Vitriolic Best Buds / Theater

  • The broadway musical Mame features a song about this, entitled "Bosom Buddies", where Vera and Mame take turns sniping at each other while still simultaneously declaring their great affection, because friends are always honest with each other.
    Mame: And if I say that sex and guts made you into a star/ It's just because who else but your Bosom Buddy will tell you how rotten you are!
  • Rod and Nicky in Avenue Q are this way too. From the song "It Sucks to be Me":
    Rod: We live together -
    Nicky: We're close as people can get.
    Rod: We've been the best of buddies,
    Nicky: Ever since the day we met.
    Rod: So he knows lots of ways to make me really upset!
    Nicky: What?!
    Rod: Oh, every day is an aggravation -
    Nicky: Come on, that's an exaggeration!
    Rod: You leave your clothes out, you put your feet on my chair.
    Nicky: Oh yeah? You do such anal things like ironing your underwear!
    Rod: You make the very small apartment we share a Hell!
    Nicky: So do you! That's why I'm in Hell too!
    • By the end of the play, Nicky finds Rod a boyfriend to make up for outing him at Brian and Christmas Eve's wedding.
  • Why, Bialystock & Bloom, of course! Their friendship comes into question when Springtime turns out to be a huge success, but by the end, they've become Fire-Forged Friends.
  • Glinda and Elphaba have moments of this, particularly after the wizard's started his smear campaign against the latter and Glinda is seemingly complicit.
  • Estragon and Vladimir—no surprise there, since they were at least partially inspired by Laurel and Hardy.
  • Depending on your interpretation, Benedick and Beatrice could be seen as this. They spend most of the play in a "merry war of wit" with insults that would hurt even the most tough-skinned. Underneath it all, though, they actually are very good friends who care a great deal about each other, and eventually even admit romantic feelings. However, it doesn't do much to stop their bickering and insults.
  • Cole Porter's song "Friendship", featured in Anything Goes, starts out as two friends expressing affection, but soon descends into sarcasm, with the two singers trading veiled barbs.
  • The Earls of Tolloller and Mountararat from Gilbert and Sullivan's Opera Iolanthe are this - there's an entire scene which hinges on Mountararat tricking Tolloller into insulting himself, but they're still very fond of each other, as evidenced in the scene where they try to decide which one of them is to marry Phyllis. (It's worth noting that this scene is also one of the most Ho Yay-laden scenes in the entire G&S canon, ending with the two men deciding that they like each-other too much to fight over her or marry her at all.
    Phyllis: How can [whether she marries Tolloller or Mountararat] possibly concern me? You are both Earls, and you are both rich, and you are both plain.
    Mountararat: So we are. At least I am.
    Tolloller: So am I.
    Mountararat: No, no!
    Tolloller: Oh, I am indeed very plain.
    Mountararat: Well, well! Perhaps you are.
    Phyllis: There's really nothing to choose between you. If one of you would forego his title and distribute his estates amongst his Irish tenantry, why, then I should see a reason for accepting the other. (Phyllis retires up.)
    Mountararat: Tolloller, are you prepared to make this sacrifice?
    Tolloller: No!
    Mountararat: Not even to oblige a lady?
    Tolloller: No! Not even to oblige a lady.
    Mountararat: Then the only question is, which of us shall give way to the other? Perhaps, upon the whole, she would be happier with me. I don't know; I may be wrong.
    Tolloller: No, I don't know that you are. I really believe that she would. But the awkward part of the thing is, that if you rob me of the girl of my heart, we must fight and one of us must die. It's a family tradition that I have sworn to respect. It's a painful position, for I have a very strong regard for you, George.
    Mountararat: (much affected) My dear Thomas!
    Tolloller: You are very dear to me, George. We were boys together - or at least I was. If I were to survive you, my existence would be hopelessly embittered.