Urban Dictionary defines a "Bromance" as "Describes the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males."
This is a fairly new term, as I can never remember hearing it back when I was a teenager and the ladies wore their hair BIG. You know, that "Aqua Net Hair" from the 80's? We didn't have "Bromances" back then. I mean I guess we had them, but they weren't called that.
I have no idea of when the term "bromance" started, but I felt relieved in seeing that it was the "Urban Word of the Day" on Urban Dictionary in 2006 and 2009. It's relatively new term, but one that has become pretty quickly absorbed into the popular culture.
Every time I read about a new show, or movie, or anything involving two males that get along, I see the relationship as being described as a "bromance". And "Bros", to our credit really don't seem to mind. It's become an accepted description of male relationships.
What is the appeal? I think for most, the idea of having a close male friend that you can rely on is kind of a fantasy. Not a fantasy as in impossible, but rather a fantasy as between work, marriage, children, children's activities, family stuff (inlaws, weddings, funerals, etc) and perhaps some "workout time".. we really don't have much "guy time". Thankfully, the wonderful television people in the world have provided us with a great group of "bros" that we could hang with from our living room.
So I thought it would be "fun" to make a "Top Ten List of TV Bromances". I was wrong. It was tough. I had to develop a set of criteria to eliminate certain elements, and then I also had to decide how to rank the group I settled on.
MY Criteria -
- no relatives ( sorry to Frasier and Niles and any other set of brothers),
- Comedic duos only ( apologies to Crockett and Tubbs or Starsky and Hutch),
- no kid shows (sorry Drake and Josh and anything else from Nick or their ilk)
- Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski (South Park) - I really wanted to put these guys in the top ten. However, I'm not really comfortable describing 3rd/4th graders as a "bromance". Cartoon characters or not.
- Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement (The Flight of the Conchords) - probably the funniest duo that I left out of the top ten. Just not enough "material" to include them.
- Seth Cohen and Ryan Atwood (The OC) - A teenage bromance from probably my favorite of the "teen dramas". And technically, not comedic, although they were funny.
- Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane (The Dukes of Hazzard) - True they weren't equals, but they were bros before they were called "bros".
- Kirk and Spock (Star Trek) - really wanted to put them in the top ten as well. But, Spock is an alien. Can an alien and a human have a bromance? And yes, I know Kirk had sex with aliens.
- Brian the dog and Stewie Griffen (Family Guy) - Again, they are a great on screen couple, but can a dog and a human baby qualify as bros? I think not.
- Tim Taylor and Al Borland (Home Improvement) I think if Tim would have been more accepting of Al, they might have made it.
- Vince, Eric, Drama, Turtle, and Ari (Entourage) - These guys should probably make the list, but I can't have a Five Way Bromance going on, that's just wrong.
10. Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)
I wasn't going to put these guys in the top 10, because they spend about 90% of their time in disagreement. However, Leonard puts up with Sheldon's rules, regulations, etc, etc.. when I don't think anyone else could. Plus they go comic book shopping together, they have "HALO night", they are I'm sure, what every nerd wished he had in a bro. And as bad as Sheldon is as a roommate, he is a pretty good bro. He not only learned to accept Leonard's relationship with Penny, he continued his friendship and actually strengthened it with her, after her and Leonard split. Some would say that's not true "Bro" behavior, but everyone knows that Penny and Leonard are still in love with each other.
9. Marshall Eriksen and Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother)
Marshall and Ted were roomates under the following circumstances:
a. College Roomates
b. College Roomates with a steady girlfriend (Marshall and Lilly)
c. Adult Roomates with a steady girlfriend
d. Adult Roomates with the steady girlfriend/fiance (again Lilly)
e. Adult Roomates with a wife!
f. Adult Roomates with a wife, and the other guy is engaged.
I'm not sure there's anything that can break up this Bromance. Including Barney, who continues to "make a move" on Ted to be his "best friend." Ted and Marshall will always have each other, and have made some tremendous "Bro Moments", who can forget their occasional "Pizza Runs" to Chicago?
8. Danny Tanner and Joey Gladstone (Full House)
Imagine you wife dies and leaves you with some children to raise. Who do they decide to have move into the house and "help out"? Well, "Uncle Joey" of course! Seriously. That's some pretty strong Bromance going on. I don't know a single dude who would actually do this (He wasn't really their Uncle). And yes, they did bring along John Stamos as "Uncle Jesse" as well. (Jesse was supposedly his former wife's brother). Let's put it this way... if there wasn't such a strong connection, why did Bob Saget write a song entitled, "Danny Tanner was not Gay"?
(Video Not Safe For Work)
I rest my case.
7. Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin (Cheers)
Norm and Cliff hung out next to each other, at the same bar, nearly every night for 11 years. Despite their obvious differences, they make this friendship work.
a. Norm is married, Cliff is not
b. Cliff is gainfully employed (United States Postal Service) and Norm usually isn't.
c. Norm is generally loved by everyone, Cliff is not.
d. Cliff is amazed with "little known facts", Norm not so much
Basically what held them together was a love of Beer, and living vicariously through their hero, Sam Malone. Can two such simple things keep a "Bromance" going?
