Lion of the Blogosphere

Great 80s sitcom: Bosom Buddies


Remember this great sitcom? The only affordable apartment that Tom Hanks and his best friend Peter Scolari could find in Manhattan was in an apartment building for women. So they had to dress in drag whenever they entered or left their apartment.

The problem with this show is that the gag of the two of them dressing in drag became a real drag after half a season. They were both incredibly talented comic actors, and this show probably would have had a much longer run if it was simply about two guys living in an apartment in Manhattan, but alas that was before the TV studios realized that a show about some people living in Manhattan without a gimmick like them having to dress in drag would be sustainably funny. Before Friends, before Seinfeld.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 11, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Television

50 Responses

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  1. This show was before my time. But I remember seeing a few minutes of some reruns while channel surfing and was very put off by it. Even as a little kid I realized the media was pushing an agenda with this.


    January 11, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    • Actually, not the case at all. They weren’t homosexuals. The gag of men dressing like women was not invented for this sitcom. People behind the show just wanted to do a show about two guys, but the network approved a show about two guys dressed like women. Based on the movie Some Like It Hot about men who dress in drag to hide from the mafia.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 11, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      • This was no great sitcom. It didn’t last a season.

        And of course it was trying to push an agenda: 80s style feminism, like the early 1980s movie Tootsie. I don’t think it was trying to normalize homosexuality as its primary purpose, but certainly some of the writers would have gone in that direction if the show stayed on the air.

        And how good of a comedic actor is Tom Hanks anyways? He played a kid in Big, but the rest of his early phase movies are bad. He was a romcom partner with Meg Ryan in the 1990s, but those movies have him mostly moping around.


        January 11, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      • It lasted two seasons, but as I said the gimmick got old.

        Tom Hanks was discovered via this sitcom. Which led to some guest appearances on Family Ties and then starring roles in Splash and Bachelor Party.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 11, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      • “The gag of men dressing like women was not invented for this sitcom

        Surely Americans have heard of the English Christmas pantos such as ‘Puss In Boots’ and ‘Dick Whittington’ where the principal boy is a girl and the ‘ugly sister’ type of character is played by a bitchy camp man?

        This kind of humour goes back centuries, and doesn’t need to be subversive. In a stable society it underlines traditional morality because the idea of the genders being swapped is inherently funny and fantastical.

        prolier than thou

        January 11, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      • “And how good of a comedic actor is Tom Hanks anyways?”

        Pretty good, I’d say. In middling 80s comedies like “Turner & Hooch” and “The Money Pit,” he elevates the material from “moribund” to “rewatchable.” That takes talent.


        January 11, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      • Talking about bosoms: Tom Hanks should be best remembered in Big, for fondling Elizabeth Perkin’s breast as an overgrown boy.


        January 11, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    • The premise was a rip off of Three’s Company.


      January 11, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    • They weren’t homosexuals. The gag of men dressing like women was not invented for this sitcom.

      It goes back to the times of Shakespeare, and earlier. In those times women were often restricted from being actresses, so the role of women fell to men. For centuries writers found comedic opportunity in this obviously awkward situation for male actors.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      January 11, 2016 at 6:15 pm

  2. I have never once seen this show, so no comment.

    “but alas that was before the TV studios realized that a show about some people living in Manhattan without a gimmick…”

    Well there was “The Odd Couple,” but that had a gimmick. And then “Rhoda.” And “The Honeymooners” but they lived in Brooklyn. And do ensemble shows count? Because “Barney Miller.” And “The Jeffersons.”


    January 11, 2016 at 2:36 pm

  3. Historical note: back in the late 19th century, as women started working in significant numbers in the new office-based economy, cities built boarding homes for women looking to devote themselves to work instead of family. The hotel on the show was named after Susan B. Anthony. In 1980, there were still a few places like that in operation, where residents could not bring in male guests.


    January 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

  4. I remember watching that show and at least my memory of it was pretty favorable. Of course not everything I remember fondly holds up over time, but I recall even then thinking that the title and premise was ridiculous but the show turned out to be surprisingly entertaining.

    Mike Street Station

    January 11, 2016 at 2:43 pm

  5. I remember the network trying to get this on the air several times. Much like Seinfeld Chronicles, the network really want this on the air.

