#6 Abby & Ilana (Broad City) v. #11 Bay & Daphne (Switched at Birth)

Division III: Friends from Childhood, Neighbors, & the Unexplainable

So, Abby and Ilana win this one hands-down. Broad City is a show about their friendship, and how much they love each other no matter what the other one does. I think we can have posts dedicated to their friendship later when they face more worthy contenders. (Or if anyone else wants to compose one…)


But for a moment I want to explore Bay and Daphne’s friendship. Unlike Abby and Ilana, they are strangers when the show starts and over the course of the series we see how they and their families blend.



The show ultimately focuses on their relationships with their respective biological families. This draws attention away from their relationship (and makes it difficult to find images of the two of them alone together).


There’s a lot of images of them jointly reacting to something someone else is doing/saying.


In later seasons they get more of a relationship. They are different people, with few interests that overlap, but they share this conglomerate family and they soon share friends, boyfriends, and schools. One thing I love about Switched at Birth is that it doesn’t resolve problems easily. An issue will come up, they patch things up, and then it rears its ugly head again later. Kind of like life. So, there is constant tension between Bay and Daphne about their relative privileges, about their choices, about their inclusion/exclusion in different communities.


A lot of their bonding happens as they get older and have more secrets they want to keep from their parents.


At the end of season 3 [spoilers!], following perfectionist Daphne’s almost-unbelievable rebellious turn, Bay makes a Sydney Carton-like sacrifice and takes the fall for Daphne’s vandalism.


In so doing, Bay puts Daphne and their family before her career as an artist and her relationship with Emmett (RIP E-Bay). She gambles that she can get her art and her relationship back on track, and in this last season we discover that that may not be the case.


In the fallout of Bay’s sacrifice, Bay and Daphne go through phases of martyrdom, guilt and regret.

Daphne: I’m so sorry that this turned into such a mess.
Bay: Yeah
Daphne: That’s why I’m not going to Gallaudet. I know that you didn’t ask me too. It’s just the right thing to do; stay.
Bay: You don’t get a medal for not going.
Daphne: I know that. I just wanted to be around for you. For whatever you need.
Bay: Well I need you to not be here right now.
Daphne: What?
Bay: I need you to leave my room.
Daphne: Bay…I
Bay: No. Seriously.


As you probably can tell, I like my fictional friendships laced with a dose of realism.


What is my point here? Bay and Daphne’s friendship, while it’s not going to win any awards, is something beautiful to watch unfold. If friends are the family you choose, they depict an evolving friendship from the family you don’t choose.


One thought on “#6 Abby & Ilana (Broad City) v. #11 Bay & Daphne (Switched at Birth)

  1. I’ve never seen this show! As you know, I don’t always go in for the sincere shows, though occasionally I will! (I also really disliked Vanessa Marano/”April” from Gilmore Girls and am thus prejudiced against her having her own show.)


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