Yes, yes it can.
6. Benjamin Franklin Pierce and John McIntyre (M*A*S*H)
Some may argue that BJ Honeycutt would make a better bro than Trapper John, after all they spent more episodes together (187 for BJ, only 74 for Trapper). However, in the world of "Bro-hood" there is a certain chemistry that must occur. Although Hawkeye and BJ were close, I don't think they became as close as he was with Trapper John. In fact, BJ's first episode on M*A*S*H when Hawkeye drove halfway across Korea to say goodbye to Trapper, who was being sent home.
5. Dwight Schrute and Michael Scott (the office)
What would the office be without the Bromance of Michael and Dwight? Well, judging by this year's episodes, pretty boring. No matter what was happening in the office, no matter what crazy scheme Michael came up with, Dwight always had his back. And although it seemed that Michael was always looking for something better than Dwight, he never found it. Not amoungst his male coworkers, not with his female coworkers, not anywhere. As far as "Bromance Capers" go, there are probably too many to mention, but who can forget these two scarfing down fetticini alfredo before the "Cure for Rabies" 5K.
4. Balki Bartokomous and Larry Appleton (Perfect Strangers)
The story of Balki, an immigrant from the imaginary island of Mypos, who moves to the big city(Chicago) to live with his "Cousin Larry". Larry, of course had no idea he was coming, who he was, or why he was on his doorstep. Whether Larry and Balki were actually related is under some debate. Wikipedia says that they are "distant cousins", but I seem to remember an episode whether Larry actually had Balki's heritage researched and found out that they actually weren't. Regardless the two engage in tons of mayhem and hilarity, and they would be lost without each other.
Balki is so happy to be in the top 5, he wishes to do the "Dance of Joy".
You know how they keep re-making old tv shows into movies? Charlie's Angels? Starsky and Hutch? etc, etc.. Sombody out there needs to make "Perfect Strangers" the movie.
Why hasn't anyone in Hollywood thought of this? As Balki would say, "Don't be ridiculous".
3. George Costanza and Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld)
Friends since Junior High, George and Jerry served as the bedrock for the greatest television comedy of all time. For whatever reason, these two guys stuck together, through thick and thin. Mostly thin. It was George who coined the terms "Relationship George" and "Independant George" and how men have two sides to their personalities. It's funny because it's true. To list the various events of George and Jerry would probably take an entire website. However, we can be assured of the level of "bromance" here, because an entire episode "The Outing" was devoted to a story of Jerry and George being a gay couple.
Not That There's Anything Wrong With That
2. Joey Tribbiani and Chandler Bing (Friends)
Here's how we know that Joey and Chandler had a lasting "bromance". When Chandler and Monica go house shopping, because they want to move to the suburbs and raise a family, they make sure the house has a dedicated "Joey room". These guys were so close, they kind of take turn being Ross's best friend. Chandler helps Joey through his early years as a struggling actor. And it's never more clear how much these two need each other than these two scenarios:
a. When Joey becomes "successful" and moves out to his own place, and they are both miserable.
b. When they tried the spin-off TV show, Joey. What WAS that, NBC? I mean, they didn't even show 8 of the Joey episodes. It was that bad.
It seems pretty simple to me. Joey needed Chandler. and likewise.
1. Christopher Turk and John 'J.D.' Dorian (Scrubs)
Where to begin with these two? Their shared love of "Sandford and Son"? How they play "World's Most Giant Doctor"? How about "Find the Saltine"? Maybe... how they share a dead stuffed dog together (Rowdy)?
Much like Marshall and Ted above they started living together while in college AND, Turk and JD continued to live together AFTER Turk got married. When JD moved out, Turk and Carla started having marraige problems.
And for the following other reasons:
a. Carla openly wonders, more than once, if her husband loves her as much as he loves JD.
b. JD openly calls Turk "chocolate bear", Turk - doesn't mind.
c. If you google "chocolate bear" the first answer is Christopher Turk.
c. When Turk and Carla get engage, JD runs around them in the park with sparklers.
d. There is a Drinking Game - where you have to drink every time Turk and JD have a "gay" moment.
e. They rode a tandem bike - the first day of med school
f. A facebook page called: I have always wanted a friendship like Turk and JD had.
g. The following scene:
J.D.: [JD and Turk are lying on the ground] Why are we lying in the parking lot?
Turk: Your hook shot knocked you unconscious and I lied down next to you so everybody would think we were chillin'.
J.D.: Oh. Thanks S.C.B. By the way I should tell you something. I found an apartment and I'm moving out the day after tomorrow.
Turk: Wow. What does S.C.B. mean?
J.D.: Super. Chocolate. Bear.
Turk: I love it.
For all these reasons and more... they brought us.. the one... the only.... the video "Guy Love"
In addition if you follow them on twitter, Zach Braff and Donald Faison, still act and talk that way about each other. It's quite hilarious. Or possibly disturbing. Whatever.
Congratulations to our #1 Bromance, and thanks to you for reading this entire thing!