As we head into the month of February, Valentine’s Day approaches and its gotten me thinking about love in television. In any given fiction-based TV show you’ll usually find various types of love. Most of the relationships you’ll find in TV are pretty traditional. Love among families, friends and of course, the romantic type of love that often carries the show season after season. I’m not going to discuss any of that here. This Clicker is all about “Guy Love.” No, not the kind of relationship you might find in a show like ‘Will and Grace.’ Guy-love is love between two male characters that is completely platonic.
What got me thinking about this topic was the “My Musical” episode of ‘Scrubs’ in which Turk and JD sing a duet called “Guy Love.” The hilarious song summed up their relationship perfectly. Turk and JD are two grown men who are like brothers but their relationship certainly has raised a few eyebrows over the years. They spend a ridiculous amount of time together and share all of their secrets almost as though they were 14-year-olds bunking together at summer camp.
After their duet, I started to think about some of the other characters in TV shows that share a similar type of relationship with one another. In researching this topic I came to the realization that this type of relationship is somewhat of a rarity in television. I was surprised by this considering how well it’s worked in few shows they’re featured in.
Before I get into the characters I define as having a “Guy Love” relationship, I should explain my personal criteria for what constitutes this type of relationship. The first point is that the relationship is between two men and is entirely platonic. The second is that the two characters are in fact, grown men. I could write pages about grade-school best friends in television. TV characters that are best friends only qualify for guy-love status if they are grown up and past college age. The behavior of the men in their guy-love relationship is often extremely adolescent in its own way. This brings me to my third point. The two characters can live grown-up lives with real jobs, their own living space and even a girlfriend or wife. It’s their behavior when they’re around each other – the rituals, the bickering and making-up, the over-sharing of personal information and mutual trust that defines the guy-love relationship.
In addition to Turk and JD from ‘Scrubs,’ here are some other examples of guy-love relationships in television:
Joey Tribbiani and Chandler Bing – ‘Friends’
For seasons of the show ‘Friends,’ Chandler and Joey lived together as roommates. They played games together, watched free porn together, argued over stupid stuff but always made up. Chandler and Joey often acted like brothers and occasionally, like an old married couple. Chandler is often portrayed as the nagging wife in the relationship to which Joey usually falls into the act of the semi-clueless husband. Their relationship was one of many in the show but it slowly evaporated when Chandler fell in love Monica and moved out of the apartment.
Carl Carlson and Lenny Leonard - ‘The Simpsons’
People have actually speculated on just how platonic Lenny and Carl are but as the show has never given enough information to out either one of them, I consider them just-friends. Best friends in fact as one of the characters is rarely seen without the other. In this relationship, Lenny is a bit more clingy than Carl but Carl has shown affection towards his friend on various occasions. Take for example the birthday cake he made Lenny shaped like his favorite barstool (Homer sat on it and ruined it but it was the thought that counted).
Angel and Spike – ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel’
These two characters have definitely had their ups and downs in the 100+ years they’ve known each other and I certainly wouldn’t classify them as entirely guy-love material. After all, they spent a good portion of their relationship as enemies but after a recent rewatch of season 5 of ‘Angel’ I think it would be unfair to leave them off the list. Their bickering is reminiscent of children or perhaps an old married couple. There’s a side of them that hates the other because of their past but in the end, they’re sort of like brothers. Had the show continued past season 5, I believe their relationship would’ve driven the show to true greatness.
Honorable mentions go to:
Marshall and Ted from ‘How I Met Your Mother’ – they live together and have been friends for years. The two are transitioning into a more balanced friendship as they continue on the path to grown-up-hood but every once in a while they share the occasional guy-love moment.
Uncle Joey and Uncle Jesse from ‘Full House’ - they were brothers-in-law and close friends in the show. They got along like two men who’ve known each other their whole lives. Joey’s childishness and Jesse’s intense desire to always be cool often clashed but like every other character in the squeaky-clean ‘Full House,’ they always managed to work out any minor disputes they had by the end of the episode.
