You know, there’s not that many shows about actual male friendships.
Most of the time males in TV are pitted in some sort of pissing contest against one another – over women, over their careers, over whatever horrifying internal flaws power It’s Always Sunny In Philidelphia – but there’s far fewer shows about men who just straight up like and trust each other.
Which is another reasons to love the (ahem) hell out of Good Omens.
If you’ve not watched it yet, you should. It’s very funny, as far as stories about ragtag groups of weirdoes attempting to stop a literal Armageddon go. But the best part is the interplay between the two main characters (played, as it happens, by real-life friends Michael Sheen (the angel Aziraphale) and David Tennant (as the demon Crowley).
There’s a particularly lovely montage in the third episode where we trace these immortal beings over six centuries of meeting, talking shop, gradually opening up to each other about their doubts in the Divine Plan, and developing a genuinely affectionate friendship.
There’s nothing aggressive or even competitive about it either: they just like hanging out with someone who understands exactly what they’re going through. Who doesn’t want that in their lives?
And yes, they share an ulterior motive – both have decided that they rather like the world and humankind and that they’d sooner have cool things like books and cars than an eternity in their respective supernatural domains, which gives a nice level of self-interest to their cozy little relationship (which involves occasionally doing low key good or evil things on each others’ behalf because it’s just more efficient). But that doesn’t mean they don’t feel deeply about each other.
Take, for example, the scene where Crowly is racing to Aziraphale’s bookshop to find it in flames.
The heavy handed use of Queens’ ‘Your My Best Friend’ underscores the scene (thanks to to a running gag in the book, left unexplained in the show, that all cassettes left in Crowley’s demonic car eventually turn into The Best Of Queen).
When Crowley thinks his friend has been annihilated he’s utterly distraught and immediately goes on a bender. Which is archetypically a) human and b) masculine. It’s… it’s just what we dudes do. There’s no leap into narratively exciting revenge or turning into a one man wrecking crew or anything else you typically see in these sorts of action-heavy shows. He’s grieving, like people do.
And sure, there are no shortage of Crowly/Aziraphale shippers but these are two divine beings who, not to put too fine a point on it, don’t bang. They’re just… you know, friends.
Just to be clear, reading them as two besties in no way rules out the queer reading of the show. That works perfectly well – with some lines it’s downright unavoidable (“You just go too fast for me, Crowley” springs to mind).
But that also plays into the idea that men can’t be kind or supportive of one another without it being necessarily romantic – cheers, toxic masculinity, for yet another number done on our collective heads.
I for one salute this unconventionally blokey portrayal of two men enjoying hangs. And also, cheers for saving the world and everything. Much appreciated.