No Homosexuality Allowed

In the episode of Workaholics Muscle I’d Like to Flex I saw more aggression against homosexuality, and more moments that were meant to reassure the audience the characters were not gay. At a first glance, one could read Adam, Blake, and Ander’s relationship as bromosexual because in this situation there are three male college graduates living together in an intimate setting and dressing up as wizards while testing out their rap skills. However, there are many moments that deflect the thought that these three dudes have something beyond an even bromance. For some examples, Adam ripping his shirt off in the begining and showing his chest to promote quote, “the madness that is my upper torso” is a hint to the audience that despite the geeky wizard costume, there’s a “real man” behind the robes. To add on, there’s a huge picture of highly sexualized woman in a red bikini on the mantle again, reassuring audience that this is a straight household. Not to mention, during the squabble Adam gets excited about the fact the “adult nerds” out in the audience have “huge adult boobs” and then proceeds to reminisce about the “high school drama nerds” who had “some big ol’ boobs”. It’s as if the roomates are saying, “We may look like a bunch of bromantic bros, but really, we’re straight”. Although this show started in 2011, it’s reminds me more of Becker’s interpretation of the 1990’s gay humor of the “mistaken sexual identity”.

 

Any intimate contact or almost contact between the bros is immediately shot down, or turned into comic relief. For example, when Adam is showing Blake the bedroom where “magic happened”, Blake lays down on the comfy bed, but has to move because Adam wants on. In fact Adam even waves Blake off the bed. Two men lying on a bed together could be read as two gay guys, and of course Adam, Blake, and Anders are not gay right?

 

When Adam and Anders are about to fight it out at the pool, Anders has an erection and the fight is postponed because “it’s an unwritten rule warriors cannot collide while erect”. This happens several times and is an example of how the two shoot down homosexuality because fighting is not something that is supposed to turn you on. Supposedly, it’s gay to be turned on by another guy. The two stop and wait until they’re straight again to fight. What’s ironic about this situation is clearly, the two men are getting pleasure out of it, but deny it based off some ancient rule and find other ways to prove their heterosexuality, and they never fight without an erection, so Adam and Blake just leave. The whole time during that scene, and the episode in general I got the message that there’s something wrong with being homosexual because of how many times the guys focused on fixing a suggestive gay situation like the pool scene.

 

Workaholics isn’t exploiting homosexuality, but rather straight up making fun of it, and turning it into something hysterical. Becker writes that today’s “bromance relies on the cultural awareness of and general positive associations connected to gay love to reframe straight masculinity and male homosocial relations” (9), but I didn’t see any of that in Workaholics.

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4 thoughts on “No Homosexuality Allowed

  1. I really liked what you said about how the guys “stop and wait until they’re straight again to fight.” To me, it emphasized the way that characters’ bromance, heterosexuality, and homosexuality can be turned on or off in the media.

    However, I saw the guys’ ridiculously overt homophobia with each other as more of a mockery of homophobia instead of homosexuality. Because the situation was so ridiculous in the first place (there is no way the audience is supposed to take these characters seriously), it makes their homophobia ridiculous and over the top.

  2. I like that you point out the character’s (especially Adam’s) reliance on hegemonic masculinity to deflect propositions that they might be gay. However, I think the show explicitly makes fun of Adam’s conceptions of masculinity, therefore providing room for other constructions of manliness to evolve.

  3. Lots of excellent points here, and we’re going to have to try and parse them in class: does the show lampoon homophobia….or reify it? Lampoon Adam’s form of masculinity….or reify it?

  4. After reading your response and thinking about the tone of the episode as a whole, I think that it satirizes masculinity more than it demeans homosexuality. The scenes in particular with Anders getting out of the pool with an erection in a banana hammock, and Adam trying to join the strong man contest with his meek 5’6″ 160 lb frame magnify this. Instead of a reassurance of masculinity, I think both of these represent the satirization of their masculinity. I would agree that the episode constantly reinforces that the friends are straight, yet I would not say that the show in any way shies away from queer moments that take away masculinity from the characters, especially Adam and Anders.

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