Bromance on Television
Okay, so first of all, I want to clear the most obvious and the silliest misconception about Bromance. Bromance does NOT mean incest. Now that we’re clear about what it isn’t, why call it Bromance if it isn’t romance between brothers?
Essentially, Bromance is made of two words- brother and romance. Brother implies as close friendship a friendship with someone to be a sibling. However, the romance part of it hints at a not very platonic relationship. Bromance negotiates itself in the space between this brotherhood and being lovers. Bromance is supposed to indicate a more-than-friends-but-not-quite-lovers situation between ‘bros’. No, this does not imply UST between two characters/people either. In fact, men involved in Bromances are generally straight. Bromance is a condition of intense affection without a sexual aspect between males. Men develop this intense an affection through various common activities like playing FIFA *insert year*, Counter Strike, Call of Duty or watching football with a bottle of beer and so on and so forth.
So, Jai and Veeru in Sholay are a Bromance couple (Ye dosti hum nahi todenge- seriously, what more proof do you need?). Shahrukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan in Kal Ho Na Ho are also a Bromance couple, and not because Shantaben thought that they were fornicating. That was just to provide humor to the situations. I think that the root of the Saif-Shahrukh Bromance in Kal Ho Na Ho comes from them being emotionally close. It is Shahrukh, and not Preity, who reads Saif’s diary.
These were some evidences in the Indian cinema. Talking internationally, various English TV series like Merlin, Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy have various Bromance couples (Merlin-Arthur, Morgan-Reid, McDreamy-McSteamy respectively. In the movies, the Bromance couples range from Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean to John Watson and Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes.
The interesting part of Bromance on television is the fan response. Some of the fans dislike how the friendship between two men hints at undercurrents of sexual tension. These fans generally dislike Bromances on the grounds that it spoils the pure friendship between two men. However, this is a slight misunderstanding. The thing about Bromance is that it is meant to be a space for display of deep affection between two men, without going into the terrain of homosexuality. Sometimes, Bromance is the way out for real life people when the societies they live in forbid homosexuality. This does not change the fact that the domain of Bromance is supposed to be non sexual. Other fans just want the bromance couple to turn into a romantic couple. It is a wishful thinking on their part to see the undercurrents of sexual tension actualized. However, Bromances on television rarely turn into an actual romantic couple, with the exception of Barney and Robin in How I Met Your Mother (Barney considered Robin a bro).
Despite (or because of) the various reactions to it, the culture of Bromance is growing more and more popular each day. Men are being more and more comfortable with having their Bromances without the fear of being demasculinized, which I think is a great step towards creation of new identities in the modern world.