So let’s talk about Mac and Dennis. When watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it becomes obvious VERY quickly that the relationship between Mac and Dennis is more special than just friends. They are most definitely “bros”. This particular episode (“Mac and Dennis Break Up”) begins with Mac and Dennis going to Dee’s apartment to borrow a bowl for popcorn to use for “MAC AND DENNIS MOVIE NIGHT!” as they call it. Dee finds it strange that they both came to just get a bowl, and Dennis replies that “it’s more fun if we both come!” Dee seems confused by this, and ends up referring to their relationship in a negative light, saying “I think you’re just two co-dependent losers who are so wrapped up in each other that it’s hard to see how pathetic your lives are- it’s like you’re an old married couple!” After they protest, she asks “so you don’t think that two 30-year-old men who spend every waking moment together is a little pathetic?” This puts them off a bit, and as they leave, they feel the need to validate themselves and their relationship. It bothers them so much that Mac feels the need to say that “she doesn’t know anything about friendship, dude”.
Despite this validation, however, a fight ensues between the bros as Dennis seems to be deeply bothered by what Dee said, and begins to notice the little things, such as Mac constantly needing to “check in” with him (which is something that is perceived to be much less masculine.) At this point, Mac and Dennis “break up”- Mac temporarily moves in with Charlie and Frank (another bromance in itself), and Dennis tries to find a companion in his less-than-willing sister. So far, the men have done what they could best come up with to “[reinscribe] certain rigid gender norms” (Becker, 10) and in a “gay-inclusive world”, “establish their heterosexuality” (Becker, 6)- simply proving to the rest of their friends that they don’t need each other. They don’t do too well at it, though, since it is obvious to the audience that they are sorely missing each others constant companionship.
They take it even farther though, when Dee finally wishes to “get them back together”, as they are causing turmoil in the her life as well as the lives of Charlie and Frank. She pretends to set each of them up with a “woman with giant breasts”. When this scene begins, Mac is checking out his teeth in the reflection of a knife (making it a very masculine looking action), and then continues with the two of them acting dismayed and disgruntled about the fact that this fantasy woman is actually the other bro, and not a woman at all. If Mac and Dennis, at this point, could be “[leaping] of the couch and desperately [trying] to explain the situation”, as in Seinfeld, or giving an excessive pre-emptive coming-out-straight speech” (Becker, 7), like Joey in Friends, at this point, they would be. This follows along with Becker’s article, as the men feel the need to clarify their friendship, or prove that it is not co-dependent, and show that they are still very heterosexual, in order to ensure that they are “NOT gay!”
There is also a kind of sweet message behind this though, when they come to their senses and make up. It seems that they come to realize that they do need each other, and that whatever that entails is okay with them (although I am sure the insistence of heterosexuality will never completely go away). In Charlie’s words, “you gotta have a sidekick”.