Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) in The Prestige (2006)
The term may be recent, but TV has caught up fast with the closest of straight male friendships. Here’s a selection of eight of TV’s best bromances. All we need now is an anthem…
Bert and Ernie – Sesame Street
It isn’t just any male friendship that has a company press statement denying both characters are gay and that they are in fact, “just good friends”. But then not just any bromance leads to regular cultural references in shows like Friends, Family Guy and Saturday Night Live. Since their introduction to Sesame Street in 1969, this muppet pair have been an inseparable double act, with Bernie the long-suffering straight man and Ernie the wacky funnyman. With many scenes set in their shared bedroom (and with Ernie even sharing Bert’s bed when he feels scared), and their bath habits well known to each other, the friendship is incredibly close. Ernie’s short concentration span, madcap theories and fondness for his “rubber duckie” provide a lot of the duo’s humour, as does the regular exasperation of the long suffering Bert. But for all the frustration, the unexciting Bert, with his love of pigeons and paperclips, is really fond of his maverick pal, and couldn’t manage without him. Even if he would get far more sleep.
JD and Turk – Scrubs
In many ways, the definitive bromance. Going above and beyond the Richter Scale for traditional boundaries of male friendship, the medical duo share more than just the Sacred Heart Hospital workplace. Sharing feelings, pet names and countless in-jokes, their mutual love for each other is a longstanding joke to everyone else. This is summed up when two female interns do a mocking skit of their behaviour and end it by passionately kissing. Not to mention when Carla and Turk get back from their honeymoon. Turk and JD ecstatically run into each other’s arms and she wistfully says of her husband: “Maybe one day he will love me like that”. Unable to stay apart for any significant length of time, the friendship survives all possible challenges. JD kissing Carla, Turk’s competitive nature and his settling down with Carla, as well as occasional professional differences of opinion, only seem to strengthen the friendship. JD and his “brown bear” are high school sweethearts that have no interest in graduating.
Carter and Stuart – Spin City
Before creating Scrubs, sitcom guru Bill Lawrence helped to come up with a different angle of the close buddy friendship. Spin City told of the adventures of the fictional PR team behind a bumbling New York Mayor. Though Michael J Fox was the show’s star and lead character, the most hilarious moments tended to come from scenes between Chief of Staff Stuart and Head of Minority Affairs Carter. With Carter an erudite, stylish and charming black homosexual, and Stuart a sleazy womaniser who shoots from the proverbial hip, the dynamic spark jumped off the screen. As well as generating all kinds of laughs, the relationship even gained praise for its positive portrayal of a character being both black and confident of his sexuality, and how two such seemingly different characters in Carter and Stuart could become such genuinely close friends. Getting jealous and over protective of each other’s dating choices, and even sounding like an old married couple with all their bickering, they really are sitcom’s “Odd Couple”.
Joey and Chandler – Friends
Amidst Jennifer Anniston’s haircuts, the Ross and Rachel storyline, Monica’s dreams of culinary recognition and Pheobe’s ever-peculiar familiar history, there was always Joey and Chandler’s friendship. Meeting after Joey answered Chandler’s advert looking for a flatmate, the pair soon embraced each other and became the closest of friends. Chandler may have been smarter, funnier and had the well-paid job that no one could quite name, but it was Joey who really brought the fun to the party. He may know how to bring a girl back to his flat, win a game of fuseball (table football) and make the perfect sandwich, but it was his fierce loyalty and good humour through his acting struggles that made him so endearing. The fact that Joey knew exactly what Chandler looked like in the shower, was happy to wear his flatmate’s clothes and laugh at Chandler’s attempts at dating, makes the friendship all the sweeter.
Mark and Jeremy – Peep Show
What do you get if you throw an uptight, dull, history lover and a hedonistic DJ who is usually unemployed and flat broke? The “El Dude Brothers” of course! As much as Croydon’s favourite misfits are secretly relieved not to have the lifestyle of the other, they’d be lost without the reassurance their best friend provides. What makes it so much of it funny is the desperate lengths they will go to in order to hide all their insecurities from everyone else, but are happy to tell each other absolutely anything, no matter how bad it sounds. The fact that Jeremy actually slept with Mark’s original dream girl and eventual wife Sophie shows that though the friendship is rock solid, they do cross the line sometimes. But the madness is probably best summed up when both characters are hoping that their best friend was in fact the one that got Sophie pregnant, so as to avoid taking any parental responsibility. And with the eighth series out later this year, long may that madness continue.
