Welcome back to the final bracket of the first round! At first, I was so glad that so many of my all-time faves ended up in this bracket...until I started writing this post and realizing how impossible it will be to choose between some of them. Why do we do this to you...and to ourselves? *shakes fist at the sky*
First, let's take a look at the PDF bracket...
And now, onto the votes!
Nostalgic teen entrepreneurs vs. your wildcard vote! I confess: I disliked Carry On, so this is no contest for me. I spent many an hour with the Babysitters when I was wee, learning about running a small business and dealing with runny-nosed children. Plus, there's a house with a SECRET PASSAGE. Magic and vampires are no match for the true magic of A HOUSE WITH A SECRET PASSAGE.
(8) Ferris/Cameron (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) vs. (9) Rae/Chloe (My Mad Fat Diary)
Ferris and Cameron have one of the classic symbiotic friendships of teen cinema, but we only get one day of their antics. On the other hand, Rae and Chloe have the ups and downs of real teen besties, especially poignant when contrasted with issues of mental illness, body image, and teen pregnancy. On bad days, they're frenemies competing for the love of the same guy, but they've got each other's backs in a way that Ferris and Cameron can't touch. Can their awesomeness compete with the siren song of nostalgia?
Over in the 5 seed corner, we have the beloved trio from My So-Called Life! And over in the 12 seed corner, we have fabulous flapper Evie and her socialist "Pie Face" pen pal Mabel, who finally meet when Evie moves to New York. Sure, Evie can't help but treat sweet Mabel like a beloved pet, just like RAYANNE COULDN'T HELP SLEEPING WITH JORDAN CATALANO. (Wow, I still have strong feelings about this.) Both sets of friends have power imbalances, jealousies, and the occasional laissez-faire attitude toward the bonds of bestie love. So which friendship foundation do you find more compelling?
We went with the TV version of this Vampire Diaries friendship for purposes of March Madness, because it's more popular--eagle-eyed readers will note that the original friendship, in the books, was between Elena, Bonnie, and Meredith. Now, you might be inclined to vote for them because the show ended last week and you're sad, but does a friendship in which everyone is constantly saving and sacrificing for one member (not naming names, but I totally mean TV!Elena) really stack up to an irreverent trio who help one member through an unintended teen pregnancy at a Christian high school? Also, Roland dressed up AS A ROLLERSKATE.
I watched The Outsiders specifically for this bracket, and...gosh, those dudes sure do have a lot of feelings, don't they? I confess, I don't quite see the appeal, so maybe you want to lobby for Ponyboy and Johnny in the comments. On the other hand, you have my all-time-favorite YA from when I was an actual YA. (We chose the book form of the friendship because it was more popular; also, the TV show was freaking terrible.) Cassie and Diana are such good friends that they're practically sisters--even though Cassie has serious feelings for Diana's boyfriend, she takes a BLOOD OATH with him not to give in to their feelings and harm Diana. Also, the girls save the world and have some wise things to say about female friendship.
Nerds vs. stylish nerds! It's hard not to love Sam, Neal, and Bill (well, Sam and Bill anyway--Neal is cringe-worthy at best), but then, have you considered the friendship between sassy intrepid reporter Kami and her droll, fierce best friend Angela? Sure, Bill comes alive when he dresses up for Halloween as the Bionic Woman, but Kami has THE BEST outfits on a daily basis. Neal and Bill are classic bully bait, but Angela could beat the bullies back with her fists of fury! What all of the lovable nerds have in common, though, is that they're loyal to each other, and never let romantic interests get in the way of their friendship...no matter how hard those love interests might try.
Here's where "yay, tons of my favorites in my own bracket!" starts becoming a bad thing. How on earth are you supposed to choose between friendships in two gorgeously rendered worlds of gods, magic, and sharp dialogue? Zuzana's optimism lightens Karou's fierce and tragic nature, while Eddis provides Gen with some much-needed practicality and a stern shake of the head when his (albeit hilarious) whining gets to be too much. How do you choose? HOW?
Battle of the YA historicals! Remember how I just said having tons of favorites in your own bracket can be a bad thing? Well, here are two of my favorite books about lady best friends--to the point where I gave my own best friend signed copies of both! With Maddie and Queenie, you get a blisteringly intense friendship born in the sky, during World War II. With Sam and Annamae, the situation is equally life-or-death, but their feet are firmly on the ground--the Oregon Trail, in fact. Both pairs of friends will do anything for each other (anything), and both are each other's first experience with having a true best friend. Both books made me cry, and this face-off does, too. So who are you going to pick?
Polls close this Saturday at 11:59pm Central, with results posted on Sunday. Which friendship will reign supreme? Let's hear your best trash talk in the comments! (Within reason. Don't you dare tell me that my father was a hamster and my mother smelled of elderberries, or we might have to rumble.)