I found the episode from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to be an interesting episode to analyze in terms of bromance and gender norms. I had never seen any of the shows we watched last evening, and in the episode “Mac and Dennis Break-Up” I actually thought they were a gay couple until I discovered that they were just very good friends. Mac and Dennis have a very visible and clear “…intense bond between two straight guys…” (Becker, 2). They watch movies together, fight like a married couple, worry when the other hasn’t checked in, Mac peels Dennis’ apples for him, and they spend almost every waking moment of the day together until they decide to spend some time apart when one friend comments on how they are always together, dependent on each other and are never alone. This idea of always being dependent and with another man constantly goes against traditional male gender norms and is not a very straight or masculine way to act. This makes Mac and Dennis break-up for a shot time. While they initially justify and admit to the closeness friendship (Becker demonstrates this when men admit to their bromance and say phrases such as, “‘Yeah, we’re totally in a bromance…”), Dennis eventually realizes the intensity and homosexual nature of their bromance (Becker, 18). According to Becker, this concept of two very close male friends is a way that offers “…straight men another indirect way to express affection for other men” (Becker, 17).
The scene where the two friends are set up on a blind “date” and eventually work things out is another example of reaffirming their heterosexuality and where “we’re not gay” comes into play, as the characters reaffirm that they are in fact straight men. One instance of this in that particular scene is that both Dennis and Mac thought that they were going on a date with a woman with large breasts, which is a very traditionally masculine desire and therefore can be seen as a re-affirmation of male gender norms. Additionally, while throwing water on each other has often been thought of as more of a “girly” act in the media, in this scene it can also be interpreted as more of an aggressive, physical act between the two men because rather than getting into a physical fist-fight, these two did so by throwing water and break at each other. However, they then make up and Dennis pays for Mac’s drinks.