Follow TV Tropes

Following

Fratbro

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1_2alt_9830.jpg
Brolaf, Lord of Bromacia.

"What is a bro? A bro is a eighteen to twenty-four year old male who wears birkenstock sandals, watches Family Guy, plays Ultimate Frisbee, and wears an upside down visor or a baseball cap with a pre-frayed brim. You know, a bro."
Derrick Comedy, "Bro Rape"
Advertisement:

The Fratbro is a male college student or alumnus depicted in a stereotypical fratboy-ish manner. They're almost always unintellectual and usually want to party and drink all day, try to get laid all night, and will likely engage in Wacky Fratboy Hijinx. Despite the name, they don't have to be (or have been) in a fraternity.

As far as academics go, they live by the motto "C's get degrees," and the more well-off bros are often guaranteed a job under one of their parents regardless of school performance. For this reason they often study straightforward, business-related majors like accounting, marketing, real estate, etc. Rare is the fratboy that is studying to be a teacher or physician where they'd have to rely on their own skills and not personal connections. They're in college to party.

In a lot of ways this character is an evolution of the Dumb Jock stereotype as they often fulfill the same role, although the Fratbro will not necessarily be an athlete (he will at least be a big follower of sports, however). Also unlike the traditional jock, the Fratbro will often be a very big fan of soft drugs (particularly cannabis), and be portrayed as being pretty much harmless in comedic works, but darker examples will frequently throw in a proclivity towards Date Rape and a tendency (since they are usually from upper-middle-class/upper-class backgrounds) to attempt to use family connections to get them out of trouble.

Advertisement:

This is a subtrope of Men Are Uncultured, specifically designed around the idea that it's "normal" for young men to behave this way and sow their depraved oats before stepping foot in the real world. The ones who can't let go of this phase in their lives may grow up to be a Jaded Washout or The Stoner.

Fratbros are usually Acceptable Targets in pretty much any work not aimed at this demographic, but to their credit, most fratbros aren't above self-deprecating humor. Often used as a Bromantic Foil to the male lead. One popular Aesop for this type of character is to become a Ladykiller in Love, especially if they Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest. Whether or not it works is a toss-up, as this sort of character can easily imply that the audience Should Not Do This Cool Thing.

Compare Life of the Party and Wacky Fratboy Hijinx. Also compare and contrast with Hard-Drinking Party Girl, The Lad-ette, and All Guys Want Sorority Women, the rough Distaff Counterparts. A Frat Bro who is intelligent enough to land a tech job or start a tech company is a Tech Bro.

Advertisement:


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman: Etta Candy's sorority gals known as the Hollday Girls were a genderswaped example during the The Golden Age of Comic Books. They pretty much constantly wore college-labelled clothing, spent way more time partying than studying or going to class, got in fights, sang bawdy songs about men and were all required to have experience in at least one sport in order to get into the sorority in addition to the Initiation Ceremony. They are pretty constantly engaged in Wacky Sororitygal Hijinx.

     Film - Live Action 
  • Stifler in American Pie. Even before he went to college, he fit the stereotype perfectly being a boisterous party animal focused on partying and getting laid. It's rather telling that his Character Development in the sequel is "becoming comfortable enough with his sexuality to kiss a dude in order to have a threesome with lesbians."
  • John "Bluto" Blutarsky of Animal House is the Trope Codifier. Frequently drunk, and always on the lookout for mischief, he neglects his studies to the extent of receiving a grade point average of exactly 0.0. His many fratboy activities include starting a cafeteria Food Fight, spying on women students changing and smashing someone's guitar in the middle of a song. When the dean expels him and his frat brothers, Bluto rallies them to commit one last act of mayhem at Homecoming. In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, it's revealed that Bluto has become a Senator. And in the sequel, he is The Unseen...because he's The President of the United States.
  • The title character in Van Wilder is a mix between this trope and a Big Man on Campus. Ironically, the film's main antagonist is the actual president of a fraternity but he does not fill this role and is instead portrayed as a Jerk Jock and a (male) Academic Alpha Bitch.
  • Teddy Sanders and the rest of his fraternity brothers from Neighbors all fit this stereotype. The film actually serves as a Deconstructive Parody of frat boy comedies, showing the worst aspects of the immaturity displayed by Fratbro characters when surrounded by reasonable people.
  • Initially Subverted but later Enforced in The Cabin in the Woods. Curt is introduced as a generally intelligent and sensitive character, but needing him to fit a stereotype, the Controllers begin manipulating him with drugs until he fits this trope perfectly. Forms a plot point as well: it is so out of character that it makes Marty suspicious.
  • Sorority Boys is about three members of the "KOK" fraternity who dress up in drag to infiltrate a rival sorority. The film serves to deconstruct frat bro antics, especially regarding their treatment of women. The climax takes place on a party cruise with KOK alumni, including main character Dave's father, who all still act like fratbros despite their age and careers.

