In the Lad Flicks reading by Hansen-Miller and Gill, they talk about the use of homophobic humor as a device to affirm the two male lead actor’s masculinity. “One of the striking features of lad flicks is their dependence upon dynamics of intense heterosexual male bonding, paired with explicit homophobic humour” (Hansen-Miller and Gill, 10).
Jay and Silent Bob from Kevin Smith’s View Askerniverse represent the epitome of bromance. They’ve been friends since birth and do everything together; their relationship is clearly a special one and they are extremely close with one another, but they, to quote Jay, “ain’t gay”. According to these attributes, I would say Jay and Silent Bob definitely fit into the category of bromance.
In the clip below, you will find Jay and Silent Bob in their first appearance in Kevin Smith’s first film in the franchise, Clerks (1994). Be warned, Jay likes to swear. A lot.
At about 50 seconds in, Jay turns to Silent Bob and begins to compliment him, saying he’d not only go down on him, but two other guys as well. Right after that, Jay does a complete 180, making it seem as if his own comments came from Silent Bob and exclaiming loudly that he loves women. This is a shining example of the crude, homophobic humor the two authors spoke about in their piece. Jay and Silent Bob share a close bond, however to keep from going “over the line”, slurs against homosexuality and proclamations of a love for women are used to solidify the character’s masculinity.
In a later Kevin Smith film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), the two best friends are out to exact justice on a guy who is making a movie about them and never gave the two a penny of the profits. Not only is the whole film one big journey full of mishaps and humerus situations, the movie has another great example of how two close, male characters are “super masculine”.
In the scene, the “homophobic humor consistently serves to disavow and deflect the homoerotic potential among the characters or between male audiences and those on screen” (Hansen-Miller and Gill, 10). The combined humor of the dialogue and non-verbal body language and expression aptly diffuses the situation and deflects the homoerotic potential that the authors describe.
Hansen-Miller, David and Rosalind Gill. (2011). “’Lad Flicks’: Discursive Reconstructions of Masculinity in Popular Film,” in Hilary Radner and Rebecca Stringer (eds.) Feminism at the Movies.