Where the Bros Are: A Guide to TV’s Top 10 Male-Bonding Shows

by | July 29, 2011 at 4:37 PM | America's Got Talent, Burn Notice, Community, Entourage, House, How I Met Your Mother, NCIS, Rescue Me, Sex and the City, The Simpsons, TV News, White Collar

Let’s face it. Even during its heyday, “Sex and the City” was never high on the list of must-see programming for a lot of guys. And it wasn’t simply because of the fear that their girlfriends/wives would ask them to buy all the expensive Manolo Blahniks. It was a “No Boys Allowed” sort of show because it showed four women doing something men have severe trouble relating to – bonding with each other.

As roughly 94 percent of the female population has come to realize, men aren’t exactly great when it comes to sharing their feelings. Especially with each other. When it comes to opening pickle jars or discussing fantasy football drafts, guys excel. When it comes to expressing their innermost thoughts, not so much. TV men are no exception. Women get plenty of bonding shows, from “Sex and the City” to “Rizzoli & Isles” to “Desperate Housewives.” Guys get all the hiney-smacking during football games and pretty much every beer commercial ever.

However, if you look closely enough, the boys are starting to open up a little bit. There are a few television shows out there that feature some male bonding of one sort or another. Maybe they don’t do a lot of group hugs or brunches, but the guys in these 10 series do manage to get in a few special moments with each other every week.

Entourage, HBO

This is essentially the male equivalent to “Sex and the City,” only with more pool parties and fewer fashion shows. And as the series enters its final season, expect more sentimental fist bumps and high fives to be exchanged by Vinnie, E, Drama, Turtle and Ari.

House, Fox

They don’t spend nearly enough time hanging out these days, but when House (Hugh Laurie) and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) get together, not only do hijinks usually ensue. So do honest (or as honest as House ever gets) conversations.

White Collar, USA

Buttoned-up FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) and semi-reformed thief Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) are living proof that opposites attract. Whether it’s given each other advice about women, clothes or career options, these two should just get over it and hug it out already.

Burn Notice, USA

Sure Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) has on-and-off girlfriend Fi (Gabrielle Anwar) around to eat yogurt with, but when it comes time to con a criminal or just blow something up, he always seems to favor spending time with longtime buddy Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell).

Big Time Rush, Nickelodeon

Grown-ups shouldn’t have all the fun. So the boys in this latter-day Monkees band get to spend all their time together, singing, dancing and looking at girls. If they’re this close now, just wait till they’re old enough to be in a beer commercial.

Rush

America’s Got Talent, NBC

A large part of the charm with this series is watch judges Howie Mandel and Piers Morgan bicker like an old married couple. The contestants, at least at this late stage of the competition, are usually pretty interesting but listening to these two guys tease each other the way true guy friends do is equally entertaining.

Rescue Me, FX

Few groups of guys on TV are closer to each other than Tommy Gavin’s (Denis Leary) crew of New York firefighters. They aren’t the type to arrange a golfing weekend with each other but if you overlook the harsh language and harsher insults, this is like a gang of frat boys who refuse to grow up without each other. (Although even still, it’s unlikely they’ll grow up.)

The Simpsons, Fox

Homer Simpson may mock Ned Flanders. Ned Flanders may pray for Homer Simpson. But considering how much time they spend together (don’t forget, these guys once had a wild weekend in Vegas where they married waitresses), they’re like brothers from another animated mother.

NCIS, CBS

Gibbs (Mark Harmon) may never truly be able to tell his guys DiNozzo and McGee (Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray) how deeply respects them and enjoys their company. So we can just assume all that head smacking he does to them is just his way of showing he cares.

How I Met Your Mother, CBS

Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) essentially invented the Bro Code, which makes male bonding something respectable and almost mandatory. There doesn’t have to be hugging, sharing or caring. But there does have to be someone in the group of boy buddies who will buy the drinks and do whatever it takes to help his friends meet women.

Community, NBC

This may be the most blatant bonding out there. Greendale study buddies Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) have built a blanket fort together and shared many an hour watching bad action movies. Short of maybe creating a fantasy football team together, it’s hard to imagine how two young men could be better friends.