“Bros” marketed itself as a groundbreaking romantic comedy that would accurately depict gay dating life through the eyes of gay men — not some dopey studio exec who says “love is love is love.”
In some respects, it succeeded. Promiscuity isn’t demonized and monogamy isn’t held up on a heteronormative pedestal. For example, the two main characters, Bobby (Billy Eichner) and Aaron (Luke Macfarland), take part in an orgy before even sleeping together.
That never happens in “Schitt’s Creek.”
Also, it was refreshing to see gay men play gay men, alongside an all-LGBTQ cast.
But the irony is, in an attempt to push back against stereotypes, “Bros” plays further into them. This is most apparent in its portrayal of gay athletes. The ones in the movie are presented as complete morons.
The first athlete, a chiseled football player, is briefly shown accepting an award and lamenting the difficulty of growing up as a hot white guy. The second one is the cliché ex-high school athlete who’s married with kids and repressing his sexuality. He posts a viral coming-out video, in which he thanks Colton Underwood for giving him courage (admittedly, that’s a funny line).
In other words, these are toxic gays. They are repressed and unaware.
Later, Bobby and Aaron see a bunch of Adonis-looking jocks playing football in Central Park. Bobby chides Aaron for being attracted to “bro-ey, meathead idiots,” who are fittingly fighting each other while he puts them down.
There is a stigma against sports in some pockets of the gay community, and that’s understandable. For a long time, sports, and especially male team sports, weren’t hospitable to LGBTQ people. There is still a dearth of representation today. Carl Nassib is the only out athlete currently playing in the five major male pro sports leagues.
But the notion that playing sports is incompatible with living a full gay life is as outdated as an Ed Hardy t-shirt. Take a look at our “Coming Out” section and see for yourself. We’ve published 20 years’ worth of stories about LGBTQ people in sports who come out and are met with widespread love and support.
On a personal level, my gay journey runs directly through sports — football, to be exact (OK, flag football). As a newly out gay, I struggled to make friends and meet like-minded people. Though I was far from a great athlete, I felt more comfortable on a football field than inside of a thumping nightclub. So I joined.
Now, I’m equally comfortable in both places. My football friends have introduced me to nearly every gay experience I’ve had the privilege to enjoy.
They can score touchdowns on the field and slay in heels, okurrr?
Though Billy Eichner’s character is presented as the flawed, yet relatable protagonist, the “bro” whom he’s chasing, Aaron, is more well-rounded and likable.
Despite being an award-winning podcaster who’s curating the country’s first LGBTQ history museum, Bobby has a dismal view of gay men. His gay life begins and ends on the Grindr grid.
Bobby quickly dismisses Aaron as a flakey idiot, but is proven wrong over time. Aaron is witty, has a successful career and meets guys in real life.
Bobby may have taught Aaron to chase his professional dreams — he quits his job as an estate planner to become a chocolatier — but Aaron is the one who teaches Bobby how to live.
As it turns out, there was more to the “bro” than just being a “bro.” The same applies to the real-life version of the gay football player and gay ex-high school jock.