Homoerotic Wrestling and Hot Tubs

I wouldn’t say that the bromances in Workaholics rely on a positive view of gay love so much as a view of women as sex objects; however, there are homoerotic undertones to the trio’s friendship that counteract the hypermasculine image they are trying to project.  The most obvious instance of this is when Adam and Anders are wrestling (over a women) and they become aroused.  The blatant homoeroticism this arousal injects into the moment is undercut by the fact that they are fighting over a woman, and is immediately dismissed by the characters as a result of so much skin touching.  The moment (supposedly) wasn’t a demonstration of repressed sexual feelings for each other but a reaction to strong emotions.  The presence of the woman they are fighting over also reinforces this. The woman in question caused tension because she was disrupting their male space, but her very existence belied anything gay about the trio’s relationship. Throughout the episode, she is treated as a sexual object or prize to be passed around, supposedly by her own agency (as demonstrated by her rejection of Adam’s possible replacement), but her passivity when it comes to her interactions with Anders and Adam reinforce one of Scott Fabius Kiesling’s imperatives of hegemonic masculinity, that men ought to be dominant, “strong, authoritative, and in control,” even if it is just behind the scenes and not within actual sexual dynamics.  She is presented as a domineering woman (as evidenced by the chin dildo scene), but her presence on the show is nothing more than a flat character that is introduced as someone for Adam to sleep with and as a plot device to cause tension between the trio while reinforcing their heterosexuality (another one of Kiesling’s imperatives of hegemonic masculinity).  The boner moment is given a callback at the end of the episode, but it is depicted as a joke that the audience is supposed to laugh at, not a hint at deeper emotions.  After all, the characters spent the entire episode fighting about a girl—they can’t be gay. Another instance of homoerotic bromanticism is after Adam has left the group and Blake has insisted that nothing change.  He and Anders are sitting in a hot tub, and like the contestants on Bromance, they find the situation extremely awkward, saying, “Two guys in a Jacuzzi, it just doesn’t work.” The scene reinforces heteronormative masculinity by implying that because they are men, anything remotely sexual about the moment is out of place, not fitting with their ascribed gender roles.  This instance is interesting as it is not the presence of a woman that made things less awkward and homoerotic, but the presence of another man that keeps things from seeming gay or couple-y.  Two guys in a hot tub is gay, but three guys is just bros hanging out.


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