Category Archives: bromance

Strike Back: A Bromance of Epic Hotness

Sullivan Stapleton and Phillip Winchester 

What is it about hot, hot, super hot men running around in cargo pants, tact vests and thigh holsters that just gets my knees a-knocking? Or squirming with an uncontrollable aching need for… Ahem…. Did I mention that they were hot? Good lord, I’ve found my Mecca. Cinemax’s Strike Back has all of this girl’s favorite things: Special Ops super heroes, badass women in charge, terrorist ass-kicking, justifiable guns and violence and a shiny new bromance. Oh yeah, and it has some steamy, hair-straightening, toe-curling sex, IN EVERY EPISODE, but we’ll talk about that in a minute.

The heroes:

British SAS soldier, Sergeant Michael Stonebridge works for a highly secret, off books division of British Secret Intelligence called Section 20. The group is an anti-terrorism task force charged with high risk, priority missions around the globe. Stonebridge is the consummate soldier, the one who follows orders, always does what is right and never wavers from the mission. His clean cut good looks fit the golden boy, Officer and a Gentleman trope. He’s poised and polished under fire and takes the more respectful route when it comes to discussions with management. He’s not totally perfect. He cheated on his wife with a superior officer. And then she was blown up. Eeeps.

Stonebridge is sent to find and recruit…

Damien Scott, disgraced US Delta Force Operator, dishonorably discharged during a tour in Iraq. Of course he was set up to cover up a WMD plot, because he would never traffic the two kilos of heroin planted in his footlocker. He does have some integrity. There are lines that every good man at heart won’t cross. Yet, he IS the quintessential badboy. Where Stonebridge is sublime perfection, Scott is the grizzled, disillusioned badass who fights hard and plays even harder. He leaves a string of bullets, bodies and women in his wake and gives authority the finger every chance he can get. He doesn’t deny his personal demons but he struggles with atonement couched in revenge to find those who set him up.

Together they are a deadly force of precision fighting.

So what makes these two my newest favorite bromance? Aside from the fact I can’t decide which one I’d chose if we could stay in bed for a week. Would I really even have to chose? Who says I can’t have both, right? Sigh.

In the beginning, they hate each other. Scott is rude and arrogant and bucks authority like it’s in his DNA. Stonebridge is the play-by-the-rules, respect-your-elders kind of guy and Scott’s jagged edges grate on his last nerve. They fight and argue and call each other ‘asshole’ and ‘prick’. It’s the beginning to a beautiful symbiotic bickering foundation of all fine bromances. They question each other’s motives, second guess one another and generally dislike each other until they begin to save each other’s lives. It becomes a bro-hood forged in blood––theirs and those they kill in the name of freedom.

Over the course of the first Cinemax season, Strike Back:Project Dawn, they develop a deep and trusting friendship. Shared events of tragedy often does that to people, especially hardened soldiers. Now that they have a season under their belt, in season 2 Strike Back: Vengeance, they’ve switched roles in a way. It is Scott who’s the stable one and Stonebridge who is living life on the cutting edge of sanity and redemption. They still bicker, but now they squabble like brothers, nitpicking and teasing while they watch each other’s backs. I look forward to seeing how they play up this dynamic in season 3. Both men having purged their ghosts. Maybe Stonebridge will finally get a chance to get his groove on with a woman who actually gets to live. (He’s a bit of a black widow, poor bastard).

