Can We Talk About…? Romy and Michele as the Embodiment of BFF Goals

An ode to a recent reunion of the funnest people we know.

Can We Talk About…? is a weekly series that no longer has to play with itself.

Brilliant thespian goddesses Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino reunited recently at a pre-Emmys party, reminding us of their legendary onscreen friendship in the 1997 cinema classic Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.

Instagram/MiraSorvino and Instagram/LisaKudrow

Sorvino, fresh off an Oscar win for Mighty Aphrodite, stars as Romy White and Kudrow, riding high on Friends fame, is her roommate and bestie, Michele Weinberger. It’s been 10 years since they graduated from high school, which Romy remembers as a hellscape, but Michele looks back on fondly.

They’re living content lives in Los Angeles—barely working, looking great, going out and performing choreographed dance routines, and going on gummy bear diets. That is, until a chance encounter with old classmate turned inventor of Ladyfair Cigarettes, Heather Mooney (Janeane Garofolo), brings them back to their high school for their titular reunion.

Once there, they try to impress everyone with how successful they are with lies. Bad lies.

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion was a minor hit when it first hit theaters, garnering decent reviews and box-office earnings, but in the two decades since then it has reached nothing short of cult status, particularly among queer fans.

This past summer, RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova fronted an all-star live reading of Romy and Michele at San Francisco’s Clusterfest, featuring Peaches Christ, Matteo Lane, Guy Branum, and Nicole Byer.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Clusterfest

In 2017, on the occasion of Romy and Michele’s 20th anniversary, screenwriter Robin Schiff recalled to Vanity Fair the film’s impact on one particular gay fan, saying a veteran had told her that while he was stationed on a submarine and closeted, he would comfort himself by watching Romy and Michele in his bunk.

It’s easy to understand Romy and Michele’s queer appeal. Anyone who works out in high heels and ’90s neon couture is always welcome in the tribe.

But it’s their friendship that truly speaks to gay audiences. As outsiders in high school, they were each other’s port in that storm of adolescence, and 10 years later they are each other’s family and soul mates. Romy and Michele live in a reality of their own creation, one in which they don’t need anyone else.

Though they’re seemingly straight, they express little to no interest in finding boyfriends, despite Romy’s half-hearted attempt ahead of the reunion. And they seem just a stone’s throw away from forsaking men altogether and tying the knot themselves.

Clearly, Michele is the more sexually fluid of the two, but while the thought of having sex with another woman “creeps” Romy out, she’s also down to revisit the idea in two years when they turn 30. One could imagine a sequel that involved them finally getting hitched. Though Schiff is resistant to doing a sequel, she knows that one would not involve Michele ending up with Alan Cummings’ Sandy Frink.

“That was a big mistake,” she said of the pairing. Schiff may have her reservations—having already made a 2005 prequel starring then-actress Katherine Heigl as Romy and Alexandra Breckenridge as Michele—but both Kudrow and Sorvino seem eager to get the band back together.

“I would be very exited for [a sequel],” Sorvino told E! News . “I’ve wanted one for years! There’s been a lot of fan clamor for it—maybe it will finally happen now with all the different venues you can make movies for.”

“Well, sure,” Kudrow added. “Yeah, why not? I mean… if it makes sense for those two people to be around my age and see what’s going on.”

Schiff did, however, bring the short-lived Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion the Musical to life, but it lacked the magic of the original—namely, Kudrow and Sorvino.
 

Twenty years later, Romy White and Michele Weinberger are still exemplars of best friendship for their unwavering (save for a fight on the way to Tucson) devotion to and support of each other.

Don’t you love how they can just say that to each other and know that they’re not being conceited? They’re just being honest.

Their love for each other allows them to be weird and fabulous and to define themselves and their success on their own terms. Whether they’re skirt-suit-wearing working girls:

Or free spirits doing an interpretive dance to “Time After Time”:

Schiff based Romy and Michele’s relationship on hers with her best friend. She recalled being stuck on a plane on the tarmac with her and how they just started reading SkyMall and cackling their faces off.

“That was the kind of friend you want to hang out with,” Schiff told VF, “that even stuck on a plane on the tarmac you can still have fun.”

So here’s to the funnest people we know. May they continue to inspire us to keep walking on that treadmill of life in a chunky heel, time after time after time.

Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He's formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat