Woe Is the White Male Character, For He Is So, So Alone
This week, the New York Times tackled what is quickly becoming the most important issue of our day: The plight of the straight white male.
The piece, which you would be forgiven for needing to re-read to make sure it’s not satire, seems to be asking the question of whether there’s still a place in this ever-diversifying world for a male protagonist (specifically in sitcoms). Presumably, the question is really whether white men have a place on television, since in listing the television comedies that have been plucked from the potential grasp of our usual hero via the near-biblical plagues of “diversity, inclusion and change,” the author also otherwise inexplicably includes Master of None. (And, curiously, no mention of black-ish when talking about strong sitcom patriarchs.)
As the article lays out, in addition to your Veeps and your Broad Citys, taking protagonist jobs from capable men, the male-driven shows we do have aren’t giving him the proper respect. This fall’s new crop of CBS shows almost all feature men whose stories are based on their emasculation. That awful Joel McHale show (The Great Indoors) gives us McHale, a rugged man’s man forced to live in the Millennial world of feelings and SnapChats, where NO ONE APPRECIATES HIS AWESOME RUGGEDNESS.
Man With a Plan features Matt LeBlanc as a stay-at-home dad— i.e. the ultimate neutering at the hands of the modern world’s cruel Vagenda. The former contractor (read: MAN JOB) now has no one to drink beer with, since his only friend is another “stay-at-home dad, a nerdy, neutered cautionary tale who seems to have left his Y chromosome in the minivan.” PITY HIM.
I can’t even TALK about Fox’s Son of Zorn, which has the audacity to snatch a strong, plum role from a deserving white male and give it to a CARTOON. THE NERVE!
Luckily, if you remember, CBS dropped Supergirl and pulled the plug on their planned Nancy Drew for fear of being “too female.”
Still, will no one think of the poor straight, white cis men? We talk a lot about the importance of inclusion and representation around these parts, and we should think of how it affects these men to see their faces disappearing from not just sitcoms, but all television.
Where else could these white men see themselves living their unchallenged masculine protagonist lives on television, other than maybe Louie, Sherlock, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory, Better Call Saul, Family Guy, South Park, Supernatural, House of Cards, Doctor Who, Red Oaks, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Vikings, Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Agents of SHIELD, Daredevil, The Blacklist, Lucifer, All the Law & Orders and CSIs, Archer, Ray Donovan, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Last Week Tonight and nearly all of the rest of late night, Saturday Night Live, Suits, American Dad, Sleepy Hollow, The Americans, Penny Dreadful, Hawaii Five-0, Rick & Morty, Blue Bloods, Hell’s Kitchen, Pawn Stars, everything Chris Hardwick hosts, The Goldbergs, Silicon Valley, The Strain, Workaholics, Wayward Pines, The Leftovers, The Last Man on Earth, Halt & Catch Fire, Masters of Sex, Rectify, or that new Kevin James sitcom?
Don’t worry, straight white men. You’ll always have Kevin James!