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11 TV characters who flagrantly violated the ‘Bro Code’

By / 09.30.11



One of the fundamental tenets of the Bro Code is Thou Shalt Not Go After A Bro’s Ex-Girlfriend. It’s one of those things that’s just understood amongst men, kind of like how we all understand that when you’re using the urinal you keep your eyes straight ahead at all times. These are rules that we have to live by lest our society devolve into anarchy and nobody wants that. One stolen girlfriend or eye flicker in the men’s room and before you know it we’re wandering naked through the streets, hooting and grunting like wild apes, flinging our poo at each other. Awful. Of course, TV isn’t always as civilized as real life and so sometimes slip-ups happen. Occasionally, these violations of the Bro Code lead to ruined friendships and shattered hearts but more often than not, in TV Land, these disputes are quickly resolved and everyone lives happily ever after. But to hell with happily ever after. We’re here to pick those TV scabs and remind everyone that these 11 TV characters are all guilty of violating the Bro Code. Judge them how thou wilt.

Photo credit: YouTube/NBC

11 Drew Carey – The Drew Carey Show
Sure, Drew had a lifelong crush on his best friend, Kate, but it was time to shut that shit down once she was, you know, engaged to one of his other best friends, the lovably moronic Oswald. And sure, Kate was out of both of their leagues, so you can hardly blame either one of them for jumping at the chance to be with her, but still, Drew should have known better than to swipe his bro’s lady. I mean, he could have at least given him his shares in the group’s home brewery or traded him the rights to Mimi, Mr. Wick’s mother, and a player to be named later. An eye for an eye, a vagina for a vagina. Don’t yell at me, that’s from the Bible.

10 Wesley Wyndham-Pryce – Angel
Again, we have a case of a dude who pined away behind the scenes while one of his bros sealed the deal. In this case, Wesley, the nerdy uber-English sidekick to vampire detective, Angel (Wait, did I really just write that?) sat back and watched his crush, Fred (Fred’s a lady even though she has a man’s name, although in a show about vampire detectives with green show-tune singing demons running around the idea of a nerd/transvestite named Fred relationship isn’t all that outrageous, you know?) get it on with fellow demon hunter, and one of his very few friends on the planet, Charles Gunn. Of course, as soon as Gunn and Fred broke it off, Wesley moved on in, proving that you can never, ever trust a man with an accent. But hey, in the end (spoiler alert!) both Wesley and Fred are carried off to Valhalla on their spirit horses so I guess justice was served. Sure, it was extreme justice, but Fred was originally from Texas. She should understand extreme justice better than anybody.

9 Steven Hyde – That 70’s Show
Hyde, the rebellious stoner from That 70’s Show started a tumultuous relationship with the bitchy Jackie one summer, presumably just because he was bored. Hey, good for him. The only problem was that Jackie had just gotten out of a long-term relationship with Kelso, who just happened to be one of Hyde’s best friends. Oops! Hurt feelings ensued, Hyde clowned Kelso a bunch and in the end, everyone involved was basically an asshole. Just like real life! Of course, Jackie was played by Mila Kunis so… can you blame any of these dudes?

8 Zack Morris – Saved by the Bell
Out of all the sociopathic things Zack “Young Patrick Bateman” Morris did during his time at Bayside, perhaps none was more odious than hooking up with Lisa Turtle even though he damn well knew that his best friend, Screech, was head over heels in love with her. Sure, Lisa was never actually Screech’s girlfriend, but his unrequited love for her was all that pathetic little weirdo had in his life. But did Zack care about any of that? Hell no. This of course resulted in that notorious – and hilarious – hallway fight scene between Zack and Screech which saw Screech tear Zack’s shirt open. Zack should consider himself lucky. I mean, in real life, a nerd like Screech would probably show up to school with a trench coat and an Uzi and… hang on, I’m being told by my editors that jokes about Columbine aren’t funny yet. Maybe in another five years or so? Then again, you have to admit, it would be kind of funny to watch the media blow up and blame Marilyn Manson for the death of Zack Morris. No? That’s just me? Okay, moving on.

7 Raj Koothrappali – The Big Bang Theory
Apparently there is no honor amongst nerds because Raj takes any chance he can get to scam on his friend’s ladies. The most obvious example of Raj’s blatant disregard for the Bro Code was his drunken sexing of the vulnerable Penny, who just happened to be the ex-girlfriend of his friend, Leonard. Worse, said sexing only took place because Penny had tried to drink away the fact that she was still in love with Leonard. But since both were drunk, I suppose that mitigates things a bit. Plus, Leonard did bang Raj’s sister, which has its own separate chapter in the Bro Code manual, so maybe we should give Raj a pass. More egregious, though, was Raj’s quiet pursuit of Bernadette, a.k.a. his best friend Howard’s fiance. Maybe Raj never sealed the deal, but that’s only because he’s a spaz who can’t talk to women. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a run at Howard’s old battle axe of a mother at some point. And yes, I am embarrassed that I know all this and am getting paid to write about it. But not too embarrassed. You understand.

