What’s the line between friendship and romance? This is a big question that we’ll address throughout this series, but today, I want to explore it in the context of heterosexual male friendships. Specifically, I want to explore it in the context of the 21st century’s offshoot of the buddy comedy—the “bromance.”
At my home planet of Racialicious, I recently started up a True Blood roundtable, where five of us weekly go to town on the various racist-sexisms of everyone's favourite vampire show. As the grumpiest of the bunch, my opinions on True Blood are vastly more negative than positive, especially when the episode is heavy on violence against women—which increasingly seems to be the theme for True Blood's newest season. So sometimes we get commenters who ask us, why the heck do y'all watch this show anyways?
When my fellow Racializen Tami asked us all this question during our first roundtable, we didn't come up with any great reasoning. I talked about how in the past, I had quit watching the show over the persistent rape motif, only to be drawn back in. Others blamed the interesting plotlines and comparably good writing for keeping them watching.
It seems like radical, anti-racist feminist pop culture critics are not alone in this phenomenon—that is, the phenomenon of subjecting ourselves to hurtful viewings. Apart from exposing myself to regular doses of vampire sex violence, I also have a soft spot for bromances. And I've noticed a trend in bromances of late (or maybe it was always there): the rape-or-sexualised-humiliation-scene-as-comedy.