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Reading the Bromance

Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television

Edited by Michael DeAngelis

Publication Year: 2014

In the middle of this century’s first decade, “bromance” emerged as a term denoting an emotionally intense bond between straight men. Yet bromance requires an expression of intimacy that always toys with being coded as something other than “straight” male behavior, even as it insists that such intimacy must never be misinterpreted. In Reading the Bromance: Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television, editor Michael DeAngelis has compiled a diverse group of essays that address the rise of this tricky phenomenon and explore the social and cultural functions it serves. Contributors consider selected contemporary film and television texts, as well as the genres that historically inspired them, in order to explore what needs bromance attempts to fulfill in relationships between men—straight or otherwise. Essays analyze films ranging from I Love You, Man to Superbad, Humpday, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, The Hangover, and the Jackass films, and include studies of representative examples in international cinema such as Y tu mama tambien and classic and contemporary films of the Bollywood genre. The volume also examines the increasingly prevalent appearance of the bromance phenomenon in television narratives, from the “male bonding” rituals of Friends and Seinfeld to more recent manifestations in House, The Wire, and the MTV reality series Bromance. From historical analysis to discourse analysis, sociological analysis, and queer theory, this volume provides a broad range of methodological and theoretical approaches to the phenomenon in the first booklength study of the bromance genre. Film and television scholars as well as readers interested in pop culture and queer studies will enjoy the insights of Reading the Bromance.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

Series: Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

...It has been a privilege, an honor, and a joy to work with such a talented and dedicated group of authors on this project, and I feel lucky to be associated with all of them. I offer special thanks to Barry Keith Grant and Annie Martin at Wayne State University Press for their confidence...

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Michael DeAngelis

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pp. 1-26

...August 2011 marked the release of a new iPhone and Android app designed for straight males in major metropolitan areas who were searching for opportunities to connect, meet, and hang out with other straight men. App...


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1. Second Bananas and Gay Chicken: Bromancing the Rom-Com in the Fifties and Now

Jenna Weinman

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pp. 29-51

...After a frenzied marital dispute over accusations of infidelity, George finds himself soaking wet, pajama-clad, and locked out of his home. Still clutching the bottle of champagne that had been intended for a romantic evening...

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2. Grumpy Old Men: “Bros Before Hos”

Hilary Radner

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pp. 52-78

...Ramin Setoodeh to “officially declare that bromance is the new romantic comedy.” Setoodeh admits, “Buddy comedies are nothing new, but the bromance shows us that straight guys, even without the aid of a high-speed car chase...

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3. Fears of a Millennial Masculinity: Scream’s Queer Killers

David Greven

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pp. 79-106

...1990s can be seen in current representation. The emergent genre of the bromance provides ample evidence that this 1990s queerness has reshaped the ways in which straight masculinity can be represented, chiefly by making same-sex desire and even genital contact between males a threatening...


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4. I Love You, Hombre: Y tu mamá también as Border-Crossing Bromance

Nick Davis

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pp. 109-138

...that delineates a specific group of people) from more “universalizing” aspects of homosexuality (engrained within a spectrum that encompasses all erotic desires and helping structure the ways we talk about, think about, and enact...

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5. From Dostana to Bromance: Buddies in Hindi Commercial Cinema Reconsidered

Meheli Sen

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pp. 139-164

...this chapter, I trace the transformations that have attended to male homosocial friendships in Hindi commercial cinema from the 1970s to the present. Needless to say, much has changed for the popular film in India over the last four decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, the period the first half...

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6. From Batman to I Love You, Man: Queer Taste, Vulgarity, and the Bromance as Sensibility and Film Genre

Ken Feil

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pp. 165-190

...distinction between “straight” and “gay” evermore confusing. A dated, camp example concretizes the bromance’s playful, comedic dance around the closet door: a photo of Batman and Robin from the 1966 series. Once the “wish dream...

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7. Rad Bromance (or I Love You, Man, but We Won’t Be Humping on Humpday)

Peter Forster

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pp. 191-212

...powerful—the admission of the romantic/erotic impulses in male bonding or the denial of any nonheterosexual impulses in the bros? Why does it matter? Why is an entire genre of films dedicated to the exploration of this admission/denial? The...

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8. Queerness and Futurity in Superbad

Michael DeAngelis

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pp. 213-230

...relationship between such characters. Since the start of the new century, however, many critics and filmmakers have striven to expand the definition of queerness in cinema beyond matters of representation, such that “queerness” has...

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9. Becoming Bromosexual: Straight Men, Gay Men, and Male Bonding on U.S. TV

Ron Becker

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pp. 233-254

...Jenner’s go-to guy friends. “I found out the hard way that it’s tough to find a true friend,” Brody explains in the show’s introductory sequence, alluding to the well publicized break up between himself and Spence Pratt, his...

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10. The Bromance Stunt in House

Murray Pomerance

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pp. 255-273

...Writing in 1925 about the modern appeal of travel, Siegfried Kracauer noted among the bourgeoisie a “preference for the exotic, which one is eager to discover because it is completely different and not because it has already become an image...

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11. “This ain’t about your money, bro. Your boy gave you up”: Bromance and Breakup in HBO’s The Wire

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pp. 274-294

...Democracy is at the heart of the program, to the extent that viewers find themselves caring about 20 characters almost equally. But so few of these characters are women, and the female characters that do emerge aren’t...

Works Cited

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pp. 295-308

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pp. 309-312

...Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University. His teaching and research encompass narrative cinema in several eras and traditions, with particular emphasis on queer theory, feminism, popular film criticism, and twentieth-century American literature...


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pp. 313-318

E-ISBN-13: 9780814338995
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814338988

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 21
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series