Posts Tagged ‘bromance’

Bromance, Episode 3: Friendship vs. Idolatry

January 17, 2009

One of the main goals of modern Christianity relates directly to one of the buried themes in the latest episode of Bromance.

When we think of the sermons of Joel Osteen and other “hip pastors” we see, over and over again, the idea of God as Friend as opposed to God as God. For many fundamentalists, this creates an uncomfortable tension. How can you be friends with something you worship, something you revere, something you emulate? 

Our Man Jenner is obviously an idol in the eyes of MTV. He is a goal, something to be achieved. He is a Pop God, evidenced by MTV’s long-lingering eye of gratuity as Brody lathered his lean, tattooed body in the shower. He is what MTV believes America wants to be: a man made famous by the life he was born into, a man with beautiful genes, a man with talents that have no bearing on his fame. Brody Jenner is a desirable personality. Thus the reason Ryan Seacrest thought it was a good idea to create a show revolving around his ego. Thus the reason thousands of people from all over the country applied for his friendship.

So where do our contestants fit?

Do they want friendship? Or do they want worship?

And more importantly, what does Brody want?

In this latest episode, Brody challenged the guys to plan an activity for them to engage in. Luke built a mini-golf course, Chris F. did some pathetic stand-up, and Femi…well, Femi went a little off the deep end.

In previous episodes, Femi has come to tears discussing how this show is an opportunity. His past is littered with loss and legal issues, and as much as Femi talks up his neighborhood and his lifestyle, it’s obvious the man is miserable. Femi wants a savior. Femi wants the escape his friends who’ve been “shot in the back” never had.

This means his stakes are exponentially higher than his comrades. And this makes him dangerous.

This showed more than ever in this latest episode when Femi decided to get a tattoo as part of his planned activity. The tattoo was his last name, written along his left side in Olde English. Femi emphasized the importance of his family as his reason for getting it. What made everyone a bit unsettled, including Our Man Jenner, was the fact that this was an exact replica of Brody’s tattoo (showed to us so cleverly during the obnoxious shower scene between Brody, Frankie, and the Sleaze).

All of the guys (all more than bothered) pointed this out to Femi, but he didn’t say much to that. This was an act of friendship to him, something to make him stand out.

We see here the embodiment of the Friendship vs. Idolatry conflict at the heart of tonight’s Bromance. Femi’s tattoo is an act of worship, buried within the justification of his “individuality” (which he links to friendship). Like Christians who grow Jesus beards or flagellate themselves, desperate to feel closer to their Lord, Femi’s act is one of sacrifice and idolatry.

Yet Brody keeps him. Why? Because Femi has “passion.”

Or: Femi’s character is one above the others, and the producers see the potential.

See, this is not friendship to Femi; this is salvation.

Bromance as religion.

I like where this is going.

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Re: Hiatus

January 12, 2009

Hello friends.

Forgive the lack of posts as of late but (along with birthday celebrations) I’ve been in Seattle the last several days  to attend a reading of my play, Verse Chorus Verse, at the Seattle Rep. Rest assured that reviews of the latest episodes of Bromance, Rock of Love Bus, and Confessions of a Teen Idol will be posted within the next couple of days.

I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop in Olympia, Washington (Kurt Cobain’s old stomping grounds and the home of K Records), sipping some delicious hot chocolate and amazed that it’s not raining. Expect a few more thoughts on this trip with future posts, but I will add this post-script:

I’m staying with an amazingly friendly and talented playwright, Bryan Willis, and his wife and son. I found out this morning that after spending a great deal of the evening noshing and conversing, their 9-year old son asked his mom if I could move in with them.

Is there anything more lightening?

It’s easy to feel old sometimes. That doesn’t mean it’s necessary. There is life. And it happens while you’re unloading box after box of baseball cards from the trunk of a car under a warm, wet Northwestern sky.

No revelation. Just a reminder.

BROMANCE!

Bromance, Episode 2: Things Just Got Real

January 6, 2009

“…[It’s got] more of a comedic value to it. So, uh, it’s funny. Ya know, it’s to entertain the public. I love it, I think it’s really funny and I hope you will, too.” -Brody Jenner on Bromance

This quote bothers me. This quote makes me uneasy. Why? Because Brody Jenner…how do I put this? Brody Jenner, well, he, um, kinda won me over tonight.

For this hour, I saw the charm. Not the charm that gets him laid more than the average porn star, but the charm that makes people want to watch him, that makes people want to be around him. In the Pilot (I love calling it that), Brody was the bullyjock, the sideways trucker cap, the sticky man-boner. I laughed at him in the same way I laughed at the popular kids I didn’t secretly emulate.

This week I laughed in the same way I laughed at the popular kids I did aspire to be. I laughed because…because he was kinda funny. And most importantly, I laughed because he came across like a genuine person. When Brody said, “I don’t want a jock, I want a friend,” I BELIEVED HIM. And I know, I KNOW I probably shouldn’t! I shouldbe smart enough to realize the producers were like, “Brode, last week you were party dude, this week you’re sensitive dude.” And Our Man Jenner prolly flipped up his aviators, scratched his balls and shrugged. “Whatever, man.”

