As I watched the Stranger Things 3 trailer for the 40th time, I had the same thought that occurs to my brain every couple of hours: With all due respect to my wife, I will never know a relationship as pure and loving as the Steve-Dustin bromance. For my money, Steve evolving from a self-important douche into a caring mentor for the nerdiest kid in a show about nerdy kids has been the best part of the entire Stranger Things experience, above even Bob’s noble sacrifice, the Hopper-Eleven Emotional Freight Train and (sigh) Barb. So, to honor this glorious friendship, let’s take a look at a few other odd couples whose differences only serve to bring them closer together.
Ron Swanson and April Ludgate-Dwyer – Parks and Recreation
Ron Swanson is a broad-shouldered, mustachioed middle-aged man’s man. He likes woodworking, red meat and books about old wooden ships. April Ludgate-Dwyer is a waifish, 20-something hipster whose sense of irony is so oppressive that it drowns out nearly everything else about her. Naturally, these two have an adorable friendship based on their shared loves: silence, apathy and hating everyone and everything else.
Jack and the Scotsman – Samurai Jack
The quintessential noble warrior, Jack is stoic, quiet and humble. He’s slight of frame and carries an ancient blade. The Scotsman, however, is a hulking beast of a man who never found an insult he didn’t like. Oh, and he has a freaking submachine gun for a leg. Somehow, despite the fact that their first meeting turns into an extended argument-slash-battle, these two not only become fast friends but they also come to one another’s aid on numerous occasions, battling back the evil hordes of Aku.
Nick and Schmidt – New Girl
Flashbacks eventually reveal that the friendship between Nick and Schmidt began a developmental lifetime ago when the pair were in college and were, at least superficially, wholly different than New Girl‘s current day characters. And, honestly, that’s the only way that their friendship makes sense: Where Schmidt is an uptight perfectionist, Nick is a slovenly slacker. Nick doesn’t realize that you need to wash your bath towel; Schmidt uses hair chutney (even if he can’t quite pronounce it). And yet, for all their differences, these two went through the awkward process of becoming adults together and, dammit, if that doesn’t mean they’re bonded for life.
Pi Patel and Richard Parker – Life of Pi
If you’re unfamiliar with Life of Pi, it’s important to note that Pi Patel is a teenager and Richard Parker is a Bengal tiger. (Although, if you’re unfamiliar with Life of Pi, you should stop reading this—which will spoil the story for you—and go read that excellent book.) The bulk of Pi is spent with these two stuck together in a small lifeboat, stranded at sea. One of the million brilliant aspects of author Yann Martel’s story is how a relationship built initially on fear becomes one of love, a transformation made all the more dramatic in the book’s coda when it’s suggested that Pi was the tiger all along with Richard Parker acting as an allegorical coping mechanism.
Inigo Montoya and Fezzik – The Princess Bride
The lithe swordsman and the thundering giant are an unlikely but ultimately perfectly matched pair; a comic version of George and Lennie. Inigo’s quest for vengeance may get all the press but throughout The Princess Bride, his friendship with the hulking Fezzik is how we see the true nature of his character. The massive, lumbering Fezzik seems to have nothing in common with thin, quick Inigo save their mercenary employment with Vizzini and yet as the story progresses, time and again we see the hired goons exchanging words of comfort and support, eventually joining with the heroic Westley to storm (and escape from) a heavily fortified castle. Talk about #friendshipgoals.