Rembert Explains the ’80s: Bosom Buddies

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our series, Rembert Explains the ’80s. Every so often, we’ll e-mail 24-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn’t seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he’s watching it, then we’ll post those thoughts here. This week’s installment was selected by our deputy editor, Dan Fierman: Bosom Buddies – Pilot Episode. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the ’80s, e-mail us at

Rembert Note: Before the new year began, I asked bosom buddies Bill Simmons and Dan Fierman if this series would continue into 2012, wondering if they were running out of material. I think they took that as an insult and as a challenge. Be excited.

0:03 TOM HANKS. Yes. Look at the head of hair on that legend.

0:13 Show = “Bosom Buddies.” Yes, this is going to be great. The high jinks will be through the roof.

0:18 Pretty sure that’s Stephanie Mills singing the theme song. That’s my GIRL. Just thought you should know that.

0:19 Non-Hanks bro = Peter Scolari. No clue.

0:51 Seven acts of tomfoolery so far in this opening. They’ve exceeded my expectations and the show hasn’t even started yet.

1:00 This theme song is still going on. This has to be a record.

1:09 Co-starring: Telma Hopkins. Wow, that name sounds too familiar. She’s from my past, but I don’t know where. I must figure this out.

1:58 Show starts with a wrecking ball knocking down their house. Classic.

2:21 They work together. This is the original Franklin and Bash (Sorry, world, I know we agreed to never speak of that show ever again. I won’t do it again, promise).

4:24 Wow, Tom Hanks is musing on what it means to love. This guy has been confidently vulnerable since the beginning of time.

6:10 I just got really confused. This show is pretty funny. All of the actors have great comedic timing, most jokes are landing, and the studio audience is actually laughing at an appropriate volume. What is going on?

6:21 The BBs just walked into the Susan B. Anthony Hotel. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s named that by coincidence. I think the direction of this show is about to drastically change.

6:46 They are looking for their female co-worker, Amy (who has a crush on Henry, the other Bosom Buddy), to ask if they can spend the night (don’t forget, their home was knocked down by a wrecking ball. Classic).

7:01 Hanks (referencing their old apartment): “They were not rats … Just incredibly … Unattractive … Kittens.” I love this guy.

7:10 Bros are noticing every person that walks by them in the lobby is a beautiful woman. If the Susan B. Anthony Hotel is actually just an ’80s brothel, I will be shocked, appalled, and impressed.

8:03 Nope. It’s simply a hotel for women only. Ew. Can’t even imagine the number of cooties in that place.

9:07 Men are only allowed in the lobby. Looks like there’s no way for the Bosom Buddies to make it upstairs, DOT DOT DOT.

9:14 Ooh, a plan. How convenient. Amy and Henry come up with the idea of the men dressing like ladies and sneaking upstairs.

9:18 And wouldn’t you know it, they already have the clothes. The ad campaign they’re working on is for a company called “Blouse City.” Oh wow. I get it now. “Bosom.” Two meanings. Wow. This show rules.

9:50 Hanks hasn’t delivered a bad one-liner yet. He’s really in a class of his own.

10:05 Our Bosom Buddies have returned to the hotel, looking like big, ugly women. Tom looks especially ghoulish.

10:24 Telma Hopkins, of course. The pretty aunt Rachel from Family Matters. I’m embarrassed I couldn’t think of that before she came on-screen. I’m slipping — you heard it here first.

11:10 Tom walks like Chyna. In completely unrelated news, Tom looks like Chyna.

11:24 Non-Hanks Bro’s lady name: Hildegaard. Hanks’ lady name: Buffy. Yes, they went with Hildegaard and Buffy. Fantastic.

0:36 Angry Hanks, after getting made fun of: “Get me out of this ensemble, I’m getting this terrible urge to read Sylvia Plath.” Preach Tom. Preach.

1:20 Amy’s roommate just came home, unexpectedly. And you guessed it, she’s beautiful. And you guessed it again, the bros are in love with her and fighting over her. And you guessed it a third time, she hasn’t the slightest clue that these two behemoths are dressed in drag.

3:01 Amy is blocking LadyHanks’ advances toward the roomie. LadyHanks isn’t fazed. LadyHanks is determined to succeed.

3:20 I’m starting to forget “Buffy” is Tom Hanks. He’s really finding herself in this role.

4:10 She’s changing into a leotard in front of LadyHanks. He’s about to lose his cool.

5:24 This is unreal. My girl Telma just brought in two bottles of champagne and the rest of the floor runs into the room in their skimpy pajamas. All signs are pointing toward a giggly pillow fight. What creepy man wrote this fantastic show?

6:16 And like that, the two buddies are looking for an apartment in the building.

7:31 Tom is checking himself out in the mirror. He has no intentions to ever take off this dress.

8:24 Hanks is convincing his buddy that keeping up the lady charade is a great idea, because it’ll give him material for a great story. This is how I’m pitching stories from here on out. (“Can I go to Wimbledon? Don’t worry, I’ll wear a dress. Duh, it’ll be white.”)

9:01-9:23 Someone please explain to me what just happened. It was like a 20-second reprise in a Broadway musical met an interlude from a late-’90s rap album. Not mad, but so confused.

10:52 The guys are back at work, unfortunately dressed like men, having a semi-emotional conversation. I really can’t imagine what the Very Special Episode of Bosom Buddies was like. Undoubtedly ahead of its time, I’m guessing.

11:21 Henry: “What do you want to do after work? I figure we either go to a hockey game or give ourselves a home permanent.” The ultimate Friday-night conundrum.

11:40 Amy comes in and yells to the entire office that Henry spent the night at her apartment. Her plan of wooing him is working. Respect.

11:59 Hanks, with the last line: “Well, at least she’s discreet.” The guy can’t miss. The Mark Price of one-liners.

My takeaway from Bosom Buddies is that I need to become much more familiar with 1980s Tom Hanks. I’ve always had TBS, so I’ve watched Turner and Hooch 312 times, but I need to dig deeper than that. This is my first mission of 2012. Be excited for me.

Rembert Browne is a Grantland staff writer.

Previously: Rembert Explains the ’80s: “The Return of Calderone”
Rembert Explains the ’80s: Manimal
Rembert Explains the ’80s: ALF
Rembert Explains the ’80s: Lionel Richie’s “Hello” Video

Filed Under: Nostalgia, Rembert Tries to Explain the Eighties, Tom Hanks

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert