Culture of Pop

Pop Culture’s Best Bromances

Friendship can be easy to come by in today’s world. Maybe you retweeted the same Gif as someone else, maybe you met at work and share the same hatred toward your boss, or maybe you even fell in love with someone and poured countless of hours into building the relationship only to be put into the friend zone. Whichever way they come, friendships can be a dime a dozen. A real rarity though, is a true and authentic “bromance.” A quick Google search will yield the definition of a bromance as: “a close but nonsexual relationship between two men.” This doesn’t begin to cover it. A bromance is sacred, and there have been quite a few in the film and television universe. We have compiled our Top 8 fictional bromances, with some other awards thrown in for good measure.

Most Dysfunctional Relationship 

Dalton Baggett: Johnny Utah and Bodie (Point Break

This has to go to Johnny Utah and Bodie from Point Break. On the surface they are surfing buddies and Eskimo brothers, but secretly Johnny is an FBI agent in the bank robbing division and Bodie is, well, a bank robber. Relationships don’t get much more dysfunctional than that.

Sonny Giuliano: Triple H and Shawn Michaels (WWE

Look, if y’all are going to shit on wrestling for being fake or scripted or whatever you want to call it, then technically I’m allowed to talk about how messed up the Bromance has been between the founders of Degeneration X, Shawn Michaels and Triple H. Back in 1997 Trips and HBK formed DX, a polarizing pro wrestling stable that would see various iterations over time. After a four year in-ring hiatus, Shawn Michaels made his highly anticipated return to WWE and Degeneration X. Then this happened:

That dastardly Triple H! Just a month or so later Michaels and H would wage war at WWE’s SummerSlam pay-per-view. They would continue feuding for the better part of four years. Then, in the Summer of 2006, Shawn and Hunter decided to be bros again.

For now, Shawn Michaels and Triple H remain bros

DB: But, you do know it’s fake right?

SG: It’s still real to me dammit! 

Most Needed Bro 

DB: Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings

The only real contender for “Most Needed Bro” is Samwise Gamgee. A little background on Hobbits: they HATE adventure. Frodo kind of inherits his burden, but Sam only leaves the Shire because he is the best bro of all time. He hates adventure and still walks, barefoot, over 1,400 miles to Mount Doom, just because he is Frodo’s friend. He also may be slightly in love with Frodo, but that is up for interpretation. I wouldn’t walk three miles if my final destination was a place called Mount Doom, but I’m also scared of heights and spiders so I don’t know what that says about me. Frodo saves all of Middle Earth, and he only succeeds because of his best friend, Samwise Gamgee.

SG: Benny Rodriguez (The Sandlot

You guys remember The Sandlot, right? You remember at the start of the movie when Scott Smalls didn’t even know how to throw a ball? You remember how the majority of the Sandlot kids booed and jeered and chastised Smalls when he embarrassed himself that first day out there trying to play baseball? You remember how Benny was the only one who gave Smalls a chance? You remember how Benny hit a pop fly right into the glove of Smalls and that instantly raised Smalls’ profile infinitely, and that led to Smalls having a life-changing summer and actual friends.

You know what happens if Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez wasn’t an amazing friend to Scott Smalls? Scott Smalls would have no friends and he’d still be a virgin. He’d be approximately 65 years old. Scott Smalls owes his life to Benny.

Best Three-way Bromance:

SG: Phil Wenneck, Stu Price, Alan Garner (The Hangover

All the proof I need:

DB: Joey, Chandler, Ross (Friends) 

Going to have to give this one to Joey, Ross, and Chandler. They literally come from a show called Friends so that automatically puts them in the running. They hang out together almost 24/7 and each bring something to the table to make it the best, most well-rounded three-way bromance there is. Ross is smart, Chandler is funny, and Joey eats a lot. They have their faults, but together they make the perfect group. Could I BE any more right?

