Continuing my series on chemistry, I am moving into the non-sexual realm (sort of). The bromance as a term is something new to our culture, but as a phenomenon it is as old as time: close male friendship that is very loving but not necessarily sexual. So here is my ballot of the men of recent TV who have that special something that makes their bromance look effortless.
Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester: Supernatural
I am not cheating. Yes, Sam and Dean are brothers, but they also have a fantastic bromance. And these two actors are perfectly matched to their characters. Of course I know they are not brothers in real life, but these guys click so well on screen, I have to believe that they really are friends. The fact that the terms of their interaction is more bromantic (jokes at each other’s expense, occasional pranks, moments of confrontation) and less mushy, emotional sharing-ness (the way TV land seems to think brothers act) highlights how well these two play off of each other. Jared/Jensen don’t ever change.
Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson): The Office
Dwight might be more invested than Michael reciprocates, so this might be an almost unrequited bromance. But it is a joy to watch two masters of awkwardness inflict their special brand of bromance on those around them. Carell/Wilson make the Michael/Dwight bromance watchable; in lesser hands it would be impossible to watch one man give another his urine.
Jeff Murdock (Richard Coyle) and Steve Taylor (Jack Davenport): Coupling
What can I say about the genius of Steve and Jeff that you cannot see with your own eyes? Well, for those of you who haven’t seen this britcom you are missing a fantastic bromance. Either bonding over videogames or discussing the most inappropriate terms for a girlfriend who won’t stop stalking you, Jeff and Steve bring a life to this show that is distinct and tone-setting. They are so in tune as actors that over the course of the show it is possible to see how the other actors start taking their cues from this dynamic duo. Netflix it, you won’t regret it.
Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and Burton Guster (Dule Hill): Psych
Shawn and Gus are so great together they merited cartoon shorts that run during new episodes of Psych. While they are an example of opposites-attract, Gus allows Shawn to drag him into trouble, and Shawn insists on doing so, because they are essentially inseparable. And Roday/Hill are flawless together. Their chemistry makes it possible to believe that such a relationship could actually be sustained for so long. Please, please watch the scene from “Bounty Hunters” where Shawn and Gus list synonyms for the word briefcase while trying to convince Kevin Sorbo (yes, you read that right) to exchange said briefcase for an escaped con; it is truly magical chemistry.
Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard): House
According to my current Entertainment Weekly “the bromance is over for House and Wilson,” but be that as it may, House and Wilson’s scenes are really the gems of this show. Their hilarious and devoted bromance is executed with a precision and grace by these two men that I would almost be willing to accept entire episodes that are just them; get rid of “the team” and give me middle-age bromance.
Making this list I began to realize just how much of television is preoccupied with exploring male friendship. I ended up with four alternates that need to be acknowledged, even if I think they are not quite as special as the above.
Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie) and Seth Cohen (Adam Brody): The O.C.
My (emotionally) favorite bromance. I still heart Ryan and Seth.
Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) and Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris): How I Met Your Mother
While this is a bromance for the ages, NPH outshines Radnor just slightly (sometimes a lot), therefore throwing off the chemistry balance, just a bit.
Bertie Wooster (Hugh Laurie) and Reginald Jeeves (Stephen Fry): Jeeves and Wooster
Amazing actors, but the whole employer/employee situation makes it a debate whether this is a true bromance.
Barney Gumble and Moe Sizlack: The Simpsons
Bromantic as all get out, but can cartoon characters really be said to have chemistry?
Yes, No, Maybe So? Tell me if you think I missed the mark.
The TV Girl
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- I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.