Kip: Dirt cheap! But it's a hotel for women. Okay, we made one adjustment.
Henry: Now these other ladies know us as Buffy and Hildegarde.
Kip: But they also know us as Kip and Henry, Buffy and Hildy's brothers. I am crazy about the blonde.
Henry: This experience is gonna make a great book.
Kip: See? It's all perfectly normal!
The series premise has struggling NYC ad men Kip and Henry trying to move into the Susan B. Anthony Hotel due to its dirt-cheap rent (after their original apartment was demolished... while they were living in it). But since it's a women-only hotel, they disguise themselves as "Buffy and Hildegarde," supposedly Kip and Henry's sisters.
As the show went on, this Disguised in Drag premise moved increasingly into the background. In the second season, the entire recurring cast knows Kip and Henry's secret (though they continue to live in the hotel and pose as women for the other residents). There was also a shift to focus more on the Work Com aspects of Kip and Henry in the advertising business, and in general on Hanks and Scolari's chemistry as a (conventionally-dressed) comedic duo.
Hanks and Scolari were the only male members of the regular cast, which included Wendie Jo Sperber as friend and Secret Keeper Amy, Donna Dixon as Kip's love interest Sonny, Telma Hopkins as hotel manager Isabelle, and Holland Taylor as Kip and Henry's overbearing boss Ruth.
This series contains examples of:
- Accidental Art: Kip complains that Henry doesn't understand his art, and makes his point by asking Henry's opinion on a piece of abstract art. When Henry claims to like it, Kip points out that it was actually the board he used to wipe his brushes. However as the conversation continues, Kip begins to notice that it really does look kind of nice. Eventually, it shows up in his exhibit alongside his other works.
- The Artifact: The whole Disguised in Drag premise became this by the second season. Only two stories had anything to do with this premise, and many episodes did without it completely except in the Opening Narration.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: Used occasionally, but less frequently than you might think.
- Dating Service Disaster A "video dating" service provided an example in one episode.
- Different for Girls: A frequent source of comedy, especially in earlier episodes.
- Disguised in Drag: Because the apartment only allows female tenants, the main characters disguise themselves as women to live there.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Mr. Rubinowitz, Ruth's boss at the firm in Season 1.
- Mean Boss: Ruth is bitchy, demanding, and frequently takes credit for Kip, Henry, and Amy's work.
- Most Writers Are Writers: Henry is writing a book about his crossdressing experiences.
- Ms. Fanservice: Sonny, frequently.
- New Job Episode: A few examples:
- "Kip Quits": Kip quits his advertising job and winds up selling hot dogs.
- "The Show Must Go On": Kip and Henry take jobs as busboys as part of a scheme to get Isabelle a singing gig at a night club.
- "The Hospital": Kip and Henry, in their female identities, work at a hospital as candy stripers.
- Pilot: Was notable for featuring Edie Adams as the hotel manager, Darlene. She was replaced with Lucille Fletcher's Lily when the series was picked up.
- It's also notable for being shot on film, while the rest of the series was videotaped.
- Pun-Based Title: They're impersonating women, so it's called Bosom Buddies. Get it?
- Put on a Bus: Lilly (the hotel manager in Season 1).
- Real Song Theme Tune: Billy Joel's "My Life", albeit a re-recorded version with a different vocalist.
- For the show's syndication package and all home video releases, "My Life" is replaced with Stephanie Mills' "Shake Me Loose" (an instrumental version of which is also used for the closing theme).
- Retool: In the second season, apart from playing down the Disguised in Drag element, Kip and Henry left their jobs at the advertising agency and opened their own agency (with Ruth as their partner).
- Secret Keeper: Amy, in the first season. Later, all of the main characters.
- Shout-Out: In the pilot, after Henry names Kip's alter ego "Buffy", Kip mumbles something about Jodie and Mr French.
- On one occasion, "Buffy" and "Hildy" wander into the hotel common room, where the other residents are watching Some Like It Hotnote . They comment that the plot is completely ridiculous.
- Snowed-In: In one episode, Kip and Henry find themselves trapped in a mountain cabin during a blizzard, with no food save half a container of non-dairy creamer.
- And, later, Kip's "albino snake".
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": "Hildy's Dirt Nap" features a put-on funeral that includes a reenactment of her death ("she took a comet to the neck") through Hand Puppets.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Kip and Henry.
- "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode: Inverted - after dropping a water balloon on a car belonging to Richard Nixon and getting visited by the Secret Service, Kip not only decides to cut out pranking but becomes decidedly humorless and anti-fun until his friends get him to snap out of it.