Best Law Enforcement Bromance:

SG: Martin Riggs/Roger Murtaugh (Lethal Weapon’s 1-4

The quintessential buddy cop tandem and living proof that opposites do indeed attract …  Riggs and Murtaugh. The dynamic between these two established the foundation for cop movies for the rest of time; Riggs the young, rugged wild card, and Murtaugh the old, grizzled vet. This shtick has hit the big screen a thousand times over since Riggs and Murtaugh came into our lives, but no duo has displayed such an exquisite on-screen partnership and devotion for one another. Remember the time Riggs stayed in the bathroom with Murtaugh even though Murtaugh was sitting on a toilet that would explode if he removed himself from said toilet? Remember when Riggs was getting shot by a South African Diplomat, and there was seemingly nothing Murtaugh could do about it because the South African Diplomat boasted “Diplomatic immunity,” only Murtaugh, like a total badass, took it upon himself to revoke it?

These examples, plus a countless number of exchanges, both violent and verbal, helped bring Murtaugh and Riggs together, and it earned them three sequels (Lethal Weapon 2 was the best of all four movies) and a TV spin-off that I’m borderline ashamed to admit that I’m actually really excited to eventually try to binge watch.

DB: Carter and Lee (Rush Hour

Sonny, I knew you would pick the guys from Lethal Weapon… You want to know how I knew? It’s the easy choice. Sure, those guys are great, but did you really put any thought into this? I’ve got to go with Detectives Lee and Carter from the Rush Hour franchise. Lee and Carter overcome not only racial differences, but cultural ones as well. They come from very different backgrounds, but they end up bonding over War and ordering gefilte fish together. Oh, also, I’ve never seen a Lethal Weapon movie. Oops.

Best Animated Bromance 

DB: Woody and Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story

Let me just throw some quotes out there for everyone:

“There’s a snake in my boot!”

“To Infinity… And Beyond!”

Did the nostalgia come flooding into your brain? That’s because I just quoted Woody and Buzz Lightyear, the two characters who make up the greatest animated bromance in cinematic history. Come on, separately they are a cowboy and a space ranger. Together? Best friends. There has never been a more unlikely pairing to somehow make it work against all odds.

SG: Tommy Pickles and Chuckie Finster (The Rugrats

With all due respect to Angelica, Phil and Lil, Susie, Dil, Grandpa Lou and every other Rugrats staple, the whole crux of the wildly popular Nickelodeon kids series was the friendship of its fearless one-year-old protagonist Tommy Pickles and his chicken-shit side-kick Chuckie Finster. I would enjoy investigating the psychology of the relationship of Tommy and Chuckie since I have massive amounts of love for both of them, it’s just hard to dive too deep into their relationship since they are babies after all and even in an animated universe it’s difficult to imagine babies having complex motives and feelings like adults do. Just know this: though Tommy and Chuckie are wholly different types of people (Tommy is a charismatic natural born leader and Chuckie is a blubbering mess of a human being), they were perfect and necessary for each other and that’s really all that is important when searching for a bro

Best SciFi/Fantasy Bromance 

DB: Han Solo and Luke Skywalker (Star Wars) 

Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. The original. The Classic. The quintessential SciFi bromance. Without them, would there even be bromances? Maybe, Maybe not. They loved the same princess, but put their differences aside to become the best of bros and best of men. Also, Luke finds out Leia is his sister and the whole thing got kind of weird for a while. But only the greatest of bromances can withstand having to cut open a dead TaunTaun to stick your half frozen to death friend inside to keep warm. Even when you thought they smelled bad on the outside.

SG: Josh Baskin and Billy Kopecki (Big

My pal Dalton insists that this pick is a “cop-out,” however, I defy Dalton or anyone else reading this to find me an occasion where a 12-year-old boy wished “to be big,” and then overnight became a 30-year-old man. Just because Josh Baskin wasn’t a total dork doesn’t mean this isn’t a textbook example of a science-fiction movie.

Anyway, I chose Josh and Billy for two reasons: First, Josh clearly trusts Billy more than anyone else in his entire life. When Josh became Big he sought the advice, counseling and help of Billy. Not his mother. Not his father. Not his baby sister. Just Billy. Throughout the whole movie Billy is the only one that knows Josh is the victim of some scientific anomaly where a carnival machine has magic powers. Second, Billy’s devotion to helping Josh is unparalleled. It actually completely makes sense why Josh went to Billy and no one else … nobody else would have hustled as hard as Billy did to help Josh get out of this pickle. Billy was routinely making trips from small-town New Jersey to New York City to keep Josh company. He was also solely responsible for tracking down the Zoltar machine and giving Josh his 12-year-old body back. This is a friendship that will last a lifetime.