Which brings me to the sex. Oh my, get me a cigarette.  They don’t call Cinemax ‘Skinamax’ for no reason. This is soft core porn at its damn finest. I think in the twenty hour-long episodes that I’ve watched (and studied like I’m doing a dissertation) I’ve seen Scott’s bare ass more than I’ve seen my own husband’s. Not that I’m complaining because damn, it’s fine. He’s got just the right amount of dirty, scruffy sex appeal where he can slip any minute into that guy who looks really hot, but you know he’s got smelly balls so you wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole, let alone his own. But he’s got that cute, cute military boy haircut that sticks up like he just raked his hand through it when he rolled out of bed. And let me tell you, he usually doesn’t even use a bed. The boy’s got some stamina., Walls, tables, barns, interrogation room chairs, balconies. Hot damn the man will fuck anywhere, anytime, with pretty much any woman who’s breathing and has a hole. When I say he’s had sex in every episode, I’m not lying. He’s had sex in EVERY EPISODE but the last four of season 2, and I think that is pretty telling because it means he’s come to a decision about himself and his role within Section 20. He feels like he belongs again and he’s done racing against the world with his hair on fire. Not bad for a guy with a death wish.

One thing that I have to say that totally cracks me up is that Stonebridge, the Brit, is played by an American, Philip Winchester (his name even sounds like he should be British) and Scott, the American, is played by an Aussie, Sullivan Stapleton. Their accents are reversed . Every once in a while Sully’s will slip when he gets hyper emotional, but Philip’s, never. It sounds dead on with the rest of the brits on the show. I love it. It’s so ironic. Great testament to the quality of acting going on in this well-written, intelligent action fest.

Yes, it’s violent, bloody, unapologetically testosterone bent. And I love it. I want more. One day, I will have to do a post on the women of Strike Back because they are badass, brass-ovary women to the core. They are a perfect fit with the boys. They are not just decoration they are true soldiers. Each one is every bit as ruthless as her counterpart. It’s refreshing and believable. Strike Back got it right.

Cannot wait until Season 3.

If I’m every kidnapped by a raving group of terrorists, call in these guys. If I die, at least I’ll die with a fantasy in my head.
~Namaste

Photos courtesy of Cinemax, Sky 1 and TV Guide.

A Curmudgeonly Bromance

In my post about My Favorite Bromance, I forgot one adorable, fun and just delightful pair that make me laugh more and more as they get older:

Gibbs and Fornell on the ever-popular NCIS.

The episodes when Fornell visits should be called “Two Cranky Old Men”. They are so cantankerous and set in their ways, each one different and stubborn in their own right. Fornell while being the G-man from the often-maligned FBI (according to NCIS) is often the more sensitive of the two. In Tell-All (Season 8), Fornell prods Gibbs about the wedding invitations they’ve both received from their mutual ex-wife. Yep, you read that correctly. They share an ex-wife. Gibbs married her first. SHe dumped his ass and then Fornell married her. Their marriage lasted much longer and produced a daughter. But according to Gibbs, Diane was a real pill. Fornell… the poor bastard was smitten and though sometimes complains about her, he is still very much in love with her. He spends the whole episode trying to get Gibbs to go to the wedding, because he really wants to attend.

I think Fornell feels the need for solidarity, to be united front so he can gain a sense of closure. Gibbs doesn’t want any part of it. When he walked away, he tore the bandage off full steam and never looked back. Fornell still carries the torch and never felt the sense of finality. That is until he appears in Gibbs’ ‘Basement of Redemption’ with a tux on an no place to go. He says to Gibbs “I think i just gave away the bride”. Gibbs simply nods and the door bell rings. It’s the pizza man. Fornell asks “With pepperoni and onions?” and Gibbs says, “Yup.” Fornell smiles then and offers to pay. It’s a sweet scene where two men communicate between the lines over the ultimate in ‘single man’ food. You know they’ll have bourbon out of the dirty mason jars and talk shop, maybe even Gibbs will indulge Fornell’s reminiscing.

In the season 10 premiere, Fornell returns to aid NCIS in the investigation to find the arch criminal Dearing. There are some really great scenes between Gibbs and Fornell where they discuss famliy. Fornell is there to support Gibbs, he watches out for him, gives a buffer to his feelings which is done in a very nice subtle way. It has to be because Gibbs doesn’t like to be coddled. But the best scene is when Fornell brings him dinner. Gibbs is dressed in a pair of jeans and schlubby long-sleeved tee. Fornell dishes out the food and jokes, “You never dress up for me anymore.” It’s a joke of course, but it’s a testament to their friendship on a few levels. One, their whole dynamic centers around teasing jibes. Two, it implies the idea of a longterm ‘marriage’, Fornell being the ‘woman’ who nags at her inattentive ‘husband’ when the magic has died. But the third most important thing it shows is the true friendship they have for each other and the fact that Fornell cares enough to be there for his friend. The essence of a true Bromance.

