Romantic friendships!
June 4, 2017 10:17 PM   Subscribe

Homestuck has moirallegiance, Pacific Rim has drift compatibility (sorta), The Magicians on TV has Eliot and Margo, bromances show up in random places. Give me more IRL or pop culture representations of romantic friendships!

By "romantic friendships" I refer to friendships that are platonic/non-sexual but have a high degree of passion, affection, and/or emotional intimacy, more so than what would be considered normal by friends or even best friends. I'm not necessarily talking about relationships that end up like this because one party is asexual (though I guess that qualifies) - friendships between sexual people that seem close enough to warrant "are they banging now?!" but without any actual, uh, banging would work.

I'm looking for representations in both pop culture/media/fiction and in real life, across any number of people or genders or sexualities. I get that the distinction between this and best friends/chosen family might be a bit fuzzy, so feel free to put in any recommendations that might fit.
posted by divabat to Human Relations (44 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Well Samwise and Frodo, right?
posted by aubilenon at 10:47 PM on June 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Brideshead Revisited actually uses the term "romantic friendship" to describe the two characters involved.
posted by praemunire at 10:58 PM on June 4, 2017

Broad City!
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:00 PM on June 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Anne Shirley and any of her many wonderful female friends but especially Diana and Leslie

and a totally different Ann and Leslie, from Parks and Rec
posted by colorblock sock at 11:05 PM on June 4, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm reminded of the UK show "Morecambe and Wise" from the 70s and 80s, which featured continuous sketches starring the pair, including many in which the two guys were not only living together but sleeping in the same bed, and yet there was obviously no reference to sexuality nor homosexuality whatsoever. Strangely (in retrospect), it just seemed perfectly normal that these two lived together all the time as more than friends but never anything else.
posted by tillsbury at 11:12 PM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ernie and Bert, of course!
posted by SisterHavana at 11:19 PM on June 4, 2017 [7 favorites]

Red: "I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend."
posted by FJT at 11:28 PM on June 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons
posted by calgirl at 11:43 PM on June 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Turk & JD in Scrubs
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 1:35 AM on June 5, 2017 [10 favorites]

The friendship/creative partnership between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost sounds like an IRL example of what you're looking for (although they also often play it up a bit for laughs, of course). Here's Nick Frost describing it on The Graham Norton Show.
posted by sively at 2:09 AM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. In the books as well as the Jude Law films and BBC series.

Germaine Greer writes (page 99-101) beautifully about her experience as a teenager of wholehearted naive female adolescent romantic friendship (which did become sexual in her case, but the phenomenon she describes and my experience of it doesn't necessitate it being sexual)

Chris Carter the X files series creator wanted this for Mulder and Scully and maintained it until season 6. Season 1-4 are going for romantic friendship, particularly "The Field Where I Died"

Kirk and Spock, exemplified here

Mary Poppins and the Chimney Sweep? Although the go there is possibly more that he's in love with her but she just wants friendship

The friendship between the two police officers in Danish film A Second Chance
posted by hotcoroner at 2:15 AM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Jane Eyre and Helen Burns in Jane Eyre.

Buffy and Faith (a less than healthy romance, but a romance) in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. YMMV on how platonic this friendship is actually even written to be, but nothing unambiguously takes it over the line on the show.

I second Frodo and Samwise, of course.
posted by Aravis76 at 3:51 AM on June 5, 2017

Jay and Silent Bob (from the Kevin Smith movies) describe themselves as "hetero life mates."
posted by TwoStride at 5:22 AM on June 5, 2017 [6 favorites]

R. Daneel and Elijah Baley in the Robot series by Isaac Asimov
posted by Ziggy500 at 5:49 AM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Phoebe and Joey, Friends*
Chandler and Ross, Friends
Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace, Pulp Fiction
Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock
Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins, Parks and Recreation

*They kissed once but never slept together.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:05 AM on June 5, 2017

Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in the TV series Elementary.
posted by jessamyn at 6:11 AM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Miles O'Brien and Julian Bashir, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
posted by Automocar at 6:20 AM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Real life:

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen (Portlandia).
Anderson Cooper (CNN) and Andy Cohen (Bravo TV).
posted by Room 641-A at 6:46 AM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Will and Grace.
posted by gideonfrog at 6:52 AM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams - Hawaii 5 0 (the current one)
posted by Roger Pittman at 7:14 AM on June 5, 2017

Jules and Jim, from Jules et Jim.
posted by witchen at 7:28 AM on June 5, 2017

Kirk and Spock basically INVENTED the romantic friendship on television, although I've heard it argued that Kirk and Bones have a more conventional bromance.