DB: It’s still a cop out.

8: Walter White and Jesse Pinkman (Breaking Bad)

SG: So the selection process Dalton and I used to narrow down our list of notable Bromances to eight went something like this: we each made a list of about 25 duos from movies and television, then we moved forward with however many duos we had in common. It just so happened we had eight duos in common. Because Dalton and I both enjoy Breaking Bad Walter White and Jesse Pinkman made our list.

Now it should be noted that Walt and Jesse have an extremely volatile and ugly and violent relationship that is hardly a Bromance. There was certainly love between the two characters; I think you could argue that Walt loved Jesse more than anyone else on the show except for himself. But that love was all kinds of fucked-up. Walt watched Jesse’s girlfriend overdose when he could have easily saved her. He poisoned Jesse’s later girlfriends son. He dragged Jesse back into the meth business time and time again when Jesse just wanted to get out and go be a carpenter. Walt, for the most part, ruined Jesse’s life for the duration of their relationship, and Jesse damn near set Walt’s home on fire as soon as he finally realized what an evil prick Walt was.

This is an utterly horrible Bromance, and it’s number eight on our countdown. We can only go up from here folks.

7: Jesse/Joey (Full House)

DB: Full House is a classic show for any 90’s babies such as Sonny and myself. We grew up with the show, so the nostalgia factor alone has a special place in our hearts. Jesse and Joey were two of the best characters and just so happen to have a pretty good bromance. Well, good enough to come in 7th on this list at least. They don’t always get along but that just makes them more relatable. At the peak of their bromance they co-write and sing commercial jingles and that’s probably my favorite thing about them (also Joey is a Red Wings fan, so that helps too).  They are kind of forced to be friends though because they live in the same house and take care of the same kids. That dynamic would have been difficult had they been mortal enemies or something. If I remember correctly they didn’t even like each other that much in the beginning. They are very different people. Some weird form of Stockholm syndrome must’ve developed and they became besties, I don’t know.

6: John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey (Wedding Crashers

SG: This is probably too low. No Bromance on the list had as much fun together, or had sex with as many girls, or partied as much, or had as many creative aliases, or just had the overall ambition to make the most out of their lives and their Bromance as John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) did. Not to mention, they are the key players one of the great montage scenes in recent comedy history.

Scratch that … John and Jeremy are definitely too low on the list. We screwed up.

5: Rocky/Apollo (Rocky III and Rocky IV

DB: This bromance is a turbulent rollercoaster of emotion. They start off as bitter rivals, mostly because Apollo is the cockiest man on the planet. He even gives Floyyd Mayweather a run for his money, and Floyyd has a lot of money. Rocky just wants to prove he can do more than talk with a speech impediment and bounce his ball around. Those fiery personalities create quite the matchup in the ring. When it comes down to it though, Rocky knows Apollo is the best and asks him to be his trainer for his fight against an angry Mr. T. This starts a beautiful bromance that can be anything from sparring in the boxing ring to frolicking on the beach in slow-motion. They hang out together in their mansions that they only have because they used to be bitter rivals… Sports are weird. This bromance does take a nasty turn when Rocky refuses to throw in the damn towel and basically sentences his best friend to death by Russian Terminator. Not the best way to treat your best bro, and the reason they didn’t place higher.

SG: If you needed any more proof that Rocky and Apollo are actual brothers, you just need to watch Creed. Adonis Creed, son of Apollo, calls Rocky “Unc,” which we all know is short for Uncle. All I know is I’m not just calling some random old guy who owns a restaurant “Unc.” I also wouldn’t call Rocky Balboa “Unc.” Unc doesn’t even crack the top five names that I would call Rocky. Those names are:

1: Rocky

2: Stallion

3: Mr. Balboa

4: Rock

5: Rocco

4: Cal Weaver and Jacob Palmer (Crazy, Stupid, Love.)

