappy teen mags and just about tore them into pieces with frustration because I couldn’t tell which guys were attractive.

    Duh. Seriously.

  13. I knew damn well I’d never meet anyone like this, so I always wanted to BE this friend–all swagger and smirk, no fucks to give, just too damn slick to be kept down by The Man (but quite willing to get slick and go down on The Women). They always had to best outfits, the sexiest voices, the most compelling personal magnetism that makes good people do bad things. I was SURROUNDED by good but gullible people. It would have been easier than getting a priest to pray.

    Unfortunately I was kind of a wimp, majorly depressed, and wearing a truly godawful wardrobe back in the day. No one’s gonna follow a sad nerd in a fraying polo shirt and too-short jeans.

  14. I had so many feelings when I heard Claire on SFU say, “sometimes I think this is what I want, and sometimes I don’t, but what if the part of me that thinks I don’t only thinks that way because I’m scared?” because that is EXACTLY HOW I FEEL. I don’t want to hurt anybody! So I also had so many feelings when Edie tells Claire the world isn’t her own personal chemistry set — I’d never want to make anybody feel like that! So how can everyone-else-thinks-they’re-straight girls ever figure anything out? (I ask because, obvs, I have feelings about this.)

    • I think the only answer is to communicate honestly. When it seems that there is an attraction between you and a woman, tell her frankly and honestly that you do not know for sure what your orientation is: that you don’t know what you want or how far you want to go; that you have no idea whether this might be a passing phase – whatever is relevant for you to say. That way, at least the woman will know what she is getting into. Or man, as the case may be…

      That’s my best guess, anyway. I hope others will be able to help you more.

      • Thanks, you’re awesome. I think I need to get over my fear of approaching girls I think are cute. Somehow I don’t think I have the right because I’m not sure of myself and it’s not fair to them. But people don’t generally approach me so that’s probably never going to be a good strategy.

      • My life story is completely the opposite… I was the Bad Influence, my friends’/girlfriends’ moms hated me, always said “my daughter never acted like that… UNTIL SHE MET YOU!!”… But now I’m the good one, moms feel safe and relaxed when their daughters say “Im going with Maurys”… ^^ *.* it’s a nice feeling!

  15. In 8th grade I had a friend like this.

    This is why I got wasted for the first time when I was 13, made out with 2 boys that night, got caught by her dad, had to tell my parents, was grounded for ages (although I think when my mom saw how miserable my one-week-long hangover was she lessened the punishment) and didn’t drink again until senior year in highschool.

    She gave me an escape when hard things were happening at home though so I’m glad it all happened.

  16. i had this friend! my mother hated her and i got up an hour early everyday so i could pick her up and spend half an hour smoking cigarettes before school because i LOVED her (not like a lesbian but like a friend). but i don’t think she loved me, though. not like rayanne loved angela.

    slow clap for Marla Sokoloff, riese. slow fucking clap.

  17. Wow, I’m currently working my way through the Six Feet Under DVDs (just got season 4), and I had no idea that there would be some bicuriosity in claire’s future! i’m kind of upset about the spoiler, but mostly just really excited. Claire is already my favorite character in television history.

  18. Riese I genuinely don’t understand how you function without Faith from Buffy in your life.

    Watch ONE Season 3 episode with her in it. Any one episode.

    I predict you will have marathoned all of Season 3 by the end of the week.

  19. I definitely thought of Faith from Buffy, although they weren’t good friends for very long. While they were, Faith and Buffy were skipping school (well, Faith wasn’t even IN school and stealing stuff.

    Also that friend of Dawn’s who was played by Amber Tamblyn.

    And Amy to Willow.

    I’m pretty sure my bestie and I were mutually bad influences, like a positive feedback loop of sneaking out at night and underage drinking. We walked down the road from Good Kid to Bad Kid hand-in-hand. We also shoplifted, but never lipstick–we appealed to our (insufferable) sense of intellectual superiority by stealing things like books of 19th century poetry. But only from corporate bookstores, because we had ~principles~.

  20. Yeah so… I can relate more to the bad girls than the little angels. In fact, someone please find me one of the nice normal girls so that I don’t end up in a ditch somewhere. Or if I do, maybe she’ll pull me out of it. I don’t know.

  21. I was the bad influence best friend. I actually lost a few friends because of parents who forbade their daughters from hanging out with me.

    My long term bestie was a super sweet and nice girl when I first met her (by cheating off her algebra homework). Now she’s an alternative life style hair cut wearing bisexual who smokes drugs and drinks alcohol. I’m so proud. 🙂

  22. YES to Gia from Full House. I was very drawn to Gia, for reasons I could not articulate at the time. Also for years whenever one of her episodes was on in reruns I’d stop to watch. Big “I should’ve known” moment, in retrospect.

  23. When I was in high school, this is what people thought of my best friend and I: she was the bad girl with the Manic Panic hair and goth jewelry, corrupting my silent, harmless-looking, good-grades-getting self.

    Except, y’know, I was the one who sold copies of test answers, stole everything that wasn’t nailed down, and picked fights with people on the first day of school just to get it out of the way.

  24. Angelina Jolie as Lisa from Girl, Interrupted. It was basically the dawn of my life long obsession with Angelina. It was also when I first realized that I find self-destructive sociopaths charming.

  25. so many off my favorite badass, corrupting-of-innocence friends on this list! as fucked up as she was i wish i had a sugar in my life when i was 15. your teens are the last time you can get away with acting that crazy. i wish there had been more seasons of the show.

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