At the top of 2021, Netflix released the show Firefly Lane, based on Kristin Hannah’s book of the same name. The show follows BFF’s Kate and Tully through their life journeys together. Following along with the book for the most part, the show received nothing but great reviews. The show follows two female best friends, who are in a soulmate relationship. This homosocial pairing is a very positive representation of female friendship, and since we don’t often see media representations of female soulmates, we thought this show was worth a deep dive, even though it’s about platonic soul mates and not lovers.
The show is organized through a series of flashbacks and flash forwards, as it pieces together the lives of Kate (Sarah Chalke) and Tully (Katherine Heigl) from when they met in the 70s’ up until the present day. Tully was Kate’s neighbor on Firefly Lane, and had an extremely neglectful mother, thus finding solace in Kate and her family. Ever since, the pair was inseparable, almost to an unhealthy degree. Okay, to an unhealthy degree.
Firefly Lane is a binger because every episode leaves you wanting more. The reason for that is because of Kate and Tully’s extremely close friendship. You may be thinking, Tully and Kate are definitely not lesbians, and you would be right. However, the way the characters are written highlights a soulmate level bond, and leaves a will-they-won’t-they vibe to be discussed. Although, it is true that Kate and Tully are both straight and as far as we know, will never date in the show. More on that later.
So, why are you reading this? Because of what happens to Kate and Tully when they are younger. In high school, Kate is wearing a new pair of white pants that she accidentally bleeds through. Tully gives Kate her pants and makes her shirt a very short dress. The pair walks out of school like this and are made fun of by their classmates for being lesbians. Tully, in her truest Tully fashion, flicks them off and puts her arm around Kate. While this was only a small moment in the show, it shows a societal expectation, certainly in the time period in which it’s set, but definitely still today, that two best friends cannot be soul-mate-level-close without being in love.
Per the time period, aka the 80s’, it’s clear that the bullying that Kate and Tully face is lesbian-targeted, as it was a less acceptable time to be gay. You see this theme throughout the show, as Kate’s older brother is closeted (and remains that way well into adulthood) due to the fear of being harassed and even killed. When the girls are made fun of for being lesbians, they don’t deny it — instead Tully flips the bird and acts as if she is dating Kate. That’s the magic of Tully. It was a risk to do something like that, publicly, and you can see it on Kate’s face as they walk away; she was impressed with Tully’s innate confidence and love.
Likewise, Tully always supports Kate and is there for her in a way that no one else could ever be. Through every trial of life, these two are together, completely inseparable to the point where Kate’s family considers Tully a second daughter. However, the way that the show is written also paints the pair as so insanely close that it’s almost not normal, which makes fan somewhat eager to see Kate and Tully actually fall in love with each other. Thus, furthering the troupe that women cannot be friends without being lesbians. But… would it be so bad if they did get together?
In the book, Kate and Tully do not end up together and remain straight women. Kate is in love with her ex-husband, and Tully goes through many different relationships (including falling in love) with men. Although it’s clear that no matter what, Kate and Tully are number one in each other’s lives. Would it actually be so bad if the show broke from the book and had them fall in love with each other? Would their lives drastically change that much? It’s definitely food for thought, and Netflix is no stranger to making their shows as gay as possible.
The show ends with a huge rift in between Tully and Kate; they are no longer speaking to each other, and this left fans reeling and confused, ready for the second season already. If the show follows the book, the separation of the pair would be due to a mistake Tully made. However, if Netflix goes off the rails, they could make it due to one of the girls confessing they have feelings for the other. (!!!) Okay, maybe not, but our little lesbian hearts can dream for a bit more drama.
Kate and Tully’s strong friendship highlights that you can be comfortable being exactly who you are, and should feel that way around your best friend. When bullied for being gay, instead of getting defensive and saying they are straight, the girls play into it once again showing that being gay is a good thing, and they will not be bullied for appearing that way. While this could be a little controversial, in the end, the story is about two best friends loving the hell out of each other for their entire lives. What’s so wrong about that?
You can stream season one of FireFly Lane on Netflix.