MTV is scheduled to come out with a show entitled Bromance this fall essentially ushering in an era in which hereto life-partnerships are now for sale. The show features one Brody Jenner as a dude in need of a new best bro. You may know Brody Jenner as the son of legendary decathlete of 1970s (and Kardashian fuddy duddy) Bruce Jenner. Or you may know him from his exploits on any number of Southern California lifestyle, silver spoon exploitation shows like The Hills or The Princes of Malibu. Evidently (and we’re not making this up), the younger Jenner needs a new close, personal buddy since he refused to side with Spencer Pratt in a feud against The Hills' star Lauren Conrad (LC!).
Sure, it's not like the winner of the 6-episode arc is contractually required to be Brody's bro, but he will probably get some The Hills airtime as part of Jenner's posse. And I think this sounds like a terrible idea.
As a dude who enjoys tight, platonic relationships with lots of other dudes, this sounds a lot like brosploitation rather than anything that approaches bromance. Evidently, MTV wouldn’t know bromance if it slapped it in the face but stands to benefit by defining the term publicly like they did with punked (Punk'd). Webster's defines bromances as, uh, okay MTV has me there but Urban Dictionary calls bromance "the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males." Does that sound like something that you can get by winning (if you can call it that) a 6-episode reality show? Sometimes being a bro means doing humiliating things but that generally involves a wager or broskies (ugh).
The bromance phenomenon entered the public consciousness around the time that the metrosexual reared his pretty head. In a number of ways, the two concepts are manifests of a similar undercurrent: men are becoming a leeeeeeettle more feminine. One no-polish manicure is roughly equal to 2 shirt-off hugs depending on the value of a tube of shave butter versus the handshake-to-thumb snap. Though the metrosexuality and man love are played against each other in Fight Club.
Where did guys get this silly idea? We learned it from watching you, lady, we learned it from watching you. It turns out the girlfriend network (you may call it a sewing circle, quilting group, or book white wine club) is a pretty decent support system. But guys don’t have girlfriends (except for the guys dating but not married to women) they have bros. Curious about the protocol for that crucial 6-month anniversary? Are you seriously going to bother your dad with that? Lean on a bro. Need a wingman to seal the deal? Holler atcher boy.
While it's theoretically possible for a woman and a man to be platonic friends, it is high degree of difficulty move. There are pitfalls galore and most of them involve alcohol and over-disclosure. Not for the weak-of-heart.
Pop culture's best-known bromance is probably between JD and Turk from Scrubs, now on ABC. Though their man-love sometimes borders on homoerotic, their friendship is pretty well fleshed out in the episode called "Guy Love." Arguably, the top bro out there is How I Met Your Mother's Barney Stinson. While Barney's brohavior is a bit more about the trappings of bromance rather than bromantic idealism. Towards the end of last season, Barney (played masterfully by Neil Patrick Harris) is forced to find a new bro after a falling out with Ted. Barney makes a huge mistake by trying to just conjure up a new best bro, his knowledge of the bro code should have taught him that it was a fool's errand for even an old pro bro such as himself.
That being said, what chance does any guy stand of finding a best friend that will laugh at Caddy Shack quotes, sometimes wrestle after coming home from the bar, and not mind too much if you pee on his rug? I understand that MTV really has a clever title because Jenner's first name begins with a B-R-O, but choosing your best buddy through a reality show isn't a bromance at all, it's a brah-quaintance at best and brostitution at worst.
(Quick Note: I have never watched The Hills or it's predecessor Laguna Beach. Where's the upside? If I watch it and hate it, then it's a waste of half an hour. And if I like it, then I’ve got a lot to reevaluate about my life).