In Ron Becker’s Becoming Bromosexual: Straight Men, Gay Men, and Male Homosociality on U.S. TV, he looks into “the bromance”, a discourse that has come of age in an era which American culture and television has become more comfortable with homosexuality in the media. While many refer to the bromance as a genre, he approaches this new ideal as a cultural discourse, “a specific way of talking and thinking about male friendships that helps produce ways of feeling and experiencing homosocial intimacy and masculinity”. He juxtaposes this notion to that of the four key assumptions scholars use to support hegemonic masculinity: gender difference, dominance, male solidarity, and heterosexism. I find his approach right on and can relate to experiences I myself have been through in which the double bind of being close to another male lends to insinuate the questioning of one’s sexuality, yet this is resolved by, “making casual fag jokes while hanging out with your buddies… (to) reassure everyone that there’s nothing gay going on”.
In examining MTV’s Bromance Becker hits the nail on the end in addressing this as a popular cultural discourse. When thinking of this concept and the notion of being uncomfortable by the intimate male relationship I look to FX’s Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the bromance that promotes. Main characters Dennis and Mac, who define the four key assumptions about hegemonic masculinity mentioned above, often find themselves in homosexual situations in which they immediately denounce the notion of being gay. While we have seen the evolutions from the 90’s mistaken sexual identity plot to the bromance of the 2000’s, I think we will soon enough be able to recognize intimate masculine relationships without the hint of questioning sexuality and if that is relevant or not. Hopefully, this will be the case due to the direction contemporary television seems to be headed in, most notably ABC’s Happy Endings.
Pictured Above: an image from Always Sunny Episode "Mac And Dennis Breakup"