True Companions/Real Life

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  • There was a reason the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates called themselves "The Fam-a-lee", with first baseman Willie Stargell as Team Dad.


  • While not all individuals are lucky enough to have True Companions, the concept of having a best friend or friends, with whom you are closer to than your regular friends, is well nigh universal. Obviously, the strength of such friendship varies from person to person, but True Companionship is within that scope.
  • The White House staff during the Kennedy administration has been described as a band of brothers by multiple historians and former members. Turned into a kind of private support system after JFK's assassination.
  • In Australia there is this thing called mateship. It's not the same thing as friendship, you might not even be friends with your mates, but a friend might never become a mate, because friends come and go, but mates stick together. Doesn't matter if you fight, doesn't matter if you argue, you stick by your mates. That's the principle at least. It's been said that an Australian man sorts his surroundings as such: His mates, his dog, his car, his beer, his wife, his friends, strangers.
    • Just to give it a little historical context. The people you fought alongside in war, or who were in your volunteer firefighting brigade with you—the ones you watch the back of and have your back watched by, to pass on last messages to your wife, the ones you have bled and sweating and cried in mostly unmanly ways next to and had offered a tissue when they've cried next to you? The ones you trust with your life but not necessarily to not drink your beer if you leave it alone? They're your mates.
  • Depending on how difficult (by which we mean emotionally intense/draining/scarring) any given play is, this can happen to some degree with theatre casts. You see each other go through incredibly intense emotions, and everyone involved is very vulnerable during rehearsal... and that sort of thing does tend to create a bond. Whether or not you actually like each other is beside the point... you just have to trust each other.

"Friends and lovers come and go, fight partners are forever."

    • Add that to the fact that almost everyone you know has the potential to either make your career or stop it dead, and it's no surprise that actors intentionally try to make it happen.
    • It's not as glamorous, but in film/TV/theater it's happening to the crew too. Because you are all sweating blood towards the same goal, you're small parts working together to become one smooth machine, one that produces a TV show, a short or movie, and it's pretty powerful. You see this over a lifetime as well, especially in the smaller East Coast part of the industry because you keep running into the same damned people over and over again. (After his first job, this troper has literally never worked on a set where he didn't know at least one person already.) Eventually you've been working with the same people for so long you can communicate "Get me a swivel cheseboro and three sandbags" with a glance. It helps a lot that the American film industry is brutal (you work 16 or 17 hour days on average - not a typo) and if you want to work in the industry it doesn't give you a lot of time to have things like wives and kids.
  • Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Revolutionary France's Motto is basically the idea that the French Republic is supposed to be a nation of True Companions. This being Real Life, and French people being very diverse in every senses of the term, it is subverted more often that not, but it is nonetheless a great motto. This is emphasized by the law which says that there is no French ethnicity, being French is being a French citizen and wanting to be a part of the Nation. I.e, you're French if you want to be true companions. Sadly so much subverted, including by those who are supposed to implement this. Everyone always forgets the second, most important bit of the famous quote:

We are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone
Only by our friends and relationships can we create for a moment the illusion that we are not alone.

  • The Irish leaders during the Irish War of Independence were very close (many of them having fought together during the Easter Rising, and all of them sharing the hardships of the war). This makes the Irish Civil War, in which they split into two opposing factions and many killed each other, especially tragic.
  • Many of America's founders counted as one and some of them kept in touch for years after all the conflicts, both internal and external, had ended. Most of them seemed to generally like each other, some of them were also related by blood (Sam and John Adams, George and Bushward Washington, etc.)
  • In the time of the Roman Republic, the tribes of the plebes (working class) would gather in the Forum once per year to swear a collective oath to lynch any Patrician or Senator who harmed their elected representatives in Roman government, the Tribunes.
  • The Howard family behind The Three Stooges considered Larry Fine one of the family.
  • One cast member of SCTV commented that she and her fellow castmates got along fine and have never let their egos get in the way.
    • Speaking of SCTV cast members, Rick Moranis got along very well with fellow castmate Dave Thomas back when they were Bob and Doug McKenzie, as well as another fellow castmate, John Candy, where they both appeared in a few movies. And Steve Martin, too, who, despite not being from SCTV, is still a good friend of his, especially since the party Steve held one day turned out to be a wedding held for Rick and his bride Anne. The friendship is justified by the fact that they did a few movies together such as Little Shop of Horrors and L.A. Story.
  • Studies in World War II found that soldiers interviewed tended to claim this as their main motive. Compilers of the study called it by exasperatingly prosaic terms like "primary group cohesion." It's also been theorized that one reason American veterans of the Vietnam War exhibit higher rates of psychological fallout like PTSD is that some of the army's new policies tended to prevent True Companionship-formation.
  • Much to the delight of fans, the actors who played the seven children in The Sound of Music are this and remain so to this day.