SG: The details of the Bromance between Cal and Jacob can get a little tricky by the time we get to the end of Crazy, Stupid, Love., a film that I will fight for until the end of time. Early on in the movie we see a relationship blossom between Cal (Steve Carrell) and Jacob (Ryan Gosling). Though the parameters of this relationship are blurry throughout (it’s tough to differentiate whether Cal and Jacob’s relationship is Bromance, or more like a mentor/subject, father/son, cool guy/not cool guy who needs the help of a cool guy to become cool sort of relationship) Cal and Jacob’s relationship qualifies as a Bromance because the whole thing starts with Jacob (the aforementioned mentor, son and cool guy) and Cal (the aforementioned subject, father and not cool guy) meeting at a bar and coming up with a way for one Cal to become cool and turn his luck around with the ladies.

This, more than almost anything else, is a key detail in any Bromantic relationship. At some point, one bro will help a single bro land a girl. That’s just how it works in the typical Bromance. In this case, Jacob helped Cal become cool and Cal started banging a bunch of girls he met at bars (and his son’s English teacher). Later on when Jacob started sleeping with Cal’s daughter Hannah (Emma Stone) it took Cal’s stamp of approval for Jacob and Hannah’s relationship to really be able to take off. If I ever have a daughter I’m going to have a very hard time coming to grips with the fact that some jackass is eventually going to be doing unthinkable things with her in the bedroom. Cal let Jacob do such things. If that’s not a bro move, I don’t know what is.

3: Ted/Marshall (How I Met Your Mother) 

DB: Unfortunately for Ted and Marshall they come from a television show that happened to have the worst finale of all time. For that reason, they can’t place too highly in any form of television rankings of any kind. Third place is honestly pretty generous. I know my bias shouldn’t impact these rankings but it does and that’s that. Now, they do have an amazing bromance that we can talk about. First off, they go on road trips (or as I like to call them Broadtrips) and listen solely to I’m Gonna Be by The Proclaimers on repeat. The fact that they have done it multiple times without killing each other is a testament to their friendship. Also, they created an amazing road-trip game together called Zitch-Dog where every time they see a dog the first person to yell “Zitch-dog!” gets a point. Ted is about as good at it as I am at every other road trip game (not very). A lot of their bromance revolves around road trips apparently. I really wanted this section to be funnier, but I’m still too bummed about the show’s ending.

2: Michael/Dwight (The Office

DB: The Michael/Dwight bromance could easily have taken the number one spot, if not for its tendency to be slightly on the dysfunctional side. However, the dysfunctionality isn’t that big of a negative for them because they are equally dysfunctional together. Michael is the most awkward, least self-aware person on the entire planet, while Dwight is an office worker who owns a beet farm. Together they make the perfect match. Well, not perfect like when you see a former professor on Tinder and swipe right and it’s an instant match, but pretty close. Even Michael realizes that Dwight can be weird as fuck, but he knows that he is also the most loyal bro a bro could ask for. We know that Michael can be an insufferable dick a lot of the time, but he always knows how to make Dwight happy. For example, for Christmas one year he gets Dwight a fancy nut cracker that he has to put together himself. It’s literally the perfect gift for Dwight. It’s not just a case of good gifts or loyalty either, they hang out and actually enjoy each other’s company, which is more than can be said for the rest of the general population concerning those two.

1: Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd Redding (The Shawshank Redemption

SG: Well, we’ve arrived at the #1 Bromance and I couldn’t be more pleased with our collective selection. As you so eloquently stated in the introduction to this piece, a Bromance is defined as a close, but nonsexual relationship between two men. The story of Andy (Tim Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman) may the greatest nonsexual love story ever told. Andy and Red spent 19 years in prison together and had all kinds of life-altering bonding moments: They played checkers in the yard, they built a library, and they got each other presents (we all remember that Red got Andy a number of posters over the course of the film, but it’s easily forgotten that Andy found a way to get Red a harmonica). Red taught Andy the ins and outs of prison, and Andy taught Red that hope is a good thing.

As Andy prepares to escape from prison he gives Red just enough hints so that when the time comes when Red would be paroled he would know exactly where to he could eventually find him. In the final scene Red and Andy meet again, this time in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, where the two bros would spend the rest of their staring out at the ocean, reminiscing of what life was like as a prisoner, and being thankful for Shawshank State Penitentiary, because in the end, this was where they met their respective soul mate.


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