The 20 Definitive Foursomes In Pop Culture History

It’s happening: this week, we’ll see the release of Fantastic Four — the latest Marvel venture vying for blockbuster rights and reputation.

But we can’t help but think out of every fantastically-described foursome, the superhero bit is slightly lacking. After all, since the dawn of time (or the 1960s), we’ve been introduced to all types of squads, with each contributing to the pop culture landscape in a real and lasting way. (Here’s looking at you, The Hills.)

So with that in mind, we’ve selected our favorite 20 foursomes to honor here. Sure, none are the Human Torch or the guy made out of stone, but on the flipside, when did the Fantastic Four ever share a pair of traveling pants?

Exactly.

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Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures Corporation.
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)

Think of it as the late sixties’ equivalent of The Overnight. After documentarian Bob Sanders (Robert Culp) and his wife Carol (Natalie Wood) attend a group therapy session, they invite fellow couples (Ted and Alice — played by Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon) over for a night of feelings, emotions, and, well, forcing Ted and Alice to acknowledge their feelings and emotions. Which, of course, leads to more than a little sexual tension between all of them.
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Photo: Richard Mitchell/REX USA.
The Beatles

As if we weren’t going to include The Fab Four in our round-up — especially since John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison changed rock music as we know it. From their early days at The Cavern in Liverpool, to their final performance on the rooftop of Apple Headquarters (not the Steve Jobs one), the foursome re-defined the sixties musical landscape. This explains why several decades after their first hit, we still want to talk about them so much.
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Photo: Snap Stills/REX USA.
Sex & The City (1998-2004)

Imagine a world without Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon). Even worse, imagine a world without Carrie’s voiceovers and her very fancy one-column/week journalism job that managed to sustain her financially for decades. It would be bleak, it would be colorless. And more specifically, it’d be devoid of us having spent the duration of the series identifying ourselves as a specific character. Which, as we all know, was pivotal to our development as teens and early 20-somethings in a pre-Internet world.
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Photo: c.Warner Br/Everett/REX USA.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

In retrospect, a pair of pants that can fit everybody perfectly are just called “jeggings.” But before the official term, we lived through the adventures and misadventures of separated best pals Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Lena (Alexis Bledel), Carmen (America Ferrera), and Bridget (Blake Lively). For one summer, these gals were united only by a pair of magical pants that gave them the guts to make bad choices, and then the strength to learn from them. So technically, the pants are the real star.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
The Craft (1996)

Few quotes are as empowering as Nancy Downs’ (Fairuza Balk) declaration, “We are the weirdos, mister.” This explains why The Craft resonated so deeply with any person or squad who felt left out of the social norm. When friends Nancy, Bonnie (Neve Campbell), and Rochelle (Rachel True) recruit Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) to round out their witchcraft-based circle, their friendship acts as a testament to the power of teen girls. It also offers a crash course in what to do when one of your friends, well, tries to kill you because your magic is stronger than hers.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
Now And Then (1995)

Hands up if you spent countless recesses and summer afternoons appointing yourself and any corresponding pals as Roberta (Christina Ricci), Teeny (Thora Birch), Sam (Gaby Hoffmann), or Chrissy (Ashley Aston Moore). We totally did the same thing. Perhaps one of the first famous foursomes to resonate with us on an obsession-based level, Now and Then taught us that differences in personality should be celebrated, and that independence from your friends only makes your friendship stronger. Also: never jump into a sewer in a rainstorm. It’s only just a necklace.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)

We know that after landing in a magical land following a tornado, Dorothy’s (Judy Garland) number one goal was to venture to Oz so she could get back to Kansas. We also know that without The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), The Tin Man (Jack Haley), and The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), she never would’ve made it there — especially with the Wicked Witch of the West on her tail (Margaret Hamilton). Behold: the definition of #SquadGoals.

And no, we’re not including Toto because he was obviously following his own agenda.
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Photo: SNAP/REX USA.
Ghostbusters (1984)

Who you gonna call? Duh: Ghostbusters. More specifically, a group of unemployed scientists who discover a way to trap and remove ghosts from haunted homes, launching an empire in the process (before having to destroy another one). So, thanks to Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), and Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Winston), we can sleep better at night knowing that Zuul has been defeated. Or, more importantly, that Sigourney Weaver is not possessed.
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Led Zeppelin

Few bands are as indicative of the seventies’ male ego-driven musical landscape as Led Zeppelin. Members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham, tore up stages, recording studios, and hotel rooms. They ultimately paved the way for the excess of the eighties with their nightmare-ish reputations and affinity for acting out. (Suggested read: I’m With the Band by Pamela Des Barres.) Of course, they affected serious change in the rock universe, upping the industry ante with complicated melodies and sensationalist guitar solos. But more specifically, these guys were also the worst.
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Photo: c.Columbia/Everett/REX USA.
Stand By Me (1986)

If Now and Then were a little darker, more broody, and fundamentally more upsetting (and starred all boys), you’d have Stand By Me. This drama is about four pals (played by Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell) who spend a summer trying find the body of a missing boy. Even sadder? The movie begins with the death of a friend. Not even The Craft started that dark.
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Photo: c.20thC.Fox/Everett/REX USA.
Heathers (1988)