Dr. House and Dr. Wilson from House M.D. definitely had a bromance, though theirs was definitely dysfunctional at times. Heck, there was a TV Guide cover a few years ago that focused on their bromance.

Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin from the Master and Commander books/movie. Heck, the book series is actually called the Aubrey-Maturin series.

Starbuck and Apollo from the Battlestar Galactica reboot. That edged more on the romance than the friendship, and they did kiss (and may have slept together once?), but their bond definitely fell more on the passionately platonic side of things.

Professor X and Magneto from X-Men (pre-villain schism) and, along that same vein, real life life-bros Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:36 AM on June 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

TVtropes has a category called "Heterosexual Life Partners" which is based on what Jay calls Silent Bob, which sounds like it can provide some more examples.
posted by zoetrope at 8:19 AM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing Frodo and Sam and adding Legolas and Gimli as well.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (from the book of the same name) are a more tempestuous variation of the trope.

Ruth and Naomi, from the Bible?
posted by darchildre at 8:27 AM on June 5, 2017

Aziz Ansari and Eric Wareheim, both in real life and as Dev and Arnold in Master of None.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:30 AM on June 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

Andy and Jessica, Andy and Keith, Andy Richter Controls The Universe
Seth Rogan and James Franco, IRL and movies
Paul F. Tompkins and Scott Aukerman, Comedy Bang! Bang! etc and IRL.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:50 AM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Speaking of the Bible, David and Jonathan certainly qualify, as do Paul and Timothy.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 8:50 AM on June 5, 2017

Lenny and Carl, The Simpsons
posted by Room 641-A at 9:01 AM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Val and Earl (Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward) in "Tremors"
posted by rmd1023 at 9:31 AM on June 5, 2017

Cory and Shawn, Boy Meets World.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:20 AM on June 5, 2017

The Netflix show sense8 is basically this with 8 people.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:23 AM on June 5, 2017

Ajax and Achilles!
posted by Heretic at 12:28 PM on June 5, 2017

Real life:
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan

Starsky and Hutch
Killjoys - Dutch and Johnny
posted by current resident at 12:55 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sarah and Lucy on Trailer Park Boys, for sure. They live together (with Lucy's kids) and are BFF - their relationship is the stable one while romantic partners (men) come and go.
posted by jrobin276 at 3:06 PM on June 5, 2017

Gus and Shawn on Psych.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:03 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Joe and Barack?
posted by Vaike at 8:17 PM on June 5, 2017 [5 favorites]

Frog and Toad?
Jeeves and Wooster?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:58 PM on June 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

IRL : Singers Blake Shelton and Adam Levine have one of the best bromances going right now.
posted by magstheaxe at 8:26 AM on June 6, 2017

Bono and The Edge, totally. <3
posted by Occula at 8:57 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thelma and Louise!
Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
Jake and Charles, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
posted by Room 641-A at 10:54 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Grace and Frankie!
posted by spindrifter at 5:37 AM on June 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Finn and Poe in The Force Awakens. Also, Finn and Rey in The Force Awakens.

While we're on the subject of Star Wars, Luke and Leia, obviously, but also R2D2 and C3PO (Jay and Silent Bob mentioned earlier have the same basic relationship as R2/3PO).

You could make an argument for Obi-wan/Anakin in the prequels too.
posted by Ndwright at 12:41 PM on June 8, 2017

The Doctor and his companions, most of whom he has very strong emotional attachments to but not explicitly professed sexual/romantic interest in (with one or two exceptions).

The extreme lengths he'll go to in order to protect his companion, often at the expense of his own well-being, is a theme that has popped up with some frequency in recent seasons.
posted by Ndwright at 12:49 PM on June 8, 2017

Brian and Stewie, Family Guy
posted by Room 641-A at 1:19 PM on June 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

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