6 Logan Echolls – Veronica Mars
It turned out that Logan’s psychotic bullying of teenage detective, Veronica Mars, was the product of both a miserable home life and a deep seated crush on the spunky Veronica. Which made it all the more compelling when the deeply damaged Logan rose above said damage to admit his love for her. One problem – she was also the lady love of his best friend, Duncan. Well, now that’s awkward. It didn’t help matters any that both Veronica and Duncan were very much in love with each other, kept apart only by some very Twin Peaks like nonsense (specifically, Duncan was convinced that Veronica was actually his sister, which… uh, what the hell?), but in the end, Logan’s crazy love was impossible for Veronica to resist. Of course, as soon as they broke up, Duncan returned the favor, started dating Veronica again and Logan was left to bang his other bro’s hot stepmom. (Speaking of egregious Bro Code violations…) But then Logan turned the tables yet again when Duncan split down with his love child via some other chick and, uh, everybody lived happily ever after? Man, this was kind of a fucked up show.

5 Worf – Star Trek: The Next Generation
Yes, Worf was a violator of the Intergalactic Bro Code. He may not feel that he is bound to said code on account of, you know, not being human, but the Bro Code spans the entire universe and applies to humans, Klingons and Tribbles alike. Worf’s particular violation came when he rubbed up on Counselor Troi, who just happened to be the former paramour of Worf’s friend and commanding officer, Commander Riker. I mean, it’s one thing to screw over your friend but didn’t Worf understand that he was risking his job? That’s not too smart. Especially when that job is in space. Worf is lucky that Riker didn’t shoot him out of an airlock on trash day or maroon him on some crappy planet like Pluto or Endor. (Yes, I realize that Endor is technically a moon while Pluto is now just a, well, a huge lump of rock floating around in space. Leave me alone, nerds!) You never see Spock doing this shit. That’s because he knows that the Bro Code is fiercely logical. It’s meant to keep the peace amongst savage and otherwise degenerate men. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spock wrote the Intergalactic Bro Code. Lord knows that dude probably needed something to live by given all the tail Captain Kirk was dragging on board the Enterprise. Look, these are just the things I think about whenever I watch Star Trek. You don’t even wanna know my thoughts on what probably goes on in the Holodeck.

4 All the Male Characters of Friends Friends
All three of the major male characters on Friends were guilty of violating the Bro Code. We’ll start with Chandler, who not only stole his roommate and best friend Joey’s girlfriend right from under his idiot nose, but he also boned one of Joey’s sisters and then carried on a secret affair with his other best friend’s sister, Monica, before finally marrying her. Now that’s a dude who just can’t help himself. But it’s not like the other two were innocent. I mean, Joey made a move on Rachel and declared his love for her even though she was the love of Ross’ life and his baby’s mama, but to Joey’s credit, he at least waited to put the blast on Rachel until after he caught Ross sneaking around with Joey’s girlfriend, a hot lady scientist. (I could look up her name, but damn it all, I already shamefully know way, way too much about this stuff. Leave me what’s left of my dignity, please.) Somehow, these dudes continually brushed all this off, proving without a shadow of a doubt that Friends was a show run by either women or robots sent by Amazons from some manless planet to colonize Earth. I’d believe either one.

3 Barney Stinson – How I Met Your Mother
Barney Stinson is this high on the list for one reason – of all the characters on the list, he is the one that is the most outspoken about – and aware of – the basic tenets of the Bro Code. And yet that didn’t stop him from pursuing a relationship with Robin, the ex-girlfriend of his best friend, Ted. To his credit, Ted called Barney out on his bullshit, but to Barney’s credit, the Bro Code is basically a bunch of dumb bullshit itself (There, I said it.) and sometimes the heart wants what it wants. (Yes, I am a big pansy.) Still, for his rank hypocrisy, Barney should be ashamed of himself. And yes, I recognize that I should be ashamed of myself for talking about these characters like they’re real people. But you should probably feel ashamed for reading it too. What’s important is that we all recognize our shame and try to move on, together.

2 Pacey Witter – Dawson’s Creek
Technically, Pacey Witter violated the Bro Code when he fell for Joey and started making out with her every chance he got even though he knew that his best friend, Dawson, still had deep feelings for his ex. That’s why he’s on this list. The reason he’s so high on this list is because there is perhaps not a bigger example in TV history of a Bro Code violation leading to full blown chaos and despair than Pacey’s snagging of Katie Holmes back when she was still Katie Holmes and before she had her soul frozen in Carbonite by Lt. Pete Mitchell and his copilot, Xenu. (Is Xenu eligible for a Bro Code violation for what he did to poor Katie? I’ll have to check the handbook.) The whole “Pacey stole Joey” plot became the dominant storyline of the show until it was finally mercy killed, probably by the same people who killed those poor cats whose dying howls can be heard in the show’s theme song. But honestly? Good for Pacey. Dawson sucked. He was a self-righteous, spoiled, domineering asshole. Pacey’s only mistake was not boning Joey right in front of a weeping Dawson. That would have won him an Emmy for sure.

1 Tim Riggins – Friday Night Lights
Tim Riggins is number one on this list for one very simple reason – he slept with his best friend’s girlfriend while his best friend was laid up in the hospital after getting paralyzed. Just read that sentence over and over and over again. How could anyone else have been number one? Tim Riggins basically wiped his own ass with the Bro Code and for that, we salute him/condemn him/whatever the hell this is. Congrats, Tim!


TAGSAngelArbitrary RankingsBarney StinsonBro CodeDawson’s CreekfeaturedFriday Night LightsFriendsHow I Met Your MotherListsStar Trek: The Next GenerationThat 70’s ShowThe Big Bang TheoryThe Drew Carey ShowVeronica Mars
Neil Bulson
About Neil Bulson... Neil Bulson writes words for money. Some of them are even funny. Hey, that rhymed! As you can see, it is probably best not to encourage him.

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