     Literature 
  • One of the entries in Gravity Falls: Journal 3 tells of the Author's encounter with the "Abominable Bro-Man", a Sasquatch who dresses and acts like a stereotypical frat boy.
  • In The Mark and the Void, the team of bankers the Caliph of Oran sends to make a deal are all 18-year-olds who are interested only in drinking, drugs, and making lewd jokes. Being English, they all have somewhat ridiculous cockney accents.

     Live Action Television 
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Ted (currently a college professor) "saves" a girl who is being hit on by a pack of these. The leader (dubbed "Boomer" by the girl, the kind of nickname a fratbro would have) tries to convince her to join them to come to a party. Ted confiscates their beer... but not their hard lemonade. The girl even laments that dumb frat guys invite her to a kegger every single week.
    • Recurring character Brad is a Genius Ditz version of this. He's first seen hosting a wild college party (though as law students, he made everyone sign a waiver before they could "FREAKING RAGE"), his later appearances that season included a bromance with Marshall, and disappearing during Marshall's bachelor party only to reappear at the end, naked and wandering the streets. He also speaks like a bro, almost to the point of a verbal tic.
  • Sam leaps into a Fratbro in an episode of Quantum Leap, and has trouble getting the Girl of the Week to listen to him because she knows him to be a jockish ass. His fratty mates keep appearing and trying to embroil him in wacky high jinks, including raiding the office of "Dean Stockwell".
  • In The Office (US), Andy was a former Frat Bro at Cornell and was in an a capella group. He often gives his co-workers silly nick names and even has several of his own ("Nard Dog" being the most common). It seems he was pretty popular at college but not so much in the workplace.
  • Troy from Community begins the show somewhere between this and Dumb Jock, having injured himself performing a "keg flip" but he's open to Wacky Fratboy Hijinks. He quickly evolves past this, becoming a much more rounded character.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: They show up in the fourth season, when the gang goes to college. A group of them accidentally summon a fear demon while turning their frathouse into a haunted house.
  • "Captain Awesome" from Chuck is a somewhat more nuanced, mature version of the fratbro. His mode of speech is very reminiscent of the archetype (including a fondness for the word "awesome" which provides his nickname), but rather than being a shallow party animal, he's a compassionate doctor.
    • It helps that he's more Surfer Dude than Bro, and drawing on that archetype has a lot fewer negative associations to begin with.
  • Eric & Jeremy from The Amazing Race 9, who even earned themselves the nickname "The Fratboys" despite never having gone to college. They were a couple of slackers who hit on every woman they came across in an overly douchey fashion. Eric would return for All-Stars with a woman he met on Season 9.
    Jeremy: We want to win. Whatever it takes to win.
    Eric: It's like trying to get into girls' pants, y'know, lie, cheat, steal. You know, whatever you can.
  • In one episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the gang attempts to reclaim their dominance in "Flipadelphia", a local version of the Flip Cup game. With their old bar rivals now refusing to play them, they instead end up challenging a group of fratboys from Dennis' old college fraternity.
  • Vernon from You're the Worst still behaves much like an especially immature one of these despite being almost 40 years old - he constantly spews juvenile humor and insists on making highly alcoholic "trash juice" punch for parties. His wife Becca even calls him a "talking penis in a clown wig".
  • In the Broad City episode "Citizen Ship," Jaimé says "I love hamburgers and I love DUIs!" in an exaggerated American accent. This catches the attention of an actual fratbro, who says "Do I know you from Michigan State? Were you Delta Sig?" and then does a Secret Handshake with Jaimé
  • This pops up several times in Whose Line Is It Anyway?, particularly after its move to the US, with Brad Sherwood and Wayne Brady the most recurring offenders; which naturally confused the hell out of Josie Lawrence from the UK version when she made a guest appearance.
  • A skit in The Jews Are Coming shows David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi studying together in university in late Ottoman Constantinople. Ben-Zvi makes it very clear they're there to blend into Ottoman politics and promote Zionist ideas among its leadership. Ben-Gurion is mostly concerned with partying and making out.