Bret and Jermaine – Flight of the Conchords
Bret and Jermaine may only have been in 22 episodes, but the New Zealand digi-folk duo has more than made an imprint on the bromance scene. After all, there can’t be many friendships where the two friends spend quite so much time together. Flat broke and miles away from home in New York, the musical pair are inseparable. It’s just as well, as the two would be even worse off alone, or worse still, with their incompetent manager Murray, or obsessive fan Mel. As with all bromances, outside romantic influences do threaten to get in the way. The pair are initially delighted when they are offered the chance of a threesome with two hot girls, but dismayed when they realise the threesome involves the two of them and only one of the girls. To paraphrase the Bard himself, the course of true bromance never did run smooth.
Dennis, Mac and Charlie – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
With episode titles like “Mac Bangs Dennis’ Mom” and “Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire”, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is far from your traditional comedy. With seemingly no topic matter being off-limits, its irreverent and playful tone on controversial issues such as serial killers, abortion, capital punishment, paedophilia and terrorism, makes the show Seinfeld’s natural heir. So, no surprise then, that the conventional bromance has a twist, with three buddies instead of the regular two. Co-workers as well as friends, Dennis, Mac and Charlie blur all the rules of friendship as nothing can break it, not even Dennis sleeping with Charlie’s dreaming girl, or Charlie pretending to have cancer to get sympathy sex. No opinion is off limits, and however badly they sell each other out for money or a hot girl, they are still there as each other’s wingman. There’s no need to share sex secrets, Mac and Charlie are quite happy looking at the tapes Dennis secretly uses of his encounters. Not to mention the favourite angle he uses to position the camera and his scoring system out of three stars.
Troy and Abed – Community
Now filming its fifth season, cult comedy Community has its own offering to the bromance arena, and a reminder of just what it can achieve. The nerdy and detached Abed is quite content to watch the action from the sidelines, until his friendship with Troy brings him more into the action. Indeed, the transformation of Troy from being a jock to becoming a geek could make a Hollywood storyline. The impromptu musical performances which usually end each episode are homage to their friendship, and just how comfortable they feel in each other’s company. So much so that during Halloween, and in costumes, Abed is even happy to tell Troy how good looking he is. Troy’s response: “I knew it!” Naïve Annie even gives up her long-held crush on Troy as she realises she could never compete with his affections for Abed. Someone really should tell Abed that’s not how a wingman is supposed to work!
The crazy, wacky and often wonderful world of sport is full of the most outrageous and unique characters. Only fitting then, that there are some brilliant nicknames to match up with the magic.
Michael Holding – ‘Whispering Death’
As one of the greatest and most ferocious bowlers to ever take take up the game, it’s only fitting that the iconic West Indian cricketer has a nickname to live up to his reputation in the game. So called due to his quiet approach to the crease, it became so associated with him that Holding himself named his first autobiography after it.
Neil ‘Dissa’ Pointon
A harsh but funny nickname for a player who spent the majority of his career playing top flight football and even won a championship winning medal with Everton in 1986/87. Another thing to cheer him up is that he and Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pierce are the only left backs to have a nickname of any note.
John Eales – Nobody
Rugby Union has more players on one team than any other sport, so it’s especially difficult to stand out and get a memorable nickname. Winning the Rugby Union World Cup twice as Australia captain certainly helps. It may seem a strange nickname, but then ‘nobody’s perfect’.
Martin ‘Chariots’ Offiah
For a film all about an incredible set of runners with phenomenal God-given ability, it is more than apt that the supremely gifted Rugby League try scorer Martin Offiah gets the amusing nickname. Setting record transfer fees, 15 trophies at domestic level, a prolific England ratio and once scoring 10 tries in one match means he might just deserve it.
Mark ‘Afghan’ Waugh
Though a talented enough cricketer to represent the Australian national team for over a decade, Mark was always in the shadow of his older twin brother Mark. The nickname representing that he was ‘the forgotten Waugh’ So much so, that when Mark tried to sledge newcomer James Osmond by telling him that he wasn’t good enough for international level, Osmond replied: “Maybe not, but at least I’m the best in my own family”.
‘Waltzing’ Matt Hilder
The nickname fits so easily that his parents must surely have had it in mind when they christened him. Waltzing Matilda is considered practically an Australian anthem so pretty nice for the Australian rugby league player who has spent his whole professional career in the country.
‘One size’ Fitz Hall
Usually found at the top of most best sporting nicknames lists, there’s no way we couldn’t include the London-born central defender. Though he has spent his career with nearly a dozen clubs, it is Oldham fans who are believed to have come up with the memorable name.
