12:30 pm EDT, June 26, 2014

Fandom Flashback: ‘Brotherly Love’

FUNNIEST MOMENT

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Brotherly Love is full of chuckles, but one of our favorite funny scenes comes from the season 2 episode, “Vive la Fraternite.”

When Claire hires a babysitter for Andy, Joe and Matt both find themselves unwittingly thrown into a battle for her affections after she accepts date invitations from each of them. The brotherly rivalry is never at its most high or most bizarre; Matt is finally blossoming into a romantic rival for Joe, and Joe is clinging to his womanizing crown.

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Brotherly Love‘s laugh track was borrowed from Boy Meets World.

The fact that the babysitter is an eighteen year-old French girl makes it plausible that she would be willing to date both a sixteen year-old kid and a twenty-one year-old man (the French are sophisticated that way, we are told), but the real joy of the episode comes from watching Joe and Matt try and outlift each other in their weight training. With biceps like those, how can a girl possibly be expected to choose?

Of course, after both boys decide to put their romantic notions aside for the sake of their bromance, we’re thrown another fun twist: as it turns out, they were dating twins all along! Bummer boys, that leaves Andy holding down the fort to escort both lovely ladies on their way.

EMOTIONAL MOMENT

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After spending most of the season avoiding the issue, the season 1 episode, “Remember,” finally addresses the tragedy of the Roman patriarch in a bittersweet way.

When Lou starts flirting with a race car driver that comes into the shop, Joe is inspired to gather up his racing gear and make a go for it again. Most of the family pitches in, with Andy dubbing himself Joe’s good-luck-charm, and Lloyd insisting he be a member of Joe’s pit crew, just like he was for his dad.

It isn’t until Claire comes in at the end though, pleading for Joe not to race, that we remember just how sudden and heartbreaking the boys’ father’s death was. And when Joe insists that he isn’t like his father, Claire sadly responds that it is his stubborn insistence that reminds her most of him — and that has to live with blaming herself for finally giving into the stubbornness that lead to his death.

“My problem is you look much too much like your father in that jacket… You know the only thing I thank God for on that awful day is that Matt and Andy weren’t there to see that crash.”
“I am not my father, okay?”
“Right. You just dress the same, and you talk the same, and you became a mechanic, and you like to race.”

In the end, Joe decides not to race, and everyone’s feelings of guilt over that terrible day are assuaged as they reveal how they’ve had to place some unreasonable sense of blame on themselves for what happened. And Joe gets to prove that he’s once again becoming more responsible than his dad ever was, by putting his family’s mental health and well-being before his own personal pleasures.

greenquoteWhy didn’t you tell me?”
“Honestly?… I didn’t think we’d get caught.”

ROMANTIC MOMENT

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Joe and Lou’s will-they-won’t-they friendship was one of the best parts of the series, and they had their fair share of moments that pushed the boundaries of their platonic friendship and revealed their true feelings.

As gorgeous as these two twenty-something are, their physical attraction was evident from the start, and Lloyd’s closet shenanigans in “Bait and Switch” proved that Joe and Lou were at least tempted to take their attraction to the next level.

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Between season 1 and 2, Brotherly Love switched networks from NBC to the WB.

It was in season 1’s, “Bride and Prejudice” episode though that everyone’s feelings were laid out pretty plainly on the table — even if it was all through subtext. When Lou’s Ivy League boyfriend spontaneously proposes, she has to decide if his stuffy, materialistic way of life holds the key to her artist’s heart.

Joe spends the episode throwing his version of a temper tantrum in his attempts to prove he doesn’t care what Lou chooses, but when he sees Lou making an engagement ring for Josh, he finally softens. In the most romantic moment of the episode, he quiets her doubts about the ring by telling her that Josh, as fancy as he is, will love the homemade ring, because her love makes it beautiful. And later when Lou realizes that Josh doesn’t fully appreciate the ring and so doesn’t fully appreciate her for the scrappy artist that she is, he’s there with the car grease to get the stubborn ring off her finger!

WATCH NOW

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Unfortunately, Brotherly Love isn’t out on DVD yet, or available to stream from the Internet. Thrifty fans though can find clips of the ’90s sitcom on YouTube.

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