     Newspaper Comics 

     Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Dane Cook was often seen by fans and critics alike as an archetypal example of Fratbro comedy, with much of his material focusing on telling long anecdotes about drunken antics and dating/relationship issues. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his fanbase during the peak of his success largely consisted of teens and young adults and he would often perform in college towns during his stand-up tours.
  • Cook's spiritual predecessor Andrew "Dice" Clay could be considered an example as well, as he cultivated a macho "guido" image and focused on similar subject matter (drinking, sex, and other debauchery) in his jokes.

     Video Games 

     Visual Novels 
  • Steve from Melody loves drinking and partying, he used to ogle other girls while on dates with Melody, and he can’t even remember if he did in fact sleep with MC’s (made up) daughter (implying that he Really Gets Around).

     Webcomics 
  • In Questionable Content there is a trio of background bros who appear and chant "BROS!" whenever someone says the word. Between the three of them they demonstrate fratbro-attire quite well, wearing college-labelled clothing, hoodies, and pastel polo shirts. No surprise that they first showed up at a bar.
  • Chapter 7 of Volume 1 of Druid City is full of fratbros. Two serve as the antagonists of the chapter, four others serve as charmless rubes, and many others appear as copy-paste versions of themselves in a dance sequence.
  • Homestuck has the aptly-named Bro Strider (also known as Dirk Strider in an alternate universe). He outright says that he aspires to be the ultimate "bro". He's obsessed with baseball hats (if he can't wear one, he does the next best thing and wears a t-shirt with a picture of a hat on it), rap music, video games, unhealthy snack foods, extreme sports, and video games about extreme sports and unhealthy snack foods. Bro's brother, Dave, copies many of these interests to an extent, but he's doing it "ironically" while Bro's irony is so far gone that it's completely indistinguishable from sincerity.
  • VG Cats: Bro Gamers.

     Web Original 
  • Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation characterizes Xbox 360's target audience as being largely this trope, largely due to the popularity of their multiplayer shooters appealing to them.
  • The Derrick Comedy skit "Bro Rape" is about bros being, well, raped by other bros. It's styled like a "To Catch a Predator" segment, luring the predator-bros into police sting operations with an online profile named "Chad" who professes to enjoy bro-related activities such as drinking beer, playing video games, watching TV shows like Family Guy, and getting raped by big black dildos. Incidentally, the sketch also stars a young Donald Glover, who plays the aforementioned Troy in Community.
  • A few of Cecil and Kain's lines in the Playstation version's translation of Final Fantasy IV are like this. Legends of Localization refers to this as "Cecil and Kain, who are super-high ranking knights, talk[ing] like college bros or something".
    Kain: Hey, 500 Gil says I slay that beast tomorrow.
    Cecil: Alright, you're on.
  • In the early-mid-2000s, many critics classified Tucker Max and, to a lesser extent, Maddox into a new subgenre of humor literature known as "Fratire" after the rise in popularity of their personal websites and subsequent books, which frequently focused on manly subjects such as drinking and partying exploits. Subverted by the fact that neither Max nor Maddox were ever members of fraternities in college and both later criticized the label.
  • CollegeHumor:
    • Played with in "If I were a Bro", wherein Sarah dresses up as a stereotypical frat boy hanging out with the rest of the dudes.
    • Also appears in "Brohemian Rhapsody." He closely resembles the above-mentioned Bluto, and partakes in activities with his "bros," such as casual sex with girls from school, drugs and alcohol, video games, and beer pong. He also has a Potty Failure at a party, knocks over a lamp and gets hurt, and gets himself arrested.
  • In "MMA Fighters Try Women's Self-Defense: episode #10 Wrist Control!", Coach Ramsey Dewey seeks help strengthening his biceps because the grab-defense technique he learned from Pure Motion Fitness isn’t working for him (the video series debunks and satirizes flawed self-defense techniques that are marketed toward women, but don’t actually work against a resisting opponent). To do this he enlists the help of Curl Bro, a dude at the gym who wears a baseball cap, constantly calls Ramsey "bro", and teaches people to only perform curls no matter what gym equipment they're using. Tricep dips? Curl the dip station! Squat rack? Take the bar off the rack and curl it! Heavy punching bag? Curl the bag!
  • Pretending to Be People features Brett, a science experiment in the Glass compound. For some reason, he sports a puka shell necklace, frosted tips, and a douchey demeanor.