Take a look at this little clip from “Short Fuse”, Season 8 episode 3.

Can’t help but love them. Tough guys with wounded souls. The best kind. Because they’re interesting.
~Indigo

My Favorite Bromances

I have been a fan of the bromance for a while now. I ‘m not really sure how far back it goes because I really can’t pinpoint a favorite until the ultimate bromance (and I believe the duo who coined the phrase) House and Wilson. But it seems to be a new trend, at least in the shows that I frequent.

The bromance is a deep friendship relationship between two men. There can be sexual undertones if you squint real hard, but I think that usually comes from the fact that these relationships tend to resemble the close connection between an actual romantic couple. Like that of good marriage. Caring, banter, angst and humor. A true bromance will be tested––not in a Bros before Hoes kind of way––but in a way that tests the bonds that brought the two men to the friendship in the first place. The ties will stretch but the ultimate trust in one another will overcome no matter how thinly it is pulled.

Lets take a brief look at some of my favorites:

One of the main reasons I watch Hawaii 5-O is because of the McGarrett/Danno friendship. Ok, not gonna lie, if I could just be alone in a room with McGarret, I’d climb him like a tree and set up a wood floor treehouse. Who wouldn’t? But I love the dynamic between the two. When they argue in the car (the ‘cargument’ too cute,  I swear), it’s like watching an old married couple bicker in that adorable, annoyingly endearing way that makes you either want to hit them or squeeze their cheeks.

While Steve and Dano bicker, House and Wilson had blistering arguments. There were many times you just had to wonder why, oh why, did Wilson remain friends with him? House was so awful to him. But, there was no denying that they had a strangely symbiotic and dysfunctional relationship that took so many turns and evolutions as the show progressed that I’m sure a psychology student could do an entire dissertation on their codependency.  It was entertaining yet painful to watch sometimes. Pure brilliance, as with a lot of things in that show once upon a time.

White Collar‘s entire premise revolves around the bromance between Neil Caffrey and Peter Burke. They started out as nemesis and foe, cat and mouse, law man and the con man. Opposites to the core in their nature and their character role. Yet, what happened was interesting––they morphed into a true and genuine friendship. They respect each other’s abilities and feelings. And they do legitimately talk about their feelings. It’s actually quite refreshing and downright sentimental.

My favorite by far, is the mentor/protege, big brother/ little brother dynamic between Harvey Specter and Mike Ross on Suits. I cannot wait each week to watch these two. They deliver their lines in such quick-witted jabs and quips that you almost miss the subtle affection in the the blatant undertones of sarcasm. They are so very reminiscent of the fantastic verbal sparring of Tracey and Hepburn or Rosalind Russel and Cary Grant in His Girl Friday. Mike makes Harvey remember his humanity and Harvey challenges Mike in a way that utilizes his genius-like abilities. Harvey’s the pitbull and Mike is the puppy that runs along side of him. It will be interesting to see the puppy grow up and what the Alpha dog does.

I think that this type of relationship, one between two male characters who share a mutual respect and caring, can help us as writers to understand the character dynamic more. Study how they talk with each other, what they discuss and the patterns of their speech. Some of it pertains to the main plot and how they interact with the given situation. Most of it is isolated personal stuff that flows outside of the story plot but lends itself to the main character arc. It gives you insight into the character’s personalities and a deeper understanding of who they are as layered people.

So what about you? Do you have a favorite bromance? What makes them special?

Get out your bat and balls. Delve into the fantastic dynamic of the bromance.
~Indigo