    Lion of the Turambar

    January 11, 2016 at 2:47 pm

  6. Rebel Rebel…She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl. Hey babe, your hair’s alright. RIP David Bowie!


    January 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    • Lion ignores Bowie and focuses on the far more important cultural milestone that was Bosom Buddies.

      Come back next time for Lion’s exegesis of Mr. Belvedere.

      Dave Pinsen

      January 12, 2016 at 1:44 am

      • The glam rock era that defined Bowie as a drag predated Bosom Buddies. What is your point? I didn’t expect anyone to respond to my comment, but you did!


        January 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm

  7. Never saw it.

    Was there ever such a thing as an “apartment building for women”?


    January 11, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    • As I mentioned earlier, yes. Here’s a hotel that was built in the 1920s “to accommodate six hundred business and professional women and also shelter young girls.”


      January 11, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      • Another one was the Barbizon Hotel on the Upper East Side. It opened as a women-only residential hotel in the 1920’s, and remained that way until about 30 years ago. More recently its owners converted it to condominiums.
        More so that the other women-only residences, the Barbizon had an elaborate screening process to ensure that only the most cultured young ladies could reside there. No Bohemian sorts allowed. Its screening policy wasn’t foolproof, however, as there was quite an incident in the early 1950’s when a young Sylvia Plath (a decade prior to her High Noon showdown with the gas oven) carried her entire, vast wardrobe up to the roof and threw everything off to the sidewalk below.



        January 11, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      • There’s one residence hotel for women remaining in Manhattan, the Markle Evangeline on West 13th. It’s run by the Salvation Army but isn’t a homeless shelter. Rents are something like $1,500 a month and prospective residents have to provide proof of income.



        January 12, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    • YWCA.


      January 11, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      • @ironrailsironweights – good catch. Missed that one in my Google search. Wikipedia entry pretty interesting. I’ll bet that place was the model for the setting of Bosom Buddies.


        January 12, 2016 at 12:40 am

  8. Still waiting on your review NYPD Blue.

    Andy Sipowicz is great.

    It was a family tradition to shout out “Fireworks!Dragons!Drums!” during the intro when we all watched it together.


    January 11, 2016 at 2:58 pm

  9. I’m aware of the gag i.e. Some Like it Hot, Milton Berle, etc. It’s an old gag. That doesn’t mean it can’t be used to push an agenda. In 1980 Bosom Buddies showed two straight guys in drag. A couple of years later Three’s Company had a straight guy pretending to be gay to share an apartment with two women. Twenty years later Will & Grace had two openly gay characters. And now almost every cable show is pushing gay characters with many showing gay sex i.e. True Blood, Game of Thrones, etc Nothing in entertainment is done by accident. Everything is planned, scripted and done for a reason.


    January 11, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    • Three’s Company predates Bosom Buddies.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 11, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      • You have a habit of nitpicking an irrelevant point when you disagree with something rather than addressing the argument. It’s not unlike nitpicking spelling and grammar.


        January 11, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      • So does this, and it predates Three’s Company as well!

        Those were the days: The coons r comin!


        January 11, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      • Pointing out factual errors isn’t “nitpicking.” It is obviously important to stand up for the truth, at all times, and when assessing an argument it is important to know if the person presenting the argument is using accurate evidence in this case, and if said person has a habit of presenting false information.


        January 11, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      • I’m all for accurate information. But which came first isn’t “evidence” as it doesn’t affect the argument. When one focuses on a minor point that doesn’t affect the argument while ignoring the argument then, yes, it’s nitpicking. I’ve seen him do that a number of times to others and find it petty.

        PS: Three’s Company ran from 1977-84 and Bosom Buddies ran from 1980-82. So my comment that Bosom Buddies showed two guys in drag in 1980 and a couple of years later Three’s Company showed a straight guy pretending to be gay was technically correct. As a self-professed pedant, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that. Or maybe you’ll just find it petty and nitpicking???


        January 12, 2016 at 1:21 am

  10. No, I don’t. But I saw Hanks on the GG’s last night and boy does he look old. I’d have thought a guy who hasn’t had to worry about money for the last 30 years would look less faded.


    January 11, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    • All the money and fame in the world does not stop the aging process.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 11, 2016 at 6:25 pm

      • “All the money and fame in the world does not stop the aging process.”