It’s the movie that spawned Mean Girls. Although nearly 20 years before we rendezvoused with The Plastics, we found ourselves with the Heathers (Shannen Doherty, Kim Walker, and Lisanne Falk).This group of girls took new girl Veronica (Winona Ryder), under their manipulative wings, and make her life relatively miserable. The problem is, the friendship goes south when Veronica’s boyfriend J.D. (Christian Slater) begins killing the Heathers, setting in motion a series of events that make us all glad high school is over. (Or, in my case, that high school was a lot more boring.)
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Girls (2012 to present)

For the record, Girls isn’t the millennial Sex and the City — even if Hannah (Lena Dunham) declaring that she’s “the voice of a generation” in the series pilot seems like something Carrie Bradshaw once thought. Instead, Girls is the all-too-real tale of four friends (played by Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, and Zosia Mamet) who bonded in their early twenties and are quickly finding themselves drifting apart. Which is realistic: at some point in your mid-to-late twenties, you just don’t find yourself talking as much to the friends you had when you were somebody else and/or somebody younger. Especially if your relationship looks like Hannah and Marnie’s (Williams).
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
Mean Girls (2004)

The Plastics (played by Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried) are like, really pretty. But where Heathers was based more on overt meanness, the antagonists of Tina Fey’s teen comedy opt for sneaky warfare: stealing boyfriends, backhanded compliments, and three-way calling attacks. Obviously, this gets worse (or better) when Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) joins up with the gang and loses who she is in the process. The bad news? Her actions lead to the public reveal of the Burn Book. The good? Everything works out in the end. (Spoiler alert.)
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Photo: c.Touchstone/Everett/REX USA.
Golden Girls (1985-1992)

No disrespect to Marvel, but Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan), Rose Nylund (Betty White), and Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) are the only Fantastic Four that truly matter. I bet this is why Drake loves Miami so much.
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Photo: CHARLES KNIGHT/REX USA.
ABBA

Why we don’t talk or write about ABBA on a daily basis is a disgrace to ourselves and the Swedish foursome’s disco-pop legacy. The band was founded and fronted by then-couples Agnetha Faltskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. ABBA delivered not just a slew of bangers, but eventually led to Mamma Mia! — the play-turned-movie that changed us all.
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Photo: David Fisher/REX USA.
Destiny's Child 1.0

Once upon a time, before Current Beyonce™, Destiny’s Child reunions, or the Destiny’s Child of the early-to-mid-2000s, there was Destiny’s Child: the original. Once upon a time, the band consisted of members Beyonce Knowles, LaTavia Roberson, LeToya Luckett, and Kelly Rowland. Then, the lineup shifted to include Beyonce, Kelly, Michelle Williams, and Farrah Franklin. And then — after all that — there were three (goodbye, Farrah). But lest we forget that upon the release of The Writing’s On the Wall, Destiny’s Child was a four-piece, and because of that four-piece, we got “Say My Name.” #Namaste
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Photo: REX USA.
Little Women

Praise be to Louisa May Alcott who gave us four fictional sisters (Jo March, Amy March, Beth March, and Meg March) as independent as they are smart and likeable. (Even if Amy did end up marrying Laurie.) The reason we still care about this particular foursome is simple: despite the novel being set in the 19th century, it still saw the sisters rally together to support each other, creating a framework for the type of sisterhood most of our friendships consist of now. This is also probably why the book keeps being remade into movies, with the most current remake having been announced earlier this year.

Note: if you can read this, Little Women producers, some of us will pay real money to see Christian Bale play Laurie’s dad.
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Photo: Snap Stills/REX USA.
The O.C. (2003-2007)

At one point, most of us aspired to be part of the foursome that was Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson), Seth Cohen (Adam Brody), Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), and Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). This is despite these privileged teens creating a slew of unnecessary problems that put them into countless bad situations that ended with everything from shootings to car accidents. Thus, in real life, this particular foursome would be the worst. (Imagine the complaining — imagine it.) But on the small screen? Logic had no place. At one point or another, we all wore bikini tops under tanks, telling ourselves that this would for sure attract that guy with the leather wrist cuff.
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Photo: Courtesy of The CW.
Gossip Girl (2007-2012)

Okay, but if The O.C. was our beloved we-should-know-better-but-don’t foursome, Gossip Girl is its infamous please-don’t-ask-about-it cousin (who we keep hanging out with). While Summer, Seth, and friends seemed to at least tolerate each other, Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), and Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) did not. (I mean, not to ruin the ending, but Dan Humphrey was Gossip Girl — so like, what?!) Instead, they piled drama upon drama, creating webs of lies, deceit, and miscommunication that were so frustrating, most of us had to tap out before the series was over.

But that isn’t to say they aren’t one of pop culture’s best foursomes. After all, few characters ever have the power to be so frustrating that you internally scream for the duration of an episode. (Or while writing a paragraph about them.)
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Photo: Courtesy of MTV.
The Hills (2006-2010)

For five beautiful seasons, Lauren Conrad, Audrina Patridge, Lo Bosworth, and Heidi Montag lived the reality TV dream. (The sixth season is dead to us.) Going from (probably faux) jobs to nightclubs to poolsides, they embodied what many of us thought was the Californian lifestyle. This was even when Lauren and Heidi became enemies, and “You know what you did!” became a catchphrase. But still, without them, we’d never have been introduced to Los Angeles as we now know it. And some of us wouldn’t have played the series’ theme song on the plane (as recently as June) when landing in L.A. without the inspiration of Conrad and friends.
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