Feature: Bromance of “new” straight men like Scrub’s JD and Turk

Natasha Cohen December 6, 2009
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The term ‘Bromance’ refers to a close, but non-sexual, friendship between two heterosexual men, often labeled as a ‘man-crush’.

Bromances are often the central, but more subtle embodiment of television and film. The television programme Scrubs came to my mind when reading about self-disclosure in the relationships lecture. Although gender stereotypes often portray men as the ‘silent types’ and research has confirmed that men tend to disclose less than women in same-sex friendships, this stereotype is not often seen in the media.

JD and Turk the two main characters in Scrubs displays a stereotypical ‘Bromance’ relationship, sharing all their thoughts and feelings with each other and partaking in many activities together, even to the extend of having one night a week devoted to themselves- Steak Night.

The ‘Bromance’ between JD and Turk can be explained firstly through the factor of proximity, as a basis for liking. JD and Turk spend many hours a day working in the same hospital. A motivation has therefore been created for one another to like each other, since working side by side someone all day on bad terms, would result in psychological distress. This distress would symbolize cognitive dissonance, due to unharmonious attitudes concerning ones likes and dislikes. As a result, cognitive pressure is created to motivate the two to like each other.

Familiarity and similarity factors also come into play in the formation of the close bond between JD and Turk. The two are exposed to each other on daily basis, which the ‘mere exposure effect’ would predict causes an increased liking of each other. A reason for this could be the increased comfort one feels in the others company due to feeling confident in predicting the other’s behaviour in various situations. JD and Turk are also clearly very similar, since they both share a common interest in medicine and the goal of becoming successful doctors, as well as many personality traits.

JD and Turk disclose a lot of information to each other, challenging the ‘silent male’ stereotype. JD often seeks advice about women and relationships from Turk, and therefore participates in self-expression; getting one’s feeling off one’s chest, and self-clarification; sharing ones feeling in order to gain greater understanding and self-awareness as a reason for self-disclosure.

I feel that many males I encounter daily, fit the JD and Turk relationship, as opposed to the ‘silent type’ stereotype’.

Natasha Cohen is studying Psychology at the University of Southampton

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