Andre the Champion

For the men of The League their fantasy football league provides a homosocial space where they can enjoy eachother’s masculine friendship with the comfort that no one will mistake them for homosexual since their friendship is centered around a fantasy football league. In the episode “Vegas Draft” Andre’s masculinity is brought in to question or made fun of.  Through the nickname ‘shedre’, his clothing, catchphrases, and the appearance of the man atop the trophy (called a ballerina or lacking man parts) the other men denounce Andre’s status as a man and a champion. Andre, while part of the league, always seems like the outsider trying to be a part of the cool kids group.

Finally at the end Andre attempts to display his masculinity to all by shouting that he is a champion, grabbing the trophy, getting up on some sort of table, and getting the hot stripper Ambrosia to dance with him. He then shouts out “I got the trophy. I got the girl” (19:15 or so). Andre is attempting to gather around him signifiers of masculinity that have been enforced but the football, televised sports culture in which The League is steeped. The trophy symbolizes a great athletic accomplishment (not winning an actual football game or anything but within the context of the series winning becoming league champion is an athletic accomplishment. Messner also says “sport’s program’s presentation of women as primarily as sexualized, supportive props for men’s athletic performances” (Messner et al 372). Thus having Ambrosia next to him further enhances his masculinity. His attempts however are thwarted by Raffi saying that they should make out and bump stuff because chicks dig that since Andre is rich and Raffi has a bid dick (signifiers of masculinity). Andre objects fervently, lest he appear gay or unmasculine, only to end up having the trophy of himself inside himself. Thus the entire scene seems to reenforce his status as the least masculine of the group.

As a character Andre serves to enforce the hegemonic masculinity of the fantasy football league. By continually disavowing and making fun or and insulting Andre’s more stereotypically homosexual traits they reenforce their own heterosexual masculinity. Becker writes “Keisling found that men created homosociality and expressed a desire for male bonding by: translation affection via insults, boasts, competitions (social indirectness); talking about impersonal subjects like sports (topic indirectness); and expressing affection for a guy by talking about him to someone else while he is present (addressee indirectness)” (Becker 17). However according to Keisling’s findings these insults could qualify as an expression of fondness of Andre through social indirectness. In fact the entire competition of the fantasy football league qualifies as social indirectness and a way for the men to create a hegemonic heterosexual and homosocial space. By insulting Andre in this way they make the space or their group bromance unfriendly and unwelcoming to gay men. Further more the group is intent on keeping the league resticted to straight men only despite their dislike of Raffi by refusing to let Jenny into the league despite the fact that having a women there would generally help to reinforce the straight masculinity of the group.

 

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2 thoughts on “Andre the Champion

  1. Excellent post, Sara. How does the actual physicality of Andre make it easy to cast him as “other” or striving in terms of masculinity? In some ways, this is study of the painfully obvious, but it’s fascinating that a super successful, Porsche-driving doctor STILL has to assert his dominance….

  2. In regards to what he wears the the hats, particular to this episode the ‘vegas hat’ and pretty much all of his clothing. The ridiculous patterned button ups, odd graphic tees (the floral water color tee he wore in the airport), scarves and his very stylized manner of dressing. He also puts a lot of attention and though into everything that he wears trying to convey masculinity. He seems misguided as to what is masculine to wear. A video on Andre’s fashion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1VfnuPkA68
    Also he’s balding and just something about his facial appearance adds to that but I can’t specify what it is.

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