     Western Animation 
  • In spite of (or perhaps because of) Family Guy's reputation of being popular with teenage/college males (as exemplified in the page quote), the show has frequently taken potshots at fratboys. In one particular example, Stewie develops a Precocious Crush on his college-aged babysitter but becomes heartbroken when he discovers that she already has a Fratbro-type boyfriend, prompting him to launch into an epic rant that hits on nearly every stereotype of the trope:
    Stewie: Ha! I got your hat! Take that, hatless! Now go back to the quad and resume your hackey sac tourney! I'm not gonna lay down for some frat boy bastard with his damn Teva sandals and his Skoal Bandits and his Abercrombie and Fitch long sleeved, open stitched, crew neck Henley smoking his sticky buds out of a soda can while watching his favorite downloaded Simpsons episodes every night! Yes, we all love "Mr. Plow"! Oh, you've got the song memorized, do you? SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE! That is exactly the kind of idiot you see at Taco Bell at 1 in the morning! The guy who just whiffed his way down the bar skank ladder!
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer Goes To College", Homer attempts to cultivate this image when he attends Springfield University to take a course in Nuclear Physics. Unfortunately, he learned all of his stereotypes about college from watching raunchy 80s comedy films and soon learns that real college is nothing like what was depicted in fiction. He eventually befriends a trio of nerds and attempts to teach them how to "par-tay."
  • Rocko from Undergrads is a walking fratbro stereotype. He's big, muscular, dumb, prone to drinking copious amounts of beer and unsuccessfully propositioning everything with breasts that crosses his path, and he joined a fraternity specifically to get up to Wacky Fratboy Hijinks like in the movies. He does not let the fact that his frat otherwise consists entirely of sweater-vest-wearing preppy guys who find his antics annoying stop him, to the point that he hazes himself when his frat won't.
  • An episode of South Park portrays musical theatre creators Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Elton John as all being beer-swilling bros in secret.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, "Attack of the Clowns", while Mandy and Grim are trying to help Billy conquer his fear of clowns, Billy goes to his happy place in his mind where he encounter his imaginary "Inner Frat Boy" who helps Billy conquer his fear by giving him some pretty sound advice, "Just because somebody's different from you doesn't mean you should be afraid of them... It means you should be angry at them."
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force has the "Frat Aliens" (Donkey Puncher and Skeeter), who are aliens that behave like stereotypical fratboys, except From Space. Their very names are lewd sexual terms ("Donkey Punch" means to punch someone in the back of the head during doggystyle coitus, and "Skeet" means to ejaculate on someone).
  • Code Monkeys features Dean, the college-aged son of Game-A-Vision's CEO Bob "Big T" Larrity, who fits the stereotype to a T. In one episode when he becomes the acting head of the company, Dean hires several of his college friends, who are members of the Alpha Sigma Sigma fraternity.
  • What If...? (2021): "What If...Thor Were An Only Child?" suggests that without Loki around to inadvertently teach Thor some life lessons in responsibility, Thor would basically become one of these. He dubs himself "God of Parties" and is more concerned with drunken debauchery than studying to be the next Asgard ruler. The only thing that stops him is Jane tattling on him to his mother Frigga.

     Real Life 
  • Even as far back as The Middle Ages in England and continental Europe, there are records of university students being condemned for drunkenness, getting into violent brawls or throwing people in rivers, and engaging in all sorts of mistreatment of women including rape, making this Older Than Print.
  • The infamous Bullingdon Club is basically a cross between this trope and a Brotherhood of Funny Hats. The club got some rather unfavourable media attention after allegations were made that a fratbro who went on to become Prime Minister of Great Britain had to perform an indecent act with the severed head of a pig as part of the Initiation Ceremony.
  • The video game company Activision Blizzard was rocked by a large scandal in late July 2021, following the suicide of a female employee. The incident made way for a grand-scale reveal that the company had massive systematic issues with a toxic workplace culture and a slew of allegations about widespread sexual harassment and sexism against employees. The "work ethics" (or lack thereof) of the employees and higher ups who were responsible for the toxic workplace environment were described as a "frat boy culture" (they would drink, party and play video games all day while the harrassed employees, often female, would endure humiliations, do all the work and not get paid fairly for it).

Top