The concept of two male characters spending way too much time with one another isn’t new. You can find traces of it in classic TV shows like ‘The Odd Couple’ and ‘Starsky and Hutch’ but the dynamic really seems to have evolved quite a bit since then as we’re seeing it more and more in television.
Can you think of any guy-love relationships in TV that I left out? If so, comment below!
’Grease: You’re the One That I Want’ (NBC) 7:00 pm
Note that the episode starts at 7 pm. The group gets narrowed down to 12 contestants (6 men and 6 women) and perform for the judges. Olivia Newton-John will be a guest judge.
’Desperate Housewives’ (ABC) 9:00 pm
Nice She Aint - (repeat) – Carlos and Gaby’s divorce gets nasty and Susan competes with Edie for the forgetful Mike’s attention.
’Battlestar Galactica’ (SciFi) 10:00 pm
Taking a Break From All Your Worries - (New!) – Baltar tries to off himself after being imprisoned on Galactica and charged with treason. Its likely he’s hoping his suspicion that he’s a Cylon is true and that he’ll resurrect.
Watch: ’24’ (Fox) 9:00 pm
Day 6: 11:00 am – 12:00 am - (New!) – Jack’s father and brother were introduced last episode and will continue to play a role in the investigation.
TiVo: ’Heroes’ (Fox) 9:00 pm
The Fix- (New!) – Hiro runs into his father during his quest to find “the sword.” Claire looks for her birth parents and Isaac tries to find a way to save the world (from Peter)
’American Idol’ (Fox) 8:00 pm
Birmingham – (New!) – We saw New York last week, now the show heads south to see what kind of talent can be found in Alabama.
”Veronica Mars” (CW) 9:00 pm
Poughkeepsie, Tramps and Thieves (New!) – TV Guide’s description says Madison will be in this episode. She hasn’t been in the show since last season so this should be interesting. Also, Keith finds out about the egging that took place outside the dean’s window the night he was killed.
’Friday Night Lights’ (NBC) 8:00 pm
Upping The Ante(New!) – The panthers play a crucial game. I know, it sounds like a rerun but I assure you, its not. This game is indeed an entirely different crucial game than those in previous episodes.
’American Idol’ (FOX) 9:00 pm
San Antonio(New!) – The show heads to Texas for the final round of the preliminary auditions. Next week we get the Los Angeles episode as well as a “best of the best” episode. Hopefully the competition portion of the series will begin after that.
”Ugly Betty” (ABC) 8:00 pm
I’m Coming Out - (New!) – Betty rushes around trying to get things ready for a big fashion event. Christina continues on her path to becoming a fashion designer. Katherine McPhee guest stars as herself.
”The Office” (NBC) 8:30 pm
Ben Franklin - (New!) – Michael gets Ben Franklin and a stripper for Phyllis’ wedding shower (I guess that’s just how they roll in Pennsylvania) and Karen confronts Pam about her history with Jim.
’Grey’s Anatomy’ (ABC) 9:00 pm
Wishin’ and Hopin’ - (New!) – Cristina and Callie deal with the wedding proposals they both received. A surgical patient puts the staff at risk and the residents continue to stress about the whole “Who will be the next chief” issue.
”Men In Trees” (ABC) 10:00 pm
Take It Like a Man - (New!) – Jane and Marin try to act manly. Annie and Patrick talk about having kids (they’ll probably end up disagreeing on something but finally find a way to compromise and end up back to their old lovey dovey selves). Lynn is concerned that Jack doesn’t care about her baby. Newsflash to Lynn: Jack isn’t the father. It might take longer for him to get used to the idea that he’s going to be raising another man’s kid.
Steel Magnolias (ABCFam) 8:00 pm
Grab a box of tissues and enjoy this classic about a group of women living in a small town in the south.
The Sixth Sense (ABCFam) 7:00 pm
He sees dead people!