But I don’t want to believe that, g-dammit! Because for the briefest moment, this son of a b-word felt (to borrow Bromance’s favorite word)…real. In a way that Bret Michaels or Flava Flav or Paris Hilton has ever been on their shows. I mean, the competition’s not stiff, but like it or not, those are your peers, Jenner. 

Now, to me, the term “real” is just an unimaginative way of saying “genuine.” Real is whatever is at any given moment. Things are real because they exist. But when somebody drops the image and listens; or stops joking long enough to say something about what makes them tick: That’s what we can call “genuine” because it comes from an honest place. It means something. When Brody opens up about his family, or talks about how he and his dad have a shitty relationship, that shit felt genuine. And to watch somebody open up who, up until now, came across like a football with hair, well…there’s something about that.

Maybe I scoffed too soon when Brody told me to expect the unexpected.

There were more tears in this episode than in my bed on New Year’s Eve. The emotion flowed. The characters became people. And sure, basic lesson, right? How easy is it for us to forget people are people? Easier than I think we realize.

So with all that said, lemme reiterate something:  

“…[It’s got] more of a comedic value to it. So, uh, it’s funny. Ya know, it’s to entertain the public. I love it, I think it’s really funny and I hope you will, too.” -Brody Jenner on Bromance

Yes, I can see where he’s coming from. It is silly, it’s called Bromance. But Brody seems so quick to dismiss, in words and body language, that there was something “real” about the experience, that it was more than few chuckles. His casual demeanor, his insistence that it’s only entertainment, this cheapens the fact that Caveman 2 sobbed over his longing for a distant family, that Gary the Dancer cried over a rebuke from Femi, that Femi tearfully pleaded his case that he’s earned this more than the others, that Our Man Jenner has loved and lost and found empty solace in one blondtourage after another.

This quote makes me feel like whoever wins just amiably parts ways with Brody, never to bask in the promised Bromance. Should that make me sad? I don’t know, but right now it does. By the end, will the show have sunk into MTV’s vaccuous vat of waxed emotions like, say, The Pick-Up Artist 2 cast did? As Cake so eloquently put it: Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.

Bromance is not The Wire. Bromance  is not even Full House. But Bromance gave us something genuine in this episode, something I didn’t expect from a show of this caliber. And maybe I get invested too easy. Maybe I trust too readily. But to give me something human, and then to dismiss that? Brody…

Now I’ll add that when Brody rightfully eliminated Chris P. in tonight’s episode, he made him leave the yacht they were occupying and row to shore on a blow-up raft, silly captain’s hat and all. Chris P., the perennial agent of awkward in these last two episodes, painfully tried to look cool as the guys blew by shouting, “Kentucky’s THAT way!”

Damn. Jacob just had to leave the hot tub.

From the ether:

  • Do we really need name-cards (name-cards?) every time Frankie and the Sleaze are onscreen? His name is Sleazy T, for Christ’s sake!
  • Jered: “I’m a lot better at taking bras and panties off than putting them on.” Boooooo.
  • I wanna meet the producer who forced Chris F. to say that stupid line about how his dick was a foot long.
  • An ad for the sequel to Without a Paddle. Only on Bromance.
  • How off-put did Brody look when Gary told him he was straight? Odd choice in the editing room there. The same goes for the awkward shot of Luke sipping the margarita and saying, “Delicious.” C’mon, guys.
  • “That’s femalish! That’s a female trait!” Thanks for the blatant misogyny, Femi. And…femalish?
  • I’ll miss Chris P’s outfits. He always looked dressed for an ice cream social.

Welcome to the Black Hole

January 4, 2009

Two anecdotes to begin this blog:

1) Some years back, my friend David R. Smith introduced me to a little movie called McBain. McBain stars Chris Walken as Bobby McBain, a Vietnam vet on a mission to overthrow Columbian drug warlords. McBain falls into a genre of film I’ve dubbed “Post-Vietnam Revenge.” McBain really wanted to be good. It really wanted to say something about our society. But McBain is bad. McBain is awful. Yet McBain nights at Dave’s apartment drew huge crowds. McBain discussions bordered on the revelatory. There were laughs. There were discoveries.  Why? Because McBain is brilliant. Because there were things to be learned from McBain. About our culture, then and now. About art. About expression. Oh yeah, there’s A LOT to make fun of as well.

2) A few years ago, in a little town in Illinois, I turned down sex to watch Troll 2.  

My old playwriting professor used to tell me that crap was good. I agree wholeheartedly.

That’s why my buddy Tim and I started B-Rated, our still-embryonic online bad-movie review show. Because I think there’s just as much joy, just as much revelation in the shit as the gold. And I love the gold. And I’ll maybe write about the stuff I love, too. And about my life, because that happens. But this blog is mainly about the shit we injest on a daily basis. And what we can get out of it.  

For an example, check out a couple episodes of B-Rated.

I’ll be starting the blog with my weekly reviews of MTV’s Bromance and Vh1’s Rock of Love Bus. Get those asses excited.

A brief intro to your humble narrator: My name is Randall Colburn. I’m from Detroit. Well, the Detroit area. Or, um, suburbs. But I’m hard like I’m from Detroit. At least that’s what my mom tells me.

Anyways, I’m a playwright living and working in Chicago. And there is a kitty on my lap right now.

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Thanks for entering the black hole.