        Apropos of an earlier thread, Molly Ringwald seems to have been able to stop that process, and while she’s scarcely on welfare I highly doubt she’s anywhere near as wealthy as Tom Hanks.



        January 11, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      • Steve Martin has been able to look timeless through out the ages!


        January 11, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      • A lot of tech billionaires are trying to change that!


        January 12, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      • “Trying” is the key word with the tech billionaires that want to live forever. Larry Ellison is so desperate that he even setup his own gerontology institute, but it’s too late for him (retired as Oracle CEO, and starting to look like his 71 years). Kurzweil is similarly doomed, and there will be no Singularity to save him. In the end, the people who live the longest still turn out to be some humble Italian peasant woman or a Japanese centenarian who simply won the genetic lottery.


        January 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      • Just look at Yasmine Bleeth from Baywatch 25 years later:

        Cocaine addition among the Hollywood crowd turns one into a corpse.

        Bleeth being Jewish, doesn’t age well in the 1st place!


        January 12, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      • I never heard of Jewish women not aging well. You are confusing them with prole Italian women.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 12, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      • Half guidette, Donna D’errico, who appeared on the same show with Bleeth, and a Playboy Playmate, seemed to age gracefully.


        January 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      • @Sanjuro-

        “In the end, the people who live the longest still turn out to be some humble Italian peasant woman or a Japanese centenarian who simply won the genetic lottery.”

        Other factors:
        – rural areas have people living farther apart and thus disease spreads slower than in cities
        – the hypothetical Italian or Japanese peasant eats less processed foods and lives less stressfully
        – religion-enforced days of rest*
        – low levels of crime and drug abuse

        * You’ve heard of the Mediterranean diet and how it’s so healthy? Well, it’s not so much wine or cheese. The study, per Michael Pollan, mainly focuses on the residents of Crete, and the main factors in their good health are 1) eating wild greens instead of domesticated ones, and 2) fasting regularly as mandated by the Greek Orthodox Church. But the mainstream media won’t report that, because it would imply that religion may actually have a positive side, and that would kill The Narrative.


        January 12, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    • I thought Hanks looked pretty good in this recent Carly Rae Jepsen music video. He’s 59 years old.


      January 11, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    • Hanks is in pretty good shape for nearly 60. He’s not overweight and has great muscle tone. He obviously works out. His hair is greying and face a little weathered but not any more than anyone else. I actually wonder if he’s had a face lift or botox.


      January 11, 2016 at 10:38 pm

  11. Speaking of the 80s, Richard Linklater (“Dazed and Confused”) has a movie coming out that’s about young people (bros) in the 80s:


    January 11, 2016 at 6:10 pm

  12. I couldn’t watch that show because the sight of men in drag has always turned my stomach.


    January 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm

  13. Trump up to 39 on preddictit, despite his stagnating poll numbers. I think the Canadian thing is taking a toll on Cruz.

    I hope Trump starts attacking Rubio, the establishment may consolidate around him yet. Trump should aim to prevent that for as long as possible.

    Otis the Sweaty

    January 11, 2016 at 7:09 pm

  14. Lion sums this one up pretty well. This was a show with a great cast and about 6 episodes worth of good jokes, then it went off the rails. This was probably the last moment in history when most people found men in drag hilarious because we knew they were not homosexual. It was funny because the idea of these men dressing as women was absurd. Today the concept would not be absurd and wouldn’t be funny. I suspect younger people would not find the show at all amusing.

    Peter Akuleyev

    January 12, 2016 at 3:00 am

    • Yes, and what is a prole/status signaling was certainly different back then!


      January 12, 2016 at 12:42 pm

  15. I just noticed that most gravatars at WordPress have swastika theme used in them. Google says that other people noticed it too, actually long time ago. Is this a byproduct of having Indian programmers on the development team?


    January 12, 2016 at 4:20 am

    • No. It’s a by-product of paranoia.


      January 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      • Paranoia positively correlates with IQ.


        January 13, 2016 at 3:13 am

  16. Well, cross dressing entertainment has now been co-opted by the sistahs. Tyler Perry has made like $1 billion selling the same character to black women, who can’t get enough of his movies.


    January 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

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