Mike ‘Enough’ Aldrete
Multi-award winning American broadcaster Chris Berman has come up with so many great nicknames it’s tempting to put his picture up instead. But for such a great nickname, we just have to put the picture of baseball player and now coach, Mike Aldrete who, inappropriately enough, is still going strong.
Just too many great New York set films to limit to 6. Here’s another batch for you to work out. Scroll carefully for answers below.
Trigger And that’s what I’ve done. Maintained it for 20 years. This old brooms had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time.
Sid How the hell can it be the same bloody broom then?
Trigger There’s the picture. What more proof do you need?
Running for 20 years, 456 episodes (and numerous spin offs), and featuring 27 different main actors (no original cast of whom were there by the second half of its run), legal drama Law and Order does indeed bring to mind Trigger’s memorable line from Only Fools and Horses.
But while it may have seemed that it chopped its star players more often than it needed, there were various lengthy stints within and each character usually added a fresh impetus, being more than just an identikit character or cardboard cut-out personality. Viewers would have their own favourite. Whether that be the wry-writted old hand Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach), the sensitive young heart throb Rey Curtis (Benjamin Bratt), the impassioned and renegade Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), the no-nonsense and forceful Anita van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson), or even the cynical, world-weary and media-sensitive District Attorney Aaron Schiff (Steven Hill), there was someone for everyone.
This was an intense and provocative drama with strong personalities with even stronger opinions, dealing with controversial issues such as rape, race, abortion, homosexuality, religion and political influence. Starting with that iconic two beat scene sound introduction, played at the start of every scene, the show would usually start with the discovery of the corpse by passers by. The two detectives would then delve into the frequently grim world of sinister motives of the New York inhabitants before wading through the red herrings and lies and using their instincts and intimidating personalities to ensure they found the perpetrator(s). The second half of the show would switch to dealing with the political battle of the courtroom between the defendant’s free counsel or expensive lawyer trying to weasel out by finding all manner of loopholes, and the District Attorney’s side, aiming for the strongest sentences and being prepared to legally use any aspect of the law.
This was a show where the city itself was more than just a background set. Covering all kinds of characters a 24 hour city like New York provides, Law and Order was a tour guide which let you see within the skyscrapers, into the ghettos and diners and back alleys to see the downtrodden, the high fliers, the career criminals, the cads, addicts, activists and social climbers.
And what a superb level of acting. While the main cast will get the main recognition, the standard of actors who would frequently be used for only one episode was all kinds of superlative. Dealing with the guilt, rage, shock, relief, fear, confusion and even indifference in reaction to the crime on someone they knew, actors coming in fully prepared to display any range of emotions. It’s no surprise to find that more than a few ended up starring in leading roles in shows such as The Sopranos, Dexter, The Wire or even end up in Hollywood.
It may have started off slow, limited and raw with its opening episodes, as it struggled to find the necessary slickness fully evident from series 3 onwards, but it never shied away from the ugly part of human nature. While justice normally came through, sometimes the villains won, sometimes the sentence seemed too lenient or too harsh, and sometimes the criminal was a more sympathetic character than the victim. For a show that wanted to reflect city and legal life, it had it just about right.
Narrator: In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.
Logan: How would you like to be in one of these (porn) movies?
Briscoe: You kidding? I don’t even like to look at my own x-rays.
Schiff: Wonderful. We’ve got a truckload of evidence against an innocent man, and for the guilty one we got zip.
Briscoe: He was married wasn’t he?
Det. Lennie Briscoe: I specifically asked for him to be put on suicide watch. Apparently here at Riker’s that mean that they watch you commit suicide.
McCoy: I remember how hard it was when I realized my father was a son of a bitch. I can’t imagine what it must be like when you realize you raised one.
Schiff: I LOVE cases where a homicidal gun dealer is our best witness
Briscoe: Boy, I’d hate for somebody to trace me by what I read.
Curtis: You read, Lennie?
Schiff: Started with a murder, ends with an execution. You got what you wanted. Take the rest of the week off.
McCoy: It’s Friday, Adam.
Schiff: So it is. See you on Monday.
Jack McCoy: Your grief might seem a little more real had you not just admitted you cut off your wife’s head.
Cast and Awards
27 main actors
Years: 1990 – 2010
Created by: Dick Wolf
Number of series 20
Emmys: 6 from 51
Golden Globes: 0 from 6
Years: 1990 – 2010
Created by: Dick Wolf
It’s been home to some of the greatest films around. Can you guess the name of these films set in New York? Set in order of release. Answers below.
1. King Kong
2. The French Connection
3. Taxi Driver
4. Annie Hall
6. Do The Right Thing