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Culture > Entertainment

Chandler and Joey: The Bromantic Duo

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

In sociological terms, the hegemonic male is someone in power, with power, and of power to emphasize the importance of domination over their female-counterpart. This results in the attribution of distinct traits for heterosexual and homosexual men. Whereas heterosexual men are callous, independent, and authoritative, homosexual men are given feminine traits such as emotional, passive, and nurturing to suggest that their behaviour deviates from what is considered masculine. These qualitative differences cause men to monitor their behaviour to avoid being perceived as effeminate.

However, the emergence of the bromance on television complicates the notion of masculinity and male friendships as it is founded on emotionality and sentimentality. Simply put, the bromance is defined by two heterosexual men sharing an intimate connection with one another that is devoid of romantic feelings. This representation of male friendships has not only become etched in popular culture but also used as a trope for comedic entertainment. While there are a slew of bromances, the iconic duo — Chandler and Joey — have transcended all other pairings.

Unlike the hegemonic male, who is emotionless and independent, Chandler and Joey purchase gifts for one another to symbolize their friendship. The sentimental act of Joey purchasing a gold bracelet with the engraving “best buds” is one example. It not only expresses his gratitude for Chandler but also Joey’s desire to help him with his sex life. His belief that the gift symbolizes male potency as it represents financial success is demonstrative of Joey’s undying loyalty and respect for Chandler.

Chandler and Joey’s friendship parallels circumstances that heterosexual partners face. When Joey moves out of the apartment, they refuse to admit that they miss the other. Joey complaining about Chandler’s refrigerator being empty is a deflection of the real problem — his jealousy towards the bond between Chandler and his new roommate. Interestingly, Rachel commenting that “it’ll never last, he’s just a rebound roommate” suggests that the bond between Chandler and Joey is unbreakable. The implication of Rachel’s statement reflects two lovers splitting up and adjusting to life without each other.

Not only do they recognize the closeness of their bond by imitating heterosexual couplings, but also take pleasure in such intimate activities. Chandler and Joey becoming pet owners is an example. Their “offsprings” are comparable to heterosexual partners raising children. They are not only seen arguing over disciplinary methods for the animals’ undesirable behaviours, but also discussing their future aspirations for them. Their disregard for heteronormative expectations of what male friendship should be is replaced by an emphasis on them partaking in codependent activities.

Often, Chandler and Joey’s friendship is scrutinized as much as Ross’s failed marriages. However, Friends portrays the numerous layers of Chandler and Joey’s bromance, as it experiments with what constitutes male friendships. Chandler and Joey subjecting themselves to a partnership that is borderline romantic represents an their unmatched respect and affection for each other.

Raquel is currently pursuing a BA in English Literature with an interest in 20th century literature. When she's not stressing about academics, Raquel spends an unhealthy amount of time browsing the web for aesthetically-pleasing restaurants, cafes and landscape sceneries for her Instagram profile.
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Lena Lahalih

Toronto MU

Lena is a fourth year English major at Ryerson University and this year's Editor-in-Chief.   You can follow her on Twitter: @_LENALAHALIH