I come from a family dominated by women, (my grandmother had two girls who each had two girls) so I’m endlessly entertained by the interactions of men. It’s a little like watching a species at play in the wild. Which is why it should surprise no one that I love me a good bromance.
While a well-used trope in pop culture today, the idea of “bromance” has been around long before it got labeled. Any good “buddy cop” movie from the 80s and on is essentially a bromance with guns. Look at the Lethal Weapon series. Buddy cops, my generous bottom. That’s a bromance. With guns.
According to the Urban Dictionary, a bromance is “the complicated love and affection between two straight men.” Basically, it’s brotherly love between two men who are not brothers, bonding and intimacy without sexual congress. Anyone whose shared a foxhole (or the equivalent thereof) knows all about it. These men often know their bros as well as if not better than their wives/lovers as acknowledging emotion has become less verboten and more de rigueur aspects of male friendships. Men in a bromance are not afraid to express affection for one another nor do they find their masculinity infringed by doing so. The hands-clasped-one-armed-hug-with-pat-on-back demonstrates genuine feelings with the added aggressive move to prove such an embrace is as manly as it can get. Mutual fondness is often shown by taking the piss out of one another to varying degrees, arguably the modern day interpretation of banging their chests. Though they do that too.
Top 5 Favorite Bromances:
A love/hate bromance of the best kind. Though on opposite sides of the law, the line that keeps U.S. Marshal Raylan from turning into a version of criminal Boyd with a badge grows ever thinner each season. It doesn’t help that they keep saving and sparing each other’s lives despite some fairly nasty business along the way. The history between them is rich and complex and the repartee vastly entertaining. They are at the same time each other’s best friend and worst enemy and though some day one of them will likely kill the other without hesitating, neither is going to be happy about it.
Whether you’re a Cumberbitch or rolling with Robert Downey Jr, the bromance between modern-day Sherlock and Watson cannot be denied (though it can be ‘shipped beyond reason). Sherlock almost literally brings John back to life, giving him a purpose and reason he lacked after his return from the Iraq War. He recognizes Watson’s need for challenge and danger, for the high of adrenaline, and quickly feeds it with adventure. Watson gives Sherlock his first true friend who doesn’t stick with him in spite of his obnoxious quirks, but because of them, and subsequently humanizes the complex, driven, brilliant man who needs to be reminded he has emotions he can’t always interpret. There’s no judgement (though frequently rebuke) from either of them, merely an understanding and acceptance of who each other truly are.
RDJ’s Holmes’ bromance with Jude Law’s Watson has perhaps the most brotherly overtones up to and including actual physical care when Sherlock’s mania takes over his basic grooming and health needs. They bicker like an old married couple, but it’s the patter and affection of people who have known one another a long time and in the worst and best of ways. It’s the rare role-reversal that brings their core bond to best light when Sherlock brings a drunk Watson to the chapel for his wedding in A Game of Shadows. For once, it is Sherlock who is the caretaker when Watson displays a rare moment of doubt as he silently cleans up and bolsters his friend forward to his next life step: You’re doing the right thing. Then, as Watson emerges with his bride full of joy, Holmes slips away, content to allow his bro Watson to continue on in this part of his journey without him. Or at least for the moment.
3. Crighton and D’Argo: Farscape
“I love hanging with you, man.” ‘Nuff said.
2. Scott and Stonebridge: Strike Back
Big guys. Big guns. Big missions. Big explosions. Big stakes. Big chests. Big mouths. Big…other things.
Scott the manwhore spy. Stonebridge the stalwart soldier. Sexy, smart assed, and really good as their jobs. They take the piss outta each other as much as they save one another’s fine asses. Theirs is the ultimate alpha bromance. And holy hell, is it fun to watch.
Thor and Loki, as played by Chris Hemswowrth and Tom Hiddleston in the current Marvel movie franchise, is the ultimate bromance, if a broken one. Sure there’s betrayal and hate, but Loki is essentially a younger brother who believes he’s been denied his rightful place, who feels, at his core, that his family has abandoned him. His despair turned to rage and that to a deep-seated need to destroy that he once loved. The loss of his brother ripped a hole in Thor that changed him irrevocably. Knowing Loki is alive doesn’t alleviate this pain as the brother he once knew and loved is gone and left a raging maniac in his place. Thor could deal with that if not for the moment when his lost brother shines through again, moments that feed a cautious hope in his mighty heart.
What are your favorite bromances? Sound off in the comments below.
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Tagged with: Boyd Crowder, Bromance, Crighton, D'Argo, Farscape, Jude Law, Justified, Lethal Weapon, Loki, Raylan Givens, Robert Downey Jr, Scott, Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes, Stonebridge, Strike Back, The Avengers, Thor, Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Watson