Nicholas "Friedrich" Hammond: I heard that what [Director Bob Wise] wanted to do was construct a family - and he did.

  • The idea of True Companionship gains a lot of currency in the field of queer theory as an example of an alternative to the traditional "nuclear" or "sanguinuptial" family - and yet one that, like the "traditional" family, is not of one's choosing. Some see it as the best argument against the fact that "family" needs to be defined by blood and/or marital relations. Johns Hopkins professor Sam Chambers uses examples of it from media in his book The Queer Politics of Television, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer as his main example.
  • The casts of a couple of different sitcoms eventually came to be this after a while. When former Full House star Jodie Sweetin became addicted to meth, her fellow former cast members all helped intervene to get her into rehab. Meanwhile, the cast of Married... with Children became very close to each other as well, with Ed O'Neill almost becoming a surrogate father to Christina Applegate, whose own parents were divorced.
  • The Inklings, an Oxford-based group of writers and scholars that included CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien (among many others) in their membership, functioned very much as a true companionship group for its members. The other wiki has details.
  • The Z-Boys, a group of skateboarders in the 1970's from South Santa Monica and Venice California who are credited with inventing modern skateboarding and essentially creating the punk/skater subculture that now exists. Their name is derived from the name of the team they competed with together, the Zephyr Competition Team. AKA The Lords of Dog Town
  • When you go to the Canadian Improv Games, spot any high-energy team. Any. These teens are usually closer than blood, and it shows in how powerful they are.
  • The cast of Friends - They all insisted on equal pay, and if they were nominated for awards, you could not nominate one of the cast for Best Lead and another for Best Supporting Cast Member. The cast are so close that frequent guest star Tom Selleck has said he felt left out when he filmed his appearances, and Paul Rudd has said that he didn't want his character to appear in the penultimate episode where the group is bidding farewell to Rachel or the show's final scenes, as it didn't feel right.
    • The same could be said of many TV shows and quite a few movies too. While not all casts get along as well as the Friends cast did, there are many (too many to list here!) who fall into this category.
  • The Rat Pack of The Fifties and The Sixties, the Brat Pack of The Eighties, and the Frat Pack of the present.
  • Sir Terry Wogan used to josh around that "there's no 'I' in 'team'" and that the people working around him during his breakfast radio days were merely his "minions", but there's no doubt that that group of people were true companions, from his late producer Paul "Wally" Walters to Walters's replacement Alan "Barrel 'ands" Boyd, newsreaders Alan "Deadly" Dedicoat and John "Boggy" Marsh, and the "Traffic Totty" Lynn Bowles, all of whom formed a close union. (One might argue that Mick Sturbs, the person who wrote all the "Janet and John" stories, and the various religious figures who appeared on the "Pause for Thought" segment could be considered true companions as well.) On Wogan's last morning broadcast, not a dry eye was spotted amongst the group.
  • For many children/teenagers, leaving a school is like disbanding a family, due to the close bond that has been made between these people who have grown up together.
  • Software projects are, at least in the current theory of 'how to make a good team', encouraged to bond as true companions for the duration of the project. So much so that the final stage of a team project life-cycle is "mourning", ie once the project is over and the team is broken up.
  • The "film brats" of the 70s: Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese. Epitomized when the first three presented the latter with his first Academy Award for Best Director for The Departed in 2007.
  • The cast and crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation grew extremely close during their years working together, and were pretty much completely united forever by the ideas the series was trying to put out—and no doubt their inability to actually get away from each other, even if they wanted to. They've been best men at each other's marriages and are still close, though they don't see each other as much as they used to. It's true when they say that, on board the starship Enterprise, no one is alone.

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