Bromance Only Works for so Long

Bromance’s are great until it comes to the issue of the sharing of emotions. In It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia the bromance of Mac and Dennis is not a problem until the emotional dependence the two have for each other is brought into light. Becker writes “Some critics have focused on the way jokes or scenarios involving straight men presented in gay contexts can work defensively to re-establish a character’s heterosexuality. Such humor, Margo Miller asserts, functions as a form of “ironic dismissal,” and the increase of such comedic situations on 1990s television, she argues ‘reflected a new hostility toward queerness in straight male characters” (Becker, 15). The emotional dependence that Mac and Dennis have for each other is cast in a negative light by their friends increasing annoyance at the two of them separated.

Towards the end of the episode Mac and Dennis “get back together” as if they were actually a gay couple who had a fight and broke up. Further forwarding this point of view is the conversation between Mac and Dennis about the movie store clerk guy. The movie store clerk guy is treated as the object of attraction for the man or woman in the relationship that then breaks up the couple. The friendship that Mac and Dennis have for each other is treated as homosexual love in the context of this episode.

Within the context of homosexual love the emotional dependence that Mac and Dennis have with each other is a positive thing. However Mac and Dennis are in a bromantic relationship so the rules are different. “By playfully translating homosocial bonding into the cultural codes of homosexual bonding, the bromance discourse functions similarly, offering straight men another indirect way to express affection for other men” (Becker 17).

The depiction of homosexuality and bromance within It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia does have a negative view of homosexuality. While bromance provides a space in which men can express affection for other men It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia highlights the more negative aspects of Mac and Dennis’ relationship. By focusing on things like Dennis’ inability to peel his own apple and Mac’s jealousy of the video store clerk guy, homosexuality is portrayed in a negative light. Bromance is only allowed to go so far before it becomes homosexual and therefore negative.


3 thoughts on “Bromance Only Works for so Long

  1. I am not sure if “It’s Always Sunny” features a necessarily negative view on homosexual relationships. Instead, I feel as if the episode makes fun of all relationships in that they can be so irrational and emotion-heavy.

    I guess I’m confused. You state that their love is portrayed in a positive light. I don’t understand how that positive bromance is transformed into a negative approach to homosexuality.

  2. I would agree that the relationship between Dennis and Mac in this episode wasn’t an attempt to portray homosexuality in a negative way, but was more of a play on the idea of bromance in general, not on the negative aspects of being gay. I think that the different aspects of bromance shown throughout this episode was similar to many seen in other shows, such as Friends in the episode where Joey moves out in season 2 and he and Chandler “take a break”.

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