No Homo in Workaholics

In agreement with Becker’s argument, the discourse in Workaholics is pretty heterosexual in a way that excludes possible homosexuality from this type of bromance.  

First of all, in Workaholics, heterosexuality is a way of asserting masculinity.  A lot of the humor in this show happens when the three oddball characters try to assert hypermasculinity and fail miserably.

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            Adam does this by talking waaaay too much about how much sex he’s having with his ‘milf,’ and Anders does this by putting on a strut and saying he’s going to “go Old Norse” (how manly!) and seduce Adam’s girlfriend.  Blake expresses jealousy, re-affirming that heterosexuality is cool and desireable.  In addition, the guys talk about boobs and objectify women together.  While this isn’t homophobic, it is so heterosexual that a gay man might feel uncomfortably out of place hanging out with these bros, like Michael in Bromance

In contrast to Becker’s idea of the modern bromance, Workaholics gives the idea that gayness may not actually be okay.  Adam makes this clear when he uses gayness as an insult in the episode’s most emotional conflict, saying he doesn’t want to be a “fairy wizard” with Anders and Blake. This is obviously pretty bad- Anders and Blake are hurt and angry, saying “it didn’t have to go like this.” 

Considering this, the embarrased lack of acknowledgement of the homoeroticism within the bromance is clearly not because gay love is acceptable enough that they wouldn’t joke about it.  Instead, in the context of the ‘fairy’ insult, you can conclude that they don’t more frequently acknowledge homoeroticism because it is too offensive to imply of a friend.  But the homoeroticism is there- it’s a running gag in the episode that Anders and Adam get erections when they’re wrestling or hugging.  They laugh this off and explain that it’s “contagious,” or because Adam used a good-smelling lotion, but there is absolutely no mention of the inherent homosexuality.  The awkwardness of the situation is  made clear by the guys repeating how ‘weird’ it is.  The fact that this scene exists and is played for laughs shows how unacceptable homosexuality is in the bromance, because the audience is supposed to find the homoeroticism in this bromance hilarious and absurd.  It’s basically a built-in gay joke.  Image

Workaholics expresses the same idea in the jacuzzi scene.  While three dudes in a hot tub is a normal bromance thing, two guys in a hot tub is awkward and ‘doesn’t work’ because it implies homoeroticism. 

While this bromance could appear more accepting of gay love than the overtly homophobic bromances of the past,  homophobia is still frequently implied and even vocalized. 

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2 thoughts on “No Homo in Workaholics

  1. I think you make a nuanced point that several characters in Workaholics perform “hypermasculinity and fail miserably.” This statement got me thinking about the ways masculinity is so obviously performative throughout the show. At several moments, hypermasculinity becomes the butt of the joke and seems to threaten the characters’ manliness rather than accentuate it. I’m thinking specifically of the scene where Adam comes over to his old house to brag about his new girlfriend. At this point, Adam is on top of the masculine (heterosexual) world. However, when Adam leaves we see him jump on the back of this girlfriend’s motorcycle, symbolizing his assumption of a more submissive and “womanly” role. In this scene, Adam’s hypermasculinity becomes performative and humorous – the audience can clearly see that it is a facade.
    Similarly, you assert: “Workaholics gives the idea that gayness may not actually be okay.” This brings up another crucial point – at several points in the show, homoeroticism also becomes the butt of the joke! The fact that both hypermasculinity and homoeroticism provide comic substance for the show reinforces Becker’s claim toward gay exclusion. Whereas the straight bros on Workhaholics can inhabit extremely manly or extremely homoerotic spaces and still get away with it, this humor would not function in the same way if one of the men were actually gay.

  2. I thought the scene in the hot tub has a lot to say about what the show is implying about homosexuality. The fact that three guy are best friends and do pretty much everything together is okay. But when they start doing activities together with just two guys, it gets more awkward. The reasoning that this becomes awkward is because when there is only two guys, the connection becomes more possibly homosexuality than simply bromance. In my post I said that in a way, the homoeroticism in this show does make people aware of it and in a way more comfortable with it by seeing it in the media. However, the fact that every scene with any hint of homosexuality or homoeroticism has humor is not a good thing. As the comment above me shows, it really makes homosexuality seem like a joke and something to not take seriously. Of course, some humor should be okay – but in this episode there is never a scene without humor. I think this is a tough show to analyze homoeroticism in because it’s difficult to separate whether the producers were really just trying to make a funny show or if they thought about the message they were sending. Regardless, it is important to realize that homoeroticism IS funny. Whenever you watch a show that has two guys who are best friends who accidentally touch or end up doing something similar to sitting in a hot tub together, almost every show will make it humorous. And this is the way that society is exposed to it which I think really has an impact on how people act towards homoeroticism in every day life! I think that’s pretty interesting, and this post really made me think about that!

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