2. Michael S. Kimmel, Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, 1st ed. (New York: Harper, 2008).
3. Michael DeAngelis, Reading the Bromance: Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television, Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2014).
4. Hilary Radner, “Grumpy Old Men: “bros before hos,” Reading the Bromance, 52-78; cited, 51-4.
5. Kunze, “Masculinity in the Contemporary Romantic Comedy: Gender as Genre by John Alberti, and: Reading the Bromance: Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television ed. by Michael DeAngelis (review),” Studies In American Humor no. 1 (2015): 118-121, cited passage 119.
6. Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon, 2011) contains an unsettling male prison rape riff in the scene in which Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) argue over which is of them would be the most “rapeable” one. More parodic homophobia.
7. Greven, Ghost Faces: Hollywood and Post-Millennial Masculinity, SUNY Series, Horizons of Cinema (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2016).
8. See, for example, Carell’s full-body-waxing scene in The Forty Year Old Virgin and Ben Stiller’s penis-testicles-in-a-zipper-twist in There's Something About Mary The emphasis in each movie is placed on the excruciating physical pain that the male protagonist must undergo while being under the scrutiny of other men, his electronics store buddies, determined to see him through the loss of his virginity, in Carell’s case, the inquisitorial gaze of his potential father-in-law (played by Keith David) in Stiller’s.
9. As Marjorie Garber writes in an essay on the gender indeterminacy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the Male Medusa, “the foliate head or leaf mask which gained enormous popularity in England and throughout western Europe during the Romanesque and medieval periods ... with leaves sprouting from [its face] … [is] often sinister and frightening …. [This] Green Man… embodies a warning against the dark side of man’s nature, the devil within.” Garber, Shakespeare's Ghost Writers : Literature as Uncanny Causality (New York : Methuen, 1987), 101-03.
10. Mercer, Welcome to the Jungle (New York: Routledge, 1994), 133.
11. The foregrounding of Jewish masculinity in Apatow’s films demands a discrete analysis, particularly given the often outlandish racist caricatures in his and other beta male films. In an interview with Jewish Journal, Apatow was asked, “There’s lots of Jewish stuff in Knocked Up, and even in the trailer for Superbad there’s a Jewish joke. Your main character is Jewish. Any particular reason you chose to go that way with him?” Apatow responded,
“I didn’t make a conscious effort to make him Jewish, although on an unconscious level, I’m sure I was working with some people who I think can portray my feelings or experiences. I did realize that the majority of the male characters were Jewish, and that they all kept referencing it in their improvisation. And I kept writing jokes and references in the script. And it really made me laugh. At some point, I thought, well, this is something you don’t see in movies a lot, a big bunch of guys, and all of them are Jewish. And they’re proud of it and hilarious about it. It’s just not done.”
See Mark Schiff, “Q&A with writer-director Judd Apatow,” Jewish Journal, August 17, 2007. http://jewishjournal.com/culture/arts/15240/
A key tension exists, then, within the progressive desire to represent an underrepresented Jewish identity on the U.S. screen and the tendency toward both racial and sexual caricature, and the frequent depiction of women as often sexless shrews.
12. Peter Lehman and Susan Hunt. “The Naked and the Dead: The Jewish Male Body and Masculinity in Sunshine and Enemy at the Gates,” The Persistence of Whiteness: Race and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema, Daniel Bernardi, ed. (New York: Routledge, 2008), 157-164; cited, 160.
13. G.J. Barker-Benfeld’s concept of “spermatic economy” posits that men of the nineteenth century were socialized to regulate the amount of semen emitted from their bodies lest dire consequences result. Once controversial, this critic’s findings are now considered standard; they have a new relevance for the contemporary masculinities onscreen. See Barker-Benfeld, The Horrors of the Half-Known Life: Male Attitudes towards Women and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century America (New York:Routledge, 1999). [return to page 2]
14. For more on this subject, see Caleb Crain, “Lovers of Human Flesh: Homosexuality and Cannibalism in Melville’s Novels,” American Literature 66, no. 1 (1994): 25–53.
15. “Am I original? Am I the only one? Am I sexual?”: these are some of the suggestive questions raised in the song. The song’s lyrics catalogue the issues that beset U.S. masculinity over the decades: narcissism, emotional loyalty and betrayal, and the disturbances of sexuality.
16. Leslie A. Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel (New York: Criterion Books, 1960).
17. John Alberti, “‘I Love You, Man’: Bromances, the Construction of Masculinity, and the Continuing Evolution of the Romantic Comedy,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 30, no. 2 (2013): 159–172; cited, 165.
18. I outline my theory of this kind of pairing in chapter three, “The Hollywood man date: split masculinity and the double-protagonist film,” of my book Manhood in Hollywood from Bush to Bush (University of Texas Press: Austin, 2009).
19. Amanda D. Lotz, Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the Twenty-First Century (New York: New York University Press, 2014), 187.
20. For more on this subject, see Elwood Watson, Jennifer Mitchell, and Marc E. Shaw, HBO’s Girls and the Awkward Politics of Gender, Race, and Privilege (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2015), particularly Elwood Watson’s own essay “Lena Dunham: the awkward/ambiguous politics of white millennial feminism.”